PersonalVPN (review) was released in 2005 by WiTopia.
In this PersonalVPN review, you will learn two things:
- In fact, they have ridiculous speed.
- But that speed comes at a huge cost.
They are based in Virginia, USA, with more than 300 servers in 44 countries.
It is not one of the best-known VPN providers in the industry. But that doesn’t stop them from bragging about a page titled “Why we’re the simplest VPN.”
Worth it? You’re going to need to read the rest of this review to search.
|OVERALL RANK:||#21 out of 78 VPNs|
|USABILITY:||Mostly easy to use. But no seamless switching.|
|LOG FILES:||No Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||44 countries, 300+servers|
|SUPPORT:||Snail mail, knowledge base, social media, email (slow), live chat (quick), and email (slow)|
|TORRENTING:||Torrenting Not Allowed|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||256-bit AES, PPTP, OpenVPN, IPSec & L2TP|
PersonalVPN makes a couple of bold claims on their site. But unlike many other VPN competitors, they really endorse several of them.
Here’s a look at where they stand out.
Really unbelievably fast
PersonalVPN is not humble about its speed.
But to be honest, we wouldn’t either if we got similar results.
This is why:
Using a VPN to encrypt your internet traffic almost often slows down your link.
In other words, it is common to experience a minimum of a small drop versus no encryption at all.
I say “almost” because once, for a rare time, a VPN’s server is so fast that it outperforms all alternatives.
And that’s exactly what happened with PersonalVPN.
Our typical connection speeds, although unspectacular, were around 86.41 Mbps download and 33.67 Mbps upload, to begin with.
We then activated the connection and ran the test again.
Look at this:
- Ping: 118ms
- Download: 125.53 Mbps (45% faster)
- Upload: 29.38 Mbps (13% slower)
Incredibly, the PersonalVPN U.S. accelerated our connection.
It turns out that this was no accident either.
We connected to a different server within the EU and ran the test again.
EU Server (Netherlands):
- Ping: 118ms
- Download: 73.78 Mbps (15%)
- Upload: 40.69 Mbps (21% faster)
This time, the upload speeds were through the roof.
They are the best VPN we’ve reviewed, with a cumulative download score of 199.36.
Supports 4 main VPN tunneling protocols
OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec, and PPTP are the four protocols that PersonalVPN supports.
Just choose within the settings which one you would like to use best by default.
Normally, you will open for OpenVPN once you can. IOS devices will often use a variation of IPSec. While some older devices may downgrade to PPTP.
But you can freely change as you want.
Uses Rock-Solid AES-256 encryption standard
PersonalVPN has the quality 256-bit encryption, plus tons of other high-level security terms that won’t mean anything to most people.
However, just 256-bit encryption alone will be enough to assure you that no one is going to hack into your encryption anytime soon.
The other reason this is often noteworthy is that generally speaking, strong 256-bit encryption can hamper your connection.
But, as we have just seen, there are no signs of any obstacles.
That is saying something. some competitors, such as Private Tunnel, intentionally use a lower encryption standard to increase speeds.
PersonalVPN, on the other hand, blows them out of the water, even with stronger encryption. As a result, you don’t have to sacrifice protection for speed.
Strong Device Support
They also naturally integrated with the company’s CloakVPN router boxes.
That’s how it is:
They sell their own router boxes with their built-in VPN.
The Support section has detailed instructions for a way to stay up-to-date with each platform.
PersonalVPN also works with most routers, and therefore the Tor browser, according to their Live Chat support.
Interestingly, once I asked him about game consoles and SmartTV, his support representative said that he will need a VPN router to solve it (so there are no native apps available).
A curious problem is that PersonalVPN doesn’t even have native apps to install on your smartphone or tablet.
Instead, you should try a touch of manual work that may confuse some beginners.
You can use an equivalent PersonalVPN account on up to 5 devices at a time. The Premier account increases that up to eight devices at a time.
Works with Tor browser
When you connect to The Onion Router, the network traffic will be routed through various “relay” points. The aim is to create so many twists and turns that determining where your signal began is almost impossible.
But while the Tor network is great for anonymity, it’s not that great for security. Because there is nothing to protect you from faulty exit nodes or relay points.
PersonalVPN fits flawlessly for Tor, which is excellent news. However, there’s no need to be concerned.
Mostly Easy to Use
Installation only takes a couple of minutes and therefore the client is fine.
There were no noticeable problems or delays along the way …
… Until I tried modifying the servers.
To modify servers, you must first completely disconnect from the prevailing server.
This seems to be quite clumsy, especially when there is no kill switch to protect your data and hide your true IP address while doing all of this by clicking.
Otherwise, when you launch PersonalVPN, it would link you to the last server you were connected to. The link is really quick and simple.
“Fast Connect” would connect you to a server at random. If you want to access a particular one, though, you can choose “Advanced link.”
With “Advanced connection”, you initially choose your server.
Then the VPN Protocol. As you will see, OpenVPN is the most recommended. But you will choose your preference.
Then you select your encryption level, but there is really only one option. So it’s not really a choice!
Then click “Connect” and suddenly you will go to a different country. Well, your computer’s IP address will be anyway.
Each plan has a large number of features
Some VPN companies will offer a free or inexpensive plan that has significant restrictions.
For example, they might only offer you a couple of GB of knowledge.
That means it works well every week or so. But it quickly becomes useless afterward.
Fortunately, all paying PersonalVPN plans have the following features:
- Unlimited – bandwidth
- Unlimited server change
- Use on a multitude of devices
- Global network access
- NAT firewall
- Witopia Secure DNS
- Multiple VPN protocols
- Superfast IPsec optimized with IKEv2
- 256-bit military-grade encryption
- Encrypted WiFi
- Zero logs of Internet activity
- 24x7x365 live chat support
- Unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee
The Personal Plan Basic plan also offers:
- 5 simultaneous connections
- PPTP, L2TP / IPsec
- Superfast IPsec optimized with IKEv2
- Monthly plan available
The Personal Plan Pro includes all of these things, plus:
- Enhanced OpenVPN protocol with unique 4096-bit certificate per user, 256-bit military-grade AES encryption, fully customizable gateways, and over 65,000 ports, TCP / UDP, and encryptions
- Stealth modes with TOR technology
And last but not least, the Private Premier Plan is the Big Daddy option that offers all of those things, plus:
- Add your own VPN router.
- Distribute your VPN connection throughout your home or office.
- Any device with Ethernet or Wi-Fi can use your VPN, such as Smart TVs and game consoles.
- The exclusive VPN router discovered the tools.
- Free SecureMyEmail ™ Encrypted Email
- Up to eight simultaneous connections
- End-to-end encryption for Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com, Exchange / Office 365, and most other email addresses.
- Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS are all available now, with iOS and other platforms to follow soon.
- Easy invitation from friends and colleagues.
PersonalVPN is incredibly fast.
They also don’t skimp on the level of encryption or protocol options to deliver amazing performance.
At least, that’s what the paper says.
We put the PersonalVPN connection through a couple of tests and unfortunately found a lot of loopholes.
But first, let’s start with your registration policy.
Collects Some Logs
PersonalVPN does not collect records of the web user’s browsing history or the use of online services.
It’s okay. This is a lot.
So what exactly are they doing with all that data?
Good and bad news:
Nothing related to your web browsing activity is saved.
However, your payment information and your email address would be sufficient to identify you as a PersonalVPN customer.
Within the Five Eyes Agreement
WiTopia, the parent company of PersonalVPN, is headquartered in Virginia.
That means you are a politician, a card-carrying member of the US 5-Eyes Jurisdiction.
This is where five countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – agreed to pool their collective intelligence.
This, of course, includes information about online users. And their activities.
I have tried several times to find out who the PersonalVPN payment processing service is, but it seems like an excellent mystery they keep.
We send emails twice …
We connect with live chat …
They couldn’t help either. (Stating uselessly that they were only there for “technical matters”).
At the time of writing this script, no one within the company seems to be in a rush to reply to me.
That, in addition to his main position at 5 Eyes, should leave you a bit worried.
TONS of DNS leaks and WebRTC leaks
Do you believe your VPN service when it claims that your machine is now on a beach in Rio?
In theory, it should. However, your connection can often “leak” data to expose not only what you are doing online, but also your actual physical location.
These leaks undermine the whole point of VPN software in the first place.
That is strictly the reason why we have run over 70 VPN reviews multiple times to make sure they are legitimate.
Unfortunately, PersonalVPN came up with two leaks early on.
- 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/ (one leak found!)
We also ran the VPN installation files through VirusTotal. Thankfully, that came back completely clean.
But for a supposedly “security-obsessed” VPN app, two leaks are quite alarming.
No Kill Switch
The purpose of an “automatic switch” is to prevent your real IP address from being revealed temporarily when a VPN connection is dropped.
PersonalVPN doesn’t offer one.
It’s okay. Penalty fee. It is not the top of the planet.
But it was his reasoning that stunned us:
Expect! It gets better:
The NSA is monitoring your web activity. But as long as you have full access to Grace and Frankie, huh?
Do you know what was my favorite part of this complete exchange?
Then we tried Netflix.
Because, you know, that’s the reason why most use PersonalVPN.
Except for one little problem …
It didn’t work with Netflix
Even though Netflix geoblocking is the number one reason to sign up for PersonalVPN (according to them, not me), we weren’t able to stream anything on five different servers.
PersonalVPN / Witopia servers blocked by Netflix:
- United States: NY
- United States: Chicago
- United Kingdom, London
So if you’re trying to find a VPN for Netflix specifically, here’s our research where we tested 67 providers for Netflix.
Irregular customer service
Customer service is frequently contacted via email, social media, mail, and live chat. There is also a Support section that you will inspect before emailing them.
We tried emailing them a couple of different questions, but we didn’t get a response.
- I know it has its own CloakVPN routers, but is one compatible with the other routers?
- Do you support connecting to BitTorrent?
- Can you explain this “low profile mode” and what it does when it’s on? Under what circumstances would you ever want to use it?
- What payment service is used for MasterCard transactions?
- Is PersonalVPN compatible with game consoles, Tor browser, and SmartTV?
- Why does one have no kill switch?
Fortunately, we had more luck with the live chat.
But the whole experience, from the ignored emails to the silly responses and therefore no responses, left us a bit frustrated.
Torrenting something allowed (but not officially tolerated)
PersonalVPN does not officially allow torrenting, according to our live chat session.
That said, they won’t sweat trying to condemn you either.
So it’ll probably get away with P2P, but it’s probably not a solid long-term option.
PersonalVPN Cost, Plans & Payment Methods
You can buy PersonalVPN monthly or annually.
If you pay annually, you get discounts for paying one, two, or maybe three years early …
That means it would only cost you $ 110 for 3 years of the essential plan.
You can buy PersonalVPN with all major credit and debit cards. Visa and MasterCard gift cards are accepted. And PayPal is also welcome.
Any package also includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. So you’re going to cash in on that incredible three-year deal and still have a month to retire.
Unfortunately, there is no support for cryptocurrencies, and the company says there is “too much potential for fraud.”
Do I Recommend PersonalVPN?
Their speeds are specialized.
They are compatible with a good variety of platforms, even Chromebooks and Blackberry. Also, they create their own router boxes.
And the plans are really cheap with BIG discounts the later you pay.
However, they are having the following attacks against you.
- They are within the US and within the Five Eyes agreement.
- They refuse to answer who their payment processor is.
- It has no kill switch.
- They do not support payments in cash or Bitcoin.
- There is no official support for BitTorrent.
- Netflix unblocking doesn’t work either.
Yes, they top our speed rankings.
But there are more comprehensive options available, like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost, that don’t sacrifice your security or sanity in the process.
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