7 Fastest VPNs in 2021

You already know that VPNs come with many benefits. Still, just like any other type of software, VPNs also have a few downsides. Among those, a decrease in your Internet connection speed is something you can expect no matter which VPN you choose to buy. And that’s precisely the reason why we’ll help you discover the fastest VPN in 2021.

First of all, know that we made the following recommendations after testing over sixty VPNs ourselves. We’ve published numerous reviews so far, and we’ve tested each of those VPNs by connecting to various servers (nearby and remote) and checking their performance.

However, keep in mind that testing VPNs can be tricky, as this depends on several variables. Still, the following information will undoubtedly come in handy when deciding which VPN has the best performance in general.

Tip

Make sure to dive into your VPN’s settings after installing the application. You’ll get to pick from a range of VPN protocols, all of which come with certain benefits and downsides. And as a general rule, you should always connect to the nearest server to get the best possible performance.

Without any further ado, let’s give you the results of our hands-on tests – and uncover the fastest VPN services available right now.

Fastest VPN Services in 2021

What follows is our list of the 7 fastest VPNs in 2021. Make sure to read the following descriptions carefully, as this will help you find the VPN aligned with all your needs.

  1. Surfshark – The Speediest VPN Right Now!
  2. NordVPN – Great for Speed + High-End Privacy
  3. ExpressVPN – Highly Capable All-Around VPN
  4. CyberGhost VPN – Best for Streaming Media
  5. Ivacy VPN – Best for VPN Beginners
  6. IPVanish – Best Fully-Automated VPN
  7. Private Internet Access – Best for Advanced Users

1. Surfshark – The Speediest VPN Right Now!

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Speed & Performance (Overall): Surfshark made our Internet connection slower by 37.7% (on average) when using the OpenVPN protocol. This truly is a speedy VPN, allowing you to fine-tune your VPN connection and reach even faster performance. By using other VPN protocols and trying out different types of servers, Surfshark has the power to let you do anything on the Web – be it Web browsing, media streaming, downloading/uploading files, and more. One thing is sure, Surfshark is the fastest VPN and won’t let you down.

Surfshark VPN – Performance of Nearby Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 10 ms 355.75 Mbps 48.39 Mbps 0%
Italy 39 ms 286.42 Mbps 39.48 Mbps 19.4%
United Kingdom 44 ms 303.03 Mbps 40.84 Mbps 14.8%

Performance of Nearby Servers: When using nearby servers, Surfshark performed admirably by slowing us down by only 17.1% on average. This number can decrease if you choose another protocol (like WireGuard), where you’ll lose around 10% of your original Internet connection speed. For any VPN, these numbers are something to be truly proud of.

Surfshark VPN – Performance of Remote Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 10 ms 355.75 Mbps 48.39 Mbps 0%
United States 115 ms 212.45 Mbps 25.46 Mbps 40.2%
Canada 121 ms 238.35 Mbps 28.46 Mbps 33.0%
India 140 ms 144.56 Mbps 23.16 Mbps 59.3%
Australia 287 ms 142.12 Mbps 19.56 Mbps 60.0%

Performance of Remote Servers: Even when connecting to a hugely remote server (like in Australia, for example), this VPN never went below 60% of your original Internet speed. Other remote servers (in the US, Canada, and India) slowed us down by 44.1%, on average. With that said, having a 100Mbps connection will still get you to stream 4K video even when connected to a server on the opposite side of the world.

Supported Platforms & Devices: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, iOS, Web browsers (Chrome, Firefox), and compatible routers.

Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, and Shadowsocks.

Server Network: 3,200+ servers spread across 65 countries.

Streaming Netflix via Surfshark

Media Streaming Support/Performance: Surfshark unblocks Netflix US, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and a huge number of other OTT services. You can unblock those platforms via their websites or apps. We’ve experienced nothing but incredibly smooth performance, streaming in 4K and HD without any buffering. This surely is one of the best VPNs for streaming.

Torrenting (P2P) Support/Performance: You get full P2P support with Surfshark. This VPN allows this type of Internet traffic via all of its servers. That means you’ll get more than 3,000 servers and plenty of VPN protocols, letting you fine-tune your VPN connection. As a result, this will provide you with fast download speeds – with your anonymity being guaranteed.

Download Torrents via Surfshark

Gaming Support/Performance: Due to its fast speed, various built-in VPN protocols, and numerous servers available, Surfshark is a great solution for online gaming. You’ll be protected against DDoS attacks while getting to pick a server based on your specific gaming needs. This is how you can secure low ping values, unblock digital marketplaces, download games before they’re available in your region, and more.

Useful Guides: Surfshark Review / Surfshark Now Offers WireGuard Support / Surfshark Introduces GPS Spoofing on Android

2. NordVPN – Great for Speed + High-End Privacy

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Speed & Performance (Overall): Even without tinkering with its settings, NordVPN performs great. Based on our hands-on tests, this VPN made our connection slower by 39.9% on average. However, even in the worst possible case, our Internet speed never dipped below 55% of the original speed. Therefore, if you have a fast-enough connection, NordVPN will let you continue streaming media in the highest possible format, in addition to downloading large files via its specialized servers.

NordVPN – Performance of Nearby Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 10 ms 292.17 Mbps 46.47 Mbps 0%
Italy 40ms 230.50 Mbps 39.65 Mbps 21.1%
United Kingdom 45ms 158.59 Mbps 40.97 Mbps 45.7%

Performance of Nearby Servers: We do have to note that NordVPN’s nearby servers (based on our location) fluctuated in their performance. If you want concrete numbers, know that the performance of our Internet connection went down between 21% and 45%. You can achieve better results using NordVPN’s NordLynx protocol, which is known for its lightning-fast performance.

NordVPN – Performance of Remote Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 10 ms 292.17 Mbps 46.47 Mbps 0%
United States 111 ms 213.28 Mbps 22.52 Mbps 27.0%
Canada 128 ms 156.69 Mbps 13.57 Mbps 46.3%
India 231 ms 129.24 Mbps 14.06 Mbps 55.7%
Australia 309 ms 163.16 Mbps 7.90 Mbps 44.1%

Performance of Remote Servers: Depending on how remote you’re willing to go, expect your Web speed to slow down from 27% up to 55% – using the OpenVPN protocol. NordVPN has done plenty in the past years to increase the speed of its network, and this effort is certainly noticeable. Once again, picking a different protocol will go a long way (you’ll have several to choose from, as described below).

Supported Platforms & Devices: Windows, macOS, Linux, ChromeOS, Android, iOS, Web browsers (Chrome and Firefox), Android TV, Fire TV, and compatible routers.

Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, NordLynx.

Server Network: 5,500+ servers spread across 59 countries.

Accessing Disney Plus via NordVPN

Media Streaming Support/Performance: NordVPN unblocks the US version of Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, and many other streaming platforms. Based on our testing, streaming media, even via highly remote servers, should not be a problem if you have a fast Web connection. We also recommend NordVPN for Kodi users due to its content-unblocking techniques.

Torrenting (P2P) Support/Performance: Being one of the fastest VPN services, NordVPN doesn’t disappoint when it comes to torrenting. These VPN offer servers optimized for P2P spread evenly across the world. Also, P2P traffic works via numerous VPN protocols, giving you an option to really fine-tune your VPN connection and reach the fastest possible speed.

Downloading Torrents While Connected to NordVPN

Gaming Support/Performance: It’s evident that NordVPN has one of the biggest server networks, even though it doesn’t cover the entire world (it’s available in 50+ countries). This is where NordVPN’s fast performance via remote servers comes into play. In other words, this allows you to achieve fast speeds while gaming while keeping yourself protected.

Useful Guides: NordVPN Review / NordVPN Announced Colocated Server Network / AV-Test Crowns NordVPN the King of VPNs in Terms of Performance

3. ExpressVPN – Highly Capable All-Around VPN

Editor's Pick
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Speed & Performance (Overall): We’re talking about one of the best VPNs overall in 2021 here, so it’s no surprise to see ExpressVPN on this list. As per our experience, this VPN will slow you down by around 44% on average. However, it’s worth noting that unlike with other VPNs, ExpressVPN doesn’t bring noticeable fluctuations in its performance. This makes ExpressVPN suitable for all kinds of online activities, including Web browsing, handling data transfers, media streaming, gaming, and plenty more.

ExpressVPN – Performance of Nearby Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 13 ms 455.54 Mbps 47.36 Mbps 0%
Italy 76 ms 270.45 Mbps 35.33 Mbps 40.6%
United Kingdom 47 ms 293.21 Mbps 36.87 Mbps 35.5%

Performance of Nearby Servers: We’re located in Europe, so we’ve tested ExpressVPN’s servers in Italy and the United Kingdom. They brought similar speed test results, slowing us down by 35% to 40%. For comparative purposes, we’ve used OpenVPN for testing. However, keep in mind that ExpressVPN has recently introduced an all-new protocol (called Lightway), which promises to bring (and delivers) a significant jump in performance.

ExpressVPN – Performance of Remote Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 13 ms 455.54 Mbps 47.36 Mbps 0%
United States 114 ms 294.57 Mbps 20.80 Mbps 35.3%
Canada 120 ms 276.84 Mbps 19.62 Mbps 39.2%
India 175 ms 226.13 Mbps 8.27 Mbps 50.3%
Australia 283 ms 147.97 Mbps 10.31 Mbps 67.5%

Performance of Remote Servers: While testing servers in the United States, Canada, India, and Australia, the speed of our Internet connection dropped from around 39% to 67%. In general, long-distance connections worked better with ExpressVPN than with its competitors. This is crucial if you’re into media streaming, as you rest assured that ExpressVPN’s US-based servers (hugely popular for streaming) are highly optimized.

Supported Platforms & Devices: Windows, macOS, Linux, ChromeOS, Android, iOS, Kindle, Web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge), Fire TV, Android TV, and compatible routers.

Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and Lightway.

Server Network: 3,000+ servers spread across 94 countries.

Accessing US Netflix by Using ExpressVPN

Media Streaming Support/Performance: ExpressVPN will help you unblock just about any website out there. In terms of media streaming, you can count on streaming Netflix (several versions), Hulu, Disney+, Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. Of course, the list doesn’t stop there, as we’re confident that ExpressVPN will meet all your media streaming-related needs.

Torrenting (P2P) Support/Performance: This VPN doesn’t have a problem with torrenting, as it supports P2P traffic on all of its servers. You won’t find any limitation here when it comes to P2P, so you’re free to pick any server and use any torrent client. Of course, we recommend playing around with different VPN protocols (at least those stronger ones) and checking out what kind of performance you get.

Download P2P File While Connected to ExpressVPN

Gaming Support/Performance: There’s no reason not to recommend ExpressVPN to gamers. Considering that it brings fast performance, servers in more than 90 countries, high-end privacy protection, and website-unblocking capabilities, this VPN will work great for gaming. Its server network comes highly optimized, reducing ping values and making sure that latency is under control. All of that translates to a pleasurable gaming experience.

Useful Guides: ExpressVPN Review / How to Install ExpressVPN on 60+ Supported Devices / How to Watch US Netflix with ExpressVPN

4. CyberGhost VPN – Best for Streaming Media

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Speed & Performance (Overall): CyberGhost’s performance doesn’t disappoint, even without fine-tuning your VPN connection. Out of the box, this VPN slowed us down by 58.7%. So, if you don’t optimize it, you can expect your Web connection speed to be cut in half. However, it’s worth mentioning that CyberGhost VPN has so many benefits and tricks up its sleeve, making this situation a worthy tradeoff. If you have a fast Web connection, CyberGhost will be your ultimate ally, creating a whole new world of online possibilities.

CyberGhost VPN – Performance of Nearby Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 9 ms 393.49 Mbps 47.95 Mbps 0%
Italy 38 ms 343.14 Mbps 42.57 Mbps 12.7%
United Kingdom 49 ms 143.67 Mbps 41.99 Mbps 63.4%

Performance of Nearby Servers: As expected, nearby servers perform in the fastest way possible. Using OpenVPN, we managed to get incredibly fast perforce using the nearest server, slowing us down by only 12.7%. This number could go even lower if you decide to use WireGuard, which is a protocol just recently introduced to this VPN service. A bit of fine-tuning truly goes a long way towards making CyberGhost the fastest VPN available.

CyberGhost VPN – Performance of Remote Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 9 ms 393.49 Mbps 47.95 Mbps 0%
United States 119 ms 176.20 Mbps 21.16 Mbps 55.2%
Canada 130 ms 251.31 Mbps 21.98 Mbps 36.1%
India 173 ms 5.50 Mbps 1.54 Mbps 98.6%
Australia 294 ms 53.05 Mbps 15.96 Mbps 86.5%

Performance of Remote Servers: CyberGhost VPN is one of the fastest VPN services – which is especially true for local VPN connections. However, keep in mind that some optimization is required when using long-distance connections. In terms of these, you can expect big fluctuations in performance, slowing you down by around 70% on average. This is precisely the reason why we often say that CyberGhost is a dream come true for more advanced users, not afraid to dive into customizing their VPN application.

Supported Platforms & Devices: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Web browsers (Chrome and Firefox), Android TV, Fire TV, Raspberry Pi, NAS, and compatible routers.

Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard.

Server Network: 6,700+ servers in 90 countries.

Streaming Netflix via CyberGhost VPN

Media Streaming Support/Performance: We have nothing but praise for CyberGhost’s media streaming capabilities. That due to the fact that CyberGhost VPN has an army of servers optimized for specific streaming services. That’s where you’ll find Netflix (multiple regions), Hulu, Disney+, YouTube TV, Sling TV, ESPN Plus, Prime Video, Spotify, Comedy Central, Crunchyroll, and a huge list of other platforms.

Torrenting (P2P) Support/Performance: CyberGhost VPN also has specialized servers for downloading files – and this includes P2P files. These servers are designed not only to perform as fast as possible but also to erase any trace of your online whereabouts. Of course, you’re still able to use any torrent client (on any platform). That makes CyberGhost one of the best VPNs for torrenting.

Downloading Torrents via CyberGhost VPN

Gaming Support/Performance: One of the biggest strengths of CyberGhost is the size of its server network. With over 6,700 servers on offer, this gives gamers plenty of options when deciding how to route their Internet traffic. If you plan on using servers not far from your physical location, you can expect a relatively low ping value and low latency. Using long-distance servers will force you to go into CyberGhost’s settings and try to optimize this VPN.

Useful Guides: CyberGhost VPN Review

5. Ivacy VPN – Best for VPN Beginners

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Speed & Performance (Overall): After testing both nearby and remote servers, we found that Ivacy VPN slowed us down by 64.1% on average. Once again, know that we’ve used OpenVPN along with Ivacy’s strongest encryption for comparative purposes. Therefore, Ivacy performs well for a highly capable VPN under plenty of pressure. A bit of fine-tuning will go a long way, imposing no limits on what you can do online.

Ivacy VPN – Performance of Nearby Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 9 ms 406.40 Mbps 41.89 Mbps 0%
Italy 37 ms 151.01 Mbps 42.60 Mbps 62.8%
United Kingdom 43 ms 166.66 Mbps 37.17 Mbps 58.9%

Performance of Nearby Servers: It’s interesting to note that Ivacy comes with a stable performance level, without drastic fluctuations. When testing nearby servers, this VPN made our Web connection slower by around 60%. Therefore, this isn’t the fastest VPN out there. However, it provides a tremendous value considering all the features it brings at a low price.

Ivacy VPN – Performance of Remote Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 9 ms 406.40 Mbps 41.89 Mbps 0%
United States 155 ms 128.58 Mbps 15.58 Mbps 63.3%
Canada 126 ms 122.76 Mbps 35.64 Mbps 69.7%
India 175 ms 149.95 Mbps 14.73 Mbps 63.1%
Australia 273 ms 132.78 Mbps 6.30 Mbps 67.3%

Performance of Remote Servers: If you need Ivacy to connect to highly remote servers, know that this VPN will answer your needs. Based on our tests, you can expect a drop of around 65% for long-distance VPN connections. Therefore, a slightly more noticeable slowdown in comparison to nearby servers. These numbers will go down if you pick a less secure protocol (without endangering your privacy), which comes in handy if you only want to unblock websites or hide your identity when interacting with P2P networks.

Supported Platforms & Devices: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge), OpenELEC, Fire TV, Android TV, and routers.

Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, IPSec.

Server Network: 2,000+ servers spread across 100+ locations.

Unblocking US Netflix via Ivacy

Media Streaming Support/Performance: Here, we have a VPN that comes with plenty of servers optimized for media streaming services. More precisely, you get to pick a streaming service, and Ivacy will do the rest. With that said, you can count on streaming Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, ITV, ABC, Prime Video, BeIN Sports, FOX, DramaFever, and a huge number of regional TV channels. All of those work well, without any buffering.

Torrenting (P2P) Support/Performance: Ivacy offers a nice range of P2P-optimized servers spread evenly across the world. And on top of that, many of its servers come with malware protection built-in. Therefore, Ivacy won’t only hide your P2P-related activities, but it will also help protect your device. Just like with other aspects of this VPN, it might not be the fastest in terms of its speed but comes with plenty of value overall.

Downloading Torrents via Ivacy

Gaming Support/Performance: Allow us to mention that Ivacy is the official partner of GamersOrigin, which says a lot. On top of that, it comes with a sizable list of servers, even though it’s not the biggest one out there. So, you get protection for your privacy, protection for your Web data (avoiding DDoS attacks), and the ability to pick any server. In terms of gaming, all of those things will come in handy. However, we do recommend using this VPN for gaming only if you don’t want to connect to servers on the other side of the world.

Useful Guides: Ivacy VPN Review

6. IPVanish – Best Fully-Automated VPN

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Speed & Performance (Overall): On average, IPVanish made our connection slower by 71.9% (out of the box, using OpenVPN). To be honest, this isn’t the most impressive result – but keep in mind that we were using the highest possible encryption level. So, if you have a speedy Internet connection, IPVanish will let you download files, stream media, and browse the Web. However, this truly is a highly customizable VPN that lets you reach new levels of performance by tweaking your VPN connection.

IPVanish – Performance of Nearby Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 9 ms 303.63 Mbps 46.03 Mbps 0%
Italy 37 ms 228.32 Mbps 32.36 Mbps 24.8%
United Kingdom 46 ms 73.44 Mbps 33.80 Mbps 75.8%

Performance of Nearby Servers: If you want IPVanish’s high-end data protection, using a nearby server should not be a problem. This will translate to fast performance without taking away too much from your download and upload speeds. However, if things start to fluctuate, know that it’s time to visit IPVanish’s settings, change a protocol, or pick a “lower” level of encryption – which will speed things up.

IPVanish – Performance of Remote Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 9 ms 303.63 Mbps 46.03 Mbps 0%
United States 283 ms 28.87 Mbps 11.52 Mbps 90.0%
Canada 123 ms 91.07 Mbps 21.17 Mbps 70.0%
India 199 ms 37.72 Mbps 8.32 Mbps 87.5%
Australia 365 ms 51.39 Mbps 12.50 Mbps 83.0%

Performance of Remote Servers: IPVanish works as you’d expect from a traditional VPN service. The longer your data has to travel, the bigger the latency is going to be. Without optimizing your connection, IPVanish can slow you down up to 90%. That’s why we don’t recommend this VPN unless you’re ready to dive deep into VPN-related terminology and fine-tuning.

Supported Platforms & Devices: Windows, macOS, Linux, ChromeOS, Android, iOS, Fire OS, and compatible routers.

Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP.

Server Network: 1,500+ servers across 50+ countries.

Using IPVanish to Unblock and Stream Netflix

Media Streaming Support/Performance: Even though IPVanish has been improving its streaming performance lately, it still unblocks only a handful of streaming services. You can count on it to unblock Netflix US and Disney+. We didn’t have the same luck with any other streaming platform, such as Hulu, Prime Video, or BBC iPlayer.

Torrenting (P2P) Support/Performance: It seems that IPVanish is well-aware that it’s not the fastest VPN on the market. That’s because besides offering a range of VPN protocols, IPVanish also offers a SOCKS5 proxy. By integrating this proxy with any torrent client, you can get incredibly fast P2P download speeds while making sure you’re torrenting anonymously.

Downloading Torrents via IPVanish

Gaming Support/Performance: As a way to cater to its gaming-oriented subscribers, this VPN offers a handy tool. Before connecting to servers, you get to test their performance. That’s how you’ll know what kind of performance to expect, as well as how you’ll find servers with the lowest ping and latency. However, in practice, we don’t recommend IPVanish if you want to use overly remote servers.

Useful Guides: IPVanish Review

7. Private Internet Access – Best for Advanced Users

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Speed & Performance (Overall): In many ways, Private Internet Access (PIA) performs similarly to our previous recommendation. In our case, it managed to slow our Web connection down by 72.1%, on average. However, we have to note that PIA is one of the most powerful VPNs in terms of its security features, so any speed loss can be seen as a justifiable tradeoff. Of course, this is also a highly customizable VPN, so you can do plenty to increase its speed (in a really noticeable way).

PIA – Performance of Nearby Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 10 ms 435.63 Mbps 47.41 Mbps 0%
Italy 38 ms 349.58 Mbps 37.76 Mbps 19.7%
United Kingdom 53 ms 97.64 Mbps 34.81 Mbps 77.5%

Performance of Nearby Servers: Once connected to a nearby server (close to our physical location), PIA performed magnificently. It managed to maintain steady performance in terms of download and upload speeds. However, not all of its servers worked equally well, and you might see some drops in performance even when using nearby servers. If that happens, you can try a different VPN protocol or a different VPN server.

PIA – Performance of Remote Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 10 ms 435.63 Mbps 47.41 Mbps 0%
United States 114 ms 74.55 Mbps 30.77 Mbps 82.8%
Canada 123 ms 103.93 Mbps 25.68 Mbps 76.1%
India 163 ms 3.56 Mbps 1.43 Mbps 99.1%
Australia 248 ms 97.27 Mbps 10.80 Mbps 77.6%

Performance of Remote Servers: PIA has the highest number of servers out of any VPN currently available on the market. However, it’s also a good example that having plenty of servers doesn’t have to translate to the lowest possible latency. When using OpenVPN and trying out long-distance connections, this VPN slowed us down by 83% on average. With that said, we can recommend PIA if you are truly obsessed with your privacy and if you have a very fast Web connection.

Supported Platforms & Devices: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Opera), Android TV, and compatible routers.

Available VPN Protocols: OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2/IPSec.

Server Network: 17,400 servers spread across 75+ countries.

Using Private Internet Access to Unblock Netflix US

Media Streaming Support/Performance: If you want to stream the US version of Netflix and perhaps Disney+ as well, PIA will meet your needs. However, it is also true that PIA isn’t the most capable VPN for streaming, as it fails to unblock any other streaming platform. This VPN is designed to protect your privacy in a robust way, and that’s visible in every aspect of this VPN.

Torrenting (P2P) Support/Performance: If you don’t mind waiting a bit longer for your P2P files to download, PIA is a viable option. This is one of the rare VPNs that can guarantee your privacy while engaging in P2P traffic – which is a huge benefit. However, this also means that due to its high-end security measures, it will slow you down. You can try optimizing its performance by picking a different server or trying a different VPN protocol.

Downloading Torrents via Private Internet Access

Gaming Support/Performance: Based on our tests, we recommend PIA only if you don’t need an overly remote server. Even when using lightweight protocols such as WireGuard, we couldn’t keep our ping values under control. So, if you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to connect to a server in your or a neighboring country, PIA could serve you well.

Useful Guides: Private Internet Access VPN Review

How Did We Test These VPNs? Will You Be Able to Replicate Our Speed Test Results?

As said earlier, we test VPN services by actually using them – unlike numerous other VPN review websites. It means that our findings are based on the real-world performance of each VPN, and we try to provide you with our unbiased opinion.

So, when it comes to checking the speed of each VPN, this is a three-step process.

  • Step 1: First, we establish our baseline data. This is done by testing our Web connection speed without a VPN being active in the background.
  • Step 2: Then, we connect to a couple of nearby servers. Since we’re located in Europe, we connect to servers in Italy and the United Kingdom. After that, we proceed to test long-distance connections by using servers in the USA, Canada, India, and Australia. After each successful connection, we run a speed test and make a note of download and upload speeds.
  • Step 3: And finally, we compare the download and upload speeds we got from each round of our VPN tests. This is how we end us with a percentage, giving us a precise number describing our experience with each VPN.

The big question is – what kind of performance can you expect? Well, that’s hard to predict, as this depends on your physical location, the chosen VPN protocol, and other things. However, all the numbers you can see above give you a clear indication of what to expect in general. And more precisely, those numbers let you compare the VPNs we’ve recommended.

Tip

For comparative purposes, we always test VPNs by using the OpenVPN protocol and using AES-256 encryption. In general, this is more than what any average home user will need – in terms of privacy protection. Therefore, by choosing a different protocol and lowering your encryption level, you can reach faster Internet speeds.

How Do VPNs Affect Internet Speed?

As you know by now, VPNs will slow you down – up to a certain extent. However, you must be wondering how exactly do VPNs affect your Internet speed? By understanding that, we can talk about how to improve this situation.

Tip

Introducing a New Web Connectivity Term – ‘Latency:’ Since your Web data will travel more, a VPN will introduce a certain degree of latency to your connection. In this sense, know that latency is the time for your data to go from a point A (your device) to a point B (which could be any Web server, for example).

That’s why it’s said that VPNs introduce latency to any Internet connection. In simple terms, they will make things less responsive. On your end, you’ll see this as a decrease in your Web connection’s speed.

Based on what we’ve said above, these are the reasons why VPNs introduce latency and make your Web connection slower:

  • Distance to a VPN Server: In general, nearby VPN servers will perform better than remote ones. By connecting to a remote server, you’ll make your data travel more, which introduces latency. That’s why we’ve highlighted performances of individual VPNs in terms of their nearby and remote servers, so you know what to expect.
  • Server Load (Occupancy): If you pick a VPN with a low number of servers, you’ll increase your chances of encountering overloaded servers. This will reduce the speed of your Internet connection. To help you avoid this, we’ve recommended not only the fastest VPN services but also those with plenty of strategically placed servers.
  • Level of VPN Encryption: We’ve done our VPN speed tests using AES-256, the VPN industry’s standard level of encryption. Average home users could also get away with AES-126, which will help you achieve faster Internet speeds.
  • Internet Speed Offered by Your ISP: If you have a very slow Web connection, a VPN might make it impossible for you to stream video (for example). However, if your connection is throttled by your ISP, there’s a chance a VPN might improve the overall speed and performance of your Internet connection.

Read: Why Does a VPN Slow Down My Internet Speed? / How Much Does a VPN Slow Down Internet Speed?

What Is a Good Internet Speed for a VPN?

In general, the faster your Internet speed is, the better. However, to answer the question of how fast your Web connection speed should be (for using a VPN), we’ll give you some precise numbers.

The table below shows you different categories of online activities, along with recommended connection speeds for each of those activities. We’ve also included a “VPN tax,” helping you predict what to expect once you start using a VPN.

Required Internet Speeds

Required Speed Online Activities
1-5 Mbps General Web browsing; Streaming music; SD video streaming.
5-20 Mbps HD video streaming – on a single device.
20-40 Mbps Online gaming – on a single device; Video calling.
40-100 Mbps HD video streaming – on multiple devices; Downloading large-sized files; 4K video streaming on a single device.
100-500 Mbps 4K video streaming – on multiple devices at the same time.

Tip

How to Test Your Web Connection Speed? – Based on our experience, the best tool for this job is Ookla’s SpeedTest. Click on the provided page, wait until the page loads, and then – click on ‘GO.’ After about 30 seconds, you’ll have precise numbers pointing to your Web connection’s download and upload speeds.

How to Find a Fast-Performing VPN? What Should You Look for in a Fast VPN?

When choosing a VPN service, there are many things to keep in mind. However, if you’re focused on finding the fastest VPN, here’s what to concentrate on.

  • Available Protocols & Encryption: If you want a fast VPN, you need to find one with multiple available protocols. For example, today we have OpenVPN, IKEv2, IPSec, WireGuard, PPTP, and SSTP. Make sure to learn about VPN protocols and what kind of performance to expect.
  • Server Network Size & Distribution: Generally, VPNs with large server networks tend to offer speedier performance. You’ll want to connect to a server in your or neighboring country, which can be tricky in certain parts of the world. So, make sure to know how many servers you’ll have at your disposal.
  • Specialized (Optimized) Servers: Some VPNs offer specialized servers used for activities like downloading files, streaming online media, or engaging in P2P traffic. These tend to be highly optimized for those specific activities, and they offer relatively fast speeds.

What If You End up With a Slow VPN? How to Speed up a VPN?

If you’re looking for the fastest VPN, taking your time and doing your research will most certainly pay off. However, even if you encounter less-than-expected performance down the line, there’s no need to worry as there’s plenty that can be done.

We have a dedicated article on how to speed up slow VPN services, so make sure to take a look. As you’ll see for yourself, we recommend using a nearby server (instead of a remote one), installing a VPN on your router, taking advantage of split-tunneling, and more.

FAQ

Can a VPN Increase Your Internet Speed?

Yes, a VPN can actually increase your Internet speed, but only if your ISP is throttling your Web connection. This is happening across the USA at the moment, with ISPs throttling video streaming services on purpose. By using a VPN, you can hide what you do online and regain control of your Internet connection.

What’s the Fastest VPN Protocol?

When it comes to the currently used VPN protocols, L2TP and IKEv2 are typically the fastest. Then, we have the OpenVPN protocol – which still performs incredibly fast while also keeping you 100% secure online. And lastly, there’s a new VPN protocol called WireGuard, which is the fastest VPN protocol available right now (without sacrificing your privacy).

Should You Use OpenVPN UDP or OpenVPN TCP?

First of all, know that both OpenVPN UDP and TCP protocols are incredibly secure. However, they come with certain differences in the way they treat your data. If you want the fastest possible performance, go for OpenVPN UDP. And if you want the best possible protection for your data, you need to pick OpenVPN TCP.

What’s the Fastest VPN for Streaming?

As per our hands-on tests, we believe that Surfshark, NordVPN, and ExpressVPN are the fastest VPN services that can still unblock a wide range of media streaming platforms. All three of those come with powerful apps for a range of platforms, making us sure that you’ll be happy no matter which one of those you pick.

Which VPN Is Faster – ExpressVPN or NordVPN?

Both ExpressVPN and NordVPN are among the best VPN services overall. However, when it comes to their performance (and based on our hands-on tests), NordVPN seems to be slightly faster – at least at the moment.

Are Paid VPNs Faster Than Free VPNs?

When comparing free and paid VPNs, the biggest difference there will be in their performance. Free VPNs come with severely limited bandwidth, which might be enough only for lightweight Web browsing. If you want fast performance, a paid VPN is what you should pick.

What’s the Fastest Free VPN Service?

Free VPNs are known for their strict limitations in terms of their performance and bandwidth (among many other things). Also, and we can’t stress this enough, free VPNs aren’t safe to use. The only way to go is by using a commercial VPN, as recommended above.

With that said, we conclude our guide to the fastest VPN services in 2021. If you have any questions or doubts, feel free to post a comment below. And of course, don’t forget to share this article online. Thanks!

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