When I tested FastestVPN’s first iteration, I was left unimpressed with its bare-bones apps and lack of security features. So can its latest overhaul change my mind?
The answer is: yes and no. FastestVPN has undoubtedly made a lot of improvements to its service, including better security features and increased protocol support.
However, the VPN is still plagued by a range of reliability issues that make it frustrating to use. It’s by no means a terrible service; there are just better and more reliable VPNs out there for a similar price.
As for whether FastestVPN is really the fastest VPN… well, you’ll have to read my full review to find out.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
- Unblocks Netflix and HBO Max. But only 3 Netflix libraries and it doesn’t work with any other streaming platforms.
- Speeds can be inconsistent across the network. Some servers gave me an incredibly fast connection, but others made my internet almost unusable.
- Simple, user-friendly apps with great compatibility. The VPN supports almost every device and platform.
- Frustrating connection issues. Several servers I tested wouldn’t connect and I had to restart the app a few times.
FastestVPN Features — Updated in March 2021
|Number of countries with servers||31|
|Number of servers||350|
|Number of IP addresses||350|
|Does VPN keep logs?||No|
|Does VPN include a kill switch?||Yes|
|Number of devices per license||15|
Unblocked: Netflix, HBO Max
FastestVPN unblocked Netflix in the US, UK, and Canada, and HBO Max during my tests. I had to try a few different US servers to get Netflix US working, which was a bit annoying and time-consuming. However, I was eventually able to find a server that let me stream an episode of Emily in Paris.
When I tried the FastestVPN with Netflix UK and Netflix Canada, it could unblock them both on the first try with no problems.
Streaming with FastestVPN was mostly smooth and easy. I experienced some buffering with Netflix US, but it was minimal, and my episode started playing within about 5 seconds.
The VPN’s performance with HBO Max was slightly worse, and I did have to wait about 20 seconds for my episode of “Divorce” to start streaming. Once it had loaded, the episode played with no further interruptions, and I was happy with the video’s streaming quality.
I was worried FastestVPN’s relatively small server network might prevent me from accessing different Netflix libraries. Its server list proved me wrong; the VPN has servers in all of the countries with the most popular Netflix libraries. That includes France, Australia, Japan, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands.
Blocked By: BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, ESPN, Hotstar, Hulu
Sadly, I can’t recommend FastestVPN for streaming anything else. I tested the VPN with several other streaming providers, and it couldn’t unblock any of them.
If you want a VPN that can reliably unblock streaming sites like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+, I’d recommend checking out our guide to the best VPNs for streaming movies instead.
- 350 servers in 31 countries
- 15 simultaneous device connections
- 15-day money-back guarantee
- Read more about FastestVPN
It turns out that FastestVPN is not the fastest VPN after all. I speed tested servers in 4 countries at varying distances from my location to see how the VPN’s speeds hold up across its network. My results showed that, while some servers are very fast, FastestVPN’s speeds are not consistent at all.
I started by testing my base connection, so I could see how the VPN affected my speeds.
Without a VPN (UK):
- Ping: 28
- Download Speed: 275.88 Mbps
- Upload Speed: 36.52 Mbps
FastestVPN has a Smart Connection feature, which is supposed to connect you to the best and fastest server for your location. It connected me to a server in the Czech Republic, which gave me the following results:
Using FastestVPN’s Smart Connect (Czech Republic)
- Ping: 55
- Download Speeds: 94.89 Mbps
- Upload Speeds: 34.63 Mbps
That might seem like a huge drop from my base connection speed, but 94.89 Mbps is actually very fast for a VPN. For context: you only need 25 Mbps to stream Netflix in its highest quality settings (Ultra HD).
Next, I tested a local server in the UK to make sure I could use the VPN to browse privately in my own country. The UK server was a little slower than the Smart Connect server (even though it was in the same country as me) but was still fast enough for streaming and most other online activities.
Local Server (UK)
- Ping: 22
- Download Speeds: 62.41 Mbps
- Upload Speeds: 35.02 Mbps
Speeds on US servers were similarly fast if a little inconsistent. Here are the results from two US servers, one in Dallas and one in Charlotte.
US Server (Dallas)
- Ping: 133
- Download Speeds: 97.61 Mbps
- Upload Speeds: 29.96 Mbps
US Server (Charlotte)
- Ping: 123
- Download Speeds: 35.91 Mbps
- Upload Speeds: 33.04 Mbps
Despite being technically closer to me, the US server in Charlotte reduced my speeds by 87%, while the Dallas server gave me a super fast download speed of 97.61.
However, it wasn’t until I tested FastestVPN’s Australian server that I really saw discrepancies:
Australian Server (Sydney)
- Ping: 271
- Download Speeds: 0.91 Mbps
- Upload Speeds: 0.23 Mbps
Australia is on the other side of the world from me, so I’d expect the distance to slow me down somewhat — but 0.91 Mbps is barely fast enough to browse the internet, let alone stream or torrent. I’ve tested other VPNs for Australia that were much faster, even despite the long distance.
Are FastestVPN’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes, but Only on Some Servers
FastestVPN was fast enough to play Code of War — but only on the US servers I tested. When connected to a server in the US, my game loaded quickly, and I could play with no annoying lag.
However, when I changed the VPN location to Australia, the game server wouldn’t even load.
So that’s good news if you want to game with friends in the US, but bad news if you want to make the most of the time differences to grab games that are released earlier in Australia.
Because of these speed inconsistencies, I can’t recommend FastestVPN as totally reliable for playing games online. I’d suggest trying one of these best VPNs for gaming as an alternative.
Server Network — Small Network, but One Server in Russia
FastestVPN has 350 servers in 31 countries — making it one of the smallest VPNs I’ve tested.
What’s even more disappointing is that the VPN’s website claims to have more servers in more countries. It was only when I counted the servers available to me in the FastestVPN app that I realized the number on their website was incorrect.
Many VPNs claim to have more servers than they actually provide, but it makes me trust a service less when I feel it’s misleading.
Coverage is quite good across Europe and Asia, but South America is almost left out entirely (there’s just one server I could see in Brazil). There are no servers in Africa at all.
The best coverage is in the US, with 16 server locations ranging from east coast to west.
There’s also a server available in Russia. This is a rare find; lots of VPNs shut down their Russian servers after Roskomnadzor (Russia’s censorship agency) started to demand access to all VPN servers within Russian borders. It seems FastestVPN is small enough to slip under the radar.
Sadly, I was never able to connect to FastestVPN’s Russian server. I tried several times but couldn’t get the server to work for me — so I couldn’t test whether it worked with Russian geoblocked sites.
FastestVPN provides many sophisticated security features. Overall, I was impressed — especially with the ad blocker and the additional protection of a NAT firewall. However, as I dug deeper, I found out that lots of the features were device-exclusive.
FastestVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption on all of its apps. That’s the highest encryption level you can get (it’s also known as “military-grade encryption”).
256-bit encryption means that your internet traffic is essentially impossible to decipher when you’re connected to the VPN. So no one can monitor or track your online activity.
FastestVPN supports IKEv2, IPSec, TCP, UDP, L2TP, and PPTP protocols — but the support varies across its apps (my macOS app offered IKEV2, IPSec, TCP, UDP, but my Android app only supported IKEv2, TCP, and UDP).
You can also opt to set up OpenVPN manually. I prefer using OpenVPN for its great mix of speed and security, so I was pleased to see that FastestVPN’s website has a range of tutorials for setting up OpenVPN with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Linux.
However, I would prefer to see OpenVPN as an existing protocol option; it’s annoying to go through the manual setup process to use it when so many other VPNs include the protocol as a default option.
When I last tested FastestVPN, its apps automatically defaulted to PPTP. Now both my macOS and Android apps defaulted to IKEv2 instead. This is a welcome improvement; PPTP is an outdated protocol that is easily cracked, so I would never trust it to protect my privacy. IKEv2 is a much more secure option.
FastestVPN equips all of its apps with a kill switch. This is an important feature that cuts off your internet connection should you become disconnected from the VPN. The kill switch prevents any of your identifying information or online activity from being accidentally revealed to your ISP during the disconnection.
The kill switch on my macOS app was enabled automatically. In fact, there was no option to disable it — but I wouldn’t want to anyway.
However, when I tried to enable the kill switch on my Android app, I got a notification saying the feature wasn’t compatible with IKEv2 on my Android device. That means you can only use the kill switch on Android if you change to the TCP or UDP protocol, which is a bit disappointing as neither protocol is as good as IKEv2 or OpenVPN for speed and security.
All FastestVPN servers include a built-in NAT firewall. The firewall acts as a barrier between your network and the rest of the internet, blocking any unwanted or malicious traffic from being sent to your device.
Only a handful of VPNs offer a NAT firewall, so this is a bonus when it comes to safeguarding your device against hackers and cyber threats.
Ad-Blocker and Malware Protection
FastestVPN has a built-in blocker for ads. I tested the adblocker on several social media sites and YouTube, and it successfully got rid of ads for me every time.
Not all VPNs include an adblocker, so this is great news when it comes to preventing annoying pop-ups and protecting your device from the malicious links sometimes hidden in ads.
Speaking of malicious links, FastestVPN also claims to include built-in malware protection into the VPN. However, its customer support team was pretty vague about how exactly this feature works. Instead, they repeatedly told me that it ‘added another layer of protection’ without explaining what that protection was.
I suspect that — like most VPNs — FastestVPN’s “malware blocker” is more of a malicious website/link detector. Rather than actively blocking malware, these detectors simply keep lists of websites that are known to contain malware — and alert or block you if you attempt to access one.
I didn’t receive any alerts or click on any suspicious links during my tests, so the malware blocker never activated for me.
FastestVPN supports Smart Tunneling (split tunneling) but only on iOS and Android.
Split tunneling is a useful feature that lets you choose which traffic you route through your VPN. For example, if I wanted to unblock a different Netflix region with my VPN but get local results on Google, I can choose to whitelist Google and only route Netflix through my VPN.
At the moment, you can only use FastestVPN’s version of split tunneling on its mobile apps. Rather than selecting websites to whitelist, my FastestVPN Android app let me choose which apps I wanted to run through the VPN and which ones I didn’t.
I found this useful for browsing privately on my Brave browser but accessing my online banking app via my ISP as normal (because sometimes using a VPN with my banking app triggers a security alert with my bank). It’s a shame the feature isn’t more widely available on the VPN’s other apps.
Who Owns FastestVPN and Is It Safe?
FastestVPN is owned by Fast Technology Ltd., which Pakistani businessman Azneem Bilwani founded. I couldn’t find much about Fast Technology Ltd. online, but it seems Bilwani has a background in IT and digital marketing — currently heading up the Intermarket Securities Limited Group and an IT marketing company called Abtach.
More importantly, I found out that FastestVPN is located in the privacy-friendly Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands is not a part of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance — an international intelligence-sharing community — and it doesn’t have mandatory data retention laws.
That means the VPN is free from any legal obligation to record, store, or hand over any evidence of your online activity to government agencies.
A FastestVPN representative confirmed that Google Analytics, Hotjar, and Livechat are only used on the VPN’s website and have nothing to do with the running of the VPN itself — so they don’t negate the no-logs policy.
Torrenting — P2P-Optimized Servers, but Unreliable Speeds
Nearly all of FastestVPN’s 350 servers are P2P-optimized. The VPN’s website only suggests you avoid torrenting on its servers in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and India (my speed tests showed that these were some of the slowest servers).
The VPN’s no-logs policy, privacy-friendly HQ, and military-grade encryption are all excellent news for torrenting in privacy and anonymity, too.
However, you aren’t guaranteed a smooth torrenting experience across the network because FastestVPN’s speeds are so varied. I was able to torrent easily while connected to the US server in LA, but another server in Australia slowed me down so much that torrenting was impossible.
If you want to guarantee easy and anonymous torrenting, I’d probably pick from our list of the best VPNs for torrenting instead.
Does FastestVPN Work in China? Unclear
FastestVPN claims to work in China but only with manual OpenVPN, OpenConnect, or AnyConnect configuration. This can take some technical expertise to set up, which might be tricky if you’re new to VPNs.
There are other VPNs that work in China quickly, reliably, and without complicated configuration.