UTunnel (opens in new tab) is a VPN (opens in new tab) solution that aims to “simplify secure VPN access to everyone, be it for businesses or personal users, by minimizing the technical overheads involved in setting up and managing their own VPN servers.”
It can either give you access to a cloud server or you can connect your own on-premise server. In other words, with the first option, you create a server with one of UTunnel’s integrated cloud providers, while with the second, you bring your own server which can be at your location or in the cloud. The only requirement for the latter is that your server operates on Ubuntu 18.04 with a dedicated IPv4 address.
There are two types of packages: Basic, which is best suited for individuals, and Standard, ideal for businesses. Regardless of the chosen package, UTunnel will equip you with the means to run a third-party dedicated cloud server or connect and manage your own on-premise server.
Cloud server providers include Digitalocean, Linode, Hetzner and Upcloud, and there’s no difference in price. There are, however, some differences in the available server locations offered by different providers.
There are also differences in monthly limitations on resources: the Micro instance with a maximum of 1GB/1CPU/1TB data transfer costs $5/month, the Small instance with 2GB/1CPU/2TB will cost you $10/month, while the Medium with a 4GB/2CPU/4TB would take $20/month.
On top of this price, you’d also be paying an additional $5/VPN account under the Basic package or $7.50 under the Standard package, as a maintenance fee.
In other words, the least you would pay for a Basic account is $10/month, while for a Standard account you’d be paying at least $12.50/month.
Unfortunately, only one payment method is accepted, a debit/credit card, which eliminates all the possible advantages of, say, PayPal or cryptocurrencies.
UTunnel doesn’t have a typical free trial, but you can request a demo via email and you will get a chance to test out a customized solution for you or your business. There’s also a 14-day money-back guarantee, so you can request a refund within this time frame if you’re not happy with the service.
Users can run up to 5 simultaneous VPN connections from one account.
UTunnel operates differently from the VPN major players like ExpressVPN (opens in new tab), NordVPN (opens in new tab), Surfshark (opens in new tab), or CyberGhost (opens in new tab). While they provide access to thousands of servers all over the world to all of their users, UTunnel gives you access to only one under the opening price, increasing the amount it charges with each additional server.
Such a model is best suited for businesses that require a VPN, but an individual would probably fare better with one of the aforementioned solutions as they focus specifically on the needs of the individual user.
If you require access to some of today’s most coveted streaming channels - like BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime - UTunnel will tick boxes for you.
However, do note that the monthly price increases with each server you pick for yourself, so if you’re an individual user who doesn’t want to spend too much money on a VPN, you’d have to consider carefully which location you want to have access to.
If you pick, say, the UK (as we did), you’ll be able to watch BBC iPlayer. If, however, you want to watch US Netflix, you’ll have to purchase a server in the US.
About the company
UTunnel is owned by secubytes LLC (opens in new tab), registered in the United States. Through its cloud partners - DigitalOcean, Hetzner, Linode, and Upcloud - it offers access to servers in various parts of the world, including Amsterdam, Bangalore, Singapore, Helsinki, Nuremberg, Mumbai, Sydney, Tokyo, San Jose, and others.
With this in mind, caution is advised.
Privacy and encryption
UTunnel protects your privacy with ultra-secure military-grade 256 bit AES encryption. Depending on the platform used, UTunnel deploys IKEv2 IPSec and OpenVPN (UDP or TCP) connection protocols. It also supports Single Sign-On, Multi-Factor Authentication, and Team-Based Access Control.
As an extra feature, the Windows app includes a kill switch - a mechanism that blocks your entire internet access if the VPN connection is interrupted, thus protecting all of your data from leaking.
Another handy tool is split routing, which allows you to choose specific networks and IP addresses to pass through the VPN, while all other Internet traffic is routed via your ISP.
This is especially useful to businesses, as an employee connected to the office network via VPN from a remote location can access specific targets through the VPN, while all of their other browsing (to external websites) can pass through their ISP.
All of these features give you complete privacy for your online activities, be it surfing, streaming, or even torrenting/P2P traffic, which is supported entirely and without restrictions.
While this sounds reassuring, we would prefer if these claims had been verified by an external auditor.
UTunnel has simple and intuitive native apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Additionally, manual installation on Windows, Android, and Mac (as well as on routers) is possible with the help of third-party apps like OpenVPN and Tunnelblick, as well as the configuration files you can download on the website.
The vendor’s Android app (opens in new tab) has so far only been rated by one user, who gave it 5 stars (out of possible 5), but has been downloaded by more than 100 people. The iOS app (opens in new tab) has been rated by 2 people and has a score of 5 stars as well.
Should you require assistance, you are advised to first check out the provider’s solid FAQ section (opens in new tab) with plenty of useful articles. More reading material is available on its blog (opens in new tab). If, however, you prefer a more personal touch, you can reach out to customer support via a support ticket (opens in new tab), email (opens in new tab), the provider’s Facebook page (opens in new tab), Twitter (opens in new tab), or even its LinkedIn profile (opens in new tab). Rest assured, whatever your concern or question is, you’ll receive a speedy and polite response.
Speed and experience
We found the apps exceptionally easy to use, as they had no flashy extras or confusing settings. All it took was to download the apps, install them, and connect. All the statistical details about VPN sessions, CPU, memory, and bandwidth usage can be monitored in the client area on the website. From there, you can also enable external DNS, split routing, VPN obfuscation, firewall, MFA, and other features.
Our tests were performed on a 69.30Mbps testing connection and we switched between the Windows app and IKEv2 protocol, and the Android app and OpenVPN UDP protocol. The target location was London, UK via DigitalOcean’s cloud server. The first test got us a very good 19.22Mbps, while the second gave us a poorer but still very solid 16.5Mbps.
It may not be overflowing with extras, but UTunnel is a very good VPN solution that won’t disappoint you in any aspect unless you require immediate access to thousands of servers all over the world.
With UTunnel, you will need to pay more per server, but it may well be worth it as you’ll get excellent speeds, access to geographically limited content specific for your selected server(s), as well as exceptionally friendly and helpful customer support.