fast vpn

What Makes a Fast VPN And What Affects VPN Speed?

Last updated on May 11, 2021

There are many important elements that will influence which VPN you will ultimately choose as the right one for you. These include things like privacy, security, and customer service, but possibly one of the most important things users look for in a great VPN is speed.

Due to the fact that your VPN reroutes your internet connection to a different location, it will slow your connection down, but the difference in VPN service providers when it comes to speed is huge. For instance, some VPNs can slow down your connection by up to 70%, while a fast VPN will not have a noticeable difference in your internet performance. Those of you who wish to use a VPN for things like internet banking or safe browsing may not notice a lack of VPN speed, but if you wish to use your VPN connection for getting around geo-blocks and streaming restricted content, speed can be a deciding factor.

What Makes for a Fast VPN?

There are a number of factors that will determine the speed of your VPN connection. Some of these are controlled by your VPN service provider, whilst others are dependent on your home network. Let’s take a look at what affects your VPN speed.

Your Network Connection

It doesn’t matter how fast your VPN service might be. It will always rely on the speed of your initial connection that you’re using in order to access the VPN server. You will never be able to achieve 50mbps speeds if you have just 10mbps to start off with.

Server Location

It is a general rule that your VPN connection will be faster if you connect to a location nearer to your own, rather than to a server on the other side of the world. When connecting to a server closer to your true location, you could be surfing and streaming with speeds of over 90mbps, whilst faraway server connections could mean that you are browsing the web with connection speeds of just 5mbps.

Encryption Strength

When you encrypt your online traffic, it will require extra data, which is also known as an encryption overhead- meaning that the stronger your encryption, the slower your VPN speed. It should be noted that one of the major reasons that people choose to purchase a VPN subscription is security, so it is not recommended to weaken your encryption completely, but you can always check out how much encryption is involved and how much you actually need.

Server Crowding

One of the highlights of any VPN provider is when it tells you how many connections are on one server because the number of people that crowd a server will deeply affect your speed. For example, if there are 100 users on a 1000mbps server, then realistically, they, as a group, will only be working at an average of 10mbps. The premium VPN service providers are often faster as they can afford for more server bandwidth per person.


It all depends on the way your data is being routed. Sometimes, a VPN company will reroute your connection between a number of servers which can slow down your speed if it is done so inefficiently.

VPN Protocol

Something that can largely impact your performance is protocol. Users should note that when it comes to OpenVPN, UDP is almost always speedier than TCP, as it will not make the server verify the receipt of data packets. The protocol of your VPN is also something that determines the way your connection is encrypted in terms of the algorithm, which might impact speed and latency.

Your Network Setup

Whilst a lot of people prefer the freedom you have with wi-fi, it also results in lower speeds. Connecting to the internet with a LAN cable can increase your speed by as much as 100%.

Best Fast VPNs

When it comes to comparing some of the best VPNs in terms of speed, we have come up with a list of service providers where speed will not be an issue.

#1 ExpressVPN

There are over 3,000 servers on offer spread across as many as 94 countries with ExpressVPN, so even if your connection does slow down, which it won’t, you won’t have any trouble connecting to a faster server. That being said, even the servers located halfway around the world were quick enough to stream, download, torrent and browse without any issues.

Desktop clients are available for platforms such as Windows, Mac, and even Linux, while there are fantastic, user-friendly apps that cover Android, iOS and Blackberry devices. Both the desktop and mobile apps have the option of connecting to the fastest server available to you, which makes for optimal performance right off the bat.

Having jurisdiction in the British Virgin Islands means that your online movements will remain secure and completely anonymous.

Setting up ExpressVPN takes just a few moments, and as soon as it is installed, you can get things going with a one-click setup.

Security is of great importance for any VPN connection, and luckily, ExpressVPN offers military-grade protection, DNS protection, as well as OpenVPN support and a kill switch.

If you’re having any trouble in terms of speed, you can always contact customer service via live chat, which is available 24/7 throughout the year, or you can always reach them by email. There are also handy guides and video tutorials that can be found on the ExpressVPN website.

Should you change your mind about ExpressVPN, you can always get your money back within the first month with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Apart from being the fastest VPN service, ExpressVPN made the top spot due to:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Ultra-fast streaming speeds
  • Compatible with Android TV (Box) and Fire TV
  • Apps available for every device
  • Hides your streaming activity
  • No connection logs
  • No activity logs
  • P2P possibility
  • Ping times that are minimally affected
  • ExpressVPN works extremely well in high censorship countries
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Large international server network
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Outstanding customer service
  • 99% uptime guarantee
  • Up to three simultaneous connections

ExpressVPN also offers a special deal, get 3 months free and 49% savings with their annual subscription plan!

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here.

 #2 Surfshark

With over 800 servers in 50 locations and counting, Surfshark is one of the best options for your VPN when it comes to speed. Like ExpressVPN, Surfshark will determine your optimal server location for the best speed. Whilst other providers claim to have lightning-fast speeds, Surfshark actually does well in delivering on that promise.

If you’re just starting out with VPNs, you might not know which settings to alter when installing, but with Surfshark, all the privacy settings you need will be enabled by this VPN service, which will include a built-in tracker as well as a malware blocker.

If you wish to take your security to the next step, you will love the MultiHop feature which will allow you to connect to more than just one server at a time, making your security even tighter.

Reading their privacy policy it was revealed that Surfshark “do not collect IP addresses, browsing history, session information, used bandwidth, connection time stamps, network traffic, and other similar data.”

Those who love to tune into Netflix will have the option of tuning into 13 Netflix libraries from around the world, which is an issue for some VPN competitors.

You will have access to 24-hour instant chat when it comes to customer service as well as the 30-day money-back guarantee. By far, the best aspect of this VPN is that you can have unlimited simultaneous connections with one Surfshark license.

For the second-fastest VPN service, choose Surfshark. On offer, there are also:

  • Great download speeds
  • Zero logging
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited platform protection
  • Unlimited Server Switching
  • Some servers work with Netflix
  • Strong encryption
  • Torrenting allowed
  • CleanWeb feature
  • Unlimited devices
  • Whitelister feature

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here

#3 CyberGhost

CyberGhost is definitely one of the richest VPN services when it comes to servers, with over 5,900 servers in over 90 worldwide locations. Speeds are also quite fast and there is 24-hour chat possibility just as with the other two above mentioned options.

Your security is high on CyberGhost’s list of priorities, which is clearly outlined in their privacy policy.

“We do not log real IP addresses, we do not log assigned servers, we do not log login or logout times, we don’t merge any real data (like purchase data) into account data, we do not log traffic data (e.g. which website are visited) nor any information sent via a CyberGhost server.

CyberGhost VPN neither observes nor records content like messenger chats, telephone calls, video chats, or other communication forms, nor stores IP addresses (not the ones the users are heading to, and not the ones users have, when logging into the CyberGhost VPN network). Furthermore, it’s not possible to record which account logged into which server at what time or to connect a real person to a certain CyberGhost VPN account.”

One of the highlights of this VPN service is definitely their 45 money-back guarantee, which is quite a bit longer than other services provide.

CyberGhost offers high speeds, but also:

  • Strict No Logs Policy
  • High speeds
  • Automatic Kill Switch
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 7 devices
  • Easy to use
  • 256-bit AES Encryption
  • Unlimited bandwidth and traffic
  • OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec and PPTP protocols
  • Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Routers

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here

#4 NordVPN

NordVPN counts more than 5,200 servers in over 60 countries around the world, which is by far the biggest server network around. For advanced VPN users, there are many advanced settings to tinker with which include many additional security options.

For those who love streaming, NordVPN has a cool feature called SmartPlay which will has the ability to unblock as many as 150 streaming services that otherwise have geo-restrictions such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and everyone’s favorite, US Netflix.

With jurisdiction in Panama, your online activity will always remain private. This is something that is reiterated within the NordVPN privacy policy.

“We do not store connection time stamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses or other data. From the moment a user turns on the software, their internet data becomes encrypted. Any online traffic coming from their user’s device is no longer visible to ISP, third-party snoopers or cybercriminals.”

NordVPN does well in terms of performance and also has a thirty-day money-back guarantee. You should know that if you wish to pay for your VPN service with PayPal you will need to look for an alternative such as ExpressVPN, as NordVPN doesn’t offer this.

Apart from offering great VPN speed NordVPN also comes with:

  • IP Leak protection
  • Double VPN
  • CyberSec
  • Onion over VPN
  • Quick connect
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 6 devices
  • Automatic Kill Switch
  • No logs policy
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Set-up and installation takes just minutes
  • 24-hour customer support

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here.

#5 ProtonVPN

This is one of the newer VPN companies, which makes their 628 server count in 44 countries quite impressive. There are no bandwidth connections, and subscribing to ProtonVPN will allow for up to ten simultaneous connections as well as custom connection profiles and a regular transparency report.

This VPN company is based in Switzerland, which has some of the strongest privacy policies in the world, which is reflected in ProtonVPN’s privacy policy. “As a Swiss VPN provider, we do not log user activity or share data with third parties. Our anonymous VPN service enables Internet without surveillance.”

You will not be disappointed when it comes to speed, however, there are fewer servers on offer, which might impact on server crowding. In saying that though, there are a lot of elements that we love about ProtonVPN, which include:

  • Strong encryption
  • Forward secrecy
  • All major platforms covered
  • Strong protocols
  • Swiss Based
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • DNS leak protection
  • Kill switch
  • Tor over VPN
  • Easy to use
  • Professional support
  • P2P support
  • Up to ten devices covered
  • Quick country selector
  • Quick connect

Want to find out more? Check out the full review here

The Importance of a Fast VPN

When choosing the right VPN for your needs, speed is usually an important factor. Firstly, convenience is something to think about. You need a VPN that will not cause your internet connection to lag.

If streaming is something you enjoy, you will want a VPN with high-performance speeds as slower VPNs can affect your viewing capability. Torrenting is also something that will require a fast VPN.

Gaming is something that is highly sensitive to ping, rather than download or upload speeds and it might be an idea to set your VPN on your router to create a seamless gaming experience.

Those who wish to have a faster VPN connection might also lower encryption standards which can bring your anonymity and security into question, which is something you want to avoid.

Conclusion To Fastest VPN Service

Having a VPN service with top speeds is usually what a lot of VPN companies promise, but many of them end up falling short on those promises. One thing to think about is that not all VPNs are consistent in their speeds and that whilst some service providers might offer spikes in performance, this is something that drops off after a while.

The above-mentioned VPN providers will all provide users with great speeds, keeping you safe and secure at the same time.

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