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Hackernoon logoFirst-ever Global Live VPN Speed Test by@Ivar

First-ever Global Live VPN Speed Test

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@IvarIvar

Comparing VPN providers can be time-consuming and not always accurate. A Live VPN Speed Test helps you solve the problem and shows you exactly which VPN is the fastest and the historical test data tells you how consistent the VPNs in the test are. 

Live VPN Speed Test Method

The goal of the Live VPN Speed Test is to monitor and compare the download speeds of the most popular VPNs in a fully controlled testing scenario with no human interference. The Fully-automated tests are done under identical conditions and at the same time to eliminate any user bias and get the result that is 100% comparable at the time of the test.

The same 500Mb file downloaded from San Francisco, German and Hong Kong is used for all servers and all VPNs. Each test runs within 5 minutes of the previous live test for maximum comparability.

You can tune different VPNs on and off from the chart for a better one-on-one comparison of the 7-day chart. If you want to dig deeper into the historical data with results dating back 30 days you can pick a VPN from the drop-down list 

Why do we do VPN Live testing?

Each VPN review includes a thorough speed testing protocol that we conduct manually. In the manual testing, we report the very first time we run a test in a specific server but then run the test two more times to see if there are any major fluctuations. This gives a fairly accurate result for that time of that day but does not speak much about consistency. A bad result can be temporary or a good result might gradually disappear so having an accurate LIVE running test that updates results every day is a much-needed resource to compare different VPNs and how they perform over time.

When you want to compare ExpressVPN vs NordVPN for example, you can see that NordVPN has a slight edge in the Speed Comparison chart. This is however based on the very specific day and looking at the Live VPN Speed Test Tool you can see that ExpressVPN takes the win. 

The Live VPN Speed Test should not be the only criteria when picking a good VPN provider rather the starting point. Pick a VPN that shows historically-stable high speeds and then check if all other features match your needs and fit your budget. Why waste your time with trials of different VPN only to find out that it’s slow in locations you really need it.

Live VPN Speed Test Results so far

The Live VPN Speed Testing tool has been live and running for a while now and it`s clear that some VPNs perform better than the rest. Looking at the chart we can see ExpressVPN, NordVPn, and ProtonVPn. Not only do they show faster download speeds they are consistent and perform well in the USA test as well as in the Europe and Asia tests. 

The test results should not deter you away from other VPNs if you have a particular provider in mind that you feel is the perfect fit for you but if you are on the funt for the best VPN on the market this is the right place to start!

ExpressVPN - a clear winner

ExpressVPN is well known for being one of the fastest VPNs on the planet. They have accrued a number of awards from The New York Times, Forbes, TechCrunch and others and the speed and stability have always come up in the reviews. 

ExpressVPN is also the 2019 Best VPN winner of VPNselector (You can read the full review here)

You can see the comparison on US server test between ExpressVPN and NordVPN - they both offer stable connection but ExpressVPN beats NordVPN in terms of speed. The gap between the two is less visible for the EU server (Germany) test (slower speeds because the test originates from US). The Live VPN Speed Test in Asia (Hong Kong server) shows a more significant difference once again.


ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN Live VPN Speed Test comparison in EU server


ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN Live VPN Speed Test comparison in Asia server


ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN Live VPN Speed Test comparison in USA server

We reached out to ExpressVPN for a comment on the success and what`s behind it but there has been no response at the time of writing.

ProtonVPN among the top performers

ProtonVPN might be less know than ExpressVPN or NordVPN but it has proven to be fast and reliable. The consistency surprised us and it`s good to see a smaller player taking it to the big dogs. 


ProtonVPN media mentions


ProtonVPN USA, EU and Asia 7-day live speed results


There are some data points missing in the most recent 7-day chart as of writi9ng this but this is due to live data not reaching us. ProtonVPN has been constantly operational and those kinds of missing data points can occur from time to time.

ProtonVPN also offers plenty of additional features like Tor over VPN, Network Kill Switch and P2P support.

We reached out to PRotonVPN and had a quick chat with Edward Shone from Public Relations and asked him about the success of ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is one of the top-performing VPNs in our Global Live Test tool. What's the secret in having not only top download speeds but also maintaining consistently high speeds?

Edward: We aim to offer our users the fastest and most reliable service we possibly can. There are many factors that go into this including our insistence on using real hardware, not virtual machines and our policy of thoroughly testing server performance before making servers available on our apps. However, most importantly we conduct detailed research to create services that provide protections for users that go beyond typical VPN software that other companies might offer. This research is the reason we can sometimes offer a more reliable service than many of our competitors.

ProtonVPN is not the cheapest VPN, what is that extra value you bring to the table that makes people choose you?

Edward: Our focus on customer service and our being based in Switzerland are two key factors that offer our users more value for money than many of our competitors. We have a dedicated support team that is staffed 7 days a week. During the weekdays we also operate both a night and day shift meaning if you have an issue, a real human will get back to you faster. Operating in Switzerland has additional costs, but it removes our users’ data from the “14 eyes surveillance network” and offers them the additional protection of one of the most privacy-conscious jurisdictions in the world. We also run our own data centers and networks in Switzerland (as opposed to renting) and have the 24/7 infrastructure team required to operate them. We do this because it's better for security and privacy to control all of the infrastructures and use our own IPs.

The VPN market is tough and the competition is heavy. What are ProtonVPNs plans for 2020 to stay at the top?

Edward: We have a lot planned for ProtonVPN in 2020 to make sure we can keep improving our offering for our users. We started the year by launching OpenVPN for Android, giving users more flexibility when choosing a VPN protocol. We intend to open source our client-facing software in the coming months, making us even more transparent. We will be focusing our research efforts on further improving our usability and stability. Finally, we will, of course, be launching new servers in numerous different countries and are working on new features that will help our users bypass government blocks. Our goal is to continue making ProtonVPN the most resilient, reliable, and secure VPN.

Edward Shone
Public Relations Manager
ProtonMail

NordVPN - a steady performer for less money

NordVPN won the Best Value Deal of 2019 and is definitely one of the top performers. The price point is considerably lower than some but it still manages to offer extra features like the new-generation password manager NordPass and a file encryption tool NordLocker. Similarly to ExpressVPN, NordVPN is highly decorated and recommended by some of the biggest names in tech like Wired, BBC, the Guardian, and many others.


NordVPN media mentions

In the Live VPN Speed Test NordVPN performs especially well in the US test. There are some influxes in the EU and Asia servers


NordVPN USA, EU, and Asia 7-day live speed results

Here are the comments from NordVPN representative giving insight into what makes NordVPN a success.

NordVPN has become one of the most well-known VPNs in recent years. To what do you contribute that?

Ruby: I guess one of the main reasons is that we are never standing still. New service launches, continuous technology development, and ongoing efforts to understand our clients are keeping us in the market spotlight.

We are trying to listen to what our clients want and need. The overall trend is that the use of a VPN is spreading beyond tech-savvy people. It is becoming more popular among regular household users who have never used a VPN service before. NordVPN is equipped with a very user-friendly interface that is valued by VPN newbies – just one click and your connection is encrypted.

Additionally, we are always looking for the newest innovations. For example, last July, we introduced the NordLynx technology built around the WireGuard® protocol. The new technology combines WireGuard’s high-speed connection and NordVPN’s custom double Network Address Translation (NAT) system, which safeguards users' privacy.

Moreover, we are unique with our social-responsibility projects. We see this as an opportunity to give back to society, especially when so many actors threaten freedom of the internet.

That is why IT security experts recommend NordVPN. It is the best choice for those searching for a simple and intuitive, steady and fast performing VPN, for a reasonable price.

In our Live Speed testing tool, Nord VPN has shown stable and fast download speeds. What measures have you taken to ensure not only high speeds but also keep it consistent?

Ruby: We are really proud that last year our engineers came up with an advanced solution, which dramatically increased the connection speed. Technology has already been rolled out on all our servers and works with all supported VPN protocols. We managed to improve our code efficiency and performance benefits and combined it with our broad server network. A series of our tests now show unprecedented improvement.

Apart from working towards becoming faster, stronger, and more secure, we are planning to become an all-round cybersecurity solution. This year we’ve officially launched three new cybersecurity products and tools: a new-generation password manager NordPass, a powerful file encryption tool NordLocker, and a VPN solution for businesses and teams NordVPN Teams.

NordVPN costs a lot less than some of the competing VPNs, How do you manage to offer the service for such a low price and do the users get the same bang for the buck as with more expensive VPNs.

Ruby: VPNs are already an important tool for many internet users worldwide, ensuring better online security, privacy, and even digital human rights. We understand that we are working with the global community, and we are trying to adapt the prices to everyone. Of course, being one of the biggest VPN providers in the world bring their own benefits. Throughout the years, we managed to build an extensive network of servers – more than 5000 servers in almost 60 countries.

NordVPN has strong encryption and such advanced security features such as DoubleVPN, CyberSec, and others. Of course, one of our strongest features is a strict no-logs policy, proved by an industry-first audit. The audit was performed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (Switzerland), one of the Big 4 auditing firms, making it one of the most dependable and capable auditors in the world.

Ruby Gonzalez
Head of Communications at NordVPN

What can YOU do with the Live VPN Speed Test Results?

For starters, this Live VPN Speed Test helps you pick a good VPN provider. The features alone rarely tell the whole story and the price should not be the only metric to go by. The historical data of the live tests show exactly how reliable the VPN providers included in this test are and should be a good indicator of who to trust.

The results are comparable and as there is no human interference you can rely on real live data instead of reviews conducted months ago.

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