A VPN is useful for providing security against threats and also for hiding your online identity. VPNs achieve this by channeling your traffic via a secure tunnel that is safe from prying eyes and other attacks. Also, when using a VPN, your real IP address is masked, so no one will know your real identity when surfing the internet. These capabilities allow a VPN to offer other more useful functionality as discussed below.
By using end-to-end VPN encryption and hiding your IP address, a VPN can enable you to access online content from around the world including social media, streaming sites, and other authoritative sites. The encryption also helps you to avoid surveillance and tracking from your ISP, hence providing you with more privacy.
Nothing is more annoying and frustrating than waiting for a web page to load. Besides general browsing, high-speed VPNs are best for specific niches which require less ping and more bandwidth. Such activities include HD internet streaming and peer-to-peer sharing such as torrenting. The best VPNs for gaming and the best VPNs for torrenting are the ones that are the fastest. Since VPNs reduce your internet speed for encryption purposes, you won’t accomplish the above tasks without frustration unless you use a fast VPN.
Measuring VPN speed involves testing various factors that may affect the VPN speed. These factors may lead to inconsistent readings. For consistency during our tests, we ensured that the conditions for each VPN were the same. The parameters used to gauge the speed of one VPN were also applied to gauging the speeds of the other VPNs tested. The speeds were then measured regarding download speed, upload speed, and ping rate.
Nevertheless, 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:
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:
At the current rate at which VPN providers are popping up, it may be hard to resist a free, fast VPN that claims to be as speedy 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. 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 may also lack some functionalities, as they may offer weaker encryptions and unfavorable privacy policies.
To avoid putting your security and privacy at risk by using free VPNs, use our recommended VPNs above. Some of them offer the best low rates available, particularly on long terms plans.
VPN speed is not absolute, and this means it can be increased or decreased by certain factors. To improve VPN speed, one must influence these factors to favor speed, as discussed below:
Only in rare instances can a VPN 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 typically VPNs cannot improve your internet speed.
Encryption used by VPNs account 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.
Protocols dictate how VPNs encrypt and perform communications between the user device and VPN servers. Common VPN protocols include:
OpenVPN protocol is the best and most reliable protocol as it balances both 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. The plus side, however, is that 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.
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 these filters, you have to perform 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.
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 of these factors are considered to be good, then a VPN can be deemed good.
On mobile platforms, any VPN with the IKEv2 protocol is considered to be the fastest option.
The fastest VPN is always the best when performing specific tasks such as streaming HD content and when sharing files via a peer-to-peer platform. The best VPN for gaming and the best VPN for torrenting are the ones that are the fastest. If more security is needed, the fastest VPN that can’t actually provide the required level of protection, would therefore not be the best.
Online activities involve many tasks which require one to be secure and also private. Tasks that require streaming HD content or file sharing will mean that you’ll need a fast VPN. Our list features robust high-speed VPNs with cheaper subscription plans, quick installation, and good 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; its complete package includes high levels of security, lightning speed servers, unlimited bandwidth, and other many features.