English

Looking for Something?

Zenmate Review

Zenmate

BestVPN.com Score 3 out of 10
Visit Site  

ZenMate is a virtual private network (VPN) service based in Berlin, Germany. ZenMate was created by a company called ZenGuard. Based in Germany, ZenMate is one of the only VPNs in the world that offers multilingual options. This includes customized text options for German, English, Turkish, Korean, Russian and Spanish.

On their homepage, ZenMate claims to be “Fast. Secure. Easy.” – will they live up to their claims? Let’s find out!

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations N/A
  • Average Speed N/A Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections N/A
  • Jurisdiction N/A

Likes

  • 14-day money-back guarantee
  • 7-day free trial
  • Free basic plan
  • User-friendly
  • Multiple protocols and encryption options

Dislikes

  • Extremely poor quality customer support
  • Slow speeds at times

Alternative VPN Choices for You

From $3.99 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.8 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
From $3.5 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.5 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review
From $6.67 / month
BestVPN.com Score 9.7 out of 10
Visit Site   Read Review

Features

ZenMate offers a variety of features – more so for their premium plan than their free plan.

Free Plan 

  • 4 server options in US, Hong Kong, Germany, and Romania
  • Chrome & Firefox extensions
  • Unlimited data
  • Encryption protocols L2TP/IPSec

Premium Plan 

  • Everything included in the free plan
  • High speeds
  • 3000+ shared IPs
  • 30 servers worldwide
  • Ad-blocking capabilities
  • Up to 5 simultaneous devices connected
  • Unlimited P2P traffic
  • Malware blocking & tracking protection

The thing to remember here is that ZenMate’s free plan is extremely restricted when compared with their premium plan. For this reason, the free version will not be suitable for most people's needs. When it comes to protocols, ZenMate supports the standard protocols UDP and TCP via OpenVPN, as well as L2TP/IPSec, PPTP and SSTP.

Visit Zenmate VPN

Speed and performance

When choosing a VPN, it’s important to test its performance before sticking with it indefinitely. Performance testing can include things like testing for speed and leaks.

Speed Testing

ZenMate doesn’t offer manual OpenVPN configuration, which means we had to do their speed tests using our old speed test method. While the new method is preferred, our old methods are still mostly accurate and helpful for comparison. Our results for ZenMate’s download/upload speeds were performed using L2TP rather than OpenVPN. The download speed results were very disappointing.

ZenMate Download Speed Tests

ZenMate Upload Speeds Tests

Uploads speeds faired slightly better on the UK server, but overall were again disappointing. Not a fast VPN by any stretch of the imagination.

Leak tests

If your VPN leaks your IP address, the entire point of it is defeated. By visiting ipleak.net, I was happy to report no leaks by ZenMate VPN – including IP, DNS and WebRTC leaks.

For more information on IP leaks, view our Complete Guide to IP Leaks.

Price

ZenMate is a bit costly when compared with other VPNs, but you can save a little cash by choosing certain plans as opposed to others. Currently, ZenMate offers the following plans:

  • 1-month subscription – $9.99/month
  • 6-month subscription – $59.94/6 months
  • 1-year subscription – $119.88/annually

At the moment, ZenMate is promoting a limited time offer for their 6 month and annual plans!

  • 6 months – $53.99 instead of $59.94
  • 1 year – $71.99 instead of $119.88

In addition to this, ZenMate also offers a 14-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with their service. Finally, ZenMate offers a variety of payment methods. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include a cryptocurrency option like Bitcoin.

ZenMate payment methods:

  • PayPal
  • Major credit cards
  • UnionPay
  • Qiwi Wallet

ZenMate still offers the free “limited” version of their service, but it is barely functional in comparison to their paid plans. You can access a free ZenMate premium 7-day trial by selecting ZenMate limited, registering your account, and then confirming your email address. Features

Ease of use 

Desktop Client

Installing and using ZenMate is fortunately very easy. This example will illustrate using ZenMate on Windows OS.

  1. Download the appropriate file for your OS
  2. Install the file by following installation prompts
  3. ZenMate interface will pop up
  4. Log in to your account
  5. You will automatically be connected to a server
  6. To change your server, select the one you are connected to
  7. In this case, it’s Spai 
  8. Select your preferred server

That’s it! You’re all set!

Other Platforms 

ZenMate offers support for the following platforms:

  • Mac
  • Windows
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Opera

Android & iOS Apps

The ZenMate apps for Android and iOS are visually and mechanically identical to their desktop counterparts. Setup and installation is basically the same, except for mobile it asks for permission to configure the VPN.

Browser Extensions

The browser extensions for ZenMate are a bit different than the desktop and mobile apps, but still user-friendly. To download the extensions, simply navigate to the appropriate app store and install it. After installation is complete and you’ve logged in, you can change your server by selecting Change Location. 

Furthermore, you can access special security features via the extensions by selecting Features and enabling Malware Blocking and Tracking Protection.

Customer Service

ZenMate’s customer support is very disappointing. To begin, there is no live chat option. This would be all right if they had a support system that was easy to access with fast responses. Unfortunately, that was most certainly not the case.

To begin, you have to click through several pages to even access the ZenMate ticket-based support system.

When you submit your request, you will get an automated email giving you the response time (1-5 days). In the next several hours, you’ll receive another automated email aiming to help you solve the problem yourself through different help articles.

To open the ticket (that should have been opened the second you sent the first email), you have to reply “PERSONAL SUPPORT” to the second email. After this, you’ll have to wait anywhere from 1 to 5 days for a reply. I received a response in a little over 24 hours, so I was not too disappointed with the result.

On the other hand, some people report waiting over a week for a reply, despite the 1-5 response time written in the first email. The lack of effective customer support definitely puts a damper on what could be a very useful VPN service.

Privacy and Security

Let’s take a look at ZenMate’s privacy implementations.

ZenMate offers the standard TLS 1.2 protocol via OpenVPN. The protocol supports different cipher suites with Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), and encrypts both data and control channels with 256-bit-AES encryption and HMAC SHA384 authentication.

As you can see, Zenmate provides high standards of encryption in its apps. However, do bear in mind that the AES encryption is not part of the browser extensions (which are proxies rather than VPNs). In addition to these security features, ZenMate also offers DNS leak protection (and its own DNS servers), malware blocking, tracking protection, and no logging.

Encryption Protocols

German Data Retention Laws 

Because ZenMate is based in Germany, they fall under the internet privacy and data disclosure war being fought by the European Union Commission and the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Generally, Germany is considered a place that is pretty good for privacy. As such,  ZenMate’s assurances that they are loyal to German data privacy laws is not a problem in of itself.

On the other hand, it is true that Germany's surveillance agency BND is invasive and does work with foreign governments such as the NSA. With that in mind, the ZenMate privacy policy is somewhat concerning. Although it states that it does not collect or store the personal data of its users, it qualifies this by saying that personal data is collected when it is necessary to ensure that ZenMate’s VPN service performs correctly. One of those instances is defined as "When you select a certain server to use ZenMate."ZenMate Data rentention

This is troubling because what Zenmate is referring to is the connection timestamp. That data - stored alongside an IP address or the account holder's name/personal info - means that an e2e attack (time correlation attack) can be mounted against the VPN subscriber. As such, despite Zenmate's suggestion that this is a no-logs VPN, the reality is that Zenmate does keep connection logs.

In addition, the privacy policy is not written in such a way as to define exactly what those connection logs are: so we must assume the worst and presume that they are being stored alongside IP addresses.

Website Tracking

ZenMate tracks you quite a bit through Google services. In the ZenMate privacy policy, they are very open about their participation in Google Analytics. If you want to avoid getting tracked by ZenMate and/or other websites, read about the Privacy Badger extension here.

For more information on how to stop websites from tracking you, click here.

Payment Processor

It's important to know who the payment processor is for the VPNs you choose to use. If your main concern is privacy, that concern is amplified if the VPN's payment processor is located in the US - and therefore subject to US jurisdiction.

Fortunately, ZenMate's payment processor is located in the Netherlands. The company is also used by other major websites like eBay and GroupOn.

Visit Zenmate VPN

Final thoughts

ZenMate VPN is a VPN that has a user-friendly interface but provides slow connection speeds that are probably going to cause problems when streaming in HD. Their customer support is terrible and their website is somewhat confusing. Overall, ZenMate has potential if they make some vital changes to their services. If you’re looking to test out their services for yourself, be sure to take advantage of their 7-day free trial. An overpiced VPN for what you get.

Visit Zenmate VPN

44 Comments

  1. Pedro Domingues
    on August 15, 2018
    Reply

    I really really hate Zenmate VPN. I use the windows version. It's really really slow most of the times, it's buggy, customer service seems to be automated responses only, however they put some "human" names in their response emails. I just feel they robbed me. This is NOT a security solution at all. And I will not even talk about tracking, because all the problems I cite above should be the base of such a software. Stay away from it

  2. Steve Anderson
    on May 7, 2018
    Reply

    After my account being hacked and warnings from Zenmate to change my passwords due to their ineptness at running a professional service. Zenmate's customer service is all automated, you cannot get through to them. Now I see they are soliciting money via crowd-funding Crowdcube to rip more people off. Do not trust this auto site, the sales pitch is pro-perfect and all smoke and mirrors and deceptive reviews. Emails falsly indicate a real person is sending emails and that if you reply, a person will be in contact however a cyber bot answer is all you get. I had an initial problem with my difficulty cancelling my auto-renewel. I was too late via their difficult system however I had sent an email in time for cancellation. They still debited my credit card and they refuse to refund even though they can see I have not logged into my unwanted account. How can these people do this to customers and then ASK CUSTOMERS TO INVEST IN THEM? Beware Beware beware. I see professional writers have also slated the non-existent customer service. It is not just my bad experience. I have asked them many times and if they had customer service, they would see that it is just and fair to refund me as the service paid for was never used, it was cancelled on time but their robot has no heart nor brain. My business is quality performance assessment in tourism and customer service is integral for business success. Zenmate, your speeds are reviewed by others as slow at times, your marketing is deceptive and your customer service is very, very poor. Send me another grovelling request to give you more money and I will have to remind readers of your lack of integrity and lacking performance standards.

  3. David H
    on May 2, 2018
    Reply

    I have been using Zenmate for over 3 years. I recently noticed that my pricing had changed from GBP to double that amount in EUR as well as being overcharged for 5 months at EUR 119 per month but cannot recall receiving any notification. Zenmate have been quick to refund the overcharge. However, they have not been forthcoming with any explanation and couldn't even bother to apologize. I also tried to cancel my subscription and got into a discussion on how and when which in the end came down to timing. Their records show that I cancelled shortly before the expiration of the subscription month but after they had taken the next month's subscription. After an exchange of correspondence and some days later, they summarily cancelled my Zenmate Premium but have not refunded the month's subscription. Again, no explanation or apology other than for a 2/3 day delay in a reply. I have written to them twice subsequently but they are ignoring my messages. I have no complaints about the Zenmate service and have been very happy with their product. I am keen to try their WebRTC leak prevention. However, their attitude to customers severely lets them down. They certainly need to improve before attempting to raise crowdfunding for future development.

  4. Ozgur
    on June 30, 2017
    Reply

    Paid account got hacked, can't recover or cancel. Somebody successfully hacked my paid account. I know because an automatically generated email from Zenmate informed me. Their recovery link was a dead end. I tried to contact the support link multiple times but their customer service is non-existent. I can't login to cancel (because somebody took the account over) and don't know if the credit card info is safe.

Write Your Own Comment

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

  Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.