VPN generally works with satellite internet. Performance, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired when using VPN on a satellite-based internet connection.
VPN increases the number of data requests that have to be made and compounds the effect of high latency. VPN is not recommended with satellite internet in most situations. However, in a pinch, VPN will work with satellite internet.
Based on my personal experience and five years working in the computer networking field, I have found that NordVPN is generally the most stable commercial VPN offering when used on higher latency connections.
Satellite Internet and VPN
Why VPN and Satellite Internet do not Play Friendly
Satellite internet is well known for having ultrahigh latency, often times exceeding 900 ms. Strict data caps of less than 50 gigabytes per month are also a harsh reality with most satellite internet services. The nature of VPN technology does not play super friendly with high latency internet connections.
The reason that latency is always an issue with geostationary satellite internet connections is due to the roughly 44,000-mile round trip that every data packet must take. Low-earth orbit satellite internet services such as Starlink do not have this issue.
Additionally, the limited upload bandwidth of most satellite internet connections further limits VPN performance. Although data caps do not directly affect your ability to use a VPN, the problem is that VPN adds up to 20% more data usage due to encryption overheads. This means you will reach your data cap even sooner by using a VPN.
Can I Run a VPN with Hughesnet
Geostationary satellite internet services such as those from HughesNet are generally not going to perform well with VPN. If you must use VPN with satellite internet, choose a VPN that uses the WireGuard protocol. NordVPN is a great option for most people.
The WireGuard protocol is the most friendly to high-latency connections. Avoid using OpenVPN at all costs with satellite internet. Using OpenVPN will likely slow your connection down to dial-up-like speeds on a geostationary satellite internet service. HughesNet is not ideal for using a VPN, but it will work.
Does Viasat Support VPN
As with HughesNet, Viasat will also work with VPN. However, it will also suffer from the same kinds of performance impacts. If you must use a VPN with Viasat, you will want to use the WireGuard VPN protocol.
The best thing you can do if you are using a geostationary satellite internet service is to connect your VPN only when absolutely necessary. In many cases, you do not need your VPN connected.
For example, if you are using a VPN to connect to your employer remotely and need to access email. In many cases, the email service is hosted in the cloud, and you will have no need to use VPN to connect. By limiting your usage of VPN to when it is actually needed, you will get the best performance and use the least amount of data.
Using VPN With Starlink Low Earth Orbit Internet Service
If you are using Starlink internet service, you will not have any issues using VPN. VPN actually performs quite well on Starlink. Starlink works well with all of the major VPN protocols, including IPsec, IKEv2, WireGuard, and OpenVPN. This means that most people will have no issue with compatibility.
VPN stability with Starlink is nearly comparable to a wired internet connection. In most cases, VPN connections will be glitch-free using Starlink. The only exception is when there are occasional drops in Starlink service. Unfortunately for VPN users, even momentary drops can break the VPN tunnel causing a longer drop.
Although this issue can happen with a cable, DSL, or fiber connection, it tends to be much less common. Starlink says that as more satellites are launched, and coverage has increased, these drops will be greatly reduced.
VPN performance is roughly on par with wired internet options. Using a VPN will always add some latency to your internet connection due to the nature of the technology. Fortunately, the latency on Starlink is already low, and adding a VPN connection does not result in much additional latency, assuming you are not connecting to the other side of the earth.
Satellite Internet VPN
Does VPN work with satellite internet? VPN works with satellite internet but is not recommended for a variety of reasons. If you need to use a VPN with satellite internet, you can, but your performance will be very poor.
Using the WireGuard protocol can improve performance somewhat. The best thing to do is to only connect your VPN when you absolutely need to use it. Keeping your VPN disconnected when possible will improve performance and also reduce your data usage. This is especially important given the restrictive data caps found on most satellite internet plans.