VPN Speed Test Tool

JP Jones - CTO @ Top10VPNHeadshot 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, performing over 3,000 weekly speed tests for 16 of the most popular VPNs.

Use the VPN speed test tool below 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 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

Mbps

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 test 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 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 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 VPN services, we also carry out manual speed tests.

    These manual tests are very different to our tool’s automated tests. We use the results of our manual tests to determine how we’ll score a VPN for speed and consistency.

    Our manual speed tests are designed to be identical to how you would test your VPN’s speed at home.

    We simply connect to the VPN we’re testing, and then browse to speedtest.net.

    We run a speed 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), 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).

    You can look at the distance each of those countries 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 router that isn’t used by any other devices.

    The standard internet speed is capped at 100Mbps to replicate a typical home connection in the US, UK and similar countries.

    Each VPN we test is installed on a clean virtual machine. In essence, they have a completely clean, unused operating system to themselves with no clash or interference from other VPN software.

    You can see manual speed results in our individual VPN reviews. Or, discover 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 their apps. They may not be available on all platforms, but they can be a quick way of understanding how your VPN is performing.

    Some speed tools, like ExpressVPN’s, show you how fast the connection is on servers you aren’t even connected to.

    If your VPN doesn’t have its own speed tester, then you can use an internet speed test website or app instead.

    Just because you’re connected to a VPN doesn’t mean you need to do anything different. If you’ve tested your internet speed before it’s the exact same process.

    In fact, this is exactly what we do when we manually test a VPN in our lab.

    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

    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. You can learn more about this feature along with its benefits and safety implications in our guide to VPN split tunneling.