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Astrill VPN Review

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Astrill VPN screenshot
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

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Our Verdict

Astrill VPN is an expensive VPN service with strong security and an array of advanced features. Its stealth protocol is excellent for use in China and it also works to unblock US Netflix, but we recorded slow connection speeds. We recommend Astrill VPN for use in censored countries, but there are better options available for casual VPN users.

Astrill VPN may not be the first name to come to mind when you’re looking for a VPN, but it’s certainly one to consider.

It’s one of the most advanced and secure VPN services available – that’s we found in our testing and by the end of this Astrill VPN review you’ll understand why, too.

You’ll also find answers to all the most pressing questions, including:

  • Does Astrill still work in China?
  • And how do you use it?
  • Does it work with Netflix?
  • Is it safe?
  • How much does it cost? Or is it free?

Looking to beat online censorship with faster speeds? Read our PrivateVPN review.

Keep reading to learn everything about this VPN provider, but if you just want a quick summary of our findings, take a look at the overview below.

Astrill VPN Pros & Cons

  1. Pretty quick speeds
  2. Works with Netflix
  3. Servers optimized for P2P & torrent use
  4. User-friendly apps for PC, Mac, iOS, & Android
  5. Connect securely to 64 countries
  1. No VPN browser extensions
  2. Annual plan is fairly expensive
  3. Maintains a strict no refunds policy

Astrill VPN Key Summary

Data CapUnlimited
Speed72Mbps
Logging PolicySome User Logs
Data LeaksNo
JurisdictionSeychelles (Privacy Haven)
ServersNot disclosed
IP Addresses355
Countries62
US NetflixYes
TorrentingUnlimited
Works in ChinaYes
SupportLive Chat
Cheapest Price$10.00/mo over 12 Months
Official WebsiteAstrill.com

Sometimes you’re better off looking past the big names and making a slightly less popular choice. If you want to use a VPN to beat censorship in countries like China, Astrill VPN is that choice.

In fact, it’s one of our top recommendations for use in high-censorship countries – you can read why here.

First of all though, lets see who owns Astrill.

Who is Astrill VPN?

About & Logging

Astrill is a registered company based in the Seychelles. It was founded in 2009.

Seychelles is a great place to base a VPN service, as it sits outside privacy-infringing information-sharing agreements and has no legal obligation to share information with other nations. 

Even if a law enforcement agency requested details of Astrill’s users, there wouldn’t be any to give as it doesn’t store personally identifiable information. 

Logging Policy

Astrill’s privacy policy states that it collects and logs some VPN connection data.

This includes:

  • Connection time
  • IP address
  • Device type 
  • VPN app version

While this looks scary, this is purely to maintain its high level of performance and limit the number of devices allowed on a simultaneous connection. This information is only available for the duration of your VPN session and as soon as you disconnect it is permanently deleted.

We like this approach as it maintains the apps strong performance but keeps you safe.

More so, the data logs that Astrill collects are not personally identifiable information and can be deleted from Astrill’s member zone at any time you wish. They are used for customer support purposes and crucially do not contain any personally identifiable information. If you don’t use the software for 30 days, these logs are wiped automatically.

Screenshot of the Astrill Privacy Policy Taken from the Astrill Website

Impressive long-distance speeds

Speed & Reliability

Astrill VPN is fast enough, but it’s nowhere near the fastest VPNs.

However, it does deliver impressive long-distance speeds when connecting out to the US, Australia, and Singapore.

It’s also a decent choice for torrenting and steaming, but we would’ve liked to see faster same-country speeds. 

However, latency really failed to impress with an average of 10ms, which will put off most gamers.

Local Speed Test Results

Before using Astrill VPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    99

  2. UploadMbps

    100

  3. Pingms

    1

When connected to Astrill VPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    53

  2. UploadMbps

    93

  3. Pingms

    4

Download speed without Astrill: 99.94Mbps

Download speed with Astrill: 53.35Mbps

Our download speeds loss when Astrill is running: 47%

Astrill doesn’t quite measure up to the best VPN providers, but speeds are rarely slow, with barely any connection drops and little fluctuation across its global VPN network.

We put all of the VPNs on the site through a rigorous speed testing schedule to determine the average speeds from multiple locations across the globe.

These are the average speeds we recorded from London to the below locations:

  • US: 81Mbps (download) & 36Mbps (upload)
  • Germany: 77Mbps (download) & 90Mbps (upload)
  • Singapore: 55Mbps (download) & 18Mbps (upload)
  • Australia: 50Mbps (download) & 12Mbps (upload)

These are excellent results for long-distance connections. 81Mbps in the US is very fast and the Australian and Singapore results are just as impressive.

How Fast is Astrill Compared to Other VPNs?

Alongside our manual tests, we tested Astrill VPN’s speeds through our custom VPN speed test tool.

It’s quite simple: take a look at the graph below and compare Astrill against the very best VPNs. It evaluates each VPN’s average drop in internet download speed while running a local connection on our New York server.

The results go back for eight weeks and run automatically four times a day. This way you can get a clear picture of Astrill’s reliability. We cap the speeds at 100Mbps to mimic the average household internet speed.

We run this tool constantly, every day of the week. Its global figures are as up-to-date and objective as you can get, with zero human interference or reliance on third-party websites. We simply report what the numbers tell us.

VPN Speed Performance Comparison Chart

As you can see, Astrill is performing extremely well. Its average speed loss never falls below 5%, which is exceptional, and its straight line tells us that it’s a very reliable service.

Therefore, using Astrill it’s highly unlikely you’ll get a sudden, unexpected loss of speed, meaning your online activity can go uninterrupted. Even compared to excellent providers like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, Astrill is very dependable. It’s also beating providers like CyberGhost, Surfshark, VyprVPN, IPVanish, and others.

In the past couple of months, only NordVPN has been outperforming Astrill for average speed loss, but that’s close competition too.

Servers in 64 countries but only 355 IP addresses

Server Locations

Globe with a blue flag62Countries
Image of a city landscape114Cities
Image of a pink marker355IP Addresses

Astrill has a mid-sized VPN server network of 62 countries, covering popular locations across Europe and North America that should please most VPN users.

Screenshot of Astrill Servers Map Taken from the Astrill Website

However, Astrill lacks more distant locations such as South America and Africa, with solely South Africa and Egypt representing the continent.

In terms of city-level choices, Astrill provides them in 14 different countries, which is a pleasant surprise. There are its city-level server options:

  • US (22 cities)
  • Japan (2)
  • UK (5)
  • Taiwan (4)
  • Belgium (2)
  • Germany (6)
  • Spain (2)
  • France (4)
  • Netherlands (2)
  • Sweden (2)
  • Canada (4)
  • India (4)
  • South Korea (2)
  • Australia (3)

Astrill has some of the best coverage in the US, and you won’t struggle to find high-performance servers in Europe or the Asia Pacific region either.

In Australia, on the other hand, Astrill only has servers in the South West of the country (in Casula, Sydney, and Melbourne) and is not present in Perth. The same applies to Canada where Vancouver is missing. 

Another problem is Astrill’s 355 IP addresses, which is extremely limited compared to some of the top VPNs that can feature over 5,000 in some cases. The more IP addresses, the smaller the risk of traffic congestion.

 

Great for US Netflix and safe torrenting

Streaming & Torrenting

Astrill doesn’t have any major issue unblocking popular streaming services and we’ve had no problems watching Netflix through its US and UK servers.

Streaming BBC iPlayer, however, is hit-and-miss due to the BBC’s recent crackdown on VPN traffic – some days you can unblock it through Astrill’s multiple UK servers, and other days it’s completely blocked.

The problem with Astrill is that it’s not very fast, and that’s why it isn’t one of our recommended VPNs for Netflix or for BBC iPlayer. With a near-50% speed loss, there are better VPNs for streaming out there..

Torrenting

Astrill could be a very good choice for torrenting and Kodi.

It features P2P-optimized servers (marked with a yellow star) that allow port forwarding, a kill switch and AES-256 encryption. We also found no compromising DNS leaks so you’re privacy is take care of. The app even comes with DNS Leak Blocking features, too. 

Its logging policy is also a safe one, only storing data while you’re connected and deleting it once you terminate the VPN connection.

If only the same country speeds were faster, though. Until we see the speed loss get closer to 10%, you’re better off using one of these fast and private P2P VPN services.

A popular and reliable VPN for use in China

Censorship

Astrill’s proprietary protocols make it a popular VPN choice for users in high-censorship countries like China, Turkey, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Astrill’s stealth VPN protocol provides an additional layer of obfuscation, which means the VPN currently works to beat the Great Firewall and provide access to the global internet for users in China.

Another positive aspect is Astrill’s number of servers in neighboring Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan. Having these servers close to China helps achieve faster speeds.

Speeds in these countries are reasonably good, although they can’t compete with leading VPN providers like ExpressVPN. Connection speeds do improve in China if you connect to servers labeled ‘SuperCharged’, which are optimized for this exact use.

There are also VPN servers optimized for connecting out of the country for users inside China, so it’s no surprise that it’s our second-favorite VPN for China.

Importantly, remember that you’re not eligible for Astrill’s seven-day free trial if you sign up from China, so make sure you sign up before you travel there if you want to take advantage of the free trial.

Overall, Astrill is a fantastic VPN for China. It will work to unblock access to your favorite websites and apps and keep your browsing activity safe.

Compatible with major platforms & devices

Platforms & Devices

Apps

Windows LogoWindows
Mac LogoMac
iOS LogoiOS
Android LogoAndroid
Linux LogoLinux
Router LogoRouter

Astrill works on a range of custom apps for platforms including:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • MacOS
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Astrill VPN also works on an extensive range of devices and with the help of several setup manuals, you can use the VPN with your Amazon Kindle Fire, Windows Phone or BlackBerry. There are also instructions on how to manually configure your existing router to support the software. 

As for simultaneous VPN connections, Astrill allows you to connect with five devices at any one time, which is fairly standard.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

AppleTV LogoAppleTV
Amazon Fire TV LogoAmazon Fire TV
Chromecast LogoChromecast
Nintendo LogoNintendo
PlayStation LogoPlayStation
Roku LogoRoku
Xbox LogoXbox

The good news is that you can use Astrill with Xbox, PlayStation, and other game consoles, as well as streaming devices, by connecting them to a configured router. You can even buy pre-configured VPN routers from Astrill’s website.

But, we are disappointed at the lack of an Amazon Fire TV Stick custom app, especially when a number of rival VPN services, like IPVanish, make this available to their subscribers.

Browser Extensions

Astrill does not provide a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari or any other web browser. 

If you want a lightweight VPN browser experience, there’s a whole selection of excellent VPN services that provide either Chrome extensions or Firefox addons.

One of the best VPN options for privacy

Encryption & Security

Protocols

IKEv2/IPSec

L2TP/IPSec

OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)

PPTP

SSTP

Encryption

AES-256

Security

DNS Leak Blocking

First-party DNS

IPV6 Leak Blocking

Supports TCP Port 443

VPN Kill Switch

WebRTC Leak Blocking

Advanced features

Split Tunneling

Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.

There’s no other way to put it, Astrill is a fantastic choice for privacy.

OpenVPN, the most secure protocol, is easily selected and encryption is AES-256, a cipher considered unbreakable. There is also the rare inclusion of WireGuard, a protocol for optimal performance.

The VPN kill switch is an essential feature, preventing true IP addresses being leaked. DNS, IPv6 and WebRTC leak protection are also included.

What’s more, Astrill automatically forces all of your traffic through its own DNS servers, meaning there is no chance it will be routed via less secure third-party servers.

We also love the split tunneling feature, allowing you to protect your browsing without losing access to local network devices, such as printers or smart TVs.

Not the prettiest, but still simple

Ease of Use

How to Install & Set Up Astrill VPN

Astrill has never had the most attractive set of apps, but they make up for it in functionality and quality. 

Real-time information about your connection is available to view and a welcome addition, and servers that work with torrents are helpfully marked with a yellow star for P2P applications. 

Additional settings can be found behind the burger menu (three horizontal lines), with leak blocking and a long list of DNS servers to choose from. Split tunneling, referred to as Astrill Smart Mode, is easily accessible too.

Watch out – OpenWeb is the default protocol rather than OpenVPN. You have to change it in the settings.

The mobile apps are more attractive, but lacking the important privacy features of the desktop. If you want a VPN primarily for a mobile device, we have put together a list of our top picks for both Android and iPhone.

Live chat disappoints but on-site help and email is very good

Customer Support

24/7 Live chat supportYes
Online ResourcesYes

Astrill’s customer support delivers in most instances, even though the live chat feature was buggy. Astrill support agents often tried to avoid answering questions and sent us back to the website, which was disappointing. 

You’re better off ignoring Astrill’s live chat and simply emailing support – we got a detailed response within a few minutes.

The support on the site is extremely useful, offering FAQ’s and video tutorials explaining some of the more advanced features.

There are also a huge amount of manual setup guides on the Astrill Wiki, which help set it apart from other providers. It’s also refreshing to see a contact phone number, if you’d rather speak to a human being.

Very expensive, even for long-term plans

Pricing

Astrill VPN Coupon

Astrill VPN Pricing Plan

Astrill offers a range of pricing plans that offer the same features but get cheaper on a monthly basis the longer you choose.

  1. Monthly

    US$20/mo

    Billed $20.00 every month
  2. 6 months

    US$15/mo

    Billed $90.00 every 6 months
    Save 25%
  3. 12 months

    US$10/mo

    Billed $120.00 every 12 months
    Save 50%

All plans have 7-day money-back guarantee

Payment & Refund Options

Credit CardYes
PayPalYes
BitcoinYes
AliPayYes
UnionPayYes

Astrill accepts a good range of payment methods, including some stand-out international options. Astrill’s payment options include: 

  • Debit Card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay, JCB, Diners)
  • PayPal
  • BitCoin
  • Bank Wire Transfer
  • AliPay
  • WeChat Pay
  • Perfect Money

You might also want to take advantage of Astrill’s seven-day free trial so you can try it before you buy it. This is one of the best genuine free trials available.

You don’t need to insert your payment details to download the free Astrill trial so there’s no chance of automatically upgrading you to a premium subscription should you forget to cancel and there’s no data caps. However, this is not offered to users in China, and it comes with a slightly reduced number of VPN servers

It’s a particularly useful trial as Astrill has a strict no refund policy – all sales are final. This is a far cry from the no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantees that we frequently see with the likes of ExpressVPN and other top-tier providers.

Do We Recommend Astrill VPN?

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, Astrill serves a very specific purpose – to beat online censorship – and it’s close to being the very best at it.

We highly recommend this VPN if you need to use it to bypass internet blocks, all while keeping your traffic (and identity) secure.

Astrill also performs well when it comes to streaming, and is a fantastic choice if privacy is your main priority.

It’s worth noting that Astrill is fairly expensive and it doesn’t offer a refund, so you need to be sure it’s the right VPN for you before you buy.

Alternatives to Astrill VPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

It's easy to recommend the number one VPN in our testing, but ExpressVPN is an especially good alternative to Astrill as it also deals with censorship effectively and easily. Read ExpressVPN review

PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN

Think Astrill's too expensive? Then take a look at PrivateVPN. PrivateVPN works to beat censorship, but also delivers terrific speeds at a very affordable price. Read PrivateVPN review

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio


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