UltraVPN essentially targets the basic needs of users searching for a simple service that they can use to unblock geographically restricted websites and streaming services. This is an attitude made clear by the company’s official website, but it’s made obvious by the lack of features within the VPN app itself. Sadly, it’s becoming quite common for companies to hide away the most advanced settings, therefore preventing users from manually changing protocols or softening the encryption, for instance, and UltraVPN is another doing just this.
These settings can still be accessed in the client’s area on the website fortunately, but as a result the app feels quite empty. In turn, the app settings only allow you to check the current plan, change the program’s language and startup options, or switch between automatic and manual firewall activation, which will likely be a letdown for more demanding users. But they’re not UltraVPN’s target audience, after all, so the ‘connect & go’ nature of the service may well be enough for those who are.
Intuitive ‘Connect & Go’ Service
The app is easy to use, so anyone can enjoy their favorite streaming services with the simple click of a button. The country list is easily accessible on the right-hand side and users can also switch between different cities with some of them, which is great for lowering ping while remaining in the same country.
Another feature worth noting is the firewall that can be toggled on or off at any time to prevent IP and DNS leaks, even though UltraVPN excels in this aspect even when it’s turned off. Because of this, it might seem like a waste of a feature, but having it turned on enables the kill switch function, at least.
For a service that focuses so much on unblocking streaming, it’s also good to make use of unlimited bandwidth and servers dedicated to Netflix.
The strongest aspect of UltraVPN is with its connected network of servers, debuting with a vast, global server network that other companies take months or even years to reach. Don’t get us wrong here, the server count of just over 120 is not an impressive number by any means, but they’re cleverly scattered all around the world in nearly 60 countries. Now this is a quite respectable number, especially considering that every continent is present alongside some less commonly seen locations that are usually only available with larger VPN services. Likewise, it’s great to see that UltraVPN has special servers for Netflix users (Ultraflix US, UK, Japan, and more).
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. It’s already a bummer that connections take quite long to be established, but even worse than that is how some of them require multiple attempts or end up not working at all after minutes of staring at the loading screen. The ones that did work were consistent, at least, but their speeds weren’t anything special. The servers that were further away from our European location struggled to get any results at all, and while the closest ones were much better they would still likely have some trouble streaming content. Fortunately, our tests demonstrated how deactivating UltraVPN’s firewall would often boost the overall speeds – which isn’t ideal, of course.
On a positive note, UltraVPN handles IP and DNS leaks very well as there were never any problems of this nature in any of the servers put to the test, even with the firewall turned off. Given UltraVPN’s P2P friendliness, this factor is one of the service’s biggest upsides as not only does it make connections faster but they’re always protected against leakage, too. Speaking of P2P, a member of UltraVPN’s staff assured that the service supports it “without restrictions”, even though the app itself shows which countries can and cannot be used for this purpose.
When using UltraVPN, customers can be sure they’re being protected by the industry-leading 256-bit encryption. And in terms of protocols, there’s nothing to worry about either, as the only choices available are the reliable OpenVPN (TCP and UDP) and IKEv2. As mentioned before, none of this can be accessed directly within the app, but logging into the official website does allow changes between encryption cyphers (CBC or GCM), the actual protocols, and ports. It’s worth noting, also, that although UltraVPN claims it doesn’t store any logs of usage data, because it’s an American company, it falls under the same gray area of others from the country that could, in theory, be required to store and hand over such data to the authorities.
OS, Device Support
UltraVPN is still taking its first steps in the VPN business and therefore it’s understandable that the company’s device support is not exactly the greatest on the market. However, all of the most popular devices are covered with desktop versions for Windows XP and above or Mac computers, as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. OpenVPN manual setups are also an option for those interested in that, while customers using Amazon Fire TV can enjoy the VPN’s app on this device as well.
It was also confirmed to us via a staff member that Firefox extensions and support for additional devices – such as routers – are also coming soon to UltraVPN. Until the latter becomes an option, there is a maximum of three simultaneous connections per license.
At a time when more and more VPN providers are abandoning medium-term subscriptions and opting for ones that last multiple years, it’s great to see UltraVPN staying faithful to the trio of short, long, and intermediate plans between the two. With that being said, the first offer costs $7.99 per month, which is lower than most competitors. The semiannual plan is two dollars cheaper on a monthly basis, costing a total of $35.94. But the most attractive subscription is the annual one, of course, offering up to 50% in savings by being billed once a year at $45.00.
The latter translates into a monthly cost of $3.75, which is the cheapest you can get UltraVPN. Its competitive pricing is what gives even some of the most experienced high-end providers a run for their money.
Unfortunately, the company doesn’t offer any free trials or versions, but it does provide a 30-day money-back guarantee that its customers can take advantage of. Payment methods include credit cards and PayPal.
UltraVPN’s customer service is a perfect representation of the program itself, proving to be well-elaborated and to have potential but poorly executed. To explain, the official website offers a good variety of 24/7 contact methods, from the usual email and live chat to a not-so-common toll-free phone number. However, the rest of the site provides nearly no help at all; the FAQ and knowledge base pages are disappointing to say the least, with very few entries and many questions left unanswered. While this could be solved by getting in direct contact with the company, it’s still a letdown.
But worse than all of this is the assistance provided itself. When testing the live chat support, an initial positive first impression from prompt and polite answers was ruined when the staff member failed to provide specific details on request. In fact, he started to rush the conversation and even abruptly closed the chat when we were typing another question.
The experience with UltraVPN is bumpy and irregular. On one hand, the provider delights users with a global server network with extensive P2P support, not to mention how it excels in offering reliable privacy protection with a high standard of encryption at attractive prices.
But at the same time there are just one too many letdowns. If not for the kill switch function, the firewall quickly becomes expendable given the heavy impact it has on already slow speeds, though at least IP and DNS leaks never occur when it’s turned off, fortunately. It’s also a shame that some of the servers don’t work properly and that the app feels empty of features, but none of that is worse than having a staff member abandon a chat before answering all the customer’s questions.
At the end of the day, UltraVPN does have potential and its ‘connect & go’ usability will no doubt do wonders for some people, but many aspects need to be improved if it’s to become anything more than just a good promise.
- Intuitive app
- Global server network
- P2P support
- No DNS leaks
- Attractive pricing
- Lack of additional features
- Slow speeds
- Terrible customer support