VyprVPN review

A powerful Swiss VPN with real performance bite

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Our Verdict

A likeable service – it’s certainly fast and powerful – but the logging policy means it's not a good choice for heavy torrent users.

For

  • Excellent speeds
  • Powerful, configurable clients
  • 70+ locations
  • 3-day free trial

Against

  • Some logging (connection times, IPs)
  • Strictly no refunds
  • Exclusive VyprVPN Deal: For TechRadar readers only, get 25% off VyprVPN annual plans ($45 USD for 1 year). VyprVPN is a fast, highly secure VPN without third parties. Get VyprVPN here

VyprVPN is a popular VPN which is based in privacy-friendly Switzerland, and comes from the same stable of companies as US ISP Texas.net, Data Foundry, and top Usenet provider Giganews.

The service grabbed our attention with some impressive specs: 73 server locations, unlimited data usage, over 200,000 IPs, secure DNS servers, a kill switch and more.

There are apps and setup instructions to run the service on almost any platform: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, smart TVs and multiple router types.

The standard VyprVPN plan allows three simultaneous connections, and is priced at £6.95 ($8.70) a month billed monthly, or £4.08 ($5.10) a month billed annually.

VyprVPN Premium ups the limit to five simultaneous connections, and adds support for the company's Chameleon protocol to help bypass VPN blocking. It's yours for £10.50 ($13) billed monthly, or £5.83 ($7.30) a month billed annually.

The company (Golden Frog) doesn't block torrent traffic, but warns that "subscribers who are repeat infringers of either unlawfully copyrighted material or otherwise illegal content" will have their accounts terminated. Combine that with session logging (more on that in a moment) and this service is seemingly not the best choice for heavy P2P users.

There are cheaper VPNs around which support five connections, but if you can live with three, VyprVPN offers a lot of privacy power for a very fair price. The company has a 3-day trial, too, so you can easily check the service quality for yourself.

Privacy

VyprVPN's privacy policy is clear, straightforward and extremely short, far better than the lengthy legalese you'll often be bombarded with elsewhere.

The document heads each section with simple text explaining exactly what it's aiming to answer: "What data Golden Frog retains from VyprVPN sessions", or "How Golden Frog responds to criminal investigations", and so on.

Each section provides only brief details, but they still manage to cover what you need to know. The good news is the service doesn't log your traffic within a session, perform any packet inspection on it, discriminate against devices or protocols, and it doesn’t throttle or limit your internet connection.

There is some session logging, as the company explains:

"Each time a user connects to VyprVPN, we retain the following data for 30 days: the user's source IP address, the VyprVPN IP address used by the user, connection start and stop time and total number of bytes used."

This data is retained for 30 days "to use with billing issues, troubleshooting, service offering evaluation, TOS issues, AUP issues, and for handling crimes performed over the service."

What this means is that VyprVPN won't record that you've visited website X or downloaded torrent Y, but it is keeping an audit trail that may allow others to find out. If an investigator has the VyprVPN IP address that you used to take some action, and within 30 days they can get a court to demand the company hands over its logs, it will be possible to link that action to your account.

It's important to keep this in perspective. Many VPNs do something similar: all that's happening here is that VyprVPN is being honest enough to clearly and explicitly tell you about it. And if you're simply using the service for regular browsing, it probably won't matter anyway. But if you're looking for complete anonymity no matter what you're doing, this may not be the VPN for you.

We moved on to the terms of service page, where most of the clauses seemed very standard: don't use the service to do illegal stuff, you bear the responsibility for your actions, services will automatically be renewed unless you cancel your account, and so on.

There's only one catch in the refund policy, which says you'll never get one, ever, under any circumstances. That's far stricter than most companies, although if you think you can test the service adequately in the 3-day free trial, it may not make any real difference.

Performance

Sign up for VyprVPN and you're asked to provide much more information than usual. Handing over your email address is normal, but the company also requires your first and last name, billing country and postcode or zip code.

If you can live with that, the rest of the signup process looks familiar enough: choose the monthly or annual plan, enter your details, and pay in the usual way. We chose PayPal and approved the payment, but were then sent to a blank page at the Golden Frog site, with no information about our order at all.

Fortunately, a welcome email arrived moments later with a 'Confirm account' link, and clicking this opened a more useful web page with download links and setup guides.

We grabbed a copy of the Windows client, downloading and installing it in a few seconds. This looked relatively compact, taking only 10MB of hard drive space, but its background processes were more resource-hungry. The VyprVPN service and client typically gobbled up 110MB RAM in total, more than four times the requirements of the more lightweight IVPN, for example.

The client has an appealing interface which includes a real-time chart of your current network download and upload speeds. Your current IP address is highlighted, and there's also a clear display of your NAT firewall status and preferred VPN protocol, details that other clients usually bury deep in their settings dialog.

Tapping the Connect button automatically connects you to the fastest server, or you can choose your preferred option from the full server list.

The client can display locations by continent, name or speed. A Search box displays matches as you type, or you can save commonly-used locations to a Favorites list.

VyprVPN favorites are also available direct from its system tray icon's right-click menu, conveniently. This also displays handy details like your IP address and connection status. That seems an obvious idea to us, but it's rarely implemented by other VPNs.

The client's most impressive feature is probably its Settings dialog, a nicely judged mix of options which has something for every level of user.

You get fine-grained control over connections, for instance. You can have the service connect as soon as Windows starts, or when the client launches, or when you access any untrusted Wi-Fi networks.

There are several notification settings. You can have the client alert you to every single connect and disconnect event, or just connection failures, and optionally play different audio files on connects or disconnects. That may sound trivial, but don't dismiss it. Other services might annoy you with regular popups, or not give you any clear notification of disconnects at all, so being able to control this is a definite plus.

It's a similar story with the Protocol tab. You don't just get to choose from OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec and PPTP. You can configure OpenVPN with your choice of encryption level, port settings, or – if you've signed up for the Premium plan – specify VyprVPN's own Chameleon protocol to (theoretically) do a better job of bypassing VPN blockers.

If you really know what you're doing, the Advanced tab enables low-level tweaks for your TAP adapter, MTU, route delay or TLS timeout, and you can also add custom OpenVPN parameters to your configuration file. There's a lot of power here for experts.

Performance was generally impressive in our testing*, too. Speeds to our local UK server averaged 36Mbps and never dropped below 33Mbps. Moving to French, German and other close European locations made little difference, with speeds generally still above 30Mbps.

US connections were more variable at 15-25Mbps, and UK to Asian connections struggled to a just-about-usable 3-5Mbps, but even these were better than we've seen with many competitors.

The good news continued right to the end, as we rounded off the review with a series of leak tests. Whatever we did, VyprVPN successfully preserved our privacy by blocking any DNS and WebRTC leaks.

Final verdict

VyprVPN's excellent performance and powerful clients make it a great choice for some people, but heavy P2P users should check out the company's session logging and copyright infringement policies before they buy.

*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.