Superficially promising easy IP anonymization, Chameleon is a poorly marketed, expensive VPN with very few redeeming features. A lack of information, poor speeds, and missing features make this a provider to pass by.
Promising an “easy way to change your IP address,” Chameleon is a relative newcomer to the online privacy scene, but does it measure up to the very best? The name is certainly appropriate, and there are other things to like here, too. As this Chameleon VPN review will show, it covers a wide range of platforms and offers a fair degree of privacy protection. But there are some things we didn’t like so much, so read on for a balanced look at what this VPN has to offer.
Security and privacy
Before we start, it’s important to note that IPChameleon (as the company is known) doesn’t provide a huge amount of information on its website, so there are some aspects of the service that we can’t comment on.
Sadly, this includes almost every security aspect. The IPChameleon web page includes no documentation about encryption or protocols; there’s nothing there about DNS leak protection or how the VPN guards against IP leaks, and there’s no indication of key features like a kill switch – which protects your privacy against sudden outages.
This lack of transparency is a major red flag for any provider. It’s not a 100% guarantee that the service is fraudulent or inferior, but most reputable VPNs will be happy to list their security features. That’s not the case here.
Following a link on the IPChameleon website to parent company Thesafety.us provides a few hints.
This suggests that DNS leak protection is part of the package, and that the Secure Kit add-on provides a form of Stealth VPN. OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols are also included, which is a good sign.
However, we still don’t learn much about the level of encryption being used. Thesafety.us simply state that users enjoy “strong encryption.” This could mean almost anything, so there’s no guarantee it’s an effective shield against malicious actors. Think twice before downloading, as there are many security “unknowns” here.
Does Chameleon VPN keep logs?
While it states that the company does “not collect any information about our users on the site,” the word “site” isn’t the same as “VPN service”, so this leaves plenty of room for data collection from active users.
Things get murkier when we go back to Thesafety.us website. If you scroll to the bottom you’ll notice that the company advertises for “affiliates” – meaning clients who want to place ads on its apps. These ads are likely to be targeted in some way, and may entail the use of tracking cookies. So it’s very unlikely that users aren’t being tracked.
So the bottom line of this Chameleon VPN review as far as tracking goes is: beware. Again, we just don’t know enough to be sure, which is usually a negative, not a positive.
Speed and performance
What about speed? This could conceivably rescue IPChameleon after our criticisms of its security features, and on the surface the signs are encouraging.
The provider offers “unlimited bandwidth” and “unlimited speed.” However, with just 23 servers around the world (most located in Europe), actual speeds are likely to be very patchy. To IPChameleon’s credit, the company admits this, stating that “speed may be reduced by 50% or even 90%” depending on local factors.
When we carried out a Windows speed test, the evidence backed up our suspicions. Both upload speed and download speed measurements showed big reductions compared to business-as-usual (which shows that the VPN is actually routing traffic as designed). But for the most part, it isn’t easy to achieve a workable connection speed with IPChameleon.
As noted above, server coverage is a weak spot with IPChameleon. Considering this is a paid service, 23 servers in 19 countries is not a large haul, and it’s not enough to deliver either reliable unblocking or strong speeds. With a server community this small, it won’t be a strong option for travelers, either.
Ease of use and multiplatform support
Multiplatform support is one of the strong points of IPChameleon. Users can download the VPN for:
So you should be able to download the VPN for your device. It’s refreshing to see such a broad variety of options from a new provider, so if you’ve been looking for a simple service for Mac users, you could be in luck.
However, you can only download a client for Windows. There’s no specific app for Android, iOS, Linux, or macOS, which is a little strange and potentially inconvenient. The company provides reasonably clear tutorials about how to set up the service on platforms without a client. Even so, setting up the VPN is a lot more complex than it could be, especially if you choose to use OpenVPN. With so many companies offering slick mobile app versions that are geared towards OpenVPN, it’s not really good enough.
Unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
The IPChameleon website promises to give users the ability to “unblock all web-sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Youtube and all other” (sic). That’s a bold claim, as many otherwise decent VPNs struggle to beat geo-restriction systems.
Doing so requires rock solid IP leak protection and encryption, as companies like Hulu and Amazon are very skilled at detecting VPNs. And it also demands fast servers that can route your traffic through a wide range of global locations.
Sadly, none of that applies here. We struggled to connect to Hulu or Netflix, with blocking messages appearing every time. And don’t expect to stream your favorite TV show without lag. The speeds aren’t quick enough to handle HD content, even if IPChameleon could work around geo-blocking systems.
P2P and torrenting
Securing torrent downloads is a really important aspect of a good VPN. Again, we can’t recommend Chameleon on these grounds. There’s no SOCKS5 proxy option, which could improve P2P speeds and deliver reliable encryption.
We found evidence of IP leaks, while the absence of a Kill Switch means that P2P downloading is inherently unsafe. Sure, there aren’t any bandwidth limits, but the safety features needed for a secure P2P connection simply aren’t here.
Online censorship in China and elsewhere
Internet users behind China’s Great Firewall are always looking for fresh new VPNs that the authorities haven’t got around to blocking. However, we wouldn’t recommend Chameleon VPN to those who are worried about censorship.
Chameleon VPN’s parent company promises “excellent customer support,” but what that entails isn’t clear. The main IPChameleon website includes zero information about who is behind the company, while the Thesafety.us website is not more illuminating.
There’s no live chat function for users, and no phone support either. All we could find was a single email contact form, which isn’t enough for a modern VPN.
Moreover, while TheSafety.us provides an FAQ section which claims to supply an “ABC of anonymity,” this isn’t free to access. In any case, the quality of the materials available on the company website doesn’t suggest that it’s a reliable source. So in terms of customer support, Chameleon scores poorly.
IPChameleon offers a few pricing options:
- Free: When you register with IPChameleon/TheSafety.us, you can take up a 3-day free trial which automatically switches users to a 1-month package. So be sure to cancel before that happens.
- LiteVPN: The cheapest paid package, costing $8.33/month (so not that cheap), this doesn’t even feature the full 23-server fleet.
- StandardVPN: Priced at $20.95/month and featuring all of the IPChameleon servers.
- PerfectVPN: Priced at $33.95/month, this comes with a “guarantee of your anonymity,” which suggests that cheaper packages can’t be trusted.
- DoubleVPN: Costs $30.95/month and features fewer servers, but allows customers to route traffic through two servers at once, potentially offering a greater level of anonymity.
It’s also worth noting that under the IPChameleon refund policy, all customers are entitled to a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Chameleon VPN is a strange product. The website lacks basic information about what the VPN actually does, and is unclear about who owns it. It’s not cheap at all, and offers no real security guarantees. Even stranger, there’s no detectable USP that sets it apart from cheaper and better VPNs. All of this, plus poor unblocking and P2P performance means that the verdict of our Chameleon VPN review is a big thumbs-down. Avoid.