VPN shield icon driving a fast car
Click here for a summary of this article.
The Five Fastest VPNs: A Brief Overview

VPNs can be very useful in a lot of scenarios. They help you stream movies and series, download files, get deals from international retailers, and plenty more. But what can you do to make sure the VPN’s fast enough for intensive activities, like online gaming?

We tested tested the speed of dozens of VPNs so you don’t have to, and here are our top five picks for the fastest VPN service:

  1. NordVPN: The fastest VPN available right now
  2. CyberGhost: VPN service with dedicated high-speed servers for different purposes
  3. Surfshark: Fast and affordable VPN provider
  4. PIA: VPN with military-grade security and loads of servers worldwide
  5. ExpressVPN: User-friendly VPN with blazing fast speeds

NordVPN emerged from our tests as the service with the fastest VPN servers. If you need speed and anonymity, there’s no better pick.

Scroll down for more detailed information about our tests of the fastest VPNs for both local and faraway servers.

Speed is key for any online activity you’ll use a VPN for. Gaming? You need a high-speed VPN to avoid FPS drops. Unblocking streaming services? Without a fast VPN, you’ll be stuck with low video quality and buffering. Downloading large files? If you don’t want to wait for days, a fast VPN is crucial.

But how do you know which VPN to pick? How do you even check a VPN’s speed? Luckily, you won’t have to do any testing. We researched dozens of VPNs to find the fastest VPN provider, and our results were clear. NordVPN has the highest speeds compared to all other services.

Read our article below to learn more about our speed tests and how to pick the perfect VPN for you.

Top 5 Fastest VPNs Right Now

The five VPNs in the table below are top-of-the-line regarding fast connection speeds. Thanks to their well-optimized servers, and efficient VPN protocols, they’ll make sure you maintain a good VPN connection when streaming, downloading, or just browsing the web. If you’re suffering because of ISP throttling, these VPNs can even improve your internet speed!

Feature#1 NordVPN#2 CyberGhost#3 Surfshark#4 PIA#5 ExpressVPN
Number of servers5,400+9,000+3,200+33,000+3,000+
Number of countries60901008494
% of normal download speed96%95%95%94%94%
% of normal upload speed96%95%95%95%94%
Ping on nearby servers (ms)54467
Optimized streaming servers
ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2, NordLynx (WireGuard)OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuardOpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuardOpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuardOpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, Lightway
PurchaseGet NordVPNGet CyberGhostGet SurfsharkGet PIAGet ExpressVPN

Below we take a deep dive into the providers with the fastest VPN servers, among other essential features they offer.

1. NordVPN: The fastest VPN service on the market

Homepage of a NordVPN website, July 2023

What We Like

  • Retained 96% of our normal speed
  • Robust protocols to ensure high speeds and secure browsing
  • Low ping, even when gaming or downloading on faraway servers
  • Supports P2P file sharing
  • Doesn't keep logs
  • Enhanced AES 256 encryption

What We Don't Like

  • Limited multi-language support

NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market right now. We’ve tested NordVPN‘s download and upload speeds extensively on dozens of servers. It never fails to live up to the highest standard of performance. That’s why we’ve successfully used it for many of our online activities.

We watched some of the best Netflix shows, like The Walking Dead, with no lag using NordVPN servers from different continents.

NordVPN app connected to a server in the US with a working Netflix stream of The Walking Dead in the background

We also played games on faraway servers without interruptions and downloaded content at blazing-fast speeds.

NordVPN’s success is mainly due to its qualitative servers and efficient security protocols. OpenVPN, one of the main protocols NordVPN uses, is known for its great connection speeds. But NordVPN is not just the fastest VPN. It doesn’t keep any logs of your activity, and it can help you stay anonymous online with its enhanced AES 256-bit encryption.

You can leverage its 30-day money-back guarantee to try it for free.

Our choice
Deal Save big with 68% off a two-year subscription plus 3 months free!
$ 3.19
  • Fast and large worldwide network of VPN servers
  • Perfect for privacy and streaming
  • Trusted by many, with over 14 million users
Visit NordVPN

2. CyberGhost: Fastest VPN with dedicated high-speed servers

Screenshot of CyberGhost homepage, June 2023

What We Like

  • Top speed results in our connection tests
  • Dedicated streaming and gaming servers that offer higher speeds
  • 45-day money-back guarantee, the most generous offer out of all premium VPNs
  • No-logs policy and complete anonymity while browsing the web

What We Don't Like

  • Can experience slower speeds on distant servers

CyberGhost was almost tied with Surfshark for the second spot in our fastest VPN list. But even if it’s not the fastest VPN we’ve tested, hands-down, it’s still a very good (and blazing-fast) choice. When we reviewed CyberGhost‘s connection speed on nearby servers, we maintained as much as 95% of our base connection.

This is fast enough to stream your favorite sports, download large games, or watch any movie in HD. For example, we used CyberGhost to access some of our favorite shows on Paramount+. Even on faraway servers, we maintained as much as 94% of our connection, which is astounding.

Screenshot of Paramount Plus unblocked with CyberGhost VPN

So how does CyberGhost do this? Besides top protocols like OpenVPN, CyberGhost optimizes its servers for specific needs. For example, if we wanted to play games like Overwatch on a server in Korea, they had dedicated infrastructure for that specific use.

If you’re in Europe, and you want to watch movies on US Netflix, again, dedicated servers for that specific purpose. This personalized infrastructure maintains high connection speeds no matter what you want to do.

This VPN provider does not keep any of your personal information on its servers and ensures you stay completely anonymous online by using military-grade encryption for your data to keep it away from the prying eyes of your ISP and other third parties.

Not to mention, CyberGhost is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market. It also offers a 45-day money-back guarantee, the longest such offer out of all VPNs. That means you have almost two months after purchase to decide if CyberGhost is fast enough for your needs.

Click the button below to give it a try.

Deal Try CyberGhost for $2.19 per month!
$ 2.19
  • Very user-friendly
  • High quality for a low price
  • Torrents and Netflix possible
Visit CyberGhost

3. Surfshark: Affordable VPN with cutting-edge speeds

Screenshot of Surfshark homepage

What We Like

  • High upload and download speeds
  • Easy to install and use
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Works with P2P file sharing
  • Useful extra features like ad blocker and split tunneling

What We Don't Like

  • Limited number of servers for Linux users

Based on our Surfshark tests, this provider is a worthy contender for the fastest VPN title. Its connection speed on nearby servers was 95% of our base connection, and it only dropped down to 89% on servers from a different continent. This is speedy enough for anything you might want to do online. Whether it’s streaming, gaming, or downloading large files, Surfshark had us covered.

We were also pleased to see that Surfshark comes with an ad blocker, which can help a lot if you’re browsing ad-riddled sites. It also offers split tunneling, which allowed us to separate which apps went through the VPN server and which did not. This gave us higher connection speeds with some of our chosen apps.

Surfshark also offers unlimited simultaneous connections – meaning you only need one account to secure your family’s entire digital footprint. And if Surfshark is not your cup of tea, you can always request a refund with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Deal Save 82% + 2 Months free and pay only $2.30 a month
$ 2.30
  • Very user-friendly and works with Netflix and torrents
  • 30-day money-back guarantee. No questions asked!
  • Cheap with many extra options
Visit Surfshark

4. PIA: Fastest VPN with an expansive server network

PIA website homepage with added logo in the corner, July 2023

What We Like

  • 33,000 high-speed servers spread out across the globe
  • No-logs policy and a good security infrastructure
  • Good at unblocking resilient streaming services

What We Don't Like

  • May take a while to connect to servers

PIA is not as fast as NordVPN or CyberGhost. But the difference is marginal. In our tests, PIA maintained 94% of our base connection on nearby servers and as much as 85% on servers from a different continent. With a base connection speed of 100 MBps, that’s enough to download large files fast, even play some games online, and stream movies in 4K.

We watched Justice League on Max with PIA while connected to a US server and had a seamless and lag-free streaming experience.

PIA VPN connected to United States server and MAX streaming platform in the background

PIA also has more than 33,000 servers spread out over 84 countries. This large variety means you can quickly switch between regions based on what you want to do. With PIA, you’ll never have to worry about geo-restricted services. You can find out more about PIA’s extra features in our PIA review.

Lastly, PIA has a commendable security infrastructure and a proven no-logs policy. If you’re looking for a VPN that can keep you anonymous, all while offering fantastic speeds, give PIA a try.

Private Internet Access (PIA)
Deal Grab PIA for only $2.19 per month with 2 months free
$ 2.19
  • Strong focus on privacy and security
  • Good price
  • Fast and stable servers
Visit Private Internet Access (PIA)

5. ExpressVPN: Easy to use and blazing fast

Screenshot of ExpressVPN homepage website

What We Like

  • Good speed test results on nearby and faraway servers
  • Easy to install and use, especially on routers
  • Supports speedy protocols like Lightway
  • Obfuscated servers that hide VPN use
  • Split tunneling feature for faster connections on your chosen apps

What We Don't Like

  • Subscription plans are on the pricier side

ExpressVPN might not be the fastest VPN service outright, but it’s a strong contender in this list. When testing ExpressVPN, we maintained 94% of our speed on nearby servers and as much as 83% on faraway servers. Though this is not the best performance on this list, it’s not bad by any means.

On a base connection speed of 100 MBps, we still maintained 83 MBps when connected to global servers. That might not be ideal for intensive first-person shooters, but it’s good enough for unblocking streaming services and downloading with unlimited bandwidth.

On top of fast speeds, ExpressVPN also has many extra features, like military-grade encryption, obfuscated servers, and one of the most user-friendly interfaces of all VPN providers. Moreover, ExpressVPN was the easiest VPN to install on routers. So if you need a fast VPN with your smart TV or gaming console, ExpressVPN is the best pick.

Granted, it’s the most expensive option on this list. But depending on what you need from a VPN, it might be worth your money.

Deal Get the annual subscription for only $6.67 per month!
$ 6.67
  • Very easy-to-use VPN
  • Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading, and streaming (i.e., Netflix)
  • 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
Visit ExpressVPN

How We Tested the Top 5 Fastest VPNs

To test VPN speeds, we analyzed each VPN service on this list and dozens more. So what was our VPN speed test methodology? We measured our base internet connection speed and then measured our internet speed when connected to several server locations of each VPN provider.

In order to minimize the influence of external factors on the tests, we tested all VPNs on the same day around the same time via a wired connection. This ensures that failures in the Wi-Fi network do not cause unfair results.

Our data connection was quite fast, with a download speed of 203 MBps. To make this relevant for all connection speeds, we mainly looked at the percentage difference in speed between our connection with and without a VPN. This method gave us a better picture of what a VPN does to your connection speed.

Based on our testing, the fastest VPN of 2023 was decidedly NordVPN. It maintained the highest percentage of our base connection speed (95,95%) with a ping of only 5 ms. Those VPN speeds are fast enough for anything you’d want to do online, including fast-paced gaming, streaming, downloading large files, and plenty more.

You can try all of NordVPN’s premium features for free for 30 days through its money-back guarantee.

How to Improve Your VPN Speeds

There are a lot of things you can do to improve your connection speed when using a VPN. Here are a few of them.

7 tips to help improve your connection speeds when using a VPN

Keep in Mind:

None of these tips will help if your base connection is slow. Before attempting anything, make sure your base connection is suitable for what you’re trying to do. For example, if you’re on a modem connection and trying to play CS:GO on a server from a different continent, you’ll probably have high ping no matter what you do.

1. Make sure the VPN service is the actual problem

Speed connection issues might not always be the fault of the VPN. Your base connection might be too slow for what you’re trying to do, the service you’re trying to access might be down, or you might be suffering from ISP (internet service provider) throttling.

To ensure the VPN is part of the problem, measure your connection speed with something like Ookla’s speed test before and after connecting to the VPN. If the connection is just as slow before turning the VPN on, it’s not the VPN’s fault.

Then, check services like Downdetector to determine if sites like Netflix or gaming servers are down. It might just be a problem on the end of the sites you’re trying to access. If not, you can also plug your VPN’s name into a Downdetector. This is rarely a risk, but it doesn’t hurt to check.

2. Try connecting to a different server

If you didn’t rule out the VPN in the previous step, you could try connecting to a different server. That can help because you’re probably not the only person connected to a particular server. Sometimes, that can have a negative impact on your connection speed. So the easiest fix is to try connecting to a different server.

Most VPNs have systems in place to guarantee you always connect to the fastest server available. In NordVPN, for example, that option is in the top-right corner of your interface:

NordVPN app with the Quick Connect button highlighted

Look for the “Quick Connect” button or anything similar. It’s usually the way to get the fastest server available at a given moment. This can help even if you were already connected to the “fastest server” since which server is the fastest can change over time.

Pro Tip:

The further away a VPN server is from your location, the slower your internet connection will be. So if you struggle with your VPN speed, try picking servers that are closer to your location.

3. Try a dedicated server

Some of the fastest VPNs, like CyberGhost, have dedicated servers for specific purposes. For example, if you want to watch Netflix with a VPN like CyberGhost, you can connect to servers optimized for that particular purpose in specific countries.

CyberGhost specialized streaming servers with a server that's optimized for Netflix US highlighted

NordVPN has specialty servers for using Tor or downloading files via P2P sharing. Many VPNs try to differentiate themselves by offering some kind of dedicated servers, so that’s a good place to start if you want to improve your VPN speeds.

4. Change your VPN’s protocol

Some VPNs let you change the protocol they use when you’re connected. For example, if you go to NordVPN’s general settings, you’ll get to choose between different VPN protocols like NordLynx, UDP, and TCP. Try switching to one of them at a time, and see if it has any effect on your connection speed.

NordVPN general settings with the various VPN providers highlighted

We recommend one of the OpenVPN protocols. OpenVPN speeds are generally higher than other VPN protocols. Most premium VPNs will give you some control over the protocols they use, so feel free to play with these settings and see if it affects your VPN speed.

5. Restart your devices

Sometimes, the old advice of “switching it off and on again” is the only thing you’ll need to do to improve your speed performance. Try this with your router first. If it doesn’t have any impact, you can try resetting it too.

If that has no effect, you can also try restarting your PC or mobile phone. You never know what bug or glitch may have caused the drop in internet speed, so this can often solve the problem for you.

6. Check your computer for viruses

A slow internet connection is often a symptom of a malware infestation on your computer or mobile device. This can have a devastating effect on your device, and it can lead to you losing your data, access to accounts, or even personal information. But don’t worry. There’s an easy way to rule out malware.

You’ll just need up-to-date antivirus software. And a trustworthy antivirus app is surprisingly affordable these days. We constantly test and research all the top antivirus apps, and our recommendation is Norton 360, which offers enhanced malware protection, including real-time antivirus, smart firewall, and dark web monitoring.

7. Contact the customer support team of your VPN provider

All of the VPNs in the list above have responsive and helpful customer support teams. We’ve contacted all of them on several occasions, and we always got timely and useful responses. Some of them might take a bit longer than others to get back to you. But for the most part, you can expect a response in mere minutes.

We’ve never had speed problems with any of the VPNs above. But if you do, we’re sure the customer support team will be able to pinpoint where the problem is coming from and help you with a solution.

Why a Fast VPN is Important

Opting for the fastest VPN service can have a huge impact on your daily online activities. To change your IP address, VPNs route your internet traffic through their servers in different places of the world. Imagine you live in Europe, and you connect to a US VPN server. Your data has to travel across the globe to reach the VPN server, then to the server of whichever site you’re accessing, and then back to you.

That’s a long way to go. And it’s the reason high-speed VPNs are a must-have. Without well-optimized servers and protocols, you’ll be left feeling like you’re browsing the internet in 2005. Moreover, you won’t be able to do things that put a strain on your connection, like streaming, playing games, or downloading larger files.

Luckily, NordVPN has all the bells and whistles a VPN provider needs to mitigate all of these problems and help you enjoy the net anonymously.

The Fastest Free VPN

We don’t recommend getting a free VPN if you’re looking for the fastest VPN service. Free VPNs can seem attractive, but they offer few servers, which are almost always crowded. This means two things. First, you’ll probably experience abysmal internet connection speeds. Second, you probably won’t get servers in the country you need them.

Besides, you won’t be able to unblock streaming services as you would with premium VPN providers. So even if you don’t struggle to get faster speeds, you won’t get the full VPN experience.

Plus, many free VPNs impose strict caps on how much bandwidth you get and your top speed. Needless to say, VPN providers like NordVPN are much better.

But if you can’t afford a paid VPN, there are free alternatives you can compromise with. In our opinion, the best free VPN for speed is PrivadoVPN. It’s the only one that can unblock US Netflix, it has very ample traffic limits, and it doesn’t cap your connection speed.

Deal Just $1.99/month – or try out the free version!
$ 1.99
  • Secure VPN with strong encryption
  • Doesn't keep logs
  • Limited server network
Visit PrivadoVPN

If you are not satisfied with PrivadoVPN, our tests showed that Proton VPN also offers decent internet speeds.

VPNs to Avoid

There are several VPN providers that you should also steer clear of as you may encounter slow speeds on their servers along with other serious issues like lack of enhanced encryption and intrusive data collection.

Based on our extensive research and testing of dozens of VPN services, we do not recommend using the ones in the table below.

VPN ProviderWhy You Should Avoid It
BeetVPNThis service offers a small server network with slow speeds.
Speedify VPNThis VPN provider has extremely slow speeds, and we struggled to connect to its servers.
iProVPNWhile testing iProVPN, we could not connect to any of its Windows servers, and the software was flagged as having a virus.

Enjoy a Seamless Online Experience With the Fastest VPN

Speed is very important in a VPN. With a slow VPN, you’ll struggle to do just about anything. It will lead to lag while watching movies online or playing games. Not to mention, you’ll have a hard time downloading large files. If your base connection is not the fastest, you’ll even struggle to browse the web normally, especially on faraway servers.

If you want to avoid all of that, you need a high-speed VPN. We dug deep, testing the features of many VPNs to see which can ensure the fastest speeds. And our conclusion was clear: NordVPN is the fastest VPN service. It has reliable servers, protocols optimized for speed, and guaranteed anonymity. And with its 30-day money-back guarantee, you can test it for yourself!

Want to know more about the best VPNs for a specific purpose? Check out our articles below:

The Fastest VPNs: Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a quick answer to your question? Click on one of the frequently asked questions, or leave a comment below! We’ll help you figure it out in no time.

What is the fastest VPN for local servers?

According to our tests, NordVPN is the fastest VPN provider for local servers. The speeds achieved by this provider are comparable to the speed of our connection without a VPN, which highlights NordVPN’s excellent performance.

What is the fastest VPN for American servers?

The fastest VPN for American servers is NordVPN. This provider really stood out in our speed tests. NordVPN is also an all-round great VPN provider, and therefore, always an excellent choice. During our NordVPN tests, its speeds were very high for both local and distant servers.

What is the fastest VPN?

The fastest VPN in our tests was NordVPN. This provider achieves top speeds on VPN servers in countries spread all across the globe. This means that anything you want to do with a VPN (streaming, gaming, downloading) will be effortless with NordVPN.

Why does the speed of a VPN vary per server location?

The speed of a VPN connection varies based on a server’s location because of how much distance data has to travel. If you pick a local server, the data traffic of your internet connection only has to travel a short distance. The delay on your connection will be very short, or not even noticeable at all.

However, if your internet traffic is routed through servers on the other side of the world, it simply takes longer to for the data to reach its destination.

Why use an extra fast VPN?

A fast VPN is especially useful for gaming, streaming or downloading large files. Moreover, browsing anonymously can become rather annoying when everything has a huge delay. However, speed is not the only important aspect of a VPN.

We strongly recommend that you also pay attention to the privacy policy, the number of server locations, costs, and user friendliness.

Leave a comment