Cargo VPN might be known by few, owing to its Mac-only functionality, but most of those people would tell you of its great server fleet, advanced streaming capabilities, and other great features.
Cargo VPN offers features strong enough to justify the price, even though it’s already reasonable, and you can even get a dedicated IP or entire VPN server for a higher payment.
It’s solid when it comes to security, fast when it comes to speed, and seems to have an eye on what most users want and need from their VPNs.
Security and privacy
Being Mac (and iOS) only, you can expect some limitations, such as no OpenVPN being supported at the moment. The security front is otherwise robust:
- DNS Firewall
- 256-bit encryption
- IPSec protocol offered
- KeepSolid Wise UDP and KeepSolid Wise TCP protocols
Of course, many of our readers will already realize the lack of a kill switch. In this day and age, and with the way the VPN market is, it’s bad form not to have a kill switch in your app. This can help malicious snoopers and trackers looking to get your actual identity exposed.
However, finding no DNS leaks is heartening. Many VPNs are poorly configured or not well-setup, and therefore your IP address can be sought out easily by anyone dedicated enough.
Does Cargo VPN keep logs?
Cargo VPN is based in the US. This, straight away, is troubling. The US is a crucial member of the Five Eyes alliance and the tales of privacy being a long-gone fairytale are commonplace.
The logs will also be used in legal proceedings if needed, meaning the authorities would be well within their rights to access your data, which is the very opposite of what a good VPN should help achieve. The wording is also suspicious, claiming that data will be “partially logged” to prove your “innocence,” which seems more like a veiled threat than anything.
Speeds and performance
Cargo VPN’s speeds are goods but can drop suddenly during certain times of the day in different areas. However, simply connecting to another server in another country can usually do the trick and get your speed back on its feet.
We found a drop of around half our original download speed (and a slight downturn in the upload speed) when we performed our speed tests, which was good given that our speeds were already slow.
With over 1,000 servers in more than 70 countries, it’s not hard to see how Cargo VPN is able to deliver reliable speeds.
Ease of use and multi-platform support
Cargo VPN is a Mac-only product, meaning there’s no service for PC yet, although their website states that it’s in the works.
The interface is like a standard Mac app, which goes well with the aesthetic and general look of your device. There are simple menus and checkboxes to help you decide what you want, and the server list will show you the current load on each server, as well as direct you to the servers you’d want for streaming or torrenting.
You can also choose your protocols from within the settings, but the iPhone app reportedly doesn’t offer this feature.
Unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
Cargo VPN is a good choice for Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and streaming in general. There are servers listed that will tell you which servers to connect to, as well as the workload on each server at the current moment.
Users want VPNs to help them get around geo-blocking since the content isn’t the same at all in different regions. Netflix even goes so far as to engage in blocking the VPNs themselves, which makes Cargo VPN perfect for getting past those blocks.
P2P and torrenting
Torrenters want VPNs that can help them practice secure torrenting (usually through the help of a proxy such as SOCKS5).
While Cargo VPN doesn’t seem to have any really special features for torrent downloads, P2P connections are allowed on certain servers that are listed in the app itself, saving you time on trial and error.
However, we found most of the torrenting servers to be slower than the others, and some of them are even based in places with strict anti-piracy laws, making the whole exercise a bit futile.
Online censorship in China and elsewhere with Cargo VPN
The Great Firewall is something that’s been in the news for years, exemplifying censorship and online surveillance.
China has led the charge in such practices, but it’s not the only country. However, China does ban VPNs themselves (hence the “Great” Firewall), making it completely impossible for some users to access something that isn’t government-sanctioned. Most VPNs don’t have the stealth mode capabilities required to get around this.
Unfortunately, Cargo VPN seems to be another one of the VPNs that don’t offer support for China-based users (or users in countries with similarly regressive attitudes towards the internet).
Cargo VPN’s customer support leaves a lot to be desired, sadly. There’s no live chat or phone support, as the live support offered on the website is actually just a disguised ticketing system.
We were unable to get a reply within a week, and the reply we received was unsatisfactory. Other Cargo VPN reviews were consulted for the same issues, and we found the problem to be very uniform. There isn’t even an FAQ section presented on the front page or anywhere visible, which is troubling.
Cargo VPN is, at the same time, a cheap option and a pricey burden. It depends on which plan you get since the rates differ based on payment cycles.
- Monthly plan: $9.99
- Yearly plan: $4.17/month
- Three year plan: $2.78/month
There’s a free 24-day trial, however, which is fair enough – but you will be charged if you don’t cancel during your free trial itself. There are also reports of the free trial maxing out before the time was up and users being charged.
The company also collects your personal information under the guise of payment (your Apple ID and credit card numbers) since there’s no anonymous crypto option, which is another negative for the service.
Cargo VPN is a service that needs serious work – but it’s a commendable effort for what it is. Ultimately, however, there are far better VPN options for Mac on the market at the same price but with much better offerings.