FinchVPN Review

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 #34 (at the time of the roll, FinchVPN).

 

Written Aug 20, 2016

Signing up for the service: Signing up for FinchVPN was relatively painless, with the registration process itself taking only a moment, and requiring only an email address.  This is the most I’m comfortable providing to a service.  I initially selected the “Pro” tier, which was a little less expensive than the “Premier” one.  I chose the 7 day plan as that’s very suitable for a trial period, but was immediately yelled at – “FinchVPN 7 Days plan is only available in Premier Plan”.  Well, why did you even give that to me as an option then??  There is a “Processing Fee” anytime the user wants to use a Credit Card, Debit Card, or Paypal, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen any VPN service require, but regardless, the service was very inexpensive.

 

Configuring the service: The downloads section is the first thing I look for after logging into the user portal of a given service, and FinchVPN’s was very easy to find and had a well organized list of platforms.  This allows you to drill down into whichever you use and then select the protocol/port you prefer – next to a configuration file generator, this is one of the most comprehensive and easy ways I’ve seen a VPN service make their files available – you have a WIDE selection of options and any one is 2 clicks away.  Each option is shown as a clearly labeled white button, with options that are typically used for specific purposes shown as green buttons.  (TCP 443 for high compatibility, UDP 53 for DNS over UDP, etc).  This was a great way to display a lot of options to the user without overwhelming them.  At the bottom of this page is a drop down selector, which gives the user even more options that they might not have found above – essentially a generator!  Very few companies have these, and I get excited when I see them as they are the best way I’ve seen to give the user lots of choice and the ability to quickly download configuration files individually or in a zip.  More companies need to do this!

 

Speed & Stability tests: Unfortunately, what you’ve read to this point is about all of the praise I can give the service as signs of trouble started cropping up immediately during testing.  Connections were intolerably slow, unstable, and inconsistent.

 

Speed Tests – FinchVPN – Desktop
    Latency Download Upload
No VPN Trial 1 8 ms 95.93 mbps 11.90 mbps
Trial 2 10 ms 95.60 mbps 11.85 mbps
Trial 3 10 ms 91.96 mbps 11.95 mbps
Average 9 ms 94.50 mbps 11.90 mbps
               
US West Trial 1 32 ms 17.59 mbps 7.71 mbps
Trial 2 33 ms 23.27 mbps 7.52 mbps
Trial 3 33 ms 24.28 mbps 7.85 mbps
Average 33 ms 21.71 mbps 7.69 mbps
Comp to Bench +23 ms 22.98% 64.65%
               
UK Trial 1 300 ms 2.35 mbps 0.76 mbps
Trial 2 303 ms 0.00 mbps 1.20 mbps
Trial 3 299 ms 2.67 mbps 1.21 mbps
Average 301 ms 1.67 mbps 1.06 mbps
Comp to Bench +291 ms 1.77% 8.88%
               
Hong Kong Trial 1 338 ms 1.93 mbps 0.74 mbps
Trial 2 379 ms 1.68 mbps 0.64 mbps
Trial 3 336 ms 0.00 mbps 0.00 mbps
Average 351 ms 1.20 mbps 0.46 mbps
Comp to Bench +342 ms 1.27% 3.87%
               
Australia Trial 1 408 ms 2.23 mbps 0.85 mbps
Trial 2 414 ms 0.00 mbps 0.00 mbps
Trial 3 409 ms 2.17 mbps 0.69 mbps
Average 410 ms 1.47 mbps 0.51 mbps
Comp to Bench +401 ms 1.55% 4.31%

 

Speed Tests – FinchVPN – Mobile
    Latency Download Upload
No VPN Trial 1 8 ms 74.26 mbps 14.57 mbps
Trial 2 11 ms 75.30 mbps 14.37 mbps
Trial 3 20 ms 73.74 mbps 14.21 mbps
Average 13 ms 74.43 mbps 14.38 mbps
               
US West Trial 1 36 ms 28.97 mbps 12.96 mbps
Trial 2 34 ms 52.26 mbps 12.39 mbps
Trial 3 36 ms 33.14 mbps 13.54 mbps
Average 35 ms 38.12 mbps 12.96 mbps
Comp to Bench +22 ms 51.22% 90.13%
               
UK Trial 1 305 ms 10.77 mbps 7.80 mbps
Trial 2 305 ms 7.10 mbps 1.63 mbps
Trial 3 306 ms 9.53 mbps 1.64 mbps
Average 305 ms 9.13 mbps 3.69 mbps
Comp to Bench +292 ms 12.27% 25.65%
               
Hong Kong Trial 1 349 ms 5.67 mbps 1.98 mbps
Trial 2 347 ms 9.81 mbps 6.01 mbps
Trial 3 345 ms 5.59 mbps 6.68 mbps
Average 347 ms 7.02 mbps 4.89 mbps
Comp to Bench +334 ms 9.44% 34.00%
               
Australia Trial 1 470 ms 5.97 mbps 5.60 mbps
Trial 2 401 ms 7.66 mbps 9.07 mbps
Trial 3 612 ms 4.93 mbps 8.00 mbps
Average 494 ms 6.19 mbps 7.56 mbps
Comp to Bench +481 ms 8.31% 52.54%

 

Certain tests:

  • Desktop – UK – Trial 2
  • Desktop – Hong Kong – Trial 3
  • Desktop – Australia – Trial 2

are shown as 0.00 mbps which is not a mistake, as these tests failed.  All tests run using TCP 443 – Blowfish 128.  BF-128 is known to have some weaknesses. but in theory runs more quickly than some stronger standards.

 

Getting support: As the config files didn’t show the level of encryption being used by default, this is the question I asked to FinchVPN’s support team via email.  I asked about which form of encryption they were using.  They responded in less than 24 hours.  (The answer was Blowfish 128)

 

Getting a refund:  I followed up on my question with a request for a refund.  FinchVPN’s stated policy is no refunds.  Their support rep asked if there was anything wrong, to which I complained about the poor speeds and stability from above.  After 3 days of waiting, I decided that I’d probably gotten my answer.  Not the most consumer friendly policy.

 

Concerns in Terms & Conditions / Privacy Policy:  And the bad gets worse.

 

FinchVPN respects and takes your privacy very seriously.

Wait for the other shoe to drop…

 

You acknowledge and agree, however, that we retain the right to monitor the Service and to disclose any information as necessary or appropriate to satisfy any law, regulation or other governmental request,

And there it is.  That didn’t take long.

 

All sales are final. All FinchVPN sales are intangible goods that are digitally delivered, we therefore have a strict no refund policy.

No refunds, very unfriendly to consumers.  There is technically a free trial, but it’s to one of a handful of shared “free” servers which a user probably won’t get the complete picture on, of what day-to-day use would be like.

 

Raising a billing dispute with our payment processors or charging back a payment made to FinchVPN will place the client’s account in bad standing. We reserve the right to immediately terminate all services without refund in such instances.

Sour grapes at that point…

 

Users’ privacy is very important to FinchVPN, we respects [sic] and takes your privacy very seriously. We are committed to safeguarding the information Users entrust to FinchVPN.

There’s the statement again, as I mentioned before, anytime you see this, there’s a good chance contradictory statements are coming…

 

we may ask you for personal information such as name or contact details.

While I wasn’t asked for personal details upon registration, this little nugget is buried in the FinchVPN privacy policy.

 

We will store a time stamp, traffic amount and user id when you connect and disconnect to our VPN service.

In other words: we log your connection meta data, (which is odd, because we just got done telling you – twice – how seriously we take your privacy.)

 

Overall, lots of mindless boilerplate.  In other words…

obtuse

 

Final thoughts: FinchVPN was a roller coaster ride.  On one hand, they started out very promising with their useful configuration file repository and ease of signup – but immediately fell off with poor speed/stability and crummy terms.  Support responded fairly quickly initially, but seemed to lose interest immediately after requesting a refund.  Overall, I can’t recommend the service, even though I REALLY liked the detailed and useful file generator.  At the end of the day, they fall short of what I’d consider anything close to a solid service – FinchVPN is a middle of the road service – neither outstandingly good or bad.

 

FROM THE VPN COMPARISON CHART
CATEGORY VPN SERVICE FinchVPN
JURISDICTION Based In (Country) Malaysia
Fourteen Eyes? No
Enemy of the Internet No
LOGGING Logs Traffic No
Logs DNS Requests
Logs Timestamps Yes
Logs Bandwidth Yes
Logs IP Address Yes
ACTIVISM Anonymous Payment Method Email
Accepts Bitcoin Yes
PGP Key Available No
Meets PrivacyTools IO Criteria Yes
LEAK PROTECTION 1st Party DNS Servers No
IPv6 Supported / Blocked No
  Offers OpenVPN Yes
OBFUSCATION Supports Multihop
Supports TCP Port 443
Supports Obfsproxy
Supports SOCKS
Supports SSL Tunnel
Supports SSH Tunnel
Other Proprietary Protocols
PORT BLOCKING Auth SMTP
P2P Some
SPEEDS US Server Average % 22.89
Int’l Server Average % 5.69
SERVERS Dedicated or Virtual
SECURITY Default Data Encryption Blowfish-128
Strongest Data Encryption
Weakest Handshake Encryption
Strongest Handshake Encryption
AVAILABILITY # of Connections 1
# of Countries 20
# of Servers 54
Linux Support (Manual) Yes
WEBSITE # of Persistent Cookies 4
# of External Trackers 1
# of Proprietary APIs 15
Server SSL Rating A+
SSL Cert issued to CloudFlare
PRICING $ / Month (Annual Pricing) 3.22
$ / Connection / Month 3.22
Free Trial Yes
Refund Period (Days) 0
ETHICS Contradictory Logging Policies Yes
Falsely Claims 100% Effective
Incentivizes Social Media Spam
POLICIES Forbids Spam
Requires Ethical Copy
Requires Full Disclosure
AFFILIATES Practice Ethical Copy
Give Full Disclosure

 

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