Astrill VPN was launched in 2009.
It was created by Astrill Systems Corp and is located in the Seychelles.
The Seychelles is a collection of over 100 islands off the coast of East Africa. Why is that important?
Because there are no data retention laws within its jurisdiction. That means Seychelles companies aren’t bound by the same aggressive regulatory laws that most U.S. or E.U. companies are.
Astrill also company claims that all of your information is completely secure with their software.
However, when you read the fine print, this isn’t always the case. Is Astrill one of these companies? Or do they really protect your data?
In this review, I will answer those questions about Astrill, in addition to outlining the pros and cons of the service and it’s features.
But before we get into all that, who exactly is Astrill?
Astrill VPN background
The Astrill website is aesthetically pleasing, showcasing the features of their service so it’s easy to understand.
At first glance, I noticed the area at the top of the site to login to an account immediately. I appreciate this, since you won’t have to go looking for the login page.
There’s also a slider on the homepage that changes every few seconds with several different graphics.
Overall, it appears to be a legitimate site.
Here’s what Astrill says about themselves on their site:
“Astrill manages its own global gigabit network of powerful VPN servers making our service one of the fastest and most reliable on the market. Astrill’s team of professionals develops all the software in house, without outsourcing. This ensures Astrill VPN software is one of the most feature rich and easiest to use VPN software available.”
That sounds good so far. However, when you investigate a little deeper, there are some mixed thoughts about Astrill across the web.
One YouTube review from Josh with Far West China is particularly harsh. In 2014, he posted a two minute review that went into the gory details.
Notice in the title that says
“Why NOT to Use Astrill.”
Here’s what Josh had to say in his review:
“To their credit, I believe they do offer great security and installing and using their software was quite simple and user-friendly. You can’t fault them for that. Unfortunately, in my experience their customer support was horrific and I ended up paying for my 7-day trial period despite repeated efforts to cancel. So a word of caution: free isn’t free with Astrill.”
Josh ended the review by saying that if you choose Astrill, “…you’re gonna be sorry.” Ouch.
He also said that the user reviews on Astrill’s site appear to be biased, since the review he gave of the company had not been posted to their site even after several months.
But that video was made in 2014. Astrill has probably made some improvements since then, right? Here are some more recent comments about Astrill that were posted on Josh’s video:
Again, it’s a pretty mixed bag. So which comments are correct? Before we find out, let’s go over Astrill’s compatibility and features.
Features and compatibility
Astrill has unlimited bandwidth, no matter which plan you choose.
The first thing they boast about on their “features” page is their privacy technology.
Astrill is available on all major platforms:
- Mac (not 100% sure if on older Mac versions)
- and Android platforms.
They only allow two simultaneous connections per account. This is a pretty low in comparison to other VPN services.
However, that’s not the only drawback.
These connections only work when one device is a laptop or desktop and the other is a mobile connection, according to Astrill.
Their site also states:
“If you need more connections, we offer Home Plan (up to 5 connections at the same time) as well as Business plans.”
Their server count has also been steadily increasing for years, too. So I expect them to keep adding servers. They’ve more than doubled their server count since the beginning of 2014.
Their list of servers is very long, and they offer connections in the most popular cities around the world:
- United States
Astrill offers an internet kill switch option for most plans.
This can help protect your data if your connection ever dropped out unexpectedly. That way, your entire browsing session wouldn’t be exposed to whoever’s listening.
Thankfully, Astrill also appears to work with DD-WRT routers. That can help you workaround the lower-than-usual two device limit.
But instead of offering a Setup Wizard on their site like many other VPN services, they just sell routers with Astrill already installed.
This is a bit irritating to be honest.
Astrill VPN pricing and plans (average cost)
Astrill offers a free 7-day trial on their plans. Awesome, right?
The other bit of good news is that Astrill offers the same features for each plan. So each package includes access to every server, unlimited bandwidth, and all other available features.
But the packages include access for different amounts of time. Here’s a quick breakdown.
The three-month plan is $9.98 per month.
This plan is perfect for a user that just wants to try out Astrill without making a long-term commitment.
You’ll shell out a total of $29.95 with this plan.
The six-month package is $6.66 per month.
This is a savings of 33% in comparison to the three month package. You’ll spend a total of $39.95.
The one year package is $5.83 per month.
The one year package comes out to a grand total of $69.95. You’ll save 42% here. So if you know you want to use Astrill on a long-term basis, this is the best value.
Here’s how the company’s pricing plans look on their site:
Astrill offers a 7-day money back guarantee, along with a ton of different payment options, including:
- Credit/debit cards
- Bank wire transfer
Overall, pricing for Astrill isn’t the cheapest on the market. But it isn’t the most expensive by any means, either. It’s about middle of the road.
So are they worth it? Here are the pros and cons of this VPN.
Astrill VPN Pros
Astrill has been around for at least eight years now.
So I had high expectations for what I was going to get.
Here’s a quick rundown of my favorite features.
1. SSL 256-bit encryption
Privacy is the number one issue with VPN services. Nothing else matters if your encryption or logging policies aren’t up to snuff.
Astrill offers SSL 256-bit encryption on all plans they have.
This means that you’ll have military-grade protection, even if you’re just trying Astrill out through a free trial.
Although there’s not a big difference, some VPNs only come with 128-bit encryption (hint: Zenmate)
2. They don’t throttle your speed much
Astrill claims that their speeds are incredibly fast. Just like everyone else.
I tested them for myself so you don’t have to.
Here are the results of my speed tests for Astrill on US and EU servers.
- Ping: 182 ms
- Download: 78.65 Mbps
- Upload: 18.99 Mbps
- Ping: 44 ms
- Download: 69.08 Mbps
- Upload: 53.30 Mbps
These speeds are pretty good! The download speeds are especially consistent.
The upload speed for US servers could use some improvement, but these results are better than some other VPNs on the market.
3. Smooth usability
Astrill is very simple to download and install.
The site identifies which operating system you’re using and brings up a download button automatically.
There’s no guesswork about how to use the Astrill installation wizard, either.
Once Astrill has been downloaded to your device, this is what the interface looks like:
All you have to do is enter in your email and password to login.
Once you’ve logged in, you can select whether you want to use OpenVPN, OpenWeb, or StealthVPN.
You’ll immediately see an on/off button, as well as data for the server you’re connected to.
To change your server, just select one from the drop down menu.
With Astrill, you can enforce DNS leak protection, IPv6 leak protection and WebRTC IP leak protection.
DNS and IPv6 leak protection are automatically turned on upon downloading.
My main gripe here? The client appears pretty dated to be honest.
All of the essential elements are there. But it’s not the easiest to use or slickest to look at.
Overall, Astrill gets a 5/10 for usability.
4. Free trial + money-back guarantee
Astrill is one of the few VPN services that offers both a free trial and a money-back guarantee. Usually, only one or the other is offered.
But now, you can give Astrill’s services a spin for a few days prior to signing up.
Then after you do, you’ll have another few days to decide whether you want to keep the service or not.
Astrill VPN Cons
1. Some possible logging
Astrill’s website seems to claim that it keeps no data logs.
And the scary part is that they claim not to “sell, rent, or trade your personal information with others,” but they also disclose that their reason for collecting data is to personalize your experience when it comes to things like “online shopping and interactive communications.”
That last sentence sounds like they’re going to use your personal info to target ads, just like a free VPN.
When using a VPN, I need to know exactly what data is being recorded and why it’s being recorded.
I bet you feel the same, right?
Astrill checks most of the basics.
They do a pretty decent job when it comes to the big areas you expect (like privacy and encryption).
However, there are a few downsides to their service. Here’s a quick overview.
2. Astrill VPN pricing is above average
Some of the VPN services I’ve reviewed so far will only set you back around two or three bucks a month for a full year.
That means your total bill is only around $30-40. Great deal, right?
Unfortunately, Astrill doesn’t come close to that. Their current one year pricing is at $5.83 per month.
The three-month option is also around $10/month, too.
Once again, that’s high compared to many other options. Many other VPN services will give you a month-to-month option for double-digit pricing.
So again, you better be sure you want to sign up with them for the long haul, because it’s going to cost you.
3. For $5+/month there’s no live chat..
I was excited to see that Astrill offers live chat.
A bunch of other VPN services only offer a ticketing system. That means you’re looking at a full day in most cases to get a response to a simple question.
I decided to try out their live chat service to give you a complete review.
All you have to enter in is your name, email, and message to get started.
You can also select the department that your question applies to.
Here’s the question I sent in:
Once you hit send, you’ll receive this message.
After what seemed like hours, another notification popped up:
I went ahead and clicked the “leave a message” option to see how long it would take to hear something back when taking that route.
I received a helpful email in a few hours.
That response time might be normal for a ticketing or email-based support system. But “live” chat?
It was terrible.
You’re better off just submitting a message and waiting for a response rather than sitting in the live chat window for an unknown amount of time.
4. Only two connections allowed
Astrill caps basic accounts at only two connections.
What’s worse, they also dictate that one can be a laptop or desktop and one can be a mobile device.
Otherwise, if you want to increase the number of connections, you have to upgrade to a special business plan.
But that doesn’t even make sense to be honest.
For example, how many devices do you have right now?
Personally, I have a desktop, laptop, and mobile. That’s not weird, right?
Many other people would have an iPad or some other tablet in addition to those, too.
Or maybe your spouse has their own devices that you’d like to protect.
Well, under these terms, you wouldn’t be able to. You couldn’t even cover all of your own devices.
And these are all just personal devices, too. They’re not business-related ones. So you shouldn’t have to upgrade to a “business” plan in this case.
This policy is too restrictive in my view. Especially as many other VPN providers will give you up to at least five connections for the same amount of money (or less).
5. Not working with Netflix (according to my test)
Astrill claims that Netflix, Hulu, and the BBC iPlayers are all accessible with their service, which is good news if you’re abroad.
However, Netflix has gotten pretty good about detecting VPNs lately.
Astrill claims that you can access Netflix with their service, but I put their claim to the test.
I logged into a Japanese server, and immediately noticed foreign titles.
The real moment of truth came when I selected a title to view. To my disappointment, Netflix knew I was using a VPN and didn’t allow me access to watch the title.
Do I Recommend Astrill VPN?
By all means, it’s not a bad VPN. According to my tests, I’d rate it around 7/10.
However, if you forced me to choose just a single VPN provider, Astrill would not be it. Sorry.
There was a lot to like. The connection speeds in particular were really strong.
But there were some drawbacks I couldn’t overlook, either.
Have you used Astrill VPN? If so, help us by leaving a comment below 🙂