Finding a fast VPN is not an easy task, especially when every VPN claims to offer the fastest speeds out there. To be honest, VPNs slow down your internet speed to some degree because your internet traffic is rerouted, and encrypted. However, with a fast VPN, this difference is negligible.
But which is the fastest VPN among hundreds of choices that claim to be the world’s fastest provider with watertight security? The clear-cut way to find out is to rank the VPNs based on their speed.
To save you time, we have tested 60+ services to shortlist the 6 fastest VPNs of 2023. These VPNs offer consistently fast-speed connections while maintaining security to protect your data.
After testing, it was impressive to see that Surfshark outperformed its competitors and is the fastest VPN available. No matter which server we connected to, it did not slow down our speed. Furthermore, you are protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you don’t have to take our word for it, and test it yourself.
Quick Overview of Fastest VPNs
Before we go into details about the fastest VPNs, here is a summary of the top recommended VPNs offering the fastest speeds. These are the fastest VPNs according to our testing:
- Surfshark: Budget-friendly VPN with WireGuard protocol that offers fast speeds. Great performer with unlimited simultaneous connections.
- ExpressVPN: The fastest VPN we have tested. Best VPN with fast download speeds thanks to its proprietary protocol called Lightway that improves speeds.
- NordVPN: Fast-speed servers because of its new protocol called NordLynx. Best VPN for speed, privacy, and security.
- IPVanish: Offers high-speed connections on a Tier-1 network. Easy-to-use apps with unlimited device connections.
- CyberGhost: Beginner-friendly VPN great for streaming with fast speeds and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
- Private Internet Access: Largest server network with fast speed connections combined with customizable encryption.
Detailed Analysis of Fastest VPNs
Let’s take a closer look at the 6 fastest VPNs that we have shortlisted after testing. Among more than 60 providers, only these 6 VPNs made the cut.
|VPN Providers||Average Speed Connection: US||Average Speed Connection: UK||Average Speed Connection: Australia||Average Speed Connection: Japan||Average Speed Connection: France||Price|
|Surfshark||87 Mbps||85 Mbps||68 Mbps||72 Mbps||88 Mbps||$2.30/mo|
|ExpressVPN||92 Mbps||94 Mbps||93 Mbps||95 Mbps||97 Mbps||$8.32/mo|
|NordVPN||85 Mbps||82 Mbps||81 Mbps||65 Mbps||85 Mbps||$5.29/mo|
|IPVanish||79 Mbps||77 Mbps||56 Mbps||59 Mbps||78 Mbps||$3.99/mo|
|CyberGhost||73 Mbps||79 Mbps||52 Mbps||60 Mbps||64 Mbps||$2.03/mo|
|PIA VPN||74 Mbps||81 Mbps||57 Mbps||48 Mbps||79 Mbps||$2.03/mo|
1. Surfshark – Affordable VPN With Great Speed
Surfshark is an affordable VPN that offers great speeds for streaming, gaming, and torrenting. This budget VPN offers optimized servers that ensure fast-speed connections. This means you don’t have to experience any lag or interruptions.
During testing, we found Surfshark’s nearby servers to be fast, while the speed fluctuated on long-distance servers. For example, on its US server, we got a download speed of 87 Mbps while on its Australia and New Zealand server, we experienced around a 25% speed drop, as our average speed was 68 Mbps.
So, if you want maximum speed output, it’s best to connect to a server that is close to your physical location. Surfshark has 3200 servers in 65 countries, so you can easily find the best location for getting fast speeds.
Surfshark performed really well when we tested it with streaming and gaming. It allowed us to watch US Netflix without any buffering, and the video quality was Ultra HD. Surfshark is capable of unblocking various geo-restricted streaming services like BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and many more.
It even gives you the option to choose the VPN protocol from its Settings. We recommend using its WireGuard protocol as it’s the fastest compared to OpenVPN.
Surfshark’s high level of security does not impact your speed. It uses 256-bit encryption for data protection, along with IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak proofing.
Surfshark also offers Multi-Hop which is a double VPN feature that reroutes your traffic through two servers for maximum anonymity. As your traffic needs to cover more distance, you will experience comparatively slow speeds on Multi-Hop.
With a single subscription, Surfshark allows unlimited simultaneous connections and you can use it on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Firestick, and other devices.
All these features come at a price tag of just $2.30/mo (Save 82% and get 2 extra months FREE with 24-month plan) along with a 30-day money-back guarantee to give you a chance to try it risk-free. Check out more details about this VPN in our Surfshark review.
2. ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN With Excellent Speed
ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN out there with excellent connection speeds across all its VPN servers. Not only does it offer impressive speeds, but it does so innovatively thanks to its proprietary Lightway protocol.
During testing, we connected to both ExpressVPN’s distant and close servers and the results were great. When we connected to its Australia server, which was 14,700 km away from us (in the Netherlands), our download speeds were steady at almost 93 Mbps on a base connection of 100 Mbps. That’s a tiny drop in speed, considering the distance.
We did not notice any lag or buffering while streaming Netflix in Ultra HD. That is no surprise as ExpressVPN offered fast speeds, and because of that, it’s the best VPN for unblocking streaming services like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, and more.
ExpressVPN offers its proprietary Lightway protocol which is an advanced version of WireGuard. This protocol is available on all apps, so you can use it to get the best speed results. Lightway is designed to deliver maximum speeds without compromising your security.
Lightway is faster than OpenVPN and other tunneling protocols because it’s lightweight. Lightway only has 1000 lines of code, while OpenVPN in contrast is made of around 70,000 lines. Therefore, we recommend using it whenever you want unthrottled speeds.
You can further boost your speed using ExpressVPN’s split tunneling feature. It lets you choose the apps or websites that you want to be rerouted through the VPN tunnel, while the rest of the internet traffic stays outside. This feature works great while torrenting large files.
ExpressVPN’s military-grade encryption and DNS leak protection do not impact speed. It means your online security is fool-proof as you enjoy fast speeds.
We tested ExpressVPN on Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS devices, and the results were equally amazing. You can also use it on Smart TVs, Amazon Firestick, and gaming consoles (Xbox, PlayStation). There’s a free Smart DNS available as well called MediaStreamer.
With one ExpressVPN account, you can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously, and it’s available for $6.67/mo along with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can take this VPN for a test drive yourself.
For details, you can read our ExpressVPN review, in which we have tested speeds on various server locations.
3. NordVPN – A Great Combination of Speed and Security
Although hugely popular for its privacy and security features, NordVPN is a fast VPN. It is very impressive when it comes to connection speeds thanks to its NordLynx protocol.
To put it into perspective, we ran speed tests while connecting to NordVPN’s US server, and it gave us a fast download speed of 85 Mbps on our base connection speed of 100 Mbps. In practice, with NordVPN, you won’t have to put up with buffering, or slow speeds.
That said, speeds were inconsistent on NordVPN’s long-distance servers. On its Australia server, it gave us a fast speed of 81 Mbps, while it suddenly dropped to 65 Mbps on its Japan server. Even then, it never went below 60% which was impressive. There could be a lot of factors behind the difference in speed results. But NordVPN offers 5200 servers in 60 countries, so you can easily find a server location of your choice and avoid overcrowded servers.
Thanks to NordVPN’s proprietary protocol NordLynx, you can enjoy fast speeds without compromising on security. Not only does it push the VPNs speed to the limit, but it also comes with additional features to improve security and privacy.
Looking beyond speed, NordVPN offers an array of security features that don’t impact your speed. It uses 256-bit encryption for data security, along with leak protection against IP, DNS, and WebRTC.
NordVPN also offers Onion Over VPN and Double VPN features. However, you might experience slow speeds on these which is a given because Onion Over VPN combines the technology of a VPN with Tor thus adding more layers of encryption which affects your speed.
Overall, you will have consistent speeds with NordVPN’s close-distance servers on various devices. As for compatibility, it works with Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, and other platforms like Firestick, Smart TVs, and gaming consoles. It also allows up to 6 simultaneous connections per account.
Aside from the VPN, NordVPN also offers a password manager called NordPass, a business VPN solution, and encrypted cloud storage. It is available for $5.29/mo (Save 68% and get 3 extra months FREE with 24-month plan) along with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Feel free to read our NordVPN review for more details on this provider.
4. IPVanish – Solid Speed VPN With Reliable Servers
IPVanish is a solid VPN with fast-speed servers. On the IPVanish app, you can find all the information required to choose the fastest connection. Every server shows details like server load and ping. Using these, you can choose your preferred location and the fastest speed available.
IPVanish’s Auto Connect feature automatically connects you to the best server available. When we used this feature, we were connected to IPVanish’s Germany server. It gave us a download speed of 75 Mbps on our base connection of 100 Mbps.
We also connected to a long-distance server in Australia to check speeds. We recorded a download speed of 56 Mbps. So, IPVanish speed on distant servers was very slow as compared to nearby servers. If you want to connect to the fastest available server, we recommend using the Auto Connect feature.
We tried streaming Netflix US with IPVanish, and overall the streaming experience was excellent. Even though the speed during tests was slow, we did not experience any buffering while streaming.
Additionally, IPVanish gives you the option to choose from multiple protocol options. We recommend using Wireguard and OpenVPN, as they are the most reliable protocols offered by IPVanish. Its military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, leak protection, and kill switch do not impact speed which is super impressive.
Similarly to Surfshark, IPVanish allows you to connect unlimited devices simultaneously on a single account. It offers apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon Firestick, Linux, and other devices. The only downside is that the IPVanish app interface is overwhelming to look at, which might be confusing for some.
You can get IPVanish for $3.99/mo and it’s supported by a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test the service yourself risk-free. Learn more about the VPN in our detailed IPVanish review.
5. CyberGhost – Fast VPN With Easy-to-Use Apps
CyberGhost is a beginner-friendly VPN thanks to its easy-to-use apps for desktops, mobile devices, and other platforms. What makes CyberGhost so great is the fact that it offers dedicated servers for fast speeds.
You will find dedicated servers for various activities like streaming, gaming, and torrenting. These optimized servers are regularly updated to offer the best possible performance along with fast connection speeds.
During testing, we connected to both CyberGhost’s optimized servers and normal ones to get a baseline. First, we connected to its US server, and it offered us a download speed of 73 Mbps. Next, we connected to a US Netflix-optimized server and our speed was around 77 Mbps.
As you can see, the optimized server was faster than the normal US server, even though both were 5800 km away from our location in the Netherlands. Keep in mind that dedicated servers are sometimes overcrowded. In that case, you can switch to normal country servers for fast speeds.
As for coverage, CyberGhost offers 7700 servers in 90 countries. We tried streaming Disney+ with CyberGhost, and it allowed us to watch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in HD quality without noticeable buffering.
We did notice that CyberGhost’s speed slows down a lot on its distant server. Ping on faraway servers also increases a lot, more than we expected. While this does not affect streaming, you will experience slowdowns while gaming.
For good speeds, we recommend using the WireGuard protocol. CyberGhost also offers OpenVPN, but we found its WireGuard protocol to be the fastest.
CyberGhost’s encryption and security do not impact connection speeds. It offers AES 256-bit encryption to secure data with IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak protection.
CyberGhost works on Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, Firestick, Smart TVs, and gaming consoles. You can have 7 simultaneous connections with a single subscription. Its three-year plan offers the best deal, available for $2.03/mo and there is a 45-day money-back guarantee.
You can read our CyberGhost review to find out more about this VPN.
6. Private Internet Access – Largest Server Network With Customizable Security
Private Internet Access (PIA) has a large server network with over 35000 servers in 84 countries. This massive network of servers maintains fast speed across all locations for streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
A large server network comes in handy as you can easily connect to a nearby server to get the best speed results. Moreover, a large network means you don’t have to experience congested servers.
While testing, we found PIA VPN’s nearby servers to be very fast. On its France server, we recorded a speed of 79 Mbps on our base connection of 100 Mbps. The upload speed was not consistent during testing. For example, on its French server, our upload speed was just 28 Mbps.
Part of the reason why PIA VPN speeds are fast is that it offers WireGuard protocol. OpenVPN protocol is used by default, but you can change the VPN protocol from Settings. WireGuard improved our speed a lot as compared to OpenVPN, as we experienced a difference of almost 9 Mbps.
We tried streaming with Private Internet Access and it allowed us to watch US Netflix without any buffering. We did experience issues while streaming BBC iPlayer, as it failed at unblocking the platform at first, but when it did give us access, the video was pixelated.
On the privacy front, PIA VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and IP leak protection. These features do not impact your speed. PIA even allows you to choose between the encryption cipher you want to use. You can choose 128-bit or 256-bit, depending on your needs.
PIA VPN allows 10 simultaneous connections on a single account, and you can use it on Windows, Android, Linux, iOS, Mac, and more.
Its best plan is available for $2.03/month and it is covered with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can read our in-depth Private Internet Access review for details.
How We Tested the Fastest VPNs?
To make sure the VPN speed test results are accurate, we follow a testing methodology that is the same for every VPN provider to get real-world testing results.
Here are some key factors that we considered while finding the fastest VPNs:
- Speed test: We initially ran speed tests without the VPN using Speedtest.net and then used the same tool to find the speed after connecting to the VPN. This way we could compare the change in speed.
- Servers: It is important for the VPN to offer plenty of servers so you can connect to a nearby location for fast speeds. We tested speed by connecting to both local servers and international servers.
- VPN protocols: VPN protocols have a great impact on your speed. It is important that the VPN allows you to choose the fastest tunneling protocol available which is WireGuard for most providers.
- Compatible apps: It is preferred that the VPN offers apps for various devices and platforms. We performed speed tests on Windows 10 PC, MacBook Air, and iPhone 13.
- Streaming, gaming, and torrenting: The fastest VPN should offer fast speeds no matter what you are doing online. Therefore, we tested each provider with streaming, online gaming, and downloading torrents.
Apart from these factors, there are variables that are out of our control such as fluctuations in internet speed that could impact the results. However, no matter which server we connected to and the device used, ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it yourself.
How Can You Boost Your VPN Speed?
There are several things you can do to improve your VPN speed and overall online experience. These include:
- Use the fastest protocol: The VPN protocol you choose directly impacts your speed. OpenVPN protocol slows down your speed, while WireGuard protocol is the fastest encryption protocol.
- Select servers that are nearby: The server location you are connecting to has a great impact on your VPN speed. If you want to boost your VPN speed, make sure to connect to a server that isn’t too far from you.
- Split-tunneling feature: If you are running multiple apps that require a lot of bandwidth, your VPN speed will be slow. Enable the split tunneling feature to pick the sites, and apps that you want to run through the VPN, and the ones you want out of the VPN tunnel.
- Try various ports: Try changing the port of your VPN to improve speed. Port 443 is recommended as it is used for the encryption of web traffic so it helps bypass throttling by ISPs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which VPN is the fastest?
Surfshark is the fastest VPN based on our speed tests. It is the fastest VPN we have tested giving an average speed of 91 Mbps on a base connection of 100 Mbps. ExpressVPN’s new proprietary protocol, Lightway boosts connection speeds and improves bandwidth.
What is the fastest free VPN?
Windscribe is truly the best free VPN out there with great speeds for streaming, torrenting, and security. However, it only offers a monthly data allowance of 10GB, which is very less. If you want a fast VPN, Surfshark is the best choice that you can try risk-free using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
What affects a VPN’s speed?
There are plenty of things that affect your speed while using a VPN. The most common factors that affect a VPN’s speed are:
- The distance between you and the VPN server location you are connected to.
- The type of encryption your VPN is using to encrypt your data.
- Whether the VPN you are using has bandwidth limitations.
Using a VPN generally impacts your connection speed, but the best VPNs are designed to offer you the fastest connection speeds without any noticeable difference. After testing 60+ providers, we have shortlisted the 6 fastest VPNs in 2023.
Among the best providers, ExpressVPN is the fastest as it offers the best speed on all its servers and its proprietary Lightway protocol ensures maximum speed output without any throttling. You have the option to test ExpressVPN risk-free yourself as it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.