Shimo is a Mac-only VPN client that takes your VPN connections to a new level by adding more functionalities and customization than you would have with just your plain old connection. However, it does require that you have a VPN account first. That said, it is very useful for anyone concerned about privacy and juggles multiple VPN accounts. The cherry on top? You can use it completely free for an entire month before deciding whether you’d like to keep it.
30-day free trial
Lots of features
Mediocre speeds at best
Only one payment plan
No money-back guarantee
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Shimo isn’t just your run-of-the-mill VPN service. It's a VPN client that enables you to run your VPN in a quick, safe and convenient manner - a little like OpenVPN Connect, Viscosity or TunnelBlick. In other words, it requires that you already have a VPN connection that you can use together with Shimo.
A Shimo license costs $59 per user. This might seem expensive until you learn that this is a one-off price and you don’t need to renew.
Moreover, the vendor allows you to use its platform for free for 30 days, which is more than enough time to see if it’s the right match. You don’t even need to leave your financial details.
You can use your copy of Shimo on as many devices as you own and accepted payment methods include credit/debit cards and PayPal.
There’s no money-back guarantee of any sort, other than a statement that a refund may be issued at the company’s discretion if you can’t use its service.
If you don’t need such a client, then you can simply skip Shimo and just purchase a regular VPN account, especially considering that those listed above have user-friendly and feature-rich in-house apps of their own.
Shimo is a VPN connection mediator so if your VPN account of choice can unblock the geographically restricted content on popular streaming services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer, then so can Shimo.
About the company
This service is run by a German company called Mailbutler GmbH. By itself, it doesn’t have any VPN servers you can connect to but instead facilitates connections to servers already provided by your VPN account.
Privacy and encryption
Shimo supports a multitude of VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, IPSec, PPTP, SSL, AnyConnect, and SSH. The only exception is PPTP/L2TP on Mac Catalina, which isn’t supported.
For encryption, it uses the super-strong AES-256 algorithm that is certified even by governmental organizations. This encryption is assisted by SHA-2, which the provider describes as “the latest set of cryptographic hash functions”. As an additional security mechanism, it also deploys secure cryptographic key exchange over insecure or public channels, enabled by the Diffie-Hellman method.
Thanks to its unique support for multiple (different) VPN connections simultaneously, Shimo has the potential to give you a higher level of privacy protection than you would get by running just one VPN at a time.
Shimo also supports two-factor authentication methods, such as Tokens, to store your information in the Mac password management system - The Keychain - all perfectly encrypted by your Mac user password. It also relies on other Mac security innovations like code signing and XPC services, to guarantee a high level of security for your sensitive data.
Shimo VPN is exclusively a Mac client and isn’t available on any other platforms. It can be installed on Catalina, Sierra, High Sierra, and Mojave versions of the operating system. It does, however, support a wide selection of VPN gateway devices.
If you run into any problems, there’s a rich help site at your disposal, where you’ll find a good deal of helpful material ranging from getting started with Shimo to defining its startup triggers. If you need more direct assistance, then you should try writing an email to customer support. We’re still waiting for a response to our email message with more general questions.
Contact with Shimo’s team is also possible via Twitter but the last post was published in November 2018.
Speed and experience
The first time you open Shimo’s app, you’ll see a table where you can import your VPN accounts, no matter how many you have and regardless of the type, including Cisco IPSec, Cisco SSL (AnyConnect), OpenVPN, PPTP/L2TP, General IPSec, SSH, Nortel IPSec, and Juniper/Netscreen IPSec. You just need to specify your remote host and VPN sign-in credentials. This is also where you can turn on/off the VPN of your choice.
Other options include Trigger, where you can define rules for automatically connecting VPN accounts in certain conditions. The triggers can be based on your device’s network configuration, your geographical location, the Wi-Fi network, type of encryption, launch/termination of other apps, as well as using VPN connections as triggers for other VPN accounts so you can automatically establish VPN chains.
We used Shimo to route a connection to a VPN provider we had tested once earlier. The server we connected to was in Paris, France, and it delivered 17.55Mbps on a 85Mbps testing connection. This speed was lower than when we tested the original VPN without Shimo, but at least we got more customization options.
Shimo VPN is a great choice for small businesses and any individuals who rely heavily on VPNs, want to be able to run multiple VPN connections at the same time, and appreciate the sheer number of additional features on offer.
However, it’s a more complicated option than a regular VPN service, so we’d suggest you use the less complex option if you’re a beginner.
Other VPN providers we have recently tested include:
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.