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Is SaferWeb VPN keeping your information safe while you’re on the web? Read on to find out.
UK-based SaferWeb VPN is a new entrant into this industry. While it has benefits like military-grade security, decent server coverage, and 24/7 customer support, after writing our SaferWeb review we’re not sure that these positives outweigh the bad.
SaferWeb VPN offers top of the line encryption protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and the much-maligned PPTP. Unfortunately, speed tests run from a European location found that connections on some servers were significantly slower than others.
SaferWeb’s pricing plans start at $3.99/month for their Premium Service and $4.99/month for their Super Premium Service. However, users need to be aware that these are introductory prices and only apply to the first term of your contract.
When it comes to functionality, we see more of the benefits of SaferWeb. Currently, it can be used across your desktop devices. Mobile device compatibility is limited at the moment, although the company plans to expand.
There is some great news for movie fans – SaferWeb VPN will let you access to both Netflix USA and BBC iPlayer. Additionally, this software gives you the ability to torrent. However, the number of P2P servers under the Premium Service is limited.
Finally, if you’re having trouble setting it up, don’t worry. They offer a fairly comprehensive customer support platform, including a live chat that’s available around the clock. Luckily, the installation and setup are fairly straightforward, so you shouldn’t have any issues in the first place.
Keep reading our SaferWeb VPN review for more details about the positives and negatives to this relatively new VPN.
Is SaferWeb safe to use?
For VPN providers, the country where their business is registered can be a pro or a con. In the case of SaferWeb VPN, the company is based in the United Kingdom which is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, as well as one of the biggest enemies of privacy in the world. As such, it is almost uniquely unfit for owning a VPN service in the Western World. SaferWeb VPN keeps a lot of data on their users (as can be expected from a UK-based service) and simply shouldn’t be used unless you’re certain the UK government has no reason to wish you harm.
From a technical security point of view, however, SaferWeb VPN makes use of the top encryption protocols. Users can choose from a series of protocols including the very safe OpenVPN and IkeV2, as well as the completely compromised PPTP. While not all protocols are built equal, Open VPN and IKeV2 are considered some of the best in the industry at the moment with 256-bit data encryption and fast data transfers. Unfortunately, the VPN seems to have no kill switch.
Speed & Performance
The performance of SaferWeb VPN depends on your membership plan. Clients on the Premium Service plan only get access to seven servers (four of which are in North America) compared to Super Premium Service clients who can connect to 30 servers.
Running tests for our SaferWeb VPN review from a location in Asia, we found that the service significantly cut down on our internet speeds. However, we ran the test without being connected to the supercharged servers located at strategic spots around Asia. We like that there are no speed or bandwidth caps, meaning users don’t have to worry about hitting monthly limits.
As with any VPN, tests will vary greatly from location to location. We’re just disappointed that SaferWeb VPN doesn’t offer a free trial so that that prospective clients could test it out for themselves.
According to several online user reviews, SaferWeb is no longer offering their services to US-based clients as of July 2018. So far, clients have been given automatic refunds although the company has given no explanation.
Apps & Extensions
We didn’t give all clients a try for this SaferWeb review, but currently, the compatibility is fairly limited. They have dedicated clients for Windows and Mac desktop devices. In terms of mobile applications, only Android users will be able to use this VPN.
The company is planning to roll out support for iOS devices (including tablets) as well as Chromebooks in the future.
Besides these devices, SaferWeb can also be run on Xbox and PlayStation game consoles, Microsoft Surface Tablets, Amazon Fire TV, and even Blackberry (through OpenVPN or IKEv2).
You can find tutorials for the majority of these platforms in the Knowledge Base section of the website.
SaferWeb VPN for Netflix
Stranger Things may have announced that we have to wait until next year for Season 3, but with this tool you can spend that time watching other Netflix shows – there’s plenty. We tried for our SaferWeb review – it works!
Being able to access not just Netflix, but other streaming platforms, including BBC iPlayer, is one of the reasons why SaferWeb has gained considerable traction during its short lifespan. The benefit of being a new VPN is that the streaming platforms have not yet felt the need to ban your servers.
SaferWeb VPN for Torrenting
Along with Netflix fans, torrenters will also be pleased to learn that SaferWeb VPN works with P2P servers. At the moment, Premium Service members only have access to one server in the Netherlands. This server can quickly become overwhelmed, which causes it to slow down fairly drastically.
Super Premium Service members, on the other hand, have access to the supercharged servers. This is crucial for users who plan to use it to get access to P2P. Not only are there four times as many servers to choose from, but access to these servers is only granted to Super Premium users. This means that members enjoy faster download and upload speeds on the restricted servers.
Is it good for users in China?
We were forced to investigate the PR content, and user comments to learn about this issue for our SaferWeb review. They don’t explicitly say that they work in China or other locations with strict internet access restrictions. However, one of the protocols available to users (except for iOS users) is the OpenVPN protocol. Users of many other VPNs report being able to get through the Great Firewall of China using specific ports on OpenVPN. Unfortunately, again, the service doesn’t offer a free trial version, so users in China are better off looking elsewhere.
How to download & install SaferWeb VPN
Unlike most VPNs or any other software, you cannot directly download SaferWeb VPN from their website. We found that although their website looks nice and clean at first, finding specific information can be frustrating.
When you reach the SaferWeb website, there is a lot of information about the product itself. Along the top navigation bar, you can Take a Tour or learn about the software and their locations, but nowhere is there a link to find out about their membership tiers. Furthermore, we originally couldn’t figure out how to sign up for the VPN even if we wanted to because the Login button doesn’t have a Sign-up link we thought to be a common sense.
We were hoping to find some answers in the footer which usually contains at least a partial sitemap. Unfortunately, seeing that year 2016 behind the (c) symbol warned us not to expect anything good.
After learning that SaferWeb’s Facebook and Google+ (what?) links return the 404 error, we tried Twitter which worked! Although SaferWeb is yet to write its first tweet since joining in 2015, you can be their 65th follower and hope for an answer on how to download and install SaferWeb VPN.
Alternatively, you can follow our guide. First, you need to click on any of the sections below HELP in the footer. You will be redirected to support.safeweb.com subdomain without a secure HTTPS protocol. Now you can find Plans on the top nav menu. Clicking it will lead you to the Plans & Pricing page where you will not be able to select one of the two options.
Then you should try contacting their Live chat to learn that SaferWeb VPN is closing down and there will be no public comment on this.
How to use SaferWeb VPN
To use SaferWeb VPN, launch the application like you would any other. You’ll be given the option to view either the “Easy Mode” or “Advanced Mode.”
The Easy Mode has been designed with limited options, aiming at first-time VPN users. There’s a large “Connect” button and clicking on it connects your VPN to the nearest server.
The Advanced Mode, on the other hand, gives you significantly more control over your VPN configuration. You can select between three protocol options and see the full selection of location-based servers. Even so-called “novice” users will want to familiarize themselves with this interface so that they can change the location of their VPN server.
One element of the interface that we like is that you can “Star” your favorite servers, making it easier to remember which ones you liked the next time you’re online. We hate the endless struggle of, “Was it Dallas or Detroit that let us watch Netflix last time?”.
Customers who need support with their services have several options. First things first, there is a Knowledge Base with a fairly comprehensive, if basic, set of Tutorials and FAQs. These cover topics ranging from how to install and use your VPN, to detailed guides on configuring it for different applications.
If your query falls outside the scope of these articles, you can get in touch with a customer service representative from SaferWeb. Firstly, the website offers a 24/7 live chat service line. Unfortunately, we found that this live chat was only able to answer very basic questions. Asking more complex questions led to the chat disconnecting.
Alternatively, you can open a support ticket via email. We found this to be a better option than the email support. Although we had to wait longer to get an answer, when one came, it was much more helpful and detailed.
Plans and Pricing
On the surface, SaferWeb’s pricing strategy seems very reasonable and affordable. As we’ve mentioned a few times through this SaferWeb review, there are two pricing options both of which give you unrestricted bandwidth, data transfers and access to all protocols.
Premium Service – $3.99
- 7 Locations
- 1 Device Connection
Super Premium Service – $4.99/month
- 30+ Locations
- 3 Device Connections
That’s when we looked at the fine print. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page (below the benefits of signing up for their service), you’ll find in the terms and conditions that “All services automatically renew at the standard rate …” That standard rate comes in much higher.
- $9.97/month for two years
- $11.07/month for one year
- $14.98/month with no contract
Super Premium Service
- $11.97/month for two years
- $13.97/month for one year
- $16.98/month with no contract
At just over $200 a year for the Super Premium Service with no contract, this VPN is suddenly significantly more expensive than its competitors.
Conclusion of SaferWeb VPN review
Ultimately, our SaferWeb VPN review brings us to the conclusion that while there are bright spots for this young VPN, it still has a lot of growing to do before we would recommend it.
The benefits that stand out are the ability to access our favorite streaming platforms and use torrents. The fact that the Premium plan has a very limited number of servers is mitigated by the exclusive access to the Super Premium plan, although 30 servers is still not a lot compared to their competitors.
The main downsides are the lack of transparency when it comes to its pricing plan, its location in the UK, its very limited network, and high cost. As SaferWeb rolls out dedicated clients for more devices and streamlines the payment situation to match the rest of the industry, the VPN might warrant a try.