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Liberty Shield VPN Review – 2021

Liberty Shield VPN Review - 2021

Liberty Shield VPN, formerly UK Proxy Server, is one of the first commercial providers in the UK operating since 2008 that offers proxy, VPN software, and VPN routers.

Why Choose Liberty Shield VPN


Their offer is quite limited, I’m afraid – a cross-platform client powered by PPTP and L2TP protocols and servers in 10 countries (the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, and the Netherlands).

Best VPN for


  • Netflix, Hulu, and streaming online
  • Torrenting and downloading
  • Security and privacy

Works on


Mac

Windows

Android

IOS

Linux

Routers


Pros:

  • Unblocks streaming services
  • Software for Mac and Windows

Cons:

  • DNS leaks
  • Below average speeds
  • PPTP and L2TP only
  • No Op​​​​enVPN
  • Expensive for what it offers
  • Few server locations
  • Connection logs
  • Accepts credit card payments only

Pricing and Plans

Liberty Shield doesn’t offer a free trial while their 24-hour money-back guarantee is supposed to give you some peace of mind if you want to try out their VPN.

It’s not cheap at $9.69 per month, $27.72 per three months, $49.91 per six months, and $97.06 per year. The provider bills in British Pounds, so the pricing may vary based on the current exchange rate.

It doesn’t help much that Liberty Shield only accepts credit card payments. For some reason, you need to pick a country when subscribing, but you can switch the servers as much as you need while using the VPN. The country selection must be a prerequisite for clients buying a VPN router from Liberty Shield, but it remains unclear why this extra step is necessary when you buy their VPN service without the hardware component.

The subscription buys you access to the servers in 10 countries, proxy, VPN via PPTP and L2TP, a VPN client for Windows and Mac, manual configuration guides for other platforms, and a ticket-based support.


Features

Liberty Shield offers its native VPN client for Windows and Mac computers. You can also resort to manual setup and use Liberty Shield on Android, iOS, and media streaming boxes. Their proxy can be configured in game consoles and web browsers.

The first thing you have to sort out is your customer dashboard. Frankly speaking, I am not a fan of how the company chose to present its knowledge base, access to support tickets, downloads, and customer account management. Nothing is in one place, and things quickly turn into a hassle when you need to check for troubleshooting guides, contact support, and access download files.

The knowledge base might be comprehensive, but finding information is not easy. Likewise, Downloads is a standalone page that doesn’t quite tie in with scattered out installation guides – it just links to the poorly organized helpdesk. The support portal requires you to create a separate user account to access your tickets. While I understand the logistics behind the decision to use a third-party platform for support, I find the rest of the dashboard’s UI to be a maze of unnecessary clicks and redirects.

I tested the Liberty Shield Windows desktop client. While the installation is a regular routine, I had to install it again after a PC reboot. I didn’t uninstall it – it just defaulted to an installer all by itself. Adding more confusion to the mix is the icon that says UK Proxy Server, not Liberty Shield or VPN Manager as the guide suggests.

My test drive didn’t start out so well. Even though I was able to log into my user account and see my active subscription details through the website, the Windows client kept saying I didn’t have an active subscription. I opened several support tickets, but being in a different time zone I bumped into a closed door. Liberty Shield support might be working 9 am – 9 pm 365 days a year, but I ran into the authorization bug just when they were offline.

When the support went online, my VPN client finally authorized my access to the VPN service. A support agent replied several hours later saying they did not identify any issues with my account. I appreciate how they fixed the issue, but I certainly don’t appreciate them refusing to acknowledge it existed in the first place. Especially since the 24-hour money-back was ticking while I was unable to access the service.

With that in mind, the live chat bubble proved to be useless since my unanswered messages went down to the ticketing system anyway.

When I was finally able to access the VPN, the desktop client resulted to be a mere one-window app with your login credentials and a drop-down list of countries. Finalizing the connection procedure is the scarce choice of protocols – automatic, PPTP, and L2TP. The server drop-down menu is locked to “Auto,” which makes it unclear why the menu is there in the first place.

Performance-wise, it was fine until it failed to connect to a New Zealand server:

The desktop client is bare-bones – there are no settings, advanced or otherwise. No kill switch, firewall, or some other neat perk you might have expected in a VPN worth $10 a month. P2P of copyrighted content is not allowed.

On the bright side, you can connect multiple devices to the VPN using the same account, although the number of devices is not specified.


Tests

Considering Liberty Shield uses PPTP and L2TP protocols, I expected better speeds from it. I got around 45Mbps for downloads in my initial synthetic speed test without the VPN:

With Liberty Shield’s U.S. server, I got down to around 8Mbps:

Its London server performed better, which is strange because it’s a long-distance connection in my case:

Liberty Shield failed to impress in my security tests as well. While it didn’t leak my IPv6 or WebRTC:

It did leak my DNS, which is uninspiring:

As far as streaming goes, Liberty Shield performed as advertised. It didn’t have any trouble unblocking Netflix U.S.:

HBO:

or BBC iPlayer:


Privacy and Security

Liberty Shield advertises zero logs and complete privacy, but let’s take a closer look at their ToS. The entire document explains how the provider is not responsible or liable for anything, and you are not allowed to breach any law anywhere. Keeping yourself up-to-date with any changes introduced to the ToS is also your responsibility.

When the legalese finally gets to logging, the company begins with the standard cliché “we are committed to your privacy,” and then goes on to say they log times when you connect to their servers, server location, and a total amount of data transferred per day. The desktop app will also send diagnostic data to a third-party analytics company. The diagnostic data allegedly does not contain personally identifying information, but the lack of detail on this item is cringe-worthy.

Top that off with the fact that it’s a UK-based company, so mass surveillance in, privacy protection out. I don’t appreciate how the ToS page doesn’t mention how the company protects, or shares, user data when compelled to do so by law enforcement. The bottom line is you won’t be using Liberty Shield for privacy.

Finally, PPTP and L2TP make a poor choice for a VPN. The provider’s FAQ section claims OpenVPN support for their VPN solution is coming “in the near future.”


Final Thoughts

Liberty Shield is a mediocre VPN with below average speeds, DNS leaks, and sub-standard privacy and security, but a high-end price. Its performance failed to convince me of its feasibility.

VPN4All Review – 2021

VPN4All Review - 2021

VPN4All is a Dutch provider operating since 2009, but the company has relocated to Seychelles at some point in the pursuit of a milder legal climate.

Why Choose VPN4All


Their comprehensive offering consists of servers in 80 locations across the world, OpenVPN, and SSTP, as well as PPTP and IPSec, AES-256 encryption, and cross-platform software with advanced bells and whistles.

Best VPN for


  • Netflix, Hulu, and streaming online
  • Torrenting and downloading
  • Security and privacy

Works on


Mac

Windows

Android

IOS

Linux

Routers


Pros:

  • Advanced features
  • Good security
  • Transparent privacy policy
  • No usage logs
  • Legal P2P allowed
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Bug-riddled checkout and account setup
  • No simultaneous connections are allowed
  • ​100MB limit on refunds

Pricing and Plans

VPN4All is a robust VPN apt for advanced users and novices alike, but the quality comes at a price. The “VPN4ALL-50 GB regular user” subscription will set you off $9.95 per month, $25 per three months, $48 per six months, and $84 per year. The plan comes with a 50 GB monthly bandwidth limit and software for Windows, Mac, and Linux. For additional $2.49, you can have server-side antivirus, antimalware, antiphishing, and firewall protection.

The “VPN4ALL-Unlim movie junky” plan kicks in at $16.95 per month, $43 per three months, $81 per six months, and $142 per year and bundles unlimited bandwidth.

“VPN4ALL-Mobile on the go” costs $5.95 per month, $15 per three months, $28 per six months, and $49 a year and comes with a 5 GB monthly bandwidth limit.

Regular and unlimited plans include DoubleVPN and SmartRouting features, as well as DPI protection. All plans also include 1 dedicated fixed IP on top of the unlimited dynamic IPs.

There is no free trial while the 30-day money-back guarantee is limited to 100MB usage.

The provider accepts gift cards, Bitcoin, PayPal, and credit cards, but my checkout was a nightmarish experience. First, the website refused to let me pay with PayPal, failing to let me fill in the appropriate field - which wasn't even an option. 

Then the credit card payment didn’t go through while the company tried to charge my account twice. Since I disputed one of the charges, my bank decided the suspicious activity was putting my account in danger, so they blocked the transactions, canceled my credit card and re-issued a new one. 


Features

VPN4All offers native software for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. Color me impressed since few VPNs bother to cater to Windows Phone, let alone BlackBerry.

Immediately after the checkout, I received a welcome email containing my software license and the links to download the installer. Right after, I received another email with login details to my client area. My email was used as the username while the provider assigned me a password without bothering to disclose it to me. So I had to go through the password reset procedure to gain access to my client area. After the infuriating subscription debacle, the password reset nag just killed it. The subscription and initial login alone took me over an hour plus three days more waiting for a new credit card, which speaks volumes about how the provider “respects” its customers’ time.

As far as VPN4All software is concerned, I had no issues installing and testing it aside from a couple of servers being down at the time. The UI is minimalist, good-looking and easy-to-use. Choosing servers, protocols, and extra features is dead-simple. The drop-down servers list tags P2P-ready servers while you can add a server to your shortcuts to connect faster.

The app also comes with a handy help section and a way to send a debug file to VPN4All support.

The web-based client area, on the other hand, contains your account information, your referral link, a breakdown of downloads and guides. It is a well-organized area with several ways of contacting support. Although the website advertises a live chat option, it redirects to the ticketing system.

VPN4All strikes a good balance between usability and advanced functionality. Its minimalist interface packs a surprising load of features managing to explain each very well.

You can see which server is overloaded, or which supports P2P. You can switch protocols, and have your IPs change automatically, i.e. have the VPN assign you a new IP every X minutes.

Advanced settings pack a list of antimalware and identity protection extras, some of which require additional payment ($2.49) while others are available with your plan.

Whereas P2P of copyrighted content is not allowed, legal file-sharing is allowed on marked servers – none in the U.S. The good news is the provider is transparent about it.

You can also use VPN4All on as many devices as you need with just one license as long as you are not using more than one device at a time.


Tests

VPN4All performed well in my speed tests, with my initial speed without the VPN being quite modest:

With OpenVPN and AES-256 RSA 2048-bit encryption, VPN4All’s U.S. server showed a minor drop in speed:

So did its UK server:

and its P2P-optimized Budapest server:

My security tests went smoothly – no DNS, WebRTC, or IPv6 leaks were detected:

Unfortunately, VPN4All only got me as far as HBO:

Both Netflix and BBC iPlayer refused to stream, no matter which protocol I used:


Privacy and Security

On the security front, VPN4All delivers, with the support for OpenVPN, AES-256 RSA 2048-bit encryption, and DPI protection alongside the extra antivirus, antimalware and antiphishing protection.

In terms of privacy, VPN4All has a not-so-short but sweet Privacy Policy that says the company is registered in the Seychelles, which is good as far as regulations go.

The provider logs bandwidth usage, which is understandable for a metered VPN. The company does not log your IP address, servers you access or IPs you are assigned, your Internet activities, emails, and such. The provider doesn’t monitor or filter your usage. Nor does it share your information with third parties.

The company’s website is a different story since it’s controlled by the Netherlands-based office and this is where your user account is stored, complete with your personal and payment details as well as interactions with the customer service. The provider goes into great detail to explain what information is stored, how it’s protected, as well as how you can rectify or delete it.

I’ve found nothing to point a finger at in their ToS, either. It mostly explains the fair use policy and warns against torrenting pirated content.


Final Thoughts

VPN4All is an impressive service with an intuitive client, advanced features, good speeds, and an overall smooth performance. The company’s privacy policy makes a positive impression. On a side note, there is no free trial and it is rather expensive, especially if you need a VPN for desktop and mobile. VPN4All failed most of my streaming tests while the checkout was a debacle. In the end, you can’t blame me for having mixed feelings about it.

TV When Away VPN Review – 2021

TV When Away VPN Review - 2021

TV When Away VPN is a British VPN, proxy, and Smart DNS provider targeting UK expats who hate to miss out on their favorite TV shows.

Why Choose TV When Away VPN


It might be a viable solution if all you need from a VPN is the access to the UK-only streaming services when you are abroad. When it comes to that, TV When Away does what it claims to do. Provided you are happy with being able to spoof only into the UK and pay an above-average price for it, you’ll be fine with the service. You aren’t getting any other perks, however.

Best VPN for


  • Netflix, Hulu, and streaming online
  • Torrenting and downloading
  • Security and privacy

Works on


Mac

Windows

Android

IOS

Linux

Routers


Pros:

  • Unblocks UK streaming services
  • OpenVPN
  • Transparent privacy policy

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Extensive logging
  • ​UK-based
  • Not user-friendly
  • Accepts PayPal only
  • Does not disclose its VPN’s tech specs
  • No live chat support
  • P2P is not allowed

Pricing and Plans

TV When Away doesn’t offer free trials while its paid plans are covered by a 72-hour money-back guarantee. To be eligible for a refund, you must contact their support and let them fix whatever technical issue you might have before they make the decision whether to refund your payment or not.

All prices are listed in British Pounds, so the conversion is approximate based on today’s rates. You can have one week of TV When Away for ₤3.99 ($5.52). Their monthly plan is priced at ₤7.99 ($11.06) while their biannual subscription will set you off ₤29.99 ($41.52). TVWhenAway annual subscription kicks in at ₤49.99 ($69.21).

As of this writing, you can only pay with PayPal. Surprisingly, no credit cards are accepted, let alone Bitcoin. (Note: it helps itself to a recurring subscription with your PayPal, too.) Provided the service only has servers in one location, the UK, and does not disclose its logging policies, I dare say TV When Away is unreasonably overpriced.


Features

TV When Away supports many platforms, which comes as no surprise since you can use its Smart DNS service, proxy, and OpenVPN-based VPN connection. Their VPN solution can be configured on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows devices while you can set up their proxy in your browsers, and their Smart DNS on Smart TVs and gaming devices, such as PS 3, 4 and Vita, Wii, Wii U, and Xbox 360.

Their VPN client is a custom version of the OpenVPN GUI, which you need to download following the link in your customer’s dashboard. The latter is well-organized, although I anticipate novice users will have a hard time sorting out what is it that they need to do to watch BBC iPlayer. Thankfully, the website has plenty of installation guides, but at the same time, it doesn't quite explain in which cases you want a proxy, in which SmartDNS, and when you want to stick to the VPN.

I tested their VPN solution on a Windows PC. The installation was smooth, although I had to poke at things to get connected. As much as I appreciate the simplicity of the original OpenVPN GUI, TVWhenAway did something to make things a tad more complicated than they need be.

For one, there is no app window per se. The program resides in your task bar as a mere icon. Clicking it will prompt a number of options, and at least three of them look like they can get you connected – vpn.tvwhenaway.co.uk, Connect…, and Connect as “your username.” Which is it then? Having tried them all, I failed to memorize which one got me connected to the VPN in the end, so each time I need to connect I just poke at things again. That’s unnecessary and frustrating if you ask me.

Then there’s an option to import your client config file, which you also get from the OpenVPN downloads portal. But other than that, the app is so minimalist you’d think it’s perfect for novice users. Except for it manages to complicate what was meant to be simple.

There is no live chat support, so don’t count on immediate assistance if you run into a problem.

When it comes to configuring your SmartDNS, it won’t be a problem if you’ve done that before. Otherwise, stock up on patience and follow the setup guide.

TV When Away only has two options – HTTP Proxy or VPN Protocol switch (adaptive, TC, or UDP). The default is set to adaptive.

That’s it. No kill switch, firewall, or other fancy bells and whistles you would expect in a VPN. Top that off with prohibitive Terms of Service (no P2P, sorry folks), and you get bare-bones VPN that doesn’t even disclose its servers list.


Tests

TV When Away did not leak my DNS, WebRTC or IPv6 details, which is great:

It failed to impress in my synthetic speed tests, however. With my initial speed being at roughly 25Mbps, the VPN chopped it to 5-6Mbps for downloads.

The service performs as advertised. I had no problem streaming Netflix UK, BBC iPlayer, or iTV. The buffering times weren’t so bad despite the speeds leaving a lot to be desired.


Privacy and Security

Perhaps, the most disappointing item on my nag list for TV When Away is the absence of a Privacy Policy. Zero. Nip. Nada. The provider flat out ignores the commonsense prerequisite for VPN providers to disclose their logging policies. The closest thing to logging disclosure is one short clause in their ToS, saying log files are stored for monitoring server performance, identifying security breaches and bugs, as well as identifying abusive users. Since the company does not go into detail about what information ends up in those logs, it is safe to assume it’s your connection and activity logs.

I certainly don’t appreciate how the company’s ToS are hard to find. I had to google to find the page that gives you a glimpse at the things you aren’t allowed to do, which is P2P file-sharing, among other things.

Being a UK company, TV When Away will disclose your details to law enforcement. Finally, the UK is known to have some of the most draconian mass surveillance capabilities and regulations, so you definitely won’t be browsing pirate websites, Dark Web forums, or send corporate secrets to journalists when using TV When Away.

On top of that, the provider doesn’t disclose the technical specs under the hood of its VPN other than it’s OpenVPN-based. In being completely honest, I wouldn’t use TV When Away for watching BBC iPlayer either. It’s just too much logging for a consumer-facing provider.


Final Thoughts

TV When Away does what it claims to do – it unblocks your favorite UK streaming services. But it’s overpriced for a service that only has servers in one country. Its VPN speeds are below average while its prohibitive use policy and extensive logging make it an unlikely recommendation. It’s not the easiest to use solution either, so if you are new to VPNs, you are better off with another service. Thankfully, there are dozens of VPNs offering solid features, great usability, and genuine privacy that end up costing even less than TV When Away.

VPNReactor Review – 2021

VPNReactor Review - 2021

VPNReactor is a US-based company operating since 2010. The provider offers servers in 18 countries.

Why Choose VPNReactor


VPNReactor is a cross-platform multi-protocol client, unlimited bandwidth, 1 GB VPNreactor.com email address, and two simultaneous connections.

Best VPN for


  • Netflix, Hulu, and streaming online
  • Torrenting and downloading
  • Security and privacy

Works on


Mac

Windows

Android

IOS

Routers


Pros:

  • 7-day free trial
  • Variety of protocols
  • Good s​​​​ecurity
  • Intuitive client
  • Reasonable support response rate

Cons:

  • Convoluted subscription and setup
  • No live chat support
  • Expensive
  • Usage logs
  • Prohibitive ToS
  • US-based
  • No go with most streaming services

Pricing and Plans

VPNReactor has a free plan limited to PPTP protocol and 30 minutes per session. That means you are disconnected when you reach the 30 minutes usage limit. After that, you need to wait for 30 minutes to be able to use it again for another 30 minutes and so on. Also, to be able to use your free account you need to confirm you wish to keep using it via the reminder link the company sends to your email.

Its paid plans come with a 7-day free trial. You still need to submit your payment details, after which the provider charges you $0.01 and grants you access to the premium subscription of your choice.

VPNReactor Basic comes at $7.99 a month, $29.96 per 4 months, and $77.88 a year. The plan comes with PPTP and multiple U.S.-based servers. That’s unreasonably expensive if you ask me.

VPNReactor Max kicks in at $9.99 in its monthly, $37.96 in quarterly, and $95.88 in yearly subscriptions. Max bundles PPTP, OpenVPN SSL, L2TP/IPSec, StealthVPN, SSTP, SoftEther protocols, multiple servers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

VPNReactor Pro is priced at $17.99 a month, $67.96 per quarter, and $185.88 a year, offering all the features of Max plus a dedicated IP.

On top of that, all plans include unlimited bandwidth, 24-hour support, 1GB VPNReactor.com email address, and native software for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.

Accepted payment methods include PayPal, credit cards, Paymentwall-enabled options, and Bitcoin. 

Note: I was unable to checkout with PayPal because the merchant was not accepting payments in USD, which is very odd for a US-based company. Either it is a very sneaky way of not accepting PayPal payments, or something isn’t working right on the provider’s end.


Features

Funny business continued after I was finally able to subscribe, paying with my credit card. The provider sent me a receipt, which contained my coupon code and login but no password. To log in, I had to initiate a password reset procedure. Although I received a link to reset my password rather quickly, it still is a convoluted way of setting up a new user account.

But the setup ordeal did not end at that point. As I logged in, my account showed up as a free, limited to PPTP, with a bunch of links to upgrade to a paid plan. Last verse same as first, I had to browse the website for their support email address and contact them directly to ask why my VPNReactor Max subscription isn’t showing up in my account.

The customer’s area is uninspiring, containing no download or setup guide links. The automatic reply from their billing department contained a lot more useful information than my customer’s dashboard. The automatic email came in complete with download links, setup instructions, and server addresses. It beats me why the company doesn’t include this sort of information in its welcome email. Up to this point, every single thing I needed to set up my account had to be requested manually.

Several hours later I received a reply from VPNReactor’s billing department saying they’d verified my account, which was now ready to use. Considering it was late-Sunday, the response rate was okay.

VPNReactor offers a desktop client for Mac, Windows, and a portable client for Windows. You can also set up its various protocols manually on an impressive array of supported platforms – Windows (including XP), Mac, iOS, BlackBerry, Ubuntu, routers, Xbox, PS 3, Smart TVs, Chromebook, and Windows Phone.

The Windows desktop client is easy to setup and use. It’s neatly organized in three tabs. The Dashboard contains your credentials, a drop-down list of servers, another list of protocols, a Connect/Disconnect button, your real IP, your assigned IP, and basic settings. The latter include toggles to enable StealthDNS and launch the app on system boot and the like. The connection log is displayed at the bottom complete with the option to export it.

When closed, the app resides in your taskbar. If you right-click on it, you get another set of options, which mostly duplicate your dashboard options except for one nifty item - Recent Connections, which can be used for quick access to your favorite servers.

The second tab offers an overview of your account along with the links to initiate an upgrade while the third tab lists help and download links.

Even though there is no kill switch or DNS leak protection, VPNReactor bundles an impressive list of supported protocols. Aside from the security-wise weak PPTP and L2TP/IPSec, VPNReactor desktop client supports OpenVPN, StealthVPN over https and over email, as well as StealthVPNv2, which provide an additional layer of protection.

There are roughly 56 servers across 18 countries, including Australia, Egypt, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Russia aside from the typical US/UK and Canada. Your bandwidth is not limited but you can only have two simultaneous connections per license, which is too stingy for the high-end price of the service.


Tests

My initial connection speed without the VPN was quite slow today:

With VPNReactor, it slowed down, which is understandable since my intention was to try its secure protocols. For US-based servers, the speed was only slightly slower:

And here is my speed when I connected to its UK server:

and the Australian server:

VPNReactor passed my security tests with flying colors – no DNS, WebRTC or IPv6 leaks were detected:

Unfortunately, Netflix recognized I was using a VPN and locked me out. So did BBC iPlayer, which is traditionally way more permissive than Netflix. My guess is it’s because VPNReactor’s UK server revealed Belgian DNS:

I was able to stream HBO and Australian Channel 9 only:


Privacy and Security

On the security level, VPNReactor delivers, with support for OpenVPN, SSL, and 128-bit and 256-bit encryption.

As far as the company’s ToS and Privacy Policy are concerned, it’s no light read you want to scrutinize before going to bed. Small font, lots of mind-numbing words, long paragraphs. It’s a painstaking chore to get through it all. The bottom line is, ironically, quite simple – the company logs your activity.

If you’re doing something illegal, bad for you then because the provider will charge you at a rate of $250 per hour for cleanup, legal fees, investigation and such. God forbid if you torrent copyrighted material. It doesn’t seem like adult videos are considered illegal at VPNReactor, but knowing the company logs your activity on the Internet, browsing without a VPN seems like a more private alternative.

It’s a US-based provider, so the company will disclose your data to law enforcement. At this point, the claim that the company only stores your logs for 48 hours sounds like a weak consolation.


Final Thoughts

For the price VPNReactor charges for its service, many companies offer a better return on investment. If you want some peace of mind and a feasible VPN package, skip this one.

Keenow VPN Review — 2021

Keenow VPN Review - 2021

Keenow's key selling point is SmartDNS for bypassing geo-blocks of streaming services. Their VPN offer comes as an additional feature in premium subscriptions.

Why Choose Keenow VPN


Keenow is primarily geared toward streaming while its VPN seems like a backup byproduct. But it turned out to be a rather capable and mostly secure solution. Long story short, if you’re after privacy and security, get yourself a privacy-focused VPN. If you are after streaming and occasional security – Keenow is a feasible solution.

Best VPN for


  • Netflix, Hulu, and streaming online
  • Torrenting and downloading
  • Security and privacy

Works on


Mac

Windows

Android

IOS

Linux

Routers


Pros:

Cons:

  • Robust security specs
  • Easy-to-use yet fully-featured Windows client
  • Kill switch
  • Virtual Router WiFi Hotspot
  • Cross-platform
  • P2P
  • SmartDNS-only service has a free plan
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • Connection logs
  • Based in Israel
  • Uneven streaming performance

Pricing and Plans

A month-to-month subscription will set you off $9.95. You get 7 days to make up your mind and claim a refund in case you’re not happy with the service.

A 6-month subscription costs $41.70 with a 15-day money-back guarantee.

A 12 months plan is priced at $69.50 and bundles a 30-day money-back guarantee. But a closer look at the provider’s Terms reveals the refunds, if any, are at the company’s sole, exclusive discretion.

Keenow_VPN_pricing

You can pay via PayPal directly, credit cards via Paymentwall, and Bitcoin via CoinPayments.


Features

Keenow is available as a native desktop app for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

The provder’s DNS setup guides also allow you to configure your device’s DNS manually, broadening the list of covered operating systems to include Chrome OS, PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox One, routers, Roku, Android, iOS, and smart TVs.

Advanced users can set up the open-source OpenVPN GUI in combination with the Keenow OVPN configuration files. Note: your OpenVPN username/password are different from the combo you use for the Keenow desktop app and the provider sends you detailed instructions on where to find them.

The OVPN files are conveniently listed under Downloads and categorized by operating system and port (UDP, TCP). I like how the downloads list explains the difference between the ports in layman terms – this one is fast, that one is the most secure.

There are many ways you can get help here. A quick troubleshoot bot will check your connection status and suggest possible fixes. You also have a comprehensive FAQ library and a ticketing system. I had a brief interaction with their support. The response rate was about one hour, support – helpful and professional.

One thing I loathe about SmartDNS services is most of them require manual setup. Keenow eliminates that hassle by bundling the DNS and VPN features in one neat and straightforward app.

It may not be a beauty queen and it experienced an odd UI scaling glitch on my laptop, but it did its job. The app lets you enable and disable your DNS region without having to go through the multiple hurdles you usually go through with many other SmartDNS providers.

It also offers a VPN toggle that adds a level of privacy and security to your connection. Switching servers is easy with the drop-down list. P2P-optimized servers are tagged, so you never have issues selecting an adequate connection.

Keenow's desktop app might not look like much, but it bundles a few nifty perks like a quick way to flush DNS cache for your device.

I am surprised at how thorough Keenow’s client is for a service focusing on SmartDNS. One particular feature is a total knockout and something I’ve never seen with any other VPN. Case in point – Virtual Router.

Virtual Router allows you to share your Keenow connection with your other devices, and it’s extremely easy to use – toggle on, and connect to your Keenow Unblocker WiFi hotspot using the password listed in the Virtual Router tab.

The app’s advanced settings allow you to run the app on system startup, auto-connect VPN on app start or if unencrypted WiFi is detected. You can also set it to re-connect VPN if the connection drops. There’s also a kill switch that shuts down your network access if VPN connection drops.

Here, you can allow the app to disable IPv6 to prevent potential privacy leaks, as well as change protocol (TCP, UDP) and set the OpenVPN port.

P2P is allowed on some U.S. and Dutch servers.


Tests

Keenow did not quite impress during my synthetic speed tests. My connection speed before VPN was around 40Mbps:

Here is how the Keenow U.S. connection performed:

Their UK connection:

The speed results of the Keenow desktop app and OpenVPN GUI with Keenow’s config files did not differ. These results aren’t top-notch, but you can work with the speeds.

The VPN did not leak my DNS, WebRTC, or IPv6. The latter was disabled by the app but the DNS tests would constantly show French servers for US connections:

Keenow has an opus of a guide on how to unblock Netflix laid out in a funny way – here’s the fix, but if it didn’t work, try this other fix. At the same time, there is a notification in the members’ area about the current Netflix issues, so I wasn’t overly surprised I couldn’t get it to work.

HBO had no problem streaming:

What did come as a surprise was the buffering issue with BBC iPlayer. I wasn’t blocked per se, and the player recognized me as coming from the UK. The speeds also allowed for streaming, but the buffering would never come to a fruitful end:


Privacy and Security

Keenow is headquartered in Israel, which is reported as an observer for the Five Eyes mass surveillance alliance and is known to engage in wide-scale online surveillance.

The provider’s ToS and Privacy Policy leave no room for doubts – privacy is not its selling point. Keenow logs extensiv
e connection data, including bandwidth, timestamps, and your IP address:

For its VPN, Keenow uses the strongest available protocol OpenVPN with TCP and UDP ports, with AES-256-CBC cipher and auth SHA512 for HMAC message authentication and the 4096-bit DH key backed by the Perfect Forward Secrecy. These are excellent security specs, and I appreciate how the provider doesn’t even offer less secure protocols.


Final Thoughts

Keenow is a viable option if streaming is your priority, and you can easily test its SmartDNS performance with their free plan. Its VPN is surprisingly robust, too. You won’t be sending state secrets to Glenn Greenwald through Keenow, but it’s good for average uses if you’re not engaging in any activity that could get you in trouble with the Eyes-alliance authorities.