Short on time? Here’s the fastest VPN in 2023:
- 🥇 ExpressVPN: Has blazing-fast speeds for browsing, streaming, torrenting, and gaming across 3,000+ servers in 90+ countries. Comes with Lightway, its proprietary VPN protocol that’s designed to offer ultra-fast speeds in addition to excellent security. Also includes split-tunneling and backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
All VPNs slow down your original speeds due to the encryption process. The distance between you and the VPN server also impacts the speed loss.
While some VPNs minimize the speed loss, many services have very slow speeds — websites take too long to load, HD and 4K videos buffer frequently, you have to wait hours to download 10–15 GB files, and there’s a noticeable lag while gaming.
But the VPNs I recommend in this article provide good speeds for all online activities, including browsing, streaming, torrenting, and gaming — and they also come with high-end security features, really cool extra features, and affordable pricing plans. The fastest VPN on the market right now is ExpressVPN — in my tests, it maintained blazing-fast speeds on all servers.
Quick summary of the fastest VPNs in 2023:
- 🥇1. ExpressVPN — Fastest VPN in 2023.
- 🥈2. Private Internet Access — Fast torrenting speeds and excellent privacy.
- 🥉3. CyberGhost VPN — Great speeds on gaming-optimized servers.
- 4. NordVPN — Secure VPN with fast speeds on all servers.
- 5. Surfshark — Affordable & user-friendly VPN with great speeds.
- Plus 5 more!
- Comparison of the Fastest VPNs in 2023.
🥇1. ExpressVPN — Fastest VPN in 2023
ExpressVPN has the fastest speeds on this list thanks to its proprietary Lightway protocol, which is faster than any other protocols out there, including popular ones like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec.
ExpressVPN has servers in 90+ countries, so it’s very easy to find a nearby server for fast speeds wherever you are — typically, you get the fastest speeds while connected to the closest server because it takes less time for the internet signal to travel from your device to the server.
In my tests, ExpressVPN always had fast speeds for all online activities (including on distant servers). When I tested nearby servers, websites and HD and 4K videos loaded instantly and videos didn’t buffer. And when I tested a distant server, all videos continued to load instantly, I was able to play online games without experiencing high ping or lag, and I downloaded a 30 GB file in 10 minutes, which is very fast.
ExpressVPN also offers a quick-connect feature that connects you to the fastest server for your location, which is really convenient.
I also like that ExpressVPN comes with split-tunneling for Android, Windows, and MacOS (many VPNs don’t include split-tunneling on Macs). This feature can increase your speeds, as it lets you choose which apps use the VPN and which apps use your local network. For example, I only routed my Netflix app through the VPN, which increased my streaming speeds by about 15%.
ExpressVPN has industry-leading security and privacy features. Its no-logs policy has been independently audited and verified, and it comes with advanced security features like RAM-only servers (every server reset wipes all data) and perfect forward secrecy, which changes your encryption key for each VPN connection to prevent hackers from compromising past or future encryption keys to spy on your connections. It also provides full protection against IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leaks — I ran 10+ leak tests and never saw any leaks.
ExpressVPN has monthly and yearly plans, with pricing starting at $6.67 / month. It’s one of the more expensive VPNs out there, but it provides excellent value (and often gives away months for free). It backs all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN in 2023 — I enjoyed blazing-fast speeds for browsing, streaming, and torrenting on all servers. It comes with split-tunneling, provides advanced security features, and is very easy to use. All ExpressVPN purchases are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full ExpressVPN review
🥈2. Private Internet Access — Excellent Torrenting Speeds & Great Privacy Features
Private Internet Access (PIA) provides really fast speeds for downloading torrents and a great range of privacy features. It allows torrenting on servers in 80+ countries (so it’s easy to find a nearby server for fast downloads).
I used PIA for torrenting, and I enjoyed very fast download speeds — for example, I downloaded a 15 GB file in only 15 minutes. I also ran additional tests and downloaded 30–40 GB files on servers in 20+ countries, and my average download time was just 25 minutes.
My speeds with PIA’s WireGuard protocol were nearly on par with ExpressVPN — on nearby servers, all sites and HD videos loaded instantly, but I experienced minor slowdowns when connected to distant servers.
PIA also includes:
- Color-coding system for ping speed — Shows which servers have low (good = green) or high (bad = orange) ping.
- Port forwarding — Connects you to more peers to get faster speeds (it increased my torrenting speeds by 10%).
- Quick-connect feature — Connects you to the faster server available.
- Ad blocker (PIA MACE) — Stops ads on websites, makes web pages load faster, and blocks malicious sites.
Split-tunneling is also available, and I love how it allows you to exclude website IP addresses as well as apps (unlike ExpressVPN, which only lets you exclude apps). I was able to use PIA’s split-tunneling to only send traffic from Netflix’s site through the VPN, instead of the whole browser that I use to access Netflix. This increased my streaming speeds by about 15%.
In terms of privacy, PIA is a great pick. It has RAM-only servers, its no-logs policy has been proven true by legal documents, and all of its apps are open-source (meaning anyone can inspect the code for security vulnerabilities).
The provider also has user-friendly apps for all platforms, and it allows unlimited connections, so you can use it on as many devices as you want.
Private Internet Access has affordable plans, which start at $2.19 / month. Plus, it backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Private Internet Access is great for torrenting large files with fast speeds. It allows torrenting on all of its servers in 80+ countries and comes with port forwarding, which helps increase download speeds. It also displays the server ping using an intuitive color-coded system, which helps you find the fastest servers for your location. Plus, PIA provides excellent privacy features, comes with WireGuard, and has an ad blocker that speeds up web page loading times. PIA offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Get Private Internet Access Now
Read our full Private Internet Access review
🥉3. CyberGhost VPN — Great for Gaming + Huge Server Network
CyberGhost VPN provides fast gaming speeds on 70+ dedicated gaming servers in 4 countries (the UK, the US, France, and Germany). I always had faster load times, less stutter, and lower ping when I used CyberGhost’s gaming servers instead of its regular servers. I also like that CyberGhost has WireGuard, and it displays the server ping for its gaming servers, allowing you to easily and quickly connect to the fastest server.
In addition, CyberGhost has a massive network of 9,400+ servers in 90+ countries — the huge server count helps prevent overcrowding, which improves connection speeds.
I ran speed tests on a server in each country. While it’s slower than ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access. I still enjoyed great speeds — websites loaded in 2–3 seconds, 4K videos loaded in less than 6 seconds, and I only experienced minor buffering when skipping through videos.
CyberGhost includes advanced security features like full leak protection, RAM-only servers, and perfect forward secrecy. I like that CyberGhost has an ad blocker (Content Blocker), but it’s not as good as Private Internet Access’s ad blocker — in my tests, it only got rid of 25% of ads on most sites, so it didn’t improve web page load times by much (but it’s very good at blocking you from visiting malicious sites).
I like how easy to use CyberGhost is — the apps make it simple to connect to the fastest servers and customize your experience. For example, I set up CyberGhost to automatically connect to the fastest server when I opened the app.
CyberGhost VPN has several paid plans, which start at $2.11 / month. It backs the long-term plans with a 45-day money-back guarantee and the shortest plan with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost VPN provides fast gaming with its dedicated gaming servers. It also has a massive server network, so you don’t risk connecting to servers that are overcrowded. You also get great security features and automation options that let you connect to the fastest servers instantly. CyberGhost VPN has a 45-day money-back guarantee for long-term plans.
Read our full CyberGhost VPN review
4. NordVPN — Fast VPN With Great Security
NordVPN has fast speeds thanks to its proprietary NordLynx protocol, which is built around the WireGuard protocol that’s both very fast and secure.
I ran several speed tests with NordLynx and I was impressed by the results. On both nearby and distant servers, all sites loaded instantly, I didn’t have to wait for HD videos to load, and there was no buffering. Also, it took around 3 seconds for 4K videos to load on nearby servers and 4–5 seconds on distant servers. I did experience some buffering, but it was minimal. Still, ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access are much faster.
It also comes with advanced security features, like RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, and full leak protection. And its no-logs policy has passed several independent audits.
Plus, the VPN has Threat Protection, which blocks ads, trackers, and malicious sites, and even protects you from malware-infected files. What I really like about Threat Protection is that it stays active even when the VPN is off. And there’s also a dark web monitoring tool that sends you alerts if the login details linked to your NordVPN account have been compromised.
NordVPN’s plans start at $4.99 / month and are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
NordVPN is a fast VPN with great security features. It has its own proprietary protocol that’s very fast and secure and comes with RAM-only servers, perfect forward secrecy, and full leak protection. NordVPN also has an ad-blocker and a data breach monitoring tool. Plans are affordable and are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full NordVPN review here
5. Surfshark — Fast, Affordable & User-Friendly VPN
Surfshark has super affordable plans, so I think it’s a great pick if you’re looking for a speedy VPN and are also interested in saving money.
The provider also has beginner-friendly apps that make it really easy to connect to any of its servers in 100+ countries. The apps come with a quick-connect tool and helpful explanations for all settings and features. It also allows unlimited connections, which is great.
In my tests, Surfshark was fast, but it was slower than ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and CyberGhost VPN. When connected to nearby servers, sites and HD videos loaded instantly and there was no buffering or lag. Unfortunately, there was a noticeable slowdown when I connected to more distant servers — sites took 2–3 seconds to load, HD videos loaded in 4–5 seconds, and there was minor buffering. The provider has a built-in speed test that should help you find the fastest server, but it’s unfortunately not very accurate.
Surfshark has great security features, including perfect forward secrecy, and RAM-only servers, but it doesn’t have full leak protection — it only protects against DNS leaks (but I didn’t experience any leaks in my tests).
I also really like the IP Rotator feature, which periodically assigns you a new IP address without disconnecting you from the VPN to provide better privacy.
Surfshark’s plans start as low as $2.30 / month. Plus, all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Surfshark is a cheap, fast VPN that’s great for beginners. It has customizable apps that come with very convenient features and helpful explanations. It also has great security features, fast speeds on nearby servers, and servers in 100+ countries. Its plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Surfshark review here
6. PrivateVPN — User-Friendly With Decent Speeds
PrivateVPN has good speeds and minimalistic apps that are great for beginner VPN users. The apps are simple to install and use, and I particularly like that they display the server ping, which helps you find fast servers. Plus, there are not a lot of features or settings available, so if you’re new to VPNs, you won’t feel overwhelmed.
In my speed tests, most sites loaded instantly (but ad-heavy sites took 3 seconds), HD videos on Netflix loaded in 4 seconds and didn’t buffer, and 4K videos on my Android TV loaded in 6–7 seconds with minor buffering at the start. While PrivateVPN provided me with good speeds, it’s still slower than ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and CyberGhost VPN.
Unlike the other VPNs on my list, PrivateVPN doesn’t include a quick-connect feature — so you have to manually find and connect to the fastest servers. Also, it doesn’t come with WireGuard (but it does include IKEv2/IPSec, which is pretty fast).
PrivateVPN works with top streaming sites and allows torrenting on all servers. But I don’t like that it’s missing extra features like split-tunneling and an ad blocker (included with Private Internet Access). Also, PrivateVPN doesn’t have WebRTC leak protection, so you need to manually disable WebRTC in your web browser’s settings to prevent any leaks.
PrivateVPN has very affordable monthly and yearly plans, which start at $2.00 / month. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PrivateVPN has decent speeds for all online activities and also displays the server ping, which helps you find fast servers. Its apps are very minimalistic and intuitive, so they’re really good for VPN beginners. PrivateVPN has great streaming and torrenting support, very affordable plans, and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full PrivateVPN review
7. Proton VPN — Best Free Plan With Fast Speeds
Proton VPN has one of the best free plan out there — it’s one of the only VPNs with a free plan that includes unlimited bandwidth, but it doesn’t support streaming or torrenting, limits users to one device, and only offers 3 server locations (US, Netherlands, and Japan).
Both the free (and premium) plans include WireGuard, as well as the VPN Accelerator feature, which uses performance-enhancing technologies to increase VPN speeds on distant servers — it always increased my VPN speeds by over 50%, which is very impressive.
When I tested Proton VPN’s paid servers, I only experienced a minor slowdown on average — not as fast as ExpressVPN, but still very fast. On nearby servers, websites loaded instantly and HD videos took up to 3 seconds to load (but they didn’t buffer). And on distant servers, HD videos loaded in 3–5 seconds, 4K videos loaded in 5 seconds, and I only experienced minor buffering at the start of the videos.
Proton VPN has great security and privacy. It comes with an ad blocker (NetShield), full-disk encryption that keeps all data safe on a server even if it’s compromised, and an audited no-logs policy.
Proton VPN’s paid version starts at $3.99 / month. There’s a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee for all purchases.
Proton VPN has an excellent free plan that provides fast speeds. You also get high-end security and privacy features, unlimited data, and VPN Accelerator, a feature that increases VPN speeds on distant servers. Proton VPN has several paid plans that come with even faster speeds. Proton VPN comes with a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Proton VPN review
8. TunnelBear — Fast VPN for Beginners
TunnelBear has fast speeds and is very easy and fun to use, making it a great choice if you’re new to VPNs. Its apps are very intuitive and let you connect to servers using a digital map. When you connect to a server, adorable digital bears dig a tunnel to the VPN server’s location! TunnelBear also eliminates the hassle of having to choose the VPN protocol — it simply picks the best protocol for you, which is convenient. Plus, the VPN allows unlimited connections.
TunnelBear doesn’t have WireGuard like Private Internet Access, but it still provides fast speeds. When I tested its servers, I only experienced a slight slowdown on average. HD videos loaded in 3–4 seconds and 4K videos took up to 7 seconds to load. However, I really liked making Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls with TunnelBear, because they never dropped or froze.
When it comes to streaming, TunnelBear works with top sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer — though it doesn’t work with Disney+ like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access do. On the plus side, it allows torrenting on all servers.
TunnelBear has a free plan and budget-friendly paid plans. However, I’m not a fan of the free plan because it limits you to 2 GB per month, which is only enough for a few hours of web browsing. To get unlimited bandwidth, you need to upgrade to TunnelBear’s paid plans, which start at $3.33 / year. Unlike the other VPNs on this list, TunnelBear doesn’t come with a money-back guarantee.
TunnelBear is very user-friendly and its apps are super fun to use. During my speed tests, it only slowed down my speeds a little bit, which allowed me to enjoy fast browsing, streaming, and downloads. It also provides good streaming and P2P support, has a very limited free plan and affordable paid plans, but it doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee.
Read our full TunnelBear review
9. VyprVPN — Good for Fast Streaming
VyprVPN provides very fast streaming speeds. In my speed tests, VyprVPN was on par with Private Internet Access, but still slower than ExpressVPN. I enjoyed blazing-fast streaming speeds on my Android TV — HD shows loaded instantly and didn’t buffer, and 4K videos loaded in less than 3 seconds with no buffering, lagging, or quality drops.
I’m a big fan of VyprVPN’s dynamic server switching feature — if it detects that you’re connecting to an overcrowded server (which is likely to provide slower speeds), it automatically connects you to a less crowded server in the same country. It’s also great that VyprVPN displays the server ping for all of its servers.
I like that VyprVPN comes with fast protocols like WireGuard and IKEv2/IPSec, and that it includes split-tunneling on Android and macOS. That said, I’d like to see it add support for split-tunneling on Windows.
VyprVPN has an anti-phishing feature that stops you from connecting to malicious sites — but I wish the feature also included an ad blocker (like Private Internet Access and Proton VPN) to speed up website loading times.
VyprVPN has paid monthly and yearly plans that start at $5.00 / month, which is one of the priciest VPNs on this list. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN has very fast streaming speeds. It includes WireGuard, split-tunneling, and dynamic server switching (which helps you avoid overcrowded servers). VyprVPN has paid monthly and yearly plans and backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
10. IPVanish — Great for Torrenting
IPVanish supports P2P traffic on all of its 2,000+ servers in 50+ countries. The server count is pretty good, as it allows you to avoid overcrowded servers while torrenting. With IPVanish, I was able to download 30–40 GB files in 35–45 minutes, which is pretty good — that said, Private Internet Access is faster because the same files took around 20 minutes less to download.
Still, I like that IPVanish comes with SOCKS5 proxy servers for torrenting, which change your IP address just like a VPN, but they don’t have encryption so you get faster speeds. I always had 10% faster speeds when using IPVanish’s SOCKS5 servers instead of the VPN (but the speeds were still slower than Private Internet Access).
On local servers, IPVanish slowed down my speeds by around 43%, which isn’t bad and still enabled me to browse, stream, and game online without many slowdowns. I also tested servers in 20+ other countries, and I had decent speeds. IPVanish maintains decent speeds, but it’s still slower than all the other VPNs on my list.
Its apps are user-friendly and you get unlimited connections, so you can use it to torrent on as many devices as you want.
IPVanish has paid monthly and yearly plans, which start at $2.96 / month — and the yearly plans also include a free antivirus. IPVanish has a 30-day money-back guarantee, but only for the yearly plans.
IPVanish has good speeds for torrenting. SOCKS5 proxy servers are also available, which are faster than its VPN servers. IPVanish’s overall online speeds are decent, but it’s still the slowest VPN on my list. It has paid monthly and yearly plans and backs all yearly subscriptions with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Comparison of the Fastest VPNs in 2023
|VPN||Starting Price||Displays Server Load or Ping||Works With Netflix||Simultaneous Connections||Money-Back Guarantee|
|🥇1. ExpressVPN||$6.67 / month||❌||✅||5||30 days|
|🥈2. Private Internet Access||$2.19 / month||✅||✅||Unlimited||30 days|
|🥉3. CyberGhost VPN||$2.11 / month||✅ (only for NoSpy and gaming servers)||✅||7||Up to 45 days|
|4. NordVPN||$4.99 / month||❌||✅||6||30 days|
|5. Surfshark||$2.30 / month||✅||✅||Unlimited||30 days|
|6. PrivateVPN||$2.00 / month||✅||✅||10||30 days|
|7. Proton VPN||$3.99 / month||✅||✅||Up to 10||30 days (prorated refund)|
|8. TunnelBear||$3.33 / year||❌||✅||Unlimited||No|
|9. VyprVPN||$5.00 / month||✅||✅||30||30 days|
|10. IPVanish||$2.96 / month||✅||✅||Unlimited||30 days|
How to Choose the Fastest VPN in 2023
- Look for a VPN with fast speeds. All VPNs slow down your speeds due to the encryption process and the distance between you and the VPN server. But the best VPNs minimize the speed loss so that it’s not noticeable. The VPNs I recommend maintained fast speeds for all online activities — and ExpressVPN, my top pick, is the fastest.
- Check for fast protocols. A VPN protocol is a set of rules that dictate how a VPN connection is established. Some VPN protocols are faster than others, like WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec, or a VPN’s own proprietary protocol.
- Consider server load and/or ping. Most of my top picks display the server ping (how long it takes an internet signal to travel from your device to the VPN server) or server load, which show how many active users are connected to a server, which helps you find the fastest servers.
- Look for strong security features. All the VPNs on my list come with industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a no-logs policy (to prevent the VPN from logging your traffic and IP address), and a kill switch to disable online access if the VPN disconnects and prevent IP leaks.
- Choose a VPN with good streaming and P2P support. I only recommend VPNs that work with popular streaming sites (including Netflix) and provide P2P support in many countries.
- Find a VPN that’s easy to use. All my top picks come with user-friendly apps for all major platforms that make it simple to find and connect to nearby servers, or have quick-connect features which automatically connect you to the fastest server for your location.
- Select a VPN that offers good value. Most of the VPNs I recommend have additional features like split-tunneling or an ad blocker. They also support at least 5 connections (Private Internet Access and Surfshark allow unlimited connections), have affordable prices, and most of them provide a generous money-back guarantee.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- DroidVPN. DroidVPN is free to use and has decent speeds on most servers, but it’s still much slower than all top VPNs. Plus, it’s dangerous to use because it lacks essential security features and leaks user data.
- SlickVPN. SlickVPN provides fast speeds on local servers, but it has huge slowdowns on distant servers. It also has a small server network (so it’s hard to find a nearby server to get fast speeds), its split-tunneling feature is terrible because you can’t choose which apps to split-tunnel, and its built-in speed test is inaccurate.
- AceVPN. AceVPN has extremely slow speeds on distant servers and big slowdowns even on local servers. In addition, it’s missing a kill switch and doesn’t have dedicated apps.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the fastest VPN in 2023?
ExpressVPN has the fastest speeds in 2023 — websites load instantly, HD and 4K videos load instantly and don’t buffer, and large files download very fast. It also has a blazing-fast proprietary VPN protocol (Lightway), split-tunneling, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
How to increase VPN speeds?
If you experience noticeable slowdowns, try one of these tips:
- Connect to a local or nearby server. If the server is too far away from your location, it will take longer for data to travel between your device and the VPN, resulting in slow speeds.
- Use a fast VPN protocol. Switch from OpenVPN to IKEv2/IPSec or WireGuard, which are just as secure as OpenVPN but much faster.
- Use split-tunneling to exclude traffic from the VPN tunnel. For example, you can send just Netflix traffic through the VPN — that way, there’s less data to encrypt and decrypt, so your streaming speeds will be faster. ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access have good and easy-to-use split-tunneling tools.
- Disable background apps. Web-connected background apps that you’re not using can contribute to the slowdown, so turn them off. For example, if you’re just watching Netflix, you should disable non-essential background apps like Skype, Steam, and uTorrent.
- Use wired connections. If you’re using a weak Wi-Fi signal in your home, your speeds will be very slow — so connect your device to the router using an ethernet cable to bypass the Wi-Fi signal issue.
Can a VPN increase my internet speeds?
Usually, this is very unlikely, because all VPNs slow down your speeds due to the encryption process and the distance between you and the VPN server. However, VPNs can increase your speeds if your ISP is throttling your bandwidth (slowing down speeds for specific online services like torrenting and gaming). The VPN prevents your ISP from seeing what you’re doing online, so your ISP can’t selectively throttle your speeds.
What’s the fastest VPN protocol?
I had the fastest speeds with ExpressVPN’s proprietary protocol, Lightway — I didn’t even realize I was using a VPN. However, I also had fast speeds while using WireGuard and IKEv2/IPSec with the other VPNs on my list. I had the slowest speeds when I used OpenVPN.
What’s the fastest free VPN?
Proton VPN’s free plan comes with really fast speeds — in my tests, I only experienced a 30% slowdown on average. Proton VPN’s free plan also includes VPN Accelerator (a feature that speeds up VPN connections on distant servers) and unlimited data, and it’s actually one of the best free VPN plans out there.