While there’s no premium features or much in the way of security, Star VPN is a reliable, bare-bones service that helps you get around the toughest of blocks – reportedly, even in countries such as China.
The pricing is affordable, and there’s a free trial before you commit. Best of all, we didn’t find any discrepancy in the speeds before and after paying.
For the purpose of this Star VPN review, however, we’re focusing exclusively on the Android product, so security protocols (which affect speeds) might differ across platforms.
Security and privacy
Star VPN seems to use a custom security protocol that uses a TLS certificate (the updated version of SSL, deemed far more secure) but apart from this, there seem to be no notable standout encryption features.
Even some of the more commonly-found security tools (such as a kill-switch, or anything to reduce the user’s vulnerability when it comes to DNS leaks) is absent.
As such, the lack of information makes it hard to list down anything (or even the lack of anything), since there’s:
- Unknown protocols
- No kill-switch
- No unblocking of streaming services
- No special features or an option to download patches or add-ons
However, it seems that the app isn’t using OpenVPN (considered by many to be one of the most secure) which can offer 256-bit encryption.
The evidence for this is in the fact that OpenVPN is reported to be banned in many places where Star VPN can still work, and that the iPhone app doesn’t require a separate application to be installed, which would be the case in a VPN backed by OpenVPN.
Ultimately, there’s no need for a VPN to be vague about its security: even some of the worst VPNs are still upfront about how they do what they do, albeit with a defensive tone. This seems to stand out as a cause for some concern.
Does Star VPN keep logs?
Star VPN, however, keeps its promises, at least from a legal standpoint: Star VPN’s Privacy page makes it plain that no personally identifying information is collected, and no traffic logs are kept or stored.
There is mention of third-party services keeping an eye on the connections and the advertisement side – this isn’t unusual, nor suspicious, especially for a free VPN with a very cheap “premium” plan.
Being based in Ukraine is also a good sign, as it isn’t a particularly repressive country when it comes to data surveillance, at least not in the spirit of the law.
Speed and performance
We tested Star VPN on a low-speed public server and found a reduction of less than 1 MB. In other words, our download speed slowed down in a noticeable way but not in a particularly disruptive one. The upload speed went largely uninhibited.
The free version only allows you to connect to the US server, so that’s the speed you’re looking at in the second picture below, after the original speed:
Star VPN doesn’t have many options when it comes to servers, however, with servers being in a little over 20 countries, with almost as many servers. All of these except one US server are “premium” options, and only three allow P2P – however, we can assume that’s good since at least speeds won’t be affected.
Speed is, ultimately, a subjective topic – factors that it depends on are connectivity, the original speed of the Internet plan being used to test, and the latency of the server – for this, leave a comment below to let us know if your experience was comparable or dissimilar!
Ease of use and multiplatform support
While you’d be tempted to call Star VPN “mobile-only”, given its lack of service for PCs running Windows or Linux, you can still use the service for Mac (in addition to the mobile apps for phones running iOS and Android). In summary, custom apps for Star VPN are available on
The app is easy to use wherever you choose to download the VPN client, however, and the interface is uniform across all the platforms; there’s a big button to connect and a drop-down menu to change the server. Since there are no other features, there’s no other clutter on the app.
Unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
Unfortunately, Star VPN is completely unable to bypass geo-blocking to get you to watch your favorite TV show – be it the geo-restriction on Netflix or Hulu, we were unable to get around any sort of streaming service’s blocking, and other user reviews seem to back up this opinion.
A VPN will that focuses on unblocking Netflix, usually, or one with an eye on Roku or Amazon Fire, will advertise the fact, especially given how it’ll probably take a lot of effort to make sure it stays that way, given things such as Netflix’s great VPN ban.
P2P and torrenting
Star VPN only allows a P2P connection on three servers: Canada, France, and the Netherlands. It fares better than VPNs that do not support torrent downloads at all.
Again, however, the lack of a kill-switch is a downside: a kill-switch essentially stops all incoming and outgoing connections in the case of your VPN connection faltering, so as to protect your actual identity (by way of your IP address) being exposed.
Ultimate, even while there’s no special protection offered to facilitate secure torrenting (such as SOCKS5 proxy, which many notable top-tier VPNs will make note of using in their service), the speeds (as previously discussed) make Star VPN a good choice for torrenting, especially given the low price.
Online censorship in China and elsewhere
Many of our readers might already know of China’s Great Firewall. It’s an extreme example of censorship and online surveillance, with even VPN services themselves being blocked.
With Star VPN, the situation is complicated. The Chinese version of the App Store and Play Store specifically cracked down on VPNs a few years ago, removing them from their stores, and sometimes, user’s phones entirely.
However, Star VPN continues to work – especially with pre-installed files or alternate download sources. The service would do even better to put up the official .APK file on their website for download, or the executable application file for Mac devices.
The extensive list of Star VPN’s customer support options is as follows:
- An email address listed on the website
… and that’s it. There is no form, or even direct link, meaning you’d copy and paste the email address manually into your client or browser. There’s an FAQ section, but it doesn’t venture beyond basic and obvious explanations (which are still heavily summarized).
No live chat or phone support is a definite thumbs-down in Star VPN’s overall ranking, as creating distance between a company and a customer in a “trust industry” such as the VPN industry isn’t the best of decisions.
Star VPN is available in a free or a premium version, at the prices of:
- $3.00/month, paid yearly
- $0 a month, for the free version
These prices aren’t marked up across platforms, which is a plus, and are in fact calibrated in different markets for more standardized, competitive pricing.
There’s no mention of a money back guarantee or refund policy, but you can sign up for a free 7-day trial; you’d still commit to a monthly, but you can cancel anytime before the free trial is up. You will not be charged until the free trial is up.
Compared to both the top VPNs and the worst-performing VPN services, Star VPN is priced satisfyingly, ultimately being very affordable, and offering a reasonable free trial and a commendably reliable free service.
Star VPN is a VPN that’s good for very casual users with very casual needs.
Examples we can think of would be students who play video games in universities using it to get around wifi filters, as well as citizens of countries with regressive Internet policies.
It’s a simple app that gets the job done.