Your ZPN experience starts off with a free account supplying you with 10GB of bandwidth for monthly use, with e-mail verification being mandatory. After downloading the desktop client for Windows or Mac, you will notice that your free account will grant you access to 5 server locations in 4 countries (United States, Canada, France and the Netherlands). If you upgrade your account you will gain access to the premium locations raising the number up to 29, plus different servers across the U.S. You will not need a guide to use ZPN (although they are there, if you wish to go for a manual setup for instance) as everything runs smooth and, in general, is easy to use.
When visiting the ZPN website, check the top left corner. It will show your IP address along with a message telling if you are protected or not. Truth being told, the strongest aspect of this service is the fact that everything is very simple and smooth. There are no excessive tools or buggy extensions that make your first contact unnecessarily rough. While some VPNs require you to install something extra to prevent Facebook tracking or unblock Netflix, with ZPN you get the full package at once. By installing the desktop client and choosing a server you will be pretty much set up to face the waves of the internet.
Account Management & VPN Configuration
Upon visiting ZPN.im and after you downloaded the desktop client and created your account, you will be able to make whatever changes you desire to the configuration of your VPN as well as manage your account. The account management portal is particularly useful to check the amount of bandwidth spent if you have the free version. But the strongest aspect of ZPN comes with the choice of your own privacy settings for the more avid users. It is a nice signal of trust by the company, as some others don’t allow you to change any settings whatsoever.
Although the accurate number of IP addresses available is unknown, ZPN provides a total of 661 available servers worldwide, with the vast majority located in France and the United States. There are servers in Japan, Australia, Brazil and South Africa – the only one in Africa at the moment. When starting ZPN you will create a free account through which you will get access to 5 different server locations – France and the U.S. included. Upgrading your account to one of the paid subscriptions will not only grant you access to all 29 premium server locations (blocked for free accounts); some of them also allow P2P traffic.
We tested 3 server locations and, overall speeds are fairly good, with one of the French servers getting better results in comparison to the one in the Netherlands (this one was the fastest compared to the average regular servers of the country) and Canadian servers. Despite the fact that the majority of the French and U.S. servers are available for use with the free account you are most likely to only get the faster ones if you are a Premium user since there are also Premium servers in both these territories with the ones in U.S. adding cities like New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Seattle.
ZPN uses AES-256 encryption and both auth and cipher settings will be at default, giving you the chance to change them via the VPN configuration page of your account, which is a nice gesture by the company. It also provides you a virtual firewall and, furthermore, the software supports all the major VPN protocols such as L2TP and OpenVPN protocols, while on Android or Windows it supports SSL VPN and AntiDPI protocols as well. On the desktop app’s settings, you’ll find that you can tick other options such as the DNS leak fix, IPv6 leak fix and kill switch.
OS, Device Support
ZPN has no shortage of support for different operating systems. We can obviously choose between PC and Mac and there are also a few choices for mobile customers. For Windows users, the software runs on everything from XP to 10 (although the setup guides stop at Windows 8) and it can also run on Mac (OS X), iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Linux and ZPN box. A rarity is that there are monthly, quarterly or yearly paid subscriptions for mobile devices alone, allowing only one device to connect.
A good aspect of ZPN is that if we need help exploring the uncharted waters of installation there is no need to watch a 15-minute video that we need to pause every 5 seconds to catch up. ZPN provides a very useful and easy to follow step-by-step image guide for all operating systems supported (except Windows 10). These guides are for the OpenVPN or L2TP setups required for you to download ZPN afterwards. All of them are relatively short, so you will not feel like you’re reading the yellow pages and this way you’ll avoid getting lost. After you set everything up, all you need to do is get back to ZPN.im and download the app for your device.
By connecting yourself to ZPN you will be creating an account. This account is free of charge and you can use it for unlimited time. Its monthly 10GB bandwidth could suit you if you’re not that much of a big-time internet user, but note that this will only get you access to the basic features of the service.
To make full use of everything that ZPN has to offer, you should go for a paid subscription. ZPN offers every subscription duration you could wish: there are monthly, quarterly and yearly packs. They all have the same features regardless of the time they last, so you are never forced to buy a longer subscription in order to access any blocked features. The yearly packs are the ones that offer the cheapest costs at $5.99 per month for Premium, and $1.99 per month for Mobile. It is a $4 monthly discount for Premium and $1 monthly reduction for Mobile. With the Premium pack, not only the bandwidth limits are thrown out of the window but you will also be able to have up to 5 simultaneous connections and get access to almost 6 times more server locations than your free account has available with some of them supporting P2P connections.
ZPN lets you pay using your credit card, PayPal and also Bitcoins. Regardless of your payment method, you can ask for a refund up to 7 days after purchase.
Social media is slightly part of ZPN’s life as they are present on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Despite that, if you leave a question on any of these platforms you will most likely be left ignored as the company isn’t very active there. Also, if you are logged in on the website, you can click the support tab hidden in your username in the top right corner to find nothing more than an empty page.
After digging the website you’ll find out that the company assures you 24/7 customer support, although we don’t seem to be able to find any direct contact line, so your best option is to send an e-mail. Not everything is bad, as the FAQ page is pretty concise and accurate teaching you way around.
ZPN is trying to compete in the fierce battle between VPN service providers, but at the moment it is on the second line along with a number of other companies that have the same struggles. The monthly refill of 10GB bandwidth on your free VPN account is a nice gesture, while you’re not being forced into buying a subscription for additional features. At the same time ZPN knows how to make everything very simple to use and it gives you the chance of setting your own privacy settings. There are plenty of guides for running the service properly, though the customer support options are limited and the blank pages in their customer support show that there is space for improvement, literally.
- Free account for unlimited time
- P2P possible
- Easy to use
- Limited customer support