Astrill is a Seychellois VPN service that positions itself as the “number one” VPN provider on the market. I decided to see if there’s any substance to these claims. After all, the web is full of so-called “number one,” “best of the best” VPN services that fail to deliver on anything they purport to be selling.
So, what about Astrill VPN? Is it safe to use? Can Astrill VPN reliably unblock Netflix? Is it good for torrenting? And, most importantly, is Astrill one of the fastest VPNs on the market?
I’ll tackle these questions and more in my in-depth Astrill VPN review to help you decide if Astrill is the service you should invest your hard-earned money into.
Security and privacy features
Astrill VPN’s security features are actually quite impressive. And there’s some real technical expertise behind what Astrill VPN has on offer. After all, it was Astrill staffers who created the popular OpenVPN and StealthVPN protocols. Now that’s a tell-tale sign that they know what they’re doing when it comes to security and privacy.
Encryption and tunneling protocols
Astrill VPN uses the military-grade 256-bit AES encryption cipher – the gold standard for encryption among premium VPNs. That’s as safe as encryption can get these days.
Currently, Astrill VPN supports the following tunneling protocols:
- Cisco IPSec
Astrill VPN has one of the widest ranges of available tunneling protocols I’ve seen. With so much options on offer, it might be difficult to decide which protocol to use. While most Astrill VPN users should stick to the default OpenVPN or IKEv2/IPSec protocols, those with different needs can increase their privacy at the cost of speed with the StealthVPN protocol, or vice versa by using WireGuard.
With that said, make sure to avoid SSTP and PPTP protocols unless you know what you’re doing. These are obsolete and unsafe tunneling protocols that should only be used in rare cases, if at all.
All in all, Astrill’s protocol options are very impressive, which is a big plus for any VPN service.
Astrill VPN features a kill switch that will automatically disable your internet connection in case your VPN connection drops unexpectedly. That’s an essential feature for any premium VPN service to have. With the kill switch feature enabled, Astrill VPN will keep your connection encrypted and your IP address masked at all times.
I’ve tested the Astrill VPN kill switch on my desktop the results didn’t disappoint – it worked consistently each time I disconnected the VPN.
No IP or DNS leaks
I’ve tested Astrill VPN for leaks and found no DNS, IPv6, or WebRTC leak issues. This means that Astrill VPN is safe to use for hiding your actual IP address.
Privacy-friendly location: the Seychelles
Astrill VPN is headquartered in Seychelles, a country that doesn’t require businesses to store or report any customer data. The privacy-friendly attitude, along with the fact that the country doesn’t belong to the Fourteen Eyes surveillance network, makes Seychelles a logical destination for any cybersecurity business.
That’s certainly not nothing, but then again – it rarely is. Overall, Astrill VPN no-logging policy isn’t perfect, but it’s not so bad. After all, Astrill VPN is based in Seychelles, which means it isn’t subject to data retention laws and harmful intelligence-sharing agreements, such as those of Fourteen Eyes alliance members.
Does Astrill VPN support my device?
It probably does. Astrill VPN offers apps for Windows, macOS, iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android, Linux, and there’s also an applet for routers. You can use Astrill VPN on five devices at the same time for the cost of a single subscription as well.
Astrill VPN desktop apps: Windows, macOS, Linux
As I’ve hinted at earlier, the user interface on Astrill’s desktop apps is efficient and simple. Just enter your username and password, pick a protocol, and log onto their servers.
If you want to customize your service, the app lets you do so, with options like enabling or disabling DNS leak protection. But if you want to keep things as they are, that’s no problem.
It’s a standard VPN desktop app, with a selection of servers and a few handy, widely-appealing features. For instance, you can easily specify which apps you’d like to funnel into Astrill VPN, and which should stay separate.
Astrill VPN can be used in a variety of other ways, not just as a personal privacy tool. For example, they also offer a business package which is targeted at smaller companies. If you need to add a security layer to work emails, find ways of maintaining security while working remotely or carry out discreet market research – Astrill has the solution.
The Astrill VPN Mac app is pretty much identical to its Windows counterpart – it’s just as secure and just as simple. While macOS apps offered my many other VPN providers tend to have fewer security features, that’s not the case with Astrill VPN.
Astrill VPN offers an app for Linux users as well. That’s quite rare among VPN providers. You’ll have to set up the Astrill VPN Linux app manually, but you’ll get the full (if somewhat spartan) Astrill GUI with most of the VPN functionality.
Astrill VPN mobile apps: Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad)
Astrill VPN iOS and Android apps pretty much what you’d expect, which are mobile versions of the desktop versions, with some minor changes. What’s important here is that the Astrill iOS and Android apps do their jobs, and do them well.
Astrill for Android has a free version for users in North America and Europe. It has no bandwidth limits and offers the same good speeds at the cost of stealth protocol and server selection, which is reduced to 20+ countries.
You can find the Astrill VPN Android app either on Google Play or download it directly from astrill.com.
The Astrill VPN iOS app is available on the App Store.
Other platforms for Astrill VPN
You can also set up Astrill VPN on routers. This is especially useful in households with multiple devices, like Xboxes, PlayStations, Smart TVs, and smartphones. If you use Roku, for instance, you can route your traffic through the VPN via your desktop, adding a layer of protection.
However, most premium VPN services also have at least a few apps for Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick, Apple and Android TVs or game consoles in case you don’t have a router.
Speed: one of the fastest VPNs?
Astrill VPN is no slouch when it comes to providing breakneck speeds. As I’ve noted earlier, speed is one of their USPs, and if you use the Astrill client for a while, you won’t feel short-changed.
This was my baseline internet speed before connecting to Astrill VPN:
And here’s what I found after performing several Astrill VPN speed tests in different locations around the world:
London, United Kingdom
- Download: 76 Mbps (62% drop-off)
- Upload: 20 Mbps (90% drop-off)
- Ping: 51 ms
New York, United States
- Download: 68 Mbps (66% drop-off)
- Upload: 10 Mbps (95% drop-off)
- Ping: 122 ms
- Download: 50 Mbps (75% drop-off)
- Upload: 4 Mbps (98% drop-off)
- Ping: 256 ms
As you can see, Astrill VPN download speeds are genuinely impressive.
While low upload speeds might be concerning to some, most users won’t see that as a deal-breaker. Low latency and high download speeds are routine, however, which should accommodate streamers and torrenters pretty comfortably. I was especially surprised by the fact that the US New York server managed to overtake the UK server, even though I’m located much closer to the latter.
Netflix and other streaming services
Astrill VPN doesn’t like to make a point of Netflix or other streaming services in their marketing material, but it’s clear that Astrill has worked hard to include this as a key part of their package.
I connected to Astrill VPN’s USA – New York 1 server and the results on the Netflix homepage were encouraging. Plenty of content that wouldn’t normally be available was now ready to stream.
There’s no doubt that users will be able to get past Netflix blockers, but just don’t expect every Astrill VPN server to do the job.
When you do connect, speed isn’t an issue. I found that Netflix movies and TV shows were delivered in good resolution at a speed we could handle, with only very slight stutters every now and then. It definitely isn’t enough to criticize Astrill VPN.
Does Astrill VPN support torrenting?
Yes, Astrill VPN supports torrenting.
Being able to ensure private, fast torrenting is a real sign of a solid VPN, and it’s an area where seemingly great services sometimes fall down.
In fact, Astrill VPN has factored torrenting into their software in a way that few other VPNs have. When you select your server, choose a P2P VPN server from the drop-down list. Not all Astrill VPN servers are torrent-friendly, but plenty are and seem to deliver good speeds. There’s also a port-forwarding option available, but be careful when doing this – it’s not the best security decision.
Support: Astrill VPN live chat, video tutorials, and FAQ
When it comes to customer support, Astrill VPN seems to do pretty well. There’s plenty of options to resolve potential problems. This includes contact forms, 24/7 live chat, setup manuals, FAQ, and even video tutorials.
Astrill VPN 24/7 live chat, introduced not that long ago at the cost of email and phone support, is a handy resource that every premium VPN provider should have. It’s backed by the contact form where you should get an answer in a few hours. Finally, there’s a handful of manuals and tutorials, along with an extensive FAQ.
Pricing: is Astrill VPN a good deal?
Astrill VPN pricing varies by package, and prices decrease with longer contract terms:
- 1-month plan for $20.00/month
- 6-month plan for $15.00/month
- 1-year plan for $10.00/month (billed annually)
Payment options for an Astrill VPN subscription include credit cards, UnionPay, AliPay, Perfect Money, cryptocurrencies, and bank transfer. You get 5 simultaneous connections per Astrill VPN account.
Unfortunately, even the annual plan is still very expensive. To make things worse, Astrill VPN has ditched their 7-day free trial, so you no longer have a chance to feel it out before committing. But the last nail in the coffin is the lack of a money-back guarantee. Astrill VPN plainly recommends taking the shortest plan to see if you like their service or not. The only way to test Astrill VPN for free is to download the Android app from Europe or North America.
On top of those packages, Astrill VPN offers a VIP service for an extra $10/month, which drastically increases speeds. It’s targeted at gamers and Asian customers, but the price tag is pretty hefty. They also offer Private IPs ($5/month) and flashed routers (starting at $39) letting you connect multiple devices.
Should you get Astrill VPN?
After all that, what do I make of Astrill VPN? Well, the security and privacy setup is solid, although there are some questions about logging. It’s not a deal-breaker, as long as you trust Astrill VPN to act ethically. With their excellent support services, they come across as a reputable outfit.
The speed is great, and the VPN works well both with torrent clients and Netflix. I also appreciated the easy to use, if slightly outdated, client. On the other hand, all packages are expensive, and there’s no way to try Astrill VPN on anything but Android without paying at least for one month.
The verdict? While I wouldn’t call Astrill VPN the “number one” by any means, it’s still among the top VPN services.