The fastest VPNs of 2021
Got the need for speed? Here are some of the top VPN providers that don’t compromise on speed.
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There are many factors that contribute to a VPN's speed and performance: the location and number of servers, the technology and tunnelling protocols used and the bandwidth each service allows for.
Then there's the consideration of your actual home broadband speed, which is another issue entirely (you can check your home broadband speed here).
The 5 fastest VPNs we've tested
We've tested over 10 different VPNs and scored them on download speed, upload speed and ping. The five VPNs in the table below scored the highest in all three tests.
Want to know how we test VPNs? Read more about our speed testing process and methodology.
How we test VPNs
We've tested a range of VPNs in 2019 and collated the results below. To achieve these results, we ran three consecutive speed tests for download, upload and ping speed with the VPN disconnected to establish a baseline broadband speed. Next, we ran three tests across the same criteria when connected to the VPN's Australian servers (where applicable) then another three tests connected to the VPN's North American servers (where applicable).
We then calculated the difference (increase/decrease) between the disconnected control test and the connected Australian and American server tests and assigned each VPN a score based on its overall download, upload and ping performance.
Note: This selection of VPNs isn't indicative of the entire market. We're testing more VPNs every day and adding the results as we go.
Full VPN rankings
Download speed results
Most users look at download speed as the most important statistic associated with a VPN since it represents the rate at which data is transferred from the Internet to a user's computer. It dictates how fast a page will load in front of your eyes and how long that 4K torrent of the Lord of the Rings trilogy will take to download.
The higher the download speed, the better.
Upload speed results
In general, upload speed will be slower than download speed because most modems and Internet service providers prioritise downloads over uploads (simply because we spend far more time downloading than uploading).
The higher the upload speed, the better.
The reaction time of your connection is known as ping. It's how fast the transaction of requests occur at. Where download speed may impact how long an image-heavy page like a photo gallery will fully load, ping impacts how fast the initial request to access to photo gallery is registered. This is particularly important to people gaming online as lag or low high ping can be the difference between winning and losing a match.
The lower the ping speed, the better.
What can slow down a VPN?
There are many factors that could slow down your VPN use. Here are just a couple to look out for when comparing VPNs.
Is the fastest VPN always the best?
While speed can make a large difference to usability, being able to clock high speeds does not necessarily make it the best VPN.
Speed can come at the price of security, depending on what type of technologies and features the VPNs have. Other factors like ease of use come into play as well. Depending on the user, the “best” VPN can vary significantly based on that person’s priorities.
How to make sure you’re getting the best VPN speed
You can use our speed test tool to get your own network’s average latency, download speed and upload speed, then run the test again while trialling each of the VPNs. Your own network will be the baseline to test against as it should have the lowest latency and the fastest download and upload speeds.
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