VPN Master Review - 2021

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VPN Master is a veteran of the VPN arena. Founded in 2005, this US-based provider started out as a proxy service and then evolved into a fully-fledged VPN.

Why Choose VPN Master


Offering a selection of protocols, including OpenVPN, VPN Master has servers in 14 countries, including USA, UK, Germany, and Canada. It is easy-to-use and competitively priced.

Best VPN for


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

Works on


Mac

Windows

Android

IOS

Linux

Routers


Pros:

  • 24-hour refund
  • Affordable
  • OpenVPN, average security
  • Allows legal P2P on some servers

Cons:

  • Inconsistent performance
  • Extensive logging
  • US-based
  • Basic client for PPTP only
  • OpenVPN available only in the Netherlands
  • Does not unblock streaming services

Pricing and Plans

VPN Master has no free trial but offers a 24-hour money-back guarantee, no questions asked. Their monthly subscription kicks in at $7.95, which is just about the average price you can get in a monthly plan with most providers.

If you choose their three-month billing cycle, the price goes down to $5.95 per month while their annual subscription is worth $3.95 a month. For $47.4 a year, which is one of the most wallet-friendly offers on the market, you get servers in 14 countries, multiple protocols (including OpenVPN with 128-bit encryption), a native client, torrent-optimized servers in Russia, Poland, and Germany, and 24/7 support.

The company accepts payments via PayPal and credit cards. Unfortunately, Bitcoin is not accepted, in case you’ve been looking for ways to put your crypto to good use.


Features

VPN Master offers native software for Windows and Android (PPTP only). You can set up OpenVPN manually with the help of OpenVPN GUI and VPNMaster client configuration file on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Linux.

Immediately after sign-up, you get a welcome email containing all the information you need to get started – your login credentials for the VPN, download links, setup instruction links, and PPTP and L2TP server addresses in case you want to set those up manually. The email also contains details on how to overcome ISP block in case your ISP blocks VPNs, as well as some guides for Chinese users. You are also assigned a unique link to contact support. So you definitely want to mark that email as important and save its details.

Your customer area is well-compartmentalized. A quick shortcut to services, quotes, tickets, and invoices provides an overview of your account while the menu items at the top give you access to downloads, knowledge base, network status, and announcements. Customer service is available via the ticketing system, with reasonable response rates.

I’ve tested VPN Master’s native Windows client and their OpenVPN connection via OpenVPN GUI + VPN Master config file.

VPN Master for Windows is a simple and easy-to-use program that sets up PPTP connection so you don’t have to go through the manual setup hassle. All you need is your login details to get it running.

A selection of servers is available from the drop-down menu. Disconnect, Settings, and About are the only available buttons except for an arrow next to the PPTP that opens up the connection log for the current session.

In my tests, whenever I clicked that arrow to check the logs, the main window of the program would get broken with the Disconnect/Connect, Settings, and About buttons hiding from sight. There is no way of getting them restored other than closing the app and re-launching it.

The Windows client works fine but nearly half of the available servers did not connect. So performance is only satisfactory. I was able to connect to only one US server and one of the two UK servers. The Dutch server never had connection errors, though.

I’ve also tested the OpenVPN GUI+VPNMaster config file. You download the latter from a third-party website instead of your customer area. That is not the most user-friendly way of separating the download files like that. On the bright side, you can download a user profile that logs you in automatically in OpenVPN.

The OpenVPN customer profile worked smoothly – the connection was established in a matter of seconds. The only downside to this option is you only get one location – the Netherlands.

While your options in the OpenVPN are limited to adding your config file, the VPN Master app with PPTP connection has several basic-level tweaks. You can enable Pinger to boost your speed, run the app on system boot, and enable the VPNMaster landing page (avoid enabling the latter).

There are no kill switches, firewalls or any advanced customization options. At the same time, some servers are torrent-optimized. Do mind that they are located in Russia, Germany, and Poland. Germany is a king of patent trolls while the three countries engage in mass surveillance, so you are advised against torrenting pirated content via VPN Master.

On the downside, simultaneous connections are not allowed. At this point, VPN Master’s monthly subscription is horrendously overpriced considering the limited number of servers, mixed performance, and strange locations of P2P servers.


Tests

My default speed was sluggish in itself today:

With OpenVPN Netherlands server, it was twice as slow while my speed test service refused to measure the PPTP connection:

VPN Master did not leak my DNS, WebRTC or IPv6 details:

Even though the service did not leak my DNS, VPNMaster’s UK server would constantly reveal Dutch DNS. Perhaps that is the reason I was unable to stream BBC iPlayer – the streaming giant recognized I was outside the UK:

Netflix recognized I was using a VPN, unfortunately. The only online streaming service that I could unblock was HBO:


Privacy and Security

On the security front, VPN Master’s best configuration is OpenVPN with 128-bit encryption. These are just about the average tech specs by modern standards. It’s good enough to spoof into the Netherlands since it’s the only OpenVPN-supporting location on offer. But it’s definitely not the strongest encryption level, so you won’t be chatting with Julian Assange via this connection.

VPN Master places the links to its Privacy Policy and Terms of Service front and center on its main page. It may sound ridiculous why I even mention this, but you’d be surprised how many VPN companies either hide their legal pages or do not disclose them altogether. At least VPN Master is transparent about its practices.

The provider’s Privacy Policy mainly focuses on information it collects from its website, which is your email, mailing address, phone number, credit card information, and things you submit when contacting customer service. The company does not share that data with third parties. What it may share is non-personally identifiable demographic data.

You want to scrutinize the company’s ToS, however. Here are a few highlights – the provider may choose to limit your bandwidth if you consume more than 2GB in one day. You can use as many devices as you need, provided you only have one connection at a time – no concurrent sessions are allowed.

Funny how VPN Master describes its logging policy without going into detail what information is logged. It is safe to assume VPNMaster logs user activity:

Considering it is a US-based provider that will disclose your logs to law enforcement if compelled, you won’t be torrenting with them. Unfortunately, the kind of extensive logging beats the purpose of a VPN.


Final Thoughts

VPN Master might be wallet-friendly, but its offer is so limited I find it hard to recommend. It doesn’t unblock popular streaming services; its servers are few while the performance is fickle. But extensive logging is probably the worst thing a VPN provider can do to repulse privacy-minded customers.

Alex Grant