VPNArea doesn’t have a big name in the VPN arena. It’s rarely featured in “top” reviews for anything, and it gets little attention from most reviewers. However, after testing this service thoroughly, we found it to perform very well.
|JURISDICTION||Based in (Country)||Bulgaria|
|Logs DNS Requests|
|Logs IP Address|
|ACTIVISM||Anonymous Payment Method|
|Meets PrivacyTools IO Criteria|
|Gives back to Privacy Causes|
|LEAK SECURITY||1st Party DNS Servers||No|
|Supports TCP Port 443|
|Supports SSL Tunnel|
|Supports SSH Tunnel|
|PORT BLOCKING||Auth SMTP|
|P2P||Allowed on some servers|
|SPEEDS||US Server Average %||0|
|Int’l Server Average %||23.72|
|SERVERS||Dedicated or Virtual|
|SECURITY||Strongest Data Encryption||AES-256|
|Default Data Encryption||AES-256|
|Strongest Handshake Encryption|
|Weakest Handshake Encryption|
|AVAILABILITY||# of Countries||55|
|# of Connections||8|
|# of Servers||186|
|Linux Support (Manual)||Yes|
|WEBSITE||# of External Trackers||1|
|5 persistent cookies|
|5 proprietary APIs|
|Self-issued SSL certificate|
|B grade server SSL rating|
|PRICING||$ / Month (2-Years Pricing)||3.21|
|$ / Connection / Month||9.90|
|Money-back guarantee (Days)||30|
|ETHICS||Contradictory logging policies|
|Falsely Claims 100% Effective||Yes|
|Incentivizes Social Media Spam|
|POLICIES||Requires Ethical Copy||Yes|
|Requires Full Disclosure||No|
|AFFILIATES||Give Full Disclosure||No|
|Practice Ethical Copy|
VPNArena is a service from Bulgaria. It has good performance and privacy features. The speeds are also excellent, as it’s one of the fastest networks we’ve tried recently.
Now that the Netflix/VPN combo has become all-important, this VPN offers several Netflix streaming hubs you can access anytime. In addition, it’s suitable for torrenting (the network includes many dedicated P2P servers that make your torrenting experience smoother, especially with large files). And those users who want a static IP address can have it for a very competitive price in several spots around the globe.
It offers ad-blocking and anonymous payment options and sticks to a strict no-log policy.
The company’s background
VPNArena’s parent company is Offshore Security EOOD. It’s been around since 2012, so it’s a bit of a surprise that a VPN this good hasn’t gathered more market momentum.
Bulgaria may not be the most tech-savvy country you’ve ever heard about, but it’s a good privacy jurisdiction. It doesn’t belong to any of the “Eyes” alliances, and it’s not a close partner to the US or the UK, which are heavily committed to citizen surveillance and have persuaded their allies to follow suit.
As VPN-friendly jurisdictions go, Bulgaria is one of the best options in Europe.
Pricing and refunds
VPNArea offers three plans: monthly, yearly and biyearly. The respective prices are 9.90, 4.13, and 3.21 monthly.
The prices for VPNArea are slightly below the market average in each of the three plans. So this is a vendor that offers a service above the average for a competitive price. Take NordVPN, for example, a superior VPN provider that charges the average fee. VPNArea is slightly cheaper, and the service is not so far from NordVPN’s, so you can expect value for your money.
Unless you want a static IP, all three plans will give you the same features. Unfortunately, that’s unavailable for plans longer than a year.
The only piece of data you must provide to subscribe is an email address. If you pay with Bitcoin or any other anonymous payment options, you don’t need to give away any more personal data.
Here’s a rare feature in VPNs: you are allowed to share your account with others. Other vendors prohibit this. VPNArea enables you to do it, which means you could share the cost with other users.
There are two refund policies available: the monthly plan has a 14-day money-back guarantee; the yearly and biyearly plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The app coverage in the VPNArena menu is extensive. It covers all the major players and some more exotic options too.
The website has detailed installation instructions to have the apps up and running on several devices and platforms.
There are mobile apps for Android and iOS; software clients for Windows, macOS, and even Linux. In addition, you can install your VPN in various WiFi routers (Asus Merlin, DD.WRT, Tomato, and GLI). It even has an app for Amazon Firestick devices.
The apps and clients all answer to the name “Chameleon.”
The Windows client did well, but we found a couple of bugs. However, the layout is pretty friendly and includes some privacy and security features.
While it’s not very simple at a glance, it’s friendly enough so that connecting to a server in the VPN network or changing the settings is straightforward.
The client is good against DNS and IP leaks. In addition, it has a kill switch and start-up options, so you can have your VPN online as soon as your device is on.
The connections were stable, and it had no leaks. But the client may fail to get a server connection. You can solve this bug by restarting it, which is annoying but no deal-breaker.
The macOS version offers the same features as its Windows counterpart –it’s also good against leaks. It also has a kill switch and configuration options.
However, there is a difference with the Windows client: the macOS works perfectly, unlike the buggy Windows client that needs frequent restarting. It turns out that VPNArea is ranked among the best macOS VPNs, so if you’re on the Apple camp, this could be the way to go for you.
VPNArea and video streaming, and BitTorrent
Torrenting and video streaming are tasks that not every VPN gets right. Moreover, the number of VPNs dealing with Netflix’s geo-location blocks is exceedingly small. However, VPNArea can perform each of those tasks very well. This alone puts it in the VPN major league.
The server network has a set of dedicated servers that can connect you to several video streaming services. In addition, you can find many regional hubs that will get you access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and SkyGo Italy.
VPNArea takes the Netflix use case very seriously. Consequently, it’s become one of the best VPNs in the market to use with Netflix. The dedicated servers will ensure that you will get full Netflix access every time, instead of the hit-and-miss experience it can be with other VPNs –even good ones.
Another set of specialized servers is there for P2P users. These servers are optimized to get you all the bandwidth you need to ensure that those large torrent files come down to your computer quickly and safely. Again, VPNArea places no restrictions or limits on torrenting bandwidth or traffic. It is also a rarity in the VPN market (although it’s the rule with the best vendors).
When you consider the VPN’s performance for torrenting along with the privacy and jurisdictional advantages it offers, it becomes clear that VPNArea is also one of the best BitTorrent VPNs.
Server network and VPN tunneling protocols
VPNArea’s server network is not the largest we’ve seen in the VPN-verse, but it’s very reliable and functional. It includes about 200 nodes in 69 countries. It’s large enough and well distributed so that you can always find a good server to give you a link, wherever you could be.
Another excellent feature of this network is bandwidth availability. There’s plenty for everybody to go around regardless of the task.
The VPN has adopted the IKEv2 VPN tunneling protocol recently. While it’s not the golden standard, as OpenVPN, or very quick, it’s safe and relatively light. IKEv2’s main advantage is that it clings to the VPN server link even when the local environment is hostile or highly variable. And this is what you want when you move around with your tablet or smartphone.
We’ve already mentioned specialized servers for video streaming services and P2P networks, but there is another set of servers: the Stunnel servers. These nodes provide traffic obfuscation, which is the most advanced and effective way to secure your traffic. In addition, it makes everything look like HTTPS, so anything you do, including torrenting or video streaming, flies under the radar because it seems like the usual HTTPS. More importantly, obfuscation is the encryption technique that allows VPNs to work from China, beating the Great Firewall, or in any other network where VPNs are banned or blocked.
And now, let’s talk about privacy. Remember, privacy is not security. It’s not about technology but human decisions. The primary way a VPN can respect and protect your privacy is by keeping no user logs at all.
We do not monitor, record, or store logs for any single customer’s VPN activity. We do not monitor, record, or store any login dates, timestamps, incoming and outgoing IP addresses, bandwidth statistics, or any other identifiable data of any VPN users using our VPN servers.
So VPNArea is a good choice for privacy enthusiasts, and it also delivers in terms of performance, data security, anonymity, speeds, and bandwidth.
Speeds in the VPNArea VPN
Using a VPN will always cost you something where speeds are concerned. That is because the encryption in your device and the server, and the traffic rerouting, take time. So it’s a trade-off between speed and security. But, of course, every user wants to retain enough speed to preserve the functionality they need to perform their online duties.
Fortunately, the best VPNs can give you military-grade security without sacrificing a lot of speed. So in many cases, you won’t notice any drops in speeds unless you measure them carefully. As it turns out, VPNArea is one of the best services in this regard.
We tested several of the VPNArea servers for speed, and we were pleasantly surprised to find out that the speeds are impressive everywhere.
The Amsterdam and Berlin servers allowed us to keep up to 96% and 86% percent of our baseline speed. The best server was based in the UK with 97%.
And how about the US? The New York server gave us 93% of baseline speed, and we found the same for the Dallas server.
The results for Canadian servers were every bit as good.
These speeds are impressive if you consider that VPNArea hasn’t adopted WireGuard. WireGuard is the most advanced, open-source VPN protocol. It’s designed with efficiency in mind, using the most advanced encryption techniques to ensure both maximal speeds and security. It is the protocol behind the great success of NordVPN, Surfshark, and ExpressVPN regarding speeds. So tweaking OpenVPN and IKEv2 to come up with speeds that can challenge those that WireGuard has in other VPNs is a substantial technical achievement, and VPNArea has managed it.
Customer support is an area that VPNArea improved significantly recently by adding 24/7 live chat support, which is a standard feature with the best services.
If you go to the website’s bottom-right corner, you can get instant access to the support system. When we tried it, we waited for fewer than 60 seconds to have a friendly and competent agent ready to help us.
There is also a ticket system you can use through email.
The website is simple and has a forum where you can interact with other users and post questions or suggestions.
VPNArea free trial
There is a 30-day money-back guarantee with VPNArea. So you can sign up for an account and use it for up to thirty whole days. If you decide by then (or before) that Bulgarian VPNs are not your cup of tea, you can ask for your money back, no questions asked.
The company is sure its service is good enough to persuade new users to keep it after the first month. And we found this VPN to be so good in every regard that we can only agree with it.
VPNArea surprised us. It’s an excellent overall VPN vendor that meets the higher standards in every regard, from privacy to connection speeds.
The apps work well (except for that buggy issue with Windows, which is minor anyway).
There are specialized servers for BitTorrent users without any data transfers or bandwidth limits.
But the most impressive features are the obfuscated servers and the ability to unblock any Netflix website consistently. Unfortunately, too many VPNs claim they can deliver on both things. In reality, only a handful of top-notch VPNs can do both things correctly, and VPNArea is on that selected club. And while it’s not the cheapest VPN out there, it packs a lot of value for your fee.
So is VPNArea for you? If you value privacy, security, the ability to do torrents, see Netflix from everywhere, and have your traffic obfuscated, then yes, VPNArea is a good VPN for you to join.