Consumers like to know their money is being spent wisely – and VPNs (virtual private networks) are no different.
Unfortunately for those considering VPNTunnel among their option, it’s more difficult to arrive at that conclusion before taking the plunge; most of the information available on their website is terribly confusing and, at times, contradictory.
After conducting our VPNTunnel review, we’re still not entirely convinced. While the pricing is reasonable overall, it’s a cumbersome piece of software that simply isn’t as fast as a VPN should be.
On the other hand, it’s a reliably secure piece of software that’s registered in the Seychelles, meaning it’s well away from the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliances.
While VPNTunnel is available for a wide variety of operating systems, there’s a distinct lack of apps and extensions available to go alongside it.
While the user experience thus leaves something to be desired, we believe in giving every VPN a fair shot, so read on to see what we thought in more detail.
Is VPNTunnel safe to use?
What’s unusual about VPNTunnel’s security features is that it doesn’t opt for the industry standard AES-256 encryption, but rather a Blowfish cipher. Most users prefer the AES model because it is, quite literally, unbreakable in any practical amount of time.
This isn’t necessarily a detractor, because Blowfish hasn’t been road tested as often as AES; however, it’s worth being suspicious of any VPN that doesn’t opt for the best equipment in this day and age.
VPNTunnel’s roster of protocols tells a similar story. With OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, and PPTP at your disposal, the VPN doesn’t exactly provide you with a huge range of options.
What’s important, though, is that OpenVPN is one of the most reliable protocols currently available and should ensure your connections remain completely secure at all times.
While VPNTunnel doesn’t have its own private DNS servers, no-one who’s tested it thus far has encountered any issues with leaks—DNS, WebRTC, or otherwise.
Once again, though, you shouldn’t celebrate too soon, because there is no kill switch available with VPNTunnel. This means that it cannot protect your data if your connection drops.
As you can see, VPNTunnel is just as frustrating in practice as its website is to navigate. There are, however, silver linings in its policy of never logging personally identifiable information and its registry on the islands of Seychelles.
In other words, even if it did collect your personal information, it would be under no legal obligation to fulfil any data requests from any authorities.
As with most VPNs, however, VPNTunnel does keep some logs in the interest of analyzing their service. All they log, though, is your email address, your payment data, and Google Analytics; if the worst came to the worst, all anyone would be able to discover about you is that you use VPNTunnel, not what you use it for.
Speed and performance
With any VPN, you should expect to encounter a slight dip in connection speed. After all, you’re usually connecting to servers from all across the globe.
While some of VPNTunnel’s servers were relatively quick, though, some of them proved ridiculously slow – too slow, in fact, to stream online video content in most cases.
Depending on your needs, then, you may find little value in VPNTunnel’s 800 servers, spread as they are across 32 countries.
Of course, not everyone’s experience may be the same, as it all depends on the hardware, software, and connection package you have.
The consensus on VPNTunnel’s connection speeds, however, is that they lag quite considerably behind the majority of the competition.
How to download and install it
Windows users, you’re in luck: the download process for VPNTunnel is practically the same as any other .exe program.
Mac OS X users, however, have something of a task on their hands, because unless you’re considering installing the PPTP protocol — which you shouldn’t be — you’ll first need to have installed Tunnelblick or Viscosity, both of which are OpenVPN clients. Once you have them, though, the rest is fairly straightforward.
Getting to that stage is easy, too; despite our complaints about how confusing some of the information is, VPNTunnel’s website is actually quite user-friendly and well designed.
Not only do they have a large FAQ section, they also have a fairly comprehensive online manual
Not only do they have a large FAQ section, they also have a fairly comprehensive online manual, which is easy to search through and find all the instructions necessary for the download process on your OS of choice.
Apps and extensions
Speaking of OS, here’s a complete list of what VPNTunnel has custom apps for:
- Mac OS X
You are also able to connect your router to the VPN, which will ensure any connection made through said router will be protected by VPNTunnel.
Again, this is slightly more complicated than usual, so it’s worth bookmarking VPNTunnel’s online troubleshooting guide and exploring it at a later date.
It’s saddening to report that VPNTunnel doesn’t have any browser extensions available to make up for everything else it lacks in user experience.
There’s little to write home about the GUI for Windows too, which is rather plain and mechanical in appearance.
Fortunately, everything is quite self-explanatory and easy to navigate when you’re using the software itself. If you connect the VPN to your router, you can also use it with the Amazon Firestick (there’s no word on VPNTunnel’s compatibility with Kodi, however).
VPNTunnel for Netflix
VPNTunnel is reasonably good for accessing Netflix, but you can only really do so on a US server.
While this may disappoint some users, it at least grants you access to the Netflix with the largest catalogue and best licensing.
Nevertheless, this is quite useless considering the fact that many of the VPNTunnel servers located in countries other than your own are simply too slow to watch video content.
Logging in from the UK, as we did for our VPNTunnel review, is a frustrating experience full of buffering pauses and image glitches.
So no, we don’t think this is a great VPN for Netflix — if you can’t access it through foreign servers, you may as well simply log into your own Netflix account.
VPNTunnel for torrenting
As with many other aspects of this service’s features, VPNTunnel’s policy is slightly confusing around its stance on torrenting.
At one point, it claims in garbled English that the service is great for torrenting, but at another, it states that it reserves the right to disable your account if you use it for such purposes.
We didn’t test the waters with this given the confusing warning posted on their terms of service, and we don’t recommend you do either. Besides, with such slow connection speeds, what would be the point?
Is VPNTunnel good for China?
China has the most notorious firewall anywhere on Earth – they don’t call it the Great Firewall of China for nothing.
Unfortunately, when researching for our VPNTunnel review, we came across no evidence that it has the capabilities for cracking that infrastructure.
Its best protocol, OpenVPN, has trouble getting past the Great Firewall, and the protocol that could break in, L2TP/IPsec, is nowhere near as secure.
Then there’s the issue of VPNTunnel’s server fleet. Ideally, you’d want some servers near China, but there are only 6 out of 800 that qualify. This means there’s a high probability these servers will become overloaded too quickly and thus be unusable.
The VPNTunnel website has a fairly extensive FAQ section that covers most of the (non-technical) information you may wish to seek.
They also have a ticket-based support system where you can speak to an actual agent. While we were researching and writing this review, though, we left a couple of messages on the chat window and kept an eye on it, waiting for a response.
In that time, the same message persisted: ‘We are sorry, all our agents are busy. Please # leave us a message # and we’ll get back to you shortly’.
Whatever the reason for this — too few agents or too many questions — it isn’t a good sign. You need to know you’re in good hands when choosing a VPN, and with a negligent chat system, we don’t get that with VPNTunnel.
As with most VPNs, VPNTunnel encourages you to commit for longer. Its pricing is as follows:
- One month: $9.99
- Three months: $6.66/month
- One year: $2.99/month
Not only is the one-year plan cheap on its own terms, it’s also much cheaper than the two-year plans of many VPNs.
We often believe, though, that you pay for what you get in a VPN, and this is certainly no different. If you’re on a budget and simply looking for security — and not for Netflix unblocking or torrenting privacy — then VPNTunnel may be the best option for you.
There is no free trial available with VPNTunnel, only a seven-day money-back guarantee
Then again, there is no free trial available with VPNTunnel, only a seven-day money-back guarantee. This is quite stingy when you consider that the single-month option is rather extortionate, so even then VPNTunnel loses points.
A running theme with VPNTunnel is that it seems to conjure up some of the most difficult ways of self-sabotage and success.
Many of its positive features are balanced out by negative features that don’t really need to be there. For instance, why opt for Blowfish encryption when everyone generally agrees AES-256-bit to be the better model? Why include the one protocol that bypasses the Great Firewall of China but is also terribly unsecure?
The many mysteries of VPNTunnel gave us little confidence to really trust it for ourselves, and we certainly don’t exactly trust it enough to recommend it to our readers. However, you may have spotted something you like in our VPNTunnel review, so while we don’t think it’s perfect, it’s cheap enough for you to give it a try.