Even though there are many VPN providers on the market, choosing a VPN that won’t slow you down is hard, especially if you are on Fiber Internet connection. Since VPN encrypts all incoming and outgoing traffic, generally with 256-bit key length, and reroutes everything through their VPN servers, some performance hit is always expected. The key here is some. Providers that offer the fastest VPN speeds have 1Gbps servers with load-balancing tools that aim to avoid server overload and ensure optimal server use. So if you choose the server in close proximity to your actual location or use the provider’s software to determine the best performing server, the difference in speed should be negligible, even on gigabit connection.
Now let’s consider a few myths.
Myth 1: It’s all about bandwidth.
It’s not. In simple terms, bandwidth is the amount of data that you can download in a specific time frame while latency is how fast this data travels back and forth. When it comes to a website load time, and especially gaming, latency (ping) plays a much more important role than bandwidth. So if you connect to a VPN server 10,000 miles away, all the data that you send and receive will have to travel 10,000 miles (through many ISPs) every time you send & receive it. For this reason, VPN providers that have poorly optimized networks cannot provide the fastest routes to your destination and miserably fail.
Myth 2: OpenVPN is the only viable protocol.
OpenVPN was indeed the only truly secure open-source protocol, but it’s not the best performing one and it’s based on OpenSSL that suffers from vulnerabilities.
IPsec/IKEv2 server connection time is almost instantaneous and overhead is minimal. The downside is that IPsec/IKEv2 is a proprietary protocol. Technology wise it’s a secure solution, but may not be the best protocol for those who fear government interference. IPsec/IKEv2 is also the only protocol that is natively integrated into iOS (OpenVPN is not). Even though we are not particularly excited about proprietary tech, to be perfectly honest, based on our own testing IPsec/IKEv2 performs considerably better in terms of speed, connection time and battery life.
WireGuard, on the other hand, is the newest open-source VPN protocol that uses state-of-the-art encryption methods to deliver top notch security while offering even better performance than IPsec.
OpenVPN uses port 1194 by default, IPsec/IKEv2 uses port 500. If your ISP throttles specific ports, it’s possible that your encrypted traffic may be limited in speed. In this case port forwarding VPN through port 443 should solve the problem, a feature that is offered only by a handful of VPN providers listed in this article.
The fastest VPN providers that offer WireGuard are listed in our Best VPN for WireGuard article.
Myth 3: You should always choose 256-bit encryption because 128-bit is just not secure.
This one was cleverly devised by marketing departments of certain providers to distinguish themselves as “more secure” because, supposedly, a higher key length equals a more secure connection, right? Wrong! It does, indeed, sound better, but in reality at the moment it would take 2,158,000,000,000 years to brute force through the 128-bit key. That’s 2,158 billion years! Thus, we can safely deduce that, for our daily use, 128-bit key is as secure as 256-bit key. When it comes to performance, though, 256-bit is considerably slower, while 128-bit is considerably faster. Choosing 128-bit encryption has no practical disadvantages whatsoever, while choosing 256-bit encryption will further slow you down. Thus, if you would like to maintain that 1Gbps speed, you may want to consider the 128-bit encryption.
Myth 4: Your hardware is irrelevant.
Some think that if your CPU can deliver gigabit speed for unencrypted connection then it surely should be the same with the VPN running, provided that a provider has ultra fast servers. Test results show that AES-NI capable devices show a dramatic performance gain per core, comparing to processors not supporting AES-NI. Performance is mostly limited by the encryption and decryption routines found in the OpenSSL libraries (AES-NI enables high-speed hardware encryption and decryption for OpenSSL).
Again, OpenVPN is based on OpenSSL which, as we explained above, results in more processor overhead. Both WireGuard and IPsec/IKEv2 are not based on OpenSSL so they don’t have the same weakness.
Myth 5: All servers are equal, even across continents.
Nope. The further the location of a particular server, the longer the distance a connection must travel (refer to Myth 1). When connecting to a server across continents, ping time cannot be 2 ms because, well, it takes some time to get from Germany to New York. Even with the super fast gigabit Internet, wait time can kill the performance. For this reason, do not expect the same results with all servers. If you are looking for the fastest and most impressive performance, choose the VPN servers that are closest to your location.
Having said the above, we have compiled a list of reputable fast VPN providers that have servers with gigabit speed, don’t cap downloads and are constantly optimizing their network to deliver the fastest VPN speeds. Performance is a must for a VPN service, disconnections and connection lags are unacceptable.
ANNUAL PRICE: 6.67 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.95 USD
ExpressVPN has one of the largest and fastest infrastructures with over 2,000 servers in 94 countries. Ultra fast ExpressVPN network supports gigabit Internet connection which makes it a perfect choice for ultra high speed streaming and torrenting. Besides, ExpressVPN aligns itself as one of the Internet’s leading advocates for net neutrality, for a democratic and open internet. Considering they have a no logs policy, accept Bitcoin and are located on the Caribbean Island, they are a great choice for privacy oriented customers who want to protect their data from surveillance, bypass censorship and access restricted materials. To read a full ExpressVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 4.49 USD/mo [promocode]
MONTHLY PRICE: 8.99 USD
Offering over 3,000 servers in 50 countries, all mainstream protocols and 5 simultaneous connections, TorGuard rightfully earned its place as a top VPN provider. No logs TorGuard offers a reliable, fast and secure VPN connection with 10Gb premium servers in USA, UK and Canada. Their SOCKS5 proxy is an excellent feature for high speed multimedia streaming and torrenting as it integrates with the main BitTorrent applications. TorGuard native apps offer advanced security features to ensure no data leaks, even when the connection drops. TorGuard’s StealthVPN protocol is an effective tool to bypass strict firewalls and VPN blocking. To read a full TorGuard review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 2.50 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.95 USD
VyprVPN is a leading no logs VPN provider with over 700 ultra fast servers worldwide that support gigabit Internet connection (1,000Mbps). VyprVPN has done independent public audit by Leviathan Security to ensure that no logs are collected. Unlike most VPN providers, VyprVPN doesn’t rely on 3rd party hosting – they own and manage their own VPN servers. VyprVPN infrastructure is amazingly fast offering ultra fast speeds and low ping times for high speed HD streaming. With their server clusters located in close proximity to major gaming servers, VyprVPN also delivers a better overall gaming experience. VyprVPN custom software is very reliable and protects users from various IP leaks. In addition, VyprVPN is an excellent provider to bypass even the strictest firewalls that block VPN connection. To read a full VyprVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 4.99 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 9.95 USD
Based in Malaysia, Hide.me is one the most secure and fastest VPN providers offering ultra fast VPN servers that provide gigabit Internet connection. Hide.Me VPN is extremely reliable and very fast which makes it a perfect choice for security oriented users who would like to enjoy uninterrupted streaming and browsing experience. Hide.Me offers incredibly convenient custom apps for all devices with a number of advanced security features for maximum protection. Hide.me is a no logs company that has custom software with a built-in protection against IP and data leaks, obfuscation tools to bypass strict firewalls, dynamic TCP/UDP port-forwarding (UPnP) and SOCKS5 proxy that is especially useful for torrenting. To read a full Hide.me review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE PRICE: 1.75 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 11.99 USD
ZenMate is a no logs privacy oriented VPN provider with a number of built-in security features for advanced protection from cybercrime and various IP leaks. ZenMate has over 1,000 ultra fast VPN servers that are great for streaming (including Netflix), torrenting and gaming since the infrastructure is optimized for low ping times and virtually eliminates lag. ZenMate Premium software for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android is lightweight, efficient and reliable – it takes about 2 seconds to disconnect from one VPN server and connect to another. ZenMate simply never disconnects! To read a full ZenMate review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 4.50 EUR/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 7 EUR
AirVPN is an Italian VPN provider created by privacy activists whose main goal is data protection. AirVPN has over 200 ultra fast servers (1,000Mbps) in 23 countries that have Perfect Forward Secrecy through Diffie-Hellman key exchange DHE. Essentially key negotiation is performed every 60 minutes to avoid data breach if the key is compromised. Additionally, AirVPN offers OpenVPN over SSH and OpenVPN over SSL that mask OpenVPN and make the use of encryption tools invisible to some of the most advanced firewalls. To read a full AirVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 9.99 EUR/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.99 EUR
Perfect Privacy is an ultra fast (gigabit servers) VPN provider with a heavy focus on advanced online security. Perfect Privacy integrated firewall enforces all traffic to be sent through secure tunnels thereby protecting their users from all known IP leaks when the app is running, it even prevents unencrypted online access after OS reboot. In addition, Perfect Privacy offers a unique Multi-Hop VPN feature that allows cascading over up to 4 OpenVPN servers at the same time along with SOCKS5 and Squid proxies. Perfect Privacy can bypass strict firewalls by obfuscating OpenVPN to look like normal HTTPS traffic with OpenVPN over SSH feature. For additional firewall penetration Perfect Privacy allows 5 custom port forwardings or 3 default random ports. What really separates them, though, is their ability to resolve .onion (TOR) addresses without the need for the Tor Browser. To read a full Perfect Privacy review click HERE.