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5 Fastest VPNs in 2018 – Find the Right Balance Between Speed & Security

Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

January 29, 2018

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) allow you to bypass censorship and overcome geo-restrictions. In order for a VPN to be super useful, it needs to be lightning fast. That’s why we’ve carefully compared the market to pinpoint the world’s fastest VPN services.

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10.0

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9.8

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9.4

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9.1

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VPN speed is really important. Without fast connection speeds, it’s impossible to do data-intensive tasks like streaming in HD. For anybody who needs a lightning fast VPN, this article will help. In it, you’ll find a definitive selection of carefully tested services that are the fastest VPNs for 2018.

What is the Fastest VPN in 2018?

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
Winner

PureVPN

PureVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Servers in 141 countries
  • Five simultaneous devices
  • Fast speeds, Peer-to-peer (P2P) permitted
  • Compatible with 50+ platforms
CONS:
  • IPv6, DNS and WebRTC leaks detected
  • Connection issues on select servers
  • Many complaints
  • Hard to verify security features and claims

Try the fastest VPN now!

Visit PureVPN »30-day money-back guarantee
2nd Place

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Chinese New Year Promo: 49% off today!
  • Super fast – great for streaming!
  • Super secure – 256-bit encryption
  • Unlimited downloading
  • 5* customer support and 24/7 live chat
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
CONS:
  • A bit pricey – but worth it!

ExpressVPN is a very popular VPN that is extremely fast. It has servers in 94 countries for subscribers to choose from, giving people an insane amount of choice when it comes to unblocking websites. Furthermore, the entire network provides incredible reliability and the fastest speeds available on the market. ExpressVPN has apps for all platforms, which are fully featured with all the top-end functionality you require: a kill switch, Domain Name System (DNS) leak protection, stealth mode (to bypass firewalls), and auto connect. Customer support is fantastic and is available 24/7 via live chat support. What’s more, the VPN sells a flashed router, which means you can protect every single device in your home or office with this superb, fast VPN.

ExpressVPN provides the best encryption on the market: OpenVPN – implemented to a really high standard, with perfect forward secrecy (PFS). It also provides Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)/Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP), and Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). The software is very easy to use and will protect users when on public WiFi. With every single VPN feature that consumers need, servers everywhere for streaming TV from all over the world, and P2P permitted (for downloading on BitTorrent websites), this VPN is outstanding. Finally, it provides a 30-day money-back guarantee that it always honors.

3rd Place

IPVanish

IPVanish Homepage
PROS:
  • Fast connection speeds
  • Up to five simultaneous connections
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in over 60 countries
  • P2P: yes
CONS:
  • Some logs kept

IPVanish is a speedy VPN from the US that keeps zero logs. It is a fast VPN that is often recommended by its users for its ability to allow people to stream in HD. The software is simple and easy to use, and has all the necessary features to keep your data secure both at home and on public WiFi. Encryption is OpenVPN implemented to a high standard (though not as strongly as ExpressVPN – which is one way that IPVanish keeps its speeds up). Overall, it is really secure and definitely one of the fastest VPN services around in 2017. Finally, it has a seven-day money-back guarantee. A very good option for those who want a fast VPN.

4th Place

HideMyAss

HideMyAss Homepage
PROS:
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Servers in more than 210 countries
  • No logs
  • Good speeds
  • Automatic WiFi protection
CONS:
  • Only allows two simultaneous connections

HideMyAss is a lightning fast VPN service that has servers in 190 countries. That is an insane amount of choice, and the network provides great speeds throughout. Encryption is robust and is provided via military grade OpenVPN.

The software is easy to use, and having so many servers to choose from means that it is easy to select a server that gives you the fastest possible speeds. The VPN is also fully featured with all the most important VPN features. No usage logs are kept, and only minimal connection logs. Finally the VPN has a 30-day money back guarantee to test the service.

5th Place

PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Lightning fast
  • Lots of servers
  • Strong encryption
  • Zero logs policy
  • Works with US Netflix
CONS:
  • Not much

This Swedish VPN provider is an absolutely amazing all-rounder that provides some incredibly fast connection speeds. Popular among subscribers this VPN is both useful and great for privacy. The firm has a zero logs policy, and it provides strongly implemented OpenVPN encryption (our recommended protocol).

This VPN has servers located in over 50 countries around the world, and it is regularly adding servers to that network. That makes it excellent for unblocking content: PrivateVPN even unblocks US Netflix and BBC iPlayer. The software is easy to use, but it provides superb customer support if you do have any questions. With DNS leak protection and a killswitch this VPN also has all the top-end VPN features you need. Finally, it has a 30-day money back guarantee and a 7-day free trial to test the service.

How We Found the Fastest VPNs

In order to review VPN services, we test VPN connection speeds with download and upload speed tests. Looking at the individual review for any VPN (by searching for it on this site) will give you a full rundown of its performance. BestVPN.com has invested in setting up permanent servers that test VPN server speeds on a regular basis (checking Mbps ping rates three times a day).

This gives BestVPN.com a distinct advantage when checking VPN performance rates. We have daily data about VPN connection speeds across a number of different countries. The result is that (unlike our competitors) we can give accurate and up-to-date data about the best VPNs’ connection speeds.


The Fastest VPNs in 2018

Would you like to know more about VPNs and what impacts their speed? Take a look at the guide below. In the table of contents below, simply click the link most relevant to you query to jump straight to the answer.


What Is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network is an online service that allows you to conceal your real location by connecting to a remote server. As soon as you connect to a VPN, it hides your real Internet Protocol (IP) address. You appear to be in the location of the VPN’s IP address instead. This means that you can access the internet as if they were in the VPN server’s location.

In addition to bypassing censorship, a VPN provides end to end encryption, giving you strong digital privacy. This stops Internet Service Providers (ISPs), governments, and other network administrators from being able to tell what you do online.

If you are new to VPNs, please check out our beginners’ guide here.

Who Needs a Fast VPN?

If you’re using your VPN to unblock news websites that are censored in your country, or other text-based websites, you probably don’t need a fast VPN. A fast VPN is for people who do data-intensive tasks. This includes online gaming, downloading P2P from torrent sites, and streaming video content in HD. If you intend to do anything that puts more strain on your VPN (and needs better Mbps ping rates), then selecting a fast service is recommended.

Can I Get a Free Fast VPN?

Although there are some trusted and reliable free VPN services on the market, those services are there as a loss leader. They are designed to encourage people to purchase a full subscription. Thankfully, those free services are private and secure. Sadly, they are restricted with bandwidth and download limits. This means they aren’t as useful as a full VPN service (as download speed doesn’t compare favorably).

Which Is the Fastest VPN?

Connecting to a VPN forces data to travel further. As such, VPNs tend to slow down your internet traffic. If VPN servers slow down your connection too much, you’ll be left unable to enjoy the websites that you visit.

Most people want to use their VPN to do everyday activities like gaming, torrenting (P2P), and streaming. The world’s best streaming services – such as Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer – all provide access to HD streaming content. If you want to use these kinds of services then VPN speed is a primary consideration.

A fast VPN is simply a VPN that works at optimum levels. It has tier one servers that only affect regular internet speeds by very small percentages. This allows you to enjoy your browsing experience and do data-intensive tasks while using the VPN for privacy and to conceal your real location.

Finding the Fastest VPN Server

A server that is closer to you will perform faster. The best speed VPNs can provide is achieved by connecting to a server that is as close to you as possible, perhaps even in your own country. This will give you fewer latency issues. There are only a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if your country isn’t particularly good for data privacy, because of local data retention laws, then you’re advised to connect to a country nearby.

If you connect to a slow VPN server, simply try another. It could be an anomaly or the server might be too heavily subscribed at that moment. VPNs have hundreds of servers for this very reason – to permit everybody to find good speeds. If you’re using your VPN to unblock content from a specific country (the US for example), be sure to select a server on the west or east coast (depending on where you are). VPN servers located closer to you will get you the best speed VPNs can provide.

Is Fastest Always Best? 

A fast VPN allows you to enjoy your online experience as you normally would. If you’re accustomed to 50 Mb per second connection speeds, a sluggish VPN that destroys those speeds (and brings them down by up to 90%) isn’t going to be much good. Unfortunately, the vast majority of VPNs provide these kinds of speed losses. That’s why you need to be careful when selecting from one of the 850+ VPNs on the market.

Having said that, selecting a VPN that is just fast is also highly problematic. VPNs provide encryption and the process of encrypting and decrypting the data can slow things down. The stronger the encryption is, the better, because this is how the VPN provides privacy and security. There are VPNs on the market that provide good speeds by sacrificing VPN security. These VPNs are a con because they don’t give you the privacy you need.

All of the VPNs in this guide are fast AND provide encryption at well above our minimum standards. That means that you know that your data is completely secure.

If you would like to read more about VPN encryption, we recommend checking out our Ultimate Guide to VPN Encryption.

What Causes a VPN to Be Slow?

When you use a VPN your data must be encrypted locally, then be sent to a VPN server. There, it is unencrypted and sent on to the final destination. On the way back, the traffic must come back from the website to the VPN server, where it is again encrypted and sent back to you (via your ISP). These extra steps can slow your internet traffic down. That’s why it is crucial for a VPN to have excellent tier-one servers throughout its network.

Can a Fast VPN Speed Improve My Internet Speed?

The answer to this question is generally ‘no.’ VPN speed boosters are a myth. Even the best VPNs will cause a minor slowing of internet speeds due to the encryption process. There are some rare occasions when a VPN may speed the internet up, but these are very far and few between.

They occur when data is routed differently thanks to a VPN bypassing specific localized infrastructure and internet routes. However, this is so rare that it’s almost impossible to prove that it ever happens.

Remember: A fast VPN is still a bit slower than your internet’s top speed without a VPN. 

Which Is the Fastest VPN Protocol?

The best and fastest VPN protocol is OpenVPN Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). Although Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) encryption will give you better speeds, it is considered insecure. Of course, if privacy isn’t really a concern – and you just want to pretend to be in a different location – then you could use PPTP.

Another option is Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)/Internet Protocol Security (IPSec). This is slower than PPTP but about the same as OpenVPN TCP (though not quite as secure).

Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) encryption also isn’t as quite secure as OpenVPN. However, it is very secure and does provide pretty good speeds. Thus this is an option if you want your data to be both secure and fast.

Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) is an excellent encryption option that is both fast and secure.

At the end of the day, choosing VPN protocols is up to you. We recommend anything but PPTP. OpenVPN TCP is the best of the bunch.

For a more detailed look at encryption protocols, please check out the ultimate encryption guide for a more detailed view.

VPN Privacy with a Fast VPN

Overreaching governments all over the world are passing highly invasive legislation that allows them to place their own citizens under surveillance. Many countries now force mandatory data retention on ISPs, which means that people’s web browsing histories and metadata are being collected around the world.

For people who don’t agree with being snooped on for no reason, VPN privacy is the ideal solution. A reliable VPN must have a strong privacy policy (logging policy) that promises not to keep tabs on its users. Furthermore, all the VPNs in this guide implement strong OpenVPN encryption. OpenVPN is the industry-leading VPN encryption protocol, and is the protocol that we recommend here at BestVPN.com.

VPN Security

With strong VPN encryption, it is impossible for anybody to tell what you’re doing online. A VPN scrambles both incoming and outgoing traffic so that nobody – not ISPs, landlords, workplaces, or the government – can tell what you are doing online. This gives you the freedom to do as you please online.

This is especially important if you want to watch pirated streams, or unblock geo-restricted content that you’re not supposed to be accessing. Furthermore, it is an invaluable layer of security if you live in a restrictive regime with a lot of censorship. A VPN allows you to enjoy censored content without fear of persecution by your government.

ISP Throttling

Some countries, such as Iran, force ISPs to slow down access to particular websites and IP addresses. This can affect VPN speeds. The best option in these cases is to use VPN “stealth mode” – also known as VPN obfuscation. If you live in a location that has a negative political climate, it’s worth selecting a VPN with stealth mode such as Obfsproxy, Stunnel, or simply TCP over port 443. This will help you to overcome ISP throttling.

Why You Need a Speedy VPN Service for Business

For business people who spend a lot of time traveling for work, fast VPN apps are essential. Regularly using hotel and coffee shop WiFi is immensely risky. Hackers are a huge concern these days, especially when critical business data could be exposed.

The VPNs in this list provide security while still allowing business people to conduct important video meetings and Skype calls. A fast VPN guarantees that no matter where you might be, you’re free to talk about work without the worry that someone could be snooping on the conversation. Furthermore, fast VPN connections allow conversations to occur uninterrupted, with no lagging or cutting out during those important conference calls!

Check out our Five Best VPNs for Business for more information.


Fast VPN: Conclusion

Here at BestVPN.com we know just how many VPNs lie about the speeds that they provide. Our team spends every week of the year reviewing and testing VPNs, so we understand better than anyone what the differences between the fastest VPNs are. We also understand that a VPN must provide good privacy and security, or it’s simply not doing the job that it should.

In this article you’ll find the fastest VPNs on the market. These speedy VPNs are world-renowned, trusted, have excellent privacy policies (some with zero logs), and provide the strong encryption necessary to keep you secure. As such, you can select any of these fast VPNs with confidence. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Fastest VPNs: Side-by-Side Summary

ProviderPriceOur ScoreVisit
1Visit Site »
PureVPN review »
From
$2.49
/month

10.0

Our Score
Visit Site »
PureVPN review »
2
ExpressVPN review »
Visit Site »
From
$6.67
/month

9.8

Our Score
Visit Site »
ExpressVPN review »
Chinese New Year Promo: 49% off today!
3
IPVanish review »
Visit Site »
From
$5.20
/month

9.4

Our Score
Visit Site »
IPVanish review »
4
HideMyAss review »
Visit Site »
From
$4.99
/month

9.1

Our Score
Visit Site »
HideMyAss review »
5
PrivateVPN review »
Visit Site »
From
$3.60
/month

9.0

Our Score
Visit Site »
PrivateVPN review »

Title image credit: Ievgenii Meyer/Shutterstock.com

Ray Walsh

I am a freelance journalist and blogger from England. I am highly interested in politics and in particular the subject of IR. I am an advocate for freedom of speech, equality, and personal privacy. On a more personal level I like to stay active, love snowboarding, swimming and cycling, enjoy seafood, and love to listen to trap music.

2 responses to “5 Fastest VPNs in 2018 – Find the Right Balance Between Speed & Security

  1. Ray, thanks for your reviews. I see you were featuring speed. It’s interesting that in Pure’s Con column you noted “many complaints.”

    Before I installed ExpressVPN and IPVanish, I carefully read all reviews. IPV has been responsive by email and after a bad start for 2017, they’ve fixed their software and IPV has been running with high-speed and rock solid reliability at least till now, Feb-2018.

    ExpressVPN has 24/7 customer response, sometimes by chat and always by email. They have been very good is correcting a problem I was having. They fixed my issue completely in a very quick way. ExpressVPN is also rock solid and highly reliable. I have zero complaints about IPV or ExpressVPN. Two good proven companies I’ve subscribed to for over a year.

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