Is Pornhubs VPN service good enough to keep us anonymous on porn sites?
After the official announcement of age verification law within the UK, it seems that we give away too much information about our intimate life.
To be able to watch porn in the UK, you now have to hand over details of your personal identification documents – passport, ID-card or drivers license.
The law was implemented in April in Digital Economy Act 2017 and is regulated by British Board of Film Classification.
It gets more terrifying!
The verification tool was developed by MindGeek, the company behind several biggest pornographic websites including Pornhub, YouPorn, and RedTube. This results our private data converging into the hands of one single company.
Mindgeek is a privately held company founded in 2004. Their legal headquarters are located in Luxembourg but is operated mainly from Canada.
„AgeID creator MindGeek itself offers a VPN service to pass the restriction“
Not only has Pornhubs owner created the AgeID, they also have partnered with IPVanish to let their visitors sweep under the carpet.
This shows that they have a business to run and the new regulation will have an enormous impact on their website traffic.
If porn websites disagree with the law they can be fined $329.000 or even be banned for good.
AgeID is an age verification platform to ensure the viewer is 18+ years old. The visitors have to verify their age with an official document and once it is done, they are able to visit AgeID protected websites again without other verification methods. It was made in partnership with the UK government.
The big kahuna remains – is our data secure within the world’s largest internet pornography monopoly?
We would like to help you answer these questions in this article.
What Does The Community Think About AgeID?
Redditors Are Mostly Against the Restriction.
Pornhub community manager Katie_Pornhub is a popular and well-liked member. She has a 6-year-old Reddit account.
Nevertheless, on the VPN issue, redditors are hateful – there is little love or upvotes.
People got pissed off by the fact that Katie_Pornhub declared Pornhub trustworthy:
If you are working for the company you are promoting, people get fired up:
Some cheer her up for hardcore PR work:
Redditors feel that Pornhub has too much control and access to their information.
Pornhub responded that they will sell the information but it will be anonymous. They also claim that they’re not storing the browsing data.
To get a realistic perspective about VPNhubs trustworthiness, we have to look into technical details.
So what did we do?
We ripped their VPN apart and dug into everything that might ring an alarm bell.
Below you can find advantages and disadvantages of using VPNhub and we will give our opinion whether it is worth the risk in the conclusion.
We tried out all the main leak identification sites – Virustotal, IPLeak.net, Perfect-Privacy DNS leak test, IPX.ac, Browserleaks.com
None of the sites found any leaks while using VPNhub.
Some services tend to have a lot of them. For example – Hola free VPN scored DNS leaks on 3 websites out of 7.
Low-quality and bad service is common with free VPNs, this is why we recommend reading How Free VPNs Sell Your Data.
Compatible With Main Platforms
VPNhub is working on main platforms – Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.
Unfortunately, it’s not working on Linux, but it is not a big deal for the everyday user.
If you want to get into Netflix and watch a movie from „Steamy“ section, it’s also possible with VPNhub.
Additionally, torrenting and TOR browser is allowed and works fine.
There are locations in which VPNhub is not responding at all.
If you are located in one of these countries, you won’t be able to use VPNhub – Burma/Myanmar, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria.
It might also be blocked in – Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, China.
Wide Variety Of Servers
VPNhub has over 826 servers to choose from within 18 different countries.
Compared to other service providers, it’s just over the average.
Servers include – Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the US.
For example – ExpressVPN, the top player in VPN market, has 1500+ servers in 93 countries.
There is a noteworthy plus worth mentioning: Premium subscription allows you to connect up to 3 devices simultaneously to VPNhub servers.
Secure AES-256 Encryption
VPNhub offers two types of encryptions and protocols.
Encryption AES-256 & AES-128 and the Industry standard OpenVPN – Both UDP and TCP
OpenVPN is the most secure VPN protocol available, but what’s the difference between UDP and TCP?
- Bypasses FireWalls – The tunnels run on common ports (443, 80) and are therefore rarely blocked
- More Reliable – The connections are more stable due to guaranteed delivery of packets
- Slow Speed – The higher encryption methods slows the connection
- Less Reliable – Delivery of packets are not guaranteed
- Preferred – UDP tunnels are preferred connection method if the network supports it
- Fast Speed – Faster than TCP due to lower encryption
The most common attack in cryptography is called brute-forcing.
When looking at AES-128, it takes 2(128) guesses to try each of the possible keys, with AES-256, its 2(256).
The latter is just cosmically larger, resulting in AES-256 to be a much stronger choice.
We used Speedtest.net to test out the speed with 3 different servers.
For more precise results, we ran every test 3 times and calculated the average of which we then found the relation.
Ping – 64 ms
Download – 5 Mbps
Upload – 0.69 Mbps
Ping – 562 ms
Download – 2.79 Mbps
Upload – 0.27 Mbps
Ping – 284 ms
Download – 3.98 Mbps
Upload – 0.44 Mbps
- Germany ping is 169% higher, Singapore 2273% and the US 1100%
- Download speed is 40% slower when connected to a German server, 47% with Singapore and 24% slower using the US server
- Germany upload speed is 13% slower, Singapore 65% and the US server 44% slower.
Bad Jurisdiction Location
VPNhub developer AppAtomic Limited headquarters are based in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Nevertheless, their servers are in the US.
Any personal information will be processed by Appatomic in the United States.
Most importantly – you have to consider local data protection laws!
United States is a member of 5 Eyes Jurisdiction (FVEY)
FVEY is the agreement between the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in which that country’s surveillance agency has tools and legal rights to access data held on the network in those respective countries.
FVEY countries can also request data from their cooperative.
There are several interesting features found in the settings tab.
One we haven’t seen for a while – Connect to the fastest server (out of 800+). The same feature can be set for a specific country.
We also like that they offer Auto Reconnect and Kill Switch, which is also listed in the settings Connection tab.
Yet, There’s one thing that is more than surprising.
Kill Switch doesn’t work!
We tested it by checking Kill Switch. Then we tried to connect to the internet without the VPN – not working. After being connected to different servers, the internet still didn’t respond.
As soon as we unchecked Kill Switch, the internet started working again.
In their defense, they didn’t advertise this feature on their website.
Unresponsive Customer Support
VPNhub proudly announces 24/7 support.
We wanted to make sure they are genuine about their statements.
We wrote them an e-mail to see the response time and found out it is about 10 hours. Not bad, right?
We were pleased to see the reply, as well their politeness and ability to give short and straightforward answers.
The main reason why their support is still awful is the fact that after asking follow-up questions, they still haven’t sent us the reply. Our second e-mail was sent 4 days ago, which is far from 24/7 service.
As time goes by, people expect immediate solutions to the problems, therefore live chat or phone number would be much more convenient.
If you need quick and general answers though, you might want to check out their FAQ page.
VPNhub claims no logging, but is it true?
When their app is opened for the first time, you can choose to either allow VPNHUB to receive your advertiser ID or not.
If you turn it off, they may degrade your overall experience.
This is a clear sign of a hook they want you to swallow.
Advertisers ID is a personalized ID that tracks your browsing habits and more. It is used to gather and sell data, but also to target advertisements.
To have a clear understanding what data they log, it is important to read every line carefully.
The first thing to notice is that they do have some of your personal information and therefore can be accessed by an employee who needs to perform their job functions related to this data.
Secondly, they clearly state that they cannot guarantee your personal details will not be revealed or viewed by others.
To sum it up – they have no legal responsibility for any damages that may occur by leaks.
One more thing.
Pornhubs partner IPVanish got busted for logging everything and handing logs to feds.
Recently, there were court documents published that reveal how IPVanish logged and shared real IP address, full name, username, EOB date, connection sites, connection timestamps and disconnection timestamps.
Subscriber information was requested and Highwinds Network Group, Inc, the parent company of IPVanish provided a report identifying the suspect user.
The relevant section can be seen in this image.
Lying about logging is actually no surprise for us. There are many VPNs out there that claim “no log” policy but actually do. Here is a list of 100+ VPN logging policies.
VPNhub knowingly announces their services as free.
The reality is the opposite.
When starting to scroll around their website and read the small texts, it becomes clear it’s free only for a week.
Not only isn’t it free, it’s expensive too!
After 7 days of trial, you will be billed €12.99 per month. Early subscription is moderately cheaper – €69.99.
Coming back to being secure, we don’t like iTunes billing.
This is the only option you have to pay for, both for Windows/Mac and Android/iOS.
As Pornhub has partnered with Verge Cryptocurrency, there is a chance that billing methods may change in the future.
We got some hope about the payments when asked them about this issue directly by e-mail.
They told us that someday subscribing is going to be possible on desktop version also.
The interface is generally easy to use both in-app and desktop.
The design is simple and understandable. They have put an effort to make it smooth-looking.
Still, there are a lot of bugs.
As stated earlier, Kill Switch doesn’t work on desktop and within the app we never got the connection working at all, not sure why!
There are currently no ratings in the iOS app store.
When looking into Google play, it seems there are no problems with Android devices, as out of 3945 ratings, the average is a bit over 4 stars.
Should we trust Pornhubs VPNhub to securely surf the internet?
We believe – No!
They partnered with IPVanish to create the service and even though IPVanish is considered as legit business, they have some past in logging user details.
Furthermore, VPNhub itself is still too green and shady. Their logging policy doesn’t guarantee protection from personal information leaks.
There is more than one VPN provider that is highly reputable and trustworthy. Why should you ever risk using expensive and sketchy company instead of better available solutions, it just doesn’t make sense from any angle.
If the software would really be free & unlimited as advertised, it might be worth a second guess.
But it isn’t!