The fastest VPN for outright speed in 2024

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1. Fastest VPNs at a glance
Fastest VPN overall
Best VPN with a free plan
Other VPNs I recommend
Speed test results
How we test VPNs

Trusted VPN testing: every year, each of our VPN experts spends around 2,500 hours testing VPN apps and services. That includes over 14,000 speed tests, and over 100 VPN reviews.

Is there anything more frustrating than slow internet? Pages taking forever to load and continually facing the buffering circle of doom can be a real online low—and this issue of speed is just as important in the world of VPNs.

While the best VPNs protect your anonymity by routing your internet traffic through secure servers dotted around the globe, the fastest VPNs will do this with no impact your browsing speed. So, to help get you off the mark, I've shortlisted the fastest VPN providers available today.

The TechRadar VPN team is constantly putting VPN providers through their paces (and most of us use VPNs every day), regularly checking their speeds to identify which services go like a rocket—which is massively important if you'll be using your VPN to stream or play games. That said, my top picks consider more than pure speed. I've seen mega-fast VPNs that don't perform as well in other areas, so you won't find them on my list.

Written by
River Hart Tech Software Editor
Written by
River Hart

River helps take care of cybersecurity content on TechRadar—ranging from breaking news pieces, reviews, and buying guides.

The three fastest VPNs at a glance

1. Surfshark: the fastest VPN

1. Surfshark: the fastest VPN
Budget-friendly prices, blistering speeds, and sleek apps ideal for VPN newbies—it's no wonder that Surfshark has retained the top spot when it comes to performance. It's a super-speedy service that has no trouble keeping up with HD and 4K streaming (and on any device, too).

Surfshark also offers its users unlimited simultaneous connections, in addition to a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you and your family will have plenty of time to try before buying.

2. NordVPN: best VPN service overall

2. NordVPN: best VPN service overall
NordVPN is a titan in the VPN industry, and I've always been impressed by how consistent its speeds are. That means you can count on smooth Netflix streams, lag-free online gaming, and enjoy web pages that load in a blink.

NordVPN's prices are all budget-friendly, too, so you can check it out without breaking the bank. Oh, and make sure you put its 30-day money-back guarantee to good use.

3. Proton VPN: Super fast and even has a free plan

3. Proton VPN: Super fast and even has a free plan
Proton VPN doesn't often feature in our best VPN lists, however when it comes to speeds, it is nothing short of impressive. It successfully matched the very best providers when using WireGuard and wasn't far off the mark using OpenVPN either.  

While Proton might be one of the more expensive options available, it does offer a completely free plan if you aren't looking for a complete VPN experience, otherwise, you can trial its full capabilities with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Recent updates

Surfshark has retained the number-one spot after an awesome performance in our latest VPN tests. Though our latest tests have introduced three new providers to the list, all of which improved their speeds since our last round of testing to an impressive degree.

The fastest VPN services in 2024 

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Let's dig into my top five picks, where I compare not only the speeds, but also overall performance, stability, ease of use, and, of course, the privacy-enhancing features that make VPNs a must-have. I'll also tackle what I liked about each service compared to the competition—and any reasons you might want to avoid them.

The fastest VPN overall

Surfshark VPN working on several devices

1. Surfshark

Today's fastest VPN—and the best budget-friendly prices

Max speed tested: over 950 Mbps | Number of servers: 3,200 | Overall VPN ranking: 3

Inexpensive plans
Supports unlimited simultaneous connections
Pause VPN feature
Unblocks tons of streaming services
Below-par OpenVPN speeds
Windows kill switch still buggy
Subscribe if:

✔️ You're looking for a beginner-friendly VPN: with apps for almost any device, a clean and intuitive interface, and impressive live chat support, Surfshark continues to be a top choice for VPN newcomers.

✔️ You want to say goodbye to ads: Surfshark's CleanWeb tool is superb at blocking annoying ads that get in the way of your browsing, streaming, or gaming, as well as trackers and malicious links.

✔️ You want real value for money: Surfshark has long held the top spot in our cheap VPN rankings—and for good reason. Enjoy incredible speeds and an awesome roster of features at bargain prices.

Don't subscribe if:

You want comprehensive antivirus protection: Surfshark's antivirus isn't useless by any means, but for total protection and peace of mind, you'll want to opt for one of our best antivirus solutions.

You need an airtight kill switch: I like that you can tweak the Surfshark kill switch to suit your risk case, but tests did show some issues—If you'd rather not risk an IP leak, try NordVPN.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 Surfshark performs incredibly well across the board. It's the fastest VPN on the market today, offers incredible value, and you can check out its full suite of security capabilities and unblocking power with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Want to know more?

Head on over to our Surfshark VPN review to see why this speedy service continues to impress.

Surfshark has previously been a half-step behind NordVPN in our speed rankings—but the results of our last few VPN testing sessions have had Surfshark claim, and retain, the top spot. With a wicked performance that's ideal for streaming HD and 4K content from just about any device you own, plus, blistering speeds for prices that are, frankly, borderline criminal, Surfshark is always going to be amongst the very best VPNs. 

Surfshark's WireGuard speeds clocked in at over 950 Mbps, maxing out my test line, and easily earning its place in our rankings. These speeds are more than enough to handle resource-intensive activities (think gaming, streaming, video calls, and torrenting) without slowing your internet to a crawl. It's worth noting that Surfshark's OpenVPN speeds are also impressively quick, clocking in at 640 Mbps in our latest round of testing, over 200 Mbps higher than its nearest competition. This improvement comes as a result of Surfshark adopting DCO (Data Channel Offloading) on its OpenVPN protocols, which enables faster travel through OpenVPNs vast amounts of integral coding and consequently higher speeds for you, the user. This improvement, while initially great, does come at a small cost to security, as this method is less easily obfuscated and consequently can be subject to more risks.  

Try Surfshark with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Currently, there are more than 3,200 Surfshark servers scattered across 142 locations—which is a pretty impressive network. It's good to see that the VPN extends its coverage into Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa, which isn't something you'll see all VPNs doing. You'll have no trouble hopping from location to location via the handy list, and I like that Surfshark supports P2P traffic on most of its servers, and even offers Camouflage mode when you want to disguise the fact you're using a VPN entirely.

The functionality doesn't end there, however. Surfshark backs up tough encryption and a no-logs policy with a customizable kill switch. It's up to you whether you set it to block your internet connection entirely unless you're connected to Surfshark, or whether it only cuts the internet if the VPN drops by accident. I also like the CleanWeb feature which gives ads, trackers, and malicious links the boot. Armed with all these tools, you'll be able to go about your day-to-day browsing without worrying whether your ISP, or an opportunistic hacker, is watching your every move.

Surfshark gets top marks for its unblocking capabilities, too. Plenty of VPNs promise to access big names like Netflix and BBC iPlayer with varying levels of success, but Surfshark was able to consistently unblock these sites during my testing. I could check out Netflix libraries from overseas, including the US, UK, and Japan, and even browse content on Asutralia's 9Now and 10 play services. Surfshark is, basically, your streaming skeleton key.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Surfshark is its value for money. You're getting incredible speeds, all of the aforementioned privacy features, unblocking power, and even unlimited simultaneous connections at prices that won't hurt your wallet. If you're still unsure, however, you can use the 30-day money-back guarantee to take Surfshark for a test drive before committing.

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Surfshark test results:
DesignElegant, simple, and intuitive⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useGreat for beginners, and seamless connections⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceToday's quickest VPN⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnblocked every service in every region we tested⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacySome kill switch issues, and the built-in ad blocker and antivirus wasn't as good as we were expecting⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportLots of supporting articles, but awkward to navigate to when you need help on the fly⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceThe best cheap VPN on the market⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The best VPN with antivirus

NordVPN working on a TV, laptop, mobile phone, and a tabletTechRadar Editor's Choice award logo

(Image credit: Future)

2. NordVPN

A solid all-rounder with speeds that really deliver

Max US speed tested: over 950 Mbps | Number of servers: 5,700 | Overall VPN ranking: 2

Maxed out my connection line during testing
Unblocks tons of streaming services
Lots of features, including kill switch and built-in security suite
Independently audited
Mobile apps aren't our favorite
Command line Linux app
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want consistent speed: NordVPN is seriously quick, achieving speeds over 950 Mbps, so you can leave it switched on without worrying about a sluggish browsing experience.

✔️ Streaming is your thing: I found that NordVPN unblocked pretty much every streaming service I threw it at. That's impressive, and means you'll have access to worldwide content.

✔️ You're looking for total privacy: speed isn't everything, of course, and NordVPN has a stacked toolkit of everything you need to protect your browsing habits, identity, and sensitive info.

Don't subscribe if:

You want a stripped-back UI: the NordVPN apps and map aren't hard to use by any means, but other services (like Surfshark and IPVanish) have interfaces that are much more simple—no clutter, no clicking around.

You're not a fan of command line: Linux users can check out NordVPN with ease, but since the app is command line only, it is missing out on some navigability.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 NordVPN is sitting pretty near the top of my speed rankings with an awesome blend of performance, privacy tools, and unblocking power. Plus, you can try the service for yourself, without risking a penny, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Want to know more?

Visit our NordVPN review for a more thorough run-down of the provider's features and apps.

NordVPN is fast becoming one of those brand names that's synonymous with the products itself—a bit like Hoover or Tannoy. Why? Well, it does a ton of advertising (we've all seen the YouTube sponsorships), and it's incredibly quick. The proof is, basically, in the pudding.

It's hard to overstate just how quick NordVPN is. When I tested it via US servers, I saw connection speeds maxed out at over 950 Mbps using the proprietary WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol. Because of these blazing speeds, and the fact that most homes don't have broadband as quite as quick as our test line, you can leave NordVPN switched on in the background and go about your streaming as usual without noticing a huge impact on your download speeds.

Try NordVPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

I found that NordVPN is consistent across its global network of servers—which is just what you'd expect from a huge name with the resources to spare on ensuring quality. The speeds I saw in the UK were mostly on par with those in the US, too, which is great news for travelers or anyone trying to access streaming feeds from overseas.

Outside of its performance, NordVPN continues to draw customers with a well-rounded privacy package. A single subscription bags you a ton of tools, like Double VPN and Onion Over VPN that'll ensure your private details don't end up leaking into the hands of shady cybercriminals. I was also impressed by the kill switch, and NordVPN actually has two kill switches that can cut your internet access and close any apps if the VPN connection drops.

If you've got the need for speed, it's probably because you're probably looking for a top streaming VPN. NordVPN has you covered on that front, too—it nails Netflix, unhooks Hulu, delves into Disney+, and unblocks BBC iPlayer without any issues. So, whether you want to check out international content or catch up on your favorite local shows when journeying abroad, you'll have plenty of libraries at your fingertips—and the speeds to enjoy them in HD.

NordVPN is, basically, the full package; it's quick and easy to use, available for all devices, and really cares about safeguarding your digital privacy. For example, if you're in the UK or the US and have an Ultimate subscription, you can sign up for extra cyber insurance—which will help you recoup some cash if the worst happens and you're involved in a cyber scam.

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NordVPN test results:
DesignFresh-feeling and modern, despite the clutter⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useApps are easy to use, although the map interface can be tricky to navigate⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceSuper-fast speeds that won't let you down⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnblocks Netflix, and more, with ease⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyRobust, audited, and customizable⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportQuick responses that are personable and professional⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceFair prices and a lot of bang for your buck⭐⭐⭐⭐

The best VPN with a free plan

Proton VPN interface for mobile and desktop VPN apps

(Image credit: Proton VPN)

3. Proton VPN

A VPN that continues to advocate for internet freedom everywhere

Max US speed tested: 950Mbps | Number of servers: 4,987 | Overall VPN ranking: 4

Open-source apps
Free plan with unlimited bandwidth
Impressive speeds and coverage
Wide variety of free tools
Not the best value for money
Customer support needs improvement
WireGuard Windows connection time is slower than most
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need a free Linux VPN: Few VPNs offer serious Linux support, and Proton VPN is the only service to offer a GUI for freemium Linux users.

✔️ You want some of the best speeds available: Since our last update, Proton has seen huge improvements in speed and coverage, to a point where it now sits among some of the very best providers.

Don't subscribe if:

 You need easy-to-use apps: While its apps aren't bad, we found them to be more complex to use than competition such as Express VPN and Surfshark.

❌ You need quick and easy support: Proton VPN's support site was more complex than many might appreciate, especially if you're looking for a quick fix to a more minor issue. 

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔒 Proton VPN is a well-known brand and a popular free Linux VPN that even offers protection for hackers on Kali.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth Proton VPN review and find out how it keeps up the fight for internet freedom.

Proton VPN is mostly known for advocating for digital privacy rights around the world, but it's also now among the fastest VPNs available. With servers in 91 locations around the world, you can access your favorite streaming services and websites from almost anywhere in the world with little difficulty. 

In our latest round of testing we saw Proton VPN peak at an average of over 950 Mbps for WireGuard—maxing out my testing line— and a well above average of 400 Mbps for OpenVPN traffic. This launches Proton VPN to among the very fastest VPNs we've tested.

Proton is putting a keen focus into Technical privacy and security features, all of which start with strong encryption. Proton is investing in WireGuard so much that it's sunsetting OpenVPN and IKEv2 support on Mac, which likely means we will see these encryption methods sunsetted altogether in the not-too-distant future. If anonymity is a focus for your VPN needs, Proton not only offers MultiHop to pass your traffic through several VPN servers, but also a rock-solid kill switch keeps your identity safe if the your connection drops.

Try Proton VPN

If you want to access your favorite shows hassle-free. Our latest tests round of testing showed Proton allowed us access to content from US, UK, Aussie, and Canadian Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer. However, unlike PrivadoVPN, Proton VPN doesn't offer the same unblocking reliability to both premium and free users.

If you like a full security suite to come as part of your VPN experience, Proton's calendar, password manager, secure email, and cloud storage tools provide everything you'll want for a fraction of the cost of the competition. If you're looking to try out Proton's free app first, you're also in luck, as some of these features are also available to try without paying the full cost, even if the experience is more limited. 

While Proton VPN isn't cheap, it is open source and superbly transparent, bringing an abundance of features and great unblocking abilities. Plus, with its improved speeds and coverage, and a generous ten-device limit—more than the likes of Express or Nord— you can connect and use all your devices at the same time.

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Proton VPN test results:
DesignDark and edgy, brings "hacker" vibes to your experience⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useSimple and clear designs, though not as simple as some competitors⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceIncredibly fast WireGuard speeds that put it among the very best⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnblocked everything we tested it with⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyAudited and open-source so anyone can verify its claims⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportSupport articles are helpful though the site is more complex than might be liked⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceThough it is becoming cheaper, there are still less costly alternatives such as Surfshark⭐⭐⭐

Other VPNs I've tested and recommend

PrivadoVPN running on different devices

4. PrivadoVPN

The best free VPN in 2024

Max US speed tested: 950Mbps | Number of servers: 66 | Overall VPN ranking: 13

Unblocks plenty of streaming services
Excellent features, even on the free version
Fast WireGuard-powered apps
No security audits
Some performance issues across apps
Fewer servers than Express, Nord and Surfshark
Subscribe if:

✔️ You need a reliable free service: PrivadoVPN doesn't hide its most important features behind a paywall like ProtonVPN, so you get a reliable service without spending a penny.

✔️ You want impressive speeds: While its OpenVPN speeds were somewhat lacking, PrivadoVPN performed impressively when using WireGuard, ranking among the best VPNs available.

Don't subscribe if:

 You want lots of server options: Both the free and premium services suffer from a severe lack of locations, especially when compared to the likes of PIA and Surfshark.

❌ You want an efficient VPN experience: From our testing we saw issues running PrivadoVPN on both the PC app and on Android, with the PC app drawing a larger-than-expected CPU usage, and the Android app causing larger-than-usual battery drain when in use.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 PrivadoVPN offers a decent mid-tier premium service, but it offers the best free plan available right now.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth PrivadoVPN review and see why this free service is so good at unblocking Netflix.

PrivadoVPN offers both a paid and free VPN experience, with the latter being the standout performer in comparison. If you choose the full, paid, PrivadoVPN experience, you get 10 simultaneous connections, a zero-logs policy, an ad blocker, parental controls, and even threat protection to help keep your devices safe from malware.

Our latest round of testing saw PrivadoVPN record a whopping 950 Mbps download speed, putting it among the fastest VPNs available. These speeds are also more than enough for streaming in 4K, gaming online, and seamless torrenting, with the service even handling its own bandwidth and transit routes, meaning you experience fantastic speeds and almost no server congestion—even on free servers.

Its easy-to-use apps allow for plenty of customization. It comes with options to utilize one-click connections, and a kill switch to make sure you're always protected, even if your VPN connection drops. However, in testing we did find the app wasn't the most efficient, taking longer to connect than we expected, and recording up to 5% CPU usage on the PC app, while the Android app for mobile saw increased power drain during use.

Try PrivadoVPN absolutely free.

While PrivadoVPN reliably unblocked US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime in our tests, it doesn't quite match the unblocking capabilities of other providers such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, despite its dedicated geo-unblocking team and continued service improvements. 

If you find yourself stuck, Privado has 24/7 email and live chat support for customers—regardless of whether they're using the free or paid plan. In a cost-of-living crisis, it's refreshing to see a VPN provider go so far with its freemium plan, retaining and reassuring that digital privacy is a right and one that PrivadoVPN will continue to defend across any of its plans.

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PrivadoVPN test results:
DesignSimple and colorful design choices throughout⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useProvides a clear layout which is simple enough to use no matter your VPN experience⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceSlightly below average for a leading service, though definitely fast enough for anything you could use it with⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingSaw some limitations to its capabilities, despite a dedicated unblocking team conitnuing to improve the service⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyThe lack of an independent audit tarnishes an otherwise near-flawless security approach⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportOn-site help options need improving, though email support is good⭐⭐⭐
PriceOne of the best free VPN services available, and a not overly pricey premium plan⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mullvad VPN working on a laptop

5. Mullvad

A fast VPN that prioritizes security over streaming

Max US speed tested: None | Number of servers: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux (GUI), routers and more | Overall VPN ranking: No

Sign up without handing over any personal information
Super-fast speeds
App and infrastructure audits
Accepts cash payments
Couldn't unblock streaming services in our tests
Apps could use some improvement
Subscribe if:

✔️ You want cash payment options: That's right, you really can simply put cash in an envelope, send it to Mullvad, and access a VPN.

✔️ You want complete anonymity: Mullvad offers a zero-knowledge account. This means you simply generate an account, pay by cash, and have all of your personal information completely hidden from online spaces.

Don't subscribe if:

 You're looking for a cheap VPN: Mullvad offers only one price, and it's a fair chunk more than competition such as Surfshark.

❌ You want a great streaming VPN: Mullvad's prioritisation of your personal information security comes at the detriment of its streaming capabilities, better options to access Netflix, Disney+ or iPlayer would be ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔒 Mullvad is an incredibly reliable service that people can trust with their lives, but if you're hoping to stream shows abroad, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.

Want to know more?

Check out our in-depth Mullvad VPN review to find out more about this popular VPN provider.

While every VPN claims to be crucial for your privacy, Mullvad goes above and beyond. With options to open an account without handing over any personal details, for instance paying by crypto, or even cash, Mullvad takes more steps than any of the best VPN providers to ensure the company knows nothing about you, without compromising on the security experience you receive.

If you're looking for impressive perfomance capabilities Mullvad recorded over 950 Mbps download speeds using WireGuard, putting it among some serious competition. That said, its OpenVPN speeds, while still admirable, have dropped from the 530 Mbps we previously recorded to around 410 Mbps, which is still better than all providers but Surfshark. 

Given its focus on your privacy, the suite of tools you recieve with Mullvad isn't surprising. Mullvad includes a reliable kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a variety of stealth options to help keep your personal information as secure as possible. Mullvad ensures you can trust its continued pursuit of true privacy by putting its entire infrastructure—apps, servers, websites, and more—through comprehensive security audits, ensuring there are no previously undiscovered flaws in its service that may leave you at risk.

Try Mullvad with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Whilst its security and privacy capabilities are near-unmatched, Mullvad does have its drawbacks. The apps can seem basic in comparison to other providers, and more significantly, Mullvad ranked among the worst providers in terms of unblocking capabilities, making it a poor choice for those looking for a top streaming VPN.

If that wasn't enough, Mullvad doesn't live chat or 24/7 support, leaving you near enough alone in moments when you need quick and easy support. It also only offers a single 5 Euros a month plan, which is great if you're happy with the monthly billing, but lacks a traditional discount if you'd prefer to sign up for a longer period.

If you're looking to torrent using your VPN, Mullvad removed port-forwarding from its service, meaning you'll likely be better off with providers like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or PIA. 

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Mullvad test results:
DesignA slightly too basic design, could frustrate more experienced VPN users⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useNot the easiest, especially if you're new to VPNs⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceImpressive WireGuard speeds, and respectable OpenVPN speeds also⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingPoor, but only since Mullvad's primary focus is privacy
Security and privacyMeticulously audited, with lots of attention to detail⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportNo live chat, but we saw speedy responses from email tickets⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceExpensive, but the price doesn't shoot up on renewal like other providers⭐⭐⭐

TechRadar's VPN speed rankings

Want to know the raw speeds that we discovered in our testing? Check out the table below where each provider is listed according to its US speed. You'll find some of our top performers, consistently quick providers, and a few newcomers who have shot through the ranks.

Remember, the table is based solely on speed, which is why curate providers that combine maximum performance, consistent speeds across regions and protocols, and other qualities in our countdown above.

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VPN ProviderWireGuard or proprietaryOpenVPN
1. Surfsharkover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)640 Mbps
2. Mullvadover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)410 Mbps
3. Proton VPNover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)400 Mbps
4. Windscribeover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)240 Mbps
5. PrivadoVPNover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)220 Mbps
6. NordVPNover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)110 Mbps
7. Norton VPNover 950 Mbps (maxed out our testing)240 Mbps
8. PureVPN880 Mbps210 Mbps
9. Atlas VPN785 MbpsN/A
10. IPVanish770 Mbps230 Mbps
11. CyberGhost760 Mbps360 Mbps
12. FastestVPN730 Mbps170 Mbps
13. AirVPN710 Mbps300 Mbps
14. Hide.me690 Mbps210 Mbps
15. Hotspot Shield600 MbpsN/A
16. VyprVPN590 Mbps145 Mbps
17. TunnelBear480 Mbps180 Mbps
18. ExpressVPN410 Mbps210 Mbps
19. StrongVPN395 Mbps210 Mbps
20. Astrill VPN390 Mbps (unstable speeds)N/A
21. Private VPN350 Mbps125 Mbps
22. Private Internet Access330 Mbps270 Mbps
23. Mozilla VPN360 MbpsN/A
24. Google One345 MbpsN/A
25. UltraVPN300 MbpsN/A

How we test VPN services - our review methodology

It takes us a long time to test the top VPNs every six months, and speed testing is one of the most time-consuming parts.

To keep every provider on an even playing surface, we use the same Windows set-up and a 1 Gbps Ethernet-based connection for each VPN. Then, combining at least three respected speed testing sites, we test our normal connection speed with the all VPNs turned off. One by one, we turn on the VPNs, test the speed at least five times, and take the median average as our result.

If the default VPN protocol for the service was OpenVPN, we then do the same thing with WireGuard or its own proprietary protocol (i.e. Lightway for Express, NordLynx for Nord, Catapult Hydra for Hotspot Shield, etc.), or vice versa.

We'll also do our testing in the morning to ensure a fair outcome and, because connection speeds can fluctuate depending on location, we test in the US and the UK to try and give the fairest representation possible.

Fastest VPN FAQs

Which VPN is fastest?

We recently concluded our most recent round of VPN tests—and Surfshark came out on top in terms of sheer speed. It's the fastest VPN of 2024, so far, and an awesome budget-friendly pick to boot.

Surfshark clocked in at 950 Mbps when we tested its WireGuard speeds. That's way more than you need to enjoy HD streaming content and online games, and was enough to max out my connection line during the tests themselves.

How to choose the fastest VPN

Many VPNs claim to be the fastest around, but as you can imagine, that's often an idle boast. In this article, we pinpoint the providers that really deliver on performance, based on our own testing.

Of course, speed isn’t the be-all-and-end-all, and we always expect solid security and privacy from any VPN. Broad server coverage is important in terms of getting a fast and stable connection, and user-friendly clients never hurt.

Bear in mind that the VPN won’t be the only thing affecting the performance of your internet connection. This can vary depending on your ISP, the time of day (particularly whether it’s peak traffic times), and also the status of the service or website you’re using.

Smartphone connecting to VPN with TV screen blurred in the background

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

What is the fastest free VPN?

When it comes to getting the best performance from your VPN, both in terms of speed and other areas, we always recommend paying for your VPN. While free VPN tools are available, it's wise to err on the side of caution, with many only able to maintain the infrastructure to run its VPN by logging and selling your information onto third parties. This means they're really not as secure as you'd like.

That being said, Privado VPN is well worth trying via its free plan. It's speedy, actually unblocks Netflix (unlike other free services), and acts as a fantastic same platter for the paid version.

Alternatively, most VPN services give you a courtesy window to try out the VPN with the safety blanket of an all-your-money-back-guarantee, spanning anywhere from 30 to 45 days.

Edited by
Andreas Theodorou Editor-in-Chief Tech Software
Edited by
Andreas Theodorou (MRes, BA)

As a digital privacy advocate and expert, he's spent the past four years leveraging his master's degree to research VPNs, cryptography, and other cybersecurity topics.


We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

River Hart
Tech Software Editor

River is a Tech Software Editor and VPN expert at TechRadar. They’re on-hand to keep VPN and cybersecurity content up-to-date and accurate. When they’re not helping readers find the best VPNs around (and the best deals), River can be found in close proximity to their PS5 or being pushed about the countryside by the lovely Welsh weather. 

With contributions from