AirVPN is a privacy-focused, high-performance VPN that isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Fast speeds combined with incredibly high levels of security make it a great choice for torrenters, although VPN newbies may struggle with the cluttered, confusing apps.
To better compete with its rivals AirVPN really needs to improve its usability and access to major streaming sites, and some additional server locations wouldn’t go amiss, either.
Pricing & Deals
AirVPN offers a larger than usual range of pricing plans to help you decide the best option for you. Each one includes the same features but they get cheaper on a monthly basis the longer subscription you choose.
A single month is the most expensive option at $7.85, but this is actually a very reasonable price compared to the majority of top-tier providers. The 2-year plan offers the highest savings at just $3.69 per month with a 53% reduction, or you can opt for the 12-month plan which comes out at $4.58, with a saving of 42%.
Get an extra 10% off any AirVPN plan
AirVPN Pricing & Deals
AirVPN offers a free trial, which can be obtained by sending a message to the support team and using the coupon code they send you. This gives you full access to the VPN for three days, although you are subject to a data cap.
There’s also a money-back guarantee, however this is only valid for three days, which is stingy compared to the 30 days offered by most other providers. It is ‘no questions asked’, thankfully, and refunds are usually back in your bank within two working days.
AirVPN accepts the largest range of payment methods we have seen from any provider. This includes most major credit cards, PayPal, and a whole array of cryptocurrencies. Lots of international options are also accepted, such as Alipay and Giropay.
Speed & Reliability
While AirVPN isn’t reaching the blistering peak speeds of top-tier providers, it does stand out for the sheer level of reliability on offer.
It peaked at 78Mbps in the UK, and even connecting out to the US from Europe you can expect excellent speeds of around 43Mbps, which is more than ample for HD streaming. Performance was equally as impressive across longer distances.
We found latency to be fairly average coming in at 10ms on same-country connections, which is more than fast enough for most – keen gamers might not be too impressed, though.
Upload speeds on local connections were just as impressive as downloads, hovering around the 93Mbps mark in the UK and 82Mbps throughout the rest of Europe. This will make AirVPN very appealing to torrenters, with the added bonus of P2P traffic being permitted on all servers.
To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.
AirVPN offers one of the smallest server networks we’ve ever seen from a premium provider. Users seeking power and configurability may be able to overlook this limited choice, but there are other options out there if this isn’t enough for you.
There are only 200 individual servers, which could lead to server congestion at busier times. Thankfully the ‘status’ section on the app makes it easy to see which locations are approaching capacity.
It’s clear that AirVPN is targeting the US market, with 37 servers in nine cities across the country. There’s also good choice in the UK, with 16 servers in three different locations.
Europe has the best coverage with 136 servers spread over 15 countries, while Asia is limited to Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. South America and Africa are lacking in any choice whatsoever.
You can find the complete list of AirVPN server locations by country and purpose on their website below.
Platforms & Devices
AirVPN offers custom apps for Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Android, and Linux. There is a setup guide for iOS, however it requires installation of the third-party OpenVPN software.
AirVPN is also supported on DD-WRT, Tomato and AsusWRT routers, but again has to be manually installed and configured. This means it probably isn’t a good choice if you’re looking to just plug-and-play.
AirVPN unfortunately doesn’t offer any browser extensions, which is hardly surprising given its lack of native apps for a broad range of devices. Some of its rivals, such as ExpressVPN, offer full-featured VPN extensions for all popular browsers.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
AirVPN offers a native app for the Amazon Fire TV and Stick. It can also be used with a range of other games consoles and streaming devices either by connecting them to a configured router or sharing the VPN connection from another device running the software.
There are no manual set-up or troubleshooting guides for any of these devices, however you can find lots of useful hints and tips in AirVPN’s online forums.
Streaming & Torrenting
AirVPN is certainly fast enough for buffer-free streaming, but access to Netflix is near-impossible and you can’t watch BBC iPlayer through its UK servers.
Thankfully on the website, there is a list of ‘blocked websites’ which users can check to see if the situation ever changes. If you’re looking for hassle-free access to these sorts of sites you might want to consider a provider with optimized streaming servers, such as SaferVPN.
Despite this, AirVPN is still a fantastic choice for heavy torrenters and Kodi users. Consistently impressive speeds and a suite of advanced privacy tools means all your activity is protected, plus P2P is permitted on all servers.
Encryption & Security
AirVPN is a fantastic choice if pure privacy is your priority. Encryption is via top cipher AES-256 and the software runs exclusively on OpenVPN, which offers the best security/performance balance.
The kill switch is an essential feature and AirVPN also operates its own DNS servers, keeping your personal information confidential. The protection against DNS, IPv6 and WebRTC leaks was also proven to be 100% effective in our latest tests.
You can use AirVPN to access the Tor browser, giving you an extra layer of encryption should you need it. The desktop app also offers ‘doublehop’, a feature that regularly switches your IP address to prevent your location from being tracked.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- DNS Leak Blocking
- First-party DNS
- IPV6 Leak Blocking
- Supports TCP Port 443
- VPN Kill Switch
- WebRTC Leak Blocking
- Split Tunneling
- TOR via VPN Server
The only way to get AirVPN to work in China is to connect to OverVPN over SSL, which encrypts the OpenVPN ‘fingerprint’ to make it undetectable. Thankfully this is simple enough to do on desktop by switching your protocol to SSL Port 443.
It’s a little more complex on mobile, requiring the installation of third-party OpenVPN files, but there are setup guides on the website to guide you through the process.
AirVPN is also a good choice in other high-censorship countries due to its range of additional obfuscation tools such as SSH/SSL tunneling and access to Tor through the VPN.
We found AirVPN’s logging policy a little too vague for our liking, however after contacting customer support, we’re confident that none of your online activity is logged or recorded.
AirVPN only logs one thing: ‘technical data’ for server maintenance purposes. It’s unclear exactly what this includes, but we know for sure it doesn’t include any information that can be used to personally identify you. You can also request for your data to be deleted at any point.
AirVPN operates under the jurisdiction of Italy, putting it within reach of EU data retention laws and intelligence-sharing agreements with the US. Fortunately, the minimal logging policy means this isn’t too much of a cause for concern.
Ease of Use
AirVPN’s desktop client, playfully nicknamed ‘Eddie’, is outdated, cluttered and downright confusing. More tech-savvy users will love the advanced features but even the tech-literate may well struggle.
The settings list is separated into tabs, each with loads of different options. This is where it could get confusing for less experienced users, so we like that there’s an option to reset all settings to default just in case.
Server selection is way more difficult than it needs to be – the list is long and there’s no search feature. Even worse, each server is named after a star, which gets frustrating after a while when all you want to do is choose a city and connect.
Installing AirVPN was actually pretty complex. It’s not just a case of pressing download – instead, you’re encouraged to “choose your flavor” and select your architecture, format and user interface. There’s no guidance here, so be prepared to do some research if you’re unsure.
Fortunately things get a lot simpler once you’re past this, and all you have to do is follow the sequence of installation prompts then run the software.
AirVPN says that its customer service isn’t outsourced in order to provide “high quality support”, however a lack of live chat and slow email replies can be frustrating.
We like the extensive knowledge base on the website though, which includes an FAQs section divided up by topic as well as a whole host of community forums covering every topic you could think of.
The Bottom Line
- Download speeds of up to 78Mbps
- P2P permitted on all servers
- Compatible with most platforms
- Connect securely to 20 countries
- Loads of advanced settings
- Very small server network
- No access to streaming
- Complicated desktop client
- Based in privacy-unfriendly Italy
- Limited customer support
AirVPN is a privacy-focused VPN that’s best suited to the more tech-savvy. Download speeds are fast and reliable, but lack of access to Netflix could be a dealbreaker for some.
In terms of privacy, AirVPN is one of the most secure providers we’ve seen so far, even despite its vague logging policy. The software was clearly designed with advanced settings in mind and lack of a dedicated iOS app is unusual, however there are manual workarounds.
If you’re a hardcore user wanting a high level of privacy and loads of configurable settings, AirVPN could be the perfect choice for you.