DotVPN claims to be both a VPN and a proxy but is it successful? Let’s see if this is a jack-of-all-trades or a master of none.
DotVPN is based in Hong Kong, which is excellent because this keeps them far from the prying eyes of Five Eyes and other online surveillance networks. On the surface, things look pretty decent to good: DotVPN uses OpenVPN, a top VPN protocol, and offers an HTTPS proxy. Encryption levels are high and their no logging policy seems to be the cherry on top.
Although they have an extensive network comprised of 700 servers, but we were disappointed to find that all these servers are spread out over just 12 countries. Users can switch between locations as and when they choose. Added to this, DotVPN allows as many as five devices to connect simultaneously, making it great for families or university students living in a flat-sharing scenario.
You get all of this for just $2.99 a month when billed annually. It seems great, but things take a downward turn when you look deeper and realize there may just be a reason to explain this affordable price. Keep reading our DotVPN review to find out more.
Is DotVPN safe to use?
DotVPN uses the OpenVPN tunneling protocol, which is widely accepted and considered very secure. The majority of proxy servers use the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) tunneling protocol, and DotVPN enhances that safety feature through the use of 4096-bit encryption. Having said that, the encryption offered by DotVPN is AES-128, which may not be as secure as the AES-256 encryption.
Because DotVPN is a Hong Kong-based company and thus outside the Fourteen Eyes intelligence alliance. VPN services operating within this surveillance group have issues keeping their users’ privacy safe due to cooperative data retention laws.
The only information DotVPN keeps is the user’s email, and that doesn’t identify the person’s private information.
DotVPN also states that they follow a rigorous no log policy. The VPN service says they have their own DNS servers, ensuring the safety of your DNS queries. The only information DotVPN keeps is the user’s email, and that doesn’t identify the person’s private information. In addition to this, they also log users’ IP addresses (which they keep for 24 hours from the users’ most recent connection).
DotVPN has had some trouble with DNS leaks. This phrase refers to a situation where your browser will look up the IP addresses of sites you want to access using your ISP-provided DNS server. When that happens, your browser is essentially ‘telling’ your ISP what you are doing online – precisely the sort of thing you want to prevent.
Likewise, there have been reports of WebRTC leaks.
WebRTC helps browsers by offering effective real-time communication, but it can present threats as well. In this case, the danger is having your IP address exposed to whoever runs the WebRTC site.
The final nail in the coffin is the lack of a kill switch. The kill switch is a feature that ‘kills’ your internet connection when your VPN connection drops. Considered an integral part of any VPN service, its absence, coupled with the aforementioned leaks, does not help us rate this VPN highly.
Speed & Performance
Many VPNs slow down your Internet connection speed, and, unfortunately, with DotVPN the situation isn’t any better. In fact, DotVPN is one of the worst around. Our tests for this DotVPN review have discovered some terribly slow speeds.
In some cases, we encountered latency that was 20 times the normal range.
The download speed went down to as low as 10% of the regular speeds. Whenever we were connecting to a more distant server, attaining even 10Mbps (our normal connection is usually at around 75 Mbps download speed) was a big issue.
How to download and install it
When you want to install DotVPN, you can go to their official download page, where you will need to select the device or browser you are using. They currently offer custom apps for iOS and Android, as well as extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. According to the website, a Windows app was supposed to be ‘Available in mid-2017’, which – let’s face it – was more than a year ago. We’re not sure what’s worrisome: the fact that there’s still no app or the fact that they haven’t managed to update that information on their site for such a long time.
Either way, selecting your preferred platform takes you to the right marketplace and opens the right page.
It won’t take you long to install using Chrome; the installation was a mere thirty seconds. This procedure involves clicking “Add to Chrome” and you’ll be welcomed into the bright, clean opening page for the extension.
How to use DotVPN
Once you’ve installed the VPN, clicking on the country you wish to connect to is the next step. This is incredibly easily done, with each country displayed with a neat little picture of a famous landmark. The ping is also shown next to it, so you know how fast your connection is going to be.
Selecting the country will bring up the download speed, ping, and your session time. You’ll also be pleased to know that while the speed is abysmal, switching back and forth between different servers happens smoothly and with barely a hitch.
DotVPN for Netflix
Many people would want to use VPNs to stream and watch movies and videos through Netflix’s platform. However, Netflix does not like that and it has banned the practice of using VPNs. DotVPN doesn’t unblock Netflix through any of the servers so, if you’re looking for this feature, we suggest checking out a different VPN. Or maybe we should give it another chance? Read on our DotVPN review to find out if allows our good old buddy torrenting.
DotVPN for Torrenting
Most people using VPN services will want to torrent. P2P lets you download large files or stream videos at high speeds. However, the problem with torrenting is that it exposes users to threats, particularly legal threats. So, using a VPN to prevent your personal data from getting into the hands of copyright warriors is essential.
Sadly, DotVPN doesn’t allow its users download files using torrents. Not like it needed another drawback, but here we are.
Is it good for users in China?
DotVPN doesn’t state whether or not their VPN has the ability to infiltrate the Great Firewall of China, however, the prospect seems doubtful. DotVPN doesn’t have the tools we generally look for in a good VPN for heavily censored countries. Moreover, it’s not small enough for China to overlook.
DotVPN doesn’t have the tools we generally look for in a good VPN for heavily censored countries.
At some point, VPN users will want to reach out to customer service representatives with queries about technical and other issues. The VPN service uses a ticket-based support system to communicate with users. It provides a customer service form which users can fill out with details on their inquiry. That’s a good way to contact the customer service team; however, there are better ways, like having a 24/7 live chat.
Reviews of their customer support don’t paint a very promising picture. There are delays in communication, or there is no communication at all.
Pricing: A range of affordable plans
DotVPN service offers free and paid options. The free version of the VPN service has limited speed and doesn’t provide video or audio streaming.
The paid version goes for:
● $2.99 per month with billed annually
● $4.99 per month billed monthly
The DotVPN premium version offers a faster network, zero content restriction, 4096-bit encryption key, video and audio streaming, and Cloud firewall protection. Generally speaking, users utilizing the free version are not as secure, and they have limits, but even if there are fewer perks, it’s free.
Regarding payment options, DotVPN allows its users to pay through PayPal, credit cards, debit cards, and local payment systems. Many VPN services don’t allow cryptocurrency payments, but DotVPN does give that perk.
You can get a full refund if you cancel your subscription within 30 days.
It’s a big plus because this acts as an additional security layer. In case you decide that you don’t want to continue using the VPN, you can get a full refund if you cancel your subscription within 30 days.
Conclusion of DotVPN review
When researching for this DotVPN review, we saw many of the same issues other reviewers have noted. It lags behind many of the popular VPNs because of issues with speed and security, as well as their lack of features.
However, it has some upsides in that the company is located outside the 14-eyes alliance, where security surveillance agencies like GCHQ and the NSA could have access to your data. The customer support is, sadly, frustrating. Also, while the prices are reasonable, the user-experience is browbeaten by security issues like leaks and the lack of a kill switch. In the end, not only are there vastly better VPNs out there, some are available at a competitive price point as well.