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You’ll know the right VPN when you find it. It will provide privacy and security that you can trust, but it will also be easy to use. Ideally, you won’t even have to think about it — it will be as much part of your computer as your keyboard or screen. That’s what I want in a VPN. I want a program that is intuitive and deserving of my trust. Could VPNSecure be that VPN? Join me as I try to answer that question in this hands-on review.
I like using a free trial to test out a VPN. After all, who wants to dish out money before they even know if they like a product? That’s so 20th century. VPNSecure does offer a free tier of service, but it is limited to U.S. servers only. When you are a cord cutter looking to access international streaming content, that limitation is a problem. Fortunately, VPNSecure does have a seven-day money-back guarantee that covers their paid plans, so it’s easy to try out the full-fledged service risk-free.
The guarantee was good news, and it got my VPNSecure experience off on the right foot. Unfortunately, I hit a stumbling block right after signing up. After I got the VPNSecure app installed on my Mac laptop, I found myself staring in confusion for a moment. There was no connect button in VPNSecure’s app interface!
Every other VPN I’ve used has had either a toggle switch or a button that said “connect,” showed an on/off symbol, or otherwise declared itself to be the obvious way to turn the thing on. With VPNSecure, there is no such button on the app’s home screen. You have to hover over the list of servers before a “connect” button appears.
While it might not seem like a big deal, this example perfectly illustrates my VPNSecure experience. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with what they do — it’s just a little different. Where most VPNs zig, they zag. Instead of having a dropdown in the settings to switch between TCP and UDP, they have you click a different server for each. They seem to enjoy being just a little bit different from most other VPN services.
By default, the VPNSecure app doesn’t save your username and password. I can appreciate that from a security standpoint, but I wish they had a tickbox on the login screen that let me save my login information. There is a setting that will do this, but it’s not on the login screen; you have to go digging into the app’s settings menu to find it.
It wasn’t just my VPNSecure login that was giving me trouble: On my Mac, I had to enter my system password every time the VPNSecure app started. I couldn’t find a good reason for this, and I’ve never had this issue with other VPNs.
My experiences with VPNSecure’s app on my other devices confirmed my first impression: While certainly usable, VPNSecure isn’t exactly user-friendly. The lack of a connect button was even more confusing on my phone. I probably would have had to tap randomly to figure out how to connect to a server if I hadn’t learned a bit about the app layout from my experiences on Mac and Windows.
There was nothing in the VPNSecure interface that I couldn’t get used to, but the initial learning curve is steeper than it needs to be. With that said, you rarely need to spend much time in its interface anyway. Once the VPN is running, you can minimize the app and forget about it.
Like all VPNs, VPNSecure is designed to protect your privacy online. It will encrypt your internet connection and route your traffic through a VPN server, effectively making you anonymous online. But VPNs can vary in their performance and their specific features, and I had some tests ready for VPNSecure.
The first test: streaming content. I’m a cord cutter, and I want to be able to view all the best media from around the world. When streaming services block content from certain regions, a VPN is the only way to get access. But streaming providers are smart — they have learned how to prevent most VPNs from fulfilling that goal. That’s why I only trust the best VPNs to fulfill my streaming needs.
I tested VPNSecure with Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. These three services have some of the most advanced methods for blocking VPN access, and each one achieves that goal slightly differently. Any VPN that can work with all three of these services should work with just about any other streaming provider.
I first tested the U.S. servers to see if I could stream any content with the VPN active. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video both worked perfectly, but Disney+ wouldn’t even load while the VPN was running. Next, I tried servers in a few other countries, starting with Germany. I couldn’t find a single server in any country that would unblock Disney+. With the exception of the U.S. servers, Amazon Prime Video was also blocked on all servers that I tried. Netflix worked everywhere, but I was not able to get access to any non-U.S. content.
The VPNs that work best with streaming services tend to share one trait: a lot of servers to choose from. By adding more servers in more locations, VPN providers make it harder for streaming providers to use the easiest blocking tactics. VPNSecure has just over 100 servers in 48 countries. That’s a mediocre number of countries, and the server count is concerning. The best VPNs typically offer thousands of servers, not hundreds.
VPNs are also great for torrenting and P2P file sharing, as long as they allow it. VPNSecure lets you use your P2P services on nearly all of their servers; there are a few U.S. and U.K. servers that don’t allow it. These servers are not marked in any way, which is unfortunate, but you should be able to quickly tell if the service isn’t working and can just switch servers to find one that works.
VPNSecure has customizability, but not in some of the areas that you might expect from a VPN. I’ll talk about some of this in the section on security, but I want to focus on one interesting feature here: VPNSecure has its own “metasearch” engine.
The idea here is that you’ll get a more complete and more private search engine experience. When you use a standard search engine, it collects all your search history and uses that data to alter which results it shows you and to serve you personalized ads. VPNSecure’s metasearch engine doesn’t collect your search history, instead choosing to show results that are independent of your personal search history. It aggregates results from other search engines, including Google and Bing, while protecting you from those search engines’ prying eyes. Best of all, VPNSecure’s search engine won’t show you any ads!
You don’t get a choice of VPN protocols with VPNSecure: It only supports the OpenVPN protocol. That’s not necessarily a huge problem, because OpenVPN is a very secure protocol. Many users would likely be choosing OpenVPN anyway, and rightly so. Still, advanced users might wish they had more options. What VPNSecure does offer to advanced users, however, is virtually unlimited customizability of the OpenVPN protocol itself via the “custom directives” option in the settings menu.
VPNSecure offers a “Stealth VPN” option, which attempts to mask the fact that you are using a VPN. If your country or your ISP blocks VPNs, this might offer a way around that. However, it will sacrifice some speed to make that happen.
VPNSecure has one option that I have very mixed feelings about: It lets you change your encryption cipher. Think of a cipher like a password to all of your data. Most VPNs only allow a strong cipher, just like most websites only allow a strong password. VPNSecure bucks that trend: It enables you to switch your cipher to less secure options, thereby increasing your connection speed. While they say this is good for home usage, I find this feature to be a bit like allowing you to use the word “password” as your actual password: It’s convenient, but it’s not worth the risk.
The country in which a VPN company is headquartered can have an important impact on privacy. Some countries have laws that heavily protect privacy, while others have laws that make it nearly impossible for companies to protect your data. VPNSecure is located in Australia, a country that belongs to the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance. This alliance of countries has rules in place to require that companies hand over several types of user data on request. VPNSecure’s no-logging policy should help to prevent too much data from being handed over, but this is still a concern: If any logs are kept, they could fall into the hands of the Australian government and shared between all members of the alliance.
VPNSecure’s privacy standards have not undergone a third-party audit. Although these audits are not standard in the industry, some companies, such as TunnelBear, have started instituting them in recent years. Without such an audit, it is hard to ascertain just how reliably a company is adhering to its no-logging policy.
If you are going to stream content, you need a high-speed connection. Because of how they reroute traffic, some VPNs can drop your internet connection to a fraction of its usual speed. Whenever I try a new VPN, I test it out with Ookla’s Speedtest to see how slow the connection speeds are. That’s exactly what I did next with VPNSecure, using both their U.S. and non-U.S. servers.
Without a VPN active, I was getting connection speeds of about 55 Mbps and 65 Mbps for download and upload, respectively. Unlike most VPNs, VPNSecure has no option to just connect to the nearest or fastest server, so I picked a random one in the U.S. to serve as my “speedy” test. The speeds I got there and in other U.S. servers were all around 55 Mbps download and 60 Mbps upload — a slight dip from my non-VPN speed, but not enough to be noticeable.
When it came to international servers, however, VPNSecure’s results were not as good. I was able to find servers that offered high-speed connectivity in some countries but not in others. There were more than a handful of countries in which I couldn’t get speeds above 15 Mbps for download and 45 Mbps for upload. That slow download speed will be a problem if you are trying to stream content or view graphics-heavy websites.
Common mobile devices (iOS, Android) and desktop/laptop computers (Mac, Windows, Linux) are supported by VPNSecure, as are several routers. However, you won’t find an app for your streaming devices if you use anything other than Android TV. They don’t support Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, smart TVs, or video game systems (PS4, Xbox Series X, etc.). Some of these platforms (like Roku and Apple TV) almost never work with VPNs, but others (like Fire TV and Xbox) often do, so it was disappointing to see how limited VPNSecure is on this front.
With that said, there is a workaround: If you want to secure these devices with VPNSecure, you’ll need to install their service on your router instead. That doesn’t grant the device-level control you’d get with individual apps, but it will protect traffic coming from all of the devices on your network.
The VPNSecure monthly plan costs $9.95 per month. This makes VPNSecure’s pricing slightly cheaper than the average monthly VPN plan. If you choose to pay in advance, they have a six-month plan for $49.92 ($8.32 per month), an annual plan for $79.95 per year ($6.66 per month), and a three-year plan for $107.64 ($2.99 per month). That six-month and annual discounts are mediocre, but the 3-year pricing is one of the better ones that I’ve seen.
Any of these plans will work on up to five devices at once. That’s about average for VPN services, but it should cover everything you need given the limited device options with VPNSecure.
VPNSecure tries to walk a fine line between useability and advanced features. Unfortunately, I think it stumbles over the line in both directions at once: It offers too little customization while also giving you the ability to shoot yourself in the foot by choosing the wrong settings. VPNSecure lacks the customization options that it should have — the ability to change VPN protocols, for example — and adds customization options that I don’t recommend tweaking, like the ability to roll back cipher standards. If you want a VPN with more useful customization options, CyberGhost (read our review) and Windscribe (read our review) are both good alternatives.
Many cord cutters will find the inability to unblock international content to be a dealbreaker. The lack of support for Fire TV is unfortunate, too.
With all of that said, VPNSecure works competently for most non-streaming purposes. If you’re looking for a solid way to protect your everyday browsing, you may want to check this service out. I’d suggest starting with the free tier. The 2 GB limit and minimal server options will limit its usefulness, but it should be enough to decide whether you like the service.