CryptoStorm appears to have been designed by specialists for specialists. As we began to research for our CryptoStorm review, we were blown away by the amount of technical information on hand and became sure it was going to rank alongside our very favorite VPN services.
As we poked around further, however, the cracks started to show beneath the veneer of expert knowledge that CryptoStorm provides. In particular, the more we conducted hands-on tests for our CryptoStorm review, the less impressed we became.
This goes to show that “wisdom before intelligence” is a valuable maxim for developing a good VPN, too. It’s all well and good proving how secure your software is – and it is highly secure – but when you eschew the means to implement this into a strong, user-friendly service, it all starts to look like hot air.
Still, the reason we gave CryptoStorm its day in court was not to disparage it outright, but rather to examine everything fairly. We’ve tested its (bad) connection speeds, weighed-up its (strange) pricing plans, and grilled its (infallible) ability to unblock geo-restricted services like Netflix.
As a service available on most major platforms, CryptoStorm should ideally be a VPN service that can be considered by a great deal of users interested in securing their personal information while browsing the web.
Is CryptoStorm safe to use?
CryptoStorm passes the VPN standard security benchmark by employing the AES-256-bit encryption cipher. This is practically unbreakable, and means that your data is completely secure so long as your connection to CryptoStorm servers is up and running.
Indeed, the service is unusually candid and detailed regarding its security details. Among its main features, we were impressed to discover it uses a 2048-bit RSA handshake and 256-bit EC.
It also boasts an automatic kill switch, and although it lacks manual controls for this, it means that CryptoStorm will protect your personal information if your connection is lost.
Quite simply, CryptoStorm features some of the most secure software you can get your hands on in this day and age – and they’re evidently proud of this, too.
While researching the service for our CryptoStorm review, we were slightly dismayed to learn that the company that develops it, Baneki Privacy Computing Inc., is based in Canada.
As you may know, Canada is one of the members of the 5 Eyes alliance. This means that whatever information is held through CryptoStorm is within the legal jurisdiction of one of the most powerful intelligence alliances on the planet.
Any data requests made to CryptoStorm by Canadian authorities, or even the authorities of its partner states, must be complied with. Regardless, CryptoStorm is admirable in its no-logging policy, which is apparently upheld strictly and leaves no opportunity for any data requests to reveal anything identifiable about its users.
Furthermore, CryptoStorm aced our leak tests (DNS, IPv6, WebRTC), meaning that we can vouch for the service as totally secure.
Speed and performance
It’s fairly common knowledge that heftier cybersecurity software slows down connection speeds with each additional layer of encryption.
Partially due to CryptoStorm’s advanced encryption, its connection speeds are quite bad. In fact, most servers we tried to connect to for our CryptoStorm review – even the ones near our location – were maddeningly slow and made it impossible to stream video content in high definition.
This is partially because CryptoStorm has a relatively small server fleet: just 30 servers spread across 17 countries.
These countries, furthermore, are mostly in Europe and North America. Seeing as closer servers naturally provide better connection speeds, and seeing as CryptoStorm has appalling connection speeds across the board, this leaves a lot of users in a lot of territories with no chance for even the faintest hint of a connection at all.
The payment options for CryptoStorm are as follows:
- $1.86 for one week, for 1 device
- $6.00 for one month, for 1 device
- $16.00 for three months, for 2 devices (equal to $5.33/month)
- $24.00 for a 5x 1-month bundle (equal to $4.80/month)
- $28.00 for six months, for 3 devices (equal to $4.66/month)
- $48.00 for 11x 1-month bundle (equal to $4.36/month)
- $52.00 for one year, for 4 devices (equal to $4.33/month)
- $94.00 for two years, for 5 devices (equal to $3.91/month)
- $97.00 for 25x 1-month bundle (equal to $3.88/month)
- $500.00 for a lifetime subscription, for 6 devices
First of all, we’d like to dispel any notion of that lifetime subscription being presented as a bargain. For that price, $500, to be of greater value than the 25-month bundle, you’d need to use CryptoStorm regularly for 11 years.
Quite simply, this is a total rip-off unless you’re happy to endure the painfully slow connection for over a decade. While the prices themselves are relatively reasonable, furthermore, we are suspicious of the fact that the price per device increases so inordinately.
For argument’s sake, a family of 6 could be travelling to a country where a VPN is required. If they chose CryptoStorm, they would have to pay $500 regardless of how long they were in the said country.
The only bonus here is users have the ability to pay with Bitcoin and other related cryptocurrencies, which makes for a far more secure payment transaction than with PayPal or credit card.
CryptoStorm for Netflix
As it happens, CryptoStorm easily unblocked Netflix on every server we used. It also unblocked BBC iPlayer on its UK servers, which leads us to believe that it would also have the same capabilities for services such as Hulu and so on.
However, the question isn’t whether CryptoStorm can unblock Netflix, but rather whether you’d ideally want to use CryptoStorm to unblock Netflix.
The answer to that question is: probably not. Again, we’d like to reiterate that CryptoStorm provides painfully slow connection speeds on each of its servers, meaning that any attempts we made to stream video content on Netflix were scuppered by extensive buffering pauses.
Check out our list of Best VPNs for Netflix.
CryptoStorm for torrenting
At the risk of our CryptoStorm review reading like a broken record, we have to reiterate the slow connection speeds once more.
Yes, CryptoStorm supports torrenting and P2P networking on all servers – but it’d be almost impossible to torrent anything in a timely manner using the service.
That’s why we recommend you to check out our Best VPN for torrenting list.
Is it good for users in China?
Once again, CryptoStorm disappoints in this regard. The only protocol it supports is OpenVPN, which is known to fail in its attempts to bypass the Great Firewall of China.
We cannot say for certain whether or not this makes it unsuitable for bypassing firewalls in similarly repressive countries such as Belarus, Iraq, or Turkmenistan.
However, with CryptoStorm’s servers being so slow, and with the majority of them being located so far away from China, we can also say that if you managed to use it in China, it wouldn’t work very well at all.
Apps and extensions
CryptoStorm is available on a relatively standard selection of operating systems: Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, and iOS. We’re happy with the inclusion of Linux, but there are certain apps that CryptoStorm leaves out in the cold.
It is, however, available for router configuration, which means it is likely that you can use CryptoStorm for Amazon TV.
The service’s support of torrenting and P2P networking, as well as its compatibility with routers, means that it is likely that you can also use CryptoStorm for Kodi.