AltVPVN is a capable anonymity platform with plenty to like: blazing speeds, access to geo-blocked content, low prices and a free trial. There’s still a lot of room for improvement though, mainly when it comes to native apps, customer support and information on the website.
Provides access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer libraries
Very, very affordable
24-hour free trial
No native apps except for Windows
Absent no-logs policy
The website is in Russian only
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AltVPN was founded in 2015 and has since provided VPN services primarily to Russian-speaking customers, although users that don’t speak Russian can use the service too, with some help from Google Translate. The service's Windows app is available in both Russian and English.
AltVPN's services are available under three pricing options: 1-month at ₽359 (Russian Ruble) or $4.74 per month, 6-month at ₽200 or $2.64 per month, and 1-year at ₽150 or $1.98 per month, making this VPN one of the cheapest on the market.
You can also get yourself a personal proxy IP for an additional ₽100-650 per IP (the final price depends on the location and the amount of chosen IPs). They can also be purchased separately from the main subscriptions, either one-by-one or in packages of 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, or 1000 IP addresses.
We were thrilled to find that this provider had a 24-hour free trial, allowing us to take its platform for a test run and see what it’s all about. There’s also a 7-day money-back guarantee, although that's not inclusive of personal IP addresses purchased separately from the main account.
Customers can pay using a wide array of payment methods, including credit cards, Qiwi, Yandex, Bitcoin, PayPal, and Interkassa. Interestingly, once a day you can try your luck on the website to get a 50% discount on the purchase or renewal of the VPN or private proxy services.
Simultaneous VPN connections are supported on up to 3 devices under one account.
AltVPN has some very attractive qualities. However, it still falls behind the biggest names in the industry like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, or CyberGhost. Although most of them (except Surfshark) are far more expensive, they do provide a much more advanced service, with native apps for all major platforms (and then some), total transparency, plenty of information and many more servers.
From our experience, AltVPN is capable of unblocking geographically restricted content from today’s popular streaming channels like Netflix or BBC iPlayer. The latter is especially tricky for many VPNs, but we simply selected a server in the UK and were able to access all content on BBC iPlayer without issues.
About the company
This VPN is registered in Belize, safely away from of any jurisdictions with a history of invading the privacy of companies or individuals. It provides access to over 100 servers in 30 countries worldwide, including in Belarus, Hong Kong, Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and other places.
The live status of each server can be observed on the website, where you can also check which IP address is currently ascribed to your device. Speaking of the website, it is only available in Russian, so you may need to use Google Translate in your browser to get around this. That said, the Windows app is available in both Russian and English.
Privacy and encryption
We aren’t sure if this provider allows P2P as there’s no information on the website and we’re still waiting for a response from customer support. The same goes for encryption. What we do know is that it uses the classics in terms of connection protocols: OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), IKEv2, and L2TP/IPSec.
The Windows app has some extras too. A kill switch prevents leaks by blocking traffic outside the VPN and it has three options: off, always-on, and automatic. You can also bring your privacy to a higher level by deploying an additional redirection of the VPN connection through a proxy server - Shadowsocks (a redirection method that helps bypass blocks in countries with severe network restrictions) and Socks5 (additional connection through Socks5 proxy).
AltVPN only has an app for Windows, while other platforms, including Android, iOS, Mac, Linux, and routers can be covered by this VPN using their built-in VPN capabilities and specific protocol connection types (L2TP/IPSec for Android, IKEv2 or L2TP for iOS, OpenVPN or others for Mac, etc.).
You can try to make use of the provider’s setup guides on the website, but you’ll need to use the Google Translate option in your browser as the guides are only available in Russian.
Help is also available through its Knowledge base (FAQs) or direct contact with customer support via web form and email, all of which can be accessed straight from the app. That said, we still haven’t received a response to our email query.
Speed and experience
We tested the speeds in the provider’s Windows app on an 85Mbps testing connection and got some pretty outstanding results. First, we tried a VPN server in Milan, which delivered a blazing 47.70Mbps, and then another in London, which gave us a slower but still very fast 24.29Mbps.
Then it was time to cross the ocean and test a server in New Jersey, which scored 13.89Mbps. A server on the other side of the world, in Singapore, didn’t do poorly itself, hailing 10.33Mbps, which is considered fast for a location so far away from our own.
The app itself was very nicely designed and easy to use, although we can’t say the same for other supported devices. However, with some help from the (translated) website, even a beginner can set up this VPN on their phone, Mac, Linux, or router.
AltVPN may be cheap and fast but it has a lot of work to do if it ever aims to become a major player in the VPN field. It would first need to expand its server network, provide more information about its services, improve its customer support, and consider designing apps for platforms other than Windows.
Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.