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 at any given time – With facts that you can see in real-time.
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These are the fastest VPNs available
At ProPrivacy, we test all market-leading VPNs three times a day to see how fast they are performing. We use a scientific, server-based system, which allows us to give you the most accurate VPN speed test results available online. In the table below, you can see the results of today's speed tests to see which VPN is fastest right now.
The results in the table above update automatically, this allows you to see which VPN is the fastest simply by visiting this page. There is literally no other resource of this kind available online, so if you care about fast VPNs – it is definitely worth bookmarking this page.
Over the past 3 years, we have used our unique system to check the world's leading VPNs over 250,000 times, and the table above shows you the latest results.
VPN speed over time
The reality is that the world's fastest VPNs remain pretty consistent, which means that the Top 10 is unlikely to change much. That said, it is pretty close at the top, and they do sometimes switch places with one another pretty quickly. The graph below can help you to pick by providing you with 7-day average download speeds for the 5 fastest VPNs.
What it is worth remembering is that all of the top 5 fastest VPNs provide exceptionally good connection speeds, so they will be suitable for data-intensive tasks like streaming – no matter which one you opt for.
Why we created this VPN speed test
Most VPN review sites test VPN speeds using online speed test tools. Those results are from a single session, on a single day, usually a long time ago. That means that the data provided by those sites is not actually useful. A VPN's performance needs to be checked constantly to ensure that you know exactly how it is performing right now.
We understand that tests performed using an online tool on a random day of the year can result in unexpectedly fast (or slow) results. For you, the consumer, this results in misinformation that can be frustrating when you purchase a VPN subscription.
What's more, the VPN speeds measured and published by the reviewer are heavily influenced by the speed of the home or office network the reviewer is testing the VPN on. Taking all of this into consideration, it's become incredibly difficult to get a true, accurate understanding of which VPNs are the fastest. Until now!
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 as one of the fastest VPNs in the world.
VPN speed test methodology
- We start by asking the VPN for an OpenVPN config (.ovpn) file for its servers based in the US, UK, Australia, and Hong Kong.
- 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 speed performance you can expect from each provider. It also allows us to single out which VPN is actually performing fastest when compared to its competitors.
This is more useful to you as the end-user because it is a genuine distribution of speed test results across various servers. This results in performance information that you can actually digest and use in making your purchasing decision. It also maintains healthy competition throughout the VPN 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 exactly the same way that it performed for us. Your internet speed can only be as fast as your Internet Service Provider allows, however, and a VPN will never increase your internet connection beyond the speeds you pay for.
Wondering why? Well, a VPN has to encrypt your data and send it via an encrypted tunnel to the VPN server on its way to the websites you visit. That 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 slightly, and the loss should be nominal if you're using a fast VPN.
To learn more about how encryption affects 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 when connected to the VPN. The VPNs recommended in this guide are so fast that any slowing down of your internet speeds by the VPN will be virtually imperceptible.
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 internet! Why?
ISPs often throttle a users' bandwidth if they're performing data-intensive tasks – like streaming in HD, gaming online, or downloading torrents. This is typically done to prevent congestion on their networks, and an ISP decides who to throttle by monitoring what users are doing online.
A VPN's encryption prevents an ISP from being able to monitor your activity. Therefore, the ISP doesn't know when you're visiting services known to require large amounts of bandwidth – which can effectively prevent it from throttling your connection.
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 remember 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 money-back 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 even 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 fastest VPNs. These results are 7-day averages that are updated daily.
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 servers, and only a small amount of them – meaning that they get congested quickly. The VPNs we have recommended have plenty of servers, and more than enough IP addresses in each location for you to connect to. As a result, the servers will typically be free of 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 to you as possible. If you select a server that is closer to your physical location, your connection speeds will usually be faster than if you connect to a VPN server that is located farther away from you.
- Use the fastest VPN protocol – OpenVPN is the fastest VPN protocol that is also secure VPN protocol. 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 won't always be able to optimally handle a VPN connection. Try various devices to see if slow speeds are VPN's 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.
Below, you'll find a few of the most frequently asked questions we get regarding fast VPNs. If you have any additional questions, feel free to drop us a note in the comments section at the end of the article.