VPNhub review

A shiny new VPN with a free, unlimited bandwidth plan

VPNhub
Image Credit: PornHub

Our Verdict

Maybe worth a try for the free plan, but the paid service is too expensive for what you get.

For

  • Free plan with unlimited bandwidth for mobile
  • Excellent speeds
  • Mobile and desktop apps

Against

  • Overpriced commercial plans
  • Free plan not available for desktops
  • Underpowered apps
  • Doesn't unblock Netflix, iPlayer

VPNhub is a new VPN provider launched by top adult video site, Pornhub.

The company says this is all about the anonymity of its users, stating that 'with 90 million visitors a day, the vast majority of whom are using devices on the go, it’s especially important that we continue to ensure the privacy of our users and maintain their confidentiality.'

You don't have to watch Pornhub – or even porn – to use the service, though, and the VPNhub website is as family-friendly as any VPN provider.

VPNhub's free plan sounds like it should appeal to just about anyone, with the website claiming it offers 'unlimited bandwidth on your device of choice.' What it doesn't highlight is that this gets you access to a single location only, apparently in your nearest country, and the free plan is only available on iOS and Android. Still, a free VPN with unlimited bandwidth is always going to be useful.

Signing up for the Premium plan gives you access to 75 locations across 50 countries, as well as faster speeds, and allows you to use the service on Windows and Mac.

We're normally cautious of new VPNs offering lots of locations, as it's not always clear who is behind their network. VPNhub appears to use servers owned by StackPath, though, the cloud giant behind IPVanish, which gives some reassurance about likely service reliability.

Pricing looks high, at $13.99 billed monthly, dropping to $6.99 if you pay for a year upfront. If you like the IPVanish network, you could sign up with them directly for a little less, at $6.49 per month on the annual plan. If you're willing to subscribe for two or three years, you can pay under $3 a month with providers such as CyberGhost, KeepSolid VPN Unlimited and NordVPN.

Still, if you'd like to try VPNhub Premium, sign up at your app store of choice and you'll get a week of testing time before you're charged.

VPNhub

A vague privacy policy raised some concerns (Image Credit: PornHub)

Privacy

Understanding who owns a VPN and where they're based can be important, especially when you're trying to judge transparency and any implications for your privacy. Unfortunately, VPNhub makes this more difficult than most.

Checking Google Play shows the company with a Cyprus address, for instance. The VPNhub website FAQ says it’s a US company. The website privacy policy and terms of service are hosted by the developer Appatomic, though, and refer to being based on Californian law. The servers for the Premium plan appear to be owned by US cloud giant StackPath, but the free server seems to be run by someone else.

The privacy policy  is much clearer, with a lot of detail about what the service collects, and what it doesn't. 

VPNhub explains that 'we do not associate your IP address with your online activities and we do not store or log your IP address with your online activities.'

Reassuringly, it also states that 'we do not keep logs of your online activities and will never associate any domains, websites or applications that you use with you, your device or your email.'

But that's not the whole story. The policy also includes this key section.

"We and our third-party service providers may automatically collect, use, store and transfer the following information about you or your device as follows:

When VPNhub app is launched, but before you connect to the VPN, we and our third party service providers collect device-specific information such as unique mobile ID, operating system and platform, browser type and version, network information and other technology on the devices you use to access the Website or the Services."

VPNhub may not log what you're doing online, but it can fingerprint your device and grab plenty of information about it, and that data may be accessible to others.

The free VPN is supported by ads, and as the policy explains, that has further implications:

'Advertisers may be able to collect certain information independently from you or your device when serving ads from our Services, including your device’s advertising ID, IMEI, MAC address, and wireless carrier. Advertisers may be able to access your lP address if your device is not connected to the VPNhub VPN.'

Put this all together and VPNhub clearly has a few privacy issues. That may not matter if you just want a simple VPN to encrypt regular internet traffic on public Wi-Fi, but we would think carefully before you use the service for anything important.

Country list

Available countries and servers are presented in a list (Image Credit: PornHub)

(Image credit: Image Credit: VPNhub)

Performance

VPNhub free build is only available on mobile devices, so we began by grabbing a copy of the Android version. Installation was hassle-free, and we were launching the app within a few seconds.

After some initial upselling where the app prompted us to try the Premium version, we were able to get started. A simple interface keeps everything very straightforward: tap an unlocked padlock to connect, tap it again to disconnect, and that's about it.

There's a separate list of servers, but as the free version only allowed us access to the UK, that didn't matter very much.

The Settings dialog has gained a couple of useful features since our last review. New support for split tunneling enables both free and Premium users to define apps which won't send their traffic via the VPN. An Auto Reconnect setting will automatically reconnect if the VPN connection drops, although this is only available to Premium users.

These options are welcome, but most apps deliver much more: autostart options, automatic connection when you access untrusted networks, choice of protocols, an integrated kill switch, and more. VPNhub looks very basic by comparison.

Performance was reasonable for a free service. Our test Android device averaged download speeds of around 70Mbps on Speedtest.net, and this fell to around 20-25Mbps after connecting to VPNhub. That's a significant drop, but we've seen commercial services that are slower, and it's fast enough for most purposes.

Tapping the 'Start Your Free Week' gives you speedy access to VPNhub's Premium service. Be sure to read the screen carefully, though – by default you're signing up for a monthly subscription which automatically renews at a very expensive $13.99.

Hand over your email address, choose a password, and you're able to use the full set of VPNhub locations, as well as being able to install and use the service on Windows and Mac.

We installed and launched a copy of the Windows client. This opens with the simplest of interfaces, just the name of the currently selected country, and a Connect button. Clicking the country name displays a list of your other location choices, sortable by country, city or server load, and with a search box to filter the list by keyword. That's good, but we would have preferred a Favorites system, or even a Recent Servers list, to help speed up reconnecting to commonly-accessed locations.

OpenVPN settingts

You can change your VPN protocol or enable a kill switch from the settings (Image Credit: PornHub)

(Image credit: Image Credit: VPNhub)

The Settings box is more capable, with options to choose your protocol (IKEv2 or OpenVPN), scramble OpenVPN traffic to help bypass VPN blocking, enable or disable a kill switch, or have the app automatically reconnect if the VPN connection unexpectedly drops.

We tested VPNhub's kill switch, with mixed results. When we forcibly closed the VPN connection, the client immediately blocked our internet access, preventing any data escaping the tunnel. But sometimes it would then refuse to connect, before repeatedly warning us that 'exception of type DotRas.RasException was thrown.' We had to close and restart the client before it would work again.

As we tried the clients, we noticed a few other small issues. The location list was sorted alphabetically by default, for instance, but sometimes we'd find the client had rearranged the servers for no apparent reason (we're talking sequences like Serbia, Australia, United Kingdom, Denmark, Canada, Singapore...) You can fix this quickly by clicking the Country column header to reset the sort order, but it really shouldn't be necessary.

VPNhub's site unblocking performance was what what we expected: basics only. It got us in to US YouTube, Comedy Central and the relatively easy sites, but we had no luck with US Netflix, BBC iPlayer or any of the better defended platforms.

VPNhub did well in our performance tests, at least initially (no surprise, if it really is using the IPVanish network). Our test system managed an excellent 65-68Mbps when connected to our nearest UK servers, near European connections were almost identical, US speeds varied hugely but were always usable at 20-60Mbps.

Going long-distance revealed some weak spots - 1-2Mbps for Malaysia, really? - but they were outweighed by better performers, like Australia's average 30Mbps, and for the most part, VPNhub Premium gave us reasonable speeds.

There was more good news in our final privacy checks, where sites including ipleak.net and dnsleaktest.com revealed that VPNhub's servers really were in the promised locations, and there were no DNS or WebRTC leaks to give away any details about us or our web activities.

Final verdict

VPNhub's free unlimited bandwidth plan has some appeal for basic browsing tasks, but potential privacy issues and buggy clients make it hard to recommend.