VPN in Touch is a German provider which offers a simple VPN service for what looks like a very low price.
Specifications are basic with only nine locations available (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, France, Japan, Singapore). There's support for a maximum of three simultaneous connections, while other services typically allow five.
There's some good news, including unlimited bandwidth, P2P support on all but the US server, and clients for Windows, Android, iOS and even Windows Phone.
- Want to try VPN in Touch? Download it here
The VPN in Touch website even claims it can unblock "Netflix and BBC iPlayer, no matter where you are." That's hard to guarantee long-term as Netflix is constantly working to detect and block VPN connections, but that's what customers are promised.
The main attraction here is probably the price. The monthly plan is advertised at a fairly average $9.98 (£7.99) a month, but paying for a year upfront cuts that to only $2.49 (£1.99) a month, a fraction of the cost of most competitors.
Opt for a commercial plan and you're protected by a 30-day refund, though beware, that's not as generous as it sounds. You only qualify if you've transferred less than 500MB of data, a limit you could exceed in a few minutes of video streaming or speed testing.
While most VPN providers plaster their sites with ‘No logging!’ statements, VPN in Touch barely mentions the issue at all, and we had to spend a while poking around the site to uncover any useful information in this regard.
That sounds good, but we know from experience that it also leaves a lot of potential loopholes. And sure enough, scrolling through the very same page took us to this slightly more detailed clause:
"We do not log any user activity (sites visited, DNS lookups, emails etc.). We only log access attempts to our servers (for security and troubleshooting), session durations, bandwidth used and user clicks made to our software (for features popularity tracking and improvements)."
Despite the no-logging statement, the company does log basic session data. It's reasonable to assume that there could be more logging, including incoming and outgoing IP addresses (enough to link your account to any online action). The recording of "user clicks" is a lesser privacy issue, though one we've rarely seen elsewhere.
There's a further complication in the lack of any detail on what happens to this data. A good policy will tell you that item ‘x’ is kept for ‘y’ days, but you can email ‘z’ to have it deleted. Unfortunately, VPN in Touch does none of that.
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VPN in Touch has an oddly-designed website which makes it surprisingly difficult to sign up. There's no Buy button on the front page, for instance. Clicking the Pricing button displays the three plans, but again there's no Buy option.
We noticed a 'How to Set Up' link, but clicking that took us to a Zendesk warning that "it looks like the help center at support.vpnintouch.net no longer exists." Zendesk is one of the top providers of customer service and support software, so presumably VPN in Touch used to have an account, closed it, and somehow forgot to update the website.
The unprofessional feel continued when we found that clicking the Blog and Android Download links both gave us '404 not found' errors. These weren't brand new or temporary issues, either. Checking the Google Play link in Archive.org suggested the download hadn't worked for more than six months, and no-one appears to have noticed, or maybe cared.
We tried downloading and installing the Windows client. Would that help us sign up? Sure enough, we were given the option to create a new account, and that seemed to give us access to the service.
The client opened by telling us that we had 29 days left on a 'Free' account, which was unexpected, as the website didn't mention it as a desktop option. Glancing at the location list showed nine Premium servers and one other in the United States. We wondered if that server could be accessed for free, but no. We tried multiple times but every connection attempt failed, without any error message to explain the problem.
An Update page within the client finally gave us some purchase options, although we noticed they didn't entirely match the website. The client quoted a single month as $4.99 (£3.75), half the figure quoted on the website, and there's an extra three-year plan for the equivalent of $1.80 (£1.35) a month. This might have been because the client was outdated, we suspect: a version 1.0 release from 2014.
We opted for the monthly plan, tapped an 'Order Now' button and were taken to our account page on the VPN in Touch website. There were buttons to pay by PayPal or card. We chose the PayPal option and handed over our cash in the usual way.
Signing up with a VPN provider usually generates a flutter of friendly welcome messages covering your account details, giving you handy setup advice and pointing you to support pages. VPN in Touch didn't send us anything, but the client did recognize we were running a Premium account shortly after we received the PayPal receipt.
This didn't help us to connect, unfortunately. We tried each server multiple times, and the connection failed on every occasion.
Frustrated, we noticed a Contact Support link on the client. Would clicking this help point us in the right direction? Nope: it took us to the "help center no longer exists" message we had seen earlier.
We turned to the FAQ, where a short paragraph explained that we could connect on Windows systems by downloading a phonebook file (a standard way to store a group of network connection profiles). This is significantly more awkward than using a client, but we downloaded and tried it anyway, and those connections failed, too.
Exploring the clients further, we realized there was another problem. Although the website says VPN in Touch supports the OpenVPN protocol, the Windows client only uses the less secure PPTP and L2TP. It also has no security options or settings of any kind. Not a kill switch, DNS leak protection or anything else.
We kept going anyway, but hit problems at every turn.
Emailing support resulted in us receiving an automated message referring to the non-existent help center, leaving us thinking we would never get a reply. And sure enough, a couple of days went by without any further response.
Google searches revealed another VPN in Touch help center with a different address, where we found a manual guide on how to set up OpenVPN. But that failed at the most basic level, providing the wrong URL for the files. And even when we figured that out, downloaded the OVPN files and set up the connection, it still refused to work.
VPN in Touch isn't quite such a disaster on other platforms. The Android app actually managed to connect, for instance, and speeds were average. But that couldn't make up for the useless website, the feeble support, the broken links, and the general feeling that the company just doesn't care. Forget the apparently low prices – we wouldn't recommend VPN in Touch even if it was free.
VPN in Touch is an unprofessional disaster of a service. From its broken download and support links, to its lack of features, useless desktop client, dated support documents and total inability to work on our test laptop, it failed at every level. Don't give them your time or money – you'll be much better off somewhere, maybe anywhere, else.