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Best fast VPNs: the speediest services in 2021

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Best Fast VPNs

Choosing the fastest VPNs can be quite a challenge, especially when you consider that there aren’t many fast VPNs to begin with.

However, a fast VPN is a must if you use the internet for more than just checking your email. Activities like streaming, gaming, and torrenting require good speeds, and a sharp speed reduction won’t allow you to enjoy whatever you’re doing online.

Thus we compiled this list of the best fast VPNs in 2021 to help you pick the fastest VPN services of the year.

Top fast VPNs for 2021:

  1. NordVPN - speed combined with security
  2. Surfshark VPN - a speedy, inexpensive solution
  3. VyprVPN - best feature/price ratio
  4. ExpressVPN - perfect for streaming platforms
  5. Hotspot Shield VPN - award-winning speed test results

Will using a VPN affect my internet speed?

Yes, using a VPN will affect your speed. Unfortunately, a VPN will most likely make your download and upload speeds slightly worse, as you are adding an extra stop in your connections. The fact that the data needs to be encrypted and decrypted doesn’t help the situation as well.

Fortunately, a good VPN won’t affect your internet speed too much even when you’re connected to a faraway location. This is possible thanks to the speedy tunneling protocols like WireGuard or OpenVPN UDP.

It’s quite interesting that, in some rare cases, you might even see your speed improve. This can happen if your ISP (Internet Service Provider) happens to throttle your connection.

To sum up, a carefully chosen VPN won’t cause you any lagging when watching movies or torrenting. In fact, you might notice a decrease in speed only when deliberately performing a speed test.

Fastest VPNs – our detailed list:

Picking the best fast VPN services by yourself would be an impossible task, as it involves lots and lots of testing. Luckily, we did all the hard work - all you have to do now is simply choose a tool from the list below.

Think about all the reasons why you need a VPN with good speeds (streaming, torrenting, unblocking content in a restrictive country), read the short reviews, and choose your new favorite tool.

1. NordVPN - best fast VPN service

NordVPN banner
Based in:Panama
Servers/countries:5,500+ servers in 59 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get NordVPN, now 72% OFF + 3 Months FREE!

As the top choice on our list of the fastest VPNs, NordVPN doesn’t disappoint. Its speeds are truly amazing thanks to the revolutionary NordLynx technology that makes use of the best WireGuard qualities while upgrading its security.

During our tests, we didn’t experience any major speed downgrades while connected even to the farthest locations. Quite the opposite - the speeds generally decreased only by a few percent.

Besides NordLynx, NordVPN also offers OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), as well as IKEv2. The tool implements military-grade AES-256 encryption, and it’s also good to know that NordVPN uses RAM-only servers that get completely wiped out after every reboot.

Movie buffs will be happy to find out that NordVPN is able to unblock almost every single geo-restricted streaming service in existence. Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, you name it. It also helps that the VPN has the SmartDNS feature that will allow you to stream movies on smart TVs and gaming consoles.

You might also like the myriad of extra features NordVPN offers. These include an ad blocker, split tunneling, Double VPN, Dark Web Monitor, and Presets. And you get all of this for as low as $3.30 a month.

To find out more, read our full NordVPN review.

2. Surfshark - a fast and inexpensive VPN 

Surfshark banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:3,200+ servers in 65 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get Surfshark, now 81% OFF!

Surfshark is definitely one of the fastest VPN providers around. If you connect to a location near you, you are bound to experience only about a 6% of speed drop, which is really impressive.

This is made possible thanks to a wide selection of speedy tunneling protocols. You can choose between WireGuard, OpenVPN UDP, IKEv2, and a couple of others.

I also love the fact that Surfshark will unblock just about any streaming platform you can think of. It allows you to access 30 different Netflix libraries, as well as Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube.

Now wait until you hear about Surfshark’s features. Firstly, the SmartDNS feature will help you watch geo-blocked content on devices that don’t support VPN connections. Also, you might appreciate split tunneling if you only want to use the VPN on certain websites or apps. Finally, let’s not forget GPS Spoofing, Camouflage Mode, and dedicated P2P servers.

You should also know that Surfshark is incredibly cheap. You can pay as little as $2.49 a month and still get all the perks and features. Oh, by the way - the VPN offers unlimited simultaneous connections, which makes it the perfect choice for those who own multiple devices.

To find out more, read our in-depth Surshark VPN review.

3. VyprVPN - a fast VPN tool for your every need

VyprVPN
Based in:Switzerland
Servers/countries:700 servers in 70 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get up to 12 months FREE!

VyprVPN is a tool for just about everything. It’s great for streaming, torrenting, and keeping yourself anonymous online.

Another of its biggest appeals is outstanding speeds. These are possible because of WireGuard, the super-fast tunneling protocol that’s simply a must for a high-quality VPN service.

Our tests showed that VyprVPN was able to deliver amazing results. When connected to a UK server, we experienced only a 1% of speed drop, which is a rare feat to achieve for a VPN. The speed decline was a bit steeper with other countries, though. For example, a US server slowed down the speed by 11%.

As for streaming, you’ll be able to access a wide variety of platforms when using VyprVPN. The VPN unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, YouTube, and Hulu. In addition, you can set it up on your router if you want to watch content on devices that don’t support VPN connections.

What I also love about VyprVPN is its price. This tool is the cheapest on this list of the best fast VPN providers. When buying a 3-year subscription, you can pay as little as $1.66 a month.

To find out more, read our full VyprVPN review.

4. ExpressVPN - expensive, yet reliable

ExpressVPN banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:3,000 servers in 94 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Get ExpressVPN, now 35% OFF!

It’s not a mere coincidence that ExpressVPN is among the fastest VPN services available today. The secret lies in Lightway, its proprietary tunneling protocol built upon OpenVPN, which neatly combines speed and security into a single entity.

We tested the protocol with multiple servers and generally got great results with speed reductions as small as 8%. However, there were some speed inconsistencies, as the speed drop was quite noticeable when connected to remote locations like India.

It’s worth noting that ExpressVPN is an amazing choice for streaming. It not only unblocks multiple platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, but also offers a router applet that will let you stream content on basically any device connected to your router.

ExpressVPN also offers split tunneling, a feature that will allow you to include or exclude the websites and apps that use the VPN connection.

The VPN has released high-quality apps for all major platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. It also offers browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and Edge.

The main thing that makes users choose other fast VPN services is its high price of $8.32 a month (which is the lowest available). Luckily, ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can try it out for free.

To find out more, read our full ExpressVPN review.

5. Hotspot Shield VPN

Hotspot Shield VPN
Based in:United States
Servers/countries:1,800 servers in 85 countries
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Current deal:Save up to 40%!

Hotspot Shield is yet another fast VPN. In 2019, the service won Ookla’s Speedtest badge as the fastest VPN tool that year.

And even to this day, the speeds of Hotspot Shield don’t disappoint. The VPN service uses their proprietary Hydra protocol that is both fast and secure. We tested it and were happy with the results: our download speed didn’t suffer when the VPN was in use. Depending on the distance from the server, the speed drop varied from 1% to 28%.

When it comes to streaming, Hotspot Shield might be hit or miss. While it unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube, it struggles with DAZN and Hulu. This means that you might want to look for another VPN if you want to unblock it all.

Keep in mind that different subscription plans of this VPN offer different features. For example, you can buy a plan with an antivirus and a password manager included - how cool is that?

VPN speed test methodology

To pick the fastest VPNs out of a huge selection of reputable VPN providers, we performed lots of speed tests. More precisely, we tested 10 different server locations for each VPN provider and compared the results.

We tried to use the same locations for every provider. However, if a provider didn’t have any servers in a particular location, we chose the closest server to the target region.

Also, all of the tests were performed on the same device and the same fiber-optic network with the baseline speed of bidirectional 300 Mbps. In addition, all of the VPNs were tested during the same month.

Finally, we used all of the available protocols of each provider because sometimes, the fastest protocol on paper doesn’t actually deliver the best results.

It’s important to note that some VPNs also allow you to use proxy connections, which are much faster than VPN connections but much less secure. Therefore, we decided to exclude the proxy results from our comparison.

How we selected and tested these VPNs

Even though this article is mainly about VPN speed, we considered overall quality as well, which pushed some services higher or lower (where speed differences were negligible). Here are some of the other factors that helped us choose the best fast VPNs:

  • Tunneling protocols. We prioritized VPNs that offer WireGuard, which doesn’t fail to provide good speeds and a high level of security. Tunneling protocol variety is also a huge plus – different protocols may come in handy in different situations.
  • Logging and jurisdiction. It goes without saying that a reputable VPN doesn’t keep any user logs. Independent security audits are also a good indicator of quality. Additionally, a VPN should be located in a privacy-friendly country.
  • Streaming capabilities. All the best fast VPNs on this list unblock plenty of streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
  • Torrenting support. Torrenting and P2P-friendly servers were high on our priority list when compiling this list of fast VPNs.
  • Available applications. All of our selected VPN services offer a wide variety of desktop and mobile apps. Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS - you name it. It’s also great if a VPN can be installed directly onto a router or offers browser extensions.
  • Pricing options. A fast VPN doesn’t mean an expensive VPN. That’s why our list features a few budget options that won’t make you spend more than a couple of dollars a month.

Fastest VPNs compared

Now here’s a table that lets you compare our selected VPNs at a glance. It includes the download speed of the server that was closest to our current location, as well as the average international speed, the cheapest monthly subscription, and the number of countries.

  • Baseline: 300 Mbps download/300 Mbps upload
VPN serviceClosest serverAverage international speedCheapest monthly priceCountries
NordVPN281 Mbps249 Mbps$3.6759
Surfshark272 Mbps263 Mbps$2.4965
VyprVPN289 Mbps242 Mbps$1.6770
ExpressVPN275 Mbps226 Mbps$6.6794
Hotspot Shield294 Mbps255 Mbps$7.9980

As you can see, Hotspot Shield scored the best results when connected to the nearest server. However, its high price and comparative lack of features prevented us from placing it too high on the list. After all, $7.99 is quite a lot when you compare it to the monthly prices of other reputable VPNs. Also, its upload speeds weren’t that impressive.

If it’s a wide selection of countries you’re looking for, then ExpressVPN might do the trick for you. Yet again, its price might not be the best compared to the other services, and it may not be worth it if you don’t really care about the number of VPN regions.

VyprVPN might seem like the optimal choice (keeping in mind its low price and high speeds). However, it only offers 700 servers overall, which falls on the lower side of the spectrum, and doesn't have features like Smart DNS or split tunneling.

This leaves us with NordVPN and Surfshark. Both providers use WireGuard (in NordVPN’s case, a modified version of it), which allows for some outstanding speed results. And while Surfshark is the cheaper one of the two, NordVPN is a slightly more solid service overall.

How to get faster VPN speeds – top tips

If you start experiencing bad speeds with your current VPN (and you’re sure there’s nothing wrong with your internet connection), there are a few things you can do before you start looking for a new VPN:

  • Use the nearest location. If you don’t need a particular region and simply want your traffic encrypted, you should simply choose the nearest server. This might fix your speed problem in an instant.
  • Change your server location. In case you need a particular location for watching Netflix or doing other things, try picking another server in the same country. Your current server might simply be overcrowded.
  • Change the tunneling protocol. Sometimes, changing your protocol fixes slow VPN speeds. You can try going through the whole list of available protocols and pick the one that works best for you.
  • Downgrade the encryption. Strong VPN encryption comes with a price, and the price is your connection speed. You might try using AES-128 (or any other available option) instead of AES-256 if you experience connection problems.

Of course, you can also restart your router or your device. Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best ones!

Which free VPN is the fastest?

Generally, free VPNs are extremely slow. Why? Because they don’t usually have a great server infrastructure. This means that servers (especially those located in popular regions like the US) have to handle a massive flock of users. And the more crowded a server gets, the slower it becomes.

However, as weird as it sounds, the bad speeds are the least of your worries when using a free VPN. That’s because free VPN services can collect your browsing data and sell it to third parties, which puts your privacy in grave danger.

Also, they are often blocked by websites and streaming services, which makes them totally useless to a large percentage of VPN users.

That being said, there are some good freemium VPN options, one of the fastest ones being Atlas VPN. It offers three different locations (Japan, Australia, and the US), as well as the IKEv2 tunneling protocol.

Another freemium option is Hotspot Shield VPN. However, it has a daily 500 MB data cap and offers only one country.

Conclusion

If you want a fast VPN, picking a service randomly can be hit or miss. That’s why it’s best to choose a tested tool that has already proven itself.

Luckily, all of the VPNs on our list are able to deliver great speeds thanks to top-notch tunneling protocols and good infrastructure.

Even better - all these tools are able to unblock a bunch of streaming platforms while also offering torrent support, which means they’ll be much more useful to you than just simply hiding your real IP address.


More VPN guides from CyberNews:

Best VPNs for streaming: unblock Netflix, Disney+, HBO & more

Best VPN for Netflix: beat the proxy error & unlock geo-blocked libraries

Best Cheapest VPNs in 2021: get a premium VPN at the lowest price


FAQ

Comments
Diana Nicholls
Diana Nicholls
prefix 3 days ago
is it true that if I want high speed vpn I should choose somewhat unpopular one with lower server load?
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 17 hours ago
Hello! You're right - you get better speeds when you use a somewhat empty server. However, keep in mind that, for the best speed possible, the server should also be near your original location.
aw ye
aw ye
prefix 10 days ago
what's the fastest vpn country I can pick? I know some countries have faster internet connections than others
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 9 days ago
Hello! For the best VPN speeds, you should connect to a server nearest to you. For example, you can connect to a server in a neighboring country or even your own.
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