DotVPN is a Hong Kong based VPN & proxy service provider in operation since 2014, offering a great range of anonymity and online circumvention tools for home users. Dot VPN establishes its service on the premise of providing a free & open internet for everyone while maintaining highest standards of online privacy.
In our first ever DotVPN review we will put the provider’s claim of ultimate online privacy and high speed open internet to the test. We will review DotVPN’s server network, speed, server stability, web browser extensions, customer support, privacy policies and pricing.
DotVPN UNIQUE FEATURES
DotVPN’s unique feature has to be its network of 700self-managed servers across the world. DotVPN also manages its own DNS servers making sure you never have to use Google DNS servers that retain your online activities.
Another important unique feature I discovered during this DotVPN review was the brand’s 4096 bit encryption key exchange making it simply impossible for anyone including ISPs & governments to lock on to your devices.
PLANS AND PRICING
DotVPN keeps subscriptions simple and clear. There are only two subscription plans that the provider offers:
Offered for $4.99 charged every month (Includes all premium DotVPN features)
Offered for $2.99/month (*charged once $35.88 every year)
DotVPN SERVERS And Network
DotVPN offers a massive network of 700 servers in 12 countries(based in 25+ data centers) including:
- the Netherlands,
- the USA,
- Sweden, and
Server locations have been strategicallyplaced in countries that to unblockleading online entertainment, news, educational and other online servicesto netizens around the world. Most popular of these destinationsinclude USA, UK, Japan, Netherlands, Canada and Singapore.
Although there are no specific server counts that I found during my DotVPN review, real time testing was very good and I have never been refused a connection, yet.
DotVPN offers support to its subscribers through two channels:
- On site FAQ
- Ticket System
On site FAQ
The FAQ section,accessible from the top rightof the website navigation,is a one stop solution for common questions on Getting Started with DotVPN, Solutions for Common Errors, Payments, and Learning more about VPN.
The ticket system is also very simple to use and allows sending in issues and queries in complete detail.The aspect I liked most was DotVPN keeping every aspect of their website very professional and simple. The ticket system is also the ideal place to make press and other service related inquiries.
If you are looking to subscribe to DotVPN instantly you will be disappointed by the methods available. During the review I noticed DotVPN does not offer subscriptions except for PayPal.
Since PayPal does not offer its services across the world it is impossible for subscribers from over 40 regions to sign up to DotVPN. Currently, DotVPN does not offer payments through Credit & Debit Cards but the method is listed so we will wait and see if it is indeed made available.
DotVPN is although compatible with most operating systems it provides compatibility only through browsers. Currently, the service can be used with the help of browser extensions for:
- Google Chrome
- Mozilla Firefox
- Opera Browser, and
- Safari Browser
Apart from the 4 browser plug-ins, DotVPN can also be used over Android and Apple iOS devices. You can download the apps from Google Play and Apple iTunes respectively. You can test the freely available DotVPN Android app with selected servers.
The brilliant aspect of both the Android and iOS apps is the minimal information they require to get you going. Submit your email address, type in your password, allow permissions, choose your server and connect. If you have noticed the number of times I have used the word “simple” during this DotVPN review,it’s just ridiculous how easy the service is to use.
DOTVPN ADD-ONS FOR BROWSERS
As mentioned above in our DotVPN compatibility review the service offers compatible browser plugins for Chrome, Mozilla, Opera and Safari. DotVPN considers this strategy easier than offering externally developed apps that may or may not be unstable and require upgrading.
DOTVPN FOR OPERA
One of DotVPN’sfour browser extensions is available on the Opera chromium browser. Installing the extension is quite simple and is available through the Opera extensions store. To install DotVPN for Opera, here is what to do:
- Launch Opera
- Click the Opera Menubutton> Extensions > Get Extensions
3. In the Extensions store window click the search box, type “DotVPN” and click enter
4. Click Install, let setup complete and the Addon will appear in the right hand of the browser bar
5. Just click the DotVPN icon and register to begin.
DOTVPN FOR CHROME
The Chrome extension can also be installed to the browser directly from the Google Chrome webstore.To install DotVPN on Google Chrome, here is what to do:
- Click the Google Chrome Menu > More Tools > Extensions
- Scroll down and click Get more extensions
- On the Chrome web store type “DotVPN” in the search bar
- Click install and let the DotVPN Chrome Extension complete setup
- Once installation is complete, DotVPN should appear in the top left side of the menu bar
DOTVPN FOR MOZILLA FIREFOX
DotVPN for Mozilla is available on the add-ons store and can be downloaded in less than a minute. Follow the steps below to get DotVPN now:
- Click the Firefox Menu button >Add-ons>Get Add-ons (from the left hand menu)> scroll down and click See More Add-ons
- In the Search for Add-ons box type “DotVPN” and press enter
- In your search result click on Add to Firefox, then click Install in the box that comes up on the top left
- Wait for install to complete, DotVPN should appear on the top left of the menu bar
Since they have no external software or manual configuration, you can install DotVPN for review directly from Chrome, Firefox, Opera &Safari browser web-stores. If you do require help with installing the browser extensions or mobile apps you can always head over to the website help section but you will find no tutorials there.
DotVPN extension installation instructions & features are listed on the web-store extension pages. For advanced issues & queries you can always contact DotVPN customer support through the Ticket System.
PROTOCOLS AND ENCRYPTION
Probably the most crucial aspect of DotVPN’s review was a bit of a turn off when I looked in depth. DotVPN currently provides only three tunneling protocols including:
- SSL Tunneling for Web Browser extensions
- OpenVPNon Android devices
- IPSec on Apple iOS devices
All DotVPN browser extensions use the SSL tunneling tech to secure users, but do remember none of your online data ever get encrypted. All information sent & received while using the browser extensions is available for everyone to see.
DotVPN’s Android app allows tunneling traffic through the OpenVPN tunnelingtechnology and employs Transport Layer Security (TLS 1.2) with AES-128 bit encryption, while using 4096 bit key exchange & certificate authentication(the highest for any VPN provider).This ensures that event the NSA &your ISP cannot breach your connection.
The DotVPN iOS app secures your online privacy using the IPSec tunneling protocol while encrypting data using AES-128bit encryption.Since OpenVPN is not available on iOS devices IPSec is the best alternative providing the highest grade security with best possible speed.
In accordance to the logging policy DotVPN stores the following information on users’ solely for service delivery:
- Email address (Encrypted using SHA-256bit encryption)
- Source IP Address (for 24 hours to maintain service delivery)
- Date of account registration
- Information on payment dates
- Information of Operating System version (if required for compatibility issues)
- Information shared on the customer support service
Data is never shared with 3rd parties and is always encrypted when stored on DotVPN servers. DotVPN is based in Hong Kong and does not comply with any data retention laws & surveillance initiatives. DotVPN’s review discovered the following as illegal uses of the service and must not be committed in any case:
- Using the Service for mass spam mailings;
- Computer fraud, viruses and hacking applications;
- Unauthorized access and hacking of others computers;
- DDoS attacks;
- Distribution of child pornography and other illicit content;
- To harm or attempt to cause damage to third parties;
- For interference or disrupting of Site systems, and for any violation of the requirements, and procedures, policies and regulations of any networks connected to the System;
- To collect and store personal data about other users without their knowledge;
- Other activities that are considered illegal under the laws of Hong Kong.
Reviewer’s Caution: Do remember that DotVPN supports Peer to Peer but does not support downloading copyright material & content using their proxy or VPN servers. Never download a copyright movie, TV show, music album or other media using DotVPN.
DotVPN offers an unlimited free trial to subscribers’ that allows you to use turbo speeds for 7 days and there after you are placed in the low priority server queue. The free version of DotVPN also limits features including:
- Faster servers
- Does not allow high speed vide & audio streaming
- Does not unblock content
- Does not provide 4096 bit encryption keys
- Does not allow P2P & torrent downloads
This brings us to the end of our 2017 DotVPN review with lots of features that we loved, and some serious gaps for DotVPN to fill up.
The first striking feature of DotVPNis the simplicity of their brand, the provider’s offering revolves around the customer making it easier for subscribers to install & use the service. Everything from the basic website, the browser add-ons and the mobile apps are very easy to use.
I love reviewing DotVPN’s server network, not too many locations but a large number of servers in each country. Countries have been carefully selected and server bandwidth is really good for streaming video & music (we tested with YouTube, HBO Now & Spotify). 700 server across 12 countries might seem minimal but I’m very sure you won’t need any more thanthat.
Another crucial feature constantly pointed out during our DotVPN review was the provider’s very powerful certificate & key exchange. While the industry is still using2048bit encryption to authenticate users and share encryption keys, DotVPN is using 4096bit keys ensuring no one including the NSA can crack neither your VPN connection nor the information you send over it.
DotVPN pricing is quite affordable and according what they are offering. While the yearly plan is quite wallet friendly the monthly subscription is quite dearer comparing it some great offers already available with better features.
As easy as DotVPN’s Android app is to use, it is one of the most annoying application I have run on my mobile device. Even after you have disconnected it, the app remains active in the background, forcing you to go to app settings and Force Stop the software.
One area that our in depth DotVPN review identified is developingsoftware for Windows desktops & Mac OSx machines. Although the app was scheduled to release in 2016, we are well past the first month of 2017 and no updates have beenreleased yet.
DotVPN does offer 3 great tunneling protocolsbut the absence of proper desktop software limits their ability to provide a diverse range of privacy technologies. This also undermines the standard of data security & identity protection that they offer. A mobile app is ok but a browser extension is no more than a license to get breached.
During my review of DotVPNI really disliked the absence of propercustomer support. There are no illustrated tutorials for their mobile apps, something even the smallest VPN providers offer these days. In addition, DotVPN does not provide a live chat service and subscribers have to wait for the support reps to get in touch over email.
DotVPN has not really excited me too much with the service bundle currently being offered. It is a decent solution for people travelling to other countries who require one click unblocking foronline video, radio& music streaming. It is also a great choice users’ who require unblockers forentertainment services, news websites and publications.
My verdict lands DotVPN at a very reasonable 3.0 out of 5.