The Fastest VPNs

Senior editor, security and privacy
Updated

Network speeds can fluctuate greatly. But we've done extensive testing of nearly two dozen VPN services in several locations in Europe and North America, and Speedify, Private Internet Access and Windscribe are the fastest VPNs.

Credit: StunningArt/ShutterstockCredit: StunningArt/Shutterstock

Speedify

Hands down, the fastest VPN service we've evaluated is Speedify, which uses its proprietary software to tie two or more internet connections together. While every other VPN service slows down your connection, Speedify makes it faster.

The catch is that you need two internet connections, such as a home broadband line and a cellular data connection, to make it happen. Just connecting your laptop to your home Wi-Fi network and to your home router via Ethernet won't do, because that's really only one connection.

The optimal Speedify setup is to connect to a cellular LTE network and a local Wi-Fi network at the same time. As such, Speedify's client software works equally well on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, though you may have to tether a smartphone to a computer to get the cellular connection. Be cautious — if your cellular data plan is capped or metered, you'll have to watch how much data you use.

But if you're a road warrior who frequently has to securely connect while traveling, and if your company supplies you with a portable cellular hotspot, then you can tether the hotspot to your laptop via USB while simultaneously connecting to the hotel Wi-Fi — and you'll be off to the races.

Speedify gives you up to 5GB of data per month for free, enough for a hearty taste of what the service has to offer. For unlimited data, it's $9 per month or $50 per year, very competitive with other VPN services.

Private Internet Access

The fastest regular VPN service we've tested is Private Internet Access (PIA), which delivered consistently great network performance across three rounds of tests conducted in North America and Europe.

It's also got the cheapest yearly subscription cost — just under $40 — among all the paid VPN services we've reviewed. And it has perhaps the fullest range of optional features and settings. PIA is $6.95 per month, which is on the inexpensive side.

The only downsides to Private Internet Access are that its huge number of options can be overwhelming and that it wasn't the best VPN for streaming Netflix from overseas or BBC iPlayer from the United Kingdom. But PIA is overall the best VPN service we've reviewed.

Windscribe

Just behind Private Internet Access is Windscribe, which got a huge speed boost when it switched from the OpenVPN to the IKEv2 VPN protocols in early 2018. It doesn't offer as many options as PIA, but Windscribe is easy to use and is among the best VPN services we've encountered at streaming geo-blocked video feeds from Europe.

Windscribe has a very generous free plan, which gives you 10GB of monthly data gratis if you provide the service with your email address. (Otherwise, it's 2GB free per month.) Unlimited data is $9 per month or $49 per year. Privacy mavens will be glad to know that no email address is needed for a paid Windscribe account and that you can pay in Bitcoin.