In order to ensure this guide is as accurate and unbiased as possible, I used a tool called speedtest.net on a 100 Mbps connection in the EU.
I always connected my device to another server in the EU, specifically servers hosted in Amsterdam (if it was offered by the client)
To account for fluctuations in connection speed, I ran an unprotected speed test before connecting to each VPN client and any changes in the original 100 Mbps connection are reflected in the download and upload times listed below.
While you should always take speed tests such as these with a grain of salt (since there are simply too many variables like your connection, location, and computer), after analyzing and comparing more than 30 different providers here at thebestvpn.com we have a statistically relevant average that can compare to ensure our results are accurate
5 Fastest VPN Services in 2018
Now that you understand the process we used to determine which VPN is truly the fastest, it’s time to get down to the good stuff. So without further ado, here are the five fastest VPN services of 2018.
1. ExpressVPN Speed: 83 Mbps (EU) / 60.04 Mbps (US)
ExpressVPN has been in the online security game since early 2009 and during that time, they have experienced a phenomenal rise to the top of the marketplace.
Although ExpressVPN does just about everything well, as every one of their customers know, speed is what they do best.
ExpressVPN offers one of the fastest VPN networks on the market and while I was connected to their network, I was able to consistently download files at a speed of 80 Mbps.
Considering that the average VPN provider will end up slowing your connection by about 50%, the fact that ExpressVPN allows their users to retain about 85% of their original unprotected speed is an impressive feat.
In addition to their superb speeds, ExpressVPN offers more than 1,500 servers spread across 97 different countries and some of the best 24/7 customer service that I’ve ever seen in the industry. They are also compatible with most major devices including Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, and Linux and they offer extensions for most major browsers.
They offer a plethora of other enticing features to keep their customers happy including their strict zero logging policy, TOR and Netflix compatibility, an optional killswitch feature, and unlimited bandwidth and server switching.
In other words, it’s a VPN enthusiasts paradise.
As is the case with every “Too good to be true” offer, there’s a catch. The price.
Although ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN that I’ve ever reviewed and it comes loaded with extra perks and features it’s also one of the most expensive.
Month-to-month users can expect to pay $12.95/month with the current pricing plan and even customers who sign up for a yearly subscription will end up paying more than $8.00/month to keep their browsing protected.
The only other downside worth mentioning is that ExpressVPN has a tight 3 device simultaneous connection limit making their service “Less than economical” for families or individuals with numerous devices.
2. PIA Speed: 81.46 Mbps (EU) / 60.61 Mbps (US)
Private Internet Access, or as it’s more commonly called ‘PIA’ was founded in 2009 by London Trust Media and, since its inception, has become one of the industry’s “Go-to” providers.
And it’s easy to see why.
For starters, PIA’s network is fast, really fast.
With a download speed of more than 81 Mbps on an EU server, PIA is only a few Mbps slower than their main rival ExpressVPN.
But what’s truly exceptional about PIA is that they allow their customers to enjoy these lightning fast speeds for an only $3.33 a month (with their yearly pricing plan).
All purchases are backed by a full 30-day money back guarantee meaning that if you do try out their services and decide they aren’t for you, the paltry few dollars that you invested into their service will be quickly refunded and you can go on your merry way.
In addition to their incredible speeds and budget-friendly pricing, PIA also offers one of the largest server selections on the planet with a network that spans more than 3,000 servers.
However, the servers in question are limited to only 27 countries, severely limiting your options if you are looking to access georestricted content.
With a service as cheap as Private Internet Access, it shouldn’t surprise you that the company did have to cut a few corners in order to offer such exceptional speeds at such an affordable price.
Although PIA is an exceptional VPN provider, their customer service is less than ideal and they offer no live support. For most people in the market for a budget VPN this wouldn’t classify as a deal breaker, however, if you do need reliable and fast customer service, I recommend that you opt for a different service.
The only other major downside of using PIA is that they do not currently offer Netflix compatibility, however, we have been assured that they are doing everything that they can to beat the infamous proxy blocker.
3. SaferVPN Speed: 79.23 Mbps (EU) / 57.47 Mbps (US)
In third place, we have the SaferVPN.
Founded by Amit Bareket and Sagi Gidali in Telaviv, Israel, SaferVPN brings a lot to the table.
When I tested SaferVPN, I was impressed to find that their servers consistently downloaded files at 79.23 Mbps download speed when connected to a location inside the EU and a 57.47 Mbps download speed when connected to a server in the U.S.
While their monthly pricing plan is very expensive (considering what you get for the money) their 2-year plan is one of the best offers I’ve ever seen and will end up costing you about 3.50 a month.
SaferVPN is fully compatible with all major devices, offers access to all major protocols, and uses an AES 256 encryption to ensure that your data is effectively protected.
They also provide users with exceptional 24/7 customer support and one of the most seamless and easy to use interfaces that I’ve ever encountered.
But SaferVPN does have its limitations.
One of the most troublesome problems that I had with SaferVPN is that torrenting is extremely limited.
Although they have an admittedly small selection of only 150 servers to begin with, torrenting is only allowed on one server (located in the Netherlands).
If you do need a VPN that will allow you to anonymously download P2P files, all of the other VPNs on this list are torrent friendly (which I will talk about later).
The only other point of contention that I had with SaferVPN is that their logging policy isn’t quite as strict as they claim.
They do indeed keep some activity logs and while they seem pretty innocuous, if privacy is your top concern, I’d recommend using a zero-logs VPN like ExpressVPN or PIA.
4. VyprVPN Speed: 74.48 Mbps (EU) / 51.09 Mbps (US)
VyprVPN has always been one of my favorite providers (and not just because of their awesome sounding name).
Their parent company Golden Frog has been around for nearly two decades and has played a large part in shaping the landscape of modern internet privacy.
This long history is reflected in the quality of service they provide.
VyprVPN comes out of the gates swinging with a download speed of 74.48 Mbps on an EU server and 51.09 on a US server.
While I was testing VyprVPN’s speeds, I connected the client to several different servers across the EU and US and was impressed to find that the download speeds were pretty consistent across their entire network.
VyprVPN is compatible with all major devices and offers all major protocols to all of their users.
They offer two basic pricing plans, standard and premium for which they charge $5.00/month and $6.67/month respectively.
Both plans offer unlimited server switching and bandwidth and the only real difference is that premium users have access to the proprietary Chameleon technology which scrambles the DPIs (or deep packet inspection) utilized by many governments.
Premium users also have access to a five device simultaneous connection limit whereas basic users are limited to three.
My biggest complaint with VyprVPN is their customer service.
For a company that does so many things great, I suppose it was inevitable that they would do something poorly and that ‘something’ is their customer service.
While it’s not the worst in the industry, VyprVPN doesn’t offer a live chat feature, meaning that if you do have a problem with your VPN, you will likely be on your own for 12-24 hours before their support team will assist you.
5. IPVanish Speed: 82.67 Mbps (EU) / 34.71 Mbps (US)
Founded at the turn of the millennia in 1999, IPVanish and their parent company Mudhook Marketing have been in the online security game almost since its inception.
Which should make IPVanish a pretty obvious addition to our list.
With a download speed of 82.67 Mbps when connected to a server within the European Union, IPVanish offers the second fastest download times of all the providers we’ve tested, at least, if you’re connecting to a relatively nearby server.
When we connected to a server located in the United States, we were disappointed to find that IPVanish doesn’t carry their speed over long distances and we were only able to achieve a download speed of 34.71 Mbps.
Luckily, IPVanish brings much more to the table than just raw speed.They have an extensive server network that spans 60 countries and includes more than 800 servers.
In addition to this impressive feature, they also offer access to all major protocols (plus SOCKS5), easy access to P2P optimized servers, and full compatibility with most major devices.
Although all of these offers sound great, IPVanish does come with a pretty big sticker shock.
With plans starting at $6.49/month, they are only slightly cheaper than ExpressVPN and considering that they don’t offer 24/7 customer service (even if they advertise it) or Netflix compatibility, IPVanish is a slightly harder sell for me.
Does a Fast VPN = a Good VPN?
Now that you’ve read the list of the five fastest VPNs, some of you are probably wondering, “Just because a VPN is fast does that mean I should use it?”
To put it bluntly?
There are countless factors to take into consideration when choosing a VPN, and speed is only one of those factors.
Although each of the VPNs listed above has been reviewed and vetted based on the following criteria, you should always consider the following things when selecting a VPN:
- The price
- Their logging policy (the fewer logs the better)
- The company’s history (Do they have any FTC investigations or allegations that reflect poorly on their integrity)
- If Netflix, third-party proxies (like the Orion Router), and torrenting are allowed
- The extra features and benefits
- The usability of their applications and extensions
While every VPN on this list would be considered “good” I recommend that you check out the in-depth review of each one to see which company offers the best features and benefits to suit your needs.
Will a VPN Slow Down My Internet Connection?
If you choose the right provider, most of you will not have any problems with your network speeds while connected to a VPN. However, there are always exceptions to this rule and there are definitely cases where using a VPN will significantly affect your internet connection.
Typically, this problem is caused by the following issues.
1. The Distance Between You and the VPN Server
The first factor that can slow down your internet speed is also the simplest.
The distance between you and the VPN server to which you are connected.
While technology has come a long way, you need to remember that methods we use to connect to one another must still travel across space and time. Naturally, the further away that you are from a server, the longer it will take for that server to relay information back to you.
2. The Protocol You Use to Connect Your Device
Something else that will have a significant impact on your network speed is the protocol that you are using to connect your device to the VPN server.
Typically, we recommend OpenVPN or SSTP (for Windows users), however, they are not the fastest protocols available and can result in a slower connection time.
3. The VPN Server Load (Mainly a Concern with Free Providers)
If you are using a free VPN or an incredibly popular server on a paid VPN, your internet connection may be slowed due to the massive load being placed on the server.
4. Your ISP
If your ISP provides you with a 100 Mbps connection, slowing it down by 20% so that you can secure your browsing isn’t that big of a deal.
But what happens if your ISP only provides you with a 50 Mbps or something slower?
If your internet connection isn’t at least 50 Mbps without a VPN connection, then you can rest assured that encrypting your browsing session will slow your connection down significantly.
5. Your Firewall Settings
The final way that a VPN can slow your connection down (albeit indirectly) is if you have firewall settings that are interfering with the client.
Make sure that your firewall settings are optimized for connecting to a VPN otherwise your Firewall may interfere with the client or the CPU resulting in a slower connection and a slower device.
If you are concerned that one or more of these issues may be affecting your network speed, simply go to speedtest.net and test your network speed with and without a VPN connection.
You should expect the VPNs on this list to reduce your speeds by about 15-20% and you should expect most other VPN providers to cut your download speeds in half.
How Can I Speed Up My VPN Connection?
If you want to maximize your VPN connection speeds or you find that your network is particularly slow on any given day, there are a number of different ways to resolve the issue.
- Change Servers – Like most things in this world, servers fluctuate. Their speeds change, they experience delays, downtime, and a whole host of other issues that could be affecting your speed. If you find that your VPN connected network is slower than usual, try switching to a different server before attempting any of the other steps on this list.
- Connect Using L2TP or IPSec Protocols – If you aren’t using your VPN for security purposes (e.g. bypassing a location specific content filter) you can connect your device using the faster L2TP or IPSec protocols.
- Temporarily Disable All Extra Features – If your connection is still lagging after changing servers and protocols, then I recommend that you go into the advanced settings of your VPN client and temporarily disable ALL extra security features. If your speed has improved reactivate the features one by one until you find the culprit through the process of elimination.
If your VPN connection is still slower than usual after following the above tips, then throw a Hail Mary and reboot everything. Restart your router, modem, device, and VPN and when you connect, try using a different country.
Can I Use These VPNs for Torrenting?
One of the primary draws of using a VPN (outside a more secure browsing experience) is that many of them allow users to anonymously download P2P files, also known as torrenting.
Since torrenting resides in a legal grey zone depending on the anti-piracy laws in the country where you live, many companies are hesitant to allow torrenting on their platform, let alone actively promote it.
So many potential customers are left wondering whether or not they can use these VPN services for torrenting.
So what are the fastest VPN services in 2018?
I hope that this guide provided you with everything that you need to find the best and fastest VPN to suit your needs.
While all of the companies mentioned in this list are good, as with every comparison like this one, there can be only one winner and, according to the data, that winner is clearly ExpressVPN. Here’s how top 5 stacks up:
While they might be the priciest provider on the market, they offer the fastest speeds, best customer service, and the most feature-rich platform that I’ve ever used. If you can stomach the lofty price tag, ExpressVPN is well worth the money.
If their services are simply too expensive for your tastes, Private Internet Access offers comparable speeds at a price that can’t be beaten.
These are my results, but what about you? Have you used any of the VPNs on this list? If so, what was your experience like? Let me know in the comments or write your own review using the box below.