Astrill was launched in 2009 and was created by Astrill Systems Corp and is located in Seychelles. Seychelles is a collection of over 100 islands off the coast of East Africa.
Why is that important for a VPN user?
Because there are no data retention laws within its VPN 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 its features. But before we get into all that, who exactly is Astrill?
Quick Background Information on Astrill
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 log in 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.
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.
His YT video title was this:
“Why NOT to Use Astrill.”
Here’s what Josh had to say in his review:
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.”
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? Let’s find out…
Very Expensive Pricing
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 one-month plan will set you back $15.90 per month.
This plan is perfect for a user that just wants to try out Astrill without making a long-term commitment.
The six-month package is $11.65 per month.
This is a saving of 26% in comparison to the three-month package. You’ll spend a total of $69.90.
The one year package is $8.33 per month.
The one year package comes out to a grand total of $99.90. You’ll save 47% 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
Features, Compatibility and Servers
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.
Pros of Using Astrill +
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 slow down your Internet connection
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 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 is 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.
Cons of using Astrill –
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 another free VPN.
I bet you feel the same, right?
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. You better be sure you want to sign up with them for the long haul because it’s going to cost you.
3. For $8+/month there’s no live chat… Really?
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 2 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 (which is even more expensive).
But that doesn’t even make sense.
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. Netflix knew I was using a VPN
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?
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.
Add your own Astrill review
Have you used Astrill VPN? If so, help us by leaving a comment below 🙂
5 user reviews for Astrill
Constantly blocked on Google Chrome
All their VPNs – Open Web, Open VPN, Stealth VPN are toxic. Chrome Google constantly blocks Astrill and always asks for CAPTCHA. Every. Time!
I bought a family package for 5 devices but none works – error message says I am logged in to multiple devices (duh!)
Astrill also slows down ALL MY DEVICES – they’re all brand new ( I replace my apple devices every two years).
When I asked them about the toxic VPNs, they suggested that I pay for private ones. So on top of what I already paid, I will be charged for each private VPNs because the ones they sold me don’t work.
The point here is why would they even sell VPNs that don’t work to begin with, then surreptitiously suggest a working one?
Had they offered it for free, their motive wouldn’t have been questioned.
ASTRILL IS A FRAUD COMPANY, DO NOT USE.
I would give negative 10 score if I could.
Astrill stole my money without giving me service and will not refund. I paid for 1 year, about $100 and was provided with not a single second of service. When I tried to ask why through their customer service, I was confronted by the RUDEST people I have ever encounter, and I have been living in China for 7 years dealing with Chinese companies and people, Astrill is by FAR the WORST customer service I have ever witnessed.
They refuse to give me a refund, and simply terminated my account because they did not want to provide me a solution or an answer to why they are doing this.
I think it is mainly because I paid through WeChat pay wallet, the money is not connected to a bank, so therefore I cannot open a payment dispute. There is no way of getting my money back from this scam unless Astrill gives it back, but they made it clear they will ABSOLUTELY not give me my money, or provide me with service.
For your own safety and protection from not getting scammed by a fraud company, please do not use Astrill.
I’m almost coming on with depression from dealing with their customer service the last week, and they have not helped a single bit, instead they will be extremely rude to you, and disconnect their online support whenever they please, they told me their phone support is down, which is a lie because I read online that someone else was told their phone support is down 9 months ago. So they actually do not have a phone support, everything is fake and a lie.
They will try in anyway possible to take your money without giving you service.
I also read many people who had issues and did not get their money back, if you keep trying to get a refund from this fraud company, they will make excuses to blame you for their service not working. And miraculously under there “Terms of Service” pop out fine print saying they have the right to suspended your account and not refund you money if they please.
I am currently contacting WeChat to see if they have a way to reverse the payment process, hopefully they can help.
ASTRILL IS A FRAUD COMPANY, DO NOT USE.
Works great from China
I’m located in China (no American TV) which is very competent in blocking all kinds of needed sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Search, etc… that I need daily for work. I’ve tried every VPN available and Astrill has been the only one (literally) that I can count on to connect day-in and day-out.
Having problems with my standard Astrill package, I was advised by them to buy a private IP. I paid $99 for the IP but it’s so slow it’s unusable. They refuse to give me a refund and are offering to transfer me to another Private IP instead. Trouble is, they have no stock of other IP’s and can’t tell me when one will be available. Meanwhile, I’m $99 poorer and have an Astrill private IP that’s unusable.
Use another VPN provider, there’s lots of choice and much better customer service!!
It's a decent service for the price.
Astrill offers 3 different kinds of privacy protection. I mainly use the web/browser VPN which allows me switch my location for youtube/netflix streaming services to get shows only available in that region. For streaming services they are affordable and there is no lag at all on any of their available VPNs, do not use the trial VPN’s which subscribers have access to as well, they tend to be overloaded and the ping and speed is quite slow.