Here is a common question we are often asked at BolehVPN…
“Can I use a VPN to bypass my Internet quota?”
Depending on what Internet Service Provider (ISP) you are using, data plans can come in many packages varying in data caps and commitment fees.
Before we answer this FAQ, let us understand what data caps actually are and how your ISP may control them.
Data caps are the limit on which how much data you are allocated in a month by your ISP. Once you have exceeded your Internet quota for the month, you would often find that your connection is throttled (slowed down), or in some cases your data would be completely cut off unless you purchased additional top-up volume.
ISPs are no strangers to criticism when it comes to the imposing of these data quotas. In reality, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) even declared a war on data caps and usage-based pricing policies.
“You have to pay extra for double-stuffed”, declared ISP, Mediacom in defence of bandwidth caps, likening the popular chocolate cookies to them. In other words: You have to pay more to get more.
However, the controversy behind data caps lie often in the questions whether ISP meters are counting data usage accurately. Many feel that data usage can be inflated by causes outside of a user’s control such as by DDOS attacks which flood Internet connections, or data packets being dropped and re-sent.
The latter, in fact, is a common way ISPs themselves are using for network rate limiting. To limit the amount of traffic you can use on your network (ie. The speed of your connection), ISPs enforce rate caps by packet-dropping once you have exceeded the maximum allowed rate, and throttling your internet speed.
Internet bandwidths and VPNs are essentially two very different things.
Okay, say for example you wished to deliver 1000 gift boxes to a friend’s house. If your friend’s home had a tiny door, you would only be able to deliver one box at a time, as compared if the door was enormous, you might have been able to deliver all 1000 boxes in one go.
This analogy represents your bandwidth quota, whereby the bigger the door (your bandwidth limit), the more traffic you would be able to upload/download at one given point in time.
Now a VPN however, would be more of if you decided to lock up each of those gift boxes in a safe box. You would be protecting the contents inside your boxes from anyone looking to steal them mid-delivery, but it is not exactly altering the size of the door.
Data being sent through a VPN tunnel, although encrypted, is still travelling through your Internet connection, and is still being counted against your Internet quota. Therefore, your Internet quota and the use of a VPN are actually independent of each other.
(Read what you CAN do with a VPN though: What Is a VPN & Why Might I Need It?)
By attempting to bypass Internet quota, this would be akin to crashing a hole into the walls of your friend’s home for the sake of being able to send more boxes than you were allowed to. Similarly, actively utilizing a loophole to bypass quota and use more bandwidth than you are entitled to is probably just as illegal as busting that hole in the side of your friend’s home.
If you have heard that certain VPNs claim to be able to bypass data quotas, this may have been done in the past whereby the traffic which passed through certain ports were excluded from counting towards bandwidth. These VPNs would have needed to actively seek out these loopholes and pushed the traffic through such ports. However, these holes have been plugged by the relevant telecommunication services and BolehVPN’s official stand is that bypassing quota is most likely illegal and definitely breaching any telcos Terms of Service.