Almost everyone I know has come across schemes on the internet designed by hackers to steal data. Cybersecurity remains one of the major concerns of corporate entities and individuals. A VPN takes away the fear of falling into hackers’ traps by securely paving a gateway for data to safely reach its destination.
VPNs use secure protocols to keep you safe while browsing the internet, encrypt your internet traffic, and ensure safe browsing. Asides from all these, VPNs also provide access to geo-blocked content. In this review, I dive into a long-term VPN service provider–VPNSecure.
Australia-based VPNSecure started operations in 2010. Since then, It has grown to an intercontinental server network of more than a hundred servers in 48 locations. Under the Australian government’s jurisdiction, it is subject to some privacy-unfriendly laws. Although there were talks of a move to Hong Kong, VPNSecure remains in Australia.
This VPN service provider offers basic security features, including industry-standard encryption, secure VPN protocols, and a kill switch. Though unreliable, its speed is decent enough to stream without lags and support downloading torrent files. However, its streaming abilities are nothing to write home about.
VPNSecure’s applications are easy to use and are available across major platforms, including routers. Customer support personnel are always available to help if you encounter problems. It permits five simultaneous connections on its affordable plans and has a 7-day refund policy.
VPNSecure has a server network of about a hundred servers spread across 48 locations. This small server network spans almost every major global region. A substantial number of its servers are in Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific. South Africa, Brazil, and Chile barely represent Africa and South America with only 3 servers.
Unlike some VPN services that rent server infrastructure, VPNSecure owns and manages all its servers. However, due to its small network, there are likely to be bottlenecks on the network.
Although VPNSecure does not have special servers, I discovered it has an obfuscation tool (StealthVPN) on its desktop applications to reduce firewall detections and bypass areas with severe restrictions. Though with reviews from users in China, it is not reliable enough to depend on it.
Speed and Performance
Asides from the usual speed loss that comes with strong encryption when using VPN services, those with small server networks tend to have congestion on individual servers. Fortunately, I didn’t experience any congestions while using VPNSecure.
Connecting to local servers results in minimal speed loss. You are likely to take significant hits in both upload and download speed if you connect to servers outside your region. I certainly did, with more than a 20% reduction in speed. When I connected to servers in the US, my download speed took a big hit, with an almost 40% decline.
Compared to some of the fastest VPN services, VPNSecure is not exceptional, but it gets the job done. Your experience depends on the distance between your location and the server you connect to.
Changing servers will help if you’re having any serious lagging issues on a particular server because it might be due to overcrowding on that server.
Safety and Security
VPNSecure has all the necessary security features to keep you safe when it comes to security. You have the option to choose from three encryption protocols to use. AES-128, AES-256, and DES-CBC are options available. I believe it is in your best interest to use military-grade 256-bit encryption, as it remains the most powerful one available. No malicious entity can break this encryption. Selecting either AES-128 or 64-bit DES-CBC might give you better performance but at the risk of data exposure.
Protocols available to secure your traffic include OpenVPN, HTTP Proxy, and SSH SOCKS. All applications use OpenVPN by default, which is the most secure option. It also has a kill switch feature on Windows and macOS apps. The kill switch, combined with an option to disable IPv6, helps prevent leakages leading to your IP address’s exposure.
Although there is little or no information on other security features on its website, I was able to find out that VPNSecure supports Tor over VPN but not DoubleVPN. Overall, despite not having many security features, it has the basics necessary to keep your data safe.
Anonymity and Privacy Features
VPNSecure is Australia-based. Unfortunately, Australia is a member of the Five Eyes Alliance. This alliance involves intelligence-sharing among member countries. Using any VPN under any of these countries’ jurisdiction can put you at risk of data exposure, stifling your privacy in the process.
There is a law in Australia that compels technology companies to give security agencies access to encrypted messages. This further shows that Australia is not a privacy-friendly country.
Another thing to consider is that there is no warrant canary to inform you if that happens. The Australian government introduced a new law in 2015 that prevents warrant canaries. Being under the jurisdiction of countries that are not privacy-friendly is not advisable for VPN services.
VPNSecure has custom applications for mainstream operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, and Android. Its mobile applications might not be the same standard as its desktop ones. A significant difference is the kill switch missing on its mobile applications. There is a Chrome proxy browser extension, but it only masks your IP address and doesn’t provide encryption.
You can also use this VPN service with routers that support it. Usually, it supports 5 simultaneous connections with the expectation that you’re not connecting to the same server on each device. Using it with a router gives you the chance to get past restrictions on the number of simultaneous connections VPNSecure approves.
Information on its website indicates support for specific Linksys, Netgear, and Asus routers. It even provides pre-installed models of those brands for sale on its website. There are also instructions on how to configure it on routers on its support page.
Streaming and Torrenting
Security and privacy always seem like the most vital features of a VPN service, but I have met VPN users who care more about the streaming capabilities of a VPN. Knowing that people now use VPNs to bypass geo-restrictions, streaming platforms place more brutal technology to detect and block people using them, leaving only local content access.
VPNSecure does not have dedicated servers for streaming, and I find it very disappointing that it cannot bypass restrictions on most leading streaming services. For example, I tried to use it on Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. These sites knew I was using a VPN and denied access.
Only a single server in the UK works with BBC iPlayer, and it was painstakingly slow.
On the other hand, Torrenting seems to work on almost all of its servers. I have established that VPNSecure very well supports secure P2P file-sharing. Only a few servers in the U.S and U.K had issues with torrenting. You’re better off looking at other VPN services if you need a VPN with great unblocking prowess.
Plans and Pricing
VPNSecure offers three different premium subscription plans to users. All plans have the same features, with the length and price making each one distinct. Its monthly plan costs $9.95 per month, while its 6-month package will take $8.32 from you monthly. The cheapest subscription is $2.99 monthly but will require you to commit long-term – 3 years.
After spending some time on its website, I discovered VPNSecure has several other offerings apart from its default subscription plans. Some of them include seven days access, four months access, and various dedicated IP access plans. There are also other ones depending on the protocol you intend to use.
It has a free 30-day subscription with access to a single server in the USA and 2 GigaBytes of bandwidth. This doesn’t give you enough features to test the service, and it doesn’t give you the option of changing the encryption cipher. However, it has a 2-day plan for $2 with access to all features you can check out.
VPNSecure has several payment options, including Credit Card, Cryptocurrency, Paymentwall, and Perfect Money. I was not impressed with its 7-day money-back guarantee, as the standard among VPNs is 30 days.
User Experience and Customer Support
VPNSecure’s applications are easy to install, login, and operate. I was able to do that in a few minutes. The user interface is easy to navigate. The IP address, the location of the server you select, and your membership type are always on the main screen. There is a search bar at the upper part of the screen so users can search for server locations without having to scroll all the way. Connecting and disconnecting servers is not a hassle with clear button indicators on the same block as servers. Although I still do not understand VPNSecure’s decision not to implement city-level labeling.
I checked settings and made a few changes without asking VPNSecure’s support team for help. The support structure comprises 24/7 live chat support and email support. I tested the live chat and found it to be very efficient. I was able to chat with support personnel in a few minutes.
It is better to reach out to email support if you have more technical questions, as live support agents are not technical experts. There is also a knowledge-base page on its website that helps with any troubleshooting issues you might have.
Does VPNSecure Work in China?
China has become the benchmark for locations with high censorship. VPNs can either have servers in China or have Chinese residents use their apps. In both cases, I don’t consider VPNSecure a worthy mention. I would be surprised if they had servers in China because of how increasingly difficult it is for VPNs to comply with the laws. So you definitely cannot access local Chinese content with this VPN.
On the other hand, I expected it to be good enough for users in China to bypass strict censorship. Despite having an in-built obfuscation tool on its desktop applications, users within the Chinese borders are not confident in its abilities. Online reviews indicate that it doesn’t work well with China. I definitely will not recommend it for China as there are other VPN services proven to bypass the Great Firewall of China.
Pros and Cons
Like every VPN service, VPNSecure has its strong points and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at them:
1. Custom Security Options
I was impressed that I could change the encryption ciphers without any issues. You can also configure protocols based on what you need. This flexibility is essential if you’re an advanced user.
2. Custom Subscription Plans
Apart from its standard affordable plans, VPNSecure has several other custom plans advanced users can subscribe to.
3. Excellent Support Service
Users should have no issues getting the right support with an always-available support team. I applaud VPNSecure’s support team for its prompt responses to my inquiries.
1. Poor Streaming Capabilities
The unblocking prowess of this VPN is poor. It is better to find an alternative if you’re interested in unblocking popular streaming services like Netflix.
2. Privacy Issues
As long as VPNSecure operates from Australia, you cannot trust that your privacy is in safe hands. A VPN in a privacy-friendly country is a better alternative.
3. Small Server Network
I particularly prefer VPNs with a substantial server network because of the ability to prevent congestion. Unfortunately, VPNSecure is not one of those VPN services with small networks and blazing speed.
Recommendation and Conclusion
VPNSecure has several affordable and customizable plans, excellent customer service, and flexible security features. I recommend using VPNSecure when it moves its headquarters away from Australia, works on delivering fast and reliable speed, and improving its unblocking capabilities. It can also do with more features as other affordable VPN services offer more.