VPNs are tools that can aid users with their online privacy and security regardless of the device they are on. It is possible due to the individual vendors who rent out their VPN networks for a regular fee. Hence, the VPN market is fraught with service providers. Due to this rat race, some vendors offer their services for free to gain an advantage. But are free VPNs the way forward? We have already covered the potential risks of using a free VPN, as they come with their catches. Thus, at times, using a service for free can cost the users more than they bargained for. Now, coming back to the topic at hand, here’s a review of another service, VPNBook, which happens to be a free VPN. Hence, the question is whether VPNBook is worth using.
Disclaimer – The following article is only subjective as we do not recommend, condone, or are biased toward any service or product. Thus, readers can always visit the official VPNBook website to learn more about the service.
Overview of VPNBook
The good thing (the only one) about VPNBook is that it hails from Switzerland, where they are stricter and respect things like privacy laws. This decade-old service, sadly, has failed to leave any mark on VPN history. Despite it, the service can run on most platforms. Now, our readers must be wondering if it is a good service. It is, but only if you are comfortable setting up the VPN manually, as the provider fails to offer custom apps for any platform except Android. Also, about the privacy stuff, even though it is from Switzerland, the VPN logs tons of data for it to be relevant.
All in all, the VPN is one of the worst we have seen, and we have seen some horrible services. There is nothing much to know about the service. For starters, even if it has a website, it doesn’t help. But kudos, the vendor is at least upfront about the business model and accepts that it relies on third-party advertisements and donations to make money. But then, it also goes on and shares how much data it logs, and that’s that. Yes, there is also an option where users can purchase a subscription to the service for added VPN servers and a few basic features, but it is not worth the money.
|VPN speed||Up to 15 Mbps|
|Logging policy||Logs too much data|
|IP address and DNS data leaks||Yes|
|IP addresses available||Undisclosed|
|Customer Support||Email and online resources|
Features of VPNBook
At this point in our review of VPNBook we analyze its features:
Privacy and logging policy
While it is fair that the service doesn’t log what the user does on the internet, it sure does log PII (personally identifiable information). That includes the IP address of the incoming transmission or the originating IP. It also stores connection timestamps. The service claims it does so to prevent users from misusing the service, and as per their policy, they can block any IP that goes against their fair use policy. That’s great, except the VPN allows P2P (peer-to-peer) transfer! Thus, the service causes much confusion regarding data logging, and it’s much safer to opt for any other provider.
The VPN is bare-bones when it comes to security. You get OpenVPN for VPN protocol, with an obsolete PPTP for variety. The encryption gets entrusted to AES 256. But the provider doesn’t have an exclusive DNS server. Hence, DNS leaks are apparent. Also, the necessary VPN kill switch was absent. As for any other advanced features, well, there are none.
VPN speed and connectivity
VPNBook is slow. Period. Even on the premium version, pages took ages to load. For the free version, we couldn’t even work it on any international connection, not like there were many choices. From what we can see, their servers seems to be overloaded with connections taking a long time for the data to pass through. Even connecting to the websites that were extremely close to the origin was a pain. If you are going for the speed, VPNBook may not be the right choice for you.
As with the other free VPN providers, VPNBook offers a limited network with an undisclosed amount of VPN servers. However, we do know that it only has 5 locations that a user can connect to. That too only on OpenVPN, not PPTP.
Streaming and torrents
Despite its claims, the VPN fails to bypass geo-blocks on any streaming platform. Hence, if you are looking for a streaming VPN, we suggest looking further. The VPN allows P2P traffic. However, with the congested servers, slow connection speed, and horrid logging policy, we won’t ever recommend using the VPN for torrenting. Also, keep in mind that there is no kill switch to act as a safety net and the VPN is prone to leaks.
It isn’t a mystery that the VPN failed to work in highly censorship regions. Anywhere there is VPN blocking, you will find it next to impossible to run this VPN. The reasons for this are pretty straightforward. First, the VPN lacks an adequate amount of servers, and second, it doesn’t have the necessary tools.
Although there is no live chat, as expected, the provider does offer email support. Additionally, there are plenty of online guides available too. But all that is inadequate for a VPN service. The email support was pretty satisfactory considering the all the disappointments we have gone through. However, the lack of the live chat is a dealbreaker. Nobody likes to wait hours to get support for a simple question.
Platform support for VPNBook
Yes, the VPN is one of those rare few that can run on any platform, as long the user knows how to set it up manually. It supports Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Linux, VPN routers, and other IoT (Internet of Things) devices. But the catch is that it only has a single native app, and that’s for Android.
VPNBook pricing and subscription plans
The only premium version is available on Android with the VPN client, It supports in-app purchases, hence subscriptions differ from region to region. The service is mostly a manual setup using VPN server addresses. Thus, it is free, and paying is optional.
- It’s a free VPN
- Available on almost every platform
- Uses OpenVPN protocol
- Based in Switzerland
- Intrusive data logging
- Lacks advanced features
- No live chat support
- Very small VPN network
- Too slow
- Uses PPTP protocol
- No VPN clients
- Unhelpful website
- Lacks basic security
- No streaming, torrenting, or bypassing VPN blocks
- Leaks DNS
- Only five VPN server locations
We have reached the conclusion, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given how the service has performed across all parameters. The product is neither easy to use nor worth having. It lacks the necessary stuff, needs manual installation, is frustratingly slow, and fails on both streaming and torrenting. Furthermore, it logs data and is unsecured. The service still uses PPTP, can’t bypass blocks, and has a very small network. Despite being free, our review concludes that VPNBook doesn’t have much going for it. Hence, we can say that numerous other free VPNs fare much better.
VPNBook is a Swiss VPN provider that doesn’t excel at anything but is at least free. It has military-grade encryption, but logs data, leaks information, and can’t support torrenting, streaming, or bypassing censorship.