VPNArea is a versatile VPN provider with an extensive network of international servers and a host of features built to protect your online identity and to optimise your browsing experience. In this review, we took a closer to see what makes it stand out from other services and whether it can do a good job for you as your primary virtual private network.
First, a little about the company. As a commercial entity, VPNArea are registered in Bulgaria, where data retention laws were declared unconstitutional in 2008, and as they are not an ISP, the company is not required by law to snoop on their customers’ traffic. This allows VPNArea to advertise a genuine no-log policy – something that many of the biggest and most popular providers are simply not able to do, due to harsh local jurisdiction laws. However the website and its core data are actually stored in Switzerland, which, in-hand with their vast server network demonstrates just how significant the company’s international presence has quickly grown to become.
The service’s primary function is to provide complete online anonymity as well as unrestricted access to the web. With servers placed across many populated regions, including countries like USA, UK, Russia, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa and many others, you have the option to connect to any available location, while changing your IP address and ciphering your re-routed traffic in the process. This, of course, paves way for being able to unblock any website or web service, whether it’s Netflix, YouTube, Facebook or Skype, regardless of where you’ll be accessing the net from.
Countering your internet service provider’s attempts to monitor and store records of your activity, VPNArea offers powerful encryption levels to securely hide your traffic as it passes via the VPN server and back to your ISP. The service lets your choose between OpenVPN (strongest with 2048 bit encryption), L2TP (256 bit) or PPTP (128 bit) VPN protocols. To add, each VPNArea server supports OpenVPN, while only a select few allow for the weaker L2TP and PPTP connections – further underlining this provider’s focus on tough net security.
There are various ways to get the service connected, and the simplest for Windows and Macintosh users is to download the swift Chameleon software directly from the members’ area on their website. We explored the Windows version, but judging from provided screenshots, the Mac version appears to be identical.
Aside from the extensive server list, the app contains some very unique features that you can’t always find with other providers. Among them is the Kill-Switch – a useful setting designed to automatically close down any web-based apps at any point that the VPN disconnects; followed by the built-in Anti-DNS Leak function which, if enabled, protects the connection from leaking your original DNS records when visiting different websites; and lastly the straightforward Auto-IP Change option that will swap your IP address at a frequency based on your chosen amount of minutes. However the features don’t end here. Within the server menu, you can also run a quick speed test as well as check the server load on each node; particularly handy for locating the best location for speed.
iOS and Android Applications
For versatility, VPNArea may well rank somewhere near the top. Both iOS and Android users can take advantage of the great mobile applications that can also be downloaded from the client area. In function, the mobile app features all the necessary tools for using the service on the go, including all available servers and supplemented by correlating average ping response times. Once connected, you will see the VPN icons appear at the top of your screen as shown in the second screenshot of the Android example below:
Each server speed test was run using the Chameleon Windows software, with OpenVPN set as the default encryption protocol. We tested locations in four countries with a 15Mb connection.
1. London, United Kingdom (OpenVPN UDP)
VPNArea have servers in several locations across the UK, and this node based in London did not disappoint, returning over 8Mbps as well as an excellent ping response of 14ms.
2. Groningen, Netherlands (OpenVPN UDP)
Netherlands is another country where VPNArea host a substantial amount of servers. We chose the city of Groningen at random and were very impressed at the near-optimal performance by this node. With over 14Mbps, your downloads are guaranteed quick completion and your browsing experience will remain unhampered.
3. Krasnoyarsk, Russia (OpenVPN UDP)
For the next location, we tried a server a bit further out of our range. We opted to test one of the three nodes located in the Russia. One thing to note is that this particular server is listed as being based in Moscow, however the test identified the location as the city of Krasnoyarsk – nearly 4,500 kilometres east of the Russian capital and technically part of Asia. On the plus side, despite the huge geographical difference, the server performed as well as in the previous Netherlands test, gaining 14Mbps in download speed and showing that the VPNArea network supports high speed connections, even over the stronger and occasionally slower OpenVPN protocol.
4. Mumbai, India (OpenVPN TCP)
For our final test, we decided to really go the distance using a server in Mumbai, India. The connection could not compete with our previous results, however still managed to clock up 3.40Mbps for downloads and a relatively decent ping response (considering the distance) of 140ms. It’s also important to mention that the speed test will show a much faster result for users living in or close to India, meaning the server is more ideal for anonymity purposes in this particular region.
Free DNS server list
As a bonus, and a pretty important one too, the VPNArea members area offers a large list of third party DNS servers, with which you can better hide the identity of your visited websites from your internet service provider. In conjunction with the Anti-DNS Leak feature found on the Chameleon app, you can pick out your preferred DNS servers and input the new IPs into the software. When applied, you are effectively protected from unnecessary and avoidable DNS leaks.
Following a thorough test of the service, we arrived at the conclusion that VPNArea will provide you with the right tools to safeguard your internet privacy, while supporting high connections speeds thanks to a professionally configured range of worldwide servers. We particularly liked the desktop app, due to its light and simplistic design, and for its inclusion of the most integral tools required of a trustworthy VPN; those being the default configuration of OpenVPN, Anti-DNS leak protection (offered by only a handful of other companies) and the automatic IP changer. We were thoroughly impressed by the results of the speed tests, which explained why the VPNArea website emphasises so much on their performance capabilities.
The final aspect we haven’t yet mentioned is the ability to connect up to five separate devices under one account. Most VPN services permit a maximum of up to three simultaneous connections, however with VPNArea you will have the option to secure most, if not all of the devices in your household, which means you’ll get a lot of service for your money. Fully recommended.
- No logs stored
- Large server network with rare-to-find locations
- Unlimited bandwidth and fast performance
- OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP protocols
- 1024-2048 bit encryption
- Free apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
- App features Houdini Anonymyzer (double proxy)
- Compatible with Linux/Ubuntu
- P2P allowed on selected servers
- Connect up to 5 devices
- Dedicated IP available
- Free DNS server list
- 7-day refund guarantee