Most people opt for a VPN to stay safe online for privacy and security reasons. Not only do they want to prevent saves dropping, but they also want to hide their location, change their apparent country of origin, and – sometimes – violate the terms of service by watching entertainment programs they shouldn’t have access to.
However, since all data must pass through the VPN provider’s network, there is a natural friction in the speed of data transfer. With some exceptions, using a VPN can reduce the speed of network access. In most cases, this performance degradation is not enough to affect quality of service, but it can affect network usage. Therefore, it can be important for your online experience to find out which VPNs are the fastest – in other words, which ones won’t slow you down.
ExpressVPN is an excellent fast VPN, and none of the fastest VPN services on the market come close to Express’ versatility and ease of use. However, it doesn’t reach the exciting heights of Hotspot Shield, so it may not be the best choice, at least in this case.
However, the average speed is around 220Mbps, which isn’t bad, and these speeds are likely to increase in the coming months thanks to the current integration of the patented LightWay protocol. Even if your Internet connection has a maximum speed of less than 200Mbps, you’ll have to decide otherwise.
ExpressVPN makes it super easy to set up and access these great speeds, and also offers great streaming performance – Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, etc. Are no problem for ExpressVPN.
The apps themselves are much more comprehensive than Hotspot Shield’s, and include some really useful features like built-in speed testing, DNS and WebRTC leak detection, and a powerful kill switch and shared tunnel.
If something isn’t working – or if you have questions about how to use it – ExpressVPN’s customer support is also second to none. In all of our tests, the live chat operators were knowledgeable and responsive, and had the best library of setup and troubleshooting articles in the industry.
So if you’re looking for a fast VPN – not the fastest – with all the bells and whistles, ExpressVPN is the way to go.
NordVPN has quickly become one of those brands that has become synonymous with the product – a bit like Hoover or Tannoy. And a good reason for its huge popularity (and all the publicity) is speed.
In tests with US servers, we found connection speeds of up to 350 Mb using the proprietary (WireGuard-based) NordLynx protocol. Now, not many households have broadband connections that fast anyway, so don’t expect streaming or download speeds to be greatly affected when NordVPN is enabled in the background.
You could argue that the speeds aren’t as consistent as the others. The lowest connection speed we tested was 75Mb. But let’s be honest: …… That’s still not slow!
In addition, NordVPN does very well in terms of security and privacy. Like Express, it has a no-logging policy that is independently audited, and offers features like dual VPN and Onion Over technology to ensure your personal information is never compromised.
If speed is your concern, you’re probably looking for a premium streaming VPN, and Nord has you covered in that regard as well – unblocking Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer.
There are also some really attractive pricing options – especially if you sign up for a multi-year subscription.
- Faster speeds
- Working in China, UAE
- Strong security
- No kill switch in Android
- No streaming servers are flagged
Like NordVPN and StrongVPN, Surfshark has also seen a huge speed increase due to the use of the Wireguard protocol. In our tests, it achieved an average of 71 Mbps. This affordable VPN allows unlimited simultaneous connections, which makes it a great option for families or groups of roommates with many devices.
Surfshark’s security meets all of our standards, and no logs are stored. It’s great for streaming and can unblock Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and more. Live chat support is available 24/7.
The app is available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and Fire TV.
- Fast speeds
- Unlimited connectivity
- Work in China
- Unlocked by many streaming services
- Some inconsistent speeds
- Smaller network size compared to competitors
Based in Orange County, Florida, IPVanish is known for its speed and torrent- and P2P-friendly nature, making it a favorite among gamers. The company has more than 750 servers in at least 60 countries with a total of more than 40,000 IP addresses, each of which has at least 10 unique – and often shared – IP addresses.
IPVanish allows five simultaneous connections across multiple devices (including routers) over four protocols – OpenVPN TCP/UDP, L2TP and PPTP – as well as IPSec and IKEv2 for iOS. All IPVanish packets include SOCKS5, which means you can route traffic over high-speed anonymous offshore proxies – for example, when downloading torrents.
Next on the list of fastest VPNs is VyprVPN. VyprVPN is a Swiss-based service with no logging and a secure application. Like our other fast VPN recommendations, VyprVPN supports the WireGuard protocol and performed well in our tests.
One of the biggest differences we saw with VyprVPN compared to NordVPN and Surfshark is that it is a bit limited in its features. For example, with VyprVPN, we didn’t find any dedicated servers or VPN ad blockers. However, it does have a proprietary VPN protocol called Chameleon for obfuscation.
How to speed up your VPN
While some performance degradation is inevitable when running a VPN, there are things you can do to make it go unnoticed.
Here are four ways to speed up your VPN
- Use one of the VPNs we recommend
All of the services on this page have been tested by our team of experts as the fastest VPNs on the market. If you choose a slow VPN service instead, there’s no way to improve your speed performance.
- Use WireGuard or the VPN’s own protocol
Although secure, our tests show that OpenVPN is significantly slower than proprietary VPN protocols like WireGuard and Catapult Hydra. If your VPN application gives you a choice, make sure you use WireGuard or the VPN proprietary protocol.
- Connect to the server that is closest to you
Generally speaking, if you connect to a VPN server that’s closer to your location, you’ll get faster speeds. This is because your traffic takes a shorter path, so packets arrive faster.
- Connect with an Ethernet cable
Channel interference makes WiFi connections less efficient than wired connections. If you connect your device directly to your router with an Ethernet cable, you’ll get faster and more reliable speeds.
Which is the fastest free VPN?
Surfshark is one of the fastest free VPNs out there. It’s not completely free, but you can use the service completely free for a month and have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can request a refund if you’re not satisfied.
Will a VPN slow down your internet speed?
Yes, VPNs almost always slow down your internet speed. However, a good one can keep your speed at 70% of the base speed. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to choose a VPN that will slow you down too much.
How much speed will you lose with a VPN?
The speed you lose with a VPN depends on many factors, such as your ISP, the proximity of the server location, the current load on the server, etc. Generally, if you connect to a server near you, you will lose 30-40% of your speed, while this number can increase to 70% for remote servers.
If you’re looking for a lightning fast VPN, you have plenty of options! All of the VPNs on my list offer speeds fast enough for a range of online activities, including streaming, torrenting, and gaming. However, if you want the fastest VPN, go for ExpressVPN – it’s so fast that you won’t notice any lag when connecting.