VPN Speed Test Tool

JP Jones - CTO @ Top10VPN
Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

JP is our CTO. He has over 25 years of software engineering and networking experience, and oversees all technical aspects of our VPN testing process. Read full bio

Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio

Our VPN speed test tool runs 365 days a year, testing the speeds of 16 of the most popular VPNs in 2021.

Use the below VPN speed test tool to get accurate speed results for some of the most popular VPNs. The tool displays a timeline of recorded speed data to show you how consistently a VPN performs over time.

Our test servers are located all around the world, and update every six hours. You can even choose between VPN protocols to see how your speeds may vary.

Compare VPN Speeds

Summary (0 of 5 selected)

* Provider-preferred protocol. This may not always be the optimal choice for speed or security, and may not be available on all servers. Learn more about VPN protocols.
Note: Data shown here is an average over past 8 weeks, calculated as average of 4 tests performed every 6 hours daily.

Period: Last 8 weeks

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Click to show/hide graph

    How We Run VPN Speed Tests

    We test VPN speeds through two different methods:

    1. Automated VPN Speed Tests

    We have servers set up in 11 cities around the world, with 16 of the most popular VPNs installed on them. These servers send data to one another around the clock, seven days a week, to create an accurate, long-term picture of how fast each VPN really is. We also test the servers with no VPN running at all.

    We’ve capped the speed at 100Mbps so that the numbers look similar to what you’d see with a home fiber optic broadband connection, and the data transfer has been designed to function as consistently as possible.

    The data we send is regulated, there’s no compression, and it’s free of any additional protocols or ports slowing it down. We run 121 tests every six hours per VPN and create an average, making sure to get rid of any glaring errors.

    The data you see on the graph above is a daily average of all those tests. It’s not perfect, but we think it’s the best tool on the internet for seeing how VPNs actually perform.

    Our speed test collects data every six hours

    We use average speed loss as our go-to statistic as it’s the most informative piece of data for VPN users at home. You might have different internet speeds at home compared to our 100Mbps servers. In that case, all you have to do is take the speed loss percentage for the VPN you’re interested in and apply it to your own speeds.

    For example, if a VPN takes 10% off our server’s speeds, you can presume that your home internet speeds of 50Mbps without VPN will reduce to 40Mbps while using it.

    It’s important to have the fastest VPN possible because everything you do while connected to your VPN is affected by it. Obvious speed-dependent tasks like gaming and torrenting will be affected most, but even everyday tasks like checking your social media or sending an email are affected by it, too. Take a look at the results of our testing and make your choice carefully.

    Which VPN Services Do We Test?

    We use our tool to test the following 16 VPN services:

    • CyberGhost
    • ExpressVPN
    • hide.me
    • HideMyAss!
    • Hotspot Shield
    • IPVanish
    • Mullvad
    • NordVPN
    • Private Internet Access
    • PrivateVPN
    • ProtonVPN
    • SaferVPN
    • Surfshark
    • TunnelBear
    • VyprVPN
    • Windscribe

    We’ve picked these providers as they’re some of the biggest and most popular names on the market. It’s by no means a comprehensive list, and we’re looking to add to it every chance we get. We’re mostly restricted to VPNs that run the OpenVPN protocol, although by communicating with some providers we’re able to utilize their own, faster protocols, too.

    Where Are Our Speed Test Servers Located?

    We have speed test servers located in 11 cities around the world:

    • Amsterdam, Netherlands
    • Frankfurt, Germany
    • London, UK
    • New York, US
    • Paris, France
    • San Francisco, US
    • Singapore
    • Sydney, Australia
    • Tokyo, Japan
    • Toronto, Canada
    • Vancouver, Canada

    While your city may not be on this list, we hope that the global spread is wide enough that you can find one near enough to you to estimate what your own speeds might be like.

    2. Manual VPN Speed Tests

    When we review the VPN services we also carry out manual speed tests. This test is completely different to our automated tool. We use the results of this test to decide how we’ll score a VPN for speed and consistency, and it’s been designed to be identical to how you’d test your VPN’s speed at home.

    There’s nothing too complicated to it: we simply connect to the VPN we’re testing and then browse to speedtest.net. We run the test three times, then take an average of the numbers it shows us. If any of them seem like massive outliers, we try it again until it gains some consistency.

    We test four major server locations: a local one (which for us is London, UK), one in Western Europe (somewhere like Germany that’s a little further away from us, but not too far), one on the East Coast of the US (usually New York, a popular location for anyone using a VPN for streaming), and Australia (which is the farthest possible location from us that’s usually catered to by VPN providers).

    You can look at the distance each of those countries is from our location and apply it to your own situation.

    We ensure consistency by using the same computers for testing. These computers are connected via ethernet cable to a dedicated 100Mbps router in our office which isn’t used by any other devices.

    Each VPN we test is installed on a clean virtual machine. This means that they essentially have a completely clean, unused operating system to themselves – no chance of clashing or interfering with each other. You can see these results in each one of our VPN reviews, or see which are the fastest VPNs in 2021 based on our manual speed tests.

    How to Test Your VPN Speeds at Home

    ExpressVPN speed testing with speedtest.net

    There are two ways you can test your VPN speed yourself: with a tool built in to your VPN, or with a speed testing website.

    Some VPNs come with their own speed testing tool within its apps. They may not be available on all platforms, but they can be a quick and useful way of finding out how your VPN is performing. Some, like the one on ExpressVPN, show you how fast the connection is on servers you aren’t even connected to.

    If your VPN doesn’t have a speed tester of its own, then you can use an internet speed testing website or app instead. Just because you’re connected to a VPN doesn’t mean that you need to do anything different – if you’ve ever tested your internet speed before it’s the exact same process. In fact, it’s exactly what we do when testing a VPN in our office. Here’s how to test your VPN’s speed:

    1Connect to a VPN server of your choice

    It makes sense to connect to the server that you’re likely to use the most frequently if you’re just doing this out of curiosity. Alternatively, if you’re troubleshooting a slow server, make sure you’re connected to exactly the one that’s giving you difficulties (lots of VPNs let you select a general location, like New York, but connect you to one of dozens of servers in that city at random).

    2Browse to a speed testing website

    We use speedtest.net when performing our VPN speed tests in the Top10VPN.com offices. It’s independently owned, meaning that it won’t favor any particular ISP or VPN.

    3Make sure it’s got the right server selected

    It’s important to connect to your VPN first and then open up the speed test in a fresh window or tab, as otherwise it might try to connect to a server near your real-world location. Double check that’s not the case.

    4Make sure the speed test connection is set to ‘multi’

    Some sites (like speedtest.net) allow you to choose between a ‘single’ or ‘multi’ connection test. We always make sure to choose ‘multi’ – not just for consistency, but because it gives you the most accurate results over fast connections.

    5Click ‘GO’

    You’re all set. Get the test underway and make a note of the numbers it shows you. Now you can compare those to the speeds you get when not running a VPN.

    Why a VPN Slows Your Internet Speed

    VPN services will not call this out, but the truth is that every VPN will slow down your internet speed. This happens because of how VPNs work.

    Usually, your internet traffic travels from your device to the website or service you’re using and then back again.

    When you connect to a VPN, your traffic is diverted. It first goes to a VPN server, then on to a website or application, before the data is sent back to you. The extra distance traveled has an impact on web speeds. This also explains why your speeds get slower the further the VPN server is from your real location.

    In addition, VPNs use high encryption to enhance your internet security. The stronger the encryption, the more it can impact speed. However, the best VPN services still provide very fast speeds alongside best-in-class encryption.

    The goal when choosing a VPN isn’t to find one that doesn’t slow down your internet – there’s no such thing. What you’re looking for is the VPN which slows it down the least.

    That’s why we talk about speed loss percentages, both on this page and in our reviews. It’s the fairest way to measure VPN speed. Plus, you can take the number and apply it to your own home internet to get an idea of how the VPN might affect you.

    How to Increase Your VPN Speed

    A diagram explaining how to increase your VPN's speeds

    If you’ve found a VPN you like, but aren’t entirely happy with its speeds, it’s not too late. There are a few things you can try to boost your VPN’s speed:

    1Use a VPN Router

    VPN routers are designed specifically to work with VPNs. You can even buy them pre-configured, so you’re guaranteed to get the best speeds possible.

    Every device that connects to a VPN server will be automatically protected. Be sure to check that your VPN is compatible with a router before you buy it.

    2Choose a different VPN protocol

    Different VPN protocols deliver different speeds, even if you’re connected to the same server location.

    We always recommend OpenVPN as we believe it to be the most secure, but within OpenVPN you have the choice of UDP or TCP. UDP is the faster of the two, while TCP is more reliable – they’re both just as secure.

    If you’re still struggling you can try changing your VPN’s protocol to IKEv2. It’s still secure (we would never recommend anything that isn’t) but it’s often faster than OpenVPN.

    3Connect to a nearby server

    It’s simple: the closer the VPN server is to you, the quicker your connection will be.

    Of course this isn’t always possible. If you need to connect to a certain country, then you’ll often have no choice in changing the server. But, even then check you’re connecting to the closest server possible.

    For example, if you’re in Western Europe and you need a US server, make sure it’s on the East Coast (like New York or Boston). Similarly, if you’re in East Asia and you need a US server, make sure it’s one on the West Coast (like Seattle or San Francisco).

    If you’re just using your VPN for security reasons, and not to unblock content abroad, then connect to the nearest server possible. Your VPN’s automatic choice will usually be the best.

    4Try split tunneling

    Split tunneling is a feature many VPNs offer. It lets you choose which apps should connect to the internet using the VPN connection.

    Your VPN speeds can improve if you have less apps using your VPN connection. Especially if you have many bandwidth-intensive apps connected to the internet.

    The downside is that not all your apps will be using an encrypted VPN connection.