While VPNs are valuable tools for protecting your privacy, keeping you secure online and more, they all have a common problem. They compromise the performance of the device they are installed on, to a greater or lesser extent. The reason for that is the encryption used by the VPN in order to protect your data. That encryption will slow down your device, compared to not using a VPN at all. While that may not be noticeable when you just surf the web, you will notice the difference when you want to watch Netflix or download something using torrents.
Speed indicators to consider
When it comes to determining the speed of a VPN, there are 3 major aspects to consider: the ping time or latency, the download speed and the upload speed. All these can be measured using different tests, such as the Ookla and others.
The ping time or latency refers to how many milliseconds pass until you get a response after your computer sends a certain request. Latency is usually important for gamers, who strive for a lower lag as possible.
The download speed and the upload speed are measured in Mbps (megabits per second). The download speed refers to the time it takes for the data to get from the server to you. The higher the number of Mbps, the better, as a higher number means a faster connection. Download speed is important when you want to stream videos, you want to download movies, music and so on.
The upload speed means how fast others can receive data from you. Uploading speed is important when you want to send big files online, through e-mail or using other methods.
That is why speed is also a crucial factor to consider when you choose a VPN provider. And while generally speaking VPNs will slow down your computer/mobile device, there are some VPNs out there that can actually increase your speed. However, it’s a very rare scenario and only the fastest VPNs can pull that off. Which is another reason to choose a fast VPN provider.
What influences the speed of a VPN?
There are several factors that influence the speed performance of a VPN. One of the most important ones is the location of the server you want to use. That is why most providers usually give you recommendations when it comes to choosing a server. Those recommendations are based on your real location, usage numbers and a few other factors. Unfortunately though, you can’t always choose the recommended server, because you might want to go with specific servers if you want to unlock geo-restricted content for instance.
Another factor that influences the speed performance of a VPN is the speed connection offered by your Internet provider. If that speed is really low (below 10 Mbps in worst case scenarios) then you can’t expect your VPN to work flawlessly.
The protocol used by the VPN is another factor that affects the speed of a VPN. Not all protocols focus on the same things. Some are more secure but slower, others focus on speed but come with certain security risks. One of your safest bets here would be to go with a VPN that uses the OpenVPN protocol. It is among the fastest and it is also secure.
Here are the fastest VPNs you can find in 2018:
ExpressVPN. Based on overall test results, ExpressVPN can be placed on the first place when it comes to speed. It is also a great option when it comes to coverage, as it has more than 140 server locations to choose from, in more than 94 countries worldwide. Read our ExpressVPN review here.
NordVPN. NordVPN is another solid choice when it comes to speed and more. It has managed to get great latency scores and has impressive download speeds, too. NordVPN has more than 5,000 servers in over 60 countries. More than 2,000 servers are located in Europe alone. It is also a reliable option when it comes to security features. Read our NordVPN review here.
CyberGhost. CyberGhost is also a competitive product when it comes to speed, but we are not talking about the free version, but the paid, Pro one. CyberGhost is also impressive in terms of available servers, boasting on over 3,000 servers worldwide. It is also versatile when it comes to supported protocols, it is secure and rich in features. It is one of the best VPNs you can find when it comes to streaming, torrenting and fighting censorship. Read our CyberGhost review here.