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A fast VPN coming with many perks, but those VPN and IP address leaks sure do put a dampener on things…
VPN.ht has been around for a few years since its release by a Hong Kong-based company, Wicked Technology. Originally, VPN.ht was actually partnered with the Popcorn Time BitTorrent site, but that connection has been long since dropped.
The software offered appears to hide you from prying eyes, no matter what you’re doing, and coupled with this claim are a number of strange aliens to guide you through the process. A truly great VPN will offer you high levels of security, prompt customer support, and full anonymity alongside an easy to use interface.
But does VPN.ht hold up to its promises? That’s what our VPN.ht review aims to answer.
For starters, VPN.ht’s server list is relatively limited, with just 128 servers available, though these are spread out across 24 countries. This puts it just above average. Also, for what you get, the pricing is affordable and offers a range of different options suited to each user. Despite the low costs, it does come as a surprise that the overall performance is of higher quality than its price might suggest. You can even try it out for a 30-day period to see how you go.
On that note, however, let’s crack on and see how it stands up to the scrutiny of our VPN.ht review.
Is VPN.ht safe to use?
An important thing to check every time we encounter a VPN is their logging policy. By their very nature, VPNs should not be keeping any of your information, but many do.
The second step to security is encryption. It starts off well – the tunneling protocol is the much-celebrated OpenVPN, considered to be the industry standard protocol. This open source platform is constantly developed and maintained by the best and the brightest.
VPN.ht uses AES 256-bit encryption (although you can switch between AES-64, 128, and 256), making it impenetrable – no supercomputers or hackers are getting through here, ensuring that your privacy and anonymity is kept. In fact, this level of encryption is used by the US Military, the FBI and even the likes of Apple, so you know things are looking good in this department.
Whilst this all sounds great, there are unfortunately some issues – IP leaks, no kill switch and even something recognized as a virus, which is one of the worst things to pop up in a VPN service. Unfortunately, these things combined put it out of the running for top-notch security.
Furthermore, Hong Kong, albeit outside the 14 eyes, is certainly not out of the influence of China. This means you could be swimming in some muddy waters – something you might want to keep in mind before writing dirty limericks about Xi Jinping’s uncanny resemblance to Vinnie The Pooh.
Back to those IP leaks – they occur when WebtRTC APIs go around the VPN tunnel. This causes your IP to be revealed without you even knowing. The fact that it failed two out of four IP leak tests in this area is a very bad sign.
Kill Switches are an important Plan B type option in the world of VPN. If you have one, any interruption on your VPN will kill your traffic instantly, preventing your IP address from becoming known. Sadly, there’s no kill switch feature here.
Speed & performance
Though they claim to have unlimited speed, it’s really not the fastest VPN out there. VPN.ht speeds are generally okay and all VPNs take some speed out of your internet connection. You should note that different servers operate at different speeds.
The nearby EU server we tested for our VPN.ht review maintained a more or less average speed. The others were very hit and miss, but overall around average as well.
How to download and install it
As our experience when writing this VPN.ht review shows, downloading and installing it is a simple process. You just need to pop over to the VPN.ht homepage, where you’ll be greeted by a starter guide and a progression bar.
The initial signup is a breeze – you need an email and a password. For added privacy, you can sign up as an anonymous customer and, if you want, pay in crypto.
Downloading and installing is also straightforward. You get a series of questions to determine the ideal setup with the first question asking if you’re accessing the VPN from behind a firewall. Clicking no sends you on to which device you want to connect – computer or phone. Clicking the former asks you which of the three systems – Mac, Windows, or Linux – you’re using before asking what your platform is. At this point, you’ll get the documentation to install and a large button to click on to download the programme.
Once downloaded, you simply click the icon to open it and will be greeted by a pop-up box taking you through installation. Clicking “Install” begins the process and soon you’ll be asked to log in to your account.
How to use VPN.ht
Once you’ve got the programme installed, you’ll be greeted by those little aliens and a nice, colorful dashboard.
Whilst using the program for our VPN.ht review, we found that it’s really straightforward and simply clicking on the desired server will set the process in motion. The next prompt is for your username and password and once these are correctly input, the connecting process will be complete. It can take a few minutes but soon you’ll be online and anonymous.
VPN.ht for Netflix
For years, VPNs were able to circumvent the geo-blocks put in place by Netflix. However, Netflix caught on to this and has since made this process harder, blocking access for most people using a VPN. VPN.ht is actually one of those services that has managed to get around this.
VPN.ht can unblock Netflix.
Even better, instead of just one or two of the servers being able to access Netflix, this VPN surprised us with all five of the tested servers passing the blocks. This is one of only a few VPNs with this ability, putting it right up there as one of the best Netflix VPNs.
VPN.ht for torrenting
Continuing on from the Netflix high, we wanted to include some info on torrenting in our VPN.ht review. So we loaded up the good ol’ Pirate Bay and gave it a try.
In short, torrenting is allowed, and there are no restrictions in place. As we mentioned, this VPN was originally created to work alongside a BitTorrent site, so this feature is one of their key ones. But what good is all of that if you have leaks and no kill switch? Use it for torrenting at your own risk.
Is it good for users in China?
Being registered in Hong Kong, it presumably has to have passed received some form of approval from the Chinese government and therefore does work in China. The only downside here is the VPN might not protect you from much if you’re engaged in something sensitive.
Our interactions with customer service for this VPN.ht review have found them to be fast and effective. There is an impressive FAQ with the most commonly asked questions, which you can reach by clicking the support tab. If this fails to help, then a link on the left opens the support ticket option and filling out the form will see you receive a reply within half a day, or it should, anyway.
Unfortunately, there is no live chat option, which is fast becoming an industry standard for top VPNs.
Apps & extensions
It’s available on a range of devices, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. You can also set it up on your router (assuming you have the right kind of router), which is great if you have lots of devices and would like them all secured in one go, especially if some of them don’t have custom apps for them or are not supported by VPN.ht.
Pricing: an affordable option
VPN.ht offers an incredibly good plan with a number of different options available. Even better, they offer a promotion for your first introduction to the VPN.
The first month is the best, billed at just a single dollar! After that the price goes up:
Monthly plan: $4.99 per month
Yearly plan: $3.33 per month
There are no tiered options; instead, you get what you pay for – the entire force of VPN.ht, all for a great price on up to 3 devices simultaneously. The platform accepts a wide range of payment options from credit cards, eWallets, gift cards to even cryptocurrency payments for those who wish to remain completely anonymous.
Conclusion of VPN.ht review
Despite this VPN offering a whole host of excellent features, unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good.
Even though their no logging policy is great, the fact that we found IP leaks and worse really makes this not an option we can recommend. If you’re willing to risk it just to access Netflix, then go ahead. The price is affordable enough to make it worth your time if anonymity really isn’t your goal.
If the software could include a kill switch and get rid of those leaks, it might go higher up the list, but for now, you’re better off looking elsewhere.