Despite what you may have heard, all VPNs reduce your internet speed. Because of this, some VPN users actually find they can't use the internet effectively at all whilst using a VPN.
Fortunately, though, there are a few high-speed VPN options available that do retain most of your current speed, allowing you to browse the internet efficiently even with the VPN enabled.
Here are my top 4 fastest VPN choices that will secure your connection without significantly slowing it down:
- NordVPN (Trustworthy and very affordable - almost 90% speed retention)
- ExpressVPN (Great for accessing online media - over 75% speed retention)
- ProtonVPN (Prioritizes safety - 75% speed retention)
- Hotspot Shield (Impressive download speeds - almost 80% speed retention rate)
Prices start at: $2.99/month
NordVPN is a top-rated Panama-based VPN provider. Its platform popularity has surged in recent years because of its wide variety of features and affordable price points.
I tested NordVPNs servers to see how much it affected my internet speeds. My typical internet download speed is around 80Mbps.
After I connected to NordVPN's platform, my internet speed was reduced to 71.2Mbps. This means that almost 90%% of my typical internet speed was retained. This is one of the fastest VPNs in the industry.
If you can typically access online content or download files, NordVPN provides enough speed retention to keep you moving quickly.
Access to media, streams, and torrents
If you're looking for a high-speed VPN, there's a high chance that you're planning on using it to access online content. VPNs provide you with the ability to bypass geography locks and remain anonymous online when you torrent.
The only downside is that some VPNs don't provide you with their advertised capabilities.
I used NordVPN across a wide range of servers using Netflix and Hulu to test its ability to bypass firewalls and geography protections. This is one of the few VPNs that I've tested that was able to bypass the world's leading content providers consistently.
But it's not just Netflix and Hulu that NordVPN helps you access…
The VPN provider is also completely supportive of torrents on its platform. It's a great way to stay anonymous online when you're using popular P2P sites. Considering how fast its service is, you won't have any issues downloading large files with NordVPN.
One of the cheapest options on the market
While NordVPN has one of the most outstanding reputations in the VPN industry, it also happens to be the most affordable options. The company provides extreme savings for users who opt for longer subscription periods.
If you're willing to pay for three years upfront, you can gain access to NordVPNs full service for just $2.99 per month. While its other subscription options are more expensive - all available choices are very affordable given the quality of this VPN platform.
- Almost 90% speed retention rate
- Cheap price points
- Access to Netflix and Hulu
- Allows torrenting
- You need to sign up for a long subscription to get low prices
Prices start at: $8.32/month
ExpressVPN is a British Virgin Islands VPN provider that has also developed a reputation as one of the most robust VPN providers in the industry. Its offshore jurisdiction is attractive to VPN users that want to use a VPN that is outside of the influence of Western government data laws.In terms of speed, ExpressVPN offers a large download speed retention rate. My normal download speed of 80Mbps was only reduced to 61.1Mbps. This means that ExpressVPN retains over 75% of your internet's download speed.
As long as your normal internet connection is adequate, you won't notice the difference when you connect with ExpressVPN.
Strong encryption standards with no logs
ExpressVPN has a strict no-log policy that ensures it doesn't retain your browsing data. It's a great extra layer of protection that helps ensure you can navigate the internet with privacy.
ExpressVPN also uses AES 256-bit encryption - this is one of the best encryption standards in the industry. Believe it or not, it was once used by the US Military to secure sensitive information. Current research suggests this standard is un-hackable by modern computers - as long as there is no previous knowledge of the encryption keys.
ExpressVPN is another member of the 'media friendly' VPN providers that can offer you access to some of the world's best streaming sites. I tested ExpressVPN on Hulu and Netflix and consistently gained access to overseas servers.
ExpressVPN is also openly supportive of torrenting on its servers. Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN is a top choice for individuals looking to protect their identities while connected to P2P networks.
Paying for performance
The only major downside to ExpressVPN's services is that they come at a hefty price. While there are longer subscriptions available at discounted prices - the cheapest ExpressVPN price is still significantly higher than that of any other VPN provider on this list.
ExpressVPN prices start at $8.32 - this might be a bit outside of the budget of some VPN users. If you choose to pay month-to-month, you'll have to pay even more!
- Over 75% download speed retention rate
- Strong encryption
- No-log policy
- Safe jurisdiction
- The most expensive VPN option on this list
Prices start at: free!
ProtonVPN is a Switzerland based VPN provider that provides some of the industry's best speed retention rates.
My download speed reduced from 80Mbps to 58.6Mbps. This means you can rely on ProtonVPN to retain around 75% of your typical download speeds.
While these speeds are great, there are also other parts of ProtonVPN's platform that users seem to enjoy!
Speed - with safety in mind
ProtonVPN's primary benefit is that it's designed with safety in mind. ProtonVPN was started by the same people that created ProtonMail - an encrypted email service that has millions of users worldwide.
If you're looking to purchase a VPN that's built by experts in data security, this is a reliable option. Other VPNs offer similar security features, but few are able to maintain the level of speed performance I've found in ProtonVPN.
You can take advantage of AES 256-bit military grade encryption when you use ProtonVPN, too.
Free plan - not only a trial
ProtonVPN offers a free VPN package with reduced capability. With the free option, you can only access the platform with one device - and there are only three server options.
Still, it is a good place to start when testing out a new provider.
- 75% speed retention rate
- Built by data security experts
- Located in a safe jurisdiction
- Affordable price
- Free option (reduced services)
- Not as fast as some of the other services on this list
Prices start at: free!
Hotspot Shield is lesser known than some of the other VPN companies mentioned on this list, but it provides some of the most impressive performance results in the industry.
Hotspot Shield is the VPN product of data security company Anchor Free. The firm holds offices in California - but also has international office locations.
Additionally, Hotspot Shield has a free plan available - that's a great opportunity for trying out a product before buying a subscription. However, as it's expected, the free plan is limited, so if you're looking for a speedy connection - it's better to pay.
Lightning fast downloads…but uploads are less than impressiveHotspot Shield retains almost 80% of original download speed. When I connected to Hotspot Shield, my download speed went from 80Mbps to 62.7Mbps.
While Hotspot Shield has great download speed retention, its upload speeds are slightly less impressive. With upload speeds of 48.7Mbps, it is the lowest number on this list.
Since VPN users usually use the service to stream media or browse - slightly lower uploads shouldn't be a huge issue.
Not the perfect service
But if you're looking for more from a VPN, the other providers mentioned in this article are much more robust.
Hotspot Shield claims to be a service that protects your online activity, but there are allegations that this isn't entirely true. In the image from Tech Radar about potential safety risks associated with Hotspot Shield:
With Hotspot Shield, you don't benefit from many server locations and the company is thought to log more information than it advertises. This can put you at risk if privacy is a major concern.
- Very fast download speeds
- Allows access to media
- Affordable price points
- US jurisdiction
- Slow upload speeds
Which Fastest VPN Option Should You Pick?
All of the VPNs mentioned in this article have breakneck download speeds. You wo§n't have any issues streaming content, downloading files, or navigating the internet with any of the VPNs in this article.
However, each VPN has other features that provide added value and functionality. So, the one that is best for you will depend on your preferences, needs, and budget. Below are the highlights of each of these VPN services:
- NordVPN is best for those who want a high-speed VPN that's cheap and provides a range of additional features.
- ExpressVPN is best for those who want a fast VPN with excellent download speeds and access to different online media.
- ProtonVPN is best for those who want a fast VPN that also prioritizes safety.
- Hotspot Shield is best for those who want impressive download speeds.
Do you use a VPN that has a high amount of speed retention? If so, comment below about your experiences using your VPN of choice.