Protecting our privacy is becoming more and more important in the face of large-scale data collection and sketchy legislation. Does this VPN succeed? Find out in our full Encrypt.me review.
Today, we’re taking a look at Encrypt.me, formerly Cloak VPN. This is a cost-effective VPN solution designed to provide good protection against insecure wifi and unscrupulous ISP behavior. While they are a fairly effective solution for accomplishing this, they have no focus on keeping users anonymous, and so are kind of lacking in terms of this functionality.
That being said, no VPN truly keeps its users 100% anonymous, but this is still an important thing to keep in mind as we go forward with our review. Encrypt.me is upfront about the fact that they don’t hide your identity, and they log some of your info for up to 16 days.
Their encryption uses fairly standard protocols for all the different devices they support. Encrypt.me’s main client uses the OpenVPN protocol, while their mobile platforms tend to use IPSec. We’ll talk more about this down below.
They’ve shown themselves capable of bypassing ISP throttling and providing good speeds from a variety of locations. Again, we’ll go into this more in-depth later on when we cover our speed tests.
In terms of prices, Encrypt.me is fairly average, but they offer a variety of packages for families or teams of people. They also have “passes” for buying the service by the week, month, or year.
They have apps on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows7+, and Amazon Fire OS. This is pretty good device coverage, although some of their services may vary depending on the app you use.
One thing that will stand out right away is the fact that Encrypt.me doesn’t typically work for accessing Netflix libraries from other countries. While some users online have reported being able to unlock Netflix using Encrypt.me, their own website warns that this is not what the app is intended for, and it may not be effective.
Torrenting is another thing that the platform wasn’t particularly designed for. In particular, if you’re going to be doing any illegal downloading, Encrypt.me isn’t a good platform to use.
Another limitation in this same vein is the reliability of the app in China. From the reviews online, as well as what Encrypt.me claims on their own website, we can see that their reliability in China is iffy. There are also reports that their service is completely blocked in Iran.
In terms of customer support, they have an extensive FAQ section on their website, and they can also be contacted through email. This is a little bit lackluster, but the platform is very easy to use, so the FAQ and email support may be enough for a lot of users.
Is Encrypt.me safe to use?
In terms of security, Encrypt.me uses the IPSec protocol on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch platforms (1536-bit minimum DH group encryption. For Mac and Android, they use the industry-standard OpenVPN (custom-generated 2048-bit DH group encryption).
Their windows apps run with an open source solution called strongSwan. strongSwan is an IPSec-based protocol that works with both IKEv1 and IKEv2 key exchange protocols. All of these encryption stats are solid, so there’s no need to worry about the strength of the encryption itself when dealing with Encrypt.me.
When we performed a leak test with the encryption active, however, Encrypt.me was found to leak DNS and Ipv6. The DNS leaks are the big issue here, and they reflect the idea that Encrypt.me wasn’t really intended to hide your identity or activity from your ISP.
The IPv6 leaks are only really a problem if your ISP and network configuration are set up to use Ipv6. Still, it’s never good to leave a hole unplugged if you’re concerned with security and privacy. Although, if you’re looking for complete anonymity and privacy, Encrypt.me isn’t for you.
Encrypt.me does include a kill switch in case the VPN connection drops while you’re still active. That being said, some users have reported that the kill switch is ineffective in some scenarios. It’s always good to make sure you’re using the right settings, and understand how the kill switch works.
One final thing that stands out about Encrypt.me’s security features is that they have no built-in malware protection.
- The number of bytes sent and received
- The length of time connected
- The IP address connected from and the virtual IP assigned
- The source port of the outgoing connection, along with start and end times
Although Encrypt.me is a global company, they are owned by Stackpath LLC, which is based in Dallas, Texas. This means that they are subject to the extended eyes agreement, which can spell bad news if you’re using Encrypt.me for anything illicit.
One last thing about Encrypt.me is that they were, unfortunately, implicated in the IPVanish logging scandal in which data was handed over to the authorities despite promises to the contrary.
Speed & performance
While Encrypt.me can bypass ISP throttling, which is a neat little feature, the actual speeds ended up as average.
Our USA speed test has shown still good speeds, around 80% of what we were getting as a baseline.
The EU speed test shows another slight drop in speed, but nothing major.
These numbers are fairly standard compared to the speeds you get from other VPNs. It’s good to keep in mind that these speeds will change a lot based on your location and other factors.
It’s always a good idea to do your own tests by downloading the free trial. That way you can get a concrete idea of how the VPN will perform for you.
How to download and install Encrypt.me
Encrypt.me has a nicely designed website which is fairly straightforward to navigate.
There’s a lot of information available with a straightforward layout, and you can spend some time learning about the platform if you wish. To download the app, go to the “Apps” section by clicking on the button near the center-top.
This will take you to the downloads page, where you’ll find links allowing you to download the various installers. Once downloaded, the installer is very straightforward: they simply ask you to agree to the terms and install. It’s nice to note that there were no sneaky software packages included with the install.
The app for Windows takes the form of a tray icon, which can open a small window allowing you to enable or disable the encryption, or change your location. This is a really simple layout that accomplishes Encrypt.me’s goal quite effectively, although it lacks some more advanced settings.
Encrypt.me and Netflix
Unfortunately, since Encrypt.me is focused mainly on safeguarding you when connecting to untrusted wifi networks, there isn’t a whole lot of functionality designed to unlock Netflix. Even Encrypt.me’s own website mentions that they are not effective for unlocking Netflix content.
There are some reports online that the odd user was able to unlock Netflix using Encrypt.me, but in the end, this app isn’t very useful for this.
What about torrenting?
Again, since Encrypt.me is designed mainly to safeguard against bad wifi connections, there’s no pretension to safeguard peer-to-peer file sharing. The company states as much on their website.
How good is it for users in China
Another unfortunate reality about Encrypt.me is their iffy reliability against China’s Great Firewall. Much like with their Netflix support, users in China report various levels of success, with certain platforms being more successful than others. iPhone seems to get through most often, although there is no definitive pattern to the reliability.
Overall, it seems like this one is most useful for western users trying to safeguard their own privacy against unscrupulous connections. It’s important to note that Encrypt.me is also completely blocked on all platforms in Iran.
This is one that definitely stands out as a net minus. Although Encrypt.me has extensive passive support resources like blog articles and such, they provide very little active support. Basically, your only option for reaching a human to help with your problem is to send an email to their general contact address.
This is abysmal by any standard, even considering the relatively high quality and comprehensiveness of their passive support network.
In addition to the difficult access, the actual support that some customers have received has been less than stellar, with very slow response times and unresolved issues.
Encrypt.me has fairly standard pricing available for their services. The interesting thing about their price structure is their very high scaling, unlimited device connections, and weekly passes.
The passes allow you to buy single weeks for $3.99, months for $9.99, and years for $8.33/month. If you only want to use the VPN for a week while you’re traveling or something, this is a nice little feature.
Their plans scale up with family plans for between $12.99 per month and 149.99 per month. They also offer team packages for up to $1455.57 per month, which covers a team of 250 people.
As we said, the prices are standard, but there are some nice little quirks about their pricing that make them come out fairly alright. Namely, the unlimited device connections. The company simply asks that you use the connections yourself, and don’t share your connections with other users who should have their own account.
There’s also a free trial which would allow you to try the service out for 14 days, giving you a chance to test the speeds and see if Encrypt.me is right for you. They also accept all major forms of payment, although they do not accept PayPal or Bitcoin.
The Bottom Line of Encrypt.me VPN review
Encrypt.me is a decent little tool for protecting your computer and privacy against malicious connections while you’re out and about, but not much else. The company has a lot of device coverage and fairly consistent performance across all their different apps.
The features they do provide are fairly competent, and while they aren’t anything spectacular, the company is very straightforward about what their product is good for: namely, casually browsing the internet at your local cafe. Other than that, it isn’t particularly useful as a VPN, especially compared to less specialized options.
The support is very lacking compared to other hosts, and there’s really no way around this. The small silver lining here is that their passive support network of online articles is very comprehensive.