We need Internet privacy like air.
This VPN review is of the service with a very fitting name – AirVPN.
Today you will learn from my AirVPN review:
- How safe AirVPN is;
- What are its speeds and overall performance;
- If it works well with torrents and streaming services;
- How many terrible air puns I can make in a single review;
- As well as answers to other questions!
For the convenience of reading, here’s a quick navigation menu:
- AirVPN: Unique Benefits and Features
- AirVPN: Pros and Cons
- AirVPN: Speed and Security Tests
- AirVPN: Benefits and Features Tests
- AirVPN: Frequently Asked Questions
|AirVPN pros||AirVPN cons|
|⊕ Great security||⊗ Italian jurisdiction|
|⊕ No-logs policy||⊗ No live chat
|⊕ Abundance of platforms||⊗ Not a lot of locations
|⊕ Many payment options|
|⊕ Great speeds|
|⊕ No IP leaks|
|⊕ Works with Netflix|
|⊕ Works with torrenting|
|⊕ Extremely customizable|
|⊕ 3-day free trial|
|⊕ Has a kill switch feature|
I can definitely recommend AirVPN to anyone who cares about their online privacy. It’s cheap and reliable, and it accomplishes almost all tasks a good VPN should. In case you are looking for something different, consider the following alternatives:
AirVPN: Unique Benefits and Features
Even a brief look at AirVPN lets you know that this service is created by huge cybersecurity nerds: it has no fancy app design and its website has more text than images.
Reading the Mission page confirms it. You can see that the people behind AirVPN also fund and support such projects as Tor, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, WikiLeaks, and others.
What you see above is far from the complete list.
It is a pretty technical VPN. I’ll let this page on the AirVPN site speak for itself:
It’s rare that I see such detailed specs on a VPN provider’s website. Moreover, the list of settings that the app offers is exhaustive. I’ll talk more about it in one of the following sections of this review.
AirVPN runs 242 servers in 22 countries. Yes, it is not as many as, say, NordVPN provides, but still, it’s quite a few.
This service allows you to connect up to 5 devices simultaneously, which is an average number for most providers.
You can get either a client or OpenVPN configuration files from the AirVPN website. It means that AirVPN has a higher degree of customization than many other services. Besides, it makes it well-suited both for advanced users and beginners.
AirVPN: Pros and Cons
AirVPN makes no compromises when security is concerned. On its website, it proudly proclaims that only the OpenVPN protocol is good enough for it:
To be honest, it’s hard to complain about it, as currently, OpenVPN is indeed the most secure and reliable protocol.
The encryption it goes for is AES 256-bit. Again, this is the best option this day.
AirVPN runs on open-source software, the security of which can be checked by an independent audit.
As far as customer support goes, AirVPN claims it does it completely in-house so that no third parties get access to any customer data.
Entry and exit IP addresses of AirVPN servers are separate, which keeps them safe from IP leaks caused by correlation attacks.
But the reliability of AirVPN doesn’t end there. This provider also adheres to a strict no-logs policy.
As you can see, no logs are made and stored. So, even if the authorities were to ask AirVPN to give away user activity data, such a request would be impossible to fulfill.
Abundance of platforms
AirVPN supports a large number of platforms:
- Windows (XP through 10);
- Linux (Debian/OpenSuse/Fedora);
- DD-WRT, Tomato, AsusWRT, and pfSense-based routers.
Please note that only Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android have an AirVPN client. For all the other platforms, you will have to get a bit more technical and generate OpenVPN config files on the AirVPN website.
It’s not hard, though. All you have to do is click on the icon of your desired platform (you can see them in the screenshot above) and follow a detailed guide.
Additionally, there are guides on how to set AirVPN up with Tor, SSH Tunnel, and SSL Tunnel.
Many payment options
Another good thing about AirVPN is that it allows paying for its services in a multitude of ways.
You can pay via PayPal, your credit or debit card, a number of payment services such as Giropay, or, best of all, cryptocurrencies.
Why is it the best way to pay? That’s simple enough. While few cryptocurrencies are actually anonymous, they still enable a greater degree of privacy by making sure that the person or entity on the receiving end of the transaction doesn’t know the identity of the sender. So, what it all means is that you can acquire an AirVPN subscription without providing any personal details to the service.
To keep this review fresh, I will withhold the exact speed I got with AirVPN until the relevant section comes.
For now, I’ll simply state that those figures are quite high and that I am satisfied with them.
No IP leaks
And again, you will see the juicy bits with all the screenshots and such in a later chapter. However, it is a definite plus that AirVPN doesn’t leak your real IP address.
Works with Netflix
AirVPN is an unusual service as it doesn’t necessarily make any grandiose promises as to its ability to unblock geo-restricted content.
Here’s what it says on its website:
“Please also be aware that it is NOT the main purpose of AirVPN to get access to geo-restricted content because it’s a losing battle and Air cannot control how companies such as the BBC and Netflix act.”
However, this service may hold a rather pleasant Netflix-related surprise. I will elaborate on it in a following chapter of the review.
Works with torrenting
AirVPN allows the use of P2P. That’s a big plus because only some VPN providers allow torrenting.
I have already mentioned that AirVPN is a functionality-first service. One of its biggest draws is how customizable its settings are.
For example, you can choose a port and protocol (UDP/TCP) from the AirVPN client:
Not only does this menu allow you to choose a port very easily, but it also provides a short description of what each one is best used for as well as links to relevant pages on the provider’s website.
And if you don’t have time or desire to read all that information, you can simply check the Automatic box, and the app will do everything for you.
AirVPN provides a lot of options, as you can see in the screenshot above. For a regular netizen, many of them might not be that useful, but if you’re an advanced VPN user, they will surely come handy.
Heck, you can even change the font of the client. While a small detail, isn’t it a breath of fresh air to be able to enjoy a VPN app in glorious Comic Sans?
3-day free trial
AirVPN offers its customers a free 3-day trial of its service. It’s not a very long time, to be sure, but it should be enough to test it and see if it suits you.
This free trial is not limited in any way but time.
You do not need to provide your credit card information to sign up for a trial.
The only downside to it is that you can’t just download the client. You have to submit a request form to get it:
To do that, you need to create an account. However, you don’t have to tell AirVPN your real email (unless you want to be able to reset your password and do other activities that require a legit email address):
Your request doesn’t have to be anything special, just a simple message. Something like that is more than enough:
In my case, it took AirVPN around two hours to answer and provide the necessary code.
This system is a bit inconvenient, if I’m being honest. I suppose it lets the provider prevent free trial abuse, but there just might be better ways of doing it.
For its reliable protection and a respectable number of features, AirVPN’s costs are pretty low.
Being an Italian service, it lists all the prices in euro. Let me convert them into USD for your convenience:
|3 months||$16.42 ($5.47/m)|
|6 months||$31.75 ($5.29/m)|
|1 year||$53.65 ($4.47/m)|
|2 years||$86.50 ($3.60/m)|
|3 years||$108.40 ($3.01/m)|
These numbers, of course, reflect the current conversion rate (September 2019) and may change.
These prices are almost as good as those of Private Internet Access, and that provider is considered to have one of the most affordable VPNs. Moreover, AirVPN offers discounts and sales regularly:
Has a kill switch feature
It would have been surprising if a VPN that is so mindful of security as AirVPN didn’t have a kill switch.
However, a brief look into the features of the app may be discouraging for some, as there’s no kill switch to be found there.
AirVPN’s rather unconventional naming is the reason for that. Here, this function is known as “the network lock”.
It is supposed to do its job even if the AirVPN client crashes, which sounds like a great measure.
Keeping in line with the other features of AirVPN, the network lock is also highly customizable. You can set separate rules for incoming and outgoing traffic, allow definite addresses and detected DNS, and more.
That’s a sizeable list of Pros, to be sure. However, I doubt there is a perfect VPN out there and firmly believe that drawbacks shouldn’t be ignored no matter how overwhelming the advantages are.
So, let us find out what the Cons of AirVPN are.
AirVPN is provided by an Italian-based company called Air.
While, as it claims, there are some upsides to it (like being GDPR-compliant), it is also worth noting that Italy is one of the members of the Fourteen Eyes alliance.
It means that there is a possibility for a foreign intelligence agency to surveil entities located there.
AirVPN doesn’t keep any logs, though, so the danger is somewhat negated.
No live chat
AirVPN runs its customer support through the ticket system. There’s no live chat option on their site.
That’s what AirVPN’s representative has to say about it on the forums:
And it is truly great that user support is completely in-house. That’s so because it leads both to the increased security, as no third party has access to users’ data, and the higher level of savviness the customer can expect from the support team.
If the lack of live chat was the only thing, I wouldn’t probably consider it a minus at all.
However, the existent system isn’t flawless on its own. There is a bit of a problem with how support tickets are handled.
When I sent the request for the free trial, it took AirVPN only several hours to respond, which is okay. However, I didn’t learn of it until a couple of days later.
Because there was nothing to indicate that I got the response.
Communication via email is out of the question, I guess, as you don’t have to enter a valid one to create an account. Fine. But when you do create an account, you have this bar on the website:
As you can see, there are two icons, one for messages and the other for notifications. When you get either, icons show a little mark to let you know.
But that didn’t happen when AirVPN’s support answered me.
It was only when I checked the Support Requests tab that I learned my enquiry had been answered days ago:
Notification tab doesn’t appear to be glitched, though: once I set the VPN up, it showed me a new notification, telling me exactly that.
Which was redundant, as that was something that I did myself.
Not a lot of locations
AirVPN has servers in 22 countries. That’s not that many. The servers of CyberGhost VPN, for instance, are located in 90 states.
This is addressed by the company on their FAQ page:
Even if there are too few locations, it’s nice to see it explained by the provider.
I’m not so sure about all the countries where AirVPN has servers, specifically the US, being privacy-friendly enough, though.
AirVPN: Speed and Security Tests
As usual, at first, I tested my Internet speed without a VPN running to use it as a benchmark. Here it is:
The first server I tested was in Brussels. That’s the speed I got with it:
The next one was in Munich:
I tested London next:
And here’s an Uppsala server:
To move away from Europe, I checked this server in Singapore:
And, finally, a few servers in North America. Here’s one in New York:
And one in Toronto:
All in all, the speeds are impressive. Upload speeds were, generally, barely affected.
Of course, the distance of the server from the real location plays its part. However, I’ve seen way poorer performance on not-that-remote servers with some VPN providers.
Here’s a spreadsheet comparing all the speeds I got with AirVPN:
|Server||Download speed, Mbps||Upload speed, Mbps||Speed change, download/upload, %|
So, AirVPN’s speed was good. But what about security?
To determine that, I tested it for IP leaks, as well as DNS and WebRTC leaks.
So, let’s see how it did. The server in Brussels didn’t leak:
As well as the Uppsala server:
And the New York server:
So, it’s safe to conclude: AirVPN doesn’t leak your real IP address.
AirVPN: Benefits and Features Tests
Is AirVPN easy to use?
Despite the large number of technical settings not commonly seen in other VPNs, AirVPN isn’t that hard to use even for beginners.
First, you need to download the client. You either pay for it or enter the one-time coupon to get the free trial:
The download options are, once again, very customizable:
Even though it’s not recommended by the service, you can install AirVPN for Windows Vista and XP. Besides, you can pick either a 64 or 32-bit system and download the client as an installer or as an archive.
Then, you have to install the software. The client is called Eddie. I have no idea why, but it’s kind of endearing.
While signing the Terms of Service, you are presented with two boxes to check: the general one and the one to make sure you’ve read specific points of the agreement:
Those points deal with no guarantees of risk-free usage:
Limitation of liability:
And with limitation of damage:
It’s a great idea that these are written in all-caps because many people tend to skim through such agreements.
The installation takes just a few minutes. Once it’s over, you’re ready to go!
The client is super straightforward. You log in with your website account and pick the server you want to connect to.
There’s an option to choose a recommended server for increased speed. You’re also reminded to activate the Network Lock feature.
The Logs menu holds the logs of Eddie’s work, not your IP and websites you visit. It’s necessary for troubleshooting if there’s some problem with AirVPN’s Eddie client.
Does AirVPN work with Netflix?
As I mentioned earlier in this review, AirVPN makes no explicit promises of unblocking geo-restricted content on Netflix or any other streaming website.
I still checked whether it works, though. And guess what, it actually does:
However, as AirVPN acknowledges that it’s impossible for a VPN service to win this battle against geo-restrictions, it may be useful to always keep an eye on the VPN alternatives that also work with Netflix.
Does it allow torrenting?
AirVPN doesn’t mind if you use P2P and torrents. Just to be safe, I tested it, and everything worked:
AirVPN: Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to increase its performance with torrents, this is what you can do:
- Go to the “Forwarded Ports” section on the AirVPN website.
- Choose a port (best to use a recommended one).
- Choose the “TCP & UDP” option below.
- Click “Add”.
- Pick the same port as the “Port used for incoming connections” in the BitTorrent client.
AirVPN allows up to 5 simultaneous connections per subscription on all plans.
User reviews about AirVPN
Have you used this service? Do you have any thoughts about it? If so, don’t hesitate to share them in the comments below!
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