Fastest VPN providers for 2021

Jan Youngren
Jan Youngren | Security researcher
Last updated: February 24, 2021
fastest vpn

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Even the fastest VPNs slow your internet connection to some point. That’s because of the encryption and the accumulated distance that your traffic travels across the web. However, what makes a fast VPN service stand out is avoiding inconsistent speeds, high latency, and frequent connection drops that can make even the most secure VPN useless. This is why the best high-speed VPN is what you should be looking for.

In our 2021 Fastest VPN list, we try to find services that don’t sacrifice security for speed.

We took our time to test the different VPNs on the market so that you wouldn’t have to. Below, you will find the list with the winners of the field, letting you choose the VPN with the highest average speed.

Also, all of these services are secure. You will find more info on each product’s privacy features, but for now, let’s just say that we haven’t included any providers that could seriously harm your privacy and anonymity while browsing.

Top 5 very fast VPNs in 2021

#PROVIDERSCORESCORE
1.
All-around leading VPN
9.6 / 10
2.
For torrenting fans
8.1 / 10
3.
Free version and limitless devices
8.1 / 10
4.
Forward-thinking and affordable
9.4 / 10
5.
Offers excellent speeds
8.2 / 10

Top 10 fastest VPN providers overview

1. NordVPN

9.6
Top VPN provider
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat, Email
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
1,124 Mbit/s
  • Excellent for torrenting
  • Custom apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and more
  • Tor over VPN
  • No router app

If you’re looking for the fastest VPN – NordVPN is your ultimate choice. It would work excellent whether you are using it for regular browsing, or for streaming your favorite content on Netflix. So to answer the question “How fast is NordVPN?” briefly – it is very fast, thanks to its NordLynx protocol, a proprietary version of WireGuard.

Additionally, NordVPN has world-class security features, like military-grade encryption, kill-switch, and true no-logs policy. All of them protect your anonymity at the highest level. Since it is based in Panama, you don’t need to be afraid of the Fourteen Eyes surveillance machine.

NordVPN is one of the most popular VPNs today and has over 5500 servers in 59+ 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.

Let us also not forget about the affordable price tag. Go to NordVPN to choose your payment plan to see whether you like the product. If not, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee

For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.

2. TorGuard

Support
Support:
Live chat, email, 24/7 phone
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
824 Mbit/s
  • Great for torrenting
  • Very fast speeds
  • Excellent security
  • Not very good for Netflix

TorGuard is currently our 2nd-fastest VPN overall, thanks to the WireGuard protocol. However, the difference between this service and NordVPN is quite substantial, but the next three VPNs are pretty close. Therefore, you should expect a tough battle for the #2 spot in the upcoming weeks.

Most of us know TorGuard as an excellent choice for torrenting. It would be hard to argue with such a statement. For start, this VPN has a solid server fleet (3000+ servers in 50+ countries). What’s more, TorGuard’s no-logs policy and a solid kill switch ensure privacy and security. Finally, it bypasses China’s Great Firewall so that you can torrent even in China.

TorGuard supports not only the major platforms but also Amazon Fire TV, routers, and NAS. You won’t have to worry about connecting all your devices as well – this VPN allows eight simultaneous connections.

There are multiple pricing plans to choose from, and the long-term options are decently priced. We also liked that TorGuard accepts various cryptocurrencies and gift cards. Last but not least comes the 7-day money-back guarantee.

For a deeper investigation of TorGuard, read our TorGuard review.

3. Windscribe VPN

Support
Support:
Email, knowledgebase
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
740 Mbit/s
  • Very fast
  • Unlimited devices
  • Ad and malware blocking
  • No live chat support

Windscribe VPN is known for its great free version, but the premium plans are worth the upgrade. After all, there still aren’t that many providers with the WireGuard tunneling protocol. And there are only a few that offer unlimited simultaneous connections.

Even though Windscribe VPN has only 480+ servers, all of them are physical and manage to provide top-notch performance. The server spread is quite impressive as well – you’ll get to choose from more than 60 countries. Some of them are optimized for streaming, which means you’ll be able to watch not only Netflix US but also its libraries in Canada, the UK, and Japan.

Windscribe VPN uses military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and Double Hop (multi-hop). Moreover, this service doesn’t collect identify logs and could not provide any user data to the authorities.

The long-term plans are quite cheap, and you also get to build one of your own, starting from $1/month. In addition to the traditional payments, you can choose either Bitcoin or gift cards.

For a deeper investigation of Windscribe VPN, read our Windscribe VPN review.

4. Surfshark VPN

9.4
Top VPN provider
Support
Support:
24/7 live chat, FAQ
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
689 Mbit/s
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Apps for major platforms and Fire TV
  • Excellent for streaming
  • Weak self-help support section

We are always happy to see high-quality VPNs that are cheap. Surfshark VPN fits that description and also offers speeds that are far from disappointing (thanks, WireGuard).

This service has covered the globe with a fleet of 3200+ servers located in 60+ countries that should provide great connectivity in any location.

We love that Surfshark VPN is not only fast also safe. It’s based in the British Virgin Islands – a privacy-friendly location with no data retention laws. The VPN itself has excellent security features that enhance your anonymity and privacy while browsing.

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. Now you can save up to 83% – visit the Surfshark VPN website.

For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.

5. Mullvad VPN

Support
Support:
Email
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
696 Mbit/s
  • WireGuard protocol
  • Solid P2P performace
  • Comprehensive list of guides on website
  • No app for iOS

The less commonly known Mullvad managed to climb up to the 2nd place in our Fastest VPN in 2020 ranking. We were quite impressed by the speeds we experienced while using the lighting-fast WireGuard protocol.

Mullvad offers a decent P2P performance, which is an excellent indication of a speedy provider. You would have no problem getting your chosen content in less time than using many other VPN services available on the market.

One thing to mention, though, Mullvad has apps for major platforms only. Nevertheless, this Swedish VPN offers full anonymity, starting from account creation and ending with payment options.

With its 750+ regular and over 200 WireGuard-only servers, it may not have the biggest network. Yet, if you need a speedy VPN for torrenting, you’ve just found one for a relatively good price – Mullvad speeds are definitely impressive.

See for yourself how fast Mullvad VPN is by downloading the VPN on their website.

For a deeper investigation of Mullvad VPN, read our Mullvad VPN review.

6. Hotspot Shield

Support
Support:
24/7 live chat
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
136 Mbit/s
  • Great for streaming
  • Supports all major platforms
  • Free version
  • Questionable privacy, invasive data practices

When looking for a fast VPN provider, you shouldn’t overlook Hotspot Shield. The product was launched more than a decade ago, and it is well-known not only for its fast connection establishment but also for great overall speeds that are not far from our top choices. This certainly has to do something with 3200+ servers in 90+ countries, if you ask us.

Their in-house Catapult Hydra protocol also played a vital role. Go test it out yourself by downloading Hotspot Shield. Should you decide that this VPN is not for you, there’s a lengthy 45-day money-back guarantee available.

If maximum online security and privacy are more important to you, you might want to choose some other provider. That’s because Hotspot Shield is registered in the US and has had some logging issues in the past. However, if you’re not a journalist or political activist, you shouldn’t be too much concerned about that.

For a deeper investigation of Hotspot Shield, read our Hotspot Shield review.

7. ExpressVPN

Support
Support:
24/7 live chat, email
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
132 Mbit/s
  • Apps for routers, Linux, and more
  • Great for streaming
  • Very good for torrenting
  • No kill switch for iOS

Here we have another market favorite – ExpressVPN. This service has more consistent and reliable speeds, while many others have high peaks and low valleys. Even without a WireGuard tunneling protocol, it’s among the fastest VPN providers on the market today. And when it finishes implementing its in-house Lightway protocol, our #1 NordVPN will have another fierce competitor.

Additionally, ExpressVPN offers a high-quality overall service with 3000+ servers in 90+ countries. It includes military-grade encryption, a kill-switch, as well as an independently-audited no-logs policy. ExpressVPN is also great for Netflix and P2P.

The main issue with ExpressVPN is its high price – the cheapest option starts from $6.67/month. However, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee available, meaning you can test the service risk-free. Try ExpressVPN today!

For a deeper investigation of ExpressVPN, read our ExpressVPN review.

8. PureVPN

Support
Support:
24/7 live chat
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
107 Mbit/s
  • Temptingly low pricing
  • Great 24/7 live chat support
  • 10 simultaneous connection
  • Some of the server locations are virtual

PureVPN stands out from the crowd of non-WireGuard services with its global server network that spans over 140+ countries. While not all of its 6500+ servers are physical, it’s still good to have such a wide selection.

Choosing PureVPN means choosing security and privacy. This VPN uses military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection. Moreover, it has an independently-audited no-logs policy that should clear any doubts about collecting user data. Finally, PureVPN is located in privacy-friendly Hong Kong.

Those interested in streaming will be able to watch Netflix and other streaming platforms. This applies to Kodi fans as well. And when it comes to P2P, PureVPN is an excellent choice for torrenting.

For a deeper investigation of PureVPN, read our PureVPN review.

9. PrivateVPN

Support
Support:
24/7 live chat
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
105 Mbit/s
  • Excellent for Netflix
  • Apps for main platforms
  • 7-day free trial
  • macOS and iOS apps have fewer features

PrivateVPN uses OpenVPN protocol and still is among the fastest providers. Now imagine what speeds will be available when they implement WireGuard. In the meantime, let’s not forget that PrivateVPN achieved this with only 150+ servers.

While Sweden is not the most privacy-friendly country, this shouldn’t be of concern because PrivateVPN has a strict no-logs policy. It also offers anonymous payment options.

PrivateVPN has apps for major platforms and can be used on six devices at the same time. It’s one of the best VPNs for streaming, allowing you to watch multiple Netflix libraries and other content platforms. Private VPN is also good for torrenting.

Starting at $1.89/month, this VPN is really cheap. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Most importantly, you can get a 7-day free trial.

For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.

10. Private Internet Access

Support
Support:
Live chat, email
Avg. download speed
Avg. download speed:
70 Mbit/s
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • Great for streaming
  • Good for torrenting
  • Not good in China

Private Internet Access is another VPN service that implemented the WireGuard tunneling protocol and instantly joined the Fastest VPNs club. Having 24500+ servers in 70+ countries didn’t hurt its positions either. However, most of them are located in Europe and North America, so users on other continents might experience slower speeds.

This VPN has military-grade encryption and no leaks. What’s more, it’s no-logs policy has been proven in court twice. Finally, those who want maximum privacy will benefit from anonymous payment options.

Private Internet Access has apps for major platforms plus browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. One account can have ten simultaneous connections – that should be more than enough for most users. Get Private Internet Access today – all plans come with a 7-day money-back guarantee.

For a deeper investigation of Private Internet Access, read our Private Internet Access review.

How we ranked VPNs on this list

Why does our fastest VPN list look the way it does? To compile it, we considered only one metric – average download speed during the last two weeks.

We gathered the data using our in-house VPN Speed Test tool, which runs multiple tests every day in the US, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, and Germany.

We’ve been testing most VPNs since July, while VyprVPN and PureVPN have been added in September. The last one, added in October, is Hotspot Shield.

Each VPN offers a different set of tunneling protocols, which makes comparing the results tricky. That’s why services that use the next-gen WireGuard protocol are considerably faster than the rest.

Another thing to note: we are still working on adding some VPNs that use WireGuard. Therefore, we test such services as CyberGhost VPN or Private Internet Access using OpenVPN.

After that, the only thing left was completing the list by presenting each VPNs capabilities in terms of performance and other key factors – namely, security and privacy.

Ranking free VPNs

Below you will also find our Top 3 fastest free VPN services in 2021. Currently, we don’t have all of them in our speed test, so for free VPNs, we used a regular Ookla test.

First, we determined our baseline speed and then connected to the available VPN servers. The free version selection is limited, so, unfortunately, we couldn’t test all the services equally.

After measuring the average download and upload speeds from multiple tests, we also counted the drop-off percentage to give you an idea of how big of a slowdown you can expect.

Fastest VPN in 2020 | TOP 5 VPNs comparison + SPEED TESTS
2020-08-02

VPN speed test results: an overview

Below you will find a table with the results from our VPN speed test. The data has been gathered on December 2, 2020, so there’s a chance that you might see a different Top 10 on the speed test page.

VPNAverage download speed
1. NordVPN1,198 Mbps
2. TorGuard800 Mbps
3. Windscribe VPN798 Mbps
4. Surfshark VPN690 Mbps
5. Mullvad689 Mbps
6. Hotspot Shield144 Mbps
7. ExpressVPN128 Mbps
8. PureVPN104 Mbps
9. PrivateVPN97 Mbps
10. PIA86 Mbps

As the numbers show, the Top 5 is reserved for the providers that use the WireGuard tunneling protocol. The bottom five are at least four times slower, which means that ditching OpenVPN and IKEv2 is only a matter of time. The difference between the last spot (PIA) and #6 (Hotspot Shield) is significant, but not so much that you should upgrade to the latter even though you like the former.

How to make your VPN connection faster

There are several ways you can make your VPN connection faster:

  1. Make sure that your Operating System is not downloading an update in the background.
  2. Try to reconnect to a location multiple times. Unless you’re connecting to a specific or dedicated IP, you may be assigned a different one every time you try to connect to a location.
  3. Check the app Settings menu and change the VPN protocol if possible. WireGuard is said to be the fastest and one of the most secure protocols. If it’s unavailable, your second choice should be IKEv2. You may also try OpenVPN UDP instead of TCP. Just make sure you’re not making yourself vulnerable with the outdated PPTP protocol.
  4. Connect to the VPN server closest to your physical location.
  5. Check the app Settings menu to see whether any special features are switched on, such as Obfuscation, StealthVPN, or Stunnel. These can slow you down.
  6. Know your baseline speeds to not have false expectations.
  7. Purchase the right VPN service for you. We advise you to use free trials or the money-back guarantee option to test several choices.

Advantages of using a fast VPN

The main advantage of using a fast VPN is that it makes every single activity online smoother and speedier.

A fast VPN is particularly important when your online activities involve intense data traffic. Naturally, these activities cannot tolerate buffering, lagging, or connection drops. Therefore, for the best possible experience, you’ll need a high-speed VPN.

In some cases, those speed-hungry activities may involve someone’s specific work – like if you’re working with data analysis or video editing. However, many people would benefit from investing in a speedy VPN service. If a fast connection slows down, it’s still quite average, but when an average speed VPN slows down, you may find yourself watching SD instead of HD.

What’s more, you don’t have to spend more to get a faster VPN. Most of the services listed above are also among the cheapest VPNs and the best overall. In other words, you don’t have to sacrifice anything when choosing speed.

Finally, answer whether you enjoy video streaming (Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and so on), online gaming, or P2P file-sharing (torrenting). If so, a fast VPN should end up on your must-list.

Top 3 fastest free VPNs

In terms of performance, free VPNs are nowhere near the premium ones, even if we remove WireGuard out of the equation. The reasons behind this are pretty simple.

For starters, free VPN services offer fewer servers in fewer countries. This results in high latency due to the server’s distance and poor performance because of the overload. In fact, some providers limit the top speed.

What’s more, free VPN providers tend to cap the monthly bandwidth. So even if your chosen service allows P2P or unblocks Netflix, you won’t get to enjoy it for long.

Having said all that, we still tried to find out which free VPN is the fastest. As mentioned before, we used the Ookla speed test because we don’t have all the providers available on our in-house tool yet. Our baseline numbers were 287 Mbps for download and 281 Mbps for upload. We ran our tests from Europe.

1. Windscribe

Windscribe is our top free VPN service in terms of speed. We tested five server locations, namely the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Hong Kong. Here are the summarized results:

Server locationDownload speedDrop-off
Europe194 Mbps32%
United States170 Mbps41%
Asia and Oceania127 Mbps56%
Average171 Mbps41%

As you can see, Windscribe manages to provide good performance even when connecting to remote locations in Hong Kong. We also liked that the drop-off in the US wasn’t that big.

Windscribe has no identifying logs and is equipped with a decent variety of security and privacy features. These include advertisement and malware blocking, port forwarding, static IPs, a firewall, and wifi hotspot security.

This free VPN also allows torrenting, but the 10 GB/month data cap will severely limit your downloads. Finally, specialized Netflix streaming servers are unavailable to free users.

2. Hide.me VPN

Only poor results from the US West Coast kept Hide.me VPN from earning the top spot. On the other hand, this free service doesn’t offer any servers in Asia or Oceania, so its average numbers are affected by this as well.

Server locationDownload speedDrop-off
Europe237 Mbps17%
United States112 Mbps61%
Average153 Mbps47%

For local connections, Hide.me VPN may be the fastest VPN, giving almost no drop-off. However, you may have a problem connecting from more remote locations, especially because all three servers are either in Europe or the US.

Hide.me VPN’s free version has a 10 GB/month limit and doesn’t support streaming. You can download torrents, but the monthly cap is simply too much.

This provider is located in privacy-friendly Malaysia and has a strict no-logs policy. It uses military-grade encryption and has no IP or DNS leaks. You can install Hide.me VPN on all major platforms plus Linux, Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick, and routers.

3. TunnelBear

TunnelBear is a user-friendly service that offers quite impressive speeds for its free version users. This VPN also has servers in Japan and Australia, which means less ping for those outside of Europe and North America.

Server locationDownload speedDrop-off
Europe160 Mbps44%
United States122 Mbps57%
Asia and Oceania136 Mbps53%
Average147 Mbps49%

This VPN has shown better results in Asia and Oceania, even though the US is closer to our testing location. Therefore, we believe that TunnelBear can be faster in North America.

The main problem with the free version is the bandwidth limit. When you get only 500 MB/month, using TunnelBear regularly becomes virtually impossible. Furthermore, this provider supports neither streaming nor P2P.

No other free VPN offers more countries than TunnelBear does. It also protects you with military-grade encryption and a kill switch. So if you need a VPN only occasionally, TunnelBear can be a great choice, especially for beginners.

Final verdict

Our VPN speed test has clearly shown that NordVPN is the fastest VPN available. Even more, it’s nearly 50% faster than its closest competitor, TorGuard. However, if for some reason you don’t like NordVPN, we advise checking Windscribe VPN at the third spot. It’s virtually as fast as TorGuard, has a free version, and offers unlimited simultaneous connections.

Finally, we’d recommend choosing from the Top 5 fastest VPNs because only these VPNs currently have the next-gen WireGuard protocol. But as more and more providers implement this new technology, expect our list of fastest VPN services in 2021 to evolve.

Fastest VPN FAQ

Does a VPN slow down internet speed?

Yes, but with a reliable VPN service, you won’t be losing much speed. All the products from our list are among the best you would find on the market.

Can a VPN increase internet speed?

In some cases, it can. Even though it sounds counter-intuitive, a VPN can increase your internet speed if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is throttling your connection. This is often done to regulate streaming and torrenting volume, but with a VPN, your ISP won’t be able to see what you’re doing online. Therefore, you will get the full speed.

Which VPN is the fastest in 2021?

NordVPN has proven to be the fastest VPN in the numerous tests that we took.

Can you offer a fast free VPN provider?

Yes, you can try Windscribe VPN. Also, you can check our full list of Top 3 fastest free VPNs above.

What is the fastest VPN for streaming?

The fastest VPN for streaming is NordVPN. It unblocks multiple streaming platforms and enables you to watch in 4K (UHD).

What is the fastest VPN for torrenting?

Torrenters seeking the fastest speeds should choose NordVPN. It’s way faster than any other VPN in the world and also provides excellent protection for P2P activities.

What is the best country to set your VPN to?

For maximum performance, you should connect to a country that’s close to your location. However, if you want to unblock streaming platforms, choosing the US servers is your best bet.

Is the fastest VPN any good?

Yes, it sure is! As we mentioned, all the VPN that we have included are not only fast, but also safe. Therefore you won’t be sacrificing your privacy and anonymity while browsing.

How to choose the fastest VPN server for gaming?

Gamers should pay more attention to the latency (ping), not the download speed. Most of the time, the closest VPN server is the best for gaming because the latency depends on the distance, among other factors. However, you should also check if the VPN server isn’t overpopulated.

Can "speed boosters" increase VPN performance?

No. You should avoid downloading and installing any type of software that claims to improve your VPN speeds. More often that not, such third-party apps are malware. All that you can get from such free “speed boosters” is ads and data mining.

Which VPNs are the fastest for mobile?

Our Top 10 fastest VPNs list applies to mobile users as well. Every provider that offers the WireGuard tunneling protocol has it available on Android and iOS as well. In case you’re going for a different VPN, make sure that it has WireGuard on mobile.

6 comments
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  1. Kerem

    I definitely do not recommend Astrill VPN. It is fast in connection but there is almost no rope connection in countries. It is very complicated and difficult to use. I bought a few days ago. But I never used it because the rope is limited in providers. I requested to cancel my membership and refund. The reimbursement was definitely not made. 20 USD I paid was wasted.


  2. Pocket Polarity

    This is a necessary list! I don’t like slow internet connections, but I want a reliable VPN to protect me when I go online. Thanks for giving me so many options!


  3. Bob Scott

    It’s true that location means a lot! What works best at home for me isn’t necessarily going to be the optimal choice for when I’m traveling somewhere else. NordVPN seems to be one of the most reliable across the board.


  4. 128HIW8

    Yes, I was wondering why NordVPN landed on the 4th place. I didn’t quite know it has issues with speed, and thanks for highlighting this and lettin us know about others that are way better


  5. Juni L

    I wasn’t expecting Astrill to be in the top. I thought NordVPN would be higher in the list. I guess 4 is alright, I’ve been using NordVPN and it’s already quite fast. Thanks for the list.


  6. Alexis Kapsis

    Love the graphic work on this page and all the images used, especially the first one. Your articles are extremely informative and the style of writing is also very engaging. Love reading the VPN reviews on your site!

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