VPNArea Review

VPNArea is a Bulgarian service that seems to be getting better by the day. While in earlier versions of this review we had a few complaints here and there, as it stands now the service gets you into Netflix U.S., no longer leaks your DNS, has recently gotten a face lift and is pretty affordable, to boot.

By Jacob RoachDeputy Editor
— Last Updated: 25 Jan'19
2017-02-07T10:14:44-08:00
Table of ContentsRating
Features
85%
Very Good
Pricing
90%
Excellent
User Friendliness
75%
Good
Speed
65%
Decent
Security
95%
Excellent
Privacy
90%
Excellent
Streaming Performance
85%
Very Good
Server Locations
90%
Excellent
Customer Service
80%
Good
User Reviews & Comments

Very Good
Starts from $ 299 per month

VPNArea is a smaller virtual private network provider that offers comparable service to our best VPN suggestions at a cheaper price. For only a few dollars per month, it comes packed with six simultaneous connections, dedicated streaming servers and the ability to use a double-hop connection. That said, it falls short in the speed department. 

In this VPNArea review, we’re going to determine if it’s the right service for you. Throughout the review, we’ll talk about features, pricing, ease of use, speed, security, privacy, streaming performance and more, all before giving our verdict. 

If you’re looking for a short answer, VPNArea is a solid service, though it falls short of the top-of-the-line options. Speed takes a hit, as does usability. That said, you’ll save a few bucks if you choose VPNArea over one of the top dogs, and with a 30-day money-back guarantee at the ready, there’s no reason not to try it out.

Strengths & Weaknesses


Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Gets into Netflix
  • Thorough setup guides
  • Included ad-blocker
  • Unique kill switch
  • Double-hop servers
  • Stunnel support

Cons:

  • Slow
  • Clunky interface
  • No split tunneling

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Features

85% - Very Good

VPNArea has a decent spread of features, though you likely won’t use all of them. The basics are accounted for, such as a kill switch and an ad-blocker, though some other essentials, such as split tunneling, aren’t included (read our PureVPN review for a VPN that includes split tunneling). 

The kill switch comes in two flavors, neither of which is enabled by default. For most users, the kill switch via Windows Firewall — assuming you’re using Windows — is the best option. It will block your internet in case of VPN disconnection or if you exit from the application through Windows Firewall. 

There’s also a “nuclear” option, which blocks your internet at the source. By enabling this option, your WiFi or ethernet adaptor will be disabled if your connection to the remote server is lost or if you exit the application. 

Additionally, VPNArea includes an ad- and malware-blocker that filters sites based on an IP block list. Although a solid step in protecting yourself from malicious sites, we recommend pairing the security with our best antivirus software

As for the features you may not use, VPNArea includes the option to add custom rules to the servers, which is only for advanced users. Although we appreciate having the option, we would’ve liked to see split tunneling or app kill in the application. 

You can set up these features by using custom rules, but the process is, in a word, complex (read our Astrill review if you’re after app kill). 

VPNArea Specialty Servers

VPNArea sets itself apart with a list of specialty servers. Most locations are rated for peer-to-peer connections, meaning they’re safe for torrenting. In addition to those, VPNArea includes streaming servers, Stunnel servers and double-hop servers. We’ll talk more about those in the “server locations” section below. 

VPNArea Features Overview

Starts from$ 299per month

General

Payment methods
PayPal, Credit card
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections
6
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available
Refund period
30 days
Worldwide server amount
100+ locations in 65 countries
Desktop OSes
Windows, MacOS, Linux
Mobile OSes
Android, iOS
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, 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

90% - Excellent

VPNArea isn’t breaking the mold when it comes to pricing, which is disappointing when compared to cheap services, such as PIA (read our Private Internet Access review), though fine in the context of pricier options (read our Hide.me review for an example of that). VPNArea’s greatest strength in this round is not its pricing, but the durations of service it offers.

One Month
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 6 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
One Year
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 6 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 4.92/ month
$59.00 billed every year
Three Years
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 6 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
3-year plan $ 2.99/ month
$107.64 billed every 3 years

Monthly and annual options are available, as you should expect from any VPN. However, VPNArea skips past the often unnecessary three- and six-month options in favor of a three-year plan. It’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s three-year plan, bringing the monthly price to less than $3 (read our NordVPN review). 

Every tier comes with all the bells and whistles, so you don’t need to add, say, streaming locations at checkout like you do with TorGuard (read our TorGuard review). 

However, you can build your subscription out with a dedicated IP. If you’re purchasing one or three years of service, you can buy a dedicated IP, and each one comes with a private VPN server. 

The price fluctuates depending on the location and duration you want. If you’re buying a three-year plan, for example, locations in the U.S. cost $60, European ones cost between $90 and $120, and an IP in Australia costs $132. 

VPNArea Trial

VPNArea, unfortunately, doesn’t have a free trial or free plan (read our Windscribe review if that’s what you’re after). However, it offers a decent money-back guarantee

Monthly subscribers have two weeks to change their mind, and annual and triennial subscribers get 30 days. Although not on the level of CyberGhost’s 45-day money-back guarantee, the refund policy suffices (read our CyberGhost review).

User Friendliness

75% - Good

Purchasing a VPNArea subscription is as easy as ever. From the homepage, all you need to do is click the large, blue “buy now” button to get started. VPNArea will ask for your email, a username, a password, your duration and your payment method. After entering everything in, you can get started. 

Once your payment is processed, you can go to the account dashboard. Although you can usually discard the account dashboard provided by your VPN, VPNArea has a lot going on. In addition to setup guides and download links, you can also find support, check the status of DNS servers and view your account details.

VPNArea Download

The main screen of the dashboard holds multiple download sections. For most users, sticking with the “recommended setup” section is your best bet. There are installers for the major platforms that VPNArea supports, which are mostly self-explanatory. If you get lost, VPNArea includes a setup guide for each platform. 

The recommended setups are for OpenVPN. If you’re after IKEv2, you’ll have to set it up manually. Thankfully, though, VPNArea includes detailed setup guides for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, as well as for routers, non-traditional Android installs and manual OpenVPN installations. 

VPNArea makes complex installations accessible, rather than leaving you to fend for yourself, like you do with AirVPN (read our AirVPN review). Although the process isn’t quite as seamless as, say, ExpressVPN, it’s still to the point, all without sacrificing information on how to handle nontraditional installs (read our ExpressVPN review). 

VPNArea Windows

We tested VPNArea on Windows 10, and the installation went off without a hitch. As long as you can click an obvious “install” button once the installer has downloaded, you should be fine. 

“Should” is the key word, though. While trying to install the application, we hit a snag where we had to force quit the installer through task manager. On our second attempt, VPNArea presented an error code, despite successfully completing the install.

Regardless, we got the application installed. Upon opening it up, VPNArea asked for our username and password, which we copied over from our 1Password vault (read our 1Password review). Instead of a normal “log in” button or something similar, VPNArea has a “servers list” button, which is a little confusing.

Once you’re signed in, VPNArea will present a list of its locations. The application is the server list, presenting all of the options on the main screen with multiple tabs for different types of servers. By default, the servers are ordered alphabetically, but you can also order them by the load, latency and distance from your location. 

The large, blue “connect” button will secure your traffic once you settle on a location. Although we appreciate having all of the options up front, this could be overwhelming for newcomers. A condensed view would work well here. 

VPNArea Settings

VPNArea has a lot of settings to tinker with, which you can find by clicking the “settings” button in the bottom-left corner. All of the settings are available on a single screen, and there are tabs at the top that jump you to different subject areas on the same page. 

The exception to that is the “connection log” tab, which, as the name implies, shows your connection log. As we’ll get into in the “privacy” section below, VPNArea doesn’t keep logs on your usage. Rather, the connection log shows you — and only you — what path your connection took. 

Otherwise, the settings screen holds basic controls, such as changing your protocol and turning on the ad-blocker and kill switch. There are some advanced settings, though, including custom rules you can apply to servers. VPNArea simply has a text box, suggesting you can add your own code if you’re so inclined. 

Speed

65% - Decent

Although VPNArea stays decently fast when sticking close to home, it won’t be making our fastest VPN list. In fact, based on the international performance, it’s not anywhere close. We tested out of St. Louis, Missouri, using OpenVPN and AES-256. UDP was also used as our transport protocol.

Location:Ping (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)
Unprotected (St. Louis)974.2519.95
Chicago (Recommended)2344.3417.86
U.S. Streaming10317.214.3
Netherlands21929.1212.04
Netherlands Double-hop
23918.168.24
Hong Kong5103.258.26

We chose the Chicago location from a list of recommended servers, which was fine but not impressive. We dropped 30 Mbps off our unprotected download speed, which was still serviceable on our connection. However, if you have a slow connection to begin with, dropping nearly 50 percent may be too much. 

That’s on the recommended server, too. Moving past that, the results get much worse. VPNArea struggled to maintain 20 Mbps on the U.S. streaming server and the double-hop Netherlands server. The standard Netherlands connection was slightly better, but it was still less than 50 percent of our unprotected speed. 

Outside of download rates, latency also took a big hit, making VPNArea inideal for ping-intensive tasks, such as gaming. We jumped almost immediately to 100ms, topping out at more than 500ms in Hong Kong. If low latency is what you’re after, be sure to read our best VPN for gaming guide.

Security

95% - Excellent

VPNArea is bog-standard when it comes to VPN security. Your connection is secured with the pairing of OpenVPN and AES-256 encryption (read our description of encryption and VPN protocol breakdown to learn about both). That should be enough to keep you secure, but if you’re still paranoid, VPNArea makes a few other security measures available. 

First are the double-hop servers. Double-hop connections bounce your connection across two nodes, doubling up on encryption. 

The two locations you connect to serve as separate connections, meaning an attacker would need to crack both tunnels to expose you. Although it’s highly unlikely one VPN tunnel will be cracked, it’s even more unlikely that two will. As we saw in speed testing, though, double-hop connections have a large impact on speed.

If you’re more concerned with bypassing censorship, the Stunnel locations will be of use. Stunnel allows you to appear to censors as if you’re using a standard internet connection, encapsulating the normal VPN tunnel. Furthermore, it uses TCP as a transport protocol, meaning there’s packet confirmation. 

For most users, sticking with the standard server list will be fine. Most locations are rated for peer-to-peer connections, meaning they’re torrent friendly (read our best VPN for torrenting guide). To ensure everything is copacetic on these servers, we tested for DNS leaks, as well as WebRTC and IP leaks, and VPNArea came back clean.

Privacy

90% - Excellent

VPNArea — or rather its parent company, Offshore Security LTD, which is headquartered in Varna, Bulgaria — keeps its privacy policy short and sweet. It doesn’t log, monitor or record any information about your activity, which includes login dates, timestamps, incoming IP addresses and bandwidth statistics.  

The straightforward privacy policy quickly answers pressing questions but leaves some room for interpretation. For instance, under the “no logs” header, VPNArea says it doesn’t keep logs for “any single customer’s VPN activity.” That leaves room for some bulk, anonymized collection, which is possible. 

Even so, bulk collection shouldn’t be a threat if you’re careful. VPNArea only collects an email address and payment information. If you use a burner email and pay with an anonymous payment method, there’s no way anything could be tied back to you. That’s assuming there’s something VPNArea isn’t saying, too, which is unlikely. 

Regardless of VPNArea’s lack of collection, it’s a good idea to pay anonymously and sign up with a burner email anyway. The company is based in Bulgaria, and although it maintains a mostly free internet, internet service providers have real-time access to all internet traffic. Furthermore, VPNArea keeps your email address on record until you ask for it to be removed.

Streaming Performance

85% - Very Good

VPNArea’s less-than-ideal speeds mean it won’t be making our best VPN for streaming list. Based on access alone, though, it’s impressive. Using the streaming locations, we were easily able to break through the walls of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. The streaming servers are included for free with your subscription, too, which is nice. 

We had trouble with BBC iPlayer, though. The location listed struggled to connect, despite the fact that an IP test showed the remote address. Even so, we couldn’t access the UK streaming platform. If you’re interested in iPlayer, we recommend taking a look at our best VPN for BBC iPlayer guide. 

Server Locations

90% - Excellent

VPNArea doesn’t disclose the exact number of servers it has, but that’s largely irrelevant for most services anyway. There are more than 100 locations to choose from in 65 countries, which is a better spread than most VPNs offer. 

Furthermore, all locations hold bare-metal servers, so you don’t have to worry about the security threats that come with virtual servers (read our HideMyAss review for more on that). 

All locations support OpenVPN with TCP and UDP, as well as IKEv2. Select locations also support Stunnel, which will encapsulate a normal OpenVPN connection. Stunnel is useful if you’re trying to bypass strict censorship where a normal VPN connection could be detected and blocked (read our best VPN services for China for more on that). 

Additionally, VPNArea offers double-hop connections, where you bounce from one VPN server to another for double encryption, as well as dedicated streaming servers. There aren’t many streaming locations, but they’re specialized for where they’re located. For instance, the U.S. server is tagged for Hulu and the Canada location is tagged for the NHL. 

Customer Service

80% - Good

You can find all of VPNArea’s support options from the browser dashboard. There are two areas of support: the contact page and the knowledgebase. Starting with contact options, you can initiate a live chat session any time you’re logged in by clicking the blue bubble in the bottom-right corner of the dashboard. 

Live chat reps are helpful, though not entirely thorough. That said, a rep quickly got back to us about the protocols VPNArea supports. 

If you have a technical issue with the application, it’s best to reach out through email. VPNArea uses a ticket-based system so you can track email requests, and it makes its PGP key available in case you want to communicate over an encrypted line. 

The knowledgebase area is less impressive. First, it’s small — housing only 22 articles, at the time of writing — and hard to navigate. Articles are to-the-point, but almost to a fault. Although there are solutions proposed on troubleshooting topics, they lack clarification. 

That said, the majority of users will simply need setup guides, which you can find in your account dashboard. The setup guides are excellent, going into detail about how to install and configure VPNArea on nearly any platform. There are plenty of screenshots, too, so it’s not difficult to follow along. 

The Verdict

VPNArea is a solid VPN, even despite its shortcomings. The application isn’t the most streamlined, but it’s usable, and the speeds aren’t great, but they’re manageable if you’re tunneling close to home. For the price, you could do worse, but if you’re willing to spend a little more, you could probably do better. 

Do you plan on trying VPNArea out? Let us know about your experience in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading. 

VPNArea FAQs

How Do You Use VPNArea with Windows 10? 

Once you’ve downloaded the application, using VPNArea is easy. When you open the application, you’ll find a list of servers. Choose one of them, or go to the “recommended” tab, and click the large blue “connect” button.

How Does a VPNArea Static IP Work?

VPNArea static IPs give you a dedicated IP address and private VPN server. That means when you’re connected to the VPN, you’ll always have the same IP address. 

Why Won’t My Internet Work with VPNArea?

There could be many reasons your internet isn’t working with VPNArea, but it’s likely due to the kill switch. You can find out how to disable it in VPNArea’s knowledgebase.

VPNArea Review

A decent VPN that's getting better.

VPNArea is a Bulgarian service that seems to be getting better by the day. While in earlier versions of this review we had a few complaints here and there, as it stands now the service gets you into Netflix U.S., no longer leaks your DNS, has recently gotten a face lift and is pretty affordable, too
Starts from$ 299per month
Visit VPNArea

One thought on “VPNArea”

  1. signed up for VPNarea because is only VPN who allows account sharing, torrent and works with netflix.. 18 months and i have only good things to say

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VPNArea Review

A decent VPN that's getting better.

VPNArea is a Bulgarian service that seems to be getting better by the day. While in earlier versions of this review we had a few complaints here and there, as it stands now the service gets you into Netflix U.S., no longer leaks your DNS, has recently gotten a face lift and is pretty affordable, too
Starts from$ 299per month
Visit VPNArea
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