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ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN claims to be the world’s number one trusted VPN, and we can verify this claim seems to be appropriate with minimal failures. It has high-speed servers with blazing fast VPN speeds. These are our test results for ExpressVPN:

  • Download speed – 8.89Mbps
  • Upload speed – 8.51Mbps
  • Ping rate – 19ms

ExpressVPN is unbeatable in terms of security, as it uses AES-256-bit encryption.  ExpressVPN has 1500+ servers, some of which are equipped with stealth technology. These servers offer unlimited bandwidth with shared dynamic IP addresses and also allow access to torrenting.

ExpressVPN has 5-star customer support with a 24/7 live chat. Support is also provided via email and through the FAQ and guides. In terms of privacy, ExpressVPN has a no logging policy, but it does keep minimal connection logs. The subscription plans support up three simultaneous connections.

Read ExpressVPN review »

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield VPN is the only VPN on this list that uses a proprietary VPN protocol. So, its results are a bit different from the rest.

  • Download speed – 9.58 Mbps
  • Upload speed – 8.2 Mbps
  • Ping rate – 75ms

Other than using its own VPN protocol, Hotspot Shield boasts other features that make it a reputable VPN. It offers 3 pricing plans: a monthly plan for $12.99, a 6-month plan for $53.94, and a 1-year plan for $71.88.  Hotspot Shield has servers in 25 countries with shared dynamic IP addresses, unlimited bandwidth, and supports torrenting.

It has a 12-hour live chat with email support and has an FAQ section and guides. Hotspot Shield has a poor logging policy that might compromise your privacy. On a better note, it supports 5 simultaneous device connections.

Read Hotspot Shield review »

CyberGhost

CyberGhost is known for keeping your digital lifestyle secure, but most people don’t know that it also offers the highest speed possible on their servers. Below are our results:

  • Download speed – 8.45Mbps
  • Upload speed – 6.87Mbps
  • Ping rate – 18ms

CyberGhost offers the standard 3 subscription plans: a monthly plan for $11.99, a 1-year plan for $91.88, and a 2-year plan for $84. CyberGhost uses the AES-256 CBC cipher for encryptions and has 1300+ servers with 1300+s IP addresses which are dynamically shared. It also has P2P servers and promises unlimited bandwidth.

CyberGhost offers up to 5 simultaneous connections. It has a 9-hour live chat, email support, and provides FAQs and guides. CyberGhost does not log information that can compromise users’ privacy.

Read CyberGhost review »

PureVPN

PureVPN offers borderless internet with complete internet privacy, security and online freedom. Online freedom is not possible without speed since one needs to gain access to streaming sites. Here are the speed results of our PureVPN tests and research:

  • Download speed – 8.1 Mbps
  • Upload speed – 7.9 Mbps
  • Ping rate – 19ms

PureVPN, like most providers,  has three pricing plans: a monthly plan for $10.95, a 1-year plan for $59, and a 2-year plan for $69. For encryption, PureVPN relies on the AES-256-CBC cipher. It has 750 servers with unlimited bandwidth and features 15,000 IP addresses which are both dedicated and shared dynamically. It has a 24/7 live chat, email support, and provides FAQs and guides. PureVPN keeps partial logs; it only logs metadata. It supports 5 simultaneous connections, and its servers allow torrenting.

Read PureVPN review »

NordVPN

NordVPN also claims to offer internet with no borders. It boasts that with its servers, users avoid frustrations due to buffering in order to enjoy a higher speed and better VPN connectivity. Here are our NordVPN results:

  • Download speed – 7.55Mbps
  • Upload speed – 5.63Mbps
  • Ping rate – 45ms

Like most VPNs, NordVPN has three subscription plans: a monthly plan for $11.95, a 1-year plan for $69, and a 2-year plan for $79. NordVPN uses the AES-256-bit cipher for encryption, and it has over 2200 servers with the same number of IP addresses, which are also dedicated and shared dynamically. These servers have unlimited bandwidth with special capabilities for P2P, Anti-DDoS, .onion over VPN, and claim to have obfuscated servers.

Nord has a live, 24/7 chat, email support, and provides comprehensive FAQs and guides. It does not keep any user activities including metadata or s connection times. NordVPN even supports 6 simultaneous connections.

Read NordVPN review »

Fastest VPN Services

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are vital tools when it comes to online security and privacy. They are also becoming increasingly necessary for accessing Netflix, safe torrenting and even online gaming. Besides being secure though, a VPN needs to offer high speeds to accomplish streaming and peer-to-peer tasks efficiently. This makes speed an essential factor to consider when choosing a VPN.

The encryptions that secure VPNs employ take up internet bandwidth with a knock on effect to your upload and download connection speeds. To avoid the additional overhead from impacting your current speed, you need a robust but fast VPN. The faster the VPN, the less you’ll notice if your speed has been affected.

Why do I need a fast VPN?

Everybody has a need for speed; nothing is more annoying and frustrating than waiting for a web page to load. Besides general browsing, high-speed VPNs are vital for specific online niches which require less ping and more bandwidth. People who engage in real-time tasks are the ones in need of a fast VPN. Such activities include HD internet streaming, gaming, and peer-to-peer sharing such as torrenting. Since VPNs reduce your internet speed for encryption purposes, you won’t accomplish the above tasks without frustration unless you use a fast VPN.

How to measure VPN speed

Measuring the speed of a VPN is not an easy thing to do, as various factors may affect the VPN speed leading to strange readings. For consistency during our tests, we ensured that all of the conditions for each VPN were identical. The same parameters used to gauge the speed of a VPN were applied when gauging the speeds of other VPNs. The speeds were then measured regarding download speed, upload speed, and ping rate.

Still, there are some factors that can’t be kept constant, so it’s important to note that the results of our tests are not absolute. The factors that affect and determine a VPN’s speed include the following.

  • Servers and location – Servers greatly determine the results you will get when measuring VPN speed. At times, you may connect to a loaded server and get low speeds, while other times you may connect to special servers and get incredible speeds. The location of a server also determines the speed of a VPN, and this is observable from the ping. The further away a VPN server is located, the larger the ping value and hence the lower the speed. Sometimes the ping value can be high simply due to the VPN infrastructure.
  • ISP Speed – This is the internet speed provided by your Internet Service Provider. When the ISP speeds are higher, your VPN connection may not be impacted, and you might not notice any speed change. But when the ISP speed is low, a VPN connection will seem to lower your internet speed by noticeable levels, and you may end up experiencing that a particular VPN is slow.
  • Connection between your ISP and VPN – Besides the ISP speed, the connection between your VPN and a particular ISP can also impact on your VPN speed. When the interconnection is weak, you will lose a lot of speed even if you are on a high-speed internet connection.

Download Speed, Upload Speed, and Ping Rate

In any network setup such as that of a VPN, there must be a server, a client, and files or traffic passing through and from the client and the server. The following parameters are used to measure speed in this setup:

  • Download speed – This is the measurement of how data is transferred from the server to your device. This data can include files, streaming content, and even simply browsing the internet. This speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The higher the value, the faster the connection is and therefore the speed.
  • Upload speed – This is the opposite of download speed. It’s the measurement of how data is being sent from the client to the server. Ideally, it’s what the server receives from you, and it can also range from web browsing to sending files, like via a peer-to-peer sharing platform. It’s also measured in megabits per second (Mbps), and the higher the value, the faster the upload speed is.
  • Ping – Ping stands for Packet InterNet Groper, a utility that’s used to determine the connectivity between two devices – and in this case, your device and a server. The point of interest in this connectivity test is how fast streaming information reaches your device – that is, the time it takes for the connection to be made. Ping is measured in milliseconds (ms), and the lower the ping the value, the faster the connectivity.

Fastest Free VPNs

At the current rate at which VPN providers are being launched, it may be hard to resist a free VPN with their claims to be as fast as a premium VPN. But as always, there’s a catch with anything that is free. In order to finance a free VPN, most VPN providers push ads during your free service. And these may actually violate your privacy and security. Apart from ads, free VPN providers have other limitations, the most common of which is capping your bandwidth. This is done to encourage you to buy the paid version. Free VPN providers will often lack functionalities, and they may offer weaker encryption and unfavorable privacy policies.

How to Speed Up a VPN Connection

A VPN speed is not absolute, and this means it can be increased or decreased certain factors. To improve a VPN speed, you must influence these factors below:

  • Server location – The proximity of the server is essential when you want to influence a VPN speed. As a rule of thumb, the closer the server is located to your current location, the better the VPN speeds. Ping can also be affected by proximity. For example, the higher the ping value, the further away a server is located, and vice versa. To avoid losing some functionality and speed, select a server located in your country.
  • Server load – At times, you might select a server that’s geographically closer to you but still ends up getting poor VPN speeds and performance. This could be because of heavy server load. Server load occurs when a lot of users have connected to a particular server, hence making it strain. This leads to poor performance. Before choosing a server based only on proximity, take note of the server load. Servers with few users have a higher performance index. Most VPNs offer a quick connect feature which automatically chooses the best server based on your proximity, server load, and other factors. But these conditions are not always guaranteed, as this feature can connect you to poorly performing servers. Therefore, sometimes it’s better to choose the server manually.
  • Protocol and encryption – For security and privacy, VPNs use specific protocols with a respective encryption setting for secure tunneling. Protocols determine the encryption to be used. In VPNs, the stronger the encryption, the slower a VPN is and vice versa. But that’s not usually the case; some VPN protocols can balance between performance and security. Finding the best protocol can result in better speeds without compromising your security.

FAQs: Fast VPNs

Can a VPN improve my internet speed?

Only in rare instances can a VPN can improve internet speed, such as when there is ISP throttling. However, it’s rare for this to occur. All VPNs reduce internet speed by a certain percentage due to the encryption involved. So the bottom line is that VPNs cannot improve your internet speed.

What causes a VPN to be slow?

Encryption used by VPNs accounts for a certain percentage of why VPNs are slow. The other percentage is due to the speed determinant factors such as server location, server load, and even bandwidth.

Which VPN protocol is the fastest?

Protocols dictate how VPNs encrypt and perform communications between the user device and VPN servers. Common VPN protocols include:

  • OpenVPN
  • IKEv2
  • L2TP/ IPSec
  • PPTP
  • VPN proprietary protocols such as Catapult Hydra

OpenVPN protocol is the best and most reliable protocol, as it balances between performance and security. This protocol further uses two distinct ports, the TCP and UDP ports as well as 128-bit and 256-bit encryptions for its functionality. In TCP, Transmission Control Protocol, OpenVPN is more reliable because it checks for errors and ensures data packets are not lost. This usually makes TCP slower than UDP.

On the other hand, UDP, User Datagram Protocol, is less reliable, as it doesn’t provide error checking. But it’s lightning fast, and this makes OpenVPN the best protocol for streaming.

IKEv2, Internet Key Exchange version 2 protocol, is an excellent VPN protocol for mobile connections; it’s both fast and secure.

L2TP/ IPSec, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol/Internet Protocol Security, is a secure protocol suite, but many VPNs implement it poorly, making it vulnerable to attacks. It uses limited ports, and it’s slow, but it’s compatible with most devices.

PPTP, Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol, is one of the fastest protocols, but it’s very weak and not advisable. Use it only if you aren’t concerned about security and privacy.

Proprietary protocols are specific to particular VPN providers, and you might only encounter them in few VPNs.

How to find the fastest VPN server?

Finding the fastest VPN server can be a daunting task and mostly depends on VPN providers. Providers who offer filters such as bandwidth, server load, ping, or latency make it easy to find the best and fastest VPN server for streaming. In such cases, you will only choose a server with a lower ping value, more bandwidth, and a smaller server load.

Any VPN server that meets the above criteria is considered to be fast. For VPN providers that lack the filters, you have to do a trial on most servers till you find a fast one. VPN servers located closer to you will always be faster unless they are overloaded.

Does a fast VPN equal a good VPN?

Speed alone doesn’t qualify a VPN to be considered good. This is because some VPNs can sacrifice security for better speeds. Other factors such as privacy, reliability, logging policies, and even customer care support should be considered. If all these factors are considered to be good, then a VPN can be deemed good.

Which is the fastest VPN for Android and iPhone?

On mobile platforms, any VPN with the IKEv2 protocol is considered to be the fastest option.

Is the fastest VPN always the best?

A fast VPN is always best when performing specific tasks such as streaming HD content or sharing files via a peer-to-peer platform. When more security is not the priority then a fast VPN may not always be the best choice – it’ll be better to prioritize VPNs known for security, but even then you can employ techniques to make VPNs faster.

Conclusion

If you’re streaming HD content or file sharing, and then you’ll need a fast VPN. Our list features robust high-speed VPNs with cheap subscription plans, quick installation, and ease of use. All you need to do is download the client, log in, and connect to your preferred server. You can start with ExpressVPN; it’s a complete package including high levels of security, lightning speed servers, unlimited bandwidth, and other many features.

Written by: Graeme Messina

Graeme is an IT professional with a special interest in computer forensics, security, and software. When not building networks and researching the latest software trends, he enjoys writing technical articles and blog posts.

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