DotVPN: Proxy or VPN?
As a company that provides services for improving online privacy and security, DotVPN is widely known more as a proxy service than a VPN. However, the service claims to provide a high level of security to its users.
What is DotVPN?
Based in Hong Kong, DotVPN is one of the relatively new service providers in the VPN industry aimed at providing online freedom and privacy to Internet users. However, many think of this as just a proxy service. Is it a proxy or VPN?
Is My Privacy Protected with DotVPN?
Firstly, knowing that DotVPN is based in Hong Kong, a country that doesn’t exercise data retention laws, gave us confidence that the level of privacy we receive from the service would be high. However, despite the service claiming to have a strict no-logging policy, there is a lot of information that the company collects and retains pertinent to user activities, which leaves us concerned.
DotVPN collects and stores the following information from users:
• Users’ IP address.
• Email address, name, and password during registration.
• Date of registration of user account.
• Software version used by the user.
• Payment dates.
• Data received when the user contacts tech support (stored up to 2 years).
Though the company states different reasons for the collection and storage of these user data, we do not welcome this act as a VPN user, and this is also in complete contradiction to their “strict no log policy”.
They do mention, “We do not sell or share your personal data, do not provide access to the history of user connections services to third parties. The only exception is decision of the Hong Kong Court with a demand to provide such access to representatives of law”. Also, they do not store users’ credit card information, which is a relief. Regardless, the fact that they store so much user information does bring down the level of privacy offered by the company to a great extent. Also, there is no information about the availability of a kill switch feature, which further poses online privacy threats.
How Much is DotVPN? Is There a Free Trial?
DotVPN offers two different subscription plans: one is a Free plan that will cost you $0 per month and the other is a Premium plan which you can obtain by either paying $4.99 per month or at a rate of $2.99 per month billed annually.
The Free plan has very limited number of features you can enjoy. In fact, this is perhaps the least number of features we have seen offered for a free plan. All you get with this plan is unlimited data usage and cloud firewall protection. However, if you require the service only to access restricted websites, this plan should do it for you.
The Premium plan, on the other hand, comes with many useful features, including some related to security. The service allows users to try the Premium plan for free for a month. However, it does require your payment details for the same. Also, DotVPN provides return of funds within 30 days from your subscription date.
When it comes to payment methods, it is a huge disappointment that DotVPN accepts payments only via PayPal, which makes it inconvenient for many users.
DotVPN Speed Test
DotVPN has a total of 700 VPN servers located across 12 countries around the world. Although the number of countries where the servers are located is low, the vast network makes it easy for the service to deliver decent speeds. During our tests, while the overall speed of the VPN was decent, we did experience issues with our connection and upload speeds at times, which made our browsing experience dull. Download speeds, however, were consistent for the most part. Since DotVPN doesn’t support P2P connections and torrenting, the speeds delivered by the servers should be sufficient to engage in other normal Internet activities.
How is Customer Service at DotVPN?
DotVPN offers customer support mainly via their ticket-based system, where you will be required to enter your name, email address, and your query. You will be sent a response to your email ID. However, though the VPN service mentions that their staff are available around the clock, response from the team takes several hours. This seems to be an issue that many users have experienced with the company.
In addition, you can also contact the team via email, which happens to have a similar response time. There is no other option for users to reach out to the company. However, there is an FAQ section which looks quite comprehensive, with answers to several general queries that users might have.
The official website of DotVPN looks neat and professional, and the use of great colors and graphics makes the website even more attractive, without losing its professionalism. The menus are right where they need to be and the website on the whole is easy to navigate.
Signing up for DotVPN is also an easy process. Click on the Get Started button on the top right corner of the main page and you will be redirected to a page where you will be required to create an account with your email address and preferred password. Once the account is ready, you can download the DotVPN app for your device and start using the service.
DotVPN has applications available for Android and iOS devices. The service can also be used on browsers such as Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome. The company has plans to release versions for Windows and OS X as well.
As discussed earlier, this VPN service has over 700 servers located across 12 countries, including UK, Canada, Singapore, Russia, USA, Japan, Sweden, and France.
With DotVPN, the features you get to enjoy include:
• Unlimited bandwidth.
• Ability to surf .onion websites.
• Strong encryption.
• Network-integrated firewall.
• Cloud firewall protection.
• Peer-to-peer downloads.
• Audio and video streaming.
However, as you are aware, most of these features are available only for Premium plan users.
Is DotVPN Safe?
DotVPN supports OpenVPN, SSL-proxy (for browsers), and IPSec. When it comes to encryption, the service uses AES-128 and AES-256, depending on the protocol you choose and the device you use. The availability of OpenVPN as a protocol option is more than enough to achieve great security when using the service. In the case of leaks, we were happy to detect no DNS, WebRTC, or IP leaks when using the service.
The free plan offered by the service would be a great option for users looking to bypass geographic restrictions and access their favourite websites. It is the Premium plan that comes packed with features and lets DotVPN act as a VPN service. Though the features are good for what users pay, privacy and customer service are two areas that require major improvements from the company.