VPNArea is a Bulgarian VPN provider hosted in Switzerland. They are well-known for maintaining a pretty healthy balance between solid security and user-friendliness. The company was launched in 2012 and they have been regularly updating their software ever since. On top of impressive privacy measures, they also offer a decent amount of unique features, so keep reading our VPNArea review to find out whether it is a hidden gem in the world of online security.
VPNArea client is pretty straightforward and requires just a couple of clicks before you’re completely protected. All you have to do is enter your username and password, choose the desired server, and click connect.
Everything is well-organized and clearly labeled, so you shouldn’t have any problems with finding the options or settings you’re looking for.
Performance And Reliability
VPNArea provided pretty impressive speeds during our testing circuit. With closer servers, it was literally like we weren’t even running a VPN. We didn’t experience any speed drops or sudden disconnects, meaning the company really provides what it promises. On the US servers, however, we regularly experienced higher upload than download speeds, which is something that doesn’t happen all that often. All in all, excellent performance without disconnects and little to no speed drops.
VPNArea supports all the major platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, Chromebook, Android, and Linux. The client is almost identical across platforms, with iPad and iPhone having an additional OpenVPN Connect App.
VPNArea is, as we mentioned at the beginning of this VPNArea review, ripe with useful features. Here are some that caught our attention during testing:
- Incorporated speed test – This will allow you to test your ping and download speed and identify the fastest server for your location;
- 6 simultaneous connections – This is quite a pleasant surprise since we mostly see up to 3 simultaneous connections offered by VPN companies. You also have the option of sharing your account with a friend;
- Server load monitor – This feature allows you to check how busy a server is before connecting to it;
- Ad blocking and proprietary DNS servers – You will be able to block ads and hide the visited addresses from your ISP;
- Unlimited bandwidth – There’s no need to monitor your data consumption with VPNArea;
- Torrent-friendly – VPNArea is one of the friendliest services when it comes to P2P traffic and torrenting;
- Unlimited server switching – You’ll get unlimited access to VPNArea servers and you can switch between them as many times as you like.
VPNArea currently operates approx. 200 servers spread across 70 countries. This is by no means a large network compared to bigger VPN providers with 1000+ servers, but the company is constantly expanding it, so we don’t think they will linger around this number for long. Their network covers the “standard” locations (US, UK, Canada, Australia…) but also some not-so-common regions like South Korea, South Africa, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. This makes it a truly global network able to cater to the majority of VPN users in search of a good VPN.
Security And Privacy
The owner of VPNArea is a company called Offshore Security LTD, which is registered in Bulgaria and falls under its jurisdiction. However, the company hosts its emails and servers in Switzerland. This gives rise to a peculiar situation. Since they’re not an Internet provider, they’re not subject to European data retention laws. However, they could fall under Swiss data retention laws due to their hosting location. This could potentially compromise the security levels of the service, but VPNs in Switzerland are somewhere in the gray area, without a proper legal stand on how data retention laws affect them.
VPNArea claims a strict no-logging policy and we couldn’t find any cases including handed over or exposed user info.
VPNArea supports OpenVPN and PPTP protocols. As always, we recommend OpenVPN since it’s by far the most secure protocol you can use. PPTP is a very basic VPN protocol with generic encryption and easily breakable by a trained individual.
Talking of encryption, VPNArea uses AES-256 cipher with 4096-bit RSA keys and SHA-256 algorithm. This is the strongest encryption configuration available to the public. Keep in mind that it is light years ahead of any existing decryption technology. VPNArea also supports forward secrecy.
This VPN also features an Anti-WebRTC system, which patches the WebRTC leak on Windows. This means that your browser will not be able to give your true location to the sites you visit. VPNArea also features an Anti-DNS Leak system. This will prevent your ISP from seeing the names of the sites your visit.
Lastly, VPNArea features an auto kill switch and a very neat little security feature called Auto IP Changer. Once you turn it on, you can set your desired interval (let’s say, 5 minutes) and your IP address will change to a random server every 5 minutes.
VPNArea is all about options and their user support also follows that pattern. You can contact their support staff via email, Skype, and live chat. They usually answer within one day. Unfortunately, the live chat option doesn’t operate 24/7, which is somewhat disappointing.
VPNArea currently offers 3 different pricing plans with lower monthly prices for longer subscriptions. The plans available at the moment include:
- 1 month – 9.90$
- 6 months – 50.00$ (8.33$ per month)
- 1 year – 59.00$ (4.92$ per month)
The only difference between the subscriptions (except the price) is the lack of a dedicated IP option with the 1-month plan.
Note that there’s no free trial period, so you won’t be able to test the service before buying it. There is, however, a 7-day money back guarantee, but we still prefer to be given the opportunity to test the VPN before any money changes hands.
One of the things we really appreciate when it comes to VPNArea subscription is the fact that they do not impose auto-renewals on their users. Some of the companies will renew your subscription without even warning you that they’re about to charge you for another year or so.
VPNArea is also very flexible when it comes to payment methods. They support MasterCard, Visa, Discover, UnionPay, American Express, Maestro, JCB, PayPal, Webmoney, and Payza. For users with optimal anonymity in mind, Bitcoin is also an acceptable payment option.
VPNArea Pros & Cons
Finishing off this VPNArea review, here’s a quick overview of the features that wowed us and the aspects of the service that could use some improvement.
- Excellent security and privacy features
- No-logging policy
- Unlimited bandwidth
- P2P allowed
- Up to 6 simultaneous connections
- Various contacts for user support
- Live chat not available 24/7
- Uncertain security levels