LiquidVPN review

Read this LiquidVPN Review to find out about the pros and cons of this US based provider.
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SummaryLiquidVPN is a small Michigan (United States) VPN provider with some genuinely exciting and unusual products. The real eye-catcher is ‘Modulating IP’ technology, which continually changes your IP address, making it very difficult to track your actions on the internet. This is not, however, the only trick that LiquidVPN has up its sleeve, as its custom VPN client is pretty groovy in its own right, but can also be customized with increased functionality using downloadable scripts. Add to this a no usage logs policy, use of shared IPs, great encryption standards, and a very low starting price, and you might forgive us for getting quite excited (despite the fact that LiquidVPN is a US company). Unfortunately, as you will see, some fundamental problems leave us unable to recommend the service.

Pricing and Package Features

There are three pricing plans – The SideKick VPN, The Road Warrior VPN, and The Family VPN, with the main difference being the number of simultaneous connections (2, 4, and six respectively) allowed. The Family plan also throws in an extra PC and Mac Viscosity license. All packages can be upgraded with the new IPS firewall for an extra $3, a feature that LiquidVPN has told us it is very excited about, and which we will examine in more detail soon.

pricing new

LiquidVPN is happy to let you download via P2P, although it does ask clients to use European rather than US servers for this purpose. The ToS prohibits the downloading of copyrighted material and ‘any DMCA notices received from our USA ISP’s that can be traced back to you may be grounds for account termination due to violation of our TOS’, but this appears to be a legal fig leaf rather than a real limitation, as LiquidVPN told the School of Privacy that,

‘We are a network transport provider. We do not host content, provide resources, monitor or log anything our customers do on our network. We respond to each DMCA letter personally explaining what I just explained to you. We have never forwarded off a DMCA letter to any of our users. Law enforcement requests are handled the same way. As long as the user in question is not using the same email address/username that was entered into our billing system then there won’t be any information to provide’, also adding that ’we do not police our network in any way shape or form’.

Customers can use any of LiquidVPN’s 10Gbps servers on the US West Coast and Czech Republic, its Gigabit servers in the Netherlands and Dallas, and its 100Mbs servers in the UK and Kansas.

Port forwarding is also supported through the User Control Panel.

Modulating IPs

The stand-out, and absolutely unique feature of this service is ‘Modulating IP connections’, which ‘varies the public IP addresses that your data is being sent and received from. It might change 100 or more times during a single session. The more people using the service the more IP addresses will be used and the more often it will change.’ This is a very interesting idea, and one that we have never seen before.

LiquidVPN describes Modulating IPs as the ‘most anonymous’ method of using its service, and upon questioning the support team we learnt that ‘Modulating IPs are shared. This is basically a shared IP that modulates from IP to IP making it more anonymous then a normal shared IP’.  Given that the system uses shared IPs, it would seem to provide a genuine benefit to maintaining users’ online anonymity, and should be commended for its innovation.

One problem with having your IP constantly changing is that many websites that use cookies or otherwise have high IP security may freak out. In practice we didn’t find this to be a huge issue, with our biggest problems arising when using LiquidVPN’s own website!

The website and customer support

The LiquidVPN website is a slick looking affair, with a fancy animation and a video describing Modulating IPs (see above). It does a reasonable job of explaining the various options available, but we did find it a bit confusing to navigate around. There is a ‘Knowledgebase’ wiki forum with a fairly useful FAQ, although we did find ourselves still wanting to ask a couple of questions.

Customer support is provided by a ticket system. When we asked our questions using it, the reply was fairly prompt (given the time difference between where we are and Michigan), and informative (and our questions were added to the wiki).

The Control Panel does pretty much what you would expect – you can check your subscription settings, change private details etc., but we were slightly surprised when it fell down if accessed when connected to LiquidVPN’s own Modulating IPs servers, constantly locking us out of our account and not letting us log back in again! Disconnecting from the Modulating IP server fixed this problem, but we did find it frustrating.

Nevertheless, despite these issues, and the occasional difficulty in finding the information we were looking for (the Tos is not easy to find!), we are impressed by just how much information is available on the website if you dig around. There is even a Blog section hidden away in there, with some fairly interesting articles.

Privacy policy and security

LiquidVPN keeps no usage logs (i.e. it does not log IP addresses, browsing history or traffic data), and the only connection logs are bandwidth usage logs, kept ‘for refunds’. It has also changed its signup process to only  require a name and email address, which pleases us.

On the security technology side of things, LiquidVPN impresses us immensely. We have already looked at the innovative Modulating IP system which, although as we shall see later does come with a sizeable performance hit, promises genuine privacy benefits. All servers also offer use of more conventional of shared IPs, which is also great and impacts performance less.

OpenVPN encryption, in the form of CBC 256-bit AES, with 2048-bit RSA key encryption, is about as good as it gets (at least until VPN providers start to move away from NIST certified standards). Interestingly, LiquidVPN told us that ‘we are testing Elliptic curve DH and as long as nothing rears its head in our tests we will be rolling it out to all of our OpenVPN servers in the near future’. This is, again, a NIST certified standard that is gaining popularity, but which may include security vulnerabilities, so we are curious about how the tests will turn out.

PPTP uses 128 bit MPPE, and L2TP uses 256-bit encryption, which is fine, but in the wake of recent Edward Snowden revelations about NSA efforts to break and subvert VPN encryption standards we only recommend using OpenVPN.

Which brings us nicely to the unfortunate fact that LiquidVPN is a US based company, is subject to the Patriot Act, and is therefore at least potentially open to NSA interference. As LiquidVPN is still a fairly small company (in September it boasted of around 500 clients), it may well have slipped under the NSA radar so far, but those concerned (as they should be) about NSA snooping, are best off avoiding any US tech company.

The Process

We are pleased to say that LiquidVPN has simplified its signup process, and now only requires a name and email address. This is great as it accepts payment via Bitcoin, so it is now possible to pay for the service anonymously. You can also pay using PayPal or Credit Card.

The Windows client

LiquidVPN supplies its own custom OpenVPN client. Setup is straight forward enough, and there is plenty of hand-holding if you need it.

Once launched, you access the client through its icon in the Notification Bar.

To connect you simply chose a desired server and connection type

There is a pretty graph showing data use

The preference window has all the usual options

client 5
You can customize the look of it

Disabling IPv6 can help prevent DNS leakage

All this adds up to quite a funky and fully featured VPN client, but it gets even better. On the website is a Scripts Library which lets you download scripts for the client to increase its functionality. For the Windows client these scripts include Fix DNS leaks, Start Application on Connect, VPN Check, Enable Internet Before VPN connects, Disable Internet on VPN Disconnect – Enable Internet on VPN Connect, Close Program on VPN Disconnect, and DNS Leak Prevention. Taken together, they make the client the most fully featured VPN software we have yet seen, while also allowing you to choose the features that you want. Excellent!

Setting the scripts up is a bit fiddly, but is clearly explained, and only took us a minute to do

script 2
We want our uTorrent client to close whenever the VPN disconnects

script 3
Some scripts run ‘as is’, but because we need to specify which program to close, we have to manually edit the script. It’s not a hard job though

Once set up, the script worked perfectly as advertised, so no more naughty P2P downloading after a VPN disconnect for us!

Connecting using Modulating IPs was very interesting, as our IP address changed every few seconds.

Every time we refreshed this webpage we saw a new IP address

Other platforms

The custom client is also available for OSX, and supports the scripts: Quit Transmission and notify via Growl, Start and Contro0l VPN & Transmission, and Start App on VPN Connect and Kill App on VPN Disconnect.

Setup instructions for other platforms, and for connecting other than by the custom client however, are difficult to find, require searching the Knowledgebase wiki, and are somewhat randomly incomplete. For example, we could nowhere find setup instructions for iOS or Blackberry devices (although it is stated that both can be used with the service), and we also couldn’t find any setup instructions at all for L2TP/IPsec on any platform.

Android users are catered for with detailed instructions for setting up the Feat VPN app (previously commercial but the full version is now available for free), Ubuntu users with a guide to setting up OpenVPN via Network Manager, and instructions are also available for setting up DD-WRT routers. Where they exist, the guides are good, but this is definitely an area where LiquidVPN could do better.


As usual, we tested the service out on using our 20 meg UK broadband connection.

st none
Without VPN

st mIP cz
Connected to VPN using the Modulating IP service (the closest server to permit this was in in the Czech Republic)

st none cz
Somewhat surprised at how poor these result were, we tested the same server in Czech with no VPN, just to make sure that nothing else was going on… but nope… its all down to the VPN…

st shared IP uk
Connected to the UK server using shared IP

st shared nl
Connected to the Netherlands server using shared IP

We were somewhat surprised at how poor download speeds were when connecting using Modulating IPs (although note the very high upload speed). In fairness we retested again the next day and managed to get speeds of up to 6.15Mbs, but they remained very inconsistent and universally disappointing. Although speeds to the local UK server (using shared IPs) where great, they quickly dropped off when connecting to servers in Europe, and were almost unusable when connecting to US servers. Overall we were very disappointed with the results.

The results however, were just fine


We liked

  • Modulating IP technology is genuinely unique, innovative, and should bring substantial improvements in privacy
  • Use of shared IPs is also good
  • No usage logs (and connection logs purged regularly)
  • Excellent encryption
  • Fantastic client with customizable scripts
  • Basic service is very cheap
  • 4 simultaneous connections on Pro service
  • P2P ok
  • Port forwarding
  • Static IPs available

We weren’t so sure about

  • We usually like the fact that a provider accepts Bitcoin payments, but the requirement to provide personal information makes this somewhat redundant

We hated

  • Far too much personal information required on sign-up
  • Poor to very poor performance (especially when connecting used Modulating IPs)
  • Although it looks good, finding information on the website can be a nightmare (and in some cases simply does not appear to exist). That said, there is a lot of information available if you dig hard enough
  • Based in the United States

We have to admit to not being sure of our feelings about LiquidVPN. On the one hand it offers a unique and genuinely exciting VPN privacy technology, great encryption, a good no logs privacy policy, and perhaps the best VPN software we have yet seen, while on the other it demands a lack of anonymity and is worryingly slow. That this slowness is even more pronounced when using Modulating IPs means that we would likely not bother making use of this technology in practice, which is a shame. The fact that LiquidVPN is a US based company is hardly its fault, but doesn’t count in its favor.

At the end of the day we think that LiquidVPN is currently only worthwhile if you are interested in the Modulating IP technology (and are prepared for the major performance hit this involves). However, we do think it is a very interesting company, and merits close attention to see what it does in the future. If it manages to improve performance then it will be become a much more interesting proposition (and that VPN software really is great), although we have nagging concerns about the amount of personal information asked, and that is based in the US (things that are unlikely to change).

Update 16 December 2013:  LiquidVPN has been working hard to improve its modulating IP performance. Our latest test results show that while not perfect, implementation of the technology is advancing rapidly, and the now much faster service makes using the technology a hugely more practicable and attractive proposition.

In addition to this, LiquidVPN has started to change over from NIST certified encryption standards (such as AES), and has now implemented Camellia CBC encryption on its Russia and Germany servers, ‘with more to follow.’ It is the only company we know of to do this, and is to be greatly applauded for the move.

As we noted in the main review, LiquidVPN is an exciting VPN company, and one that we shall continue keeping a close eye on.

Update 21 April 2014: LiquidVPN has contacted BestVPN to let us about ‘the addition of our optional intrusion prevention system add on. Traditionally IPS has been very hard to implement on users systems without advanced technical knowledge. We thought what better method to deliver an advanced IPS system to consumers then via a VPN. In its current form it is a simple add-on but as the system learns and gets more robust and our users start to realize the benefits we may expand the service to allow more fine grained control over how the system works on a per user basis.’

At present ‘it is in a sort of test mode,’ but the technology sounds very interesting (we love LiquidVPN’s zest for innovation), so we will examine it in detail in the near future.

We have also modified the article to reflect current logging, pricing structure, and signup requirements.

Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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16 responses to “LiquidVPN review

  1. Liquidvpn does not work as advertised. I am a programmer and a digital nomad. When I traveled both South America and Asia, the service simply didn’t work. I had to use another service. Getting my money back took weeks and weeks, and I only got a partial refund after nearly a dozen emails. It is a nice service – when it works…. Which is almost never

    This is my first vpn review but I found a way to get netflix working and wanted to share it with others.

    Originally I signed up for 6 months. I was not able to cast netflix to my TV with my tablet like I used to be able to do in 2015 (last time I traveled) I canceled and they sent my refund within a couple hours.

    This morning one of their technicians emailed me and explained that Netflix has blocked phones and tablets but not desktops. He told me if I had a wifi doodad I could cast netflix to my TV via my desktop instead. I had to purchase a wifi to usb adapter but as soon as I plugged it in, connected to one of their servers and cleared my browsers history I was able to watch wifi on my TV again!

    1. Hi Gloria,

      The thing with mobile apps is that they can collect data other than just your IP address to determine your location (such as your GPS location and mobile carrier information). As long as your provider’s IP addresses are not blocked by Netflix (many are, though), you should be able to access Netflix using your desktop or laptop PC. I am somewhat unclear, however, about exactly what this USB to WiFi doodad that you refer to actually is. A Chromecast or Mirrorcast device can certainly be used to “cast” your PC’s screen to your HDMI TV.

      1. Douglas,

        The tech I spoke with said something about Netflix forcing my device to use Google dns instead of their special dns. I had to buy a USB wifi dongle… I think that is what they called it. Anyway it is for the laptop I am using. They set it up so it connects directly to my TV while still being connected to the internet with the built in adapter. I didn’t even know this was possible before. There is a lot of old (and no longer working) information out there when it comes to bypassing the USA Netflix ban.

        1. Hi Gloria,

          Ah.. ok. So that means your TV has WiFi capability built-in? That’s a neat setup.

    Its funny that I found these guys in the best USA VPN column and not in the best UK VPN column. They have ultra fast UK servers and they all still work with the iPlayer. I would recommend them to anyone wanting to stream bbc content.

    Super happy with the LiquidVPN. Tons of server locations/options, auto mapped ports on Dynamic servers, auto close torrent app upon disconnect, and has a kill switch option. Excellent speeds and priced down to $4.50 a month if you pay for the year. Viscosity app is a nice feature, they also support OpenVPN, works with DDWRT too.

    Support responds quickly to any needs.

    I contacted them about horrible connections. Dropping, extremely slow speeds, not even connecting in the first place. They made no effort to look into it and blamed it on me, so I essentially told them to eat it and switched to private internet access. Very rude customer service, and I’m never dealing with this company again, and I suggest no one else does either. Private internet access is better in every way, and comes out almost $3 cheaper a month if you pay a year at a time.

    1. Hey Rob, Sorry if you felt someone was rude to you. Feel free to get in touch with me and let me know who it was you spoke with and I will investigate the incident. The last thing we want is our users to feel someone is being rude to them. What the person should have done is linked you to the knowledgebase article that describes exactly what we need from you to investigate the issue. Usually when there are connection problems to multiple servers as you seem to hint at then the issue is going to be on your end somewhere. Think about it. If you are having problems staying connected to 10 different servers in 10 different datacenters around the world is the issue more likely be with your single network or the 10 different networks in question?

    Great VPN Services, SPEED, Trust, Fanatical SUPPORT. @;) 100 % satisfied.

    I signed up for 1 month in June. So far it has saved me from at least 4 DMCA notices. I like the fact that they publish them. I signed up for their IPS system. It was hard to tell if it was working or not so I decided to run some tests. I setup a server on one of their public IP connections and then attempted to exploit it, DDoS it, send infected files to it and so on. It works but its a bit different then I had expected. I expected something like an antivirus at the network level but it let the viruses and malware get through. What it did do is block me from exploiting the server with shellcodes, and stopped the DoS attacks I tested. I attempted to test some client side attacks to simulate a virus or trojans payload and it was able to stop these attacks as well.

    On a side note towards the end of my testing when I was testing client side attacks I got an email from one of their support reps suggesting I run Malwarebytes. I knew my activities would be noticed because I was not on a shared or modulating IP when I tested so your milage may vary but in my case it was nice for them to try and warn me about a possible malware infection trying to take over my device.

    If you are a gamer like me that hates being booted by a kid hitting the DDoS button the IPS enhancement could be a good fit.

    I was complaining an issue with LiquidVPN and I can’t believe how Dave (The owner or the Staff) replied:

    So you can connect to 1 location but then cant connect to another? This is happening on Mac and Windows or just Mac?

    It is possible that your configs have not updated yet if you just installed the mac version. There does not seem to be an error in the logs. The servers are all online and users are on every server. If this is happening on windows as well we can do a remote session and I can most likely fix it. Macs OS is more locked down so there is less that we can do. When did you install viscosity? The configs can take up to 72 hours to update (24 if you leave the VPN connected)


    So, I replied with:

    I can connect to all servers, yet I cannot browse the Internet using other servers. To make it easier to understand and for you to see everything that happened, I made a video about it:

    Remember the thing that I told you that I was amazed because I imported the new VPN settings into the VPN client and I was so amazed that it organized everything automatically? That’s what I did after the installation of the VPN client. I imported the VPN configurations properly. Anyway, you’ll see everything in the video.

    I can’t believe HE replied this way. Makes me feel stupid:

    Im watching it now but it looks like everything is working. What do you mean “I cannot browse the Internet using other servers” What other servers? Is it a certain port that is giving you trouble? The only thing I am seeing is after you disconnect sites dont open right away because your adapter is being reset.

    What do you mean you imported the configs? They should be there when you install. You should not need to import any servers.


    So I replied with:

    Everything is working? Nah, I don’t think so. Watch it in HD and in full screen. Also, the California servers aren’t going to be available if I haven’t imported the VPN settings. Importing means like downloading the latest VPN configurations for Windows and Mac (just like what you always suggested). Of course I HAD TO WAIT FOR THE ADAPTER TO BE CONNECTED before I access any website. Seriously? I had to focus on the resetting process. Holy crap, you thought I keep on accessing websites while the adapter is being reset? Are you serious??

    Holy crap.

    Hi Andy,

    Well, I used the Zlin server because it by far the closest one to me. However, LiquidVPN has advised me that it has been working hard to improve its rolling IP speeds, so I plan to re-run some speed tests just as soon as I have the time…

    I am currently using liquidvpn and get great speeds. You tested rolling IP addresses on their worst server which is a bit unfair. I have been on the Ziln server before and it is on an oversold network. I asked liquid support about it and apparently IP addresses in Europe are very hard to come by now and they have to have have 256 IP addresses on a server to do IP modulation. Ziln was the only place they could go. The rest of the EU servers are all pretty fast especially Germany which amazingly gave me a better speed test connected to it then not connected to it when using the same server.

    They have the best support I have ever experienced. One of their techs setup my firewall for me with teamviewer, their client is by far the best Mac client I have ever used. The windows client has to rank in the top 5 especially with paranoid people like myself. It opens my poker app on connect and shuts it down if the net crashes and I get all this for 4.99 per month? Yes please…

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