BolehVPN has been featured on Lifehacker, but will it turn out to be a life hack for your internet anonymity needs? Read our BolehVPN review to get all the details.
BolehVPN is a Malaysian VPN service established all the way back in 2007. It started as a local business and expanded onto the international scene following the growth of its user base. They have a unique selection of server types, including specialized P2P servers, helping them to excel when it comes to privacy. Boleh offers a one-day free trial option, and the payment options include credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and Liberty Reserve, as well as direct online banking for residents in Malaysia. There are different plans available, ranging from $10 for 30 days to $85 a year.
In this BolehVPN review, we will take a look at its security features and speed, torrenting and Netflix streaming capabilities, availability in China, and the other aspects essential to every VPN service.
Is BolehVPN safe to use?
BolehVPN makes use of the SHA-2 authentication algorithm in combination with AES 256. This cipher was originally developed by the United States National Security Agency (US-NSA). It was created for highly complex security purposes, which is probably why no one has been able to hack it to this day.
The VPN offers the OpenVPN protocol, which is considered to be one of the safest protocols in the VPN industry. Even though BolehVPN also supports L2PT/IPSec, you should stick with OpenVPN in most cases.
Speed & Performance
Performance is always a critical feature when considering VPN services. Surprisingly, whichever server we used when testing BolehVPN, the speed was quite impressive compared to other similarly priced platforms. This is despite the location and server number being rather low.
Obviously, the connection from within Europe using a European server was exceptionally fast. However, we observed great results with connections to the US from Europe as well. Asia was slower, but that was to be expected.
Although BolehVPN performed well at the time of our review, remember that the combination of your internet plan and the VPN server you connect to will have a significant impact on your speed.
How to download and install BolehVPN
To start using BolehVPN on Windows, just follow these steps:
- Download the installer (BolehVPN GUI) from their website.
- Run the executable file for BolehVPN GUI. Click “Yes” if you possess a User Account Control (UAC). A window for the TAP adapter installation will then pop up. Make sure to uninstall any previous installation of TAP adapters or BolehVPN clients if you already have one.
- Once you do this, run the GUI by selecting “Yes.” When you get to this stage, another UAC window will open, seeking permission to make modifications. Select “Yes.” This will allow Windows to establish a VPN route which requires an elevated Windows administrator privilege.
- You will now be prompted to enter your username and password. It’s the same username and password that you use to login to Boleh’s user portal. And that’s all – you are now free to enjoy the service.
BolehVPN also has custom clients for MacOS and Android devices with similar installation instructions.
How to use it
After successful installation, double-click to run the BolehVPN client. When you open the main window, you’ll see several tabs under the BolehVPN logo: “Dashboard,” “VPN log,” “Settings,” “Proxy settings,” and “Service status.”
The “Dashboard” tab has four sections. The first section – “Connection” – shows the VPN “Protocol” option and the “Connect Using” tab, which is the type of connection you’ll use. In the “Protocol” option, choose OpenVPN as the protocol, and under the “Connect Using” option, select “Fully Routed All” then click “Connect.” Wait a few minutes and voila, you’re connected!
The “Current Section Details” section shows the server IP address, Public IP address, and the country associated with the address; The “Account Details” section displays your username and certificate expiry date.
If you check the next tab on the dashboard, the “VPN Log” shows the log of successful connections over time. Under the “Settings” tab, you can tweak the client functions to suit your taste. You can also manage your configuration and update the BolehVPN app from this tab.
BolehVPN for torrenting
BolehVPN allows a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) server connection, which means that you can torrent your heart out.
Of course, it’s important to note that torrenting and P2P servers are not illegal, but downloading copyrighted material is. Although many cases of torrenting involve downloading copyrighted stuff, this doesn’t mean you can’t torrent legally. Torrents are useful, but if you’re not using a good VPN, you can be at risk. For example, those you might be downloading data from might extract personal information, like your IP address and location.
Fortunately, when it comes to torrenting, BolehVPN is one of the good ones.
They even state plainly on their forums that they will deal with any DMCA notices that come their way.
BolehVPN for Netflix
In theory, VPN software can help you unblock Netflix and other geo-restricted streaming services. It allows you to connect to a different server back home and start watching regardless of your location. However, Netflix is investing a lot of time and money into cracking exchange keys and have succeeded in blocking a lot of VPN platforms. Many a VPN service claims that they work with Netflix, but more often than not, they don’t. In BolehVPN’s case, there’s some good news and a lot of bad news.
The good news is that BolehVPN does work with Netflix, but the bad news is that they only have one or two servers that work properly. After testing their different servers, we found that the BolehFlix US server could not open the US version of Netflix. The US NY streaming server was also blocked. As were the US-LA, UK, and Netherlands servers. The Canadian server worked, though. Unfortunately, other streaming platforms like Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer were not mentioned on the website.
All in all, unless you’re a die-hard fan of Canadian TV shows, you’re better off skipping BolehVPN and using one of the more Netflix-capable VPNs, such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN.
Apps & Extensions
BolehVPN is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop operating systems. You’ll find the downloading and installation instructions on their website for easy setup. BolehVPN is also available on Android mobile devices, but not on iOS at this moment. You can download the Android Application Package (APK) version from the Google Play Store or just follow the link to download from the service’s client login area. However, you’ll need to set your phone to accept logins from untrusted sources.
BolehVPN only limits simultaneous connections to 3 for any plan. A simple solution for the device limit is to configure BolehVPN with a router. By doing this, all your device connections will seem like a single connection, meaning you can connect as many devices as you like. Although you can configure BolehVPN on routers, their website only mentions support for specific router models. These are Sabai Technology, Asus-WRT Merlin, and DD-WRT routers.
Can you use BolehVPN in China?
As you’re probably aware, China is one of the countries that place severe restrictions on their citizens’ internet use. This can be quite exasperating, especially for foreigners who want to spend some time in the country. For those traveling to China, the best option is to download a VPN service before entering the country.
Unfortunately, there is no mention of the BolehVPN service availability in China on their official website.
Although there have been anecdotal claims of BolehVPN usage in China, the only ways to be 100% sure are to actually go there yourself or download a VPN with a proven track record of working in China. We’d take the second option.
BolehVPN provides customer support through live chat, email, Twitter, Facebook, and their own forum. Submitting a ticket is only available once you have registered and logged in. The support team is even willing to provide remote assistance through TeamViewer if you face recurring technical issues.
There seems to be a glitch in the live chat, though, as sometimes the chat language is not the same as that of the website. Response time is good, and while the support representatives might not be able to communicate fluently in English, you should still be able to understand each other.
Sadly, BolehVPN doesn’t have telephone support. However, if you can take the time to go through the help desk tab, there’s a lot of information and FAQs that will help with any issues you encounter.
On the plus side, Boleh communicates actively on social media, with timely posts and a contemporary sense of internet humor.
BolehVPN has a slightly unusual pricing structure. They offer a one-day free trial, but this requires direct contact with the Boleh team via e-mail. Another option is the Trial package which is available for $3.70. It’s a 7-day plan, during which you will gain access to the full product. Pricing plans are somewhat expensive, as you can see for yourself:
- $10 for 30 days
- $17 for 60 days
- $46 for 180 days
- $85 for a year
Unfortunately, the company does not offer refunds unless you are unable to use the service due to technical reasons, so it’s almost obligatory to use the $3.70 “trial” plan to test BolehVPN. You can pay for your subscription by credit card, Paypal, and an assortment of cryptos for those who don’t want their payments traced: Bitcoin, Dash, Monero, and Zcoin. They will also give you a bonus subscription period if you refer the service to your friends.
Bottom line of our BolehVPN review
Overall, BolehVPN is merely a middle-of-the-pack VPN service: no amazing or life-changing VPN experience hacks here, unfortunately.
Although the service is secure, fast, and dependable while providing multiple connection options, all the speed in the world won’t suffice if the US Netflix streaming server is blocked and you can’t use it during your vacation in China. More than that, BolehVPN is not cheap (but at least you can pay for it with crypto), the free trial option is hard to access, and their refund policy is quite restrictive. And no iOS app? Really?