In many peoples' minds the best VPN is likely to be the fastest VPN – and with the introduction of tech like WireGuard, having a VPN slow down your connection is quite simply unacceptable.
Thankfully, just about all the top providers offer absolutely searing speeds, and in general we recommend making your decision on other factors since you'll likely see very little difference in speeds between the best in practice.
For all you speed freaks out there, though, here's a rundown of the fastest VPNs on the market today – all tested on our ultrafast 1Gbps line to ensure the most accurate results.
What makes a great fast VPN?
In this guide we're prioritizing speed over everything else. However, every fast VPN service here will also deliver top-quality privacy and security too, so you won't have to sacrifice usability for class-leading speeds.
If you're interested in what's under the hood, you'll notice that all the fastest VPN services use protocols other than OpenVPN – whether it's WireGuard or an in-house protocol like ExpressVPN's Lightway.
It's worth noting that if you're got a fairly standard internet connection of around 100Mbps or less, you'll notice very little, if any difference between the providers below. For those on ultrafast line, though, these are fastest VPNs to max out your connections.
NB: The order of this article is largely based on maximum connection speed. However, we have prioritized VPNs we consider to be better products when speeds are similar.
1. Hide.me – Incredibly fast in every situation (opens in new tab)
With blazing fast connections when using both WireGuard and OpenVPN, Hide.me is a speed freak's dream. Its super-configurable apps are very powerful, and if you can get past Hide.me's complexity, it's and excellent choice.
2. NordVPN – Great all-rounder with blistering pace (opens in new tab)
You probably won't be surprised to see NordVPN here – as well as being one of our top-rated VPNs at all, it's supremely fast in a wide range of locations. Plus, with regular deals on offer, it's remarkably affordable, too.
3. CyberGhost – Streaming specialist is speedy too (opens in new tab)
While it's not quite as fast as Hide.me or as polished as Nord, CyberGhost is a seriously cheap way of bagging incredible connection speeds. Starting at just $2.29 a month, it's difficult to say no to.
The best fast VPNs available today(opens in new tab)
Hide.me is a slightly divisive VPN – it's fastest VPN we're comfortable recommending and its apps are incredibly powerful almost across the board, but in our Hide.me review we found it lacks some of the usability of the top-flight providers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
That said, for those who are keen on fiddling with their software rather than just plugging and playing Hide.me could be a no-brainer.
With more configuration options than just about any other VPN we've tested, you can dial in your experience exactly how you like it. You choose exactly how servers are ordered, whether you tunnel via IPv4 or IPv6, and if you want to use random ports? Go for it. The split tunneling feature is more powerful than any other provider's too, and you can even set custom scripts for a number of functions.
Sounds like a techie's dream, right? But for the layman Hide.me still offers all the essentials – great privacy features, torrenting support, and the ability to unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and more.
Oh, and of course – it can hit a dizzying 900Mbps (if your base connection is fast enough) with its Bolt tech (opens in new tab).
Hide.me won't be for everyone, and those looking for a simpler experience may want to keep scrolling. But, since we're talking about the fastest VPNs here, we couldn't not drop Hide.me in the #1 spot.
Sign up now on the Hide.me website (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
If you've heard of just one VPN, it'll be NordVPN. The old favorite is hugely well-known, and with marketing ploys ranging from YouTube plugs to sports team sponsorships and TV ads, Nord's certainly not afraid of shouting about itself.
And with good reason. Ranking as our second-favorite VPN overall after our most recent NordVPN review, when it comes to connection speeds it's impressive. On our superfast 1Gbps line, we consistently reached speeds of up to 760Mbps when using the NordLynx protocol (active by default in just about all the apps).
To put that in perspective, most homes have speeds of up to around 100Mbps, and in practice NordVPN will be totally undetectable in terms of Internet slow-down on an average line.
Other than its excellent connections, you might be drawn to Nord because of its security-focused service. With its powerful and additional features like Onion over VPN and Double VPN it's a hacker's nightmare, and is all but guaranteed to keep you anonymous online.
A slight issue we have is with the layout of the otherwise polished and exceedingly usable mobile apps – the interface is taken directly from its desktop counterpart, and while it works well on larger screen, the map-based design is a bit awkward on phone screens – rivals such as ExpressVPN are just a little more usable. However, that's unlikely to truly put anyone off, as you'll only be in the app for a minute or two to select a server or adjust settings.
Overall, if you're after a combination of ease of use, excellent speeds, and powerful streaming ability, NordVPN could well be your choice.
NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs we've tested (opens in new tab)
With super fast and reliable connections, NordVPN is a great choice for speed. Not only is it fast, but it's secure, powerful, and has apps for just about every device. Plus, its 30-day money-back guarantee means you can give it a test drive risk-free.
CyberGhost is an old hand in the VPN industry, but it hasn't rested on its laurels. In our CyberGhost review we found that it delivered incredibly quick connections of up to 850Mbps – more than enough for just about any user.
It's also a pretty useful bit of kit if you're looking for a Netflix VPN, BBC iPlayer VPN, or general streaming VPN. In our testing it aced every one of our tests, and with its neat Smart Rules server filtering feature, it's straightforward finding a server that works.
In other areas, though, CyberGhost's apps aren't quite as polished as the competition. For example, the apps don't send notifications when you connect or disconnect – that might sound like a small issue, but having a positive sign that the app has done something is both useful and puts your confidence in the software.
Overall, though, for just $2.29 a month, CyberGhost is just about the cheapest way to get a VPN that's capable of delivering over 800Mbps.
Sign up now on the CyberGhost website (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
IPVanish has slightly fallen down the ranks as of late – not due to any fault of its own, but simply because the competition has improved so dramatically. However, somewhere that the US-based provider has shown promise is its connection speeds – and it's seriously impressive.
In our testing, IPVanish topped out at an incredible 890Mbps. While that's marginally faster than NordVPN, it's not quite up there with Hide.me – and Nord delivers a better all-round service.
Unfortunately, IPVanish has had a little trouble with unblocking streaming services recently, and while it's able to access Netflix, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer outside the UK (a real feat in itself), Amazon Prime Video is unavailable. This is changeable and fluctuates day to day, but in our last testing, IPVanish struggled.
However, outside of streaming, it's a seriously fast and secure service with tons of features that we highly recommend.
Sign up now on the IPVanish website (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
We're big fans of ExpressVPN, so much so that it sits at the top of our full VPN rundown. However, in our latest round of speed testing, it wasn't the very fastest of the lot.
That's not to say it's sluggish, though – topping out at 630Mbps when using a 1Gbps line and the Lightway protocol, it's more than fast enough for any task, and on regular connections it'll be indistinguishable.
Beyond speeds, ExpressVPN knocks it out the park. It's simple to install, unblocks more streaming sites and Netflix locations than any other service we've tested, has rock-solid privacy credentials and has even been recently audited to prove it.
Extra features like split tunneling, a top-notch kill switch, built-in speed test plus DNS and WebRTC leak detectors make it a very powerful package.
If anything ends up not working as it should – or you've got any questions about how to use it – ExpressVPN's support is also unrivalled. In all of our testing the live chat operators have been very knowledgeable and quick to respond, and it boasts the best library of setup and troubleshooting articles in the industry.
So, while it's not the absolute quickest, in just about every other area ExpressVPN leads the pack.
Get three months FREE of ExpressVPN (opens in new tab)
Tom's Guide readers can claim an extra three months free if they sign up for an annual plan – that's 15 months for the price of 12. If it's not to your liking, you're covered by the 30-day money-back guarantee, so there's no risk if you just want to try it out before committing.
Our VPN speed results
When we review VPNs, we undertake comprehensive speed testing, and below we've rounded up the number for the best fast VPNs of 2022.
Be aware that when ranking providers for this guide, great connections speeds are an important part of our choice, but overall usability is also taken into account. That's why, for example, IPVanish doesn't rank above ExpressVPN, despite returning slightly higher speeds in our testing.
We have, however, made sure to include the fastest VPNs on this list.
|US speed range (Mbps)||UK speed range (Mbps)|
What is the best fast VPN?
For outright speeds, we rate Hide.me as the fastest VPN today (opens in new tab). Its NordLynx protocol is ridiculously fast, and with its great streaming support you're pretty much guaranteed never to be left buffering with this fast VPN.
Why do I need a fast VPN?
While a VPN is a security tool first and foremost, usability shouldn't fall by the wayside in the process. A fast VPN means you can realistically use the service 24/7 without having any of the downsides commonly associated with VPN usage – poor streaming abilities, low connections speeds...
If you use a fast VPN, it makes it an easier transition from never having used one before, and for those who may have had bad experiences years ago or with crummy providers recently, any of the services on this list are sure to reinvigorate your trust in VPNs.
In essence, if you can get a fast VPN that does the job properly as well as delivering excellent connection speeds, why settle for anything else?
Why are some VPNs so slow?
Using a VPN put extra steps between your device and the sites you're visiting. That includes encryption, redirection to VPN servers and then on to the site you were initially heading for.
A fast VPN negates much of the slow-down by using modern servers and having massive bandwidth to share between its users. In many cases you'll now be limited by your own internet connection rather than your VPN provider.
While it's true that some VPNs still suffer from low connection speeds and struggle for bandwidth at peak times, top fast VPN providers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN really can be relied to deliver superfast speeds at any time of the day. Plus, by avoiding throttling, you'll be able to use your connection for anything without being held back.
Is a fast VPN as safe?
Well, if you choose any of our top picks, the answer's a big yes! However, it's understandable to worry about this, as surely to get great speeds means you've got to sacrifice something, right?
In truth, most VPNs run on very similar architecture, utilise the same AES-256 encryption and use protocols such as WireGuard, OpenVPN or IKEv2. The biggest difference is the server number, capacity and maintenance, all of which contribute to how fast any individual connection will be.
Overall, in our eyes if we've included a VPN on any of our guides, we'd recommend it as safe for anyone to use.