FastestVPN is a VPN situated in the Cayman Islands that offers a long list of features at one of the lowest costs available.
Custom apps are available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as Chrome and Firefox extensions. P2P support, ad and virus prevention, and up to 10 simultaneous connections are all included.
The protocol support is quite old. FastestVPN doesn’t have WireGuard, and it still uses PPTP, which is so ancient and insecure that many providers abandoned it years ago. However, you can connect using OpenVPN and IKEv2, which will still safeguard your traffic from intruders.
FastestVPN boasts plenty of extra features and options to entice you, like DNS leak protection and kill switches to secure your identity, 24/7 live chat support, and claims to unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and other services.
FastestVPN’s network size is more difficult to estimate, not least because the firm doesn’t seem to have the numbers. One huge heading reads, ‘Servers available in 40+ countries and 52+ locations.’ However, a table on the left only includes 33 countries. The network’spans across 30+ countries and 39+ distinct locations,’ according to the text below, and the VPN for Firestick page states ’25+’ locations. That’s a little perplexing, and it gives the company a bad first impression.
Still, FastestVPN appears to have a lot to offer in principle. Especially if you learn how much it costs.
Plans and costs
FastestVPN’s one-month subscription costs an average of $10, but the annual plan is only $2.49, and the three-year plan costs just $1.11 a month.
They aren’t shown on the standard pricing page, but the site also includes a discounts page with even more affordable options. The three-year plan costs $0.70 per month, while a new five-year plan costs $0.66 per month.
We detest long-term contracts as much as you do, but there’s really little danger when prices are this low. To put it into context, FastestVPN’s five-year plan costs $40 up front. At CyberGhost, you’ll be charged $51.48 for a more’reasonable’ one-year package.
Furthermore, as we write, FastestVPN is running a ‘limited time promotion,’ in which all memberships include with 2TB of Internxt cloud storage and a password manager (even the monthly-billed product). The 2TB package costs roughly $10 per month if purchased directly from the Internxt website.
You can pay with a credit card, PayPal, or cryptocurrency, depending on your preferences. However, because the money-back guarantee period is only 15 days (other providers offer 30-days, some even longer), make sure you test speed, unblocking, and anything else you need as soon as you sign up.
With apps for all of the major platforms, leak protection, and kill switches to safeguard you if the VPN connection stops, FastestVPN’s feature set more than meets the privacy essentials.
When the company requested for a name and an email address throughout the registration procedure, it marred the effect a little. Of course, you may enter whatever you like, so your anonymity is unaffected, but we have to wonder why any VPN service, which is designed to protect your privacy and anonymity, would ask for unneeded personal information in the first place.
With the Windows app, we had another minor privacy risk. Bugsnag, an app monitoring and crash reporting system, appears to be used. Many VPN programs have something similar, and there’s no proof that FastestVPN is using it for any malicious purposes (although the app includes the files, it may not use Bugsnag at all). However, if FastestVPN ever provides Bugsnag reports, we’d want it to behave similarly to ExpressVPN, where apps won’t do so unless you grant your permission expressly after installation.
‘…we do not track or log your information except some necessary data such as username, password, and login attempts that you make to our server in order to deter abuse of the multi-login feature and solve any server-end difficulties,’ the firm said on its FAQ page.
Even so, there’s more information about what the corporation doesn’t log in this paragraph: ‘We do not keep any of your logs. Any information or logs relating to your browsing history – the websites you visit, the material you download or stream, your traffic destinations, or your DNS queries – are only available to you.’
FastestVPN hasn’t gone through a security or no-logging audit to verify their claims, which sounds wonderful. We must believe that the service will perform as promised.
When Windows warned us about its setup application, FastestVPN’s Windows app installation got off to a poor start. It severely warned us that “Microsoft Defender SmartScreen prevented an unrecognized software from running.”
This is most likely due to the fact that it’s a brand new file that SmartScreen has yet to recognize. However, upon closer inspection, we discovered that FastestVPN’s installation file was not digitally signed. This is bad news, because signing is a common way to verify that an executable file comes from the vendor you expect. Unsigned apps are often regarded as less trustworthy by antivirus software, which may have contributed to the SmartScreen issue.
We’re not sure why FastestVPN can’t employ digitally signed installers and app files like almost every other VPN provider we’ve examined to limit the risk of problems.
Despite SmartScreen’s warning, the installer is completely safe to use. We were able to install the software practically everywhere after telling Windows that the file was secure.
Almost? Yes, we couldn’t run it on our main test system due to a second issue, and extensive chats with FastestVPN support didn’t help.
We have to classify this as a negative for FastestVPN because this is a fairly simple Windows 10 system, and FastestVPN’s program was the only one out of 25 that refused to run in recent testing.
However, we were able to get the program to run on other platforms, so we’re not sure how typical our experience was. It’s possible that you’ll download the app and start using it right away.
App for Windows
With a colorful and cheerful UI, FastestVPN’s Windows client looks nice. Your selected server is prominently displayed, and you can rapidly go through a list of others. A large Smart Connect button protects you on demand.
This did not always go as planned. According to FastestVPN’s website, Smart Connect should automatically select the optimal location for you, but we observed that it just connected to the last location we selected. That’s not a disaster — Mullvad and a few other providers don’t offer a ‘best server’ app – but it is a little perplexing until you figure it out.
The location list lacks server load or latency information to aid in server selection, but it is generally simple to navigate. The list is alphabetical, with a Search box to quickly locate a certain country and a Favorites system that prioritizes your most often used servers at the top.
One peculiarity in the app’s handling of city-level locations caught our attention. Cities in the United States have names like ‘USA (Dallas)’ and ‘USA (New York).’ Other countries with many locations are given a number like ‘Sweden 1’ or ‘Sweden 2.’ It may not matter if you’re connecting to a smaller country like Belgium because the locations will be near together. However, the distance between ‘Australia 1’ and ‘Australia 2’, or ‘Canada 1’ and ‘Canada 2’, could be thousands of miles, resulting in a huge speed differential.
Even when we changed our location, the software would frequently alter it again. When we returned to the Home screen after switching protocols, the app changed our location to Australia (presumably because it was first in the list). When we closed and resumed the program, the default location was frequently changed.
Only a few choices are available, like choosing your protocol (OpenVPN TCP or UDP, IKEv2, L2TP, PPTP), launching the client with Windows, auto-reconnecting if the VPN connection fails, and enabling or disabling a kill switch.
Split Tunneling is also available, albeit it doesn’t perform as well as we expected.
Split tunneling is a feature offered by most VPN companies that allows you to specify which apps will not use the VPN (you could tell games to use your regular connection, for instance, improving performance).
All you have to do with FastestVPN’s Windows client is specify websites or IP addresses where traffic will not be routed through the VPN. That has some utility; for example, if a website doesn’t work with the VPN, add it to the list and you’ll be able to access it even when connected. However, it is not as useful as most providers’ app-based split tunneling.
Due to the installation challenges noted above, we were unable to test FastestVPN’s Windows kill switch on our usual evaluation system. This is a concern because, in order to accurately compare results between providers, we need to ensure that they are analyzed using the same methodology.
Previous tests of FastestVPN’s kill switch revealed that it stopped internet access when the connection was lost, but only for a fraction of a second. That’s all it takes to reveal your IP address, which is bad news if your primary concern is anonymity. However, it is better than many providers, and if you’re more concerned with safeguarding your traffic from hackers, it’s extremely improbable that anyone will be able to collect useful information in the short time you’re exposed.
We looked under the hood to see what else might be going on and discovered another issue: the client saved our server login credentials to a plain text file every time we connected and didn’t erase it after the session ended. It’s possible that spyware infected you, harvesting your credentials and allowing thieves to connect to FastestVPN using your account.
Although this is exceedingly improbable, it is nonetheless a cumbersome approach to handle your account information. It doesn’t take a lifetime of internet security experience to realize that keeping user logins in plain text is probably not a good idea.
FastestVPN’s Mac program has a color palette and location list that are nearly identical to the Windows version.
However, it lacks configurability. Only one protocol option is available on the VPN Settings screen (IKEv2, IPSec, OpenVPN UDP or TCP). We’re not sure why it chose IKEv2 as the default protocol for us because it didn’t provide us access to all of FastestVPN’s locations. Changing to OpenVPN increased the number of servers available, but many users won’t understand they need to do it.
FastestVPN’s Mac App Store page hasn’t been updated since June 2020, implying that there won’t be any changes anytime soon.
We had no issues with the Mac app in real-world use. We saw no crashes or connection drops, and connection times were typical but adequate.
Not everyone is that fortunate, according to online user reviews. We don’t consider app store ratings in our own reviews, but FastestVPN’s 2.1 out of 5 rating is so low that it needs to be mentioned. If you care about Mac performance, make sure you run all of the tests you need during your 15-day money-back guarantee period after signing up.
FastestVPN’s iOS software quickly drew our attention, but not for the best of reasons. It has a lower app store rating than the Mac version, at 1.9 out of 5, and has only had two small upgrades in the last two years.
The interface has been somewhat reconfigured to accommodate small device form factors, but it largely looks and feels the same.
You have a few more options than on the Mac. The same fundamental protocols (IKEv2, IPSec, OpenVPN UDP and TCP) are available, but the program now adds a ‘Smart Tunneling’ feature (presumably the iOS equivalent of Windows’ Split Tunneling’).
We put Smart Tunneling to the test by adding WhatIsMyIPAddress.com to the list and attempting to visit it without using the VPN. The program detected our activity, connected to the VPN, and presented our new IP address on the webpage.
This program is severely underpowered, and the combination of a low rating and a lack of recent updates must be cause for alarm. However, it’s simple to use, and if you simply need the VPN fundamentals, it may be sufficient.
App for Android
With a 3.6 out of 5 app store rating, FastestVPN’s Android app outperforms the competition. Installation was quick, and we were up and running in a matter of minutes, just like any other software.
The software shared the same color style, location list, and overall screen layout as FastestVPN’s iOS app. When you utilize one mobile client, you can immediately switch to the other.
In the Settings tab, the client gives you a little more to do. After you’ve selected your protocol (IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP, and TCP, for example), you can toggle the app kill switch on or off.
Split Tunneling is also a possibility. The bad news is that it doesn’t operate like the others, but the good news is that it’s more like the more flexible Split Tunneling feature that we’ve seen elsewhere: it lets you choose which apps use the VPN tunnel and which don’t.
On balance, the Android software from FastestVPN is definitely our favorite. It still lacks features and is unlikely to satisfy demanding customers, but if your requirements are minimal, it may suffice.
The FastestVPN website boasts that the service allows you to’stream, buffer, watch, and listen to censored and geo-restricted content from anywhere in the world.’
Our experience in the actual world was a little different. Okay, that’s different. We tested several FastestVPN servers but were unable to access BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Disney Plus.
There are many better solutions if unblocking is a major priority. In recent reviews, CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, Hotspot Shield, NordVPN, ProtonVPN, Surfshark, and others all unblocked 100% of our test services.
More encouraging results came from our privacy tests, with many sites unable to detect any IP or DNS leaks.
Ad blocking is also included with FastestVPN. In our tests, it successfully blocked content from some of the most common ad servers. However, installing a dedicated ad blocker like uBlock Origin will yield better results.
FastestVPN delivered 220-240Mbps with UK OpenVPN connections and 300-325Mbps with IKEv2 in our speed tests.
Despite its moniker, this VPN is far from the quickest. For OpenVPN speeds, the best providers give twice that, and more (Mullvad hit 480-490Mbps in recent testing). WireGuard-enabled VPNs often handle 500-700Mbps, and TorGuard, our current speed champion, reached 950Mbps using this protocol.
However, for many circumstances, 200-300Mbps is sufficient, and FastestVPN scored well for offering comparably capable speeds across their network. For example, we wouldn’t anticipate a UK to Brazil connection to be quick, yet it delivered a startling 230-250Mbps.
The help site for FastestVPN is below average and has numerous issues.
For example, despite the abundance of articles, the advice is frequently inadequate. ‘At FastestVPN, your service speed is generally not compromised but also boosted,’ according to a ‘increasing my speed’ advice, which goes on to say: ‘If you do experience any performance issues at any point, know that there must be a serious fault at the VPN’s back-end operations.’ It then recommends utilizing the flawed PPTP protocol to increase speed, with the caveat that it offers “weaker encryption than L2TP and OpenConnect.”
According to another site, if your VPN keeps dropping, you should disable any third-party firewalls. It’s possible that security apps will conflict with a VPN, but you should resolve the issue by adding the VPN as an exception rather than risking your security by turning off the firewall completely. Compare FastestVPN’s shoddy advise to this ExpressVPN page, which contains significantly more (and far safer) recommendations.
Fortunately, FastestVPN offers live chat assistance as well as email help.
Because we provided a slew of low-level details on our issue, including stack traces, Windows events, problem reports, and more, we were able to see just what the support team could do. The results were underwhelming, since their responses generally ignored our facts and relied on generic responses such as ‘uninstall and reinstall.’
Nonetheless, our setup troubles were exceptionally difficult, and the support professionals clearly tried their hardest to assist us. Response times were also decent, ranging from two to three hours, so you shouldn’t have to wait long for help with your specific issue.
Final thoughts on FastestVPN
FastestVPN offers a bad website, slow speeds, and apps that are rarely updated and badly designed. The five-year plan may appear inexpensive at $0.66 per month, but that’s not enough money to keep going, much alone make any improvements. Instead, look into value providers like Private Internet Access, Atlas VPN, or Ivacy if you’re on a tight budget.