VPN Unlimited Review 2018
VPN Unlimited is an attractive option for users who are looking for an easy-to-use VPN service that offers good protection from prying eyes and access to web sites and services that might normally be blocked in their current locale.
The service provides a number of subscription options, ranging from 7 days to “forever.” While the service might prove adequate for some users, power users and gamers may want to look for another option.
Ease of use
The best and most secure way of protecting yourself and your data on the internet is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). There are a number of providers around today, and sometimes it feels as if I have tried every one of them. For this review, I’ll be taking a close look at one of the better-established VPNs available today: VPN Unlimited.
In my years as an IT professional who is continually on the go around the U.S. and other countries, I have used various methods to protect my internet connection and data from being monitored. I’ve decided to share my knowledge and experience by reviewing a number of VPN apps and publishing the results here for all to see.
What is VPN Unlimited?
VPN Unlimited offers the traditional VPN service features. These include hiding your real IP address from prying eyes as well as allowing users to access websites and online services that are normally inaccessible from their location. The service allows P2P traffic and BitTorrent downloads. However, there are some limitations on that, which we’ll take a closer look at a bit later.
VPN Unlimited is based in the United States, so there are some worries about the NSA being able to access your information, although VPN Unlimited doesn’t keep usage or activity logs. (They do, however, keep logs of how much data a user downloads.)
The service uses the OpenVPN protocol on Android and Windows platforms, and IPsec IKEv1 on the macOS and iOS platforms. OpenVPN supports Blowfish 128-bit, AES 128-bit and AES 256-bit encryption. IPsec connections use AES 128-bit encryption. If you didn’t understand any of that techie talk, don’t worry. All of that simply means VPN Unlimited uses the latest methods for protecting your data.
At the time of this writing, the VPN service has 1,000+ high-speed servers in 70+ locations in 51 countries all over the world. (Europe, the United States, South America, Asia, Africa and the Pacific.)
How VPN Unlimited Works
VPN Unlimited offers protection on the internet, cloaking a user’s true IP address by routing their traffic through their own VPN servers. Any website or web service accessed by the user through VPN Unlimited would see one of the service’s IP addresses, not the user’s actual address.
Such address-cloaking allows users to connect to websites and services that wouldn’t normally be available in their area. Streaming services sometimes block users from accessing their content from outside their country of service. In other cases, oppressive governments - such as China - may block users from accessing social networking sites. A VPN helps users get around service-blocking and censorship by making the user appear to be in a country where the blocking doesn’t apply.
VPN services also allow users to connect to torrent servers and newsgroups via their cloaked address, preventing groups from the motion picture industry from detecting a user’s true internet provider and tracking their downloading habits.
P2P File Sharing (Torrents)
VPN Unlimited says the goal of their service is not to assist users in downloading torrents, but to offer online security. The company states there have been limited cases when their technical team had to decrease a user’s connection speed because of torrenting. That said, VPN Unlimited does allow legal usage of P2P file sharing on their servers in US-California 1, Canada-Ontario, Romania, Luxembourg and France.
It should be noted that the servers that allow P2P file sharing do consistently show higher workload levels than other servers. The higher the workload on a server, the less responsive it will prove to be. A large number of connections to a VPN server means the server is having to slice up its processing between a large number of clients. This can slow your connection as the server works to keep up.
Periodic checks of the servers in US-California 1, Canada-Ontario, Romania, Luxembourg and France showed at least 50% workloads, with up to 85% - 98% workloads being the norm for the US-California 1 and Canada-Ontario servers. These numbers are from spot checks during different times of the day. Your mileage may vary.
VPN Unlimited notes that the 5 servers listed as allowing P2P use are for legal sharing of files. The company’s Terms & Conditions indicates that transmission of any material that infringes upon the intellectual property rights or other rights of third parties is strictly prohibited (though they can’t really enforce this since they don’t log traffic).
The VPN Unlimited Website
The VPN Unlimited website offers a clean - if somewhat cluttered - design, making it easy to obtain information about the service, including its pricing and capabilities. The service’s pricing information, while not printed on the front page of the site, is available with a single click of your mouse.
The main page provides a good overview of how the service works. It also offers an entertaining video showing how the service can be used. (The video even mentions how well the service works in China, so there’s one less thing to worry about.)
Subscription Options and Pricing
VPN Unlimited does not offer a free tier of service. There is a 7-day free trial - although, that is more of a 7-day refund policy. I found the service would not let me turn on my VPN connection in the app without purchasing at least a 30-day subscription.
Still, with the 7-day refund policy, you can try it, and if you find out that the service isn’t what you were looking for, you can always get your money back.
All subscription signup is done via a secure HTTPS connection. Payment options for the service are VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Diner’s Club, and UnionPay credit and debit cards. PayPal, MINT, Amazon Payments, Alipay and Bitcoin are also available.
Subscriptions can also be purchased using gift cards from CVS, Dollar General and Subway. iTunes and Google payments are the only payment options in the iOS and Android mobile apps, respectively.
As always, the Bitcoin payment option will be a particularly welcome sight for many users. Bitcoin payments are a truly anonymous form of payment when paired with a temporary “throwaway” email address. This means government agencies can’t force a payment processor to hand over identifying information about its customers.
Gift card payment also offers an easy way for users who lack a Bitcoin account to keep their payment information undercover. Paired with a temporary email address, the option provides possibilities for those who require a bit more anonymity than a credit card or PayPal offers.
Subscription options are 1-month, 1-year and lifetime via the website. There is a very welcome discount for the 1-year option over the monthly billing option. “Economy” 1-month subscriptions are $9.99 per month, auto-billed. The “Professional” 1-year subscription option is $49.99, making it just $4.17 per month. There is also an “Infinity” option currently available at a discounted price of $149.99. All 3 subscription levels carry a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Oddly enough, the VPN Unlimited app itself has other subscription options in addition to the 1-month, 1-year and lifetime choices shown on the website. The app offers a 7-day “Vacation” subscription for $3.99, a 3-month “Standard” subscription for $18.99 and a 3-year “Premium” plan for $89.99.
The charge for VPN Unlimited shows up as “KeepSolid inc.” on your credit card statement. This should not prove to be an embarrassment on your statement when it is examined by management, either at work or at home.
Subscription terms and costs are as follows:
Please note that VPN providers, including VPN Unlimited, like to change their pricing regularly and without notice. Visit the VPN Unlimited pricing page to confirm the latest prices.
If the service turns out to be what you’re looking for, I’d suggest signing up for the Professional plan at the very least. The monthly option makes no sense for a user who plans on regularly accessing the service.
The “Infinity” lifetime plan, while attractively-priced, means you have to trust that VPN Unlimited will still be around for at least the 3 - 4 years you’d need to make the $149.99 payment worth it.
All subscription levels supply the same services, data speeds and options - the main difference being in the length of the subscriptions and the discounts offered by subscribing for a longer period of time.
I signed up for VPN Unlimited on my Mac using the credit card option. iOS and Android users can sign up on their devices via in-app purchases, which are maintained by Apple’s iTunes and Google Play respectively, and would be charged against the user’s usual method of payment.
At $49.99 for an annual subscription, VPN Unlimited is one of the lower-priced VPN providers available today. Their “lifetime” subscription offers an excellent value - if you’re willing to bet the provider will be around for 3 years or longer.
Installing the App on Your Computer
The VPN Unlimited download page has versions for Windows Desktop and Windows Phone, macOS, Android, iOS and Linux. The service also offers browser extensions for use with Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Windows and Mac versions are available as either a direct download from the website, or via the Windows Store or Mac App Store. The Linux version is available as a direct download from the VPN Unlimited website. iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps are available from their respective app stores.
While the VPN Unlimited website mentions Apple TV support, upon closer examination, I found they were referring to using AirPlay to display content on your VPN-protected Mac, Windows or iOS device. Currently, an Apple TV-native VPN app is not available from the provider.
I was on my Mac when I visited the download page and selected to download the app directly from the VPN Unlimited website. I saved it to my Download directory and waited a few moments for the file to download.
Once the download was complete, I double-clicked the installation file, which opened the window shown below. Installation consisted of dragging the “VPN Unlimited” icon over to the icon marked “Applications.” (You can also drag the icon to your Mac’s Application folder to install the app.) The file copied to my Mac’s Applications folder in a matter of seconds, and I was ready to run the VPN Unlimited app for the first time.
I found the VPN Unlimited app icon in my Applications folder and clicked it to start the app. It started up, prompting me for my login. I did find it a bit unusual that users can connect their VPN Unlimited account to their Facebook or Google+ ID. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. However, I don’t believe I would like my VPN login connected to either of my social network IDs.
Windows users need not worry about any installation hassles, as the Windows version of the VPN Unlimited app is installed via an .exe file, which requires but a double-click of your mouse or trackpad to install the file and prepare the app for use.
There will be a few prompts along the way, and you may be asked to install the latest version of the Microsoft C++ Redistributable package. But if you follow the prompts, it’ll all be over in just a few minutes, and you’ll be ready to protect your connection.
Installing the App on a Mobile Device
I also installed VPN Unlimited on my iPhone. Installation of the app is completed in the usual Apple manner, which means it is downloaded and installed via the iOS App Store. The download takes only a few moments, and then all it takes is a quick tap of the app icon to fire up the iOS app.
The app asks for permission to install a certificate on your iOS device to allow for a VPN connection to the VPN Unlimited servers.
Android users will experience a similar method of download and installation, as the app is available via the Google Play store. Installation takes a few moments, and you’re ready to protect your Android device’s connection with a simple tap on its screen.
Features & Use
Following the installation of the app on my Mac, I entered the login and password that I created during signup and prepared to test the service. Upon logging in for the first time, I was presented with a “Quick Tour” screen, which offers a few tips about using the app and setting up notifications.
Following the Quick Tour, the initial opening of the main control screen helpfully points out features of the service and what each control does.
For a quick connection to the best available server, click the “Optimal” choice from the Servers list - you’ll be connected to the best available server, and your connection will be protected instantly. The downside of this is you won’t have any control over which VPN server you’re connected to.
To select a specific server, simply click any of the available servers in the list. This comes in handy when you’re trying to access content in a particular country, or when you want to access torrents - which VPN Unlimited only allows on certain servers.
The VPN Unlimited app offers customizable levels of protection, allowing users to select from VPN encryption alone, or with the addition of anti-malware protection, tracking-blocking and ad-blocking. As you add more layers of protection, you may find that certain websites will not operate correctly. So, be sure to test your favorite sites with various levels of protection.
The service allows you to access their VPN servers from up to 5 devices at once. This is a definite point in their favor for users like me, who have family members they want to protect. It’s also a great feature for small business owners whose workers might need multiple VPN connections simultaneously. You can also add extra connections on an as-needed basis for an extra charge.
The lack of a kill switch to protect your internet connection from prying eyes was a disappointment. This feature should be offered by any VPN provider that claims to protect your internet connection and its accompanying valuable personal data
The VPN Unlimited app offers a quick way to connect to a VPN server when you need an encrypted internet connection. In addition, connections can also be made to specific servers when needed.
The app’s various levels of protection provide a great way to ensure your internet activity isn’t left open to observation or tracked by outside parties.
The lack of a kill switch to protect your internet connection from prying eyes prevented this provider from ranking higher in the features section.
Ease of Use:
The app is small and loads quickly, with little to no wait to make a connection to a VPN server. The app’s small size doesn’t strain system resources and offers simple and easy-to-understand options for customizing your internet connection.
Connection Quality and Speed
As is standard for my reviews, I tested the quality of the connections of VPN Unlimited. I tested ping times as well as download and upload speeds. I ran the tests while using my normal internet connection in Tennessee, a VPN Unlimited connection routed to a server in the United States and another routed to a server in the United Kingdom. I performed all speed and ping measurements using the Speedtest.net website.
Ping, Download & Upload Speed
Local Internet Provider
U.S. VPN Server
U.K. VPN Server
When using a VPN for your online travels, you’ll find that, in most cases, your connection will prove to be at least a bit slower than your normal ISP-only connection. There are a number of factors involved.
The distance data has to travel from your location, to the VPN server’s location, to that of the content server being accessed, will cause both higher ping numbers and lower data speeds. It stands to reason that if you’re sending data from Ohio, to London, to California, the trip will take longer to complete than if you’re taking a direct Ohio-to-Cali route. (And never go to L.A. via Omaha, as the Charlie Daniels Band would tell you.)
This is not a hard-and-fast rule, as the numbers above surely show. I had a faster connection via the U.K. server than I did via the one located in the U.S. Speed measurements like those above can be affected by many factors, as we’ll discuss.
Time of day can be an important factor. If the time of day when we did our speed tests was a particularly busy one for the VPN server we used, that would affect our numbers.
While none of the ping numbers from our speed test results are a real cause for concern, it should be noted that lower ping numbers are always better. While higher ping numbers won’t affect the actual speed of the data your computer or mobile device is sending and receiving, it can affect the response time from websites and in online games.
VPN server loads can affect the ping results and data speeds returned by the server. A VPN server is just like any computer server being simultaneously used by multiple users. The more users, the slower a server will respond to a request.
One real-world example is this: have you ever noticed how, at rush hour, it takes forever to get through the toll gates to get on the bridge on the way home? That’s a fairly good representation of a server load. Everyone can’t get through the gate at the same time, so the data has to get into a queue and wait for its turn.
When connected to a server that is supplying a slower-than-usual data connection, consider logging off and logging back on. You might even check to see if your VPN’s app offers a list of current server loads. If it does, try a server with a lower load. If your provider has a “best connection” option, try that. (VPN Unlimited calls theirs “Optimal.”)
Your choice of connection protocol and its associated encryption can also affect the speed of things. 256-bit encrypted data can take longer to process than 128-bit encryption would. However, keep in mind that you should ALWAYS try to use the best encryption available. A slightly slower connection is a small price to pay for better protection for your precious personal data.
Last but not least, your own Internet Service Provider might be slowing things down. There may be a slower point (or two or three) along the way between your ISP and the VPN server. Your connection is only going to be as fast as the slowest point along the way.
While using VPN Unlimited, I performed the following online activities. The results of my testing are noted for each test.
As I expected, YouTube performed well, playing video without any buffering or stuttering. 1080p HD material started quickly, and displayed no artifacts or other connection-related flaws.
Click here to see the best VPNs for Youtube.
I attempted to view video via Netflix while connected to a VPN Unlimited connection on my Mac. As I had experienced with other VPNs, I received an error message that told me I was using an unblocker or proxy, and to turn off the services and try it again. This isn’t unusual. It’s actually a pleasant surprise when I find a VPN that is compatible with Netflix or Hulu.
It should be noted that there is a constant battle of wits going on between Netflix and VPN services. VPNs are continually adding new IP addresses for use with their service, and Netflix is continually scanning for those new addresses. This means that while sometimes a VPN service doesn’t work with Netflix, that won’t always be the case.
While this is clearly an issue, it should be considered business as usual in the chess game going on between two wily opponents.
Click here to see the best VPNs for Netflix.
When i attempted to connect to Hulu via VPN Unlimited, the service complained that I “appeared to be using an anonymous proxy tool, you’ll need to disable it to access Hulu.” (Hulu is apparently involved in their own chess game with VPN providers.)
Click here to see the best VPNs for Hulu.
Skype and FaceTime
Skype video and voice calls performed well on both the U.S. and U.K. VPN connections I tried. The video was smooth, and the audio sounded great. I’m a Mac user, and many of my contacts use Apple products, so the performance of FaceTime is important. Apple’s video-calling solution also performed well over both VPN connections I tested.
Click here to see the best VPNs for Skype.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I am not a hard-core gamer. However, to offer a complete report on the quality of VPN Unlimited’s connections, I did play a casual game over the connections, via both U.K. and U.S. servers.
The connection performed well, easily keeping up in all cases. When it comes to first-person shooters, players may not find the connection sufficient. While even a 143 ms ping is usually sufficient for playing shooters, it can cause lag, which can cause problems. I highly suggest gamers try the 7-day trial before deciding to pay for the service.
Click here to see the best VPNs for Gaming.
General Internet Use
I simulated a usual workday, which involves web browsing, checking email, troubleshooting computer issues, making presentations and working in Google Docs on spreadsheets and text documents. I also chatted with friends via the Mac Messages app and visited Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.
In all cases, the connection was more than up to snuff. At no time did I experience any lag or any other type of slowdown when conducting my general internet activity.
I found that the iOS app provided a speedy connection via both a U.S. server and a server located in the U.K. While the U.S. VPN offered speeds comparable to my usual connection, the U.K. connection proved to be quite a bit slower.
Local Internet Provider
U.S. VPN Server
U.K. VPN Server
While VPN Unlimited’s iOS speed numbers were quite good, their overall score suffered when it came to desktop numbers. I found that while the provider occasionally provided good speed numbers, they weren’t reliably fast, which could cause issues when streaming video, Skyping or playing an online game.
Global Server Coverage
VPN Unlimited has over 1,000+ high-speed servers across 70+ locations in 51 countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific. This puts them somewhere in the middle of the pack for global server coverage. While there are certainly providers that offer much better coverage than this provider, their level of coverage is certainly acceptable.
In an interesting bit of a twist I haven’t seen from other providers, VPN Unlimited does supply a form on their server list page that allows users to suggest countries for the provider to expand to. Kudos to VPN Unlimited for that.
Global Server Coverage:
VPN Unlimited doesn’t provide the best coverage in the business, but they do offer comprehensive coverage. I also like the fact that the provider encourages its customers to suggest new server farm locations.
Privacy, Security & Legal
VPN Unlimited uses the OpenVPN protocol on Android and Windows platforms, and IPsec IKEv1 on the macOS and iOS platforms. OpenVPN supports Blowfish 128-bit, AES 128-bit and AES 256-bit encryption. IPsec connections use AES-128 bit encryption.
VPN Unlimited also claims to provide an additional layer of custom encryption and data obfuscation, called KeepSolid Wise. The company says it is a protocol extension that “allows you to stealthily slip by the firewall, protecting your VPN connection from being detected and throttled.”
VPN Unlimited’s servers are located in the United States and the United Kingdom, and their parent company, Keepsolid, Inc., is based in the U.S. The company is subject to U.S. data-retention laws - which, while not requiring them to log traffic data, strongly encourages it. However, VPN Unlimited says it doesn’t keep usage logs or activity logs. (They do, however, keep logs of how much data a user downloads.)
“KeepSolid Inc. does NOT collect and log any user activities while using any of their VPN services, except the total amount of web traffic for each session and session dates, for displaying them in user’s web cabinet and within the VPN client apps. KeepSolid Inc. also stores the encrypted information about the amount of connected devices for each account, as the maximum permitted amount is limited. This information can be assessed in the User’s Office, where any user can delete their devices from their account.”
The company accepts the privacy-enhancing Bitcoin form of payment, as well as merchant gift cards. This is always a plus.
As I mentioned before, VPN Unlimited does work in restricted countries, including China. However, there are some technical limitations.
The service provides 6 VPN regions for their users in China - Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Singapore and Hong Kong. Also, for a stable VPN connection, they recommend using their special KeepSolid Wise mode. This mode is available for iOS 9 or later, Android, Windows and Linux devices. The mode can be enabled in the Options tab of the VPN Unlimited app.
VPN Unlimited’s privacy protection falls in that gray area where it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen, but it could do with some improvement. The provider accepts anonymous forms of payment like Bitcoin and merchant gift cards, and that is definitely a point in their favor.
However, while they don’t keep logs of user activities, they do keep some logs of data usage and the number of connections on an account. While this is a minimal amount of logging, I believe that any logs are too many logs. Also, the provider is located in the privacy-unfriendly United States and United Kingdom, which is a point against them.
VPN Unlimited customer service is limited to an online contact form and a direct email address. This is a standard amount of customer service across the VPN providers I have dealt with, although many do also offer an online chat system. VPN Unlimited does not.
I opened a trouble ticket with some questions about the service around 7 p.m. on a Monday night and did not receive a response until late the next afternoon. The question was a simple billing question, as seen below.
In addition to the contact form and the contact email address, VPN Unlimited offers a searchable FAQ section and a support area offering “manuals” to walk users through installation and other issues. It might be advisable to look here for a resolution to any issues you might encounter BEFORE contacting support.
VPN Unlimited’s customer service offerings aren’t quite as comprehensive as other providers, offering only a contact form and an email address. The lack of live support chat means you’ll be forced to wait until you receive an email reply from support. Then, if the answer isn’t the one you’re seeking, the waiting begins anew.
The provider’s FAQ and Manuals sections do offer a wealth of information, and users who don’t mind doing a bit of digging on their own for an answer would likely find those resources quite helpful.
Alternative VPN Options
VPN Unlimited, while boasting a great value for price-minded customers, lacks guaranteed privacy and top speeds, which may disappoint some users.
Alternative VPN providers that offer a good mix of speed and privacy include ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Private Internet Access. All 3 VPNs provide excellent speed and privacy ratings, and also rate highly in most other categories.
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands. While the Islands are considered British territory, they are self-ruling and are not subject to the privacy-unfriendly data laws of the U.K. Also, ExpressVPN keeps no logs of user activity.
NordVPN’s operations are based in Panama City, Panama and aren’t required to store any logs related to their customers’ activities. The provider keeps only their users’ email addresses (used as a login, and for marketing and troubleshooting purposes) and billing information.
While Private Internet Access (PIA) is located in the increasingly privacy-unfriendly United States, they do not keep any logs connected to their customers’ online activities. Their strict “no logs” policy means that even if the government or a content owner did come knocking at their door, PIA would have nothing to turn over. The company also provides blazingly-fast VPN connections.
VPN Unlimited is an easy-to-use, quality VPN service. While customer support could be a bit more responsive for my tastes, the apps are easy enough to install on a computer or mobile device, and most users will likely not need to make use of the provider’s support options. However, if you do have issues with a connection, a 48-hour response time could seem like forever.
On both my Mac and my iPhone, the app was easy to install and use. The connections were, in most cases, speedy and well-suited for any online tasks I threw at it. This included video chat, online office apps and video streaming.
Services that offer the option of paying for service via Bitcoin are always a welcome sight due to the usual privacy concerns. The additional option of paying via gift cards from such merchants as Subway, CVS and others would be attractive to those users who lack credit cards, but may have gift cards that are carrying odd amounts that may not be usable otherwise.
I would say VPN Unlimited would be an excellent choice for all but the most demanding of online warriors. The service provides a convenient way to protect your Wi-Fi hotspot connection from prying eyes. The ability to use the service within China is also another big factor in its favor.
VPN Unlimited’s subscription options are also reasonably priced, with substantial discounts for longer subscriptions. The lifetime subscription, currently available for $149.99, is the most attractive option. As always, though - buyer beware. Make sure VPN Unlimited offers everything you need in a VPN before going for it.
For more information about VPN Unlimited, or to sign up for a subscription, visit the VPN Unlimited website.