NordVPN begins worldwide speed upgrade with 10Gbps server rollout

NordVPN on mobile
(Image credit: Petter Lagson)

Famous as one of the best VPN services available, NordVPN is in the process of upgrading a number of its locations with 10Gbps servers — a big step up from the 1Gbps servers these are replacing.

Before this spate of upgrades, only NordVPN's Amsterdam and Tokyo servers supported 10Gbps — but as of Dec. 21, over 20% of Nord's network has been upgraded. 

By the time we enter 2021, NordVPN claims that it will have fully upgraded its London and Singapore locations, as well as some servers in the U.S. 

Why 10Gbps?

It goes without saying that faster speeds make for a more desirable service, but seeing as the vast majority of VPNs are still coping just fine with largely 1Gbps server networks, what does this change actually mean to the user?

The logic behind this upgrade is future-proofing. With 5G being used more every day, the development of ultra-fast protocols like WireGuard, and the huge uptick in VPN usage in general, 1Gbps server speeds are set to become a limiting factor sooner rather than later.

So rather than avoid a costly infrastructure upgrade and restrict users' speeds in the long term, the provider has made the decision to upgrade its most important and highly trafficked servers to match the ever-quickening tech elsewhere.

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What's the competition doing?

NordVPN is one of the first big providers to make the change to 10Gbps — or at least one of the first to make it public knowledge.

One rival has begun making the shift, however. Private Internet Access's "NextGen" servers all support 10Gbps, and combined with its massive server spread, on paper this poses a significant threat. In our testing, though, PIA didn't quite match up to NordVPN.

Other than PIA, it currently seems that no other provider is making widespread 10Gbps server upgrades. However, we wouldn't be surprised if market leaders ExpressVPN and Surfshark announce something similar pretty soon. Watch this space...

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Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.