Security

The 5 Fastest VPN Services (One Is Even Completely Free)

Christian Cawley Updated 26-03-2020

Getting online anonymously and securely is vital in an age of open Wi-Fi networks and trackers. The solution is a VPN, which can also help overcome region-blocking, not to mention local government censorship.

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Virtual Private Networks improve privacy by encrypting your internet traffic and routing it through a secure server. Signing up to a VPN is simple, but not all VPNs are equal. For instance, some are slower than others.

No one wants to browse the web slowly, however securely. So, we’ve found five fast VPNs for you to consider.

Why You Need a Fast VPN

A VPN is software that encrypts and routes your internet connection through a third-party server. This improves your privacy considerably, making it appear as if your connection is coming from that server instead.

There are many situations in which VPNs are useful, such as:

  • Accessing region-specific websites and services.
  • Getting around network-related routing issues.
  • Encrypting your connection on public Wi-Fi.
  • Adding an extra layer of privacy when browsing or downloading.

The choice of VPN services is huge, each offering encrypted privacy for a monthly subscription. As the market has grown, some providers have developed their VPN services, embracing developments in technology.

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Big names in the VPN industry are making VPNs faster. This has considerable implications, not least for streaming video and online gaming.

(Some VPNs claim to be developing technology delivering faster internet access via a VPN than your ISP. In this scenario, data takes a more direct route to the destination website via a VPN.)

What Is the Fastest VPN Service?

If you want a top-tier VPN service, you’ll have to pay for it. This could be up to $15 per month depending on what the service offers. But if you don’t want to pay for a service you may not use very often, you can always turn to a free VPN instead. But before you do, consider the disadvantages of a free VPN 5 Reasons Why Free VPNs Just Don't Cut It VPNs are all the rage, but if you're thinking of going the free route, please reconsider. Free VPN services come with risks that may not be worth taking... Read More .

The fast VPN services we’ll be looking at are:

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  • ExpressVPN
  • CyberGhost
  • NordVPN
  • Windscribe
  • ProtonVPN Free

VPN Speed Testing Methodology

A VPN can slow your internet down if the VPN’s max speed is lower than your ISP’s speed. On the other hand, if the VPN’s max speed is higher than yours, you won’t notice a slowdown.

To see how each VPN affects my own speed, I’ve recorded my baselines using Speedtest.net averaged over three tests. The results without a VPN:

  • Download: 42.47Mbps
  • Upload: 10.64Mbps
  • Ping: 14ms

Going forward, remember that if the speeds go down, it means that the VPN service is limiting my speed, but if the speeds stay the same, it means that the VPN service is not throttling my connection (or the limit is higher than my ISP connection).

For speed testing, I’ve used a VPN server in the same country. This underlines the speed of the connection to the VPN service and via their server. internet traffic is more likely to impact long-range testing.

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1. ExpressVPN

My testing results for ExpressVPN:

  • Download: 41.45Mbps
  • Upload: 10.01Mbps
  • Ping: 16ms
  • Negligible impact on speed with ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has great performance and offers:

  • 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
  • Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, routers, and Linux
  • Five concurrent connections
  • ExpressVPN claims it doesn’t keep activity or connection logs

ExpressVPN remains a top choice for all VPN uses, from avoiding region blocking on Netflix to private torrent downloads. TRY OUR #1 RANKED VPN: Save 49% on ExpressVPN.

See our full ExpressVPN review Why ExpressVPN Should Be Your First Choice for a VPN Is ExpressVPN a good VPN to protect your online privacy? Learn what you need to know in our ExpressVPN review. Read More for more details.

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2. CyberGhost

Testing CyberGhost I found:

  • Download: 41.59Mbps
  • Upload: 10.08Mbps
  • Ping: 17ms
  • Faster than ExpressVPN during testing

CyberGhost offers a range of superior VPN features. It is particularly suited to video streamers and torrenters. So, if you’re cut the cord and relying on the internet for your media, CyberGhost should be your top choice. It offers:

  • 7,100+ servers in 90+ countries
  • Apps for desktop, mobile, consoles, media boxes, routers, and browser extensions
  • Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Prime Video
  • Seven simultaneous connections

Find out more in our full review of CyberGhost CyberGhost VPN Review: Why This Top VPN Is Worth Your Time Looking for a comprehensive VPN? CyberGhost VPN offers all kinds of benefits: anonymous surfing, unblocked streaming, and more. Read More . If you’re looking for a fast, free VPN, CyberGhost also offers a free 24-hour trial.

3. Private Internet Access

My testing results for Private Internet Access are as follows:

  • Download: 42.06Mbps
  • Upload: 10.29Mbps
  • Ping: 15ms

With a big reputation, PIA offers:

  • 3301 servers in 30 countries
  • Apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iPhone/iPad
  • 10 connections from a single account
  • Good for torrenting, inadequate for Netflix or BBC iPlayer geoblocking

Learn more in our full Private Internet Access review How Does Private Internet Access Protect Your Online Activity? Is Private Internet Access as good as its reputation? We put this VPN to the test to find out if you should use it. Read More .

4. Windscribe

In testing Windscribe, average speed was:

  • Download: 36.84Mbps
  • Upload: 9.47Mbps
  • Ping: 27ms

Windscribe is a solid, fast VPN service. It boasts:

  • Servers in over 63 countries and 110 cities
  • Windows, macOS, Linux, and iPhone apps, plus browser extensions
  • Free option, limited to 2GB bandwidth—upgrade to 10GB by confirming your email address

It’s worth noting that Windscribe’s free option is difficult to find. Simply sign-up for an account and download the app to use it. While Windscribe claims to be able to help you watch Netflix libraries from other countries, this isn’t currently the case.

Check our Windscribe review Windscribe VPN Review: Blown Away or a Light Breeze? Our Windscribe VPN review covers the free and pro versions, how it performs for streaming, security issues, and much more. Read More to find out more.

5. Need a Fast and Free VPN? Try ProtonVPN Free

Very few VPNs are fast and free. Along with Windscribe’s free version, ProtonVPN has a free VPN. Note that while free and reasonably fast, a paid VPN is a faster solution.

My testing results for ProtonVPN Free:

  • Download: 39.36Mbps
  • Upload: 10.14Mbps
  • Ping: 21ms

As you can see, that’s pretty fast for a free VPN. ProtonVPN Free gives you:

  • Three countries
  • Medium speed
  • Apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
  • Support for one device
  • No logs, no data limit, and no ads
  • You also get free access for seven days to the standard ProtonVPN package

As free VPNs go, ProtonVPN Free is fast enough to compete with the others in this list.

Downsides to Using Free VPNs

A lot of tech-savvy users don’t trust free VPNs. After all, when somebody offers you something for free, you should always be skeptical. Why would they do such a thing?

True altruism is rare when services are concerned. Here are some of the more common risks to weigh.

  • Data caps. Most free VPNs will cap you to a certain amount of data transfer every month. This data usage includes browsing the web, playing games, downloading files, calling VoIP, etc. A data cap is extremely reasonable and is usually a sign that the service is genuine.
  • Speed caps. If you aren’t capped by data, then you’ll definitely be capped by speed. Avoid these services if you want to stream videos, play multiplayer games, or download large files.
  • Unreliable performance. Some free services are known to suffer from regular outages, especially during peak times. Even if the service itself doesn’t go down, you may experience deteriorated speeds during peak times.
  • No privacy guarantees. One way a free service can make money is by selling your personal information. Not all free services do this, but it’s impossible to know either way.
  • Fewer server locations. Free services usually limit which of their servers you can use. This might be because it’s easier to consolidate all free users to a handful of servers. Alternatively, they just want to nudge you towards buying a paid plan.

Still want a free VPN? If you understand the risks, that’s fine. Otherwise, consider one of our subscription suggestions above. Consider a free VPN if you’re new to VPNs and want to understand them better.

Use a Fast VPN For the Best Results

Be careful when using a VPN that you don’t fall victim to a false sense of security. While you should use one, be aware that VPNs are not as secure as most people think.

There are many more paid VPN services out there and most of them aren’t worth it. While we’ve selected the five fastest, others have more to offer. Check our best VPNs guide The Best VPN Services We've compiled a list of what we consider to be the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) service providers, grouped by premium, free, and torrent-friendly. Read More to learn about the alternatives.

Related topics: Online Privacy, Private Browsing, VPN.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Lesa
    June 6, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    I'm new to MUO, but so glad I found it. I've learned a great deal, and really enjoy the well written and Informative articles. I'll definitely be looking into a VPN, especially since I do use public wifi.

    Thanks!

  2. RevCorby
    June 5, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    I love protonvpn, have used it for a few years, but the downside to their free service is that if you visit a site that even smells like it supports p2p, then it kicks you off. You can only do p2p on their paid servers.

  3. Stanislav91
    April 3, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Tbh I'd rather recommend using Atlas VPN instead of Proton. ainly because the free Atlas version does not limit the data usage and has really fast speeds. The only issue is, though, they only support iOS and android so no go for PC. Still I think it's considerably better as a free option.

  4. Selomo
    March 27, 2020 at 9:49 am

    I have Nord vpn installed on my iPhone and iPad - both work great, and connection speeds never been so great, now I can get 96% of my connection.

  5. Bacana
    November 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Try turbo vpn

  6. Mike
    July 25, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    I can't believe the number of bloggers and SEO pros who don't know anything
    p.s Stay away from the Warrior Forums lol

  7. Windscriber
    June 21, 2017 at 5:04 am

    Windscribe is my favorite free VPN! I found them on GetFastVPN in a comparison table of free VPNs and have been using them since, I'm quite pleased and excited to see how they grow since they are so new!

  8. Anon
    March 4, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    What about GenerousVPN? They have a no-logging policy and use a "pay-what-you-want" pricing model (including free). They use OpenVPN so it can run on mobile and desktop devices alike. Speeds average around 5Mb up and 5Mb down, which is not bad for being free! They're also based in the Netherlands, which is relatively "torrent-friendly."

    • Young William
      March 15, 2017 at 10:57 am

      For the fastest vpn service, I would say Astrill top other vpn providers. I have been relying on them for my business needs in the past two years. So far, so great.

      • Angel Hawkins
        March 28, 2017 at 4:31 am

        Sounds great. I am almost done with my 1st year contract with Astrill. Might be renewing it then.

  9. Alexandra
    February 21, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Ghost VPN Unlimited Free VPN ! Ghost VPN \U0001f947Unlimited Free VPN - Android Apps on Google Play Is the pick of the bunch giving the best streaming performance for free. I’m surprised at its ease and speed in maxing out 500 GB :D and maintaining it. Web browsing and pings are also smooth and consistent on Android phone. I Recommend for all !

  10. Michael K
    February 16, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Joel,

    Just a thought on why some of those services appeared to throttle the connection on fast.com but not speedtest.net might be because Fast is run by Netflix and those services might throttle any kind of major media streaming services such as Netflix as they use such a large amount of data.

    I could be wrong, but thought it might be helpful.

    • Alexandra
      February 21, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Ghost VPN \U0001f947Unlimited Free VPN ! Ghost VPN \U0001f947Unlimited Free VPN - Android Apps on Google Play Is the pick of the bunch giving the best streaming performance for free. I’m surprised at its ease and speed in maxing out 500 GB :D and maintaining it. Web browsing and pings are also smooth and consistent on Android phone. I Recommend for all !

      • D T Stark
        March 28, 2020 at 4:24 pm

        OK, now it looks like spam advertising.

    • Joel Lee
      February 22, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks Michael, that makes sense! On the other hand, I've heard that ISPs will completely unthrottle connections to Speedtest to make it seem like the connection is faster than it really is... Pretty annoying that ISPs can interfere like this.