Last update: 02.21.2019
X-VPN’s obscurity about its leadership and the protocols used is somewhat worrisome, but the free VPN version may be tempting enough for some. Check out our X-VPN review to learn more.
Free Connected Limited, a Hong Kong-based Android app developer, launched its first X-VPN proxy apps only 2 years ago. In its short life, it has managed to attract over 30 million users.
This VPN service now boasts 5,000+ servers in more than 50 locations around the world. Quite uniquely, X-VPN offers 8 self-developed protocol types to choose from.
The premium plans are quite expensive considering what you get. You may want to use the 7-day money-back guarantee to give the premium version a shot as the free X-VPN version won’t get you far.
Security and privacy: is X-VPN safe to use?
The company behind X-VPN is based in Hong Kong, which means no mandatory data retention laws. While VPN use is legal in Hong Kong, it’s not the best location for a VPN provider.
We can’t claim that X-VPN is a true no-logs policy VPN service. But we can call it a “no identifying logs” VPN. After dissecting this legal document for our X-VPN review, here’s what we found.
No personally identifying logs but there’s a lot of logging going on.
X-VPN does not collect:
- How you use your VPN connection
- Original IP address
On the other hand, X-VPN collects way too much aggregate and other types of information for our standards.
The collected information includes:
- Your email address
- Your payment details
- Servers you connect to
- Connection timestamp
- Protocol used
- Network type
In plain English, your true IP address and traffic data (e.g., browsing history and DNS queries) are not collected and logged. Our team has found that this service only logs data that is important to sustain and improve the VPN service.
It’s clear that X-VPN uses the usual AES-256 encryption and, contrary to what other reviewers have said, even has a built-in kill switch that’s supposed to block all outgoing traffic if the VPN connection drops.
No technical details are disclosed about the VPN protocols.
However, there’s no information whatsoever about the VPN protocols it uses. All you can find out from the website is that there are 8 protocols to choose from.
Our guys dug deeper and discovered that this VPN uses its self-developed protocol they call Protocol-X with 8 types of tunneling protocols. Protocol-X is supposed to mimic other protocols while using multiple unparalleled encryption. Of course, time and future in-depth tests will tell how secure these are. For now, we can say that we haven’t found leaks.
All in all, our review concludes that X-VPN is relatively safe as it is based in Hong Kong and doesn’t log any personally identifiable data. Still, we’re a bit concerned about the not-so-transparent protocols.
Probably the fastest connection times we’ve ever seen. In as little as 2-3 seconds after clicking Connect, you are connected to your chosen server location. If you wish to find out about the latency of each server, you can use the built-in ping test. On the Select Location screen, click on the Speedometer icon in the upper-right corner of the app window.
Before we connected to an X-VPN server to test speeds, we had these results as our baseline:
Then, we connected to a couple of locations around the globe to see how X-VPN performed. We checked speeds with two of the most secure protocols, one of which offered the fastest (Protocol H) and the other, slower speeds (Protocol C).
USA speed results (Protocol H)
USA speed results (Protocol C)
UK speed results (Protocol H)
UK speed results (Protocol C)
Australia speed results (Protocol H)
Australia speed results (Protocol H)
Our speed tests also showed much worse results (around 10 Mbps) when changing to other protocols. So, you need to play around a bit to find the best one for your needs. These are average to relatively good speeds, which you can use for general geo-unblocking and browsing, streaming videos, online gaming, or even torrenting.
However, it’s difficult to compare these speed test results with other VPNs since we have no clue what kind of protocol is really applied. (We usually run our speed tests using OpenVPN over UDP when possible.)
How to download and install it
X-VPN supports a good range of platforms considering it’s only 2 years old. You’ll find a native app for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome, routers, and Fire TV. However, some of these may only be available for premium users.
On the official website, select the Download menu, click on your desired platform, and press the Download button. The installation of X-VPN is probably the easiest ever. After you launch the installer, it’ll install the app without any further steps or buttons to click. Yes, that simple.
How to use X-VPN
Then, you either need to create an account or sign in, if you already have one.
Now, on the home screen, you’ll see your originating IP address and whether your data is protected. You can open the Select Location screen by clicking the Select Location link if you want to choose a server. The X-VPN app will automatically connect to your choice.
But, you can also decide to click the Connect button directly to connect to an optimal server by default. This is usually the closest and fastest possible server.
If you want to disconnect any time, click on the red Disconnect button.
The X-VPN configuration options are rather limited. If you open the main menu, there are two options to set:
You can choose to launch the app on startup and select apps not to use when you’re connected to a VPN server. That’s all.
As our review pointed out earlier, this VPN uses its own Protocol-X with 8 tunneling options. Click the Protocol button at the bottom of the home screen.
Here you’ll find all the protocols from A to H as these letters are assigned to each tunnel. These protocols use a five-star system to indicate the following parameters:
- Speed to connect
- Speed after connected
For beginner users, this may be an easier way to select the right protocol. However, for more advanced VPN enthusiasts this could be off-putting.
X-VPN free version
This review found that the free version has limited servers and a 500 MB monthly data cap on the Windows, Mac OS, and Chrome clients. For the mobile apps (Android and iOS) X-VPN displays third-party ads to sustain the free VPN service. These apps have no data cap.
Once the 500 MB is drained, which can be in as little as an hour or less, you’ll be reminded to upgrade to premium. This screen will come up every time you’ll try to connect to a location.
There’s also an X-VPN premium 7-day free trial for your mobile devices. If you choose this option, you’ll automatically be charged for the annual plan after the 7 days free trial expires. Remember to cancel your subscription in time if you change your mind.
X-VPN for Netflix
It’s possible to use this VPN for the US, GB, JP, and BR Netflix catalogs. The dedicated VPN speed test on fast.com showed around 15 Mbps on average for all regions, enough for seamless HD streaming.
X-VPN can also bypass the Hulu, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, Hotstar, HBO Go, and other popular entertainment centers, for now. If you’re looking for the most reliable VPN for Netflix, we have a list for you to consider.
X-VPN for torrenting
X-VPN allows P2P file-sharing, since there’s no discrimination regarding your traffic. X-VPN seems to have good enough security and no traffic logs, which are crucial factors for torrenters.
Live chat support
It’s live when it works.
The allegedly 24/6 live chat support isn’t as responsive as expected. We had to wait for hours to be able to contact a support agent with our technical issues. Since there was no response for hours, we also sent an email. However, there’s been no reply to that for the past day.
The official site has a very limited knowledge base to help you.
X-VPN has a free and a premium version. The free X-VPN app has unlimited data for the mobile platforms and a 500 MB cap on the desktop versions, plus a limited number of servers and features.
The premium plans are very simple and not too tempting.
You’ll have to pay $11.99 for the monthly subscription and $5.99 per month billed $71.88 every year.
On a more positive note, you can pay with PayPal, credit cards, gift cards, Advcash, cryptocurrency (Bitcoin), and a few other options depending on your location. This also means that you can buy an X-VPN plan anonymously.
Conclusion of our X-VPN review
For a newcomer VPN, we must admit that this is a fairly impressive VPN. X-VPN has from average to relatively good speeds and great streaming capabilities. It allows for torrenting and it’s relatively safe as well. We still don’t like the secrecy about the protocols and who’s behind this VPN.
Still, you can try it out by using the free version or the 7-day premium free trial option (mobile only). But, if you’re looking for a more reliable and faster service, you may want to check out our best VPN picks.