VPN Speed Test Tool

JP Jone's profile imageCallum Tennent's profile image

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

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

Our VPN speed test tool runs 365 days a year, performing over 3,000 weekly speed tests for 15 of the most popular VPNs.

Use our 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 has been performing over time.

Our test servers are located around the world, and update every six hours. You can also 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 6 months calculated as average of 4 tests performed every 6 hours daily.

Period: Last 6 months


Click to show/hide graph

    Our Automated VPN Speed Tests

    We have test servers set up in 11 cities spread across the world, with 15 of the most popular VPNs running on them.

    Our test servers send data to one another 24/7, to create an accurate, long-term picture of how fast each VPN truly is.

    We’ve capped connection speeds at 100Mbps to reproduce what a typical internet user would experience on a home fiber optic broadband connection.

    Moreover, the data transfer has been designed to function as consistently as possible.

    The data we send is regulated, without compression, and 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 graphs 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.

    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 may have different internet speeds at home compared to our 100Mbps servers. If that’s the 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 internet speeds.

    For example, if a VPN takes 20% off our server’s speeds, you can presume that your home internet speeds of 50Mbps without VPN will reduce to 40Mbps while using it.

    Having a very fast VPN is critical, because all internet activity while connected to your VPN is affected.

    Online gaming, video streaming and torrenting will be affected the most. However, even everyday tasks like social media browsing or sending large email attachments can be affected, too.

    Which VPN Services Do We Test?

    Our tool tests the speeds of the following 15 VPN services:

    • CyberGhost
    • ExpressVPN
    • hide.me
    • HideMyAss! (HMA VPN)
    • Hotspot Shield
    • IPVanish
    • Mullvad
    • NordVPN
    • Private Internet Access
    • PrivateVPN
    • Proton VPN
    • Surfshark
    • TunnelBear
    • VyprVPN
    • Windscribe

    We selected these VPN providers based on their large customer bases, popularity, and service quality.

    It’s by no means a comprehensive list, and we’re always looking to add more VPN services.

    Currently, we’re mostly restricted to VPNs that have the right setup (as well as the OpenVPN protocol) for us to add them to our testing infrastructure.

    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 the global spread is wide enough for you to estimate what your own speeds may be like.

    Additional Information: When we review VPNs, we also run manual speed tests, as outlined in our VPN review process.

    There can be some differences between the fastest VPNs based on our manual speed tests, and the quickest displayed by our automated tool.

    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 into your VPN, or with a speed testing website.

    Some VPNs have their own speed test tool within their apps. They may not be available on all platforms, but they are a quick way of understanding your VPN’s speed performance.

    For example, ExpressVPN’s speed test tool, shows connection speeds on servers you aren’t even connected to.

    If your VPN doesn’t have its own speed tester, then use an internet speed test website or app, instead. If you’ve tested your internet speed before, it’s the exact same process.

    Here’s how to test your VPN software’s speed:

    1Connect to a VPN server of your choice

    Connect to the VPN server you’re likely to use the most frequently. If you’re troubleshooting a slow server, connect to the server that’s giving you difficulties (many VPNs let you select a general location, like New York, but connect you to one of many servers in that city).

    2Browse to a speed testing website

    We use speedtest.net when performing our VPN speed tests. Based on our extensive tests, the tool won’t favor any particular ISP or VPN.

    3Make sure it’s got the right server selected

    You must connect to your VPN first, and then open up the speed test website or app. Otherwise the speed tester will 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 websites (like speedtest.net) let you choose between a ‘single’ or ‘multi’ connection test. We always choose ‘multi’ – not just for consistency, but because it gives the most accurate results over fast connections.

    5Click ‘GO’

    You’re all set. Get the test underway and make a note of the download, upload and ping numbers displayed. You can then compare these results to those when the VPN isn’t running.

    Why a VPN Slows Your Internet Speed

    The truth is every VPN will slow down your internet speed, 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.

    A VPN diverts your traffic to a VPN server first, and then onto 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 higher the encryption, the more it can affect connection 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, but one which slows it down the least.

    That’s why we talk about speed loss percentages, both on this page and in our VPN reviews.

    Calculating the speed loss percentage is the fairest way to measure VPN speed. It also lets you apply it to your own internet speed to get an idea of how the VPN may affect it.

    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.