Can a Firewall affect Internet Speed (Reason & Solution)

Can a firewall affect internet speed
Can a firewall affect internet speed

With the increasing online cyber security threats, it has become very essential for an individual or a business to implement cyber security tools like firewalls, that can help them to protect their computer network from malicious threats like malware and viruses. But “can a firewall affect internet speed?

Moreover, a non-firewall-based network has little to no protection, which can make that particular device or entire network vulnerable to numerous attacks.

But many users have complained that their internet speed has dropped like hell after installing a firewall system, which in turn had me thinking, “Can a firewall affect internet speed?” 

Well, gotta find out the truth!

Can a firewall affect internet speed?

Yes, a firewall can affect a user’s internet speed and can slow it down drastically. The main reason behind the slow internet speed while using a firewall is its working and its performance.

For instance, a firewall works like a guard, which inspects each and every data packet going through the network.

Now, when it inspects the data packet thoroughly, it takes some time to verify, thus causing the internet to slow down.

Plus, many firewall systems can only process data at a capped speed.

So, if your internet speed is much higher than the firewall’s cap limit, then it can also cause your internet speed to slow down.

To get a clear idea of how exactly a firewall can slow down your internet speed, let’s first explore the types of firewalls.

Types of firewalls.

There are mainly two types of firewalls.

  1. Hardware Firewall.
  2. Software Firewall.

Hardware Firewall:

A hardware firewall is a type of physical appliance, mainly a box, which inspects each and every inbound and outbound data packet, and filters out malicious data.

Talking about technicalities, the filtering process is done using a set of rules programmed into this firewall system.

Plus, a hardware firewall is capable of inspecting data packets on a local network, thus giving protection to all of the computers connected to that network.

Although, if it doesn’t come with adequate throughput, then it may cause a slower internet connection.

Software Firewall:

Now, this type of firewall is way different when compared to the hardware version, because it is not a physical appliance, but a program that is installed inside a particular PC.

Yes, the functionality remains the same, but it only protects and affects one PC. 

How exactly a firewall can slow down your internet speed?

There are three scenarios that can force your firewall to slow down your internet speed, and they are;

You are using both types of firewall systems at the same time:

Yes, you read it right, using both hardware and software firewalls may be tempting, but I must warn you that using both of them can lower your internet speed to a great extent. 

You have set the firewall to a high level of security.

The firewall allows a user to set up his own firewall rules so that he can set the firewall security to a high level. But again, the more the security, the lesser the internet speed.

You are running multiple firewall software at once.

Sometimes, users prefer to buy and install third-party firewall software as they get tempted by the promises these firewall companies make.

But little do they know, that running multiple firewalls can easily slow down the internet speed.

Plus, in my opinion, the in-built firewall that comes packed with the PC, does a very good job of keeping malicious traffic at bay.

How to fix it?

Well, if you are facing this problem yourself, then don’t worry, because there is a solution that can fix this issue in just a few minutes.

So, if you are interested in the same, then just follow this step-by-step process.

Step 1: Check your actual internet speed.

Firstly, check your internet speed using speed test services like Ookla, so that you can determine your actual internet speed.

Step 2: Disable your Firewall temporarily.

Now, disable your firewall temporarily by heading toward its settings panel.

If you are using both hardware and software firewalls, then I suggest you first disable the hardware firewall and then test out your internet speed.

Step 3: Compare the speed test results.

Finally, compare the results, and if the results show some improvement while the firewall was off, then you can easily say that firewall was to be blamed.

So, to rectify this problem, just tweak down its setting, and enjoy the improved internet speed.

Note: I don’t recommend turning off the firewall for a longer period of time as it can cause more damage than good. Plus, make sure you scan your computer after the test has been conducted.

Final Remarks on “Can a firewall affect internet speed?”

Yes, a firewall can help a user in keeping his/her device safe and sound from online cyber-attacks. But that doesn’t mean he/she should compromise on the internet speed.

Therefore, it is better to test out your actual internet speed by disabling the firewall temporarily and then tweaking the firewall settings accordingly.