The best fast VPN to max out your connection 2020

These VPNs give Lewis Hamilton a run for his money when it comes to speed

best fast vpn
(Image credit: Metamorworks/Shutterstock)

Virtual private networks are great for things like streaming and gaming, but given that these activities require ample bandwidth, speed is king – so having a fast VPN is absolutely essential.

What’s great is that many of the most popular VPNs are capable of delivering impressive speeds alongside excellent security and privacy. But which providers are the fastest? That’s a difficult question to answer unless you’ve tested out several services for yourself. 

However, you don’t have to worry, because we've reviewed lots of services over the past few months and have ranked the fastest VPNs on the market in 2020. Read on to find out which providers these are. 

1. ExpressVPN – the best fast VPN on the market
ExpressVPN is our choice for best fast VPN because it not only offers fast speeds, but also the best security and privacy of any provider out there. T3 readers can claim three free months, and you'll also get a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try before you commit.View Deal

2. Hotspot Shield – the fastest VPN available
Hotspot Shield really impressed us when it came to speeds, but it’s also great for streaming and gaming as well. If you want to absolute fastest VPN on the market and you're willing to sacrifice certain elements of security, it's a great choice.View Deal

3. NordVPN – the biggest name delivers excellent speeds
NordVPN is not only a very fast VPN service, but it’s also really affordable at £2.86/$3.71 per month. You’re provided with a great combination of impressive security, privacy and speed for this price. View Deal

The best fast VPN in 2020:

ExpressVPN Best fast VPN

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

The best fast VPN around

Number of servers: 3,000+
Server locations: 160
Maximum devices supported: 5
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock
Reasons to buy
+Excellent speeds that world over+Easy to use+Over 3,000 servers 
Reasons to avoid
-Only five simultaneous connections

As the best overall VPN, the British Virgin Islands-based provider pretty much owns every area. And when it comes to speed, it also races miles ahead of the competition (excuse the pun).

During our tests, we were extremely impressed with how fast ExpressVPN was. On a US 600MB line, it offered high speeds of 250MB, and in our UK speed test, speeds topped 70MB on a 75MB connection. So, you’ll never experience performance issues like buffering when streaming 4K media or playing graphics-intensive games on your console.

ExpressVPN provides more than 3,000 servers across the globe, and they deliver very fast speeds. What’s more, thanks to unlimited bandwidth, this service is great for any online activity that requires ample data. It’s particularly well suited to streaming, allowing users to unblock platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and Hulu.

If you’re new to VPNs, you’ll find ExpressVPN very easy to use. There are apps for operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and Linux, and they’ll let you connect to a server in seconds. But at the same time, there are advanced features like different secure protocols and kill switches should you want to make use of them.

One of our favourite functions is the speed test, which will let you ensure your connection is performing well, and ExpressVPN is highly secure overall. If we had to find an issue, it'd be that you can only use your subscription on five different devices, but its dedicated router app helps both make that subscription go further, and also allows the VPN to be used of Smart TVs and games consoles, which usually don't support VPN connections. 

Exclusive offer – save 49%: T3 readers also get 3 months free with all annual ExpressVPN plans

hotspot shield best fast VPN

(Image credit: Hotspot Shield)

2. Hotspot Shield

The VPN with the most impressive speeds

Number of servers: 1,700+
Server locations: 100+
Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Peacock
Reasons to buy
+Catapult Hydra delivers incredible speeds+Large server network+Useful apps
Reasons to avoid
-Privacy issues-No access to Amazon Prime Video

Hotspot Shield is known mainly for offering one of the best free VPN services on the market, but it also has a premium service that delivers some of the fastest speeds we’ve ever tested.

When using the service on a US-based 600MB connection, we were provided with speeds twice as fast as ExpressVPN. And we experienced the simlarly impressive speeds on our 75MB UK line. Unlike many other VPN providers, Hotspot Shield has developed its own protocol named Catapult Hydra - and it’s one of the reasons why this provider is so much faster than other premium VPN services. 

But the downside to this is that you won’t be able to use more established protocols like OpenVPN. Another thing that is very disappointing is that Hotspot Shield is known for logging certain user information. 

Apart from these concerns, Hotspot Shield still provides a great VPN service. You have an ample selection of 3,200 high-speed servers and can stream on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer and YouTube. We did, however, notice that you can’t unblock Amazon Prime Video.

Sign up now on the Hotspot Shield website

(Image credit: NordVPN)

3. NordVPN

Excellent security with great speeds

Number of servers: 5,000+
Server locations: 55+
Maximum devices supported: 6
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock
Reasons to buy
+Tons of servers+Excellent privacy and security features+Great streaming power
Reasons to avoid
-Apps are awkward on mobile

The chances are, you’ve heard of NordVPN before due to an extensive advertising campaign over the past few years. And it’s genuinely one of the best services out there, particularly when it comes to speed.

In our review of NordVPN, we put it to the test on a US 600MB connection and were very happy with the results. The service delivered speeds ranging between 125MB and 300MB, as well as 65-69MB on a 75MB UK connection, meaning you’ll never struggle with streaming or gaming.

However, you get more than just a fast VPN. Nord boasts some of the best features offered by a VPN service, including more than 5,400 servers, access to Netflix, double VPN (which uses two servers for even stronger encryption), malware and phishing security, browser extensions, a DNS leak test, and 24/7 support.

One of the biggest negatives of NordVPN is its 6-device cap, and the mobile interface is a little tricky to use. But again, this is still an excellent VPN service that offers lots of value. Plus, if you do sign up and decide to cancel your subscription, Nord provides a 30-day money-back policy.

Sign up now on the NordVPN website

Surfshark best fast vpn

(Image credit: Surfshark)

4. Surfshark

The most affordable speedy VPN

Number of servers: 1,700+
Server locations: 63
Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Peacock
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly cheap+Excellent connection speeds+Unlimited simultaneous connections
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most advanced apps

It’s easy to think that premium VPNs are going to be expensive when you consider all the great things they can do, but Surfshark proves that isn’t always the case and that you can get a very fast VPN on a budget.

For the cheap price of around £2/$2.50 per month, you’re provided with one of the fastest VPN services on the market. In our tests, it reached speeds of 160MB when we used a 600MB US connection and 68MB on a 75MB UK connection. That’s sufficient enough for streaming HD movies and playing HD games. Plus, Surfshark has just introduced WireGuard support, so speeds are even faster than our previous testing suggested.

As well as good speeds, though, Surfshark is kitted out with features like a kill switch, a no-logging policy, 256-bit encryption, the ability to change secure protocols, cyber protection and more than 1,700 servers. But its biggest selling point is probably unlimited connections - and, of course, that bargain-basement price.

Sign up now on the Surfshark website

speedify best fast vpn

(Image credit: Speedify)

5. Speedify

A super fast VPN, but with some caveats

Number of servers: Undisclosed
Server locations: 50
Maximum devices supported: 5
Streaming services unblocked: YouTube
Reasons to buy
+One of the fastest services around+Free plan available 
Reasons to avoid
-Terrible for streaming-May use up your mobile data

Just by looking at this provider’s name, you can tell it’s going to be one of the fastest VPNs around. And you’d be right in thinking that.

When we tested Speedify on a 600MB US connection, it was able to top speeds of 403MB. Meanwhile, UK speeds were 65-68MB on a 75MB connection. That’s hugely impressive, and it all comes down to Speedify’s ability to make use of multiple internet connections. That means, on mobile, it can combine your mobile data and Wi-Fi to multiply your connection speed.

Although it’s fair to say these speeds are hugely impressive, the downside is that Speedify is pretty lacklustre as a VPN app. For example, the only streaming platform you can access is YouTube, so you should probably look to the other providers if you intend on using a VPN for watching TV shows and movies on Netflix.

Sign up now on the Speedify website

Want the ideal VPN for your mobile phone? Then check out guides to the best iPhone VPN and Android VPN.

What makes a good fast VPN?

Although fast speeds are an integral aspect of all premium VPNs, they shouldn’t compromise on areas like security and privacy. This is because the primary goal of a VPN is to make the internet more secure. 

The best fast VPNs also offer large, reliable server networks so that you can circumvent geo restrictions and access as much content as you want online. And you’ll want to be able to connect to these servers quickly through easy-to-use apps that are available for different operating systems.

Can I get a free fast VPN?

Some of the fastest VPNs, such as Hotspot Shield and Speedify, provide free versions. But you’re not going to get the same impressive speeds that you’d experience with the paid-for versions. 

In most cases, free services impose speed and data caps, which means they’re not great for streaming and gaming. If you want a fast VPN, you’ll need to pay a premium. But you don’t need to spend lots of money; for example, Surfshark is a very fast service although it’s super affordable. 

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