BolehVPN Review

BolehVPN is a Malaysia-based service that does certain things well, but suffers from mediocre usability and a limited server network. On top of that, streaming performance is poor, making it hard to recommend it, as you can read in our full BolehVPN review.

By Ben Stockton
— Last Updated: 19 Apr'18
2016-01-06T08:14:29-08:00
Table of Contents Rating
Features
70%
Decent
Pricing
75%
Good
Ease of Use
60%
Fair
Speed
80%
Good
Security
80%
Good
Privacy
80%
Good
Streaming Performance
1%
Terrible
Server Locations
30%
Terrible
Customer Service
70%
Decent
User Reviews & Comments

Fair
Starts from $ 370 per month
Visit BolehVPN
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Founded in Malaysia, BolehVPN has been on the VPN scene for years. We didn’t care for it the last time we tested it, but we’ve come back to take a second look, and the results are mixed. It’s targeting users looking to bypass geoblocking, overcome snooping states and stay secure while browsing, much like our best VPN picks, but doing so with far less efficiency.

We’re going to run through the pros and cons in this BolehVPN review. We’re going to look at the cost, feature set, server speeds, security and privacy, as well as streaming performance. We’re also going to test BolehVPN’s customer service before summing things up with our verdict.

BolehVPN does okay in some areas but remains poor in others. The spread of servers is limited and the client interface needs work, so it’s not as easy to use as providers like ExpressVPN (read our ExpressVPN review). It’s a speedy VPN service, but you should look at our best VPN for streaming guide if you’re after a streaming-friendly option.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Pros:

  • Fast server speeds
  • No logging policy
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Killswitch
  • Good customer support
  • Proxied servers for split tunneling

Cons:

  • Difficult-to-use user interface
  • Hard to configure
  • Unclear server list
  • Poor geographical spread
  • Doesn’t get into BBC iPlayer or Netflix

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Features

70% - Decent

There’s no escaping the fact that BolehVPN’s client isn’t designed with user-friendliness in mind. At first glance, it overloads you with buttons, statistics and icons in a way that doesn’t make things easy to understand.

If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly VPN, BolehVPN isn’t your best option. Instead, you should look at a service like NordVPN (read our NordVPN review).

BolehVPN’s client gives you a list of servers to connect to, your current connection details, user statistics and your account information.

You get two VPN protocols: OpenVPN, which is recommended, and, as an alternative, L2TP. You get a list of servers to connect to, but unlike other providers, the servers have tagged names, such as “xCloakRouted-TCP-France” and “BolehFlix-USA-Only.” If you pick L2TP, there are no servers to choose from. It appears BolehVPN recommends L2TP connections for mobile users only.

It’s good that BolehVPN is tailoring its servers for different uses, such as “BolehFlix” for Netflix users, but there’s no explanation to go with those tags, which we’ll touch on later.

If you’re not a Windows user, you can take advantage of clients for macOS and Android. iOS and Linux users are stuck with configuration files they can use with an external OpenVPN client. That doesn’t make BolehVPN an ideal choice for casual VPN subscribers, so it won’t be making our best VPN for Linux list.

BolehVPN Killswitch

The VPN server has something like a killswitch with its “lock down” mode to disable your internet if you lose your VPN connection, which you can enable in the “settings” area of the client. We’d like to talk more about it, but beyond a BolehVPN forum post explaining its purpose, there’s little to go on.

It’s expected that DNS leak protection comes standard with VPNs, and BolehVPN has a setting to “enable DNS leak protection.” It’s not enabled by default, which is strange, but it’s good that the option exists.

You get a client log, too, where detailed connection data is saved, along with your data usage. There’s also an area for setting your VPN to work through a proxy server — HTTP or SOCKS — if you’re working in a restricted network environment.

If you want to find the best server for you, the “service status” area has a list of servers to connect to and allows you to ping each one. A latency test like that can help you find a good server for streaming or gaming, but you’ll find better options on our best VPN for gaming shortlist.

Split tunneling isn’t one of BolehVPN’s features, but you can achieve a similar result by choosing servers labeled “proxied” and using proxy settings in any software you want to pass through the VPN. We’ll talk about that in more depth later.

Features Overview

Starts from$ 370per month

General

Payment methods
PayPal, Credit card, Coinpayments, Online bank transfer
Accepts cryptocurrency
Bitpay
Simultaneous connections
3
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available
1 day
Refund period
14 days
Worldwide server amount
78 servers in 12 countries
Desktop OSes
Windows, MacOS
Mobile OSes
Android
Browser extensions
Can be installed on routers

Streaming

Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video

Security

Encryption types
256-AES
VPN protocols available
OpenVPN, L2TP
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included

Support

Live Chat
Email support
24/7
Phone support
User forum
Knowledgebase

Pricing

75% - Good

There’s nothing to complain about when it comes to BolehVPN’s pricing. Compared to other ugly duckling VPN services, such as Astrill (read our Astrill review), BolehVPN remains on the cheaper end of the monthly scale.

1 Day Free Plan
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 3 Included Devices
7 Days
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 3 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
30 Days
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 3 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
60 Days
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 3 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
180 Days
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 3 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
6-months plan $ 7.50 / month
$44.99 billed every 6 month
365 Days
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 3 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 6.67 / month
$79.99 billed every year

You can take advantage of a one-day free trial if you’d prefer, but you’ll be limited to connections to using two to three servers. The seven-day plan for $3.70 gives users a chance to trial the full service for a small fee. The variety in pricing options is a nice touch.

The 30-day package, at $9.99 a month, isn’t badly priced compared to a competitor like CyberGhost (read our CyberGhost review). When you’re looking to pay for a longer period, CyberGhost and other providers, such as Windscribe (see our Windscribe review), are better values.

For example, Windscribe’s yearly plan is $50 compared to almost $80 for BolehVPN. Plus, Windscribe includes features such as ad blocking for a cheaper price. You may want to compare prices to other providers in our VPN reviews before deciding.

If you’re unhappy with BolehVPN’s service, you get 14 days to ask for a refund. That’s less than the 30-day refund period you’d get with ExpressVPN, but more than the seven days you’d get with TorGuard (read our TorGuard review). You only get two days for trial subscriptions, though, which includes the seven-day package.

You can pay for BolehVPN using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, such as Dash and Litecoin, as well as PayPal and credit card. BolehVPN consider cryptocurrency refunds on a case-by-case basis, with a 2 percent charge for admin applied.

You get the same features, regardless of the package you choose. The only limitation is the limited number of servers in the one-day trial. You’re able to have three simultaneous connections (so three devices at the same time) with this service, regardless of the package you choose.

Ease of Use

60% - Fair

One of the biggest gripes with BolehVPN is the experience of navigating its website and client. Ordering a service requires you to register first, which is fine, but finding the things you want from there feels more challenging than it should.

Once you’ve registered an account and activated it, you’re sent to a sparse-looking account area. To buy the service, you need to “make an order”. The process is simple. You choose which package you want, pick your payment method, then pay.

You don’t have to provide data about yourself when you register, just a username and password. More anonymous payment methods, such as bitcoin, allow you to keep your identity safe when you pay.

There are download links for the Windows, macOS and Android clients, as well as configuration files for Linux and iOS. The client downloads and installs with little difficulty, but as mentioned, it isn’t beginner-friendly.

The interface feels like a throwback and is similar in many respects to WiTopia personalVPN’s (read our WiTopia personalVPN review). There isn’t a great deal of customization available with BolehVPN, despite the many buttons and icons.

The main dashboard section includes an area for connecting to servers, which is the most important part of the client. As mentioned, it’s confusing to choose which server to go for. Nothing in the client guides you, and the only reference to server selection that we could find on the website is a help guide for OpenVPN connections.

Finding that guide was tricky, too. It took a Google search for some of the server names to find relevant information. The guide is useful, but it’s strange that there isn’t a prominent link to it in the client or account area.

BolehVPN Settings

There are two main settings areas in the client: one for standard settings and one for proxy settings. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to configure. It appears that your server choice will affect your connection more than your settings choices.

For example, a “fully routed” server will route your traffic through the VPN, while a “proxied” server will need you to configure your software to route through a local proxy first. That is, in some ways, similar to the split tunneling feature you’d get with other services.

Looking through the settings areas, none of the options are pre-enabled. For options like DNS leak protection, which should be the bare minimum you’d expect from a VPN, this is a strange choice and one we’d recommend you’d enable first if you use BolehVPN.

Other areas, such as the “service status” area, are self-explanatory, allowing you to check whether servers are running and giving you an idea of their latency from your location with a ping test.

BolehVPN could be forgiven for a bad interface design if it was easy for users to understand what to do. Helping users choose the right VPN server should be the bread and butter of any service.

It’s good that BolehVPN offer help guides explaining server choices to users, but they’re difficult to find, and that really reduces the ease of use. It’d be better if the service included links to these within the client, or made links to these guides prominent on their website.

Speed

80% - Good

Speed isn’t something that BolehVPN advertises, but it’s fair to say that nobody wants to go with a slow VPN service. To see how well it performed, we ran speed tests on five of its servers to measure upload speed, download speed and latency against our unprotected UK connection. The results are below.

Locations:Ping (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)
Unprotected (UK)1329.025.36
Netherlands1827.395.02
U.S.14221.914.27
Canada10621.154.25
Singapore17924.093.20
Japan3399.501.85

Most of the servers you can connect to have their location identified by country, rather than city. Considering that BolehVPN doesn’t advertise its speed, we were surprised that the servers we tested, with the exception of Japan, came close to matching the download and upload speeds of the unprotected connection.

Latency dipped, as you might expect, the farther from the UK servers we got. The Netherlands was almost identical, while the North American and Asian servers ranged in the hundreds of milliseconds.

The latency makes BolehVPN a poor gaming VPN, but the above average speeds could make it a contender among the fastest VPN services on the market. It connect quickly and its performance makes it a good choice if you’re looking for the best VPN for torrenting.

Security

80% - Good

Security is one of the first words you see on the BolehVPN website. Given its origins in Malaysia, which has a somewhat varied view on freedom of speech, it talks the talk when it comes to security. Our best VPN for Malaysia guide gets into the specifics of that country’s censorship.

BolehVPN recommends the use of OpenVPN, which is, as our VPN security guide explains, one of the most secure VPN protocols. L2TP is available, too, but it appears to be restricted to mobile users.

There isn’t an option to choose which type of OpenVPN encryption you use when you connect via the client, but the website advertises AES 256-bit encryption. If that’s gibberish to you, read our description of encryption.

Certain servers, such as those labeled “cloak,” are designed to help you beat internet censorship in China, Iran and other countries (read our best VPN services for China guide). Features such as the “lock down” killswitch are also available to help users if they’re worried about their identity being leaked while connected.

DNS leak protection is included as an option, and the service passed our tests when we looked for IP, WebRTC and DNS leaks. Despite not having the option for DNS leak protection enabled, our connection still didn’t have leaks. That setting is likely to be for specific servers, such as the proxied servers.

The variety of security options is a nice, though confusing, touch from BolehVPN. It’s great that there are servers for citizens in restricted countries, but it would be better if that information was more easily accessible.

Privacy

80% - Good

Before you purchase a VPN, you should take a look at its privacy policy. That’s what we did with BolehVPN, and we liked what we found for the most part.

First off, the website has a warrant canary, which is an ingenious method to alert users if legal action that can’t be reported has been served. If the canary is removed, users can assume the company has been served legal papers that it can’t report.

That’s a good sign that the company takes privacy seriously. To confirm, the website reports that no searches, warrants or seizures have ever been served to the company or anyone associated with it.

The website doesn’t log user data, either, according to its privacy policy. The one exception to that is if the service registers “unusual activity,” where it reserves the right to enable logs for a short period to find and terminate the user’s access.

BolehVPN says that’s only used as a “very last resort” and it has only occurred “a handful of times” since the company was founded. Whether you use it is a judgment call. The inclusion of a canary and the strong wording about the rarity of that kind of action suggest that the company is serious about user privacy.

The company behind BolehVPN, BV Internet Services Limited, is incorporated in Seychelles, which has some of the best cloud privacy laws in the world thanks to laws that guarantee privacy and data protection.

The website also makes it clear that it operates outside of the authority of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing nations (UK, U.S, Australia, Canada and New Zealand), none of which have the best reputation for respecting user privacy.

Though the possibility of “last resort” logging could be a concern, BolehVPN makes strong efforts to prove that it’s serious about privacy. Still, if that’s enough to put you off, you might need to look at an alternative provider, such as Perfect Privacy instead (read our Perfect Privacy review).

Streaming Performance

1% - Terrible

Not every VPN is capable of streaming content from major streaming sites like Netflix or BBC iPlayer, but BolehVPN has tried hard to do so.

Several of BolehVPN’s servers are listed as streaming-friendly, under the “surfing/streaming,” “geo” and “BolehFlix” tags. We tested a selection of them and found the experience to be poor.

Some servers, such as the “geo” servers, simply wouldn’t connect. Others, such as the “BolehFlix” servers, required us to alter our DNS settings to connect. We tried that, and though the Netflix website showed U.S. content, none of it would play.

The “surfing/streaming” servers weren’t any better. None of the servers we tried allowed us to stream content via Netflix, so if you’re looking for the best VPN for Netflix, look elsewhere.

We did a similar test of UK servers to judge whether streaming content from BBC iPlayer was possible. Because this review took place from the UK, BBC iPlayer streaming works fine without a VPN connection, but once we connected via any of the UK-based servers, we got a warning about our location and couldn’t stream.

If you’re looking to watch the best the BBC has to offer, you’ll need to look at one of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer, such as VyprVPN (read our VyprVPN review), instead.

It’s clear that BolehVPN has tried to be streaming-friendly, but it just hasn’t worked. The servers we tried were incapable of streaming or we were unable to connect to them.

Server Locations

30% - Terrible

Geographical spread isn’t one of BolehVPN’s strongest points. There are only 12 countries to choose from, which is a low amount, and the servers are concentrated in Europe and the U.S, with a few in Asia.

There are no servers in Africa and South America. There’s no easy and definitive list of servers, either, but we counted 78 in the drop-down list in the client. Only some of them were capable of “fully routed” VPN connections.

It’s difficult to choose server locations by their country because of the unusual naming system BolehVPN uses. That may be by design, given their poor spread.

Variety isn’t a word we can apply to BolehVPN, so if that’s important to you, look at alternatives, such as HideMyAss (read our HideMyAss review), which has servers in 190 countries.

Customer Service

70% - Decent

BolehVPN has a few customer service options for users to take advantage of. You can use the live chat, which can be found at the bottom of each page, to speak to an advisor or log a support ticket.

There’s also a help desk with supportive articles and an active customer forum, where you can interact with staff and other users. There’s a section dedicated to installing clients or setting up your PC to work with certain servers, such as the DNS servers for “BolehFlix,” too.

The installation guides are detailed and include useful screenshots. The help desk allows users to post questions directly to staff, so, in essence, it’s a second forum, but there are also specially-made articles from staff members to help explain common issues and problems.

We decided to test BolehVPN’s customer service by sending a query to to its team as a support ticket. We asked for clarification on a few things:

  • Does BolehVPN have split tunneling?
  • What is the number of available servers?
  • Must the DNS leak protection setting be active in the client settings?

BolehVPN took a few days to get back to us, but it answered our questions. If you run into trouble, the support team should be able to help, and failing that, you can call upon the support forum for help.

The Verdict

With its solid speeds and focus on privacy, BolehVPN is an okay VPN, but it’s just okay. We praised it in the past for its ability to stream Netflix and other streaming services, but it has taken a step backward and that’s no longer possible.

It’s fast, but the server selection is far too limited compared to big name services such as ExpressVPN, which has far more features and servers at a cheaper price.

BolehVPN’s strong focus on security and privacy is encouraging, but the “emergency” logging policy might give the most serious privacy users cause to look elsewhere. Pricing is competitive, but not the best in the market.

Where BolehVPN struggles is in how it presents itself on its website and in the client. It just isn’t friendly to use, which will put beginners off. The poorly thought out list of servers is hard to decipher and the client looks outdated.

It’s clear that BolehVPN wants to target more than one crowd: streamers, dissidents and the privacy-focused. It doesn’t serve any of them particularly well, but if you’re looking for a quick-enough VPN, and you’re based in Europe or the U.S., it’s more than adequate.

Do you have experience with BolehVPN? Do you feel this review has been too harsh? Give us your feedback in the comments below, and thanks for your time.

BolehVPN Review

Mediocre service plagued by issues.

BolehVPN is a Malaysia-based service that does certain things well, but suffers from mediocre usability and a limited server network. On top of that, streaming performance is poor, making it hard to recommend it, as you can read in our full BolehVPN review.
Starts from$ 370per month
Visit BolehVPN
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