F-Secure Freedome is one of the biggest VPN companies out there.
They boast that no other company has aided more European cybercrime investigations.
It was founded in 1998 (as Data Fellows) in Helsinki, Finland.
Today, they’re a public cybersecurity and privacy company with over 1000 employees.
Their team is spread out across 20 offices from Helsinki to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
We signed up, purchased, and tested their service for this F-Secure Freedome review over the past few months.
Here’s a look at what we found.
What Does F-Secure Freedome VPN Do?
- F-Secure Freedome hides your IP address by relocating it to another country or city.
- It protects your Public and Private Wi-Fi experience through the secure OpenVPN protocol and a strong AES-256 encryption.
- It gives access to geo-blocked content.
- It secures your everyday online activities like doing taxes, online banking, streaming, and browsing.
What it basically does is what every other VPN does – hides your IP and makes your Internet connection safer.
But does it really about your privacy?
And are you allowed to torrent or unblock Netflix? Let’s find out soon…
Does F-Secure Freedome VPN keep logs?
Most VPNs we’ve looked at will unanimously declare they “don’t log.”
Except, you know, that’s not entirely true.
In fact, most do log.
Sometimes it’s for noble reasons, like protecting you from other users who might be abusing the platform. But VPNs intentions aren’t always so clear.
Let’s see where F-Secure falls on that spectrum when looking at their terms.
For starters, F-Secure will collect different user data based on where you might download or purchase.
How does that work exactly?
It could range from relatively harmless things, like order numbers, operating systems, and service information, to more sensitive information like your name, email, payment choice, and even IP address.
They might also collect traffic log data to “comply with local laws.”
Here’s where things get dicey.
They’ll use “customer relationship data” for support reasons or to analyze how the service is performing.
No problems there in most cases, right?
But here’s a few interesting lines:
They’ll also use customer tracking to “approach you with relevant messages.”
Sounds a lot like targeted advertising to me!
It gets a little more clear in the next line, where they flatly state that they’ll use personal data “to send you information relating to the services, conduct customer surveys, arrange competitions, advertise and market our services to you.”
Yuck. Count me out.
Jurisdiction in Finland (?)
F-Secure’s Helsinki home base proves to be a savvy move. Finland has one of the most strict privacy laws in the world.
Privacy is the major selling point for VPN services. You’re often trying to mask online activity from both internet service providers and prying government eyes.
“Eyes,” in this case, is an appropriate word.
Five eyes refers to the allegiance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S. They have an agreement that allows them to share intelligence information worldwide, so they can monitor any potential threats and warn each other before it’s too late.
VPN services, while technically secure, aren’t immune to these government agencies.
The U.S. Congress has been rolling back internet privacy laws, making it easier for them to snoop, pry, and pull your data from just about anyone they want. If your VPN company is based in the U.S., guess what? They’re often forced to hand over any data they collect.
F-Secure’s Finish location means they’re ‘outside’ of all these ‘eyes’ alliances.
Not only are their privacy laws more strict, but they also won’t share personal data with other countries around the world.
Is F-Secure Freedome VPN Safe?
F-Secure Freedome relies on state-of-the-art, AES-256 encryption. This hack-proof key is considered as the strongest available option on the market.
The OpenVPN tunneling protocol is default on all Android, Windows, and Mac OS X products. While IKEv2 is offered for iOS. Both protocols are the best of the best, and should be used whenever available.
No Malware & Leaks Found
VPNs can make you feel secure.
But they’re unfortunately not foolproof.
You can be connected, for instance, but still ‘leak’ data that ISPs and governments can detect.
DNS leaks are one of the most common loopholes that can land you in hot water in an unfriendly privacy country like China.
These leaks will divulge your true identity and location, making it easy for them to spot as they’re already looking for them.
And these leaks can often occur even when you’re on a supposedly-secure VPN connection.
These often happen without you even realizing it. So we set-up a few different tests just to double-check how secure F-Secure really is.
We performed six different tests and found zero 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)
DNS leaks aren’t your only culprit, however. You also have to worry about the install files that your VPN is sending over, too.
If you’re not careful or using a sketchy free VPN service, they might even contain malware.
We performed a test using VirusTotal.com and saw zero potential malware problems.
In this case, F-Secure’s massive size provides big benefits. They have the resources and manpower to vigorously test each product update or release.
Is F-Secure Freedome VPN Fast?
VPNs should also largely go unnoticed.
You shouldn’t even realize you’re using one while browsing around or streaming new music.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
The first thing you generally notice is how sluggish everything becomes. It suddenly takes minutes (instead of seconds) for a simple webpage to load.
For this very reason, we like to compare not just one VPN against the other 70+ we’ve reviewed, but also against no VPN at all.
Here’s the peak at how our connection looked without a VPN:
And now, let’s compare this to our performance when we do connect.
First, here’s what the performance looked like in the EU:
EU speed test:
- Ping: 67ms
- Download: 84.51 Mbps
- Upload: 34.13 Mbps
And next, let’s check out the US speed test:
US speed test:
- Ping: 129ms
- Download: 62.23 Mbps
- Upload: 22.76 Mbps
Overall, pretty strong across the board.
And best of all, no big noticeable drop off after connecting.
Download speeds only dropped around 14-37% from our original connection speed.
Uploads didn’t fare as well, but still posted between a 35-57% decline. That still places them in the middle of the pack.
Does it Work with Netflix?
VPNs aren’t encouraged by some countries.
Many will ban them outright, in fact.
Take China as just one example, who forced Apple to remove all VPN options from their Chinese App Store.
Restrictive governments will often use DNS leaks as a way to detect VPN use.
But they’re not the only ones.
Netflix has aggressively pursued popular VPN companies over the past year. They’re under pressure from the people who provide them with content: Hollywood.
Having users in one country stream content from another often violates their lucrative licensing deals. So they’ve forced Netflix to respond (or else).
We tested F-Secure on five different worldwide servers and found that only one of them worked. Unfortunately, that lone survivor was also too slow for actually streaming anything.
- Canada server blocked
- East Coast server too slow
- West Coast blocked
- Netherlands blocked
- UK server blocked
This isn’t likely to change anytime soon, either.
F-Secure is a big company themselves (with a lot to lose). It seems that their stance is to take it up with Netflix directly, as opposed to getting into a legal battle between them and movie producers.
Is Torrenting Allowed?
Torrenting can help you quickly, easily transport huge files. But it also leaves you open to a lot of potential risk.
There’s no personal privacy, so other users can often see your IP. And using it also puts you at risk of regulatory or copyright issues.
For that reason, F-Secure doesn’t encourage torrenting. They specifically cite the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as a chief reason behind this unpopular decision.
They “technically block peer-to-peer file sharing on the affected VPN gateways.”
They don’t stop there, though.
When they detect people trying to use it, they’ll restrict your network access with a firewall to disable it (for up to a few hours).
So if you’re looking for a torrent-friendly VPN, look elsewhere — like ExpressVPN.
What Devices Are Supported?
F-Secure Freedome works perfectly fine on the following devices:
But there are a few drawbacks, too.
First, they don’t have a browser extension. So you’ll have to install the client on your computer or laptop if you want to connect to their servers.
Second, they don’t allow you to connect to popular gaming consoles like Xbox.
They do support router connections, which is nice because they only allow three simultaneous connections. That means if you have a lot of devices, you’d run the risk of requiring multiple accounts, too.
TOR is also compatible with the VPN itself.
However, F-Secure sells their own router called SENSE. So if locking down your entire router is a deal breaker, you’ll probably have to spring for this extra purchase.
Is F-Secure Freedome Simple to Use?
You don’t want (or need) a lot of bells and whistles from a VPN.
You just want it to work. And not give you any trouble.
F-Secure passes that test easily.
Just fire up the client, punch the massive “Protection” button you can’t miss, and you’re good to go.
Additional options, like locations and settings, are a click away in the left-hand sidebar.
The experience was smooth and efficient. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
They do throw in one additional surprise, though.
F-Secure also provides a tracking attempt map that will visually chart all of the blocked tracking attempts. It’s basically a fancy report, but it’s still fun to look at to see how often it’s coming to your aid.
Servers & Main Features
Most other VPNs will literally shout this from the rooftops. NordVPN boasts about their 5,200+ servers.
F-Secure does mention working in 21 different countries. So we can guess they have at least 21.
But they’re also quick to throw their hands up in defeat if some locations don’t work.
For example, if you’re in China, you won’t be able to connect to any other F-Secure Freedome locations. They cite China’s government restrictions, and basically tell you “good luck.”
Once again, the big company behind them has too much to lose in getting locked up with a lengthy litigation.
They also offer a kill switch.
The best VPN companies will offer almost flawless uptime. Their connections almost never go down.
Except, for the word “almost.”
There is a chance that they can (and will) fail at some point.
When that happens, your complete browsing session will be exposed to the light of day. That means whatever you’re doing, looking at, or downloading, will show up for ISPs and governments to see.
That won’t happen if there’s a kill switch.
This will shut down your connection so no sensitive information winds up in the wrong hands.
F-Secure is a massive enterprise.
So their customer support is both good and bad.
On the one hand, it’s not exactly warm, friendly, and personable. But on the other, they provide a huge variety of choices.
You can reach an actual human being on the phone, or you can help yourself to the detailed Knowledge Base and Community.
In theory, there’s a chat service option. But it seems like it’s there for appearances only. We never actually saw it in use during our entire research process.
You can Submit Requests on their site, however, they don’t actually list F-Secure Freedome (their VPN product) as an option. So it appears like you can only get technical help for their other products.
Finally, we did try leaving a Private Message in F-Secure Community.
Unfortunately, it’s been a week since leaving that request and we’ve yet to hear back so far.
The only other hiccup is that they also work with resellers. So if you purchased through one of their partners, you’ll actually have to go get support from them, too.
That means you might not get access to F-Secure directly.
Choose wisely when deciding who to purchase from in that case!
F-Secure Freedome Pricing Methods & Plans
F-Secure Freedome offers the same basic plan in three different options.
The only thing that changes is the number of simultaneous devices you can use (and the price for each).
- 3 Devices for $4.17/mo ($49.99 per year)
- 5 Device for $4.99/mo ($59.99 per year)
- 7 Devices for $6.67/mo ($79.99 per year)
You can also download a free, five-day trial for your computer or mobile device.
You can buy their software with all major credit cards, PayPal, IDEAL, or even a wire transfer.
They don’t accept any anonymous payment methods like cryptocurrencies yet, though.
F-Secure will also throw in a 30-day money-back guarantee. But only if you purchase through their website (and not through a reseller or partner).
Is F-Secure Freedome Recommended VPN?
F-Secure’s Freedome VPN is merely OK.
It’s easy to use and pretty quick. But there are limitations with torrenting, P2P and Netflix. Your server locations are limited, and there’s no kill switch offered.
Then there’s one final issue:
Big companies rarely make good partners in the fight for individual internet privacy.
It makes logical sense when you think about it from their perspective. They don’t want any hassles.
Especially in the case of F-Secure, where their Freedome VPN truthfully is only a tiny slice of their business.
They’re rightfully going to cover their own ass.
They’ll cover yours when it’s convenient. But not when it’s not.
And that’s exactly the problem.
Add your own F-Secure Freedome VPN review
2 user reviews for F-Secure Freedome VPN
Further testing with freedome shows blocking of linux servers.
Initial use good and helps with ISP throttling for services such a youtube.
Helps with limiting incessant ads.
Transfer speeds are decent
Repeatedly blocks and reports linux servers. Particularly those that use mirrors to help with download speeds.
Privacy is lacking in the fact that the notifications are not sent in vpn encrypted form.
Sets off one's firewall intrusion protection with non-stop port requests.
GUI isn't as stable as indicated and will randomly CTD.
Price is expensive for only 21 servers and so many restrictions.
Tech support is lacking particularly based on individual time zones.
What they claim to log is more than they admit. Firewall logs show unsecured ports and requests.
Do I recommend Freedome? I would have to say, no.
pdate and personal experience
After 20 days of experimenting with F-Secure Freedome, several observations:
1. The version I downloaded from F-Secure includes a "kill-switch." It appears to work appropriately and is a welcome and necessary feature.
2. I contacted customer service several times to test its availability and responsiveness. I found the best means to contact customer service was via phone. Each time I contacted customer service I spoke with a representative based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As stated on the F-Secure website its primary corporate locations are in Helsinki, Finland (corporate headquarters and lab) and Kuala Lumpur (lab). I was able to make contact via chat around Midnight (UTC). Again, it appear to be a connection to Kuala Lumpur.
I agree with the Pros listed by "thebestvpn.com" review. As I do not stream Netflix or use torrenting, I am unable to comment.
I found its download/upload speeds acceptable.
I would recommend it as part of F-Secure Total package (antivirus suite plus VPN). As a stand alone product, there are other viable options.