Secure vpn review

SecureVPN review

SecureVPN’s premium package has a limited selection of servers that may not be enough for users who want more options in their VPN service. The free version only has five servers available, with two located in the US and one each in the UK, Germany, and Italy on its native client.

SecureVPN Review 2023: Before You Buy, Is It Worth It?

SecureVPN claims to be the best online privacy solution, promising to unblock websites and VoIP services, secure any wifi hotspot, and protect user data. I was eager to find out if this newcomer lived up to these promises and gave users online security. So I thoroughly tested SecureVPN to see if it’s a good choice among all the options available.

I was impressed with the VPN’s speed, torrenting capabilities, and Netflix access. However, the company does log some user information that it may be compelled to share with government authorities upon request. The limited protocol option isn’t very appealing either, and the only payment option available is PayPal. On top of that, the severe lack of customer support and the extremely brief FAQ section are disappointing.

SecureVPN provides a free version for anyone who wishes to test out its service. Moreover, new users are granted the opportunity to test the paid version, which comes with a 7-day refund policy. If the service fails to impress, you can easily switch to any of these top-tier VPN providers.

Don’t Have Time? Here’s a 1-Minute Summary

  • Unblocks some streaming sites. It works with Netflix but fails to access Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and HBO Max. Check out my streaming experience.
  • Good connection speeds. All servers give you good speeds, which are perfect for streaming and torrenting. Jump to speed test results.
  • Minimal server options. The number of SecureVPN servers available depends on the app you’re using. Read more about SecureVPN’s servers.
  • Easy to use native apps. I was able to download and use SecureVPN on 5 of my devices simultaneously. View which devices SecureVPN works on.
  • Support is non-existent. Despite claiming to be available around the clock, my emails were met with no response. Read more about that here.
  • Overpriced for what you get. The range of services provided does not match the money’s worth. View all pricing options here.

SecureVPN Unblocks Netflix (But Can’t Access Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and HBO Max)

Although SecureVPN successfully unblocked Netflix US, it didn’t manage to work on any other streaming service.

Netflix: Unblocked

During my tests it was able to unblock my US Netflix account on the 3 US servers offered by SecureVPN. As soon as I connected to Netflix, I watched Intrusion and Godless without experiencing any lag time. Often, I am not able to access my account because Netflix does not recognize that my IP address is coming from the US. In these cases, or if you are experiencing any other technical issues, SecureVPN can come in handy.

Screenshot of SecureVPN unblocking Netflix

My Netflix streaming experience was smooth and I didn’t experience any lags at all

Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and HBO Max: Blocked

SecureVPN isn’t reliable for unblocking Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and HBO Max.

Despite its success at unblocking US Netflix, SecureVPN did not work with Amazon Prime Video, and my 4 to 5 attempts were a complete failure. There was an error message every time.

“Your device is connected to the internet using a VPN or proxy service. Please disable it and try again.”

I tried to unblock my Hulu account using various servers and at different times, but unfortunately, I couldn’t gain access to my beloved shows and movies

“It looks like you’re using an anonymous proxy or VPN. You’ll need to disable it to watch Hulu. Hulu Error Code: P-EDU101.”

SecureVPN offers a single UK server location, but isn’t able to access BBC iPlayer. Despite using a UK IP address provided by SecureVPN, a geo-error message kept appearing during testing.

SecureVPN allowed me to sign into my Disney+ account, but that was all I could do. I was repeatedly greeted with a blank screen after signing in.

All tests to determine whether the VPN could unblock HBO Max were also unsuccessful. HBO Max, like many other streaming outlets, has a blocking feature that identifies and blocks common VPN IP protocols. Therefore, if you try to access HBO Max via SecureVPN, you will probably encounter errors.

The fact that this provider can access Netflix at any time is an excellent thing, but overall, its streaming results were below average. On the other hand, ExpressVPN can reliably unblock all of the channels mentioned above . ExpressVPN was tested on a variety of streaming sites and is proven to be extremely reliable. If Netflix US is your only streanming site, however, SecureVPN will work.

Speed

SecureVPN Delivered Decent Speeds Across All Servers

I experienced fast local connections but a significant slowdown on longer-distance connections. Also, the speed results I obtained from locations farther away from me were not that bad either. The download speed was better than the upload speed, however. Overall, SecureVPN offers decent connection speeds adequate for torrenting, streaming, and browsing.

Speed Test Results

I only saw a 6% speed drop on a same-country connection with a base connection speed of 30Mbps, which is pretty good. From my home in the US, I tested the average and maximum speeds of VPN servers in the UK, the US, Italy, and Germany to give you an accurate representation of the VPN’s performance.

An average download speed of 16.9Mbps and a max download speed of 28.2Mbps places SecureVPN above many VPNs on the market. This also makes it a good choice for HD streaming.

Screenshot of speeds tests while using SecureVPN

I ran multiple speed tests in different server locations, including the US, UK, Italy, and Germany

The drop in speed is only 6% in the United States, which is quite positive considering how overcrowded the servers are in that area. In light of the positive results I obtained on the US server, I decided to test a UK server due to the popularity of the BBC iPlayer. The result I obtained on the UK server was good despite a significant drop from the result I obtained on the US server. I noticed a drop of almost 48% in my connection speed. This drop was still, however, sufficient for streaming, gaming, or torrenting without any problems.

Lastly, I connected to servers in Germany and Italy in an effort to get better performance this time around. Unfortunately, it did not work out as intended because the speed dropped even more. I got the lowest results while using the Italian server as my connection dropped by 66%.

Overall, the results were quite decent. The biggest issue was the slowdown in upload speeds, which was downgraded by an average of 84% while connected to SecureVPN. Download speed decreased by only about 40% on average.

Youtube

Netflix

Hulu

Kodi

ESPN

Youtube

BBC iPlayer

SecureVPN Average score of top 10 VPNs
Download speed reduction 55% (UK) 11% (UK)
Upload speed reduction NA (FRA) 16% (FRA)
Ping time to Google.com 41ms 24ms
Average time to connect (seconds) 6ms 11ms
Unblock successful for

Why Most Speed Tests are Pointless & How We Correctly Test VPN Speeds

Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you’re torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.

Servers

Server Network — Small Server List for a Paid VPN

SecureVPN’s premium package has a limited selection of servers that may not be enough for users who want more options in their VPN service. The free version only has five servers available, with two located in the US and one each in the UK, Germany, and Italy on its native client.

However, SecureVPN also offers IPSEC protocol files that you can manually configure to expand your server options beyond the default selection. With this option, you can gain access to additional server locations like Russia, Brazil or South Africa as well as an extra US-based server – bringing the total number of alternative servers offered through its free plan up to 9!

Screenshot of SecureVPN

The free version of SecureVPN has a restricted number of servers available

If you’re seeking more server options, CyberGhost is your top choice with over 9,600 servers in more than 91 countries worldwide. Unlike SecureVPN, its extensive network provides a superior solution for all your privacy needs.

Security — Military-Grade Encryption

Despite being quiet about it on its website, SecureVPN’s basic security features are adequate to safeguard your identity.

The security features offered include:

  • Military-Grade Encryption – SecureVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption, which is the most secure encryption standard currently available.
  • IPSec and OpenVPN – the SecureVPN service utilizes both IPSEC and OpenVPN protocols. It is noteworthy that the service does not explicitly advertise its endorsement of OpenVPN, a well-known protocol recognized for its exceptional security measures, customizable configurations, and efficient speed optimization features.
  • Kill Switch – SecureVPN also comes with an in-built kill switch. With the feature automatically enabled, you can rest assured that your privacy and security will still be protected even if the VPN connection drops. Torrent users will undoubtedly benefit from this.

Screenshot of leak test results while using SecureVPN

My actual IP address was concealed when I connected to the SecureVPN server in the US

Despite SecureVPN not listing DNS leak protection as a feature, there were no DNS or WebRTC leaks during my test. I conducted my tests both on my laptop and my mobile device, both of which the VPN passed.

Privacy — Contradicting Logging Policy

While SecureVPN claims to provide a secure and private online experience, its data collection practices suggest otherwise. In addition to payment information, it also collects personal information such as your name, home address, email address, user account, and technical identifiers.

Technical identifiers refer to information that can be used to uniquely identify your device or network connection, such as your IP address, device type, operating system, browser type, and version. These identifiers may be used to track your online activities and can be used to correlate your activity across multiple websites and services. This is quite concerning for anyone who prioritizes privacy and anonymity online.

It should be noted that the company keeps usage logs and has stated its willingness to disclose this data to government agencies upon request. This means that what you do online might not be completely private or safe, so it’s important to be careful when using their services.

Screenshot of SecureVPN’s Privacy Policy

SecureVPN’s privacy policy indicates that a substantial amount of your information is kept

Furthermore, the fact that the company is based in America is particularly worrying as the country is a member of the 5 Eyes surveillance alliance. Originally composed of only 5 countries, the alliance now includes 14 officially recognized countries and numerous unofficial ones. Members of this alliance work together to collect and share intelligence on targets. This raises questions about the privacy of SecureVPN users’ data.

If you value your privacy, it may be worth exploring alternative VPN providers. I can share from personal experience that ExpressVPN is a strong contender in terms of privacy measures . It operates in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and maintains a verified zero-logging policy, which has undergone third-party audits.

Torrenting — P2P Activity Is Permitted on Premium Plan

SecureVPN’s free plan doesn’t support P2P file sharing, and you’ll need to upgrade to the Premium subscription to access this feature. Despite a limited server selection that may not be optimal for torrenting, it’s worth emphasizing that SecureVPN offers commendable speed. Moreover, the VPN provides exceptional security measures, rendering it a reliable choice for those engaging in torrenting.

Be aware that the provider’s privacy policy does not guarantee log-free usage, and it operates within a jurisdiction that lacks adequate privacy protections. I want to emphasize that my team and I strongly discourage illegal torrenting activities. Therefore, it is advisable to check the laws in your country to ensure that you comply with them.

Does SecureVPN Work in China? No!

SecureVPN has not been claimed to be usable in China by users, and the company does not make any mention of it on its website. While I could not test the VPN myself due to my location, I reached out to the customer support team to inquire about its functionality in China, but unfortunately, I got no response. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that SecureVPN does not possess any obfuscation tools, making it an unreliable choice for usage in countries such as China.

If you plan to travel to China and require a VPN to access your preferred shows and programs from your homeland, I suggest utilizing ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN has been proven to work within China .

SecureVPN review

Small, simple, with a free plan. So what’s the catch?

published 27 June 2020

New Hero

(Image: © SecureVPN)

TechRadar Verdict

A feeble free plan and a ridiculously overpriced commercial product from an incompetent provider who doesn’t deserve your time, trust or money.

Pros

  • + Limited free plan
  • + Easy to use
  • + Decent speeds
  • + Unblocks BBC iPlayer

Cons

  • – Website digital certificate expired
  • – Terrible Windows app
  • – Useless support
  • – Tiny network and no features

Why you can trust TechRadar

We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

SecureVPN is a US-based VPN provider which stands out from the crowd in several ways. And that would be great, except most of them are bad.

Amazingly, the first appeared before we could even access the website, with our browser warning it was ‘insecure’ – the site certificate had expired 5 days earlier. If the company can miss something as obvious as that, how can anyone trust it to keep the rest of its systems maintained and secure?

The company’s free plan sums much of this up, all on its own. ‘Free’ is always a plus, but the plan has some major restrictions, including a maximum 20 minutes per session, 1000MB data transfer per month, and only allowing one device to be connected at a time.

  • Want to try SecureVPN? Check out the website here

The commercial Premium plan drops all these limits, and adds support for P2P and up to five simultaneous connections.

Technical support could be a problem, as there’s barely any website content to help you get set up or troubleshoot issues. The site is inconsistent over support hours, too, with the front page saying it’s available 24-7, but another page saying it’s only 9 am – 5 pm EST. (Either way, we’ve seen several user reports talking about not receiving replies to support queries.)

Browse the website and you’ll notice SecureVPN doesn’t clearly mention how many locations it has, which seemed odd to us, as it’s a major selling point for any service.

Later, we found a possible reason for this vagueness; the free plan has only 4 locations, in Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and United States. And even if you pay to upgrade, you still only get two more: Brazil and South Africa. If they’re all you need, that’s not a problem, but most providers give you far more choice. NordVPN offers 59 countries, for instance, ExpressVPN has 94, HideMyAss more than 190.

Prices are more difficult to find than we expected. We tapped Upgrade on the Windows client, and a web page opened which displayed the price as ‘$ / month’ and ‘$ / year’ – no figures. Payment is accepted via PayPal only on the website, and when we clicked through to the PayPal site, we didn’t see a price there, either.

Choose the Pricing link on the website, though, and it shows a relatively low monthly rate of $7.99, falling to a more costly $5.83. Signing up for Private Internet Access costs an average $2.85 for the first annual term (which includes two months free), and is $3.33 after that, for what looks like a far more capable service.

Privacy and logging

SecureVPN’s privacy policy is refreshingly short at barely 500 words, and most of those are the routine ‘we do our best to protect you but can’t make 100% guarantees’ warnings.

The content of the policy isn’t quite as reassuring. There’s a clear statement that the company “does not collect or log any traffic or use of its VPN”, but it does collect the external and internal IPs for every service connection. As far as we’re concerned, that IS logging use of the VPN.

Another clause says, “we may collect and disclose personal information, including your usage data, to governmental authorities or agencies. at their request or pursuant to. legal process, if there is a good faith belief that [this] is required by law.” In other words, they won’t necessarily wait for a court order to hand data over: if an agency asks, and SecureVPN thinks they have a good case, that’s enough.

We also noticed an oddity in in clause d) of SecureVPN’s software license restrictions, which says you must not ‘modify or adapt the SecureVPN Software, merge the SecureVPN Software into another program or create derivative works based on the Hotspot Shield Software.’ Hotspot Shield? A quick check online revealed a Hotspot Shield privacy policy with identical text. We can only guess how this came about, but if any of the policy has been copy-and-pasted from another provider, then that doesn’t inspire us to trust what it says.

Apps

SecureVPN provides apps for Windows, iOS, Android and Mac. OpenVPN support suggests you may be able to set it up with other software and devices, but there’s nothing on the website about this.

Installing the free Windows client was easy, and using it wasn’t difficult, either: choose the Germany, Italy, UK or US location, click Connect to protect ourselves, click again when we’re done.

There’s not a single setting on offer, no advanced features to explore, nothing at all. SecureVPN doesn’t seem very interested in its Windows version; its executable hasn’t been updated since 2015. The website has no detail on what’s happening under the hood, but we found it connected via OpenVPN.

SecureVPN’s Android app looks more modern, but the free version still only has four locations, there are no settings, you have the same 1GB a month data limit, and it has ads, too. (The Windows app might be basic, but it’s ad-free.)

If this very basic service works for you, in theory you’re able to upgrade to the paid plan with a click.

We tried this with the Windows app, and quickly ran into trouble. SecureVPN had no problem directing us to PayPal and taking our cash, but PayPal wasn’t able to send us back to SecureVPN, so eventually we closed the tab.

A PayPal receipt arrived within seconds, but we didn’t hear anything from SecureVPN. There’s no live chat on the website, no email address, just a web form, so we used that to send a plea for help, providing our own email address and PayPal transaction ID.

The next day, with no reply, we sent an email explaining the problem to the support address on the App Store.

This time, a couple of hours later, a response arrived asking for our platform and device type. We replied immediately, but were left waiting another 36 hours while precisely nothing happened.

A regular customer would probably give up at this point, maybe cancel their PayPal subscription or send an angry email demanding their money back.

We’re trained professionals, though, so we weren’t going to let pathetic customer service get in our way; not when there’s a job to be done. We installed the Android app and continued with the review.

Performance

SecureVPN claims it allows you to ‘browse everything you need’ ‘without any restrictions’, but that wasn’t our experience. Although we had some success with BBC iPlayer (even with the free plan) and easy targets such as US YouTube, we weren’t able to stream US Netflix content, Amazon Prime Video or Disney+.

The SecureVPN app provides an option to add up to 4 extra devices to your plan. Could this allow us to get our regular Windows 10 system working, we wondered, with the full plan?

No, the instructions didn’t work. Our guess is the Windows app is outdated and essentially broken, but SecureVPN either hasn’t noticed or doesn’t care, and has left the download available. (Doesn’t say much about its competence, but if a company doesn’t even notice when its own website digital certificate expires, we probably shouldn’t be surprised.)

We tried speed testing the free Windows version, and that proved surprising capable at 60-65Mbps on our 75Mbps test line. Whether it’ll maintain that speed over time is less certain – free VPNs often get overwhelmed at peak times – but we were happy just to find an aspect of SecureVPN which wasn’t rubbish.

We completed the review with our regular leak tests, and the results were no great surprise. The more up-to-date Android app passed without difficulties, but the tired old Windows app had a significant DNS leak (yet another reason not to use it.)

Final verdict

SecureVPN’s limited free plan is faster and a little more capable than we expected, but the heavy restrictions, the utter incompetence, the broken website promises, and the total lack of features make it impossible to recommend. If you try the free plan, don’t use it for anything even slightly important, and never, ever, ever give SecureVPN your trust, or your money.

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