Celo VPN run by Celo Net Pty Ltd.
They’re an Australian-based company with 18 servers in 15 countries. So pretty small, in the grand scheme of things.
But that’s not always a bad thing.
Small often means ‘personal.’ Small often means ‘friendly.’
So don’t let that scare you away.
In this Celo VPN review, we’ll uncover whether ‘small’ is a good thing. Or whether size does matter in the end.
Celo VPN Overview
|OVERALL RANK:||#22 out of 78 VPNs|
|USABILITY:||Easy, but many limitations, including no city server locations|
|LOG FILES:||No Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||15 countries, 18 servers|
|SUPPORT:||Email, live chat, and knowledge base|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||AES 256-bit, OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP or L2TP/IPSec|
|COST:||Free version or $5.50 – $7 per month, depending on term, 10-day money-back guarantee|
Let’s see what else they do well.
Despite their small stature, Celo VPN does a few things exceedingly well. Their logging policy is legit, they have plenty of protocol options, and they freely allow torrenting.
1. Does Not Collect Logs
Celo VPN does not collect logs of the online user’s browsing history or use of online services.
That means they won’t record the individual sites you visit, or anything you stream and download.
They collect your email address and payment details like most other VPNs.
But giving your name is optional. And all payments are processed through a third-party, so Celo VPN doesn’t keep any of the processed data on their servers.
2. Supports Three Protocols with AES-256 Encryption
Celo VPN supports four protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP or L2TP/IPSec.
OpenVPN is the standard you’ll want to stick with in most cases. Otherwise, iOS devices will often use IPSec by default.
Celo VPN also uses the industry-standard 256-bit encryption.
This is a state-of-the-art encryption standard. So you’ll have nothing to worry about.
3. Allows Torrenting
Celo VPN might not offer a ton of servers out of the gate.
The good news, however, is that they will all allow you to use torrenting on all of them.
They willingly provide full tutorials for both popular clients like uTorrent, BitTorrent, and more.
I tested Celo VPN with uTorrent and it worked like a charm. Setting it up was quick, and there were no major connection issues or lags.
4. Compatible with Most Popular Platforms
Celo VPN works with Windows, MacOS, Linux, ChromeOS, iOS & Android. The Support section has detailed instructions for how to set up on every platform.
Celo VPN also works with most routers and the Tor browser. Plus, they cover both Apple TV and gaming consoles for good measure.
There’s one downside, however.
Since Celo VPN operates on OpenVPN by default, there are not actually any apps to install on your smartphone and tablet.
Instead, you have to do convoluted setups with the OpenVPN app and then connect manually to servers. But the knowledge base has step-by-step instructions, so you shouldn’t go wrong.
You can use the same Celo VPN account on up to five devices at the same time.
5. Offers Lots of Features for Your Money
The only difference with Celo VPN plans is the signup term.
Otherwise, all of their plans come fully-stocked with awesome features.
For example, each package will provide:
- Unlimited Downloads
- Free DDoS Protection
- Free SOCKS5 & Shadowsocks Proxy
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- SSTP (Windows OS Only)
- Up To 5 Connections Simultaneously
- IPv6 Support
- Ad/Malware Blocker
- Obfuscated SSH Tunnel Port Forward.
6. Works with Tor
Tor is a security-minded Internet browser and it stands for The Onion Router. It is commonly used for accessing the Dark Web (where the web addresses are ending in .onion), as well as anonymizing your web activity. It does this by running your web traffic through what are called “Tor Relays” which are servers run by thousands of volunteers across the world. It reroutes your web traffic so much that it becomes impossible to tell where the origin point is.
The good news is that Celo VPN is fully compatible with the Tor Browser. Let’s hear it for increased anonymity and security online.
7. No Leaks Found (One Caveat, Though)
Hiding your actual location is pretty much first base for a VPN.
There shouldn’t be any clues left behind for governments or websites to figure out you’re using a proxy server.
If your VPN says you’re in Toronto, but it says online that you’re really in “New York,” your connection may have sprung a leak.
DNS leaks undercut the entire point of a VPN service in the first place. That’s why we run several tests to make sure your connection is leak-proof.
Luckily, Celo VPN didn’t leak our IP/DNS addresses.
- 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 IP leaks:
No DNS leaks:
We also run the VPN’s installation files through VirusTotal to make sure they’re squeaky-clean before infecting your device. Unfortunately, we found 2 viruses.
You shouldn’t be worried, though because if you see 3 or more viruses – you should be concerned.
Cons of Using Celo VPN
There were a few speed bumps along the way when connecting to Celo VPN servers.
Not terrible, but not the smoothest experience, either.
However, there were many other issues we saw that ended up being way worse.
Here’s a deep dive into the biggest problems we had with the service.
1. Too Difficult Setup Process
Celo VPN is mostly easy to use.
Except for like five issues. (Which are five issues too many.)
First, you’ll notice that there isn’t actually any native apps provided. That means you’ll have to configure OpenVPN with their settings.
Second, it’s a pain to actually find this info.
So I’ll save you the hassle:
Here is the link to the page with all of the OpenVPN downloads. You will most likely have to log in with your customer info, first. So make sure your account is A-OK.
Now, download the version you want. Once installed, open it up, and you’ll get the log-in window.
Drop the server list down and choose which country you want.
Again, curiously, the countries are not written out in full.
So “nl,” for example, is the Netherlands, “us” is the United States, “uk” is the United Kingdom, and so on. Let Google be your guide if you get lost here.
If you’ve read pretty much any other VPN review, you should notice something missing here.
Most other services, even small ones, will tell you exactly where each server is — down to the city.
But Celo VPN doesn’t do that. All they give you is the country code.
That’s a little fishy, to be honest.
Celo VPN could be telling the truth for all we know. Unfortunately, though, most VPNs lie about their servers.
The might not be located where you think they are. That would be an issue in this case because Celo VPN already has a low starting server count.
You might have to fight other users for limited resources on an overcrowded server. If you’re forced to connect to a server halfway around the world, the end result (slow speeds) is still the same.
Next, you’ll enter your username and password. It will then ask you for permission to connect to the server. Say “Yes” to that and you will be connected.
And here’s where the last issue pops up.
If you want to connect to a different server, you’ll have to disconnect from the current one.
Only then can you choose a new one from the drop-down list.
Here’s a pro tip to keep in mind:
If you’re on a Windows device, make sure your kill switch is active before disconnecting. Otherwise, your real location is going to be out in the open temporarily while you bounce to another server.
2. Member Of The Five Eyes Agreement
Celo VPN is based in Australia.
Beautiful country and people. But Australia is also a founding member of the 5 Eyes agreement that dates back several decades.
This is where five countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand — have agreed to openly share intelligence information gathered in the name of ‘World Peace.’
But that also applies to any data their government agencies have been able to gather. Which, according to basically any report you read, is a TON of stuff.
For that reason alone, you should exercise caution before signing up with Celo VPN.
Think long and hard about your reasons for getting a VPN in the first place. Because you might live to regret it when your data might be shared with half the developed world.
3. Speeds are Average at Best
VPNs should be secure. But they should also be fast.
Any extra encryption layers you add will naturally slow down your connection.
However, you shouldn’t be forced to deal with dial-up speeds just to remain anonymous.
After leak and malware tests, we run each VPN through a series of speed tests to make sure you’re not forced to go back to the Stone Age of the Internet.
Overall, Celo VPN performed OK. They placed 24th out of the 78 VPNs we’ve tested to date.
First, we run a speed test without any interfering connection. My initial speed was 90.90 Mbps download and 34.38 Mbps upload.
Next, we connect to different VPN servers and re-test.
Here’s what we saw in the U.S. server:
U.S. Server (Arizona)
- Ping: 170
- Download: 41.65 Mbps (54.2% slower)
- Upload: 8.53 Mbps (75.2% slower)
That’s… not good. You might as well revert to carrier pigeons.
Next up, the EU server:
EU Server (Paris)
- Ping: 38
- Download: 69.05 Mbps (24% slower)
- Upload: 28.36 Mbps (17.5% slower)
Ok, phew. That one wasn’t so bad.
It looks like their European servers aren’t terrible. But watch out for the U.S. ones.
Which brings us to our next issue.
4. Very Limited Server Network
Celo VPN only has 18 servers in 15 countries.
That’s bad for a few reasons.
First, you’ll remember that we don’t actually know which cities these servers are in when connecting.
The second problem compounds this. Lots of people connecting to a few servers almost guarantees slow performance. (See the U.S. server above.)
Why not just switch servers? Yeah, good idea!
Except for one thing.
If you’re forced to connect to a server that’s several time zones away, because there aren’t enough servers closer to your, you run into the same problem.
Generally speaking, your performance will be better when you’re physically closer to that server.
So taking a short trip around the world each time you need to make a connection is another recipe for disaster.
5. Kill Switch Included on Windows 7 & 10 Only
Celo VPN forces you to disconnect before switching servers.
That’s not necessarily the end of the world if you have a kill switch.
Think of it like an insurance plan. It’s there when you need it to make sure your real location and browsing session isn’t shared with the world.
But the problem is that Celo VPN’s kill switch only works with Windows 7 and 10.
Yes. That’s right.
No mac or iOS. And no Windows 8, either.
The other issue is that there is no switch on the OpenVPN software for Windows users. You have to make the tweaks on the Windows system itself, which may scare off a lot of people.
Customer Support claims that doing it at “the OS level” is much more effective and that desktop kill switches “tend not to work all the time.”
6. Doesn’t Work With Netflix
We get it.
You want to stream whatever you want, wherever you want. Without a Big Bad Studio telling you what you can or can’t watch.
There’s only one problem.
Netflix has become increasingly more sophisticated in the last few years. They will now identify popular VPN servers and shut off access for thousands of people in one fell swoop.
We tested Celo VPN to see whether they’ve been able to escape Hollywood’s grasp.
But unfortunately, they didn’t even get close.
Zero out of the five servers I tried, worked.
I would get as far as browsing for a particular show, pressing the Play button, then……nothing. It would tell me I was an evil person with a proxy server and send me on my way.
This despite the fact that customer support insists that they DO have “some” Netflix servers. They are just unable or unwilling to tell me which ones.
I don’t buy it.
You shouldn’t, either.
7. Customer Support is Slow
Customer Support can be contacted via email, social media, and live chat. There is also a Support section which you can check out before emailing them.
Sounds promising, right?
So I sent Customer Support three questions:
And then waited.
Each reply took them at least ten minutes. Almost as if they were looking up the answers in their own FAQ or something.
A simple exchange that should have taken seconds ended up requiring the better part of half an hour.
Celo VPN Cost, Plans & Payment Methods
Celo VPN has monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual plans. Each one is fully-loaded with features. So the only difference is the prepayment amount and contract length.
You can pay for Celo VPN through credit or debit, PayPal, or Payza (a Canadian online payment platform).
Now, for some good news. They accept almost THIRTY cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.
There is no support for cash, however.
Otherwise, there is a free two-day trial that you can use to test drive their service. And a ten-day money-back guarantee from the date of purchase.
If you wait until after ten days, no refund will be given.
There are also a few other potential issues in the Terms of Service that might affect your refund.
The first is that refunds will be given based on the USD exchange rate at the time of refund, not the original purchase date. In other words, the actual amount you get back could be a little more or less than you initially paid.
The payment method you use also plays a role. If, for some reason, you can’t be paid back, they’ll offer product service, instead.
Do You Recommend Celo VPN?
The answer isn’t as clear-cut as it sounds.
I mean, look at what you’re getting.
Great pricing, an easy-to-use desktop app, torrent support, strong encryption, and no logging.
Granted, Australia’s membership in the Five Eyes agreement is troubling from a privacy and security standpoint. But as long as you are not looking up ISIS training manuals and Google Maps for the optimal route to Syria, then I guess the ordinary user doesn’t have too much to worry about.
The downsides are just too many at the end of the day, though.
Their site and user experience are frustrating. Speeds are just average, you can’t use Netflix, the kill switch isn’t really practical. Plus, there were multiple DNS leak and malware issues.
Overall, I’d recommend starting at the top of our Top Ten VPN list.