FastestVPN review: It's not, but that's okay
- 12 February, 2019 22:30
FastestVPN in brief:
- P2P allowed: Yes
- Business location: Cayman Islands
- Number of servers: 150+
- Number of country locations: 23
- Cost: $30 per year
- VPN protocol: IKEv2
- Data encryption: AES-256-GCM
- Data authentication: MS-Chap v2 and TLS
- Handshake: SHA-II
Every VPN service out there says it’s the fastest, but few are so bold as to make that claim right upfront, in the company name. Yet here we have FastestVPN, a Cayman Islands-based service that offers VPN connections in 23 countries and has more than 150 servers. Is it actually the fastest service around? We’ll get to that, but first let’s take a look at the desktop app.
Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.
Features and services
When you start up the FastestVPN application it has a typical single-pane design with a bit of a Shazam feel thanks to the big yellow lightning bolt in the middle of the connect button. The top of the window shows the current location you’re connected to (or can connect to), and the bottom of the window shows your bandwidth usage in MB for both upload and download.
Click the hamburger menu icon in the upper-left corner, and you can choose the Locations screen to select from the service’s 23 countries and multiple U.S. options.
The Settings panel (also under the hamburger menu) doesn’t have much in terms of options. There’s an internet kill switch, which is off by default, and you can also choose your preferred VPN protocol: PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, or OpenVPN via TCP or UDP. If you do mess with these settings either IKEv2 or the OpenVPN options are your best choices.
That’s all there is to the FastestVPN app, though the company has also built malware protection and ad blocking into the service. The app is pretty good, but one thing I don’t like about it is how it behaves on the taskbar.
When the app is open it sits on the taskbar with no presence in the system tray. Then when you close the app window it minimizes to the system tray. So far so good, but what is unusual is that I couldn’t open the app up again by clicking on the system tray icon. Right-click the system tray icon and you have two options: Connect/Disconnect and Exit. The latter worked just fine, but I could never use the Connect/Disconnect option, and if I wanted to see the app again I had to quit and restart it. Not great.
FastestVPN charges $30 per year, or you can buy three years for $40, and until late February the company is offering five years of service for $50. One year for $30 is an amazing price and that covers 10 simultaneous connections instead of the usual five. FastestVPN offers apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Fire Stick. There are also tutorials for setting up on Linux, routers, and the Kodi VPN.
So here we are at the big question for FastestVPN: Is it the fastest? Not by a long shot, but that doesn’t mean it won’t fit most people’s uses. In our tests, FastestVPN maintained an average of about 28 percent of the base speed. That’s not slow enough to place it among the bottom performers, but nor is it fast enough to be mid-tier in our tests.
Privacy, anonymity, and trust
FastestVPN is officially based in the Cayman Islands, but it also has a business address in Los Angeles. The company CEO is Azneem Bilwani who is based in Pakistan.
To sign up for an account with FasestVPN requires your name and email address, and possibly further information depending on your method of payment. FastestVPN accepts payments via PayPal, credit card, eWallets such as Apple Pay, and ACH bank transfers. There doesn’t appear to be an option to pay with cash or cryptocurrencies.
FastestVPN won’t win any prizes for speeds compared to other VPNs, but it’s still well worth a look. The price is pretty great, as are the 10 simultaneous connections, and the desktop app is very easy to use—if a little annoying after you close it. Speed improvement would be great, but overall this is a fine choice for anyone looking for an affordable solution with a no-logging promise.
Editor’s note: Because online services are often iterative, gaining new features and performance improvements over time, this review is subject to change in order to accurately reflect the current state of the service. Any changes to text or our final review verdict will be noted at the top of this article.