Avira Phantom VPN Review

Brad Smith

Brad Smith · Read user reviews

Here’s my Avira Phantom VPN review…

Avira VPN review

Avira Phantom VPN locks-down your private files, keeping account login information, passwords, and other sensitive data private. Their VPN software is using a VPN protocol called OpenVPN and your traffic is encrypted through 256-bit AES encryption

It hides your browsing data from advertisers, so they can’t track which sites you visit or even where you’re really located.

And it helps you get around geo-restrictions. That way, you can visit any website, anytime, anywhere, without your government dictating what’s ‘off limits.’

You can use any online service without running the risk of your ISP throttling your connection.

But is their VPN service worth it? Let’s find out in our in-depth review.

General Info

OVERALL RANK: #33rd out of 74 VPNs
USABILITY: 5/5
ENCRYPTION: AES-256
VPN PROTOCOLS: OpenVPN, IPSec, and Ikev2
SPEED: 72nd out of 74 VPNS
NETFLIX: Works on All
TORRENTING: Allowed
LOG FILES / JURISDICTION: Germany
SUPPORT: Email & Ticket
COST: $6.50

Avira Phantom Pros

1. Industry Standard OpenVPN + 256-bit AES Encryption

AVIRA offers AES 256-bit encryption. This is the best money can buy right now.

It’s so secure that banks use it. And it’s reported that no brute-force attacks can hack into it, either.

The 256-bit encryption involves several layers of security, so it would take modern computers up to 13.8 billion years to finally crack the code.

Avira uses the OpenVPN protocol for both Windows, Mac, and Android apps (if downloaded from their website). If you download from the AppStore instead, it’s IPSec. And iOS devices use Ikev2.

2. No IP, DNS & WebRTC Leaks Detected

Having state-of-the-art technology is great.

But only if it actually works.

Here’s what I mean:

VPNs are supposed to hide your location. And they do a majority of the time.

Poor ones are still susceptible to the occasional DNS leak, however, which give away your true location to the whole world.

That’s why we always run several (not just one) test to confirm whether our connection is rock-solid or porous.

After connecting to Avira Phantom, we ran six different DNS tests and couldn’t find a single 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 using Avira Phantom:

Avira Phantom VPN test result

None of the DNS/IP/WebRTC tools we used indicated leaks.

Awesome start.

But let’s double-check to be sure.

Next, we uploaded their installer files to VirusTotal.com. Unfortunately, some of these install files you rely on can carry trojans and other malware.

In this case, though, every file appeared squeaky clean. Here’s a look at our test from April 18, 2018.

no viruses found using VirusTotal

3. Works With Netflix (Last Test: July 2018)

If you were visiting a foreign country just a few years ago, you could download a VPN, switch your server location back home, and watch all of the old shows and movies you were familiar with.

But over the past few years, licensing issues have forced Netflix to get better at identifying and blocking this trick.

It didn’t take long for them to be able to pick out and stop pretty much every major VPN service out there.

There are holes in their service, though.

Sometimes, if one country is blocked under a VPN connection, you can simply switch around to different servers around the globe and eventually find one that works.

We did this same cat-and-mouse game with Avira, but were pleasantly blown away by the results.

Netflix worked on Avira across all of them!

We were able to stream content across North America, the U.K., and Europe.

  • Canada Netflix working
  • US (NY) Netflix working
  • US (Washington) Netflix working
  • UK Netflix working
  • Netherlands Netflix working

Sometimes, you can see the home screen and click through to a title…

Avira Phantom VPN Netflix

… only to be blocked at the last second when you hit “Play.”

But in this case, we were able to stream pretty much whatever we wanted.

Avira Phantom VPN stream

4. Easy to Use VPN Software

Downloading the VPN client will also give you access to the entire Avira Dashboard.

That’s perfect if you want to use their other services, but a hassle if you’re just looking for a simplified VPN.

The client sits in the system tray, and you can have a connection launch upon startup.

You can also opt out of sending diagnostic data back to Avira, which is another nice perk for retaining as much privacy as possible.

Switching server locations is also a breeze. You don’t even have to disconnect from the current location, just click a different server, then the app will automatically connect to a new one.

Avira Phantom VPN usability
All in all, no major problems or issues! A pretty smooth experience.

5. Unlimited Devices + Built-in Kill Switch

Avira’s free VPN tier allows up to five simultaneous connections.

That’s pretty good, believe it or not!

Some paid VPNs only allow three at a time. That’s barely enough to cover your work, home, and cell devices.

The best news is that Avira’s paid plan will give you access to unlimited devices!

Remember a few minutes ago when we were bummed that they didn’t connect to routers?

Well, that’s not such a big deal now if you’re taking advantage of unlimited connections under the paid plan.

Avira’s Phantom VPN is pretty straightforward. It doesn’t include a lot of additional features that others might. But they do the basics well.

One study found that 85% of 283 VPNs leaked user traffic, while another 38% added malware or adware. Avira does neither of these in our experience.

Otherwise, we were slightly disappointed that they only have 36 total servers around the world right now.

Most of the major cities and locations you can think of are covered.
Avira Phantom VPN servers

But the limitations mean:

  • Your own city might not be covered if you’re in a small locale.
  • And there might only be one or two servers in your desired location. So if there’s an issue with connecting or speed on those, you’re out of luck.

The paid version of the software also comes with a kill switch that will sever a connection before accidentally exposing your session data.

You can also customize it to fire instantly. That way, there’s no potential risk of you manually forgetting or not noticing.

 

Avira Phantom Cons

1. Some Minor Logging

Many less-than-forthright VPN companies will declare that they “don’t log” on their site’s homepage… only to bury the actual details somewhere in the Terms of Service nobody reads.

Thankfully, Avira puts their logging policy details front-and-center. Scroll down a little bit after visiting their site, and they’ll tell you exactly what is and is not tracked.

Avira will keep some record of diagnostic information for any potential bugs and product issues users might run into. But this part is optional, so you can toggle your own settings inside the VPN client.

Avira will also look at whether you’re a free or paid user, and then how much data you’re consuming to tie it back into their own infrastructure costs.

So the implication is that paid users might not have the same level of data tracking, because technically paid plans offer “unlimited bandwidth.”

And that’s it!

avira phantom logging policy

Pretty good, right?

Avira claims to not track sites you visit, your IP or even the ones from the sites you visit, and any other ‘action’-oriented data, like downloads.

This is one of the better logging policies we’ve seen.

Which is a massive benefit because their home country of Germany already infamously shares personal data with as many as fourteen countries around the globe.

2. Located in Germany (14 Eyes)

Avira Operations GmbH & Co is headquartered by Lake Constance, in Tettnang, Germany.

Beautiful setting, no doubt. Not-so-beautiful regional privacy jurisdiction, though.

A trans-Atlantic alliance has existed since 1965. Governments from the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have shared sensitive espionage data.

This Five Eyes alliance has since expanded over the past few decades to nine and then fourteen total countries.

Germany officially expressed interest in joining Five Eyes in 2013. But Edward Snowden’s leaked NSA documents confirmed that they’ve already been included in this 14-eye expansion, along with Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.

The point of this historical history?

A court order from any of these governments would force your VPN company to immediately disclose information, that would then be shared across half the globe.

The good news, in this case, is that Avira won’t have a lot of information from you. Their relatively-transparent logging policy will save your data from falling into the wrong hands.

(And we mean lots of hands.)

3. Very Slow Server Network

VPNs anonymize and lock down your data.

But it often comes at a cost.

The first thing to go is speed, where your connection can get slowed down anywhere from 10% to 100%+ slower than normal.

Think about that for a second:

100% slower means your lightening-fast connection will slow to barely a crawl. Pages might take twice as long to load.

So how did Avira fare?

Unfortunately, not so good.

Here’s a quick look at our benchmark connection speeds without a VPN:

Avira Phantom VPN speed without VPN

We then connected to their servers in two different locations to be sure.

The first was an EU Netherlands Server, which only posted Download speeds of 6.98 Mbps and Upload speeds of 9.02 Mbps.

Avira Phantom VPN speed with VPN to EU Server

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’ at all.

It was way worse.

US Server:

  • Ping: 194 ms
  • Download: 4.34 Mbps
  • Upload: 2.23 Mbps

This means that you can expect Download speeds of 95.53% slower than normal, and Upload speeds up to 95.79% slower.

In short:

This is an extremely slow VPN option.

And it’s kind of inexcusable when you compare it to some of the fastest VPNs we’ve reviewed.

Some, like PIA, barely slowed at all.

4. No Router, TV or Game Console Compatibility

Avira is widely available across all Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS devices.

They also have a Chrome extension, which means you don’t have to install a separate client or app to your device.
Avira Phantom VPN supported device
Unfortunately, that’s where their hospitality ends.

You cannot connect through game consoles or SmartTVs. You can’t set it up on a router to protect all connected devices. And you can’t even use Linux.

Those aren’t the only things they ignore.

You also can’t use the Avira Phantom VPN alongside TOR.

Why is this a problem?

The Onion Router relays your traffic signals across several points around the world. Think of it like a Plan B for keeping your location secure.

That’s especially critical in countries around the world that monitor and censor the internet.

The problem with TOR is that it’s not always secure. Savvy people or countries can still ‘eavesdrop’ on different relay points.

You can even run the risk of bumping into “malicious exit nodes” set up to figure out who you are and what you’re doing.

Adding a VPN to the mix virtually eliminates these risks. That way, you can browse securely without worrying about political retribution.

Avira’s tough stance here makes it a gamble if you’re in one of these countries with strict oversight.

5. No Info On Torrenting

Supposedly, Avira allowed downloading a torrent file of Ubuntu.

But we’ve been unable to confirm on their site the exact policy.

We went ahead and asked a question in their Community Forum, but are still awaiting a response:

Avira Phantom VPN torrenting allowed?
https://answers.avira.com/en/question/is-torrenting-allowed-in-avira-phantom-vpn-75158

To date, we haven’t heard back from them in this case. So I recommend not using it for Torrenting.

6. Virtually No Customer Support

Avira offers zero support for free users.

Avira Phantom VPN Customer Support
https://www.avira.com/en/support

Instead, they’re left to fend for themselves, digging through the Knowledge Base for answers.

We’ve tried asking questions in the community forums, but are still waiting days later. So good luck if that’s your only option.

Avira Phantom VPN torrenting speed
It took about a day and a half to get a response:

Avira Phantom VPN torrenting speed related ticket repllied
Paid plan users will get access to phone and mail support in multiple languages.

You have to login first, with the same email address under your paid plan, before being able to submit any questions.

We wanted to test out their support time, so we posed a simple question about the available protocols.

Avira Phantom VPN protocol question asked
Remember, we already had to purchase a plan to get to this stage. So we were just looking for a few recommendations.

They emailed us back within about one day, which isn’t too bad on the surface.

But when we started reading the answer, we were a little puzzled.

The answer their support rep provided only included instructions for downloading and installing the correct client.

Avira Phantom VPN premium support replied
This didn’t answer our question in the slightest.

My only assumption is that they want us to download the client, first, before discussing available protocols?

But a straight answer would have been preferable.

Instead, we have to swap emails back and forth over a multi-day period to get a simple answer that would only take two seconds to normally answer.

Kinda frustrating, to be honest.

After swapping another round of emails, they came back with:

customer support response

Ok, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for a second. Maybe they don’t know which specific protocols are used on their product. (Even though they should.)

But not knowing what ‘protocols’ are in the first place? That’s troubling.

Avira Phantom VPN Cost, Plans & Payment Methods

Avira Phantom VPN plans
  • Free plan – all features, except there’s a 500mb/month limit on unregistered users, and a 1GB/month limit on registered users. Registered means registering for a free Avira account on their website.
  • Monthly plan – $10/month for unlimited devices. Billed monthly, cancel anytime. Available for 1-month trial.
  • Annual plan – $78/year, or a savings of 35% per year; $6.50/month, compared to $10 on the monthly plan. Unlimited devices. Billed annually.
  • There’s also a monthly plan for Android & iOS only at $4.99/month, available as an in-app purchase. Unlimited mobile devices. Billed monthly, cancel anytime.

All paid Avira Phantom plans feature a 30-day refund policy. So you can go ahead with the annual plan to save the most money, yet still back out within 30 days if you’re unhappy and get your money back.

Avira accepts all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, AmericanExpress, and JCB), and PayPal.

Unfortunately, they do not accept cryptocurrencies or other anonymous payment methods.

Their Privacy Policy confirms that your payment details will be attached to your email and other personal information in their system.

Do We Recommend Avira Phantom VPN?

Unfortunately, no.

We liked that they offered a free plan right out of the gate. That way, you could test drive their service before upgrading.

Their logging policy was refreshingly transparent (and fair), too.

But unfortunately, their awful speed performance, combined with frustrating service, and lack of features like router compatibility or torrenting leave a lot to be desired.

Especially when you consider that their $6.50-$10/month pricing puts them in direct competition with the best in the business, like ExpressVPN.

If you were fine spending that much and deciding between the two, we’d recommend the latter.

P.S. I’m always interested in user-reviews so if you’ve used Avira VPN before, don’t hesitate to leave your review below. If your experience matched mine, cool. If it didn’t, that’s fine too!

Leave Your Own Avira Phantom Review

7 user reviews for Avira Phantom VPN

NtahX 2/10 July 13, 2018

Lack of support and features

1. Lack of support or almost non-existent. Take a long time to answer as described or didn't answer at all.

2. Lack of features. Doesn't have .ovpn config like other VPN providers. So no way to setup in your Routers, Linux box, TVs etc. Only their proprietary apps. This is a huge let down.

3. Hit and miss to bypass GFW (more like miss-a-lot). Was in China few times and this VPN doesn't work out right. Selecting nearby location 95% won't get you connected to VPN. You have to select certain servers and if you're lucky enough, then your good to go.

I have a few VPN providers (ExpressVPN and Opera) which work better than Avira in China. Express get you connected everytime and I wasn't paid by them to tell you this - just my experience.

Because I travel to China quite often, that's the main reason I need VPN. If you're outside of China I think Avira is quite OK. So 2/10 because of the issue above. Hope this will answer someone's questions regarding Avira Phantom Pro VPN.

Wolf 3/10 May 15, 2018

Don't like it

I used the free version for awhile then bought a yearly Pro version for $79.99. It hasn’t worked since I bought it. I still am limited to the amount of traffic I got w the free version. When I talk to someone from Help, I have to schedule a time that’s about a week in advance. Even scheduling requires back and forth. It’s incom0patible w my system somehow.

In order to analyze it, I’ve sent them two logs. Now they want me to download some software for analysis that there legal department says may damage my system and they are not responsible. I’m going to get a refund.

Jules 1/10 March 23, 2018

Avira is often slower than TOR

Avira is very slow, sometimes slower than TOR…

It also constantly crashes and I have to restart my PC. I’d recommend avoiding Avira like plague.

damien wert 2/10 January 17, 2018

Avira Phantom Pro

I agree with the above mentioned poor download speed and the almost non-existing customer service-I finally changed to another provider-there are worlds regarding service and performance between the new one and Avira.

Geo 9/10 January 8, 2018

Very interesting information

I’ve been an Avira fan since “almost” day one but only for their android products.

Recently Avira advertised a free limited time offer of their “Phantom VPN Pro” which I’ve been using for the last two weeks. This was more out of curiousity as I normally use Disconnect.me VPN.

I had Phantom on my laptop, iOS, and Android. After a few days, I uninstalled it from my laptop as it wasn’t auto-connecting. The same concern is happening on the iOS, but I’m giving it a bit longer to see if the problem will fix itself. The android is working perfectly.

I agree with the above comments especially with the extremely poor customer services support. I’ve sent two messages and have yet to receive any response.

I’ve just received employment in China and was wondering if anyone has any information on Phantom’s performance in China and/or can someone suggest a VPN for China?

I look forward to your comments.

Caleb 9/10 December 9, 2017

Avira Phantom VPN - The Good and Alright

Approximately 1 month ago, I decided it was high time I find a nice and usable VPN that would give me all of the freedom the internet has to offer. I downloaded the Nord 3-day trial, but something was.. Off for me, so I decided to download the Avira Phantom VPN and give their 500MB free tier a try. I’m certainly glad I did because now I can’t imagine my internet usage without it. The ease of use really shines through with this easy-to-use and setup VPN. It’s a simple one-click action to activate the VPN service as well as de-activate it.

The connection speed is also pleasantly fast, and I had no connection issues while using it. The “Alright” portion of this review comes into play regarding their anti-virus software. They were very keen that I may want to download this as well. With that said, however, I didn’t feel pressured to install the anti-virus after downloading the install package for the VPN; only when I was perusing their website. To summarize, Avira Phantom VPN is fairly priced (My subscription is priced in rubles and comes out to around $8-9 each month. Their yearly plan is cheaper, and they have a mobile-only plan at a reduced price), works incredibly well, has a clean interface, and is extremely easy-to-use. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a pleasant experience.

Jack esdale 1/10 January 2, 2017

Slow

I had for about a year kept buffering and I would suggest that it was very slow compared to other VPNs.

Definitely not as good as ExpressVPN or NordVPN which are priced similarly.