BolehVPN was originally founded over a decade ago on a whim by Reuben Yap.
After graduating from university in the UK, he moved back home to his native Malaysia.
Fast forward ten years later and they now have over 3,000 customers (which isn’t much compared to many other VPNs, though).
BolehVPN is technically a product of BV Internet Services. It’s headquartered in Malaysia but under the Seychelles jurisdiction (we’ll come back to that in a second).
To make this BolehVPN review accurate, I decided to dig a little deeper into their background…
Because here’s the important question:
Is their VPN service any good? Let’s find out.
BolehVPN General Info
|OVERALL RANK:||#34th out of 74 VPNs|
|LOG FILES:||Minor Logging|
|LOCATIONS:||1000+ servers in 28 countries|
|NETFLIX:||2 out 4 servers work|
|PROTOCOLS:||OpenVPN, IPSec & IKEv2|
What Does BolehVPN Do For You?
In short, BolehVPN does the following:
- Masks your IP
- Encrypts data between the VPN and your computer (through BolehRoute)
- Accelerated your connection when torrenting/using BitTorrent
- Allows you to get access to geo-restricted sites like Hulu, Netflix (we’ll test that in a minute)
- Bypass different types of firewalls
Logging Policy in Grey Area
- They log “general traffic”
We’ve literally reviewed dozens of VPNs.
And I’ve yet to find one that will admit to ‘logging.’
It makes sense when you think about it. It’s a dirty word. ISP’s logging your browsing activities is one of the main reasons to use a VPN in the first place.
But here’s the truth we’ve found:
Most VPNs will keep some logs.
The trick is to pull back the curtain and find out which ones they keep.
BolehVPN is no different. Their homepage claims “No Logs Policy” like most others.
The “Logging Policy” section in their Terms of Service gives us another glimpse, though.
They start out by admitting that they log “general traffic,” but don’t parse it out on an individual level.
Except, if they suspect unusual activity. If they think someone is abusing the service, they’ll turn on individual logging to troubleshoot (while claiming that they don’t disclose it to third parties).
Understandably, they also won’t hesitate to terminate someone’s account if they see that they’re abusing the service.
So they do keep some logs. And using a VPN isn’t an excuse (or protection) against illegal activities.
Claims To Be Located in Seychelles, But in Malaysia?
- Payment went to the Malaysian company
If you remember from the intro, BolehVPN is located in Malaysia but under the jurisdiction of the Seychelles.
Their Terms of Service indicates that they have “offshore jurisdiction” and their service is “governed by the law of Seychelles.”
Their warrant canary expands on that, claiming, “BolehVPN is subject to Seychelles law and not subject to laws such as the US Patriot Act.”
So that’s the tricky part, here. From our initial search, it doesn’t look like they have any actual physical operation in the Seychelles.
Our guess is that they’re using some offshore incorporation for tax and regulatory advantages, and also as a sales point for user privacy.
When we bought their VPN, we found out that the payment went to BolehVPN Sdn Bhd, which is located in Malaysia:
- BolehVPN Sdn Bhd
- Reddi Building, 393 Jalan Datuk Abang Abdul Rahim,
- 93450 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
So their actual jurisdiction is somewhat murky.
Is BolehVPN Safe?
- It’s considered safe (OpenVPN + 256-bit AES)
BolehVPN uses the latest SHA-2 encryption, a 256-bit AES military-grade option.
And when we say “military-grade,” we mean it.
SHA-2 is a hash algorithm that was originally created by the United States National Security Agency. Better known as the NSA.
This 256-bit option is also virtually brute-force proof. That means as of now, it’s basically un-hackable. So this is as top-of-the-line as it gets.
They also use an OpenVPN protocol, which again is considered is the best VPN protocol available on today’s market.
In most cases, you should stick with OpenVPN. However, if you’re running on an older device, they also support L2TP. The problem here, though, is that it’s infamously not as secure.
So you should only use it (a) if you have to, and (b) when security isn’t your primary concern.
The biggest drawback with BolehVPN is that they don’t have IKev2 for mobile (recommending OpenVPN instead).
This is an issue because it’s often the protocol-of-choice for iPhone users. (We’ll come back to this further in the Device section down below.)
No IP, DNS & WebRTC Leaks Detected
- We didn’t find any leaks using BolehVPN
Internet service providers typically hold all the power. You use their connection, and therefore, are bound by their terms.
That includes monitoring which websites you’re visiting, or the content you’re downloading. All of which is easily traceable through your assigned DNS server.
That’s how it typically works, anyway.
VPNs change the rules of the game. Except, when you have a DNS leak.
These reveal your identity to ISP’s (and the government agencies they’re reporting to).
Unfortunately, this can often happen without you realizing it. Your VPN connection is on and everything seems legit.
That’s why one of our first steps when analyzing a new VPN service is to run multiple DNS leak tests.
And the good news?
BolehVPN passed with flying colors.
We did the following tests and couldn’t find any leaks:
- 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)
No WebRTC, DNS, or IP leaks were found.
We did run into one issue, though. We uploaded files their install files to VirusTotal.com, and one test indicated it contains a Trojan.
Other tests didn’t give us the same error. But you should definitely keep this in mind.
Is BolehVPN Fast?
- BolehVPN slows down your connection only/less than 10%
It doesn’t matter how secure a VPN is if the experience is a nightmare.
And that often comes down to speed.
Sure, protecting yourself is important. But if you can’t seamlessly browse different websites or enjoy that Canadian Netflix, what’s the point?
Thankfully, BolehVPN really delivered here. We even verified this performance on several servers from different connections just to make sure.
Take a look for yourself:
- Ping: 117 ms
- Download: 62.85 Mbps
- Upload: 35.38 Mbps
New York from the EU:
And here’s the EU Server:
- Ping: 47ms
- Download: 88.41 Mbps
- Upload: 36.63 Mbps
If you remember, the need for speed was the whole reason BolehVPN was started in the first place.
And their results don’t disappointt.
The download speed was only 35.25% slower, while the upload speed was 33.24% slower. This places them among some of the fastest VPNs we’ve reviewed.
In our tests, it comes #5th, behind PIA, Private Tunnel, Hide My IP and PersonalVPN.
Does it Work with Netflix?
- 1 server out of 6 worked (Canadian server)
VPN services can obviously help bypass Netflix and other geo-restrictions.
You can connect to a new server back home and start watching.
The trouble is that Netflix has been cracking down like crazy on VPN services lately. And they’ve gotten unfortunately good at it.
Almost every company claims that they work with Netflix. But more often than not, they don’t.
So here’s the good news and bad news.
The good news is that BolehVPN does work well with Netflix. However, the catch is that they only have one server.
Of course, we weren’t satisfied with empty claims. So we tested them out, too.
The results were kinda hit and miss. Here’s what we found:
- BolehFlix US didn’t open US Netflix
- US NY server for surfing/streaming blocked
- US LA server for surfing/streaming blocked
- UK surfing/streaming server blocked
- Netherlands server blocked
- Canadian server worked
Hopefully, Netflix Canada has what you were looking for.
Is Torrenting Allowed?
- Yes, torrenting is allowed with BolehVPN
Torrenting supercharges file transmissions. Think of massive files, like movies or music. From a practical standpoint, torrents are incredibly helpful.
But they leave you exposed for a few reasons.
First, downloading copyrighted material is obviously against the rules in some (most) places.
However, that’s not even your biggest risk.
The people you might be downloading data from is.
Torrents often expose personal information, like your IP address, to other people.
That’s where VPNs come in. They obviously can lock-down your personal data and make it look like you’re someone, or somewhere else.
That is, if your VPN allows torrenting.
Fortunately, BolehVPN is A-OK with it.
So download away.
The FAQ section on their site confirms P2P use. And they recommend using uTorrent for the best experience.
The only caveat are servers marked “Surfing-Streaming” and “BolehGEO,” which are setup to handle different types of traffic. So you need to make sure you’re connecting to the right servers for P2P use.
You can also check our list of the Best VPNs for Torrenting if this is one of the primary reasons behind your VPN decision.
What Devices Are Supported?
- Most devices and OP’s are supported
BolehVPN has recently increased their number of simultaneous connections to three (up from two under one account).
To be honest, that’s kinda middle of the road.
Some others we’ve reviewed, like NordVPN, will double that number with six.
They have strong documentation for almost all operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. But some will require a bit more heavy lifting than others:
- Windows Installation and Mac – Easy to install for everyone.
- Linux – Good to go!
- iOS and Android – Some techy know-how required.
A simple workaround for the three device limit is to setup BolehVPN with a router. This way, your entire internet connection only technically counts as a single device. And then you can connect as many as you’d like after the fact.
BolehVPN works with AsusWRT Merlin OpenVPN Clients and DD-WRT. The installation guides are thorough, with lots of helpful screenshots. However, you might need a little experience with routers as a prerequisite.
No Dedicated iOS Client
Most VPN services offer native clients for each device or platform.
That means you’ll (a) use their service more frequently, and (b) possibly have to purchase an additional account if you go over the allowable connection limit.
Unfortunately, BolehVPN doesn’t provide a native iOS client for Apple users.
There is a workaround, though.
You can install a third-party app, OpenVPN Connect, and connect through it. But then you also have to get your hands dirty in downloading inline keys and configs on a computer, before then moving them to your iOS device using iTunes.
It looks like a hassle if you’re technical. And if you’re not? Don’t waste your time.
The Onion Router (TOR) is perfect for concealing your location.
It uses several relay points spread out across the globe to mask your true location.
The problem is that it doesn’t really offer you a whole lot of protection around that. Connecting to a VPN will give you that added security boost, without any of the drawbacks.
Not only is BolehVPN compatible with TOR, but they also take a step further to recommend you connect through their service first, before TOR. (As opposed to TOR > VPN > Internet.)
Is BolehVPN Simple To Use?
- We faced errors on the Windows laptop
Installing a BolehVPN client for the first time was a breeze.
Instead, the problems popped up afterward.
For whatever reason, we kept having issues when trying to establish a connection with one of their servers. We kept getting the same “Unknown error” notification, which required us to go dig through the logs to figure out what was going on.
Why didn’t we just get in touch with support?
Well, we tried that too. But I’ll leave that for the last section below.
Servers & Main Features
- Less than 40 servers
Only 35 servers in 12 countries.
They do cover some of the most popular destinations, like Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the USA.
However, when you compare this to other alternatives, it’s pretty miniscule.
On the plus side, they do provide a kill switch.
Beyond DNS leaks, VPNs can also expose your identity (and history) when a connection temporarily fails.
Kill switches are like your Plan B.
When a connection drops, they’ll immediately sever your session. That way, none of your own personal data gets exposed on an unsecure network.
- No live chat, answers can take some time
Support isn’t always a deal breaker with VPN services. If things are working properly and there is no payment issues, you don’t need to get in touch often.
But some level of support would be encouraging. You want to know that the people who can see everything you do online have your back at the end of the day.
Unfortunately, BolehVPN drops the ball in this department.
First, there’s no live chat support. So any illusions of getting quick questions answered just flew out the window.
As a substitute, they provide a helpful forum link to ask questions and get feedback.
Except, it’s broken and/or offline. So that’s not a big help, either.
They do have a Community page. But there are very few posts overall. And many of the posts we looked at haven’t even been answered.
There are a few self-help articles. But again, not very many.
Otherwise, your only support option is to submit a request.
We submitted a simple ticket:
And it took them just about an hour to provide a response:
All in all, not too bad. Some VPN companies with live chat only take a few minutes to respond. But this was much better than we’ve seen in other cases.
We also tested their Community Posts, too, and received a response in about two days.
BolehVPN Pricing & Plans
- No anonymous payment options
BolehVPN offers a one day free trial to new users. That’s a great perk for those of you who want to give it a spin.
Otherwise, pricing is structured by the number of days (with a week being your next option).
The annual option is their best value plan, setting you back about $79.99. That breaks down to only $0.21 per day, or the equivalent of $6.57 per month.
Here’s the breakdown:
- 7 Days – $3.70 ($0.52 per day)
- 30 Days – $9.99 ($0.33 per day)
- 60 Days – $16.99 ($0.28 per day)
- 180 Days – $44.99 ($0.24 per day)
- 365 Days – $79.99 ($0.21 per day)
BolehVPN also offers a fourteen-day refund policy on new accounts. Refunds will not be issued on plan renewals, however.
Refunds also depend on your original payment method. If you use any cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin or Dash, you might be out of luck (no payments options).
Is BolehVPN Recommended?
- We don’t recommend using BolehVPN
BolehVPN is pretty solid. Their speed was great and I liked that they were compatible with both TOR and torrents.
The problems for me come down to the limited servers, murky jurisdiction, no iOS client, and virtually nonexistent customer service.
If you wanted to buy multiple VPN services for some odd reason, maybe.
But if you’re only looking for one, you can do better elsewhere.
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