The Fastest VPN services of 2023

What is the fastest VPN

Written by: Per-Erik Eriksson

In 2023, we are feeling a need for speed, but we are also feeling more than ever a need for security.

One of the most important steps you can take to improve your security online is to get a VPN. But obviously, in today’s streaming-heavy world, many people can’t accept a slow VPN; they need the best performance possible.

In case you don't want to read the entire article, here’s a quick summary of the best VPN services according to our independent tests and research:
  • NordVPN Best VPN for general work and entertainment purposes. I found it to be reliable, high-speed, and easy to set up, and it's one that I use daily for work.
  • ProtonVPN (Free Version) Proton is often referred to as the single most trustworthy company in the VPN business. They focus on security over anything else and offer the best free VPN available. This is the company behind ProtonMail.
  • CyberGhost VPN was voted as the best gaming VPN for 2023 and is one of the cheapest VPN services among the whole top 10.


NordVPN Logo

6 simultaneous devices.

  • Fastest VPN 2023
  • Servers: 5300+
  • Countries: 60+

WHY I LIKE NORDVPN NordVPN has long been regarded as one of the strongest brands in cybersecurity. With one of the largest server offerings on my list and support for most, if not all operating systems, making NordVPN an obvious choice for many. They have 24/7 customer support if you need help getting started. Their app is one of the most well-designed apps I have ever used. NordVPN even accepts cryptocurrencies as payment for extra anonymity.

Surfshark logo

Unlimited simultaneous devices.

  • Best Cheap VPN 2023
  • Servers: 3200+
  • Countries: 65+

WHY I LIKE SURFSHARK: Surfshark VPN is perfect for those who want a cheap and reliable VPN that also has many extra features. "Camouflage Mode" hides your usage from your ISP, "Kill Switch" suspends your connection and protects your information if you temporarily lose Internet access, "MultiHop" to connect from multiple countries at the same time just to name a few. My favorite feature of Surfshark is "Whitelists" which allow the user to exclude specific apps and programs from the VPN connection.

Cyberghost VPN Logo

7 simultaneous devices.

  • Best Torrent VPN
  • Servers: 7400+
  • Countries: 91+

WHY I LIKE CYBERGHOST CyberGhost VPN is the first choice of many other cybersecurity experts, and the reason is clear; they have the most complete VPN service. An incredible number of extra features that are best suited for the more advanced users but also work flawlessly for every-day purposes like P2P-filesharing. Cyberghost VPN also has the longest stretching money-back guarantee at a full 45 days.

Private Internet Access VPN Logo

Unlimited simultaneous devices.

  • Best Netflix/Streaming VPN
  • Servers: 35500+
  • Countries: 84+

WHY I LIKE PIA VPN: PrivateInternetAccess is at the top of my streaming tests, which is a great combination with their easy-to-use UI, Open-Source software and built in adblocker. PIA is also perfect for those who want to be able to pay with PayPal which for some reason, many other VPN services do not support. 30-day money-back guarantee, multiple Netflix libraries, and extremely affordable are the three main selling points for this VPN service.

Atlas VPN Logo

Unlimited simultaneous devices.

  • Robust/Security focused
  • Servers: 750+
  • Countries: 43+

WHY I LIKE ATLAS VPN: Atlas VPN is one of the best new free VPN services. With the free version, you get unlimited data, no ads and zero logging. During my speed tests, Atlas VPN performed very well and could compete with mainstream services. Kill Switch, Ad-blocker, and P2P support all included with a regular subscription, which is incredibly cheap for such a robust service.

ProtonVPN Logo

10 simultaneous devices.

  • Best Free VPN 2023
  • Servers: 1713+
  • Countries: 63+

WHY I LIKE PROTONVPN: ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland and is most known for their e-mail service ProtonMail. They currently offer the safest free VPN services on the market. There is also support for TOR usage and P2P file sharing. I highly recommend ProtonVPN if you are intending to do some extensive online sharing. It goes without saying that Proton does not collect logs of any kind and is completely safe to use.

PrivateVPN Logo

10 simultaneous devices.

  • Best VPN for Gaming and Streaming
  • Servers: 200+
  • Countries: 63+

WHY I LIKE PRIVATEVPN: PrivateVPN is the strong underdog in the world of VPNs. With a shy number of servers, it is evident that they are focusing on quality over quantity. Overall, PrivateVPN is a very decent choice of VPN, especially if you had enough of the excessive advertising by some of the other more known brands in this list. Setting up the VPN requires extremely little intervention, and you can even pay with Bitcoin.

ExpressVPN Logo

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • Best Mobile VPN app
  • Servers: 3000+
  • Countries: 94+
Orchid VPN Logo
One-time fee.


  • Pay for that you use
  • Unlimited devices
  • Pay in Crypto
Hotspot Shield VPN Logo

45 day money-back guarantee.

  • Fastest free VPN
  • Servers: 3200+
  • Countries: 80+
ZoogVPN Logo

7 day money-back guarantee.

  • Great free VPN
  • Servers: 1000+
  • Countries: 26+

10 day money-back guarantee.

  • Best reputation
  • Servers: 91+
  • Countries: 17+
Trust.Zone Logo

No money-back guarantee.

  • Best new VPN
  • Servers: 202+
  • Countries: 41+
iTop VPN Logo

15 day money-back guarantee.

  • Great adblocker included
  • Servers: 1800+
  • Countries: 20+
Speedify Logo

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • 5 devices simultaneously
  • Unlimited usage
  • 50+ locations
HideIPVPN Logo

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • Unlimited traffic
  • Up to 1 Gbps
  • Free trial
VeePN Logo

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • 10 devices
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Countries: 60+
18 Logo

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • 5 devices
  • Free trial
  • Countries: 45+
19 Logo
$5.00 /user

14 day free trial/money-back guarantee.

  • Simple Cloud VPN Setup
  • Site-to-site VPN Tunneling
  • Easy Server & User Management
BullVPN Logo

No money-back guarantee.

  • 2 devices
  • Countries: 28+
  • Locations: 100+
SymlexVPN Logo

7 day money-back guarantee.

  • 5 devices
  • Locations: 65+
  • 24/7 live support
iProVPN Logo

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • 10 devices
  • Countries: 20+
  • P2P Optimization
SecureVPN Logo

Basic, advanced, and pro plans.

  • Countries: 22+
  • Locations: 36+
  • 24/7 live support
Hola VPN Logo

30 day money-back guarantee.

  • Best multi-device VPN
  • Servers: 1000+
  • Countries: 200+

A VPN doesn’t have to be slow anymore

The good news is that VPNs over the past decade or so have made some really incredible improvements in many areas. In particular, VPNs, which often used to be painfully slow, have gotten a lot faster. Most of the time, with a good VPN, you don’t even know it’s on because you don’t notice any performance hit at all.

Lots of options out there

Competition is the name of the game in 2023, especially when one is referring to VPNs. Many of the top VPNs are perfectly capable of streaming video while you are working from home and possibly sending and receiving large files at the same time.

Some quick caveats

It’s not necessarily the best idea to take the statistics that the individual companies publish at face value. It’s important, first of all, to remember that testing the speed of something like a VPN in an essentially lab-like setting is naturally going to produce results that will be unattainable for you or anybody else in the real world.

If you are interested in doing your own testing, the best way to do it is to simply use the same speed test immediately before and then after connecting to the VPN. Do it at various times of the day to get a good average.

It’s also important to bear in mind that the speed when using a VPN will never be exactly the full speed of your internet connection, no matter how good it is. Also, the further away a server is from you physically, the more likely it will be to slow your connection down, especially in the area of ping time.

My four best picks

It’s probably not going to be worth it for you, however, to perform your own testing, since I’ve gone to all the trouble for you already. I am, in fact, happy to present you with the results of my research.

Below you will find information on four very highly rated VPNs, all of which are known for their speed, among other good qualities. They are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark VPN and CyberGhost VPN.


ExpressVPN Fastest VPN

ExpressVPN is a very famous name among VPNs, and not without reason. Actually, many people have said over the years that ExpressVPN absolutely lives up to its name, and this has been one of its biggest draws for customers.

So, does ExpressVPN live up to its name in 2023? The short answer is: yes and no.

Still good, but competition is stiff

ExpressVPN is still an excellent option, but I have noticed that, depending on the time of the day, some of the servers definitely tend to get clogged.

When I tested ExpressVPN, I found, surprisingly, that the best download and upload speeds came from Europe, despite testing from all the way in California. And, also surprisingly, US servers often couldn’t match their speeds, especially at peak times.

Do the server dance for best results

This explains then why I say “yes and no” to whether ExpressVPN is fast. Or, to put it another way, ExpressVPN can still be among your fastest options if you are willing to pick and choose the best servers at the best times.

This may sound like it’s too complicated. However, there are two things that need to be kept in mind. Firstly, for many people, this won’t be necessary, as even the worst speeds I encountered were still adequate for the vast majority of the things you probably want to do on the internet.

Secondly, if you are one of those people who really need maximum speed at all times, this is something you are going to want to do with any VPN, so ExpressVPN really isn’t going to complicate your life any more than another VPN would in this case.


NordVPN Fastest VPN Review

NordVPN is unique among the four options mentioned here in a couple of interesting ways. It has its own proprietary VPN protocol, called NordLynx, for one thing. And, unlike other VPNs that use OpenVPN as the default option, NordVPN opts for NordLynx, unless the user actively changes it.

The jury is still out on whether NordLynx is safer than OpenVPN or not, but one thing is for sure: NordLynx is definitely a bit faster overall.

The stability factor

The best part of NordVPN is that, while its download and upload speeds are good, what is really impressive is its rock-solid stability. At no time in the testing process could I get speeds to drop more than 10% below-average speed.

This makes NordVPN an excellent choice for reliably sending and receiving large files, and also for things like streaming, where small interruptions can cause major havoc.

The Asia factor

NordVPN is also the favorite for customers in the Asian market or customers located in Asia. Many people swear by it, for example, as the best option to connect from within the borders of mainland China, where the internet is heavily censored.

I do have to recommend caution for people who decide to do this, however, as VPNs were made illegal in mainland China some years ago.

VPNs are also very useful in other Asian countries, as the internet quality tends to be very good, but people from the West are constantly running into region blocks. NordVPN works wonders in that kind of environment.

Surfshark VPN

Surfshark VPN Fastest VPNs
Surfshark wins hands down in the category of most-improved VPN in 2023. In fact, this time around, Surfshark VPN was actually the fastest option out of the four mentioned!

Also, it’s very good news that Surfshark VPN’s speeds tend to be quite stable, and they don’t change very much as you work your way across the globe. This means Surfshark also wins in one major category:

The best option for people within the US

Surfshark also had hands down the best scores for US servers, which means that it’s a great option for people within the US (and generally within the Americas) to use as a VPN.

Corollary to that, Surfshark VPN is a very good option for people who need to connect to US servers from abroad, in order to get around region blocks or for whatever similar reason. They will generally find that this will be among their best options, if not the best option of all, for this type of VPN use.

In fact, most of its competitors were surprisingly sluggish this time around with their US servers, possibly due to overcrowding of servers. Surfshark VPN seemed completely unfazed by this and performed like a champ.

No testing is completely objective

It should be kept in mind that these tests are not done on the level of, say, scientific experiments. On another day, week or month, results may vary greatly.

Still, having said that, Surfshark’s showing was very impressive in more than one way, and it may be time for people who hadn’t taken a look at Surfshark VPN previously to change that.

CyberGhost VPN

Cyberghost Fastest VPN Speed Test
The most important thing to say about CyberGhost VPN right off the bat is that it’s very difficult to compare apples to apples when dealing with a program like CyberGhost VPN.

Proprietary and innovative technology

This is because CyberGhost VPN uses a proprietary method of channeling your data between various servers, depending on the type of data and traffic in question, combined with which servers are the least busy, and many other factors.

For ordinary surfing of the internet, one doesn’t notice a huge difference due to this system. However, it really is impressive when dealing with things like large file transfers and p2p, which is what it was originally built for in the first place.

The in-app ping test is also really nice

CyberGhost VPN also has a great feature built-in which really helps choose the best server. You can ping multiple servers within the app to see where the lowest ping or pings are coming from, and connect based on that. Ping often directly correlates with other connection quality factors, such as total bandwidth and jitter, so this is a very useful tool at times.

Best choice for advanced users

CyberGhost VPN’s feature set is truly wonderful if you want all of the advanced options available to you. These guys have literally thought of practically everything.

If you need to dig deep into the options in order to do things your way, and like to tweak things down to the electronics, CyberGhost VPN is probably going to wind up being the best option for you for a VPN.

In fact, often you can really boost your speed with a little intelligent poking around with CyberGhost. This is something that is also true of the other VPNs mentioned here in this article. However, CyberGhost really takes these options to the next level.

General tips for VPN speed

There are also many things you can control as the user that will possibly help you get a better speed out of your VPN. Here is a quick checklist for those of you who feel they aren’t getting enough out of their VPN and would like to improve the bandwidth a little:

Change the protocol

Most VPNs allow you to use one of several different protocols to connect to your VPN. The industry standard is a protocol called OpenVPN, which is considered to offer a good balance in most cases between speed and security.

There is another common protocol called IKEv2/IPsec that will allow for better throughput speeds. It’s still secure but perhaps not quite as secure as the OpenVPN protocol. It may be the perfect option for many situations, however, especially those involving things like video streaming.


Split-tunneling is when you choose which websites, domains or apps use the VPN and which bypasses it. This is especially useful on desktops or laptops using web browsers, but it’s also a good technique on mobile devices.

If you are doing this with NordVPN, you will need to install a browser extension to make it possible. All other VPNs listed here offer you the option automatically.

Choose the closest server you can.

Most of the time, you don’t need to pick a specific country for a VPN server. As long as this is the case (an exception would be if you are trying to get around a regional block, for example), you should generally choose a server that’s as close to you in location as possible.

The exception to this rule would be when the closest server or servers to you are very crowded, in which case distance becomes a secondary consideration.

One should always use the closest server that doesn’t have an inordinate amount of traffic. Sometimes there is a necessary bit of trial and error here, and naturally, server traffic is always changing as well.

Eventually, the diligent user will figure out patterns and know when to connect for maximum benefit.

Final thoughts

The year 2023 is bound to be another great year for development in internet-related technology in general, including VPNs.

I am sure that you will have even more and better choices as time goes on. In fact, I am sure that the four already excellent options we mentioned above in this article are also going to just keep getting better and better as time gets on.

I am predicting that higher speeds and lower ping times are going to become more and more the norm as the year 2023 marches on. Perhaps VPNs are going to start becoming so common that they will wind up being the standard way that people connect to the internet. They certainly are quickly becoming something more and more people can’t do without.

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