Zero VPN is exclusive to Android, but gets the job done for what they claim to be “zero cost” and with “zero difficulty”. The service is completely free and if it doesn’t show up on your country’s Play Store, there’s an .apk on the official website.
Given that it exists on literally just one platform, that’s limited accessibility right there (lest you use an emulator), but it gets points for being free and offering the varied servers that it does.
Their claims of no-logging are a bit dubious, with diagnostic data being sent to third-parties, but if you’re using it in a country like China (or any other country with restricted Internet) or to access Netflix US, it’s a reliable solution with no bandwidth limitations.
There’s also an in-app purchase that claims to connect you to their premium servers, but in the same locations as already given.
While it’s a relatively new service, it’s good for unblocking yourself on-the-go, in school and college, or at work. With Zero VPN, we aim to compare it against other free services; if you’re shopping for a VPN service on Android, this Zero VPN review is for you.
Is Zero VPN safe to use?
Since the app is a simple and straightforward connector, much like how proxy servers used to be, instead of listing its security features, let’s go over what Zero VPN doesn’t have:
- No kill-switch
- No multi-hop
- No split tunneling
- No special features, even on the “VIP” version
This is what makes Zero a bare-necessities app, but not necessarily unsafe by any means. The app uses the OpenVPN protocol, considered the strongest – using OpenVPN is a good sign, especially when over UDP, like Zero VPN does.
They mention your data is encrypted over the software but don’t remark on what specific encryption they’re using. This is suspicious, especially since even the least-secure form of encryption (128-bit, as compared to 192 or 256) is still considered pretty robust.
The fact that it requires no registration, however, while enough to make some paranoid, might also be considered by some as good – you don’t need to enter any personal details to use the service.
Then there’s also the question of the many permissions the app needs in order to work, including your:
- Photos, media, and literally all other files
- Device history
- Call information
If you’ve used a VPN before, you might say that this is unusual, especially for an app so closely linked to privacy.
We found no DNS leaks, however, testing on most of their 9 servers, which is encouraging. The same can be said for IPv6 leaks.
It’s hard to tell how much of any of this is incidental, however, since the software offers almost close to literally zero information on their structure, architecture, or policies.
Does Zero VPN log your data?
Speed and performance
This is where Zero VPN surprised us and surpassed our expectations, not suffering any large drops.
We found our upload speed increased in most situations, which meant our original ISP was throttling our upload bandwidth. One of the many benefits of a VPN is bypassing a limit placed on your bandwidth by your Internet Service Provider.
Here’s the original speed, followed by a sample of the multiple tests run on the United Kingdom, United States, and Singapore servers (respectively):
- Download: 1 Mbps
- Upload: 2 Mbps
- Download: 1 Mbps
- Upload: 1 Mbps
- Download: 1 Mbps
- Upload: 2 Mbps
Given the fact that these tests were made in places on all corners of the world from a location far away, even a 50% drop in speed would’ve been tolerable, but in most of these there’s hardly that, the difference sometimes clocking in at 20% (considered fast, even for nearby locations).
There is, however, always an element of “right time, right place” involved with tests of a subjective nature. Of course, with the service being free, we encourage you to try and see the results for yourself.
Ease of use and multi-platform support
For countries that might be subject to VPN restrictions on the Google Play Store, the official site offers a direct .apk download. This is a good step that decreases the risk of fake apps cropping up on suspicious download sites.
Once download and installed, there’s no registration and you can go straight to the VPN activating. The interface is simple, with a map showing active servers (and your location), and buttons below to directly load a VPN-backed version of YouTube, Pandora, Chrome, et cetera.
If you’ve skipped straight to this part of the Zero VPN review just to find out more about whether there’s a Windows version, know that the app only exists in an Android version, and that’s about it so far.
That means there’s no way to install it on your router, Amazon Fire TV, or iPhone. You can, however, run it while your Android phone runs Kodi.
When we opened Netflix over the US server, we were able to access shows available only on the US version of Netflix. However, Netflix pinned the server as being a VPN connection before playing even a second of an episode.
Since there’s no dedicated IP addresses or ability to switch them at will, using Zero VPN for Netflix is not recommended.
Needless to say, there are better VPNs out there that focus on Netflix specifically.
P2P and torrenting
Similar to our results above, we tried writing this very Zero VPN review on software downloaded over a torrent after restricting P2P sharing on our connection.
Zero VPN did nothing to remedy the situation, on multiple servers.
However, since Zero VPN claims to encrypt all data, it’s encouraging to torrent without worry, since your IP address will be obfuscated and presented as being from somewhere else (thus preserving your anonymity) wherever needed. And since speeds aren’t compromised too greatly in the name of security, mobile torrenting might be safer with Zero VPN.
China and online censorship
Interestingly, we’ve received reports of users being able to run Zero VPN in China, despite the OpenVPN protocol which users usually claim to find banned in China.
The fact that Zero VPN is a relatively small company means it’s probably not on the radar enough to warrant a blanket ban from the Chinese authorities.
A word of caution, however – it pays to pay for your VPN subscription and let a service that’s been known to protect free speech get behind you if your goal is any form of political dissent.
While we found ZeroVPN to be leak-free, and it being relatively new means it’s less likely to be blocked just yet, it might be better utilized for light entertainment than acts of rebellion.
As mentioned before, support is virtually non-existent.
There are no FAQs on the websites, the comments aren’t replied to on the Google Play Store, and there is no live chat support. The only thing present is an email address, which we reached out to and received no response.
Hence, there are no answers to basic questions (or volunteered information), no on-the-spot troubleshooting, and a ticket system for responding to queries. Not encouraging, to say the least.
ZeroVPN is a free product but comes with an in-app purchase that allows you to pay for VIP servers.
The VIP payment plan is relatively cheap and not too complicated. The free version times out after an hour – and you must reconnect – and claims to have slower bandwidth than the VIP versions. The paid version will also block ads.
There’s payment plans for a month, three months, twice a year, and annually:
- 1-month plan for $3.00
- 3-month plan for $2.00/month
- 6-month plan for $1.66/month
- 1-year plan for $1.33/month
For just one connection on one device, it’s a good price, neither here nor there – but definitely more affordable than most if you look at it just in terms of payment.
To summarize our Zero VPN review, it’s as good as it can get for a free VPN with Chinese ownership. There’s no obvious invasion of privacy, the servers have good speed, and Netflix can’t be unblocked, but that isn’t something you’d expect from a small VPN anyway.
It’s relative newness and small size also might make it good for slipping under the radar of countries where VPNs might be banned.
However, their customer support and guidance are abysmal and leave a lot of confusion and suspicion behind. For light entertainment and day-to-day casual browsing without worrying about IP leaks or school and work restrictions, this might be a good option.