Alternative VPN Choices for You
VPN.asia offers the same features on all plans. According to their website, these include:
- Over 40 servers in 30 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia
- VPN client software
- Stealth VPN mode
- Military grade 256-bit encryption
- No logging
- Available protocols include PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- A single subscription allows you to connect one of every type of personal device
- Customer support with 24/7 Internet chat availability
Most of the above offerings are standard from any VPN, however, this set of features is very comprehensive - which is good. If they are true to their word, this VPN provider should adequately cover most users’ requirements. As far as P2P services, although it isn't immediately clear on the website if torrenting is allowed or supported – however, we’ve checked for you and it is. Some additional noteworthy features include:
An interesting feature of the VPN client is the Full Protection mode. Although this is not described anywhere on the website, from our examination of the parameters available in the client and from our comprehensive tests, we have verified that this feature adds protection to your device from potential eavesdroppers on your local LAN.
When Full Protection is enabled, connectivity to local LAN devices is blocked. Adding exceptions to this mode allows you to whitelist connectivity to specific local devices of your choosing.
DNS control allows you to use a set of DNS servers of your choice, overriding the default DNS used by VPN.asia. If you don’t configure this, VPN.asia will use its own DNS server.
Having the option to use a third party DNS server might appeal to some people, but, as a general rule, we prefer a solid VPN that proxies DNS requests via its own servers (as this is better for privacy).
One of the most important features of using a VPN service is the privacy that is provided. This, of course, can vary widely depending on the location of the VPN server you connect to, as this is affected by the relevant laws existing in that country.
The policy includes a section on cookies that explains if and how they or third parties may use them, such as Google Analytics. Finally, VPN.asia includes a set of security measures that are in place to secure their systems from external attacks.
The policy is comprehensive and clear, plainly describing in understandable language what is provided. Assuming the firm adheres to these policies, the services provided seem adequately airtight.
VPN.asia has servers in a wide variety of countries. Those that are well known to be the freest and most VPN-friendly are Switzerland, and the Netherlands in Europe, Mexico in North America, and Malaysia and Singapore in Asia.
VPN.asia has servers in all of these countries as well as others that may be of interest to you. In any case, the coverage of “safe haven” locations is more than sufficient.
VPN.asia uses PayPal and PayWall to process payments. As mentioned before, the payment methods shown on the main page are a little misleading. Even though many credit cards are listed, payment can only occur via these two third-party payment services.
PayWall provides higher levels of anonymity whether you use a credit card, bitcoin, or even Mint. This is because, according to PayWall’s website, it “erases sensitive customer data immediately following a successful transaction.”
Be aware, however, that no matter how anonymously you register or pay, the VPN provider - as well as the payment service you use - will always have your real IP as well as some information obtained from you during the transaction. You are obligated to trust their claims of customer data erasure and the level of privacy they provide.
Now keep in mind that even though VPN.asia is based in Belize, Central America, and is subject to the laws of that country, the payment services provided are located in the U.S. and are subject to U.S. laws.
Of course, purchasing a VPN subscription is not illegal in most of the world, so this does not present any legal issues. However, for those who are exceptionally uncompromising when it comes to personal privacy, it’s important to know that the payment services are located in the U.S.
Speed and Performance
Below we will review the performance of the VPN service itself. These speed tests were performed using our updated speed test methodology.
Specifically, with average values of download speed approaching 23 Mbps, it was well above NordVPN's speed of 17.8 but trailed CyberGhost and VyprVPN by about 10 Mbps. It was nowhere near ExpressVPN's phenomenal 41.7 Mbps. However, VPN.asia provided this speed relatively steadily over the testing days unlike CyberGhost and VyprVPN which were somewhat erratic.
DNS Lookup speed, on the other hand, was a different story. Except for the very last day of testing, VPN.asia was very quick with DNS lookup times of less than 0.3 seconds. As can be seen from the graphic below, this value was steadily and consistently faster than the rest of the providers examined. As a result, VPN.asia provides excellent response times ideal for web browsing and web page response times.
Finally, connection time values recorded, which is the amount of time that elapses from the moment you hit the connect button to the moment you have Internet access via the VPN, were excellent for VPN.asia. Once again, except for the last day of testing, VPN.asia outperformed all the other providers included in this comparison.
IP leak tests
For this test, we used the CH Zurich server in Switzerland. Using the services provided by ipleak.net, we were able to verify that the IP address was indeed that of the VPN server in Zurich and that no forwarded IP was detected. WebRTC requests were not leaking and neither were DNS requests. Torrent address detection, as well as geolocation detection, also passed the test.
The only criticism to add here is the fact that the DNS control option did not seem to work. Even though we manually added an alternate DNS, ipleak.net indicated that VPN.asia’s default DNS server was still being used. Not a massive problem, because we do prefer DNS requests to be handled by the VPN. Perhaps the VPN would be better off losing this redundant feature.
With the exception of that DNS control feature, VPN.asia passed all leak tests with flying colors. As such, we can give it a thumbs up for privacy.
VPN.asia was also tested with the BBC iPlayer as well as the US Netflix service. The BBC iPlayer was immediately successful but the US Netflix service initially was not. Netflix indicated that "you seem to be using an unblocker or proxy." This means that the use of a VPN was detected . After testing several more US VPN servers available from VPN.asia, however, I successfully connected. It is not certain how stable this setup is as services such as Netflix may change or improve their VPN detection techniques and block a service that was at one time accessible.
VPN.asia offers three plans to choose from: a monthly, semi-annual, and yearly plan. The first is available for $5.99 a month while the yearly plan, the most cost-effective of the three, calculates to $4.17 per month.
The level of service for all three plans is the same. These are accompanied by a seven-day money-back guarantee allowing you to test and evaluate VPN.asia’s services before committing fully to their service.
When we reviewed VPN.asia a couple of years ago, they offered a no-strings-attached 24-hour free VPN trial. Since then, however, this option has been removed.
According to their main site, payment can be made via several methods.
However, when you actually come to pay, the only options available are PayPal and PayWall payment services. Although the above-mentioned payment methods are indirectly available via those two services, it is annoying that you are incorrectly given the impression that you have the option of paying directly without the use of an intermediary payment service.
Ease of Use
The Desktop Client
The client is a simple and easy-to-use application, which initially shows a list of available servers, their capacities, and their current response times. Users are able to choose their favorites and keep them in a separate list. The VPN software selects a "recommended" server based on your location and the ping response times you receive.
It is worth noting that some instabilities of the network client were detected. If for some reason connectivity to a specific server fails, there is no indication of why it failed. Status returns to “not connected”. So if there is a connectivity problem to one of the servers, it is generally quite difficult to troubleshoot.
Additionally, when attempting to use the DNS control option, it didn’t seem to be successful. This is described in more detail in the IP leak test section (later in this review).
It may be worth noting that there are several spelling and grammar mistakes in the client. (Brussel instead of Brussels, “changing this settings” instead of “changing these settings”). Now this will obviously not affect the functionality of the service, however, it may cast doubt on the quality of the service provided. If I can spot such simple mistakes - what hidden unknown mistakes might this firm be making in the actual implementation of the service? On the whole, it is probably just a language barrier thing, but my questions seem valid.
All in all, I found the VPN to be a simple and relatively intuitive/easy to use VPN client.
VPN.asia provides VPN clients for Windows, Linux, Apple desktops, as well as iOS, and Android mobile devices. No browsers extensions are available at this time.
The Android app is a scaled-down version of the desktop application with fewer options. Our tests were performed on a Samsung Galaxy S8+. The initial screen provides you with fields to enter your username and password as well as the protocol and the port you will use. We were impressed that users are given the ability to flick through port settings even on the android client - as this is a slightly rarer feature.
It then simply provides you with a list of servers, their locations, and their capacities.
You choose the server you want to connect to and then you are given the warning concerning the monitoring of your traffic.
Finally, once you’re connected, connection information and a disconnect button show up at the bottom of the screen. When you choose to, tap, disconnect. That’s it!
The only additional features the app provides is a support page with information on how to use the client.
Sadly, support seems to be rather lacking compared to what is advertised. VPN.asia clearly states that their 5-star customer support provides 24/7 Internet chat representatives. However, my experience was that although the support page did have a Live Chat option with an indicator - Online: YES - nobody was actually there.
Clicking on the live chat button, gave me a message stating that "no one is available to chat with you." I was then informed that I should leave a message describing my question or problem and they would respond within 24 hours. I did get a response via email just over 72 hours after my initial request. I had asked two questions, and they partially answered only one of them. You be the judge.
Privacy and Security
They do make it clear that this is done only on their website and that user information is not disseminated. Users are also given the option to opt out of Google Analytic tracking by clicking a link. What’s interesting nonetheless, is that although they “may engage third parties” they only give the option for opting out of Google’s tracking. Are there other third parties that are not being mentioned?
If they remain true to their word, there is nothing to worry about, however, it is important to know what information may be being collected.
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As always, we use the details of the OpenVPN encryption used by the provider to evaluate its level of security. We examined the OpenVPN connection settings provided by the connection to the VPN server located in Zurich Switzerland.
VPN.asia uses the following OpenVPN encryption settings:
AES-256-CBC cipher for the data channel and SHA256 hash authentication.
Control channel cipher, Control Auth, Handshake and Forward Secrecy were unable to be determined from any settings in the client or the .opvn files provided by the service.
I did issue a support ticket asking all the appropriate questions to find out more, however, I was never satisfactorily answered - see the Support section below for more details on that little adventure.
Assuming the default OpenVPN settings are in effect, Control channel cipher is using the somewhat dubious Blowfish-128, Control Auth HMAC SHA1, a solid RSA-2048 for the Handshake and unfortunately no there is Forward Secrecy configured. If a VPN service is providing something more than these default settings, you'd assume that they'd want to advertise it more effectively.
What we can say with some certainty is that the data channel is very strongly encrypted, this might well mean that the control channel is also strongly implemented (it does imply this), but we simply do not know for definite.
Finally, the business is based in Belize, a country that is generally favored for companies such as VPN providers because of the high level of Internet freedom provided as well as strict judicial oversight needed to perform any online communication interception.
For more detailed technical information about VPN security issues and to further understand the terminology and technologies mentioned above, check out VPN Encryption: The Complete Guide to find out more.
- Quick and easy ordering, payment, and installation procedures
- Intuitive and easy-to-use clients
- No hassle connection to BBC iPlayer
We’re unsure about:
- Somewhat (initially) troublesome connection to US Netflix service
- The misleading information regarding payment options
- Lack of information about all of the service’s features on its website
- Sparse FAQ and support pages
- Lack of advertised 24/7 chat support service
- Inadequate and incomplete answers to our questions
- Unacceptable turnaround time for responding to support tickets
VPN.asia is a VPN service that does most of the things it sets out to do. Clients behave as they are meant to, and deliver a comprehensive level of security, including military grade 256-bit encryption and good enough speeds for streaming. With the exception of support - which considering the price of the VPN we would expect to be much better - VPN.asia is a satisfactory VPN that provides adequate privacy and security for most people. With servers located worldwide, and good privacy levels, this VPN is good for unblocking and torrenting.
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