VPNSecure isn’t one of the most well-known VPNs, even though it’s been around since 2010. It prides itself on its security, and certainly seems to deliver with OpenVPN and AES-256 encryption available, and a killer no-logs policy, but is the rest of it’s offering up to scratch? Let’s take a look.
- Record server numbers
- 6 connections allowed
- 2 kill switches
- Specialist servers
- Some very cheap prices
- Slightly faster speeds
- 94 countries
- Record Netflix access
- Full access torrenting
- Easy-to-use app
Speed & Expectations
Things like streaming, torrenting and gaming require high speeds, and despite paying good money I’ve got some bad news: a VPN is actually going to decrease your speeds.
Unfortunately all that extra protection pays a price. The big question is, how much?
We put all the VPNs we review to the test using three standard speed metrics:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 tested these metrics without a VPN, to have a baseline standard to measure against. This was conducted in Chicago, IL, using a 100mbps internet connection.
Then we tested these metrics with VPNSecure turned on. We tested its speeds across various servers, and ran each test 5 times to make our results as reliable as possible.
These were the results of our baseline tests:
So the average baseline score was:
- Download: 83.3mbps
- Upload: 12.3mbps
- Ping: 9.4ms
Next we turned on VPNSecure and connected to a United States server:
US averages of the 5 different speed tests were:
- Download: 26.7mbps (67.9% slower)
- Upload: 11.2mbps (8.6% slower)
- Ping: 35.8ms (280.9% longer)
(This should in theory be the fastest result as we were conducting our tests from the US).
Next we tested Europe:
Europe’s averages were:
- Download: 5.5mbps (93.4% slower)
- Upload: 10mbps (18.7% slower)
- Ping: 108.2ms (1051.1% longer)
Asia’s averages were:
- Download: 2mbps (97.6% slower)
- Upload: 1mbps (92.1% slower)
- Ping: 246.2ms (2519.1% longer)
South America’s averages were:
- Download: 32.9mbps (60.5% slower)
- Upload: 9.1mbps (25.9% slower)
- Ping: 153.2ms (1529.8% longer)
Finally, we tested Africa:
Africa’s averages were:
- Download: 19.6mbps (76.5% slower)
- Upload: 5.4mbps (55.8% slower)
- Ping: 283.6ms (2917% longer)
If you’re overwhelmed by these figures, don’t worry. We’ve stuck them in a handy table to compare them against the competition, based on our speed tests of other VPNs.
First up, let’s take a look at download speeds:
Download speeds are well below average for everywhere except South America, where oddly it had the top result. Europe and Asia both drop by over 90%.
Next, how did upload speeds compare?
VPNSecure did a lot better with upload speeds: they are well above average for Europe and South America, and just above average for Africa and average for the US. But they are well below average for Asia, with an over 90% drop in speed.
And finally latency:
Latency speeds are above average for Europe, Asia and South America, but below average for Africa and well below average for the US.
VPNSecure has below average speeds overall. It has some good upload speeds and OK latency, but download speeds are atrocious.
Performance & Features
What kind of features does VPNSecure come with? We take a look at the main ones in this section.
Number of servers: 79 servers.
How many active servers are available to connect to across all countries, regardless of their physical location.
This is definitely on the low end of the scale, since the top VPNs have hundreds if not thousands of servers nowadays. In fact NordVPN has over 5,000. Low server numbers means less choice for the user, as well as higher server loads.
Number of countries: 49 countries.
How many countries the total number of servers cover, regardless of how many are located in a single country.
This is better, probably middle of the road, with a decent smattering across the globe. Here’s a full list of server locations.
Number of connections allowed: 5.
How many devices can be connected to a server (or number of servers) based on a single VPN account or subscription.
5 connections is about average. It should be enough for most people to connect all their devices at once. Windscribe offers unlimited connections if this is a concern for you.
Torrenting allowed: Yes (most servers).
Whether you can download and share files on a peer-to-peer or P2P network as opposed to a single server.
Torrenting is allowed on 90% of its servers. It’s currently only blocked on 2 UK servers and 1 US server.
Kill switch available: Yes (Windows and Mac).
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.
A kill switch is available, but annoyingly only on Windows and Macs. Sorry mobile users. A fair few VPNs offer full kill switches if you need it.
Performance and Features (Summary)
VPNSecure has their servers spread around a fair few countries, torrenting is allowed on most its servers, and there’s a kill switch available on Windows and Macs. But the low server numbers are a big disappointment.
Privacy & Security
Privacy and security are the whole reason you get a VPN, so you need to make sure there’s no vulnerabilities. Things like DNS leaks can expose your location, and what about the legal side of things?
Protocols/Encryption: OpenVPN protocols with DES-CBC, AES-128 and AES-256 encryption
You probably know a VPN encrypts your data, and it does this using protocols and encryption methods. It’s important to note which ones as there are some big differences.
VPNSecure’s standard plan only offers OpenVPN protocol. This is very secure, but VPNs usually offer IKEv2/IPSec as well for more flexibility.
If you’re wondering whether it’s UDP or TCP, the answer is both. Servers are either one or the other. This is frustrating as it effectively halves your server numbers if you want a specific protocol. Most VPNs let you choose the protocol for any server.
Unlike most VPNs they offer a choice of three encryptions: AES-256, AES-128 and DES-CBC. AES-256 is basically impenetrable, and the one most VPNs use. However, shockingly they default to DES-CBC, which is way less secure, so you have to change this setting to ensure top-of-the-line encryption.
We also tested VPNSecure for DNS, IP and WebRTC leaks, as well as viruses/malware:
DNS leaks: None found.
IP leaks: None found.
WebRTC leaks: None found.
Viruses/Malware: None found.
We didn’t find any leaks or viruses, a great result.
Jurisdiction: Australia. Unfortunately VPNSecure is based in Australia, which is a member of the Five Eyes Alliance. These countries have some data laws where they agree to share data in certain criminal situations.
But much more worrying is that Australia is currently looking to push through new encryption legislation that demand backdoor access to encrypted data. If this goes through, the last thing you’ll want to do is use a VPN based in Australia.
If you’re concerned about this, there’s a lot of alternatives out there, such as NordVPN based in Panama.
Logging policy: No logs policy.
Logging policies are also a major issue. This is how much unencrypted data the VPN collects on you for its own personal records.
VPNSecure has a ‘zero logs’ policy.
They state that they do not log the following:
- IP address
- Connection timestamp
- Disconnect timestamp
- Bandwidth used
- DNS requests
This all sounds great as these are the things you definitely don’t want your VPN to collect. But at the same time their Terms of Service are suspiciously sparse and do not elaborate on this, like, at all. This is rare.
Privacy and Security Summary
VPNSecure is very secure, with no leaks and top-of-the-line encryption and protocols.
Legally, it’s based in Australia which is under the Five Eyes Alliance and there’s also a potential concern if new encryption laws are passed.
It has a zero logs policy, but its terms are a bit suspiciously sparse.
This section looks at the usability aspects of VPNSecure, such as:
- Overall UI/UX
VPNs used to be great for streaming, but sadly many are now struggling to unlock Netflix (and others). If Netflix detects that you’re using a VPN, it will go ahead and block all content.
And it’s fair to say Netflix is crushing it in this regard; I don’t think any VPN at present has full Netflix access across all servers, and many don’t have any.
So we tested all major streaming services across various of VPNSecure’s servers in the US, Europe, Asia and South America.
- Netflix: Detected. Netflix doesn’t work on any servers. This is freely admitted by their customer service team, so don’t even try. It seems VPNSecure gave up on this a while ago.
- Hulu: Detected. Hulu doesn’t work either. However I should mention that you can use their Smarter DNS app (included in the standard plan) to access Hulu. But this isn’t a VPN and offers hardly any protection, so we wouldn’t really recommend it.
- YouTube: Undetected. At least YouTube worked in all locations. Then again, this is usually the easiest to access.
- Kodi: Undetected. Kodi also worked in all server locations, so Kodi users will have no problems.
Does VPNSecure work on any device? After all, you want to make the most of those five connections.
We tested everything from Tor, iOS devices, Android devices, Smart TV’s, Amazon Firestick, Mac, Windows, to routers:
- Tor browser: Supported. The Tor browser works fine whilst using VPNSecure. Using both Tor and a VPN will give you maximum protection, at the sacrifice of speed.
- iOS (iPad, iPhone): Supported. VPNSecure works fine on Apple devices running iOS, including the latest versions of iPad and iPhone.
- Android: Supported. VPNSecure also works with Google’s Android operating system which covers everything from smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even TV media sticks.
- Smart TV’s: Not Supported. Sadly VPNSecure doesn’t support functionality on any kinds of Smart TVs.
- Amazon Firestick: Not Supported. Firesticks also aren’t covered, but it’s unusual to find a VPN that does support this in fairness.
- Windows: Supported.
- Mac: Supported.
- Routers: Supported. VPNSecure supports routers with OpenVPN protocols, or DD-WRT or OpenWrt or Tomato firmwares.
Finally, is VPNSecure easy to use?
Well first off, the interface looks like it came from a previous decade.
Looks aside though, it is a minimalist list-based interface. All servers are listed straight-up without the need for further dropdowns.
Unfortunately the interface is just clunky and glitchy all round. For example, every time you disconnect you have to click twice since a pop-up appears checking your intentions.
You also have to disconnect from any current server to connect to a new one, making a total of four clicks.
One major glitch is that the app doesn’t appear in the taskbar, which means you have to minimize all your other windows every time you want to use it.
In terms of servers, there are further inefficiencies: US servers aren’t named by city, only the region, for example, US East.
And as previously mentioned, servers are divided by OpenVPN UDP and TCP, but only TCP servers are labelled with the suffix ‘TCP’. This would be very confusing for beginners. It would be much more efficient to be able to choose your protocol in Settings.
You can’t favorite servers either. Recent servers do appear at the top which can be cleared at any time, but favorites would be easier to manage. There is however a search bar.
To top it all off, a dedicated IP appeared in my server list, even though I hadn’t bought one.
A dedicated IP a private and unique IP address for one user only. If this is someone else’s IP address that they’ve paid extra for, this is very bad news indeed in terms of security. (I did notify Support of this and they did rectify it).
Settings are accessed via the hamburger icon. As we mentioned the cipher is set to the least secure, DES-CBC, another illogical UX decision. So you need to change this to AES-256 if you want maximum security.
However some impressive advanced security features are also on offer here: you can activate the kill switch (‘Disable internet on disconnect’ option), and ‘Stealth VPN’.
This will change the main interface to list only ‘Stealth Servers’ which will obfuscate traffic for highly restrictive countries like Iran where VPN usage is illegal/blocked. Currently it does work in China, which is a big plus.
If you click ‘Routing’, this opens up a split tunnelling option, where you can set the VPN to only work for certain websites.
That’s the Windows client, so can the app do any better?
The app (we tested Android) is almost identical in it’s UX to the Windows client, thanks to the minimalistic list-based interface.
But in terms of appearance, it has a much cleaner, more modern-look. Well done VPNSecure.
Settings are much more minimal though.
You can still pick your cipher, but there’s no kill switch, Stealth Servers or split tunneling options. On the (very small) plus side, you can pick one favorite server.
VPNSecure fails to impress in this section. It’s a no-go for streaming fans, with zero Netflix or Hulu access. It’s compatible with the basics, but not things like Smart TVs or Firesticks.
The interface is minimalistic but is very clunky to use with some glitches. However it does include some advanced features like split tunneling and Stealth servers for desktops.
Pricing & Refunds
Like most providers, VPNSecure’s pricing depends on how long you want to commit. There’s 3 options available for the standard plan:
The cost of the monthly price is average, but the 1 year price is slightly above average since it doesn’t offer as deep a discount as other VPNs. It also doesn’t offer a further discounted 2 year option as a lot of other VPNs do.
This standard plan includes the Smarter DNS app and HTTP Proxy.
They also offer other minor cheaper packages, such as standalone PTPP or SOCKS. You can also buy the Smarter DNS app and HTTP Proxy on their own.
In my opinion this just makes things very confusing, especially to beginners.
For one thing, they don’t explain properly in layman terms what all these products are, particularly the Smarter DNS app and HTTP Proxy, which aren’t VPNs and have to be setup separately.
In fact it’s hard to find any information about the Smarter DNS app, which it turns out has its own separate website (www.smarterdns.me).
Once you’ve navigated your way through all these packages, how can you pay? Well, here VPNSecure delivers, offering an array of options, including credit card, Paypal and PaymentWall. Crypto is available but only through Bitcoin.
There’s also no money-back guarantee, unless you have serious technical problems with the VPN. If this is the case and you go through troubleshooting and request a refund within the first 90 days, you will get a full refund.
In this case they will refund within 72 hours, which is way faster than most.
There is a free 31 day trial, but before you get excited, it’s an extremely limited version of the software – you only get access to one server (US), with a 2GB bandwidth limit.
You can experience the full version with an incredibly stingy 2-day trial, which you have to pay $2 for. So it’s not free. And if you accidentally tip over the two days, with no money-back guarantee there’s no chance of a refund.
The standard package has an average monthly price, but the 1 year price is slightly above average.
There’s a 31-day free trial but you only get one server to play with, or a 2-day full-access trial for $2. There’s no money-back guarantee though. VPNSecure has a wide variety of payment options, including Bitcoin if you want to pay anonymously.
VPNSecure has the holy grail of modern-day support: 24/7 live chat. But is it actually up to par?
I’m pleased to say the responses were always quick and helpful.
I never waited more than a couple of minutes for a response, and I always talked to a human who seemed to know their stuff, or went to check if they didn’t.
And when I reported an issue to them, they made sure to email me with their response since I had closed the chat window. They even added a free month to my account, an extremely generous gesture.
One minor niggle: I don’t like how the chat window pops open by itself all the time making an annoying pinging sound.
They also offer email support, and email response times were lightning fast compared to other VPNs, I never waited more than an hour.
That’s it in terms of support: there’s no phone or Facebook option. But this fast live chat and email should be enough for most people.
Secondly, what’s their knowledge base like? Regrettably, this is where things really start to go downhill for VPNSecure. I’ve never come across a worse knowledge base.
For example, here’s what you get if you search for the term ‘Netflix’:
Nothing. I know they don’t support Netflix, but there should at least be a short article telling you that. It’s the same result for torrenting, StealthVPN and a whole host of other basic terms and features.
What about Hulu, which you can access through their Smarter DNS app?
No article specific to Hulu, and no mention of the Smarter DNS app. There isn’t even one article on the Smarter DNS app.
The articles that do exist are largely confusing and full of technical lingo, assuming expert knowledge of VPNs.
For example, their setup guide for their Chrome Proxy doesn’t even bother trying to explain what it is, assuming the user already knows.
This leads you to having to ask the live chat service every question you have, which gets very tiresome after a while, and is incredibly inefficient on their part.
VPNSecure’s knowledge base is truly awful, with a lot of the basics not even covered. Fortunately, you can ask any questions you have to their awesome live chat team 24/7, or email them for a super-quick response.
What Do Other Reviewers Say?
Well that’s our experience and opinion of VPNSecure, but it’s important to take a look at the wider market. What did other reviewers have to say?
Without exception they were impressed with VPNSecure’s security. No one else had any qualms with the no-logs policy, calling it super secure. They were also impressed with the encryption flexibility, leak protection, and advanced features such as stealth servers, kill switch and split tunneling.
A lot of reviewers agreed with us about speeds being slower than average, with some connection drops. However one said they had reasonable speeds, and another said they had great local speeds, which differed to our testing.
Many noted the server numbers, calling them either middle-to low or low in numbers.
They also noted the lack of Netflix access, although one said that Netflix worked for them in Canada and the Netherlands.
Like us they weren’t too impressed with the Smarter DNS app or browser extension, since these aren’t VPNs and don’t offer enough security.
Most raved over the live chat service, saying it was one of the best they’ve reviewed in terms of response time and quality of support.
However, one obviously had a different experience, saying the live chat team weren’t too knowledgeable and the email responses were slow.
Surprisingly most didn’t mention that they found the knowledge base lacking.
Another big difference was the interface; most seemed to love it. They thought both the desktop and app were both easy to use and nice-looking, with a light and dark option available for the desktop.
What Do Other Reviewers Say (Summary)
Other reviewers liked VPNSecure’s security, impressed that it offered some advanced features like split tunneling. Most were extremely positive about the support. Most weren’t so impressed with its speed and lack of Netflix access.
Unlike us, they had no suspicions about its no-logs policy, and loved the interface, calling it nice to look at and very usable. They also didn’t mention the lack of knowledge base articles.
There’s one word for this VPN: substandard. Speeds are slow, server numbers are low, and the interface is clunky and full of glitches. Even the knowledge base is confusing and sparse.
When you combine this with a slightly above average price, you’ve got to ask yourself: what are they thinking?
In spite of this, it has potential. The security is there with a high-level protocol and encryption and no leaks. It also offers some advanced features, such as a kill switch, split tunneling and StealthVPN. Basic compatibility is there, and the fact that the support is so great shows that VPNSecure does care about its users to some extent.
But with the current price, no one’s going to look its way with so many other superior options available.
Lastly, the VPN being based in Australia is an added concern, especially if new encryption laws are passed through.
For this reason, we give VPNSecure an overall rating of 2.5 out of 5 and we would not recommend it.
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