Fast VPN services are the only option if you want to stream in HD, do video conferencing, or play games online. Data intensive tasks require a super-fast VPN, which means that you need to stay away from 99% of VPNs. Most VPNs aren't built with robust Tier-1 server networks, but the good news is that some are.
At ProPrivacy.com, we use purpose-built servers with a gigabit line to test the world's fastest VPNs. We run our scientific VPN speed tests three times a day. As a result, you can trust this article to show you which VPNs are actually fastest - the complete unadulterated truth.
Want to know more? Check out our helpful guides for more information on improving your VPN speeds:
Which are the fastest VPNs?
In the table below, you can take a quick look at the fastest VPNs. Our results update automatically in real-time, so you can use this article to see exactly which VPNs are the fastest in the world at any given time. We test all the top VPN providers so you can instantly see how they rank. Scroll down for a full list of the top 40 fastest VPNs, and for in-depth summaries about each of the fastest VPNs.
Private Internet Access
Our VPN speed testing system is reliable and highly accurate. As a result, you can use this page to check VPN speeds regularly, which updates three times a day. Over the past 3 years, we have used our unique system to check the world's leading VPNs over 250,000 times. In this article, you can see today's latest results.
VPN speed over time
While the fastest VPNs do tend to remain pretty consistent within the top 10, they do move around constantly. The graph below helps by providing 7-day average download speeds for the 5 fastest VPNs.
Why we created this VPN speed test
Getting reliable information about VPN speeds has always been a challenge. Most comparison sites simply check a VPN's speed once when they review it, using an online speed checking tool. This gives you an extremely unreliable and colored picture of that VPN's actual speed, because the test result is from a single day, and the VPN could have been unexpectedly fast (or slow) on that particular day. In addition, the VPN speeds measured and published by the reviewer are also based heavily on the speed of the home or office network the reviewer is testing the VPN on.
At ProPrivacy, we decided to tackle this issue head-on by setting up a number of servers whose sole job is to test VPN speeds three times each day. Our servers are located in the UK, the US, Australia, and Hong Kong. This gives us an international range of test results from which we can take max speed and average speed results.
Our method yields precise results because we test VPNs in a lab environment - three times a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The results you see are an average of the last 7 days. This means that a provider has to have consistently fast speeds if it wants to stand a chance of being recommended by ProPrivacy.
VPN speed test methodology
- We start by asking the VPN for an OpenVPN config (.ovpn) file for its servers based in the US, UK, and Australia.
- Our developers then add these.ovpn files to the server-based speed test system.
- We then test these server locations for burst (maximum) speed* using a locally based test server.
- We then test for average download speed by getting speed results across all four servers we have config files for.
- This process is repeated for every VPN three times per day.
The results you receive on this page are an average pulled from this data in the following way:
- 60% of the average download speed
- 40% of the burst speed
Why these percentages?
By taking a weighted average that consists of the VPN's fastest and average speeds from the last seven days, we can give you a much clearer picture of the kind of performance you can expect. It also allows us to single out which VPN is actually performing fastest when compared to its competitors.
This is more useful to the end-user because it is a genuine distribution of speed test results across various servers. This result in performance information that you can actually digest and use to make a purchasing decision. It also maintains competition within the industry, as providers vie for the top spot.
We perform our tests three times per day because we consider that to be thorough, and it allows consumers to analyze VPN speeds in real-time if they want to. It also means that our results always stay current and relevant - rather than from a random day earlier in the year.
Will I experience the quoted VPN speeds?
Yes. The VPN will perform for you in the same way that it performs for us. However, it is worth remembering that your internet speed can only be as fast as your Internet Service Provider allows. A VPN will never speed up your internet connection.
A VPN must encrypt your data and send it via the encrypted tunnel to the VPN server on its way to the websites you visit. The data must then be routed via the VPN server as it returns from the website to your device. This process will slow down your internet, but only very slightly. When you use a fast VPN, you'll hardly even notice a difference in your speeds.
To learn more about how encryption impacts your connection speeds, see our VPN encryption guide.
What exactly is a fast VPN?
A fast VPN is simply a service that provides the fastest VPN servers available. The faster the VPN servers - and the more capacity they can handle - the less congestion and speed loss you will encounter. The VPNs recommended in this guide are so fast that they will slow down your internet an imperceptible amount.
The fast VPNs in this article have server networks that provide speeds far in excess of your home's internet. But they still can't speed up your connection, because the speed of your net is dictated by the internet connection that you pay your ISP for.
If you are paying for a 10 Mbps internet connection speed, you will not suddenly get a faster connection just because your VPN has super-fast servers. However, you can expect to get internet speeds that are almost identical to those you get without a VPN.
But my VPN does speed up my net! Why?
ISPs can choose to throttle users' bandwidth when they perform data-intensive tasks such as streaming in HD, gaming, or downloading torrents. They do this to avoid congestion on their network. ISPs decide who to throttle by monitoring what users are doing online.
When you connect to a VPN, the encryption stops the ISP from being able to monitor what you are doing. This prevents it from knowing that you are visiting services known to require large amounts of bandwidth; which can stop it from throttling you.
Admittedly, ISPs can monitor the amount of bandwidth that each user is consuming - and throttle when a threshold is met. However, some users, particularly mobile users, have reported using a VPN to bypass throttling - and this can result in better speeds thanks to their VPN!
Please bear in mind that this is fairly rare and only happens under very specific circumstances. Despite this, you may want to try a VPN to see if it works for you.
Can I get a free fast VPN?
Unfortunately, free VPNs do not provide fast speeds. Providing access to fast servers is costly, which means that free services tend to be slow. Even premium VPNs that provide a free starter plan throttle speeds to encourage people to graduate onto their paid plans.
The best way to get a fast VPN for free is to make use of a money-back guarantee. You can test any of the services in our fast VPN list risk-free thanks to their trial policies. These differ from provider-to-provider, with some services offering a massive 45-day VPN money-back guarantee. There are also a lot of cheap VPN services out there, so you can get a high-speed service for less than $2 a month.
VPN speed comparison
In the list below we have listed the average speeds in Mbit/s for the world’s 30 fastest VPNs. These results are 7-day averages that are updated daily. If your VPN is not listed below; it is slower than the 30th VPN.
Will a VPN always slow down my internet?
Generally speaking, all VPNs will slow down your internet a little. This is because it takes time to encrypt your data and route it to the VPN server. The fastest VPNs have Tier 1 servers that do not slow down your traffic much.
The vast majority of VPNs slow down their users' traffic too much because they have slow and fewer servers. The VPNs we have recommended have thousands of servers, and plenty of IP addresses in each location for you to connect to. As a result, there is no congestion and your data can pass through its servers with only a negligible decrease in speed.
However, you should not really expect a fast VPN to speed up your internet connection. To speed up your internet you will need to pay your ISP for a faster connection.
How to get faster VPN speeds - top tips
To get the fastest VPN speeds possible, we recommend following these steps:
- Connect to a server situated as close as possible. If you select a server that is closer to your physical location, your connection speeds will generally be faster than if you connect to a VPN server farther away.
- Use the fastest VPN protocol - OpenVPN is the fastest VPN protocol that is also secure. PPTP is fast, but it should only be used if privacy is not required.
- Connect to your router with an ethernet cable. If you connect your PC to your router with a wire, you will optimize your connection speeds.
- Get a VPN flashed router. A VPN may affect your computer or device’s performance and make it run slow. A VPN router can free up valuable computing power. However, a slow router can also lead to problems - so get a router that has enough power to run the VPN.
- Select a different port. ISPs sometimes throttle traffic originating from certain ports. If your VPN app lets you switch ports: give it a try.
- Try your VPN on another device. Old devices can't always handle a VPN connection. Try various devices to see if slow speeds are VPN or the device’s fault.
- Turn off your antivirus application. Antivirus software can conflict with the VPN resulting in slow speeds. If speeds are better with the antivirus off, contact the VPN’s customer support for advice.