UltraVPN 2020 Review
Reviews score: Very good
UltraVPN is a fast VPN that offers maximum privacy at half the price of most competing VPNs.
- Fast: Excellent download-speeds, similar to ExpressVPN and NordVPN
- Maximum privacy: UltraVPN has a zero-log policy and does not track you
- Highly secure: it uses all the top features; OpenVPN, AES-256 & kill-switch
- Servers in 55 countries: Covering all continents.
- Very low price: Its yearly price is half that of NordVPN and ExpressVPN
- Beautiful apps: Supporting Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Chrome
- Works with Netflix & Torrents (P2P)
- Only 3 simultaneous connections: But considering that UltraVPN is a lot cheaper than other VPNs, the price per connection is very competitive
- Does not work in China
- Best deal: $ 2.99 / month
- Refund Policy: 30 days
- Customer Support: 24/7 Live chat
- Devices per account: 3
- Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android and iOS
- Works with US Netflix: Yes
- Works with Torrents: Yes
- Works in China: No
- Speed: 88 Mbps
- Servers in: 55 countries
- Server count: Unkown
- IP Addresses: Unkown
- Jurisdiction: UK
- Data leaks: None
- Logging policy: No logs
Privacy and Security
The Good: UltraVPN is a privacy-focused VPN with a clear zero-logs policy. That means that it doesn’t track what you do online, such as the websites you visit or services you use. It also uses the most secure protocol (OpenVPN), the most secure encryption standard (AES-256), has its own DNS-servers, features a kill switch (called “the firewall”), and does not leak any data.
The Bad: UltraVPN’s zero-log policy has one small flaw; it collects your originating IP address. However, as UltraVPN does not track anything you actually do online, this is not a big deal.
What privacy and security elements do we test for?
We test 7 different elements. Below you can read exactly what each element is, why it is important, and how UltraVPN performs.
- Logging Policy
- Own DNS Servers
- Kill Switch Test
- Leak Test
1. Logging Policy
What is a logging policy and why does it matter?
Logs are the information a VPN provider stores about you and your online activity. In a perfect world, a VPN provider would store no information at all. But we don’t live in a perfect world.
There are roughly 4 buckets of information a VPN provider could store on you. Ranging from harmless to harmful, these are:
- VPN service data: The VPN server you connect to, your operating system and the app version your use.
- Connection data: The dates and times you log in and log out, how long you use the service, and how much data you upload and download.
- Original IP address: The IP address of your device that you use to login to the VPN service. This can be used to determine your location.
- Online activity: The websites you visit, searches you perform, and
servicesyou use. Basically, your browsing history.
The first two points, service and connection data, are relatively harmless. Especially when they are collected in
The third point, the collection of your original IP address, is not a grave
The final point, your online activity, is really the most important matter you should look out for. If a VPN provider collects this information, it is a big red flag.
None of the VPN providers we recommend collect this type of information, but there are several free VPN providers that do. They then go on and sell this information to data collectors. This is why we don’t recommend free VPNs.
What is UltraVPN’s logging policy like?
UltraVPN’s logging policy is rather short. But it says the following:
This puts them on the edge of what is acceptable. Most important; your online activity is not stored. So whatever you watch, download, visit or search is not stored anywhere and cannot be traced back to you. Which is great. But the fact that they store the source IP address might make some privacy-sensitive users nervous.
Some countries, such as the USA, Australia and many members of the EU, have strict data retention laws. These require internet service providers (ISP‘s) to store data on its users, such as emails sent and websites visited.
By using a VPN, you encrypt the data
Some people fear that VPN providers are also required to collect data on its users due to the data retention laws. However, a VPN is a private network
Of course, governmental agencies are highly sophisticated institutions and look for other ways to collect the data they desire. For
And these are not paranoid conspiracy theories, but very real scenarios. For
In order to avoid such issues,
- Choose a VPN provider in a country that has no data retention laws and is not a member of an international intelligence treaty such as the UKUSA agreement. Basically meaning: Go off-shore. For instance, NordVPN is incorporated in Panama and ExpressVPN is incorporated in the BVI.
- Choose a VPN provider that has a zero-log policy and does not store your online activity, such as the websites you visit, services you use or searches you make. After all, what it doesn’t have, it cannot hand over.
What is UltraVPN’s jurisdiction?
Network Protect LLC and Network Protect Limited, the companies owning UltraVPN, are incorporated in the United States and the United Kingdom.
This is tricky as these countries have some of the most aggressive intelligence agencies (the NSA and GHQC). Luckily however, UltraVPN does not log your online activity. So even if forced, it couldn’t hand over your data, as it doesn’t collect it in the first place.
In short: Although UltraVPN’s jurisdiction is not the ideal choice for privacy sensitive users, its zero-log policy protects its users’ privacy.
What is a protocol and why does it matter?
A VPN protocol defines how data is formatted and transmitted over a network, such as
What protocols does UltraVPN use?
UltraVPN uses the most secure protocol: OpenVPN.
What is encryption and why does it matter?
Encryption means the transformation of readable information, into unreadable gibberish. This encryption is done using an encryption key, and only the parties with access to the key can decipher and read the information.
The gold standard is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Within the VPN industry, it generally is used with two key
What encryption standard does UltraVPN use?
UltraVPN uses the most secure encryption standard: AES-256.
5. Own DNS Servers
What are DNS servers and why does it matter?
When you visit a website such as Facebook.com, you actually visit a long string of numbers, called an IP address. As these numbers are too complex for us humans to remember, we have invented domain names (for instance “Facebook.com”).
A DNS-server is like the telephone operator of the internet. It stores a vast number of domain names with their corresponding IP addresses. And when you type in the website you want to visit, it gets you to the right IP address.
When a VPN provider uses its own DNS servers, this process is encrypted in the same VPN-tunnel as the rest of your online activities. This means it cannot be logged by third-parties or intercepted and censored by governments and
Does UltraVPN use its own DNS servers?
Yes, UltraVPN uses its own DNS servers.
6. Kill Switch Test
What is a kill switch and why does it matter?
A kill switch is
Does UltraVPN’s use a kill switch?
UltraVPN has a unique kill switch which it calls “the firewall”. The effect remains the same though, as it will protect your real IP address by stopping all online activity if the VPN connections
The switch is located directly at the bottom of the main screen and
7. Leak Test
What is a “leak” and why does it matter?
A leak happens when a VPN allows part of your data to be visible eventhough your VPN connection is active. The most common leaks are DNS leaks, IP Leaks, WebRTC Leaks, and the Windows Credential Leak.
Does UltraVPN’s leak your data?
No, UltraVPN does not leak any of your data.
The Good: UltraVPN is a fast and smooth VPN. The time it takes to connect to the server is hardly noticeable, and the download speeds are very high. We found that UltraVPN reduced our download speed by about 15%. This is far better than the average VPN, which slows you down by roughly 40%.
The Bad: –
What is a speed test and why does it matter?
VPN connections slow you down online. There is no denying it. It’s simply the price you pay for encrypting your data and routing it through a VPN server.
This can have an impact on the time it takes to download files, the quality you can stream YouTube and Netflix on, and how fast webpages load.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to improve your speed:
- Buy a fast VPN. There are big speed differences between the VPN providers. For instance, Hotspot Shield is lightning fast and has almost no negative speed impact, while Tunnelbear is terribly slow.
- Select a VPN close to you. Nearly every VPN allows you to choose your server location. The closer the VPN is to you, the less distance your data has to travel. This is good for your download speed and your latency.
- Test a few servers. Don’t just accept the automatic server the VPN provider assigns to you. More often than not, this is not the fastest option. Instead, connect to a few servers, run a speed few tests, and select the fastest server. This can make a big difference.
How did UltraVPN score in the speed test?
We were testing from Europe on a base of connection of 90 – 100 Mbps.
Our local speed tests showed some very interesting results. To begin with, local connections to UltraVPN network servers resulted in a 4Mbps drop from 96Mbps to 92Mbps. At the same time, we noticed a slight increase in ping, albeit not high enough to notice, even when playing competitive online games.
Global speed test results for UltraVPN put the app in a good light. From an average of 96Mbps, we only went down to 72Mbps, which may indicate that UltraVPN handles long-distance connections a lot better than other VPN services.
The Good: UltraVPN has servers in 55 countries, which is more than most VPNs offer (the average is 30) and should cover 99% of all users’ needs. It supports all major operating systems (Windows, Mac, Android and iOS) and has a Chrome browser extension. It also works perfectly with Netflix and torrenting (P2P).
The Bad: UltraVPN does not seem to work in China, and only offers 3 simultaneous connections. But considering that UltraVPN is a lot cheaper than most competing VPNs, the price per connection is actually very competitive.
What features do we test for?
We test 5 different elements. Below you can read exactly what each element is, why it is important, and how UltraVPN performs.
- Server Locations
- Platform and Devices
- Number of Connections
- Streaming and Torrenting
- Bypassing Censorship
1. Server Locations
What is a server location and why does it matter?
By server locations, we mean the countries you can connect to through your VPN. Most VPN providers have servers in about 30 countries around the world. Some offer you the ability to select a server on a country level, where others go one step further and allow you to select a server on a city level. For instance New York or Los Angeles within the United States.
This matters because your data needs to travel from your device to the VPN server before you can connect the internet. So if you are based our of France, but connect to a server in Australia, this will slow you down quite a bit. By having multiple server locations, nearly all users can find one that is located relatively close by.
Where are UltraVPN’s servers located?
UltraVPN offers servers in 55 countries around the world. Quite a bit more than average of 30. With a spread between North-America, South-America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, most users will find a server close by.
2. Platforms and Devices
What are platforms and devices and why do they matter?
Platforms are operating software, browsers and devices the VPN provider offers apps for. For instance, while most VPN providers offer apps for Windows, Mac OS, Android and iOS, few also include Linux. Some go one step further and support the direct installation onto your router and offer browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
When it comes to browser extensions, you should check whether the extensions works as a proxy server, a proxy server with encryption, or a full VPN, as the difference is important:
- A proxy server: If your VPN browser extension works as a proxy, your IP address is masked. This means that the websites you visit will think you’re located in the country of your VPN server. This can be handy to unlock American series on Netflix for instance. However, your data is not encrypted and still vulnerable to data collection by ISPs and hackers.
- A proxy server with encryption: If the browser extension adds encryption, the data you send through your browser is fully encrypted. This makes it unreadable for ISPs and hackers. However, the rest of your online activities, like streaming apps such as Spotify, remain unencrypted.
- If your VPN browser extension controls the VPN app entirely, all your online activities are encrypted in the VPN tunnel, and your IP address is masked. This allows you to change VPN settings without ever leaving your browser.
What platforms and devices does UltraVPN’s support?
UltraVPN offers dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. On top of that it has a browser extension for Google Chrome. Do keep in mind that the Chrome extension by UltraVPN functions as a proxy server with encryption.
This means that it will hide your IP address and encrypt all the data flowing through your browser, but it will not encrypt the rest of your online activities that don’t flow through the browser. So make sure to activate the main VPN app as well.
3. Number of Connections
What are connections and why do they matter?
The number of connections indicate how many devices you can simultaneously protect on your VPN subscription. For most users, 3 connections are more than enough as it allows them to protect their phone, laptop and potentially a tablet. However, if you would like to share the VPN with a friend or family member, having more connections could help.
How many simultaneous connections does UltraVPN support?
UltraVPN offers 3 simultaneous connections. Which is a fair amount considering the low price. NordVPN, for instance, offers 6 simultaneous connections but also costs twice as much. Making the cost per connection the same.
4. Streaming and Torrenting
What is streaming and torrenting and why do they matter?
If you are not from the USA but want to see American Netflix series, a VPN can help. By logging into an American VPN server, and then accessing Netflix, it will show you all the local movies and series. This is also practical for Americans that are traveling abroad.
Another advantage of a VPN is to safely download torrents. Because your connection is fully encrypted, your ISP cannot see what you are doing online and cannot punish you for using P2P services.
Does UltraVPN support streaming and torrenting?
UltraVPN works great with Netflix, Hulu, Sky and Now TV, but we had some issues with BBC iPlayer. It allows torrenting on nearly all its servers, and because it has a zero-log policy, you can safely download any torrent you like.
5. Bypassing Censorship
What is censorship and why do they matter?
It is easy to forget when you live in a Western country, but there are still a surprisingly large amount of countries that censor the internet. The most high profile of which is the great firewall of China.
A VPN is a great way to circumvent censorship, but not every VPN provider works in every country. As China has very strict regulations and affects most people, we use it as a testcase to see whether VPN providers can avoid censorship.
If you would like to learn more about online censorship, we recommend these sources:
- Access Now
- Center for Democracy and Technology
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Fight For The Future
- Freedom House
- Internet Defence League
- Open Media
Does UltraVPN bypass censorship successfully?
Like many other VPNs, UltraVPN has had trouble connecting in China and might not be the best option for those living or traveling there.
However, through its Stealth Protocol which it shares with VPN Windscribe, it still is a good option for other highly censored countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
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