First of all, a VPN is designed to protect Internet users from monitoring of their online activity and other threats waylaying on the network. To achieve this goal, these services encrypt clients’ data. Unfortunately, encryption comes at a cost of reducing the Internet connection speeds. However, if a VPN doesn’t provide a fast connection, it becomes impossible for users to perform tasks they are used to. Therefore, it is important to find a vendor that safeguards your privacy without compromising the speed. Without further ado, let’s learn what are the fastest VPN services and what you should pay attention to when picking one.
The Best VPNs for High Speed
High indicators of data transfer rates can significantly affect your online experience. Who wants to ride a wagon if you can get an F1 car? The same is fair regarding VPNs: some of them are unbearably slow, but why to torture yourself with dial-up speeds if other providers are able to transmit your data in a flash? Along with that, all the key features of a VPN (IP address masking, traffic encryption, the absence of logs, etc.) will remain in place. Here is a list of high speed leaders of the VPN industry:
If you would like to get more information about the fastest VPNs out there, don’t hesitate to look through these reviews. To view all the benefits of these providers quickly, here are the summaries of their offerings.
The provider has an impressive server network spread across 94 countries around the world. Each of the more than 2000 units is optimized for the best speeds. With ExpressVPN, you will have unlimited bandwidth and can be sure to never encounter throttling. All the fastest and at the same time reliable security protocols are on guard of your online activities. ExpressVPN works with all the popular operating systems, devices, and even routers. To facilitate the search for the fastest server, the provider offers a built-in speed test on all its apps. One account allows connecting up to 3 devices at a time.
IPVanish lends a respectable number of servers that are spread out in more than 60 countries around the globe. With such server coverage, the service can easily erase digital boundaries and open the doors to the world of unlimited content. IPVanish offers convenient in-house apps for every type of devices and operating systems. You can equip every member of your family with a VPN since the company made it available for up to 10 simultaneous connections. With IPVanish, you will have unlimited bandwidth and server switches. While being one of the fastest VPNs around, the provider does not forget about clients’ security. It offers gold-standard AES-256 bit encryption implemented within OpenVPN protocol.
When it comes to a massive server network spanning all over the world, only a few services can compete with NordVPN. The company offers a stunning roster of 4,400+ servers located in 62 countries. This allows the provider to easily overcome any restrictions governments and media services throw its way. With so many options, the vendor’s clients are sure to find the fastest server around. NordVPN will give you recommendations regarding the best connecting options based on your location, server loads, and your particular needs. While being armed with some of the fastest and most secure tunneling protocols, you can be sure to get the best online experience.
PureVPN deserves credit for running and managing its own server network. It is the factor that makes them so fast and secure. You can be sure that no intermediaries deal with confidential user data. To date, the service offers more than 750 serves that cover 140 countries! With exclusive Ozone-ready servers, you can get the best and the fastest options to enhance your browsing and streaming experience.
Private Internet Access offers speedy tunnel gateways with multi-gigabit bandwidth. The company operates a respectable network of VPN and proxy servers that currently stands at more than 3,200 servers in 30 countries. There is also SOCKS5 Proxy at your disposal along with antivirus and ad blocking software. With one account you can hook up 5 devices at the same time.
Fast VPNs for Various Operating Systems
If you are looking for a fast VPN for Windows, I am glad to tell you that all the providers work just fine with the operating systems from Microsoft. NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and IPVanish, all have apps designed for laptops and PCs managed by Windows. You can‘t be more happy with the fact that many security protocols were originally developed by Microsoft, that’s why they run on Windows devices smoothly.
Fans of gadgets with the iOS operating system have a little less variation when it comes to encryption protocols, but this doesn’t mean that their selection is limited. VPN providers took care to develop applications for Apple devices. If you intend to find the best VPN for iPhone or Mac, you should pay attention to NordVPN and ExpressVPN, plus Ivacy, VyprVPN, and CyberGhost.
Android users can also protect their devices with the help of a VPN. For this, they just need to install the appropriate software. VPN services deliver apps that can be downloaded from their sites or via the Google Play Store.
What is a VPN and why Everyone Needs It
VPNs are the world’s leading tools for providing personal cybersecurity and digital data privacy. How do they manage to do this? First, they allow users to pretend that they connect to the Internet from another country. As soon as a person hooks up to a VPN provider’s server, his or her real IP address becomes hidden. Instead, such an individual gets IP of a server. For people living in countries with severe censorship, this is a great aid because in this way they can bypass government control. Other people use VPNs to access banned sites or to get geo-restricted content. Regional blocks don’t allow people to watch video broadcasts, use online services, and visit websites that are not intended for international usage. VPNs clients, however, are privileged to access any sites as well as watch and download any multimedia content their heart desires.
The second important aspect of VPNs is that they ensure the confidentiality of their subscribers. They achieve this goal through safeguarding clients’ data with reliable encryption algorithms. When your information is protected with a strong cipher, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), government agencies or cybercriminals will never know what you do online.
How VPNs Affect Connection Speeds
No matter how wonderful VPNs are as online security tools, they all have one drawback – while you employ them, the speed of your Internet connection slows down. This is because when you redirect traffic through a VPN server data go a longer route than usual. In addition, encryption also contributes to the speed drop. It requires computing power to encrypt and decipher data and this is how it eats up the resources of your connection. However, the best VPNs for speed have world-class servers that minimize speed reduction.
In the world of VPNs, there is a legend according to which some services can actually increase the speed of data transfer. They say that when establishing a connection through a VPN tunnel, you are able to build a more optimal route of traffic between your device and a site you want to visit. Moreover, some VPN providers claim that they offer specialized servers designed for video streamers and online gamers and they can boost download speeds. Well, in theory, this is possible, but many factors must coincide for real implementation (such as an unloaded server, weaker encryption, etc.).
However, there is one thing regarding speed a VPN can really help with and this is throttling elimination. Some Internet providers artificially reduce the speed when you visit certain sites or use particular services (for example, VoIP apps). With a VPN, you access such resources not through your Internet provider, but with a help of a VPN server. Accordingly, your ISP will not know which sites you go to and won’t be able to apply throttling.
Why High Connection Speed is Important
For some users, a VPN is needed to bypass blocking imposed on news portals or other text websites. For these purposes, a fast VPN is not necessary.
Another thing is that most people are planning to use a VPN for data-consuming online activities such as gaming, file sharing via torrent sites, and video streaming. All world leaders in the industry of streaming multimedia such as Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer provide access to content in HD format. To watch such broadcasts, a fast VPN is a must.
According to Netflix, in order to view HD videos, you need a connection speed of at least 5Mbps. To date, this is a fairly small speed and it is available even via mobile data. However, there are such VPN providers that can deteriorate speed even up to 90%! With such a connection video broadcasts are out of the question. The fastest VPN services, however, may slow you down only within a range of 10-20% and it is considered absolutely normal.
What Factors Affect the Speed of a VPN Connection
All VPN services use the same technology for building a VPN tunnel and they employ approximately the same protocols, so why do some providers offer a lightning-fast connection while others work at a snail pace? There are many factors that affect the VPN-supplied speeds, let’s take a closer look at some of them.
The Number of Servers and Their Quality
The server count and their geographic location influence your ability to bypass geo-blocking. Also, the number of servers indirectly affects connection speeds. If a VPN provider has one client, then one server will be enough, but it will be a completely different picture when there are thousands of users. Therefore, the larger the server roster is, the better. This helps to prevent client congestion on servers and distribute bandwidth between connections more evenly.
Besides the quantity, you need to pay attention to quality. A server is a computer, just more powerful. Have you ever noticed that your PC started running slower over time? The same can happen with servers if they are not configured and not maintained properly. Some VPN providers such as IPVanish have a network of exclusively their own servers which allows them to optimize and keep an eye on their condition. Other services rent equipment from intermediaries so they can’t directly affect the state of their servers. This doesn’t mean, however, that their equipment is worse, they just can’t always keep fingers on the pulse.
The location of a server will seriously affect the speed of your connection. Most VPN providers give recommendations on which servers to hook up to, and this depends largely on where you are actually located, the statistics of successful connections, the purposes of using a service, etc.
Other things being equal, a geographically closest server will show the best speed. If it’s not a matter of circumventing territorial restrictions, VPN providers recommend connecting to servers from your region. If you need to hook up to a remote server, choose the one that has the minimum distance from you.
Original Internet Connection
The connection speed that is provided by your ISP also affects the speed of a VPN service. Most connections supply speeds from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps. Normally, with high original speeds, your VPN connection is not affected badly. With speeds of more than 100 Mbps, you can actually see a more dramatic difference when hooking up to a VPN, but it will be more than enough to perform any tasks, even data-intensive ones. However, if your speed is less than 10 Mbps (for example, if you connect via 3G) it can cause problems with data transfer through a VPN tunnel.
Every VPN provider offers several encryption protocols to choose from. Encryption algorithms also affect the connection speed. To date, OpenVPN has been recognized as the best protocol that provides top-notch security combined with good speeds. However, with other protocols, you can expect a more serious speed slowdown. In general, there is a rule that slow speed goes with a stronger encryption. Now, let’s figure out what other protocols are available and how they affect the connection.
PPTP is one of the oldest VPN protocols, but it is still in operation. Yes, the encryption algorithm that it offers is outdated and it is easy to crack, but it’s the fastest tunneling protocol around. Therefore, if security is not your main concern, PPTP is what you need to maintain a fast connection speed.
Instead of an unreliable PPTP protocol, you can use equally fast, but more secure IKEv2. It is based on the same AES cipher that is utilized in OpenVPN so you don’t have to sacrifice security for the sake of speed. Unfortunately, IKEv2 is not supported on all kind of devices, and this is its main drawback.
SSTP protocol is in the middle, it is considered to be quite secure, yet it is not better than OpenVPN; the speed drop is not as dramatic as with some other protocols but there are faster options for sure.
L2TP/IPSec is a combination of a L2TP tunnel protocol that joined forces with IPSec encryption protocol. The protection offered by this pair is good enough, but it is still inferior to OpenVPN. Connection speed is not its forte either so it can be rather slow for torrenting and video streaming.
How to Test a VPN Connection Speed
In order to get an idea of how a VPN tunnel affects the speed of your Internet connection, you can conduct a simple test. To do this, you first need to measure the speed you get from your ISP, then connect to a VPN and get values of the same indicators. To conduct these measurements, you can use this speed test tool or visit testmy.net website. Here are the indicators for your consideration:
- Download speed (measured in Mbps) shows how fast data can be transferred from a server to your device. Since many online activities involve downloads (such as downloading web pages and broadcasting videos), the majority of connections are designed to provide faster downloads than uploads.
- Upload speed (Mbps) shows how fast files or data from your device is transferred to other users. When you send files by e-mail, use video chat or upload media to torrent sites, upload speed will be of great importance.
- Ping, also known as latency(measured in ms), indicates the time of reaction between your device and a server. It shows how quickly you receive a response to your request. Fast ping means that for your device it doesn’t take long to communicate with other devices. The lower the ping rate is, the better is for your connection. Ping time is especially important in applications where response time is the main characteristic (for example, in video games).
Tips to Speed-Up VPN Connection
Although the speed of a VPN connection primarily depends on your provider, there are factors which your service is not able to control. Fortunately, you can take the following information into account and change some parameters of connection to achieve better VPN-powered speeds.
- Switch to a different VPN server. Some servers can be particularly congested at certain time of day. The more users occupy a server simultaneously, the less bandwidth each of them gets. Try switching to a server with fewer users.
- Change a security protocol and port. If you don’t need strong encryption you can turn to a less reliable, but faster protocol, such as PPTP. Also, some networks can block certain protocols and ports. Before starting to get frustrated because of the sluggish speeds, opt for other combinations of protocols and ports first.
- Use a wired connection. WiFi tends to be slower than a wired connection. If your goal is to preserve all the available speed for your needs, try to hook up an Internet wire to your device. By doing this, you won’t have to share bandwidth with other users on the network.
- Reboot your device. Sometimes clearing cache or restarting your device is a simplest solution to make things work. Accident memory leakage can affect performance of your device but you are able to fix it easily by restarting. In some cases, restarting a VPN application is also useful.
If this didn’t help, there are some other things you can do to boost VPN speed.
Are there Fast Free VPNs?
In general, free services will never be able to compare with the industry leaders, neither for security nor for speed. Think about how free VPNs earn money if users pay nothing. The only ones who actually pay are advertisers. Also, the services don’t disclose this, but they can secretly trade user data by offering them to third parties. Therefore, when using their apps, you can see how much they are littered with ubiquitous advertising. Besides, they can even be dangerous for your privacy.
Now let’s talk about speed. As you know, the number of servers and their quality affects the speed of a connection. Free services don’t have a motivation to invest in the purchase of additional servers. The units that are available will be immediately overloaded with a crowd of users. With a large number of simultaneous connections, bandwidth gets low and it will be useless for viewing videos. Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, such services may disappoint you with download caps, bandwidth throttling, and a limited number of switches between servers.
With this being said, it becomes clear that free VPNs are not fast and good for gaming, file sharing or video streaming. Their security should also concern you. However, if you want to get the best of both worlds, then reputable providers will safeguard your peace of mind without compromising speed. Such services relentlessly expand their server network to supply you with more and more connection options, including lightning fast servers to cater to your gaming and streaming needs. They back up outstanding user experience with the most advanced security protocols to make sure that everything you do in the online world won’t hurt you in the real life.