We’re always looking for more VPN providers to test. The industry is booming, but still lacks proper structure.
There isn’t any established regulating body, for example (though some VPN providers are proactively trying to change that), and a lot of VPN comparison sites publish fake reviews that promote dodgy or even fake VPNs.
Read our VPNArea review to find out what we discovered.
VPNArea Review Overview
|VPNArea Overall Rating
|Reliability and Support||5/5|
VPNArea’s location is a little complex: the provider’s owner (Offshore Security EOOD) is based in Bulgaria, but their emails and day-to-day servers are in Switzerland.
On paper, that sounds fantastic. Neither Bulgaria nor Switzerland are part of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, or 14 Eyes coalition that spies on citizens and shares user data with various other governments and intelligence agencies.
We’ll tentatively give VPNArea full-marks for being safely located. But the question mark remains, making their logging policy even more important.
Strict No-Logs Policy
We’re one of those go-getter VPN comparison sites in that we always read the fine print.
VPNArea has a strict no-logs policy that’s very easy to understand. There’s very limited data being collected, namely:
- A username and password
- Your country (but, as per the Terms of Service, “You don’t have to submit your Name and Country, those fields are voluntary in the registration form”)
- A transaction ID (used to process refunds, as applicable, but which you can request to have deleted)
We also couldn’t find any case of VPNArea acting against their no-logs policy.
Military-Grade Encryption and the Best VPN Protocols
If you’re not familiar with encryption standards or VPN protocols, the FAQ blurb can be a little confusing. Here’s what you need to know:
VPNArea offers 2 protocol types – OpenVPN and IKEv2. These are generally considered the best VPN protocols available due to their superior encryption levels.
We tend to favor OpenVPN, but IKEv2 is a close second for security (and can be anywhere from 20% to 100% faster).
Both protocols benefit from 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard with the Cipher Block Chaining mode (256-bit AES-CBC for short).
There isn’t a system even remotely close to deciphering this kind of encryption, which is why it’s favored by military organizations around the world.
Kill Switch and DNS Leak Protection
We couldn’t find anything on VPNArea’s website about whether they have a kill switch, which automatically ends your connection if your device stops communicating with the VPN server properly. So we decided to test their Live Chat at the same time.
Within 2 minutes we had an answer:
We also asked whether the kill switch is available on all of VPNArea’s apps and if it’s on by default or if you need to enable it manually.
It took a little longer to get those answers, but we were able to confirm all clients benefit from the kill switch… though you need to enable it manually.
This isn’t a huge issue, but we do prefer having it enabled by default, with the option to switch it off.
We also asked whether VPNArea has a Split Tunneling feature, which allows you to decide which apps and websites are and aren’t routed via the VPN server. Unfortunately, the answer was no.
But again, this isn’t really an issue, as we consider split tunneling a “nice-to-have.”
In the FAQ section, we confirmed VPNArea uses its own DNS (Domain Name Service) servers, which don’t record any DNS requests. To help boost security, all their apps also come with DNS leak protection.
So far, so good on VPNArea’s security!
TOR-Compatible – Plus a Double VPN Feature
Something we always check for is whether a VPN is compatible with The Onion Router (TOR). TOR is great for obfuscating your location by routing your internet traffic through 3 different servers.
It can be a lifesaver in countries like China, which has draconian censorship laws. That being said, TOR can be hell on your internet speed.
The first live chat support agent we talked to wasn’t sure what we meant when we asked whether VPNArea was TOR-compatible, which was a bit of a let-down.
He offered to get back to us via email, but as we were using a temporary email for the chat, we decided to try again later.
We’re glad we did – the second agent we asked immediately assured us we could use TOR with VPNArea. In fact, she said any software we had on our computer would work:
To double check the support agent’s claims, we fired up Tor Browser while connected to a VPNArea server – and the result was exactly as promised.
However, if you’re worried about TOR slowing your connection speed, VPNArea also has a Double VPN feature, which works the same way, only instead of 3 random servers your traffic runs through 2 VPN servers.
At the moment, they have 2 sets you can use: Denmark-Netherlands and Russia-Israel.
Small Server Network
When we were directed to the Servers List while asking about TOR-compatibility, we noticed more than just the 2 Double VPN pairings: VPNArea has 100+ server locations in 65 countries.
That’s pretty good, especially as they claim to have their own physical servers and don’t ever rely on virtual servers.
But their server count is still really low.
Usually, that’s a problem. If the customer-to-server ratio is poor, you run the risk of network overload.
However, once you log into your account, VPNArea lets you check what the server’s current load is before connecting.
Not only that, but you’ll also see how far away the server is from your physical location (this will affect your internet speed once connected) and the server’s current speed (in milliseconds).
While testing VPNArea for this review, we never saw a server with more than 60% load. That’s exceptionally good, so we’re willing to let the low server count slide.
But just how fast are those servers, even with their low load?
EDIT: after going back and testing VPNArea at a different time, we did discover load times up to 96%.
Before we get to answering the question from the previous section, there are a few things you should know about testing VPN server speeds.
Network overload isn’t the only factor that can slow things down. As we mentioned above, the distance between your physical location and the server will also affect your speed.
So will your operating system, device, and regular internet connection.
Obviously, when we’re reviewing VPN providers, we’re comparing them to each other. So to get a standard base-point (or at least as standard as possible), we always use the same devices, connection, server locations, and – if we’re able to choose them – VPN protocols.
Just bear in mind, if you join VPNArea, you might have a different experience than us, at least in terms of speed. Your connection might be faster or slower. It all depends on those variables.
With that out of the way, here are our results:
Lucky for VPNArea and its users, its server speeds are just above average.
Device Compatibility and Connections
In the drop-down menu on their homepage, VPNArea only shows apps for a few devices:
However, their FAQ section adds “numerous routers” and “native IKEv2 VPN protocol” for other devices, like Blackberry and Windows phones, to the list.
That’s a decent number of supported devices. And you also get up to 6 multiple connections with your account – plus, you’re allowed to share your account with a friend, which most VPN providers don’t allow.
We were curious as to whether VPNArea lets you use your router to effectively connect an unlimited number of devices, which some providers allow.
And while we were at it, we decided to ask if we could do so to connect our gaming consoles:
It looks like 6 multiple connections are all you’re going to get (unless there was a miscommunication with the support agent) – which is an industry-standard, so not a problem.
But protecting your gaming consoles via a VPN router is allowed, which will be important when downloading and installing updates for certain games.
Subscription Plans and Pricing
Like most VPN providers, VPNArea offers 3 different subscription plans:
However, VPNArea also offers extra discounts on occasion – sometimes as much as an extra 50% off.
You can also get a Dedicated IP as a premium add-on. The price varies depending on where you want your private server to be based, ranging from $20/year to $44/year.
But, because the add-on is charged every year, it’s only available with the 1-year and 3-years subscription plans.
VPNArea also gives you a couple options for payment, including card, PayPal, WebMoney, and Bitcoin.
Unblock Websites for Unlimited Streaming
Online privacy and security aside, one of the most popular reasons for using a VPN is to get past the geo-location blocks used by popular streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
But not all VPNs are created equal. Netflix is especially good at detecting VPNs and blocking their IP addresses.
VPNArea says you can use their servers to “Be Anywhere! Stream Anything!” on their homepage.
And if you look at the servers list on their website, you’ll also notice some of them are marked as being able to evade Netflix’s proxy detection.
At the time of writing, Canada, Italy, and the US are the only 3 that show as being optimized for Netflix. The US one also lists HBO and Hulu.
When we tested these servers with US Netflix, we were able to connect without any issues whatsoever. But when we tried the UK version, it was a hit-or-miss affair – sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
As long as you’re looking to watch Netflix in English, though, that shouldn’t be a problem. Other than media filmed in another language, Netflix US typically has 90% (not actual figure) of the service’s available content.
But if you really want to watch Netflix UK (or BBC iPlayer, for that matter) and you have $30/year to spare, then a UK-based dedicated IP by VPNArea will work for you.
Another rising issue is the fact that all these Netflix alternatives are introducing exclusivity deals.
So if you want to keep up with all your favorite movies and series, you have to pay for a subscription to Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+… the list goes on.
That’s prohibitively expensive. Which is why torrenting has become popular once again.
We don’t endorse copyright infringement, and neither does VPNArea. But that doesn’t mean the provider is going to stop you from using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) filesharing for downloading torrents.
After all, there are legal applications for the technology too, such as updating World of Warcraft.
Usability and Support
It only took a few minutes to download and install VPNArea on our Windows laptop.
VPNArea might not be the most features-rich provider, but they have just about everything we expect a VPN to have.
That can sometimes result in a clunky app that’s difficult to use, but that wasn’t the case here.
Within seconds, we were able to find the settings to enable the kill switch and activate the Ad Block and Malware Prevent feature (which is available on some of their DNS servers).
We were also able to find the server we wanted to connect to, and switch from one server to the next just as quickly.
VPNArea even gave us an “Auto IP Changer” that let us set the app to change the IP address being used at almost any time interval we wanted.
And we can’t fault their support team either. We never waited more than 3 minutes for a live chat agent. All of those we interacted with were friendly and helpful.
And if they didn’t have an answer (which only happened the first time we asked about TOR), they offered to escalate the issue so we would get the information within 4 hours via email.
How to Cancel VPNArea and Get Your Money Back
We do recommend VPNArea as a provider.
However, if you find their service isn’t working out for you, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee (14 days for the 1-month subscription). Here’s how to cancel your account and get a refund:
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your username and ask to cancel
- If you paid via Bitcoin, add your Bitcoin wallet address/transaction ID, or your BitPay invoice number
That’s it – so long as your account wasn’t previously suspended and you never asked for a refund before, VPNArea will sort it out within 48 hours.
How much does VPNArea cost per month?
VPNArea charges $9.90 for the 1-month subscription plan.
Does VPNArea work for Netflix?
Yes, but only for Canada, Italy, and the US, or if you have a Dedicated IP based in the same Netflix Region (country) you want to stream.
Is VPNArea legitimate?
Yes. VPNArea has had no scandals or known data leaks since being founded in 2012.
Is VPNArea a good VPN?
Yes, VPNArea is a highly recommended VPN.
Does VPNArea hide my IP address?
Yes, VPNArea passed all tests for IP and DNS leaks.
Does VPNArea charge monthly?
Only for the monthly subscription. Longer subscription plans and the Dedicated IP add-on are charged yearly or every 3 years.
Is VPNArea a zero-logs VPN?
VPNArea has a strict no-logs policy and even allows you to use a fake email address for joining.
Can you cancel VPNArea anytime?
Yes. If you’re eligible for a refund, you will also receive your money back within 48 hours.
Is VPNArea safe in China?
Yes. Users in China and UAE can also use VPNArea’s obfuscation settings for added security.