Review

SwitchVPN Review


Disclosure: compensated affiliate: click here for more information
Review of: SwitchVPN
Product by:
Dimitri M.

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On November 4, 2015
Last modified:January 30, 2016

Summary:

We found the service to be efficient and fairly priced, but were concerned with logging information and somewhat confused privacy policy.

SwitchVPN_Logo1

Switch VPN boasts a robust user experience, with servers in 31 countries, multiple encryption protocols, and unlimited bandwidth allocation. We found Switch VPN provides a well-priced VPN service – for novices and techies alike –  though some lingering doubts regarding privacy are a hindrance to anonymity-seekers.

Pricing & Plans

SwitchVPN accept most forms of payment: Credit Cards, PayPal, Perfect Money, WebMoney, Payza, Bitcoin, paysafecard, Western Union, Bank Wire transfers. For users based in China, they also accept Alipay, UnionPay & Bank wire transfers.

Switch VPN also offer a 30 Day unconditional full money back guarantee. However, they recommend subscribers contact them before canceling – if cancelation is based on speed loss or connectivity issues – as they offer remote assistance using TeamViewer software.SwitchVPN_ReviewPricing is based on the length of subscription starting at $9.95 per month. A three month package comes in at $8.95, which is a 10 percent discount. Ultimately, one year is only $4.95, giving you a 50 percent discount. It’s a no-brainer to opt for the one year subscription package if you find the service satisfactory.

Features

Subscribers to SwitchVPN have access to VPN servers in 32 countries: UK, US (nine different cities), Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Chile, Norway and South Korea – among others – providing a wide range of options, no matter where you’re located, or where you’re  traveling to. Their servers all use shared IP addresses. SwitchVPN support Windows XP, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, Mac OS X 10.5 or later and Linux.

They offer unlimited bandwidth, and state that the VPN client is optimized for no lag. Unblocking geo-restricted content is promised “no matter where you live,” so people just looking for a Netflix or Hulu binge, or those that want to listen to BBC’s iPlayer from afar are covered.

SwitchVPN also pledge to have a 99.999% service up time, with tech support 24/7/365. This should allay any fears of unresponsiveness, or the often dreaded proposition of dealing with an impassive robot, as well as having to contact support during limited (often unrealistic) working hours. We found their chat to be friendly, timely, and informative, on the whole.

Security & Privacy

SwitchVPN’s OpenVPN security uses the default 128-bit Blowfish for datastream encryption, with handshaking done over RSA-1024 (with a 2048-bit static key). The higher bit static key acts as an added layer of security on top of the RSA. Static keys also offer some simplicity in terms of setup. Hash authentication uses SHA-1, which we approve of as it is a step up from the standard Blowfish cipher. They also offer L2TP/ISEC through the bespoke client.

Luckily, for those living in or traveling to China, they offer SSTP – a solid VPN protocol that works well in countries that block VPN technology. SSTP bypasses firewalls such as the GFW using TCP port 443, which masks traffic to make it look like normal HTTPS traffic, namely through dedicated “Stealth servers” based in Hong Kong. Though, it is also possible to manually configure an OpenVPN client to run through TCP port 443. This can be accomplished in the “advanced” menu in the SwitchVPN bespoke client, as shown further down the page. Also, please note that SSTP is only available on Windows, as it’s Microsoft proprietary software.

The company is based in Mumbai, Maharastra India, and are subject to some pretty confusing laws and regulations. Unfortunately, our fears were not fully addressed by their privacy policy, though they do mention compliance with governmental requests for information as subject to local laws (as do most other providers).

SwitchVPN’s Terms & Conditions say they do not monitor, record or store logs for any VPN user. However, though they do collect server location, in addition to bandwidth used and overall connection duration, which is – unfortunately – (connection) logging. SwitchVPN say they only monitor and log the connection duration and time stamp, storing the information for 90 days, to protect from abusive users, spammers, and the criminally inclined. We aren’t thrilled about this data collection, and also didn’t care for the fact that the website claims they use 2048-bit OpenVPN encryption, as that might be misconstrued as a higher level of security than the 128-bit Blowfish with 1024-bit RSA actually in place.

The Website

The website is sleek and easy to use. Information is on any given issue is easy to find. They also have an IP checker built into the masthead banner (you can see we were connected to a UK server while taking the screenshot). Their FAQ section is somewhat brief, but the sitemap which appears on the bottom left of any page has more, such as terms of service, privacy policy, and a link to the Knowledgebase of installation guides.

You’ll also find their monthly updated blog with news about their services, and posts about why you’d need a VPN in the first place. The only note to make is that the sitemap is not visible at the bottom of the homepage, though it will be visible when scrolling to the bottom on any other page.

Support

The SwitchVPN team have uploaded a thorough list of setup guides, broken down into device and OS categories (Windows, Mac, Android, and so on) while also offering setup for Tomato firmware and DD-WRT. We found the instructions quite detailed and well-illustrated, without being overwhelming to those not well versed in running a VPN.

SwitchVPN_Setup Guides

SwitchVPN offers 24/7/365 support in several ways.  First, is a live-chat that can be accessed without a subscription. We found the responses timely and efficient, though our requests for more in-depth privacy clarification were bounced around a bit before being resolved. There is also a ticket-based option which can be accessed through the Knowledgebase.

SwitchVPN_Live Chat

The Process

Singing Up

Sign-up only requires an email. First and last name, country, and company name are all optional.It’s good to see such little personal information as a required step to signup, if you aren’t using a credit card to pay. After signing up, you will receive an email from SwitchVPN with login details, tips on how to get started and links to the Knowledgebase and setup guide area.

SwitchVPN Windows Client

SwitchVPN_Client

SwitchVPN provide a sleek, feature-rich bespoke client for Windows or Mac OSes based around OpenVPN, but with the other three aforementioned protocols also offered. Connecting to any combination of VPN server or protocol is simple, with the additional protocol options well described by a web tutorial.

A quick browse of the preferences under Advanced reveals a number of useful features. There’s the option to start the client manually and also have the client start concurrently with Windows startup. There is also a killswitch labeled as VPN drop, which will disable your internet if the VPN happens to get disconnected, thus hiding your identity, in addition to an Auto-Reconnect feature which reestablishes your connection in the event that the connection drops. There is also the option to add sites to a list to be excluded by the VPN – so China-based users or business users who would like to use their real IP address to connect to a particular site can do so.

Performance (Speed, DNS, IP Test)

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Graphs show highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.

 

SwitchVPN’s servers ran well in testing, on our 32mbps connection. We sometimes encountered issues connecting to busier servers, but only when there were two or three server choices for a particular location available, so it’s worth using the second or third server option for a busier locale. Connection times were excellent, a server took no more than ten seconds, but usually in the three to five-second range. Streaming content was high-quality, with little to no difference in buffer times, compared with our test baseline while not using the VPN.

DNS and IP tests came back fine showing no leaks. Only the HK server we were connected to at the time was visible.

SwitchVPN Review Conclusion

We liked

  • Support for several protocols
  • Setup guides for all major platforms, plus routers
  • Good speeds
  • Plethora of server options

We weren’t so sure about

  • Mislabeled encryption protocols, difficulty obtaining information on them
  • Muddled Privacy Policy

We hated

  • Connection Log Storage

SwitchVPN is an efficient and overall quite streamlined VPN experience with a plethora of servers around the world, a user-friendly client, and consistent speeds. However, connection logging in addition to their somewhat substandard encryption and the way in which it’s presented otherwise do leave some major concerns for the privacy conscious. If unblocking websites and content trump security worries – with pricing relatively low and a 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee in place – SwitchVPN is a decent VPN option, all caveats considered. Click on the link below to give them a visit.

Visit SwitchVPN »


Dimitri M Expat in Europe - pathos for good conversation and Italia's Grande Juventus.

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5 responses to “SwitchVPN Review

  1. No one should use this service. I cancelled my free trial before it was over and they’ve been charging me for the past 3 months and won’t get back to any of my emails or messages.

    I am using their VPN in China and they offer great support and speeds are around 12mbps in my office which is very good. I highly recommend them if you are looking for VPN in China.

  2. At start it was fine, but last few months I had only constant disconnections. And then one day in the middle of my 3 months billing plan they just silently deleted my account without refunding any money I’ve spent there.

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