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Based in New York City, but originating in Ukraine, KeepSolid VPN Lite may not be the best-known VPN, but it’s attracting plenty of attention in the privacy sector with its VPN Lite and Unlimited forms. But is this growing reputation merited? In this KeepSolid VPN Lite review, we’ll assess the product, and try to find out whether the hype measures up to reality. Is VPN Lite as solid as it claims to be? Read on to find out.
Security and privacy features
KeepSolid’s VPN Lite sells itself as a highly secure, free privacy solution, and this is certainly true in the encryption department. The VPN uses either 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption, and protocols include OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2, which is right up there with industry leaders.
There’s also a kill switch, which shuts off internet coverage if your VPN fails (an essential fail-safe that many providers lack), and users can customize their security settings with trusted apps as well. Overall, if you’re wondering is KeepSolid VPN Lite safe, the superficial answer is, yes. On the face of it, the product offers all of the basic building blocks that constitute a dependable VPN.
Encryption and tunneling protocols
VPN Lite’s encryption is watertight and relies on the military-grade AES-256 cipher. You can be confident that traffic won’t be intercepted and decoded when using unsecured wifi networks.
Moreover, the service supports a good spread of tunneling protocols, including:
- IKEv2 (the default option for Windows)
- Wise (a proprietary protocol used only by Keepsolid)
Most of the above will be familiar to VPN users, but Wise is a bit of a wildcard. Developed by KeepSolid, it’s intended to provide “Stealth” VPN capabilities, effectively concealing the fact that you are using a VPN. This is particularly useful in countries that have sophisticated censorship methods, like China.
This is a great set of features for anyone in need of real privacy, as well as those dealing with things like ISP throttling.
The kill switch is an essential part of any secure VPN. Why? Well, without a kill switch, VPNs tend to be extremely vulnerable to IP leaks. If your VPN coverage goes down or becomes intermittent, it can easily betray your actual digital identity.
With a kill switch in place, your internet connection drops if VPN coverage fails, minimizing the risk of leakages. With KeepSolid VPN Lite, this can be toggled on or off as desired, which adds some welcome flexibility.
IP or DNS leaks
VPN Lite does pretty well when it comes to leaks (and provides handy diagnostic tools to prove that it works). We didn’t find any IP leaks when using the VPN.
DNS protection is also excellent, but it does need to be manually toggled before it is active – something many users will miss. But when it’s engaged, VPN Lite will conceal your identity and location very well.
On the face of things, KeepSolid is officially based on 5th Avenue in New York, US. However, this isn’t the whole story, as the company actually originated in Odesa, Ukraine, where it still maintains a lot of its tech staff.
The US location is a little worrying from a privacy standpoint. As the NSA surveillance scandal showed, the US is happy to collect communications data, and there have been cases of the FBI demanding data from VPNs in the past.
So when assessing is KeepSolid VPN Lite good for privacy fans, the location has to come into the equation, and it’s not necessarily good news.
According to the company’s Privacy Statement, “KeepSolid does not monitor, store, or log …online activity, including…browsing history, connection times, metadata, downloads, server usage, or data content.”
That’s encouraging. However, Keepsolid does collect the timestamps of when users connect to the VPN, and total traffic used. So it’s not a totally log-free scenario. The company also enforces a 5 device limit, which implies that it logs the identity of each device being used. But personal data is never retained for long periods, another positive sign.
VPN Lite supports a range of anonymous payment options, including Bitcoin, and digital wallets like AliPay or Qiwi. However, it does not allow users to sign up via gift cards, which would be good to see.
Other technical features
In addition to the features we’ve already mentioned in this KeepSolid VPN review, the company offers an ad-blocker. Otherwise, there are no special tools here – just what you’d expect from a good VPN.
There’s no multihop functionality, and no option for Tor over VPN, although – as noted earlier – Stealth VPN is part of the package.
KeepSolid VPN Lite generally scores well in the speed department, if you pay for the Turbo or Turbo Stream packages. The basic free VPN is fairly sluggish as it uses one server, but it’s a workable taster for the main product.
Some downgrades inevitably occur with Turbo, but most speed tests only find reductions of around 5-15% compared to peak standard broadband speeds. As usual, speed reductions tend to increase the further users roam away from their actual location, but even using VPN Lite servers in Asia or Europe should be fine for most US customers.
Does KeepSolid VPN support my device?
KeepSolid VPN Lite supports the following platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
The free Lite package only caters for 1 device. With the Turbo or Unlimited VPN plans, users can add 5 separate devices on a standard subscription, or increase this to 10 simultaneous connections for a supplementary fee.
But is KeepSolid VPN Lite good to use on a day-to-day basis? Well, if you intend to use IKEv2, it’s a breeze. Using the default setup for any platform is simple, and just involves downloading and installing the client. No problems.
However, setting up OpenVPN is more complex than it needs to be, with customers having to download each ovpn file separately from the Keepsolid website. This also has to be replicated for every individual device – a needlessly time-consuming way to design a VPN.
When you’re up and running, the actual client is nicely designed, simple to use, but still full of customization options (such as Wise protocol, P2P servers, and turning on the kill switch). So the answer to the question is VPN Lite good for newbies is – yes, but only on the basic settings. For more secure OpenVPN setups, it’s not the best VPN around.
KeepSolid VPN desktop apps: Windows and Mac
There are no major variations between the KeepSolid VPN Lite PC and Mac desktop apps. Both have the same server list, with “favorites” and “recommended” servers. This makes it easy to find Netflix-friendly servers or fast connections in your local area. The Mac and PC clients mostly have the same features, from Run on startup to ping tests for separate servers. So everyone gets the same service.
KeepSolid VPN Lite mobile apps: Android and iOS
Keepsolid’s mobile offerings are a little less feature-rich than the desktop versions, but they still deliver services like Stealth VPN (via Wise), the ability to pick server locations via a clearly navigable map, and neat add-ons like information about current server loads. It’s all there on Android and iOS.
Some other key features of Keepsolid VPN Lite for smartphones include:
- Latency tests for specific apps
- Special recommendations for streaming servers
- Favorites to call up trusted servers
- Specific servers for Netflix, Hulu, etc.
KeepSolid VPN Lite for web browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Opera
KeepSolid VPN Lite does not cater for browsers. However, Unlimited version does allow users to download browser extensions for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. This integrates AES-256 encryption and IP leak protection directly into browsers, enabling seamless Netflix or BBC iPlayer access wherever you happen to be.
Netflix and other streaming services
Unblocking Netflix is an essential ability for all elite VPNs. This lets you access streaming services via the country of your choosing, from the UK or France, to Japan and Canada. Because services like Netflix limit the content depending on your country, this can result in massively expanded viewing options.
Most geo-blocking is IP based, and because KeepSolid VPN Lite does a good job of hiding your IP address, it tends to be very dependable when unblocking Netflix (or other streaming platforms). There are even servers dedicated to Netflix or BBC iPlayer unblocking – a neat touch that even the best VPNs often lack.
However, the free version of VPN Lite isn’t a practical option, with slow speeds and limited server choices. For low-resolution streaming, Turbo works well, while Turbo Stream is fast enough for 4K viewing.
Does KeeepSolid VPN support torrenting?
KeepSolid VPN Lite is very P2P friendly. It offers servers for P2P downloads and has a kill switch, which is a major plus point for torrenters. The server speeds are also decent enough. The only thing is that torrenting is not allowed on the Free version.
KeepSolid VPN Lite offers multiple support options, including:
- 24/7 live chat
- Email support
- Contact forms
- FAQs and manuals
- Social media
There’s no phone support, no user forum, and the Knowledge Base could be better stocked (for instance, searches for “encryption” return zero hits). But 24/7 live chat should be enough for most users. What’s more, KeepSolid claims that their average response time to email and contact form inquiries is up to one hour.
VPN Lite offers a variety of pricing packages, with major differences in monthly rates. Essentially, the free version gives only one server, while Turbo adds all the rest with the option to switch to VPN Unlimited list. Finally, Turbo Stream adds streaming in HD or 4K.
Options for the 5 device limit include (as of February 2020):
- Free: 1 device, 1 server, no streaming or torrenting
- 7-day Turbo: $0.99
- 7-day Turbo Stream: $1.99
- 1-month Turbo: $2.99
- 1-month Turbo Stream: $6.99
- 1-year Turbo: $2.08/month or $24.99
Payments can be made using standard credit cards, PayPal, Stripe, AliPay, Qiwi, and much more anonymous cryptocurrencies. You can’t pay using gift cards, which is a shame, but hardly a dealbreaker.
Learning how to cancel KeepSolid VPN Lite 7-day trials and packages is a must. For monthly and annual trials, cancelations must be made before the last day of the trial, and you may need to go through third-party payment processors like Apple, Amazon, or Google. Refunds for desktop versions can be requested via KeepSolid Support.
There’s no money-back guarantee for Lite or Unlimited, so there are limited options regarding how to cancel VPN Lite when payments kick in. When that happens, users can cancel their recurring payments, but will still be liable for that month’s fees. Cancelations can be made via KeepSolid accounts, or via third party vendors – depending on how the VPN was purchased.
Should you get KeepSolid VPN Lite?
Hopefully, this Keepsolid VPN Lite review has provided a comprehensive overview of what this service can do. But what’s the overall verdict? Well, in a world with many slightly above average VPNs, KeepSolid VPN Lite is well, solid. Its security features are good, it’s not slow, and the client is easy to use (providing you avoid OpenVPN). This isn’t for the power users, but others should be satisfied with what VPN Lite brings to the table.