ZPN VPN describes itself as a reliable, fast, and free VPN. Unfortunately, only the last claim is true, and those 8+ million users might not know that yet.
This ZPN VPN review breaks down the core features of this service and evaluates if it’s worth spending a dime on it. For those who don’t wish to scroll down, we preemptively advise looking for a better VPN.
ZPN VPN uses military-grade AES-256 encryption, but the protocol selection could be better. It supports OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec, which is less secure than IKEv2/IPSec. Windows and Android users can choose the less common SSL VPN and branded AntiDPI protocol to be used against Deep Packet Inspection in countries such as China.
Kill switch isn’t mentioned on ZPN VPN’s website. This usually means it is absent, which turns out to be not true after installing the client that also sports a DNS and IPv6 leak protection. But the kill switch is turned off by default and its meaning isn’t explained to less experienced users.
What about ZPN VPN’s reputation? For us, seeing the year 2017 on a home page’s footer is always cause for concern, especially when the website itself looks worse than it did in 2014. Checking out the blog section was a bad idea, as we were exposed to the latest post from March 2016. Their social media presence has a Google+ which has been shut down last year and Twitter, with the latest 26 chirps posted in 2015. The inclusion of AdChoices banners that follow your every step also raises an eyebrow.
Then comes the information about the company Vostok Soft FZC being located in the United Arab Emirates, where VPNs are banned for individuals and the web is filtered by the government.
The only data that ZPN VPN claims to collect and store is your email address, not including name, IP address, phone number or any other personal information.
Information sharing and disclosure is another dubious point: “ZPN does not share, sell or rent your personal information with non-affiliated companies or other people.” We read it as “affiliated companies might buy or rent your personal information.” Later these affiliates are named as “trusted partners.”
ZPN VPN offers 926 servers in 36 countries – too few for a worldwide service. The free version gets a limited selection in France, the Netherlands, Germany, the US, Canada, Italy, and the UK, which leaves users in other regions than Europe and North America disappointed.
Unfortunately, the speed results were below average from our testing location in Europe. We’ve experienced a 70% drop-off with the servers in Germany and the UK, which degraded to 80% for the US East Coast. Anything further away couldn’t climb above 10 Mbps.
Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS have apps, and there’s also a pre-configured router named ZPN Box that can secure your wifi connection without the need to install the VPN on every device. It doesn’t seem that ZPN VPN will be getting browser extensions or any support for other devices soon.
The client named ZPN Connect is pretty user-friendly, offering explanations for all settings which can be left as they are save for the kill switch. Advanced users are welcome to tweak gateway settings, VPN and IP protocols, and ports.
The so-called 24/7 customer support can be contacted by email or creating a ticket. Unfortunately, there’s no time frame for the response so that you might need patience.
ZPN VPN offers a free version that has a bandwidth limit, but 10 GB/month is something that you can live with if you’re not into streaming and torrenting, which is restricted in the Free account. Your speed and connection priority will also be limited.
Paid plans are divided into Mobile and Premium. The difference between them is the number of simultaneous connections – one for Mobile and five for Premium. Also, Mobile plans have a 50 GB/month bandwidth limit.
You can choose a Monthly, Quarterly, or Yearly subscription. Mobile prices differ only slightly, from $2.99/month to $1.99/month for one year. The Premium plan costs $9.99/month or $5.99/month annually. Having in mind that most of us use at least two devices, choosing other than the Premium option would do only to someone as shortsighted as a rhinoceros. And for $9.99/month one can get a much better VPN service.
The 7-day money-back guarantee is pretty short, and the service canceling can be done only by contacting customer support. While it states to be 24/7, we’d advise not to leave it for the last minute to avoid being charged. Though the FAQ mentions that a refund can be issued another seven days after the purchase.
Payment methods include PayPal and Bitcoin, so while there’s no way to use your credit card, having an anonymous option in cryptocurrency is a much better option.
The website claims that ZPN VPN unblocks Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming platforms. Unfortunately, it’s far from reality. While we had success with the BBC iPlayer, Netflix libraries in the UK, the US, and the Netherlands stayed closed.
ZPN VPN’s best feature is its free version that allows 10 GB/month. Because of the below average speeds, streaming and torrenting is problematic even with the Premium version. Therefore, it’s hard to recommend this service for anything else but hiding your IP address, something that a good proxy can do for you.
We haven’t tried ZPN VPN in China, and chances are it might work there. Otherwise, there would be no point in developing the AntiDPI protocol for users in China. But their outdated website sheds no light on when exactly this app has been updated. Therefore, those behind China’s Great Firewall should rather look at the best VPNs for China.
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Jan is a cybersecurity and consumer protection specialist focused on investigations that help readers navigate the complex infosecurity sphere. His research and commentary has been featured in Forbes, ComputerWeekly, PC Mag, TechRadar, ZDNet, The Mirror, Entrepreneur, and many other leading publications around the world.