VPNbook Full Review: A Freemium Service.
VPNBook is a free VPN service based in Switzerland that claims to unblock streaming services while keeping your identity private. Advertising and donations support the VPN service.
Despite the lack of an app and a vast number of server locations, the service is quite good at breaking into geo-restricted video streaming services. VPNBook is also known to offer decent speeds.
It sounds almost impossible to find a free VPN that promises to unblock popular streaming services like Netflix while protecting your privacy. However, besides being super user-friendly, they allow you to connect up to five devices at once, and it's compatible with most major platforms.
This section checked how VPNBook fares against its competitors regarding speed tests, number of servers, geographic distribution, and fastest available protocol.
1. VPNBook in speed tests
VPNBook outperforms other free VPN services. Free VPN services, on average, perform worse than paid VPN services, and VPNBook is no exception, but it is one of the few free providers whose upload speeds improve when using the VPN tunnel.
We noticed that the speed increases when we're using the UDP 53 port.
The service performs better than some free versions of paid VPNs.
2. Number of servers and geographic distribution
Short explanation: VPNBook has 8 servers located in the US, Germany, France, Canada, and Poland, two proxy servers in the UK and US each, and an Outline VPN server in Canada.
When it comes to everyday online activities such as browsing and streaming, inconsistent speeds can get frustrating. Thus, it must be noted that they offer fairly good speeds. However, like other VPN providers, these speeds aren't always stable.
3. Fastest available protocol
Short explanation: PPTP is the fastest available protocol by VPNBook (recommended to use). It also offers OpenVPN, which is a great choice if you're looking for a more secure connection.
Long explanation: in the VPN world, many protocols exist, with differences between protocols making the difference in how secure a VPN is, how fast, and whether it can bypass geo-censorship.
Typically, the trade-off is between speed and security, with the PPTP protocol typically being the fastest but the least secure. OpenVPN offers both security and speed with its two protocols: UDP and TCP.
One of the main reasons a person might use a VPN is because they want to secure their VPN connection and stay anonymous while privately surfing the internet.
The most important features regarding security and privacy include:
1. VPNBook encryption and protocols
When it comes to encryption, you can customize encryption protocols. The default encryption setting is AES 128-bit encryption. While it's not as secure as the latest AES 256-bit encryption, it's still extremely secure.
Many argue it is more than enough and is usually used instead for higher speed, as more intricate encryption hinders speed.
While the more secure AES 256-bit encryption is offered as a default by NordVPN and ExpressVPN, if you decide you want more safety, you can manually switch to a 256-bit encryption formulation.
Are you new to VPNs?
For VPNBook, use PPTP protocol for speed, and use OpenVPN protocol for security.
OpenVPN isn't the best VPN for Obfuscation as it is inconsistent in bypassing geo-censorship. For a better result, try using CyberGhost or StrongVPN, as they have better results in Obfuscation.
Pro mode: The protocols available for VPNBook include:
|Platforms||Windows, Mobile, PS3||All platforms|
|Security||128-bit encryption||256-bit AES encryption (most secure)|
|Firewall||UDP ports 500 and 4500, and ESP IP protocol 50||Uses 443 port (hard to block)|
|Speed||Very fast||Slower than PPTP|
2. VPNBook logs policy
Short explanation: VPNBook does not have a true no-log policy but rather a no-activity logs policy.
Long explanation: VPNBook keeps your IP address and time of connection for a week, and then it is deleted from the system, but no online activity is logged.
3. Kill switch
Short explanation: VPNBook does not have a kill switch feature.
4. VPNBook RAM-based servers
Short explanation: VPNBook does not have RAM-based servers.
Long explanation: RAM-based means that the data, instead of being saved to SSD drives, is saved on RAMs. This is advantageous to security, especially for a country inside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance because RAM is wiped clean every time the servers reboot.
5. VPN based country
Short explanation: VPNBook is based in Switzerland.
Long explanation: VPNBook is based in Switzerland, which is outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. VPN companies based inside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance are considered a possible security threat as these countries are known to spy on their citizens and share information internally. (Read more on the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance).
6. Warrant canary
Short explanation: VPNBook doesn’t have a warrant canary system.
Long explanation: A warrant canary is an indirect method to warn customers of governmental attempts to subpoena where the presence of the warrant on the company’s official website means the local government hasn’t tried anything yet.
In the event the warrant canary is removed from the company’s page, it means they were asked.
In terms of the applications of VPN in the real world, we dive further into how VPNBook fares against the rest in the following categories:
Most VPNs on the market don't guarantee access to geo-blocked streaming content. That being said, we can assure you that VPNBook technology allows you to watch U.S.-based streaming services like Netflix US, UK, and Hulu.
So, you might face some challenges before you gain access to geo-blocked content. Hence, we don't see VPNBook as the ideal VPN for streaming. However, several other trustworthy VPNs let you access any streaming platform without breaking a sweat.
Short explanation: VPNBook allows torrenting.
Long explanation: VPNBook offers well-established P2P support, and Torrenting is allowed on all servers. A strict no-logs policy is excellent for torrenting as it keeps you and your traffic data anonymous. VPNBook does not restrict speed whether you use 1GB or 100GB of bandwidth in. a day
In the event you decide to torrent with VPNBook, we recommend you pick a server situated in a country situated outside the 5-9-14 Eyes Alliance.
Short explanation: VPNBook doesn’t have specialized gaming servers.
Long explanation: when it comes to gaming, the reason why you would want to use a VPN for games is variable, but one thing is clear, which is no one wants to lag at all.
Companies with specialized gaming servers make sure your gaming experience will be smoother than companies that don’t have specialized gaming servers. However, VPNBook states on their website that you can enjoy playing your favorite games without trouble at all.
4. Dedicated IP servers
Short explanation: VPNBook has paid dedicated servers.
Long explanation: This subscription provides you with a VPN server with dedicated CPU time, memory, and 500GB+ monthly bandwidth. The idea is that you'll avoid the low-end competition's bottlenecks and, as a result, enjoy more consistent speeds anytime you're online.
A dedicated IP isn't something that is necessarily better than a shared IP. Whether you need a dedicated IP or not depends on what you use a VPN for.
When would I need a dedicated IP server?
A dedicated IP server is recommending for the following reasons:
This comes to play when one needs to secure their business server access for the purpose of security. Typically, in a business service setting, you want encryption of data, as well as a select group of people to be able to log in to your system.
This is done by allowing particular IP addresses to log in. If your IP is shared and is not static, then this won't be possible. On the other hand, a dedicated IP means it's static and can be set as a log-in condition.
Regular secure online payments
You might be wondering why I shouldn't pay with the standard shared IP VPN service? Now I want you to imagine this picture from the bank's viewpoint. Someone with a certain card number has processed payments from 10 different countries around the world in the past week; for banks, that sounds like a sane reason to block the card marking it as suspicious activity. However, this issue is avoided when having static ed as you are paying from the same IP/location every time.
Avoid getting blacklisted
The Blacklist effect, also known as the bad neighbor effect, revolves around the issue that other people with the same IP address could do things that might end up banning the owner of that specific IP address. However, you might have done nothing wrong nonetheless since you share the same IP as the person who got blacklistedTherefore, you get banned/blacklisted as well. Since a dedicated IP means it's yours and yours only, this wouldn't happen.
Do you know these pesky bots with the audacity to question whether you're a bot or not? This CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) system is a security measure to protect you from getting your password hacked, protect you from spam, and many other uses. With a dedicated IP, you are less likely to encounter a CAPTCHA.
5. Geo-censorship bypass (obfuscation)
VPNBook isn't the best when it comes to Obfuscation. However, it does a decent job for a free VPN with a limited number of servers in a small number of countries worldwide.
6. Split tunneling
Short explanation: VPNBook does not have the split tunneling feature.
Long explanation: The split tunneling feature means you can selectively use your VPN on a certain type/source of data outgoing from your device.
Split tunneling in certain situations is favorable. For example, you're torrenting while playing a videogame or watching a YouTube video. In such a scenario, you would want only the torrenting to be encrypted; however, VPN encryption will slow down the connection speed relative to not using a VPN since the encrypted data is larger than non-encrypted.
7. Tor over VPN
Short explanation: VPNBook does not have Tor over feature.
Long explanation: Torrent onion router (Tor) is a P2P program used to enter the dark web. Using a VPN adds an extra layer of anonymity, especially at the entry node, with the addition of data encryption.
VPNBook is compatible with most the major platforms, including; Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. Other features and add-ons are pretty much similar on all the platforms.
VPNBook also provides you with secure browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. In addition, you can connect up to 5 devices simultaneously with a single account, which is an advantage compared to other competitors.
VPNBook is compatible with:
Private Internet Access is available as an extension on:
- Google Chrome
VPNBook provides its users with high versatility in terms of:
1. Supported languages
Unfortunately, VPNBook only supports English on the website.
2. Customer support
VPNBook has a website-ticketing system and email support. You can also check VPNBook's website if you need to look for information. In addition, you'll find easy-to-follow installation guides, troubleshooting walkthroughs, knowledgebase, and a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section.
Private Internet Access provides customer support in the following forms:
- Knowledge base
- Email and tickets
- FAQ section
VPNBook is a completely free VPN service.
However, it does offer a paid dedicated server plan, and there's a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to try and decide if it's the VPN for you.
You can pay for your plan using credit cards or PayPal.
Available payment methods summary:
- Major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.)
Even with the few downsides we mentioned in the article, VPNBook is a free and user-friendly VPN. With its satisfying security features, ease of use, and smooth and stable servers, we believe that VPNBook is fairly one of the best free VPNs in the market. Only a few competitors can match both their features and (nonexisting) price.