VPNBook Review

VPNBook review

It gets through Netflix. It protects your data. It’s free.

What a great start! Let’s pack it up and move on. Wait, wait, wait a minute. Hold up. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves – does it offer everything we need? Is it really free?

That’s what we’re about to find out in our VPNBook review.

VPNBook Specs & Offers

VPN Name VPNBook
Leak Test Leaks Detected
Logging Policy Logs
Speed Average
Torrenting Torrenting & P2P Allowed
Netflix Unblocks Netflix
Jurisdiction Outside of Eyes (Switzerland)
Servers / Countries 8 / 5
Max Connections 1
Kill Switch Does Not Have Kill Switch
Anonymous Payment Methods Free
Free Trial Free
Refunds Free
Customer Support Documentation
Price Starting From Free

VPNBook Pros

Encryption and Protocols: Military-grade protection – ooh-rah!

VPNBook uses military-grade encryption, the same type banks use, to provide their users with privacy. User data will be protected by 256-bit key to encrypt and decrypt files.

Getting this type of security for free is such a good deal. Theories suggest that it would take an inhuman amount of time to crack this code. The sun might as well explode and end mankind first.

Netflix Test: Netflix and chill is a-go!

If you want to protect your privacy and have a Netflix subscription, we have good news for you.

VPNBook offers not just one server, but two that can get through Netflix. Their Europe and United States servers are able to connect to the streaming service.

It seems to be this VPN service’s main selling point; to provide servers that can access Netflix.

Users can also access other streaming sites like Hulu. Nice!

Still, two servers might not sound like a lot to some of you. So if that’s the case, simply see our suggestions for the best VPNs for Netflix!

Torrenting Policy: Yep, but hopefully your speeds are better than ours

The VPN allows torrenting and encourages their users to enjoy the unrestricted speed and unlimited traffic to their heart’s content.

However, speed is such an important part of a pleasant torrenting experience that VPNBook would not be our first recommendation. The best VPNs for torrenting should offer faster speeds for users.

Pricing & Plans: How cheap is free?

Their services are free! No payments, no figuring out which plan is the cheapest or most cost-effective. Just dive in!

Since the VPN is free, users are encouraged to donate to the VPN so they can provide a better selection of servers.

As for businesses, it is advisable to contact the VPNBook team before using it for commercial use. The free VPN service is intended only for personal use.

Users who are feeling generous are welcome to donate. They can make donations via Paypal and Bitcoin.

Refund Policy: Nothing to refund – it’s free!

Did we forget to mention it’s free?

There are no refunds for donations.

If you’re worried about your data being sold… well, keep reading on.

Sign Up Process: Login credentials are right there

Their sign up process is not what you would call a breeze and VPN beginners may find it very confusing. This is because the entire process is setting up OpenVPN manually rather than installing a VPN app.

Go to the How-To Set Up tab on their website.

The first step will provide a link to OpenVPN where you can download the installer appropriate for your device. Finish the installation process then head back to VPNBook’s website.

Once you’re back, make sure to click the VPNBook News tab. Beneath the header tabs is another series of tabs, click one of bundle link to your desired server to download.

Extract the file and copy its contents to C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config.

On your taskbar tray, right click on the VPNBOOK and click connect. You’ll be asked for login credentials, type in the username and password found in their Free VPN tab.

Remember to check if the credentials you type match the ones on their website. They change this regularly, every two weeks.

Their FAQ sheets explain that this ensures better security and the service is accessed only by active users.

VPNBook Neutral Points

VPN Speed and Performance: It’s a bit all over the place

Besides offering users unlimited bandwidth without paying for it, the VPN also claims to have servers built for speed using dedicated hardware of their own. Their servers, according to them, are properly optimized to maximize speeds.

Instead of running tests on the usual three servers, Hong Kong, Germany and the United States that we usually do, we settled with Canada, France, and the States.

So, did we notice any change as we tested this VPN?

Yes. See for yourself:

North American VPN Server Speed Test

NA Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to NA Server)
EU Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to EU Server)
Ping
(5 ms)
10 ms (+5 ms) Ping
(90 ms)
120 ms (+30 ms)
Download
(98.6 Mbps)
100 Mbps
(+1.4 Mbps, +1%)
Download
(87.4 Mbps)
90 Mbps
(+2.6 Mbps, +3%)
Upload
(98.4 Mbps)
89 Mbps
(-9.4 Mbps, -10%)
Upload
(56.3 Mbps)
50 Mbps
(-6.3 Mbps, -11%)

European VPN Server Speed Test

NA Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to NA Server)
EU Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to EU Server)
Ping
(93 ms)
100 ms (+7 ms) Ping
(27 ms)
35 ms (+8 ms)
Download
(92 Mbps)
65 Mbps
(-27 Mbps, -29%)
Download
(99.1 Mbps)
50 Mbps
(-49.1 Mbps, -50%)
Upload
(58.6 Mbps)
25 Mbps
(-33.6 Mbps,-57%)
Upload
(98.7 Mbps)
50 Mbps
(-48.7 Mbps, -49%)

Asian VPN Server Speed Test

NA Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to NA Server)
EU Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to EU Server)
Ping
(278 ms)
270 ms (-8 ms) Ping
(281 ms)
280 ms (-1 ms)
Download
(46.9 Mbps)
30 Mbps
(-16.9 Mbps, -36%)
Download
(57.8 Mbps)
40 Mbps
(-17.8 Mbps, -31%)
Upload
(7.9 Mbps)
1.9 Mbps
(-6 Mbps,-76%)
Upload
(6.2 Mbps)
2.9 Mbps
(-3.3 Mbps, -54%)

As you can see by the test results, only the North American servers seem to be optimized…

But that’s as far as optimizations go. EU and Asia did not perform well at all.

Device Compatibility: Plenty of devices with more coming, but no router (yet)

On the upper right corner of their website is a series of tabs where you can find the How-To set up tab. They have tutorials on how to install OpenVPN on Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, iPad, and Android.

They also have tutorials on how to set up the PPTP VPN on Windows 7, iPad, and Android.

Looking for router support? There’s none. In fact, not all VPNs offer router support, so we’ve made a list of the best ones that do.

VPNBook Cons

Logging Policy: Your IP will be logged… for a week.

Their privacy policy says that they don’t connect any personal information or user data. This is believable since they don’t even ask for email addresses or names in the sign-up process. Despite this judgment, it’s hard to sum this up as the whole truth.

They admit that they collect Connection logs. Connection logs comprise of IP addresses and time connections that are made. These logs are automatically deleted weekly.

Abuse of the system may lead to having your IP banned from their service.

Users may also report abuse at abuse@vpnbook.com.

This was all written in clear and simple language in their privacy policy. Make sure their terms agree with yours before choosing this service.

Servers and Locations: 8 total?

This free VPN provides 11 servers in total.

If you look closely, the list also includes proxy and “outline” servers. The total VPN servers stand at 8.

VPNBook is available in 5 countries in total. Yes, 5 – that’s not a typo. Ouch.

Product Interface: What is this, a program from the 2000s?

VPNBook’s website looks old and kind of confusing due to the lack of cleaner looking layouts and the abundance of colored links in the same font styles. It looks outdated, but it functions fine. It reminds us of VPN Gate.

Ads can also be found on their website. It’s free and we can’t really complain. They have to do what they have to do.

The VPN does not have a singular piece of software. You will need to manually go to each folder and each bundle download of their servers in order to switch IP addresses.

Switching between servers will not be as easy as other VPNs that have it all laid out neatly in their software. Users really have to be patient to bear with VPNBook in this aspect.

Customer Support: Sorely lacking

The VPN does not have a live chat support.

Their website provides a Contact Us feature where you can send them inquiries about the information you couldn’t find in their knowledge base.

As for their knowledge base, it’s severely lacking compared to other VPNs whether free or paid. Their knowledge base is comprised of only their setup tutorials.

On the other hand, their FAQ found in the Contact Us tab only has 3 answered questions. You can find the explanation behind their practices here.

Users may reach them via email at contact@vpnbook.com and report abuse at abuse@vpnbook.com.

VPNBook has social media accounts, too. Their social media accounts, Facebook and Twitter appear to be moderately active with at least 2 posts per month updating their users with the updated username and password.

IP and DNS Leak Tests: All Clear? Nope. DNS let us down.

We switched from server to server by switching between the bundle links of their Canada, France, and United States servers. Bundle links of each server and were placed into the OpenVPN folder in isolation from other servers.

However, it can be seen that despite the using different servers in this method, the IP address seem to be unchanged. This is strange, but the IP leak test results are clean.

However, when the results for the DNS leak test came, it got pretty disappointing.

It leaked on all servers.

If you plan on using this VPN for anything related to privacy and retaining anonymity, this one isn’t for you.

Kill Switch: Nope, sorry

Alas, a kill switch is nowhere to be found.

You can get helpful features to improve your security from cyberattacks with other VPNs; however, you have to pay for their service.


VPNBook as a Business

VPNBook is not much of a sharer when it comes to their company information. They don’t ask for much information, and it seems they don’t give you much information about them either.

They do post news on their website, mostly about new servers. They’ve been posting since 2013 and continue to do so to today.

Jurisdiction

The Switzerland-based VPN isn’t a member of the 14 Eyes Alliance. They are currently and strategically located in Zurich, to be more specific. Switzerland is one of the best locations for a VPN service – that’s why companies like VyprVPN is headquartered there.

Having ties to VPN located within the 14 Eyes jurisdiction will always run the risk of any of your data collected by mass surveillance.

With VPNBook, you’ll sleep tight at night knowing your privacy is safe (well, apart from those DNS leaks and logging…).

VPNBook Conclusion: You get what you (don’t) pay for

Being outside the 14 Eyes jurisdiction is one of the VPN’s charms. VPNBook is an impressive free service; they allow access to Netflix and torrenting, plus they offer 500GB+ dedicated bandwidth for free.

However, don’t expect great speeds, customer support, or a good knowledge base – because you’ll find none of the above here. Leaks are also another concern to those who want to use this VPN for privacy and not just anti-censorship purposes.

Their service also suffers from a poor user experience and interface, with users having to suffer through a complex installation process.

It’s free, so it’s worth a shot if you don’t care about your privacy at all – it might just save you some money, but often you get what you pay for – and with VPNBook, it certainly is the case.

Don’t mind investing in a quality service? Check out our suggestions for the best VPNs.

Published by

Jamie Cambell

Ethical Hacker. Ph.D., M.S. in Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley. Technology enthusiast and also a part-time gamer. My goal is liberating the Internet.

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