BlackVPN is a professional VPN service with a bit of everything from streaming and security in order to try and please everyone. While improvements could be made, on the whole they are a service that is surely worth a try.
Pricing & Plans
Unlike most VPN providers, BlackVPN has three different offers to choose from, and like most providers they offer a discount the longer you sign up for. With their stream from anywhere service (which we discuss in features) we think a Privacy VPN would suffice for most people. This would cost the low price of around $5 when signed up for a year. Alternatively the full package (which is what we used for our testing) will set you back $12.00/mo at the most. BlackVPN’s packages are in the cheap-to-average price of the market. Similarly to BestVPN they are proud to use some of their profits support the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), which is always a good sign.
They also have a 14 day money back guarantee which is great to see and they don’t impose any restriction on it, unlike some companies.
BlackVPN also retails some DD-WRT flashed routers, both of which are well priced and can help with managing your connections – see our Big Router Guide for more information on DD-WRT routers and why they are so useful.
BlackVPN has a nice video, which you can watch below, explaining what a VPN is and the rough idea behind how their service works.
BlackVPN is a Hong Kong based VPN provider with some very nifty features with a very good outlook overall.
They provide access to 12 different countries primarily around Europe but also in Northern America and Asia.They allow a generous 3 simultaneous connections so you have the possibility of using their service on the majority of your devices. On top of this BlackVPN has implemented a feature that is unique to them (as far as we are aware) whereby it doesn’t matter which service you are connected to, you can still stream UK and US channels (Netflix USA, Hulu and BBC iPlayer only)– you can read more about this here.
Not only does BlackVPN provide a good service for streaming but they also have some excellent security as we will outline below.
Being based in Hong Kong is a huge plus for BlackVPN as it is outside both the US and EU jurisdiction. They are well aware of this fact as they made the sensible decision to move there in 2012 in order to avoid secret court orders for back doors and monitoring.
Their 256bit AES OpenVPN with a 4096 bit key is definitely one of the most secure on the market. While most of the time a high encryption effects connection speeds, they have managed to maintain a good average. There is also L2TP and PPTP available. With regards to logging, they’ve recently switched to keeping no logs whatsoever, not even connection logs. As with most other VPNs they will co-operate with authorities if pressured though this is very hard to achieve. As part of protecting their users P2P is not allowed on US and UK servers.
In order to maintain customers anonymity they do not have a client area on the website or in the software they use. Instead each and every person is provided with a random account number and password when they sign up to the service. This makes finding out when your VPN expires slightly annoying but it’s a small trade-off for such a positive step.
The BlackVPN website is nicely set up and is a definite improvement from their previous one. It is possible to find most key aspects of the company spread across the website which is great for clarity and honesty.
BlackVPN covers all the main types of support: FAQ, Ticket and Live. Their FAQ is well updated and contains some essential troubleshooting as well as answers to some general questions. There ticket support is very efficient and quick at reply and will walk you through solutions for any issues which you may experience (we had a few as outlined under using the client). Their live support is a bit of an oddity as instead of being available at set times they come and go but a rough guideline is ‘roughly 8am – midnight GMT on Monday – Friday and similar time frames on the weekends but more intermittent’.
As mentioned BlackVPN is very good with privacy so when you’re signing up all you will need is an email address if you are paying by Bitcoin, of course other details will be required for other payment methods.
The Windows VPN client
BlackVPN does not have a proprietary client and instead provide an easy to set-up OpenVPN Client or Viscosity if you prefer it. We gave both of these a test and both worked fine but Viscosity is able to provide a bit more detail about your usage and statistics. The only issue we had is that there were problems connecting to some of there servers (primarily Russia and Ukraine) – this is an issue between the ISPs and the servers and not BlackVPN’s fault, on the upside they know about this and are working on solutions – some of which we had the chance to test (scrambled openVPN) and it worked!
Performance (Speed, DNS and IP Test)
As outlined in the table below the OpenVPN client does give slightly better performance in connection. The top speeds were great, however they weren’t always the fastest but always remained adequate enough for streaming & surfing. Their DNS and IPtests were all fine.
OpenVPN – Viscosity
OpenVPN – Client
Since BlackVPN doesn’t have propriety PC software it’s no surprise that the same goes for other platforms but of course there are guides for how to set it up on all major platforms. We gave this a test and it was fine and worked as expected.
On their website BlackVPN provides a service called ReadThenBurn which allows you to send encrypted, zero-knowledge messages to your friends, which are then burned. This is based on an open source, freely available code and we think this is a great addition to their website, they also find it very helpful during live support for sending log files.
Great attention to security
No logs whatsoever
Free Viscosity license
14 day free trial
We weren’t so sure about
Performance can be inconsistent
Some connection issues
While BlackVPN has some faults here and there it is definitely a great service overall which is dedicated not only to bringing great security to everyone but also making streaming pleasurable. On the whole they are definitely a service worth considering.