UPDATE 11th August 2016: Since we conducted our review of this service, we’ve received several worryingly negative comments, some of which involve unexpected payments being taken from customer accounts. We intend to look into this and re-review this service. In the meantime, we recommend that you both read the review below in full as well as take a look at the comments section, in order to make an informed decision.
If you’re looking for a free VPN service, we have a free VPN list here with some good alternatives.
TotalVPN is a new provider looking to make a splash in the VPN market. Thanks to its simplicity and good value, we wouldn’t be surprised if within a few years it achieves its goal. Learn about the provider’s totally free plan and great services in the TotalVPN review below!
- Great service
- Good protection, including OpenVPN
- Excellent support
- Client needs some minor updates
- Upgrades system could be clarified
Pricing & Plans
TotalVPN offers two options to subscribers: Free or $7.79 a month for the Total Premium Plan. The former only comes with three server choices, while the latter includes 30+ servers and isn’t hampered by the speed cap involved in the free option. Both plans are explored in further technical detail later on in this review.
If you do decide to go with the Total Premium Plan, you will be treated to a special BestVPN.com 20% discount! That said, this promotional pricing is limited to the first round of payment. Afterwards you will be charged the standard amount.
Neither plan is likely to break the bank, however. The Free Plan – while limited – is undoubtedly appealing, while the Total Premium Plan is among the most competitively priced in the market. You can sign up for and pay for both using a credit card. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin sadly isn’t yet an option.
If you do decide to go with the Total Premium Plan, you will also be treated to a 30-day money back guarantee. This guarantee, when combined with the Free Plan, gives you the opportunity to test the service twice to ensure sure that it’s the one for you. Pretty neat!
TotalVPN is based in the UK and registered under Pseudio Ltd. The Total Premium Plan that the provider has on offer includes three simultaneous connections. This is compared to the one available when using the Free Plan, which is also capped at 2Mbps. It is, however, hard to complain too much about a perpetually free trial to attract new users.
Server count currently stands at 31 servers in 25 countries – ranging from South Africa to Mumbai to Buenos Aires – with all the usual suspects (US, UK, HK, Russia) included for good measure. Server balancing should, therefore, be decent no matter your geographical position. Several perks to the service available for purchase will be discussed in the Other Services section further below, but for now let’s talk about security.
Security & Privacy
As the second illustration above showed: TotalVPN offer four encryption protocols: IKEV2, IPsec, PPTP, and OpenVPN – the last of which we recommend most for security and for anything but extreme speed concerns. P2P filesharing isn’t expressly forbidden, nor explicitly encouraged, but it is allowed if you agree to the following.
The company’s location in the UK does raise some flags regarding compliance with authorities, and TotalVPN will do so if subpoenaed by a government agency. That said, if you aren’t engaging in some dangerous activity of the illegal variety online, you should be okay.
Also noteworthy is that sales disputes are governed by US laws as per the State of Massachusets precedent, as outlined below. Connection logging isn’t ideal, but tolerable enough for many folks, and common – unfortunately.
Encryption while using OpenVPN is performed using AES-128 bit CBC, with a 4096 authentication certificate. It would be nice to see an upgrade to AES 256 in the future, and SHA-1, perhaps, though the available encryption is by no means shabby. We will discuss in further detail the concerns raised in this section later on, as staff answered them in the Support section of this TotalVPN review.
TotalVPN has clearly put some time, thought and research into designing a sleek and accessible website. It is the norm rather than the exception in 2016 to have a properly executed website as part of a successful business model, and this one is no exception. Navigation is clearly denoted by the Features, Locations, Apps, and Plans buttons located in the top masthead.
Support is accomplished through several methods which are quite excellent all around. First, is a 24/7 Live Chat, which was professional in every interaction.
Another option is email support. It won’t be instantaneous or as fast as a Live chat session, but responses took no more than a day. The Knowledgebase for resources wasn’t too sparse as to leave a boatload of questions unanswered, while simultaneously not being overwhelmingly detailed.
Signing to the Free Plan is a breeze and requires only your email (so feel free to use a fake one and stay anonymous). Paying for the Total Premium Plan will require a credit card, unfortunately, as more anonymous payment options aren’t yet there to choose from for the highly privacy-conscious consumer.
The TotalVPN Windows VPN client
Using the TotalVPN Windows client left us with several impressions, both positive and negative. The aesthetic value of the client is plainly apparent, as the menus, server choices, and connection information are all easy to spot. Connecting to any server is as easy as clicking on the relevant button, with the same going for disconnecting. Moreover, TotalVPN have updated and included OpenVPN in all Apps, save for iOS.
On that note, no killswitch or DNS leak protection is offered, but additional updates are forthcoming, and the free option is always there to wait matters out. On the plus side, there were no DNS leaks to be found while we were using the client. You can find more on that, as well as on general performance below.
Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC and IPv6 Tests)
Thankfully, nothing was amiss during the course of checking for DNS leaks, including IPv6 and the WebRTC Bug. Tests on both should be run periodically as a safeguard and to verify that your VPN service is running to the standard you paid for. Use ipleak.net, and http://test-ipv6.com/ for these tests.
|Graphs show highest, lowest and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.|
Speed tests were a bit odd. The performance was consistently pretty good to great, but when the actual data came through, speeds in between one and two Mbps weren’t uncommon (which is understandably somewhat distressing). Then again, Soundcloud, multiple tabs, and streaming movies online for over two hours all went off without more than a minor hiccup here and there (and those were few and far between(. Again, it is worth using the free plan to take a look at things if you’re worried about this while periodically testing using testmy.net. This is most likely because TotalVPN anonymously monitors its network for usage and only provides you with the bandwidth that you need.
The Total VPN Android App doesn’t differ much from the Windows client, and thankfully uses OpenVPN by default.
Most other devices are also supported and have been updated to include the stronger OpenVPN protocol we keep harping about (with good reason!).
The long-awaited update also includes provisions for a SmartDNS service, for dedicated unblocking and streaming needs. The Mac OS X client is also in need of some updates.
It’s odd to see ‘upgrades’ available for such industry-standard business practices as support when superb customer service is expected. If that wasn’t slightly baffling, then it’s the turbo charge speed in some respects, as the Total Premium Plan states unlimited bandwidth as included at a cost. Regardless, the other two upgrades make sense. Paying for an eBook or a fixed price per connection is logical enough. Nevertheless, it would be nice to see this confusing matter openly explained before registering for the Total Premium Plan, so as to remove any possibility of confusing customers.
TotalVPN Review Conclusion
- Simple registration
- Looks polished
- Pure & fair pricing
- Wide range server network
I wasn’t so sure about
- Upgrading oddities
- Connection logging
- Legal Jurisdiction
- Speed discrepancies, though not poor performance-wise
Every child has growing pains, as does every business, including Total VPN. Although, as our review shows, it surpasses expectations at this early stage with an accessible client a few tweaks short of greatness, a smooth website, highly economical pricing options, and a free plan. Visit its website today to see if TotalVPN is the right VPN service for you!