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AirVPN has been around since 2010, created and maintained by a group of hacktivists from around the globe. Currently, they are based in Italy and adhere to their laws and those of the EU.
Over the years they have expanded their reach, operating over 240+ servers in 20+ countries. Yet they continue to operate in the spirit of openness – allowing users access to real-time server-monitoring data and other innovative features. It’s become a multi-platform project, available for Android as well as desktop computers and popular routers.
And yet, in some regards, it seems that AirVPN is falling behind the competition. While other providers are utilizing new tunneling protocols like WireGuard, sometimes even making their own versions of it, AirVPN is still limited to OpenVPN. However, this means that there is more depth and control over how the software works if you know what you’re doing.
Lately, streaming has also become an unsavory topic for AirVPN. It used to work well with unblocking content for services like Netflix, but that no longer seems to be the case.
So what’s going on exactly? Continue reading this AirVPN review to find out.
|Logs:||No logging policy|
|Customer support:||Forums, email|
|Locations:||20+ countries, 240+ servers|
Judging from the promotional materials of AirVPN, it would seem that the service is a lot more concerned with security and privacy, rather than speed. Let’s see whether that reflects in numbers.
AirVPN has 240+ servers spread across more than 20 countries. This list covers all major regions of Europe, North America, and Asia. The official website contains information on server load, judging from which I can safely say the servers are usually well below maximum capacity.
|The Americas||USA, Canada, Brazil|
|Europe||Netherlands, UK, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Latvia, Belgium, Czechia, Spain, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Serbia, Estonia|
|Asia and Oceania||Singapore, Japan|
With that said, 20+ countries isn’t much in comparison to most premium VPN services. Among the regions that suffer most are Australia, the Middle East, Africa, and to a lesser extent South America, which has a couple of servers in Brasil.
The number of servers hasn’t changed much over the years, and the FAQ hints at a possible reason why. And that’s because of stringent requirements for servers on the AirVPN network. With that said, I’ll venture a guess that it’s not very profitable to run an ethical VPN service.
As far as speeds go, my tests had decent results that are by no means spectacular. For this AirVPN review, I first ran a speed test from Europe without a VPN connection:
Afterward, I connected to several different locations around the world and reran the speed test.
London, United Kingdom
New York, United States
All in all, AirVPN’s speeds are not terrible, but there’s certainly room for improvement here. While the Mbps numbers are acceptable, the drop-off percentage is quite high. I was also surprised that the UK drop-off rate was higher than that of the US or Singapore.
One thing to note: if you connect to a nearby server and aren’t happy with the speed, try others on the same continent. Speeds vary in unpredictable ways.
This VPN can be extensively customized to suit everyone’s security and privacy needs. Average users will be safe when using the software out of the box, while advanced users are able to personalize the experience to their own needs.
Security is one area where AirVPN can be trusted to take a cautious, well-informed approach. For instance, they steer clear of using compromised protocols like L2TP/IPSec or PPTP. Instead, they operate solely via OpenVPN. And although this protocol used to be the gold standard back in the day, some could argue that the more efficient WireGuard would be the better option now.
AirVPN offers the following main security features:
As you can see, there is a fair amount of security features. This is a more airtight service than what is offered by an overwhelming majority of VPNs on the market today.
A few years ago, AirVPN had been struggling with leaks. Luckily, this seems a thing of the past: I was unable to find any IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks during testing.
The answer seems to be “No.”
So, are there any privacy issues to mention in this review? Not many, as it turns out. The most common thing that people want to know is where is AirVPN based. The answer is Italy, and some people may be concerned about that because this country is part of the Fourteen Eyes surveillance alliance.
While this is not ideal, their privacy practices in all other respects seem to be faultless. What’s more, Italy falls under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), adding another layer of privacy protection.
Another thing that I liked is that they don’t have any third-party trackers on their website. While this may seem like not a big deal, it’s super-rare even among the most privacy-focused VPN providers. I would like the Privacy Notice on the official website to be more detailed, but at the same time, I couldn’t find anything to suggest that AirVPN does more than minimal logging.
The key feature against China is the ability to route web traffic via TCP port 443. This is the conventional SSL port used by secure web data. By routing all of your traffic through port 443, AirVPN can shield it effectively from most censorship measures, including Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). This feature is called Stealth VPN or Obfuscated servers by other providers.
Beyond the ability to climb the Great Firewall, AirVPN is definitely secure enough and should have reasonably good speeds in China. It’s also a good choice for other countries where freedom of information is restricted. Just make sure you look at the list of countries where servers are available – if there’s nothing close to your location, speeds may be bad.
Overall, AirVPN is pretty safe out-of-the-box and can be personalized even more to suit your needs. The important thing is to set up everything properly if you’re thinking of changing some settings. There are plenty of various guides on the community forums.
Although the software looks a bit old-school, it gets the job and should be easy enough to use for beginners and advanced users alike.
The client (affectionately titled Eddie) is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. However, you can use AirVPN through other software as well by using the official configuration files. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy the service on iOS, ChromeOS, and routers (DD-WRT, Tomato, AsusWRT, pfSense). Unfortunately, there are no browser extensions available.
While not exactly difficult to use, Eddie is certainly aimed at advanced users more than it is aimed at newbies. Opening the Preferences menu should make that abundantly clear: there are so many settings to toggle that new users will likely be overwhelmed.
Having said that, choosing a server and connecting should be simple enough for anyone. The server list even conveniently shows the latency and load of each server.
I tested out AirVPN on Android and frankly, the first impression was not very pleasant. The default settings for the app were particularly frustrating because the app kept notifying me about reconnecting every time I locked the screen.
It seemed strange that the VPN would disconnect when I lock my screen – as if my security stops mattering when I’m not staring at my phone. Of course, this was easily remedied in the setting menu.
Speaking of settings – much like in the desktop version, there are plenty of options to customize the app to your liking, including app filtering, custom DNS, proxies, encryption algorithms, and more.
It’s a good app if you need all that control, but for most, the client might be confusing. Under all of those settings, I was unable to find the kill-switch option. Personally, I would prefer a simpler app with essential features, rather than a load of options that I don’t care about.
Visually, the app is pretty straightforward. Like most VPN apps, you have the option to quickly connect with a single click. The hamburger menu in the top left lets you tweak the main settings, while servers and current connection settings are available in the top header.
It’s slightly harder to set up AirVPN for iOS than it is for Android, PC, or Mac. The Eddie client isn’t an option here, and users will have to install the OpenVPN Connect software and configure it by downloading the .ovpn files from the AirVPN website.
A neat use-case of VPNs is getting around geo-restrictions of streaming services. This can be tricky as subpar download speeds could really undermine the streaming experience. Let’s see how AirVPN holds up.
My most recent test of AirVPN with Netflix turned out rather unsuccessful – I could not access any geo-restricted content on Netflix. I could still watch the regular content available in my country, but connecting to a server in the US or UK did not unlock additional content. Although it worked in the past, it appears that the small amount of servers is getting noticed and flagged by Netflix. The official forums also mention that Netflix is not supported.
If you’re looking for a VPN to unblock the other streaming platforms, keep looking. AirVPN did not manage to unblock the BBC iPlayer, no matter how hard I tried. The same goes for other streaming platforms, such as Disney+ or Amazon Prime.
Yes, it does. P2P traffic is welcome on all servers, and users are guaranteed unlimited bandwidth. So, in theory, using AirVPN for torrenting is a good option, although it’s not among the best VPNs for P2P.
The service also offers more than enough security and is feature-rich. The availability of things like a kill switch, leak protection, and port forwarding adds a lot of value to this VPN as a torrenting-friendly service.
My only reservation is that the speeds could certainly be better. They are also pretty inconsistent when moving from one server to another, so it may take some time to find the fastest one.
Due to its sometimes-technical nature and a wide range of customization options, AirVPN users often ask for help, and you would hope for excellence in this area. The picture is mixed, though. Here’s what kind of customer support users can expect:
Sure – the FAQ is detailed, and the forums are one of the best places on the entire web to learn about privacy issues and VPN usage. When it came to getting help from the staff, though, I found that response times were slow, and the attitude of AirVPN representatives could have been warmer. It’s easy to see how newbies could be turned off by the lack of 24/7 live chat, especially when their questions can be answered easily.
AirVPN offers 7 pricing plans in euros, which can be converted into either dollars or bitcoins in real-time:
All plans allow five simultaneous connections and can be considered cheap when compared to other premium VPN services. This applies even to the monthly option, which costs less than $8 when most competitors charge from $10 to $13 or more.
There’s also an AirVPN free trial, but getting it is not that easy. You’ll have to contact their customer support first.
Technically there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s just hidden within the terms of service. You can get a refund if you’re not satisfied with the product and have not violated their terms of service.
AirVPN customers can choose from a huge variety of payment methods. Those include credit cards, PayPal, bitcoin, and seven other cryptocurrencies. Most importantly, this means you can pay for the service entirely anonymously.
To sum up, AirVPN isn’t the cheapest option around, even though there are more plan options than with other VPN services. But the apparent lack of features does not justify such prices. You’ll be better off picking a better VPN service.
Although AirVPN is very good in terms of security and privacy, it might not be enough for average VPN users, who expect more versatility from their VPN.
NordVPN is a great alternative as it is able to unblock Netflix and other streaming services while also has more tunneling protocols, such as NordLynx and IKEv2. It’s also ridiculously fast and can be connected to up to six devices – and much more for only $3.71/month.
For a more detailed comparison of NordVPN vs AirVPN check out the article where we compare these two providers.
If you have a smaller budget then you should take advantage of our special VyprVPN deal, which lets you get a three-year subscription to VyprVPN for only $1.66/month. With a wide variety of security features, this VPN is great at getting around geo-restrictions on a wide variety of devices.
A nice middle ground would be Surfshark VPN – it has great security features, can reliably get around geo-restrictions, and can be used on an unlimited number of devices. The cheapest plan will cost you $2.49/month.
This AirVPN review has shown that you should get this service only if you’re not new in the VPN industry and have a good understanding of how VPNs work in general. You get a lot of options to configure your experience while using this VPN, but if you don’t know how to utilize all of that potential then this VPN is not for you.
AirVPN is also lacking in certain aspects that other VPNs can provide. If you’re looking for a VPN that will barely slow you down, you’ll want one that supports WireGuard. AirVPN is also a bad choice for streaming. You’ll be better off choosing something else from our best VPNs for streaming.
At least this VPN has a reasonable pricing plan – something that still not many VPNs dare to do. But overall, if you’re not that familiar with using VPNs, I’d recommend getting something else with a more user-friendly client and website.
Is AirVPN a good fit for you? Would you recommend it? Let me know by leaving a comment.
Yes, with military-grade AES-256 encryption and a configurable kill-switch, AirVPN can be considered secure.
You can watch local Netflix while AirVPN is on, but you won’t gain access to geo-restricted content.
AirVPN is based in Italy, which is a Fourteen Eyes alliance member.