AirVPN Review

June 7, 2018

7:31 am

Rating

72%

Ease of use:3 stars
Features:5 stars
Privacy:5 stars
Speed:4 stars
Help & Support:3 stars
Value for Money:4 stars

Pros
  • Low costs and flexible plans
  • Strong encryption and privacy options
  • Clear no-logging policies
  • Good speeds
Cons
  • Complex and technical
  • Tricky to get started
  • No dedicated mobile app

A powerful tool for expert users

AirVPN developed from a free open-source VPN built by European hackers and activists to protect the internet from spies and censorship. It’s a great value service that lets you opt in for a few days at a time for a small fee. While it’s a little technical, this is a great VPN with plenty to recommend it.

Like any VPN, AirVPN works by creating a virtual private network connection between your computer and a VPN server, which then connects to the wider interface. All data carried between the two is encrypted, and your IP address and location – the two bits of information snoopers might use to trace your identity – are replaced by those of the VPN server. In this way, a VPN makes your Internet activities anonymous and makes it look like you’re based in a different country. That’s useful if you live somewhere where the Internet is blocked or censored.

Why use AirVPN?

AirVPN’s heritage is evident in its rather technical look and feel, but it’s a low-cost service that puts users in control, and the developers always put your privacy first. AirVPN uses very high-level encryption and allows you to use some advanced settings and features to avoid measures that disrupt other VPNs. It’s particularly useful if you’re worried that your Internet use is monitored and its crucial that you can operate in freedom – not a problem for most users in the US, but a concern if you’re, say, a corporate whistleblower, journalist or activist.

AirVPN connect to a US serverGetting Started with AirVPN

AirVPN isn’t the easiest VPN to get going with. You need to register for an account before signing up, and even there there’s a Captcha test in your way to check you’re human. While the service takes a wide range of electronic payment methods, including Bitcoin, the only currency it works with is Euros. This isn’t a problem if you pay by Paypal or Credit Card.

Setup is pretty complex, too. You need to find the download page, pick your operating system and version, and then make sure you’ve selected the version with a GUI. The Windows client, dubbed Eddie, is also pretty fearsome looking, throwing up an epic list of different servers with a mass of technical info.

If you’re reasonably expert, you’ll see that all this information helps you make an informed decision on which server will give you the fastest connection, but if you’re not you will find it all a bit intimidating.

AirVPN: The Good

This is an impressive VPN in plenty of ways, but it’s best suited to the more technically-minded user.

Lots of Control

If you’re looking for control, AirVPN gives it to you. You can control everything from whether and how the VPN connects when your PC starts up, to which VPN protocols and encryption strengths it uses.

Outstanding Encryption

Its encryption levels actually surpass most military standards, while arcane connection types that use different protocols or the TOR network give you even more protection against snoopers.

Great Policies

We also like AirVPN’s transparent policies, including its commitment to absolutely no monitoring or logging of user activities. For more, it’s worth reading the mission statement on AirVPN’s website.

Impressive Speeds

Speeds are also impressive, both on local, short-distance VPN connections and long-haul transatlantic links.

AirVPN list of server locationsAirVPN: The Not-So-Good

Privacy and anonymity are the focus with AirVPN, and it achieves these mission statements well. However, it falls a little short on some features that other VPNs do a better job of.

AirVPN Netflix Fail

AirVPN makes no overt promises about being able to unlock Netflix, and our tests found that it couldn’t do this successfully. It’s hard to complain that AirVPN won’t unblock some US streaming services, but if this is important to you, be sure to check out our roundup of the best VPNs for Netflix.

Little Help

For support, you need to rely on the forums and email, and while there’s a lot of helpful information on there, it assumes a level of technical expertise. This isn’t a great VPN for raw beginners.

No Simple Mobile App

Finally, there’s no mobile app as such. You can use AirVPN with OpenVPN apps for iOS and Android, but you’ll need to configure them yourself.

AirVPN prices

AirVPN’s team isn’t greedy and you can use the full service for €7 (roughly $8.30) per month or €54 (roughly $64) per year.

What’s more, if you just need a VPN for a few days there’s a special 3-day plan that’s only €1 (or approximately $1.20), not to mention some three-month and six-month options.

The Verdict

AirVPN isn’t a VPN for everyone – and it isn’t really trying to be. It’s more of a powerful privacy tool for more expert users, which does without the slick user interface of more commercial VPNs, but makes up for it with serious, in-depth controls. Provided you know what you’re doing, it’s a good VPN where privacy and freedom are the obvious priorities.

Tags:

Did you like this article?

Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!

Sorry about that. Try these articles instead!

Stuart Andrews has been writing about IT and consumer technology for over twenty years, working across many of the UK's biggest specialist titles. While specializing in PCs and related technology, software and cloud-based services, he also writes about IT in education, video games and internet security

  • Shares

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)