5 Fastest VPNs in 2024: VPN Speed Comparison Results

Kate Hawkins
Last Updated by Kate Hawkins on May 28, 2024 Fact-checked by Sarah Frazier Fact-checked by Sarah Frazier

A VPN will almost always slow your connection a little. However, the best VPNs will barely impact your speeds as they prioritize fast connections alongside top-tier security.

It’s important to understand that the fastest VPN for one user might not be the fastest for everyone — speeds can differ depending on your internet connection, the time of day, your distance from the server, and more. That’s why I tested more than 30 VPNs to find the services that will have the smallest impact on your connections.

After rigorous daily testing, the fastest VPN in 2024 is ExpressVPN. Regardless of the time of day, server distance, or device used, ExpressVPN provides fast connections that don’t impact gaming, torrenting, or streaming. Plus, ExpressVPN is backed by a money-back guarantee — if it’s not fast enough for you, you can get a full refund.

Get fast speeds with ExpressVPN

Quick Guide: The Fastest VPNs in 2024

  1. ExpressVPN — the fastest VPN in 2024 on short- and long-distance connections, with minimal slowdown for smooth streaming, torrenting, and gaming.
  2. CyberGhost — optimized servers provide fast speeds for bandwidth-heavy activities, but it’s slower over long distances.
  3. Private Internet Access — customizable security settings can boost speeds, but some significant drops when connecting to distant servers.
  4. NordVPN — NordLynx protocol keeps speeds reliably fast across the server network, but can be an expensive option.
  5. Surfshark — an affordable option with consistent speeds globally, but high ping can cause lag and interruptions when streaming, gaming, and video calling.

The Fastest VPNs for Streaming, Torrenting & Gaming (Tested 2024)

1. ExpressVPN — Winning Combination of Excellent Speeds and Top-Tier Security

Key Features:

  • Average speed loss of 7%
  • Network of 3,000+ servers in 105 countries
  • Lightway protocol, military-grade encryption, leak protection, kill switch, and more
  • Supports up to 8 device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN in 2024, with excellent speeds across its global network of servers. During tests, both short- and long-distance ExpressVPN servers were impressively fast. Even when connected to Australia (more than 16,000km away), my speeds were steady at 121 Mbps.

screenshots of ExpressVPN connected to servers in the UK, Germany, US, and Australia, with the results of Ookla speed tests for each connection.

ExpressVPN’s global speeds are ideal for streaming, torrenting, and gaming

These impressive speeds are due in part to ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol, designed for fast connections without compromising security. It’s a lightweight protocol that connects almost instantly and reduces the impact on your device. Using Lightway, ExpressVPN’s closest server had a less than 4% drop from my regular speed.

During tests, ExpressVPN proved to be a top choice for streaming, torrenting, and gaming. Our team of testers had no lag or buffering when streaming in UHD. Torrenting was also fast, with a 40GB file downloading in just 40 minutes, and low ping meant I could play high-intensity online games like Call of Duty: Warzone without interruptions.

To protect your connections while keeping speeds fast, ExpressVPN has the following security and privacy features:

  • Military-grade encryption — keeps your data and online activity away from prying eyes and third parties.
  • Data leak protection — prevents accidental IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks from revealing your data or location.
  • Split tunneling — lets you choose which traffic is encrypted, improving speeds by reducing unnecessary traffic.
  • Audited zero-log privacy policy — confirms ExpressVPN never logs or stores your online activity, with RAM-based servers wiped clean during regular reboots.

The only issue with ExpressVPN is that it’s slightly more expensive than other options — plans start at $6.67/month. However, I think it’s worth the extra cost for fast speeds and top security. Plus, all plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so it’s simple to get a full refund if you find it’s not the right VPN for you.

ExpressVPN works with: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Max, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, ESPN, DAZN, and more.

ExpressVPN works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Nvidia Shield, Xiaomi Mi Box, Google Chromecast, Roku, Android TVs, smart TVs, routers, and more.

2024 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan + 3 months free (you can save up to 49%)! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.

2. CyberGhost — Optimized Servers for Fast Streaming, Downloading, and Gaming

Key Features:

  • Average speed loss of 10%
  • 11,800+ servers in 100 countries
  • AES-256-bit encryption, leak protection, split tunneling, and more
  • Connect 7 devices at the same time
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

CyberGhost’s optimized servers provide a speed boost for resource-intensive activities like streaming, torrenting, and gaming. These servers are tested and updated regularly to ensure you get the fastest connections available — you can download large files and play fast-paced games without lag or interruptions.

screenshots of CyberGhost connected to servers in the UK, Germany, US, and Australia, with the results of Ookla speed tests for each connection

CyberGhost maintains good speeds across its network

During tests, CyberGhost’s optimized servers were significantly faster than its standard servers — by 30% on average. This is important if you live somewhere with slow internet, as optimized connections will minimize loss. I always recommend connecting to an optimized server if you have one nearby.

CyberGhost offers both OpenVPN and WireGuard, with WireGuard being the fastest option in tests. It’s a much more lightweight option so it’s faster for your device as well as your connection. Our global team had no issues streaming Netflix US lag-free, P2P file-sharing, or gaming with the WireGuard protocol.

Fortunately, CyberGhost’s high-level security features don’t impact speeds. These include:

  • Malicious ad and tracker blocker — helps web pages load quickly by blocking shady ads and links.
  • Split tunneling — choose which data is routed through the VPN tunnel to reduce traffic and boost speeds.
  • NoSpy servers — based in Romania and owned by CyberGhost, NoSpy servers use high-quality hardware for faster speeds.

The only issue with CyberGhost is its slowdown over long-distance connections. As my existing speeds are fast, even the biggest speed drop in Australia didn’t impact my activities. However, if your regular speeds are slow (25Mbps or less), you will notice a more significant impact — I recommend sticking to local servers to avoid lag.

CyberGhost is an affordable option (starting at $2.19/month), so it’s worth testing its optimized servers for yourself. If you’re not completely satisfied, you can get a full refund within 45 days. I found the process easy, as the 24/7 live chat agent started my refund immediately. I had my money back within a week.

CyberGhost works with: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Max, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, ESPN, DAZN, and more.

CyberGhost works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Raspberry Pi, Chrome, Firefox, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, smart TVs, routers, and more.

2024 Update! You can subscribe to CyberGhost for as low as $2.19 per month + get an extra 2 months free with the 2-year plan (save up to 83%)! This is a limited offer so grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.

3. Private Internet Access — Huge Server Network Keeps Speeds Reliably Fast

Key Features:

  • Average speed loss of 15%
  • 35,000+ servers in 91 countries
  • Port forwarding, SOCKS5 proxy, ad and malware blocker, and split tunneling
  • Supports unlimited device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Private Internet Access (PIA) has a massive server network that maintains fast speeds for your online activities. It has over 35,000 servers in 91 locations which is ideal for 2 reasons: first, you’re very likely to find a server close to your physical location; second, it’s less likely that you’ll experience congestion.

screenshots of PIA connected to servers in the UK, Germany, US, and Australia, with the results of Ookla speed tests for each connection.

PIA’s huge network keeps speeds reliably fast

While OpenVPN is PIA’s default protocol, I found WireGuard was the faster option, boosting my speeds by at least 10Mbps on every connection. If your speeds are slow, PIA provides customizable encryption that can give you a boost. Switch from AES-256 to AES-128 encryption with OpenVPN — lower encryption results in faster speeds.

To further improve speeds while protecting your data and devices, PIA has the following features:

  • MACE ad and malware blocker — protects against malicious downloads and improves site loading times by stopping annoying ads.
  • Split tunneling — stops unnecessary data from passing through the VPN connection to keep speeds fast.
  • Port forwarding — allows faster, direct connections for seeders to boost torrenting speeds.

Like many VPNs, PIA’s speeds drop when connecting to distant servers. However, even when I connected to a server in Australia I could stream and torrent — though I did experience buffering due to high ping. Unfortunately, I couldn’t game on distant servers as the latency produced too much lag and my game froze repeatedly.

As a low-cost option, PIA is a fast and affordable choice if you’re on a budget. Long-term plans start at $2.19/month, and it’s also one of the top month-to-month VPNs available. If you change your mind, you have up to 30 days to claim a refund. I did over 24/7 live chat, and had my money back in a week.

PIA works with: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Max, ITVX, ESPN, and more.

PIA works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, PlayStation, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, smart TVs, routers, and more.

2024 Update! You can subscribe to PIA for as low as $2.19 per month + get an extra 2 months free with the 2-year plan (save up to 82%)! This is a limited offer, so grab it now before it's gone! See more information on this offer here!

4. NordVPN — Proprietary NordLynx Protocol Provides Fast, Secure Connections

Key Features:

  • Average speed loss of 14%
  • 6,300+ servers in 111 countries
  • Optimized servers, Threat Protection, data leak protection, and kill switch
  • Connect up to 10 devices
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

NordVPN’s NordLynx is designed for speed and security, using modern cryptographic techniques and keeping resource use low to enhance performance. This makes it an ideal choice for prioritizing both security and speed in your online activities. Even long-distance connections only had a minor slowdown during tests, for reliable speeds worldwide.

screenshots of NordVPN connected to servers in the UK, Germany, US, and Australia, with the results of Ookla speed tests for each connection.

NordVPN has good speeds on local and distant servers

With a robust server network, NordVPN can minimize overcrowding and maintain high-speed connections. More than 6,300 servers worldwide means you can consistently find a nearby server with optimal performance for any of your chosen online activities.

Thanks to its stable, low-ping connections, NordVPN is a good choice for streaming and gaming. During tests, our team found it reliably works with major streaming platforms and it provides a smooth gaming experience, without lag or interruptions.

You’ll also find NordVPN has specialized P2P servers that optimize torrent performance, making it quick and easy to download large files. Additionally, its Threat Protection feature not only secures your downloads, it also blocks ads and trackers to improve webpage loading times.

The downside is the NordLynx protocol isn’t available on all devices — you can’t use it on smart TVs, routers, or the browser extensions. This can cause limitations if you want to secure your home network, as you may notice the impact of its slower protocols.

You can try NordVPN’s reliable speeds for yourself for as little as $3.09/month, although be prepared for costs to rise if you decide to renew your long-term subscription. If you change your mind, you can get a full refund within 30 days.

NordVPN works with: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Max, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, and more.

NordVPN works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Nvidia Shield, Google Chromecast, Roku, Android TVs, smart TVs, routers, and more.

5. Surfshark — Built-In Speed Test Helps Find the Fastest Connection

Key Features:

  • Average speed loss of 19%
  • 3,200+ servers in 100 countries
  • Built-in speed tester, Nexus network, and CleanWeb feature
  • Supports unlimited devices connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Surfshark makes finding the fastest server easy with its built-in speed tester, letting you gauge server performance quickly. This tool helps you select a server with the best speed and stability for your online activities, ensuring you’re always connected to a high-speed network.

I was impressed by Surfshark’s Nexus network that is designed to optimize your connection by routing traffic through the most efficient paths. This enhances your speed and stability, even during peak usage times. Combined with the WireGuard protocol (known for its lightweight structure), you’ll get reliably fast speeds that don’t compromise security.

screenshots of Surfshark connected to servers in the UK, Germany, US, and Australia, with the results of Ookla speed tests for each connection.

Surfshark works well to keep speeds fast across its network

Surfshark works well with streaming platforms and is decent for gaming, though distant servers may suffer from high ping. For the best online gameplay, I recommend using a server near to your physical location to minimize any spikes in ping. Surfshark also has optimized P2P servers for smooth torrenting.

To further boost speed and security, Surfshark’s CleanWeb blocks ads and malware to improve website loading times. For a small extra fee, you can get a dedicated IP address — this is exclusively for your use, so you won’t experience slowdown caused by other users.

One minor drawback is that Surfshark’s initial connection times can take more than 30 seconds to establish. This can be frustrating when other premium VPNs connect almost instantly. However, subsequent connections and server changes are faster, and performance is consistent and reliable.

Surfshark is an affordable option, with plans starting at $2.19/month. Plus, all subscriptions are backed by a 30-day guarantee, so you can test Surfshark for yourself risk-free.

Surfshark works with: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Max, BBC iPlayer, ESPN, and more.

Surfshark works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Raspberry Pi, Chrome, Firefox, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Xiaomi Mi Box, Google Chromecast, Android TVs, routers, and more.

VPN Speed Comparison Table: The Fastest VPNs in 2024

Average Speed Drop Local Speeds Long-Distance Speeds Server Network Fastest Protocol Money-Back Guarantee
ExpressVPN 7% 3.8% drop 12% drop 3,000+ servers in 105 locations Lightway 30 days
CyberGhost 10% 6.3% drop 20% drop 11,800+ servers in 100 locations WireGuard 45 days
PIA 15% 6.7% drop 35% drop 35,000+ servers in 91 locations WireGuard 30 days
NordVPN 14% 8.8% drop 27% drop 6,300+ servers in 111 locations NordLynx 30 days
Surfshark 19% 8.6% drop 41% drop 3,200+ servers in 100 locations WireGuard 30 days

How I Tested and Ranked VPNs for Fast Speeds

Important note: Despite my careful and rigorous testing methodology, there are always variables outside of my control. Fluctuations in internet speed and how my device was performing could impact results. If you run similar tests, you may experience very different results — I always recommend testing a VPN for yourself to see if it works for you.

Here is the testing methodology I used when I evaluated the best VPNs on the market:

  • Speed tests — I ran my initial test on Speedtest.net to find my base internet speed without a VPN. On average, my standard ISP connection is 138.2 Mbps. I then used the same speed test tool for each VPN.
  • Device — All tests were run on a Windows 11 PC and an iPhone XS.
  • VPN protocol — I let the VPNs automatically pick the fastest protocol available at the time. This was WireGuard for the majority of the VPNs.
  • Local server — I used a “Smart Connect” or similar feature to let the VPN choose the fastest server available. For me, the closest server was in London, UK for most VPNs.
  • International server — I tested servers in Asia, Australia, Europe, and the US to determine how speeds were affected over different distances.
  • Time of testing — I ran tests at 3 different times of day — 9am, 3pm, and 8pm — to see the impact of high and low traffic times on each VPN’s speed.
  • Connection stability — I maintained VPN connections for hours at a time, checking for speed fluctuations and connection reliability (whether I experienced random disconnects, lag, or interruptions).

Key Points to Remember for VPN Speeds

While speed is a key factor when choosing a VPN, it’s also important to consider other aspects that can impact the overall performance of the VPN and your device.

Peak vs Average Speed

Peak speeds represent the maximum performance of a VPN under optimal conditions. However, these speeds aren’t always sustainable due to network congestion, ISP throttling, and other factors. Average speeds are more reflective of typical daily usage, accounting for various factors like congestion and data travel distance.

The following factors can have a significant impact on speed, but there are also ways you can mitigate speed loss:

  • Server proximity — closer servers typically mean faster speeds.
  • Server load — less crowded servers are faster.
  • Time zone strategy — connecting during off-peak hours in different time zones can improve speed.

Stability vs Speed

The ideal VPN offers a balanced combination of speed and reliability, ensuring that your online activities are uninterrupted and consistently smooth.

While fast VPNs are appealing for their quick data transfer rates, a stable VPN provides a consistent connection that doesn’t suffer from frequent drops or significant speed dips. This is vital for online gaming, streaming, and video calls, where interruptions can ruin your experience.

It’s normal for VPNs to occasionally have some slowdown, but a fast VPN that regularly has connection issues won’t provide the best service. Positive user reviews and VPN uptime guarantees are good indicators that a VPN offers both fast speeds and good stability.

Security vs Speed

A highly secure VPN keeps your online activities safe from prying eyes, but it can also mean slower speeds. Here are some key considerations when balancing security with speed:

  • Stronger encryption levels provide better security but also reduce connection speeds. For example, AES-128-bit encryption provides a speed boost for streaming or gaming, while AES-256-bit encryption has better protection when shopping or banking online.
  • Protocol choice matters. OpenVPN UDP is faster (but less stable) than OpenVPN TCP (which prioritizes reliability), WireGuard is designed for speed, and proprietary protocols (like ExpressVPN’s Lightway or NordVPN’s NordLynx) balance robust security while mitigating speed loss.
  • Layered security will slow your connections. Using features like additional obfuscation or multi-hop connections enhances your security, but is detrimental to connection speeds.

3 Easy Steps: How to Test VPN Speed

  1. Get a VPN. After rigorous testing, ExpressVPN is the most consistently fast VPN in 2024.
    image of ExpressVPN's website, highlighting its fast speeds and the
  2. Test your connection speed without the VPN connected. You can use a speed testing tool like Speedtest.net to find out your network speed.
  3. Connect to a VPN server and run another speed test. Now you can compare the 2 test results to see how fast the VPN is compared to your baseline.
    screenshots of speed test results, one without ExpressVPN connected, and one with ExpressVPN connected to a UK-London server.

Need a Faster VPN? 9 Tips to Increase a VPN’s Speed

If you’re using a fast VPN and are having issues with slow speeds, here are a few things you can try:

  • Choose a VPN with a large server network — more servers means less user congestion at peak traffic times and faster speeds for your connection.
  • Connect to a nearby server — using a physically close server means your data has a shorter distance to travel, so you’ll get a response much faster.
  • Change to a faster VPN protocol — WireGuard, OpenVPN TCP, Lightway, and NordLynx are all highly secure protocols with excellent speeds.
  • Set up split tunneling — boost your speed by only routing certain apps through the VPN, with the rest of your traffic using your regular ISP connection — less traffic passes much more quickly.
  • Use an ethernet cable — wireless connections (WiFi) aren’t 100% direct and are a little slower than a wired connection, so using an ethernet cable creates a direct line and faster data transfer.
  • Adjust your encryption level — some VPNs let you adjust encryption to AES-128-bit, which is a little less secure but provides a speed boost for non-sensitive activities (like streaming).
  • Use a dedicated IP — an IP exclusively for you won’t be sharing bandwidth with other users, so you won’t face slowdown caused by congestion and others’ high-bandwidth activity.
  • Restart your devices — restarting your router, PC, or mobile device is a quick and easy way to resolve any issues that may be impacting your speed.

FAQs on Fast VPNs and Speed

What’s the fastest VPN for Android, Chrome, iOS, routers, and other devices?

The fastest VPN across the board is ExpressVPN, with native apps for popular platforms and easy setup guides for routers, smart TVs, game consoles, and more.

During tests, ExpressVPN had the most consistently fast speeds across all devices, with a minimal drop even using long-distance server connections.

Which is the fastest VPN protocol?

Usually, WireGuard is the fastest protocol, but you may experience faster speeds using the proprietary protocols developed by ExpressVPN or NordVPN — Lightway and NordLynx.

If your VPN doesn’t have a proprietary protocol or WireGuard, OpenVPN (UDP) is a fast and secure choice, or you can try IKEv2 on mobile devices. I recommend you avoid PPTP and L2TP, as these protocols have good speeds but aren’t ideal for data security.

How can I get the fastest VPN for gaming?

All of the recommended VPNs have fast speeds for lag-free online gaming. Ideally, you want fast download speeds and ping (or latency) of less than 100ms to ensure you can play fast-paced games without interruptions.

Many online games display your ping on your in-game dashboard, so you can check it before and after connecting to your VPN to see the impact. You can also check your ping manually:

  1. Find the domain or IP address of the server you want to use. This could take some research, as most games don’t make this information easily accessible.
  2. Open the Windows Command Prompt or Mac Terminal. You can find these by entering the appropriate term in your device’s search bar.
  3. Enter the command “ping” followed by the server IP address. Make a note of the ping result, which will be in milliseconds.
  4. Connect to your VPN and run the command again. You’ll be able to compare ping between your regular connection and VPN connection.

Which is the fastest VPN for torrenting?

The fastest VPN for torrenting is ExpressVPN. All of its 3,000+ servers support quick P2P file-sharing, and you’re protected by military-grade encryption, leak protection, and perfect forward secrecy for private torrenting.

Here are a few tips for boosting torrent speeds with a VPN:

  • Disable your NAT firewall — NAT firewalls can prevent or slow down incoming connections from seeders, causing slow download speeds. Some VPNs have the option to disable the NAT firewall in their settings.
  • Try using a SOCKS5 proxy — if your VPN has a SOCKS5 proxy, this can help improve torrenting speeds. However, it’s not usually an encrypted connection, so only use this if you’re not worried about anonymity or privacy.
  • Allow port forwarding — a VPN like PIA allows port forwarding, which lets you connect to more seeders to download torrents faster. However, most VPNs don’t offer this, as opening up your device to external connections is a security risk — so use with caution.

What’s the fastest VPN for streaming?

The fastest VPN for streaming is ExpressVPN. Based on my tests, ExpressVPN had an average speed drop of just 7% — the lowest of all the leading VPNs on the market. Plus, our global team found ExpressVPN works with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and Max.

I especially like that ExpressVPN works on devices without VPN support. Its MediaStreamer feature is a proxy DNS server that is quick to set up on PlayStation, Xbox, LG smart TVs, and more. MediaStreamer is available for users in the US and UK.

How does a VPN affect internet speed?

Typically, a VPN will cause a minor slowdown in internet speeds. However, the top VPNs in 2024 mitigate speed loss to keep connections fast, even with premium security features protecting your data. To avoid significant speed loss, I recommend choosing a nearby server with a low user load.

Sometimes, a VPN can actually improve speeds. For example, some ISPs restrict connection speed when streaming or torrenting activity is detected. Connecting to a VPN stops your ISP from seeing your online activity, so it can no longer throttle your connection — resulting in faster speeds.

Which free VPN has the fastest speeds?

The fastest 100% free VPN is Proton VPN. It’s surprisingly fast, considering its limited free network of just 5 locations — the Netherlands, Japan, Romania, Poland, and the US. However, it’s significantly slower than the top recommended VPNs and doesn’t allow torrenting for free users.

Typically, free VPNs have overcrowded servers that limit speeds, and some even cap connection speeds to encourage you to upgrade. To avoid dealing with the hassle, I recommend using a premium option. This way, you won’t have to struggle with slow speeds, limited servers, and you’ll get the best security and privacy features for your connections.

Get Fast Speeds and Top Security With a VPN in 2024

Using a VPN will impact your speed, but the best VPNs are designed to mitigate speed loss so you don’t even notice it. All of the VPNs on this list provide fast connections and high-level security so you can stream, torrent, game, browse, and more without lag or interruptions.

After rigorous testing, the fastest VPN in 2024 is ExpressVPN. It has consistently fast connections across its server network, thanks to its proprietary Lightway protocol. To make sure it’s fast enough for your needs, I recommend you test ExpressVPN yourself. If you’re not satisfied, you can easily get a refund with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Summary — The Fastest VPNs in 2024

Top Ranked Top Choice
$6.67 / month Save 49%
CyberGhost VPN
$2.19 / month Save 83%
Private Internet Access
$2.19 / month Save 82%
$3.09 / month Save 76%
$2.29 / month Save 85%
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