It's no secret that VPNs are an essential part of securing your online activity in an age where public Wi-Fi, nosey ISPs, and potentially malicious 'bad guys' lurk around every digital corner.

But some VPNs can make you feel like you're using an internet connection from 1995 -- and that's no fun.

This collection features VPNs praised by Internet experts, social media users, forums, YouTube videos, and major tech sites for their fast speeds -- both up and down. So whether you're working from home or binging your favorite television shows, you shouldn't notice any difference in performance when you flip on your VPN.

We've compared everyone's speed tests, rankings, reviews and more to bring you these picks.

In short, we did the research so you'd have to.

Hotspot Shield

Fastest VPN for the Average User

Hotspot Shield uses special protocols and optimized apps to zoom to the top of most speed rankings we could find. While the security is solid, this means that you likely can't configure the service on your router or set up a manual connection though. So the usefulness of all that speed will depend on the devices you use.

ExpressVPN

Fastest VPN for Media Streamers and Filesharing

With dedicated media streaming and filesharing features (not to mention a very nice selection of servers) Express VPN takes the pick for media streamers and P2P use. In most cases, you won't even have to change any settings. Just connect to a server and enjoy the Internet at speeds close to your own connection.

What's good  

  • Fast performance
  • Zero-log policy
  • Intuitive UI
  • Many layers of security to protect your identity while browsing the web

What's bad  

  • Higher price
  • Only 3 simultaneous connections

Mullvad

Fastest VPN for Power Users, Fastest VPN with Cryptocurrency Support

If you're looking for a service that is fast but still lets you get in and configure settings exactly how you want, Mullvad is an excellent option. Its application is user-friendly but offers access to a massive range of settings and features many choose to keep hidden. It's also one of the few services on this list to accept cryptocurrency as a payment method for added anonymity.

What's good  

  • Cash and crypto payment options
  • Blowfish and AES-256 support
  • WireGuard support
  • Minimal logging
  • Port forwarding support
  • P2P support

What's bad  

  • 3-hour free trial
  • Limited server selection compared to the competition
  • Long term prices higher than most competitors
  • Slower than many competing services

NordVPN

Fastest VPN for Unlocking Content in Other Regions, Fastest Flexible VPN Service, Fastest Budget VPN

With one of the largest collections of servers available among major VPN providers, NordVPN offers an excellent balance of speed and flexibility. This collection of servers also works well if you're looking to access content from other regions on services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer. Better still, if you're willing to sign up for a year or more at a time, the prices are some of the lowest you'll find.

What's good  

  • Huge server selection
  • SmartPlay streaming
  • Multiple security options
  • Apps for PC, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and more
  • User-friendly interface
  • Affordable multi-year pricing
  • Automatic kill switch
  • Zero log policy
  • P2P support
  • Based in Panama

What's bad  

  • No phone support
  • Abundance of options might feel confusing
  • So-so monthly pricing
  • Slow email support

Windscribe

Fastest Free VPN

Many free VPN plans throttle your connection, but Windscribe gives you 10GB of bandwidth at full speed every month. The service isn't the fastest VPN service period, but it's certainly the fastest of the free options available.

What's good  

  • Free 10GB plan
  • Plenty of features and customization options
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • P2P servers
  • Malware and phishing protection

What's bad  

  • Average performance
  • No live chat or direct email support
  • Located in Canada (part of the Five Eyes surveillance program)

In a world of work-from-home jobs, 4k video, and online gaming, the speed of your Internet connection can have a substantial impact on how easily you go about your day or enjoy your free time.

The VPNs in this collection are known for their speed, but also receive high marks for service quality, value, and dependability.

If you don't see an option here that suits your needs, be sure to check out our VPN reviews. We've broken down what experts across the Internet and people just like yourself are saying about the best (and worst) VPN services available today -- all without having to jump through an endless list of tabs or spend hours finding the answers you need!