Technically, Overplay isn’t a straightforward VPN service; it’s a DNS service that offers a VPN as an add-on. When so much importance falls on keeping your data secure with a VPN, it helps to know whether a service is being done well or whether it’s merely the afterthought it looks like. As such, that’s exactly what our Overplay VPN review is going to do.
For the full package, Overplay’s VPN security features are practically untouchable, even if you do have to pay over the odds to access it. It’s less impressive in in other areas, though; being registered in the UK is a big no-no, and its apps and extensions leave something to be desired. For the purposes of our Overplay VPN review, however, we’ve done a deep dive into every aspect of its functionality to see just how well it performs under close scrutiny.
The main things we’ll cover include its connection speeds, its capabilities with unblocking geo-restricted content, and its accessibility in heavily-censored regions such as China. Read on to find out more.
Is Overplay VPN safe to use?
Our Overplay VPN review begins with great news, as we’re happy to report that the service uses AES-256-CBC encryption.
AES-256-bit encryption is the gold standard for data encryption in 2019 (the CBC suffix just means it’s faster than the older GCM model) – it’s basically impossible to hack.
As well as this, Overplay supports OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP protocols. The main one you need to be concerned with here is OpenVPN, which is considered one of the best protocols of the day (it’s certainly the most prominent).
Overplay also has added security features like DNS leak protection and a kill switch (which protects your data from attacks when your connection drops).
Not only does it safeguard against DNS leaks, our tests showed that it also prevents WebRTC and IPv6 leaks.
However, you should be careful to download the full package (SmartDNS + VPN), because the basic package does not include any encryption software.
Unfortunately, Overplay’s privacy settings aren’t ideal: it’s registered in the United Kingdom.
The UK is one of the worst places for data privacy anywhere in the world. It’s part of the original 5 Eyes alliance, which has almost immeasurable surveillance powers. All data requests must be fulfilled in accordance to UK law.
Thankfully, Overplay will never log your personally identifiable location, so even if it did receive data requests from the British authorities, there’d be no relevant information for Overplay to disclose.
Speed and performance
Overplay VPN has a decent fleet of around 400 servers spread across 50 countries. Our only issue here is that the Central and South American servers are far too sparse to provide any really strong connection speeds.
For instance, the Mexican servers are clumped together in Tijuana, which is right on the border of the United States. This really does more for Californian and Arizonian users than it does for the rest of Mexico.
This became more of a concern when we found that, perhaps more than with any other VPN we’ve tested recently, Overplay VPN’s server speeds heavily rely upon proximity.
This is usually the case with any server, but when testing US servers from our location in the UK, we found our connection speeds were only just good enough to stream video in 720p from a base connection speed of 37Mbit/s. (Servers in Western Europe, on the other hand, were largely as good as the UK ones.)
As such, Overplay served our needs quite sufficiently, but we’re concerned that it wouldn’t be so great for users in those sparser regions where connection speeds might not be so great in the first place.
How to download and install it
Installation is pretty simple for Mac users; it’s simply a process of searching for Overplay on the App Store and downloading it.
Windows users, as always, face a much lengthier and more complicated installation process. Fortunately, though, the Overplay website guides you through this in meticulous detail.
The instructions for Windows setup are easy to find, as all you need to do is click on the ‘Support’ menu button in the banner.
More or less everything you need for configuring Overplay is similarly accessible, as the website is laid out with a basic, no-nonsense design.
Apps & Extensions
Overplay is available for all major desktop and mobile operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, and Linux. There is also even support for most VPN routers.
While this about covers the basics and serves the needs of most users, it’s slightly disappointing that there isn’t any support for TV or Chromebook.
Moreover, there are no browser extensions to be found anywhere which, again, significantly hinders Overplay’s chances of optimizing user experience.
Overplay VPN for Netflix
Depending on which server you’re using, Netflix put up a bit of a fight. While researching for our Overplay VPN review, we found that Netflix UK was actually harder to access than Netflix US… and we were located in the UK to begin with.
Annoyingly, though the US servers actually bypassed Netflix’s VPN detectors, the stream was occasionally interrupted by buffering.
This server interruption wasn’t too frequent, to be clear, but it happened enough times to give us pause.
Overplay VPN for torrenting
Overplay generally supports torrenting, and also supports P2P sharing, which is always a pleasure to see.
You should always be careful when torrenting anyway but remember to take extra care with Overplay as they have the power to disable your account if you seem to be using it for the wrong reasons.
Is it good for users in China?
While SmartDNS is usually good for bypassing the Great Firewall of China, Overplay in general seems to lack the proper equipment to do so.
Its protocol support is quite strong in its own right, but OpenVPN has always had trouble accessing filtered content in China, and Overplay’s other two, L2TP and PPTP, are considered unsecure and out-of-date.
While this does not necessarily mean it also isn’t good for users in other countries with heavy content restrictions, we aren’t exactly confident in Overplay’s abilities based off its specifications alone.
Overplay’s support section – which, again, is easy to spot in the top banner of the homepage — is relatively extensive and gave us a fair amount of confidence in the product while we were researching for our Overplay VPN review.
To contact tech support, you are required to fill out some personal information in the contact form, which some users will immediately (and rightfully) be put off by
If your questions aren’t answered in the FAQ section, however, it’s likely you won’t get an answer at all. To contact tech support, you are required to fill out some personal information in the contact form, which some users will immediately (and rightfully) be put off by.
What happens then is you wait a few days for a response, and the response is usually a link to the FAQ section that you’ve probably already browsed.
This knocks a fair bit of our confidence in Overplay, as it clearly means issues aren’t being addressed properly and that, in the most likely case, there isn’t actually a dedicated support team on hand to deal with customer issues.
At $4.95/month, Overplay seems to be a reasonably-priced service. However, this is not the package you want, because this only contains SmartDNS and not the VPN. No VPN = no encryption.
The VPN package is much more expensive, totalling $9.95 for a single month or $8.33/month for a yearly package.
The discount for the yearly package, furthermore, is barely even a discount at all (16%) and does not provide users much of an incentive to commit to the VPN for longer.
Furthermore, it doesn’t specify how many connections you can have beyond, vaguely, “several.”
While SmartDNS seems to be Overplay’s main product, it’s disappointing that they would hold an expensive security measure over the heads of customers seeing as they likely know they shouldn’t be going without a VPN.
Overplay’s VPN service would be so much better if it wasn’t so secondary to the SmartDNS service it offers upfront. As an add-on, it makes the whole thing too expensive, and it doesn’t provide good enough value-for-money to really make it seem worth it.
With poor support and a lack of capability for users in China, Overplay VPN is indeed a venture only for the brave. While its security features are strong, bear in mind that it’s located in the UK and legally obliged to comply with any and all data requests it may receive.