WireGuard vs OpenVPN

WireGuard has gained traction over the past few years due, in part, to its high performance. We wondered how fast it really is, and realized that since we're already tracking VPN performance metrics for our VPN unit price index, we could use the same data to answer the question, "how much faster is WireGuard than OpenVPN?"

We focused on Windscribe, Mullvad, and NordVPN, three providers that support both WireGuard and OpenVPN, and built a dashboard to visualize their comparative download speeds. We've embedded the charts for the week ending November 20, 2020 below along with some commentary.

Note that all data on this page represent speedtests between U.S.-based speedtest servers and VPNs. Our methodology section below has more on this.

Windscribe

For the week ending November 20, 2020, Windscribe's average download speed over OpenVPN was 134 Mbps and its average download speed over WireGuard was 363 Mbps. This means that by simply toggling the WireGuard option, Windscribe users can get a free 2.7x speed boost!
As of November 27, 2020, our 7-day Windscribe averages are 344 Mbps for WireGuard and 147 Mbps for OpenVPN.

Windscribe's Wireguard speeds are almost always in the 300-400 Mbps ranges. Dig deeper into performance and pricing info on our dedicated pages for Windscribe WireGuard and Windscribe OpenVPN.

Mullvad

Mullvad was one of WireGuard's earliest commercial supporters. For the week ending November 20, 2020, Mullvad's average download speed over OpenVPN was 258 Mbps and its average download speed over WireGuard was 672 Mbps – a free 2.6x performance boost for Mullvad's WireGuard users!
As of November 27, 2020, our 7-day Mullvad averages are 677 Mbps for WireGuard and 282 Mbps for OpenVPN.

Mullvad's WireGuard speeds consistently land in the 600-700 Mbps range. Take a closer look at the pricing and performance data on our dedicated pages for Mullvad WireGuard and Mullvad OpenVPN.

NordVPN

NordVPN launched support for WireGuard via its NordLynx product in Spring 2020. For the week ending November 20, 2020, Mullvad's average download speed over OpenVPN was 395 Mbps. If the only number you remember from this page is NordVPN's average WireGuard download speed, you'll have the idea: a ridiculously fast 777 Mbps, a 1.9x boost over its OpenVPN service.

As of November 27, 2020, our 7-day NordVPN averages are 780 Mbps for WireGuard and 421 Mbps for OpenVPN.

You can see that NordVPN actually exceeds gigabit speeds on occasion. Its WireGuard speeds have a bit more variance than the other providers, but is uniformly well above 500 Mbps. For a deeper dive into NordLynx pricing and performance, check out our dedicated pages for NordVPN WireGuard/NordLynx and NordVPN OpenVPN.

Conclusions

For the week ending November 20, 2020, our global average download speed over OpenVPN was 251 Mbps and 583 Mbps over WireGuard – WireGuard outperformed OpenVPN by an incredible 230%!

All the more incredible is that customers of these services get this speed boost for free simply by selecting the WireGuard option.

NordVPN's 1.9x ratio is a little lower than the other providers', but it still has a massive raw speed advantage. If NordVPN can get its WireGuard speeds up to the 2.5x+ ratios held by Windscribe and Mullvad, then it will be consistently serving gigabit speeds.

That's it for now! We think this stuff is interesting, so we'll probably make this a monthly or quarterly report. If you'd like to know when we launch new tools and publish reports like this, please join our newsletter:

Be the first to hear about new tools and reports
As of November 27, 2020, WireGuard clocks in at 600 Mbps to OpenVPN's 293 Mbps, a 2.0x speed boost.

Methodology

Our system is fully automated which lets us take thousands of readings a day. The data on this page represents speedtests conducted between servers based in the U.S. and VPN servers also based in the U.S. – the speeds shown here are likely to be faster than what you would experience at home.

All speedtests are done over UDP with the native OpenVPN and WireGuard Linux clients except for NordVPN's NordLynx/WireGuard service which uses the NordVPN Linux client since NordVPN does not provide WireGuard configuration files.

At least as of November 20, 2020, you'll see some lumps shared across the three charts which may reflect resource usage patterns for our own hosting provider. We will report back on this.

Resources

Published November 21, 2020