If you’ve ever used a VPN, you may be familiar with the unfortunate side effect of a slower internet speed. This can be extremely frustrating.
You might’ve installed a VPN to protect your data while you browse the internet, improve your IP security or to unlock streaming capabilities in different countries. Either way, a slow internet speed certainly isn’t what you signed up for.
The good news is that not all VPNs are created equal; some are inherently faster than others. Which ones, you ask? Let’s take a look at which provider offers the fastest VPN of 2022, based on three critical success factors: upload speeds, download speed and latency.
Factors that Can Impact VPN Speed
Before we get into the who’s who of best VPNs, it’s vital to note that numerous factors impact a VPNs speed. While the below list gives a solid indication of some of the fastest VPNs on the market, you may want to experiment yourself to see which VPN works best for you.
This is because your internet speed is determined by factors like your location, the device you use and even the type of internet you use.
All of this also means that it makes it difficult for individual reviewers to objectively determine which VPN is truly the fastest. The VPN that works best for someone in one area of the country could be totally different to that of someone in another part.
This is where Cloudwards’ VPN speed comparison test becomes a reliable indicator. As opposed to asking one reviewer to analyze VPNs to discover the fastest, the team used a virtual machine to make daily speed tests when connecting to VPN servers in six locations around the world.
The 4 Best Fast VPNs
Based on these results and our own analysis, here are the top 4 fastest VPNs on the market in 2022.
Coming in first is NordVPN, a VPN that offers solid performance across the board, including one of the best download speeds, according to Cloudward’s test.
Beyond speed, NordVPN has a host of benefits that makes it a good VPN choice. Namely, it has an impressive server network, boasting about 5,200 servers in 59 countries.
Not only does NordVPN offer servers in a variety of locations, but it offers a lot of server types too: Double VPN servers, P2P servers, obfuscated servers and Onion Over VPN servers can all be accessed.
Of course, if you’re just after a fast VPN, then these additional capabilities might not appeal to you. However, if security is your top priority as well as speed, then NordVPN won’t disappoint. Additionally, in terms of price, NordVPN is a little cheaper than our next pick, ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN also performed extremely well across the board, with fantastic speeds and low latency, but was a hair behind NordVPN overall. Additionally, this VPN is intuitive to use and very reliable, making it a great option for VPN newbies.
ExpressVPN is well regarded as one of the most secure VPNs in the arena. For example, it uses AES-256 encryption to ensure the highest standards of security and also makes use of a unique Lightway protocol, which aims to enhance the speed, reliability and security of your connection all in one.
The one drawback of this provider is the price. It is one of the most expensive out there. While you can reduce the cost slightly by signing up for a long-term plan, there are most definitely cheaper options out there, including NordVPN and our next two suggestions, Surfshark and Windscribe.
While Surfshark performed well when it came to upload and download speeds, it didn’t make the top spots for the latency tests. We wouldn’t rule Surfshark out because of this, though.
If you plan to use a VPN for streaming, this VPN will definitely suffice. However, if gaming is what you’re intending to do, Surfshark’s latency may frustrate you.
Beyond its speed, Surfshark is a really pleasant VPN to use. It has some unique features that give it a competitive edge, such as its “NoBorders” tool, which lets you access the web in countries that block VPNs.
Moreover, Surfshark is really affordable if you opt for the two-year plan, which is one of the most competitively priced plans available for top tier VPNs. Plus, Surfshark offers you protection across an unlimited number of devices, so you can use your account for your and your family, across your mobile, tablet, laptops and TV.
Our last fast VPN that deserves a worthy mention is Windscribe, which is the VPN we recommend for people that don’t want to spend any money.
When it comes to speed, Windscribe is a really solid performer. Its latency and upload speeds were within the top five, although its download speed wasn’t as competitive.
Aside from the fact that it’s free, Windscribe offers robust security measures. It also doesn’t skimp on features either. You can access split tunneling and a kill switch. This makes Windscribe a solid basic choice if you don’t want to spend any money.
However, with anything that comes free, there tends to be drawbacks. If you opt for Windscribe on the free plan, you should be aware that you will also be able to use 10 locations and only up to 10GB of traffic each month.
Other Considerations to Speed Up Your VPN
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, numerous factors can impact your VPN speed. So, as well as choosing a reputably fast provider, make sure you also make note of the following tips that can enhance your connection:
1. Opt-for the fastest protocol
Many VPN providers enable you to choose between different VPN security protocols. Do your research to find out what the fastest protocol is, and then test your connection to see which one gives you the faster speed.
2. Choose a server that’s near your actual location
Obviously, if you’re trying to access Netflix in another country, then this tip won’t be useful. However, if you’re simply looking to browse the web in a more secure way, then opt for a server location that’s geographically near to your real location. This will enhance your VPN speed.
Make sure to select a physical server instead of a virtual one where possible too, as virtual server locations may actually be hosted on physical servers that are miles and miles away.
3. Select your security features wisely
With all the cool security features that leading VPNs offer, it can be tempting to enable everything at once – but this additional security can often hamper the speed of your connection.
So, if speed is your top priority, be careful about what security features you switch on. Things like a kill switch won’t impact speed, but tools like obfuscation can undoubtedly slow down your connection.