AirVPN is an Italian company that has fantastic privacy features, amazing security, zero logs and a three-day free trial
AirVPN is an Italian based VPN company that is one of (if not) the best when it comes to privacy and anonymity. This service was designed and built by hackers, activists, and hacktivists to make sure that the system is locked tight with all the appropriate features available. You will not get any deception or advertising deceit when you’re downloading and using AirVPN because they are dedicated to keeping you private and safe on the internet. They are also one of the few VPN services that can make you almost completely anonymous through the use of Tor.
As well as crazy strict privacy policies, they also have speedy and secure servers, fantastic security protocols and port forwarding that can help you unblock certain websites, even when you’re not on a server in that geographical location! They allow you to connect to three devices with one account and offer a ridiculous amount of payment options for users. The only issue with this service is that it is very niche to the technology crowd, as we will explore later.
- Untouched in regards to privacy
- Solid encryptions with Perfect Forward Secrecy
- Port forwarding
- VPN over Tor and SSL
- Three connections
- P2P allowed
- Much more
- Not that many servers or locations
- Very tech-heavy website
- Lacking advanced support (live chat, etc.)
Plans and Packages
AirVPN is a Europe-based VPN service so they inherently take Euros as their primary currency. However, you can also pay by Dollars as well as cryptocurrency if you are looking for extra protection. Their plans and packages are a little different than most VPN services I have come across because they don’t require you to commit massively if you want to try out their services.
They offer a range of options that you can choose from including a three-day option if you need a VPN for one project and not for a lifetime. Usually, with most commercial VPNs, they will only let you pay for a month, 3/6 months or a year, with the annual plan being the cheapest. As for AirVPN, they are charging €7 ($8.15) a month which is fairly standard across the industry. They also let you pay for 3 months and 6 months which both come to $5.82 a month and there is also an annual plan charging users $5.24 a month, which is, again, the industry standard.
On a side note, none of the features change depending on the plan you choose. You still get all the features of their premium plan no matter if you choose the three-day option or the annual option. In addition, fun fact of the day, AirVPN was once a free VPN but they decided to go commercial in 2010. They went commercial so that the infrastructure could be funded and supported properly.back to menu ↑
AirVPN has a gigantic amount of payment options available to users. A good VPN will have a lot of options anyway if they value their user’s privacy and AirVPN goes the extra mile. They accept the industry standard, such as credit/debit card payments as well as PayPal payments. They also accept Bitcoin payments for extra anonymity and if you pay via Bitcoin and choose the Tor network as a proxy, you’ll have complete anonymity as we’ll see later. The Bitcoin payments are handled by CoinBase and they also allow for a whole other list of cryptocurrencies that are handled by Coin Payments. They also offer a ton of alternative payment gateways, the most I have ever seen in fact. AirVPN truly cares about your privacy and security when it comes to payments.back to menu ↑
Setup and User-Friendliness
When I was navigating the website I easily navigated towards the download section. I had to create an account at first which is standard and all that was needed was an email address which was relieving. AirVPN also encourages users to make a disposable email address so that you still remain anonymous. Once the account was created I went ahead and bought the €1 three-day option which gave me full access to the VPN.
I also decided to check out their client dashboard which has a lot of different options, including speed tests, server configurations, and even port forwarding options. You can also check your plan and settings.
Downloading was dead simple. They gave me the option to download their client “Eddie” on to a range of platforms. I chose Windows. I then went through all of the standard setup and installation windows and quickly had access to their client.
The client for AirVPN is very basic but is open source allowing users to audit the software for anything suspicious – something that all VPN users should allow you to do. Their client doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that you’ll find with a big commercial brand like NordVPN or ExpressVPN but certainly has an enormous number of technical changes you can make in the settings.
The initial screen allows you to connect to the nearest and best server and, strangely, the best server for me was in the Netherlands even though I am based in the UK. Upon connection, I was also given the server’s speed and could activate a network lock which only allows connection coming from the VPN to be allowed into the system and this is protected using a Firewall. This Network Lock also makes for DNS leak prevention and also acts as a kill switch which many of you will enjoy.
The network lock also prevents IP leaks due to the WebRTC but the IPv6 requests are not entirely routed and are instead disabled altogether so they don’t leak DNS. This is not the best setup but with all the other privacy features it shouldn’t be a problem.
The settings are literally packed with information as well but they won’t be much use to the casual user unless you can understand them. The tech-heads will like that you can look at your real-time logs and keep an eye on what Eddie is doing and that you can set up your proxy or Tor connections directly from the client. The proxies use either HTTP or SOCKS. You do not have an option over your protocols and encryptions but you can measure your connections speeds from Eddie.
Summing Up the Client
This client is technical and confusing but has a lot of information and options available that protect you and allow you to surf the internet anonymously (completely if you use Tor). The client can connect you to a server instantly and if you want more security you can lock your network strictly to the VPN. However, the issue is that the client will change your DNS setting and if the client crashes for whatever reason you will have to reset your DNS manually. However, this client is extensive and a great aspect of the service.back to menu ↑
Servers and Speeds
The area that AirVPN is probably lacking is the server department. The service has hundreds of servers but they are not as dispersed as some of the other larger companies like ExpressVPN. AirVPN is only available in 18 countries, primarily in Europe. However, there are some servers in the US (32), Canada and Hong Kong. So desire AirVPN not offering a lot of locations you’d think that you wouldn’t be about to unblock geo-restricted sites like Netflix and IPlayer. However, AirVPN has a DNS double-hop feature that allows connections to be directed through internal servers, unblocking any websites in the process – very clever indeed. This also means that you can connect to the US Netflix even if you’re not in the country’s servers, which is pretty cool. Nonetheless, the standard method of connecting to a server in the US works just fine. As for P2P, the network allows it which is great for all the torrenters among you. Combine that with their security features and you’ve got a solid network to exchange files on.
As for the speeds, they were actually pretty good for such a small network. What I liked about the client is that it would tell you the speeds and the number of users on each one, so you could pick a server that wouldn’t hurt your connection. All speed tests were performed on a UK broadband connection of 50MBPS/12MBPS.
When testing, I selected what the client was recommending, which was Netherlands interestingly enough. The speeds were great, achieving 42MBPS download speed and 11MBPS upload speed. When connecting to the US (Chicago server), however, speeds dropped drastically to 3MBPS download speed and 3MBPS upload speed which was very disappointing.
I decided to try another US server (Florida server) and got much better results! Tests showed download speeds of 36MBPS and upload speeds of 11MBPS.
A few more test confirmed that the speed was solid for the UK and around Europe. The US did get good results but I may have come across a particularly slow server in Chicago. Overall, decent results but they did fluctuate a little. In addition, no DNS leaks were found in any of the tests and the same goes with IPv6.back to menu ↑
AirVPN is great if you have multiple devices as well, as they support the use of three devices from one account. They also support a range of device software and even let you use various encryptions and protocols on different devices, like Android. There is even the option to use Android like a kill switch which is really cool! They allow you to connect to Windows, Mac, IOS, Android, Linux and tomato routers as well. OpenVPN works on Android perfectly.back to menu ↑
The support on AirVPN is pretty basic. There is no sign of live chat which is something that would be much appreciated but there is a ticket system and a support section with FAQs. They also have a community forum for users to ask other users VPN related questions. Overall, the customer service is a little slim and there is no mention of 24/7 support.
The website is full of information related to VPN and technology, which is great right? Well, not really if you’re a casual user. This website was clearly developed and built by tech-heads with a lot of knowledge about encryption and servers. I can begin to understand why this VPN is in a very niche corner because they are not the friendliest of sites. Even with their support section, everything is covered in Jargon and advanced terminology. This site was great when I was reviewing but if you are looking to simply purchase the service for personal use, the terms can scare you away.
I will say this though: I loved that this service does not try to forcefully sell you the VPN. Everything on their site is information-based and doesn’t appear to be written by a well-funded sales team. This was a breath of fresh air especially since I have to sieve through the irrelevant sales terms when reviewing other commercial VPNs.back to menu ↑
Security and Privacy
This is the main aspect of AirVPN. Their privacy and security features are probably the best in the industry. I can’t see any other VPN coming close to this service. They offer near complete anonymity if you set up your setting right and collect no logs that can be used to identify you or your IP, despite the fact they are an EU-based service.
They only offer OpenVPN which is the most secure security protocol and AirVPN directly criticizes the use of PPTP, demonstrating that they want the best for their customers. The only real issue with OpenVPN is that it can slow your connection but this isn’t too much of a problem.
As well as OpenVPN, AirVPN uses shared IPs and uses perfect forward secrecy which is rarely seen in other VPN services. This keeps the OpenVPN completely safe and is accomplished using 4096-DHKs. Their servers are also unique in the sense that they have separate entry and exit IPs which prevents ports from failing. As for other securities, AirVPN uses SHA-1 for authentication and RSA-4096 for handshaking purposes.
Other Security Features
As well as all the above securities, AirVPN has even more up its sleeve. They also allow you to use the VPN through the Tor network. They teach users how to install it and if you pay via Bitcoin on the Tor network AirVPN will never know your true IP address giving you true anonymity, which is very rare. The only issue is that UDP, SSH and SLL do not work with the Tor network, you will have to make do with HTTP and SOCKS.
In addition, AirVPN also allows you to run OpenVPN through TCP port 443 to evade VPN blockers and you can even wrap the OpenVPN encryption with SSL to evade deep-packet searches. Wrapping the code in SSL makes it appear like normal traffic and easily bypasses firewalls like the GFC.back to menu ↑
Free Trial and Refund Policy
You’d be glad to hear that there is a free trial but you have to ask for it. This means writing a written email to AirVPN requesting a trial and stating a reason why. They do not offer a refund policy unfortunately but with the free trial, you should be able to test it.back to menu ↑
AirVPN is the most secure and private-orientated VPN service I have ever come across. They are excellent at keeping you private on the internet and with the right settings and execution you can become completely anonymous – something rare to find with VPN services. They have a very informative website and a jam-packed client with lots of options. However, this is actually their downfall. I believe that the reason this VPN is not as big as some of the other services is that of the technical knowledge which is present on their website. This clearly scares away clients and they need to tone down the site, making it more beginner friendly. Save the tech information for another page. Other than that, this VPN is awesome and I would recommend it to everyone.
AirVPN is the most secure VPN available. The service has servers in 18 countries, strictly uses OpenVPN, doesn't keep logs and allows P2P. They are also one of the few services that allow for true anonymity via Tor.