CactusVPN is an established provider of VPN, SmartDNS and proxy services that enable you to hide your traffic and access the web through America and Europe with a different IP address.
Whether you only want to mask your torrents or unblock a geo-restricted site, nothing quite matches up to the versatility and security of a full VPN. CactusVPN offer server locations in the United States (covering east, west and middle country), followed by United Kingdom, Netherlands and Romania.
The service comes equipped with PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN and SSTP protocols, and if you’re one to regularly change your VPN settings, you’re probably better off using their very quick and easy-to-use desktop client for Mac and Windows. Aside from the standard server and protocol options, what particularly impressed us about this app, was that it allows for selection of OpenVPN, bypassing the need to download a separate client for the protocol, while the mighty SSTP is also available on selected servers.
Generally, the client looks very clean, feels truly app-like and acts efficiently as an all-round security bubble for your data. Another good detail is that unlike similar desktop apps, this client feels completely unobtrusive, to the point where it doesn’t appear in the taskbar, but instead can be found tucked away in your hidden icons.
People who wish to encrypt every single byte on their device can do just that by adding web-based apps to the “App. Killer” feature on the software, which will shut down any program should your VPN disconnect. In our example we chose Chrome and Skype:
If you’re only planning on unblocking websites by changing your IP and are not particularly concerned about security, perhaps the Smart DNS package will suffice. However, bear in mind that their basic VPN subscription costs the same, and unlike SmartDNS, will provide you with full encryption and security. High speed proxy servers are also available.
Getting familiarised with VPN performance requires testing, so we tried out connections through all available countries over different protocols:
1. Washington DC, United States (PPTP)
Achieving optimal VPN speeds across oceans is no easy feat, but averaging 26 Mb/s over a 30Mb internet connection from Europe gave an instant indication that this company is serious about their service.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands (L2TP)
Our result, on the torrent-friendly server in Amsterdam, shows that they are abundant in capacity and can likewise handle near-optimal connections over the L2TP protocol.
3. London, United Kingdom (SSTP)
Sometimes it’s necessary to work remotely from home or from some place else (outside of your secure workplace). The SSTP protocol will provide you with corporate-level encryption, ensuring that your sensitive work data is completely out of view (this is especially important when using a public WiFi). Despite generally being the slower VPN protocol due to its encryption capabilities, connecting over SSTP through servers, like the one below in London will not noticeably hinder the overall performance of your internet.
- Professional VPN, SmartDNS and proxy service
- Unlimited and unmetered bandwidth
- P2P allowed on Netherlands servers
- Simultaneous device connections allowed over different servers
- L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP protocols
- Smart app for Windows and Mac OS
- Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, Linux, FreeBSD
- Reliable support
- Free 24 hour trial