You don’t need to settle for slow VPNs in 2023.
There are plenty to choose from, but we’ve found the seven best through extensive testing that goes beyond any other VPN review site.
Say goodbye to buffering and lagging. Enjoy seamless browsing, streaming, and downloading. And don’t worry about your online privacy and security – these VPNs deliver lightning-fast connections without compromising their encryption.
If you’re in a rush, here are the fastest VPNs in 2023:
[[post-object type=”steroid-list” /]]
[[post-object type=”loophole” id=”140″ /]]
We tested every VPN to ensure it delivers:
Fastest VPNs in 2023 – deep dive
Now you know the basics, let’s look at the fastest VPNs and what makes each one stand out.
If you’re not convinced after reading the following mini-reviews, check out our complete VPN reviews for a deeper dive into each one.
[[post-object type=”summary-section” pros-cons=”true” /]]
Methodology: How we test the fastest VPNs
At ProPrivacy, we speed-test every top VPN regularly using a proprietary server-based method.
We don’t depend on third-party tools or the VPNs’ marketing teams to make our assessments. Instead, we use servers in the US, UK, and Australia that we own to test each VPN in real-time, getting the best possible data on how they perform across the globe.
In the last three years, we’ve used this unique system to check the world’s leading VPNs over 250,000 times. We don’t tinker with or filter the results. They’re 100% authentic.
Here’s a quick rundown of the complete speed-test process:
We connect to each VPN using a 1 Gbps wired internet connection on a desktop device. For each VPN, we connect to a US, UK, and Australia server. We test each VPN with the WireGuard protocol turned on first (the fastest), followed by OpenVPN and IKEv2. If the VPN offers a proprietary protocol – like NordVPN’s NordLynx – we’ll use that. We do three daily download and upload speed tests on each server, leading to nine results for each VPN. We then average the results of each test.
If you’d like to replicate our process, read the complete ProPrivacy speed-test method to see every step.
However, speed isn’t the only metric we use to assess VPNs. After all, you also want something that will boost your privacy online and get you access to blocked content.
So, we also look at:
Server network: A VPN with thousands of servers across the globe can deliver lightning-fast connections anywhere – without reducing encryption or security. Access to content: We tested every VPN for compatibility with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and many other global streaming sites. Security: The best VPNs shield you behind layers of military-grade encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, automatic kill-switches, and much more. Privacy: Our favorite VPNs also offer extra tools like built-in ad and tracking blocks, dark web monitoring, stealth modes, and IP address rotators to keep you hidden online. Value: We only recommend VPNs with simple, affordable plans and generous money-back guarantees (at least 30 days). Easy to use: Anyone should be able to easily turn on a VPN. We don’t recommend any provider that over-complicates their apps. Customer support: Look for VPNs that offer 24/7 live chat support with human agents, YouTube support channels, and active user forums if you need help.
Read our complete VPN review process to see the full list of metrics and methods you can use when choosing any VPN.
How to optimize the fastest VPNs for even more speed
To get the fastest VPN speeds possible, follow these steps:
Connect to the closest server possible: Your connection will be faster than if you connect to a VPN server farther away. Use the fastest VPN protocol: WireGuard is the fastest open-source VPN protocol as of 2023. However, top providers like NordVPN and ExpressVPN also offer exclusive protocols that might be faster. Connect to your router with an ethernet cable: Connecting your PC to your router with a wire usually leads to faster connections than relying on WiFi. Buy a VPN router: A VPN router can free up valuable computing power. However, a slow router can also lead to problems – so get a router with enough power to run the VPN. Select a different port: A port is the entry point through which your VPN connects to the general internet. Internet service providers (ISPs) sometimes throttle traffic originating from specific ports. Some VPNs let you switch ports in their settings. Try your VPN on newer devices: Old devices (especially smartphones and tablets) often can’t handle a fully-optimized VPN connection. Try installing your VPN on numerous devices to see how they compare. You may need to upgrade your device. Turn off your antivirus: Antivirus software can conflict with your VPN, impacting its performance and slowing your connection. If speeds are better with the antivirus off, contact your VPN’s customer support for advice.
Are there any fast free VPNs?
Unfortunately, almost no free VPNs can provide fast connections.
Providing access to fast servers is costly and lightweight protocols that don’t slow down your internet connection require huge, ongoing investments by VPN providers.
Premium VPNs pay for these investments by charging a small monthly or annual subscription.
Free VPNs can’t afford to make such investments, making them excruciatingly slow in comparison. Even premium VPNs that provide a free starter plan divert resources away from free users and throttle your connection speeds so you eventually upgrade to their paid plans.
However, slow speeds are only part of the problem with free VPNs – there are much bigger concerns.
As we already stated, because free VPNs don’t charge a subscription, their revenues are limited. So, they often find indirect ways to profit from users. And by “indirect,” we mean shady and dishonest.
Over the years, we’ve seen free VPNs:
Bombard users with ads and pop-ups for their paid plans or completely random products that pay the VPN for ad space on your browser. Selling user data to advertisers, data brokers, and even hacking groups. Hosting malware on their networks allows hackers to spy on users and infect their devices (for which they pay a fee to the VPN).
If you’re worried about spending too much money on a VPN, plenty of fast, cheap VPNs deliver honest service and excellent experience for a tiny monthly fee (less than $2.50 in some cases).
Fastest VPN FAQs
[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Why is my internet so slow when connected to a VPN?” answer=”If your internet is always too slow when connected to a VPN, it’s probably a poor-quality VPN.
Using a lower-quality VPN – in particular, most free VPNs – will slow your internet down for many reasons. The most common include:
Limited server selection: Fewer servers lead to network congestion, slowing your connection as many users compete for limited resources. Inferior encryption: Outdated encryption methods are rarely optimized for speed, causing slowdowns any time you transfer data. Bandwidth caps: Once you reach the VPN’s data limit, they may throttle your connection, drastically reducing your speeds (common on free VPNs). Invasive ads: Streaming ads from your VPN app consumes bandwidth, slowing down your browser or device. Limited protocol choices: Without the ability to choose protocols optimized for speed, you’re stuck with slower default settings.
If you’re constantly experiencing slow speeds when connected to your VPN, consider upgrading to a premium VPN. While they occasionally cost a little extra, the enhanced speed, security, and overall superior experience they offer justify the investment.” /]]
[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Will a VPN always slow down my internet?” answer=”Generally speaking, all VPNs will slow down your internet a little. It takes time for the VPN to encrypt and route your data through a server.
Most VPNs slow your connection to a crawl because they use slow servers, and very few of them. They run on old technology and quickly get crowded with thousands (maybe millions) of users from across the globe. They also rely on open-source VPN protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 that struggle with modern internet demands (streaming, video calls, 5G, etc.).
However, the fastest VPNs use modern, speed-optimized “Tier 1” servers and lightweight, proprietary VPN protocols like NordVPN’s NordLynx built on newer code and better infrastructure. These innovations significantly reduce the VPN’s impact on your connection speed.
In many cases, you won’t even notice a difference – the impact is so tiny.” /]]
[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Can a VPN increase my internet speed?” answer=”Yes, the best VPNs can speed up your internet.
Due to their advanced technology and VPN masking software, under the following circumstances, you might experience the following when using a premium VPN like NordVPN or Surfshark:
Bypass ISP throttling: Some ISPs intentionally slow down certain types of traffic, like streaming services or online gaming. A VPN masks your traffic and online activities, bypassing these speed restrictions and providing a smoother connection. Avoid network congestion: If your ISP’s regular routes are congested, a VPN might route your traffic through a less congested path, potentially offering a speed boost. Bypass bandwidth restrictions: In settings like college campuses or offices, network admins might set bandwidth restrictions on their networks. A VPN can bypass them by hiding your browsing and online activities once again.
[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Why are some VPNs faster than others?” answer=”There are several reasons some VPNs are faster than others. Here are the most common:
More resources: The top premium VPNs are better resourced than most competitors (especially free VPNs) and have bigger budgets. So, they can provide a better experience. More servers: VPNs with thousands of servers located across the globe experience less network congestion and faster data routing between servers. Exclusive protocols: Our favorite VPNs have developed patented VPN protocols that deliver fast connections without reducing encryption and other protections. Stealth modes: Advanced VPNs use stealth modes and obfuscated servers to bypass ISP throttling when a VPN is detected. Server quality: VPNs investing in the latest, RAM-only servers provide a much smoother, more private experience than those relying on old, out-of-date server banks. Network traffic management: Free VPNs and those with tiny server networks often throttle sers’ connections at peak times to manage the overall network. First-party infrastructure: The best VPNs keep everything in-house and never rely on third-party, outsourced providers for servers, routers, firewalls, data centers, or any other crucial infrastructure.
What does all this mean?
If you want the fastest, smoothest, most secure VPN experience, skip free VPNs and stick to top providers like NordVPN and Surfshark.
[[post-object type=”accordion” question=”Are the VPNs in this article the fastest for mobile users?” answer=”Yes, they certainly are!
Every VPN we’ve selected for this article offers iOS and Android apps that deliver outstanding performance. Whether you’re streaming on your smartphone, doing online transactions on your tablet, or simply browsing on the go, you’ll experience minimal lag and maximum security.
For more information about how each VPN performs on mobile, check out our guides to the best VPNs for iOS and Android.
You won’t struggle to find a fast VPN in 2023.
In fact, you might experience the opposite problem: there are too many to choose from!
Every VPN in the world claims it’s the fastest, most secure, most all-powerful VPN in the market. But they can’t all be the fastest, can they?
So, instead, trust our independent testing method to find the truth. And then, decide which VPN suits you based on the results we’ve presented and the features we’ve reviewed here.
If you’re in a rush, check out NordVPN. Its 30-day money-back guarantee gives you plenty of time to test it out and see why we ranked it the #1 fastest VPN in 2023.