Type to search


How to Minimize VPN Data Usage in 2023

Any service that requires you to stay active online to access the platform uses up data, even if it is minuscule. VPNs fall into this category, too. Although the amount of data that VPNs take up when you use them for online activity is small, we are here to help you reduce your VPN activity even more. 

Does a VPN use data?

VPNs do indeed use data. The amount of data used during your spells on the internet will depend on the encryption protocol that your VPN provider relies on and what your online activity is like. The usage allocated to your VPN accessory is used up to account for the encryption process. Typically, you shouldn’t expect your data usage to increase more than 5–15% above your baseline. 

Do VPNs work when you are using cellular data? 

VPNs work on cellular data, too. The drawback to having a VPN on your phone is that it may increase your mobile data usage by up to 20%, depending on your VPN provider. 

How much data does a VPN use? 

VPN data consumption depends on the user’s internet activity. You will likely notice your data consumption increase between 5–15% when you use a VPN attachment to your device. However, this additional monthly data added to your monthly usage is usually small. If you tend to use your VPN when online gaming or streaming HD-quality movie streams or videos, however, your VPN data usage may be more significant when you get your wifi bill. 

The biggest component of VPN usage is the encryption protocol provider of the VPN platform that you are using. 

vpn data

The difference in VPN protocols

When picking the right VPN service for you, one of the factors that you will want to pay attention to is the data encryption protocol each VPN platform uses. Ultimately, consider these three factors when looking at VPNs: speed, protection, and usage. The key is to find a healthy balance between those three factors when considering adding a VPN to your device. 

In general, for lower data usage, we suggest looking at higher bit number encryption protocols for better service. For example, a 128-bit PPTP burns through less than other VPN protocols. This level of encryption does incur risk, though. 128-bit PPTP has lower levels of security, meaning that it may not be wise for this level of VPN to be your only safeguard for online activity. 

The 256-bit encryption protocols, on the other hand, offer higher protection with slightly increased data usage on average. Superior protection for you may be worth the higher monthly data usage. 

Tips to minimize your VPN data usage 

Aside from investing in a different type of encryption protocol on your VPN, a few other options will help get your VPN data usage down. 

Pause your VPN from time to time 

Keeping your VPN on at all times will help keep your device protected from hackers, but hitting “pause” can help reduce your data usage when done properly. To limit your usage, you may want to pause your VPN temporarily before doing something online that may soak up more data than other activities. We advise that if you decide to temporarily turn off your VPN, you do it on a protected network instead of a public wifi source. Using your home wifi is an okay time to let your guard down and pause your VPN. Just consider what you are okay with your ISP seeing and what kind of online usage you want to remain private.

Split tunneling

Split tunneling is a feature on some VPN platforms that allows you to choose which apps you want to route data through your VPN and which apps don’t need protection when accessing the internet. This would allow you to designate higher-data-using applications to operate outside your VPN network while keeping other apps protected. 

Unmetered internet

Unmetered internet connections are those that do not charge you based on your usage. For example, broadband networks typically allow unlimited data, while cellular data packages track and charge you for using a certain amount of data. Public wifi hotspots, when used in tandem with a VPN, allow you to use the internet freely while also staying protected.