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10 Fastest VPNs (Ideal for Streaming & Gaming) in 2023

Tim Mocan Tim Mocan

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 a built-in speed test and split-tunneling, offers 5 simultaneous connections, and backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

I spent the last few weeks testing the top VPNs on the market to see which ones have the fastest speeds.

All VPNs slow down your original internet speeds because of the added layer of encryption. 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.

However, the VPNs I recommend in this article provide super-fast 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.

Quick summary of the fastest VPNs in 2023:

🥇1. ExpressVPN — Fastest VPN 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. During my speed tests, I only experienced a 15% slowdown on average, which is the best speed in the industry.

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. 

I ran speed tests on servers in 10+ countries, and ExpressVPN always maintained 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 other features for improving speed:

  • Quick-connect feature — Connects you to the fastest server available.
  • Built-in speed test — Finds a list of the fastest servers in your location.
  • Split-tunneling — Only routes chosen apps through the VPN to improve speeds.

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%.

When it comes to privacy features, ExpressVPN’s 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 (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 allows 5 simultaneous connections and 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.

Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN in 2023 — it only slowed down my speeds by an average of 15%, and I enjoyed blazing-fast speeds for browsing, streaming, and torrenting on all servers. It has an accurate and convenient built-in speed test, 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.

Download ExpressVPN Now

Read our full ExpressVPN review

🥈2. Private Internet Access — Excellent Torrenting Speeds & Great Privacy Features

🥈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.

When using PIA’s WireGuard protocol, which is the fastest non-proprietary protocol available, my download speeds 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. I only experienced a 25% slowdown on average.

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 has RAM-only servers (doesn’t store any data), 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).

Private Internet Access allows up to 10 simultaneous connections and has affordable plans, which start at $2.19 / month. Plus, it backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line

Private Internet Access is great for torrenting large files with fast speeds (20% slowdown). 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.

Download Private Internet Access Now

Read our full Private Internet Access review

🥉3. Proton VPN — Best Free Plan With Fast Speeds

🥉3. Proton VPN — Best Free Plan With Fast Speeds

Proton VPN has 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). The free plan has “medium” speeds, but I only experienced a 30% slowdown, which is still above average.

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 24% slowdown on averagenot 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 also comes with:

  • Ad blocker (NetShield) — Consistently blocks ads (sites loaded 20% faster with NetShield enabled).
  • Full-disk encryption — Keeps all server data unreadable even if it’s compromised.
  • Split-tunneling — Routes both chosen apps and IP addresses through VPN servers.

Proton VPN is also really good for streaming since it works with all of the top streaming sites, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer. It also allows torrenting on servers in 10+ countries — but I think ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access provide better P2P support since they support torrenting on all of their servers.

Plus, Proton VPN has open-source apps just like Private Internet Access, but Proton VPN’s apps have also been independently audited.

Proton VPN has a monthly plan and multiple yearly paid plans. The Plus plan (starting at $3.99 / month) includes access to 1,700+ servers in 60+ countries, 10 devices, NetShield, and streaming and torrenting support. Proton VPN backs all purchases with a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line

Proton VPN has an excellent free plan that provides fast speeds (30% slowdown). 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 (24% slowdown), provide really great streaming and torrenting support, and give you access to an ad blocker (NetShield) and split-tunneling. Proton VPN comes with a prorated 30-day money-back guarantee.

Download Proton VPN Now

Read our full Proton VPN review

4. NordVPN — Reliable With Great Security Features & Fast Speeds

4. NordVPN — Reliable With Great Security Features & Fast Speeds

NordVPN provides access to multiple security features that keep your data safe online — like Threat Protection, which is one of the best VPN ad blockers on the market and which also gets rid of malicious ads, blocks connections to shady sites, and protects your device from malware-infected downloads. Even better, Threat Protection remains active even if you’re not connected to a VPN server, which is really convenient.

In addition, there’s Dark Web Monitor, which scans the dark web and alerts you if the login associated with your NordVPN account has been leaked. I’m happy to see this, as this is one of the only VPNs on the market that comes with a dark web monitoring feature.

On top of that, NordVPN also comes with other great security features — it has double VPN servers, which add an extra layer of encryption, and it also comes with obfuscation. Plus, the VPN has its own protocol called NordLynx, which is designed to provide strong security and really fast speeds.

NordVPN also has advanced security features, including full leak protection, RAM-only servers, and perfect forward secrecy. Its strict no-logs policy has been independently audited, and it’s also been proven true when one of the data centers that housed one of its servers suffered a data breach and no user data was compromised.

The provider is also great for streaming and torrenting — it works with multiple popular streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer, and has a whopping 4,500+ P2P servers. It also provides really good speeds for streaming, torrenting, and other online activities on all of its servers.

I also think NordVPN is a good gaming VPN thanks to its Meshnet feature, which lets you link up to 60 devices over encrypted VPN connections — this helps you host virtual LAN parties securely.

What’s more, this VPN has tons of other perks — it has 5,000+ servers in 55+ countries, comes with split-tunneling, and has really intuitive apps for all major platforms.

NordVPN has budget-friendly plans that start at $2.99 / month. All purchases are backed by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line

NordVPN is highly secure, comes with a ton of features, and maintains good speeds for all online activities. In addition to advanced security features like RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy, it also has an ad blocker and dark web monitor. It also works with all streaming services, supports torrenting on more than 4,500 servers, and is also an excellent choice for gaming. NordVPN backs all purchases with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Download NordVPN Now

Read our full NordVPN review here

5. Surfshark — Great VPN for Large Families & Very Affordable

5. Surfshark — Great VPN for Large Families & Very Affordable

Surfshark allows unlimited connections, which means you can use it on as many devices as you want — so it’s a great option if everyone in your family needs a good VPN. I’m also happy to see this because very few VPNs support unlimited connections.

It comes with really good security features, including CleanWeb, which is one of the best VPN ad blockers out there. In addition, it provides obfuscation, double VPN connections for added security, and IP Rotator, which regularly changes your IP address to make it harder for someone to track your location. The provider also has advanced security features like RAM-only servers and perfect forward secrecy — however, it’s missing full leak protection (but I never experienced any leaks in my tests).

You also get pretty good streaming support, as the VPN can access top sites like Netflix, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer — though it can’t access Disney+. It also supports P2P downloads across all of its servers.

There are 3,200+ servers in 90+ countries, which makes it simple to use nearby servers for fast speeds. Speaking of speeds, the provider has fast connections on most servers, but I did experience significant slowdowns on very distant servers.

Surfshark is also one of the most affordable VPNs on the market, with plans starting at only $2.30 / month — so it’s also a good pick if you’re on a tight budget. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line

Surfshark is one of the rare VPNs to allow unlimited simultaneous connections, so it’s great for multi-device households and large families. It’s also secure, fast, and works with popular streaming services like Netflix. It has affordable plans and provides a 30-day money-back guarantee for all purchases.

Download Surfshark Now

Read our full Surfshark review here

6. CyberGhost VPN — Great for Gaming + Huge Server Network

6. CyberGhost VPN — Great for Gaming + Huge Server Network

CyberGhost VPN provides fast gaming speeds on 90+ 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, and I experienced a 29% slowdown on average, which is slower than my top 3 choices. But 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.
  • Split-tunneling (only available on Android).
  • Ad blocker.

I like that CyberGhost has an ad blocker (Content Blocker), but it’s not as good as Private Internet Access or Proton VPN’s ad blockers — 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 allows up to 7 simultaneous connections and has several paid plans, which start at $2.19 / 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.

Bottom Line

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. When I ran speed tests, my connections only slowed down by 29%. 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.

Download CyberGhost VPN Now

Read our full CyberGhost VPN review

7. TunnelBear — Fast VPN for Beginners

7. 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.

TunnelBear doesn’t have WireGuard like Private Internet Access and Proton VPN, but it still provides fast speeds. When I tested its servers, I only experienced a 35% 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 allows unlimited simultaneous connections and has a free plan and budget-friendly paid plans. However, I’m not a fan of the free plan because it limits you to 500 MB 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 / month. Unlike the other VPNs on this list, TunnelBear doesn’t come with a money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line

TunnelBear is very user-friendly and its apps are super fun to use. During my speed tests, it only slowed down my speeds by about 35%, 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.

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Read our full TunnelBear review

8. VyprVPN — Good for Fast Streaming on Multiple Devices

8. VyprVPN — Good for Fast Streaming on Multiple Devices

VyprVPN provides very fast streaming speeds and allows up to 30 simultaneous connections — so it’s good for large households or couples who want to connect a lot of devices to a VPN.

In my speed tests, VyprVPN only slowed down my connections by 21% on average, which is 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.

Bottom Line

VyprVPN has very fast streaming speeds (21% slowdown) and allows up to 30 simultaneous connections, making it a good choice for large households. 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.

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Read our full VyprVPN review

9. PrivateVPN — User-Friendly With Decent Speeds

9. PrivateVPN — User-Friendly With Decent Speeds

PrivateVPN has good speeds for browsing, streaming, and torrenting, and it comes with 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, I experienced a 40% slowdown, which is pretty good — most sites loaded instantly (but ad-heavy sites took 3 seconds to load), 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 Proton 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 and Proton VPN). 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 allows up to 10 simultaneous connections and has very affordable monthly and yearly plans, which start at $2.00 / month. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line

PrivateVPN has decent speeds (40% slowdown) 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.

Download PrivateVPN Now

Read our full PrivateVPN review

10. IPVanish — Great for Torrenting on Unlimited Devices

10. IPVanish — Great for Torrenting on Unlimited Devices

IPVanish supports P2P traffic on all of its 2,000+ servers in 50+ countries, has really good torrenting speeds, and allows unlimited connections, so you can use it on as many devices as you want.

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 slowsdowns. I also tested servers in 20+ other countries, and overall I experienced a 45% slowdown. IPVanish maintains decent speeds, but it’s still slower than all the other VPNs on my list.

What’s more, IPVanish is not great for streaming compared to top brands like ExpressVPN. While it works with Netflix, it can’t access other top streaming sites like Amazon Prime and Disney+.

IPVanish has paid monthly and yearly plans, which start at $3.99 / month — and the yearly plan also includes a free antivirus. IPVanish has a 30-day money-back guarantee, but only for the yearly plan.

Bottom Line

IPVanish has good speeds for torrenting and allows unlimited connections. SOCKS5 proxy servers are also available, which are faster than its VPN servers. IPVanish’s overall online speeds are decent (45% slowdown), 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.

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Read our full IPVanish review

Comparison of the Fastest VPNs in 2023

VPN Starting Price Average Slowdown Displays Server Load or Ping Works with Netflix Simultaneous Connections Money-Back Guarantee
🥇1. ExpressVPN $6.67 / month 15% 5 30 days
🥈2. Private Internet Access $2.19 / month 20% 10 30 days
🥉3. Proton VPN $3.99 / month 24% Up to 10 30 days (prorated refund)
4. NordVPN $2.99 / month 25% 6 30 days
5. Surfshark $2.30 / month 48% Unlimited 30 days
6. CyberGhost VPN $2.19 / month 29% ✅ (only for NoSpy and gaming servers) 7 Up to 45 days
7. TunnelBear $3.33 / month 35% Unlimited No
8. VyprVPN $5.00 / month 21% 30 30 days
9. PrivateVPN $2.00 / month 40% 10 30 days
10. IPVanish $3.99 / month 45% Unlimited 30 days

How to Choose the Fastest VPN in 2023

  • 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 didn’t slow down my speeds by any more than 45% — and ExpressVPN, my top pick, only slowed down my speeds by an average of 15%.
  • 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.
  • 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 (how many active users are connected to a server), which helps you find the fastest servers.
  • Strong security. 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).
  • Streaming and torrenting support. I only recommend VPNs that work with popular streaming sites (including Netflix) and provide P2P support in many countries.
  • Ease of 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.
  • Good value. Most of the VPNs I recommend have additional features like split-tunneling (which lets you increase your VPN speeds), built-in speed tests (which help you find the fastest servers), and ad blockers (which can decrease website load times). They also support at least 5 connections (IPVanish allows unlimited connections), have affordable prices, and most of them provide a generous money-back guarantee.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • HMA VPN. HMA VPN has fast speeds on local servers, provides good security, and is beginner-friendly. But it has very noticeable slowdowns on distant servers, and its quick-connect feature doesn’t work well (it fails to connect you to the fastest server).
  • 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 (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 built-in speed test, a blazing-fast proprietary VPN protocol (Lightway), split-tunneling, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Even though ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN out there, the other VPNs on my list also provide good speeds. Private Internet Access has very fast P2P speeds, Proton VPN has an excellent free plan with fast speeds, and CyberGhost VPN is good for fast gaming.

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 while using ExpressVPN’s proprietary VPN protocol, Lightwayit only slowed down my connections by around 15%. However, I also had fast speeds while using WireGuard (20–30% slowdown) and IKEv2/IPSec (25–40% slowdown) with the other VPNs on my list. I had the slowest speeds when I used OpenVPN (40–50% slowdown).

What’s the fastest free VPN?

Proton VPN has the best free VPN plan out there, which 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. TunnelBear also comes with a free plan, but it’s not as good as Proton VPN’s because its speeds are slower and it limits you to 500 MB per month, which is only enough for 1–2 hours of web browsing.

Proton VPN’s free plan is only good for secure browsing and gaming since it doesn’t include streaming and torrenting support. To get that (and more), I recommend upgrading to one of Proton VPN’s paid plans.

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About the Author
Tim Mocan
Tim Mocan
Lead Contributor

About the Author

Tim Mocan is a Lead Contributor at SafetyDetectives. He has 5+ years of experience researching and writing about cybersecurity topics, and he specializes in VPNs. Prior to joining SafetyDetectives, he worked as a contributor for other VPN review websites and as a content writer for several VPN providers. Throughout his freelance writing career, he has also covered other niches, including SEO, digital marketing, customer loyalty, home improvement, and health and rehab. Outside of work, Tim loves to spend his time traveling, playing video games, binging anime, and using VPNs (yes, really!).