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Despite bold claims about security and performance, INCOGNiTO hides some major flaws which make it a tough VPN to recommend.
As the name suggests, the VPN specializes in providing an anonymous VPN experience. In fact, their website promises 100% anonymity – a bold assertion in a world where totally watertight security is extremely tough to achieve.
This INCOGNiTO VPN review will put that claim to the test. But there’s more to this software than anonymous browsing, and we’ll chat about some of those aspects as well.
For instance, INCOGNiTO claims to keep no logs, unblock a huge array of websites – all while providing 99.99% network uptime over more than 30 servers located across the world.
Offering apps for iOS, Android and Windows phones, as well as desktop clients for Linux, Mac, and Windows, it certainly offers a wide variety of ways to protect your identity online. But with some issues around performance and transparency, all may not be what it seems.
So let’s dive right in and kick off this INCOGNiTO review with the number one question: is INCOGNiTO VPN safe to use?
Is INCOGNiTO VPN safe to use?
On the face of things, security is the number one priority of INCOGNiTO VPN, who offer a range of features for privacy-conscious web users. These include:
- Secure encryption
- Zero monitoring
- No logs
- Special features to prevent external tracking of users
- Web browsing via HTTP proxies
- “Industry leading” protocols
All of that sounds great, although there’s not much here that you won’t find other reputable VPNs claim to offer. The good news is that INCOGNiTO seem to deliver on their promises. You can rely on their VPN to effectively mask your IP address from snoopers and ISPs… Or so they would have you believe – it is not known what ciphers this VPN uses to encrypt your data.
The Security Protocols on offer include most of the important titles: OpenVPN, IKEv2, IPSec, and PPTP. L2TP/IPSec and SSTP are also soon to become part of the package, so experienced users have a lot of room to customize their experience to suit their security needs.
Moreover, while we were skeptical of their “no logs” policy, a close reading of INCOGNiTO’s Terms and Conditions didn’t throw up any red lights. Thus you can be confident that they aren’t keeping track of your online activity.
So, from a security perspective, we don’t have too many criticisms. With that said, we do have a couple of big ones: INCOGNiTO doesn’t have a kill switch and is based in the United States. The kill switch is an essential part of any VPN service, and no app without one can ever claim they are 100% secure. Meanwhile, the United States is not a great jurisdiction to run a VPN due to surveillance issues, the 5-eyes agreement, copyright laws, and other things.
As such, the answer to the question ‘is INCOGNiTO VPN safe?’ is highly ambiguous – ‘yes, unless…’ So, let’s find out what else our INCOGNiTO VPN review is holding for you.
Speed & Performance
Speed is one area where INCOGNiTO VPN has attracted a fair share of criticism. Some users have found that no servers provide a workable level of speed, while others have found that speeds fall away after initially-impressive results. Reading testimony like that doesn’t inspire confidence, but we ran our own analytics to be sure.
The results weren’t great. INCOGNiTO’s servers vary a great deal in terms of performance, with some really encouraging peak download speeds that generally average out on the low end. That’s just not good enough for a top VPN – no matter how strong their security procedures are.
On the plus side, their servers were reliable and the claims of 99.99% uptime seem to be accurate. But what use is a perpetually available network if it runs at 30% efficiency? And even then, we had a couple of glitches where servers lost connection for no apparent reason. In short, our INCOGNiTO VPN review can’t recommend this service on this basis. It’s just too sluggish.
How to download and install INCOGNiTO VPN
If you’re a new user, you may have some issues downloading INCOGNiTO VPN. That’s because their website has been temporarily limited, preventing any downloads. According to the VPN’s developers, this is to allow them to make amendments to their service and software. However, it also makes the VPN much less accessible.
However, you can still download the client and create an account. The software is available from app stores, like Google Play, as well as software libraries, like Softonic and Cnet. Most of these feature the 2016 version of INCOGNiTO’s client, and the more recent updates are hard to track down. So it’s probably worth holding on until newer versions are available, or going for a different VPN provider altogether. After all, INCOGNiTO offer very little that others don’t.
If you do choose to give INCOGNiTO a try, you shouldn’t have to look around for answers about how to install it. Just download the relevant piece of software and follow the installation instructions. It should automatically unpack and set up the client.
How to use it
Ease of use is one of the strong points of INCOGNiTO’s interface, and we have had no problems navigating its windows and menus. Some VPN clients can get overly technical or cluttered, but that’s not the case with this one.
When you fire up the app, it just presents you with a short list of all the INCOGNiTO servers that are currently available, from Australia to Romania. Just pick one near you and with one click you can make the connection. Everything clearly explained and well designed, with flag icons to add a decorative touch.
When you first load the app, you’ll be asked to complete an INCOGNiTO VPN sign up. In the past, this was a formality, and you would only need to submit an email address and name. But now, as INCOGNiTO remodel their services, it might not be possible to create a new account. We had created one a few months ago, but newbies might not be so lucky.
And then, there are the security implications of submitting a name and email address. We are never happy about having to provide personal information to VPN providers, regardless of how transparent they are. So if you feel the same, you might want to give INCOGNiTO a wide berth.
In short, don’t worry about how to use INCOGNiTO VPN. It’s all fairly intuitive and user-friendly.
Apps and Extensions
Our INCOGNiTO VPN review has found that this VPN offers all of the most necessary apps – Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Unfortunately, there is no Router app, but you can still use it on routers if you set it up manually. There isn’t much more you can expect of a VPN’s app roster – most angles are covered. Apps are similar across the board.
Using INCOGNiTO VPN for Netflix
If you are lucky enough to gain access to an INCOGNiTO VPN account and have the client set up, is using it for Netflix a viable option?
Actually, given the reservations we’ve expressed in other areas, streaming is one area where INCOGNiTO deliver. While their speeds in general aren’t particularly stellar, their servers are reliable and just fast enough to extract decent performance from apps like YouTube or Netflix.
And, more importantly, their client manages to route traffic successfully around Netflix geo-blocking measures – at least in most cases. We found it easy to find servers with access to locked Netflix content, and speeds were more than adequate, as long as we weren’t running huge amounts of activity in the background.
So, yes, if you have access to INCOGNiTO VPN, it does seem to have useful features for Netflix users.
INCOGNiTO VPN for Torrenting
Does the same apply to torrenting? Many VPNs struggle to deliver for torrenters, and some actively discourage P2P sharing over their networks. But INCOGNiTO don’t do this, which is refreshing and encouraging.
Their premium packages offer unlimited bandwidth (when they are available), and our INCOGNiTO VPN review has found that they never let us down when it comes to accessing torrents and other file sharing sites. Sure, speeds aren’t amazing. But they aren’t a disaster, either, and we could live with them if no better options were available.
Unfortunately, there are better options, and the shortcomings in other areas mean that using INCOGNiTO VPN for torrenting doesn’t make sense.
Does it work in China?
Many VPNs make a point of offering a way to work around government censorship in repressive regimes. The INCOGNiTO website isn’t one of them, though, and there’s hardly any mention of an idealistic approach to their operations.
While they offer strong encryption, DNS leak protection, and secure protocols, they don’t seem capable of stopping the Great Firewall of China. Our contact in Shanghai has repeatedly tried to use their client and has had no luck at all.
So, if you are living in a country whose government restricts internet usage, other VPNs will be preferable. Using INCOGNiTO VPN in China just doesn’t make sense as our review concluded.
As you might expect from a company undergoing a transition, INCOGNiTO have dropped the ball when it comes to support. While they do offer plenty of documentation in the form of a support library, and there’s also a Live Chat function, we couldn’t get the latter to work. It’s also worth noting that the chat is only for “technical” enquiries – somewhat of a disappointment for everyday customers.
And there isn’t a “contact us” section with a postal address, email address or telephone number. This is a bit worrying, even for VPN providers.
Our INCOGNiTO VPN review wouldn’t be full without presenting the pricing plans. However, at the moment, you can’t sign up for any of INCOGNiTO’s payment packages, although they do still provide information about them.
The three packages were given names related to the “incognito” theme, running from the basic “Cloak” package through to “Disguise” and the premium “Anonymous” package.
All packages had unrestricted bandwidth and data transfer, but the Cloak package limited users to 7 servers and just 1 device. We signed up for Disguise, and added a couple extra devices with no noticeable problems.
The INCOGNiTO VPN price numbers aren’t great, running from $6.30 per month for the Cloak package, to around $9.40 for the Anonymous package. There’s no great value to be had here, so as far as the INCOGNiTO price goes, it’s just average.
In 2016, INCOGNiTO made waves with its fresh advertising and strong focus on providing genuine anonymity for internet users. Nowadays, after a rocky couple of years, its flaws are becoming much clearer and the future of the VPN is uncertain.
While we commend the security features that formed the core of the initial offering, there are too many problems – this INCOGNiTO VPN review cannot recommend it. So much is lacking – at least until a new version arrives.