7 Fastest VPNs in 2022

You already know that VPNs offer numerous 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 use. And that's precisely the reason why we'll help you discover the fastest VPNs available today.

First of all, know that we've made the following recommendations after testing over 60 VPNs ourselves. We’ve published numerous reviews so far, and we’ve tried 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 that 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.

The Fastest VPN Services in 2022

What follows is our list of the 7 fastest VPNs available today. Read the following descriptions carefully, as that will help you find the VPN aligned with all your needs.

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

1. Surfshark – The Speediest VPN Right Now!

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Speed & Performance (Overall): Surfshark made our Internet connection slower by 21% (on average) when using the OpenVPN protocol. This truly is a speedy VPN, allowing you to fine-tune your connection and reach even faster performance. By using other 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) 8 ms 487.08 Mbps 48.45 Mbps 0%
Italy 39 ms 425.75 Mbps 46.31 Mbps 12.5%
United Kingdom 44 ms 412.53 Mbps 45.82 Mbps 15.3%

Performance of Nearby Servers: During our tests of its nearby servers, Surfshark performed admirably by slowing us down by only 14% 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) 8 ms 487.08 Mbps 48.45 Mbps 0%
United States 115 ms 391.05 Mbps 38.91 Mbps 19.7%
Canada 124 ms 375.99 Mbps 36.63 Mbps 22.8%
India 151 ms 358.05 Mbps 26.10 Mbps 26.4%
Australia 288 ms 324.11 Mbps 18.29 Mbps 33.4%

Performance of Remote Servers: Even when connecting to a hugely remote server (like in Australia, for example, which slowed us down by 33.4%), this VPN managed to maintain its performance. Other remote servers (in the US, Canada, and India) slowed us down by 25.5%, on average. With that said, having a 50 Mbps connection will still let you 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, and WireGuard.

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

Watching US Netflix Using Surfshark VPN

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.

Torrenting (P2P) Support/Performance: You get full P2P support with Surfshark. This VPN allows this type of Internet traffic via most of its servers. As a result, that will provide you with fast download speeds - with your anonymity being guaranteed.

Downloading Torrent File Using Surfshark VPN

Gaming Support/Performance: Due to its fast speed, various built-in VPN protocols, and numerous servers available, Surfshark is an excellent 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

2. CyberGhost VPN – Best for Streaming Media

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Speed & Performance (Overall): CyberGhost's performance doesn't disappoint, even without fine-tuning your connection. Out of the box, this VPN slowed us down by 23.7%, which is an astonishing result. Aside from that, this VPN allows you to pick from several VPN protocols and even adjust the size of your data packets. So, you have some freedom to improve its speed.

CyberGhost VPN - Performance of Nearby Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 8 ms 491.41 Mbps 48.40 Mbps 0%
Italy 48 ms 455.75 Mbps 45.65 Mbps 7.2%
United Kingdom 45 ms 438.20 Mbps 45.97 Mbps 10.8%

Performance of Nearby Servers: As expected, nearby servers perform in the fastest way possible. Using OpenVPN, we got high-speed performance using the nearest server we could find, slowing us down by only 7.2%. This number could go even lower if you decide to use WireGuard, a protocol recently introduced to this VPN. 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) 8 ms 491.41 Mbps 48.40 Mbps 0%
United States 112 ms 408.95 Mbps 35.97 Mbps 16.7%
Canada 122 ms 324.35 Mbps 34.88 Mbps 33.9%
India 173 ms 389.47 Mbps 20.34 Mbps 20.7%
Australia 294 ms 231.32 Mbps 15.96 Mbps 52.9%

Performance of Remote Servers: Keep in mind that some optimization is needed when using long-distance connections. In terms of these, you can expect big fluctuations in performance, slowing you down by around 31% 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: 7,500+ servers in 90+ countries.

Unblocking Netflix Using CyberGhost on Mac

Media Streaming Support/Performance: We have nothing but praise for CyberGhost's media streaming capabilities. That is because 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 that includes P2P files. Those servers are designed to perform as fast as possible and to erase any trace of your online whereabouts. Of course, you're still able to use any torrent client (on any platform).

Downloading Torrents via CyberGhost VPN

Gaming Support/Performance: One of the biggest strengths of CyberGhost is the size of its server network. With over 7,500 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 / How to Download & Install CyberGhost VPN

3. 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 tests, this VPN made our connection slower by 25.2% on average. Even in the worst possible case, our Internet speed never dipped below 38% of its original speed. So, if you have a fast-enough connection, NordVPN will let you stream 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) 7 ms 485.60 Mbps 48.52 Mbps 0%
Italy 39 ms 426.55 Mbps 46.52 Mbps 12.1%
United Kingdom 44 ms 410.70 Mbps 44.56 Mbps 15.4%

Performance of Nearby Servers: While using NordVPN's servers near our physical location, this VPN gave us a nearly throttle-free experience. If you want concrete numbers, know that the performance of our Internet connection went down between 15% and 12%. You'll get even better results using the NordLynx protocol, which is known for its lightning-fast performance.

NordVPN - Performance of Remote Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 7 ms 485.60 Mbps 48.52 Mbps 0%
United States 115 ms 297.34 Mbps 44.26 Mbps 38.7%
Canada 123 ms 337.31 Mbps 29.68 Mbps 30.5%
India 151 ms 310.00 Mbps 32.40 Mbps 36.1%
Australia 250 ms 394.81 Mbps 21.55 Mbps 18.6%

Performance of Remote Servers: Depending on how remote you're willing to go, expect your Web speed to slow down from 18% up to 38% - using the OpenVPN protocol. NordVPN has done plenty in the past years to increase the speed of its network, and this effort is undoubtedly 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: 5,000+ servers spread across 60 countries.

Using NordVPN to Watch Netflix

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. This VPN has servers optimized for P2P spread evenly across the world. Also, P2P traffic works via numerous VPN protocols, giving you an option to fine-tune your VPN connection and reach the fastest possible speed.

Using NordVPN for Downloading Torrents

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 60 countries). This is where NordVPN's fast performance via remote servers comes into play. In other words, that allows you to achieve fast speeds while gaming while keeping yourself protected.

Useful Guides: NordVPN Review

4. 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 here, so it's not a surprise to see ExpressVPN on this list. As per our experience, this VPN will slow you down by around 25.3% on average. That 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) 8 ms 487.43 Mbps 48.52 Mbps 0%
Italy 37 ms 418.81 Mbps 45.46 Mbps 14.0%
United Kingdom 43 ms 439.91 Mbps 45.51 Mbps 9.7%

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 14% to 9.7%, respectively. For comparative purposes, we've used OpenVPN for testing. However, remember that ExpressVPN has recently introduced an all-new protocol (called Lightway), promising to bring a significant jump in performance.

ExpressVPN - Performance of Remote Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 8 ms 487.43 Mbps 48.52 Mbps 0%
United States 116 ms 385.51 Mbps 38.09 Mbps 20.9%
Canada 128 ms 335.68 Mbps 12.63 Mbps 31.1%
India 255 ms 315.71 Mbps 18.13 Mbps 35.2%
Australia 262 ms 286.64 Mbps 15.24 Mbps 41.1%

Performance of Remote Servers: While testing servers in the United States, Canada, India, and Australia, the speed of our Internet connection dropped from around 20% to 41%. In general, long-distance connections worked better with ExpressVPN than with its competitors, for the most part. 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, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and Lightway.

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

Watching Netflix via 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, 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 regarding 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.

P2P File Download Over ExpressVPN

Gaming Support/Performance: There's no reason not to recommend ExpressVPN to gamers. This VPN works great for gaming because it brings fast performance, servers in more than 90 countries, high-end privacy protection, and website-unblocking capabilities. Its server network comes highly optimized, reducing ping values and ensuring latency is under control. That translates to a pleasurable gaming experience.

Useful Guides: ExpressVPN Review / How to Install ExpressVPN on 60+ Supported Devices

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 46.3% on average. Once again, know that we've used OpenVPN along with Ivacy's strongest encryption. 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 489.63 Mbps 48.66 Mbps 0%
Italy 37 ms 312.48 Mbps 42.67 Mbps 36.1%
United Kingdom 43 ms 342.89 Mbps 43.24 Mbps 29.9%

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 33% on average. Therefore, this isn't the fastest VPN out there. However, it provides 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 489.63 Mbps 48.66 Mbps 0%
United States 155 ms 278.21 Mbps 22.38 Mbps 43.1%
Canada 126 ms 288.63 Mbps 20.63 Mbps 41.0%
India 175 ms 203.13 Mbps 11.72 Mbps 58.5%
Australia 273 ms 148.75 Mbps 8.33 Mbps 69.6%

Performance of Remote Servers: If you need Ivacy to connect to highly remote servers, this VPN will answer your needs - if you have a fast enough Web connection. Based on our tests, you can expect a drop of around 70% when using highly remote servers. That number 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 while torrenting.

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: 3,500+ 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. 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 an excellent 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. 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 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. 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. 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 noticeable way).

PIA - Performance of Nearby Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 10 ms 486.57 Mbps 48.73 Mbps 0%
Italy 42 ms 422.89 Mbps 42.53 Mbps 13.0%
United Kingdom 53 ms 340.23 Mbps 37.28 Mbps 30.0%

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 486.57 Mbps 48.73 Mbps 0%
United States 129 ms 320.62 Mbps 39.23 Mbps 34.1%
Canada 123 ms 274.33 Mbps 36.20 Mbps 43.6%
India 172 ms 180.76 Mbps 13.88 Mbps 62.8%
Australia 247 ms 201.78 Mbps 15.32 Mbps 58.5%

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 50% on average.

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: Thousands of servers (exact info not provided) spread across 75+ countries.

Using Private Internet Access to Watch Netflix

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 other streaming platforms. PIA is designed to protect your privacy (primarily), 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, that 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.

Torrenting via PIA VPN

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

7. IPVanish – Best Fully-Automated VPN

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Speed & Performance (Overall): On average, IPVanish made our connection slower by 59.6% (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 enables you to reach new performance levels by tweaking your connection.

IPVanish - Performance of Nearby Servers

Ping Download Speed Upload Speed Speed Reduction
Baseline (Europe) 8 ms 489.87 Mbps 48.77 Mbps 0%
Italy 37 ms 318.47 Mbps 42.11 Mbps 34.9%
United Kingdom 46 ms 287.56 Mbps 40.34 Mbps 41.2%

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 489.87 Mbps 48.77 Mbps 0%
United States 154 ms 115.79 Mbps 16.38 Mbps 76.3%
Canada 123 ms 230.33 Mbps 22.47 Mbps 52.9%
India 199 ms 42.31 Mbps 6.29 Mbps 91.3%
Australia 365 ms 187.34 Mbps 14.54 Mbps 61.7%

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 will be. Without optimizing your connection, IPVanish can slow you down up to around 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.

Server Network: 2,000+ 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, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer. We didn't have the same luck with any other streaming platform, such as Hulu or Prime Video.

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

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

We test VPN services by actually using them - unlike many other VPN review sites. 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 four-step process.

  • Step 1: First, we establish our baseline data by testing our Web connection without a VPN.
  • Step 2: Then, we connect to nearby servers. Since we're located in Europe, we connect to servers in Italy and the United Kingdom.
  • Step 3: 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: 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 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. In this sense, latency is the time for your data to go from point A (your device) to 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. 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. That 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 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.

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 different categories of online activities, along with recommended 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.
75-150 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 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.

What's the Fastest VPN for Gaming?

The fastest VPN for gaming is Surfshark as it manages to bring incredibly low ping values while keeping your latency in check. Its performance is simply astonishing.

However, just because it's the fastest option doesn't mean it's the best. As our guide to the best VPNs for gaming will tell you, our #1 recommendation is ExpressVPN. That one is also very fast, especially if you plan to use nearby VPN servers. On top of that, ExpressVPN's Lightway protocol is very light on your device's resources and works on any type of network.

So, if you play games on a Windows PC, know that ExpressVPN will treat your battery right, while giving you privacy, content unblocking, and more - everything you need for an enjoyable gaming session.

What's the Fastest VPN for Torrenting?

As per our hands-on tests, the fastest VPN for torrenting is ExpressVPN, closely followed by VPNs such as Surfshark and NordVPN.

We recommend ExpressVPN if you want to pair your torrenting-related activities with a low-maintenance VPN. That's because all of ExpressVPN's servers (3,000+ units) support P2P traffic, give you fast performance, and even let you unblock torrent sites.

Surfshark is also a user-friendly option, but it lacks in-depth customization. And when it comes to NordVPN, we recommend it to more advanced users. That VPN has a selection of servers optimized for torrenting, giving you access to high-end encryption and protocols such as NordLynx, which is NordVPN's spin on the WireGuard protocol (fast and secure).

What's the Fastest VPN for Streaming?

The fastest VPN for streaming would be Surfshark - but only if you want to unblock streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and similar.

By all means, Surfshark is an amazing pick for media streaming and unblocking streaming apps. Still, even though it works great for hugely popular platforms, your mileage might vary if you use lesser popular or niche platforms.

That's why we also recommend ExpressVPN, an incredible pick for bypassing geo-restrictions. As per our tests, ExpressVPN will help you unblock any streaming platform out there, no matter how niche that platform might be. Aside from that, all of its VPN servers are optimized for streaming, letting you reach international streaming services as well.

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. 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?

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.

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. 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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