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We test VPNArea’s claims that they’re the fastest VPN on the market — with some surprising results.
VPNArea is a great all-around VPN. It has an incredibly comprehensive server park, gives users access to Netflix, and offers a high level of security. It checks off all the boxes for most users.
VPNArea keeps its users secure by using the OpenVPN protocol combined with a 256-bit AES algorithm. The company is registered in Bulgaria, where it’s illegal to log customer data. Further, their day-to-day servers are in Switzerland, which has stronger privacy laws than that of other countries. So, customers can feel secure about the privacy of their data.
VPNArea has dedicated clients for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux. With a server size consisting of over 200 servers, they claim to have the fastest speeds of any VPN. Users will appreciate these fast speeds when they’re streaming HD videos from Netflix or downloading torrents from P2P servers.
The client’s interface is detailed, but not user-friendly. Therefore, newcomers may find it somewhat difficult to navigate. However, after climbing the learning curve, they’ll be rewarded with more functionality than comparable VPNs offer. Luckily, VPNArea has a 24/7 live chat feature so that you can contact customer support at any time.
All of this is available for as low as $2.99 per month. Is it worth the higher price tag than other comparable VPNs? Read our VPNArea review to decide if it is the right choice for you.
Is VPNArea safe to use?
VPNArea is a well-secured VPN. Users have a choice between the IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols. OpenVPN, an open-source software, is considered the gold standard for security when it comes to web protocols. The protocols are combined with a 256-bit AES cipher. This makes your connection virtually impenetrable to attacks.
Additionally, VPNArea has a kill switch. This is the standard operating procedure for any VPN worth their salt. If your VPN stops working, it will immediately shut down your internet connection. This ensures your data stays protected.
Along with these standard security setups, VPNArea has some unique security systems that are built right into its software. The Anti-DNS leak system prevents your browser from revealing the domains you’re visiting to the ISP (internet service provider). They also offer an Auto IP Changer. This used to change your IP address at an interval of your choosing for an extra layer of security. In our tested client version 2.1.0, clicking this menu option sent us to Custom DNS Servers. If turned on, it routes your DNS requests from the ISP’s to VPNArea’s servers, further protecting you from the DNS leaks.
Almost every VPN brags about their no-logging policy, but with VPNArea, users can trust that they’re following this rule. The company is registered in Bulgaria, where there is a strict law that prohibits companies from logging customer data.
Nonetheless, as with any VPN, we can’t be sure they’re really aren’t logging user data until they’ve been put to the test.
Speed and performance
VPNArea allows up to 6x devices to be connected simultaneously. Those devices can connect to a server park that consists of over 200 servers spread across 70+ countries. VPNArea doesn’t have the biggest server park out of all the VPNs available, but it has more comprehensive coverage than many of its competitors.
When it comes to speed, all VPNs suffer from some lag. This is impossible to avoid due to how the technology is designed. Additionally, if there are more users on an individual server, this further slows down the speed of the connections.
One great feature of VPNArea’s client interface is that you can see the number of users currently connected to a server, as well as the server latency shown in milliseconds.
One great feature of the VPNArea interface is that you can see the number of users currently connected to a server along with server latency expressed in milliseconds. This will help you easily find less popular (and faster) servers by sorting the list according to their load, latency, and distance from your location.
Another thing that VPNArea has is the option to switch between the slower but more secure OpenVPN protocol to a much faster but still secure IKEv2. VPNArea claims that changing the protocol to IKEv2 (which requires some manual configuration described in VPNArea’s client area) may result in speed increases of up to 100%. We’ve decided to test this ourselves from our location in Europe.
Our base speed with no VPN was 300 Mbps download and 275 Mbps upload. Connecting to a nearby server with OpenVPN UDP protocol resulted in a massive drop-off, leaving us with only about 10% of what we had. Shocked and appalled, we rushed to test IKEv2, whose configuration is a 13-step task on Windows, resulting in one server added. The result left us confused and infuriated – the IKEv2 speed results were nearly identical to what we got with OpenVPN!
The United Kingdom, Manchester, 52 Mbps
Moving away to the UK resulted in downloading at 52 Mbps, and 97 Mbps upload. This is not bad if we ignore the drop-off percentage-wise. It’s fair to expect better numbers if the test is made on the same continent.
That represents an 83% loss compared to the base speed.
The United States, New York, 49 Mbps
We were surprised to see virtually the same download speed after crossing the Atlantic. The increased latency was the only proof of the distance that VPNArea had to cover. Another unusual thing was to witness the upload speed crater five times after leaving the UK.
That’s a loss of 84%.
The United States, Los Angeles, 82 Mbps
The real surprise was waiting for us on the West Coast. We got stunned by the download speed which actually increased up to 82 Mbps after all the extra miles. The upload stayed at the New York pace. Naturally, the ping has risen to the point where gaming starts to become an issue, but VoIP is still possible.
That’s -73% of the original speed.
Australia, Adelaide, 11 Mbps
The situation went south as we moved to Australia. The latency became too much for a VoIP call, and the upload speed was less than 2 Mbps. Watching HD content would still be possible, though, but after multiple attempts, we were unable to repeat the success of our initial test and go above the 6 Mbps mark.
This is -96% of the original speed.
Japan, Tokyo, 10 Mbps
In Japan, VPNArea produced numbers similar to those in Australia. While the ping and upload numbers were marginally better, they were still not good enough for gaming or VoIP.
That’s the (understandably) biggest loss so far: -97%.
To sum up our test results, while their claim that they are the fastest VPN on the market is far from the truth, VPNArea’s speeds are certainly not bad, at least for users in North America and Europe.
How to download and install it
Downloading and installing the client for this VPNArea review was a straightforward process. You sign up for an account, select the type of membership that you want, and enter your payment details. After you’ve done that, you’ll be able to enter the members’ area. This is where you’ll find the download page as well as instructions for how to use the VPN across a variety of devices.
Download the file for your device and follow the instructions for how to install the software. Once you’ve done that, you can log into the VPN client, and you’re all set.
We really like the layout of the VPNArea website. All the information about the VPN and their memberships are available on the landing page. Downloading the software and creating an account, finding more information, and accessing step-by-step tutorials, are all user-friendly and intuitive operations.
How to use it
If you’re a complete newbie to using VPNs, you may struggle with the VPNArea client. Unlike other clients that just have a big “connect” button, VPNArea gives you more configuration settings right on the first panel of the client.
However, learning and understanding how these settings work is not overly complicated. The result is a VPN with more functionality than its competitors.
The options themselves are quite clear in their purpose. Ad Block & Malware Prevent and Auto-connect to the last server used do exactly as they say. We wouldn’t recommend selecting that second option, however, since you’ll want to always connect to the fastest server available. What we would recommend is turning Kill switch on to prevent exposing your IP address.
Apps and extensions
VPNArea’s main feature, Chameleon, offers a comprehensive range of apps and extensions. They have a dedicated client for all the major devices and offer support for a host of others. On their website, customers can find step-by-step tutorials for how to connect their devices.
VPNArea includes clients for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux
Additionally, they offer support for certain routers and some streaming services.
After previously being mocked for their rather ugly interface, they’ve released a new version of their client. It is significantly more user-friendly and aesthetically appealing, yet still packed full of tweakable features that should be best left as they are anyway.
VPNArea for Netflix
VPNArea has Netflix-optimized servers in the US, the UK, and Italy. We’ve tried the regular and the Stunnel servers first to see if there really is no other way to access the library for each country.
VPNArea for US Netflix
Starting with the US, the regular server didn’t work, but the Stunnel option gave us a pretty fast-loading stream, with UltraHD-capable 41 Mbps speed as per Netflix’s own Fast.com test site.
One dedicated server was slower at 26 Mbps and quite long loading times, while also streaming in SD, improving to HD only after a while. That was a bit disappointing when the load was at 8%.
When trying out the much more loaded US-EU-Netflix server, we had zero stuttering and just a few seconds of loading time, even though Fast.com showed only 6 Mbps, rendering UHD impossible to experience.
VPNArea for UK Netflix
Moving to the UK, the regular and Stunnel servers didn’t work, so we moved to the almost full Netflix option. The result with the dedicated Netflix server was great: the nominal speed of 82 Mbps turned into seamless streaming with virtually no loading times.
VPNArea for Italy Netflix
As for the Italian Netflix, the regular server also didn’t work, unsurprisingly. But the dedicated one gave us a bit more than 5 Mbps that is barely enough for the HD streaming. Speaking of which, loading and skipping parts of the show usually took a few seconds plus a few more for the SD video quality to improve. This means that you should use the Italian server only if you need something unavailable elsewhere.
VPNArea in other countries
We’ve tried the usual bunch: Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and Japan. Germany worked just fine, with Fast.com showing 110 Mbps. The Netherlands didn’t work out, so we switched to the Stunnel server specialized for China and other countries with restricted web access. That didn’t go well either, just like Australia. Finally, Japan’s 58 Mbps and unblocked content ended our round the world trip on a high note.
To conclude, VPNArea allows users to stream videos in HD from Netflix. Remember that the catalog changes by country, so look online to see which country has the films that you want to see. Then connect to the VPN server accordingly.
They’ve also resolved an issue with BBC iPlayer, so users will be able to access that streaming platform when connected to a special server in the United Kingdom.
VPNArea for torrenting
Torrenting is allowed with VPNArea as their day-to-day servers are located in Switzerland, where privacy laws are strong. And with VPNArea’s strict no-logging policy, users don’t have to worry about their identities being exposed, even if they’re concerned about downloading copyrighted content.
VPNArea does specify, however, that users should connect to their dedicated P2P servers for better performance. Those can be found in a separate section in the client or identified with server names that end in “P2P.” However, to be honest, most of the servers are P2P-ready.
Can users in China use VPNArea?
Users in China will be thrilled to hear that VPNArea announced in August 2018 that the VPN can now be used in China. According to their announcement, using “stealth mode” by connecting to the Stunnel servers will work in other restricted countries as well.
In August 2018, VPNArea announced that the VPN can now be used in China.
Users can find a step-by-step tutorial on the VPNArea website for how to configure the VPN to be used from these restricted locations.
There are three membership options, and they all come with the same features. This includes the ability to connect 6 devices simultaneously, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited server switching, access to P2P servers, and more.
- $9.90 per month for 1 month
- $4.92 per month for 12 months (50% off), billed annually
- $2.99 per month for 36 months, (70% off), billed triennially
All plans are backed by a seven-day, money-back guarantee.
With the annual and triennial plans, you have the option to purchase a dedicated IP and private VPN. This ranges from $20 to $44 depending on the location of the IP address.
Customer support is another area where VPNArea excels. The FAQ section on their website answers the most basic and commonly asked questions. Additionally — and this is what sets them apart from their competitors — there is a forum where users can ask questions not found in the FAQ. We’ve seen that the company posts responses quickly.
In addition to the onsite support, there is a 24/7 live chat option for customers on any membership plan. Our test saw a waiting time of 1 minute change into this message: “Our agents are currently busy serving requests. Please give us a few minutes, and we will join the chat.” We gave them 10 minutes and then gave up. It turns out that VPNArea’s live chat is not so lively after all.
Users can also submit a ticket to get an email response from the VPNArea customer service team. This might be a better option than to wait for the 24/7 chat to come alive if your inquiry is not urgent.
Conclusion of our VPNArea review
Everything with a beginning also has an end – including our VPNArea review. So what have we found?
VPNArea is a good but not great VPN. With strong security, a fast connection, and access to Netflix and torrents, it’s hard to find fault with this VPN save for the unpolished user interface of its client. The monthly price of VPNArea is undoubtedly higher than its competitors. However, if you purchase the annual plan, the price is comparable to others in the market. And with their 7-day money-back guarantee, you’ve really got nothing to lose!