This work examines effects of loading rate on the plastic flow and ductile failure of porous solids exhibiting rate-dependent behaviour relevant to many structural metals. Two different modelling approaches for ductile failure are employed and numerical analyses are performed over a wide range of strain rates. Finite element unit cell simulations are performed to evaluate the macroscopic mechanical response and ductile failure by void coalescence for various macroscopic strain rates. The unit cell results are then used to assess the accuracy of a rate-dependent porous plasticity model, which is subsequently used in strain localization analyses based on the imperfection band approach. Strain localization analyses are conducted for (i) proportional loading paths and (ii) non-proportional loading paths obtained from finite element simulations of axisymmetric and flat tensile specimens. The effects of strain rate are most apparent on the stress–strain response, whereas the effects of strain rate on ductile failure is found to be small for the adopted rate-dependent constitutive model. However, the rate-dependent constitutive formulation tends to regularize the plastic strain field when the strain rate increases. In the unit cell simulations, this slightly increases the strain at coalescence with increasing strain rate compared to a rate-independent constitutive formulation. When the strain rate is sufficiently high, the strain at coalescence becomes constant. The strain localization analyses show a negligible effect of strain rate under proportional loading, while the effect of strain rate is more pronounced when non-proportional loading paths are assigned.