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RusVPN is a relatively new service. It has 200,000 users, which simply cannot be compared to the armies of NordVPN or ExpressVPN. So does it have what it takes to climb to the top in the future?
To predict this, I’ll try to answer these questions in my RusVPN review: is RusVPN safe to use? Can it unblock Netflix? Does it allow P2P? Is it fast enough? And finally, is it worth buying after looking at its features list?
Hopefully, these answers will also help you to decide if you want to commit to RusVPN service.
- Based in: Commonwealth of Dominica
- Servers and locations: 330+ servers in 30+ countries
- Logs: no activity logs
- Encryption and protocols: main protocol OpenVPN, military-grade encryption (AES-256)
- Netflix: No
- Torrenting: Yes
- Apps: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox
- Support: 24/7 live chat
- Price: from $2.99/month
- Free version or trial: Proxy for Chrome and Firefox
- Website: rusvpn.com
Security and privacy features
RusVPN is a pretty new name in the VPN industry; that’s why it’s a bit too early to determine whether it’s secure and private. After all, it hasn’t been independently audited and is yet to show that it can avoid breaches, leaks, and various scandals that shake a few old-timers each year.
So, is RusVPN safe? Yes, for the time being, I can say that its privacy and security credentials seem to be strong enough.
Encryption and tunneling protocols
RusVPN uses military-grade AES-256 encryption that is powerful enough to keep your personal data safe for billions of years in case of a brute force attack.
When it comes to tunneling protocols, this service offers:
- OpenVPN UDP
- OpenVPN TCP
In this case, OpenVPN is the only truly secure choice. While L2TP (unclear whether this is IPSec/L2TP or IKEv2/L2TP) can be used if for some reason the former industry-standard protocol doesn’t work, I recommend staying away from PPTP. This outdated protocol offers speed but does so at the cost of security.
However, I must note that RusVPN offers protocol selection neither for desktop nor mobile apps, which means that users can only guess which protocol they are using.
The kill switch is a vital security feature of any VPN, and I’m happy to say that RusVPN has one. It’s available on both the desktop and mobile clients.
My tests have shown that the RusVPN kill switch works just fine. Whenever I stopped my VPN service, the internet was disconnected.
No IP or DNS leaks
Sometimes, even the most well-known VPN providers are found to be leaking users’ personal information. That’s not the case here – RusVPN has no leaks whatsoever.
I made my test by visiting multiple websites that check for IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS leaks. Every time I got negative results, which is a positive thing. My hope is for RusVPN to continue avoiding leaks in the future.
Privacy-friendly location in Dominica
Don’t get caught – while the owners spell RUS as Reliable, Unlimited, and Secure, that’s actually a Russian team behind it.
In any case, the company behind RusVPN is called Iron Media Group Ltd. It’s based in the Commonwealth of Dominica, which means no data retention laws. Also, none of the Fourteen Eyes alliance members have direct access to this company.
RusVPN claims to have a strict no-logs policy. The only thing they log is your email address which is used to link the account with the purchase. The purchase itself is being handled by third parties and doesn’t send any information to RusVPN in return.
After reading their policy, I can say that they clearly distance themselves from keeping any connection logs. While they keep temporary connection logs, these get deleted after a few hours. Finally, there are anonymous monthly traffic records that help RusVPN monitor server load.
To sum up, RusVPN does more than minimum logging but it shouldn’t worry you because these are not activity logs. Of course, if you’re a political activist in a country that has human rights issues, it’s better to be safe than sorry and pick a service with a proven record, such as NordVPN.
Other technical features
RusVPN doesn’t have many extra features. In fact, it doesn’t have some of the basic ones, such as split tunneling. Therefore, users who are accustomed to more than just browsing or streaming should look elsewhere.
One good thing about RusVPN is the option to pay anonymously. Seeing some VPN veterans still offering only credit card payments, RusVPN makes a statement about aiming to become one of the most privacy-oriented providers.
You can pay anonymously using the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Of course, for the purchase to be truly anonymous, it should also be done using a throwaway email address for creating your account.
Speed: how fast is RusVPN?
If NordVPN, Surfshark, or ExpressVPN are cheetahs, then RusVPN is a cat. If your regular download speeds are in three digits, you can expect RusVPN to work well. Otherwise, streaming something in HD or torrenting can become a nuisance due to the high drop-off.
I made my test from Europe and surprisingly got better download numbers from Australia than the US. First, I checked my baseline speed, which turned out to be 260 Mbps for download and 271 Mbps for upload.
- Download: 262 Mbps
- Upload: 271 Mbps
- Ping: 3 ms
Afterward, I connected to RusVPN and tested some servers in different countries around the world.
- Download: 72 Mbps (73% drop-off)
- Upload: 27 Mbps (90% drop-off)
- Ping: 71 ms
New Jersey, USA
- Download: 26 Mbps (90% drop-off)
- Upload: 13 Mbps (95% drop-off)
- Ping: 71 ms
- Download: 35 Mbps (87% drop-off)
- Upload: 11 Mbps (99% drop-off)
- Ping: 71 ms
RusVPN takes longer than most VPNs to connect to a server, especially to those on the other side of the globe. And when it does, the drop-off percentages really ruin your mood. To put it simply, RusVPN provides slow speeds.
Netflix and other streaming srevices
At least for me, using RusVPN for Netflix seemed impossible. No matter which country I tried, be it the US or the Netherlands, I got the same “whoops” message.
Interestingly, the server in Tokyo, Japan, showed that I have a US IP address. Perhaps that’s a virtual server that the RusVPN’s client itself detects as faking the real location.
With that said, the notoriously hard to unblock BBC iPlayer worked just fine.
You can use RusVPN for torrenting, although when turned on, it blocked the BitTorrent and uTorrent websites, showing a DNS error. Strangely, it loaded popular torrent sites.
In any case, there shouldn’t be any issues with P2P action. RusVPN’s security credentials are strong enough. Only the speeds may disappoint, especially if you’ll be downloading from remote seeders.
Does RusVPN support my device?
RusVPN has apps only for the most popular platforms – Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, in addition to browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. It can be configured on Linux, OpenVPN, and an impressive array of routers, including such names as Tenda, Mikrotik, or Netduma.
Users are entitled to 5 simultaneous connections, which is pretty good but one might expect a young VPN to be more generous when such veterans like NordVPN and CyberGhost offer more.
Sadly, the lack of support for smart TVs or Amazon products means that RusVPN is not the best option for streaming fans and couch potatoes.
RusVPN desktop apps: Windows and macOS
Windows and macOS apps are pretty similar, having the same features, which are few indeed.
As you can see, there’s not much to do save from toggling the kill switch. Also, mistypes (there are more of them!) give the feeling of an unprofessional attitude.
Another thing that I didn’t like was the lack of autologin – I had to type my account credentials every time I launched RusVPN. You can say it’s done for the user’s safety, but this is a VPN, not a password manager!
RusVPN mobile apps: Android and iOS (iPhone and iPad)
At the end of 2019, RusVPN introduced a new 2.0 version with a “breathtaking” design. Upon inspecting it, I can say that it sure looks better than its desktop counterpart but is far from taking anything breath-related.
The iOS version has an inactive Help option. As one could expect, the Settings basically allow you to toggle the kill switch and some connection preferences.
RusVPN for web browsers: Chrome and Firefox
The majority of RusVPN customers are users of the free browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. The latter has almost 200,000 users according to Chrome Store, which is the number that this provider advertises as a sign of popularity.
After installing the Chrome extension I was redirected to the Russian version of the RusVPN website. The browser extension looks better than the desktop client, but also has virtually no options, save for “Connect at startup”. It offers the same list of servers as the desktop client.
Support: live chat and email
RusVPN offers the following customer support options:
- 24/7 live chat
- Submit a ticket
- Write an email
There’s no link to the support page in the Windows client and the iOS client link doesn’t work. While there are some instructions on how to download and install the apps, they aren’t grouped in one place and thus cannot be called a FAQ or knowledge base.
Plans and pricing: is RusVPN a good deal?
While RusVPN is an affordable VPN, it would be hard to name it a good deal due to its lack of features. However, the discounts you get for a long-term plan are almost tempting. I was also pleasantly surprised by a 3-year plan – that’s not something you get to see often in 2020.
RusVPN comes with these pricing plans:
- 1-month plan for 5 devices: $9.99
- 1-year plan for 5 devices: $59.88 ($4.99/month)
- 3-years plan for 5 devices: $107.64 ($2.99/month)
You can pay using credit cards, PayPal, WebMoney, Qiwi, or Bitcoin. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, but it applies only if you’ve used less than 500 MB of bandwidth. That’s one of the worst refund policies that I’ve seen thus far.
All three plans come with the same feature package, including military-grade encryption, a kill switch, 5 simultaneous connections, and so on.
RusVPN doesn’t have a free version but offers a free proxy in the form of Chrome and Firefox extensions. There’s no free trial, which, in fact, would be beneficial for a new service.
Should you buy RusVPN?
RusVPN is still new and raw, lacking any more advanced features, such as split tunneling or support for smart TVs and other devices. Even though RusVPN is an affordable VPN, you can get a much better service for even less money. At the moment, it doesn’t have any unique features that would make users consider spending their money, especially when it’s nearly impossible to use the money-back guarantee.
Having said that, for some reason I believe that RusVPN has some potential and will climb up the VPN ranks in 2020. Until then, it’s probably best to join the users of its free proxy for browsers and wait for its value-per-dollar to rise.