SummaryGoTrusted is a VPN service marketed as an “online privacy” solution. The service is aimed at the consumer and small business market, and clearly has some serious budget behind it; this is the first VPN service we’ve encountered that is promoted via its own TV commercial! Fortunately, it is a high-quality solution that offers good performance. However, its focus on ease-of-use may put off techies and enthusiasts who desire a little more access to the technical details and “nuts and bolts.”
GoTrusted is clearly intended to be a straightforward service that beginners can use. As such, it’s compatibility list is relatively small, omitting the Linux, router and set-top box options offered by some VPN services. The good news is that the service works as advertised and offers really good connection speeds, and is therefore a decent choice for many users, albeit with a few caveats that may cause some people to look elsewhere.
Packages & Pricing
For individual users, GoTrusted offer a single solution at a fixed monthly cost of $5.99. GoTrusted also offer solutions for businesses with multiple users but do not publicise the pricing of these services. For the purposes of this review, we concentrated on the consumer version of the GoTrusted solution.
GoTrusted offer a seven-day free trial of their service, but, unlike some providers, insist on payment details up front. If you provide credit card details, GoTrusted begin to take payment automatically if you do not cancel within the seven-day trial period. If you choose to subscribe via PayPal, they take an initial payment of 1 cent to verify your payment details, then an automated subscription payment begins after the trial period.
GoTrusted offer online chat based support, accessible direct from their website during US office hours. We put this to the test with a series of questions and received good, detailed answers almost instantly.
Out of hours, GoTrusted offer a ticket-based support system and promise an answer to queries within 24-hours. GoTrusted do not offer any telephone support, but it’s rare to find any provider that does.
Overall we were very impressed with the quick and effective support we received.
Security and Privacy
GoTrusted, in common with several providers who aim there services at the consumer end of the market, don’t provide a huge amount of information online as to the technicalities of how their service works.
A query to the support department didn’t reveal much more. We were told that their software “uses several different VPN modes depending upon network conditions,” with “primarily strong SSL modes.”
A little further probing revealed that the software supports L2TP, PPTP and OpenVPN, with 256-bit encryption where possible. We asked whether we have control of the protocols but were told that GoTrusted automatically selects the best and strongest encryption method based on the connection location.
For non-techies who just want an easy, working solution, this is ideal. For those who want more access to the inner workings of the software, this could disappoint.
GoTrusted users making use of the service legally will have no cause for concern. Those who, for reasons of their own, would prefer to use a service that maintains no logs whatsoever may want to look elsewhere.
We signed up for a seven-day free trial in order to evaluate the software. As discussed above, we were required to hand over our payment details at this stage and, as we chose the PayPal option, pay the nominal fee of one cent to verify our account. The payment process was fast and slick and our welcome email arrived instantly.
Once we had provided our billing information, we were taken to a page where we could download the GoTrusted software for Windows or Mac.
Installation and Configuration
We used a MacBook Pro to review the solution, so clicked on the download button for the Mac version. Although the website alerted us to a potential bug that could cause problems with our operating system (OS X Mountain Lion 10.8), we encountered no such issue.
Clicking the button caused a standard Mac (.dmg) installer file to download. Running the file loaded up a normal Mac installation routine, which required us to enter our Mac system password and click “continue” a few times:
Once the software was installed, a bold GoTrusted icon was added to our Mac’s applications folder. Then, the following window appeared requesting our username and password:
After entering our details, we were left with a very simple program window giving us the chance to “go secure.”
Establishing a connection took a surprisingly long time when we clicked the “Go Secure” button – about 45 seconds. Once connected, the window informed us of our new IP address and the fact we were using SSL encryption.
We performed a lookup on our new IP address, which was located in the USA. We then browsed to a US-specific streaming media site and were able to access country-locked content with no problems.
We now wanted to ascertain how to change settings – specifically related to our country configuration. We went back to the GoTrusted site to check the documentation.
We noticed that there were some video tutorials available:
Although we already had the software installed (a positive sign of the solution’s ease of use), we watched the whole Mac video to get an idea of its quality. We were impressed with the tutorial video, which included some very sensible extra details in places where novices could become confused, but were a little disappointed that the video didn’t tell us how to change our country settings.
We opened the software again, and found the settings available via the Mac menu bar:
The country settings were there, along with a few other options:
We changed our server region to United Kingdom (the options were North America, UK, European Union and Asia), and connected to the service again. We then found we had a UK IP address and were able to access UK specific streaming-media services. We were a little disappointed not to find a larger range of region options, making this service no good for those who, for example, wish to watch media services in Australia or New Zealand.
At this point, we were becoming more aware of the fact that GoTrusted is not a service where users are particularly encouraged to tinker with settings or, indeed, know exactly how the service is working. As mentioned earlier in the review, novice users will have no problem with this, but as techies we were keen to find out a little more. What exactly, for example, did the “compatibility mode” feature do, which was enabled by default? We decided to browse the product website to see what we could find out.
We didn’t discover an awful lot, other than a recommendation to toggle the “compatibility mode” to the opposite setting in the event of speed problems. We suspect that “compatibility mode” forces GoTrusted onto a different VPN protocol – but have no way to prove this suspicion.
Connection Speeds and reliability
We tested speed performance using the HTML5-based Testmy.net tests, using its UK test server on our 20MB/s UK connection. Because performance results are always somewhat inconsistent, all results below are ‘best of 5’, although we will note anything anomalous.
Connected to default US server in ‘standard mode’. Although the US is some distance from the UK, this is not a very good result, and would be insufficient for streaming Netflix etc.
Connected to a UK server in ‘standard mode’. This result gives a much fairer representation of GoTrusted’s performance, rather than that of the internet in general, and is not at all bad
Connected to UK server in ‘Compatibility mode’. There is a noticeable speed hit, but nothing too disastrous
The US result is a bit disappointing, although this is something largely beyond GoTrusted’s control. The speed results to UK servers are pretty good, however, and show that GoTrusted provides a fast service.
We also tested for DNS leaks and found none, and encountered no connection drop-outs during our test period.
As mentioned earlier in the review, compatibility isn’t one of GoTrusted’s strong points, with the solution only supporting Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. While this covers all the platforms that its target consumer market are likely to use, it again emphasises that there are perhaps better alternatives for technical enthusiasts.
We found the iPhone installation instructions within the customer area of the GoTrusted website. GoTrusted don’t offer any automated setup for the iPhone (or, indeed, for Android), but they do provide a clear set of instructional screenshots.
We followed the instructions we were given, which essentially involved us going into the iPhone’s network settings and creating a new manual VPN connection. The instructions were clear, and the connection worked first time.
The instructions detailed how to create a PPTP connection, but also provided alternative settings for an L2TP connection. We tried both types of connection.
While connected to our test WiFi, we ran a number of speed tests. We were a little disappointed to find the speed readings rather inconsistent over WiFi. Sometimes the speed whilst connected to the VPN came close to the benchmark speed, other times it was considerably slower.
The instructions didn’t make it clear whether the iPhone VPN would work over a 3G connection, so we disconnected from our WiFi and gave it a go. It worked with no problems, so we decided to run a couple of speed tests over 3G as well.
The following was our speedtest result with the VPN disconnected:
This was our result whilst connected to GoTrusted’s UK server:
As you can see, the performance hit from connecting via VPN was, over 3G, fairly minimal – a drop of just over 0.5Mbps. This was a good result, and at this point we became tempted to blame the iPhone’s WiFi radio for the earlier inconsistencies!
Despite our inconsistent WiFi speed results, the service worked flawlessly with both connectivity methods, and this should be the main thing to keep in mind. However, anyone planning to use the service with iOS over WiFi on a regular basis should consider the possible implications of our inconsistent speed tests.
GoTrusted’s customer area is nothing to get excited about:
The “My Account” section simply offers a few basic options: the ability to change your password and links to download connectivity software and to mobile setup instructions.
In our case, as we had set up a PayPal account, we were advised to log into PayPal to view subscription options, but we suspect anyone paying by credit card could manage their billing in this area.
Finally, GoTrusted offer a free email address alias service, providing you with a “disposable” email address to use for purposes where you think you will be sent spam:
We struggled to think of an immediate use for this service, but it’s there in the customer area should anyone wish to take advantage.
Simple, consumer-focussed solution suitable for all skill levels
Excellent performance in most configurations
Great technical support
We weren’t so sure about
Lack of access to detailed settings for techies
Mysterious “compatibility mode” that can reduce performance by default
Slow to initially establish a connection on our Mac
No automated setup for mobile devices
The need to provide payment details to begin a free trial
Inconsistent iOS download speeds over WiFi
Limited country options
We came away with a generally positive impression of GoTrusted. The provider is clearly a professional outfit, and the product is carefully targeted to a specific market. Generally, the performance was very good as well.
There are some downsides: competent computer users may want more access to settings or greater compatibility and country options, and a little more work could go into the iOS side of things. The provider should also reconfigure the software so that pesky “compatibility mode” is disabled by default.
Even so, for those who find that the features available meet their requirements, it’s hard to imagine anyone being unduly disappointed by GoTrusted.