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Will you feel “zen” when using this VPN? Read our ZenVPN review to learn all the details.
Launched in 2015, ZenVPN is a new kid on the VPN block. It is headquartered in Cyprus, owned by a company called RubyVector Ltd. The website has a modern feel to it but is rather sparse with information. Visitors are greeted by a quirky and somewhat vicious-looking floating monk character. Good start.
Graphics aside, ZenVPN offers its potential subscribers an easy installation process, a secure connection at an affordable rate, fast speeds, and a no-logs policy. One good thing is that you can take advantage of their free trial to see if they live up to their claims.
However, when you sign up for a free plan, you’ll instead be enrolled in their free trial, which will give you 24 hours of unlimited bandwidth. After that, you’ll have to upgrade to one of their premium plans.
Is ZenVPN safe to use?
ZenVPN has the following security features:
Note that ZenVPN always starts with OpenVPN preset, but this can be changed by following the steps on the website.
There doesn’t seem to be a kill switch feature, which is something one might want to have, particularly with a VPN service provider that’s quite new and relatively untested.
Does ZenVPN log your data?
While ZenVPN does not store traffic data, we are left wishing the no-log policy covered the connection data as well.
Speed and performance
For a VPN service that claims to be “blazing fast”, ZenVPN’s performance levels were very disappointing.
We attempted to put this VPN through our standard battery of speed tests. However, we were unable to connect to any servers in the US, so we’re left with just three locations for our speed test.
Our base speed test (no VPN) is as follows:
- Download speed: 243 Mbps
- Upload speed: 247 Mbps
We then tested the speeds in three locations on three different continents.
- Download: 8 Mbps
- Upload 11 Mbps
- Dropoff: 97%
- Download: 4 Mbps
- Upload 13 Mbps
- Dropoff: 98%
- Download: 243 Mbps
- Upload 247 Mbps
- Dropoff: 99%
These are pretty horrible tests, especially for one that is supposed to be offering “premium” speeds. On average, the European servers had better download speeds. This isn’t that big of a surprise, firstly because we’re based in Europe, and secondly, because ZenVPN focuses on that market.
However, we’re barely able to stream HD content in Europe, and we can certainly forget about it on different continents. If your main concern is speed, ZenVPN may seem unappealing to you because its performance is pathetically slow.
ZenVPN server coverage
ZenVPN has servers in 32 locations around the world. The number would be impressive, if it weren’t for the absolutely horrible speeds that these servers are delivering.
Some of the bigger VPNs have similar server locations but offer greater speeds.
Ease of use and multiplatform support
ZenVPN is compatible with:
Important: to use ZenVPN with platforms other than Windows, users have to manually set up the connection through the given configuration settings. After it has been set up, users can sign up for the free trial and connect immediately.
ZenVPN is very uncomplicated with its simple user interface and easy installation. It’s practically plug-and-play. On the flip side, it might be too simple for advanced users who want to tweak their settings or check other browsing-related data during a session.
The only noticeable function in the free trial version is connect/disconnect, and a selection of servers to pick from. On ZenVPN’s free trial, anyone can create an account, browse with it, and stream videos with a limit of 250MB per day.
Downloading and installing ZenVPN is simple and quick to do. ZenVPN is designed to be an easy setup as well as ease of use. Just download the kit on the website, hit install and you’re good to go.
ZenVPN for torrenting
ZenVPN allows torrenting and peer-to-peer file sharing without restriction, allowing users to engage in one of the main activities for using a VPN. However, it is important to take into consideration that there are faster VPN services out there.
Another disadvantage of ZenVPN is that it doesn’t provide a kill switch. Part of the major goals of a standard VPN is to keep your activities and location hidden. With its potential leakiness, it is not recommended for torrenting.
ZenVPN for Netflix
ZenVPN operates multiple server locations in the US, making it a potentially good tool for evading the regional restrictions of websites like Hulu and Netflix.
The service allows you to switch between server locations and access content from all over the world.
Users will be happy to learn that ZenVPN does unlock Netflix US, however, the same isn’t necessarilly true for other libraries. Also, Netflix is always on the lookout for new VPNs to block, so the resilience of ZenVPN is still to be tested.
Can you use ZenVPN in China?
Even though ZenVPN is commendable for its ease of use, ZenVPN has yet to be tested consistently as a viable solution for users in China. There are several VPN services that have what it takes to provide a secure and stable VPN connection to users in China.
Simply put, ZenVPN doesn’t have the look of a good VPN for China – it has no kill switch, no stealth protocols to reliably bypass the Great Firewall, and few servers to ensure good speeds.
There is no live chat, but there are several ways ZenVPN provides customer support:
- You can check the Help section, but it is rather limited. It covers the following:
- Configuring L2TP/IPSec protocol on Windows 7 and Windows XP, configuring OpenVPN on Linux.
- Troubleshooting the Windows client.
- There is a contact form on the website that includes instructions on how to report problems, as well as the option to include screenshots.
Overall, this is not a whole lot for a VPN in this over-saturated market.
They offer standard plans that are affordable, but the data transfer limit is 5GB a day. If you do not plan to torrent or stream high-definition movies, this should be enough.
With ZenVPN, you can pick between the weekly, monthly and annual plans.
For the Standard plan, it is:
- $2.95 weekly
- $5.95 monthly
- $49.95 yearly
For torrent and streaming purposes, you will be better off with the unlimited plan, which is nearly double the price of standard plans.
For the Unlimited plan, it is:
- Weekly plan is $5.95
- Monthly plan is $9.95
- Annual plan is $95.50
Apparently, ZenVPN offers a free plan:
However, when you sign up for the free plan, install ZenVPN, and connect to the location of your choice, you’ll get this message:
They forgot to mention that the free plan is free for 24 hours – which is often called a free trial. A bit of creative marketing on their side then.
ZenVPN accepts debit or credit card, but there’s no cryptocurrency option – a worry if you want maximum anonymity. All plans include a 30-day money back guarantee with no questions asked.
Bottom line of our ZenVPN review
While we liked ZenVPN’s ease of use, this is really all it is – a “pure basics” VPN. There is no kill switch, few apps, servers, support resources, and payment options.
It’s great that there are no restrictions on P2P and torrenting activities, but subscription rates are somewhat on the high side. Standard packages only offer a maximum of 5GB of data transfers, but the rates are as high as VPN service providers that offer an unlimited service with more features.
For a service that states that their speeds are “blazing fast,” ZenVPN was decidedly below average. The customer support options are also rather limited, and since email is the only way to reach them, resolving issues can take some time.
Finally, the simplicity of ZenVPN, which is its most obvious advantage, might also be a disadvantage – it might not appeal to advanced users.