In A Nutshell
Which VPN service is the fastest? There are also several factors that make a VPN seem fast:
- Latency — the time between requesting a piece of data and receiving it
- Download Speed — e.g. when downloading a large file, how many Mbps (megabits per second) are you getting?
- Upload Speed — e.g. when uploading a large file, how many Mbps (megabits per second) are you getting?
For most people, it’s the latency that makes an internet connection seem slow or fast. If the VPN server you are using is on the other side the world, you can expect a high latency. This means web pages will load slower, and any other internet activity will seem sluggish because each connection involves a short lag.
However, if you are streaming videos or download large files on a daily basis, the Download Speed may be more important to you.
Also, the speed of your VPN connection depends on the number of people using the same VPN server. A VPN provider may have a connection with a capacity of 10 Mbps (megabits per second), but you may only get a fraction of that capacity, because there are many other customers using the same server.
For this test, I drew from my list of best VPN services, and tested those that are known for their speed:
I hope to test other VPN providers in the coming months. If you’d like to nominate a VPN you think is particularly fast, let me know.
All these tests were completed using the Comcast Speed Test and connecting to a server is San Jose, California. The VPN client was Tunnelblick (an OpenVPN client) on a Mac Mini, using a test computer in Virginia during the afternoon. Below are the results, with yellow indicating the best score for that criteria. Where there was a clear winner for that location, we marked the VPN provider in orange.
Looking at these results, we can see that Private Internet Access was the fastest from the Netherlands and Canada. IPVanish was the fastest in England and Japan. PureVPN was the fastest in Germany and Ohio. iVPN and HMA (Hide My Ass) failed be the fastest at any location, but posted reasonable numbers overall.
You can read my full reviews of these VPN providers in my article The Best VPN Services.