The VPN market is awash with companies, as a selling point, many claim to offer the fastest service, blazing speeds, and anything to get a leg up over the competition.
In most cases, this boast is nothing but marketing speak, and they fail to deliver. While speed isn’t all a VPN should offer, it is good to be the top of the speed stakes.
In this guide, we will find what the fastest VPN’s in the UK are, and while we are at it, we will see which one delivers in other areas as well.
Why Speed Matters with a VPN?
When you use VPN services, they will improve your online security. However, the downside to this is, it takes time to encrypt your data. This takes up processing power and thus affects your internet speed.
Users who just send emails and browse for the majority of time won’t notice much difference.
However, as soon as you stream videos, download torrents or other large files, then you can notice your connection begin to lag.
One thing to note at this point. ISP’s are well known for throttling connections when users stream.
Even YouTube use can cause them to slow your internet connection. A good VPN will prevent them from doing this.
To find the speediest of VPN’s, there were three main testing criteria. These are:
Ping: This is a signal that is sent to a web page, and then the reply is sent back to your device. This is measured in milliseconds (ms). The lower this number, the faster your VPN connection.
Download Speeds: This is how fast data will travel from a server through your connection and to your device.
The standard measurement for download speeds is Mbps (megabits per second). It doesn’t matter what your online activities are, most of the time you will be downloading something, so the higher this figure, the faster your connection speed.
Upload Speeds: This is how fast an upload will leave your device to another. This is also measured in Mbps. While not as important, the upload speed can make the difference when you make video calls.
What Can Affect VPN Speed
Before running the speed tests, it is good to know things that can affect your VPN speed. There is no use thinking a VPN is slow when there are other issues.
Server location: The further this is away, the slower the connection. Unless you are bypassing geo-locations or censorship, you should choose a VPN server in your own country.
Line speed: The connection set by your ISP. A VPN won’t magically make your connection faster. It is all pro rata to what your connection speed is initially.
VPN protocols: Some protocols are faster than others are, yet not as secure. OpenVPN being the standard, or the newer IKEv2 on iOS and Android.
Fastest VPN Available
ExpressVPN shines in every area when it comes to being a star in the VPN arena. It operates more than 3,000 servers across 94 countries.
You rarely have downtime; and the ExpressVPN speed is fast enough to stream HD video and live streams.
Torrenting is allowed on optimised servers, and the company doesn’t retain any logs. It bypasses all geo-restrictions and users can access US Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go/ HBO Now among many others.
Live customer support is 24/7, and the service bypasses the Great Firewall of China, or any other highly censored country. All DNS requests are carried out by their own service, which boosts security.
All connections are protected and encrypted with military-grade security standards, which are the best in the VPN arena.
A kill switch and DNS leak protection is built in. You can run any DNS Leak test, and it will come up zero, as will any WebRTC leaks.
There are client apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and Linux. Because it is a premium service, you pay a little more for these features, but ExpressVPN is well worth the price.
NordVPN puts security and privacy above all else. Yet it won’t disappoint in other features and speed stakes.
The provider is based in Panama and operates a server network across 60 countries. It employs strong encryption and retains a zero-logging policy. It unlocks Netflix, Hulu and other streaming sites.
NordVPN speed is sufficient to stream and torrent from the US or around Europe.
With six simultaneous connections, NordVPN provides one of the best plans on the market.
Some of the company’s servers are specialised for streaming or added security, like Tor over VPN and double hop VPN servers.
A process-specific kill switch lets you choose applications that will be terminated in case the VPN connection fails.
This means your real IP will never be seen. You can see from any NordVPN UK review the service is held in high-regard.
CyberGhost has long been a favourite among new users for its ease of use. Unfortunately, when it comes to VPN speeds, it has dropped down the rankings, although not enough to drop it lower down this list.
It delivers strong encryption, there are no IP leaks, and it comes with a kill switch as well as a zero-logging policy.
It is quite capable of unblocking everyone’s favourite streaming sites such as Hulu, Netflix among others.
To make this easy, there is a list of streaming services, and all users need to do is select one. With seven simultaneous connections and apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android, and Amazon Fire TV.
Every family member can make full use of the VPN speed to hide his or her online activities.
Although it may not affect users in the UK, but CyberGhost struggles in China.
Surfshark is a newcomer in the VPN world, and this is the first time it has been stacked up against others in a VPN comparison.
At the moment, it only has a network that comprises 800+ servers over 50 countries.
Users should keep an eye on this service because it does deliver a high speed that is better than many other major VPN services. Not only this, during leak testing, it was found to be rock solid with its encryption and protocol support.
Like the ones before, it can unblock Netflix, CBS, Hulu, and Amazon Prime among others. It supports torrenting on all servers, and has device support that covers Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android as well as FireTV.
It also runs its own DNS server service, so even these are kept in house and away from any snoopers.
The biggest downside being it is so new, and if it continues, it could be the fastest UK VPN in years to come.
This was a complete surprise because it is an old horse, and we were close to writing it off.
Luckily, for the company, they have undergone a redesign and implemented some updates, so it came out as a fast VPN in testing.
However, just because it is quick doesn’t mean it is a recommendation. It is good for personal privacy and security, but for streaming content, it falls flat.
The client apps are easy to use now, and it supports Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS. This VPN also works behind the Great Firewall of China, so they have done something behind the scenes to improve things.
It also has a small network of servers, this we also found surprising, until we did some testing to the Asia region where it wasn’t as good a performer.
With winners, there needs to be some losers. First up is Private Internet Access. This used to be a decent performer, but for some reason it has dropped out of the top five.
Maybe with StrongVPN and Surfshark leaping ahead of it, it shows how much VPN’s need to do to keep up.
Free VPN service providers also lose out because they are no contention for any of the above.
A good example being Super Speed VPN free, this markets itself as a fast VPN, and the VPN APK could be downloaded from a third party website.
While it was useful for bypassing geo-restrictions, it was nothing more than a proxy service, and for security of mobile devices, it did little.
Like other free VPN’s not everything is free, and many tracks what you are doing to target ads.
Add to this, the app has not been updated since last year, so any VPN test will not mean a lot if the app is no longer supported, or not a full VPN.
What’s a good download speed?
You can say a good download speed with a VPN is one that delivers 80% of your baseline connection speed when connecting in the same country. In our tests, we ran a test without a VPN to the USA.
Once we ran our tests, ExpressVPN was almost double the speed of others. Further afield, and there are too many variables to determine a clear runner up. It was clear that ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN UK users can use. To test these claims, they have a no fuss 30-day money back guarantee.
You can sign up, give it a run, and find out how fast it is yourself, as well as all the other premium features it delivers.