Disclaimer: The below review is my opinion, which I will try to provide as many examples for and as much evidence as possible to support. Readers can learn more about how I conduct my reviews, my methodology, etc – here. More information on review badges here.
This review’s roll was #159 (at time of selection, WorldVPN).
Written Jul 6, 2016
Signing up for the service: While signing up for service with WorldVPN I saw several issues. The first of which was that it asked for all of your personal information (name, address, etc). This is a privacy concern. Lots of companies ask for it, but for a VPN company, it’s one of the first things I look for to see if it’s worthy of protecting my privacy. Since they also keep connection logs (and do some other things you’ll see later), they earn the “exposed” stamp of shame:
I don’t know why these companies can’t get their act together with their “welcome” emails, but WorldVPN has dethroned the standing record holder with a whopping 7 welcome/confirmation emails:
- Customer Invoice
- Order confirmation
- Payment authorization
- Payment receipt
- Invoice payment confirmation
- VPN Information
Configuring the service: As usual, the first thing I look for when getting logged into a new VPN service is the client area or download area to find .ovpn files to set up a manual configuration. The client area didn’t have these files obviously available anywhere, so I reached out to support to see if they would be able to point me in the right direction. I looked on the “servers” page as some services will include links to the config file belonging to the server of your choice on the same page they display a given server’s status. This was not the case with WorldVPN and no links could be found anywhere. There was a “Downloads” section of the website that had a Windows, MacOS, and Android installer, but no .ovpn files as far as I could see. (See below for more details).
Speed & Stability tests: As I was unable to successfully configure the service, no speed or stability tests were performed.
Getting support: As above, I reached out to support to find out more information regarding where I could find .ovpn files to set up my manual configuration. They had 2 apparent options for support. The first was creating a ticket through the website, the other was an email to the support team. A “live chat” tab appeared at the bottom right of the page, but it said that the support team operated on GMT, which was after midnight whereas it was evening time for me in the US. I sent an email off and awaited a reply. When they responded about a day later, I was told to login to a separate portal on the website (different from the client login to see account info, etc). This is highly irregular and attempting to log in threw back an error that I used an incorrect password (which I have in a password database, so I know it’s not being mistyped or anything, but manually entered it for good measure too). After several attempts, and resetting my password, support told me they could help – BUT they would need me to give them my user ID AND password over email… As you can imagine, this is a very poor way to solve this kind of problem as it requires you to divulge your password to support. Certainly not typical. For the sake of this exercise, I did give it up (but I wouldn’t typically give my password to a support rep over email, nor would I recommend you do so). I was told they would then need to reset my password to an all numeric password. This is unacceptable as the password for the control panel and so forth allows an alpha-numeric one. At this point (approx 3 days later – my cutoff for support issues before I call it in these reviews) I requested a refund.
Getting a refund: As above, I requested a refund in a support email chain. WorldVPN responded by the next day with an email telling me to review their refund policy (also below) to see if I qualified for one, and if so, to contact support again to create a separate ticket. I reached out as instructed to request the refund and after escalating it to a manager and after waiting a few days, I was still waiting. I didn’t want to wait longer to post the review and that was good enough for me to know how things might be in the future as well. Also – my support ticket was made visible to the open web, however they did remove it when I asked them to – this is a really bad idea as it exposes people’s names and email addresses and support conversations. Really REALLY sloppy.
About now, I’d like to think I’ve developed a sixth sense for being able to guess how long a company’s terms of service are going to be based on the front page of their website. This one made me think it was going to be a novel, but thankfully, they kept it brief. (Thankfully, oftentimes that’s the difference between a review taking twice as much time to complete.
We do not spy on our users and we don’t monitor their Internet usage. We do not keep logs with our users’ activity. We will however record and keep the following data for 30 days:
- Duration of the VPN connection.
- Bandwidth used during the connection.
This information enables WorldVPN to calculate bandwidth usage on limited bandwidth accounts.
Almost every single time I read through a company’s policies, and I get to logging, I notice something strange. Before they state their logging policy (which many times includes logging metadata), they start off with a statement about how much they value their customer’s privacy, almost as though they were trying to convince themselves before the next sentence in which they dash their prior statement to pieces
WorldVPN does not keep or store any logs about its users. However, we need to keep some information about the users:
Well, you just told us you did, so… DENIAL *COUGH*
All WorldVPN orders are covered with a money-back guarantee. You are entitled to a refund on an order if all of the following apply:
- Your refund claim is within 3 days of your order date.
- You have not used more than 500MB of bandwidth i.e. data transfer (total upload and download activity using WorldVPN) or you have not exceeded 20 sessions i.e. the number of times you connected to WorldVPN services. Whichever comes first.
- If our technical team fails in providing you a solution.
If you are in compliance with the above mentioned criteria, then we will definitely refund your order.
Pay careful attention to this. If ALL of these conditions are met, you can have a refund. In my case, “providing me with a solution” wasn’t possible as the support team was spotty and relatively slow to respond. Certainly no solution could be reached in 3 days if this is any indication – essentially negating having a refund policy at all. I fundamentally took issue with their philosophy of requiring me to divulge my password via email as a support step and also making a strictly numerical password for my account. 500MB or 20 sessions is absurdly low for essentially a trial period.
Final thoughts: Unfortunately, WorldVPN strikes me as the epitome of a run-of-the-mill VPN service. They ask for far too much information on signup, which smacks of apathy towards the cause of privacy. Also laziness about the service they’re providing or the true protection of their customers. They also expect nothing of their affiliates’ behavior (and do they get it). Their website being subdivided into two parts, (one of which doesn’t allow passwords with alphabetic characters) is unacceptable for a host of reasons. Bottom line – nothing to see here, move along.
|FROM THE VPN COMPARISON CHART|
|JURISDICTION||Based In (Country)||UK|
|Logs DNS Requests|
|Logs IP Address|
|ACTIVISM||Anonymous Payment Method||No|
|PGP Key Available||No|
|Meets PrivacyTools IO Criteria||No|
|LEAK PROTECTION||1st Party DNS Servers||No|
|IPv6 Supported / Blocked||No|
|Supports TCP Port 443||Yes|
|Supports SSL Tunnel|
|Supports SSH Tunnel|
|Other Proprietary Protocols|
|PORT BLOCKING||Auth SMTP||No|
|SPEEDS||US Server Average %|
|Int’l Server Average %|
|SERVERS||Dedicated or Virtual|
|SECURITY||Default Data Encryption|
|Strongest Data Encryption|
|Weakest Handshake Encryption|
|Strongest Handshake Encryption|
|AVAILABILITY||# of Connections||5|
|# of Countries||45|
|# of Servers||100|
|Linux Support (Manual)|
|WEBSITE||# of Persistent Cookies||5|
|# of External Trackers||2|
|# of Proprietary APIs||10|
|Server SSL Rating||A|
|SSL Cert issued to||CloudFlare|
|PRICING||$ / Month (Annual Pricing)||4.95|
|$ / Connection / Month||0.99|
|Refund Period (Days)||3|
|ETHICS||Contradictory Logging Policies|
|Falsely Claims 100% Effective|
|Incentivizes Social Media Spam|
|Requires Ethical Copy||No|
|Requires Full Disclosure||No|
|AFFILIATES||Practice Ethical Copy|
|Give Full Disclosure||No|
If you like the project and find my work useful, please consider donating – your generous contributions help pay for the hosting, tools, and time I need to do my research and keep the data fresh.