Astrill: Ranked #7 out of 99 VPNs that we tested
Astrill may not be the first name to come to mind when you’re shopping for a VPN, but if you choose to ignore it it’s at your own risk.
Astrill is one of the most advanced, secure VPNs available – that’s what our testing found, and by the end of this review you’ll understand why, too.
You’ll find answers to all the most pressing questions about Astrill, including:
- How do you use Astrill in China?
- Does Astrill work with Netflix?
- Is Astrill VPN free?
- Is Astrill safe?
Our full review, written by our independent and unbiased VPN experts, reveals all. If you just want a summary of our findings, though, then take a look below at what we feel are the most important bits.
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi
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.
Astrill is our number one pick for those in high-censorship countries – you can read why here. First of all, though, we put Astrill to the speed test.
Speed & Reliability
Very fast & reliable performance
Astrill is a stand out VPN due to its very fast, consistent speeds on both same-country and distant connections. Astrill’s fastest servers are in the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands (we connect from the UK). v
Astrill is a great choice for torrenters and steamers, with same-country speeds of around 72Mbps. Longer distance speed performance is also impressive: Japan reached 58Mbps; Australia 50Mbps.
Latency, however, failed to impress with an average of 10ms, leaving Astrill unlikely to entice gamers.
Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server.
Before using Astrill:
When connected to Astrill:
Download speed without Astrill: 90Mbps
Download speed with Astrill: 72Mbps
Our download speeds loss when Astrill is running: 20%
This also appeals to torrenters and P2P users, with promising upload speeds (90Mbps in the UK).
Astrill doesn’t quite measure up to the best VPN providers, but speed performance is reliable, 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 scientific speed testing process, determining the average speeds from multiple locations across the globe. These are the average speeds you can expect to pick up from these locations:
- US: 38Mbps (download) & 40Mbps (upload)
- Germany: 80Mbps (download) & 78Mbps (upload)
- Singapore: 35Mbps (download) & 21Mbps (upload)
- Australia: 27Mbps (download) & 11Mbps (upload)
Mid-sized network with unknown number of IP addresses
Astrill offers a mid-sized server network of 64 countries, covering popular destinations across Europe and North America that should please most VPN users.
However, Astrill leaves out more distant locations such as South America and Africa, with solely South Africa and Egypt representing the continent.
Astrill also offers city-level choices in 14 countries, which is a pleasant surprise, especially as it includes them in often-ignored locations such as Taiwan. There are city-level Astrill VPN server options in:
- 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 one of the best coverages of the US, and you won’t struggle to find high-performance servers in Europe or the Asia Pacific region.
It would be better to see coverage spread more effectively across Australia, with all the servers being based in the South West of the country (in Casula, Sydney, and Melbourne), as is the case with Canada (anyone west of Toronto is left unserved).
355 IP addresses across Astrill’s global server network is poor when compared to its server network, nowhere near the top VPNs which feature 5,000+. The problem here is the potential for congestion, but we’ve experienced no problems so far.
Streaming & Torrenting
Reliable access for streaming, great for Kodi and Torrenters
Astrill has reliable access to streaming services, effectively unblocking major platforms.
We had no problems watching Netflix through its US and UK servers. Astrill’s fast speeds allowed HD audio and visual quality with very little buffering required.
Watching BBC iPlayer, however, is hit-and-miss due to the BBC’s recent crackdown on VPN traffic. Some days you can access the service through the apps multiple UK servers, other days it’s completely blocked.
Great speeds mean Astrill remains popular with fans of other streaming services though, such as Hulu, HBO, NowTV and Amazon Video.
Astrill’s security makes it all the more appealing for torrenting purposes, with a kill switch and AES-256 encryption, and we found no compromising DNS leaks. The app actually 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.
Proprietary protocols make it a popular choice for bypassing censorship
Astrill was once one of the best providers for bypassing censorship in China, but since the country’s recent VPN crackdown it’s become more of a mixed bag. While you can download and access Astrill in China, you are not eligible for its seven-day free trial if you sign up from there, meaning you cannot rest the software before commitment.
Astrill’s stealth VPN protocol is good as it provides an additional layer of obfuscation. Due to this, Astrill currently works to overcome the Great Firewall and get users online in China.
Another positive against Chinese censorship is Astrill’s number of city-level servers in neighboring Taiwan, a democracy with a robust ‘Free’ assessment by FreedomHouse. Having these servers close to China grants VPN users faster speeds.
When you compare Astrill vs ExpressVPN or NordVPN in China, Astrill is a serious contender as it has servers optimized for connecting out from China. Some people say that Astrill still doesn’t work in China to beat censorship, but it does appear to work for the majority, though – before you travel be sure to check out our Best VPNs for China.
Platforms & Devices
Compatible across major platforms and devices
Astrill works on a range of custom apps for platforms including:
Astrill is also operable on an extensive range of devices lacking custom native apps. Numerous setup manuals are available for Amazon Kindle Fire, Windows Phone and BlackBerry. There are also instructions on how to manually configure your existing router to support the software.
Astrill is also quite generous by allowing you to connect five devices on a single subscription.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
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.
We were, however, a little disappointed at the lack of custom apps for streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV Stick, especially when a number of rival VPN services, like IPVanish, provide this service.
Astrill does not provide a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari or any other web browser.
If you want a lightweight browser experience there’s a whole selection of top-tier VPN services that provide this – ExpressVPN is the top choice.
Encryption & Security
One of the finest VPN options for privacy
DNS Leak Blocking
IPV6 Leak Blocking
Supports TCP Port 443
VPN Kill Switch
WebRTC Leak Blocking
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
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.
Keeps some non-identifiable details temporarily, but nothing alarming
- 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.
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.
Ease of Use
Not the prettiest, but still simple
How to Install & Set Up Astrill
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
|24/7 Live chat support|
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.
Pricing & Deals
Quite expensive, even for long-term plans
Get 48% off Astrill's 12-month plan
Astrill 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.
US$15.90/moBilled $15.90 every month
US$11.65/moBilled $69.90 every 6 months
US$8.33/moBilled $99.90 every 12 months
All plans have 7-day money-back guarantee
Payment & Refund Options
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)
- Bank Wire Transfer
- 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. 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. 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.
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