OkayFreedom is different to the majority of VPN services in a couple of key ways: Firstly, it is available as a completely free service, albeit one that is limited to a maximum of 1GB of data transfer per month in its free iteration. It is also available exclusively for Windows, where most services are compatible with a number of different platforms.
OkayFreedom also fits firmly into the “minimalist” category of VPN services. This isn’t a service that blinds novices with technical detail. The good news for those wanting something simple and effective is that OkayFreedom definitely provides it, and the performance we experienced was superb. It’s a shame it’s only available to those using Windows.
Okay Freedom’s home page doesn’t give much away, other than the fact that it is a “simple VPN service enabling private, uncensored web surfing.” We only ascertained that it is a Windows-only service when we took a look at the support section.
The good news is that this is a great service, and one that has a clever trick up its sleeve for those who wish to use it to watch streaming media from outside their home country. If you use Windows, this is a VPN service well worth having a close look at.
Packages & Pricing
OkayFreedom offer a simple selection of two packages:
The first is a completely free service, but only allows up to 1GB of data transfer per month. 500MB is included in the free package as standard, and you are granted an additional 100MB of data for each new user you recommend to the company. Recommendations can be sent via email, Facebook and Twitter, directly from OkayFreedom’s VPN client software.
It’s fair to say that the free service is rather limited. Even the full GB of free data will run out after a short TV viewing session.
The premium package, with unlimited traffic, is only available as an annual subscription. This costs $69.95, which is average for a service of this nature. However, it is a shame that it’s not possible to obtain an unlimited package for a shorter period when monthly and quarterly subscriptions are widely available elsewhere.
A 30-day money-back guarantee is clearly highlighted, which is a reassuring sign.
OkayFreedom don’t offer many support options. In fact, other than a fairly small FAQ section, a Web form for email support is all that’s available:
No promises are made of a specific response time to queries or of any kind of 24/7 support. We sent a support query via the Web form and a response took around 18 hours to arrive.
We were unable to find a support telephone number, although reassuringly we did find full contact details for the company.
Security and Privacy
As is often the case with simple VPN services aimed at the consumer market, OkayFreedom don’t publish details of the protocol and encryption technologies they use. However, we did notice an OpenVPN client being installed when we trialled the software, so it’s fair to assume that OpenVPN is the protocol used.
Things are a little clearer when it comes to privacy:
As stated in the screenshot above, OkayFreedom don’t keep any logs of the sites their users access via the service, or keep a record of which users are allocated which IP addresses. This will be welcome news to those concerned about privacy.
We sent a support query to the company for clarification on encryption levels and were told that 256-bit AES encryption is in place.
We decided to use the free version of OkayFreedom for the purposes of our review.
Unusually, the first step to registering with the provider is to download the software. A link to do so is prominent on the first page of the OkayFreedom website:
After downloading the file (a Windows .exe installer), we ran it, and were prompted to enter an email address before we could go any further:
The installer then downloaded an additional installer file, which we had to run separately. This triggered a standard Windows installation:
This was, essentially, all we had to do to register for the free service. However, we did look into what’s involved in registering for the annual subscription service.
The order page requires you to enter name, address and email details, and then pay via credit card or PayPal. We assume, from looking at the software, that you are supplied with a licence key after the purchase is complete, as there is an option to enter it within the client program.
Installation and Configuration
As this is a Windows only solution, we used a laptop running Windows 7 for our testing.
After triggering the installation file (as discussed in the “registering” section above), the software installed quickly. We were required to accept the provider’s terms of service during the install.
We were also required to close our active Google Chrome browser. Uniquely, this VPN solution installs browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, which integrate with the software.
Once the software is installed, a window appears explaining how to access the software menu.
The software adds a new icon to the Windows system tray. Clicking it reveals a number of options:
From here we were able to select a country (from a choice of Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, France and the USA). Upon clicking a country, we were immediately connected to the VPN server. We tried the servers in Britain and the USA, and both worked as expected, immediately giving us an IP address in the relevant country.
Each time we connected, we were shown how much data transfer we had remaining for the month:
The main software menu shown above also allows you to send referrals to friends via the “get more traffic” option, or enter a licence key for the Premium version of the software.
Automatic (on demand) mode is a feature we haven’t seen before from any other provider.
Essentially, this relies on browser extensions to detect when you try to access content that is barred in your current location. This then triggers the OkayFreedom software to open a VPN connection to a server in the relevant country automatically.
The first time we tried this, it didn’t seem to work, and we kept being told that we were in the wrong location.
However, all we needed to do was restart our browser, at which point the extension began to work. Attempting to access a media site in the UK triggered the software. We were quickly connected and given an IP address, and the browser refreshed the page to give us access.
Although far from essential, this was a pleasing additional feature, albeit one only compatible with Chrome and Firefox.
Connection speeds and reliability
We performed our usual selection of speed tests to gain an idea of the performance we could expect from the OkayFreedom service.
First we benchmarked our connection by using Speedtest.net to run a speed test while we were disconnected from any VPN server:
This speed was exactly what we expected from the DSL connection at our test location.
Next, we connected to OkayFreedom’s UK server and ran another test:
As shown above, this was a superb result. A speed drop of around 0.4Mbps would be unnoticeable in day-to-day use.
Finally, we connected to the USA server and ran our last test:
This was a great result as well. Although it was 0.2Mbps slower, this is a tiny difference, and to be expected given our location in Europe.
Overall our speed test results were very good indeed: in fact, some of the best we have seen from any provider.
Compatibility is not OkayFreedom’s strong point. It is a Windows only solution, and this is made clear in the FAQs.
Although the lack of compatibility will be a blow to those using OS X or Linux, or those who want a VPN solution to use on a mobile device, we don’t feel we should heavily criticise OkayFreedom for this. This is a Windows solution and it works well.
OkayFreedom doesn’t have an online customer area. Usage is shown within the program itself, and the software is unlocked using a traditional licence key method.
- Superb performance
- Innovative automatic mode with browser extensions
- Free option AND a money-back guarantee
We weren’t so sure about
- Windows only – a shame for users of other platforms
- Limited support options
- Unlimited service only available on an annual basis
We were really impressed with OkayFreedom. It’s refreshing to see a company take a slightly different approach to VPN in a world where many services are very similar to each other.
The only real downside here is that OkayFreedom is a Windows only product, so Mac users and others will have to look elsewhere. Support could also be enhanced with a few more options and a guaranteed response time.
That aside, nothing takes away from the performance and ease of use of this service. If you’re a Windows user, make sure this VPN solution is on your shortlist.