VPNs are like the Avengers or Justice League of the private industry, hiding your IP information and encrypting your connection for protection against fraudsters, identity thieves, phishing scammers, and hackers. They are crucial for receiving anonymity online, along with granting access to blocked websites, engaging in P2P/Torrenting, and bypassing ISP throttling. This article focuses on a single use-case for VPNs: performance. Read this in-depth VPN Speed Test guide below from BestVPN.co on the Fastest VPNs!
This way, you will get a better idea of how VPNs influence speeds and which provider is the perfect choice, based on server performance testing from a variety of locations. After all, the last thing you want is signing up with a provider only to realize that it sucks at delivering high speeds, which is essential for streaming pirated content or engaging in P2P/Torrenting. While receiving good privacy and anonymity online is definitely important, getting reasonable speeds for VPNs is equally important!
Does a VPN Affect Speed?
When most people talk about VPNs they usually go on spreading misinformation saying that these privacy tools actually reduce your internet speed. While we do not disagree with this statement, there are different circumstances, where a VPN can actually make your internet faster. In basic methodology, a VPN uses protocols overhead for encapsulation/de-capsulation, adding a layer of encryption to your network.
This means, all your internet traffic passes through a secure gateway, which is invisible to local ISPs or government surveillance. The addition of this “encrypted tunnel” does make the internet slower as a result. However, in circumstances where there is a deliberate effort recognized for downgrading the quality of service you receive, you may actually experience a boost in speeds.
ISPs may impose throttling keying off your original IP address. Without a VPN, you will notice that the speeds you receive are not equal to the PLAN you might have subscribed to. Upon connecting with a VPN, the endpoint shifts, as you use a separate IP address and DNS, which bypasses any sort of rate limiting. Of course, there are different factors that influence VPN speeds too.
Factors that Influence VPN Speeds
Most users of VPN have little or zero knowledge about how privacy tools operate to cloak your identity online. Sometimes even professionals like us have trouble dumbing down the processes to make the understanding of the technicalities easier. There is so much involved in creating a Virtual Private Network, and there are plenty of factors with affect speeds (many of which you will be surprised to hear about.
Distance to the VPN server
Based on where you are located, the internet speed may vary for someone living closer to a particular server than one residing far way. This is why most VPN clients usually have an “Auto-Connect” feature, which automatically finds a reliable VPN server nearby to your location.
For instance, if you are connecting from China to a server in the US, you can expect some loss in speeds. Similarly, if you opt for a Hong Kong server, you will receive faster speeds (due to the reduced proximity). This varied performance by location is due to the time it takes for a data packet to travel back and forth.
Protocols and Encryption
As VPNs use stronger protocols and encryption for boosting your anonymity online, you will notice a reduction in overall speed received. For instance, if you opt to use a PPTP setup with a basic 128-bit AES encryption, you will get faster speeds.
On the other hand, if you go for OpenVPN (UDP or TCP protocol) with AES-256-CBC ciphers, you will have to pay with speed for that extra security. Only the SSTP offers the best ratio of encryption and speed, but the protocol is only available on Windows.
Nodes Connected to a Server
VPNs are universal creatures that are consumed by hundreds of people at a single time. In simple words, depending on the VPN you sign up with and if you use a dynamic IP, you will have to face problems relating to server load, which directly negates the speed you receive.
The more people connected to a single server will result in a massive server load. This means the speeds you receive will most likely be regulated. This is why it is preferred to go for providers that offer a good listing of locations from the same country. For instance, NordVPN offers over 550 servers in the UK alone!
Bandwidth Throttling by ISP
We did mention this earlier, ISPs may impose speed limitations which may hinder the internet speed you get in the first place. Now, we did mention earlier that VPNs help bypass these limitations, but when using a connection supplied by dial-up or 3G, you can expect some VPN connectivity issues.
Even if you have a 50 Mbps connection but the interconnection between the ISP and your VPN provider is poor, you may notice a decline in speeds. Otherwise, mostly when you sign up with a VPN, you will only notice a 10-20% loss in bandwidth speeds.
Some Computer-Related Reasons
If you really want to use a VPN on your computer without receiving a massive reduction in speeds, you need to equip your CPU with a faster processor. This will automatically lead to better speed gains, but it is imperative you opt for a reliable provider with an established reputation for 0% packet loss.
Another reason why your internet speeds may suffer is the settings of your firewall. If the algorithm constantly blocks the VPN, it will prevent the connection to flow through consistently. When installing the VPN app, make sure to add the client on the list of approved services for the Firewall.
Top VPN Speed Test Overview
We understand that users are constantly looking for reliable VPN providers that do not compromise on security/privacy and performance. If you are one of those individuals, then you are at the right place. Below you can find a detailed analysis of the Top 5 Fastest VPN providers (according to our testing that took us a considerable amount of time and resulted in lack of sleep).
ExpressVPN Speed Test
Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN enjoys a strong reputation for being an all-rounder VPN service, and there is no denying it! It is located in a safe haven away from jurisdictions of EU and the US. The provider keeps ZERO logs and has never been found guilty of helping government agencies even in cases where they had their servers SEIZED by the Turkish Authorities in an assassination case.
Once you sign up with ExpressVPN, you gain access to 2000+ 140 servers in over 90 countries worldwide. This provides you with unblocking capabilities for geo-restricted websites like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer. The best part of all: you receive amazing speeds regardless of which server you connect to. Below you can see the results of a thorough analysis of the providers’ performance in five locations.
The VPN has the lowest of speed loss among 80+ providers that we reviewed for the task, delivering an average of 82.45 Mbps download speed and 64.13 Mbps upload speed on your 100 Mbps connection.
|ExpressVPN Speed Test|
|Download||95.23 Mbits/s||79.43 Mbits/s||85.18 Mbits/s||70.89 Mbits/s||81.55 Mbits/s||82.45 Mbits/s|
|Upload||69.21 Mbits/s||60.49 Mbits/s||70.99 Mbits/s||60.72 Mbits/s||59.27 Mbits/s||64.13 Mbits/s|
|Ping||105 ms||111 ms||62 ms||79 ms||70 ms||85.4 ms|
Performance Summary (Average Speeds)
Download Speed: 82.45Mbps (17.55% slower)
Upload Speed: 64.13Mbps (35.87% slower)
Ping: 85 ms
NordVPN Speed Test
The Panamanian-based provider is famed for its reputation of being a highly secure service, enjoying the strategic location, which sets it apart from the competition. Add this to its no logs policy and the provider is not one to mess with, especially if you want to stay protected from identity thieves, scammers, phishing, and cybercriminals.
Features you receive from the provider include DNS Leak Protection, Automatic Kill Switch, and Onion Over VPN. For advanced technologies, you have DoubleVPN, which passes all network traffic through two servers located in different countries. CyberSec that blocks cyber threats, harmful websites, and malware from spreading on your devices.
You have access to over 5150+ servers in 62 countries. The speed tests below reveal amazing performance with download speeds touching 80.00 Mbps on average and upload at 56.68 Mbps.
|NordVPN Speed Test|
|Download||91.71 Mbits/s||83.96 Mbits/s||75.81 Mbits/s||65.98 Mbits/s||82.55 Mbits/s||80.00 Mbits/s|
|Upload||60.63 Mbits/s||49.99 Mbits/s||50.19 Mbits/s||59.88 Mbits/s||62.72 Mbits/s||56.68 Mbits/s|
|Ping||128 ms||92 ms||117 ms||99 ms||55 ms||98.2 ms|
Performance Summary (Average Speeds)
Download Speed: 80.00 Mbps (20.00% slower)
Upload Speed: 56.68 Mbps (43.32% slower)
Ping: 98.2 ms
Surfshark Speed Test
Similar to ExpressVPN, Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands (a VPN-friendly jurisdiction), meaning it enjoys a strategic advantage over other services. There are no data retention laws in the BVI and you do not have to worry about 5-eyes or 14-eyes alliances. The provider offers two strong encryption ciphers: AES-256-CBC and AES-256-GCM.
For connectivity, the provider delivers amazing speeds on its expanding server list, stretching to 500+ in 45 countries in just 2 months. You have apps for all platforms/devices too, along with a Router app. With regards to pricing, Surfshark tends to be incredibly cost-effective and wallet-friendly. If you go for the yearly plan, you only pay $5.99 per month, which totals to $71.88 every 12-months
As you can see below, the performance from the VPN is quite impressive too, delivering a decent 76.22 Mbps download speed on average, along with 66.19 Mbps upload.
|Surfshark Speed Test|
|Download||87.52 Mbits/s||80.23 Mbits/s||75.61 Mbits/s||67.96 Mbits/s||69.78 Mbits/s||76.22 Mbits/s|
|Upload||77.91 Mbits/s||71.18 Mbits/s||63.73 Mbits/s||60.11 Mbits/s||57.98 Mbits/s||66.18 Mbits/s|
|Ping||120 ms||144 ms||220 ms||115 ms||102 ms||140 ms|
Performance Summary (Average Speeds)
Download Speed: 76.22 Mbps (23.78% slower)
Upload Speed: 66.18 Mbps (33.82% slower)
Ping: 140 ms
VyprVPN Speed Test
Created by Golden Frog and located in Switzerland, VyprVPN is another reliable FAST VPN that offers a huge database of 700 servers worldwide, along with perks like DPI Protection, NAT Firewall, and the Chameleon Technology, for better security, when engaging in torrenting/streaming activities. After all, the more features you have for privacy, the better!
Upon testing the performance of the provider, we received exceptionally fast speeds on our 100 Mbps connection that were not affected greatly by selecting different servers or increased network traffic, displaying a 25.61% decrease only. This could be because VyprVPN manages its own network, due to which it is available to deliver excellent speeds always!
Despite being connected to different servers, the speed was consistent with a little bit of loss. We received an average 74.39 Mbps in download and 61.87 Mbps in upload.
|Download||84.69 Mbits/s||74.63 Mbits/s||75.15 Mbits/s||64.96 Mbits/s||72.55 Mbits/s||74.39 Mbits/s|
|Upload||74.18 Mbits/s||61.51 Mbits/s||57.82 Mbits/s||52.26 Mbits/s||63.59 Mbits/s||61.87 Mbits/s|
|Ping||192 ms||209 ms||175 ms||240 ms||140 ms||191.2 ms|
Download Speed: 74.39 Mbps (25.61% slower)
Performance Summary (Average Speeds)
Upload Speed: 61.87 Mbps (38.13% slower)
Ping: 191.2 ms
Buffered VPN Speed Test
Recently paving its way into the VPN market, the Gibraltar-based provider is another name famous for offering exceptional performance and speeds to those who crave it. Though there is some session/connection logging, the VPN is pretty much safe, because of its central servers being based in Holland, where you cannot view data records without a proper warrant!
Of course, the remaining logs are deleted after 30-days. We appreciate the transparency the VPN brings to the product, as it is better than being shocked/surprised later on, similar to how we experienced with PureVPN some time ago. For connectivity, Buffered offers Servers in 41 Countries Worldwide for unblocking or indulging in P2P/Torrenting.
The speeds you receive are quite amazing too with the VPN clocking at 72.35 Mbps download and 64.71 Mbps upload on an average, after conducting a test on five different server locations!
|Download||85.27 Mbits/s||79.53 Mbits/s||71.82 Mbits/s||65.92 Mbits/s||59.21 Mbits/s||72.35 Mbits/s|
|Upload||76.17 Mbits/s||69.79 Mbits/s||62.91 Mbits/s||60.98 Mbits/s||53.74 Mbits/s||64.71 Mbits/s|
|Ping||85 ms||189 ms||222 ms||127 ms||259 ms||176.4 ms|
Performance Summary (Average Speeds)
Download Speed: 72.35 Mbps (27.65% slower)
Upload Speed: 64.71 Mbps (35.29% slower)
Ping: 176.4 ms
VPN Speed Test Comparison
|Rank||VPN Provider||Download Speed||Upload Speed|
|#1||ExpressVPN||82.45Mbps (17.55% slower)||64.13Mbps (35.87% slower)|
|#2||NordVPN||80.00 Mbps (20.00% slower)||56.68 Mbps (43.32% slower)|
|#3||Surfshark||76.22 Mbps (23.78% slower)||66.18 Mbps (33.82% slower)|
|#4||VyprVPN||74.39 Mbps (25.61% slower)||61.87 Mbps (38.13% slower)|
|#5||Buffered VPN||72.35 Mbps (27.65% slower)||64.71 Mbps (35.29% slower)|
How to Check Internet Speed | Method Behind the Tests
BestVPN.co uses its own specialized speed testing tool to analyze the performance of different VPNs on varied servers around the world. The results are then automatically plotted into a graphical structure for accurate reading, which is essential for figuring out the best provider. This tool is unavailable to the general public, but people who want to check their internet speed can always rely on alternatives.
There are numerous online tools available that provide accurate results upon testing the speed of your internet. In fact, almost any privacy website you visit will definitely reveal information about your leaking identity online, indicating the exact location based on your IP address. ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, PureVPN are just a few examples of VPN websites that provide such information.
If you need a reliable tool for just checking your internet speed though, then you might want to check out Speed Test by Oakla, KeyCDN Speed Test, Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, WebPageTest, Varvy Pagespeed Optimization, UpTrends, dotcom-monitor, Yellow Lab Tools, Sucuri Load Time Tester, Pagelocity, and YSlow.
Wrapping Things Up
We hope this guide helps users in finding the Fastest VPNs that can help with streaming seamlessly or downloading torrents without any hassle. It took us a great deal of time to test each service, but user-opinion is always positioned higher. If you have signed up with any of the providers above, do not hesitate on commenting below to give an unbiased review. Also, feel free to share the guide with other tech-geeks, looking for a fast VPN service. Have a nice day. Cheerio