DotVPN (review) is owned by a corporation called Smart Security Limited from Hong Kong.
But despite its status as a Hong Kong company, its website is hosted outside of Frankfurt, Germany.
DotVPN says their product is “better thanks to VPN.”
Ignoring your unfortunate decision to use VPN as a verb, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard this same line.
And most of them fall short.
So the question is: is Dot all smoke and bragging, or can they copy her bragging where it really counts?
Let’s determine together during this DotVPN review.
Table of Contents
|OVERALL RANK:||#63 out of 78 VPNs|
|USABILITY:||Easy to install and use|
|LOG FILES:||Grey Area|
|LOCATIONS:||12 countries, 700 servers|
|SUPPORT:||Contact form, no response|
|NETFLIX:||Blocks Netflix USA|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||AES-128, 4096-Bit Key; OpenVPN, TLS 1.2, Proxy Tunneling|
|COST:||Free or $2.99/mo|
There are a couple of. With no registration, unlimited torrents, and low prices, our ears perked up.
Check it out.
No Registration Policy
Many VPNs have this mindset that you are often invisible to everyone except them. and that they record information, both about you personally and about your activity on the Internet.
DotVPN claims that they don’t do this.
They’re saying upfront that they need a strict no-logging policy. They are also adding a couple of other factors to set them apart from Hola VPN, a proxy browser plugin that logs all your information has no servers and routes users through each other’s devices.
The only real information they keep about you is your email address.
That does not identify the personal information in the least. you will easily create an email address without attaching your name before using the service.
The policy goes on to talk about tracking your username and password, without mentioning any identifying information or activity log.
This is a VPN service that lives up to its commitment to keeping your information private, and that’s commendable.
Secure Encryption For Mobile Applications
DotVPN is 2 different products. There is a browser extension and mobile app for both Android and iOS.
While both are called DotVPN, they are very different products.
The browser plugin is not really a real VPN in the least, it is a proxy server. A proxy protects your browser, while a real VPN protects 100% of your internet use inside or outside the browser.
The tunneling protocol used by most proxy servers is SSL, which stands for Secure Socket Layer. This is combined with a 4096-bit encryption kit from DotVPN.
When it comes to proxies, this isn’t terrible, but it won’t offer you a fraction of the security that a full VPN does.
Mobile apps are true VPNs, protecting all your activity on your phone or tablet.
It’s great to determine them using OpenVPN as the tunneling protocol. This is often the simplest and most secure VPN protocol out there.
That’s because OpenVPN can be ever-evolving labor of love for the entire security community. It is open-source, which means that no company maintains it. Rather, the security community maintains it as a whole, adding and strengthening it as technology advances.
The main drawback to OpenVPN is that it might be difficult to use on some older PCs and iOS devices. That’s most likely why DotVPN‘s iOS client uses IPSec.
IPSec is an encryption protocol that is generally combined with the L2TP or IKEv2 protocols.
When it comes to encryption, Dot is using AES-128 instead of its more powerful cousin AES-256. While they claim there are vulnerabilities for AES-256, that might be news to us.
AES-256 is the standard used throughout the industry, from the Fortune 500 to the Federals and several of the world’s simplest VPNs.
While we maintain that 256 is stronger, 128 is still a strong cipher that will serve these applications well.
Large Server Park, Impressive Features, Multiple Connections
Dot offers you tons of options with 700+ servers in 12 different countries.
The ability to modify servers at will is a crucial feature for any VPN, as is the number of servers from which it must be established.
Dots are typically used on five devices at the same time, which is perfect for a family looking to browse anonymously.
There is unlimited bandwidth on both the free and premium plans.
Many VPNs that provide a free component speed up their use, and Dot is no different. It limits the amount of speed the free plan gets, which can be problematic if you want to stream content.
It also covers the use of the TOR network, which I always like to see. TOR is a liberally used anonymous browser, but it has some security issues.
For example, while an agency cannot see your activity in TOR, they will see that you are using it. Pairing a VPN with TOR closes that window and gives you a very anonymous experience.
If I had to select one thing to complain about, it would be the relatively low total for the country. Twelve countries are pretty low.
But we still give them the advantage of the doubt because the total number of servers is very high.
Easy to Put on & Use
Installing the Google Chrome browser plug-in was a breeze and downloaded in less than 30 seconds.
I clicked on the link for its official download page and selected Chrome as my preferred platform.
That opened up the Chrome market.
I clicked “Add to Chrome” and thus the download started.
There was no problem and it got up and running quickly.
It took me to a page full of countries, which allowed me to install myself on a server. I chose Paris, France.
I really liked this screen. He told me my speed (which was terrible, more on that later) and ping, and kept track of the amount of his time I spent connected and how many advertisers and trackers blocked.
I went to YouTube and was ready to watch a 10-minute video with no issues.
Then I became a server within the Netherlands. The speed slowed down a bit but the transition was nice and smooth.
All in all, this is usually a browser add-on that installs and works very efficiently.
While I appreciate its lack of logging and impressive features, there are still a few things about this VPN that concern me.
First of all, we found leaks through our testing process and this VPN doesn’t have a kill switch. So your IP could be leaking and you have no way of knowing.
It doesn’t work with Netflix and they’re hell for leather-banning torrent apps, so their claim for internet freedom may be a bit of a stretch.
Its lack of a full desktop VPN app also frustrates me, as does its disappointing lineup of devices and non-existent customer support.
Hong Kong is the Location (Outside of 14 Eyes Alliance)
DotVPN‘s status as a Hong Kong-based company can be a great thing.
Hong Kong is not a neighborhood of the 14 Eyes surveillance alliance, which brings together the knowledge-gathering efforts of the US and 13 other countries.
Most of the higher VPNs we review have one thing in common. They exist outside the official jurisdiction of the alliance.
A US-based VPN might have all the right answers. It can be leak-free, registration, lightning-fast, with excellent customer service. But it will always fall by the wayside against a VPN that doesn’t respond to the 14 Eyes alliance.
However, a word of caution.
In China, only “government-approved” VPNs are allowed. suggesting that they are still firmly under Chinese rule. suggesting that there is a reasonably good (almost certain) chance that your personal data (if a VPN has it) will flow into their hands.
This is why I am bundling this under a handicap at the top of the day. It is not as bad as having less than 5 eyes. But it is not good either.
IP Leaks Detected
The purpose of a VPN is to protect your IP and provide you with an anonymous browsing and streaming experience.
The presence of leaks completely undermines this.
DNS leaks are one of the most culprits. They drill a huge hole in your tunneling protocol and expose your original IP.
The other major offender is the WebRTC leaks. WebRTC can be a system developed for web browsers that helps them create simpler real-time communication applications. The problem with WebRTC is that the APIs that allow it to serve its purpose also wreak havoc on the security of a VPN.
Leaks are serious business. That’s why we test all of our VPNs six different times to make sure everything is working properly.
We put DotVPN through our series of tests, and it didn’t farewell.
At first, it had been promising, we did not detect any IP or DNS leaks.
However, once we tested the WebRTC leaks, we recognized that DotVPN was leaking our original Estonian IP address:
- https://ipleak.net/ – Passed
- https://www.perfect-privacy.com/check-ip – Passed
- https://ipx.ac/run – Passed
- https://browserleaks.com/webrtc – Failed
- https://www.perfect-privacy.com/dns-leaktest/ – Passed
- https://dnsleak.com – Passed
The presence of a WebRTC leak undermines the entire DotVPN system. The leaks render their no-logging policy useless and their encryption pointless.
No Server Worked With Netflix
You want to stream Netflix with your VPN, right?
Well, Netflix doesn’t want you to.
In fact, Netflix goes to great lengths to make sure that you can’t.
Despite this difficult line in the sand, there are plenty of VPNs that have managed to flout Netflix’s ban.
DotVPN is not one of them.
We tested five of Dot’s servers with Netflix and none worked.
Torrents Are Not Allowed
Torrenting can be a coveted service for VPN users. While the power to connect over a peer-to-peer network is often beneficial for downloading large files at fast speeds, it also exposes you to a mess of threats.
Having a VPN to protect your personal information from hackers hoping to exploit this backdoor on your system is extremely beneficial and solves the most glaring problem with the torrenting process.
DotVPN, on the other hand, does not allow torrenting on any of its servers.
This is disappointing, but it’s good that they don’t rule it out in the long run. I’ve seen some VPNs take this great moral stance against torrenting, but Dot has a more “we don’t have it now, hopefully soon” mentality about everything.
If you’re trying to find a VPN for torrenting, check out our list of the simplest VPNs that work with torrents.
Limited Device Support
DotVPN falls very short during this department.
As a navigation plugin, DotVPN is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. it can also be used on iOS and Android platforms.
There are promises of a desktop app, which could be a full VPN. However, they don’t seem to commit to a time frame.
Since I am writing this on June 12, 2018, your mid-2017 promise has come and gone.
2019 Update: At the time of updating this in February 2019, DotVPN has not yet released a desktop app. They need to change the discharge date once again to “mid-2019”. Because it is, it doesn’t seem like DotVPN has decided to launch a desktop app.
They are also not compatible with routers. which suggests that it won’t be ready to encrypt smart TVs or game consoles either.
Your options are extremely limited.
As stated above, we found IP leaks. That is cause for great alarm.
The only thing that alleviates my concern about leaks is the presence of a kill switch.
A kill switch can be a built-in safety feature, kind of like the ejection seat on a fighter plane. If your connection becomes unstable and you are leaking your IP, the switch abruptly ends your session before any damage occurs.
The presence of a kill switch may need to restore my faith in DotVPN’s security.
Unfortunately, they don’t have one.
Contact Form Support, No Response
Dot presents a customer service form that you can simply fill out, located under the support tab in your menu.
Once you click on Send us your feedback, it will take you to the form.
It is a fairly simple contact form. I filled out my information and asked about their VPN and encryption protocols.
Three days and counting … and I haven’t heard anything. I even sent them a follow-up, pointing out that it had been my second plan to contact, and I still haven’t heard anything.
Customer support is vital when dealing with a technology product and this was a huge blow.
Absolutely Decimate Internet Speed
While any VPN will slow you down, this was a garbage fire.
Many people see the loss of speed due to the cost of Internet security. But the faster VPNs we’ve reviewed see only a small drop in performance levels.
Nothing like this
We typically test all of our VPNs the same way. we take a look at a server within the EU and one within the US We always use speedtest.net to try and do this so our speed screenshots generally look equivalent.
But once I tried to do it with DotVPN, it didn’t work.
I’ve tried several servers and have repeatedly had the same issue. I tried again after disconnecting from the service. It worked well, indicating that the VPN was at blame.
I ended up having to use Google’s speed test tool, so these results will look a bit different from our normal tests.
The EU speed test came out of Paris and it had been pretty lousy. Speeds plummeted everywhere.
EU Speed Test
- Ping: 57 ms
- Download: 3.32 Mbps (90% Slower Than 30 Mbps Benchmark)
- Upload: 1.85 Mbps (85.7% Slower Than 13 Mbps Benchmark)
As bad as it was, the USA speed test was even worse.
US Speed Test
- Ping: 22 ms
- Download: 1.58 Mbps (94.7% Slower Than 30 Mbps Benchmark)
- Upload: 1.87 Mbps (85.6% Slower Than 13 Mbps Benchmark)
DotVPN Costs, Plans, & Payment Options
DotVPN offers two subscription options. There is a free option as well as a paid service.
The free service is super limited, but you get what you buy.
The premium presents several options when it comes to commitment. A month-to-month plan will cost you $ 4.99 per month.
The annual fee will cost $ 2.99 per month, which is another incredible fee, on par with several of the most affordable services we’ve seen.
When it comes to payment options, you have a couple of options to make up your mind.
Payments can be made with PayPal, credit cards, local payment systems, or cryptocurrency. When a VPN accepts bitcoin payments, I’m always excited. It’s like adding an extra layer of protection to your service.
If you make the transfer within 30 days, you can receive a full refund. Any amount can be refunded but will be prorated.
Do I Recommend DotVPN?
No, I do not do it.
From the destruction of my speed levels to the lack of decent security at the browser level, I cannot recommend this VPN in good conscience.
Speaking of speed, it’s a bit suspicious how our regular speed test program didn’t work while connected to DotVPN. On the VPN dashboard, they give you your speed and once I was ready to find a speed test that worked, I saw that they were hugely inflating it. I can’t prove they intentionally tried to trick me, but it’s definitely on my mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I find their logging policies commendable, but the WebRTC leak completely undoes it. And with no kill switch, I don’t even have faith in his ability to protect me.
I also need mobile apps and browser proxies. They’re already a year behind on their promise of a desktop app, so I’m not going to hold my breath.
Customer service completely eliminated my questions and while the value is good, there are infinitely better systems out there for the equivalent money or less.
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