WorldVPN is a functional VPN provider offering a range of countries with OpenVPN and PPTP connections, and though they’ve got some work to do in terms of making their service accessible and reliable they have made some improvements in recent months.
Pricing & Plans
WorldVPN offers four pricing plans, two of which are pitched at the average user and two of which are more aimed at businesses. Although this is not advertised on the main website discounts are available for longer subscription periods. This means that the cheapest per-month price is actually $3.50 for an annual subscription to the Budget service which is fairly cheap if you don’t need more than the allowed 15GB of bandwidth. Buying an Unlimited subscription on a recurring monthly basis is somewhat more expensive, at $9.95.
A free trial is available although you might not notice this on the site until clicking through to investigate pricing options. There isn’t much detail given on the free trial but according to support it’s limited to just 60 minutes of connected time. As well as this, new users can request a refund for any reason within seven days of purchasing a subscription. Payment can be made via a variety of means including credit cards, PayPal, WebMoney and – pleasingly – BitCoin.
WorldVPN is registered in Latvia. It offers access to VPN servers in over a hundred locations across 45 countries all around the world. Three or ten simultaneous connections are allowed depending on price plan. There are also plans aimed at business users or website hosts, and WorldVPN also offers a VPN reseller program. P2P is permitted on servers in the Netherlands, Romania and Russia only.
WorldVPN focuses on the OpenVPN protocol, with 256-bit AES data encryption secured with RSA-256 for handshaking and SHA-1 for hash authentication (SHA256 on the control channel). This is an improvement over the default BlowFish-128 cipher. PPTP and L2TP options are also available using 128-bit encryption. Obviously, given the bandwidth limitations of the Budget plan, users’ bandwidth use is logged to their account, and this can be viewed on the account page. According to support nothing else is logged, and no IP addresses are kept.
Some red flags are raised by the general difficulty of obtaining information on the service. We also have concerns about the ease of tracking any customer assigned to one unique dedicated IP as per the “Dedicated” subscription plan.
There’s a lot of room for improvement in terms of the information available on the site, though. For example, there doesn’t seem to be any information on the specifics of the free trial, and a little more technical information on the VPN itself also wouldn’t go amiss. We ended up having to go directly to support to answer a lot of our questions about the service.
Support from WorldVPN is available through the live chat feature on the main page as well as through a ticket system accessible to anyone who’s registered on the website. We couldn’t find out what times live chat is available, but it definitely wasn’t 24/7: throughout the day it appeared to go online and offline seemingly at random. Ticket support was much better, and we had fast responses to most of our tickets. The quality of response was variable, with some being very helpful and others feeling more dismissive – we still have some questions to which we would have appreciated more comprehensive answers. There was also the issue of finding where to actually go for support, as there’s no obvious “support” link on the main site.
Setup guides are available for a variety of platforms, though we felt the comprehensibility of these suffered at times from unclear use of English. While there is also a Knowledge Base, this is limited to error codes only, and we didn’t find it to be very helpful when we had issues with the VPN. Links on the main page take you to Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages for the VPN, but these merely duplicate the news posts found elsewhere on the website.
Trying WorldVPN involves entering a name and email address and, when registering for a full account, users are also asked what country they are in. No further personal information is requested during billing.
The WorldVPN Windows VPN client
The WorldVPN client has a simple interface with all the necessary options and functions presented up front. Choosing a server from the list on the right displays your current ping to that server, and your public IP address (i.e. the one used by the VPN) is clearly displayed when connected. There’s an option to choose between 128-bit PPTP or 256-bit OpenVPN over TCP or UDP, and an area at the bottom of the window shows technical information about the current connection.
WorldVPN have recently updated their service to provide full AES-256 data encryption with SHA256 hash authentication on the control channel, and thanks to the connection log displayed in real-time at the bottom of the window, it’s easy to verify this is happening. It’s also nice to be able to refer to this log if anything goes wrong with the connection.
Performance (Speed, DNS and IP Test)
We had very mixed results with our tests of WorldVPN’s performance. Using the bespoke client and the account we were provided for testing purposes we found on average around an 80% reduction in bandwidth while connected to the nearest servers in the UK on our first day of testing. Some of our US server tests came with a truly dismal 500Kbps downstream result while connected to the VPN as compared to 25Mbps on our unprotected connection. A few days later our tests were returning much better results with almost no speed loss on the London OpenVPN dedicated IP profile supplied for encryption testing purposes, and UK server speeds generally around the 26Mbps region. We never had great success with the US servers though, with our best result managing a paltry 6.6Mbps.
UK speed test, no VPN.
UK speed test, UK VPN.
US speed test, no VPN.
US speed test, US VPN.
We had some issues with the reliability of the VPN: some connection attempts failed to protect our Internet traffic despite the client saying it was connected, and the occasional drop-out or freeze-up was not uncommon. We had no issues with DNS leaks, indicating that the client provides some protection against this. WorldVPN uses Google’s DNS servers.
WorldVPN provides setup guides for a range of platforms. Windows, Mac OSX, Android, and iOS are all provided for with PPTP and OpenVPN options – this latter available to Android and iOS only through the third-party OpenVPN Connect app. There’s also a guide for setting up the VPN on Ubuntu Linux though this is for PPTP only.
WorldVPN Review Conclusion
Wide range of servers and countries
Bespoke client with DNS leak protection
Quick responses from support
Free trial and money-back guarantee
We weren’t so sure about
Poor quality of English language use hampers communication on both website and support services
Variable speeds and reliability
General difficulty of obtaining detailed information on the service