Oldie but considerably good
“A VPN based on OpenVPN, created by hacktivists.” – This is the tagline of one of the most underground privacy services we have had the chance to review until today. It’s AirVPN, an Italy based VPN service that hit the market back in 2010.
I have to admit, their website doesn’t really create the sense of trust I was looking for. Not that their technical parameters are bad…
It’s actually the opposite.
In this AirVPN review, you will find out that this provider is an extremely strong competitor anyone in the VPN business – Flawless history, no logging or DNS leaks, 5 simultaneous connections, and the most responsive customer service to date!
Yet it seems their 20th-century looking homepage, as well as their average server speeds, shadow their true value.
and that’s why we would like to step in…
Breath in and prepare to start digging into the ultimate review of AirVPN below!
|Parent company:||Air di Paolo Brini|
|Locations:||21+ countries/220+ servers|
|Overall test result:||SAFE|
|Torrenting:||PASSED (P2P torrent allowed)|
|Netflix:||PASSED (Unblocks Netflix)|
|Encryption/protocols:||AES-256/OpenVPN UDP & TCP|
|Support:||E-mail response ~1 min|
Solid NO-log policy
Depending on the use of a VPN, the users have to be extra careful about the service providers. As the user is trusting their data in the hands of a 3rd party company, a slip might cause you unwanted damage.
The first thing the user should ask: “What personal data is being logged and how it’s being processed?”
Surprisingly, in many cases, the providers abuse their position and keep logs of users’ data, with the intent to use if for personal marketing purposes or in the worst scenario even re-sell it!
Thankfully, it”s NOT the case with AirVPN.
That being said, we must remind that the provider is located in Italy, the European jurisdiction. Therefore, a quick Google fact check shows that this country is part of the 14 eyes alliance, originally known as the UKUSA agreement.
What does it mean?
Let’s find out!
Data processor based in judiciary Italy
Italy, the country which has passed the EU’s 2006 Data Retention Directive into law. This means their local Internet Service Providers must archive data including IP addresses, websites visited, and whom they send e-mails. This, however, brings concerns to anyone who tries to keep a low profile.
So what’s the point of the no-log policy if ISP records it anyway?
Here’s where VPN magic comes into play – ISP cannot see the websites you visit, the data you exchange or access over the internet when you are connected to an encrypted VPN tunnel. Both DNS resolution and request routing are done by the VPN server after the VPN connection is in place.
However, there are other details to keep in mind.
Air di Paolo Brini, owned by Paolo Brini is located in Perugia – a small town n the center of Italy, ca 187 km north of its capital, Rome. The fact that Italy belongs to the European Union has a far-reaching impact on the service at a much deeper level, by the Government itself.
According to a multilateral agreement for cooperation in signals intelligence between continents, countries may willingly share the collected information with each other, supposedly circumventing laws that prevent federal agencies from spying its own citizens.
Not the best choice for a traveler
Whenever we have to make those paralyzing purchase decisions, keeping in mind your lifestyle turns out to be a powerful reference.
Not all VPNs function in every part of the world. The largest internet communication gap is between Chinese and non-Chinese internet, and therefore the need for a hardcore VPN that is technically advanced enough to work on both ends is important for the “adventurous ones”.
We visited China in 2019 and made our own tests to break in with AirVPN.
To our sad surprise, the website isn’t even opening up in the Shandong network.
We used the locals’ advice and downloaded a shady-looking proxy chrome extension to proceed to the homepage and test the software itself. After finally getting our hands on to the software, the outcome was very different from what we have seen before:
AirVPN doesn’t brake the Chinese Great Firewall. There are some other services that might be a better fit for anyone traveling to the Totalitarian country.
Your DNS is protected
DNS leaks are common amongst shady providers. According to our test, we found that over 40% of services actually leak your Domain Name Service and therefore not safe for data protection purposes. We did 5 tests through browserleaks, ipleak.net, doileak and others to find the results for AirVPN.
Does AirVPN leak DNS?
The answer is NO.
Just a few minutes before we actually checked for any malware in the .exe file, but didn’t find any.
Standard encryption with OpenVPN TCP/UDP protocols
AirVPN uses AES-256-GCM encryption, HMAC SHA384, 4096-bit RSA keys on the control channel, with the OpenVPN TCP/UDP protocol by OpenVPN over SSL, SSH or Tor. This is basically the industry standard and legitimate option for anyone looking for anonymity.
If you wonder which one should you use – TCP or UDP, read below.
TCP is likely the most common protocol available. Systematically, it works as follows: before resending the packet, it waits for a confirmation whether the packet has arrived or not. If confirmed, another packet will be sent. This is called “delivery guaranteed” and therefore reliable, yet slow.
UDP, however, doesn’t guarantee deliverability. It makes it fast yet unreliable.
If your purpose is to keep high-level privacy, use TCP. If you just want to get quick access to restricted content, use UDP.
Slick features yet a low variety of locations
Unlike many others, AirVPN offers API to customize your account access. In addition, there are various features that we like:
- 5 simultaneous connections per account
- minimum allocated bandwidth (4 megabit/s upload + 4 megabits/s download)
- compliant with GDPR data protection laws
- supports routers (DD-WRT, Tomato and others)
- Tor network integration
AirVPN is available with the following operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
Can you use AirVPN on smart TV?
Yes, you can!
With Android TV you can install it directly, some people have had success with TV sticks as well.
Streaming with Netflix
After 3 attempts, we can surely say that AirVPN works with Netflix without any problems.
During the tests, 2 times out of 3 were successful.
Torrenting is still a must for VPN users, this is why getting to know the provider is important before making your final choice.
We can’t say anything bad about their infrastructure fit for torrenting neither:
It works like charm!
Slightly below average speeds
The United States
|136 ms||4.57 Mbps||0.73 Mbps|
The United Kingdom
|65 ms||4.56 Mbps||0.62 Mbps|
The upload speeds were positively impacted in the U.S. The reason for this might be the fact that Your ISP might not always use the most efficient route, which VPN can sometimes brake. Therefore the ISP sends your traffic through different paths.
Another explanation for this might be bandwidth throttling.
Incredibly responsive customer support
We sent out e-mails to all service providers to find out if they are responsive to their customers.
Even though they lack live chat, their response speed through e-mail can be described with one word:
Their customer representative replied to us within 1 minute!
Considering there are providers who reply only after 3 days or sometimes NOT at all, AirVPNs customer service is something we just have to endorse.
A bit pricy compared to the market options
Some far better (or worse) providers only charge 2$ per month with a yearly package, so the pricing is considered unexpectedly high. Their best offer for 3-years which provides about the same deal is there, however, due to the fact that technology changes quite quickly and there are many new services launching every month, would we take the bite?
Sure. AirVPN is good and it fits into our 10 “best VPN rankings“, but it’s not the greatest option.
Something special about the service is their variety of payment options. They do accept a wide range of cryptocurrencies and credit cards. So if you want to go “ghost mode”, it might be something for you.
Their incredible customer support responsiveness is hard to get unnoticed but that’s just one big plus for AirVPN. It’s logging-free policy, no DNS leakage, and strong encryption is extremely likable. Not to mention it is a great choice for streamers and torrenters. Share one account simultaneously with 5 family members from desktop devices with Windows, macOS, Linux, or more portable options like smartphones with Android or iOS. It’s compatible even with your DD-WRT or Tomato routers!
Even though AirVPN has servers in just around 21 countries, the speeds were well above average
Finally, when you think it’s for you, pay in cryptocurrencies with full anonymity.
In this AirVPN review, we didn’t capture many downsides of AirVPN. However, for anybody who is impatient, there might be better options. It might not sound a few, but hey, with Surfshark you can have 3x times more with less price. And unfortunately, you have no use of AirVPN in China.
To buy or not to buy?
It’s up to you.
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