UnoVPN is a service still in its infancy offered by UnoTelly as a premium extra on top of its SmartDNS service, UnoDNS. As such, its focus is on providing an alternative way to unblock geo-restricted content unblocking rather than security.
Pricing & Plans
UnoVPN is only available as part of UnoTelly’s Gold subscription plan. This ranges from $7.95/month to $4.93/month depending on whether paid monthly or annually, and is about average for a VPN service. Users can pay via Visa, Mastercard or PayPal, and there’s a three-day free trial available as well as a seven-day no-quibbles money-back guarantee.
UnoVPN is a relatively new service still in the process of being rolled out by UnoTelly, a Canadian company best known for their excellent SmartDNS service – which their VPN is explicitly aimed at supporting. Presently the focus is on connecting via PPTP, but they also offer OpenVPN as a beta for users having issues with PPTP. UnoTelly don’t provide a client of their own, but users trying OpenVPN can use the official OpenVPN client with configuration files provided by UnoTelly.
Servers are available in the US, UK, Netherlands, Canada and Germany for PPTP and in the US, UK and Canada for OpenVPN. P2P is explicitly forbidden on the US server, and explicitly not forbidden on other servers – which is to say, not exactly encouraged.
Simultaneous connections are permitted from as many devices and source IPs and to as many servers as desired; this is an unusually generous stipulation, especially given only one IP is allowed for their SmartDNS service.
Security & Privacy
For encryption, UnoVPN’s PPTP service employs 128-bit MPPE and their OpenVPN offering employs 128-bit Blowfish; Blowfish is the default cypher built into OpenVPN and is generally considered secure so long as its known weaknesses are avoided. UnoTelly do stress that they are set up for “maximum speed”- in order to access geo-blocked content – rather than maximum security, but while we would not recommend PPTP in general for security purposes, their OpenVPN offering is just fine in this regard.
UnoVPN logs the time users connect and disconnect from the service, as well as how much bandwidth is used. This information is linked to users’ account details rather than IP addresses. Other than this, they don’t track any user activities while connected “except in accordance to the local laws of the host country of the server” – nothing to worry about for most users, but anyone seeking serious privacy from snooping governments or corporations may take issue.
UnoTelly’s website is cleanly laid-out and focused heavily on its primary service – providing access to geo-restricted streaming content. Once registered, users gain access to a nifty smart tile-style dashboard area complete with guided tour. This is a nice way to introduce users to the service and provides a fairly easy way to access all the features of the service.
The websites also hosts a blog majoring on content unblocking and using the UnoDNS service – though, again, there’s unfortunately not much to be found here about the VPN service.
In addition to the website’s knowledge base, UnoTelly provide both 24/7 live chat and ticket support to registered users. Response time is very good: we never had to wait more than a minute or two to talk to a customer service rep on live chat, and our ‘level 1’ support tickets were answered within a small handful of minutes; when one of our tickets was escalated to the ‘level 2’ team, we still got a response within a few hours. Customer service reps themselves were generally polite and to the point.
Another minor gripe is that the support system operates separately to the main account section of the website. This means that existing account holders seeking to open a ticket with support must re-enter their email address even if clicking through from the main dashboard area. New users registering for the support website will also find that there’s no opportunity to choose a password with which to actually log in. For us, this meant that immediately after registering we had to click the ‘forgotten password’ link to proceed. Although tickets can be dealt with entirely by email, it’s still a slightly frustrating process to have to go through when seeking help with a paid-for product.
Registering for UnoTelly’s services is pretty easy, and entering your first name, email address and a password grants a three-day free trial of the UnoDNS service. Users who confirm their email address get another five days of free UnoDNS access which can be extended by earning “UnoCredit” for referring friends. Although a free trial of UnoVPN is available, new users don’t automatically get access to this – instead, they must first follow a link in the knowledge base which adds a “UnoVPN 3-day trial” item to their shopping cart, then select a payment method. Choosing to “pay” by credit card requires users to enter their payment information to proceed, even though the actual cost is nil; choosing PayPal, thankfully, avoids this requirement (and doesn’t ask users to log in to PayPal either).
The Windows VPN client
As noted above, UnoTelly does not provide a bespoke client for its UnoVPN service. Instead, brief set-up guides are given for major platforms and operating systems for PPTP users, and configuration files are provided for OpenVPN.
Performance (Speed, DNS and IP Test)
Speeds over PPTP were on the low side, rarely topping 5Mbps and sometimes dipping as low as 1Mbps. We never had any problems streaming normal content, but HD was a bit of a stretch. OpenVPN performed somewhat better, with test speeds reaching up to 8Mbps on some servers and HD content proving no trouble to stream.
|No VPN, UK server.||PPTP, UK server.||OpenVPN, UK server.|
IP and DNS tests were all fine and showed up no concerns.
UnoTelly’s knowledge base includes setup instructions for various platforms including OSX (via Tunnelblick for OpenVPN) and Android and iOS (via OpenVPN Connect for OpenVPN).
Other/ Free Services
UnoTelly’s main ‘other’ service is SmartDNS, which of course is the main focus of their business. We reviewed this service on our sister site, SmartDNS.com.
- Provision of config files for OpenVPN/Tunnelblick
- Account credit for referrals
- Free trial
- 24/7 support and good response times on tickets
- Comprehensive knowledge base
We weren’t so sure about
- Lack of specialised client
- Website’s poorly-integrated support section
- Overly brief TOS, vagueness of policy on torrenting
- Collection of personal information during billing
- Difficulty of obtaining technical information about the VPN
UnoTelly is explicit about the purpose of its VPN service being to assist users seeking to unblock geo-restricted content, and anyone wanting serious security, anonymity or even just more choice of countries to connect to will simply need to look elsewhere. For users who either or already use or plan to use the UnoDNS service, though, UnoVPN is a great way to get access to a bit of additional security at a very low price point – the difference between a Premium and Gold subscription is only $0.99. Likewise for anyone more concerned with unblocking content over security, the fact that UnoVPN comes as part of such a good SmartDNS package is hard to pass up.