iPredator VPN Review
Is My Privacy Protected with iPredator?
Privacy with iPredator VPN is good, although it falls a little short of the ‘no logs whatever’ policies claimed by a few rival providers (of course, iPredator could just be being more honest). Most importantly, no traffic logs are retained, although connection logs are kept ‘for debugging purposes’. They state in their FAQ page what kind of information they collect and how they store it. They store connection logs for debugging purposes off-site. We appreciate the level of transparency when it comes to detailing what kind of information is stored. These are encrypted and kept off-site to ensure that only iPredator can access them.
In addition to this, the transaction ID and emails received from payment processors are kept for a little over 6 months, also ‘stored on a separate system inside an encrypted partition’.
While we really like the idea of ‘no logs at all’, iPredator’s privacy procedures appear pretty robust, and should be more than sufficient for most purposes. As iPredator tells its loyal users, ‘We try to store the least amount legally possible anywhere. IP-addresses are encrypted and can only be decrypted by non-support staff to ensure a proper process. For example, to work around issues where the police ruffles up the support staff a bit to get data for an abuse report. In the database we only store the details users give us on sign-up and a limited backlog of payments.’
IPredator also clearly states that they won’t hand over any customer information to anyone, unless those demanding the information are the Swedish authorities and can prove that the reason why they ask for customer information is very serious, like a murder case or serious fraud.
How Much is iPredator? Is There a Free Trial?
The signing up process is as easy as entering a user name, password and email address. As noted above, if you want to take advantage of the 3-day free trial you must write to iPredator via irc chat or email and request it. If you’re happy with the service, IPredator offers one price for all protocols and services - $8 per month. You can choose to pay once a month, every three months, bi-annually, or yearly. The price should remain unchanged other than the EU-USD currency fluctuations since it’s a European company.
The provider has a fair refund policy – you need to try and fix the issue that’s preventing their VPN from working the way you want it. Overall, you should be fine with a three-day trial to see if it works for you.
There is no bandwidth cap, and you can use multiple devices per account. That said, the price is a little too high for a very limited scope of what IPredator can do.
When it comes to paying, iPredator’s association with the Pirate Bay has caused it a few headaches, with Payson refusing to accept credit card payments from it, Paysafecard banning it, and PayPal freezing its account (now resolved).iPredator now accepts PayPal, OK Pay, Payza and Payson (but not using credit cards) payments, plus Bitcoins so you can pay anonymously.
iPredator Speed Test
Unfortunately, the performance was not stellar in my tests. The VPN connection would drop repeatedly, and as I scouted the FAQs, I discovered the VPN is set to disconnect automatically after 10 minutes of user inactivity and it would constantly disconnect while I was running security tests.
Unfortunately, it consistently leaked my DNS, but did not leak WebRTC or IPv6, which is not enough when DNS is leaking.
How is Customer Service at iPredator?
The iPredator website is very simple to use and understand, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding what you need. This includes the help page. If you have an issue, you will find a wealth of ways to get in touch with the company. You can check out their blog and their Twitter, and read their FAQ. You can also get in touch with the support team. They can provide you with help for your issues. They tend to respond very quickly.
OpenVPN and PPTP protocols
You can run IPredator VPN on pretty much any platform that supports OpenVPN. All you need is install the open-source OpenVPN program on your device, and download the configuration file from your member’s area. Since there’s only one location – Sweden – you only get one config file, which is also your IPredator ID/password. So when you import the file into OpenVPN, you’re up and running in a jiffy.
The FAQs are comprehensive, but again, overly technical. There is a list of possible reasons my disconnect issue might be happening, which is good because live chat support was unavailable at the time. The solution was to enter a keyword float into the OpenVPN configuration file. This is way too technical for many users, so if you are a newcomer, this level of tweaking might seem intimidating.
Thankfully, there’s Netsplice – the native desktop client for IPredator VPN which is in Alpha, so bugs and glitches are understandable.
Netsplice is a multi-platform client that supports Windows, Mac, and Linux so far. It separates processes for runtime based on privilege, and lets you have multiple simultaneous connections from different devices. It doesn’t specify how many simultaneous connections you are allowed, though.
Netsplice’s usability is seriously geared toward technically-advanced users because even basic things like creating a connection profile were brain-numbing. Perhaps there needs to be an introductory guide when the app first launches, as in click here, enter this, you’re done. But currently, it’s not the most intuitive of apps for an average user.
That said, Netsplice’s complexity has a load of advantages for seasoned users. You’ll find ample customization tabs for tweaking UI, backend, OpenVPN, and process sniper if any of these ring a bell. It’s all no-nonsense command line-style options and values.
The client does not write logs to your disk, and P2P is allowed. On top of that, your subscription buys you a few more perks such as a public Jabber instance, uncensored DNS servers, no-logging web proxy, a Tor server as an exit node, and a private IRC server for support.
Is iPredator Safe?
This is an area where we expected iPredator to score well, given its connection to the Pirate Bay, and by and large we were not disappointed. As you can see from the screenshot above, OpenVPN encryption is of the rock-solid CBC 256-bit AES variety (as used by the US government for secure communication) and uses SHA1 hash authentication, which is great. One final observation is that iPredator’s close association with the Pirate Bay means that, almost uniquely, we can be pretty much absolutely sure that it is not a ‘honeypot’ run by government authorities.
Just like any other VPN out there, iPredator has its own pros and cons. There are a couple of things that, though basic, did manage to impress me in my research, for instance;
• No traffic logs (but connection and payment logs kept)
• Affiliation with The Pirate Bay guarantees VPN is not a honeypot
• CBC 256-bit AES OpenVPN encryption
• Accepts Bitcoin payments
• 3 day free trial
• Some nice little extras
With that being said, there are also many factors which caused me to raise an eyebrow and I am pretty sure that other users feel a little skeptical as well. These things include the numerous disconnections while using the service and the disheartening DNS leaks that could make any user pick a different VPN over iPredator. I also wish it was possible to connect more devices with iPredator, but this is a small price to pay considering that the service only costs an approximate of $8.
Conclusively, iPredator is pretty awesome but I see no hype with it. It is clearly a growing VPN company since it has been around since 2009 and is still gaining users but it does not stand out whatsoever. Furthermore, there are numerous promises made by the company involving an improvement to its services. These improvements are yet to be seen. Until then, this VPN could still meet your basic privacy and security needs.
If you are a tech savvy individual like me, then the DNS leaks would undoubtedly be a deal breaker, but if you can handle the leaks then have at it.