Avira Phantom VPN (review) encrypts your personal files, protecting account logins, passwords, and other confidential documents. Your VPN app implements the OpenVPN VPN protocol, which encrypts the data with AES 256-bit encryption.
It hides your browsing data from advertisers so they can’t track which websites you visit or perhaps where you actually are.
And it helps you get around geographic restrictions. That way, you will visit any website, anytime, anywhere, without your government dictating what is “off-limits.”
You can use any online service without the danger of your ISP limiting your connection.
But is your VPN service worth it? Let’s determine in our in-depth review.
Avira PhantomVPN Overview
|OVERALL RANK:||#34 out of 78 VPNs|
|LOG FILES:||Grey Area|
|LOCATIONS:||38 countries, 38 servers|
|SUPPORT:||Email and Ticket|
Avira Phantom Pros
Industry Standard OpenVPN + 256-bit AES Encryption
AVIRA offers 256-bit AES encryption. Often this is the simplest money that can be bought right away.
It is so safe that banks use it. And it is reported that no brute force attack can hack it either.
Since 256-bit encryption has many levels of authentication, modern computers could take up to 13.8 billion years to break the code.
Avira uses the OpenVPN protocol for Windows, Mac, and Android applications (if downloaded from its website). If you download from the AppStore, it is IPSec. And iOS devices use Ikev2.
No IP, DNS & WebRTC Leaks Detected
Having cutting-edge technology is great.
But as long as it works.
This is what I mean:
VPNs are said to conceal the location. and that is what they do the majority of the time.
However, the poor remain vulnerable to the occasional DNS leak, revealing their true location to the entire world.
This is why we always run multiple (not just one) tests to check if our connection is solid or porous.
We ran six separate DNS checks after connecting to Avira Phantom and couldn’t find a leak anywhere.
- https://ipleak.net/ (none found)
- https://www.perfect-privacy.com/check-ip/ (none found)
- https://ipx.ac/run (none found)
- https://browserleaks.com/webrtc (none found)
- https://www.perfect-privacy.com/dns-leaktest/ (none found)
- http://dnsleak.com/ (none found)
Example of no IPv4 or IPv6 leaks with Avira Phantom:
We found no leaks using any of the DNS, IP, or WebRTC resources we used.
But let’s double-check to make sure.
Next, we upload its installation files to VirusTotal.com. Unfortunately, you believe that several of these installation files may contain Trojans and other malware.
However, in this case, all of the files seemed to be totally clean. Here’s a look at our April 18, 2018 exam.
Works With Netflix (Last Test: July 2018)
If you were visiting a faraway country just a couple of years ago, you will download a VPN, change your server location at home, and watch all the old shows and movies that you were familiar with.
But in recent years, licensing issues have forced Netflix to better urge to identify and block this hack.
It didn’t take them long to be ready to detect and stop almost every major VPN service out there.
However, there are holes in their service.
Sometimes if a country is blocked by a VPN connection, it will just switch to different servers around the world and eventually find one that works.
We did this same cat and mouse game with Avira but were very impressed with the results.
Netflix worked at Avira on all of them!
We were ready to stream content in North America, the UK, and Europe.
- Canada Netflix working
- US (NY) Netflix working
- US (Washington) Netflix working
- UK Netflix working
- Netherlands Netflix working
Sometimes you will see the house screen and click on a title …
… only to be locked in the last second once you hit “Play”.
But during this case, we were ready to broadcast almost anything we wanted.
Easy to Use VPN Software
When you download the VPN client, you’ll have access to the entire Avira Dashboard.
That’s perfect if you want to use their other services, but it’s a hassle if you’re just trying to find a simplified VPN.
The client is inside the system tray and will have a connection start at startup.
You can also avoid sending diagnostic data to Avira, which is another nice perk to preserve as much privacy as possible.
Changing the server location is also very easy. You don’t even need to disconnect from the current location, just click on a special server, then the application will automatically connect with a replacement one.
Overall, no major issues or problems! a reasonably smooth experience.
Unlimited Devices + Built-in Kill Switch
Avira’s free VPN tier allows up to 5 simultaneous connections.
That’s pretty good believe it or not!
Some paying VPNs only make three simultaneous connections. That alone is sufficient to conceal your workplace, residence, and mobile devices.
The best thing is that with Avira’s paid plan, you’ll have access to an infinite range of computers!
Do you remember a couple of minutes ago when we were annoyed that they didn’t connect to routers?
Well, that’s not a big deal now if you are taking advantage of the unlimited connections with the paid plan.
Avira’s ghost VPN is very easy to use. It lacks a slew of extra functionality that other programs may provide. However, they are nailing the basics.
According to one report, 85 percent of the 283 VPNs surveyed leaked user info, while another 38 percent installed malware or adware. Any of our encounters are not handled by Avira.
Otherwise, we were a bit disappointed that they only have 36 total servers worldwide right away.
Most of the major cities and locations you will consider are covered.
But the restrictions mean:
- Your own city will not be covered if you are in a small place.
- And there may only be one or two servers in the required location. So if there is a connection or speed problem on them, you are out of luck.
The paid version of the software also comes with a kill switch that will cut a connection before accidentally exposing your session data.
You can also instantly customize it by the fireplace. That way, there is no potential risk of you manually forgetting it or not realizing it.
Avira Phantom Cons
Some Minor Logging
Many less-than-outspoken VPN companies will declare they “don’t log in” on their site’s home page … only to bury the particular details somewhere within the Terms of Service that no one reads.
Fortunately, Avira puts the details of its registration policy front and center. Scroll down a bit after visiting their site and they’ll tell you exactly what gets crawled and what isn’t.
Avira will keep a record of diagnostic information to detect possible errors and merchandise problems that users may encounter. But this part is optional, so you will toggle your own settings within the VPN client.
Avira will also check if you are a free or paid user, and then what proportion of data you are consuming to link to its own infrastructure costs.
So the implication is that paid users will not have an equivalent level of knowledge tracking, because technically paid plans offer “unlimited bandwidth.”
And that is!
Pretty good, right?
Avira claims not to track the sites you visit, your IP or perhaps the sites you visit, and other “action” oriented data such as downloads.
This is one of the highest logging policies we’ve seen.
This can be a huge benefit because your home country, Germany, already infamously shares personal data with up to fourteen countries around the world.
Located in Germany (14 Eyes)
Avira Operations GmbH & Co is based on Lake Constance in Tettnang, Germany.
Beautiful setting, without a doubt. However, a not so beautiful regional privacy jurisdiction.
A transatlantic alliance has existed since 1965. The governments of the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have shared confidential spy data.
Since then, this Five Eyes alliance has expanded over the past decades to nine and then fourteen countries in total.
In 2013, Germany formally indicated an interest in joining the Five Eyes. However, they were already included in this 14-eye extension, along with Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Sweden, according to leaked NSA documents from Edward Snowden.
The meaning of this historical story?
A court order from any of those governments would force your VPN company to immediately disclose information, which could then be shared in half the world.
The good news, during this case, is that Avira won’t have tons of data from you. Its relatively transparent registration policy will prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.
(And we mean many hands).
Very Slow Server Network
VPNs anonymize and lock your data.
But it often comes at a price.
The first thing you need to travel is speed, where your connection can get stuck 10% to 100% slower than normal.
Think about that for a second:
100% slower means your lightning-fast connection will slow down just a bit. Pages can take twice as long to load.
So how did Avira do?
Unfortunately, not so good.
Without a VPN, here’s a short peek at our benchmark linking speeds:
We then connect to their servers in two different locations to make sure.
The first was a server in the EU Netherlands, which only recorded download speeds of 6.98 Mbps and upload speeds of 9.02 Mbps.
EU Netherlands Server:
- Ping: 47ms
- Download: 6.98 Mbps
- Upload: 9.02 Mbps
And the US server wasn’t much better. In fact, it wasn’t “better” in the least.
It was much worse.
- Ping: 194 ms
- Download: 4.34 Mbps
- Upload: 2.23 Mbps
This means that you can simply expect download speeds 95.53% slower than normal and upload speeds up to 95.79% slower.
This is a particularly slow VPN option.
And it’s pretty inexcusable once you compare it to several of the faster VPNs we’ve reviewed.
Some, like PIA, barely slowed down in the slightest.
No Router, TV or Game Console Compatibility
Avira is widely available on all Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS devices.
They even have a Chrome extension, which suggests that you don’t need to install a separate client or app on your device.
Unfortunately, that’s where your hospitality ends.
You cannot connect through game consoles or SmartTV. You can’t set it up alongside a router to protect all connected devices. And you can’t even use Linux.
Those are not the only things they ignore.
You also cannot use Avira Phantom VPN in conjunction with TOR.
Why is that a problem?
The Onion Router broadcasts its traffic signals in various parts of the world. Think of it as a kind of Plan B to keep your location safe.
That’s especially critical in countries around the world that monitor and censor the Web.
The issue with TOR is that it isn’t always reliable. Experts or countries will also “listen in” at various relay points.
You may even run the risk of running into discovered “rogue exit nodes” to find out who you are and what you are doing.
Adding a VPN to the mix practically eliminates these risks. That way, you will navigate safely without fear of political retaliation.
Avira’s tough stance here makes it a great bet if you’re in one of these countries with tight supervision.
No Info On Torrenting
Avira supposedly allowed downloading a torrent file from Ubuntu.
But we were unable to verify the precise policy on your site.
We went ahead and asked about an issue on your Community Forum, but we are still waiting for an answer:
To date, we have not heard from them during this case. So I like to recommend not using it for torrenting.
Virtually No Customer Support
Avira offers zero support for free users.
Instead, they are left to defend themselves, digging into the domain of knowledge for answers.
We try to ask questions in the community forums, but we keep waiting days later. So good luck if that’s your only option.
It took a few days and a half to urge a response:
Users on the paid plan will have access to phone and mail support in multiple languages.
You must first log in, with an email address equivalent to your payment plan, before you can submit questions.
We wanted to check your support time, so we asked a simple question about the available protocols.
Remember, we already had to push an idea to get to the current stage. So we were just trying to find a couple of recommendations.
They emailed us back at some point, which is not regrettable on the surface.
But once we started reading the solution, we were a bit stumped.
The answer your support representative provided only included instructions for downloading and installing the correct client.
This did not answer our question in the least.
My only guess is that they need us to download the client, first, before discussing the available protocols.
But a direct answer would be preferable.
Instead, we have to exchange emails over a period of several days to urge an easy reply that might take just two seconds to reply normally.
A bit frustrating, to be honest.
After exchanging another round of emails, they returned with:
Ok, let’s give you the advantage of the doubt for a second. They may not know what specific protocols are used in your product. (Although they should.)
But what if you don’t even know what “protocols” are? That’s concerning.
Avira Phantom VPN Cost, Plans & Payment Methods
- Free plan – Has all functionality except that unregistered users are limited to 500MB per month and registered users are limited to 1GB per month. The word “licensed” refers to a free Avira account created on the company’s website.
- Monthly plan: $ 10 a month for unlimited computers. Billing is performed on a monthly basis, with the option to cancel at any time. There is a one-month free trial open.
- Annual plan: $ 78 a year or a savings of 35% a year; $ 6.50 / month, compared to $ 10 on the monthly plan. Unlimited devices. Billed annually.
- There is also a monthly plan for Android and iOS for just $ 5.99 / month, available as an in-app purchase. Unlimited mobile devices. Billed monthly, cancel anytime.
All paid Avira Phantom plans have a 30-day refund policy. So you will go ahead with the yearly decision to save most of the money, but will still withdraw within 30 days if you are not satisfied and get your refund.
All major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and JCB), as well as PayPal, are accepted by Avira.
Unfortunately, bitcoins and other anonymous payment mechanisms are not accepted.
Do We Recommend Avira Phantom VPN?
We liked that they offered a free plan right out of the box. That way, you will test your service before updating.
Their logging policy was also refreshingly transparent (and fair).
But, unfortunately, its terrible speed performance, combined with frustrating service, and lack of features like router support or torrenting, leave a lot to be desired.
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