LiquidVPN is a VPN provider that has been operating from its base in the US since 2013. It was started by a networking engineer called Dave Cox. Mr Cox is still the owner of the company and he runs the service in a very hands-on manner. The depth of Mr Cox’s technical knowledge ensures that this tech-led company delivers the best quality service available at a marketable price.
Mr Cox is the inventor of a method of address usage, which he terms “modulated IP.” This is an unusual method for obscuring the identities of the company’s customers. You will read about this phenomenon later on in this review. However, the main body of the review will focus on the shared IP address service of the company, which equates closely to the services offered by competing Virtual Private Network (VPN) companies.
Seven-day money-back guarantee
Choice of two, four, or eight simultaneous connections
LiquidVPN has a pool of 2,168 IP addresses. The cheapest of LiquidVPN’s three pricing plans only gives access to 564 of these. The concept of shared IPs is that the VPN server allocates you one when you log in. That IP address goes on all the data packets that leave the server for their final destination. The address is entered as the source address of each packet. Thus, when you try to access a streaming service, it will believe it is connecting with a computer in the country that the IP address indicates. It won’t realize that you’re the real originator of the request.
The number of IP addresses available to you is important because many web access control mechanisms try to stop VPN traffic. If one of these “proxy detection systems” works out that the request it received came through a VPN, it bans that IP address. Therefore, if the VPN company has few IP addresses available and doesn’t renew them frequently, you could soon find that the services you want to get into have locked out just about all of the available IP addresses.
The only other variable between the three pricing plans at LiquidVPN is the number of simultaneous connections that it allows you. You can download the VPN software onto as many devices as you like. However, you may only connect a certain number of them to the VPN service at any one time.
If you cancel the service within seven days, you’ll get a full refund.
You can pay for your LiquidVPN subscription with credit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin.
All plans have the following features:
Servers in 11 countries
Proprietary app for Windows, Mac OS X, and Android
Third-party app for iOS
Script installation for routers, set-top boxes, and Linux
No activity logs
1 Gbps and 10 Gbps servers
A combined kill switch and firewall, called “Liquid Lock”
Domain Name System (DNS) and IP leak protection
Choice of OpenVPN, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), and Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP)
Server speed tests
The company’s server network is probably the biggest weak point of this service. There are plenty of servers in the US and also some in Canada. The other countries that host LiquidVPN servers are the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Singapore.
Most VPN companies offer a system of shared VPNs. They temporarily allocate you an address for each session. Some VPNs also give you the option of buying your own dedicated IP address, so you have the same IP address for every session. LiquidVPN offers both of these options, calling them “public” and “private” IP addresses.
LiquidVPN also offers a “modulated” IP address. This changes your IP address constantly throughout your connection. That’s exactly what an IP switcher does. However, the modulated IP address takes the idea a few steps further. An IP switcher gives you a different address at a stated time period – for example, every five minutes. The modulated IP gives a different IP address to a web server for every element of a webpage.
Each webpage is actually made up from many different files. When code for a page arrives at your computer, your browser interprets that code and presents the finished page. However, the different elements in a page are held in different files, so when the browser reaches a point in the code that includes the content of another file, it has to send out a request for that file. The LiquidVPN modulated IP service sends the new request with a different source IP address in it.
You would expect that this unusual behavior would alert proxy detection systems that its correspondent is a VPN and block all requests from those IP addresses. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ve tested the modulated system for access to Netflix and I got to watch the video that I requested. Netflix has one of the most thorough proxy detection systems in the world. Thus, if LiquidVPN can get around that, it can probably evade detection everywhere on the internet.
Although the company states that it’s fine with customers using the service for P2P downloads, the location of LiquidVPN is not ideal for those who want to get copyrighted material for free. The company’s head office is in Michigan in the US. There are no data retention laws in the US that pertain to VPNs. However, US copyright holders and government security agencies have been known to lean on US companies with threats of court action in order to force them to assist in identifying the activities of individual users.
DHE-4096 every 30 minutes
Logs & Legal
Users of the custom app for Windows, Mac OS X, and Android can select a preferred VPN protocol from within the interface. This gives a choice of OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP and L2TP with Internet Protocol Security (IPSec).
Customers who want to use the VPN on an iOS device have to download a standard OpenVPN client, which is available free of charge from the website of the organization that runs the OpenVPN protocol. This is a little more difficult to set up, and doesn’t give you the option of trying other protocols, such as SSTP.
The key distribution and session establishment security of the OpenVPN implementation are some of the strongest in the industry. The encryption keys for the AES cipher are renewed every 30 minutes.
The LiquidVPN website begins with a long, scrolling homepage, which has most of the company’s sales information on it. The top menu stays visible as you scroll. Above the menu bar, you’ll see a statement that shows your IP address and a “Control Panel” button, which takes you to the client area dashboard.
The Client Area includes access to download files and the support system.
You will also see a link to the warrant canary. This is a system used by a number of VPNs to let their customers know if the VPN has received court orders demanding information on user activities. It is a standard condition of court orders that those receiving them aren’t allowed to publicize the existence of the warrant. The warrant canary system posts regular statements that no warrants have been received. If a standard period statement is missing, the reader knows that there was a warrant served on the company during that time.
You can leave a message with the support team from within the app or at the dashboard in the client area of the LiquidVPN website.
In the app, click on the cog symbol at the top right of the interface and select Support from the drop-down menu.
After you send a message through a standard web form, LiquidVPN will inform you by email that your support ticket has been raised. You can look at the current status of your request by clicking on “My Support Tickets” in the dashboard.
Whenever you get a reply from the support team, it will appear in this screen. You’ll also receive an email with the help desk message in it.
You have seven days to try out the VPN and still get your money back if you change your mind about it.
Click on the “Sign Up” button beneath your preferred plan in order to pay for the service. It will present you with the option of subscribing for one month or one year. You get a lower price per month if you take out the annual subscription, but you have to pay for the whole year up front.
This agreement commits you to recurring billing, so you’ll automatically be charged again at the end of your subscription period – unless you hurry up and cancel the agreement before your current plan expires.
After your payment clears, LiquidVPN will take you to the client area of the site. You usually have to log in to this area, but after signing up, you’ll be logged in automatically.
You will find a download section in the dashboard. This has the software that you need to install in order to get the VPN working on your computer.
The LiquidVPN Windows VPN Client
When the app opens there will already be a server selected. This may not necessarily be the location that you want to use. You can change the location by clicking on the marker symbol next to the current server location.
Switching VPN protocol is very easy with this app. You select a different protocol in the server listing screen.
You don’t have to sign in to the app until you select a server and try to connect. The username and password for the app aren’t the same as the log-in credentials for the client area at the website. You can access the app log-in credentials in your user account details at the LiquidVPN site.
Be careful about the Liquid Lock. This is a very useful feature. It will block your computer’s internet connection if the VPN isn’t turned on. If you forget this feature, you may panic to see that the internet isn’t working. If you want to use the internet without the VPN, you have to turn Liquid Lock off.
LiquidVPN Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 Tests)
For speed tests, I connected to New York in the US from the Caribbean without the VPN turned on. I then tested a connection to the same destination, but with the LiquidVPN server in Florida, and then with the LiquidVPN server in New Jersey mediating the connection.
I also tested a connection to London in the UK without a VPN and then with the LiquidVPN UK server applied to the line.
In each case I tested the connection five times, using the website testmy.net.
The VPN made slight improvements to the speeds for both download and upload. However, these variations in speed were not that great and could just have been caused by the variable performance of the underlying Internet service.
When you mask you computer’s IP address, with a VPN , you expect that your real address won’t ever be revealed during a connection. If that real address does become visible, the situation is termed an “IP leak.”
BestVPN tests for IP leaks involve the services of several websites. These are ipleak.net, test-ipv6.com , IPv6 leaks and doileak.net. I accessed all of these servers while I had an OpenVPN connection to London the through the LiquidVPN UK server. The service passed all the tests that were possible. My Internet service provider doesn’t include IPv6 translation, so those tests weren’t possible.
The LiquidVPN app is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Android. Users with iOS devices have to download a third-party app, called OpenVPN GUI, and then go through some manual set up procedures to get the addresses of all of LiquidVPN’s servers into the system. This isn’t an ideal situation. It also limits your choice to just OpenVPN, without the option of STTP or L2TP that users of LiquidVPN have access to. Scripts are available at the LiquidVPN site to get the VPN installed on routers, set-top boxes, and Linux machines.
LiquidVPN Review: Conclusion
LiquidVPN works very well. It can even get around the proxy detection systems of Netflix. However, users of iOS devices don’t get the full benefits of the custom app that LiquidVPN provides to other operating systems.
Seven-day money-back guarantee
Clever modulated IP mode
Great kill switch and firewall combo
Easy to use app
Gets into Netflix
Competent support staff
I wasn’t so sure about:
Small server network
No LiquidVPN app for iOS
The small server network may be the one factor that puts you off signing up for the LiquidVPN service. If you want to get around regional restrictions on streaming services, you have to connect through a VPN server in the same country as your target website. As such, if you want to get into servers in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, or South Africa, LiquidVPN will be no use to you. If the company has a server in the country you most want access to, then LiquidVPN will serve you well.