BolehVPN provides unlimited bandwidth for all their members across their entire network. This means that even if you just try the service out (with the Trial package), you do not have a data cap. This is advantageous for travelers and people who try to access content from countries that impose strict data restrictions.
The Windows client runs with the name of BolehVPN-GUI. You would normally expect this sort of naming when downloading an open source VPN client, for example OpenVPN-GUI. Nevertheless, BolehVPN’s service in this matter is far more advanced than connecting from the tray. We found everything to be in order and we must highlight how information was distributed. Separate sections are reserved for general and proxy settings, and even the logs. You can also conduct live speed tests in the server status section. And lastly, one function really caught our eyes: DNS leak protection, a rarely seen and very useful addition in terms of safety.
Furthermore, in the Windows client servers are not sorted based on location, but based on the five available server types. This might make it a bit chaotic if you want to connect manually or if you search for a certain country. Still, we understand that this is also an efficient way of organizing the list, as few providers offer a server selection this wide. Luckily, there are helpful settings available that can make your life easier when setting up. You can connect automatically to any server, and have the client start with your computer to boot, making any VPN network creation an instantaneous process.
Video: Introduction to BolehVPN
Five Server Types
There are five types of servers available for VPN connection: fully routed, proxied, SurfingStreaming, xCloak and Geo-DNS-Streaming. Fully routed servers encrypt all internet traffic. While they are very safe, their speeds are slower. Proxy servers need SOCKS proxy to be set up. It will not slow down your internet traffic, but is less safe. Stations designated as SurfingStreaming are made for exactly these two purposes. The xCloak servers are recommended for connections from Iran and China, as – similarly to its name – cloaks your connection, with an additional layer of camouflage. And lastly, geo hosts are made for streaming purposes inside the USA, but without VPN usage. Do take note that SurfingStreaming servers do the same thing in a more secure way, as they come with encryptions, while geo servers do not.
BolehVPN have optimized their service to support P2P. Their VPN helps remove ISP throttling and traffic shaping of P2P/torrent activity, even. Furthermore, BolehVPN can also be used for game hosting, VoIP and Seedbox hosting. With Seedbox, you can have access to a private server for the secure uploading and downloading digital files at a much greater speed than your usual internet connection. Gaming hosting enables you to create a private server for this purpose, while VoIP allows you to establish your own Mumble (or similar software-based) server.
BolehVPN has servers in the following countries: Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States – an overall of 14 countries and 50 servers. Keep in mind that there are multiple types of servers, five to be exact. This means that you will most probably encounter hosts to connect to inside a country’s options.
In terms of speed, BolehVPN fares well. We would especially like to call attention to Canada: even though we tested from Europe, speeds were still acceptable overseas.
Two security protocols are available if you use BolehVPN: OpenVPN and L2TP. You could argue that this is a weak selection, and it is true that there are cons, but also pros to supporting these two solutions only. First of all, the company openly acknowledges that they do not favor PPTP as they deem it pretty unsafe (and we can’t help but agree with them). SSTP is absent, and maybe SoftEther could be a good addition in the future, but in reality, the two most useful security protocols are OpenVPN – for safety – and L2TP – for the best speed/safety ratio. Therefore even though selection is slim as a whip, we do not view it as a direct disadvantage.
BolehVPN’s log policy is a favorable one. They do not trace which IPs you connect to, and servers are independent from the customer database, meaning that the company is not able to trace which server you connect to. Even bandwidth is not logged. The only instances when data is gathered are in troubleshooting cases. This is a very good log policy and a huge red cheek (or even two per person) on our faces.
OS, Device Support
Since all connections are done in either OpenVPN or L2TP, we are going to list the available devices in a manner that indicates both. However, we must signal you that your options are not that extensive. Still, you are given a few very rare devices to use BolehVPN with. Out of operating systems, Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP are supported, next to Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux. It is worth noting that all three operating systems are provided with their respective clients. This is almost never seen for a business of this, somewhat smaller scale, and BolehVPN deserves applause for this. While Windows and Mac are both available on OpenVPN and L2TP, Linux is more OpenVPN centric.
Though the most popular ones only, mobile devices are also welcome. iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod) and Android phones are supported, all of them on L2TP; Android users can even enjoy an application. Routers come on OpenVPN though: next to the more common DD-WRT, Asus-WRT Merlin Routers (RT-N66, AC66, AC56, AC68) and the rare Sabai Technology routers are all welcome via manual setup.
BolehVPN has an interesting pricing structure. First of all, it is worth emphasizing that the company does offer a one-day free trial, but requires direct contact with them via e-mail. Instead, a Trial package is available for $3.70. This is a 7-day plan, during which you will experience the full product. Refunds are also very limited. We quote “Packages of 30 days and above are refundable within the first 14 days of your subscription PROVIDED that our support staff has been given ample opportunity to resolve your issue or point of dissatisfaction and they have determined it's a genuine refund request. Refunds not due to technical issues will not be entertained.” This means that it can take whole days before you can ask for a refund within that 14-day time window. We had no issues with server stability, but getting an outage in service on day 13 does not sound very good.
Pricing plans are also a bit on the far side of affordability. We also have to add that packages are available on the basis of days, not months. For 30 days, you would need to pay $9.99, this is a standard price. There is generally less commission offered with longer term plans, at least compared to other providers. For 60 days, your overall fee is $16.99, which is $8.49 every 30 days. For 180 days, its $44.99 price roughly results in a monthly $7.49. And finally, the 365-day plan (which it seems does not take leap years into account) costs $79.99; it corresponds to a monthly $6.66.
We can’t say we were satisfied with the pricing model. Costs are generally a bit more expensive than elsewhere, and the introduction of packages offered based on days (which means less days overall) makes it slightly worse, as not only you pay more, but you pay more for a slightly shorter duration. Payment options include PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, Debit cards, Bitcoin, Liberty Reserve, and for Malaysian customers they have we quote “direct integration with online banking and also accept direct bank-ins and ATM cash deposits”. So regardless of the disadvantages of the pricing model, Malaysian connections seem to support it.
BolehVPN offers a number of forms of customer service. Apart from the live chat’s minor language anomaly (sometimes the chat’s language is not the same as the website’s) we did not encounter any problems. Response time was good, and while the associate did not speak quote on quote “perfect” English, we could still get along well and understand each other. Submitting a ticket in only available once you have registered and logged in. The only thing we miss from this side of support is not being able to attach files. There is also a forum available, but it is pretty empty, apart from the “Community Help” section. Better news is that social media presence – namely Facebook and Twitter – are quite active, with recent posts and a contemporary sense of internet humor.
Overall, BolehVPN is a mix of joy and want. We were satisfied with the desktop client’s structure and its availability. We also remain curious about the five different types of servers the company provides; putting the purpose of a server, even just fine tuning one to an agenda is a good call in our opinion, and you can do your VPN activities without the burden of a restrictive log policy. Sadly, there are some aspects of service that do cast a shadow. Prices are a bit high, and the structure employed provides a free trial, but it is hard to access, signaling that they prefer more people paying to try their products. Furthermore, BolehVPN has a restrictive refund policy.
- Server selection
- Windows client
- Acceptable speeds
- Networking options
- Video games support
- Log policy
- Rather pricey
- Refund policy
- Hard-to-get free trial