SaferVPN Review - 2019
SaferVPN is an Israeli provider with “all the right moves.” Cross-platform and easy-to-use, it features 700+ servers in 34 countries and very decent speeds.
It comes complete with 24/7 live chat support, comprehensive guides, a kill switch, and tops it off with a broad range of VPN protocols, including OpenVPN. I thought their feature set was quite impressive, so was anxious to see how SaferVPN performs.
Pricing and Plans
Considering the feature set, I was expecting to see the high-end price list, but SaferVPN turned out on the affordable side. Their monthly plan is a bit steep at $9.99, but the yearly subscription chops it off almost by half and kicks in at $59.95. The two-year plan, however, beats them all with a $83.77 price tag.
Paid members are allowed up to five simultaneous connections. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you can pay with Bitcoin or Paymentwall-enabled methods aside from the traditional credit card and PayPal. This is good if you’re looking to stay anonymous.
I also appreciate how their 24-hour trial doesn’t require personally identifiable information. You do need to verify your email address to activate the free trial, but that’s about all information they need to get you started.
Usability and cross-platform support are excellent with SaferVPN. They support all the popular platforms – Windows, Mac, iOS and Android mobile platforms and routers. It is also available as a Chrome extension, but I’m not a fan of the Google browser due to privacy concerns. Overall, VPN extensions for browsers aren’t the same as VPN desktop app, so I suggest you don’t prioritize nominal convenience over security and performance.
It took me a couple of minutes to verify my email, install a Windows desktop app, and log in to launch the VPN. The website is neatly organized and clearly geared toward not-so-savvy users, so finding the right download files and installation instructions is easy. Not that you’d need them. Installation is a matter of a few clicks. No tedious setup instructions, no downloading and moving config files – nada.
Once launched, the app appeared sleek and intuitive. The hamburger icon takes you to the Settings while the Connections button opens up the list of servers.
Connecting-disconnecting worked smooth, and the overall impression is that of a polished, and solid software. The same experience extended to mobile, as SaferVPN comes with a neat Android client that requires minimum user input to get things working. Notably, both desktop and mobile apps support OpenVPN and come with a kill switch.
Let’s get to sorting out the goodies, shall we? SaferVPN comes with a decent list of tweaks. Besides toggling the Start on OS startup and run minimized, it lets you enable or disable a kill switch, which turns off Internet connection when the VPN connection drops.
SaferVPN also comes with a specialty feature – Auto WiFi – that engages VPN automatically when your device connects to a public network. Sweet.
Next on my favorites list is the Setting’s tab that lets you choose the encryption protocol. SaferVPN supports PPTP, L2TP over IPSEC, IKEv2, and OpenVPN.
Not only can you choose between them, but just in case none of these rings a bell, the app comes with a brief description of what each protocol does, and when you should or shouldn’t use it. Their website has a comprehensive breakdown of protocols’ features, complete with encryption, security, speeds, platform support, pros and cons of each protocol.
By default, the desktop app comes configured to engage a protocol automatically, which means it would just pick the one that it deems as the most suitable. The description of this feature also says it can fall back to other protocols. I wouldn’t use that since it’s not clear how the best-suited protocol is chosen.
One other thing that I found limiting is the servers’ list. With over 700 servers, I was expecting a granular breakdown of servers by country, speeds, latency, and such. No such thing. All you get is a list of countries, which is a bit disappointing.
Whenever you have a doubt, however, their customer support is available via live chat or tickets. I contacted them via live chat on several occasions throughout the day, and every time the response was lightning-fast – and helpful.
The speed drop was within the acceptable margin in my tests, and the VPN performed well both in short- and long-distance connections. Just so you can compare, here’s my connection before enabling VPN:
and here’s the speed reading for the USA server:
and the UK server:
This means you can stream, game or stay productive without losing too much on the connection speeds and network latency.
I was glad SaferVPN passed the security tests successfully. No DNS leak:
No WebRTC leak:
No IPv6 leak detected, either:
In case you were wondering how SaferVPN handles popular streaming services, the results are mixed. They don’t unblock Netflix US at this point, which comes as no surprise considering Netflix has been cracking down on VPNs lately.
On the bright side, it works well with BBC iPlayer and got me set up and running in no time with virtually zero buffering.
Privacy and Security
SaferVPN relies on 256-bit level encryption and comes with a full pack of protocols, OpenVPN included. Do note, however, that P2P torrenting is not allowed. Nor is distribution or consumption of any copyrighted or pornographic content.
SaferVPN is based in Israel, a country that ships mass surveillance technologies to repressive regimes and engages in mass surveillance on its own terms. This is bad news if you need a VPN to leak top-secret governmental data or engage in some no-nonsense investigative journalism.
At the same time, an average user might feel quite comfortable with SaferVPN’s minimum logs policy:
SaferVPN’s acceptable use clause is rather prohibitive, and the provider is based in Israel. So, you won’t be leaking state secrets here. Other than that, it is an impressive – and feasible – proposition with a broad server coverage, variety of protocols, decent speeds, and an extremely easy-to-use client with lots of quality features. Top it off with a no-catch 24-hour free trial and cheap plans, and you definitely want to check it out.