A VPN (Virtual Private Network) running in the background should be unnoticeable and provide all the benefits without any downtime. That’s why you should opt for a fast VPN if you want a positive experience while streaming, torrenting, or even browsing the web.
Luckily, there are plenty of aspects that we can overview to see if a VPN has what it takes to provide ludicrous connectivity. For example, you won’t witness breakneck speeds without modern tunneling protocols and an expansive server fleet.
With the help of our VPN speed test, we’ve selected the top five fastest VPN providers in 2023. Besides speed, they offer solid security features, reliable privacy, and reasonable prices. As such, you’ll have a safe trip while speeding through the information highway when secured by any one of these services!
Top 5 fastest VPNs in 2023
- Fastest VPN service overall9.6 / 10
- High-speed VPN with excellent security9.4 / 10
- Extremely affordable fast VPN provider9.2 / 10
- Swift VPN with impressive device compatibility9.1 / 10
- Budget-friendly fast VPN service8.9 / 10
Speed comparison of the fastest VPNs
Let’s start with the most critical information of any fastest VPN service list – the overall performance summary. You’ll find a side-by-side provider comparison of average upload and download speeds, fastest available protocols, server numbers, and starting prices. Then it will become clear which top VPN service is the best purely from a connectivity perspective.
|Average download speed||486 Mbps||475 Mbps||448 Mbps||457 Mbps||437 Mbps|
|Average upload speed||459 Mbps||436 Mbps||346 Mbps||405 Mbps||444 Mbps|
|Servers||5800+ in 60+ countries||3200+ in 100+ countries||1000+ in 49+ countries||Servers in 105+ countries||10218+ in 100+ countries|
|Review||NordVPN review||Surfshark review||Atlas VPN review||ExpressVPN review||CyberGhost review|
Now speed tests are quite sensitive to a whole multitude of factors and your experience might differ. If you run a few speed tests yourself, the results may noticeably vary depending on the following aspects:
- Internet speed. The most obvious differences between VPN speeds can be seen on faster internet connections. If your internet speeds lurk below the actual VPN capabilities, the contrasts are going to be almost indistinguishable.
- Physical location. The distance between you and the VPN server you’re connected to plays a pivotal role in the time it takes for digital data to move. The closer you are to the VPN server, the better speeds you get.
- Chosen platform. It’s no secret that different hardware has different capabilities in terms of network speeds. Your results can vary quite drastically between testing the connections on a high-power PC and a mid-grade smartphone.
Fastest VPNs in 2023: overview
- NordVPN – fastest VPN in the world
- Surfshark– ultra-fast VPN with loads of features
- Atlas VPN – best high-speed freemium VPN
- ExpressVPN – performance-focused VPN with exceptional privacy
- Cyberghost – the best fast VPN with an immense server variety
It shouldn’t surprise you that overall connectivity was the leading criterion by which we compiled our fastest VPN service list. However, it’s not always just about the top dog if the value you’re getting for your money is just not there. Therefore, we also brought extra attention to all security, privacy, and comfort features each VPN brings to the table.
For this roundup, we tested 28 best-known brands and finalized our list with the 5 fastest VPN providers out there right now. Without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at each of them.
1. NordVPN – the fastest VPN overall
- Perfect for streaming and P2P
- Exceptional security and privacy
- Audited no-logs policy
- Only 6 simultaneous connections
If you’re looking for the fastest VPN in 2023 – NordVPN is your ultimate choice. It provides solid performance whether you are using it for regular browsing or streaming your favorite content on Netflix. So to answer the question “How fast is NordVPN?” briefly – it is insanely fast, thanks to its NordLynx protocol, a proprietary version of WireGuard.
Throughout our speed tests, NordVPN showed incredible stability and with the base speed of 500Mbps, we received virtually no speed loss. Download speed averaged at 486 Mbps, while the upload average stabilized at 459 Mbps, which translates to 97% and 92% speed retention respectively.
NordVPN is one of the most popular VPNs and has over 5800 servers in 60+ countries. It’s excellent for 4K (UHD) streaming, P2P file-sharing, and online gaming. Therefore, we could easily name it the fastest VPN for torrenting and streaming.
NordVPN has world-class security features, like practically unbreakable AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and an audited no-logs policy. All of them protect your anonymity at the highest level. Since it is based in Panama, you don’t need to worry about the Fourteen Eyes surveillance machine.
You can start your subscription today with a whopping 69% discount by utilizing a NordVPN coupon code. Alternatively, you can dip your toes in first by claiming the free trial on the Google Play Store. Best of all, each plan is protected with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – supersonic and secure VPN
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Excellent performance
- Unlocks Netflix and other platforms
- Bonus features cost extra
We are always happy to see high-quality VPNs that are affordable. Surfshark VPN fits that description and offers fast VPN connections thanks to the WireGuard tunneling protocol.
Diving straight into the numbers, Surfshark displayed excellent results, with download speeds averaging 475 Mbps and uploads at 436 Mbps. In terms of speed retention, this VPN held up remarkably well, upholding 95% and 87% of download and upload speed.
This service has covered the globe with a fleet of 3200+ servers located in 100+ countries that should provide excellent connectivity in any corner of the world. Additionally, all of those servers utilize RAM-only technology to avoid storing data on hard drives.
Surfshark VPN unblocks Netflix and is fast enough to stream even in 4K. What’s more, this VPN is torrenting-friendly and allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections.
We love that Surfshark VPN is both fast and secure. It’s based in the Netherlands – a privacy-friendly location with no data retention laws. The VPN itself has excellent security features, like MultiHop and AES-250 encryption, that enhance your anonymity and privacy while browsing.
You can get the best deals on a subscription by utilizing a Surfshark coupon code and instantly save 80%. Every customer is also insured with a 30-day money-back guarantee to try this VPN completely risk-free. Otherwise, you can get a feel for the service by grabbing a 7-day free trial.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
3. Atlas VPN – extremely affordable and quick VPN
- Free plan
- Excellent for streaming
- Unlimited connections
- No router support
High connection speeds shouldn’t leave you with empty pockets. Luckily, Atlas VPN is a fast and frugal option with excellent streaming performance.
First off, Atlas VPN is equipped with 1000+ servers in 49+ countries. You may also connect to the unique SafeSwap servers that periodically alter your IP address without disconnections. Meanwhile, blazing-fast connections are guaranteed with the modern WireGuard tunneling protocol.
While AtlasVPN is one of the most affordable VPNs of the bunch, you shouldn’t underestimate its speed. During our tests, it delivered a solid performance with an average of 448 Mbps download (90%) and 346 Mbps upload (69%) speeds. However, the connection was usually a bit more wavy than seen with NordVPN or Surfshark.
Atlas VPN is optimized for streaming and is a solid choice for unlocking extra content on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube TV, and countless other platforms. Additionally, it’ll keep you secure from ads and phishing attacks with the SafeBrowse feature. Best of all, you can share one account with your friends and family as the service permits unlimited simultaneous connections.
You can get a feel for the service by trying it out with the available free, although quite limited, version. To get the best possible speeds, try the premium plan, now 86% off if you use an Atlas VPN coupon. Lastly, each plan is protected with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can start with no strings attached.
For a deeper investigation of Atlas VPN, read our Atlas VPN review.
4. ExpressVPN – swift VPN with exceptional device compatibility
- Excellent device compatibility
- Awesome for Netflix
- Wide server selection
One of the most famous names in the VPN industry is ExpressVPN. It provides mind-blowing speeds with its proprietary Lightway tunneling protocol. Whether your aim is streaming or gaming, ExpressVPN is an excellent choice.
Speed test shooed away any doubts and solidified ExpressVPN’s position as one of the most stable VPNs. Although the VPN preserved 91% of download and 81% of upload speeds in the averages of 457 Mbps and 405 Mbps the moment-to-moment speeds appeared to be less fluctuating than those of its competitors.
First off, ExpressVPN operates a solid server fleet through 105+ countries. The network is protected with specialized TrustedServer technology, which reinstalls the server software after each reboot and runs purely on RAM. On top of that, the port forwarding option is a great addition for extra security, safer torrenting, or hosting game servers.
Moreover, the VPN works reliably with streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, or Max and can unlock global content without issues. Even 4K UHD movies will not break a sweat due to both speedy and stable Lightway connections. ExpressVPN is compatible with a wide variety of different gadgets and you can connect up to 8 devices simultaneously to a single ExpressVPN account.
This VPN stands as one of the top providers in terms of speed, albeit with a slightly higher price. Luckily, you have the opportunity to cut down the price tag with a 49% discount with any of ExpressVPN codes. Experience its outstanding speed and performance risk-free today with 30-day money-back insurance.
For a deeper investigation of ExpressVPN, read our ExpressVPN review.
5. CyberGhost – speedy VPN with great value
- Low price and good performance
- 10Gbps servers
- Independently audited
- macOS and iPhone iOS fewer features
CyberGhost offers a nice balance between an affordable price, excellent performance, and reliable privacy.
With the global coverage of 10218+ servers in 100+ countries, you are sure to find a server near you and minimize any speed loss. Unsurprisingly, some servers are virtual, but this doesn’t impede connection speed since WireGuard is there to put that pedal to the metal. Moreover, bandwidth congestion is a thing of the past since CyberGhost upgraded a lot of its servers to support 10Gbps throughput.
Putting CyberGhost to the test brought some interesting outcomes. During the trials, we noticed an interesting trend of CyberGhost pushing out way better upload speeds (avg. 444 Mbps) than downloads (avg. 473 Mbps). This resulted in speed retention rates of 94% for downloads and quite a solid 89% upload speed with an enabled VPN connection.
For the best possible performance, CyberGhost offers a wide range of specialized servers, including ones for gaming, P2P, and streaming. The latter option works flawlessly with pretty much every most popular streaming platform and easily unlocks foreign libraries in just a few clicks.
Security-wise, CyberGhost offers powerful encryption, an automatic kill switch, and leak protection. It also follows a strict and independently audited no-logs policy while being based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction of Romania. The provider also releases periodic Transparency Reports for added accountability.
Along with solid performance, CyberGhost serves great value, especially if you activate a discount code for 84% savings. Furthermore, it offers an extended 45-day money-back guarantee, surpassing the warranties of most other providers out there.
For a deeper investigation of CyberGhost, read our CyberGhost review.
How we tested VPN speeds?
So how did we come up with the speed test results for the fastest VPNs? Well, it’s a really good question. Testing the speeds of certain software often includes specific parameters and criteria you have to follow. Here’s ours:
- Tunneling protocols. Testing your car’s top speed on the third gear will not give you reliable numbers. That’s why we opted for the fastest protocols every VPN offered. Unsurprisingly, Wireguard and its proprietary counterparts proved to be unmatched by older options, with the latter being just a nice addition for niche situations.
- Server locations. The distance between you and your chosen VPN server plays a pivotal role in the speed and responsiveness of your connection. We tried to give every contender a fair chance and performed the speed tests on the servers in the same location. In case the particular provider was missing a server in that region, we went for the locale of the closest one.
- Same conditions. Every test for every VPN was conducted on the same device using the same 500Mbps network. That, however, only eliminates any inconsistencies from the user’s side rather than any possible fluctuations depending on the VPN service.
One thing to note is that tests like these are prone to severe differences depending on any tester’s hardware and internet connection. On top of that, the networks of VPNs deliver wavy speeds on a daily basis. To see the most up-to-date comparisons, check out our online VPN speed test tool.
Ever wondered what it feels like to enjoy blazing speeds and unlimited bandwidth anytime and anywhere? Browse, stream, and download with industry-leading connection speeds powered by NordLynx. Try the fastest VPN today!
How to speed up your VPN
Some performance reduction is expected due to how a VPN works. Rerouting your web traffic through an intermediary server increases the travel distance of data packets, thus slowing down connection speed. However, there are various methods that you can employ to minimize the speed loss. Here’s how to make your fast VPN even faster:
- Switch the servers. Bandwidth congestion is a common problem if there are multiple users pumping a lot of data through the same server. If that’s the case, a quick reconnect, even to the same location, is bound to solve everything in mere moments.
- Try closer locations. If changing your virtual location is not your primary objective, it’s always better to go for a server nearer to your actual whereabouts. Longer distances mean longer data transfer times, so reducing it is almost guaranteed to speed up any loading times.
- Look for specialized servers. Servers that are dedicated and optimized for specific purposes are nothing new. If your VPN service provides such options, go straight for those. Usually, the specialized servers for gaming, torrenting, or streaming deliver noticeably better results.
- Tunneling protocols. Most of the best-known VPN services offer multiple tunneling protocols for your convenience. Even though WireGuard blows the likes of OpenVPN out of the water, it’s not always the most optimal choice. Some rare situations may benefit from other protocols, so don’t be afraid to play around.
- Reach out to customer support. Sometimes even all you can do may not be enough, so don’t hesitate and reach for a helping hand. Most VPNs have awesome and responsive support teams, so you can figure out if the slowdown is on your end or their side.
Why do I need a fast VPN?
While a VPN’s primary purpose is to ensure security, we shouldn’t forget about usability. A fast VPN is a great companion for any daily internet user engaging in various online activities, such as:
- Unthrottled browsing. Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are known to slow down their customers’ internet speeds if they’re clocking up big numbers. Employing a fast VPN can help you easily bypass ISP throttling by encrypting your whole online traffic.
- Video streaming. Watching movies, TV series, or streaming sports online, especially at high definition, eats up data like crazy. Going for the fastest VPNs helps you avoid the speed drops and enjoy a bufferless and seamless streaming experience anywhere. Not to mention unlocking geo-blocked services and global streaming libraries.
- Online gaming. Every gamer knows that lag is your worst enemy. The fastest VPNs for gaming obliterate excessive ping, noticeably reduce latency, and avoid throttling to give the best gaming experience. Even better, a secure VPN can also protect you and your device from those nasty DDoS attacks.
- Torrenting. The power of high-speed VPNs is the key to lightning-fast downloads and uninterrupted torrenting sessions. Even better, it adds a layer of security and privacy as you torrent, masking your IP address and encrypting your internet traffic for maximum anonymity.
What is the fastest free VPN?
In the world of VPNs, the words free and fast don’t usually go together in the same sentence. This is true for many reasons, like huge limitations and shady practices, but let’s take a deeper look at why a costless VPN can be a step backwards.
Free VPN services typically come in two forms – completely free or freemium. As the name suggests, the former comes with no monetary cost. However, you may end up paying in other ways, such as your data and browsing history. On top of that, they offer subpar security and, most importantly, lackluster speeds. The second option is a bit more consumer-friendly, but the data caps and limited speeds don’t offer that much either.
Our best suggestion is to rather go for proven premium services offering free trials and money-back guarantees, such as NordVPN. By doing so, you’ll get the best possible performance and security for more than a month completely free. And if you don’t want to stick around after the trial? Not to worry. You can simply try other services until you find your one and only.
NordVPN: the fastest VPN review
NordVPN wears the crown of the fastest VPN in the market year after year. Dive deeper into the mechanism behind world-class VPN, how it retains high speeds, and how it can benefit your ventures.
Choosing the fastest VPN without getting acquainted with the numbers may be a shot in the dark. Fortunately, all the VPNs featured on our list have a strong track record of delivering impressive speeds, thanks to their top-of-the-line tunneling protocols and vast server networks.
However, there can only be one winner, and our ultimate choice for both speed and strength is none other than NordVPN. Not only does it deliver excellent performance for gaming, streaming, and torrenting, but also guarantees uncompromised online safety. Throughout all our tests, NordVPN proved once more that industry-leading security doesn’t have to come at a cost of even a crumb of performance.
What is the fastest VPN in your opinion? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment!
Which VPN is the fastest?
The fastest VPN is NordVPN. It runs an expansive server network and uses the ultra-fast proprietary NordLynx protocol. Besides, it’s great for streaming, security, and maintaining confidentiality online. You can start by claiming a free trial on the Google Play Store and continue on any supported device.
Which free VPN has the fastest speed?
No free VPN will ever be on the same speed level as a premium VPN, like NordVPN. However, the freemium Atlas VPN comes pretty close. It has the WireGuard tunneling protocol and three server locations worldwide for optimal performance.
Are fast VPNs safe?
Yes, all of the fastest VPNs are safe and trustworthy. All of the VPNs on our list not only provide powerful security features but also respect your privacy. Every respectable VPN strongly enforces no-logs policies, while some of them can even boast multiple independent audits.
Can a VPN increase speed?
Yes, using a VPN can improve your internet connection. While it depends on multiple factors, there are many ways how a fast VPN can improve your internet speeds. The results, however, can differ on a case-by-case basis, but VPNs do bolster internet connections in general.