Best Fast VPN

There are a lot of aspects to consider when choosing a VPN, but speed is among the most important. No matter how good your VPN is — even including the all-mighty ExpressVPN — your internet speed will drop while browsing privately. To help you find the best fast VPN money can buy, we’ve rounded up a list of the fastest VPNs on the market. 

Here’s the skinny: we tested 14 VPNs in a range of locations to find the fastest VPN on the market. In addition to the providers in our best VPN guide, we chose a handful of other services that tout their speed above all else. If you’re curious about our testing methodology, you can find that section below our picks. 

Before diving in, we want to direct you to our speed testing spreadsheet. There, you’ll find all of the raw numbers, as well as our unprotected speed and averages. We also have a graph comparing the average download loss of all the services in our methodology section, so feel free to jump down there for an overview.

The Fastest VPN Services for 2020

  1. ExpressVPN – Lightning fast & great for Netflix
  2. NordVPN – Much more consistent with WireGuard
  3. Surfshark – A surprising entry, very fast
  4. TorGuard – Security and speed in a single package
  5. StrongVPN – Another surprise on five
  6. PIA – Took a hit, but still fast
  7. Hide.me – Hiding you quickly
  8. Mullvad – Moles may be blind, but this little guy goes
  9. CyberGhost – It’s last, but very much not least
Starts from $ 666 per month
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1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN delivered the fastest speeds out of any of the services we tried with the New York City server location, the site closest to our testing location. There were faster performers in other locations — NordVPN won the day in Amsterdam and Japan — but considering that most users will be tunneling close to home in the U.S., ExpressVPN is still the king. 

Servers:DownloadUploadLatencyAverage Download Loss:
NYC214.1720.593153%
Amsterdam165.3813.4913364%
Japan102.394.0317777%

That said, ExpressVPN didn’t maintain that spot easily. NordVPN came out swinging in this batch of tests, showcasing far greater consistency across testing locations (read our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison for more). 

ExpressVPN achieved the lowest speed drop out of any service in any location. However, particularly in Amsterdam and Japan, there were a few better VPN performers. 

What stands out most about ExpressVPN is that we don’t need to recommend IKEv2 as an alternative protocol. Its OpenVPN performance is excellent, giving you the best of both worlds. It’s easy to watch Hulu with ExpressVPN, and it works great with Netflix, too, making our speed test results all the more impressive.

Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN

On speed alone, we’d recommend ExpressVPN any day, but the system that surrounds its performance is where ExpressVPN shines. It uses a smartphone-like application that minces no words. Connecting is a matter of clicking a very obvious “on” button, with everything already set up in the backend. 

expressvpn-speed-test

If you want to tweak some settings, though, ExpressVPN has a few options, including a speed test and split tunneling. It also provides security features, such as a kill switch, and has a long list of server locations in 94 countries, to boot. 

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs around, and we’d recommend it on that alone. However, the features and ease of use are why we gravitate to it so much. 

Furthermore, ExpressVPN maintains a strict no-logs policy, works in China and even took the crown in our best VPN for streaming guide. You can learn more about it in our ExpressVPN review, or give it a shot with a 30-day money-back guarantee. There isn’t an ExpressVPN free trial, but ExpessVPN’s refund policy has always worked for us. 

Pros:

  • Excellent OpenVPN performance
  • Easy to use
  • Works with Netflix

Cons:

  • No WireGuard support
  • A bit expensive
Starts from $ 666 per month
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2. NordVPN

NordVPN could have easily taken first place, and if we could award two winners, it would be right beside ExpressVPN. Although it was slower in New York City, NordVPN showed better performance in Amsterdam and Japan. Furthermore, it had great consistency across server locations, which is a nice change of pace from its previous round of testing.

Servers:DownloadUploadLatencyAverage Download Loss:
NYC160.7917.393265%
Amsterdam203.3215.7511255%
Japan196.4114.6921857%

Again, this is a situation where we don’t need to recommend an alternative protocol. The OpenVPN performance was excellent, even with NordVPN’s massive number of servers. Thankfully, you can improve the speed even further with NordLynx, NordVPN’s excellent proprietary protocol built out of WireGuard. 

NordLynx gave us the fastest speeds out of any VPN we’ve tested, with any protocol, ever. You can see our NordVPN review for the full results, but put simply, you have to experience the results to believe them. We try to avoid being hyperbolic as much as possible, so know that when we say the speed results are unmatched, we mean it. 

Other Reasons We Like NordVPN

NordVPN takes a different approach than ExpressVPN when it comes to usability, utilizing much more screen area to accommodate its massive number of servers. Its usability is hindered by a less-than-ideal server selection script, but that’s a small complaint in an otherwise flawless system. 

Its security and privacy are top-notch, too, despite NordVPN’s recent run-in with a hacker (read our is NordVPN safe to use? piece). In addition to standard servers, NordVPN offers a range of speciality servers designed to protect you in different ways when performing certain tasks online, that’s why NordVPN works in China. That’s why NordVPN took the crown in our best VPN for torrenting guide. 

If you’re looking for a VPN provider that can do it all, NordVPN is for you. Like ExpressVPN, it checks all of the boxes, from speed and security to features and usability. You can see how you like it with a risk-free, [urlid=8425 text=”30-day money-back guarantee”].

Pros:

  • Massive server network
  • NordLynx
  • Specialty servers

Cons:

  • Server selection could use further tweaking
Starts from $ 349 per month
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3. Surfshark

Surfshark surprised us in this batch of testing. It’s a very new service, with no more than a few years under its belt at the time of writing. Even with limited experience, Surfshark went toe to toe with ExpressVPN and NordVPN (hell, it even beat ExpressVPN in our Japan test). New as it is, you still shouldn’t ignore Surfshark. 

Servers:DownloadUploadLatencyAverage Download Loss:
NYC152.6516.7350.3367%
Amsterdam146.8613.0511669%
Japan131.9313.8120372%

What stood out most to us is Surfshark’s consistency between trials. Our download speeds stayed within a relatively small range, differing no more than 10 Mbps between trials. It usually takes a while for a VPN to get a hold of the unwieldy protocol that is OpenVPN. It seems Surfshark got it right from the get-go. 

Given how great OpenVPN performs, we’re excited for WireGuard. Surfshark is currently in the process of implementing WireGuard, with an expected rollout coming in the latter half of 2020. When it launches, we’ll run tests to see how well the team implemented the new protocol, so be sure to keep an eye on our Surfshark review.

Other Reasons We Like Surfshark

Outside of performance, Surfshark shines most when it comes to features. It combines all of the best parts of other VPN services, with in-app split tunneling, a malware blocker, kill switch and MultiHop servers (NordVPN and Windscribe have that last one, too). Surfshark even offers identity theft protection, though at an extra charge. 

The price is a little high, especially for the monthly and annual subscriptions, but the two-year plan is dirt cheap. Furthermore, Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections, as well as a seven-day free trial on its mobile apps. If you want the desktop experience, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, too.

Pros:

  • WireGuard coming soon
  • Cheap two-year plan
  • MultiHop servers

Cons:

  • High monthly price
Starts from $ 199 per month

4. TorGuard

TorGuard has a few problems, particularly when it comes to streaming and user-friendliness. Thankfully, speed isn’t an issue. TorGuard put up impressive numbers, in some areas falling just short of our top three services, and in other areas, barely surpassing them. With a little more consistency between trials, TorGuard would easily be in the top three. 

Servers: DownloadUploadLatencyAverage Download Loss:
NYC101.4020.2548.6678%
Amsterdam120.3217.40119.6674%
Japan175.2216.5815062%

More so than most VPNs, TorGuard allows you to tweak your connection for even faster speeds. Although OpenVPN with UDP works great, you can change your connection protocol, transport protocol and cipher. That last setting can improve speeds immensely, particularly on old devices. 

Our results are a bit strange, though. As you can see, our speed actually improved the further the server locations were from our testing location. More than anything, this tells us that there are servers in TorGuard’s network that perform much better than others, so we recommend experimenting with server locations for the best speed. 

Other Reasons We Like TorGuard

TorGuard’s configurability is second to none, and although we wouldn’t say the application is easy to use, it’s more accessible than, say, AirVPN (read our AirVPN review). As mentioned above, you can change the cipher your connection uses, but you can go further with custom scripts and more. 

TorGuard is secure and has a strict no-logs policy. Additionally, the VPN is not too expensive, but unfortunately the praises end there. 

TorGuard advertises a misleading “seven-day free trial,” and has so for years. However, this is a money-back guarantee, not a refund policy, which we didn’t take kindly to in our TorGuard review. The VPN also struggles with streaming platforms, based on our testing. 

Pros:

  • Highly configurable
  • Secure
  • Solid OpenVPN performance

Cons:

  • A bit difficult to use
  • Struggles with streaming platforms
Starts from $ 500 per month

5. StrongVPN

Like Surfshark, StrongVPN is a new addition to this list of the fastest VPNs. Fifth place is a fitting spot for StrongVPN. Although it doesn’t have any truly bad points, it has very few excellent ones. It’s a solid overall VPN service, with impressive performance. However, it could improve in features, usability and pricing.

Servers:DownloadUploadLatencyAverage Download Loss:
NYC132.4917.1768.6671%
Amsterdam109.7913.5111676%
Japan122.7112.5715274%

One area that needs no improvement is speed. Although markedly slower than our top four VPNs, StrongVPN maintained more-than-serviceable speeds across testing locations. Similar to TorGuard, a little more consistency between trials would push StrongVPN even higher, as the average download loss is brought down by a few rough trials. 

You can further improve the speeds with WireGuard, which StrongVPN supports. As you can see in our StrongVPN review, though, it doesn’t offer as drastic of an improvement as NordLynx. Consistency is StrongVPN’s biggest hurdle. Once it patches some of the cracks, though, StrongVPN will be able to stand up to NordVPN and ExpressVPN. 

Other Reasons We Like StrongVPN

StrongVPN isn’t strong on speed alone. For example, its streaming performance is also excellent. We were able to stream Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video without any issues. StrongVPN offers a massive 12 simultaneous connections, too, so you can stream on all of your devices.

The price isn’t bad, either, though we’d like to see a multi-year option. We also wish that the VPN offered split tunneling, too. That said, StrongVPN gets a lot right, with native apps for Amazon Fire TV and support for Chrome OS, as well as a kill switch. 

If you want to give it a shot, StrongVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee. Your account even comes with 250GB of storage with SugarSync, though we don’t care for that cloud storage service too much, as you can see in our SugarSync review.

Pros:

  • 12 simultaneous connections
  • WireGuard support
  • Breaks into Netflix

Cons:

  • No multi-year subscriptions
Starts from $ 583 per month
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6. Private Internet Access

With its past few updates, Private Internet Access has grown to be a favorite here at Cloudwards.net. It scores excellently in all categories, even sometimes surpassing our top dogs (read our ExpressVPN vs PIA and NordVPN vs PIA comparisons for more). Among the many things PIA gets right, speed is its greatest achievement. 

Servers:DownloadUploadLatencyAverage Download Loss:
NYC129.4419.33372%
Amsterdam159.7014.30136.3365%
Japan56.5614.65716288%

We saw excellent performance in New York City and Amsterdam, though PIA’s numbers in Japan put a damper on our results. Like TorGuard and StrongVPN, this is a matter of consistency. For example, with our third trial in Japan, our download rate was around twice as fast as the first two trials. 

There are some options to improve speed further, though. PIA comes with AES-128 enabled by default, which boosts performance on older devices. Furthermore, it supports WireGuard, though we didn’t see too big of an improvement in our Private Internet Access review

Other Reasons We Like Private Internet Access

Although Private Internet Access takes the sixth spot in our guide on the fastest VPNs, it’s superior to most of the above picks in other areas (just read our TorGuard vs PIA comparison). In our PIA review, it earned not one, but two perfect scores — for pricing and privacy — which is extremely rare. 

For price, PIA is simply the cheapest VPN we’ve seen. With the exception of Windscribe, there isn’t another VPN service that offers so much for so little. A year of service costs only $40, and that includes unlimited bandwidth and up to 10 simultaneous connections. 

Privacy is excellent, too, despite the fact that PIA is based in the United States. On multiple occasions, PIA has proven that it doesn’t keep logs, even under subpoena from the FBI. It’s a far cry from Hotspot Shield, and for that, PIA should be commended (read our Hotspot Shield review for more on that). If you want to give PIA a shot, you have a full 30 days to receive a refund. 

Pros:

  • Very inexpensive
  • WireGuard support
  • Shadowsocks proxies included

Cons:

  • OpenVPN performance could be better
Starts from $ 333 per month
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7. Hide.me

We were surprised by the performance of Hide.me — another oddball on this list — especially after trying out some of its free servers. We ran all of our tests using paid locations, and the results speak for themselves. At least in New York City and Amsterdam, Hide.me beat most of our other competitors and came just shy of NordVPN and ExpressVPN. 

Servers:DownloadUploadLatencyAverage Download Speed:
NYC142.6219.6032.6669%
Amsterdam179.6512.9814561%
Japan29.0811.7321194%

The kicker was Japan, where we experienced an average 94-percent loss in download rate. We noticed similar disparities across locations in our Hide.me review, too. Although that knocks Hide.me down a few pegs, our numbers from Amsterdam and New York City speak for themselves, showcasing how fast Hide.me can be. 

Other Reasons We Like Hide.me

The main draw to Hide.me is undoubtedly its free plan. Like Windscribe, which we’ll get to in a moment, Hide.me offers 10GB of data for free each month. That said, you can connect only a single device with the free version, and you can only connect to a VPN server in one of five locations. Still, Hide.me offers a lot more than TunnelBear (read our TunnelBear review). 

Although the performance of Hide.me’s paid version is good, unfortunately the price is too high. Even on the two-year plan, Hide.me charges more than $100, which is more expensive than NordVPN and CyberGhost.

Even though the core service is solid, Hide.me doesn’t demand that you choose the premium version. If you want to give Hide.me a try, we recommend the free plan, though the VPN also offers a 30-day refund policy for paid subscriptions. 

Pros:

  • Excellent free plan
  • Solid performance close to home

Cons:

  • Too expensive
Starts from $ 541 per month
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8. Mullvad

Mullvad is an anomaly in the world of VPNs, and in this case, that’s a good thing. We haven’t encountered another VPN so dedicated to user privacy. Mullvad’s impressive performance is just the cherry on top. 

Servers:DownloadUploadLatencyAverage Download Loss:
NYC149.7316.85732.3367%
Amsterdam138.3615.06119.33370%
Japan33.2611.118793%

Like with Hide.me, Mullvad’s overall score suffers from a single location, which, again, is Japan. Its performance in New York City and Amsterdam was good, though short of Hide.me’s, and its performance in Japan was pretty rough. 

We were experiencing download numbers north of 60 Mbps during the first trial, only to have the average be brought down by 10 Mbps download rates in the second and third trials. 

Still, Mullvad is fast, especially if you’re tunneling close to home in the U.S. or Europe. It also pioneered WireGuard for commercial VPNs, and it uses the new protocol to great effect, as you can see in our Mullvad review. We’re comfortable recommending Mullvad on the back of its OpenVPN performance. However, with WireGuard in the mix, it’s a no-brainer.

Other Reasons We Like Mullvad

Mullvad’s dedication to user privacy is second to none. You can’t even create an account. In place of a username and password, Mullvad generates an account number for you. This number is the only way Mullvad can identify you. It doesn’t ask for a name, email address or anything else. 

Furthermore, you can pay with cash. If you want to be off the books, it doesn’t get better than Mullvad. However, the dedication to privacy interferes with many of the creature comforts that modern VPNs have. For instance, Mullvad doesn’t offer multi-year discounts, and support is restricted to email (no live chat, unfortunately). 

That’s the price for privacy, though, and Mullvad understands that. Thankfully, the service is cheap, at around $5 per month, and there’s a 30-day refund period in case you don’t take to it. 

Pros:

  • WireGuard support
  • Cash payment accepted
  • Account-less sign-up process

Cons:

  • No multi-year discounts
  • Lacking in support

9. CyberGhost

Rounding out our list is CyberGhost, which should’ve gotten a higher position. We rank CyberGhost among elite-tier VPNs, and — as you can see in our ExpressVPN vs CyberGhost and NordVPN vs CyberGhost comparisons — it holds its own well. Still, it doesn’t put up the results to rank at the top. 

Servers:DownloadUploadLatencyAverage Download Loss:
NYC128.2119.74372%
Amsterdam99.5614.3115178%
Japan45.6512.94188.691%

That’s not to say CyberGhost performed poorly (we’ll get to those services in a minute), just that it didn’t perform as well as ExpressVPN or NordVPN. The New York City and Amsterdam servers were good, though on the slow end of things, and Japan was rough. Again, inconsistency is the problem, with variations of up to 100 Mbps between trials. 

We’ve always known that CyberGhost performs poorly with OpenVPN, though, which is why the service usually defaults to IKEv2. As you can see in our CyberGhost review, there’s a lot of variation between locations, too. We suggest manually selecting servers based on load, not latency. That’s where we saw the best results. 

Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost

Speed is the only blemish on CyberGhost, and considering the results are still worthy of a spot in this guide, that says a lot. CyberGhost comes packed with features, from streaming servers to automation settings, such as its kill switch. There are also some privacy settings that can force HTTPS in your browser and block ads, among other things. 

Furthermore, CyberGhost is cheap. The monthly rate isn’t great, at around $13, but the multi-year discounts are unmatched. For instance, the three-year plan costs less than $100, bringing the monthly rate down by around 80 percent. 

There’s no risk in signing up for the three-year plan, either. With a 45-day money-back guarantee, you have plenty of time to get a refund if you don’t like the service. 

Pros:

  • Large server network
  • VPN automation settings
  • Very inexpensive

Cons:

  • No WireGuard support

Inconsistent Performers

Overall, we included 14 VPNs in our speed tests, though only nine made the cut. In addition to those nine, we have three that gave us some wild results during testing. (The other two, HideMyAss and IPVanish, were neither good nor bad, forever doomed to mediocrity; read our HideMyAss review and IPVanish review to learn why.) 

The three services below aren’t bad by any means (we like all of them a lot here at Cloudwards.net). However, they’re inconsistent with OpenVPN. We still recommend these services, though you may have to switch to IKEv2 or — in the case of VyprVPN — WireGuard to get the most out of them. 

ProtonVPN

It’s a shame that ProtonVPN couldn’t rank among the fastest VPN services (really, it’s a shame that all three of these services couldn’t). We like ProtonVPN a lot. It has a unique openness that’s hard to find in the VPN community. Rather than hiding in shell company after shell company, ProtonVPN is out in the open about who it is and how it functions. 

That doesn’t mean it’s fast, though. In fact, ProtonVPN performed worse than any other service we tested, with a great deal of inconsistency between trials. For instance, our download speed in Amsterdam started north of 40 Mbps in our first trial, only to drop below 10 Mbps for the remaining two. 

ProtonVPN is still an excellent service, though, as you can see in our ProtonVPN review. It even held its own in our ProtonVPN vs NordVPN comparison. Its OpenVPN performance isn’t great, however. IKEv2 is much better, though we’d like to see a WireGuard implementation from ProtonVPN in the future. 

Windscribe

Windscribe didn’t surprise us. As you can see in our Windscribe review, it has poor OpenVPN performance, even in the most ideal situations. However, its IKEv2 performance is excellent, going toe to toe with PIA and CyberGhost (it even did well in our Windscribe vs NordVPN comparison). 

IKEv2 is what Windscribe uses out of the box, and in the majority of cases, it’s a fine choice. You’re more susceptible to blocks, but given the performance improvements, IKEv2 is a great choice with Windscribe. We wouldn’t recommend doing anything too risky while using IKEv2, though. 

The main draw of Windscribe isn’t its speed, though. It’s the best free VPN we’ve tried, offering 10GB of data per month to anyone willing to take advantage of it. Furthermore, you can expand the free version with additional locations and more data, allowing you to build a plan that costs no more than a few dollars per month. 

VyprVPN

In another tough blow, VyprVPN just didn’t perform in the way we hoped. There were glimmers of solid performance throughout testing, but inconsistency bested VyprVPN throughout our trials. 

We saw decent numbers in individual testing, and with some careful server selection, you could have a great experience with VyprVPN. Compared to our other participants, though, it didn’t make the cut. 

That said, we saw massively improved speeds with IKEv2, as you can see in our VyprVPN review. Moreover, VyprVPN is currently rolling out WireGuard support to all of its application platforms. Although we haven’t had the chance to test it yet (WireGuard support isn’t on desktop at the time of writing), it should improve performance, too. 

Like ProtonVPN and Windscribe, we again want to stress that VyprVPN isn’t a bad service. It even gave our top two services a run for their money (see our VyprVPN vs ExpressVPN and VyprVPN vs NordVPN comparisons for that). VyprVPN has a lot of merits, including an encapsulated protocol that helps bypass censorship

Starts from $ 275 per month
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How We Tested The Fastest VPNs

For this roundup, we tested 14 VPN providers, all of which you can find in our speed test spreadsheet (linked above). In order to maintain consistency across our tests, we configured every VPN with OpenVPN over UDP and AES-256. There are faster protocols, but this combination is available across all of the services we tested and offers a basis for comparison. 

All of our tests were on a wired connection, and although our unprotected speed varied slightly between tests, we were within a few megabits per second of our base speed. We ran unprotected tests between each VPN service in order to maintain continuity throughout our trials. 

As for the speed tests themselves, we ran everything through speedtest.net, manually selecting a testing location and using that same location across trials (more on that in a moment). Our goal was to gather accurate numbers while maintaining consistency, and running a speed test from the same server during each trial helps that effort. 

We tested three locations: New York City, Amsterdam and Japan. Thankfully, all of the providers in our roundup have servers in these locations. Additionally, we didn’t test any free servers from Hide.me, Windscribe or ProtonVPN. Although we tested the free locations in our reviews of these three services, we wanted to maintain consistency between tests. 

At each of the three locations, we ran three trials and noted the upload speed, download speed and latency of each. We then used these numbers to average all three metrics from each location. Finally, we took the unprotected download speed and the average download speed for each location, and calculated the average download loss as a percentage. 

That final number is what we’re using to compare services. Although we tested latency and upload speed, download speed is the key metric determining the fastest VPN. If you’re concerned about your ping, our best VPN for gaming guide is where you should look. 

Although our final number is important, you shouldn’t pay too much attention to the number itself. Download speeds are not linear, and adding a VPN into the mix further skews the curve. For instance, ExpressVPN had the lowest drop in performance out of any of the services we tested at any location. Still, our download speed dropped by an average of 53 percent in New York City. 

That doesn’t mean you’ll always have a 53-percent drop in download speed when using ExpressVPN. Our unprotected speeds are very fast, and that generally leads to a more drastic drop in connection speed when using a VPN. Use our numbers as comparison points between services, not as a single number that indicates overall performance. 

What Is the Fastest Free VPN?

We included three free VPNs in our testing: Windscribe, Hide.me and ProtonVPN. Out of the bunch, Hide.me is by far the fastest free VPN. Although our results in Japan were less than ideal, Hide.me performed excellently in New York City and Amsterdam. It even beat out ExpressVPN in the latter location. 

That said, Hide.me has a limited range of servers on its free plan, whereas ProtonVPN and Windscribe are much more generous. If speed is all you’re concerned about, Hide.me is a great choice (it’s a great VPN overall). However, Windscribe and ProtonVPN have their strong points, even if speed isn’t among them. 

Can a VPN Increase Internet Speed?

Absolutely, a VPN can increase your internet speed, but you shouldn’t count on it. If your internet service provider is throttling your speeds, a VPN can get you past the block. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the VPN will increase your speeds. It will simply remove any throttling from your ISP. 

As you can see from our results above, VPNs take a hefty tax on your connection, especially if you’re using OpenVPN. So, although a VPN will get you past speed throttling, that won’t always lead to faster speeds. In the majority of cases, you’re going to lose speed when connected to a VPN. There’s no way around it. 

If you see any services claiming otherwise, we suggest running as far away as you can. VPNs don’t increase your speed ever. However, if you’re experiencing speed throttling from your ISP, a VPN can solve the issue by routing your connection differently. 

VPN Speed vs Security

As mentioned in our testing methodology, everything revolves around the protocol. Lightweight options like WireGuard almost always lead to faster speed, and lower encryption usually helps, too. Speed and security are two sides of the same coin, and finding a balance between them is crucial. 

In addition to the extra networking involved in a VPN connection, there’s overhead from the protocol and encryption. You can read our VPN protocol breakdown and description of encryption to learn why on a technical level, but in short, the higher your security, the slower your speeds. 

There’s a lot that goes into determining how secure a VPN is, though. For example, take IKEv2 (paired with the proper security protocol) and OpenVPN. Technically, the two protocols offer the same level of protection, that being 256-bit encryption. Plus, IKEv2 is much faster. However, OpenVPN is still the better choice for security. 

IKEv2 is susceptible to blocks because it handles things in the IP layer, whereas OpenVPN handles them in the transport layer. Technically, the protocols are equal in terms of security. However, IKEv2 can be blocked more easily, so it’s not a great choice for high-risk situations (say, if you’re tunneling out of China). 

The balance between security and speed is entirely dependent on your situation. If you just want a VPN that works to torrent a few files or stream Netflix from a different country, IKEv2 is a fine choice. However, if you’re more concerned about security, OpenVPN is for you, even if it takes more of a speed tax. 

How to Increase Your VPN Speed

If you’re struggling to maintain decent speeds while using a VPN, these tips can help increase your connection speed

Use a Different Protocol

The first thing you should do is experiment with other protocols. Although we always recommend OpenVPN for the best balance of speed and security, it just isn’t fast enough in some cases. IKEv2 is a good alternative for low-risk connections, where the consequences of having your internet connection blocked go no further than a proxy error on Netflix

Switch Servers

Slow speeds can sometimes result from a specific server rather than the VPN itself. If you normally have fine speeds while using a VPN, and you’re suddenly struggling to maintain a connection, try switching servers. VPN services often rent server space from multiple ISPs, and the performance between locations can vary greatly. 

Go Wired

Like it or not, a wired internet connection is the way to go. If you have the ability to use a wired connection instead of WiFi, you should use it. Your WiFi speed may be fast, but with the amount of interference a wireless internet connection is susceptible to, you may have slow VPN speeds. At the very least, you should try a wired connection to see if your wireless internet connection is the problem. 

Change Your Encryption

In the vast majority of cases, you don’t have control over the specific cipher your VPN connection uses. However, there are a few VPNs that allow you to tweak the encryption to your needs, such as TorGuard. 

Older computers that don’t have AES acceleration built in to the CPU will be much slower. Any computer from the last 10 years or so should have hardware-accelerated AES support, though. 

Final Thoughts

This year’s speed testing was full of surprises. NordVPN pushed back against inconsistent performance and came out as a top performer, while services like Hide.me and StrongVPN joined our list for the first time ever. Over the next few years, as we see more services implement WireGuard, we hope the competition is even more fierce. 

Out of our picks, which VPN stands out to you the most? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.

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4 thoughts on “Fastest VPN Services of 2020: Festina Lente”

  1. This article confirms that choosing ExpressVPN is among the best decisions I made so far. I used to be with Astrill until I realized their service sucks big time!

  2. Hi, the test is good but its not suitable at all for users in China. ExpressVPN is the worse VPN when it comes to connectivity…at times only one Server working from the China recommended Servers…that’s very very POOR despite of other providers such as Windscripe, PrivateVPN and even Nordvpn have no connectivity issues in China. As the user has no choice of Servers to connect too from China speed is also poor from Express at times compared to aforementioned. I have many colleuges in China have Express and they all changed due to poor connection performance VERY VERY limited Server availability in China…… Greetings from Shanghai, Peter

    1. Cloudwards.net - Chief Editor

      Sorry to hear that. Last I was in China I had no issues using ExpressVPN. Hopefully service will improve again soon.

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