|2. 400 servers||2. Concerning data collection practices|
|3. VPN protocols||3. Flawed kill switch leaks user data|
|4. Servers for streaming Netflix (but at snailing speeds)||4. IP address leaks on Mac OS client|
|5. Slow speeds (North American servers)|
|6. Jurisdiction within Five Eyes Surveillance|
|7. Limited TorrentinglE|
VPNs are often flexible when it comes to tunneling protocols. Most VPNs offer more than one way to create encrypted tunnels for their traffic. Likewise, VPN Unlimited offers several tunneling protocols for the convenience of its users. The VPN’s list of protocols includes the advanced OpenVPN and IKEv2, along with customized KeepSolid-Wise TCP and UDP protocols. Amongst the protocols available today, OpenVPN is often considered the best. OpenVPN outperforms other tunneling protocols in terms of speed and reliability. Another great attribute of this protocol is that its open source, which makes the internal components of the protocol transparent. As a result, the potential vulnerabilities of the protocol get picked easily by volunteering developers from across the world.
Other than standard tunneling protocols, VPN Unlimited offers its own customized tunneling protocols known as KeepSolid Wise. These protocols have the ability to disguise standard VPN traffic with HTTPs traffic. This feature is ideal for countries where free internet is not available, and VPNs face bans every now and then. Unless users live in a place where there are very strict internet rules, they might never need to turn this feature on. Some of the countries where this feature can be useful are Iran, China, and Turkey. These countries have firewalls that
use DPI to block VPN traffic. They do this to stop people from accessing foreign news, social media, and many other sites. Users can convert their VPN traffic to HTTPS traffic to bypass government controlled firewalls. Other VPNs such as TunnelBear offer a similar feature known as Ghost Bear.
Servers and Server Locations
VPN Unlimited sports a decent number of servers. The VPN service has around 400 servers across 70 locations. What’s great about these servers is that they are spread across 51 countries. It means that VPN service doesn’t only have a considerable amount of servers but also has a good distribution of its servers. VPN unlimited outperforms many moderate VPN services in this context. VPNs like Private Internet Access only have servers in 33 countries, whereas NordVPN extends its infrastructure in 62 countries.
A good distribution of servers means that users will find it easier to connect to a server nearby. Most times, this translates to an increase in speed for users. It means users will always have a VPN server nearby for better performance while traveling. Moreover, users have greater options to select from when the traffic at their local server gets congested. VPN Unlimited offers a decent blend of server locations. However, it still fails to cover regions that are often ignored by most other VPN services. Their negligence of regions like South America and India is a prime example of their typical behavior. In addition, the VPN service has no servers in any country inside Africa. Still, KeepSolid provides service in regions that are known for their censorship laws. The VPN service has kept their presence in countries such as China, Turkey, and Vietnam. The VPN service also had a server in Russia. However, VPN Unlimited has ceased its operation there and does not have a server there anymore. Though 400 servers are not bad, it does not compare with other VPNs that have a far greater number of servers. VPN services such as Nord VPN have over 5,200 servers, which is amazing. The number of servers gets affected by the number of subscribers that VPN service has. However, a greater number of servers is always great for users because it indefinitely means that they’ll have better performance. Still, there is one thing that VPN Unlimited fails to answer. We might imagine servers to be singular pieces of hardware. However, there can also be several software-defined virtual servers in a single hardware. The problem with these virtual servers is that you don’t know the actual location of these servers. Some VPN services do use virtual servers to meet with sudden demands from exceeding traffic. However, when VPN services base their operations on virtual servers and mislead their users. These kinds of services are excessively deceitful. KeepSolid, on the other hand, opts not to share the location of their servers. It cites a non-disclosure agreement to withhold information from its users. No reliable VPN hides information from their users citing an NDA. Moreover, it even refuses to characterize its use of virtual servers, which makes its service a bit suspicious.
Strong VPN Encryption
VPN Unlimited follows the tradition of VPN industry leaders in data encryption. The VPN service encrypts user information according to the Advanced Encryption Standard, popularly known as AES-256. Many federal agencies still use this encryption algorithm to exchange sensitive data with each other. This is why many VPN providers brand AES-256 to be Military-grade encryption. This claim is not without good reason too; the AES-256 is the most secure symmetrical encryption mechanism today.
It’s true that most top-tier VPN services use AES-256 encryption algorithm. However, the presence of advanced tunneling protocols makes VPN Unlimited unique. Still, its issues with data retention policies cast doubts regarding its privacy protection (which we will discuss in detail later in the article).
VPN Unlimited Netflix
To test VPN Unlimited’s geo-blocking abilities, we tested its connections to the US and UK servers. As we do with any other VPN, we checked whether the VPN managed to bypass the geo-blocking abilities of Netflix and BBC iPlayer. However, most VPNs fail at this task and only manage to unblock the geo-restricted content of US YouTube at best. Netflix and N+BBC iPlayer have stringent policies against VPNs trying to bypass their restrictions. Only a handful of VPNs succeed in outsmarting these streaming websites. Luckily for VPN Unlimited users, this VPN is one of those few. VPN Unlimited applications simplify the process of server selection. These applications highlight recommended Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu locations on their server list. The list updates itself and only shows servers that still work. This is great because most VPN services give a list of servers and the user has to try them one by one to see if they work. In our testing, the VPN managed to access BBC iPlayer on its UK servers. Other than that, it had little problems bypassing Netflix restrictions. However, this access can change week to week and even every day in some cases. So, there are no guarantees you’ll see the same results every time. Netflix and BBC iPlayer are vigilant and are always on the hunt for VPN services that allows streaming of their restricted content.
Reasonable Support via Live Chat
VPN Unlimited’s web manuals are the core of its support section. Besides that there are various installation guides and also a number of FAQ pages to guide its users. However, most of these articles are short on detail and have poor structures. For instance, the VPN’s guide on how to use the Mac VPN client
, it gives unnecessary guidelines on “Leave feedback”. However, it fails to give crucial detail on available protocols or suggest when or why users have to change them.
Still, you can reach out for human help by clicking their support icon. Through the support icon you can access what looks like live chat support at first, but really is a contact form. Here you can fill in your details and questions. Users can add as much as five attachments to their queries. The website further states that the support team gets back to its users via email. The website mentions that both email support and chat forms respond within a single hour. However, they are never as convenient as a live chat support option that applications like Nord VPN offer.
VPN Unlimited Platforms and Devices
VPN Unlimited offers support to all major platforms and operating systems. Users can set the VPN service on all versions of Mac OS; Windows OS from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and also the Linux operating system. Moreover, the VPN application is available on all mobile platforms as well. Users can install VPN Unlimited on Android, iOS, and Windows phones. Besides its multi-platform ability, VPN Unlimited offers 5 devices per a single account. The total number of devices is on par with the standard number of devices that most other VPNs services offer. However, you can extend the total devices up to 15, but you will have to pay extra for each device you add.
Problems with the Windows Client
The VPN Unlimited Windows client starts with a world map showing its various server locations. An arrow indicates the location of the user’s current IP. However, the image is useless because you can’t zoom in, move around it. Users can’t click locations to log in or do anything useful there. Why? Well, because it is just a simple image. To connect to a real server, you will have to move to the conventional server list. Locations in the server list are organized in alphabetical order. The new version has features like a kill switches to turn connections off once they have been compromised. However, it can still leak your IP for a short duration.
Problems with Mac OS Client
Just like the previous version, the new Mac OS version has a considerable amount of bugs. VPN Unlimited client has been known for leaking IPv6 addresses during active and stable connections. Real Privacy investigated this matter and found that his IPv6 address was getting leaked under his nose. All the VPN did in the entirety of this duration was displaying a kill-switch error. According to Restore Privacy, the IPv6 errors persisted even after reconnecting the servers.
VPN Unlimited may have some useful features but other less-favorable aspects of the VPN cancels out its benefits.
VPN Unlimited Company and Jurisdiction
VPN Unlimited is a product of KeepSolid Inc. The company behind VPN Unlimited is not new and offers a variety of digital products to its users. However, the company’s base of operation is in the United States. As we have discussed several times before, the United States is a really place bad place to start a VPN service. The primary use of a VPN service is to ensure that its users have a private and secure connection. It should also mean that the users should be safe from intrusive surveillance. However, the US has unfavorable surveillance laws and regulations. Being a member of the Five Eyes Surveillance group, the government has the power to force companies to give up user data. Moreover, the US government can share the data with other members of the Five Eyes group too. Understandably, it makes VPN Unlimited a dangerous option. Considering that your user information can get acquired by the US government at will, makes the use of a VPN obsolete. Though the company itself claims that its staff works from Ukraine (which is safe), the company itself is US-based. Therefore, it is still open to legal action from the US government. While there may be other reasons to choose a US-based VPN service, users should avoid it in general. We recommend other options such as UltraVPN and Nord instead.
VPN Unlimited Torrenting
As far as torrenting is concerned, VPN Unlimited falls short on its name. Technically, the VPN service offers torrenting but only in a limited way. The VPN clarifies on its FAQ blog that it doesn’t allow P2P connections for torrenting. Rather, the company supports P2P connections to allow a more secure version of file-sharing.
Moreover, the VPN service is not available on all servers. Users can only access VPN services on five specialized servers. As you can see in the image above, Canada, USA, Luxembourg, Romania, and France have P2P servers. It means that P2P servers are only available for the North American and European users. Users from other parts of the world will have disappointing download speeds on these servers. The horror doesn’t end here. The VPN service claims in its blogs that its technical team can ‘subside’ speeds for torrenting. As a result, the connection speeds of torrent users are cut low or throttled when the technical team has to relief traffic at a certain server. This is disappointing considering that no other VPN shows such relentless discrimination against torrent users. On the contrary, top-tier VPN services never throttle connections for anyone, in any case. However, VPN’s ability to identify torrenting users for throttling casts another doubt on the company’s privacy issues. One may ask how the VPN service manages to identify which protocol someone is using, does it monitor that as well? Needless to say, it’s alarming how VPN Unlimited subsides user connection speeds due to torrenting.
Data Collection and Storage
The policy does not contain some crucial information about VPN usage. At times, the policy even contradicts itself in details regarding data collection. For example, at one spot it says that it automatically collects information while at another place it denies storing that information. It even says that it does not store information such as the IP address, OS, browser type, device information, or the name of the Wi-Fi network. The company itself claims that it does not retain above-mentioned information from its VPN customers.
Sharing Personal Data
Furthermore, representatives from the company state that they only keep device code, email, and the social media information that the user provides. Though KeepSolid claims that it doesn’t sell or rent personal information, it also says it will “ask users first” if it did that. Lastly, the policy says that it can share data with law enforcement agencies if necessary. However, it still fails to mention whether this data will include any personally identifiable information. Representatives of the company dodge this question by saying that they don’t keep any logs, so they don’t have anything to share.
People are skeptical when VPNs don’t share necessary information about their operations and expect the worse. Many VPNs have been known to sell user data to third parties and have commissions in the sale from advertisements. However, KeepSolid insists that it does not earn money from any other source except subscriptions. So, that’s alright.
regarding its no-logs policy. However, KeepSolid holds a different view of this issue. The VPN service believes that customer feedback is the only independent audit they need. Furthermore, they stated that they trust customer feedback more than third-party audits. The company even withheld participation in the Center for Democracy and Technology’s VPN Questionnaire
VPN Unlimited Setup Problems
As we’ve observed before, VPN Unlimited’s claims about privacy are unfounded. Their already faltering privacy-friendly image gets damaged further when they demand personally identifiable information. The company only gives one day to test the service without an email. Even after entering the email, users only get 7 days to confirm the service if you don’t make payment, the service will deactivate by itself after 7 days. The installation process doesn’t run smoothly as well. In our case, when we started the installation, the installer had issues with installation. The program suggested that antivirus was blocking the installation process even when we didn’t have the antivirus running at the time. However, after proceeding to click OK, we found no further issues with our installation. Still, you will have to go through the cumbersome task of setting up OpenVPN manually on your device. Unlike most top-tier VPN services, VPN Unlimited doesn’t have all configuration files of OpenVPN. Instead, you will have to generate these files one by one from the website. Moreover, the VPN service requires users to generate different files for each device. It is necessary because each device has a separate login. The story doesn’t end here; people configuring these files from an OpenVPN GUI will have to rename each of those files. Users have to do that because KeepSolid uses a special naming convention.
To test out the speed of VPN Unlimited, we chose to rely on the speed tests carried out by Restore Privacy
. The popular online watchdog tested VPN Unlimited through different speed tests by using servers in Europe, the US, and Canada. You may assume that you’ll have enhanced speed considering the VPN prioritizes both North America and Europe. However, this was not the case. The tester’s physical location was in Europe, and he was using a 100 Mbps Ethernet connection. Even though Europe servers were near the tester’s physical location, the test results weren’t promising. In nearby servers in Paris, France, the speed dropped down from 100 Mbps to as low as 45 Mbps. In the UK, it did not fare much better and was struggling to maintain good speed. The VPN dragged itself to 59.45 Mbps. Even in places, the user is close, VPN Unlimited drops down the speed up to 40%. According to the tester himself, contenders like Express VPN and Nord VPN perform much better.
Tests with US Servers
If the VPN’s performance wasn’t poor enough in Europe, its speed stooped to a much lower level in the US. A server in the US gave dismal speeds of 9 Mbps on the connection.
Moreover, VPN Unlimited’s specialized server for Netflix in California performed far worse. The total download speed during the test was an abysmal 4 Mbps. The decrease in speed is unprecedented; no other VPN gives such a decline in speeds from Europe to the US. Considering VPN Unlimited is headquartered in the US, further sours its image as a good VPN.
Faulty Kill Switch
The kill switch is one of the latest features of VPN Unlimited. The purpose of the kill switch is to terminate the internet access once the connection drops. This is a very useful feature because it reduces the chance of a data leakage. Every top-tier VPN ensures that it has this feature. Likewise, VPN Unlimited tried hard to get this feature in their VPN clients. The company succeeded in adding the Kill Switch to its feature list. However, this feature was there in theory only. We connected to a VPN Unlimited server to test this feature. Firstly, we refreshed our web page which displayed out external IP. After that, we closed the openvpn.exe process to terminate the VPN connection. We expected the website to display IP address of our VPN Unlimited server until the kill switch started. However, it didn’t work as per our expectations. After the connection closed, the website kept displaying our real IP address for a few seconds exposing it in the process. Forcibly terminating OpenVPN process is a tough test for any VPN. However, when we tried a lighter testing method close the VPN connection manually. The kill switch still failed to prevent any traffic passing outside of the VPN and our real IP address got exposed for a few seconds again.
VPN Unlimited Price and Subscription
VPN Unlimited has a fairly moderate price range for a VPN. Still, we should not forget that the VPN is a far less secure option and has fewer features than a top-tier VPN such as Nord VPN.
The VPN also offers a lifetime subscription worth $200 dollars. However, it’s obvious that choosing such subscriptions is full of dangers. We should not forget that these subscriptions are not lifetime subscriptions for users; rather they are valid as long as the VPN provider stays in service. In the past, many VPN providers have run away with subscription fees after closing out.
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