A high-value VPN solution committed to safeguarding privacy
By Mohseen Lala – Last Updated: 20 May'17
Right now, the VPN industry is obsessed by the Netflix proxy detection system. Very few VPNs can get their customers into the Netflix service of another country — VPNArea can, which makes it one of the best VPNs in the world.
Netflix U.S. has far better shows available than the service offered in other countries.So, Netflix plays a cat-and-mouse game with all VPN services in the world, defeating most of them. Although a handful of VPNs can get into Netflix U.S., VPNArea is one of an even smaller number that can get into Netflix UK.
VPNArea’s performance with Netflix shows that its technical capabilities are indestructible. If it can get past that test, it can also avoid detection in countries such as China, Iran and Pakistan, where use of a VPN is classed as a criminal offense.
The company is owned and managed in Bulgaria, but its official address is located in Switzerland. Some worry about the logging requirements of that country. However, those laws only apply to Internet service providers, so VPNArea is not obliged to record or disclose any data about its customers.
This VPN’s interface is bright and cheery, but it lacks the cool graphics and design standards of chic touchstones, such as CyberGhost or BufferedVPN. Check out our ExpressVPN review for a service that’s fast and pretty looking.
Nonetheless, this VPN is easy to use and has some of the most effective privacy measures in the industry. This review will show you the features of VPNArea and put the service to the test.
So, what does VPNArea have to offer in the pros and cons section? I’ll be detailing many of its features further in this review, but here’s a quick sneak peek:
- Self-installing & easy to use interface
- Apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux & routers
- Fast speeds for streaming
- Seven-day money-back guarantee
- Accepts Bitcoin, paypal, debit & credit cards
- OpenVPN protocol
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Private DNS server
- P2P allowed
- Servers in 68 countries
- Up to six simultaneous connections
- Gets into Netflix U.S. and UK
- Desktop apps needs improvement
- Poor live chat availability
- Alternative VPN protocols require manual setup
The VPNArea user interface is brightly colored and easy to use. The big buttons on the screen mean that you can have little doubt how to connect.
One of the main features of VPNArea is that it is a reputable and traceable company that offers a no-stress seven-day money-back guarantee. There are apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android — each of which is self-installing and easy to use.
To assist customers to get the best speeds on their protected connections, the app’s server list has a speed test utility and a server load monitor. That way, you can choose the fastest server available at the time of your connection.
Unlimited bandwidth and a complete absence of data usage limits gives users constant protection, 24/7. Best of all, VPNArea gets into Netflix U.S. and Netflix UK — which is a rare achievement. You will find an explanation of more features in the Security section of this report.
The subscription prices for the one-year service plan make this one of the cheapest services around despite the company offering one of the larger server networks in the business and uncrackable privacy.
You can pay with Bitcoin, PayPal, Payza, Visa or MasterCard. A lot of VPN companies will put a repeat payment on your account, so you will get caught out by an automatic payment going out to renew your subscription once your chosen service period expires. VPNArea does not do this.
$ 9 90monthly
$ 50 006 months
$ 59 00yearly
|Bandwidth||Unlimited GB||Unlimited GB||Unlimited GB|
The company gives you a seven-day money-back guarantee. This is one of the easiest services in the industry to cancel. Some VPNs have small-print conditions that make their services difficult to cancel. VPNArea has a no-quibble refund policy with no tricks or traps.
The app installs itself and also brings in all of the network drivers to get the service running. You have to enter your username and password the first time you use the interface, but if you check the “Save Username and Password” box, you won’t have to do that again.
Choose a server from the drop-down list in the middle of the screen or click on the “Servers and Speeds” button in the left-hand menu to select one from there.
After that, you click on the big Connect button to get the VPN running. A sudden rush of technical messages will scroll through the central dialog panel. Once the connection is established, you will see a big green tick next to the Connect button, which changes into a Disconnect button.
The setup files to get the app installed on your device are available in the member’s area of the website. Below, you will see a screenshot of the various files available, which demonstrates the wide range of platforms that the app can be installed on.
The key systems in the list are Windows 7, 8 and 10, Mac OS, iOS and Android. The software integrates with the firmware on a wide selection of set-top boxes and you can also install VPNArea on your router.
The server network covers 68 countries, which can be seen on this map.
There is no location marker on the map for China, however, that country does appear in the written list of server locations. The company operates servers in Guangdong and Guangzhou as well as Hong Kong.
Although you stand a good chance of getting through China’s Internet access controls with VPNArea, you would be advised not to connect to a server in China while you are in the country. The servers in China would be of more use to Chinese expats living abroad who want to get into Chinese TV.
The list of countries shown above is not entirely up to date. Looking at the server list within the application, I see no servers in Belarus or Iran. However, the above list misses off the Ukraine and the Czech Republic which do appear in the server list within the application.
You will notice that Turkey appears twice in the above graphic. However, the first of these should read Tunisia.
The VPN does speed up intercontinental connections from poor countries with bad Internet service. However, it doesn’t speed up the line much. These tests were made with speedtest.net and you should check out the speeds on your connection while you are still in the money-back guarantee period.
You may find that the speeds you experience on your regular Internet service vary widely, with streaming services given particularly low bandwidth. This is due to a process known as throttling. A lot of Internet service providers implement this technique on the sly either to kill off a rival streaming company, or to keep their costs down. Applying a VPN will obscure your connections to targeted applications, so you may well experience much higher speeds than your regular service when you apply VPNArea to the connection.
As a base line, here is a connection made in the Dominican Republic to a local server.
Those speeds are just about good enough to enjoy a streaming video in HD. If you do find yourself in the Caribbean, you are much more likely to use a VPN to get into the streaming services of your home TV channels. Here are the speeds on an unprotected connection from the Dominican Republic to Miami.
Again, those speeds would be good enough to stream HD content from the U.S. If you travel abroad from the UK, you would be interested in seeing the kind of speeds you would get when you connect to home.
Those speeds are not really good enough for HD streaming, but you could just about get a continuous transmission on a show from the BBC iPlayer with that connection. Now we will see those connections with VPNArea turned on to protect the line and fool the geo-location restrictions of streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon.
This is a connection within the Dominican Republic, looping through the VPNArea server in Miami.
That’s just about the same speed that the local connection had without a VPN applied. Here is the performance of a connection to Miami with the Miami VPN server engaged:
The download speeds are improved very slightly and the upload speeds are reduced a little. On a transatlantic connection from the Caribbean to the UK, applying a link through the VPNArea server in London will get you these results:
That is a great improvement and is only slightly under the 3Mb per second that is usually required for HD streaming.[table “197” not found /]
Most VPN services make a feature of the fact that their protection will kick in automatically when you connect to an unknown Wi-Fi network. Surprisingly, VPNArea doesn’t make this claim. However, the system does have a kill switch, which prevents your computer from connecting to any network if the VPN is not turned on.
That function would essentially prevent your computer from connecting to nearby Wi-Fi hotspots in an unprotected state. The VPNArea user interface is called Chameleon and only implements the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES encryption.
That’s good. That gives you the strongest possible protection. However, gamers sometimes want to speed up their connections a little by selecting less thorough encryption and mobile device users sometimes find that the full-strength of OpenVPN drains their batteries.
In these circumstances people opt to either reduce the strength of the encryption or switch to a less comprehensive protocol. If security is a priority, then you should not do that. However, if you are in a liberal country and you just want to prioritize speed, then there is a way to switch over to the L2TP protocol or PPTP, which are both less cumbersome.
However, you cannot select these alternative protocols from within the app. You need to access a guide in the knowledge-base and set those VPN connections up manually, which can be a little tricky if you are not confident with technology.
Your browser will automatically go off and convert any web address that you type in the address bar into an IP address. This cross-reference is performed at a Domain Name Server and the DNS transaction can usually be detected by your ISP — which is a security weak spot. VPNArea will take over this process and you can nominate a preferred DNS server from a list that resides on the company’s website.
You need to type in the address of your preferred server in the Anti-DNS Leak page of the application. The Chameleon application includes the option to engage an IP switcher. This is a nifty trick to bamboozle ISPs who are ordered by repressive governments to monitor Internet activity.
If all of your traffic is detected as travelling to one IP address all the time, then the ISP can work out that you are channeling all of your traffic through a VPN. The IP switcher reconnects you to the server through a different IP address periodically. Unfortunately, the warnings plastered all over the IP switcher page will probably put you off using it.
When you connect to the VPN you get allocated a temporary IP address by VPNArea. This is important if you like to download entertainment with torrents. All torrent clients show the IP addresses of seeders and downloaders, so you could get exposed without a fake address.
One more security feature that the company offers is the option to buy your own dedicated IP address. This is a solution often floated by other VPN services to get around detection by strict geo-location systems, such as the one operated by Netflix. However, VPNArea can get you into all of those sites with the shared IP address service, so the expense of a dedicated IP address may not be necessary.
As mentioned before, the headquarters of VPNArea are located in Switzerland. This worries some as they believe the authorities could demand that the company has to hand over details of its customer accounts and the activities of the people who use the service.
The company asserts that it has never been asked to keep activity logs and has never been approached by any law enforcement agency or legal counsel to hand over any records. They do not keep activity logs and they have never had problems with the authorities since they began operations in 2012.
When you get an account at VPNArea you can log into the members section of the company’s website. Look at the top menu of any page of the site and click on the Members link.
After logging in, you will have access to a link to the Support Forum, which is a knowledge-base. You can get contact details for the company’s help desk by clicking on the support option on the horizontal menu. The Live Chat link is the yellow oblong at the bottom right of every page on the site.
Clicking on the Support button gets you to this page:
You can email the help desk, or contact them through Skype. However, you can also raise a support ticket by pressing on the button in this screen. In the next screen, you press another button to start a new support ticket. The support request page contains a web form for you to fill in with questions.
Sometimes, accessing the Live Chat is a lot quicker. However, it is only staffed for about 16 hours a day.
VPNArea has come a long way since its beginnings.
The service is continuously improving and expanding. The support staff assured me that their boss is currently hiring more staff to get the help desk operating 24/7. So, you may get a better experience than shown here when you access the site.
The ability to get users into both Netflix U.S. and Netflix UK makes this service a winner, and the privacy the VPN offers is good enough to keep you surfing safely in China, Iran or Pakistan.
Have you tried VPNArea? Let us know about your VPN experiences in the comments section below.