Wouldn't it be great if there was a VPN service that is as good as Hidemyass, but also doesn't keep any logs? I think I have found it – VPN4ALL. VPN4ALL simply doesn't log anything, but still has all the features and speed I'd expect from a premium VPN services.
I spend a lot of time researching VPN and the following is what I learned about VPN4ALL. I hope sharing my experience will make it easier for you to decide whether VPN4ALL will suit your specific needs. I also included a few tips and tricks (my unofficial VPN4ALL guide) I discovered while using VPN4ALL, which hopefully will be helpful for those who already use it. If you're looking for the official VPN4ALL manual please click here.
Table of Contents
Unlike many other VPN software which is usually stuffed with way too many features, VPN4ALL's software is super easy to use. The user interface is clear and concise reminding me of Geordi La Forge LOL. You will see a list of VPN servers to choose from and a big “Connect” button upon launching the VPN4ALL client software.
Clicking "Menu" on the top-left corner gives you the option to fine-tune almost every aspect of VPN4ALL.
Setting up VPN4ALL on mobile devices is relatively easy however you do need to refer to their "Mobile Manual" and need a VPN4ALL Mobile License in order to get it up and running. The instructions of how to set up VPN4ALL for mobile devices can be found here.
Connection speeds are what really counts when it comes to choosing the best VPN for your needs. VPN4ALL compares very well in this category. One of the real tests using VPN4ALL was watching BBC’s live coverage of the 2012 London Summer Olympics. The video rendered impeccable, better than any other VPN I had access to at the time. I have used VPN4ALL since then for video streaming from all over the world and it works well.
The speed of a VPN connection is hard to measure because it could be influenced by so many factors: the location of the VPN server, the location of the website you're visiting, the speed of your Internet connection, the VPN protocol you use, the ISP the VPN provider is leasing the server from etc.
VPN4ALL supports Windows 7, XP, VISTA, Mac OS (Leopard and higher) and mobile devices with PPTP and L2TP VPN enabled, however they only provide support for operating systems and devices listed under system requirements on their website. It doesn't support Linux nor installation on routers. Their manuals cover their Windows version, but their software renders similar enough to use the manuals with a Mac without problems.
VPN4ALL client software for PC and Mac has build-in support for the OpenVPN protocol, but not PPTP. VPN4ALL does offer PPTP and IPSec/L2TP for Mobile Devices. As mentioned on their website "While Microsoft claims that PPTP has a 'good level of security that is suitable for most companies,' security professionals such as Bruce Schneier think otherwise. A German student managed to crack PPTP passwords in 4 hours. For security reason, We do not offer PPTP VPN for PC and Mac because there are many known attacks on PPTP."
We were really impressed by how honest and willing VPN4ALL is when we asked them about their logging policy. The simple answer is they don't keeping any logs, period. The VPN4ALL server network is operated by Web Broadcasting Ltd. headquartered in the Seychelles, making it difficult for law enforcement to gain access, and even if they were, there would be nothing to gain because there are no logs. The official answer is "Since the VPN4ALL server network is operated from an offshore jurisdiction, there are no laws that oblige us to keep logs on our customers – so we don’t.".
Server Locations and IPs
VPN4ALL has you, and your connectivity needs covered with their extensive server coverage in 25 counties and over 1000 IPs. VPN4ALL’s dialer clearly indicates if a server supports P2P or not. You can pick a VPN server in a certain country or have the software done the job by choosing the fastest server for you. Different from other VPN services, with VPN4ALL, legal P2P and file sharing using Torrent is only permitted on certain servers that are marked “P2P”, located in countries that allow P2P file sharing. There are NO P2P servers in the USA!
You should check out their "VPN Server Location, Details" page if you intend to use the service for file sharing or Bit Torrent because most of the time your connection speed largely depends on the server location and what you're using the VPN for. I also recommend you checkout their VPN server coverage before signing up so you are certain you can connect to a server in the same country as the website you're visiting is in.
Early, we showed you how simple and clean the VPN4ALL's interface is, but don't let that fool you. Simplicity doesn't mean lack of features, in the contrary, VPN4ALL client software is loaded with advanced features should you want to dig deeper. Here are the top 3 features you should know:
Auto Change IP
Automation in scheduling IP address changes is a very popular feature originally seen in Hidemyass. Enabling this feature will change your IP address in set intervals, which will help prevent your IP address from being banned if you make a lot of requests in a short period of time.
VPN4ALL offers built-in military level AES 256 bits encryption on data travelling between your computer and the VPN server. According to VPN4ALL, they are the first VPN Service that supports both UDP and TCP connections offering you a workable solution to bypass highly restrictive firewalls. You will need to enable "TCP Servers" and "Point-to-Point Connection" in order for this to work. VPM4ALL also gives you the option to use your own DNS instead of the built-in OpenDNS. We strongly recommend you use Comodo secure DNS which promises not to keep any logs of your DNS requests. The Address of Comodo DNS is: "188.8.131.52". For those who want to add an additional layer of security, there is also the option to use proxy on top of your VPN connection.
Email Not Spam
The one thing that annoys me the most is by default most VPN providers block you from using SMTP ports so email clients like Outlook express or Mail won't work. In order to use these email clients, you have to get specific instructions from your VPN provider. I understand their needs of preventing people from using their network to send SPAM, but why inconvenience everybody to block a few? VPN4ALL takes a totally different approach to solve this problem. By default, you don't need to do or change anything to send or receive emails. Your email programs should work just fine. The only exception is if your SMTP server doesn't support SSL which is very rare, you will need to specify the SMTP address from your ISP.
I always test a providers customer support by anonymously contacting them about questions not answered on the website. VPN4ALL answered my first inquiry (with an intelligent response written by a human) within 30 minutes, impressive! The second inquiry was answered overnight and contained the instructions I needed to solve the problem without further communication, awesome!
Prices start at USD 9.95/month for a 50GB/month limited plan, 16.95 for the unlimited version and you have the option to add your mobile device for USD 5.95/month unlimited. The price isn't cheap compared with Hidemyass which is 11.52/month with unlimited bandwidth and a much broader VPN server coverage in 51 countries. Nevertheless, If you take into account the fact that VPN4ALL doesn't keep any logs and what you get, it is actually a very good deal.
If you're just planning to use VPN on mobile devices such as iPhone/iPad, Android or Windows Mobile, simply signup for the "mobile browsing" plan, which is only $5.59/month. If you want to use it on both your computer and mobile device, your best option is the "VPN4ALL Unlimited + VPN4ALL Mobile" combo deal which saves you up to $61 for 1 year subscription. This is the plan I chose so I don't have to deal with the monthly recurring payments.
The Other Side of the Coin
Nothing is perfect, neither is VPN4ALL. VPN4ALL does not allow you to install their VPN on your router. Plus you have to purchase additional licenses if you want to use their VPN on more than one computers at the same time. You will also need to buy an extra license for your mobile device, something many other providers include in their subscription. Currently, there is no officially support for Linux. For Linux geeks looking for a workaround, the following maybe helpful.
- Q: I am looking through your System Requirements, do you support OS other than Windows and Mac? Like Unix or Linux for example?
- A: We do not provide support for Linux. Some of our users install VPN4ALL on Linux using virtual machine…….We also have a number of Linux users who use our configs on native OpenVPN setup and get it to work this way. We do provide the configs, but we won't provide tech.
If you are in the market for a non-logging VPN service that offers speed and ease of use, you can’t go wrong with VPN4ALL. They are not the cheapest VPN provider, but if you consider the overall value, ease-of-use, their pricing is very competitive, especially if you prepay for one of their longer term plans. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Image Credit: palinopsiafilms