SigaVPN Review - 2019
SigaVPN is a newcomer to the VPN arena. Started in late-2017, it’s a small, niche provider making some strong claims – no logs, anonymous, mostly free, P2P-friendly, and fast. Whereas some claims are hard to verify, let’s see if SigaVPN has what it takes to become your next go-to free – and secure – VPN provider.
Pricing and Plans
As of this writing, SigaVPN offers three premium servers – one in Chicago, another in Nevada, and one in Canada. Notably, the premium servers are donation-based. You can donate $1 via PayPal, or credit/debit cards, and enjoy the amplified service. As you would expect, the donations are non-refundable, but you can set your contribution to be a recurring payment to support the service.
The four free VPN servers are located in the Netherlands, Latvia, Sweden, and Romania. There are also two free DNS servers in the US and Netherlands.
Considering it’s a mostly free VPN with dirt-cheap paid servers, SigaVPN certainly looks attractive for anyone on a budget. They don’t accept Bitcoin or cash, but the good news is you don’t need to register with them.
SigaVPN relies solely on the OpenVPN technology. The VPN doesn’t offer a standalone client, simplifying its development process, which makes sense for a small provider.
Instead, SigaVPN generates a unique OVPN configuration file each time you download one from their website. All you need to do is add the file to your OpenVPN client. No accounts, usernames, passwords are ever involved. Excellent.
On a side note, you do need to sort out the OpenVPN client and make sure you have TAP adapter installed. But you only need to do it once, while adding the config files is easy. From there, connecting and disconnecting is straightforward, if a bit awkward usability-wise.
SigaVPN is minimalist top to bottom. You won’t find lengthy FAQs, ad copy, or pricing pages. If you need assistance, drop them a line – email support typically responds within 24 hours.
Other than that, three instructional videos on the site show you how to install SigaVPN on Windows, Android, and iOS. You can also run it on most OpenVPN-compatible platforms – MacOS, Linux, routers, OpenBSD, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and QNX, but no instructions are available for them.
This might give the provider an air of secrecy, but if you check their Reddit activity, you will find the provider – and user community – to be quite lively and responsive.
What did make me cringe a little is how the short copy is geared toward experienced users. The provider assumes you know your VPN vocabulary. For a free service, it’s a fair deal if you ask me.
Since we’re dealing with the OpenVPN client, there’s no kill switch, firewall, selection of protocols, or other nifty bells and whistles you’d find in proprietary software.
On the other hand, if you’re tech-savvy, you will appreciate the ability to read the config file, view logs and troubleshoot things on your own. Even my basic skills were enough to realize my installation lacked a TAP adapter to work – all I did was check the log file.
SigaVPN is torrent-friendly, and it worked seamlessly with my BitTorrent client.
Considering it’s a free service, and the one you can set up on your router, you can use as many devices as you need simultaneously. Kudos.
I always check VPNs for speed, performance, and security leaks, and I was secretly hoping to find a flaw with Siga’s otherwise perfect offer. But it didn’t leak my DNS, WebRTC, or IPv6:
Understandably, you can’t expect the free VPN servers to match top-notch premium competitors. Still, all the free SigaVPN servers performed well in my synthetic speed tests beating some of the big-fish VPNs.
My initial speed without VPN was average:
Although my download speeds dropped significantly, they were still enough for hassle-free browsing and streaming:
Unfortunately, there’s not much SigaVPN can brag about when it comes to streaming unless you want to stream something that’s only available from a very short range of IPs.
No BBC, Netflix, Channel 9, or HBO – configuring the DNS doesn’t help either. So SigaVPN isn’t something you’d use to catch up with your favorite TV shows.
Privacy and Security
SigaVPN looks solid on the surface – OpenVPN, AES-128 encryption, no logs, own DNS, automatic ad-blocking, open-source, and anonymous. As I said earlier, you don’t even need to register an account with them.
As a result, your browsing activity isn’t tied to your identity even if the no-logs claim is false, which is impossible to verify anyway.
Unfortunately, the PP is somewhat jargon-heavy and doesn’t bother to explain what means htop, nload, UptimeRobot, or why “server.conf set to dev/null” is a good thing. The company assumes it’s enough to prove it means business. But to an average skeptic like me, it may sound like nerd gibberish they throw at you when they want to you stop asking “self-evident” questions.
But my biggest gripe here is you don’t know who’s behind the scenes. There’s no ToS page, and the About section is three sentences long. Jurisdiction? Affiliation? Go figure.
A Reddit thread reveals SigaVPN is based in the US, and it’s not meant to generate money for the developers, who subsist on sponsor donations and fund the servers out of their own pockets. You can also mine crypto for them if you wish to support the endeavor. I know for a fact that altruism isn’t dead, but I wouldn’t do ultra-private things through their VPN.
Considering the provider’s particular fondness for torrenters, I’d wait for another six months to hear back from the current users (because copyright notices may take up to a year to land in your mailbox).
SigaVPN is a promising new provider that does many things right. It uses OpenVPN, 128-bit encryption, and collects no logs, offering free servers with good speeds. Their paid servers are downright cheap, and the whole boodle is torrent-friendly. On the other hand, it’s only months old, US-based, somewhat technical, and lacks transparency. All things considered, it’s an excellent choice if you’re on a budget and don’t need to leak state, Illuminati or corporate secrets.