- Crazy cheap lifetime plan
- 15 device connections
- 24/7 live chat support
- Big problems with Windows app
- No WireGuard
- No independent audit
FastestVPN unblocks various streaming services and offers an unbelievably cheap lifetime subscription. Just don’t get it if you plan to use it on Windows, or if you want the fastest VPN out there.
Using superlatives in your company name is a bold strategy, especially when that name is FastestVPN. And – spoiler alert – it is not the fastest VPN service.
If you can get past the name, FastestVPN has one major attraction: the price. Right now, it’ll cost you just $20, and that’s for a lifetime subscription.
That’s exactly what it sounds like: you pay once, you can use it for the foreseeable future.
It’s so ridiculously cheap that it sounds like a scam, but it isn’t.
And this deal won’t stick around forever: FastestVPN must be losing money on every lifetime subscription it sells.
You can have 15 devices connected at the same time. Again, that’s way more generous than most other VPN services, almost all of which don’t even offer lifetime subscriptions.
As a bonus, you also get 2TB of encrypted cloud storage (Internxt) and a password manager (PassHulk) included for the first year.
But is FastestVPN any good? It is worth grabbing that Lifetime subscription immediately before it’s no longer available? Read on to find out.
Features & apps
- Servers in 36 countries
- Double VPN (three options)
- Streaming-optimised servers
FastestVPN has a relatively small number of servers compared to the biggest players such as NordVPN, CyberGhost and others.
In the Windows app, we counted around 100 which are spread across 36 countries. At least a fifth of these are in the USA in various states, with a number in Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland and then just a single server in many other countries. The UK and Japan have four apiece.
It’s interesting that FastestVPN offers servers in India, but only marks one of the four options as virtual. Recent laws force VPNs to log user data which is why other services have pulled their Indian servers and offer only virtual Indian locations, if at all. The company told us that all Indian servers are virtual, using servers located in the Cayman Islands.
P2P is supported on certain servers, but there’s no way to know which ones as the apps don’t make this explicit.
FastestVPN offers apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick. It lists many more devices, such as Apple TV, Roku and games consoles, but that support is possible only if you can configure your router to use a VPN, which also means all your home devices run via the VPN – not something most people will want to do, and not something all routers support.
There’s also support for various Linux distros, but only via the command line: there’s no graphical interface.
Recently, Fastest VPN has overhauled the interface in its apps to split servers into three lists: countries, streaming and “D-VPN”.
The first two are fairly obvious, but D-VPN means double VPN. And that, in case you’re still none the wiser, means it routes your connection via two VPN servers instead of one, adding another layer of protection. However, there are only three options currently: France via UK, US via Netherland [sic], and UK via USA.
Another change is that the apps will now automatically select the best protocol rather than leaving this as a manual setting for the user. Unfortunately, WireGuard is still under development and hasn’t been rolled out to any of the apps.
They all have a similar design (except Linux, of course) so it’s easy to switch between devices and see a familiar interface. They’re still quite basic, but this means they’re simple to use.
The mobile apps have been developed the furthest, although even now they’re only just getting features rivals have always had in their apps, such as the ability to add favourite servers. It’s nice that you can long-press on a country to see specific locations and these are ordered by ping so you can tap on the first to get what should be the fastest speeds.
FastestVPN has also added live chat support in the mobile apps, but when we tried this on iOS, it wouldn’t work. In fact, tapping the option loaded a blank screen with a spinning circle and no way to go back, so force-quitting the app was the only option left.
We last looked at FastestVPN in March 2022, and found quite a few issues with the Windows app. Unfortunately, many remain including the fact that it still doesn’t have proper certification with Microsoft.
The installer is still provided as a .zip file, but at least now there is only one file inside called FastestInstaller.msi.
Only Windows experts will know they can double-click on this to install the app, but even experienced users might be thrown when Windows 10 presents them with an error message saying “Defender SmartScreen prevented an unrecognized app from starting”.
Jim Martin / Foundry
After this, the app allowed us to log in, but threw up an error, followed by a pop-up from Norton antivirus saying that it had “blocked a suspicious action by FastestVPNService.exe” which is likely the cause of the error.
And after that, Norton’s firewall popped up to say that the app didn’t have a valid digital signature, yet another warning that it’s potentially unsafe. Again, far from ideal. FastestVPN says it’s still working on getting that sorted.
Jim Martin / Foundry
Whether due to the same issue or not, I saw various other warnings that the app had been blocked from doing things, such as deleting the hosts2 file in the Windows folder.
The updated app gets a similar interface to the mobile apps, but has lost a few features along the way. It’s no longer possible to favourite servers to quickly reconnect to them, no ‘smart connect’, no split tunnelling and no ad-blocker, at least none we could find. Unlike the mobile apps, you can’t see each server’s ping, nor can you tell how busy each one is
The setting icon sits in the top-right corner, and brings up a single screen of options. You can select from two protocols: IKEv2 or TCP and UDP, which are both OpenVPN but not marked as such – something that’s confusing for those new to VPNs.
The kill switch is just a tick box: it’s on or off. When it’s triggered, it displays a pop-up to ask if you want to reconnect to the VPN or resume internet connectivity. Those are confusingly worded, as the latter means “use the internet without a VPN”, but it’s better than no notification at all. With some other VPNs, you’re left with no internet access and no idea why.
Jim Martin / Foundry
There are no settings to auto-connect the VPN when your device uses a new, unknown Wi-Fi network, only options to start with Windows and auto-connect to a server when you launch the app.
The final issue I found was that, when the protocol was set to Auto, which it isn’t by default, it prompts you to install a TAP driver the first time it attempts to use OpenVPN. That’s fine, but after installing it, it forcibly restarted Windows without warning and then failed to work upon reboot: it would repeatedly attempt to connect to a server, fail and automatically try and reconnect with no option to cancel. The only way to stop this infinite loop was to use Task Manager to end the process.
Android and iOS apps
The two apps use an identical interface, but as with all VPNs, the Android version gets a bigger helping of features. Not many, mind you. It has split tunnelling, letting you choose which apps use the VPN and which don’t, and a kill switch.
On an iPhone there’s “Smart Tunneling” which works like an inverse version the old Windows feature and simply “enabled VPN protection for added domains even when the app is not open”. You have to add each website manually. In the previous Windows app, you entered the addresses of any websites which didn’t work properly when the VPN is connected.
Servers are similarly split over three tabs, with the same options in each.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
There are browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. These are proxy services, not VPNs. The Firefox extension is a little clearer about this fact, but even though the Chrome extension is clearly called FastestVPN Proxy for Chrome, the description misleadingly says,
“FastestVPN is built on the cutting-edge VPN technology to deliver unmatched security and performance.
Hailing from the Cayman Islands, you can be sure that your activities will be remain anonymous. This Chrome VPN extension comes with a zero-log policy and stands by its commitment to user privacy.”
It then talks about VPN another half-dozen times. Most users would assume that their activity in Chrome would have the same level of protection as using the VPN app, but in fact a proxy service does not encrypt all data in the same way, and sometimes not at all.
We’re always disappointed when we see VPN services claiming to make your activity anonymous.
Privacy & security
It said barely anything at all about logging, and all I could find was this sentence: “Because FastestVPN does not store activity logs, a government’s request to share data cannot be tied to any specific user”.
I queried this, and FastestVPN promptly re-added what it used to say “We do not store your logs in anyway. Any information or logs related to your browsing history – the websites you visit, the content you download or stream, your traffic destinations, or your DNS queries – stays with you and you alone.”
So, this is a no-logs VPN, which is what you’d expect.
The problem is that you have to trust that FastestVPN does what it says: it hasn’t been independently audited to prove that it isn’t logging your activity or any other data.
In terms of security, FastestVPN doesn’t offer any details about whether its servers are rented, nor how they are configured.
However, the company confirmed to use that those servers run in RAM only, like NordVPN and Surfshark’s servers.
Back in March 2022, there was no support for WireGuard, though the company said it was working on implementing it, as well as adding support for IPv6. Fast forward to November and the situation is the same.
One change is that all its servers have been upgraded to 10Gbps uplinks. So, naturally, we wanted to see if this had made any difference.
Previously, we saw around 200-240Mbps for download, and 25-45Mbps for upload using IKEv2 in the Windows app. This time, we set it to Auto.
Using the closest server in Los Angeles, we saw 142Mbps down and 89Mbps up.
Connecting to London – at almost 8pm GMT, the same time we ran the tests in March – saw speeds of just 31Mbps down and 14Mbps up.
Oddly, a server in Tokyo provided much faster download speeds of 145Mbps, but that was about 100Mbps less than we got before.
It turned out that these were achieved using OpenVPN, which is usually faster than IKEv2. But not in FastestVPN’s implementation.
That said, those speeds are much faster than the 9-15Mbps downloads we saw back in March.
IKEv2 speeds have improved too, with over 500Mbps on the LA server and almost 50Mbps upload. That’s good, but it’s still way less than the 900Mbps connection we were using to test with, and that’s in both directions, up as well as down.
Jim Martin / Foundry
Of course, it does mean the much-vaunted Auto option doesn’t currently do a good job if it’s picking OpenVPN which offers worse speeds than using the default IKEv2 protocol… on Windows at any rate.
We found no IP or DNS leaks – which is good – and since there’s no IPv6 support, those connections are simply blocked, and they were in our tests.
Unblocking content used to be FastestVPN’s weak point (alongside the Windows app). However, it has turned this around by adding that selection of streaming servers.
We tested this by connecting to the UK Streaming server from France and had no issues watching BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub, which was refreshing.
From the UK, we connected to the US Streaming server and found that it similarly unblocked Netflix and allowed us to watch NCIS, Ink Master and other US exclusives.
The company says that it will also unblock Hotstar and Hulu, which we didn’t test.
Price & plans
We’ve already talked about how much FastestVPN costs, but it’s worth saying that you can pay by cryptocurrency if you don’t want to use PayPal or a credit or debit card.
There’s a 15-day money-back guarantee, which is half as long as most rivals offer but long enough to figure out if the service does what you want it to. However, there are a worrying number of negative reviews on Trustpilot which claim they were unable to get a refund when they requested one.
You won’t find FastestVPN’s lifetime subscription easily, so if that tempts you, you can get it here.
If that’s no longer available by the time you read this, then the usual plans (which, amazingly, all cost more than the lifetime subscription) can be found here on FastestVPN’s website.
FastestVPN has improved since we last tested it, but there are still plenty of areas where even more improvement is needed to compete with the very best VPN services.
The Windows app still has significant issues, and that’s in addition to not having the necessary digital signature.
If you want a VPN for privacy, then you are better off opting for a VPN service that has been independently audited, such as Private Internet Access, NordVPN, PureVPN or ExpressVPN.
It still feels ironic that a service called FastestVPN still doesn’t offer WireGuard and, objectively, simply isn’t anywhere near as fast as the fastestVPN services out there.
All of this makes FastestVPN a less attractive option than many of its rivals. But if you just want a VPN for your phone to get around regional blocks and watch US Netflix, Disney+ or BBC iPlayer then at $20, the lifetime subscription is a steal.