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What Do The Results Mean?

Download Speed

Download speeds show you how fast the data is transferred from the internet to your device. It’s measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Good download speed is important for browsing, and watching videos, movies, and shows online.

These are Ideal speeds to:

  • Stream Netflix in HD (720p or better): 5.0 Mbps
  • Stream Netflix in Ultra HD (1080p or better): 25.0 Mbps
  • Game: 5.0 to 25.0 Mbps
  • Watch live streams on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook Live: 10.0 Mbps
  • Make audio/video calls: 1.0 Mbps to 3.0 Mbps

Upload Speed

Upload speeds show you how fast data is transferred from your computer to the internet. It’s measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Good upload speeds are important for broadcasting live streams, making video or audio calls, and uploading photos and videos.

These are Ideal speeds to:

  • Game: 3.0 to 6.0 Mbps
  • Live stream on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook Live: more than 6.0 Mbps
  • Make audio/video calls: 3.0 Mbps

Speed Loss

Speed loss shows the amount of speed you lose when connecting to a VPN.

It’s affected by several factors, like:

  • Server location: if you connect to a server very far from your location, you can expect slower speeds.
  • Server load: if a server you connect to has too many people connected to it, your speeds will be slower.
  • Country where the server is located: some countries have bad internet infrastructure so your speeds will be slower if you connect to servers in those countries (Germany, for example)

Ping

Ping (or latency, which is a more technically correct term) shows the time it takes for a data set to travel from your device to the server and back to your device. Unlike upload and download speed, ping needs to be low if you want to avoid issues. Low ping is important for gaming as it gives you a better reaction time.

  • Ideal ping for gaming: below 100 ms

Average Speed Test Results for Top 10 VPNs

We run speed tests from our servers in New York (for the USA), London (for the UK), and Frankfurt (for Germany). To ensure accurate and fair results, we always use the OpenVPN protocol and connect to the fastest server recommended by each VPN.

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How Our Speed Test Tool Works

We simultaneously test 20+ VPNs across 17 different server locations. The data is collected every 4 hours so you always have the most accurate information about the speed of each VPN. We start by testing our connection without a VPN so you have a better idea of our starting point and how VPN connections affected our speed.

Our tool has been designed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information on VPN performance. It also tests the speeds of the different protocols the VPNs provide, so you can understand which one will work best for you.

05 February 2023
Latest test done
20+
VPNs tested
17
Server locations

The VPNs We Test

We test over 20 VPN providers and publish the data so you can compare them easily using the tool above. Here are some of the VPNs you'll be able to compare:

Speed Test Server Locations

Our speed test servers are located in these cities around the world:

Fresh Sessions

Each of our test begins with a fresh session, meaning you’ll always be getting the most up-to-date results. We’ll never re-use old results, only what we see in real-time.

Unaffiliated Accounts

Using unaffiliated accounts for testing ensures we get unbiased results from VPN providers.

Secure Servers

We only use secure servers to ensure our data’s accuracy and legitimacy.

Will a VPN Slow Down My Internet Speeds?

Most VPNs’ adverts will tell you otherwise — but all VPNs will slow your internet down. This loss is barely noticeable with good VPNs though.

It's normal for VPNs to slow down your speeds because they add an extra stop to your internet traffic's journey (this extra step is important because it secures your data). Rather than going from A (your device) to B (your chosen website), VPN traffic goes from A (your device) to B (a VPN server) to C (your chosen website). It takes a little longer for your traffic to reach its destination, so your connection is a little slower.

For these reasons, we talk about speed loss in percentages. Instead of giving you lots of numbers that don’t tell you anything about your connection, we give you a percentage that you can apply to your normal speed to see how fast your VPN will be.

There are a few things you can do to help improve your speeds, including choosing a VPN that is known to be fast, connecting to servers located close to you, and switching protocols.

Quick Guide: How to test your own VPN's speed and speed loss

  • 1

    Open your VPN. Some VPNs, like ExpressVPN, have a built-in speed test tool that you can use. So, you can choose between the built-in tool (if your provider has one), a speed-testing website, or an app (depending on your device).

  • 2

    Connect to a server of your choice. Ideally, you’d choose a server or the general location that you use the most. In case you’re testing a server that’s giving you trouble, connect to that specific server. It’s important to connect to the VPN before going to a speed-testing website. Otherwise, it could register your actual location and you’d get inaccurate results.

  • 3

    Use the tool below to check your speed. All you have to do is press start and give the tool a few moments to retrieve your results.

Tip: If you want to check what your speed loss is when you connect to a VPN, test your speeds without a VPN connection first, then follow the steps above, and compare your results.

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Tips to Improve Your VPN Speeds

There are a few ways to boost your VPN speeds. You can connect to a nearby server, make sure you're using the right security protocol, use split tunneling, choose a faster VPN, or try a VPN router.

Connect to a local server

Connecting to a nearby server speeds up your connection because your data has less distance to travel. Your traffic has to physically travel to the VPN server you choose, so the further it has to go, the slower your connection will be.

However, if you need to connect to a specific country, this can be a problem. Fortunately, we have a workaround that could help you decrease the speed loss — make sure that you choose the city/region closest to your current area. For example, if you’re in a European country like France and need to connect to the US, choose an East Coast city like New York. But if you’re in Japan, it’s best to select a West Coast city like Seattle.

Choose the fastest VPN protocol

Security protocols vary in speed because of the different ways they encrypt and decrypt your traffic. So changing protocols can sometimes help to improve speed. Here’s a quick guide:

  • IKEv2 — This is a relatively fast protocol, but providers don’t always offer it because firewalls and networks block it easily.
  • OpenVPN — Most providers have OpenVPN as the default protocol since it offers fast speeds (even though it’s a bit slower than IKEv2) and good security. You can choose between two options within OpenVPN: UDP and TDC. UDP is the faster one, but TDC is more reliable.
  • WireGuard — This is the fastest protocol at the moment, but only a few providers, like CyberGhost, offer it.

If you want to see how these protocols affect VPN speeds in a real-life example, check out our speed test tool.

Use split tunneling

This clever VPN feature lets you encrypt one app at a time instead, and sends the rest of your traffic through your normal (and usually faster) connection. This means that you can protect the information you need without slowing all of your traffic down.

Try a VPN router

VPN routers can increase your VPN speeds because they protect all of your devices automatically. This way, your computer doesn’t have to use extra power to encrypt your traffic and run your VPN app in the background (all of which can slow you down, especially if you’re using an older device).

VPN routers are also great for protecting as many devices as you like at the same time — even with devices that aren't usually VPN-compatible (they just have to be able to connect to WiFi). However, they can be rather costly compared to VPN apps. They're also not portable so you can only use it where the physical router is.

FAQs

What is a good VPN speed?

Good VPNs will be around 10-20% slower than your regular connection. This sounds like a lot, but in reality, it's such a small change that you won't notice the difference. If your internet is normally a bit slow, you might need to double-check to make sure it meets the minimum requirements for streaming, browsing, gaming, and torrenting once you switch your VPN on.

  • Streaming — You need at least 5 Mbps for streaming in HD (although 10 Mbps is recommended), and streaming in Full HD, Ultra HD, or 4K requires speeds of at least 25 Mbps.
  • Gaming — Most games require at least 3 Mbps.
  • Torrenting — Technically, you can torrent with any internet speed — slower speeds just mean your files take longer to download or upload. However, I recommend download speeds of at least 10 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps for torrenting so that you don't have to wait a long time for your file to download.
  • Browsing — If you just want a VPN for private browsing, checking your emails, and scrolling social media, you only need speeds of 3 Mbps.

What are download speed, upload speed, ping, and jitter?

Download speed, upload speed, and ping are parameters that show you different aspects of your internet speed:

  • Download speed shows you how fast you can receive data. Most of your online activity revolves around downloading data — every time you visit a website, social network, or stream something, you download data. It’s measured in megabits per second (Mbps). A good download speed depends on what you want to do, but we’ve created this guide to help you determine if your VPN is fast enough.
  • Upload speed shows you how fast you can send data, which includes uploading photos, videos, torrenting, posting on social media, etc. It’s measured in Mbps as well. Keep in mind that your upload speed will be much lower than your download speed, but this is okay because you don’t need a lot of upload speed to perform basic activities, and even P2P sharing.
  • Ping shows you how long it takes for your data to travel. It’s measured in milliseconds (ms). The faster the ping, the more responsive your connection will be, which is important when playing games and in other cases where timing is crucial.
  • Jitter shows you when there’s a time delay in sending data through your connection. You’ll usually experience this as a sudden video or voice call distortion or disruption. It’s measured in milliseconds (ms) and the longer it is, the more fluctuations in call quality you’ll experience.

Do VPN speeds change for different devices?

No, your VPN speed will be roughly the same on all of your devices.

Your CPU might slightly affect your VPN speed, but you shouldn't notice much difference between your devices.

If you have a very old device with limited memory, it might struggle to run your VPN app but modern devices shouldn’t have any issues. Good VPNs have dedicated apps tailored to Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux or lightweight extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers — so you get the best performance whether you're using your VPN on a PC or an iPhone.