GooseVPN has very strong privacy procedures and a commitment to support P2P users. These factors make this a great VPN service for torrenters.
This Dutch VPN service started up in 2016 and is still growing two years later. The service has a few glitches, but a lot of positive points. Read on to find out how to get the GooseVPN service and how to use it.
GooseVPN has two plan options. You can choose to take out a plan that limits your data allowance to 50 GB per month, or you can take out a plan that has no data limit. You can subscribe to the unlimited plan on a monthly basis, or you can pay for it per year. The plan works out a lot cheaper per month if you take out the yearly subscription. That said, you have to pay for the whole year up front.
A very valuable feature of a GooseVPN account is the allowance of unlimited simultaneous connections. However, account sharing is not allowed with this service. GooseVPN has a clearly-stated ban on sharing an account, which, given the unlimited connection allowance, is understandable.
You can pay for your subscription with Visa or Mastercard (credit or debit), PayPal, or the Mint online prepayment system. The Mint option would be your best bet if you want something a little bit more anonymous. This system is a prepaid card, which you can load up with cash in a local store. You can also pay with Bitcoin, but that payment option is only available for annual subscriptions.
The features of the company’s package are:
30-day free trial
OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP protocols
No activity logs
No connection logs
No data throughput limits on Unlimited account
Custom app for all protocols
Multilingual website and app
Works on Windows, Mac OS X, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux
Can install on routers and set-top boxes
The server network of the company has a presence in 28 countries. In some countries there are many servers in different cities. For example, the company has 13 servers in the Netherlands and five in the UK. In the USA, the server locations available are in five cities, with three servers in New York.
The account area of the GooseVPN website declares that a kill switch is coming soon. It is unfortunate that this utility is still not in place. A kill switch protects your identity by preventing apps on your computer from connecting to the internet before the address-masking system of the VPN is operating. This situation is particularly common when the internet connection drops briefly and then comes back. All of the applications that were communicating at the point of connection failure will continue to try to get a response for a few minutes. The kill switch ensures that the VPN gets back online before anything gets reconnected.
Logs & Legal
The app of GooseVPN gives you access to the OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP VPN protocols. Out of these options, you are better off using OpenVPN. This offers the most comprehensive security and strongest privacy protection of all of the available VPN systems.
The GooseVPN implementation of OpenVPN uses the AES cipher. This encryption system was commissioned by the US government for its own use and it offers very good protection. The strength of an encryption cipher lies in its key. A hacker can use automated procedures to run through every possible combination of characters in the key to crack it. The longer the key, the longer it would take to guess it by brute force. GooseVPN’s AES encryption uses a 256-bit key. This is equal to the length used by the best VPNs in the industry and it is uncrackable.
One problem with AES is that the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt data. This means that both ends in the connection need to possess the same key. So, the problem is, how do you send an encryption key over the internet without letting snoopers grab it? The answer is public key encryption. OpenVPN uses the RSA cipher to protect the distribution of AES keys. A public key cipher has a different key to decrypt messages to the one that encrypted them.
You can’t derive the decryption key from the encryption key in public key systems, so there is no risk when the encryption key is sent over an unencrypted connection. As with AES, the strength of the RSA encryption lies in the length of the key used. Most VPNs use a 2048-bit RSA key. This is the length of key used by the GooseVPN app. The best VPNs use 4098-bit keys for RSA. However, the 2048-bit key is strong enough.
The privacy measures of GooseVPN are solid. You have two levels of “anonymity” with this service. First, the company gives you a range of opportunities to hide your identity in the account creation stage. By selecting the right payment options, you can give a fake name and use a burner email account to make yourself completely untraceable through the company’s membership database.
Payment options include a Mint pre-paid card and Bitcoin. With Mint, you can go into a store and put cash on the card, so there is no link between the payment card and your name or address. Bitcoin is also completely anonymous. The company does not log your IP address when you sign up for the service, so there is no link between you and the account.
You have to enter an email address to set up an account. However, you could easily create a webmail account for that purpose. Although you don’t need any information from the welcome email that will be sent to you and you don’t have to verify your email address to activate the account, it is better to have a real email address for communications with the VPN company just in case you need to contact the support team. However, it doesn’t have to be your regular email address.
The second level of anonymity that this service gives you lies in their logging policy. The company states that no data is held on the servers that you connect through. This means that law enforcement agencies or lawyers in the jurisdictions of the server locations have no hope of ever seizing any information about you or your activities on the internet.
There are logs held at the company’s headquarters in the Netherlands. However, those logs do not contain any information on your activities. That is, there is no logging of the sites you visit through the service and there is no detection of the type of data that passes through the VPN servers.
There is important live data that has to be held in the VPN server during the course of your connection. This procedural information is unavoidable because otherwise the VPN server would not be able to forward on to you the responses to your computer’s requests for web pages and internet services. However, this data is lost once you end the session.
The logs that the company does keep can be described as “traffic logs.” That is a record of the amount of data that has passes through the service on your behalf. This information is registered against your account name and not your IP address. Thus, if you use a temporary email address for your account and pay with Mint or Bitcoin, there is no way that a third party that gets a court order for the VPN company’s records could ever track you down.
The GooseVPN website is bright and dominated by orange, the national color of The Netherlands. The two-line menu bar at the top of the site crunches down to one line as you scroll down the page. That single menu stays in place at the top of the window, so you get access to it at all times.
Down at the bottom of the site each page has the site footer, which is one of the longest site footers on the web.
The footer contains a lot of features. The top of the zone is taken up by a line of the VPN’s attributes, Next, comes a line of symbols that show the different operating systems that the VPN can be installed on. Each symbol is a link through to a page that has more details of installation on that operating system. Further down, in the main section of the footer there are lots of links through to other pages in the site.
You can change the language of the site through links in the footer. There is a second opportunity to change the site language up in the top line of the menu.
Another option in the top line of the menu is a link through to the company’s blog. Posts are added to the blog monthly. Each article covers an aspect of online security and privacy.
The Login menu item gives access to the account page of the site.
This page doesn’t offer many facilities. However, you can change your password in the “My Profile” section.
The contact form and FAQ page of the website are combined. The top of the page contains the FAQ section.
Scroll down to get to the contact details of the company and also find the contact form that will enable you to put in a support request. If you don’t want to fill in the form, you can send an email to the address given on this page. Although the company gives its telephone number on this page, it does not offer support by phone.
There is a live chat system for support. However, this is not manned around the clock and is also very difficult to get hold of.
A button at the bottom right of the site gives access to the live chat window.
When you press on this button, you will be taken to the support page. The header of the chat interface pops up beneath the support chat button when you arrive on the page. However, there is a programming bug in this process and the chat window header disappears within a couple of seconds, making it almost impossible to click on it. If you repeat the process of clicking on the support button a few times you will build up the skill to be quick enough to open up the chat window. When no one is manning the help desk, this interface will present you with a contact form.
When the help desk is manned, the chat window will pop up automatically.
The chat screen appeared at a strange hour of the day — at 2:00 pm. This seemed an odd starting time to me, so I asked the chat operative what exactly were the hours that the online chat was attended. He told me that the chat is manned whenever there is staff available. However, it is never manned at weekends or evenings. So, the chat is available from Monday to Friday during office hours in the The Netherlands IF the company’s staff are not busy with other tasks.
One more channel for help is in the user forums.
You can browse through forum topics to see whether anyone else has encountered a problem that you might need a solution for. People who post questions here get answers from other members and also from the support staff. If you don’t see an existing question that matches your problem, you can post a question yourself.
The “free VPN” offer is integrated into the sales process for the paid service. There is no permanently free VPN, instead, this offer is an introduction to the paid service. In order to sign up for the paid service, you first have to select a plan. However, you won’t be charged until 30 days after the date of inscription.
You need to enter an email address and make up a password to begin. After that, choose which plan you want to take out. Select a payment type next.
You have to enter your payment details and then get that account tested. The payment processor will set up a repeat billing agreement, but with the first payment scheduled for one month away. Once that process has completed, the screen will change to show that the account has been set up.
Click on the green button to activate your membership. The creation of the account is confirmed by a Thank You screen.
You will also receive an email with details of the service.
Both the “Thank You” screen and the welcome email contain a button that will take you to the Download area of the website. The website will detect your operating system and present you with the appropriate version of the installer.
The GooseVPN Windows VPN client
The installer will create a shortcut on your Desktop.
The first time you open the app, you will have to sign in. You do not have to sign in on subsequent visits.
At the beginning of your first visit to the app, you will be treated to a walk through of the software via a slide presentation of the system’s features.
The app is dominated by the orange livery of the company. You connect to the service by clicking the On/Off slider at the top of the window.
Before turning the VPN on you should check on some of the settings of the service. The cog symbol to the right of the display of your IP address gives access to the Settings pages of the app.
The first tab of the Settings system allows you to change the language of the interface.
Visit the Protocol tab of the Settings system to nominate OpenVPN as the methodology to be used for the VPN.
Click on the Save button to get back to the main screen of the app. The location field in the screen will show the closest server to you. On the map below this field, the location of the server is shown as a marker with the GooseVPN logo on it. You will also see on the map a marker with a screen icon on it. This shows your detected location.
Click on the server field to get a list of locations to choose from.
The servers in this list that have a P2P symbol next to them are those servers that you can use for torrent downloading. Do not use a server that does not have this symbol next to it if you intend to download files with the BitTorrent protocol. Some servers have a play symbol alongside them. These servers are optimized for video streaming.
After selecting a server, click on the On/Off slider to connect.
The map in the app will change to show the selected server location. A message next to the On/Off slider will tell you when the VPN is active.
Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC and IPv6 Tests)
I conducted speed tests of the GooseVPN app with the protocol of the system set to OpenVPN using TCP. I used IPLocation.net to detect the physical location of the GooseVPN servers accessed for the test. The United Kingdom London 1 was confirmed as being in London. The only GooseVPN server in France is labeled “France 2 Paris.” IPLocation.net confirmed that the server was in Paris — in the 8th Arrondissement, to be precise. The server called “USA, Fremont 3” was confirmed to be in Fremont, California.
The London and Paris servers were tested on connections to London in the UK. The connection speeds on an unprotected connection to London was also tested for comparison. The test of the Fremont server ran to a testmy.net server in San Francisco and compared to tests of speeds to the same server without a VPN.
In each case, five test runs were performed with testmy.net from Nottingham in the UK with a residential internet service provided by Virgin Media.
The VPN slowed down connections considerably. The London VPN server slowed the connection made from within the UK to a little above half the speed of the underlying internet service. Applying the Paris server reduced the speed of the connection to a little over a third of its unprotected speeds. The speeds on a connection to San Francisco were reduced to less than half of the rate of the unprotected line when the GooseVPN server was mediating communications.
I connected to the VPN’s London 4 server from a location in Spain. I discovered the true location of the server with IPLocation.net. This site list results from five different location databases. Two results showed the server located in Nottinghamshire, one reported the location as Mill Hill in North London, and the other two databases returned results for the UK without being able to provide a precise location.
The test sites ipleak.net and doileak.com reported on the detected IP address of my connection and the DNS servers that the system accessed. IPLeak saw my location a being in Barnet, which is the area of London where Mill Hill is located. The site searched for DNS servers used by my network. It discovered eight different DNS servers, all of which were in the UK. As I was located in Spain, this shows that GooseVPN successfully masked my true location. DoILeak confirmed these results.
My internet service provider does not use IPv6 addresses and so I was unable to test for IPv6 leaks.
Of the five servers available in the United Kingdom, only numbers four and five are optimized for streaming. I connected to the United Kingdom London 4 server in order to test the abilities of the VPN.
With this UK server managing the connection from my location in Spain, I tried to access Netflix. I got into the Netflix library for the UK. Unfortunately, the content delivery system of Netflix spotted the VPN and refused to play videos. I had the same experience at the BBC iPlayer. Netflix has very thorough location and VPN checks and the BBC’s system is almost as stringent. The ITV and Channel 4 websites do not have such comprehensive checks. I was able to watch videos at those two sites.
While still connected to the United Kingdom London 4 server, I opened up Kodi. An add-on there gives access to Netflix. However, the VPN detection system of the video service blocked delivery of videos. I was able to watch BBC channels as well as Channel 4 through the TVPlayer add-on in Kodi.
I connected to the GooseVPN USA New York 1 server to test the VPN with access to American video streaming services. This server is also optimized for video.
I tried to access videos at Netflix, both through the website and through Kodi. I was able to watch a video from Netflix through the browser, but not through Kodi. I was able to watch videos at the websites of ABC, NBC, and CBS.
The GooseVPN app can be installed on Windows, Mac OSX, iOS, and Android operating systems. The VPN service can be set up on routers and Linux machines as well.
Not all operating systems can run all of the VPN protocols that GooseVPN offers. The macOS operating system does not enable PPTP and neither does iOS 10. The company warns that the OpenVPN implementation in the app won’t work on Mac OS X. All of the offered protocols are available for Linux, but only via manual installation. The availability of protocol for routers depends on the model and operating system of each router.
GooseVPN Review Conclusion
GooseVPN has very good privacy measures that enable customers to completely mask their identities. However, never forget that total anonymity is impossible on the internet because there is always someone who can break your cover. In this case, that weak link would be the VPN provider. However, the minimal logs policy of GooseVPN means that you have a better level of privacy with this VPN than with most of the service’s rivals.
30-day free trial
Online chat for support
Unlimited simultaneous connection allowance
I wasn’t so sure about
Online support sporadically manned
Can’t get into Netflix UK
Although P2P downloading is not permitted on every server, you don’t need to limit your server choice to specific locations when downloading, so the selection of available servers for this activity is sufficient and available to all users wherever they are.
The performance of the VPN is a little disappointing with respect to video streaming. It is a shame that the VPN can get users into the BBC iPlayer. However, the performance of the VPN with American video services was impressive.