OVPN has its own client that is available for 15 different platforms, including such rarities as Ubuntu, Debian and Raspberry Pi. The system incorporates DNS leak protection and a kill switch, guaranteeing that your identity won’t be accidentally exposed. But the protection isn’t restricted to the user-friendly client, either, since the team also created a browser extension that blocks ads, purges cookies and stops tracking software.
As an OVPN user you’ll have access to 39 servers spread across six countries, coupled with unlimited bandwidth and military-grade encryption. The pricing is kept simple, too, with monthly fees ranging between $7 and $11 per month.
OVPN’s biggest asset is the main client, available for a multitude of platforms. When starting up the client for the first time you’ll be greeted by a demo tour that introduces the main features.
The app has a simple design with a user-friendly layout, which makes the navigation a breeze. In order to cater to both a casual and hardcore audience, the OVPN app offers recommended server locations – showing the fastest connection for each country – which can be manually changed if you wish. There is also a statistics page for those who like to monitor stats and daily data usage.
DNS Protection & Kill Switch
OVPN boasts several additional features that may potentially save your private information from being leaked. The Dynamic Domain Name System (DDNS) protection is a nifty tool that patches potential holes in a VPN tunnel. Windows, for example, is prone to forwarding requests to DNS servers governed by the ISP, effectively blowing your cover. As the name suggests, DDNS helps to protect against these pesky leaks.
Kill switch, on the other hand, terminates the connection instantly if the VPN service stops for any reason, ensuring that you won’t unknowingly browse the internet without protection.
In terms of interacting with the internet, it is your browser that is at the forefront, therefore it really deserves an extra layer of protection. The browser extension provided by OVPN halts all harmful malware and tracking programs that might invisibly stick to you while surfing the web. It even blocks the ads and popup messages as an added bonus.
The extension displays a summary on all the dangers and trackers it has prevented, and the protection can be tweaked to only work on certain sites – ensuring personal control over its effects when browsing websites you know you can trust. OVPN also deserves a pat on the back for porting the browser add-on to Firefox, Chrome, Vivaldi and Opera.
When it comes to unblocking geo-restricted content, the more virtual locations that are available the merrier. Unfortunately, OVPN is still in an early phase of its world domination, which means its global reach only extends to six countries: Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, and the U.S. Besides the must-haves from the American continent, the service only has servers in North and Western Europe. It’s a shame that so much of the world is missing of the list – especially Asia – since many users are often seeking virtual access to the unique content of these distant locations.
The good thing about having a lineup of six distinct countries is that it is easy to compare them all in terms of speed. The Netherlands and Germany, the two Western European countries available, showed promising results. Even though neither of them hit it out of the park, the ping was acceptable and the speed was more than enough for browsing.
The same could be said about Sweden and Norway, the latter providing the best results. Still, it is the U.S. server that far outpaces all others when it comes to connection speed, even though – during our tests – we faced a few latency issues. All in all, OVPN servers are reliable, but they are a better fit for surfing the web rather than streaming content.
At the moment, OVPN only allows for a single type of protocol. For this reason, they decided to stick to the most reliable one, namely OpenVPN. This provides the best balance of transfer speed and level of protection. Those who prefer more extreme means of security can double down with the multihop add-on, which reroutes the connection through another server and therefore encrypts the traffic twice.
When it comes to security, the company aims to defend all user data with military-grade encryption. For encryption purposes they use the AES-256-GCM algorithm, while a 2,048-bit Diffie-Hellman key is responsible for creating unhackable authentication. The latter method also shields the servers from DoS attacks, a common plague on the current internet landscape.
OVPN has another ace up its sleeve on top of the ironclad encryption: its zero-log policy. The team has made considerable efforts to ensure their servers are virtually incapable of storing any major info about your digital identity or what it is that you’re doing while connected.
OVPN strongly states it will refuse any demand for access to your data. They even acquired legal insurance that covers their lawsuit fees should any authority take such a battle to the court. And let’s not forget that their HQ is located in Stockholm, a country known for its firm protection of privacy.
OS, Device Support
As a company founded by responsible tech experts, OVPN places a heavy emphasis on portability and platform support. The software runs on several operating systems and we don’t just mean the usual suspects. Naturally OVPN is available for all flavors of Windows, and has a presence on Mac, iOS and Android – these are a must when it comes to any VPN service.
But OVPN goes the extra mile: the client is also compatible with Linux Ubuntu, IPFire, Debian, and pfSense. Even if you utilize your own home-built Raspberry Pi system, OVPN can happily run on that too.
The service is equally versatile in the router department. Regardless of whether your device supports DD-WRT, Tomato, AsusWRT or OpenWRT, it’s possible to apply an encryption to it. And as it stands right now, one OVPN account can be used by four different devices at the same time.
If you have a large family where everyone has a smartphone or are a tech junky with an army of Wi-Fi reliant devices – such as game consoles or smart TVs – encrypting the router is an especially prudent move since it extends the safety net to the whole household.
The system was designed to be easy to set up for every platform, excluding the need to mess about with config files. In any case, if you face problems installing the VPN yourself then the team has prepared step-by-step guides with screenshots for each and every operating system available.
A straightforward service demands straightforward pricing, and OVPN has made sure not to overcomplicate the matter. There is only one subscription tier available, which will unlock all the service’s features. The VPN sadly lacks any free trials or free plans, but they do offer a money back guarantee if you find yourself unsatisfied with the service. During the initial ten days of using OVPN there is the option to request a full refund without having to justify it.
The company presents customers three kinds of payment plans with varying lengths of commitment. The general rule is that the longer the subscription, the lower the monthly price becomes. Renewing your subscription on a month-by-month basis will cost $10.99 each time, but agreeing to the quarterly plan lowers the fee to $8.33 per month ($24.99 in total) to lock you into the service for three months. There is no semi-annual plan, either, with the last option being an annual commitment, in which case you’ll be paying $7 per month ($84 in total).
It’s important to mention that all payments are taken in advance. Either way, there are a variety of means of payment. Besides the most popular options (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, and PayPal), the OVPN team also accepts Bitcoin or even straight up cash – but only if you are a Swedish citizen.
OVPN truly deserves a commendation for the transparency on their website. All important features are mentioned and detailed in an understandable manner, coupled with an FAQ section that answers any lingering questions related to the software or the service itself. The customer support can be contacted by submitting a help ticket, and the team promises an answer within a couple of hours.
We tested the readiness of their helpdesk during business hours, and one of their team members replied within a few minutes – an impeccably responsive service. They answered our question with a short but precise response, and even provided helpful links. OVPN also has an active social media presence, and even uploads short video sketches about the importance of online privacy.
OVPN is something of a pleasant surprise. The service delivers on its promise to provide solid internet security and – on top of all the expected features such as the kill switch and the DNS leak prevention – OVPN brings some new stuff to the table, like the multihop add-on or the browser extension that blocks trackers and ads.
The downloadable client is another strong point, since in its default state it is convenient enough for newcomers to the world of VPNs, but dig deeper and there are options to satisfy the needs of hardcore users too.
When it comes to the encryption, however, the service is a mixed bag. Although only one type of protocol can be utilized, it is at least implemented smartly and the chosen encryption algorithm is one of the stronger ones. The fact that the servers are incapable of storing your private data is a treat too, a testament to their devotion towards privacy. There needs to be a mention of the customer support, too, which is well-rounded and responds quickly and professionally.
On the flip side, though, the current list of virtual servers is meager at best, especially when considering that besides the USA and Canada there are only European countries available – and only a handful at that. It’s also worth noting that the service is really only suitable for secure web browsing and not really cut out for the streaming of HD content. Regardless, there is a great deal of potential in the service; if you’re looking for safe web surfing or need secure data transfer while abroad, OVPN is certainly a good choice to opt for.
- Strong encryption
- Browser extension
- DNS leak protection
- Nifty privacy features
- No log policy
- Less suitable for streaming
- Few servers and countries