VPNs are nowadays extremely useful when surfing the internet as they serve a multitude of purposes: online anonymity, streaming without geographical boundaries, secure downloads, bypassing web censorship… The drawback of these tools is that they can slow down your internet connection speed. Fortunately, this is not the case with all VPN providers.
So in this article, we’re going to introduce you to the 3 fastest VPNs of 2023 and then explain (or remind you) why a Virtual Private Network has an impact on your speed.
We tested over 20 big names in the VPN market and came up with a selection of 3 providers that really do have more than satisfactory connection speeds. With such speeds, the user experience will be optimal. Beware, there are going to be some charts and a lot of numbers, so get ready!
Top 3 VPNs with the best speeds in 2023
In order to get straight to the heart of the matter, we will first reveal our ranking of the 3 fastest VPNs with the data associated with each. We’ll then go into more detail about the testing process we followed to come up with this ranking.
The 3 fastest VPNs in the US according to our latest tests!
The top 3 fastest VPNs in the US are made up of :
- NordVPN – Try it for 30 days!
- ExpressVPN – Try it Free for 30 days!
- Cyberghost – Try it Free for 45 days!
These results are from a 30-day analysis and represent the average obtained by the VPNs we tested. We will come back to the interpretation of these figures later in this article.
The fastest VPN in 2023 is NordVPN if you want to connect to a US server and get a US IP address.
By choosing NordVPN, you will be sure to have very good connection speeds almost anywhere in the world regardless of the server you choose. Note also that this provider offers unlimited bandwidth and that it is present in over 90 countries via 5000+ servers. Such a large network allows you to enjoy the best of the Internet without any constraints.
Why does a VPN lose speed?
If you’re here looking for the best VPN for speed, you may know why a Virtual Private Network will slow you down. If that’s the case, you can skip ahead to the next section of this file, which explains how we conducted our tests.
First of all, it’s important to understand how a VPN works. If you still don’t know what it is, we invite you to read our explanatory article on VPNs.
When you connect to a VPN, the traffic from your device is redirected to the VPN server before it reaches the Internet. This is how your data will be encrypted and your real IP address will be masked, but this redirection also adds extra time by default.
Added to this time is the geographical distance to the server that processes your data to allow you to safely browse the internet, download, stream, or whatever. Therefore, the increase in distance almost inevitably leads to a decrease in your speed.
It may happen, in rare cases, that a VPN increases your speed. This is the case, for example, when your Internet service provider throttles your bandwidth. Some operators do this when the network is saturated.
Coming back to the VPN, the more servers your provider has AND the better they are, the better its performance will be. It is imperative to know that the quantity of servers is not everything. Indeed, NordVPN and CyberGhost have more servers than ExpressVPN, and yet the latter is currently the fastest VPN in 2023. This is due to the constant maintenance of its infrastructure.
There are also 2 other aspects to consider:
- The quality of the server (a server with 10CPU, 10GB/s bandwidth and 10GB RAM will be 10x more powerful than one with 1CPU, 1GB/s and 1GB RAM).
- Server traffic. If there are 1000 people connected to it, the performance will be less good than if you are alone.
Download, Upload, what does it matter?
On the different graphs you will find, two parameters are measured. These are the download and upload speeds expressed in megabits per second (Mb/s). For the less experienced among you :
- the download speed is the speed of receiving data from the Internet to your computer – for example, downloading a software
- upload is the speed of data transfer from your computer to the Internet – for example, uploading a Youtube video
These data are essential to take into account because they condition your user experience. When you download or stream, the download speed is essential. We do not take into account the upload speed which does not come into play.
On the other hand, when you browse the Internet and exchange with your friends (by sending photos, videos…) or even when you play online games, your download AND upload speeds must be high.
These are the two reference indicators (in addition to the PING or latency that we have not dealt with in this file) to judge the quality of your bandwidth and the speed of your connection.
Knowing all this, we will now be able to explain in detail how we conducted our test which resulted in the top 3 fastest VPNs above.
How did we do our tests?
We think it is essential to contextualize our test so that you understand why it is legitimate but also why we get such or such result. The first reminder we want to make is that you will NEVER get the same results as we did. Maybe you will get more, maybe less, it depends on your connection without VPN, but also on the server you select, the day, the time, its traffic and the state of your internet connection at the base.
So in order to have a relevant and useful VPN speed test for you, we tried to minimize the external elements.
Here’s how we did it:
1) We tested our speed without VPN
First of all, it is essential to check what is our connection speed without VPN in order to compare with the speeds once the software is activated. So we have done 3 tests over a week (Tuesday noon, Friday evening and Sunday afternoon). This allows us to take into account the differences of day and time.
On the image above you can see our download and upload speeds over the 3 days and the average.
Our average bandwidth over the 3 days was 134 Mb/s in download and 120 Mb/s in upload. This is nothing exceptional, but it is more than enough to make a good comparison of VPN speeds.
2) We tested each VPN in the USA and in Europe
Every day, in addition to the test without VPN, we have (at a few minutes interval) performed speed tests for more than 20 VPNs. As a reminder, only the 3 best are presented here.
We connect to the nearest server to the New York server for the USA and to Germany in Europe. We could of course have tested other locations such as Australia, France or Brazil but that would have made this comparison of VPN speeds a bit too complicated to order clearly for our readers.
3) We averaged the 30 days
To establish our top 3 fastest VPNs, we took into account the results over several days and averaged them over the 30 days. The idea was to minimize errors by collecting data as close to reality as possible.
This allows us to exclude some VPNs that could show (by chance) excellent results one day and very bad results the other days.
The goal here is to present you the VPNs with the best speeds but also the most stable ones over time.
Detailed analysis of the top 3 fastest VPNs
Now that you know how we conducted our speed tests, it’s time to detail the results of the 3 fastest VPNs in our ranking.
Please note that the numbers below do not match those you will see in other of our articles and reviews. This file was made after their publication.
- Based in Panama
- Total servers: 5,500+ servers in 58 countries
- Logs: No logs
- Support : 24/7 Live Chat
- Unblock Netflix : Yes
- Refund : 30 days
- Discount : NordVPN Coupon 64% off
Among the fastest VPNs of 2023, we finally find NordVPN. This is perhaps the best known of the 3 at the moment thanks to numerous advertising campaigns on TV and Youtube.
NordVPN is not just words. Indeed, it is also a very high quality offer that you can discover in our NordVPN review.
In terms of speed, although it is not the fastest VPN of 2023, it still shows more than acceptable results that will offer you a good user experience.
In the USA
In the United States, NordVPN has more than 1500 servers. This number is simply enormous and is necessary to accommodate the tens of millions of NordVPN users.
In the United States, the difference with CyberGhost is really very small. Indeed, for upload, the average is even better. However, there are quite marked differences between the days of our tests. On day 2, the speed was almost divided by 2 … before rebounding on Sunday afternoon.
NordVPN deserves its third place in this ranking of the fastest VPNs but we still expect some improvements in the quality of its servers. Indeed, the stability of the connection sometimes leaves something to be desired. As we said, the number is not everything. The power of the servers is also an important criterion to take into consideration.
In Europe, NordVPN has over 1500 servers (5400 in total worldwide). This could allow it to have excellent speeds if only its servers were of better quality. Indeed, its performance is still better than the speeds of ExpressVPN :
Currently, NordVPN offers a very interesting discount on its 2 years subscription which is just over 3€ / month. To subscribe and benefit from the 30 days money back guarantee, it’s here:
- Based in: British Virgin Islands
- Total servers: 5,000+ servers in 59 countries
- Logs: No logs
- Support : 24/7 Live Chat
- Unblock Netflix : Yes
- Refunds : 30 days
- Discount : ExpressVPN Coupon 49% off
ExpressVPN is known as the fastest VPN but we wanted to find out for sure by carrying out complete tests over several days.
With its 3,000 (quality) servers, apparently, the provider really manages to offer excellent performance in terms of speed and throughputs very close to the original connection speed. Browsing is so smooth that you almost forget that the VPN is activated.
We notice that ExpressVPN is very regular with relatively similar results for the 30 days – except for a little bit (everything is relative) low upload result on the first day.
The average is still really excellent and ExpressVPN deserves without any doubt its place in this top 3 of the best VPNs for speed.
In the US
ExpressVPN is also a very useful VPN if you want to unblock content only available in other countries. As we said in our ExpressVPN review, it works perfectly for the major streaming platforms.
With an average speed of 84 Mb/s in download and 58 Mb/s in upload, ExpressVPN sets the bar very high. Once again, we can see a fairly good regularity over the 30 days of our test.
If you want to subscribe to the fastest VPN offer, you should know that ExpressVPN offers 49% discount and 3 months free on its 1 year subscription. Test it without any risk thanks to its 30 days money back guarantee.
In third position of this ranking of the fastest VPNs of 2023, we find CyberGhost which really impressed us with its more than satisfactory speeds due to the Wireguard protocol.
Indeed, it is not so far from ExpressVPN, which is well known in the space but far from NordVPN. These great performances are partly explained by the very large network of more than 6,500 servers that CyberGhost has developed in recent years.
In the USA
As with ExpressVPN, we wanted to know what the speed of CyberGhost VPN in the USA was.
Contrary to the German servers, we notice here a good regularity over the 30 days of our test with an average of 56 Mb/s in download and 50 Mb/s in upload.
The figures obtained following the Speed test carried out in Germany are really very good. Here is what CyberGhost displayed during the 30 days of tests when connecting to a server in Germany:
The average is very good, with 100 Mb/s downloading and 84 Mb/s uploading.
However, there are some irregularities between two days. As you can see, on day 3 (Sunday afternoon), the download speed was divided by two. This is a rather brutal drop that can be explained by different reasons that we have presented earlier in this file.
Nevertheless, its servers are performing well and of good quality. You should know that CyberGhost displays the traffic of each server so that you can choose the one with the best loading times. To follow the evolution of the servers and discover more features on this VPN, check out our CyberGhost review and test.
If you want to test CyberGhost for free, you should know that they offer 45 days money back guarantee on their long term subscriptions. Take advantage of this to perform your own speed tests and see if this is the fastest VPN for you.
To conclude this long report and this complete analysis of the speeds of the best VPNs of the moment, we would like to remind you that the data displayed here are those of OUR test. If you have a 500 Mb/s basic connection, you will most likely have better speeds than us. The reverse also applies if your bandwidth is lower.
One thing is for sure, by choosing NordVPN, you will have the fastest VPN and you will greatly improve your browsing experience with your Virtual Private Network.
Frequently asked questions
Still have questions about VPNs and the speeds they are able to offer? We have a FAQ for you, hoping it can help answer your questions.
Who is faster, ExpressVPN or NordVPN?
The many speed tests we have conducted for this comparison are unanimous: ExpressVPN is faster than NordVPN.
It is worth noting that this is true whether you connect to a VPN server close to home or far away (in Europe or Asia for example – assuming you are in the US).
In any case, here’s a little advice: to get the best speeds, use the NordLynx protocole from NordVPN or the Lightway protocol at ExpressVPN if you prefer to subscribe to ExpressVPN’s service.
What is the fastest free VPN?
Although we are far from the speeds offered by the fastest VPNs on the market (NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost), it turns out that the best performing free offer is the one from ProtonVPN.
After testing dozens of totally free services, this is the conclusion we were able to draw. Hide.me is not far behind, followed by Windscribe.