Many providers often claim to be the fastest VPN in the business. But it is no secret that even the quickest VPN will negatively affect your speed. This is a necessary effect of the way VPN encryption and routing works.
Yet, it is also true that some VPNs are faster than others. The question that immediately springs to mind then is, “how fast”? We measured the speeds across the same 4 server locations for each provider (UK, US, Germany, and Australia) to answer that question. In addition, we also looked into features such as unblocking ability, security, and advanced features to figure which VPNs cover all bases.
Fastest VPN Services in 2021 [Updated September 2021 – Detailed Analysis]
Here are the 7 fastest VPN service providers for 2021:
1. ExpressVPN – The fastest VPN provider
ExpressVPN is one of the leading providers that have been operating in the industry for years. Unfortunately, ExpressVPN’s US server speed is lower than both NordVPN or Surfshark. Nonetheless, it is still fast enough overall to secure the 1st spot on the list. You can further dig into its speed in our ExpressVPN Speed Results.
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Ping|
|USA: 28.45 Mbps||18.61 Mbps||187 ms|
|UK: 26.07 Mbps||6.00 Mbps||140 ms|
|GER: 28.73 Mbps||24.81 Mbps||134 ms|
|AUS: 28.41 Mbps||10.20 Mbps||237 ms|
|Avg: 27.91 Mbps||14.91 Mbps||174.5 ms|
Moreover, it is one of the best VPNs for streaming Netflix and easily unblocks popular streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, Hotstar, Stan, ITV, etc. more.
The user interface is simple and effective, and connecting to a server takes only a few seconds. This isn’t surprising, considering the fact that ExpressVPN has over 3000+ servers in 94 countries.
All ExpressVPN servers support P2P torrenting. You can unblock torrent websites and commence fast P2P file-sharing. A single ExpressVPN subscription can easily support 5 simultaneous connections.
In addition, the VPN is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, routers, and more.
Overall, ExpressVPN is a powerful VPN that veritably lives up to its name, offering impressive speeds, countless payment methods, including bitcoins, and industry-leading features.
Read our ExpressVPN review for further details.
2. Surfshark – Fastest for Streaming
Surfshark proved to be the second-fastest VPN provider in 2021. I conducted a series of speed tests and determined how they impacted user experience and internet connection. The reason why it deserves the second spot in our list is provided below:
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Ping|
|USA: 26.62 Mbps||18.0 4 Mbps||193 ms|
|UK: 26.68 Mbps||17.85 Mbps||122 ms|
|GER: 28.97 Mbps||15.76 Mbps||130 ms|
|AUS: 26.43 Mbps||12.45 Mbps||283 ms|
|Avg: 27.17 Mbps||16.02 Mbps||182 ms|
Surfshark has outstanding consistency in speeds and is a super-fast VPN. From the USA to Australia, it maintained excellent consistency in speed with an average of 27.91 Mbps. The fastest server during our testing was the US (Boston, MA), with a download speed of 28.45 Mbps, while Germany and Australia delivered 28.73 Mbps and 28.41 Mbps, respectively.
The VPN continues to expand its network and now offers 3200+ servers in 65 confirms that this provider will continue to dominate the VPN industry with the fastest VPN connection experience.
These fast speeds also come in handy for streaming popular platforms like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Plex, HBO GO, ESPN, and more. The streams work well even in 4K Ultra-HD video quality due to the ability of Surfshark to maintain fast speeds.
For the same reason, Surfshark is a good choice for torrenting and gaming purposes. Although all providers reduce latency, Surfshark still maintains it to an acceptable level.
Furthermore, the VPN is equipped with powerful advanced features that go beyond basic VPN protection. These include an internet kill switch, MultiHop, CleanWeb, and more.
Overall, Surshark is a complete package that delivers lightning-fast speeds without compromising on other aspects of VPN functionality. To test all these features for free before buying, check out Surfshark’s free trial.
Check out our detailed Surfshark’s speed test article for further details.
3. IPVanish – Value for Money
IPVanish, a US-based VPN provider, ranks 3rd on our fastest VPN list. The provider ensures fast connection speeds along with reliable connectivity every time.
The overall performance of IPVanish is remarkably consistent, with an average speed of 26.01 Mbps. You can see how its servers in the US, UK, Germany, and Australia performed during our speed tests in the table below:
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Ping|
|USA: 26.03 Mbps||3.74 Mbps||192 ms|
|UK: 25.34 Mbps||26.76 Mbps||123 ms|
|GER: 20.85 Mbps||12.21 Mbps||157 ms|
|AUS: 24.79 Mbps||11.55 Mbps||274 ms|
|Avg: 26.01 Mbps||13.56 Mbps||186.5 ms|
Based on these results, it can be safely said that IPVanish offers reliable and fast performance. Particularly for US-based servers, IPVanish’s performance is exceptionally reaching the speed of 26.07 Mbps. This is almost 100% of the base connection speed of 30 Mbps.
The UK server performed even better, measuring up to 25.37 Mbps. However, it could not maintain the same high levels for Germany and Australia with speeds of 20.85 Mbps and 24.79 Mbps, respectively, though they still provide remarkably high speeds.
In fact, its fast speed makes it an ideal choice as a VPN for streaming. It allows a consistent Ultra-HD video quality when streaming HBO Go, Sky Sports, Bein Sports, BT Sports, Voot, Sony Liv, and more. In addition, there are many P2P-optimized servers in its network of 1900+ servers in 75+ locations.
The only drawback is that it takes IPVanish a bit longer to connect successfully with the desired server. But it offers some great features as part of its package, such a split-tunneling, kills switch, and Wi-Fi protection. In addition, strong AES-256-Bit encryption effectively protects users from any security threats on the web and strongly protects user privacy.
IPVanish is on top of the VPN list on Firestick and on VPN on Kodi to boost the streaming experience. The provider offers unlimited simultaneous connections and is compatible with most common devices, including Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, routers, Amazon Fire TV, Chromebook, and more.
Check out our detailed IPVanish’s speed test article for further details.
4. NordVPN – Fast and Secure
NordVPN is based in Panama and is one of the best VPN for speed. But exactly how fast is NordVPN? The speed results of the provider are also more than impressive, as you can see below.
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Ping|
|USA: 25.46 Mbps||7.27 Mbps||194 ms|
|UK: 25.09 Mbps||8.05 Mbps||107 ms|
|GER: 24.29 Mbps||5.48 Mbps||153 ms|
|AUS: 24. 81 Mbps||6.37 Mbps||186 ms|
|Avg: 24.91 Mbps||6.79 Mbps||160 ms|
It is quite popular among streaming fans as it works well with NBC, CBS, CCTN, NHK, ORF, Showtime, Channel 5, Paramount+, and many more.
With servers spanning more than 5200+ servers in 60 countries, it is easily able to deliver quick connection speeds. Many of these servers are compatible with P2P, which is great for people that regularly download torrents. NordVPN offers a wide range of features such as CyberSec, DoubleVPN, Onion Over VPN, kill switch, obfuscated server, and more.
Using these features, you can effectively keep yourself private on the web while experiencing super-fast speeds on your chosen server location. In addition, the VPN is compatible with most major platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV devices, Amazon Fire TV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox.
Check out our detailed NordVPN’s speed test article for further details.
5. Astrill VPN – Underrated but Super Fast
Astrill is another reasonably fast VPN service based in Seychelles. It offers a lightweight app that is quite simple but bland, which is one area of improvement.
The provider has a small server network of 380+ servers in 50+ countries, but its speeds are outstanding across the whole range.
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Ping|
|USA: 25.1 Mbps||2.87 Mbps||259 ms|
|UK: 24.19 Mbps||5.88 Mbps||140 ms|
|GER: 25.59 Mbps||5.68 Mbps||128 ms|
|AUS: 24.17 Mbps||1.06 Mbps||286 ms|
|Avg: 24.76 Mbps||3.87 Mbps||203.25 ms|
Astrill is truly an impressive VPN service that offers great speed with a lightweight app. The fastest server that we tested proved to be the German server, which produced a speed of 25.59 Mbps.
The impressive thing is that the download speed never dropped below 24 Mbps when testing Astrill’s US, UK, German, and Australian servers. Surprisingly, even the ping of 128 ms that we received from its German server was quite unexpectedly low considering the large physical distances between our actual location and Germany. With an average of 24.76 Mbps, Astrill easily justifies its position in the top 5 fastest VPNs.
It also has great customer support, but the providers should revamp its design to look more appealing and impact the market.
The VPN supports streaming services such as Netflix, Sling TV, ESPN, Bein Sports, and more. With the fast servers, you can easily unblock geo-restrictions on these services. For torrenting, Astrill offers multiple servers that support P2P.
It also offers an innovative feature called Smart Mode that uses networking wizardry to reduce the chances of being spotted as a VPN user by the government. In addition, it also provides features such as port forwarding, internet kill switch, VPN sharing, and App filter.
You can use Astrill apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android devices. For other devices such as routers, you can also perform a manual setup. With a single Astrill subscription, you can protect and enjoy super-fast speeds on 5 devices simultaneously.
Read our Astrill review for details.
6. PIA VPN – Best P2P Speeds
Private Internet Access is a US-based VPN service. Unfortunately, it misses out on a position in the top 5 by a minimal margin, but it is still one of the best VPN with decent speeds.
Nonetheless, it has strong security mechanisms such as DNS leak protection and AES-256 bit encryption. Its servers are located in more than 78 countries in the world with a total number of 35500+ servers.
With one of the biggest VPN server networks, PIA VPN manages to do a good job when it comes to delivering satisfactory speed results.
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Ping|
|USA: 19.68 Mbps||7.84 Mbps||194 ms|
|UK: 17.22 Mbps||8.68 Mbps||312 ms|
|GER: 17.84 Mbps||8.00 Mbps||232 ms|
|AUS: 20.1 Mbps||7.25 Mbps||206 ms|
|Avg: 18.71 Mbps||7.70 Mbps||236 ms|
For streaming, Private Internet Access works well with channels and platforms such as Sky News, Hulu, YuppTV, ProSeiben, Spotify, Fox Sports, and more.
PIA VPN is also fast enough to allow you to download torrents quickly, so you can use PIA VPN to get better security for P2P activities without affecting your speeds too noticeably. Of course, the downside is that it often takes several attempts before you can connect to the server of your choice. But, overall, PIA is a VPN that can deliver fast speeds for streaming, torrenting and online gaming.
The provider offers dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, and more.
Check out our detailed PIA VPN’s speed test article for further details.
7. CyberGhost – Decent Speeds With Security
CyberGhost is a Romanian VPN service with one a great-looking user interface. Unfortunately, it is one of the slower VPN providers in the market, albeit it offers a huge network consisting of 7000+ servers in 90 countries.
It does not vary much in speed when you move from one server to another and offers almost the same speeds. The range of speed fluctuations spans from 14.8 Mbps (AUS) to 18.78 Mbps (USA) when we tested this provider on a 30 Mbps internet connection.
|Download Speed||Upload Speed||Ping|
|USA: 18.78 Mbps||5.59 Mbps||132 ms|
|UK: 17.2 Mbps||6.48 Mbps||312 ms|
|GER: 17.64 Mbps||7.96 Mbps||182 ms|
|AUS: 14.8 Mbps||8.72 Mbps||201 ms|
|Avg: 17.10 Mbps||7.18 Mbps||206.75 ms|
Although CyberGhost doesn’t offer advanced features such as obfuscation, it covers the basics well functionalities such as internet kill switch and IP/DNS leak protection.
CyberGhost offers dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS and can be manually set up with routers and Raspberry Pi. CyberGhost also features a great Android VPN app for various smartphones, including Android tablets.
Read our CyberGhost review for more information.
Comparison of 7 Fastest VPNs
|Speed on 30 Mbps connection||27.17 Mbps||27.91 Mbps||26.01 Mbps||24.91 Mbps||24.76 Mbps||17.10 Mbps||17.10 Mbps|
|Servers||3000 in 94 countries||3200+ in 65+ countries||1900 in 75+ countries||5200+ in 60 countries||380+ servers in 50+ countries||7000+ in 90 countries||35500+ in 78+ countries|
|Works with||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more||PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, Nintendo, Android, Windows, routers, and more|
|Unblocks Streaming Sites||Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and more.||Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Showtime, and more||Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more.||Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, CBS, and more.||Netflix, HBO, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, ABC, Sling TV, TF1, and more||Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more.||Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, CBS, and more.|
|Simultaneous Device Connections||5||Unlimited||Unlimited||6||5||7||10|
|$6.67/mo||$2.49/mo||$3.33/mo||$3.30/mo (VPN Awareness Month - 2 year plan at 72% off + 3 months FREE)||$10.00/mo||$2.25/mo||$2.08/mo|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 days||30 days||30 days||30 days||30 days||45 days||30 days|
|More Info||ExpressVPN Review||Surfshark Review||IPVanish Review||NordVPN Review||Astrill Review||PIA Review||CyberGhost Review|
|Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site|
VPN Speed Test Results September 2021
Here are our average VPN speed test results with our 30 Mbps internet connection:
The results from our speed tests are clear: ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN service.
ExpressVPN is faster than all other VPNs on both nearby and far-away servers. With this VPN, you can stream, torrent, and game without worrying about your network speed slowing down.
How did VPNRanks compile its rankings?
To compile our list, we first measured the download speed on various server locations worldwide. We also kept a close eye on ping and connection time. One interesting observation was that not all services could reach the cities we wanted to test. For example, IPVanish didn’t have any servers in China or Hong Kong.
We also found that performance fluctuated drastically by server location. NordVPN had, for example, exceptional connection speed with Russia, but could with UK location, the speeds were horrible.
Needless to say that ExpressVPN was the standout performer in terms of download speed, with an average speed of 27.91 Mbps on a 100 Mbps internet connection. We profiled the other VPNs all lost performance (much more in line with expectations), with Surfshark and IPVanish rounding out our top three.
Speaking of Ping results, the speeds were also counterintuitive. All our VPN providers showed an enhancement in average ping speeds compared to use without a VPN. The only reason this makes sense is if you realize that you’re probably reducing server-to-server hops to an international destination when you travel through a VPN. ‘
Lastly, we observed the connection time. When the VPN service is booted, how long does it take to establish the VPN connection? While you’re not likely to make connections except once per session at your device, waiting as much as 25 seconds (as it was on average for Astrill VPN) can seem like an extremely long time compared to a little under 3 seconds (which we found, on average, for ExpressVPN).
Guide to speed up your VPN
Although speed loss is inevitable, there are still few ways by which you can speed up your VPN:
- Use one of our recommended VPNs: Our team of experts verified all VPN providers from our list to be the fastest VPNs on the market. So if you want to receive the best and most optimized speed results after connecting the VPN, we suggest you pick one of our recommendations.
- WireGuard or the VPN’s proprietary protocol: Although OpenVPN is a secure protocol, it is slower than WireGuard or proprietary protocols like Catapult Hydra or NordLynx. Therefore, if your VPN provider offers you the ability to use WireGuard or its own proprietary protocol, it is better to use those protocols.
- Server location: As a general thumb of rule, connecting to a server location closer to your actual location will give you faster speed. This is because your traffic takes a shorter route, allowing the packets to be delivered at a much faster rate.
- Ethernet cable: Wi-Fi connections are less efficient than wired connections due to various network and channel interference. Connecting your device directly to your router with an ethernet cable will give you faster and more reliable speeds.
What are the fastest free VPNs?
The three best, fastest free VPNs include Windscribe, ProtonVPN, and TunnelBear. However, for the truly fastest VPN connection, you’d have to subscribe to a reliable premium VPN provider.
Windscribe offers only 10 server locations and 10 GB free data/month limited with its free subscription. As for the speed, it delivered 22 Mbps on our 30 Mbps internet connection. In addition, the provider easily works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO, and many other streaming services. It also uses WireGuard, an internet kill switch, and AES-256-Bit encryption to secure your online privacy and data.
ProtonVPN offers 3 server locations (US, Japan, and the Netherlands) with unlimited VPN bandwidth. During our testing, it delivered an average speed of 23.64 Mbps on a 30 Mbps internet connection. Capable of unblocking Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, ABC, and Amazon Prime Video, it is also compatible with iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, browsers, Linux, and more.
TunnelBear offers servers in 23 countries along with a 500 MB free data per month limit. It delivered an average speed of 24.34 Mbps on a 30 Mbps internet connection. It relies on AES-256-Bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, and an internet kill switch for online security and privacy. It is also compatible with iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, browsers, and more.
VPN Speed – Key factors
Many factors affect the speed of VPN services, from the core technology infrastructure of the provider to the quality of equipment and type of network topology they use.
These are all factors that play a key role in affecting your VPN speed.
It would take a lot of time to cover all these factors in this article, so I’m just going to describe the surface-level factors that can have a noticeable impact on your speed.
Base Internet connection speed: Your internet connection is the primary factor that determines your speed. A stable ISP connection with no faults in connection lines and sophisticated infrastructure ensures a good download/upload speed and pings.
So, the very first thing you need to consider if you want a high-speed VPN connection is to get your Internet from a reliable ISP and choose a bandwidth package that suits your needs.
VPN server location: The server location you are connected to affects your latency and download and upload speeds. This is because when you connect to a remote VPN server, your data has to travel a longer route before reaching the destination than it normally would if you were connected to the web directly.
Although VPN providers with a well-designed server infrastructure can still maintain your speeds throughout the network, the distance to your desired server still plays a role. So, to get maximum speeds, you should select servers closer to your physical location, so your data packets will have to travel less.
Security vs. Speed: Adding security to a VPN connection inevitably results in a loss of speed. Using a stronger encryption algorithm, for example, means it takes longer to encrypt data traveling through the VPN and longer to decrypt it once it arrives at its destination.
Similarly, more secure VPN protocols tend to be slower than less secure ones. For example, despite being the oldest protocol, PPTP is still significantly faster than OpenVPN or L2TP/IPSec. However, it also has known security vulnerabilities.
You don’t necessarily need the strongest available security all the time when using a VPN, but there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed to increase speed. Hence, we recommend against using PPTP and advise readers to opt for a protocol that uses SSL (OpenVPN) or IPSec encryption (L2TP, IKEv2).
Most VPN providers don’t give you the option to disable the VPN encryption, but it is better to keep it enabled. Additionally, AES-128-Bit is the minimum strength encryption necessary for a VPN to do its job and keep your data safe.
It’s effectively unbreakable and is slightly faster than AES-256-Bit, which is also common. A handful of VPNs uses Blowfish encryption, which tends to be slower than its AES counterpart. We recommend at least 448-bit Blowfish encryption if you go that route.
Moreover, your hardware depends on how much speed boost you’ll get from tweaking encryption and VPN protocols. More powerful devices will be able to encrypt and decrypt data more quickly.
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Although the service is not exactly free, you can utilize the 30-day money-back guarantee to use the VPN totally free for a whole month and demand a refund if you’re not satisfied.
Yes, all of our recommendations are completely safe. Most VPNs run on a similar architecture, utilize the same AES-256 encryption, and use protocols such as OpenVPN or IKEv2. The biggest difference is the server number, capacity, and maintenance, which contribute to how fast any connection will be.
The fastest VPN protocols for VoIP include iKEV/IPsec, OpenVPN – UDP, WireGuard, and SofthEther protocol. However, the fastest protocol always needs to produce the fastest results as speed depends on various factors such as network conditions, distance to the server, load on the server, and few other parameters.
Yes, VPNs almost always slow down your internet. However, the good ones can maintain your speed by as much as 70% of your base speed. Therefore, you shouldn’t go with a VPN that drops speed by too big of a margin.
The speed you lose with a VPN depends on multiple factors, including your ISP, your proximity to the server location, the current load on the server, etc. In general, you lose 30% to 40% of your speed when you connect to a server close to you, whereas the number can rise to as much as 70% for distant servers.
There are countless VPN providers available that claim to be the fastest VPNs for your online needs. But, in truth, most of these providers fail to deliver a decent connection speed for even the most popular VPN purposes such as streaming, torrenting, and online gaming.
Only with the providers listed in this blog can you experience blazing-fast connection speeds and guarantee unlimited, unrestricted, and uninterrupted online streaming, gaming, and even torrenting from anywhere around the globe.
Out of all our recommended VPN providers, ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN based on average download speed, i.e., 27.91 Mbps on a 30 Mbps internet connection.
Moreover, the provider has impressed us with almost perfect speeds on what would be considered a pretty slow internet connection today. Thus, this shows how reliable this VPN is if speed is what you’re after.