SaferVPN Review

SaferVPN is a fairly standard and cheap VPN service with decent features but slow speeds keep it from the top echelons. We also have a few concerns about its privacy policy, though it does get you into Netflix (kinda). Read our full SaferVPN review for the details.

By Jacob RoachDeputy Editor
— Last Updated: 28 Jan'19
2017-07-31T00:35:42-08:00
Table of Contents Rating
Features
70%
Decent
Pricing
95%
Excellent
Ease of Use
85%
Very Good
Speed
70%
Decent
Security
70%
Decent
Privacy
75%
Good
Streaming Performance
70%
Decent
Server Locations
60%
Fair
Customer Service
90%
Excellent
User Reviews & Comments

Good
Starts from $ 229 per month
Visit SaferVPN

SaferVPN Overview

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Created by two Israeli software engineers in 2013, SaferVPN is a virtual private network with the goal of “provid[ing] secure, private, and uncensored Internet access to anyone, anywhere.” It mostly succeeds at doing so, too, with a streamlined user experience, decent speeds and low prices. The minimal logs kept may give privacy nuts pause, though.

In this SaferVPN review, we’re going to talk about everything we liked and didn’t like after spending time with it. We’ll discuss features, pricing, ease of use, supported devices, server locations, speed, security and customer service before giving our verdict.

We like SaferVPN at its asking price. That said, it would be unreasonable if it was any more. Though a great value, SaferVPN doesn’t have impressive speeds or features, so if you’re looking for a VPN with all the bells and whistles, look at our best VPN article.

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Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • Supports multiple protocols
  • Automatic WiFi protection
  • Wide platform support
  • No identifying logs kept
  • Gets into Netflix

Weaknesses:

  • Mediocre speeds internationally
  • Some logs kept
  • Lacking features
  • Small server network


Features

70% - Decent

Though the interface is lightweight, SaferVPN has a decent set of features. Like any good VPN should, it includes a killswitch, but, oddly, it’s disabled by default. You can’t do anything special with the killswitch, such as setting it to only work on certain applications, but the basic functionality is there.

A killswitch is commonplace, but automatic WiFi security isn’t. By default, SaferVPN is set to automatically enable the VPN on unsecured networks. You can add trusted WiFi networks in the client to bypass that rule for them, too.

In addition to the desktop client, there’s a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. The extension doesn’t do anything special, though. It’s just another way to control the VPN, but having quick access to connect or change your location doesn’t hurt.

Other than that, SaferVPN is bare. It doesn’t offer split tunneling in the client, which is a feature we always look for. ExpressVPN, for example, allows you to set which apps use the VPN tunnel and which bypass it, as you can see in our ExpressVPN review.

SaferVPN Supported OSes

The platform support is good, but it’s difficult to track down. In the control panel, you’ll find installers for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, as well as links to the extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Oddly, there are tutorials next to all of the installers except for the Firefox extension.

Though installs on restricted Android builds are supported, SaferVPN doesn’t make the .apk file available.

SaferVPN can be installed on almost anything, though, including routers, Linux boxes, network-attached storage, e-readers and gaming consoles. It has setup guides for all of those installations, but they’re hard to find. Instead of providing a link to the setup guides in the control panel, SaferVPN slots them in the “quick start” section of its knowledgebase.

SaferVPN Features Overview

Starts from$ 229per month

General

Payment methods
PayPal, Credit card
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections
5
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available
1
Refund period
30
Worldwide server amount
43 servers in 43 countries
Desktop OSes
Windows, MacOS
Mobile OSes
Android, iOS
Browser extensions
Chrome
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, PPTP, IKEv2
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included

Support

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

Pricing

95% - Excellent

Unlike TorGuard, which offers several privacy services (read our TorGuard review), SaferVPN only offers one. The only difference between plans is the duration, with long-term contracts receiving a higher discount. While the price is low, the lack of flexibility makes it more difficult to bite the bullet.

In particular, SaferVPN doesn’t offer a monthly plan. Most monthly plans are bad — read our Hide.me review to see one of the worst — but they still offer a cheap point of entry for those strapped for cash. We almost never recommend monthly plans, but they do provide flexibility, despite their low value.

Annual
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 4.99 / month
$59.88 billed every year
2 Year Plan
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
2-year plan $ 2.99 / month
$71.76 billed every 2 years
3 Year Plan
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
3-year plan $ 2.29 / month
$82.44 billed every 3 years

The good news is that all plans are refundable for 30 days. There’s some confusion on the checkout page, though.

When you select a one or two-year subscription, SaferVPN says “the 3-year plan includes the biggest savings and is fully refundable for 30 days.” That implies the other two plans are not, but after digging through the refund policy and contacting support, we confirmed that all plans have that money-back guarantee.

With our groaning out of the way, it’s time to talk about what SaferVPN gets right. The prices are among the lowest we’ve seen, making inexpensive providers, such as Private Internet Access, look like high-ticket items (read our PIA review). The annual plan offers a good value, but you can find similar pricing elsewhere. The three-year plan, on the other hand, is unmatched.

The few providers that offer three-year plans usually don’t offer them as cheap. For example, NordVPN charges about $25 more for one, two and three years (read our NordVPN review to see why the upcharge is worth it, though). If you’re pinching pennies, SaferVPN is an excellent choice.

There’s a free trial, too, but it’s difficult to track down. We reached out to support to ask about it and the rep was able to provide us a link for a 24-hour trial. Of course, we didn’t say we were reviewing the service, so the trial is available to everyone, but it’s not accessible from the homepage.

As for payment methods, SaferVPN accepts the usual suspects. You can pay with most major credit cards, PayPal and bitcoin. Some of the local payment options that other providers accept aren’t available, but that’s not too big an issue.

SaferVPN Simultaneous Connections

All SaferVPN plans come with five devices without the option to buy more. Five is acceptable because it’s basically the standard among VPN providers, but a few more wouldn’t hurt. CyberGhost, for example, offers seven (read our CyberGhost review).

Ease of Use

85% - Very Good

Signing up with SaferVPN is easy. All you have to do is choose a plan, enter your email address and select a payment method. You’ll then be sent to a password creation page and SaferVPN will email you your account credentials. Note that it doesn’t send your password in the email. That would be a poor security practice.

Don’t discount the email, though. You can use it, or the control panel you’re directed to after sign-up, to download the installer. In the control panel, SaferVPN will automatically detect what operating system you’re using and recommend the right installer for you. There’s a “show more apps” button near the recommended installer, which sends you to other installers and tutorials.

Overall, the control panel is straightforward. You can view invoices, download installers for other platforms, update your account details and manage your billing.

Once installed, SaferVPN will open with a recommended location selected. The interface is about as big as a smartphone app on an iPhone 4 and isn’t resizable. Though not as small as Astrill’s interface (read our Astrill review), SaferVPN was difficult to read on a 4K display.

If you don’t care about where you’re connecting, just click the large, green “connect” button toward the bottom. SaferVPN will automatically connect you to its recommended server, which we found to be decent, and you’ll be on your way. If you want to select your location, click the small marker next to the “connect” button.

A window showing the available locations will open on the left side. This window, while separated, will move with the interface. You can drag the location window away from the main window, but if you try to move the main window, the location window will move with it.

Finding a location is easy, especially since SaferVPN’s network is small. If you’re not up for scrolling, though, you can search for a location, use one of SaferVPN’s recommended locations or favorite locations so that they show at the top of the list.

Like a lot of VPNs, SaferVPN doesn’t allow you to switch servers without disconnecting first. It’s annoying, but SaferVPN’s faster than average connection time makes up for it.

The only other area of the interface is the settings menu, which is accessed by clicking the hamburger icon in the top right corner. The settings cover the basics, including start-up options, protocol settings and app updates. You can submit support tickets, open the knowledgebase and open a speed test app from the settings, though, which are features that not all VPNs offer.

Speed

70% - Decent

SaferVPN doesn’t come close to the fastest VPN providers available, but it still puts up reasonable results if you’re tunneling close to home and have a lot of data to play with. Those operating with limited connections, or hoping to tunnel through censorship, will probably want to look elsewhere. You can see the locations we tested, along with our unprotected speed, in the table below.

Location:Ping (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)
Unprotected (St. Louis, MO)10142.710.33
U.S. Streaming7565.969.63
Canada3389.029.26
Netherlands11430.056.36
Cyprus16313.424.16
Singapore23630.493.08

When we stayed in North America, SaferVPN managed good, if not impressive, results. Our latency stayed low and we gave up around 40 percent of our download speed. Oddly, though, the U.S. streaming server, which was closer to our testing location, did worse than a data center in British Columbia.

Going to other parts of the world is mostly out of the question unless you have a speedy connection at home. At around 20 percent of our unprotected speed, the Netherlands and Singapore were slow, as was the Cyprus data center, which didn’t even give us 10 percent.

That said, the latency stayed low across all locations. Though the initial jump in latency disqualifies SaferVPN from our best VPN for gaming guide, it shouldn’t be discounted for that purpose. Considering its resilience to proxy blocks, it’s a good choice for browsing exclusive titles on PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, even if the latency isn’t the best we’ve seen.

 

Security

70% - Decent

SaferVPN uses the stale “bank level encryption” marketing claim, but, even so, it’s secure. It uses AES 256-bit with OpenVPN by default, but also supports IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec and PPTP. There’s an “automatic” setting, which, based on our testing, uses OpenVPN. It may be a good idea to enable it because it allows SaferVPN to fall back on another protocol if one fails.

You can’t change the encryption, though, no matter which protocol you’re using. That could be confusing for new users. The marketing materials suggest that AES 256-bit is used across protocols when, in reality, L2TP and PPTP don’t support it. You can learn more about that in our description of encryption and our VPN protocol breakdown.

We did DNS leak tests across multiple servers and SaferVPN came out with a clear record. We also tested WebRTC and IP leaks and it passed those, as well.

Privacy

75% - Good

It’s hard to trust privacy policies, especially with providers such as IPVanish being caught with their proverbial pants down — read our IPVanish review to learn about that. Even so, the onslaught of “no logs” claims remains, and SaferVPN isn’t breaking that trend. Its privacy policy is detailed enough to give us comfort, though.

In short, meaningful information isn’t logged or monitored. As is the case with most VPN providers, though, the truth is more complicated.

When you connect, four things are logged: the date and time of the start and end of the session, the amount of data transferred during the session, the location you connected to and the location you connected from. SaferVPN notes in its privacy policy that it doesn’t log your IP address when it logs the country you connected from.

It logs that information to “facilitate the provision of the Service to you… and to protect the rights of SaferVPN, of its Users and of other third-parties.” SaferVPN says it can use the data to comply with legal requests, transfer it as part of a reorganization or merger or provide it to third parties to ensure the service runs smoothly.

That’s scary, but SaferVPN makes it clear that your IP address, DNS queries, website history and data transfer are not monitored or logged. Though it would be in line with SaferVPN’s privacy policy to share that information, it “simply does not exist.”

As for how long the logs are kept, SaferVPN isn’t clear. It says account details, such as your name and email address, are kept on file for as long as you have an account, but the logs about connection and activity can be kept for as long as SaferVPN sees fit. It notes a 30-day average in the privacy policy.

SaferVPN provides a case study that summarizes its privacy policy well. When we connected to the U.S. East server, it could see that an anonymous user connected to that server, as well as the time and duration of the connection.

As the company puts it, “we may know that a SaferVPN customer accessed one of our servers, but we do not and cannot know how and who accessed our service.”

Streaming Performance

70% - Decent

SaferVPN has dedicated streaming locations in the U.S. and U.K. and, based on our testing, they work. We were able to access Netflix and BBC iPlayer without issues, but SaferVPN’s subpar speed disqualified it from our best VPN for Netflix and best VPN for BBC iPlayer guides.

Hulu and Amazon Prime Video weren’t as consistent. Hulu worked from the U.S. streaming server, but failed when we used the U.K. one. Amazon Prime Video, on the other hand, was blocked on both. Even so, Netflix and BBC iPlayer are the most important ones to nail, and SaferVPN succeeds on that front.

Server Locations

60% - Fair

SaferVPN’s network is unimpressive. There are 43 locations to choose from, two of which are redundant locations meant for streaming. Most of them are in Europe — 21 of the 37 — but the others are fairly dispersed.

Given SaferVPN’s base in the U.S., we expected more data centers to be there, but there are only three: one for the east coast, one for the west coast and one for streaming. In other parts of the world, the options are mediocre. SaferVPN has one server in the Middle East and Africa and a handful in Asia, so if you’re looking for exotic locations, it’s best to look elsewhere.

Customer Service

90% - Excellent

Despite being a newer company, SaferVPN has excellent support resources. The knowledgebase is mostly composed of “quick start” guides. While there are guides for using the installer on Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, there are also guides for installing it on routers, network-attached storage and more.  

The guides are great. SaferVPN covers almost every installation possible, with step-by-step instructions and screenshots. In addition to guides to installing it on certain platforms, SaferVPN provides guides to configuring different protocols on those platforms.

In other areas of the knowledgebase, you’ll find an FAQ for billing, questions about how a VPN works and clarifications about SaferVPN’s service, all of which are detailed and include step-by-step instructions and screenshots when needed.

For direct support, SaferVPN has 24/7 live chat and email. The live chat is helpful for simple answers, but most solutions can be found in the knowledgebase. Even so, we used it more than once during the review to clarify certain aspects of the service.

We also reached out over email about the number of server locations, which is identified on the website. The question was intended to see whether the support rep would redirect us to the website or answer the question. They did both, thankfully, and did so swiftly. We received a response in about 15 hours.

The Verdict

SaferVPN is an inexpensive provider that doesn’t have a lot of features. The core of service is solid, though, with reasonable speeds close to home and access to streaming platforms. Its security is good, too, but those ultra-concerned with privacy may have trouble with the logs it keeps.

That said, it’s a great choice for those who want to browse the exclusives on Netflix for cheap. If you’d rather shop around more, read our other VPN reviews.

What do you think of SaferVPN? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.

SaferVPN Review

A service that gets a lot right, but misses the finer points

SaferVPN is a fairly standard and cheap VPN service with decent features but slow speeds keep it from the top echelons. We also have a few concerns about its privacy policy, though it does get you into Netflix (kinda). Read our full SaferVPN review for the details.
Starts from$ 229per month
Visit SaferVPN
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