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 #158 (at the time of the roll, VPNTunnel)
Written Oct 27, 2016
Signing up for the service: Signing up for service through VPNTunnel was relatively simple, but with a few things to look out for. The service requires an email address, which is the most I’m personally willing to provide to a given VPN service. However, they not only require the email address be given, but that it also be confirmed, which I think is stepping over the line for a service that is supposedly geared towards privacy. The VPNTunnel website is fairly professional if a little cluttered with marketing. I was pleased to see that the user is given the option to choose whether their purchase is a one time or recurring subscription. Once logged in, a sidebar appears in the client portal containing download links, server status, and so forth.
Configuring the service: The downloads link mentioned above don’t include manual config files, only links to download the Windows, Android, and iOS apps. Sometimes VPN companies have manual ovpn files tucked away somewhere on their site, but in this case it wasn’t obvious, so I contacted support for guidance. After some digging, I found what I was looking for (which was actually on the Server Info, not the Downloads page). As a side note – the link to follow for “Ubuntu” was workable, but directly above it was a line of text for “Linux” with no link, but which indicated files could be downloaded “here”. This is a bit sloppy in my opinion. I would have dinged them pretty hard had they not had manual config files, but to my surprise, they actually had what I’ll call a “light” config file generator, where you can check the boxes next to the servers you’re interested in downloading files for and clicking radio buttons for your desired connection port. This was a good way to allow the user to download manual config files, but it should have been more obvious and accessible.
Speed & Stability tests: Do NOT let these speeds fool you. Tests were run using UDP and the hilariously insecure Blowfish-64. Had VPNTunnel actually used a serious encryption standard, speeds would have been much more in line with what seems typical. To make matters worse, stronger encryption standards could NOT be chosen from the configuration section of the site. Desktop – Singapore – Trial 3 also timed out.
|Speed Tests – VPNTunnel – Desktop|
|No VPN||Trial 1||29||ms||97.32||mbps||12.45||mbps|
|Comp to Bench||+28||ms||91.32%||88.40%|
|Comp to Bench||+262||ms||63.29%||40.04%|
|Comp to Bench||+393||ms||2.08%||3.56%|
|Comp to Bench||+334||ms||11.18%||19.91%|
|Speed Tests – VPNTunnel – Mobile|
|No VPN||Trial 1||34||ms||72.47||mbps||13.62||mbps|
|Comp to Bench||+30||ms||24.24%||83.70%|
|Comp to Bench||+268||ms||4.67%||72.91%|
|Comp to Bench||+402||ms||2.54%||17.73%|
|Comp to Bench||+349||ms||3.27%||63.69%|
Getting support: Support replied by the next morning with links to the relevant pages, but were attempting to persuade me to use their Windows client and avoid manual configs. I disagree with this, as many of the official VPN clients fail to prevent leaks and I trust OpenVPN to handle my connection and provide more details about my configuration (for example, that the data cipher being used is pitifully inadequate, cough cough).
Getting a refund: After requesting a refund, I was quickly granted one without any questioning or hassle.
In order to use our service the connection to the Internet is vital.
They should mention that a user must be capable of operating a computer and have a functioning brain, as well.
This product incorporate/utilize cryptographic algorithms…
They forgot to put speech marks around “cryptographic algorithms”.
The User agrees to consult an attorney if he is unaware of all relevant issues and requirements.
Yes, I’m sure most of us interested in a single user license of a commercial VPN have our lawyers on speed dial to dissect terms of service.
The software is provided “as is”, and the User uses the software at his own risk. We make no warranties as to performance, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or any other warranties whether expressed or implied.
Translation: We don’t stand by our product.
A privacy service – a PRIVACY service is telling you this, mind you.
Majority of the servers in our network are servers that we own and manage ourselves. We keep no logs on these servers, and our policy is to guarantee connection to these servers at all times.
…And the others?
VPNTunnel.com may update these Terms of Service from time to time without notice. Any changes in these Terms of Service will be incorporated into a revised Agreement that we will post on the Site. Unless otherwise specified, such changes shall be effective when they are posted. If we make material changes to these Terms, we will aim to notify you via email or when you login at our Site.
I’ll aim to pretend this isn’t a joke.
This website and its owners take a proactive approach to user privacy and ensure the necessary steps are taken to protect the privacy of its users throughout their visiting experience.
Just when I thought I’d go one review without the company insisting in their terms that they take user privacy seriously despite everything else indicating to the contrary… I need to come up with a name for this… stay tuned…
To maximize user’s privacy, we collect the minimum information required specifically… Google analytics data… User’s cookies (only for advertising purposes in order to analyze advertising trends and administer the site properly).
To maximize my privacy, you need to collect MORE data? I love how they also say “only” for advertising purposes.
Or at least “aim” to, right?
Final thoughts: VPNTunnel started out okay with a website that wasn’t a total joke – but then immediately fell apart. Config files were tricky to find, and were misconfigured using obsolete encryption. Support replied relatively quickly, which was good. Their terms are highly unfavorable and obtuse, and their asking price given all of this is a laugh and a half. I simply can’t think of anyone I’d recommend VPNTunnel to.
Cherry on the top: VPNTunnel supports and participates in an unethical native advertising (paid affiliate/reseller) business model. I’ve beat this to death, so I’ll forgo the explanation on why I hate this so much. (If you really want to read more about it, check my guide to choosing a VPN).
|FROM THE VPN COMPARISON CHART|
|JURISDICTION||Based In (Country)||Seychelles|
|Enemy of the Internet||No|
|Logs DNS Requests|
|Logs IP Address||No|
|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 %||91.32|
|Int’l Server Average %||25.51|
|SERVERS||Dedicated or Virtual|
|SECURITY||Default Data Encryption||Blowfish-64|
|Strongest Data Encryption||Blowfish-64|
|Weakest Handshake Encryption|
|Strongest Handshake Encryption|
|AVAILABILITY||# of Connections||5|
|# of Countries||18|
|# of Servers||80|
|Linux Support (Manual)||Yes|
|WEBSITE||# of Persistent Cookies||40|
|# of External Trackers||17|
|# of Proprietary APIs||0|
|Server SSL Rating||C|
|SSL Cert issued to||Self|
|PRICING||$ / Month (Annual Pricing)||2.99|
|$ / Connection / Month||0.6|
|Refund Period (Days)||7|
|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.