The VPN market is a competitive place, and it's difficult for providers to make an impression, but SlickVPN's website does a better job than most.
The page starts with an appealing mission statement: "SlickVPN protects your PRIVACY and prevents ANYONE from monitoring, throttling, and buffering your online communications and internet activity".
What most people really care about is the price, though, and that comes next. $48 (around £39, AU$66) a year? Wow. You could opt to spend $10 a month (around £8, AU$14), instead, but it's hard to see why you'd bother.
- Want to try SlickVPN? Check out the website here
You'll be wondering what you get for your money, of course, so the site tells you: technologies, platforms where you can use the service (all of them, essentially, with up to five devices connected at once), and a list of the near 80 server locations.
There's no trial, unfortunately, but SlickVPN does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, and there's also a scheme where some blog or website owners get a free month for every month they display a referral link (https://www.slickvpn.com/earn-a-month-of-slickvpn). Beware, only some websites will qualify, presumably based on how large and well-known they are.
The text explains that the company doesn't monitor or log any of your activities when using the service. There's no information on what happens with session data, though, like internal or external IP addresses.
SlickVPN claims to further protect your privacy with a technology called ‘Hydra’, which routes traffic with "extra hops over our internal network".
There are a few very small concerns elsewhere – Google Analytics used on the website, IP addresses logged for visitors to the site (not users of the servers) – but most competitors do similar things, and they're not a big deal.
On the plus side, the refund policy seems very clear: "If you are dissatisfied with the service you receive, we offer a full refund if you cancel your account within 30 days of the activation of your account." You must email and ask, but there don't seem to be any annoying restrictions, like insisting you’ve used less than 100MB bandwidth, for example, which some other services do.
SlickVPN only offers a native client for Windows and Mac, although its tutorials for OpenVPN, Viscosity and others also cover you on Android, iOS and Linux.
We opted for the Windows client. This couldn't retrieve SlickVPN's server locations at first, but once it was running, worked very well. We could view servers in a list or on a map, run speed tests to check server load, diagnose problems with a log, and apply a few useful settings (like changing IP every ‘x’ minutes).
We had a major problem initially, when our speed test site wouldn't load at all while connected to SlickVPN, but worked fine if we disconnected. That was odd, but didn't seem to affect other sites. It went away at around the same time as the client started working, too, so we can't be sure of the cause.
Once we started testing*, performance was acceptable. Downloads over short hops were two-thirds of normal speeds, peaking at around 27Mbps. Long distance downloads were relatively poor at half normal speeds, but even they peaked at 15Mbps, which is fine for most tasks.
SlickVPN doesn't offer as many clients, server locations or features as some of the competition. But it's hard to complain when the service is less than half the price, and still good enough for many people.
*Our testing included evaluating general performance (browsing, streaming video). We also used speedtest.net to measure latency, upload and download speeds, and then tested immediately again with the VPN turned off, to check for any difference (over several rounds of testing). We then compared these results to other VPN services we've reviewed. Of course, do note that VPN performance is difficult to measure as there are so many variables.