Over the last three years, our experiences with VPNArea have gone from pretty bad to impressively respectable. There has been a general trend of improvement in all aspects of the service, but what we noticed most in our previous VPNArea review was the vastly improved speeds and security with the addition of some new servers and features like double VPN and Stunnel.
In today’s VPNArea review, we’re looking at a continuation of that trend. VPNArea’s speeds have improved greatly yet again, the streaming servers work on Netflix and Hulu, and the pricing is as competitive as ever.
However, we wanted to see if all of that could outweigh some of the remaining issues, such as the ugly interface and minor technical issues that still linger and hold VPNArea back from being at the very top level of the VPN market.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- U.S. streaming servers work on Netflix & Hulu
- Impressive speeds in any location
- Solid security
- Double VPN & Stunnel servers
- Great long-term pricing
- UK streaming servers did not work
- No free trial
- Ugly interface
Alternatives for VPNArea
- : PayPal, Credit card, UnionPay, Alipay
- : 8
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
- : 5
- : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
- : 6
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
- : 7
- : PayPal, Credit card, UnionPay
- : 30
Diving into VPNArea’s settings doesn’t reveal anything that would interest the average user too much. There’s an ad and malware blocker that helps keep you safe online by blocking the IPs that are known to host this kind of content. However, our best antivirus software list or even our 99 free tools to protect your privacy articles have better options for ad and malware blocking.
Looking further down in the settings shows that VPNArea also has options for launching the client automatically on Windows startup, as well as connecting to the last server used. This, along with a kill switch, are features that we’d expect every VPN to cover because they have a direct impact on security.
VPNArea does this well and even offers users the choice of two kill switches. The first kill switch option uses the standard Windows firewall to prevent your IP from being exposed while connecting and blocks internet traffic if your VPN disconnects.
The second kill switch option, labeled the “nuclear option,” cuts off all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects by actually disabling your computer’s WiFi and ethernet.
At the bottom of the menu is a text field where you can manually enter commands and settings. This requires some advanced knowledge of VPNs and networking, and it is far beyond the scope of this article — or most users’ interest — but it is admittedly nice to have for those who are knowledgeable tinkerers.
The final thing worth noting that VPNArea offers are some specialized servers. One of these dedicated server types is for streaming, which we’ll talk more about in the “streaming” section shortly.
Needless to say, these servers are configured to help you access streaming content, such as Netflix and Hulu, and they work fairly well. VPNArea also offers another kind of special server option: dedicated IP servers, which let you have the same IP address every time you connect.
There are also a few Double VPN and Stunnel servers available. We’ll look at these in more detail in the “security” section, but in short, both of these server types add an additional layer of protection to your connection.
Finally, to top this list off, there are a couple of Tor over VPN servers that can help you safely browse the deep web. Check out our Torguard vs. PIA article for another service with Tor over VPN capabilities.
Although VPNArea does a good job of covering the basics and has some functional features packed in, we just can’t give it too much credit. That’s because the features it does support are either beyond the scope of what people want or, like the ad blocker, are simply a-dime-a-dozen plugins that everyone probably already has.
Providing something like split tunneling — which you can read about in our ExpressVPN review — or some interesting protocol and encryption options would push it into a higher grade. However, for now, without something with a little more flair, it sits at a B grade.
VPNArea Features Overview
- : PayPal, Credit card, UnionPay, Alipay
- : 8
- : No
- : No
- : 100+ servers in 55 countries
- : Windows, MacOS, Linux
- : Android, iOS
- : No
- : 256-AES
- : OpenVPN, IKEv2
- : 24/7
- : 24/7
- : No
- : No
VPNArea’s pricing is solid, for what it offers. Starting with the monthly time frame, you’ll be paying $9.90 per month, which is about average for a decent VPN, but less than a top-shelf option like ExpressVPN. The one-year time frame brings the per-month price down by about half, at $4.92 per month, making VPNArea a great deal.
- : Unlimited GB
- : 6
- : Unlimited GB
- : 6
- : Unlimited GB
- : 6
Where VPNArea’s pricing really shines, though, is in the long term. The three-year plan brings the cost down to only a few dollars per month. This is competitive with even some of the best VPN pricing out there. You can check out our CyberGhost review for another VPN service that also offers excellent long-term pricing.
However, VPNArea does not offer a free trial. (If you’re interested in trying out a VPN for free, be sure to take a look at our ProtonVPN review.) Instead, VPNArea offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with the 12-month and 36-month plans, and a 14-day money-back guarantee with the monthly option. This allows users to try the VPN relatively risk-free.
VPNArea accepts a wide variety of payment methods, including standard credit or debit cards, as well as several cryptocurrencies and some third-party options, including Alipay and UnionPay.
Ease of Use
To put it bluntly, VPNArea’s user interface won’t be winning any beauty pageants any time soon. The server list itself is hard to look at, with the servers having names like “USA-0-NFLX-EU-Hub,” rather than just being labeled as something like “U.S. Netflix.”
The blue and white color scheme is very common these days for VPNs and software in general, as it gives an airy and lightweight feeling to things, yet somehow VPNArea’s interface still manages to feel a bit claustrophobic and cluttered. Take a look at our NordVPN review to see an example of a blue and white interface that’s done well.
VPNArea’s interface offers a lot of information, such as your distance from the server, ping time, different sorting options, your IP address and even whether you have the ad blocker on or off.
However, the general layout of the software causes all of this information to become a bit of a mess. The tabs at the top also don’t feel like the best way to manage the different lists of servers, but at least the search bar makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.
Ultimately, nothing about VPNArea’s interface or website impedes its efficiency or ease of use. It’s still intuitive enough to use, with clearly labeled buttons and options so that practically anyone can install the software and hit the ground running.
That said, it’s a pretty ugly layout that could use some tweaking, both for visual appeal and optimization. Certain little things — like the tab layout at the top for the servers and settings, or the strange way distance seems to be measured (according to the software, here in the U.S. we are 334km from the U.S. as well as from Germany) — make the layout a bit more confusing than they have to be.
In our previous VPNArea reviews, we found that speed was something that VPNArea was lacking in pretty heavily. It looks like things have changed, though, and that significant investments and improvements have been made into VPNArea’s server network.
Starting off with our most nearby server here in the U.S., we found that VPNArea actually gave us a higher upload speed than our initial control test. Moving outside of the U.S. to more distant servers, upload speeds remained very high, most of the time near or above 200Mbps.
Even on the slowest server we tested, Japan, the connection still felt fast and responsive. We were able to go to streaming sites, like Twitch and YouTube, and videos would load in with almost no hesitation at 1080p and 60fps with no stuttering at all.
Although it might not be the best speed test results we’ve ever seen — look at something like our ExpressVPN vs NordVPN article for better numbers — VPNArea has still shown significant improvement since our past review. The servers all have decent speeds that offer VPN users a responsive and enjoyable web browsing experience.
As we briefly mentioned in the “features” section, there is not a lot to talk about when it comes to security with VPNArea. You have no choice when it comes to protocol or encryption; you’re stuck with OpenVPN paired with AES-256.
This isn’t really a problem, though. If you read our description of encryption and VPN protocol breakdown articles, you’ll see that this combination is the ideal setup and offers outstanding security while still having solid performance.
With the anti-DNS leak settings turned on, we did some leak testing with VPNArea and were not able to find any leaking DNS requests or IP addresses from our VPN connection. There’s also the option in the settings to use custom DNS servers for even more security.
Although the basic features — such as the kill switch and custom DNS servers behind AES-256 encryption — is enough to make most people feel safe online, VPNArea offers some specialized VPN servers for those users who can never feel too safe.
Namely, there are Double VPN and Stunnel servers. Double VPN servers do exactly what the name implies: your connection takes two hops to get to your desired location, instead of just connecting directly. This makes tracking your online activity much harder and dwindles any hope of cracking the tunnel.
The other type of specialized VPN server, Stunnel servers, make it much more difficult for websites — or a nosy government — to tell that you’re using a VPN. The only thing that we could ask of VPNArea’s security setup is to have more protocols included.
For example, if you read our VyprVPN review, you’ll see that VyprVPN offers its own proprietary protocol that helps break through firewalls and geoblocking. Despite the lack of options, though, VPNArea’s security uses a reliable setup and has some excellent features.
The policy also includes a section where it states that VPNArea does not sell or disclose your information to third parties and, even more importantly, it cannot disclose information it does not have. VPNArea does not record or maintain identifying logs of your activity while you’re connected to the VPN.
For maximum security, you can use bitcoin or ethereum as your payment method, which reduces the information that VPNArea has on file about you to only an email address. It’s quick and easy to set up a throwaway email address for this purpose, as well, making this a very private and discreet way of getting your hands on a VPN service.
VPNArea has dedicated servers for streaming that are labeled with names like ”USA-0-NFLX-EU-Hub.” We first tested the normal servers, which are labeled as “P2P” servers, to see what would happen. Netflix and Hulu were both able to detect these standard servers and block us from watching anything.
This was an unsurprising finding, though, so we pushed on and tried the dedicated streaming servers. Those servers were able to get us through to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, but all three took much longer than normal to load.
Netflix would take about 15 or 20 seconds before starting to play, while Hulu and Amazon would take about 10 seconds. We ran a speed test on the streaming server to see if anything was noticeably amiss and found that we had a 79ms ping time and had only 35.58Mbps download speed. This is a far cry from the U.S. server we tested in the “speed” section earlier.
This was giving us enough bandwidth to watch HD content once it got going, but the relatively high ping time and middling download speed caused the videos to take much longer than usual to start playing.
Next, to see if VPNArea could let us access BBC iPlayer, we switched over to the UK-NFLX server. However, we couldn’t get this server to work for us at all.
Every time we connected to the UK server, it would take around 30 to 40 seconds before telling us there was a DNS error that had been corrected, but then, our internet would be bricked anyways until we closed the VPN software. This makes us think that the software was not actually fixing the DNS issue.
Overall, VPNArea is suitable for Netflix or Hulu viewing, but it will certainly not be making it onto our best VPN for streaming list any time soon. If you’re looking for another cost effective VPN option for streaming be sure to take a look at our NordVPN vs. CyberGhost comparison.
VPNArea gives its users no shortage of options when it comes to servers, thanks to its specialized servers. These include servers for buffed-up security, streaming or general purposes.
All of these servers are spread out across 65 countries, which gives a pretty decent coverage of the most trafficked areas of the world, including Europe, Asia and the Americas.
However, it has a weaker presence in Africa and the Middle East, which is common for many VPNs that lack a massive server network, like HideMyAss does. Check out our HideMyAss review for more information on its network with 290 locations in 190 countries.
VPNArea offers 24/7 support through live chat as well as with email representatives. You can find the live chat by clicking on the blue bubble in the bottom-right corner of the screen. The chat representatives got back to us very quickly and offered helpful information for our questions.
The 24/7 support makes up greatly for VPNArea’s knowledgebase, which is severely lacking. There are only 22 articles in the knowledgebase, which mostly cover only some of the most basic aspects of paying invoices and using the VPN.
The site’s FAQ section contains an additional 18 questions, but again, many of these cover very basic information, such as “what is a VPN” and “who needs a VPN.” If you look at our PIA review, you’ll see an example of a great knowledgebase with over 100 detailed articles, but it lost credit for not having live chat support.
The customer support experience is streamlined and effective, but the self-help aspect, such as the knowledgebase and FAQ, need some padding out and refinement.
VPNArea is a solid overall service that has gotten better and better over time. Although the user interface could use a facelift, the network is fast and the security offered is top-notch when you account for the Double VPN and Stunnel options.
The pricing also makes it a very tempting option for those who are okay with a simpler VPN that doesn’t offer things like split tunneling but can still perform at a high level.
Have you used VPNArea in the past? We’d love to hear in the comment section below how your experiences measure up to ours in this VPNArea review. As always, thanks for reading.
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.