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per month, a browser-based VPN speed-testing website with (unsubstantiated) origins  at MIT is a nifty tool for current VPN users or prospective buyers alike. It may well be of exceptional interest those who enjoy freeware often accompanied by stimulating origin stories, or examples of problem-solving ingenuity. In short, VPNify determines the optimal VPN server to your location in terms of speed. Keep reading to find out how.

How does it work – in brief?

VPNify amalgamates then displays real-time (hourly, to be specific) VPN provider server-speed download and upload data, as seen in the illustration above. The number you see on the each blue dot or server location before clicking it displays the highest download speed at that locale, rounded off to the nearest tenth of a decimal.

VPNify software

Clicking on any blue ball then displays the upload speed, server location and address – in addition to more precise download speed (sans rounding), as you can see below.


Keep reading for some more technical information, or skip to the conclusion for a few VPNs we like and a bonus VPN comparison spreadsheet compiled by one of our clever readers (it’s much more glamorous useful than it sounds, I promise).

How it works II – a tad more techieness

Server locations you may test against are sprinkled proportionally throughout the globe, with North America, Europe and Asia well-represented. It’s pleasing to see Australia and Brazil accounted for, as well. There aren’t currently any test servers in Africa, though many VPN providers also, unfortunately, fail to account for the African continent, perhaps due to poor networking infrastructure.

Several intelligent software bots then test VPN provider speeds against each test server location provided by VPNify, on the hour every hour, 24/7. Subsequently, a second bot interprets the data using a proprietary learning algorithm, after which the finalized speed test datasets are then uploaded to the web server. The VPNify team claim data accuracy hovering around 99 percent, as of the end of 2015 while also noting that more data equals more precise results for all users.

Some VPN providers host their own servers, but most rent servers from various hosting companies based in the country any given provider wants to operate. Speeds are often slower on rented servers, as dedicated VPN servers hosted by any given provider are more efficient by the resultant virtue of less traffic.

The VPNify Website

Navigating to the VPNify website, it’s apparent the team of MIT students behind the project went for simplicity, to fit a perceived need while dispensing with traditional advertising models.The VPN provider list isn’t exhaustive, but their entire platform is under constant development. So as to not overwhelm novices, however, a quick six-step pop-up tutorial materializes front and center once the homepage loads.

Speed Tests

The piece begins by informing you that the tech behind the service is two years old, and a two-minute tutorial to understand the “nerdy” (their words, not mine!) software will give you a better handle on how to use it effectively. The next notable piece concerns the fact that there is no advertising or affiliate marketing on the part of the VPNify team. The entire platform is donation-based, and the only pseudo-advertising you could count would be found with the host of social media share buttons on the masthead.

Speed Testing
On the other hand, if you enjoy a tool and think it could be of use to your network, why not share it (or donate)?

“We are not any affiliate marketer of any VPN Providers, we are here to help you and VPN providers to test the quality of their service. The best names of the tech industry are sponsoring us without any benefit but for an appreciation to do some good.”

For what it’s worth, VPNify make no pretense at hiding the fact that they’re sponsored by PIA as shown below, or that VPN providers do support them. However, this support is voluntary on PIA and any other provider’s part, as there are no affiliate links involved. Any exposure gained is through being featured on the site, though it’s a double-edged sword. Slow speeds would then hypothetically drive users to competing VPN solutions, a plausible inevitability which serves only serves to shed more credibility on VPNify’s business model, if not methodology. Read on for our top VPNs for 2016, and that useful tool promised earlier in the article.


VPNify Conclusion and Added Tools

After exploring this useful service and considering its niche role in the broader VPN landscape, it doesn’t feel presumptuous to say that VPNify is the latest example of the fluid dichotomy between agents of controlled, hazy misinformation, and those that see(k) cooperation and openness as a better way forward for all.

Feel free to look through our table of the 5 Best VPNs for 2016, or browse through our website for a near-exhaustive set of providers and copious resources. You may also take a look at an excel spreadsheet (compiled by one of our clever readers), for a quick and dirty comparison between 86 VPNs (especially useful for you Excel nerds). Happy hunting!

Rank Company Score Price Link
ExpressVPN review
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AirVPN review
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BolehVPN review
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SaferVPN review
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VPNArea review
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Check this space for updates as new information and developments become available – fingers crossed for African test servers!

Dimitri M

Expat in Europe - pathos for good conversation and Italia's Grande Juventus.

8 responses to “ free, MIT-developed VPN speedtesting tool

  1. Thank you Douglas Crawford for such excellent article. As always, I like the way you examine a VPN provider and security issues from different aspects. I agree with you most of the time and respect that you always look at issues from the “Power User & Normal User” perspectives. Many thanks.

    I have huge respect for and the smart brains behind this awesome website. The website allows users to select the ‘right’ VPN provider through the use of “Experiment Locations”, but as living in Middle East I found it hard to pick the right VPN that gives me the right speed to surf & browse the Internet due to the VPN strength encryption of the protocol I’m using. I’d appreciate it, if you can enlighten us with regards to speed issues for those who live within the GCC “Gulf Cooperation Council e.g. UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.

    Thank you BestVpn’s journalists for being so informative.

    1. Hi Mozef,

      Thanks, but this articled was, in fact, written by Dmitri (who is no longer with us). As a UK and Hungary based company, it is difficult for BestVPN to test speeds from remote locations (which is why is such a useful tool!). In theory, the closer a server is to your location, the faster the VPN connection. But there are many other factors in play (which is why we speedtest all services that we review). I’m afraid that your best bet is probably to take advantage of free trials and money back guarantees in order to test out for yourself which VPN services work best from the Gulf…

  2. It’s funny how the VPNs are all VPNs that you regularly promote too!!!!
    Load of rubbish, try actually reviewing VPNs, there are over 300 out there!

    1. Hi Tony,

      As the article makes clear, makes no bones about the fact that it is sponsored by PIA. It also tests some of the largest and best-known VPN providers, so it is hardly surprising that many of them also have a high profile on this website. I will also note that we currently review over 100 VPN services, and that this number is growing all the time.

    1. Hi john,

      Um… is browser based tool, so there is nothing to plug in. Regarding VPN is general, please see VPNs for Beginners – What you need to know. You do not normally install VPN on your router but on your PC (or phone etc.) TBH, I’m not quite sure about how a VPN will affect a MagicJack phone… why not sign up for a free trail with a VPN provider (most offer these) and find out?

  3. Is this really an MIT project?

    I checked the website source code and the badly punctuated comment at the top reads: “Please study at our website Link:” which is just the MIT Open Course Work that anyone can do without being an MIT student. Surely real MIT students have a website and know good punctuation. Weird.

    Wouldn’t a real MIT project give details on their testing methods? Or make their results available so they can be verified like any other normal project?

    Something seems fishy…

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