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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

5 Fastest VPN Services in 2024: High-Speed VPN Security

Akash Deep Updated on 28th March 2024 Fact-checked by Kristina Joshevska Cybersecurity Researcher

With so many VPNs claiming to be the fastest, it's hard to know which will actually give you the best speeds. Consistently fast speeds are not a compromisable feature, especially when you want to stream, game, or torrent.

My team and I compared more than 55 VPNs in terms of long and short-distance server speeds and overall performance with various online activities. To ensure accuracy and consistency, we tested each at different times of day over many months from the same location using the same device and OS.

ExpressVPN came out on top, with the fastest speeds and most stable connections. Its exclusive Lightway protocol keeps speed loss to a minimum. Plus, its entire global network is optimized for speed, so you can count on fast connections, near and far. You can try it risk-free since it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you find it's not for you, it's easy to get a refund. Editors' Note: Expressvpn and this site are in the same ownership group.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free >>

Short on Time? Here Are the Fastest VPN Services in 2024

  • Editor's Choice
    ExpressVPN
    ExpressVPN
    Features fast Lightway protocol and a global network for reliable, speedy connections.
    70% of our readers choose ExpressVPN
  • NordVPN
    NordVPN
    High-speed NordLynx protocol and strong security features that don’t compromise speeds.
  • Surfshark
    Surfshark
    Enhances page-loading time with CleanWeb, but some servers may be slow to connect.
  • CyberGhost VPN
    CyberGhost
    Specialized servers to find the fastest connection for you, but faraway ones can be slow.
  • Proton VPN
    Proton VPN
    Offers VPN Accelerator for speed boosts, but latency is comparatively higher.

See More Fast VPNs I Tested

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, Cyberghost and Expressvpn are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company.

Fastest VPNs — Full Analysis (Updated in 2024)

1. ExpressVPN — Proprietary Lightway Protocol Provides Fast and Reliable Connections

Best Feature Fastest VPN I tested — only a 3% speed loss on nearby servers
Server Network 3,000+ servers in 105 countries, so it’s easy to find a speedy nearby connection
Device Connections Use the VPN on up to 8 devices simultaneously without slowdowns
Works With Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, (HBO) Max, Hulu, Vudu, DAZN, and more
Editors' Note: Expressvpn and this site are in the same ownership group.

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN I tested, making it ideal for bandwidth-intensive tasks like streaming, gaming, or torrenting. A big part of why it’s so fast is its proprietary Lightway protocol, which is engineered to deliver speedy and reliable connections while still keeping your data secure.

Before testing, my base speed was 127.33Mbps. I tested its nearby UK servers using OpenVPN and received an average download speed of 117Mbps (a 7% speed drop), which was impressive. But when I switched to Lightway, my speed boosted to 122.98Mbps — just 3% below my base speed. This is a great result considering most VPNs will slow you down about 10–20% on local servers.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN's speed test resultsUsing ExpressVPN’s Docklands server, I watched Our Planet in 4K on Netflix UK

Its excellent performance isn’t just limited to nearby servers — the entire network is optimized for fast speeds. Even when I connected to its long-distance servers in Australia, India, and the US, the speed drop never exceeded 31%. I could comfortably download a 1GB copyright-free file in just a minute or two.

True, it's a bit pricier than other top VPNs. Luckily, ExpressVPN offers generous discounts throughout the year, making your subscription a bit more affordable. You can test it risk-free since it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you can get a full refund.

Useful Features

  • Smart Location. This feature automatically connects you to the fastest available server based on your physical location. You won’t have to test out various locations to find the optimal connection.
  • Low ping. ExpressVPN has the lowest ping of all the VPNs I tested. Nearby servers showed around 30ms, whereas faraway servers never went above 100ms. This means you can play competitive online games smoothly and expect lag-free video calls. Using ExpressVPN, I didn’t experience any lag while playing Warzone on my Windows PC.
  • Robust security and privacy features. Even though ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN on this list, it doesn’t compromise on security. It comes with AES 256-bit encryption, IP/DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. Plus, all its servers are RAM-only, meaning any data related to your online sessions doesn’t get stored on hard drives.
  • Customization options. Split tunneling lets you choose which apps and sites you encrypt to prevent unnecessary speed loss. The rest of your online traffic goes through your regular unencrypted connection. Additionally, you can configure shortcuts to your most visited websites, making it quick and easy to connect and get straight to them.
ExpressVPN Offer May 2024: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

2. NordVPN — NordLynx Offers Strong Security at Top Speeds

Best Feature NordLynx protocol to deliver fast speeds without compromising security
Server Network 6,376 servers in 111 countries for speedy nearby connections
Device Connections Protect 10 devices at the same time
Works With Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, (HBO) Max, Hulu, Vudu, and more

NordVPN is another great choice if you’re after high-speed VPN connections. Its NordLynx protocol strikes the right balance of speed and security — it’s built on the fast WireGuard protocol but sidesteps its minor security concerns using double NAT technology. During my tests using NordLynx, I experienced a speed loss of only 5% on nearby servers and around 32% on those further away.

Screenshot of NordVPN's speed test resultsNordVPN’s New York server let me safely watch YouTube videos in 4K without lag

Its Presets feature (on macOS) lets you assign fast servers to your specific online activities. Instead of offering optimized servers for streaming, gaming, and torrenting, it allows you to customize your own profiles for these activities. For instance, I created a preset called Gaming US, which used the NordLynx protocol and its Miami server since that gave me the best speeds.

NordVPN holds its own in the streaming department as well, nearly matching up to ExpressVPN's capabilities. In my own tests, I found it worked flawlessly with all of my regional streaming sites — I watched It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in HD on Netflix UK without buffering. Our international testers could also stream their local content in HD without any issues.

My only problem with NordVPN is that you can’t use NordLynx on all devices. For instance, it’s not available on smart TVs, game consoles, or routers. But it is available for all other major OSs like Windows, Android, and iOS. You can test NordVPN for free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. Just ask for a refund if it’s not for you.

Useful Features

  • Threat Protection. This is NordVPN’s ad and malicious site blocker. It works at the DNS level, so the ads never even reach your device. Not only do pop-up ads clutter up web pages and distract from the content you want, but they also cause longer loading times. When I tested Threat Protection, my browsing was smooth and ad-free.
  • P2P servers. If you’re someone who likes to torrent, you’ll appreciate NordVPN’s specialized P2P servers. These offer fast speeds for P2P file sharing. During my tests, I could download a 3GB copyright-free file in less than 4 minutes.
  • Advanced security features. In addition to IP/DNS leak protection and a kill switch, NordVPN offers specialized Tor over VPN servers. This lets you browse the dark web at good speeds without the vulnerabilities of the Tor browser, like malicious exit nodes, the risk of JavaScript attacks, and ISP tracking.

3. Surfshark — Unlimited Connections for Fast VPN Speeds on All Devices

Best Feature Fast connection speeds across any number of devices
Server Network 3,200+ servers in 100 countries to avoid server overcrowding
Device Connections Unlimited, giving you a great value for money
Works With Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, (HBO) Max, Hulu, and more

Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous device connections, which not many VPNs can boast. But even more impressive is how it maintains these fast speeds across all these connections. To put this to the test, I connected 5 different devices to the same UK server and still had excellent speeds.

For instance, Australia is on the other side of the planet from me, so I was shocked to get 81.66Mbps (a 34% speed drop) while using a server there. On its local UK servers, I had an average speed of 120Mbps (a 5% drop) across all my devices. I had no problem watching Netflix UK in Ultra HD, despite having multiple active devices.

Screenshot of Surfshark's speed test resultsThe ping on nearby servers was always below 35ms, so I could game without any lag

One of my favorite speed-boosting features is CleanWeb, Surfshark’s highly effective ad blocker, which speeds up loading times by eliminating pop-up ads and trackers. In my tests, I activated it with one click, and it turned the internet into an ad-free zone. Pages load quicker without masthead, banner, and sidebar ads.

On the downside, some of Surfshark’s servers can be slow to connect. For instance, it took me 15 seconds to connect to its LA server. But once it’s up and running, you’ll have consistently fast and stable performance. It’s backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it risk-free and request a refund if you’re not happy.

Useful Features

  • WireGuard support. This is a lightweight tunneling protocol designed to deliver fast speeds. During my tests, WireGuard outperformed OpenVPN by about 6% in terms of speed. I could stream and game without interruptions.
  • Dedicated IP. With Surfshark, you have the option to get a dedicated IP address for a small extra charge. This IP will be exclusively yours, meaning you won't share it with other users. This helps avoid server overcrowding and the potential slowdowns that come with it.

4. CyberGhost — Optimized Servers to Easily Find the Fastest Connection for Your Needs

Best Feature Specialized servers for high-speed gaming, streaming, and torrenting
Server Network 11,690 servers in 100 countries for fast and reliable connections
Device Connections Use 7 devices simultaneously under one subscription
Works With Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, (HBO) Max, Hulu, and more
Editors' Note: CyberGhost VPN and this site are in the same ownership group.

CyberGhost has optimized servers, giving you fast and reliable connections for various activities. This makes it super easy to find the right server for your needs. I tested 9 specialty servers — 3 from each category: streaming, gaming, and torrenting. On average, they were 8% faster than regular servers in the same locations.

The streaming options are labeled according to the sites they work best with. Our tester in the US tested its Netflix US server by watching 3 episodes of Wednesday in Ultra HD and didn’t experience any choppy picture quality or buffering. I also tested its nearby gaming-optimized server, and my ping remained at 32ms while I played PUBG on my Android phone.

When I tested its nearby Netflix UK streaming server, I had a download speed of 119.78Mbps from a 124.8Mbps baseline. This is a speed loss of only 4%. Its US torrenting-optimized server kept the speed drop to a reasonable 28%, with speeds clocking at 89.2Mbps.

Screenshot of CyberGhost's speed test resultsCyberGhost’s streaming servers in Australia were a bit faster than the regular ones

That said, some of its long-distance servers were quite slow. I lost 62% on its Australian server. But you can still have a smooth online session for any activity if you have a fast baseline speed. It’s backed by a generous money-back guarantee, so you can try it for free and get a refund within 45 days if it’s not for you.

Useful Features

  • Large server network. CyberGhost offers 11,690 servers in 100 countries. This means you can easily find a nearby server for speedy connections. Plus, the servers are pretty reliable, too — I had no problem streaming my local content safely without compromising quality.
  • NoSpy servers. These are extra-secure servers located in Romania that come at a small additional fee, and only the CyberGhost staff can access them. This prevents third parties from interfering with your data. Plus, these servers use premium hardware to offer faster speeds.

5. Proton VPN — Overcome Speed Limitations With VPN Accelerator

Best Feature VPN Accelerator to enhance your connection speeds
Server Network 4,987 servers in 91 countries to choose from — enough to prevent user overload
Device Connections 10 simultaneous connections to cover your household devices
Works With Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Vudu, and more

Proton VPN offers a VPN Accelerator to boost your speeds. Using a combination of technologies, it overcomes CPU limitations and improves TCP connections. It sounds techie, but all I had to do was click once to enable it. I was surprised by how easily it bumped me from 99Mbps to 113Mbps using WireGuard on a nearby server, only 9% slower than my base connection.

Screenshot of ProtonVPN speed test resultsThe connection times were quick, too — it never took me more than 6 seconds to connect

The app has plenty of other options that’ll help you optimize your speeds, too. It offers a choice of protocols, split tunneling, and a built-in ad blocker (Netshield) to improve page loading times. While testing NetShield, torrenting sites worked smoother by preventing ads from loading. I was able to download a 3GB file in just under 3 minutes.

Its speeds over distance are particularly impressive. I tested its New Zealand and New Delhi servers (both thousands of miles from me) and found an average 32% speed drop. The minor speed loss was not even noticeable when torrenting.

Despite the impressive speeds, its high latency, especially on long-distance servers, could be a deal-breaker for gamers. That said, the ping on nearby servers was decent, averaging 43ms. You can take Proton VPN for a test run using its 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, you can get a full refund.

Useful Features

  • Easy to use. Proton VPN has a user-friendly interface. The World Map feature lets you select a location directly from the map, skipping the hassle of scrolling through a long list of servers. Plus, it shows the load on each server, so you can easily avoid those that are overburdened and slow.
  • Custom profiles. You can create custom profiles with fast connections based on your desired online activity. For instance, I created a Streaming UK profile that uses the fastest UK server (for me) and WireGuard protocol.

More Fast VPNs I Tested

In my testing, I came across several other VPNs that offer good speeds but didn't quite make it to my main list. These are reasonable options with decent performance. However, they might not have all the bells and whistles or the consistent high speeds of our top picks. Let's take a look:

Editors' Note: Private Internet Access and this site are in the same ownership group.

Quick Comparison Table: Fastest VPNs

A fast VPN provides high speeds not just locally, but at long distances, too. However, some VPNs performed better on local connections, and some were better over long-distance. What's also important is the VPN's stability to keep your connection from suddenly dropping. A VPN can also minimize slowdowns by offering lightweight, fast protocols and an extensive server network.

Although a decrease in speed is an unavoidable aspect of using a VPN, multiple factors can influence the speed and therefore result in varying outcomes based on your original connection, location, time of day, and internet service provider (ISP). It is ideal to aim for a maximum decrease of 40% on local connections to ensure optimal performance.

For speedy torrenting, port forwarding is a useful speed-booster. This feature allows your torrent client to connect you directly with more peers than you’d normally be able to. This way, your torrent client gives your seeds priority, considerably improving your download (and upload) speeds.

Lowest Price Local Speeds Long-Distance Speeds (5,000+ miles) Stability Server Network Fastest Protocol Port Forwarding
🥇ExpressVPN $6.67/month 3% speed loss 31% speed loss Excellent 3,000 servers in 105 countries Lightway Yes
🥈NordVPN $5.99/month 5% speed loss 32% speed loss Excellent 6,376 servers in 111 countries NordLynx No
🥉Surfshark $2.19/month 5% speed loss 34% speed loss Good 3,200 servers in 100 countries WireGuard No
CyberGhost $2.19/month 4% speed loss 50% speed loss Good 11,690 servers in 100 countries WireGuard No
Proton VPN $4.49/month 9% speed loss 39% speed loss Good 4,987 servers in 91 countries WireGuard Yes
IPVanish $2.19/month 7% speed loss 50% speed loss OK 2,400 servers in 90 countries WireGuard No
Private Internet Access $2.19/month 8% speed loss 60% speed loss Good 29,650 servers in 91 countries WireGuard Yes
Hotspot Shield $2.99/month 7% speed loss 73% speed loss Good 1,800 servers in 80 countries Hydra No
TunnelBear $3.33/month 10% speed loss 55% speed loss Good 5,000 servers in 47 countries WireGuard No
PrivateVPN $2/month 25% speed loss 75% speed loss Good 200 servers in 63 countries WireGuard Yes

VPN Speed Test Results: Compared

For the chart below, I took the average speed loss for each VPN and converted it to show what percentage of my base speed was left over. So, the closer to 100%, the better. This just compares speeds in Mbps but doesn’t account for other factors, like consistency or ping.

Screenshot of average speed results of each VPNNote that my base speeds fluctuated during testing, so these results are an average based on all my results

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, Cyberghost and Expressvpn are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company.

Research Methodology: How We Tested the Fastest VPNs

I vigorously tested these VPNs' speeds to come up with accurate figures. You can use this to judge how they’ll affect your connection. All these speed tests were performed from my location in the UK. I used my macOS desktop and a broadband line connected with an ethernet cable. I always used the same speed test tool (Ookla) with a base speed of around 125 Mbps.

For local speed test results, I chose 10 server locations within 500 miles of my actual location and ran tests in the morning, afternoon, and evening. The same process was used for long-distance results but with server locations at least 5,000 miles away. This helped me to find an average speed from 30 results, taking peak periods and potential network congestion into account. Plus, it helped me to check whether a VPN offered stable connection speeds.

In an attempt to maintain the uniformity of the results, I endeavored to select the same server locations for each VPN. However, due to differences in network coverage, I occasionally had to opt for servers in alternative locations that were roughly at the same distance.

While we’ve worked hard to build an accurate representation of how each VPN performs, it’s hard to fully quantify these measures. VPN speeds will always vary depending on your base connection, time of day, location, ISP, the server you use, and lots of other factors that we can’t control in our tests. That said, you shouldn’t encounter more than a 40% speed decrease on local servers with any of my recommended VPNs.

I also considered the following:

  • Fastest protocols offered. All VPNs in this list offer high-speed protocols; in most cases, the fastest is WireGuard. However, some VPNs have proprietary protocols that outperform WireGuard, such as ExpressVPN's Lightway and NordVPN’s NordLynx.
  • Consistency and stability. I stayed connected for hours at a time, testing throughout the connection period to ensure speeds didn’t fluctuate heavily. I noted whether my connection was stable or if I was ever suddenly disconnected from the VPN.
  • Good ping and P2P functionality. While high download speeds are crucial for smooth performance, ping (latency) is also important — especially when gaming. Ping measures the time it takes to process your inputs, so I chose VPNs that show this information to help you select responsive connections. I also chose some VPNs with speed-boosting features for torrenting, like port forwarding.

Important Points to Keep in Mind Regarding VPN Speeds

When selecting a VPN for speed, it's important to understand the various factors that influence performance. While speed is a key consideration, it's not the only one. Let's look into some important aspects to keep in mind:

Peak vs Average Speed

Internet speeds can vary significantly, with peak speeds often much higher than the average speeds we experience daily. It’s important to consider this when using a VPN. Peak speeds are rarely sustained due to network congestion, more so with a VPN, as it adds another route for your data.

To optimize VPN speed, consider the server's location and load. Servers closer to you generally offer better speeds, and less crowded servers reduce the likelihood of slowdowns. Also, using a VPN during off-peak hours can help avoid congestion.

Security vs Speed

The level of encryption and the type of protocol a VPN uses can greatly affect its speed. Stronger encryption, while more secure, can slow down your connection. For instance, 256-bit encryption offers robust security but at the cost of speed, whereas 128-bit encryption strikes a better balance.

Protocols also matter — PPTP is fast but less secure, while OpenVPN offers a good mix of speed and security. Additionally, the choice between TCP and UDP protocols can impact your experience. TCP is reliable but slower (suitable for browsing), while UDP is faster (ideal for streaming and gaming). Modern protocols like WireGuard, Lightway, and NordLynx strike the right balance of speed and security.

Slowdowns are also likely to occur as you layer advanced security features. For instance, multi-hop doubles your encryption, but it usually comes at the cost of speeds.

Stability vs Speed

A stable VPN connection is often more valuable than a high-speed one that's inconsistent. Frequent speed fluctuations can disrupt your online activities more than a slightly slower but stable connection.

When testing VPNs, look for ones that offer consistent performance. Occasional slowdowns are normal, but a VPN that regularly has significant drops in speed can be problematic. Stability is key, especially for activities like streaming, gaming, or video conferencing, where a consistent connection is crucial.

Quick Guide: How to Speed Test Your VPN in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Get a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN since it offers its own superfast Lightway protocol, plus a huge server network for reliable, speedy connections worldwide.
  2. Check your starting speed. Before connecting to your VPN, navigate to an online speed testing tool (like Ookla) to see what your base connection is. Take note of this number.
  3. Connect to and test your VPN. Choose a location from your VPN's server list to test — nearby servers will be the fastest. Then, run another speed test using the same tool. Compare your speeds with and without the VPN.

Editors' Note: Expressvpn and this site are in the same ownership group.

How to Get Faster VPN Speeds — Simple Hacks

Using a VPN will slow your connection down slightly, but following these tips can help to minimize the impact.

  • Use an ethernet cable. You’ll see the fastest base speeds when you hardwire your computer to the internet. A faster base speed will result in a faster VPN connection speed. Use WiFi only when necessary.
  • Connect to a nearby server. In most cases, the further your data has to travel, the more your connection speeds will slow down. As I mentioned above, use a local server whenever possible for minimal speed loss.
  • Check the server load. Fewer users usually results in faster speeds. Some VPNs display server load as a percentage, with low being less crowded (<15%) and high being very crowded (>75%).
  • Use the VPN’s fastest protocol. Check for a speed-optimized protocol, like Lightway or NordLynx. Otherwise, WireGuard usually provides the best speeds. If you use OpenVPN, also make sure you use UDP, which was faster than TCP in my tests.
  • Adjust your encryption level. Some VPNs allow you to switch to 128-bit encryption, which is a tad less secure but can boost your speeds.
  • Set up split tunneling. Some VPNs offer this feature — it allows you to select which apps or websites to route through the VPN while the rest of your traffic stays local. For instance, you can protect your torrenting apps with the VPN but keep your Netflix region local. Since you won't be encrypting unnecessary traffic, you'll be reducing speed loss.
  • Connect to a dedicated server. Using a dedicated server can boost your VPN speed, as it's exclusively reserved for your use. This means no shared bandwidth and no slowdowns from overcrowded servers, ensuring a faster, more stable connection
  • Try different ports. Some VPN-blocking technology restricts particular ports that are associated with VPNs. You can sometimes get around these limitations by switching ports. In addition, port forwarding (if offered) can help boost your speeds — particularly for torrenting since it connects you directly to seeders.
  • Review your software and hardware configuration. If you’re using an older computer, a weak processor or have insufficient RAM, your speeds won’t be optimal. Likewise, some computer programs may interfere with VPN usage. If possible, temporarily shut down programs that may eat up bandwidth (torrenting software) or prevent your VPN from accessing the internet (antivirus software).
  • Restart your devices. Restarting your router can often resolve speed issues. If that doesn't help, consider resetting it. Additionally, rebooting your PC or mobile device can sometimes clear up glitches that impact your internet speed.

Benefits of Using a Fast VPN

If you're someone who regularly engages in tasks that demand a robust and speedy internet connection, using a high-speed VPN can significantly enhance your online experience. Here are some key benefits of using a fast VPN:

  • Improved streaming quality. A fast VPN ensures you can stream in HD or UHD. Whether you're watching your favorite shows or streaming live sports, a speedy VPN minimizes buffering and supports higher resolutions without lag.
  • Efficient torrenting. For those who frequently download or upload large files via P2P networks, a fast and reliable VPN is super important. It not only secures your connection but also maintains high download and upload speeds, making the torrenting process quicker and more reliable.
  • Enhanced gaming experience. A fast VPN reduces latency, prevents lag, and provides a more consistent connection, which is crucial for competitive gaming. Plus, it lets you download game files and updates without slowdowns.
  • Seamless video conferencing. With remote work and virtual meetings becoming more common, a fast VPN ensures that your video calls are clear and uninterrupted, even when connecting to servers in different countries.

FAQs on the Best Fast VPN Services

What affects a VPN’s speeds?

Your base connection, server distance and load, VPN protocol, encryption, and whether you’re using UDP or TCP all affect a VPN’s speeds. While the fastest VPNs are designed to minimize speed loss, your speeds will still fluctuate depending on these factors. That’s because your traffic is routed through at least one additional server before it reaches its final destination, which slows your connection. This server’s load can slow your connection further, particularly during peak times.

On top of that, encrypting your data takes time (but it’s well worth it to keep you safe online). Some encryption algorithms and protocols are more data-intensive than others, which can slow your connection down as well. Similarly, connections with the UDP protocol are usually faster as it doesn’t wait for missing packets (or chunks of data) as the TCP protocol does.

All of this means it’s hard to control every factor affecting a VPN’s speeds during tests. I recommend trying different VPNs yourself to see how well they perform on your connection, as our speed testing setup isn’t going to be exactly the same as yours.

How can I improve my VPN speeds for gaming?

The main factor is finding a server with low latency. This is usually going to be the nearest connection to your location. If you want to play in another region, check the VPN app to find the server in that region that's nearest you (or nearest the gaming server). Some VPNs list each server's ping, distance, and user load to make it easier for you to select the best gaming connection.

Some games even display their ping. Otherwise, you can run a simple ping test — here's how:

  1. Note the server you'll be using. Find out the domain or IP address of the game's server you'll be playing on. This may take some research.
  2. Open Command Prompt/Terminal. Which you'll open depends on whether you use Windows or macOS. You can find these by using your search bar to type either "Command Prompt" or "Terminal".
  3. Find out the ping. In Command Prompt/Terminal, type "ping" followed by the game's server domain or IP address. Take note of this number. Then follow the same instructions after connecting your VPN to make a comparison.

You can also improve your speeds by switching to the VPN's fastest protocol. WireGuard is generally the fastest — however, some VPNs, like ExpressVPN, offer their own speed-optimized protocols. Aside from protocols, I recommend checking your VPN app for speed-boosting features, like Proton’s VPN Accelerator.

Which VPN protocol is the fastest?

WireGuard is usually the fastest, but it doesn't beat a few VPNs' proprietary protocols. You can sometimes get even better speeds than WireGuard by using a VPN's unique protocol. For instance, I experienced faster speeds with Lightway and NordLynx protocols.

Not all VPNs offer their own protocol or even WireGuard. As a runner-up, OpenVPN produces decent speeds while providing strong security (but only with UDP). On the other hand, PPTP and L2TP are older protocols that offer fast speeds but at the cost of reduced security.

How can I boost my torrenting speeds with a VPN?

There are a few things you can do to get faster speeds for P2P sharing. However, most VPNs on this list gave me fast torrenting speeds without having to configure any special features. That said, try to following to get better torrenting speeds:

  • Enable port forwarding. Many VPNs offer torrenting-specific features to help boost speeds, such as port forwarding. This feature allows you to connect to more seeders and peers to increase speeds. For example, with Proton VPN, toggle port forwarding on, and it will generate the number of a port that you can then paste into your torrent client’s settings.
  • Disable NAT firewall. NAT firewalls can also cause slow torrenting speeds. Some VPNs offer the option to disable these firewalls in settings, which will prevent you from failing to connect to seeders (and from peers failing to connect to you).
  • Use a SOCKS5 proxy. Some VPNs offer SOCKS5 proxy credentials, which can also boost torrenting speeds. I advise caution though; this happens outside the VPN, so it doesn't encrypt your data. Still, it’s an option if you’re not too concerned with privacy.

Will a VPN speed up my internet connection?

In most cases, no, it won't give you speeds faster than your base connection. However, the fastest VPNs will maintain speeds as close to your starting point as possible by minimizing speed loss.

On the other hand, if your ISP throttles your speeds, a VPN can actually increase your speed. Sometimes ISPs will throttle your speeds if you're using a lot of data in your online activities — such as torrenting. Using a VPN can prevent this by encrypting your traffic, so your ISP won't see what you are doing online. This way, you can avoid having your connection throttled.

That being said, since VPNs encrypt your data, you'll get a minor speed decrease. If the speed loss is significant, it can cause noticeable effects. This is why it's best to opt for a VPN that offers fast tunneling protocols and speed-increasing features to help with buffering and reduce lag.

VPN browser extension vs app: which is faster?

VPN browser extensions can sometimes be faster than VPN apps, but that’s usually because they’re just proxies and don’t offer encryption. Uniquely, ExpressVPN’s browser extension connects directly to the main app, giving you the full protection of a VPN. Plus, it’s the fastest VPN I tested.

While proxies change your IP address like a VPN, they don’t encrypt your data and will only work within the browser. As long as you choose a fast VPN, then you shouldn’t need to risk your security and privacy with a VPN extension anyway. The VPN’s app will protect your entire device with military-grade encryption and offer a much more extensive server network in most cases.

What is the fastest VPN for Android?

I found ExpressVPN to be the fastest Android VPN — when I tested it with my mobile phone, the speeds were only 5% slower than my base speed. Some VPNs limit the protocols you have access to on your mobile device. However, ExpressVPN offers its Lightway protocol on Android.

During my tests, I didn't experience any buffering while streaming my regional Netflix on my Android tablet or phone. It worked just as well with gaming. I could easily find a low-latency server to play PUBG MOBILE without lag.

How do I find the fastest VPN server?

Usually, the closest server to you will be the fastest. It's also best to find a server with low user load because congestion causes speed loss. The VPNs on my list provide information to help you easily identify the fastest server based on your location.

Some VPNs display your distance to the server, user load, ping — or a combination. Alternatively, you can use the VPN's quick-connect feature. This will allow the VPN to select the fastest server based on your location.

How much speed loss is normal when using a VPN?

Due to the security provided by VPNs, you can expect a speed loss of up to 40% on local servers. This speed drop is larger on long-distance servers, and I found a drop of up to 80% in some cases. However, some VPNs are faster than others, and every VPN on this list has a variety of features that help reduce how much speed loss you can expect.

Bear in mind that VPN speeds are affected by a variety of factors like your location, time of day, VPN protocol, and more. You may have a slower connection speed during peak times in the country where your chosen server is based. However, every VPN on my list offers stable speeds throughout the day, so you won’t have to worry about any major speed drops due to increased network traffic.

What’s the fastest free VPN?

I haven’t found a fast free VPN — but the VPNs in this list offer a money-back guarantee. Although they're not free, you can try them with the assurance that a refund will be granted should you ask for it within the allocated time frame. This gives you time to test speeds and try them with online activities like streaming, gaming, and torrenting.

The problem with free VPNs is that they are extremely limited. They come with severe data and speed caps, making it almost impossible to use them for much. It’s also normal for free VPNs to only offer a few servers, so congestion reduces speeds even more. The data allowance is usually only enough for 1-2 hours monthly for streaming. These limitations are put in place to encourage you to upgrade to a paid plan.

Plus, they can slow you down even more by interrupting you with targeted ads. Not to mention, free VPNs can sell your data and put your privacy at risk. It's not worth it when you can get a premium VPN for the monthly price equivalent to a coffee.

Get the Fastest VPN Today

With so many VPNs claiming to have the best speeds, it takes a lot of testing to determine which are truly the fastest. Still, I wanted to get to the bottom of it, so I took the time to do the testing myself. The VPNs that made it to my shortlist gave me top speeds by offering speedy protocols, large server networks, and easy-to-use features.

From these, ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN I tested. It offers its own Lightway protocol and a huge network of consistently fast servers that give you reliable connections. This means you can enjoy streaming, browsing, gaming, and torrenting without interruption. Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test ExpressVPN’s speeds risk-free. If it’s not for you, it’s easy to claim a refund.

To summarize, the fastest VPNs in 2024 are...

Rank
Provider
Our Score
Discount
Visit Website
1
medal
9.9 /10
9.9 Our Score
Save 49%!
2
9.4 /10
9.4 Our Score
Save 74%!
3
9.3 /10
9.3 Our Score
Save 86%!
4
9.7 /10
9.7 Our Score
Save 83%!
5
9.2 /10
9.2 Our Score
Save 55%!
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VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

Akash is a writer at vpnMentor dedicated to providing readers with unbiased and expert advice on online security and privacy. He specializes in analyzing the latest cybersecurity trends and providing up-to-date information to help readers make informed decisions.

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