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Protecting yourself online is critical, and VPN services are designed to help. Encrypt.me is a VPN service that puts secure browsing at the forefront. In fact, this service is entirely focused on security and doesn’t cater to streamers in the VPN market to unlock Netflix.
The fact that Encrypt.me doesn’t work with Netflix makes it less focused on cord cutters, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work for you. In this Encrypt.me review, I’m taking a close look at the service to see what it does well, where it comes up short, and whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a subscription.
Encrypt.me is a straightforward VPN service that covers the basics. Encrypt.me will encrypt your internet traffic and send it through a virtual “tunnel” to a VPN server, which will keep even that secure and encrypted data from being associated with you or your computer.
Since VPNs send your data through remote VPN servers, they can virtually “shift” your location to another city or country. Encrypt.me does this, but there are some limitations you should know about.
Many VPN fans like to use this location-shifting ability to access your favorite streaming video services while appearing to be somewhere that they’re not — a tactic that can “unlock” the different movie and TV show libraries that streaming services offer in different countries. Interestingly, Encrypt.me’s website and marketing make it clear that it is not designed for this purpose — even going so far as to recommend an alternative VPN provider on its website.
Despite Encrypt.me’s protestations, the service actually does work with streaming services. In my testing, I was able to use Netflix (read review) and Hulu (see prices) by connecting to a server in another country (in my case, my real location was outside of the United States, and I used servers within the U.S.).
However, it’s hard to be confident in Encrypt.me’s abilities on this front when the company itself is telling users not to do this. While other services try to stay one step ahead of Netflix and Hulu’s efforts to ban VPN servers, Encrypt.me presumably does not care. If you want to reliably be able to unlock Netflix with your VPN, I would look elsewhere.
Usually, VPN services give me all sorts of toggles and options in a VPN service’s apps. Some providers give users a lot of control over the experience, offering ways to change encryption protocols, whitelist certain websites, and so forth. Not Encrypt.me.
In terms of feature sets, Encrypt.me is one of the most bare-bones VPN services out there. There is a screen to choose a server, a screen with a few low-key settings, and one that shows your account information. That’s pretty much it. If you’re looking for something fully featured in the vein of a NordVPN or ExpressVPN, Encrypt.me definitely can’t stand up to either of those two competitors when discussing bells and whistles. Encrypt.me simply doesn’t have any, which may make the service seem less valuable to you.
Another area Encrypt.me really stumbles in is server count. The number of servers a VPN provider has is a big deal: More servers means more options, fewer crowded servers, and more trouble for companies that try to block VPN servers (like Netflix).
While competing VPN services can lay claim to thousands of servers, Encrypt.me has just a few dozen. If you want to connect through a country that isn’t the United States, you’re likely to have only one server option.
Encrypt.me does offer one useful option when selecting a server, though, and I found it pretty much worked as advertised. If you want to connect to a VPN and keep your internet experience largely the same, you can choose the “fastest available” and let Encrypt.me decide which one meets that criteria.
The stripped-down interface of Encrypt.me’s app makes the service easy to use — in fact, this might be the most uncomplicated service we’ve tested. Without a bunch of options in front of you, there’s really no way for you to get lost. When you open the app, you can choose a server and go. It’s an experience reminiscent of simplified VPN services like TunnelBear (read our review) — with even fewer options to tweak.
I tested Encrypt.me on a Windows PC, an iPhone, and an iPad, and I found the app experience to be pretty consistent across all of those platforms. Regardless of which platform or device you’re on, you can expect everything to work in basically the same way in Encrypt.me’s app.
And if you’re someone with a lot of devices, you’ll be happy to know that Encrypt.me doesn’t seem to care how many you use at once.
This service is missing some platforms that other providers cover, such as Linux. There also aren’t any browser plugins available. Encrypt.me doesn’t work with streaming devices (which makes sense, given it’s anti-streaming stance), and it also lacks support for Wi-Fi routers.
VPN services are all about security. In that regard, Encrypt.me’s name should really tell you how seriously the service takes this topic. It doesn’t try to sell itself as anything other than a product that helps you encrypt your internet traffic. If that is all you care about, Encrypt.me — despite not having many features or much meaningful support for streaming — could still meet your needs.
With that said, Encrypt.me’s simplicity was sometimes frustrating to my privacy goals. The service locked me into one VPN protocol on each platform: IKEv2/IPSec on Windows and iOS, and OpenVPN on Mac and Android. I would have liked to be able to change the protocol myself, as many of Encrypt.me’s competitors allow me to do.
I’m also not impressed by Encrypt.me’s policy on logs. When I ask a VPN service if it keeps, logs, I expect to hear the typical (and preferable) answer: “no.” Encrypt.me, however, does keep logs — albeit for a period of “at most 16 days.”
And the company is based in the United States, to boot! That means that these logs — however temporary they may be — could be subject to reporting laws, legal investigation, and more.
If you’re a privacy obsessive, you may find those two issues to be a real deal-breaker — especially if you’re a resident or citizen of the United States.
In the speed department, however, Encrypt.me impressed me. My speed tests showed barely any slowdown when using Encrypt.me’s fastest servers. When I used streaming video services — which often worked despite Encrypt.me’s anti-streaming stance — I found that my encrypted connection was plenty fast enough to avoid frustrating buffering issues.
Encrypt.me offers a fairly stripped-down feature set, so I was relieved to see that it also offered fairly reasonable pricing options. In particular, the monthly rate and short-term weekly pass option available in Encrypt.me's subscription pricing options appealed to me. VPN services tend to offer very low prices on long-term deals and keep prices high for short-term options, but the Encrypt.me pricing structure left some fairly affordable options open for short-term users, including a $9.99 monthly plan and a $3.99 week-long pass. A “pass” will not auto-renew, so it’s a nice deal for short-term users who are afraid they might forget to cancel a typical subscription plan.
And Encrypt.me, unlike some competitors, will give you a free two-week trial — you don’t even need a credit card number to access it.
Still, “value” is about more than price, and there’s no denying that Encrypt.me is pretty bare-bones. Perhaps the service knows it has an uphill climb when compared to other VPN providers, and hopes to win some new customers by giving users a small taste with its free trials and lower short-term rates.
And when it comes to long-term subscription options, Encrypt.me’s limited value starts to evaporate. Other, more robust VPN services offer huge discounts on plans that run for a year or more. Encrypt.me’s prices are discounted, too, but not enough to keep up. That means that locking in a year of service will cost you more — and get you less — with Encrypt.me
Though it has its virtues, I find it really hard to recommend Encrypt.me over some of the other VPN services out there. It is a no-frills option, has far fewer servers, and actually ends up being more expensive than some alternatives if you want to subscribe for more than a few months.
If you just need a VPN service for a week or a month, though, Encrypt.me may have some value to you — especially if you purchase a pass versus a subscription. You won’t get a huge feature set or several servers in a far-flung country to choose from, but you’ll at least be keeping yourself protected online.