Fastest VPNs to use in 2022

VPNs come with many advantages as they protect online users and grant access to restricted pages. One major demerit of using VPN is loss of speed due to the encryption process and tunneling it takes to secure users. Being the fastest VPN aims to reduce the impact of speed loss and make it as minimal as possible.

What can be called a fast VPN has rapid torrent downloading, clear and smooth streaming; the loss of speed should be negligible for such activities when using the VPN.

VPNsaver has conducted tests and reviews of different VPNs to determine which ones are the fastest and recommended for use. We have highlighted the top fastest VPNs for both long and short distances based on our speed tests.

  • Hotspot Shield: The Hotspot Shield has repeatedly been shown to be the fastest VPN out there in 2021.
  • ProtonVPN: ProtonVPN is fast and also safe to use. It protects you while connected.
  • NordVPN: Nord uses the NordLynx protocol to protect users and also boost speed.
  • Mullvad: While granting speed, it also protects the privacy of its users.
  • ExpressVPN: This VPN works best for streaming services with a fast connection.

Performance rating of the fastest VPNs

Check out the five fastest VPNs and how they compare against one another:

VPN Service Overall Speed Rating Local Download Speed International Download Speed Reliability
Hotspot Shield 9.8 10.0 10.0 7.8
ProtonVPN 9.6 9.5 9.0 10.0
NordVPN 8.8 8.5 9.0 9.5
Mullvad 8.3 8.0 8.5 8.8
ExpressVPN 7.0 6.0 8.0 7.0

 

Review of the top five fastest VPNs

Hotspot Shield

:The fastest VPN in 2021

Hotspot Shield scores high among others, especially for download speed for both local and international downloads.

Pros

  • The fastest VPN 
  • It has unrestricted access to torrenting on all servers
  • Allows access with US Netflix and Hulu
  • Large server network

Cons

  • The VPN protocol is less reliable
  • The kill switch feature is only available on Windows

Fast speed for streaming and download

The record of Hotspot Shield when it comes to downloading is unparalleled as the download speed is unaffected or impacted when tested against several servers with a whopping download speed of 100Mbps. If you want to experience the fastest speed with a VPN, Hotspot Shield should be the VPN you are banking on.

The VPN showed a high-speed rate when connected over many servers, both short and distant ones. They all showed an impressive result, and the only result that stood out was that of the South Africa server, with a speed drop of about 52%.

The hotspot can bypass the process of slow speed by using a proprietary technology called Catapult Hydra protocol that enhances the speed observed for the VPN.

You can also enjoy the fast speed for streaming as the VPN gives access to major streaming platforms, including Netflix, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. With this level of speed, you can conveniently enjoy streaming without lags.

The speed enjoyed by Hotspot Shield makes it even top expensive VPNs like that of ExpressVPN that has a considerable drop in download speed level.

Less secure protocol

One of the downsides of this fast VPN is the level of protocol. Unlike most VPNs that use an open-sourced VPN protocol like the OpenVPN and WireGuard, the Hotspot Shield uses a closed source VPN protocol for its service and serves as a drawback.

The proprietary technology, Catapult Hydra, used by Hotspot Shield as a protocol, uses AES-128 encryption, which is lesser than the common AES-256 used by OpenVPN. Another drawback is that the proprietary protocol is not publicly available to developers for more improvement. 

ProtonVPN

:5% speed loss
This VPN delivers on both speed and security to protect its online users.

Pros

  • Consistent speed performance
  • Fast speed on every server
  • It uses OpenVPN and Wireguard
  • Works with a lot of streaming sites
  • It is safe and secured

Cons

  • It is more expensive
  • Poor customer support system

Better speed performance

The speed recorded by ProtonVPN is remarkable as it was formerly one of the slowest VPNs in the past, and it is now topping as the second-fastest VPN with only 5% speed loss. Proton VPN has a local speed download of 95Mbps and an international speed of 81Mbps. 

The improvement noticed With ProtonVPN is a result of its proprietary VPN accelerator technology that has enhanced speed recorded across various servers. The speed test is even more reliable and the highest speed loss recorded was 30% while connecting to the server in Japan.

Another advantage of ProtonVPN is its ability to access many streaming platforms, including the popular ones like US Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and others. The high level of speed recorded will provide excellent streaming services from any streaming platform in the world.

In comparison to other types of VPNs that are slower and causes a reduction of quality of streaming, ProtonVPN allows users to watch geo-restricted content in clear ultra-HD quality. It also makes the subscribers’ torrenting experience worthwhile since it allows fast torrent downloads.

Customer support

One of the significant reasons ProtonVPN is not making it to the top list of best VPNs is its customer support. 

Most of the best VPNs available have introduced a 24/7 chat feature in their customer support segment; this allows subscribers with technical issues to reach out to them on time and quickly resolve issues. The absence of the live chat takes longer for issues to get sorted out, especially when it is out of working hours.

Another drawback for ProtonVPN is the user interface. The interface is not as user-friendly or straightforward as other VPNs that make the top list of best VPNs. It uses a map type of interface in selecting servers from different countries worldwide, rather than having a drop list of servers and placed in different categories.

Nord VPN

: 5% speed loss
The NordVPN also experiences only a 5% speed loss similar to ProtonVPN, with only slight variation. Nord provides fast speed and also makes browsing secure.

Pros

  • It has an incredible speed from most server locations
  • Unlocks most of the popular streaming sites
  • Implementation of WireGuard protocol
  • It allows fast torrenting

Cons

  • Slow speed noticed on servers in distant places

Speed with security

NordVPN has showcased high speed for both its local and international connections. The speed loss is only 5%, similar to other top VPNs, and it is quite unnoticeable. Servers close-by recorded an average speed of 95Mbps, while the lowest recorded for the international server is 71Mbps, with a speed loss of 17% when connected to Japan.

In addition to the fast speed recorded, it also provides a lot of reliability and consistency compared to some other fast VPNs. You can depend on NordVPN for your fast connection speed no matter your location or which server you want to be connected to.

The high speed is attributed to the NordLynx protocol used by NordVPN. The protocol can enhance the speed of connection while ensuring the security and privacy of users as well. NordVPN allows the implementation of WireGuard, an OpenVPN that is accessible by various contributors.

Torrenting and streaming service<

With NordVPN, you can take advantage of the benefit of speed. The super-fast VPN has access to over 15 Netflix accounts, and all of them can be streamed in 4k Ultra HD. It also allows compatibility and accessibility with Amazon Fire TV with a well-equipped Smart DNS feature to make unlocked content accessible on all your devices.

NordVPN also recommends finding the best torrenting server on the app. The app is suitable for a lot of downloads and torrenting, and it is reliable. The only drawback is the significant speed drop noticed over a long distance, which can be fixed.

Mullvad

: Speed loss by 6%

The Mullvad VPN makes use of OpenVPN protocol with enhanced security and privacy.

Pros

  • It allows P2P traffic
  • Affordable subscription rate
  • Private logging policy

Cons

  • The speed reduces over distant connections
  • It does not aloe streaming on Netflix

The difference in local and international speed

Mullvad VPN shows fast connection speed, especially when connected to a local server. Still, there is a considerable drop in speed when connected to a long-distance server, slowing down the connection. 

The drop in speed for close distance is just 6%, which is close to the rate of other top VPNs; with this speed, there is room for large downloads and torrents without experiencing a slow server. But, when connected to distant places like Australia or Japan, speed loss is as high as 39%.

This is one of the main setbacks for Mullvad VPN; it is not recommended for people using it for long-distance connections.

Size of the server network and streaming

The Mullvad VPN is cheap as it offers a flat rate of only $5.80 monthly; there is no option for extended or more prolonged payment. This monthly rate is cheap when compared with the other types of VPNs in this category.

Mullvad has a limited number of servers in just selected areas. It only has its servers working in 35 countries, and most of them are only in Europe and not valid for any form of connection in distant areas.

Another discouraging feature of this VPN is the lack of streaming abilities; it does not work with any streaming sites, including Netflix. This discourages users as the speed cannot be used for streaming even at distant locations.

Express VPN

: A speed loss of 12%
This is a top VPN with enough features and considerably fast speed

Pros

  • Performs excellently for fast international connection
  • It is reliable to work with
  • Allows streaming on all servers
  • Compatible with a lot of devices

Cons

  • It is more expensive than other types of VPNs
  • It has a slow local connection

Local and international speed

ExpressVPN is not an unfamiliar name for the list of top VPNs, and it is also on this list due to the speed noticed when connected. 

The fun fact is that the highest speed recorded for ExpressVPN is when it is connected over a long distance, it has a faster and better international connection speed. It only experiences a drop of 26% over a long-distance connection. 

The internet speed over a long distance is as high as 85Mbps which is excellent enough to stream in clear HD. Strange as it may seem and which is a drawback for ExpressVPN is the speed experienced for local connection. It has a slower speed for nearby servers; although the speed is still high enough for normal internet activities, it is slower when compared with other types of VPNs.

 

Best streaming VPN

There is almost no better VPN to use when it comes to streaming via international connections with ExpressVPN. The speed is impressive to stream in clear quality, and this is even made better by the ability of the VPN to unlock almost all streaming platforms. It is accessible to more than 19 Netflix libraries and other international streaming platforms.

It is also compatible with a lot of devices, including Smart TVs, Apple TVs, etc. This allows you to stream content from geo-blocked platforms and enjoy it on bigger screens and devices. These excellent features do not come free as this VPN is quite expensive as it is rated as one of the best VPNs around.

If you are looking for a whole rounder VPN with a considerable level of speed, then you should go for ExpressVPN. But if all you need is the speed, Express VPN is not the fastest on this list. 

How do we test for VPN speed?

To curate this list, VPNsaver has reviewed and tested many VPN types and determined their speed and how they rank against one another.

The test of getting the fastest VPN follows three major procedures, and a combination of all three gives our final rating for each VPN. Here are our three main criteria:

Local download speed

Connecting to close or local VPN servers is expected to reduce the speed loss experienced over long connections. The minimum requirement is a speed loss of less than 20%, but the fastest VPNs are expected to have a speed loss of less than 10%

We conduct our test of each server through an automated process by testing connecting a VPN to the nearest server location and recording the download speed three times using a speed test app. The average of the three speeds is gotten and recorded for the VPN, and the process is repeated for each VPN to measure their speed rate.

International download speed

VPNs are used to connect to international servers to gain access to geo-restricted platforms and sites. This is why a VPN with fast speed is required for effective and enjoyable streaming.

The long-distance connection is likely to reduce speed since the server’s location is far away. We calculate the download speed noticed for this long-distance connection; the minimum requirement is for speed loss to be less than 50%, but fast VPNs are expected to have a speed loss for international connection less than 20%. 

The same step as the local download speed is repeated with the difference of connecting to servers present in all the continents – Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Australia, Europe.

Consistency

Consistency takes a small part of our calculation, but it is necessary to ensure the reliability of the download speed recorded for each VPN. VPNs should not only deliver fast connections; they should consistently deliver these fast speeds over the different servers.

VPNs that give consistent speed over all the servers are higher than those that are unreliable or give one-off high speed.

How to test your VPN speed yourself?

You can equally find out the speed of the VPN you are using by yourself. There are two simple steps in achieving this; the first step is to test your baseline internet speed without VPN and then test with the VPN; this will let you know how much your VPN slows down and if it is fast enough for your need.

Testing without VPN

  • Disconnect your device from the VPN.
  • Close any other background running app.
  • Look for a suitable speed test tool online.
  • Run the test and record your speed.

Testing with VPN

  • Close every other background running app.
  • Connect the VPN and select a server.
  • Use the online speed test tool to run a test.
  • Compare these results with those you have when the VPN was not connected.

Your results should only show a slight difference between when you were disconnected from the VPN and when you connected. Connection to a local server should not have a speed reduction of more than 10% of the original speed, while connected to a server in a different continent should not have a speed reduction of more than 40%.

Free VPNs are typically slow since they have lesser numbers of servers and fewer features than fully subscribed VPNs. The few servers these free VPNs have are always congested by users, which makes it inherently slow.

However, there are still a few free VPNs that deliver good speed comparable to paid VPNs. The best types of fast and free VPNs are ProtonVPN, Windscribe, and Hide.me.

Proton can achieve a faster connection by rerouting the traffic to mores servers, helping to decongest the server and making it faster for users. Windscribe also has a larger pool of servers and better connection speed than other forms of free VPNs.

The type of protocol used by each VPN also determines if the connection will be fast or slow. The fastest form of VPN protocol to use is WireGuard; this internet protocol is faster than OpenVPN.

Some proprietary technology and protocol have also exhibited higher speed. An example of such is the Catapult Hydra which is only used by Hotspot Shield (Fastest VPN), and it is faster than WireGuard.

There is nothing precisely like a fast server. The server’s speed is determined by the location you are connecting from and the amount of traffic on the server. Connecting to a closer server is likely to have a higher speed than connecting to a distant location.

When there are too many users on particular traffic, it tends to be slow as well. Some additional features of good VPNs show the load information on each server to allow subscribers to select a congested server.