ZoogVPN Review (2019): Too Good To Be True?

ZoogVPN started out as ZoogTV, focusing on streaming via Smart DNS. It’s now a full-blown VPN that claims to have amazing streaming, loads of apps, and can be used in China. It’s also probably the cheapest VPN ever, at just $1.75, and offers a free version. Surely there’s a catch? We investigate.

PROS

  • US Netflix and Hulu
  • Secure
  • Excellent support staff
  • Very easy to use
  • Extremely cheap
  • Excellent device compatibility
  • Free version

CONS

  • Below average speeds
  • Very low server count

Speed & Expectations 

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 Zoog VPN 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: 85mbps
  • Upload: 13.2mbps
  • Ping: 9.8ms

Next we ran our tests on a ZoogVPN United States server:

US averages of the 5 different speed tests were:

  • Download: 34.5mbps (59.4% slower) 
  • Upload: 28.7mbps (116.7% faster)
  • Ping: 47.6ms (385.7% 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: 22.1mbps (74% slower)
  • Upload: 16.5mbps (24.4% faster)
  • Ping: 199ms (1930.6% longer)

Here’s Asia:

Asia’s averages were:

  • Download: 17.2mbps (79.7% slower)
  • Upload: 19.8mbps (49.5% faster)
  • Ping: 419ms (4175.5% longer)

South America:

South America’s averages were:

  • Download: 1.5mbps (98.2% slower)
  • Upload: 12.9mbps (2.6% slower)
  • Ping: 500.2ms (5004.1% longer)

And Africa:

Africa’s averages were:

  • Download: 10.8mbps (87.3% slower)
  • Upload: 16.3mbps (23.5% faster)
  • Ping: 616.8ms (6193.9% longer)

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

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

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
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-45.6%-71.5%-76.6%-64%-71.5%

Zoog did not have fast download speeds. They were just below average for Europe and Asia, below average for the US and Africa, and atrocious for South America with a 98% speed drop.

Next, how did upload speeds compare?

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
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%
Average2.5%-24%-46.9%-34.3%-52.2%

Upload speeds were actually faster than the default connection in all regions except South America, where it only dropped 3%. This is incredibly rare, and makes it our number 2 for uploads out of all the VPNs we’ve tested so far.

And finally latency:

VPNUSEuropeAsiaS.AmericaAfrica
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%
Average206.5%1013.8%2291.6%1639%2767.8%

Unfortunately, latency was pretty bad. Speeds were below average in all continents. It wasn’t too bad in the US, but elsewhere it often scored some of the lowest results we’ve seen.

Speed (Summary)

Unfortunately Zoog has below average speeds overall, with super fast uploads, but slow downloads and latency compared to other VPNs.

Performance & Features

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

Number of servers: 43

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

This is extremely low. All quality VPNs have at least a few hundred, if not thousands. They say they are increasing servers but are focused on quality, with all servers being dedicated with a minimum of 1Gpbs port uplinks. For more servers, look at Nord’s 5,500.

Number of countries: 24

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

This is also pretty low, though well-distributed. Like all VPNs it’s focused on North America and Europe, but there’s a few in Asia and 1 each in America, the Middle East and Africa. PureVPN has 140 countries if you want more.

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 is the average in the VPN industry, so Zoog don’t do badly here.

Torrenting allowed: Yes (some servers)

Whether you can download and share files on a peer-to-peer or P2P network as opposed to a single server.

ZoogVPN allows torrenting on around half of its servers, which is pretty good. There’s 24 P2P servers in 13 countries: USA, Canada, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Greece, Italy, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, and Israel. For full access torrenting, look at ExpressVPN.

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.

Fortunately Zoog has a kill switch to keep you protected, but this is only available on desktops. However, this is also the case for a lot of top VPNs. NordVPN includes mobile too if this is crucial for you.

Performance and Features (Summary)

ZoogVPN has very low server numbers in a fairly low number of countries, though support claims they’re all dedicated. On the plus side it allows an average 5 connections, has a kill switch on desktops, and allows torrenting on half its servers.

Privacy & Security

Is Zoog fully secure and can it be trusted with your data? In this section we test all these areas.

First let’s look at the technical aspects:

Protocols/Encryption: AES 256-bit encryption with OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols

ZoogVPN uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, with OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols. Both of these are highly secure and the standards used, though most would say OpenVPN has a slight edge. It also uses Perfect Forward Secrecy.

DNS leaks: None found.

IP leaks: None found.

WebRTC leaks: None.

Viruses/Malware: None found.

Legal issues

Jurisdiction: Greece. Zoog is based in Greece, which is outside 14 eyes. Greece is generally very pro-privacy and freedom of speech in its laws, which is also great. However, technically the government do have the right to monitor citizens internet activity, which is kinda scary. However, there’s been no known cases of this.

Logging policy: No logs.

Zoog’s privacy policy is strictly no logs. It states they “do not collect or keep any usage information on user activity, the websites or apps the user visits, timestamps, user IP addresses, or user log-in/log-out sessions.”

They only thing they collect, aside from email address, is “total data transferred on our servers as aggregated upload/download.” Which really isn’t anything to worry about.

The only criticism I’d have is Zoog’s policy is a bit brief.

Privacy and Security Summary

Zoog uses top encryption and protocols, and we found no leaks or viruses in our testing. Zoog has a no-logs policy, and is located in Greece, which is outside 14-eyes.

Usability

This section looks at the following aspects:

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

Streaming/Geo-spoofing

A lot of people use VPNs to try to spoof their location so they can watch their favorite Netflix content. Handily, Zoog has a list of the streaming services that work on each of their servers. 

Let’s see if it’s accurate.

  • Netflix: Partially Detected. Netflix worked in the US. It also works on Germany and Singapore servers, but this also shows US Netflix, as stated on their site. So basically only US Netflix is available.
  • Hulu: Partially Detected. Hulu worked on a US server, though not all of the servers listed as working on their streaming page.
  • YouTube: Undetected. YouTube worked fine on all servers.
  • Kodi: Undetected. Kodi worked fine with Zoog.

Compatibility

Is Zoog 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 ZoogVPN.
  • iOS (iPad, iPhone): Supported. Zoog has a fully-functional iOS app.
  • Android: Supported. Same for Android.
  • Smart TV’s: Partially Supported. Zoog has an app for Android TVs.
  • Amazon Firestick: Partially Supported. They even have an app you can download for Amazon Fire TV and Firesticks, but a lot seem to have issues with it.
  • Windows: Supported. Zoog has a Windows app.
  • Mac: Supported. Zoog has a Mac app.
  • Routers: Supported. Zoog also offers router support for 3 brands: DD-WRT, Tomato, and Mikrotik. They also support 3 protocols, OpenVPN, LT2P/IPSec and PPTP. This is unusual as most VPNs only support OpenVPN now. You can also buy a preconfigured router.

Overall UX/UI

Zoog has an extremely minimalistic interface.

Unlike a lot of basic VPNs, it has a proper window in the Taskbar, which most will appreciate.

It’s dead-easy to use. Click on the big power button to turn the VPN on or off. If you do this upon startup, it’ll connect automatically to the nearest server.

Clicking the bar at the bottom takes you to the server list. At the top you’ve got the 3 free servers. After that it’s listed in country alphabetical order, albeit a strange one: countries are listed by their domain names.

A lot of these are the same first 2 letters as their full country name, but some aren’t, e.g. CH for Switzerland. Why they do this I don’t know.

You’ve still got the flags and city names though, and the list is short, so it’s not a big deal. It’s nice that they show the city names, as some basic VPNs only show the country.

There’s no favorites system, but at the top you have some recently used servers, which helps.

P2P servers are clearly marked.

Once you click on a server, you’re taken back to the main screen, and you still have to click the power button to connect. I prefer this, as I often accidentally click on servers that I don’t actually want to connect to.

It flashes green as its connecting, mentioning the various stages, e.g. ‘Downloading config’.

And stays green once connected.

It also shows a few stats, which is surprising for such a basic UI. It tells you your IP, protocol, and duration.

You have to disconnect servers before changing, which is annoying, however they do have a pop-up to make it easier. Disconnections are instant.

Connection times were average.

One bug we found was that after we shut the app down, our IP address still showed as being connected, which is disturbing. Support said they would get this fixed, and in the meantime to make sure you disconnect from the server before closing the app.

There were only 4 settings, however to be fair they cover all the key bases. There’s a startup option, auto-connect option, kill switch, and you can choose your protocol.

Under Preferences before you login, you can also add a manual IP for advanced users. 

This was one smooth UX with literally no lags between clicks.

The mobile app is almost the same, so there’s no learning curve.

The server list is identical. The P2P servers are still there, which is unusual as a lot of VPNs don’t offer them on mobile.

You aren’t taken back to the main panel once you’ve selected your server, so you have to press the back arrow and then the power button to connect.

Unlike the desktop UI, the power button is green when off, and fills the screen with green once connected.

However, there’s actually more stats shown on mobile, which again is very rare. Mobile apps are normally more stripped down.

For settings, sadly there’s no kill switch, but there’s an added obfuscation option, which is a nice surprise. It would be nice if this was on the desktop too.

Overall, the mobile app is still extremely simple to use.

Usability (Summary)

Zoog works for US Netflix and Hulu. It’s apps are dead simple to use, with minimal but good settings that will be enough for most users. They also have pretty great device compatibility, including Smart TVs and routers.

Pricing & Refunds

Zoog has a permanently free version, which is rather rare amongst VPNs.

It only includes 3 servers, has a 2GB bandwidth limit and perhaps most importantly only has 128-bit encryption. This isn’t very secure. It’s also 1 device only.

Still, a free plan is nothing to sniff at and it’s a good way to try out a bit of the service before you buy.

This is one cheap VPN if you’re willing to pay for it. The 1 month price is cheap at $7.99, but the 6 months and 2 year prices are ultra-cheap at $3.33 and $1.75.

It’s weird they don’t have a 1 year option though, and jump straight from 6 months to 2 years.

Zoog has a 7 day moneyback guarantee, which is short compared to the VPN giants that offer 30 days, but then again it’s very cheap, and there’s already a free version to test it out a bit.

However, there’s one big caveat: you can only use 2GB if you want your money back. I find it pretty shameful they plaster the 7 days all over their site and only mention this in the fine print.

You also have to purchase from the website, but most guarantees state this.

Zoog has a wide variety of payments include card, Paypal, American Express and Paymentwall. There’s also one crypto option, Bitcoin.

Payment was easy and we were taken straight to the downloads page afterwards.

Pricing (Summary)

Zoog is ultra-cheap, with 1 month at $7.99, 6 months at $3.33 and 2 years at just $1.75. They also have a free plan. There’s a 7 day money-back guarantee, though you can’t use more than 2GB. Payment options include Paymentwall or Bitcoin.

Support

Zoog has live chat. It’s not 24/7, but it’s available 16 hours a day from 8am-12am Greek time (GMT+3), which is pretty close.

I have to say overall the quality of the support staff is the best support I’ve ever encountered.

It’s rare to get to speak to such competent staff. 

Initially I spoke to someone who could help me with some things, but didn’t seem to have a high level of technical information.

For example they could help with Netflix:

But didn’t seem to have a strong idea about encryption.

They also initially lied about having 24/7 support.

However, I was quickly transferred (without asking) to someone who seemed more technical and high-level. They seemed to know everything about the VPN. It was like speaking to the owner.

I literally chatted to this guy for an hour and he answered all my concerns about the VPN with in-depth explanations and troubleshooted my technical issues. He was extremely honest and transparent about the VPN, including its downsides.

He also took my suggestions seriously regarding the money-back guarantee and said they would consider raising the limit and making the limit more transparent.

The live chat interface is fully-functional. You can up or downvote staff, and email conversations to yourself for later reference.

When staff aren’t available, you can still use the window to message them and they will reply by email once they’re back online. You can also email them directly.

What about their knowledgebase?

Well, they have a decent set of detailed manual setup guides for various protocols on each of their apps.

And they have a decent FAQ page.

However, the rest of their knowledgebase is extremely minimal. It pretty much just covers streaming.

There’s not really any troubleshooting available, which is disappointing.

Support (Summary)

ZoogVPN has 16-hour live chat available 8am-12am GMT+3. Some of their support staff are the best I’ve encountered by far. The knowledgebase has great manual setup guides and a good FAQ section, but not much else.

What Do Other Reviewers Say?

What are other reviewers opinion of ZoogVPN? Here’s an overview.

Most said the free version was insecure due to the 128-but encryption so they wouldn’t really recommend it, though one said it would still have your back in most cases. They thought it was more useful for testing the software before purchasing.

Most agreed it had a very low server count, which was a big drawback. However one said Europe, North America and Asia have a variety of locations and multi-city server options.

Speed results were very mixed, from slow to above average.

All loved the zero logs policy, calling it strict and watertight. Most liked the Greek location, although one said to watch out for EU data retention directives.

A few were out-of-date, saying Zoog was located in the UK and logged things like session duration, which is no longer true. Many also said that their kill switch was only available on Macs, citing this as a major downside, but it’s now on Windows too.

Netflix testing results varied a lot. A lot found great Netflix access, but some only found US access. One said there was no access, but they only tried 5 servers.

Most found Zoog super-intuitive to use, with P2P servers clearly marked and countries easily listed in alphabetical order. Some said there weren’t many options, so it wasn’t for advanced users. Some were impressed with the obfuscation on the mobile app though.

However, one said it had a lot of annoying quirks, and another said there were a lot of connection issues, with servers randomly not connecting at times.

They really liked the device compatibility, saying they had custom apps for a variety of platforms and worked on most devices. No one criticised the Amazon Fire app. They also liked the 5 device connections.

With support, some said that only a ticketing system was available, which is out-of-date. Others stated that their live chat was 24/7, which is also currently not the case. With the live chat, like us one said it the staff were one of the best they’ve come across. Another said it was slow and not the most helpful.

They all liked the knowledgebase though, especially the comprehensive FAQs and setup guides.

All agreed the prices were extremely cheap, with some saying they’re one of cheapest they’ve reviewed. They liked the payment options, including Bitcoin. Some liked the 7 day guarantee, but some criticized the data limit in the fine print.

Overall, almost all rated it good to excellent. They liked the price, ease of use, custom apps, logs policy, and some liked the speeds and streaming access, but they didn’t like the lack of features, and some didn’t like the speeds or lack of streaming.

Other criticisms were out-of-date, such as no kill switch on Windows, no live chat, and UK location.

What Do Other Reviewers Say (Summary)

Most rated it good to excellent. They liked the price, ease of use, custom apps, logs policy, and some liked the speeds and streaming access.

They didn’t like the lack of features, and some didn’t like the speeds or lack of streaming. A lot of criticisms were out-of-date, such as no kill switch on Windows, no live chat, and a UK location.

Our Verdict

Zoog packs a lot punch for such a cheap VPN. It has a ton of pros and very few cons.

First up it’s extremely secure, with a great Greek location and no-logs policy. We didn’t find any leaks, and it’s got a kill switch on desktops.

Streamers can access US Netflix and Hulu, plus a lot of other national channels. You can also torrent on around half its servers.

The apps are dead simple to use, but with some advanced features like protocol choice and obfuscation, which can even be used in China.

It’s also got excellent device compatibility, covering Smart TVs and routers, with 5 connections. It’s also got high-quality live chat support.

On the downside, it has below average speeds, with fast uploads but slow downloads and latency. It’s also got a very low server count, with just 43 servers available. This might explain the slow speeds.

Unfortunately, these are two pretty big cons.

Zoog is ultra cheap, though. In fact, it might be the cheapest VPN going. The amount of features you get for such a low price is insane.

If Zoog increases its server numbers, which they say they will, their speeds will probably increase too. With such great features already, they would then be on-par with the giants.

I predict great things from this VPN in future. Overall we would recommend this VPN and would rate it 4 out of 5


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