VPNCity is still very much a new player in the Virtual Private Network (VPN) game – which is both exciting and a cause for approaching with caution.
It’s exciting because nothing shows more people are taking their online privacy seriously than new privacy companies popping up… But it’s also a cause for caution because a lot of them are opportunistic predators.
Where does VPNCity fall?
Is it a legitimate VPN or yet another fake looking to exploit users?
This is exactly what we set out to discover!
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Location Could Be Better
A lot of VPN review sites are praising VPNCity for being based in Hong Kong. Then again, those same sites praise dodgy VPNs known to hand user data over to their governments.
Here’s the issue with Hong Kong… even though it used to be commonly regarded as one of the better locations for VPN companies, it’s still a Chinese territory.
While the political influence wasn’t quite as obvious in previous years, the past year or so has shown the Chinese government has far more control over Hong Kong than even many citizens were aware of.
This is the same reason those of us who pay attention to such things previously (and continue to) raise the issue of ExpressVPN’s offices in Hong Kong. Though in ExpressVPN’s case, it’s simply an office, not HQ.
VPNCity, on the other hand, is fully based in Hong Kong.
However, VPNCity does have a warrant canary page on their website, which is where companies can quietly advertise the fact they’ve received warrants or subpoenas for user data to be handed over to the authorities.
So far, it’s a clean slate – though of course, you have to trust the provider will truthfully update the page as appropriate.
And on the plus side, Hong Kong still hasn’t introduced any mandatory data retention legislation. So again, not a great location, but not as bad as the US or UK.
It does follow a cookie-cutter format with legal jargon most readers might find confusing, to be fair. But once you get past the opening section, that language becomes straightforward and to the point:
VPNCity doesn’t monitor user activity whatsoever. They don’t store any IP addresses, connection time stamps, traffic logs, or even how much bandwidth you’ve used.
So even if the provider does receive any warrants or subpoenas, the only information they would have is your email address and payment information.
While not explicitly stated, it is implied you can use a “fake” email address (one you don’t usually use, but can still access) to sign up.
VPNCity does specify they only ask for an email address so they can communicate with customers as need be and for you to use when logging into your account.
Payment data is perhaps the only dark horse, as VPNCity also says they keep personal data for up to 2 years after you last use their services. It isn’t specified whether or not this includes payment data.
However, you can use cryptocurrency to pay for your subscription – and while not entirely anonymous, it’s very difficult to trace cryptocurrency accounts.
All told, we’re very happy with VPNCity’s no-logs policy.
The only thing that would make us even happier is if the provider goes through an independent third-party security audit, especially as they don’t have a long track record yet.
Military-Grade Encryption and the Best VPN Protocols
It’s also exciting to see, even as a new VPN service, VPNCity hasn’t tried to cut corners with their encryption standards or VPN protocols.
Instead, they offer the best of the best.
For encryption, this is the military-grade, industry standard 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). To give you an idea of why it’s the industry standard, just look at the most common description again: it’s military-grade.
This is because it’s used by the military (as well as banks) to encrypt highly sensitive data so even if it’s intercepted, the hackers won’t be able to process the data at all.
It’s estimated it would take billions of years to decipher all the keys (at least until quantum computing becomes a thing in the next couple of decades).
The short version of understanding VPN protocols is to think of them as tunnels – because that’s exactly what they are! Your data travels from server to server through these tunnels, so it’s important to use strong tunneling protocols.
Otherwise, it’s easy to intercept the data.
At first, VPNCity only used SoftEther. This is a fairly secure protocol, but generally speaking, OpenVPN is the best.
So the VPN industry was very excited when VPNCity implemented OpenVPN in early 2020!
Since then, the provider also added the IKEv2/IPSec and L2TP/IPSec protocols.
IKEv2/IPSec is definitely one of the most secure VPN protocols (in fact, we always look for it and OpenVPN when testing providers).
We prefer to avoid L2TP/IPSec, as the NSA can (allegedly) decrypt it.
Mediocre Kill Switch, Robust Leak Protection
Perhaps the first place VPNCity drops the ball somewhat is with their kill switch.
For starters, you have to manually enable the feature in the app’s settings tab, which most casual users wouldn’t think to do.
This is little disappointing, because the kill switch is a very important security feature that automatically kills your internet connection as soon as your device stops communicating with the VPN server.
Doing so prevents you from accidentally exposing your private data.
Second, even after manually enabling the kill switch, there’s no notification. If you have the app’s window minimized, you’ll have to maximize it again just to see the “Reconnect Internet” button.
We’d strongly prefer VPNCity to notify users and automatically reconnect:
However, so long as the kill switch is enabled, VPNCity is 100% leak-free. New VPN providers especially tend to be plagued by IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks, but VPNCity seems to have gotten it right.
Another thing we always check for is whether or not we can use the TOR-Over-VPN method.
The Onion Router (TOR) is a proxy browser, so by connecting to a VPN server before opening TOR you can add an extra layer of security to your connection.
This isn’t always necessary, and TOR connections are very slow, but it’s always a nice-to-have in our books. Especially if the provider doesn’t offer a DoubleVPN feature, which is a more secure option.
After chatting to VPNCity’s live chat support agent about the kill switch, we asked whether it was compatible with TOR:
Unfortunately, the response wasn’t great.
Tyrone didn’t seem to understand what TOR was (we ended up having to explain it to him later in the chat) and wasn’t sure whether or not it would work.
The VPNCity website, however, has a whole page dedicated to the fact that VPNCity is, in fact, TOR-compatible.
We tested it out and were able to use it without any issues (well, other than our connection slowing down, but that’s TOR for you).
Surprisingly Large Server Network
When we saw how large VPNCity’s server network is, we were actually a little surprised the provider doesn’t offer the DoubleVPN feature.
After all, the main reason a provider usually gives for not having it is because they don’t have enough servers to make it feasible.
VPNCity has 3,167 servers in 42 cities around the world.
This is very impressive for such a new VPN company. Even ExpressVPN (who we mentioned earlier), one of the oldest VPN providers, only advertises having 3,000+.
Most have far less.
Granted, those servers could be spread out a lot better. There are surprisingly few servers in Asia, for example (only 4 locations available).
Africa, the Middle East, and Oceania all share 3 locations too – one in Morocco, the Seychelles, and Australia. But there are another 30 locations advertised as “coming soon,” which will help fill many of the gaps.
All told, we’re pleasantly surprised and very impressed.
One of the main reasons we pay attention to how many servers a VPN provider has is because it affects your connection speed.
The more servers available, the less likely you are to experience slow VPN speeds due to network overload.
And the more locations available, the easier it will be to find a server that isn’t too physically distant – the farther the server is from you, the more your internet speed suffers.
Given how many servers VPNCity has, we were expecting to see good results when we ran our usual tests:
VPNCity has dedicated VPN apps for the following devices:
- Android TV
- Amazon Fire Stick
- Chrome (browser extension)
- Firefox (browser extension)
You can also use VPNCity with the ShadowSocks proxy, a very common work-around for people in China wanting to get around the country’s draconian censorship and the Great Firewall.
Subscription Plans, Pricing, and Simultaneous Connections
Usually, we handle simultaneous connections together with device compatibility.
But VPNCity determines how many devices you can connect to their servers under one account (simultaneously) according to your subscription level, so it makes more sense to deal with it here!
VPNCity offers the following subscription plans:
- 1 Month – $9.95, up to 6 simultaneous connections
- 6 Months – $35.94, up to 8 simultaneous connections
- 1 Year – $47.88, up to 10 simultaneous connections
- 2 Years – $71.76, up to 12 simultaneous connections
While these prices don’t make VPNCity the cheapest VPN on the market, the provider certainly is a strong contender for that list.
And it’s definitely a very affordable option too, even if there is some compromise when it comes to security features.
What we also like: the long-term subscription plans offer great discounts, while even the shortest plan allows up to 6 simultaneous connections. This is the industry standard and, generally speaking, the minimum.
VPNCity also has a referral program:
If you successfully refer 1 friend, the provider will give you 1 month free; 2 friends and you get 1 year for free; and 3 or more friends and you’ll get 3 years for free.
This is a great incentive, though we do wonder how the user experience (simultaneous connections and support priority) is affected.
Nevertheless, VPNCity also has a 30-day money-back guarantee. So if you decide to give them a try, you can do so relatively risk-free for a month.
Unlimited Streaming and Torrenting
Streaming and torrents are often two sides of the same coin.
The geo-location blocks used by streaming platforms is one of the most popular reasons given for people wanting a VPN, and those platforms’ exclusive content deals has made torrenting regain its former popularity.
Now, we’re not endorsing copyright infringement through illegal torrenting. But P2P file sharing has its legal uses as well.
Part of the difficulty with finding a VPN for streaming is Netflix (and other platforms) have been using robust anti-VPN measures since 2016. Most VPN providers stopped trying to beat it.
Surprisingly, the fledgling VPNCity puts them to shame. We had no difficulty using their specialized streaming servers to unblock Netflix in several countries, including the US and UK.
All you need to do is use the Streaming tab (in the app) to see the streaming-optimized servers. We were also able to unblock BBC iPlayer and Disney+, so VPNCity earns full points here!
Likewise, the provider works great for torrenting.
Though, like TheVPNShop.com, they do specify they don’t endorse copyright infringement through illegal torrenting.
Usability and Support
Unfortunately, this is where VPNCity starts dropping the ball again.
The good news is the apps are very user-friendly.
We had no issues downloading, installing, or using them.
Pretty much the only real complaint for usability is the kill switch needs to be manually enabled and doesn’t notify you when it’s kicked in.
Support, on the other hand, is not great.
While the live chat agents are friendly and responsive (we never waited more than a couple seconds to connect with one), they aren’t always helpful:
My conversation with Tyrone, for example, was a push-pull attempt at getting our question answered. We had to repeat and rephrase our questions about the kill switch feature several times.
And as we showed earlier, he had no clue what we were talking about when we asked about TOR, and even told us he honestly doesn’t think VPNCity is TOR-compatible… even though the website has a whole page dedicated to it.
If VPNCity can up its support game, it could become a serious contender. As is, expect to be frustrated.
How to Cancel VPNCity and Get Your Money Back
VPNCity doesn’t make it very clear how to cancel a subscription and get your money back. But based on their money-back guarantee, here’s how to do so:
- Open a live chat session or send a cancellation request to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Provide a reason for cancellation (VPNCity may insist on troubleshooting)
- If you’re eligible for a refund and bought your subscription from VPNCity directly, include a refund request in your application
VPNCity doesn’t specify how long it takes to process refunds either, but we haven’t seen anything to suggest the provider is unreasonable in this area.
How much does VPNCity cost per month?
A monthly VPNCity subscription costs $9.95 per month.
Does VPNCity work for Netflix?
Yes, VPNCity works well for streaming Netflix and other popular platforms.
Is VPNCity legitimate?
VPNCity does appear to be a 100% legitimate VPN company, yes.
Is VPNCity a good VPN?
VPNCity is missing some functionality and support quality, but is good considering they’re a fledgling provider.
Does VPNCity hide our IP address?
Yes, VPNCity is IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak-free.
Does VPNCity charge monthly?
VPNCity charges monthly – every 6 months, yearly, or every 2 years, depending on your subscription.
Is VPNCity a zero-logs VPN?
Yes, VPNCity appears to be a zero-logs VPN, though this is not yet verified by audits or track record.
Can you cancel VPNCity anytime?
Yes, you can cancel your VPNCity subscription at any time.
Is VPNCity safe in China?
VPNCity does appear to be safe in China, though you’ll need to use the ShadowSocks proxy option for extra security.