Seychelles-based Proxy.sh is a VPN provider that places emphasis on user privacy. Individuals searching for true anonymity are sure to show some interest, as this service provider highlights a commitment to strong encryption techniques and a “non logging” policy. Proxy.sh is also notable for its vast array of payment options that are more diverse than any we have seen before. Unfortunately, we experienced glitches and slow performance during our testing that may put off potential subscribers.
VPN providers all focus their services in slightly different ways. Proxy.sh, with its “offshore” location, focuses most heavily on anonymity. All that’s required to join is an email address and payment method, and with over 85 of the latter, it’s possible to use this service with a high level of secrecy.
Whether this degree of anonymity is necessary for the average user is a matter for debate, but those seeking a very private service will certainly find it here. However, with below average performance (at least on the package we tested), potential subscribers will need to decide whether privacy is more important than download speed and reliability.
Packages & Pricing
Proxy.sh offer three different VPN packages, named “Quick,” “Basic” and “Solid.” All offer the same key functionality, but the bandwidth available to subscribers increases depending on the package chosen. For example, while the “Quick” package is quoted as providing 10,000Mbps of “shared” bandwidth, the “Solid” package offers 50,000Mbps.
In addition, the “Quick” package only provides access to two VPN locations (the USA and Ukraine). The “Basic” package provides access the six locations, and the “Solid” package provides access to 19. Notably, the “Basic” package doesn’t provide access to a UK server. If you require this, your only option is to sign up for the top-end “Solid” package.
In terms of pricing, the “Quick” package is sold in 72-hour units at $2. The “Basic” package is $5 per month, dropping to $3.33 per month if you commit to a year’s subscription at $40. Similarly, the “Solid” package is $10 per month, dropping to $7.50 per month if you commit to a year at $90. Depending on the package you choose, these prices are at the lower or upper end of average for services of this kind.
We couldn’t establish whether Proxy.sh offer any kind of free trial or money-back guarantee, so we emailed the support department, who informed us that they do offer a free $2 trial subscription to anyone who promotes them via Twitter.
Proxy.sh advertise the fact that they provide 24/7 technical support.
This support is offered via a support ticketing system, accessible via the client area once you have registered, which only requires an email address and password.
Although the support department advertise 24/7 support “for emergencies,” further exploration of the website reveals that they answer queries within an average of a “few business days.” This is a rather vague commitment, however we sent a general query to the support department and received a good response within just over an hour.
We were unable to find a phone number for technical support.
Security and Privacy
With security and privacy being at the forefront of Proxy.sh’s service offering, it was unsurprising yet pleasing to find that exact details of the technology in use were readily available.
Firstly, in terms of logging, Proxy.sh are very clear that “nothing gets logged,” as shown in the screenshot above.
Technology-wise, Proxy.sh primarily use the modern OpenVPN protocol, but also offers access via PPTP and L2TP/IPSec. We were unable to ascertain from the knowledge base exactly what encryption levels Proxy.sh use, but were pleased to find some quite detailed descriptions of each of the technologies.
We decided to register for the basic “Quick” package in order to test the Proxy.sh service.
After adding the package to our cart, we had to register with the provider, a simple matter of supplying our email address and password details. We were then prompted to view our invoice to make payment.
Next, we were asked from which country we wished to make our payment:
Finally, we were offered a bewildering array of payment choices, which included the usual credit and debit card options, PayPal, Bitcoin and numerous other possibilities. It’s fair to say that this is the largest selection of payment options we’ve found from any VPN provider, and many of them were options that would appeal to those searching for the ultimate in anonymity.
We chose to use PayPal, and were redirected to the PayPal site to authorise the payment before being passed back to Proxy.sh. The usual selection of registration emails and payment receipts quickly hit our inbox.
Installation and Configuration
We decided to use a PC running Windows 7 for the bulk of our testing. Proxy.sh supply a custom OpenVPN client called SafeJumper, but this is only available for PC and Linux platforms.
Mac users wishing to use the OpenVPN protocol instead have to use a custom version of TunnelBlick, a third-party VPN client, hence our decision to use a Windows PC to get an impression of the provider’s own software.
To access the software, we logged into the client area using our username and password and found a bold, green “Download VPN software” button.
Clicking this took us to a list of frequent downloads, with the Safejumper software at the top.
Clicking here downloaded a standard Windows (.exe) installation file. Installing the software was, essentially, a simple case of clicking “next” several times.
During the installation, the executable also triggered the install of some OpenVPN client software.
Once the install was complete, we ended up with two new icons on our Windows desktop, as shown below.
Opening the “Safejumper” program produced a configuration window, prompting us to enter our username and password (as supplied in our welcome email), and select a server:
We were quite pleased to see that each server reported how loaded it was, along with a ping time, which is useful in identifying which server is likely to produce best performance.
Sadly, things began to go a bit wrong at this point. We attempted to connect to the servers one at a time. Sometimes we experienced a hang during the “connecting” stage. At other times, some of the servers were happy to accept our username and password while others informed us that it was incorrect. At one point, we were able to connect to one of the servers, but not to browse the Web. We had to restrict our speed tests to the servers that were happy to accept our connection: one in Ukraine and one in New York.
Connection speeds and reliability
As stated above, our experience of connecting to Proxy.sh via their Safejumper software was rather hit and miss, but we still set out to complete some speed tests. As usual, we used the Speedtest.net website for this, and began by running a test whilst disconnected from the VPN, in order to ascertain our benchmark download speed:
Next, we connected to Proxy.sh’s Ukraine server, with the following results:
Although some performance overhead is to be expected, this was a slightly disappointing result involving a download speed drop of almost 3Mbps.
Finally, we connected to the one New York server that would accept our connection, and ran another test:
This drop of an additional 1Mbps over the Ukraine test was rather disappointing.
Overall, we weren’t hugely impressed with the performance we experienced, especially as we ensured we used Proxy.sh’s own recommended software. We did consider the fact that performance with other protocols may be better, so decided to put this theory to the test when trying the solution on a mobile device (see later in the review).
It’s also worth noting that Proxy.sh do provide more shared bandwidth to those subscribing to more expensive packages, so users spending more may enjoy better performance.
Although Proxy.sh appear to concentrate their efforts on the key desktop platforms (Windows, Mac and Linux), they do, in fact, provide an extensive range of manual “how to” guides for other platforms including mobile devices (iOS and Android) and various other devices including routers and set-top boxes.
We had a good look through the configuration guides and found that some were more user-friendly that others. While guides for iOS had good screenshots, Linux and router instructions were text-based and a little harder to follow. It’s fair to say, however, that it’s unlikely that a non-technical user would try to reconfigure a router for VPN, or, indeed, for Linux, so the setup guides are aimed at appropriate levels of expertise.
We decided to grab a test iPhone and try the solution out under iOS.
Proxy.sh on the iPhone
As we had experienced quite disappointing speed performance under the OpenVPN protocol, we decided to follow the PPTP protocol instructions on the iPhone.
The instructions were fairly straightforward, essentially requiring us to configure a new VPN connection using the iPhone’s standard “Settings” menus, but we did need to refer back to our welcome email to find out the IP address details for the server to connect to.
Sadly, we again experienced some connectivity issues; our password was not accepted by one New York server, but worked fine with another.
We ran a couple of speed tests to see how the PPTP performance compared with the OpenVPN speeds we’d seen on our Windows laptop.
When disconnected from VPN we gained a download speed of 6.90Mbps.
Disappointingly, when connected to the VPN, this speed dropped significantly, to just 2.06Mbps. This was a worse performance than under OpenVPN.
Proxy.sh has a fairly extensive members area, accessible after logging into the provider’s website.
As well as providing access to the installation guides mentioned earlier in the review, this area also links into the support ticketing and invoicing systems.
One unusual addition that we were pleased to see was a “Network status” screen, giving a live representation of current server loads.
Unfortunately, we didn’t feel we could place that much trust in this, due to the authentication issues we had experienced with some of the servers.
- Clear emphasis on privacy
- Fast technical support response
- Huge choice of payment options
We weren’t so sure about
- Unimpressive download speeds
- Better bandwidth for those who pay more
- Intermittent issues connecting to some servers
It’s a real shame that we experienced some connectivity issues with Proxy.sh. Had we not had these problems, we would still have been inclined to give a cautious recommendation to certain niche users due to the heavy and clear emphasis on anonymity and privacy.
As things stand, however, we would advise users to consider other options before committing. Unless privacy is your priority above all else, you can probably find an alternative that will better meet your needs. While, performance may be better for those who subscribe to a more expensive package, it was still disappointing as part of the package we tested.