SaferVPN is a virtual private network that was founded in Israel in 2013. According to a Forbes article that profiled the startup two years later, the founders’ goal was to “differentiate themselves by appealing not only to experts in the field of online security but also to people of all ages and with varying technical skills.”
That’s hardly a unique goal these days, but it does give us a frame of reference for what SaferVPN is trying to do. Succeeding as a mass-appeal VPN means being easy to use, budget-friendly, compatible with Netflix and speedy enough that you can install it for your grandparents without them yelling at you for breaking their internet.
In our SaferVPN review, we’ll give you the lowdown on its speed, user-friendliness, price, feature set, streaming performance and more. It checks the minimum required boxes, including unblocking Netflix, but isn’t yet a contender for our best VPN ranking. If you’re looking for that, make sure to read our ExpressVPN review.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Low-priced annual plans
- Good speeds close to home
- Browser extensions
- Automatic WiFi security
- Unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer & Amazon Prime Video
- User-friendly interface
- No leaks
- Stellar customer service
- No split tunneling
- Some security holes
- Inconsistent server locations
- Can’t unblock Hulu
Alternatives for SaferVPN
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed91 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency5 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
- : 5
Average speedDownload Speed90 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency4 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 10
Average speedDownload Speed64 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency44 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : 5
SaferVPN has a decent array of basic features, including a kill switch. VPN beginners will find everything they need here, though experts might feel restricted by the absence of split tunneling.
SaferVPN is available for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, and as a Firefox and Chrome extension. Furthermore, SaferVPN offers router support. Nothing special, but what we expect from a mid-tier VPN service.
There’s a kill switch, which immediately shuts down your internet if your connection to the VPN drops. You can’t set it to work for only some apps like you can with NordVPN, though (see our NordVPN review here). While SaferVPN’s kill switch is bare-bones, we’re still glad to see it, especially since it’s available on every platform.
Automatic WiFi security is one of SaferVPN’s most unique features. It’s a sort of reverse killswitch that instantly launches the VPN if you connect to unsecured WiFi — useful if you do a lot of work in coffee shops and hotel lobbies.
Other than a few standard options, like named trusted networks and launching the VPN when your device boots up, that’s about it. There’s nothing special here, which is disappointing. However, SaferVPN still covers the essentials.
SaferVPN Features Overview
|Payment methods||PayPal, Credit card|
|Supports split tunneling|
|Free trial available|
|Worldwide server amount||1,300 servers in 50 countries|
|Desktop OSes||Windows, MacOS, Linux|
|Mobile OSes||Android, iOS|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox|
|Can be installed on routers|
|Can access Netflix US|
|Can access BBC iPlayer|
|Can access Hulu|
|Can access Amazon Prime Video|
|VPN protocols available||IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2|
|Enabled at device startup|
|Passed DNS leak test|
|Malware/ad blocker included|
When we last reviewed SaferVPN, it didn’t have a monthly plan. Now it does, but it’s overpriced. The one-year, two-year and three-year plans are much more in keeping with this VPN’s goal of accessibility, with average or below average costs per month.
There’s no forever free plan. If that’s what you’re looking for, head over to our list of the best free VPN services.
With just one subscription tier that includes all features, the only difference is how long you sign up for. Additionally, each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Every plan allows you to use SaferVPN on five devices. That’s not bad, but plenty of VPN services offer higher device limits or remove them entirely (see our CyberGhost review for an example). You can get around the limit by installing SaferVPN on your router, but if you don’t want to deal with the hassle, just read our best VPN for multiple devices guide.
We tend to use Private Internet Access as our baseline for a cheap VPN (read our PIA review here). PIA’s two-year plan costs $2.19 per month, but that’s as long as it goes. At both the two-year and three-year levels, SaferVPN beats out PIA, staking a claim as one of the cheapest VPNs around.
SaferVPN recently started accepting a raft of new payment methods. In addition to credit cards, debit cards and PayPal, you can pay with online bank transfers, Alipay, Webmoney, Moneybookers and Skrill. Crypto owners can pay with bitcoin or TRON.
Ease of Use
It’s hard to find anything to complain about in SaferVPN’s interface. It avoids the two biggest pitfalls of a VPN UI: excessive simplicity (see our Bitdefender VPN review for one that falls into that trap) and general brokenness (see our Goose VPN review for the worst offender there).
Signing up for SaferVPN is a brisk three-step process. Just choose a plan, enter an email address for your account and pick your payment method.
SaferVPN then sends you an email which you can use to complete your download. You can also choose to use the control panel on the website. Either way, once it’s on your hard drive, you’re good to get started right away.
Here on the main window, you’ve got four options: connect, change your server, visit SaferVPN’s Facebook page, or open the preferences menu. Your first connection requires installing a helper tool, but after that, it happens quickly.
We like VPNs that let you change your server from the main window; not being able to do that was one of our big issues with Speedify (see our Speedify review to learn about all the other issues). On SaferVPN, you can quickly search for a server, see the ones recommended to you as the fastest or favorite a server to find it later.
The settings panel is easy to navigate, with five tabs encompassing all SaferVPN’s features. From here, you can change your protocol, activate automatic WiFi security, enable the kill switch and toggle a few other miscellaneous options.
You can also access the knowledgebase and submit customer support tickets from the app. You can also run a speedtest, though it connects you to a third-party website (the same one we use, in fact).
We can’t see anything in SaferVPN’s UI turning away a first-time user. Our only objection is that you have to click an “apply” button to make some changes stick, which isn’t common among VPNs and might cause confusion.
SaferVPN is very fast close to home. It’s not quite fast enough to make our list of the fastest VPNs, since that also requires a consistency SaferVPN doesn’t quite achieve — but as long as you’re tunneling near your location, its speed is extraordinary.
These speed tests were conducted over a standard home WiFi connection. The first protected server was automatically chosen as the fastest, the next three came from the recommended list and the final three were tested because they’re in traditionally underserved locations.
As you can see, SaferVPN had a negligible impact on browsing performance when we connected to its recommended server. Connecting on the U.S. east coast or in Europe gave up a larger chunk of our download speed, and by the time we reached Eastern Europe, Africa and South America, things were crawling.
However, proportion is more important than absolute speed. With these percentages, a fast ethernet connection could reach the recommended 5 Mbps for streaming from anywhere in the world. Relatively speaking, the latency was also quite good, making SaferVPN a good VPN for gaming (though not one of the best).
By default, SaferVPN secures internet traffic using OpenVPN combined with AES-256 encryption. That’s about as safe as you can get, as you can see in our guide to VPN security. However, the inclusion of PPTP on some operating systems is a vulnerability.
Your other options are IKEv2, which is best for mobile connections, and L2TP/IPSec, which is slower but more secure. SaferVPN also allows you to set the protocol to “automatic,” which defaults to OpenVPN, but lets SaferVPN fall back on other protocols if necessary. The only thing missing is WireGuard.
SaferVPN claims to have “bank-grade encryption.” Most of the time, this means some form of AES, which nearly all online security software employs in some capacity. It’s definitely secure, but it’s like bragging that your motel has air conditioning and color TV. Check out our encryption rundown to learn more.
Because of the partial presence of PPTP, we’ve docked SaferVPN several percentage points. PPTP is an outdated, highly vulnerable protocol that doesn’t support AES-256 encryption. The chance that it might ever be automatically selected makes SaferVPN less secure. In fact, services like ProtonVPN don’t even offer PPTP. You can learn more about this in our VPN protocol breakdown.
We tested several servers for DNS leaks and came through clean. No WebRTC or IP leaks were in evidence either.
A VPN that doesn’t protect your privacy isn’t worth anything. So many services have been caught selling their users’ data (read our IPVanish review for an example) that no-logging policies, which practically every VPN now has in some form, just can’t be trusted anymore. SaferVPN has one such logging policy, though it hasn’t been proven wrong like IPVanish.
The policy goes on to explain what data SaferVPN does log: date and time of browsing sessions, amount of data transferred, server location(s) used and country the VPN was accessed from. Although a little more than expected, SaferVPN doesn’t log your IP address. It’d be difficult to identify you out of the information collected.
It retains the right to keep this data for as long as it sees fit, even after you end your subscription and delete your account. This saved information can be used to “protect the rights of SaferVPN, of its Users and of other third-parties.” That’s a lot more exceptions and leeway than we like to see.
Researching in the news, we found no indication that SaferVPN abused this policy, and it at least doesn’t log user IP addresses like Speedify does. We’re sticklers for privacy, though, after testing so many untrustworthy VPNs like Astrill (read our Astrill review). It takes more than a lack of damning evidence for a VPN to win our unqualified trust.
SaferVPN got onto Netflix without any trouble at all. We used a close-in server to maximize speed, and streamed video without any buffering or lag. Amazon Prime Video worked the same way.
Using the streaming server in the UK, we were also able to access BBC iPlayer, though trying to do so over WiFi from the U.S. leads to slow enough speeds that you might not be able to watch the shows you unblock.
Hulu, which is fastest becoming the toughest streaming nut to crack, caught the VPN when we tried to load a show. Still, with a faster cabled connection, SaferVPN could rival the services on our best VPN for Netflix and best VPN for BBC iPlayer guides.
It wasn’t easy to get accurate information about SaferVPN’s server locations, since there are several conflicting maps and lists on the website. Trusting only the VPN itself, we found about 1,300 total servers spread across 52 countries. The bulk of them are located in Europe, but the network has at least one data center on all six continents.
Unlike services such as TorGuard, which limit your server access based on your subscription plan (read our TorGuard review), all SaferVPN’s servers are available to all customers.
Since we last reviewed it in 2019, SaferVPN’s network has grown slowly but steadily. They recently added 20 new countries, the majority of which are outside Western Europe. At the same time, some locations, such as Colombia, seem to have been dropped.
There are promising indications that SaferVPN is pushing to expand into less-covered parts of the world, but it would be great to have more consistency. Nobody wants to drop $80 on a two-year VPN subscription, only to have it cut their local server after three months.
SaferVPN’s customer service is prompt and knowledgeable. You can get help through a knowledgebase, live chat or an email support ticket. All its help features are connected to the desktop app through the settings panel.
We had a chance to practically test SaferVPN’s customer service in the middle of writing this review. Every time we disconnected from the VPN, our internet connection died as well, despite not having the kill switch enabled.
We reached out to SaferVPN via the Zendesk live chat feature on its website and began chatting with a support professional immediately. At his prompting, we tried a different protocol, which solved the problem.
We submitted an email support ticket on a more general topic and got a detailed reply early the next day.
When checking out a VPN’s knowledgebase, we look for launch guides, general questions and troubleshooting. SaferVPN’s FAQ has extensive articles on all those subjects, all written in plain language. The option to look through the most common questions is also nice.
There’s no forum, but SaferVPN prominently advertises its Facebook page. We checked it out and found mostly posts by SaferVPN itself, with very little engagement. Some of the posts are high-quality, but don’t go in there expecting vibrant conversations between users.
We started this review with a question: does SaferVPN succeed at appealing to non-experts? After drilling into every aspect of this service, the answer is a resounding yes. Signing up for a year is cheap. The user interface is nearly free of pain points. The speed is amazing if you have a server nearby.
This service achieves its stated goal with flying colors. We’re less certain that it succeeds as a VPN overall. It gathers a lot of user data, and gives itself an unsettling amount of freedom to use that data as it sees fit. It supports PPTP, in an era when the NSA’s ability to decrypt that protocol is an open secret. Its speed lags far behind on off-continent servers.
Yet we can’t bring ourselves to condemn SaferVPN completely. Its good points really shine, especially its UI, customer service, and WiFi safety features.
Since SaferVPN is still fairly new, we are adopting a policy of cautious optimism. This service is growing fast, and still has time to become something great.
- SaferVPN prevents hackers and other interlopers from seeing your online activity and sensitive personal information. Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, click the “connect” button, then browse the internet like normal. With your identity shielded by the VPN, you can send money online worry-free, get around internet censorship in your country, or just watch porn in peace.
- SaferVPN was founded in Israel, where it’s still located.
- Yes, SaferVPN unblocks Netflix. However, the streaming vs. VPN battle is constantly shifting, so this might not always be true.