VPNArea Review and Test Results 2017
VPNArea is a smaller, Bulgaria-based provider that did very well in testing for this review. It passed all privacy and security tests while also having good speeds and reliability throughout the server network. VPNArea offers strong privacy and security features that worked great in testing. They further protect customer data with a strict no logs policy, Bulgaria jurisdiction, and server hosting (for business operations) in Switzerland.
In addition to all the privacy and security benefits, VPNArea also has many servers optimized for torrenting and various streaming services (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and others). If you are looking for a privacy-focused VPN that isn’t too expensive, VPNArea is a great option.
- Competitive price
- No logs
- Excellent for streaming with dedicated servers for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer
- Servers optimized for torrenting and P2P file sharing
- Strong security features, with self-hosted DNS
- Good speeds and reliability
- Dedicated IP addresses available in some countries
- Large server network
- Fewer advanced features
6 (can be shared with others)
Passed all tests.
VPNArea offers three pricing tiers, with the yearly rate coming in at $4.92 per month.
The only difference is that the dedicated IP address option is not available for the monthly plan. Other than that, everything is the same.
VPNArea offers a clear-cut 7 day money-back guarantee. There are no bandwidth clauses or hidden stipulations.
When purchasing a subscription you have lots of different payment options:
- PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, Discover, American Express (AmEx), UnionPay, JCB, Bitcoin, Webmoney and Payza.
Note: One unique benefit you get with VPNArea is the ability to share your account with others (most VPNs prohibit this). This will potentially allow you to split the cost with someone else.
VPNArea gives you 6 simultaneous connections per subscription. For comparison, this is double the number offered by Trust.Zone, but fewer than the unlimited number of connections offered by Perfect Privacy.
VPNArea provides you with step-by-step installation tutorials for many devices and platforms. In the members area you can access guides for:
- Mac OS X
- iOS (iPhone and iPad)
- Routers (Asus, DD-WRT, Tomato, GLI, Asus Merlin)
- Streaming services and other devices (Amazon Fire Stick, Kodi, Netflix, etc.)
Here are a few guides you will find in the members area:
VPNArea’s main application is called Chameleon. We’ll take a close look at how it performed with both Windows and Mac OS.
VPNArea on Windows
VPNArea’s Windows application worked very well in testing. It offers you a user-friendly layout that also incorporates the different privacy and security features. In the screenshot below I’m testing out one of the high-bandwidth servers in the Netherlands.
After modifying the settings to suite your needs, you can quickly connect to a VPN server directly from the Windows menu bar.
From the menu bar you can connect to the 10 fastest servers in your geographical area.
You can also configure the VPNArea client to only connect to servers in specific countries of your choice.
The Chameleon application offers the following privacy and security features:
- DNS leak protection
- IP leak protection (includes WebRTC leak protection)
- Kill switch (to block all internet traffic if the VPN connection drops)
- Startup options for full-time, always-on VPN use
Overall the Windows client performed very well in my testing and daily use. The privacy and security features are very customizable, which allows you to configure exactly how you want your VPN to work.
The kill switch feature, for example, is very robust. You can configure it to completely block all network traffic if the VPN is not active.
When enabled, this setup creates a leak-proof connection that forces all internet traffic over the VPN, which protects your identity from being exposed via IP address leaks.
VPNArea on Mac OS
While VPNArea’s Mac OS client worked well in testing for this review, it is not quite as customizable as the Windows version. Nonetheless, in the important areas of privacy and security, it worked performed well without any problems.
Just like with Windows, the VPNArea icon will display in the Mac OS menu bar. The color-coded icon displays real-time connection status and allows you to quickly connect to a server of your choice.
Just like with the Windows application, you can configure the kill switch to completely disable your network connection if the VPN is not active.
When you are not connected to a VPN, your WiFi network (or ethernet) will be completely disabled. This type of a kill switch provides you with the maximum amount of protection.
VPNArea also offers a free license for using Viscosity on Mac OS. Viscosity is a premium third-party VPN app that works very well with Windows and Mac OS X. If you don’t like the look and feel VPNArea’s applications, this is a great third-party alternative (which normally costs $9).
Privacy and security test results
I tested VPNArea’s Windows and Mac OS clients for the following issues:
- IP address leaks (both IPv4 and IPv6)
- DNS leaks
- WebRTC leaks (which affects Firefox and Chrome browsers)
- Kill Switch (is it properly blocking all traffic when VPN connection drops)
Note: prior to running the tests, I activated IP leak protection and DNS leak protection features in the VPNArea client.
For DNS leak protection, VPNArea has their own secure DNS servers, which also includes ad blocking – an added benefit.
Testing a VPN server in Australia with the Windows client (passed all tests):
Testing a VPNArea server in Canada with the Mac OS client (all results were good):
As shown earlier, VPNArea provides a very robust kill switch that completely disables network connectivity to protect your privacy if there is no active VPN connection. Testing the kill switch:
For this VPNArea review I also tested servers in:
- the United States
- the United Kingdom
Test Results: VPNArea passed all privacy and security tests on both Windows and Mac OS:
- No IPv4 leaks
- No IPv6 leaks
- No DNS leaks
- No WebRTC leaks
- Kill switch works well
Based on my testing, VPNArea will do an excellent job protecting your privacy and security online. Many VPNs fail these tests miserably – see the PureVPN review for example. VPNArea passed all tests without any problems to report.
VPNArea for Netflix, streaming, and torrenting
VPNArea is an ideal choice for anyone wanting to stream media and/or torrent (P2P downloads).
They offer a large selection of servers that are optimized for different streaming services, such as:
- BBC iPlayer
- Amazon Prime
Additionally they provide quite a few servers that are optimized for P2P torrenting. This is one reason VPNArea is recommended in the Best VPNs for Torrenting guide.
Normally, you have to choose between a service that is focused on privacy/security or one that is focused on streaming. With VPNArea, you can get both. You can read more about how VPNArea is optimized for both torrenting and streaming on their website.
Company information and jurisdiction
VPNArea has been around since 2012 and is under the parent company of Offshore Security EOOD. According to the website, the computer systems and hosting for the company are physically based in Switzerland, which is where “customer data” is processed. Switzerland is a very secure country for data security and privacy in general.
The parent company (Offshore Security EOOD) is registered in Bulgaria. From a legal perspective, that puts VPNArea under Bulgarian laws. Much like Switzerland, Bulgaria is also a good privacy jurisdiction that is not a close partner with other surveillance regimes (such as the US and UK).
VPNArea has a large server network which should provide you with a fast and reliable server no matter where you are located in the world.
They currently have servers in 68 different countries and are still expanding.
Another benefit of VPNArea’s server network is that there is always plenty of bandwidth. When you look at the server stats in the application, there are quite a few servers available with 0 active users. Fewer users on the server network ensures faster speeds and better reliability.
They emphasize this important factor on their website:
1 server for each 250+ customers. We have 13 times better members:server ratio and therefore – better speed. New servers added every month.
Members have access to a detailed server status page in the member area.
The next important topic when discussing privacy is logs. VPNArea is a clear no logs VPN, as explained on the website:
Our hosting is based in Switzerland. Our company is registered in Bulgaria. Since we’re not an internet provider we do not fall under the data-retention laws in the country where the company is registered. Therefore we do not keep logs of your activity.
That said we do not support illegal activity, spamming, hacking or any sort of fraud schemes and scams or copyright infringement or illegal pornography, please refer to our Acceptable Use clause in the Terms of Agreement .
Sounds good. And after reading through the Terms of Agreement, and the Acceptable Use Policy, there’s nothing that raises concern. (Always read the fine print.)
Overall, the speed testing results for VPNArea were good. I tested many VPN servers throughout Europe (my physical location). Speeds were fast and stable across the board.
One of the biggest factors contributing to VPNArea’s good speeds is that their servers aren’t overcrowded with users. Many VPNs oversell their service, which results in overloaded servers (see the NordVPN review for example).
In testing servers throughout Europe, I could consistently get 30-50 Mbps. I also tested VPNArea’s UK Netflix hub server, which is popular for people who want to stream media. The results were very good.
To get the best speeds with VPNArea, you may want to experiment with different servers in your location. Connecting to the closest server should give you the best performance.
Website and support
The VPNArea website is simple and easy to navigate. It isn’t quite as well designed as other VPN websites I’ve seen, but it gets the job done. They also have a user forum where updates and relevant information are posted on a regular basis. If you need to reach support you have the following options:
- Live chat
I tested out both the email and live chat options. In both cases, the support representatives were prompt and helpful with my inquiries. Live chat is available every single day of the week, throughout most of the day (but not 24 hours a day).
Overall, VPNArea has excellent support based on all of my interactions with different members of their support staff. If you need help with something, I would recommend using the chat service, which you can access directly on their website (bottom right hand corner).
The only minor drawback with VPNArea is they don’t offer quite as many advanced privacy features.
While it provides everything most people need, it does not have the ability to create multi-hop VPN chains with up to four different servers. This advanced feature is great for online anonymity, but only a few VPNs offer this, such as Perfect Privacy (review) and ZorroVPN (review).
Signup and installation
Signup and installation is quick and easy. The first thing to do is go to the VPNArea homepage (link opens in a new window).
From the homepage, click on the “Get Started – Prices” button or the “Buy Now” button, both of which will take you to the payment page.
Anonymous signup: Some people want a VPN that allows anonymous registration. VPNArea meets that criteria. You do not have to provide your name when signing up. (The name fields in the signup box are optional.) For further anonymity, you can also pay with Bitcoin.
After completing the payment you’ll be emailed a receipt and will be able to access the members area from the menu at the top of the VPNArea homepage. From there, you can download the VPN application for your devices.
VPNArea Review Conclusion: Recommended
Overall, VPNArea is a smaller provider that delivers on value. Despite the lower price, it offers many benefits, such as excellent overall performance (speed, reliability, security, and privacy), support for many devices, and servers that are optimized for streaming and torrenting.
It is also an attractive VPN from a privacy standpoint. They offer a no logs service that is based in an excellent jurisdiction with strict data protection laws. You can also signup anonymously and pay with Bitcoin. If you’re looking for a high-quality, privacy-focused VPN that is also low-cost, VPNArea is definitely worth consideration.