Making use of a VPN almost always cuts your internet speeds, which is no real surprise given all that encryption overhead.
Speedify aims to fight this by sharing your internet traffic across any available connections: Ethernet, a tethered mobile, Wi-Fi and more, up to ten in total. If one connection type is slow, Speedify seamlessly moves some of your traffic to another, maximizing your bandwidth. All this happens in the background, entirely transparent to your applications, which carry on working just as they always did (except faster, hopefully).
You don't need multiple connections to use the service, it works just fine with one – although obviously in this case, you won't get the same channel bonding advantages. However, the company still claims its other connection technologies could help improve speeds.
- Want to try Speedify? Check out the website here
Encryption plays a part in that, with the service using the efficient ChaCha cipher to get fast results on even the oldest of devices, or AES128-GCM on devices where there's hardware support.
(If you're looking for the full technical detail, Speedify is based on DTLS 1.2 using TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256, if hardware-supported, or TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_CHACHA20_POLY1305_SHA256 for older devices.)
Don't be distracted by that '128' - AES-GCM is more secure than the AES-CBC used by many VPNs, and a 128-bit key gives you plenty of protection. See the Speedify support site for more, or check out Private Internet Access' more complete GGCM vs CBC explanation.
Speedify provides clients for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. This keeps setup relatively easy, and decent ratings on both app stores (4.0 on Google Play, an impressive 4.7 on iTunes) suggest the apps are doing something right.
The network is a little small at 200+ servers - some providers have thousands - but they're well distributed over 50 locations and 38 countries.
Features include the ability to set your VPN DNS to several popular services: Cloudflare, AdGuard, OpenDNS, Google DNS and more.
Support for DNS over HTTPS may allow you to get connected in more places, even if they're actively blocking VPNs.
New features include an experimental Streaming Mode which automatically identifies and prioritizes audio and video streams, reducing the chance that they'll be affected by downloads, browsing and anything else you're doing.
Plans and prices
Speedify offers a free plan, which limits you to 10GB of data a month and use on a single device. That's a good deal for a free product, especially as you get access to all the regular servers, and you can use the service without handing over your email address or any other personal information to create an account.
The Individual plan enables unlimited data and can be used on up to 5 devices.
Prices on the starter plans have increased to $8.99 billed monthly, or an equivalent $5.99 if you pay for a year up-front (they were $8.99 and $3.99, last time.)
A new two-year plan is priced at $3.99, though, and if you sign up for three years, this falls to $2.99.
While that's cheap as a headline price, we're a little uncomfortable about signing up for such a long contract. Private Internet Access is just $3.33 per month over one year, for instance, while Surfshark is an excellent $1.99 on its two-year plan.
Speedify has one more interesting option in its Family plan. This enables up to 5 people to use it on up to 5 devices each, yet it still costs just $14.95 billed monthly. This falls to $8.95 on the annual plan, $6 over two years, $4.50 over three. If you need five accounts, that's a spectacular $0.90 per month per user.
Privacy and logging
The good news is that the company claims it doesn't keep a history of the sites you visit, or the content of the data you send or receive.
The bad news is that there's some session logging, including the wi-fi SSID of your network, your public IP address, your device ID, the time you connected, the amount of data transferred and the length of the session.
That could be enough to identify your approximate location and generate a unique identifier for your device, allowing it to be recognized next time. It's a little more logging than we would normally expect, but it's necessary to manage Speedify's free plan. (The company needs to track the data you use, and the device where you're using it, to keep you to the 10GB limit.)
While this isn't necessarily a problem, we're left to take it on trust that this is all Speedify does. Other VPNs are increasingly putting themselves through independent audits - TunnelBear now has its apps, website and infrastructure audited every year - to confirm that they're living up to their promises, and we'd like to see other providers follow suit.
Trying Speedify is simple and hassle-free, especially if you're sampling the free plan. The Downloads page presents you with links to the Windows, Mac, Android and iOS apps; we grabbed the Windows client, ran the installer, and it set itself up fully in a matter of seconds. An opening screen explained that we had 10GB of data for free, and once we dismissed that, the program automatically connected to a local UK server, and we were online.
Our client had automatically identified and was using our Ethernet and wi-fi connections. Icons for both network interfaces were displayed, along with a graph showing interface speed, which looks interesting but doesn't have much practical value.
A Server panel includes options to choose the fastest server, the best server for torrents, or manually select your preferred country from the full list of 38. This is easy to use, but aside from the ability to choose locations and servers within a country, it's very short on features: there's no server load figures, no ping times, no Favorites system, no search box, no 'Recent connections' list or anything else.
There are a very small number of settings. Most are simple on/off switches for the most basic features, such as Connect at Startup, Transport Mode (UDP, TCP or automatic), Internet Kill Switch and DNS Leak Protection.
There is a more interesting Redundant Mode which sends all traffic across all available connections to improve reliability. This will hugely increase your data usage and means you won't benefit from any channel bonding speedups, but it you're after ultra-reliability it might be worth the trade-off.
The client gives you the option of using several external DNS services, too: Google, Cloudflare, OpenDNS and AdGuard, and there's a Custom option where you can specify whatever IP addresses you need.
Speedify's most important options cover its rules for connection handling. By default, the system uses Wi-Fi whenever it's available, for example, but you can tell it to use other connection types first, or only to use Wi-Fi when other connections are unavailable. It's possible to set daily or monthly limits, handy for metered connections, or you can even disable Wi-Fi support altogether – it's your call.
We tried Speedify's channel bonding feature using both wifi to a local router and a tethered mobile, but didn't see any conclusive improvement. Results may vary drastically, though, depending on those connections, your devices, networks, internet speeds and more. The best approach is to try it for yourself, see how the technology performs on your local setup.
The client isn't quite as intuitive as most VPN apps. You connect by toggling a switch, rather than tapping a button. The various icons, buttons and graphs make for a more complicated interface than you'll see with most VPN apps. There are one or two small usability issues, too, in particular the lack of any desktop notifications to let you know when it connects or disconnects.
Overall, though, the client does a decent job, especially considering it must implement the extra complexities of Speedify's channel bonding, and you'll find your way around its interface within a very few minutes.
The client has some capable functionality under the hood, too. We tried stress-testing its kill switch by manually closing TCP connections, for instance, to simulate a connection drop, but the client wasn't concerned. It automatically reconnected in a second or two, and our real IP address was never exposed to the outside world.
We were interested to see the bundled SpeedifyCLI, too, a cross-platform tool which allows you to initiate, control and monitor VPN connections from the command line or your own scripts.
While that's mostly for experts, there are a few occasions where it could be handy for anyone.
You could set up a quick batch file to connect to the VPN before launching a particular app, for instance. How about a scheduled task to connect, or disconnect, at particular time of day? Or you could automatically change VPN settings to suit different apps. It's all very flexible, and you can read more in the SpeedifyCLI manual (see SpeedifyCLI.pdf in the app folder, C:\Program Files (x86)\Speedify on Windows.)
Speedify claims that it allows you to 'watch region-locked content from back home while traveling.'
Dig into the support site, though, and you'll find a 'Does Speedify work with Netflix?' article which explicitly says 'Speedify will not give you capabilities to access other Netflix countries or unblock Disney+, HBO, and Hulu.'
The company isn't kidding, either. Its apps now have a Streaming Bypass feature which enables connecting directly to Netflix, Disney+, HBO and Hulu, rather than going through the tunnel, to stop you being blocked.
Maybe it would work, anyway, we thought, optimistically? Nope: we tried Netflix and Disney+, and both services detected and blocked our VPN.
We had no success with BBC iPlayer, either, a disappointment as Speedify got us in last time.
Maybe Amazon Prime Video would be easier? Too optimistic, again - it locked us out.
Our only success was with US-only YouTube content. That's better than nothing, but only just - YouTube has so little protection that just about every VPN in existence, including the free ones, can do the same.
In our tests, Speedify's performance from the UK was reasonable, with the service typically giving us 65-68Mbps on a 75Mbps line. Some VPNs might make 2-4Mbps more, but unless you're running speed tests of your own, you're unlikely to notice any difference.
To find out just how fast Speedify could go, we next tried it from the US via a 600Mbps connection. And the results were variable, but always excellent, with median speeds across four test runs of 275Mbps, 319Mbps, 364Mbps and 403Mbps.
Thats good. How good? For comparison, in very recent reviews we found IPVanish peaked at 228Mbps (that's the highest median score across multiple sessions), ExpressVPN managed 240Mbps, Windscribe 260Mbps, Hotspot Shield and NordVPN reached 290Mbps, and IPVanish and VPN Unlimited hit 300Mbps. Those were some of the best scores (many VPNs don't make 100Mbps), but Speedify outperformed them all.
We have to qualify these results, just a little. Our most recent tests were run in March and April 2020, when coronavirus lockdowns meant higher internet traffic, and that might have cut some of these speeds.
Still, wherever Speedify ranks in the overall VPN performance charts, there's no doubt that it's fast. It was in our last review (220-335Mbps), and it's even better now. So, if performance is your top priority, then give it a try, right now, and see how the service performs for you.
Speedify's channel bonding didn't make a noticeable speed difference to us, but when single connections are faster than just about anyone else, it's hard to care. The 10GB per month is appealing too, and the family plan is great value, but Speedify's poor unblocking performance could be an issue for some and going for a provider like the ace ExpressVPN offers better bang for your buck overall.
- Also check out our complete list of the best VPN services