SecureVPN Review

John Mason

John Mason

Let’s find out if SecureVPN is truly worth your time and money…

SecureVPN recently launched in June 2015. It is owned and operated by SecureVPN Inc., a U.S.-based company.

SecureVPN review

As of June 2018, they have five servers in five countries.

Secure is a word that most users value. After all, that’s what we’re looking for when using a VPN. But it kinda loses its meaning when every single one claims that IT’S the most secure on the market.

We know they can talk the talk, but in this SecureVPN review, we’ll discover whether it can walk the walk.

OVERALL RANK 67/74
USABILITY 5/5
ENCRYPTION AES-256
VPN PROTOCOLS OpenVPN
SPEED 11/74
NETFLIX 1/4 Worked
TORRENTING Allowed
LOG FILES/JURISDICTION Some Logging/USA
SUPPORT Email Only, Decent Response Time
COST $69.99/Yr. No money-back guarantee.

SecureVPN Pros +

SecureVPN offers a flawless app that features a built-in kill switch. A server we tested worked with Netflix. And they also promote unlimited torrenting.

Here’s what else you can enjoy using them.

1. SecureVPN is Fast

All VPN connections will slow down your internet speed.

But it’s often well worth the increased security if all you’re sacrificing are a few percentage points.

We test the speeds of every VPN that we review, connecting to servers in the EU and US, and recording the speed drop off to let you know whether the trade-off is worth it (or not).

We’re happy to report that SecureVPN kept strong speeds.

The EU test was by far the best, with download speeds dropping scarcely over 10%.

EU speed test

EU Speed Test

  • Ping: 42 ms
  • Download: 86.22 Mbps (11% Slower than 97 Mbps Benchmark)
  • Upload: 28.78 Mbps (45.6% Slower than 53 Mbps Benchmark)

The U.S. server test was a little more mixed.

Download speeds were OK, but the upload speeds were almost 100% slower than the original connection.

US speed test

U.S. Speed Test

  • Ping: 223 ms
  • Download: 54.72 Mbps (43% Slower Than 97 Mbps Benchmark)
  • Upload: 3.69 Mbps (93% Slower Than 53 Mbps Benchmark)

SecureVPN’s strong EU performance still helped them place the 11th fastest out of over 70 VPNs we’ve reviewed.

2. It Works with Netflix

Netflix has big money contracts with a large number of providers, which state that they can only show certain content in certain geographic regions.

For example, content available on the UK version of Netflix might not be available in the US.

For a while this was no big deal. If an American wanted to watch UK content they just logged onto their VPN, connected to a server in the UK, fired up Netflix and they were fine.

Then one day, this happened.

unexpected error

Since then, Netflix declared war on VPNs, employing one of the most advanced VPN detection systems in the world to block access.

Because of this, a VPN which can successfully dodge Netflix’s countermeasures is worth its weight in gold.

That’s why Netflix testing is one of the key points of our review process. We choose four SecureVPN servers from the VPN and test them to see if Netflix will work.

One of them worked. Not stellar. But the fact that any worked at all is a plus in these dark streaming days.

SecureVPN also offers advice on the Netflix issue in the blog section of their official website to increase your odds of success.

3. Torrenting is Allowed

Torrenting allows you to download large files at lightning fast speeds. This is accomplished by connecting to the computers of other users and allowing them to connect to you.

This massive network leverages everyone’s resources. But it also comes with increased risk.

Cybercriminals have been known to use torrenting services to invade other systems, going so far as to take remote control of your computer.

That’s why VPNs are perfect for torrenting. The extra layer of security they provide keeps your system safe, allowing you to torrent in peace.

Unfortunately, many VPNs do not allow torrenting. Or they severely limit it to just a few servers.

SecureVPN does allow you to torrent, but P2P transfers are only allowed via their premium package.

4. Easy to Install and Use

I was very pleased with how easily this product was downloaded, installed, and used. The entire process, from clicking on the download link to connecting to the service, successfully clocked in at under three minutes.

secure VPN connect

Once it was installed and ready for use, I was given a choice between five servers in five different countries. Those are located in the United States, Singapore, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and India.

I chose the Netherlands server and got underway.

secure VPN disconnect

As expected, the transition was flawless and my speed was still in acceptable ranges. YouTube videos played instantly without any lag.

Then, I connected to Netflix. And it, too, worked like a charm. All in all, this app is highly recommended.

5. Built-In Kill Switch

SecureVPN does include a built-in kill switch as an extra layer of security.

In the event of a leak or any instance in which your connection is no longer secure, the kill switch activates and automatically ends the session before your IP is compromised.

It’s not something you’ll often notice after enabling it. But rest assured it’ll play an important role when you need it most.

 

SecureVPN Cons –

There was a lot to like about SecureVPN.

It’s just too bad this review doesn’t stop here.

Because many of the bad issues we saw outweigh the good.

From a shady description of their encryption software to the logging of personal information and poor customer support, there’s a lot here that will make you take a step back.

1. Logs Some of Your Data

On their official website, SecureVPN describes itself as being “100% private and safe no matter where you are.”

SecureVPN privacy policy
Fake stock photos trying to pretend they care about your privacy?

Sounds perfect, and when you take that at face value, you would assume that the company is not logging your information.

But many VPNs do keep track of your activity and save a lot of your personal data.

To get the real story outside of the company marketing line, you need to have the patience and sift through their privacy policy.

info collected by SecureVPN

Right there at the top of this image, you can see that they do collect your personal information, including your external and internal IP.

That is a form of logging.

The last line states that they do not log your web traffic, but further down the page, there is another bit that gives me some pause.

SecureVPN disclosure

Right off the bat, they’re saying “yeah, we encrypt your data….but if it doesn’t work that’s not our fault.” This refusal to stand by their VPN service is jarring, to say the least.

Then there’s that last line…

They’re not logging your use but they will give the government your usage data? That’s wildly misleading and makes me nervous.

No thanks.

2. U.S. Jurisdiction (5 Eyes Alliance)

SecureVPN Inc is based in the United States.

Normally, you might think that’s a good thing. Not when it comes to a VPN, though.

The United States is a founding member of the 5 Eyes surveillance alliance. This is a decades-old espionage agreement between five countries to share information that they’ve obtained.

Jurisdiction

The original five member countries of the 5 Eyes alliance are:

  • The United States
  • The United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Since SecureVPN is located in the United States, they are forced to comply with any and all surveillance demands the federal government makes. Then, the US is obligated to share that information with the governments of these four other countries.

Is your browsing really secure and anonymous if five different governments could have access to it on demand?

Especially when SecureVPN can’t even stand behind their product in the privacy policy?

3. Lack of Transparency Around Protocols & Encryption

SecureVPN is fairly tight-lipped about the specs of their encryption.

Repeatedly, they state that it is “the same encryption technology as the military and banks.” Combing through their site and other information I could dig up on the web, I found nothing pertaining to what encryption standard they use.

military grade encryption

Banks use a wide array of encryption standards, as required of them by law. According to Townsend Security’s data privacy blog, “Examples of industry-tested and accepted standards and algorithms for encryption include AES (128 bits and higher), TDES (minimum double-length keys), RSA (2048 bits and higher), ECC (160 bits and higher), and ElGamal (1024 bits and higher).”

This makes me nervous. Especially considering that almost all of the top VPNs we’ve reviewed tell you exactly what kind of encryption they’re using.

It was only by doing some additional digging that I was able to discover that they use OpenVPN protocols to tunnel their connections, and back into the encryption standard. This is a good thing, as most security experts agree that OpenVPN is your best bet for safe browsing.

However, SecureVPN doesn’t give you the option of switching protocols at will. While OpenVPN is the industry standard, it can have a difficult time with some iOS platforms or older computer systems.

Giving a secondary option is usually a good idea, lest you alienate a number of potential customers.

4. IP Leaks & Potential Virus Detected

The role of a VPN is to create a secure connection that allows you to browse the web safely and anonymously.

Good in theory. Yet, this doesn’t always happen in reality.

A VPN can fail to provide security due to IP leaks. In other words, your security could be undermined, literally pouring data outside your connection, and you would never know.

Leaks allow your ISP to see your real IP, negating the whole reason for a VPN in the first place.

This is a huge issue plaguing a great many products. In fact, over two-thirds of VPN Chrome extensions suffer from DNS leaks.

How does VPN tunnel work

A DNS leak occurs when, due to an error, the VPN tunnel is bypassed and your computer communicates directly with a DNS server. This reveals your real IP.

WebRTC initiative

WebRTC is a great tool that fuels browser advancement, but its presence can uncover your IP, even when using a VPN.

Every VPN that we review goes through a rigorous leak test, which encompasses six different examinations.

We put SecureVPN through these same tests, and it did not fare well.

  • https://ipleak.net/ – Failed
  • https://www.perfect-privacy.com/check-ip – Passed
  • https://ipx.ac/run – Passed
  • https://browserleaks.com/webrtc – Passed
  • https://www.perfect-privacy.com/dns-leaktest/ – Failed
  • https://dnsleak.com – Passed

As you can see, issues were detected in the form of both DNS and IP leaks.

DNS leak test on SecureVPN

If you’re using SecureVPN, your IP might not be as secure as you thought it was.

Here’s a IP leak we found when testing one of their Netherlands servers:

WebRTC leak test

That’s not all we discovered, unfortunately.

We also put their install files through VirusTotal.com and got one warning.

VirusTotal warnings on SecureVPN

It could be a false positive in all honesty. But couple this with known IP leaks, and it’s a troubling trend.

5. Limited Device Support

SecureVPN proudly touts that its services are usable on all networks and devices.

SecureVPN compatibility

However, this seems to be inclusive of only mobile and desktop platforms.

That leaves an entire section of the market that’s incompatible out of the box.

It’s great that SecureVPN is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. But, it would be better if it could be used on routers, gaming systems, Fire TVs, Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, and other smart devices that connect to a television.

6. Limited Servers & Main Features

SecureVPN has only five servers in five countries. Since most VPNs have hundreds of servers in dozens of countries, this feels a little limited.

SecureVPN provides the following

Speaking of limits, there is a free version of SecureVPN, but there are extreme limitations placed on it. You can surf anonymously, but you have a monthly data transfer limit of 1000 Mb, and individual sessions cannot go beyond 20 minutes.

The free version will only get you one connection at a time, but the premium offers five.

Access to P2P features is locked up in the premium as well.

The free version seems beneficial if you’re just looking to check your email or do some light browsing while connected to public wifi. Otherwise, it is extremely limited.

7. Email-Only Customer Support & Vague Answers

SecureVPN uses a contact form on their website for all customer service matters.

SecureVPN customer support

 

Simplicity is good, but I’m not big on email-only support. It’s fine in some cases. But nearly impossible to have follow-up conversations that can often lag over a few days.

Here’s what I mean.

I wrote out a rather simple question, further asking about their mysterious “military-grade encryption.”

SecureVPN support

Eleven hours later, I got a response. It was not one that I liked.

Secure VPN response

Helen from SecureVPN customer support answered half of my question. She talked a bit about their protocols, but my inquiry into their vague encryption software was left completely untouched.

Their answer was dismissive and slow. Which means I’d have to wait days to get an answer that should take two seconds.

SecureVPN Costs, Plans, & Payment Methods

SecureVPN costs

SecureVPN offers a free service that’s perfect if you’re just testing out the service.

It grants access to their SecureVPN, includes no speed throttling, gives you full access to Web and VoIP services, but limits your time and data transfer amounts.

Their Premium Package includes a lot of extra stuff. You get everything from the free package, plus P2P file transfers, unlimited sessions/data, five connections, and a fairly hefty price tag.

With only five servers, it’s a little tough to justify at $7.99 per month. Not when so many other VPNs with server parks 10 times that size are going for less.

As far as payment options go, it’s limited. They ONLY offer PayPal support. No traditional credit card processing or cryptocurrencies are accepted.

SecureVPN discount

It should be noted that there seems to be some discrepancy regarding the price of their annual plan. In the earlier screenshot it was listed as $69.99, and here it is $49.99. So there are more inconsistencies.

Initially, we thought we missed the money-back guarantee. Surely, it’s on their site somewhere. Every single VPN we’ve reviewed to date offers some sort of refund policy.

But not SecureVPN.

Instead, we had to go all the way down through their Terms and Conditions to read the fine print.

First, they say that users acknowledge the company might shut down for any reason, at any moment. That’s not very encouraging.

Then, they go on to say that while they’ll give you a 30-day notice, “Subscribers will not be eligible for a pro-rated, partial, or complete refund in the event of a shut down.”

So basically, you’re screwed.

Another bit of bad news? The last time these Terms were updated was 2015. Yikes. So you know they’re woefully out of date. GDPR anyone?

Do I Recommend SecureVPN?

No, I do not.

It’s a shame that I don’t recommend this product because it worked really well. The concerns we have, outweigh the experience, however.

Logging and leaks of any kind are always going to make you second guess. It doesn’t matter how well a system works, if you’re keeping my information or leaking my IP address, then you’re failing the primary task of a VPN.

The whole hush-hush secret about their encryption is also worrisome. Not only do they go out of their way to not tell you its specs on the website, but then when you ask an employee about it, they’re evasive

Then there’s the price. There are far better VPNs out there for less money. It had great speed and worked well with Netflix and torrenting, but it’s still a pass for me.

Out of 74 VPNs, we rate SecureVPN at number 67 overall.

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