VPN connections faster than direct ones?

Internet

Speaking of recent internet related fail, yesterday a few Twitter friends and I here in Adelaide were having speed and reliability related issues with our respective ISPs. What I thought was weird at the time was using a VPN to connect to my machine in Singapore and getting it to download websites for me and return them to my machine here in Adelaide was an order of magnitude faster than using my machine here in Adelaide to download websites directly!

I initially couldn't understand how that'd work; even if my machine in Singapore was downloading the data for me it'd still have to be sent back here, just as it would be if I'd gone to a website directly. Not only that but theoretically it should have been even slower because of the overhead of encrypting the connection.

Despite using, maintaining and implementing them for years, I suppose I have much to learn about the actual technology behind VPNs. At the moment they might as well be useful and exciting black boxes. Or black cables. Or black fibres. Get it? Get it? Dark fibre? Get it? Hey come on, that was funny.

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