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|
|No VPN||Trial 1||8||ms||95.93||mbps||11.90||mbps|
|US West||Trial 1||32||ms||17.59||mbps||7.71||mbps|
|Comp to Bench||+23||ms||22.98%||64.65%|
|Comp to Bench||+291||ms||1.77%||8.88%|
|Hong Kong||Trial 1||338||ms||1.93||mbps||0.74||mbps|
|Comp to Bench||+342||ms||1.27%||3.87%|
|Comp to Bench||+401||ms||1.55%||4.31%|
|Speed Tests – FinchVPN – Mobile|
|No VPN||Trial 1||8||ms||74.26||mbps||14.57||mbps|
|US West||Trial 1||36||ms||28.97||mbps||12.96||mbps|
|Comp to Bench||+22||ms||51.22%||90.13%|
|Comp to Bench||+292||ms||12.27%||25.65%|
|Hong Kong||Trial 1||349||ms||5.67||mbps||1.98||mbps|
|Comp to Bench||+334||ms||9.44%||34.00%|
|Comp to Bench||+481||ms||8.31%||52.54%|
- 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.
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.
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…
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|
|JURISDICTION||Based In (Country)||Malaysia|
|Enemy of the Internet||No|
|Logs DNS Requests|
|Logs IP Address||Yes|
|ACTIVISM||Anonymous Payment Method|
|PGP Key Available||No|
|Meets PrivacyTools IO Criteria||Yes|
|LEAK PROTECTION||1st Party DNS Servers||No|
|IPv6 Supported / Blocked||No|
|Supports TCP Port 443|
|Supports SSL Tunnel|
|Supports SSH Tunnel|
|Other Proprietary Protocols|
|PORT BLOCKING||Auth SMTP|
|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|
|Refund Period (Days)||0|
|ETHICS||Contradictory Logging Policies||Yes|
|Falsely Claims 100% Effective|
|Incentivizes Social Media Spam|
|Requires Ethical Copy|
|Requires Full Disclosure|
|AFFILIATES||Practice Ethical Copy|
|Give Full Disclosure|
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