KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that appears to be highly endorsed, according to its website. It has been quite a while since we reviewed this VPN service, and because VPNs have a tendency to change over time (usually for the better, but not always), we thought it was about time we put it through its paces again.
Versatile: Servers in over 70 countries
Reasonable connection speeds
Custom VPN clients for all platforms
Great website with lots of blogs
Strong OpenVPN implementation
Connection logs kept
True to its name, VPN Unlimited provides an (almost) unlimited subscription plan of 100 years for $149.99. That is really outstanding value, as are all of the other plans. In fact, there are few VPNs on the market that provide better prices or such a variety of options.
On its website, VPN Unlimited advertises three price plans. Economy is a one month plan that costs $6.99. Professional is a yearly plan that costs $39.99 (which works out at $3.33 per month). The third plan advertised on its website is the Infinity plan. This officially it costs $499.99, but in reality that price usually has a strike through it and a discount of 70% or 75% (making the 100-year-plan cost a very reasonable $149.99, or even as low as $99 on some occasions).
KeepSolid VPN Unlimited also has a few extra plans, which can be accessed via the VPN software itself. In order to see those price plans, subscribers must download the VPN and test it using the one-day free trial. The extra plans are: weekly ($2.99), three monthly ($14.99), and three-yearly ($79.99).
KeepSolid VPN Unlimited also provides both a one-day free trial AND a seven-day money-back guarantee. That refund is available on any of the price plans, so don’t be afraid to get the plan that you prefer, as you can still get a full refund within seven days of paying for it.
Payment can be made via credit card, Paypal, or bitcoins (for people who want added anonymity). Paypal subscribers are rewarded with a discount of 5%.
VPN Unlimited gives subscribers access to 1,000+ high-speed servers in 70+ locations around the world.
Domain Name System (DNS) Firewall
VPN Unlimited’s DNS firewall protection is not switched on by default. Switching it on adds an extra layer of protection. It protects users from malicious websites, tracking systems, and annoying adverts.
The DNS firewall has three different levels. The ‘low’ setting protects users with anti-malware and VPN encryption. The ‘medium’ setting protects users with anti-malware, anti-tracking, and VPN encryption. Finally, the ‘high’ setting blocks all websites that the software considers to be malicious.
Subscribers are warned that using this setting may restrict access or change the appearance of some websites that they want to access. For this reason, the VPN software also allows subscribers to whitelist or blacklist websites that they do or don’t want to be able to access.
An extremely useful feature of the Windows VPN Unlimited client is the fact that it tells you the ‘workload’ of each VPN server in the list. This allows you to see if it is likely to be having any bandwidth issues before you connect. I looked down the list and didn’t see any server that was above about half capacity, other than those marked “Torrents” (one of which was at 80% workload capacity).
P2P and Torrenting
Some reviews of KeepSolid VPN Unlimited claim that P2P torrenting is permitted on the service. This is technically correct. The provider has a number of servers that are labeled with the word Torrents, and these are the servers that users should connect to when BitTorrenting. However, when most people think P2P torrenting, they also think piracy, and this is where VPN Unlimited falls flat on its face.
Personal Static IP Address
Subscribers can pay extra to gain access to a static IP address that is theirs alone to use. This gives users the advantage of knowing that they will get the very best speeds possible. In addition, it means that users should be able to access sites and services that have blacklisted other VPN IP addresses. Prices for a personal IP address start at $14.99 per month, which is quite expensive.
A personal server guarantees that the entire server will be for the subscriber’s personal use only. This service starts at $21.99 per month for one terabyte of data per month, and promises speeds of 1 GBPS.
VPN Unlimited uses OpenVPN on Windows and Android by default, which is great. On iOS and OS X, Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) is the standard encryption protocol. For this reason, it is necessary to download third-party OpenVPN connect software to connect to VPN Unlimited’s servers with OpenVPN on Apple Mac devices. Still, this is impressive, and it is a great sign that there is no Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) in sight (other than for Windows Mobile).
One consideration for Apple Mac users is that KeepSolid VPN Unlimited will only give users access to its .ovpn files if they sign up for a year. Thus, if you want to connect to VPN Unlimited’s servers using OpenVPN on OS X or iOS, please get a yearly subscription.
Users also have the option to switch on the “KeepSolid Wise” switch in the “protection” tab.
Enabling KeepSolid Wise strengthens OpenVPN from User Datagram Protocol (UDP) to Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) on port 443. This is often referred to as stealth mode on other VPNs. It means that the subscriber’s OpenVPN traffic is indistinguishable from regular Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) traffic. The result is that it allows users to get around firewall restrictions (such as the Great Firewall of China). In addition, it stops Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from being able to detect that a VPN is even being used. This is an excellent feature, though do bear in mind that for streaming, a regular UDP OpenVPN connection is recommended, as TCP slows traffic down more.
Perfect Forward Secrecy
Logs & Legal
VPNs that care about privacy promise to leave subscribers alone. This is not the case with VPN Unlimited, and because it is based in the US, this is concerning. In the terms of service, VPN Unlimited asks users not to break the laws of either their own country or the country that they tunnel into:
“It is NOT the services for any criminal acts. Its purpose is to ensure your anonymity and privacy online, to provide you a safe storage for your private data and secure synchronization of your tasks. You agree not to violate any laws of any jurisdiction you are originating from or terminating into.”
In fact, VPN unlimited goes further and specifically mentions downloading copyrighted content:
“Downloading and transmitting any material that infringes the intellectual property rights or other rights of third parties.”
The KeepSolid website is top quality. It is filled with graphics and is easy to navigate. It also has plenty of information about server locations. Due to the fact that it offers so many services (as well as the VPN), the website can get a tad on the heavy side. However, all of the features are laid out in a straightforward manner, and if a VPN is all that you are interested in (like me), then it is easy to pinpoint that part of the website and get all the information about VPN Unlimited.
The KeepSolid website also has an excellent blog section filled with details of its security features (such as its built-in ad-blocker and anti-malware protection) and articles about internet security in general. This is all of an excellent quality and lends to an image that oozes professionalism.
Customer support is handled via a ticket system that is delivered to an email inbox. I found the firm to be helpful and fast, though I did have to wait a few hours for a reply on some occasions. On the website, there is a pop-up for a live chat feature. Sadly, it was never available when I went on the site, which means that it isn’t 24/7. I suspect it is only available in US business hours.
The VPN provides a number of useful guides and additional information via a “Knowledge Base” (FAQ). I particularly liked the illustrated setup guides (per platform, in the downloads section), which were very clear and easy to find for each platform.
Signing up to VPN Unlimited is nice and easy. First, you create a KeepSolid ID, which requires a password and email address. Once a confirmation email has been sent and the link has been followed, it is possible to subscribe to the VPN on any of the various plans. Having subscribed, all that is left to do is download the client for the platform that you use. The software downloads quickly and the on-screen prompts make installing it a breeze.
The KeepSolid VPN Windows Client
The Windows client is the version that I tested thoroughly. It is a lovely looking VPN client that is really slick and looks feature-packed. It is easily navigated via tabs on the left-hand side. Sadly, the appearance of being feature-packed is exactly that: an appearance. The only real security options that users get to choose from are the level of DNS firewall protection (low, medium and max) and TCP on port 443.
Sadly, features that we have come to expect and love from top VPN services are nowhere to be seen. If you were hoping for DNS leak protection, auto-connect, and a kill switch, you are sorely out of luck – these features are not available on any of the clients.
All in all, the client is good, and certainly couldn’t be considered hard to use. In addition, the server capacity feature (which tells you how heavily in use each VPN server is) is great. P2P servers are clearly labeled Torrents and the San Francisco server is designated for streaming (presumably because it provides higher than average speeds).
I tested VPN Unlimited from the UK, and it automatically connected me to a server in Dublin (as this was found to be my “optimal” server). For this reason, I decided to test it on Ireland’s RTE player. The good news is that I was able to access Gaelic Football streams that are normally geo-restricted. Success. The stream quality was good, and I suffered no buffering issues.
Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 Tests)
Speed tests were performed on a 50 Mbps fiber connection. I used testmy.net to do both the non-VPN and VPN tests and used a test server in New York to get the non-VPN results and when testing the US servers.
As you can see, the VPN did slow me down. The worst speeds I encountered where on the UK Hampshire server. However, even those speeds were good enough to stream in HD. The other servers performed a lot better overall, and the speeds seem to hit the same speed points again and again. Overall, not bad at all (especially considering the cost of the VPN).
I used ipleak.net to check for IP leaks and DNS leaks. Sadly my Internet Service Provider does not permit Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) connections, so I was unable to check for IPv6 leaks specifically. My tests found no IP leaks or Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) leaks, which is a good start. Despite that fact that DNS requests are handled by GoogleDNS (which is far from ideal), VPN Unlimited does proxy those DNS request (so it isn’t a problem).
However, I did sadly detect Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) leaks. While this bug can be patched up manually in Firefox or Chrome, it is a real shame because it seriously tarnishes otherwise good security.
KeepSolid VPN Unlimited has slick custom clients for all the popular platforms. They work brilliantly but are all equally lacking in features such as DNS leak protection and a kill switch. On Windows and Android, OpenVPN is the default encryption. On iOS and OS X, IPsec is the default encryption. To use OpenVPN on Mac devices it is necessary to download the third party OpenVPN Connect App. However, this will only be usable if you have the .ovpn files (these are only available to subscribers who buy a year’s subscription or more).
KeepSolid also offers a number of other services through its website, some of which can be bundled in with the VPN for discounted prices. Just in case you are interested, I have included a brief description of each service below.
Photo Transfer WiFi
Their WiFi photo sharing app is available on iOS devices only. It can be used to transfer photos, videos, or entire albums between devices, including a PC. It claims that HD videos transfer with no compression loss, though whether or not this is true I do not know. Dropbox support is included, and the app is free.
To Do Checklist
This is KeepSolid’s version of a calendar and reminder service. Tasks can be shared with friends and have geo-location tags, which seems a little bit iffy for a firm that is supposed to concentrate on privacy and security.
This is a business planning app that can be used for various purposes. It can also be purchased on four different plans.
The firm describes this as “a smart solution for fast and accurate network analysis, server availability check and network censorship test”.
WiFi Hotspot Protector
This is a paid app that functions like a VPN on an iPhone. It is aimed specifically at those who use public WiFi hotspots a lot. The ten-day free trial means anybody can test the service. In addition, WiFi Hotspot protector uses the same security options as VPN Unlimited for iOS – built-in IPSec client with AES-CBC-128 encryption.
The only thing that is missing is the option to choose between servers. If security on WiFi is your only concern, then this product might be for you, though why you would want this over a full VPN service is mind-boggling to me.
KeepSolid’s Private Browser is for iOS and acts as a proxy, encrypting all traffic that comes and goes from the browser. It is a per-app encryption that will keep your web browsing secure (but not any of your device’s other apps). In theory, it is a pretty cool app, though how well it works in practice is unknown to me because I didn’t test it.
Software for all platforms
OpenVPN as standard (Windows/Android)
Strong OpenVPN encryption implementation
Easy to use
Good customer care
Servers in over 70 countries
Pretty fast speeds
Stealth TTP on port 443
Unblocks BBC iPlayer
No usage logs (unless you’re under suspicion)
I wasn’t so sure about:
No DNS leak protection
No kill switch
No OpenVPN as standard for iOS/OS X
WebRTC leaks (must be patched up manually on Firefox or Chrome)
Usage logs kept if user is under suspicion
KeepSolid VPN Unlimited is a somewhat schizophrenic service. It oozes quality, with an excellent website, custom clients, and brilliant top end features like its DNS firewall and the option to use Stealth TCP on port 443. It has strong OpenVPN encryption implementation. However, it lacks basics like its own DNS servers (though it does proxy the GoogleDNS requests), kill switch, and DNS leak protection. It also suffers from WebRTC leaks.