Founded in 2012, Steganos Online Shield is an online privacy service set up by Steganos – a well-known German software developer which has been going since 1996.
Continue reading our full Steganos VPN review as we give you the low down on exactly what this VPN is able to offer and how it compares to the plethora of VPN services that are available on the market.
Security and privacy
Steganos is located in Germany, which is a proud member of the 14 Eyes alliance. That’s always a less-than-perfect location for a VPN provider.
On the Steganos website, it mentions that no logs are kept in terms of the websites you have visited, while there are no records kept of the content you download. Modern VPN protocols such as IKEv2 and OpenVPN are also used by the service, with the latter in particular one of the most secure protocols available. Combined with AES-256 bit encryption, you can rest assured your data will be kept away from any would-be thieves.
Bonus web privacy features are also a big selling-point of Steganos VPN. Advanced features such as ad-blocking software, a social-tracking prevention tool, and automatic cookie deletion facility are included. Each of these features combined works hand in hand with the aforementioned encryption and security protocols.
However, there are some downsides in that there is a possibility of DNS leaks when we ran tests. This might be of some concern to those who take their online privacy seriously. With that being said, Steganos VPN doesn’t require an email address. It simply generates a pseudonymous User ID which is based on the public key of your computer’s MAC address.
Speed and performance
Slowdowns are inevitable when it comes to using a VPN, as any web traffic needs to go through the VPN first in order for you to take advantage of the enhanced privacy that Steganos is able to offer. However, to say that Steganos is slow would be an understatement.
In our experience testing the service, we found that it considerably slowed down our connection to the point that it would negatively impact even basic tasks. So, when it comes to online streaming in HD quality, you would probably struggle particularly if your internet connection isn’t so fast to begin with.
How to install Steganos Online Shield VPN
If you are a Windows PC user, you’ll find that you can easily download and install the application from the official website. Similarly, you can just head on over to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store if you would like to get Steganos VPN up and running on your mobile devices.
Apps and extensions
This particular VPN comes complete with a native Windows application which is plain and simple to get up and running. A simple on/off switch is also featured on the Windows GUI, which means that even those with limited technical knowledge will be able to learn how to use the service in no time at all.
However, macOS users will be hugely disappointed to hear that you aren’t able to use the service at the time of writing. This is because there is currently no support for this particular operating system. The mobile applications which are available are pretty poor too, as they don’t offer much in terms of the settings which are available.
Moreover, many VPN services allow you to set up the service on a router. However, it turns out that Steganos Online Shield doesn’t allow you to do this, which might be hugely disappointing for those who live in a large household or would like to protect multiple devices in an office environment.
When setting up Steganos VPN, activation requires installing additional components which means the initial set-up process if far more complicated than it needs to be. But, after this point, it should be simple enough for most users to make use of the features of Steganos VPN.
Steganos Online Shield VPN for Netflix
If you were hoping to make use of Steganos Online Shield for getting around Netflix’s geo-blocking policies, you’ll be happy to know that this particular VPN works effectively for that particular purpose.
The US version of Netflix is arguably the most content-rich version available in the world. So, by using this service, you will be able to take full advantage of the extensive library no matter where you are in the world.
Steganos Online Shield VPN for torrenting
We mentioned earlier in this Steganos VPN review that no file sharing is allowed via the service on any of its servers. So, if you are looking for a VPN that will allow you to download torrents safely and anonymously, you will have no choice but to continue your search for another VPN (such as our best VPNs for torrenting list).
Is Steganos Online Shield VPN good for users in China?
Those who are based in China will find that there are no servers based in that particular country. For that reason, it can be said that Steganos VPN isn’t the wisest choice for using within China – a nation that is well-known for its strict stance on internet censorship.
Therefore, it pays to do your research so that you can use a VPN which has been proven to work effectively for bypassing restrictions within China.
It’s unlikely that you will need support if you have at least some prior technical knowledge. If not, you can visit the official website to make use of the knowledge base which comes complete with various articles. However, you’ll find that these aren’t so detailed.
You also have the contact support via a web form on the official website where you can add multiple attachments. Essentially, this will help customer service resolve your problem(s) far easier. However, it would have been nice for them to have a live chat service, as this is becoming increasingly popular due to its high efficiency. Therefore, it would be wise for Steganos VPN to follow suit.
To get you started, a free trial is available with Steganos Online Shield. After this, you will need to fork out $49.95 ($4.16/month) a year which allows five devices per license. In future years, you then have the option to extend your license for a reduced price of $29.95. There are also shorter-term plans to choose from too, although this will obviously push the price up somewhat.
A free version is available for you to try. But, you only get a measly 500 MB allowance which is a limit even infrequent users of the web will find soon find themselves reaching. You also have to put up with advertisements too, which entices you to upgrade to the paid version. However, if you are unhappy in any way, you have the peace of mind of a 30-day money-back guarantee which is always appreciated.
You can pay for your subscription only via PayPal or credit card, which is disappointing considering you don’t have the option to make a payment using anonymous methods such as Bitcoin.
As we have outlined in our Steganos VPN review, there are many reasons why Steganos Online Shield isn’t the best choice for a VPN. Despite having a free version available, this is hugely limited in terms of bandwidth. But, that being said, this gives you the perfect chance to try out the service to see if it is suitable for your particular needs.
Another downside is that there is currently no support for macOS devices. This is very surprising given that this particular operating system is one of the most widely used around the world. Steganos Online Shield certainly isn’t the most cost-effective option out there either, with excellent deals for proven VPNs such as NordVPN and CyberGhost VPN available on a regular basis.
The fact that there is no router support also means that Steganos Online Shield has some catching up to do to compete with a whole host of other VPNs on the market. Poor overall speed and performance only make matters worse, leading to the conclusion that there are far better VPNs out there for you to choose from.