So which is the fastest VPN? You don’t want your internet privacy to come at the price of a slower connection, after all. To answer that question, it’s best to look at the download speeds of the major VPN providers. This can be most easily quantified in megabits per second (Mbit/s). Then, to give a level playing-field, they can then be tested through the OpenVPN protocol.
However, one problem that we face in determining the fastest VPN is that, by their very nature, VPNs use a huge number of different servers, and different servers can be faster or slower than one another. Two people using the same VPN provider, for example, might experience different connection speeds because one of them uses a server in Japan, while another uses a server in Argentina. This happens with even the best VPN services, but rest assured that the speeds of the providers in this guide will put them among the best gaming VPNs.
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Therefore, in order to ascertain which provider is truly the fastest, we have to take a look at the average Mbit/s of all the servers that an individual VPN provider offers. However, because we’re dealing with averages here, someone using the provider with the fastest Mbit/s might find themselves with a slower connection than somebody using the second fastest Mbit/s. Equally, performance can change and fluctuate over time. For this reason, we have selected three options for you.
The top fastest VPN providers today:
- NordVPN – the fastest choice (65.79Mbit/s)
- PureVPN – the second fastest choice (65.32Mbit/s)
- ExpressVPN – the third fastest choice (55.76Mbit/s)
No time to read our overviews? Don’t worry. We’ve got speedy summaries for you here.
1. Nord VPN
NordVPN is the fastest VPN, with average connection speeds of 65.79Mbit/s when tested on OpenVPN encryption.
|5,300+ servers in 60+ countries
|Dota 2, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty: Warzone, GTA Online, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Prime Video, and more
|No free trial
- Fastest average server download speeds
- Speedy WireGuard protocol
- Broad streaming compatibility
- Fewer server locations than other providers
- Slightly more expensive
NordVPN is one of the biggest names in the VPN world and its speedy WireGuard protocol allows it to encrypt your data almost instantaneously. If you’re a stickler for speedy internet privacy, that should tickle your fancy.
Although its server selection is by no means bad, it has to be said that it covers a significantly smaller number of countries when compared to other major providers, including the others in this list (60 countries vs 94 and 140, for ExpressVPN and PureVPN, respectively).
Still, NordVPN remains a popular choice with internet users for good reason. It provides a steady and reliable service, it uses the renowned WireGuard protocol for superfast encryption, and it works well with most streaming services too. If you’re not satisfied with any aspect of it, you’ve got the 30-day money-back guarantee in place to give you the option for a full refund at any point during the first month.
Read our NordVPN review.
PureVPN has average connection speeds of 65.32Mbit/s when tested on OpenVPN encryption.
|6,500+ servers in 78+ countries
|New World, Counter Strike: GO, League of Legends, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, and more
|$0.99 seven day free trial
|Yes (PPTP and OpenVPN only)
- Regular third-party privacy audits
- Up to ten simultaneous connections
- Week-long free trial available
- Limited Linux support
- Router support not across the board
PureVPN is a particularly appealing option for anybody whose main concern is protecting their privacy. In order to reassure customers that it is not being as callous with their data as an internet service provider might be, it has an annual independent privacy audit to confirm its trustworthiness.
Of the speedy providers on this list, this could be the best option for anybody who wants a VPN for their whole household. PureVPN allows you to have ten simultaneous connections, and though other, slower VPNs may allow you to have an unlimited number, it is still ahead of the two other options on this list.
Unfortunately, PureVPN does not offer a VPN free trial – however, it does offer the next best thing. Its ‘trial plan’ sees you paying just $0.99 and then being able to use the full service for a whole week. This should give you enough time to ensure it does everything you need it to, and even after that, you’ve got the 30-day money-back guarantee for more wiggle room.
ExpressVPN has average connection speeds of 55.76Mbit/s when tested on OpenVPN encryption.
|3,000+ servers in 94 countries
|Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, FIFA, Minecraft, Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more
|No free trial
- Uses the speedy Lightway protocol
- TrustedServer system grants extra privacy
- Quite expensive
- Smaller overall number of servers
In our best gaming VPN guide, we chose ExpressVPN as our top pick. In part, this was because of the fact that it has more than 3,000 servers across 94 countries, but its speed is also going to be appealing to gamers who have been burned by the frustrations of lag.
In addition to that, it is also compatible with most major streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.), so if you ever find yourself thinking that your native connection is too slow, or want to be able to access your native streaming library when traveling abroad, it’ll help you on that front too.
Then on the privacy front, there’s its TrustedServer system that makes it impossible for its servers to record anything about your activities on the internet while you have the VPN switched on. On top of that, its speedy Lightway protocol helps to encrypt your data as quickly as possible. ExpressVPN may be the slowest on this list, but it has a long list of features to make up for that.
Read our ExpressVPN review.
How we tested the fastest VPN providers
All data on VPN speeds is accumulated via the ProPrivacy VPN Speed Testing Tool, which exclusively uses OpenVPN encryption – this keeps the tests fair, but this isn’t as fast as alternatives like WireGuard or Lightway. All other information about these VPN providers comes from carefully studying their strengths and benefits in relation to the needs of different PC users. Key considerations include:
- Server count: Does a provider have lots of servers? Those with smaller totals are more at risk of slowdown caused by server congestion.
- Privacy: there’s no point in getting a fast VPN that won’t adequately protect your privacy. A no-logs policy is essential for privacy, and a third-party audit is even better.
- Compatibility with services: Some games and streaming services will block access to anyone connecting through a VPN server. We’ve listed some popular games and services that the providers on this list are compatible with, but we recommend taking advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee to be completely sure that it works with what you want to use.
- Connection allowances: Speed is one thing, but if you want to protect the privacy of your whole household, you’ll want to check the allowance on simultaneous connections.
Read our how we test page for more information about the products we cover on PCGamesN and how we decide what to include in our lists.
If you want a fast, trustworthy VPN, then you can’t go wrong with PureVPN, NordVPN, or ExpressVPN. If you’re stuck with a strict budget, why not check out our guides on the best VPN deals and the best free VPNs for some money-saving solutions?