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7 Fastest VPN Services in 2018

Brad Smith

Brad Smith

In this case-study, we tested 70+ VPNs and their download/upload speeds across the United States and Europe. Results? All VPNs slow down your connection a bit…

VPNs boost security, but slow speeds.

That’s unfortunate. And there’s no way to solve one without the other.

The extra VPN funnel to secure your entire connection adds layers of encrypted security, which inevitably dings server speeds.

fast vpn
Example of a fast VPN provider

But how do you find a fast VPN?

The good news is that the best VPNs in existence only see a negligible drop in performance.

The bad news is that many of the bad ones siphon off so many resources that it makes web browsing a drag and streaming HD video content nearly impossible.

It could be the greatest anonymous system known to man, with no logging, unlimited torrenting, Netflix functionality, and a killer price tag.

But if it’s killing 95% of your speed, it’s not worth it.

There are four main reasons why a VPN will slow your internet speed to a crawl:

  1. Encryption: When a VPN sends information across the web, it encases it in advanced encryption to keep prying eyes from seeing our activity and data. High-quality encryption pulls a lot of CPU power, so the better the encryption is, the more speed it’s going to pull away. That’s why we say that decreased speed is the cost of security.
  2. Physical Distance from VPN Server: Signal deteriorates over distance, so where you are as it pertains to your VPN’s server will dictate speed loss.
  3. User Overload: The more people pulling at a server the more bandwidth is eaten up. Low bandwidth means low performance which also means low speed. This is usually not an issue for higher quality VPN systems, because they’re built to handle the load.
  4. Your ISP Speed: It stands to reason that the slower the speed you start out with is, the slower your VPN speed will be. Speed loss is more noticeable on systems that weren’t getting great speeds to begin with.

We tested 70+ VPN speed using speedtest.net. We used 100 Mbps up and 55 Mbps down Internet connection (cable). Read more about our review process here.

The 7 Fastest VPNs

We’ve reviewed 74 VPNs to date. Some were awesome. Most were ‘meh.’ And a few were downright shocking.

What’s interesting to note is that only one of these VPNs are in our top ten. And only one other is in the top 20.

How can that be? Let’s find out!

1. PersonalVPN

PersonalVPN speed test
  • Overall Rank: 20/74
  • EU Download Speed: 73.78 Mbps
  • US Download Speed: 125.58 Mbps
  • Logging Policy: Logs Some Information
  • Leaks: IP Leaks Detected
  • Torrenting: Not Allowed
  • Netflix: Did Not Work

This is the fastest VPN we’ve seen. By far.

Check out these results:

US Server:

PersonalVPN US server results
  • Ping: 118ms
  • Download: 125.53 Mbps (45% faster)
  • Upload: 29.38 Mbps (13% slower)

EU Server:

PersonalVPN EU server results
  • Ping: 118ms
  • Download: 73.78 Mbps (15% slower)
  • Upload: 40.69 Mbps (21% faster)

The US server speeds were actually faster than our benchmark download speeds!

To put it mildly:

That’s amazing.

There’s a lot to love besides speed, too.

Witopia also offers four different VPN tunneling protocols (OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec, and PPTP), plus bulletproof AES-256 encryption. This VPN doesn’t play around when it comes to safety.

Unfortunately, there were a few drawbacks.

For starters, they log your information. Like….a lot of it. There were tons of IP leaks, exposing our true location and shattering the anonymity of the product.

And while those speeds were awesome, the fact that you can’t watch Netflix or torrent means you can’t really get the full effect.

This is the fastest VPN we’ve ever seen. But in our official review, we did not recommend it.

2. Hide My IP

Hide My IP review
  • Overall Rank: 43/74
  • EU Download Speed: 81.66 Mbps
  • US Download Speed: 81.61 Mbps
  • Logging Policy: Some Logging
  • Leaks: No Leaks
  • Torrenting: Allows Torrenting
  • Netflix: Does Not Work With Netflix

Our Hide My IP EU and US speed tests were nearly identical in terms of download speeds. That’s a good thing, showing that they’re able to consistently post strong server speeds.

EU Speed Test:

HideMyIP EU speed test results
  • Ping: 44 ms
  • Download: 81.61 Mbps (16% slower)
  • Upload: 20.36 Mbps (61% slower)

US Speed Test:

HideMyIP USA speed test results
  • Ping: 113 ms
  • Download: 81.66 Mbps (16% slower)
  • Upload: 19.99 Mbps (62% slower)

Our benchmark means that your speeds might only decline a few percentage points with Hide My IP. You probably won’t even notice it, to be honest.

We also found no leaks at all. So it’s a strong system.

Where does it go wrong then?

Unfortunately, Hide My IP thinks it’s ok to log your information. They don’t track your activity, but they are keeping some of your personal data.

It allows torrenting with no restrictions, but none of the servers that we tested worked with Netflix. So, that’s a bummer.

Also, they’re located smack in the middle of the 5 Eyes Surveillance Alliance, which is an agreement between the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to share espionage information.

So if Hide My IP ponies up the information they’re logging, it’s going to be shared with four other governments. Read more about Hide My IP VPN in our review.

3. Private Tunnel

Private tunnel review
  • Overall Rank: 32/74
  • EU Download Speed: 90.59 Mbps
  • US Download Speed: 69.29 Mbps
  • Logging Policy: Some Logging
  • Leaks: No Leaks
  • Torrenting: No Torrenting
  • Netflix: Does Not Work With Netflix

Private Tunnel’s combined speed placed them as the third fastest VPN on our list.

EU Speed Test:

Private Tunnel EU speed test results
  • Ping: 35ms
  • Download: 90.59 Mbps (6.6% slower)
  • Upload: 46.37 Mbps (12.6% slower)

US Speed Test:

Private Tunnel USA speed test results
  • Ping: 121ms
  • Download: 69.29 Mbps (28.6% slower)
  • Upload: 24.62 Mbps (53.6% slower)

The EU test was much better than the US, but still, it was a strong outing across the board.

Not only is this VPN fast, but this company created the OpenVPN protocol (the industry-standard protocol today).

So they’re like celebrities in the cybersecurity space.

There are a few issues, though.

Their local US jurisdiction is a problem for those who don’t want their data shared across half the globe.

And for a VPN with such amazing speed, they offer no official torrenting support and Netflix was blocked on all five servers that we checked.

It might be the third fastest VPN we’ve seen, but we did not recommend using it in our official review.

4. Private Internet Access

PIA speed test
  • Overall Rank: 9/74
  • EU Download Speed: 81.46 Mbps
  • US Download Speed: 77.56 Mbps
  • Logging Policy: No Logging
  • Leaks: No Leaks
  • Torrenting: Torrenting Allowed
  • Netflix: Does Not Work With Netflix

Private Internet Access is the highest ranked overall VPN on this list.

We ranked this product as the ninth VPN we’ve reviewed. And with good reason.

Speeds were awesome, as should come as no shock.

We tested a number of servers and were very impressed. Take a look:

EU Speed Test:

PIA USA speed test
  • Ping: 41ms
  • Download: 81.46 Mbps (15% slower)
  • Upload: 40.30 Mbps (29% slower)

US Speed Test:

PIA speed test US
  • Ping: 118ms
  • Download: 77.56 Mbps (19% slower)
  • Upload: 36.75 Mbps (34% slower)

Those speeds, coupled with a strict no-logging policy, full torrenting allowance, and no leaks made this a fantastic option.

Of course, they weren’t perfect.

None of the servers we tested worked with Netflix, for starters, and their US jurisdiction does create some surveillance issues.

For more information, check out our official review.

5. BolehVPN

BolehVPN speed test
  • Overall Rank: 34/74
  • EU Download Speed: 88.41 Mbps
  • US Download Speed: 62.85 Mbps
  • Logging Policy: Logs Traffic
  • Leaks: No Leaks
  • Torrenting: Torrenting Allowed
  • Netflix: 1/5 Worked With Netflix

BolehVPN produced slightly mixed results.

The upload speeds were consistent across both servers. But the EU download speeds were significantly faster than the US one.

Take a look.

EU Speed Test:

BolehVPN EU speed test results
  • Ping: 47ms
  • Download: 88.41 Mbps (9% slower)
  • Upload: 36.63 Mbps (31% slower)

US Speed Test:

BolehVPN USA speed test results
  • Ping: 117 ms
  • Download: 62.85 Mbps (35% slower)
  • Upload: 35.38 Mbps (38% slower)

Plus, they allow torrenting and one of the servers worked with Netflix. So you can get full use of those strong speeds.

Why didn’t we recommend this VPN in our review, then?

It logs some information, has a limited number of servers, and we had an overall clunky experience working with the app.

6. VPN.ac

VPN.ac speed test
  • Overall Rank: 46/74
  • EU Download Speed: 90.22 Mbps
  • US Download Speed: 58.53 Mbps
  • Logging Policy: Logs Some Info
  • Leaks: No Leaks
  • Torrenting: Torrenting Limited
  • Netflix: Does Not Work With Netflix

VPN.ac produced blazing-fast EU speeds and pretty good US ones.

EU Speed Test:

VPN.ac speed test results in EU
  • Ping: 33 ms
  • Download: 90.22 Mbps (7% slower)
  • Upload: 48.76 Mbps (8% slower)

US Speed Test:

VPN.ac speed test results in US
  • Ping: 115 ms
  • Download: 58.53 Mbps (40% slower)
  • Upload: 25.60 Mbps (51% slower)

There were no IP leaks found in this VPN, and they don’t log any major information. (Just your email address which isn’t enough to identify you.)

That being said, they limit their torrenting services to a few servers. And none of the servers we tested worked with Netflix. That’s a shame with such impressive speed.

Overall, they were only able to come in at number 46 out of 74. Read more about their service in our review.

7. Astrill

AstrillVPN speed test
  • Overall Rank: 25/74
  • EU Download Speed: 69.08 Mbps
  • US Download Speed: 78.65 Mbps
  • Logging Policy: Logs Some Info
  • Leaks: No Leaks
  • Torrenting: Torrenting Allowed
  • Netflix: 3/5 Worked With Netflix

Rounding out our list of the seven fastest VPNs is Astrill, a strong middle-of-the-road option that doesn’t drop the server speed.

EU Speed Test:

Astrill speed test results in EU
  • Ping: 44 ms
  • Download: 69.08 Mbps (29% slower)
  • Upload: 53.30 Mbps (0.6% faster)

US Speed Test:

Astrill Speed test US
  • Ping: 182 ms
  • Download: 78.65 Mbps (19% slower)
  • Upload: 18.99 Mbps (64% slower)

Astrill VPN works well with torrenting. And this was also the best option for streaming services (3 out of 5 Netflix servers worked) on this list.

Unfortunately, some shady logging policies in their privacy policy undermine the good results we saw. We discuss it at length in our official review.

The 3 Slowest VPNs

You’ve seen the best.

Now here are the rest. Or worst, when it comes to speed.

These last three VPNs sap away speed at an alarming rate. But they’re not all bad. In fact, one of them even ranks higher than some of the earlier VPN services above.

Here’s how they shake out.

1. Avira Phantom

Avira speed test
  • Overall Rank: 33/74
  • EU Download Speed: 6.98 Mbps
  • US Download Speed: 4.34 Mbps
  • Logging Policy: Unclear Logging Policy
  • Leaks: No Leaks
  • Torrenting: Torrenting Allowed
  • Netflix: 1/5 Worked With Netflix

There’s no doubt about it.

Avira Phantom is a slow program. They do have some positive features, but the speeds are downright abysmal.

EU Speed Test:

Avira EU speed test
  • Ping: 40ms
  • Download: 6.98 Mbps (93% slower)
  • Upload: 9.02 Mbps (83% slower)

US Speed Test:

Avira US speed test
  • Ping: 194 ms
  • Download: 4.34 Mbps (96% slower)
  • Upload: 2.23 Mbps (96% slower)

That’s ridiculously slow.

That being said, torrenting is allowed and one out of five tested servers worked with Netflix.

But, as you can see in our official review, the speed loss coupled with a shady logging policy made us pass on this one.

2. Hide All IP

Hide ALL IP speed test
  • Overall Rank: 49/74
  • EU Download Speed: 5.31 Mbps
  • US Download Speed: 2.58 Mbps
  • Logging Policy: No Logging
  • Leaks: No Leaks
  • Torrenting: Torrenting Allowed
  • Netflix: 3/5 Worked With Netflix

Hide All IP doesn’t just hurt your speed. It guts it with a rusty kitchen knife.

This Hong Kong-based VPN slows you down by upwards of 94%.

EU Speed Test:

Hide ALL IP EU speed test
  • Ping: 74 ms
  • Download: 5.1 Mbps (94.5% slower)
  • Upload: 3.16 Mbps (94% slower)

US Speed Test:

Hide ALL IP US speed test
  • Ping: 149 ms
  • Download: 2.58 Mbps (97% slower)
  • Upload: 1.07 (98% slower)

This was an all-around bad VPN, with questionable logging policies, Chinese jurisdiction, and only one connection per account. On their poorly translated website, they tout their ability to provide geo-blocked streaming services.

And we found that Netflix worked on one (out of five) servers. Plus, they allow unlimited torrenting.

But both will be affected by such slow speeds.

Read more about why we don’t recommend Hide All IP in our official review.

3. Betternet

Betternet speed test
  • Overall Rank: 69/74
  • EU Download Speed: 3.18 Mbps
  • US Download Speed: 2.53 Mbps
  • Logging Policy: Some Logging
  • Leaks: IP Leaks Detected
  • Torrenting: Torrenting Allowed
  • Netflix: Did Not Work With Netflix

Betternet is a free VPN. And you get what you pay for in this case.

EU Speed Test:

Betternet EU speed test
  • Ping: 64 ms
  • Download: 3.18 Mbps (97% slower)
  • Upload: 12.41 Mbps (76% slower)

That is one slow system.

Our tests revealed that Netflix doesn’t work. Torrenting is allowed but with download speeds around two and three Mbps, you’re not going to download anything.

Betternet is the slowest VPN we’ve reviewed.

But incredibly, they’re not the lowest overall VPN on our list. Their 69th position means that there are still a few others with the distinction of somehow being ranked below the slowest VPN in the marketplace.

There are many factors that make a VPN great (or not). But speed is often the Achilles Heel.

For more on what makes a VPN truly impressive, check out our list of the 10 best VPNs.

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