Last update: 08.01.2018
Like a snake in tall grass, VyprVPN can’t be caught. Users in restricted countries will love it, others might find it very situational. Read our review to see if it works for you!
Despite not being the most popular, Golden Frog’s VyprVPN is one of the best. We keep mentioning trust as one of the primary currencies in the VPN market. The reason trust is valuable? Scarcity. Most companies on the market keep a skeleton or two in the closet. Some probably hide entire graveyards. Not VyprVPN.
Golden Frog is a company with some of the most refreshingly honest marketing in any industry. If their product isn’t that good at something – they’ll tell you. Fortunately, there isn’t much to tell, because the product is quite solid.
Should you stop reading right away and throw your money at them? Perhaps you should, but not necessarily. This is a VPN that doesn’t try to do everything – it prides itself on quality over quantity. Some things this tool does very well, others – worse or not at all. Our VyprVPN review will try to reveal whether this one’s for you.
One of the things we can praise VyprVPN for is technical prowess in the sphere of security. They have great encryption, as is currently the standard for VPN industry leaders (AES-256-CBC), and they own all their servers. This lessens the chances that a third party can tamper with the hardware and compromise your security without Golden Frog’s knowledge. They have their own private DNS network to avoid leaks, and they have a good selection of security protocols (OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and Chameleon). The majority of these are widely available, except Chameleon. The latter is Golden Frog’s own protocol, created with the objective of avoiding VPN blocking/throttling efforts.
There are some concerns that VyprVPN is susceptible to leaks (more on that later), but this also seems to be the case for most other VPNs outside the very top.
The company responsible for VyprVPN, Golden Frog, is legally registered in privacy-friendly Switzerland. This is a country with no data retention laws and not part of the 14 eyes group. In other words, they are ideally-positioned to ignore legal requests and protect your anonymity.
Many VPNs are beating their chest and claiming they have a “zero logging” policy. Sounds very nice, but most are simply lying or at the very least “massaging the truth”. It’s therefore very nice to see VyprVPN state very clearly what data they keep or don’t keep. With that said, they do log a bit too much, including timestamps, bandwidth, and your IP address.
The service has very good speeds that rival some of the strongest VPNs on the market today. They have 700+ servers in over 70 locations around the world – far from the most, but also not shabby. Obviously, the server list is not an obstacle to offering lightning fast connections.
VyprVPN is particularly good for users in countries where VPN-blocking is commonplace – China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, etc. Their Chameleon protocol prevents blocking and throttling efforts, eliminating the risk of making a long-term investment.
Vypr will also let you get your hands on most geo-blocked content. This includes unrestricted access to popular streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, HBO, Hulu, etc. We can’t, however, recommend VyprVPN for those who want to torrent, simply because Golden Frog frowns upon it and will cancel your account if they receive a complaint.
There are 2 versions – Basic and Premium. Both have slightly different features, which we’ll tell you more about further in the review. The Premium version is 1 month for $12.95 or 1 year for $6.67 a month, whereas the Basic version is 1 month for $9.95 or 1 year for $5.00 a month. Both options are competitively-priced, and the Basic version will be enough for a majority of users. The unfortunate part about paying for VyprVPN is that they don’t offer anonymous payment methods or a money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN is a good choice for those concerned about security – particularly users in VPN-blocking countries. It might not be the best for some highly sensitive activity in the West, including torrenting.
Is VyprVPN safe to use?
Speed & Performance
How to download it
How to install it
How to use VyprVPN
Apps and Extensions
VyprVPN for Netflix
VyprVPN for Torrenting
Is it good for users in China?
Is VyprVPN safe to use?
The global VPN user base can be divided into those more concerned with either access or security. Some tools will satisfy both needs, but many will not. VyprVPN offers a mixed bag – some exceptional access-oriented features, as well as strong security credentials, but also serious drawbacks in both areas.
Encryption is currently more or less standardized at the top of the VPN market. Most use an AES-256-CBC cipher with a 2048 or 4096-bit handshake. Golden Frog’s product is no exception – their default data encryption is AES-256, and their handshake is RSA-2048. The letters and numbers may sound obscure, but what they describe is an unbreakable cipher: all of Earth’s computing power would not be able to brute force a 256-bit key until the end of time. More or less.
VyprVPN offers a good selection of security protocols – OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and Chameleon. For the uninitiated, OpenVPN is the default choice security protocol. It provides a good standard of protection along with speed. No self-respecting VPN can currently exist without it. There isn’t much to say about L2TP/IPsec, whereas PPTP we urge everyone to steer clear of. Some VPNs have already ditched PPTP and with good reason – a 56-bit key is far from sufficient in our technological context.
Then there’s the Chameleon protocol. Very interesting and cool! This “technology” (as Golden Frog refers to it) was created by the VyprVPN team with one purpose in mind – defeating attempts to block VPN traffic. Governments are increasingly using something called “deep packet inspection” (DPI) to stop access to VPNs. Without getting into too much detail, DPI is a way of analyzing the metadata of encrypted traffic, which can be used to recognize VPN traffic or malware traffic. A powerful tool for good and evil alike. Chameleon scrambles that metadata, allowing your traffic to blend in and bypass the malicious efforts of repressive governments.
An important thing to take into account when looking at one VPN or another is the company’s country of registration. In this case, that’s Switzerland – a mountainous country known for its friendly cows, delicious chocolate made using friendly-cow-milk, and nefarious banking practices. That last bit is very relevant here because it demonstrates Switzerland’s attitude towards privacy. To say that they take it seriously is to undersell it, which is why Golden Frog isn’t the only VPN company to register there.
Each time a user connects to VyprVPN, we retain the following data for 30 days: the user’s source IP address, the VyprVPN IP address used by the user, connection start and stop time and a total number of bytes used.
Many VPNs will drop a “strict zero logs policy” or “no logging” and then proceed to present the truth in some weird, devious way. In this case, the facts are laid bare for all to see, allowing everyone to make an informed decision. Very nice indeed, but unfortunately the policy itself is not ideal. We’d like there to be a lot less logging. Reading further, we’d also like there to be a lot less releasing of personal information if we are ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction to do so. That’s not good reading, folks.
Golden Frog has a lot to say about copyright infringements, suffice to quote their policy:
- to remove or disable access to the content identified in the notice of claimed infringement;
- to notify the subscriber that it has removed or disabled access to the content; and
- to terminate in appropriate circumstances subscribers who are repeat infringers.
With all this information I think it’s safe to say VyprVPN is very safe for some, and completely not safe for others. Although Golden Frog doesn’t explicitly state it, there’s a moral element at play here. Want to access information in a repressive regime? Be our guest. Would rather load up the torrents or hack someone? Not on our watch.
Speed & Performance
Some VPNs are secure and turn you into a digital snail. You can feel the seasons change as the browser saunters from one page to the next, the tune of tectonic plates grinding against each other heard in the background. That’s not why people came up with fiberglass wires!
It is true that security is inversely proportional to speed, but that doesn’t have to break a product. VyprVPN is a good example of this. At 700+ servers in over 70 locations, their sheer stats don’t sound amazing at all: NordVPN has 4,500+, PIA has 3200+, etc. Yet the speeds of both these services are comparable to VyprVPN at the very least and probably worse.
Why is that? Well, here we should probably take a step back and repeat that they own all their servers. Golden Frog can optimize those servers and achieve a higher level of performance than they would be able to otherwise. It also makes that 700+ number more solid: many VPNs will use Virtual Private Servers instead of hardware ones to cover some locations, and the performance of these is in no way like the real thing. To be perfectly clear, we’re not implying Nord or PIA do this, but the practice is prevalent.
Even though VyprVPN doesn’t have that many servers, their coverage is decent. They have a strong presence in Europe and the Americas, but also Asia (including the Middle East), and Oceania. Only Africa is underrepresented, with the only servers being on the Northern coast, in Algeria and Egypt. This means speeds should suffer less from region to region, with the only real exceptions being less-densely populated areas of the world.
How to download it
One of the first things that will draw your attention on the VPN’s website is an orange “Get Started” button. It’s easy to find and difficult to avoid clicking. Once you do that you’ll enter a streamlined process:
- Choose Your VyprVPN Plan
There are two options to choose from – Basic and Premium. The differences are listed right away so you can make an informed decision.
- Enter Your Account Information
Create your account by entering your name, last name, email address, and password. That’s obviously too much information…
- Enter Your Billing Information
More about that later…
All you need to do now is find the client version you’re looking for and download it. Et voila! You’re ready to slither into the wild blue yonder.
How to install it
Once your download is complete, just follow your heart, Harry. Double-click that installer and Next, Next, Next away!
Only one slightly weird thing will happen during this installation process. You’ll have to give the installer permission to make changes to your computer. Don’t worry – it will ask nicely.
How to use VyprVPN
The app will ask you to log in using your username and password. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be greeted by a somewhat boring-looking interface.
It’s mostly white and gray and offers more in the way of textual information than graphics. Feels very professional – we appreciate that a lot. There’s nothing zany or fun about this tool, which is probably as it should be. Let’s put it this way – if your doctor turns up for the surgery wearing clown shoes, you’ll keep that appendix for one more day.
So, let’s get to it.
The front screen has a Connect button and a Location button. The default choice, if you just press connect, is the Fastest Server for your location. However, you can also choose a specific location or create a list of “Favorite” locations. This screen also shows how much incoming and outgoing traffic you have, as well as your main connection parameters – the VPN IP, connection time, VPN protocol/level of encryption, and whether NAT firewall is enabled or not.
The “Server Location” menu allows you to select where you want to connect to. There are some sorting options available: firstly by ping, which you will see next to each server location, but also by Region. You can “favorite” server locations to make the entire process quicker in the future. Finally, you can just use the Search tab.
It’s a little unfortunate that you can’t choose specific servers to connect to – only locations. That’s a minor issue and not all top VPNs offer that option.
If VyprVPN can’t connect to a server, it will try to Troubleshoot, meaning, it will attempt connections using different protocols, and (presumably) ports.
The “Settings” menu is well organized and offers some truly meaningful choices. Here’s what you can do, tab by tab.
a) Automatic Reconnect
In our experience with VyprVPN, disconnects do happen with some frequency – not outrageously often, but not once a day either. Therefore, choosing to automatically reconnect is not a bad idea.
b) Connect on Start
When do you want to auto-connect? When the OS starts or when you run the app? Or never? Don’t know about you, but for us, memory is a 50/50 thing. Then again, we don’t depend on VPN for our lives.
c) Kill Switch
VyprVPN’s kill switch is one of the best. But first, what is a kill switch?
Well, it’s a feature that protects VPN users from unwanted connection interruptions. If your connection to the VPN server is cut off, your traffic will go through your regular connection. This might expose your personal data to those who shouldn’t see it. Unless you have a kill switch. This will stop your traffic as soon as you are disconnected from the VPN server.
This particular kill switch will stop all your traffic. It can also remain active even if your client is closed, and you can make it stop all your LAN traffic as well. That gives the user a lot more power than usual.
You can make a list of trusted Wi-Fi networks and make VyprVPN connect automatically when you join one that’s not on the list. That’s useful for those who want to protect their data while working in some café.
Lets you choose the security protocol, the level of encryption and the port (if you’re using Chameleon or OpenVPN). TCP port 443 is available – it provides a better chance of passing roadblocks. That’s because this is the port TLS/SSL (HTTPS) traffic uses, making it more difficult to discern VPN traffic from HTTPS.
Golden Frog owns their own DNS (Domain Name Servers) – yet another feather in their cap in terms of security. Our computers use DNS’ to change regular language hostnames into IP addresses. As such, your DNS knows what sites you are browsing. This is an issue when that DNS belongs to your ISP and they’re the people you’re trying to hide from.
b) 3rd Party DNS
VyprVPN allows you to set up an alternate DNS. This is very unusual in a positive way – again, more power to the user.
c) DNS Leak Prevention
Even if the VPN uses their own DNS, Windows can be dumb enough to leak. Vypr prevents that.
Not much to say here: notification, sound options. Nothing weird.
This tab includes a warning not to change anything unless you know what you’re doing. If you don’t, we shouldn’t encourage you. If you do, you don’t need the encouragement. All we’ll say is – it’s very nice to have this level of customizability.
Typical account information, version information, and updates.
VyprVPN has a professional interface in the style of a Windows Control Panel menu. There aren’t many fireworks, but the features and customization opportunities are great!
Apps and Extensions
We’re tired of praising, but yet again we must. VyprVPN has more apps than you have platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Router, QNAP, Blackphone, TV, Anonabox. We’ll venture a guess that half of those you haven’t even heard of.
The Windows app we’ve talked about already, so how are the other ones?
The Mac app is more or less identical to its Windows counterpart. VPN clients for the Mac are on average less-prone to the most severe types of leaks. This one is no exception. So, if anything, VyprVPN is a bit better on Mac.
VyprVPN for Android and iOS are immediately different because they’re black. The iOS one also has a special iPad version with a big interactive map – very convenient. Both apps have significant differences in what they offer.
On Android, you will be able to use split tunneling (choose which apps will use the VPN, and which ones will not). The iOS version offers one security protocol by default – IPsec/IKEv2. This is a very strong and secure choice, but there is no OpenVPN choice, and therefore also no Chameleon. Apple is to blame here – they have refused to approve the inclusion of OpenVPN on many occasions. Meanwhile, VyprVPN on Android has the same protocols the desktop versions do. By the way, if you don’t want to touch Google Play, you can download the VyprVPN app directly from their website.
In these regards, VyprVPN is stronger on Android than iOS, but both are ultimately quite functional.
We won’t get into the QNAPs and Blackphones, other than that it’s perhaps more important to have a Linux app. Not complaining but, you know…
It’s great that VyprVPN has a router app for a few reasons:
1) Using VPN at the router-level makes you by far the most secure you can be. The custom app simplifies this process for less-advanced users.
2) You can make the 3-device limit on the Basic subscription of VyprVPN less painful (because VPN on your router will secure all traffic going through your Wi-Fi).
The app itself has a lot of room for customization and will allow you to set up the VPN in a way that works best for you. Just make sure you get a router that supports VyprVPN because not all of them will. Also, when you are making a choice, make sure you take into account the power of the router’s processor. VPN services are calculation-intensive and a slow router will make your connection speed terrible.
VyprVPN for Netflix
No issues here – VyprVPN is good at bypassing geo-blocking measures and will, therefore, let you watch Netflix without restriction. It is also a very fast VPN service, so your binges will not be ruined by interruptions. The same goes for BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, and other such platforms.
VyprVPN for Torrenting
You can use VyprVPN for torrents – the service is network-neutral and will not block P2P. Should you? Probably not.
If Golden Frog receives a copyright complaint in relation to your torrenting activities, you can lose your account. It’s quite likely you will never have to deal with such a situation, but why take the risk? There are a few VPNs that are just as good, cheap, and a lot less judgemental.
Is it good for users in China?
Yes. In fact, we would argue this is where we’re most confident in VyprVPN. It seems clear from everything we’ve seen, that Golden Frog positions their tool as an aid for democracy. Freedom of speech and information, helping people avoid the grasp of repressive governments – this is their life-blood.
You need not look further than their Chameleon protocol to know this is true. Chameleon was created by Golden Frog specifically to bypass attempts at blocking or throttling VPN traffic through the use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). This should make users in China a lot less nervous about getting a long-term subscription – VyprVPN will work a month from now.
All of this also applies to users in other countries that have taken steps to thwart internet freedom – Russia, Turkey, Iran, India, etc.
We do have some concerns, however, which should not be ignored. First of all, there are reports that VyprVPN has some leaking issues. They don’t seem to be unavoidable, but precautions should certainly be taken to avoid them. Secondly, signing up for the service is not an anonymous process in the least. Golden Frog doesn’t have a .onion site, they ask for your first and last name, and there are no anonymous payment methods on offer. Furthermore, there are reports that you can’t set up whilst connected to another VPN. Take that under advisement!
Our experience with VyprVPN support resources has been good. Their website has FAQs, instructions, and troubleshooting guides, all of which are well-written and informative. The website itself is not difficult to navigate and you’ll get to “Support” very quickly.
Those who would rather get help from VyprVPN staff will also be satisfied. There is a ticket system for the more complicated issues, and a 24/7 live chat function. Unfortunately, we couldn’t reach the chat whilst connected to a different VPN. Frankly, this is not a good look for a privacy-minded company.
Once we did get to Golden Frog’s representatives, they were quick to answer and informative.
VyprVPN comes in two different shapes – Basic and Premium.
Basic costs $9.95 for a monthly subscription or $5.00 per month for an annual subscription. It limits simultaneous connections to 3 but offers all features (except VyprVPN Cloud and the Chameleon protocol).
Premium costs $12.95 for a monthly subscription or $6.67 per month for an annual subscription. The number of simultaneous connections is limited to 5.
There is a 3-day free trial, but it’s not what it sounds like. You will have to enter your payment details, and if you want to opt out within 3 days – VyprVPN will not bill you. Suddenly sounds more like a 3-day money-back guarantee than a free trial. And that, friends, is pretty lame.
VyprVPN is not the most expensive tool out there, but we don’t appreciate that there’s no 2-year or 3-year plan. Even a 6-month plan would be nice.
VyprVPN is great for certain groups of people – those living under repressive regimes as well as those who aren’t doing something strictly illegal. It’s quick, reliable, and very difficult to block due to its Chameleon protocol. Vypr will give you great privacy and security but it won’t be flawless. Specifically, there are concerns about its logging policy, sign-up process, WebRTC leaks and some other things.
VyprVPN has user-friendly apps for most popular platforms, as well as some less popular ones. It will help you get past geo-blocking and watch Netflix. If you have some issue, their great support resources won’t leave you hanging.
Should you buy VyprVPN? Hopefully, our review has given you the information needed to decide!