WiTopia personalVPN Review

WiTopia personalVPN seems to have been put together with the idea that features only confuse. The result is a no-nonsense, highly functional VPN that could use a speed boost as well as a few options toward security and ease of use. Read our full WiTopia review for the details.

By Ben Stockton
— Last Updated: 14 Feb'19
2019-02-14T00:54:38-08:00
Table of Contents Rating
Features
50%
Poor
Pricing
70%
Decent
Ease of Use
80%
Good
Speed
75%
Good
Security
70%
Decent
Privacy
70%
Decent
Streaming Performance
70%
Decent
Server Locations
50%
Poor
Customer Service
60%
Fair
User Reviews & Comments

Decent
Starts from $ 417 per month
Visit WiTopia PersonalVPN
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WiTopia personalVPN has been around since 2005, so it’s not a new kid on the block. It might feel like a mid-2000s throwback, but it’s functional. It claims to be “secure and private” and has a simple, jargon-free privacy policy that promises no logging.

This personalVPN review is going to run through its pros and cons. We’re going to look at the features on offer and test its speed and security. We’ll also review its pricing, server locations, customer service, streaming performance, privacy and ease of use before we give you our verdict.

“Functional” is the best word to describe personalVPN. With its no-quibble refund policy, it may be worth a test run, but it lacks features you’d find with some of its competitors for the same price or less. Mobile devices feel like an afterthought, too, unless you’re a power user, so if you’re looking for the best VPN for mobile, this isn’t it.

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Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths:

  • Works with U.S. Netflix
  • 30-day refund policy
  • Quick – depending on server choice
  • Cheap, basic monthly package
  • Easy to use

Weaknesses:

  • Inconsistent server speeds
  • No killswitch
  • Outdated interface
  • Expensive for the feature list
  • No mobile clients
  • No split tunneling
  • Poor geographical spread of servers

Features

50% - Poor

personalVPN isn’t flush with features, but we’ll run through what it has. It has a desktop client for macOS, Windows and Linux. It’s ugly, but it works and it’s simple.

The client makes it easy for users to customize their connection, with settings to choose their preferred protocol or server. There’s a technical log, which can help you track down connection problems you might be having. You also get a world map with pins that shows the spread of personalVPN’s servers across the world.

That’s as exciting and useful as the desktop client gets.

As for mobile, you’re out of luck because there are no personalVPN mobile apps. If you’re looking to connect on your smartphone or tablet, you’ll need to figure out how to use the configuration files or instructions on offer.

Core features you might expect from a privacy-focused VPN, such as a killswitch, aren’t available. If you disconnect or lose connection, you’ll revert to your existing internet connection, so take WiTopia’s claim that personalVPN is a “truly private” service with a pinch of salt.

You might at least expect split tunneling to be a feature when you notice that the client has a setting for “send all traffic,” but you’ll be disappointed if you do. It doesn’t seem to do anything. We’ll touch on that later in this review.

The website claims to offer “stealth modes with Tor technology” on its more expensive packages. As we explain in our VPN vs. proxy vs. Tor guide, it is possible to break the encryption around Tor. If you’re looking for a VPN that offers extra privacy and security, that probably isn’t a feature worth paying for.

You can’t use OpenVPN connections if you’re subscribed to the Basic package. As we mentioned in our VPN protocol breakdown, OpenVPN is the best protocol for most users, offering both speed and security, so stopping those on the basic package using it seems like a poor decision.

You also don’t get to take advantage of its Tor stealth mode with a Basic subscription, but that isn’t much of a selling point, anyway.

Only Premier, personalVPN’s most expensive package, offers anything extra in terms of features. You’ll be able to use your service through a router, connect eight devices simultaneously and get WiTopia’s SecureMyEmail encryption service for free.

WiTopia personalVPN Features Overview

Starts from$ 417per month

General

Payment methods
PayPal, Credit card
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections
8
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available
Refund period
30 days
Worldwide server amount
65 servers in 42 countries
Desktop OSes
Windows, MacOS, Linux
Mobile OSes
Android, iOS, Blackberry
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, Blowfish-128
VPN protocols available
IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP
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

70% - Decent

personalVPN might try hard to sell you three-year packages, but only the lowest-tier, Basic, has anything close to good value. If you’re looking to commit to a VPN service for two or three years, you’d be better off looking at our NordVPN review.

Basic
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 4.17 / month
$49.99 billed every year
Pro
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 5.83 / month
$69.99 billed every year
Premier
  • Unlimited GB Bandwidth
  • 5 Included Devices
  • Bitcoin
1-year plan $ 8.33 / month
$99.99 billed every year

There’s no free trial with personalVPN, so the cheapest way to try the service is to subscribe to its Basic package for $5.99 a month. If you want your money back afterward, you can take advantage of its 30-day guaranteed refund policy.

If you want to try the more advanced features, you’ll need to pay for a longer subscription. The second-tier package, Pro, costs $39.99 for six months and goes up to $159.99 for a three-year term.

For the money, you get access to OpenVPN servers and Tor stealth mode. The number of simultaneous connections remains the same. Only Premier, which costs $209.99 for three years, offers anything more, with router connectivity and eight simultaneous connections.

You can pay with PayPal and most major credit cards, which is typical. It doesn’t accept cryptocurrency, so you won’t be able to use bitcoin to pay for your VPN package like you can with ExpressVPN (read our ExpressVPN review).

At $5.99 a month for the Basic package, personalVPN seems reasonably priced at first glance. Let’s contrast it with Private Internet Access, another one of our highly rated providers, to see if that’s true. Take a look at our PIA review first, though.

For only a dollar more a month, PIA has a killswitch, making it a better option for privacy, fast servers, and more than 3,000 of them compared to around 60 with personalVPN. You also get a malware blocker and OpenVPN as a standard, not premium, feature.

personalVPN just isn’t a great value when you look at what it offers for the price, especially when you compare it to other services. Even with a 30-day refund on offer, personalVPN tries hard to tie you down with longer terms on higher-tier packages to get features that would be standard elsewhere, such as OpenVPN connections.

With the limited features and a basic VPN client, the six-month to three-year packages just aren’t good value for the money compared to the VPNs on our list of the best VPN providers.

Ease of Use

80% - Good

Registering for personalVPN is simple. On the products page, you’re able to choose from the three packages and various pricing plans on offer.

You might be worried when you see the checkout page. For all the focus on privacy, the website still asks for your billing details. It doesn’t make clear that providing them is optional, but we were able to pay without doing so.

For a privacy-minded VPN service, it’s poor form to ask for those details, especially because the form encourages you to input your details without making it clear that they’re optional. We’ll lay out our concerns about WiTopia’s handling of data in our “privacy” section later.

Once you’ve registered and paid, you’ll get a link to confirm your account and to log in. The link provided will send you to your account area, which lists the service you’re registered to and provides links to download the VPN client, upgrade or change your password.

That is simple and straightforward, but you’ll have to remember to activate the service in the “actions” section before you can use it. Once it’s activated, click “downloads / setup” to be given options to download the client for your operating system.

As we’ve mentioned, there’s not much for mobile devices. You’ll either get an OpenVPN configuration file or setup instructions for the other VPN protocols. If you’ve gone for the Basic package, you won’t be able to use the OpenVPN file.

Thankfully, the installation process for the desktop client is much simpler. On Windows, you’re given an executable installation file, and it doesn’t overload you with options.

Installation is quick, but we had problems using their download link. We kept getting a 404 error, which took a few attempts to resolve by clicking back and trying the Windows installation link until the download worked.

Using personalVPN

The first thing you’ll notice after installing the client is how outdated it seems. For the most part, it’s simple to use, though. Clicking “quick connect” will automatically connect you to the nearest VPN server to your location.

The client also provides a world map, so you can see which servers are located where. You can’t click them to connect, though, and you don’t get to zoom in too far.

The preferences section allows you to choose your preferred VPN security protocol, favorite gateway server and change other settings. Each option has a useful description of its purpose next to it. That is helpful, especially for some of the advanced settings.

This section is also where you’ll find the “send all traffic” option, which is the split tunneling feature that doesn’t do anything. We reached out to WiTopia’s customer service to ask about it, as you’ll see in the “customer support” section below.

The client isn’t flashy, but it doesn’t make it difficult to find what you need to find as everything can be accessed from the main window.

The real disappointment is the interface. It’s not appealing and could mislead users, especially with settings for features that don’t exist. Other features, such as the world map, seem like pointless additions that could frustrate users, as well.

Speed

75% - Good

WiTopia claims that its “speed advantage” makes personalVPN one of the fastest VPN services in the business. We wanted to put that claim to the test, so we ran speed tests on several of its servers around the world from our base in the UK. The results are listed below.

Location:Ping (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)
Unprotected (UK)1128.654.28
Amsterdam2327.593.97
Toronto17626.762.71
San Francisco2775.163.02
New York City15226.613.38
Los Angeles30318.802.76
Moscow10827.193.53
Tokyo46515.021.50
Cairo1241.361.86
Jerusalem12524.354.06

The results are good, bad or ugly, depending on where you look. The problem with personalVPN is the inconsistency in speeds and performance from server to server.

Let’s take a look at Amsterdam and Toronto, which had near-identical speeds to the unprotected connection despite their distance from each other. Toronto is around 3,400 miles from the UK, so that server’s performance in particular is impressive.

Unfortunately, that is where the inconsistency rears its ugly head. Los Angeles and San Francisco are in California, they’re around 5,000 miles from the UK, and they’re only 310 miles apart, yet the download speeds between them varied from 5-18 megabits per second.

The same can be seen with neighboring Egypt and Israel, which are only 250 miles from each other. The speeds between them ranged from 1-24 Mbps. At 1 Mbps, loading webpages will be a struggle, let alone streaming a movie.

WiTopia doesn’t recommend servers. The ones we chose to review were selected at random. That said, it feels like the quality of your connection will vary by quite a margin, depending on the server you choose.

Latency times across most of the servers we tested were also quite poor, apart from the nearest one. If you want the best VPN for gaming, this isn’t it.

If you’re lucky with your server choice, you’re in for a good day. Getting speeds that almost match the unprotected speed on servers over 3,000 miles away is impressive. If you choose poorly, though, you’re going to be forced to shop around until you find a server that works as well as its “speed advantage” suggests.

Security

70% - Decent

PersonalVPN offers the standard VPN protocols, but limits connections using OpenVPN to customers on its Premier and Pro plans. OpenVPN is the protocol we recommend for most users, so that restriction is disappointing.

For Basic users, WiTopia recommends using L2TP/IPSec instead. IPSec secures your data with AES 256-bit encryption, but researchers have found vulnerabilities in the protocol. Bear in mind that IPSec originates from the U.S. National Security Agency, which has a patchy reputation when it comes to government surveillance.

If you prefer paranoia to risk, it might not be the best protocol to use. personalVPN does offer protocols, such as PPTP and IKEv2, but as we explain in our PPTP vs. OpenVPN showdown, PPTP is insecure and should not be used. IKEv2 is based around IPSec, and though it’s fast and quite secure, it has similar vulnerabilities.

To see how well personalVPN’s security performed in the real world, we ran tests to check for DNS and IP leaks, as well as a WebRTC test. The VPN passed them with no problems.

It’s not all good news when it comes to security, though. There’s no killswitch, so you’ll revert to your unprotected connection and leak your location if you lose connection to your VPN.

That is a big miss for a VPN service that focuses on security and privacy.

Privacy

70% - Decent

WiTopia claims that personalVPN is private and secure. Like most major VPN providers, it promises not to monitor or save information that might identify a user or what they might be doing.

A look at its privacy policy seems to confirm that. It doesn’t, or it says it doesn’t, log data on its users and, in its own words, that’s “by design.”

That hasn’t always been the case, though. A quick look at the Wayback Machine shows that, in 2015 at least, WiTopia recorded the time, location and duration of user connections. It was also prepared to release that information under legal duress.

Privacy policies don’t always paint an accurate picture of the intentions of a company, as our IPVanish review shows. Unfortunately, under the pressure of government agencies, even the biggest VPN services will crumble and offer information they claim they don’t keep.

WiTopia is based in the U.S. which is a member of the 14 Eyes intelligence agreement, which allows sensitive, personal data to be shared between its members. As a rule of thumb, VPN services outside of the 14 Eyes are going to better protected from meddling governments with subpoenas than those in it.

From a privacy point of view, WiTopia could — and we stress “could” — put you at greater risk.

We can only review what WiTopia’s privacy policy says today. We weren’t able to find records that show it has cooperated with authorities, but, as its previous policy shows, it has been prepared to do so in the past.

if you’re looking to keep your identity hidden. You’ll have to look at our list of the best VPNs for torrenting if you want to download without being discovered.

 

Streaming Performance

70% - Decent

Using personalVPN to stream content from Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Netflix or Hulu is a mixed bag. A test of each of the streaming services found that some worked well with it and others didn’t work at all, so it’s not going to make it onto our best VPN for streaming list.

That’s all the more disappointing when you see that personalVPN offers four U.S. servers specifically for streaming on Netflix and Hulu. It’s obvious that it’s looking to target streaming users with those.

It isn’t all bad news, though. All four of U.S.-based streaming servers worked great with Netflix, even though only two of them are labeled for it. There were no buffering issues or slowdowns — the experience was seamless.

We won’t be considering personalVPN for our list of the best VPNs for BBC iPlayer, though. WiTopia doesn’t offer a streaming-friendly server in the UK and neither of the two based there allowed BBC iPlayer to stream, so you’ll have to get your Doctor Who fix elsewhere.

Server Locations

50% - Poor

WiTopia doesn’t show how many servers it has or the number of countries it’s in, but it does provide a list. We counted 65 locations in 42 countries, so it isn’t offering anywhere near the server availability of other big providers, as our ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN comparison shows.

That goes a long way toward explaining why its service can be so inconsistent. Some servers, such as the San Francisco server we tested, are likely to have much more traffic pass through them than, say, the Israeli server.

Most of the servers are scattered across Europe and North America. South America only has one server and Africa only has three. Asia doesn’t fare much better, with only seven servers spanning from China in the north to Malaysia in the south.

Customer Service

60% - Fair

WiTopia claims to offer around-the-clock support for personalVPN, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It has a support guide, email addresses and a live chat function.

The knowledgebase is detailed and easy to navigate, with guides to help you setup the VPN on most operating systems. It also offers support for niche devices, such as the Boxee box, which has been long-discontinued.

The guides are inconsistent. Some, such as the Windows setup guide, include screenshots with step-by-step instructions, but others, such as the mobile setup guides, only provide written instructions.

If you need support, you won’t need to waste your time sending an email, but if you do, WiTopia will respond within a few hours. At the bottom of each page is an option for live chat support with an advisor.

We didn’t have to wait long for a response to technical questions about whether personalVPN was capable of split tunneling or had a killswitch. That kind of “nudge, wink” response doesn’t feel too believable, but if WiTopia does offer the features in the future, we’ll update our review to reflect that.

personalVPN’s customer support is a mixed bag. Like its entire service, it’s functional, but it doesn’t feel like a polished effort. Still, responses are fast and you should get the answers to your questions quickly if you decide to use its live chat function.

The Verdict

personalVPN would be a contender for one of the better VPNs if we focused on speed alone and cherry-picked which servers we were connecting to. The problem is that the experience you get will vary wildly depending on the server you choose.

That’s not good enough for a service that expects you to pay for six months to three years upfront for two out of its three packages.

There just isn’t enough meat on the bones when it comes to this VPN service. Features you’d expect as standard, such as OpenVPN support, are sold as premium features on its more expensive plans. There’s no free trial and only its most basic package has a monthly plan.

We’re also left unconvinced by some of its claims. For example, it claims to be security and privacy-focused, but it’s based in the U.S., where data privacy can be overturned with a quick subpoena. There’s no killswitch provided and the company has had a privacy policy in the past that suggested a willingness to hand over data.

That’s not to say that personalVPN is all bad, because it isn’t. It can be lightning fast and the client is easy to use, but with a limited number of servers and a lack of features, you might be better off looking at our list of VPN reviews for alternatives.

Have you used personalVPN before? If you have thoughts or opinions to add to this review, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

WiTopia PersonalVPN Review

A feature-light, decent provider

WiTopia personalVPN seems to have been put together with the idea that features only confuse. The result is a no-nonsense, highly functional VPN that could use a speed boost as well as a few options toward security and ease of use. Read our full WiTopia review for the details.
Starts from$ 417per month
Visit WiTopia PersonalVPN
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