mySteganos Online Shield is the latest incarnation of the long-running VPN from Steganos. Age has not made the VPN wiser, though. As with its password manager, which you can read about in our Steganos Password Manager review, the VPN lacks modern features to compete with the top dogs.
In this mySteganos Online Shield review, we’ll go over everything we liked and didn’t like after spending time with the service. We’re going to discuss features, pricing, ease of use, supported devices, server locations, speed, security and customer service before giving our verdict.
mySteganos Online Shield isn’t a bad VPN, but it lands far below the best VPN providers. Price and usability are its selling points. While the speed is acceptable, the features and power are lacking.
Alternatives for mySteganos Online Shield
- : PayPal, Credit card, PayNearMe, Wire Transfer, Cash/Money order
- : 5
- : No
- : No
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
- : 5
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
- : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
- : 6
- : PayPal, Credit card, UnionPay
- : 30
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Supports OpenVPN
- Works with Netflix
- Based in Germany
- No killswitch
- Mediocre speeds
- Limited server selection
- Can’t switch protocols
- Bad customer service
mySteganos Online Shield includes a lot of features. There are so many, in fact, that the actual tunneling experience suffers. As we’ll discuss in the ease of use section below, the service’s features are given equal weight in the interface, making the VPN feel more like an underdeveloped feature than the meat and potatoes.
That said, you still get a lot of extras. The features focus on your browsing experience and how you can keep yourself anonymous online. It includes ad and tracking blockers, an automatic cookie cleaner and a browser anonymization tool.
As you check the tools in the interface, mySteganos Online Shield will begin installing them. We like the privacy tools it gives you, but these features aren’t anything you can’t find for free in a browser extension. We wouldn’t mind them if it wasn’t clear that the provider focused on them instead of improving the tunneling experience.
mySteganos Online Shield lacks split tunneling, a killswitch and multi-hop connections. While multi-hop connections and split tunneling aren’t essential, a killswitch is. It’s as if Steganos designed its VPN without looking at the features that matter for other providers. If, however, split tunneling and multi-hop connections are important to you, check out our StrongVPN review and Surfshark review.
mySteganos Online Shield Streaming Performance
We went into this review expecting mySteganos Online Shield to struggle with streaming. There are no flashy “works with Netflix” banners or anything similar on the product page, so we were pleasantly surprised when it worked.
No matter what country we connected with — we tested 10 — mySteganos Online Shield worked. It broke into Netflix, Hulu, iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video without breaking a sweat. While the speed is subpar, we’ve had few VPN streaming experiences that were as simple and if it weren’t for mySteganos’ other problems we’d happily recommend it as one of the best VPN for Netflix.
mySteganos Online Shield Features Overview
As with most VPN providers, with the exception of Goose VPN (read our Goose VPN review), mySteganos Online Shield only has one product available. The difference in price depends on the length of your subscription.
We’re missing a free plan and long-term option, but the prices are so low that those omissions are easy to overlook.
- : Unlimited GB
- : 5
- : Unlimited GB
- : 5
Monthly plans from VPN providers are usually bad, but Online Shield makes a strong case. The rate is $5 cheaper than ExpressVPN’s (read our ExpressVPN review) and comes with two more simultaneous connections.
Compared to the rest of the market, the monthly rate is excellent. Still, it’s the worst value in the lineup. The annual plan will run you around $4 per month when you buy a year upfront, beating even the most inexpensive VPN providers, such as CyberGhost (read our CyberGhost review).
Sandwiched between the two is the worst option in the lineup. The semi-annual plan is only a few dollars cheaper than the annual plan when it’s all said and done and lasts half as long. Considering the other two options, we’re scratching our heads trying to figure out why the plan exists. Maybe it’s just pricing psychology, but we think Steganos could make something out of it.
There isn’t a free plan, but you should be using Windscribe if you want a free option, anyway (read our Windscribe review). mySteganos Online Shield does have a seven-day free trial, though, so you can try before you buy.
We like to see plans that last for longer durations from VPN providers because they offer the most value. It’s easy to get greedy and imagine a biennial or triennial plan subscription to mySteganos Online Shield for only a couple dollars per month. The annual rate is so low, though, that we’re content with the lineup offered.
Ease of Use
mySteganos Online Shield is easy to use, mainly because it doesn’t have much going on. Outside of the toggle switches on the main screen, there are only a handful of settings to mess with. While that means you can get connected without a hassle, it also means you have little to no control over that connection.
Signing up is simple, once you change the language you want to view the website in. Even while disconnected from a VPN, Steganos’s website defaulted to German. That’s not a huge deal, but it happened on multiple occasions, so we wanted to point it out. We guess the service would like to be added to our selection for the best VPN for Germany.
Once there, you can select the free trial or go to checkout. Steganos will display the four supported platforms so you can download the correct installer. Simply run the file and you’ll be setup within a few minutes.
The user interface is barren. There are five toggle switches that handle mySteganos Online Shield’s functionality. Next to the top switch, which is labeled “protect connection,” you can select the country you want to tunnel through.
Server selection is handled with a simple drop-down menu, which would normally hinder the experience. In this case, though, it doesn’t because the list is already small. You can also select a server from the tray icon.
The settings menu, which is accessed by clicking the gear icon in the bottom right corner, is disappointing, at best. You can change your language, set cookie removal exceptions, export support logs and configure start-up settings.
mySteganos Online Shield doesn’t have settings for custom DNS, the VPN protocol or anything else. The lack of power, in this case, doesn’t help ease of use. The main UI is fine, so we’d like to see more control under the hood for managing a connection.
Though ease of use is normally the longest section in our VPN reviews, this one feels short. mySteganos Online Shield doesn’t have anything going on outside of the five toggle switches. It’s not difficult to use, but it gives up way too much power.
The most control you get over your connection is where that connection is.
mySteganos Online Shield supports five devices without the option to add more. TorGuard also supports five devices, but you can add up to 20 more for $1 each, as you can read in our TorGuard review. Five connections isn’t bad, but we’re not impressed, either.
mySteganos Online Shield falls behind in platform support, though. It supports Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, and that’s it. You can’t download the .apk file to install it on non-traditional builds of Android or flash it on your router. Linux users are left in the cold, too.
Though that covers the majority of devices that can use a VPN, it is still behind the competition. Router support is a key feature for VPNs from a security and usability standpoint and its omission from mySteganos Online Shield is a major deterrent.
According to support, there are around 250 servers in mySteganos Online Shield’s network. That’s not entirely relevant, though, because you can’t connect to a specific server. The service has a presence in 19 countries, and you can only choose to connect to a specific country. There might be more servers available, but it doesn’t give you the option to choose between them.
The spread is about what you’d expect. The most exotic location on the list is Brazil, which is embarrassing when compared to NordVPN’s massive network (read our NordVPN review). Besides Russia and Japan, Asia is a blackout spot, as well as all of Africa and the Middle East.
We want to see greater selection from mySteganos Online Shield. The condensed, country-based approach is fine, but there should be an option to see a more extensive list of servers.
mySteganos Online Shield doesn’t have horrible speeds, but they’re not great, either. Minus a connection within the same country, it ate, at minimum, 31 megabits per second off our download speeds. Tunneling over long distances doesn’t fare well.
The only impressive result was when we connected in the U.S. If you’re tunneling within the same country, you shouldn’t notice a big difference. The VPN still took 17 Mbps off our download speeds, but latency and upload speeds were largely unaffected. Even with impressive latency results, mySteganos Online Shield won’t be making our best VPN for gaming list.
Moving past that result, it’s clear that mySteganos Online Shield isn’t the fastest VPN around. It’s not a contender for the best VPN for streaming because it falls short of Netflix’s 25 Mbps recommendation for 4K streaming. It still meets the mark for high-definition streaming, though, so it’s usable.
For normal browsing activities, mySteganos Online Shield should work fine. 4K streaming isn’t out of the question, either, but you’ll have to stay close to home to do so. While the service puts up decent numbers, there are faster providers out there.
Security & Privacy
As mentioned in the features and ease of use sections, mySteganos Online Shield doesn’t have security options. You can’t change your protocol, though two are available depending on what device you’re using. On desktop and Android, it uses OpenVPN, and on iOS, it uses IKEv2.
While we like to see OpenVPN, you can’t change the port you’re tunneling through. That can make it difficult to bypass strict censorship, such as the Great Firewall of China. You should probably use the best VPN for China for that, instead.
Still, it’s nice to see a modern and secure protocol from mySteganos Online Shield. Your traffic is encrypted with AES 256-bit, which is one of the strongest forms of encryption available.
That pays off, too. We tested for DNS, IP and WebRTC leaks and the VPN passed without issues. There’s no need to worry about your identity being exposed while using it.
mySteganos Online Shield Privacy
That said, you’re not required to enter an email address if you’re paying with a credit card. Steganos, in that case, will assign you a pseudonymous user ID derived from the public key of the MAC address of your computer.
That shouldn’t point back to you.
The German Bundesdatenschutzgesetz prohibits the collection of personal data without consent. That would include your IP address. Plus, if your data is collected in the future, BDSG says that it can only be collected for the purpose stated. The law applies to private and public agencies, too, so you should be covered.
Steganos offers mediocre support for mySteganos Online Shield. There’s a barren knowledgebase that only holds a small list of topics for each operating system. Topics for Windows include “compatibility with XP & Vista” and “blocked ports.” Suffice it to say, you probably won’t get much value out of it.
Articles are short, lacking in detail and don’t have clear instructions. Even with the simple interface, some sort of start-up guide would help a lot. The knowledgebase feels underdeveloped and neglected as it stands.
Outside of that, you get email support. Our experience with support this time was better than when we tested Steganos’s password manager. We received a response to our test email in a little over a day, and it answered our question in full. Still, it felt like a cold support experience.
That’s largely because how Steganos handles support. When you send an email, you’ll receive a confirmation that says “due to higher than usual ticket volumen at the moment, it might take longer than usual to address your request.” That is the same confirmation we received when testing the password manager weeks ago.
Given that we never heard back when testing the password manager, the confirmation email translates to “we might get back to you, and, if we do, we’re not sure when we will.” There isn’t a definitive response window and you may not hear back at all.
Like the password manager, mySteganos Online Shield is a mediocre offering. It has decent speeds, can break into Netflix and comes with additional privacy features. Outside of that, everything is subpar.
It struggles in settings and ease of use. The design doesn’t hold up against modern VPNs, and the lack of control could mean a slow or blocked connection. Plus, the lack of a killswitch could expose your identity.
While not a bad option, you can do much better for a little more cash.
What do you think of mySteganos Online Shield? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.