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Fastest VPN of 2019

By Simon Migliano | Updated August 30, 2019

At a time when your online privacy is more at risk than ever before, using a reliable VPN service is incredibly important.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, all VPN services will have some kind of impact on your device’s performance.

Using a VPN will only exaggerate poor internet speed, but a good one will minimize the negative impact, often so it’s practically unnoticeable.

For this reason, it’s vital you make your decision very carefully.

There’s no way of knowing for sure how quick a VPN will be until you start using it, which is why we put them all through their paces on a regular basis, ensuring we only recommend the top performers.

All of the VPNs we recommend below provide consistently good speeds without sacrificing on security, ensuring your online activity is safe at all times.

Some of them even work with popular streaming sites like Netflix or BBC iPlayer, sure to deliver buffer-free streaming.

What Does a Fast VPN Must Have?

  1. Fast same-country & international speeds
  2. High number of servers & IP addresses
  3. No throttling rules or bandwidth caps
  4. No (or minimal) logs & no IP or DNS leaks
  5. Works with Netflix & other streaming sites
  6. Torrenting, P2P & Kodi allowed on most servers

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

5 (Reliably) Fastest VPNs

1. Private Internet Access

Ranked #1 out of 74 VPNs for Speed

  1. Fastest local speeds we’ve ever seen
  2. Reliable speeds over long distances
  3. Easily unlocks Netflix
  4. Totally zero-logs policy
  5. No restrictions on torrenting
  6. User-friendly apps for popular devices
  1. Limited server network
  2. Based in the US
  • Best Price

    $3.33/mo over 12 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    89Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    32 countries, 3,300+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Private Internet Access’ main selling point is its super-fast speeds, so it’s no surprise that it beat the competition to the top spot.

Not only is Private Internet Access incredibly quick when you connect to a VPN server in the same country, it also performed equally well on long-distance connections.

This makes Private Internet Access an ideal VPN service no matter what you’re planning on doing online, thanks to no torrenting restrictions or speed throttling.

Private Internet Access’ zero-logs policy proves it hasn’t sacrificed privacy for the sake of performance, either, and ensures you’re kept safe while connected.

The custom VPN apps also come with a ton of privacy extras, including a VPN kill switch, and Private Internet Access uses top-class AES-256 encryption, too.

Private Internet Access doesn’t have as large a VPN server network as other top-tier providers, but this doesn’t affect its speeds whatsoever – and there’s still more than enough to go around.

Tech-savvy VPN users looking for exceptionally fast speeds and a whole host of security features should pay serious consideration to Private Internet Access.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Private Internet Access review.

2. ExpressVPN

Ranked #2 out of 74 VPNs for Speed

  1. Extremely fast local speeds
  2. Reliable international speeds
  3. Works for Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  4. Torrenting permitted on all servers
  5. Minimal logging policy
  6. 24/7 live chat support
  1. Shorter plans are expensive
  • Best Price

    $6.67/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    94 countries, 3,000+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN may top our list of best overall VPNs, but it just misses out on the top spot here as its peak speeds are slightly slower than those provided by Private Internet Access.

But when it comes to reliability? ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services out there. It performs just as well internationally as it does on same-country connections, which is an incredible rarity for a VPN.

This makes it easy to stream Netflix or BBC iPlayer on multiple devices (up to five at once) without worrying about buffering or poor video quality.

ExpressVPN isn’t just good for speed, either, it’s great for privacy too. A minimal logging policy and privacy-friendly jurisdiction mean you can rest assured your browsing activity is protected.

The custom ExpressVPN apps are available for a long list of platforms (including Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS) and come with a whole host of security features, like a VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection.

The customer support offered by ExpressVPN is some of the best in the business, too, which includes an extensive range of online resources and live chat that’s available 24 hours a day.

ExpressVPN is our overall best VPN service for a reason, and just because it’s slightly slower than our #1, that doesn’t mean it’s not an incredibly fast VPN to use.

For a more in-depth look, read our full ExpressVPN review.

3. NordVPN

Ranked #3 out of 74 VPNs for Speed

  1. Exceptionally quick downloads
  2. Fast uploads & low latency
  3. Quick access to Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  4. P2P permitted on all servers
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
  6. 24/7 support via live chat
  1. Less reliable internationally
  2. Windows & Android apps are OpenVPN-only
  • Best Price

    $3.49/mo over 36 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    90Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 5,200+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

NordVPN only just places behind PIA and ExpressVPN due to its same-country speeds being slightly lower than those offered by Private Internet Access and ExpressVPN.

NordVPN really is fast if you connect to a VPN server in the same country, but if you’re planning on connecting internationally on a regular basis it isn’t the quickest.

There are no speed restrictions no matter what you do while connected to NordVPN’s servers, meaning you can stream or torrent free from any caps or limits.

It’s also a safe, secure, and anonymous VPN based in privacy-friendly Panama, and NordVPN’s zero-logs policy means that no data is retained that could personally identify you.

You can install NordVPN’s custom VPN apps on pretty much any device you own, and they’re all protected with top-class encryption (AES-256) and the most secure protocol, OpenVPN.

NordVPN’s 24/7 live chat support and wealth of online help means that you should never be stuck with any unanswered questions, either.

Other than its slightly slower international speeds, NordVPN offers just as good an all-round VPN experience as our fastest picks, so it’s definitely worth considering.

For a more in-depth look, read our full NordVPN review.

4. Hotspot Shield

Ranked #4 out of 74 VPNs for Speed

  1. Impressive same-country speeds
  2. Consistently fast internationally
  3. Works for Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  4. Real-time malware protection
  5. Good-sized server network
  6. User-friendly apps for popular platforms
  1. Based in the US
  2. Limited platform compatibility
  • Best Price

    $2.99/mo over 36 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    86Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    82 countries, 3,200+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid

The Bottom Line

Hotspot Shield is without a doubt one of the fastest VPN services we’ve ever tested, even if it doesn’t quite live up to the all-round experience offered by our top picks.

Connecting to one of Hotspot Shield’s VPN servers in the same country only reduced our speeds by 1% in our most recent tests, which is almost unheard of.

Even internationally, Hotspot Shield is very fast, with all servers producing speeds more than good enough for lag-free gaming and buffer-free HD streaming.

Hotspot Shield missed out on the top three spots mainly due to its lack of compatibility – it’s available on the most popular platforms but sadly can’t be installed at router level.

In terms of privacy, though, Hotspot Shield has really improved and is now an incredibly secure VPN service, with real-time malware protection and a VPN kill switch.

There were some issues with its free VPN service in the past, but these did not affect the premium service and have now been fixed.

Hotspot Shield is a very fast VPN service that’s definitely worth looking at, as long as you don’t want to install a VPN at router level.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Hotspot Shield review.

5. PrivateVPN

Ranked #5 out of 74 VPNs for Speed

  1. Consistently fast speeds
  2. Low latency and quick uploads
  3. Easy access to Netflix
  4. No restrictions on torrenting
  5. Completely zero-logs VPN
  6. Loads of privacy extras
  1. Can be slow internationally
  2. Small number of servers
  • Best Price

    $1.89/mo over 2 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    86Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 150+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

PrivateVPN may not be a major player in the VPN industry just yet, but in terms of speed it’s one of the best options you can go for.

Not only is PrivateVPN exceptionally quick when connecting to a nearby server, it’s excellent on the majority of international connections too.

The only real anomaly is using PrivateVPN to connect out from Australia, which is a lot slower than we’d usually expect, but this is unlikely to affect most users.

In terms of security, PrivateVPN is well up there with its rivals, with a strict zero-logs policy and tons of privacy extras to keep you safe online at all times.

PrivateVPN is compatible with a really wide range of platforms, including routers, and uses the VPN connection protocol that provides the best balance of speed and security – OpenVPN.

It’s great for streamers and torrenters, too, with easy access to Netflix and no bandwidth throttling on any of PrivateVPN’s servers.

If you can cope with slightly limited access to live chat support and a smaller than average server network, PrivateVPN could do the job very well.

For a more in-depth look, read our full PrivateVPN review.

Popular Questions

What Makes a VPN Fast?

In order for a VPN service to be fast, a well-maintained server network is essential.

This doesn’t just mean coverage in a range of countries around the world, but it also needs loads of individual servers to choose from. If the pool of IP addresses is too small, the negative impact on VPN speeds can be huge.

For a VPN to offer good speeds it’s also vital that it treats all web traffic equally – this means no discriminating against activities like streaming or torrenting.

This is often referred to as ‘throttling’, and is used to prevent one user from monopolizing the traffic of a single VPN server – as the name suggests, it chokes the life out of your download speed.

Don’t forget that this is all dependent on your own internet connection too – if your device only delivers 10Mbps without a VPN, it won’t be any quicker with one.

How to Choose the Fastest VPN Server

There are several different ways you can choose the fastest VPN server from your chosen VPN service.

  1. Choose the closest server to you

    The best way to get the fastest VPN speeds is to choose a server as close as possible to your physical location.

    If you absolutely need to connect to another country, usually to access geo-restricted content, make sure it’s the closest available server. For example, users in Europe looking to stream US content should connect to a server on the East Coast, such as New York.

  2. Select a server with low latency

    Latency (or ping time) is very closely linked to how far you are from your chosen VPN server. It is a measurement of how long it takes for a server to send and receive data requests to and from your device.

    A lot of VPN apps will allow you to check which server locations offer the lowest latency (this is normally measured in milliseconds).

  3. Check the server load

    There’s a handful of VPN services that also allow you to see the current load of all their VPN server locations – this is usually displayed as a percentage.

    The higher the percentage load, the busier the server is, meaning speeds will be much slower. Servers tend to be busier if you’re connecting at a peak time, such as in the evening.

  4. Try different VPN protocols

    We advise users to always connect via OpenVPN if possible, as this protocol provides the best balance of speed and security.

    IKEv2, however, could be slightly quicker for some people, especially those connecting using mobile data. PPTP is generally regarded as the fastest protocol, but this has several known security flaws so we’d recommend avoiding it in most cases.

What is the Fastest Free VPN?

As a rule, free VPN services generally aren’t as fast as premium VPNs, but there are a handful that still provide decent speeds.

Our current fastest free VPN is Hide.me, but the free versions of Windscribe and ProtonVPN are pretty quick too.

The problem with free VPN services, however, is that even if they are quick, they often come with severe limitations, such as bandwidth caps and smaller server networks.

Screenshot of ProtonVPN's free plan features

If you want a truly fast VPN experience, you’re better off paying for a premium service.

Are Fast VPNs Safe?

We’d strongly advise against choosing a VPN service just because it’s fast. Speed is an important factor, but many less-reputable VPN services often perform very well but don’t offer a good level of security.

For the most part, though, our top-performing VPNs are secure as well as being speedy, so you don’t have much to worry about.

You should always check the privacy features before you commit to a paid VPN subscription, though. Things to look out for include:

  1. Encryption and VPN protocol

    For a VPN service to be secure, it should be using AES-256 encryption. This is almost impossible to hack and will ensure your personal information is protected.

    Our preferred protocol is OpenVPN, but IKEv2 is almost as secure if that’s your only option. Avoid PPTP at all costs, as this is an outdated connection protocol with known flaws.

  2. Privacy-friendly logging policy

    To ensure your confidential data remains safe, you should only sign up for a VPN that doesn’t collect any information that could be used to personally identify you, such as your IP address.

    If you can’t easily locate a VPN’s privacy policy, or don’t understand what it collects, do not risk using it. There are too many good options out there for you to be taking risks.

  3. Extra security features

    Extra features such as a VPN kill switch will help to keep you safe online by protecting you should the VPN connection drop for any reason.

    Most VPN services also have built-in protection against DNS and IP leaks, which is essential to ensure your true IP address is undetectable.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN's security settings in the desktop app

Does VPN Slow Down Your Internet Speed?

All VPN services will slow down your internet speed, no matter how good they are.

This is because the way that VPNs work mean that your internet traffic is routed through a server that could be hundreds of miles away from where you’re actually located, increasing the amount of time it takes for data to be transmitted.

When you see the figures we report from our speed testing, you must bear in mind that we test on a 100Mbps business broadband connection. If you have a 100Mbps connection in your home then you can expect numbers that are very similar – but if you have one that’s slower then you’ll need to adjust the figures accordingly.

Thankfully, all of the VPNs we recommend here will only reduce your speeds by a negligible amount, especially if you make sure to connect to a nearby server.

Which Country's VPN is Fastest?

Screenshot of Hotspot Shield's servers in Africa and the Middle East

There’s not a specific country you can connect to for the fastest VPN speeds – your best bet is to connect to a server as close as possible to your true physical location.

If your chosen VPN service only has a handful of servers located close to you, though, it’s likely that speeds will suffer. This usually applies to people located in South America, Africa and some parts of Asia.

Should I Use UDP or TCP?

If you choose a VPN service that uses OpenVPN, chances are you’ll have the option of connecting via UDP or TCP.

Usually, USP is used for streaming and gaming, while TCP is for general browsing and downloading. While UDP has long been considered to be faster, this is more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule.

The only reason that TCP is slightly slower is because it uses error protection and guaranteed delivery, ensuring that each data packet is sent in the correct order. UDP doesn’t have these protections as its emphasis is on speed, rather than being perfect.

This doesn’t make UDP less secure, though, so it’s nothing to worry about.

Long story short, if you’re mainly going to be using your VPN for gaming, streaming video, or listening to music, you should use UDP. For anything else, TCP will do the job just fine.

You can read more about VPN connection protocols in our handy encryption guide.

Does a VPN Make Streaming Faster?

There is not a single VPN service in the world that will make your internet speeds any faster, no matter what you’re doing online. If you find a VPN that claims to do this, avoid it at all costs.

As we explained above, even the best VPN services will reduce your speeds, even if it’s almost unnoticeable. If you stick to one of our recommendations, though, you’ll most likely barely be able to tell the difference, whether you’re streaming or torrenting.

There is one exception to this, though: throttling. Every ISP monitors the data transferred over its network (often referred to as packet inspection). Some unscrupulous ISPs are set up so that data determined to be streaming content is deliberately slowed (or ‘throttled’).

Using a VPN will mask this data, meaning that in some rare cases it will actually improve the speed of your streaming – but only if your ISP is slowing it in the first place.

Using a VPN service to keep yourself safe online is 100% legal in almost every country.

Using a VPN, however, does not mean you’re exempt from laws, especially copyright laws, so we’d strongly advise against doing anything illegal while connected to one. If you get found out, you’ll face exactly the same punishment as everybody else.

If you’re just planning on using a VPN service to protect your online identity, though, you shouldn’t have any issues in the majority of countries around the world.

Unfortunately, there are a few places where VPN use is restricted, or even illegal, so you have to be particularly careful not to get caught using one. These are:

  • China
  • North Korea
  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Turkmenistan
  • Russia
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Turkey
  • Belarus
  • Oman

Take a look at our in-depth guide ‘Are VPNs Legal?’ for more information on VPN restrictions and potential repercussions if you’re caught using one.

We’ve also rounded up our Best VPN Services for China here – we usually advise that if a VPN works well in China, it will also do very well in other high-censorship countries like those listed above.

Illustration how a VPN works to bypass the Great Firewall of China

Can VPN Reduce Ping?

In the same way that a VPN won’t make your device any faster, it also won’t reduce your ping time.

Ping (or latency) is the amount of time it takes for a packet of data to travel from one point in a network to another. This means that the closer you are to a server, the lower ping time will be.

This means that if you connect to a VPN that’s located anywhere other than the same city as you, your ping will increase, as your data is having to travel further before it reaches its destination.

Your ISP or throttling play no part here – your ping will simply always increase when using a VPN.

If you’re planning on using a VPN service for gaming or any other latency-sensitive tasks, make sure you choose one with city-level choice in your country, as this will reduce the impact on your ping time and keep it as snappy as possible.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and internet freedom research. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio