Freedome VPN Review (2019): A Whole Lot of Logs

Freedome is part of the huge F-Secure company with a ton of security products. It’s Finnish location earns it some plus points from the start. Is it as secure as it makes out?

PROS

  • Finland location
  • Kill switch on mobiles
  • UK Netflix
  • Easy to use
  • Free trial

CONS

  • Very low server count
  • Quite a few logs
  • Slightly below average speeds
  • No crypto
  • Only annual pricing
  • Restricted torrenting

Speed & Expectations 

Freedome is part of the huge F-Secure company with a ton of security products. It’s Finnish location earns it some plus points from the start. Is it as secure as it makes out?

To measure speed, we tested the 3 main speed indicators:

  1. Download speed: The rate at which data is transferred from the server to your device. This is measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.
  2. Upload speed: The rate at which data is transferred to the server from your device. This is also measured in megabytes per second (mbps) and a higher number is better.
  3. Ping (or latency): Tested by “pinging” the server, it’s the amount of time it takes for it to receive and process your request. This is measured in milliseconds (ms) and a lower number is better.

First we ran a baseline test using a default 100mbps internet connection in Chicago, IL.

Then we tested various Freedome servers across the globe.

We ran each test 5 times to increase reliability.

Speed results

These are the results of our baseline test:

So the average baseline score was:

  • Download: 84.1mbps
  • Upload: 10.9mbps
  • Ping: 9.8ms

Next we ran our tests on a Freedome VPN United States server:

US averages of the 5 different speed tests were:

  • Download: 52.2mbps (37.9% slower) 
  • Upload: 45.8mbps (367.3% faster)
  • Ping: 71ms (655.3% longer)

(You would expect these to give the fastest results since we’re performing the tests in the US).

Next we tested Europe:

Europe’s averages were:

  • Download: 37mbps (56.1% slower)
  • Upload: 13.3mbps (22.1% faster)
  • Ping: 202.4ms (1965.3% longer)

Here’s Asia:

Asia’s averages were:

  • Download: 15.2mbps (81.9% slower)
  • Upload: 17mbps (56.5% faster)
  • Ping: 456.6ms (4559.2% longer)

Sadly, Freedome VPN doesn’t have any South American or African servers to test.

We also compared these results against the average of other VPN tests. How does Freedome measure up?

First up, let’s take a look at download speeds:

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Freedome-38%-56%-82%n/an/a
Mullvad-50%-74%-61%-78%-37%
Ra4w-54%-51%-94%n/a-57%
Betternet13%-7%-28%2%n/a
Private Tunnel-19%-66%-69%n/an/a
IVPN-23%-45%-67%n/an/a
Avira Phantom-41%-97%-98%-75%n/a
Speedify-6%-39%-73%-69%-69%
ZoogVPN-59%-74%-80%-98%-87%
NortonVPN-34%-68%-72%-29%n/a
SurfEasy-43%-61%-65%-37%n/a
Celo VPN-75%-93%-93%n/an/a
proXPN-52%-73%-74%n/an/a
X-VPN-71%-75%-99%-62%n/a
SpyOFF-66%-57%-76%-65%-63%
VPN.ht-48%-78%-68%-67%-67%
vpn.ac-52%-51%-67%-47%n/a
Tiger VPN-48%-68%-68%-55%-72%
VPN Unlimited-27%-77%-79%-64%-61%
Cyberghost-35%-59%-71%-56%-68%
Torguard-37%-58%-81%-60%-67%
ProtonVPN-35%-50%-56%-77%-54%
PureVPN-26%-68%-94%-32%-89%
Trust.Zone-14%-99%-80%-66%-82%
AVG Secure VPN-56%-87%-69%-75%-68%
Hoxx VPN-12%-96%-93%n/a-68%
VPNSecure-68%-93%-98%-61%-77%
IPVanish-36%-54%-72%-76%n/a
NordVPN-40%-99%-69%-58%-75%
ExpressVPN-71%-58%-64%-95%-67%
Avast-45%-63%-72%-66%-77%
Windscribe-44%-57%-80%-98%-73%
Average-41%-67.2%-75.4%-62.6%-68.9%

Download speeds were above average in Europe, just below average in the US, and below average in Asia.

Next, how did upload speeds compare?

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Freedome41%22%57%n/an/a
Mullvad205%-15%64%-10%40%
Ra4w30%-32%48%n/a-46%
Betternet24%16%12%55%n/a
Private Tunnel75%-15%13%n/an/a
IVPN77%-83%108%n/an/a
Avira Phantom252.9%-87%-60%-30%n/a
Speedify-36%-40%-29%-34%-25%
ZoogVPN117%24%50%3%24%
NortonVPN161%38%59%9%n/a
SurfEasy-4%-17%-50%-2%n/a
Celo VPN-35%-30%-40%n/an/a
proXPN-7%-15%-52%n/an/a
X-VPN-33%-61%-98%-77%n/a
SpyOFF-9%-18%-88%-52%-50%
VPN.ht-10%-17%-25%-23%-63%
vpn.ac-6%-18%-44%-16%n/a
Tiger VPN-3%-14%-20%-17%-42%
VPN Unlimited-13%-39%-85%-19%-56%
Cyberghost-8%-16%-92%-37%-48%
Torguard-9%-20%-35%-22%-41%
ProtonVPN-2%-15%-20%-41%-29%
PureVPN13%2.5%-54%-11%-72%
Trust.Zone-13%-45%-67%-28%-84%
AVG Secure VPN-19%-58%-75%-80%-77%
Hoxx VPN-5%-90%-24%n/a-51%
VPNSecure-9%-19%-92%-26%-56%
IPVanish-5%-19%-84%-22%n/a
NordVPN-13%-46%-26%-16%-70%
ExpressVPN-9%-24%-34%-72%-42%
Avast-13%-42%-78%-70%-77%
Windscribe-6%-17%-52%-97%-53%
Average22.8%-25.3%-28.5%-29.4%-45.9%

Upload speeds were actually faster than without a VPN in all regions. They were well above average.

And finally latency:

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
Freedome367%1965%4559%n/an/a
Mullvad309%1040%2366%1613%2568%
Ra4w655%1015%2234%n/a2615%
Betternet19%1164%2485%1483%n/a
Private Tunnel33%1046%2150%n/an/a
IVPN36%1321%2572%n/an/a
Avira Phantom35%1147%2322%1596%n/a
Speedify506%1160%2604%1689%3051%
ZoogVPN386%1931%4176%5004%6194%
NortonVPN194%1569%2276%1426%n/a
SurfEasy-9%792%1711%1058%n/a
Celo VPN915%1161%1654%n/an/a
proXPN194%996%2194%n/an/a
X-VPN-28%397%837%560%n/a
SpyOFF213%944%4278%2533%2598%
VPN.ht273%785%1667%1282%2109%
vpn.ac60%388%968%487%n/a
Tiger VPN9%895%1786%1105%2309%
VPN Unlimited33%935%3946%1411%2535%
Cyberghost27%1085%2344%1352%2415%
Torguard7%1036%2023%1384%2502%
ProtonVPN17%810%1840%1185%2017%
PureVPN-23%708%489%1018%1823%
Trust.Zone104%1206%2438%1396%2750%
AVG Secure VPN1021%1111%2419%3560%3336%
Hoxx VPN566%1098%2470%n/a2794%
VPNSecure281%1051%2519%1530%2917%
IPVanish240%1038%4144%1424%n/a
NordVPN34%1278%2328%1560%2696%
ExpressVPN98%965%2122%1545%2461%
Avast33%1133%2465%1556%2815%
Windscribe310%1018%1904%2042%2782%
Average216.1%1068.4%2384.1%1632%2764.4%

Unfortunately, latency was below average in all regions. Latency in Asia was the worst we’ve ever tested.

Speed (Summary)

Freedome speeds were slightly below average overall, but it was a real mixed bag. Latency was below average and downloads slightly below average, but uploads were super fast.

Performance & Features

In this section we look at the key features all VPNs have and see how Freedome matches up.

Number of servers: 29

How many active servers are available to connect to across all countries, regardless of their physical location.

This is extremely low. Respectable VPNs have at least a few hundred, and the big names have thousands, such as PIA’s 3k+. Freedome just can’t compete. Less servers also usually mean slower speeds due to higher server load.

Number of countries: 23

How many countries the total number of servers cover, regardless of how many are located in a single country.

Again this is very low, with a narrow reach. It’s limited to mostly North America and Europe, with only 3 Asian countries and 1 in Oceania. No South American or African servers. ExpressVPN has an impressive 94 countries if you need more.

Number of connections allowed: 3, 5 or 7

How many devices can be connected to a server (or number of servers) based on a single VPN account or subscription.

There’s different pricing plans for different numbers of connections. 5 is average in the VPN industry, so Freedome does OK here.

Torrenting allowed: Yes (9 countries).

Torrenting is only allowed in 9 countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Freedome blocks torrenting in 14 countries, including the US, UK, Australia and Canada.

Kill switch available: Yes.

Whether the VPN software can disable your connection to the network in the event you disconnect from the VPN server. This prevents your IP address from being exposed.

Freedome has a kill switch on both desktops and mobiles, which is great news as it ensures you’re always fully protected. A lot of competitors only cover desktops.

Performance and Features (Summary)

Freedome isn’t feature-rich. It’s got a kill switch on mobiles and allows 3-7 connections, but it also has a very small server network with heavily restricted torrenting.

Privacy & Security

Is Freedome VPN secure and trustworthy?

First let’s look at the technical aspects:

Protocols/Encryption: OpenVPN and IKEV2 protocol with AES-256 encryption

There’s only one option available with Freedome, but fortunately it’s the best: AES-256 encryption with OpenVPN protocol. This is industry-standard, military-grade and the protocol is open-source, so it’s highly-resistant to being cracked. IKEV2 is used for iOS, which is standard for this platform.

Some other VPNs offer more options for flexibility and speed, and the most forward-thinking are developing newer options, like Wireguard and ChaCha. For example, Mullvad.

DNS leaks: None found.

IP leaks: None found.

WebRTC leaks: None.

Viruses/Malware: None found.

Legal issues

Jurisdiction: Helsinki, Finland. Finland is a pretty great location as it’s outside the 14-eyes Alliance, which means if a country like the US demands your data, it doesn’t have to comply. It’s part of the EU, but is generally pretty committed to privacy.

Logging policy: Some logs.

F-Secure has one of the longest privacy policies I’ve ever seen. At the top it summarizes what it doesn’t log. This focuses on telling you it doesn’t log your ‘traffic’.

Which it turns out, is the only thing they don’t log.

When you first use the VPN they log:

  • Your original IP address
  • Time of access
  • Country code
  • ‘Other similar device data’

And seem to keep this as long as you’re a customer.

Plus whenever you use it, they also log:

  • Device ID
  • Host name
  • Session duration
  • Total data used
  • ‘Other similar device data’

They keep all this for a staggering 90 days. That’s a long time.

And a whole lot of logs altogether.

I particularly don’t like how they don’t clarify everything they log but just say ‘other similar data’.

The only thing they don’t log is browsing history, but this is plenty of identifiable information that could probably be used by authorities to pin you down.

If you use their Tracker, they also log the tracking data of your traffic for 3 days. So best keep this off.

Freedome gets full points for honesty, but it’s not a VPN for the most privacy-conscious.

Privacy and Security Summary

Freedome uses industry-standardi AES-256 with OpenVPN and IKEV2/IPSec, and there’s no leaks or viruses. Unfortunately, it logs everything except browsing history. It’s based in Finland though, which at least isn’t part of 14-eyes.

Usability

This section looks at the following aspects:

  • Streaming/Geo-spoofing
  • Compatibility
  • Overall UI/UX

Streaming/Geo-spoofing

Geo-spoofing streaming services is a great benefit of using a VPN, but many struggle to trick Netflix and like nowadays. Let’s see how Freedome fares.

  • Netflix: Partially Detected. Netflix worked in the UK, but nowhere else.
  • Hulu: Detected. Unfortunately, Hulu was completely blocked.
  • YouTube: Undetected. YouTube worked fine on all servers.
  • Kodi: Undetected. Kodi worked fine with Freedome.

Compatibility

Is Freedome compatible with most devices?

We tested everything from Tor, iOS devices, Android devices, Smart TV’s, Amazon Firestick, Mac, Windows, to routers:

  • Tor browser: Supported. Tor works fine in conjunction with Freedome.
  • iOS (iPad, iPhone): Supported. Freedome has a fully-functional iOS app.
  • Android: Not Supported. Same for Android.
  • Smart TV’s: Unfortunately, Freedome doesn’t offer any support for smart devices.
  • Amazon Firestick: Not Supported.
  • Windows: Supported. Freedome has a Windows app.
  • Mac: Supported. Freedome has a Mac app.
  • Routers: Not Supported. Freedome offers no manual support, despite using OpenVPN. F-secure even has their own router, but you can’t use it in conjunction with Freedome either.

Overall UX/UI

Freedome has an extremely large sidebar-based interface that takes up most of the screen.

It’s not a complicated interface and there’s a lot of unused space, so I’m not sure why it has to be so large.

It’s pleasant to look at though, with a bright blue and white color scheme and minimalist approach.

On the home screen there’s a gigantic on/off button, your currently selected server location, and a few stats about their ad/tracking blocker.

You can quickly connect by clicking the button. This will connect you to its recommended location.

The server list is grouped into continents, and listed in alphabetical order by country.

Cities are also included, which is nice, except for the US, where it’s just regions.

This is different to most VPNs which are heavily US-centric.

There’s also a map, which is really just for aesthetics as you can’t move it around or use it to select servers.

There’s no scroll bar though, which is annoying as you have to rely on your mouse wheel or click ‘scroll for more’.

For such a small list, this makes it a bit slow to navigate, especially as there’s no search bar or favorites. The only thing you can do is minimize continents you don’t need to see.

Another navigation flaw is that when you first select a server, nothing happens except a green tick appears next to it.

It doesn’t automatically connect, like almost all other VPNs.

You yourself have to go back to the home screen, and click connect. Very odd.

However, after this, when you switch servers, it connects automatically.

When connected, there’s not much of a color change; the text just changes to purple. The system tray icon doesn’t change color either. You are notified outside the interface, though.

Connection times were around average.

Freedome is also a taskbar app, which I much prefer to those purely existing in the system tray. You can minimise and move the window around freely.

Settings are extremely minimal.

There’s a couple of startup and auto-connect settings, a kill switch, and language option. That’s it. Although we appreciate the kill switch, the rest is barebones.

Surprisingly for such a basic app, there’s an in-built adblocker as well as tracking protection.

It didn’t seem to protect us from much though. You can also activate their tracker mapper to see this visually, however be aware this means Freedome will start logging stuff you probably don’t want it to log.

The mobile interface (we tested Android) looks a little different.

The home screen is much more overwhelming with all the circular text.

The server list is comprised of 2 screens. An initial screen shows the globe with your 2 most recent locations. You have to click ‘more locations’ to access the full list.

This seems a little superfluous, the point being to include the globe, which isn’t very useful in the first place.

However, the 2 most recent locations could be handy for quicker access to your favorites.

The full server list is exactly the same except you can’t minimize the continent categories .

Connection works in exactly the same way.

There’s actually more settings on the mobile app, which is extremely rare. There’s still the kill switch, which is often skipped, but there’s also split tunneling and trusted wifi networks. Pretty neat.

To access adblocker and tracking proection settings, you actually have to click the circles on the home screen.

App protection’s available on mobiles as well.

Usability (Summary)

Freedome’s compatibility is limited to the basic desktops and mobiles, which is incredibly poor considering they use OpenVPN and even have their own router. However, it’s got an attractive interface that’s fairly easy-to-use and UK Netflix access. Settings are basic on the desktop, but there’s a few more on mobile.

Pricing & Refunds

Unusually, Freedome only offers 1 year deals. This means no monthly or even 6-monthly option, which will put a lot of users off. 

There’s different plans depending on the number of connections you want, and prices are also in Euros.

3 devices is the equivalent of €4.16 a month, 5 devices is €4.99, and 7 devices is €6.66.

The 3 device price is pretty cheap, the 5 device price is average, and the 7 device price is expensive.

Which makes Freedome about average overall.

However, make sure you buy on the website; if you buy via Apple or Google Play stores, you can only use them on iOS/Android devices.

There’s a 5-day free trial, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Since you have to commit to a year, you really need these.

The 5 day trial is particularly nice as you don’t have to give your payment details, and this applies to both desktop and mobile devices.

Payment options are limited to card, Paypal, or wire transfer. No crypto I’m afraid.

On the plus side, when you pay you don’t have to sign up – Freedome emails you a product code instead.

Pricing (Summary)

Freedome is an average €4.99 a month for 5 connections, but you can only pay yearly. You can opt for more or less connections at different prices. There’s a 5-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee. You can only pay by card, Paypal or wire transfer.

Support

Freedome has a wide variety of support available, which is unusual. There’s community forums, live chat, and even phone support.

There’s even a list of phone numbers for different countries.

Phone support is 9-5 on weekdays. Live chat is supposedly 24/7, but suspiciously it never actually seemed available outside 9-5 hours.

Support staff are of an OK quality. Normally with multi-product companies, staff have almost no specific product knowledge. However, the person I spoke to seemed to have a bit of an idea.

Annoyingly though, they wouldn’t (or more likely couldn’t) tell me how many servers they had in total. A pretty basic question.

The knowledgebase comprises of FAQs and the community forums.

The FAQs are fairly extensive, except for troubleshooting, which has a grand total of 2 articles.

The community forums make up for this, but these take a while to scroll through, and you run the risk of outdated information.

The other issue is navigation.

First up, it takes a while to find the Freedome section, as the knowledgebase covers all products.

You’re then confronted with 7 pages of FAQs.

There’s a search bar, and you can specify between the FAQs and the forums, but you bizzarely you can’t specify the product. So you end up with results relating to all F-secure products. Not ideal.

This makes the whole thing a faff to use.

The whole interface is also a bit cluttered.

The only saving grace are the categories on the right, which divide articles by platform, troubleshooting, subscriptions, etc.

Support (Summary)

Freedome has (supposedly) 24/7 live chat, 9-5 phone support, and community forums. Live chat didn’t seem available 24/7 for us though. The support staff are slightly better than usual for a multi-product company. The knowledgebase and forums are fairly extensive, but a bit difficult to navigate.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

What does the rest of the internet have to say about Freedome? Here’s a summary of other reviews.

They all generally liked the security reputation of F-Secure, and it’s Finnish location. They liked that Finland was outside 5-eyes and said it has one of the strictest privacy laws worldwide.

They also liked the protocol and encryption, calling it the best available. Most found no leaks, but surprisingly one found IPv6 and WebRTC leaks. Most liked the kill switch, although a couple claimed there was none.

Unlike us some were impressed by the device compatibility. However some criticised the lack of manual support for other devices, especially as it has the capacity with OpenVPN.

Opinions were mixed over the tracker feature. Some saw it as a significant bonus feature, whilst others thought it looked good but wasn’t very practical. A few pointed out it logs a lot more with this turned on.

Reviewers completely disagreed over the logging policy. Shockingly some said it was one of the best they’ve come across; short, clear and extremely transparent.

Others didn’t like that it logged more than it should, including IP address, duration and bandwidth. They particularly pointed out some dodgy clauses mentioning targeted advertising.

Most liked the interface, citing it as extremely easy to use for beginners. Users can pretty much just click the on button. Most commented on it’s efficiency, with no lags and quick and easy connections.

However, one said they found connections slow, and didn’t like that it had no extra functionality and hardly any settings.

They generally found higher speeds than us. A lot found it to be middle of the pack, but a couple reported strong speeds. One found it to increase upload speed by up to 5 times.

Unlike us a couple were able to access US Netflix, though one said it was too slow to play anything. Others found no Netflix access, but were able to unblock BBC iPlayer. None reported accessing UK Netflix.

A lot of reviews stated that Freedome blocks all torrenting, which is no longer the case.

In terms of support, some praised the large number of options available, including live chat and regional phone numbers. However, one said live chat never seemed to be online, and another got no response from the community forum. One called the knowledgebase comprehensive.

Most thought Freedome was reasonably priced, though some were disappointed by the lack of monthly options. They really liked the instant trial with no sign-up required. A couple stated there was a 30-day trial rather than the current 5 days.

What Do Other Reviewers Say (Summary)

Most rated it excellent, whilst some rated it good. They generally liked the ease of use, security and speeds, but didn’t like the small network, lack of advanced settings and no monthly pricing. Opinions were mixed on the logging policy.

Our Verdict

In most respects Freedome is a pretty average VPN for an average price.

It’s got industry-standard encryption, no leaks, and a kill switch on mobiles, which is nice. It’s also got UK Netflix, which is better than some.

The interface is extremely simple and fairly easy to use, definitely designed with beginners in mind. Advanced users definitely won’t be satisfied with the total lack of configuration.

The mobile app has some pleasant surprises though, with split tunneling and trusted wifi networks.

On the downside, it’s got an extremely small server network, slightly below average speeds, restricted torrenting, and no router or smart device support.

But the killer for us is its logging. It seems to log everything except browsing history, and keep this data for a long time. Although we appreciate the honesty, the privacy-conscious will need to look elsewhere. The silver lining is it’s Finnish location outside 14-eyes.

The price is average, with flexibility for the number of connections, and there’s a nice free trial. However, you also have to commit to a year, which will put a lot of people off.

Overall, we rate this VPN 2.9 out of 5.


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