Astrill is a speedy, user-friendly VPN that offers loads of advanced privacy features. It performs very well on local connections, including Europe to US, and is impressively quick connecting to distant server locations too. Access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming sites is quick and hassle-free, and a large number of servers are optimized for torrenting and P2P use. Custom apps are available for a broad range of devices and a long list of routers is also supported.
Astrill offers a high level of encryption and more privacy features than most, such as a VPN kill switch and split tunneling. It logs minimal connection metadata in order to maintain a high level of server performance, but none of this is personally identifiable. The Stealth protocol means it also works well to unblock content in high-censorship countries. Customer support is helpful and informative, but live chat was so slow it was basically nonexistent.
Pricing & Deals
Astrill offers a range of pricing plans to make it easy to find the right option for you. These all offer the same features but get cheaper on a monthly basis, the longer subscription you choose.
A single month is the most expensive option at $15.90, but this is reduced by 47% to an affordable $8.33 if you sign up to the 12-month plan. There is also a six-month package that comes in at $11.65 per month, saving you 27%.
Astrill also offers optional extras such as Private IPs starting at $5 per month and ‘VIP add-ons’ from $10 a month, which are great if you need top-level speeds and lower latency. Bear in mind that these last for the full length of your subscription and aren’t on monthly rolling contracts.
Get 48% off Astrill's 12-month plan
Astrill Pricing & Deals
Astrill offers both a seven-day free trial and a seven-day refund window, however if you use the free trial you won’t be eligible for any future refunds. It’s recommended that all potential customers utilise the trial so they can be sure the software works correctly on their device, as refunds will only be issued if there is a technical fault that Astrill technicians are unable to fix within a week. This is a far cry from the ‘no questions asked’ money-back guarantees offered by the likes of ExpressVPN and other top-tier providers.
You can save yourself money through the “Invite Friend” scheme which entitles you to a free month of access when your friend signs up to any Astrill subscription. Better still, there’s no maximum limit to the number of friends you can refer.
Astrill accepts a broad range of payment methods including most major credit and debit cards, PayPal and Bitcoin. You can also use a few different international options such as Alipay, Wechat Pay and Perfect Money.
Speed & Reliability
Astrill stands out due to its fast, reliable performance both on local and more distant connections. Connecting to pretty much any server within your hemisphere you can expect good enough performance for HD streaming, with same-country connections approaching speeds close to 100Mbps. Quick uploads mean it’s a great choice for P2P users, but gamers will find latency distinctly average.
Astrill performs very well on local connections, peaking at over 90Mbps in the UK and the rest of Europe. Connecting out to the US East Coast from London, where we test, you can also expect fantastic speeds of 87Mbps, which is more than ample for HD streaming across multiple devices. We were equally as impressed with performance across longer distances, such as connecting out to Japan, which reached phenomenal speeds of almost 75Mbps. Even Australia came in at 32Mbps, which is very fast for such a faraway server.
We found latency to be fairly average, coming in at 10ms on same-country connections. While this will be more than quick enough for most, there are providers out there offering super low ping times of under 1ms , so keen gamers may want to look elsewhere.
Astrill connects fairly quickly each time in an average of 10 seconds. Once connected, we found performance to be very reliable with little fluctuation and barely any connection drops, meaning there is no need to disconnect unless you want to switch server.
Upload speeds were also incredibly promising, coming in at speeds of over 90Mbps in the UK, making Astrill very appealing to torrenters and P2P users. Uploads dropped considerably over long-distance connections, at just 5Mbps in Australia and Japan, but this is to be expected and won’t affect most.
Astrill doesn’t quite measure up to top-tier VPN providers in terms of peak speeds on individual servers (NordVPN reaches over 300Mbps on some servers), however it remains one of our top picks due to its sheer consistency across the global network. Whilst performance on a few more distant servers could do with some improvement, there are no locations that stand out as being so slow that they’re unusable.
To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How we test for VPN speed performance.
Astrill offers a mid-sized server network, covering the majority of popular destinations across the world. A choice of 62 countries will probably be enough for most, however should you need some more exotic locations then there are providers out there that do offer more.
We know that Astrill has over 320 servers spread throughout these locations, however the support agent we spoke to was unwilling to disclose the number of individual IP addresses it maintains. We can only presume this means the number is relatively low, as usually if it’s an impressively high amount the provider will publicize this on its website. This could potentially lead to server congestion and slower speeds at peak times.
The choice of 24 US cities makes Astrill one of the best providers for US coverage, with options spanning the length and breadth of the country. 16 servers across four UK locations is close to offering the best choice in the current market, as is three city-level servers in Australia.
We were pleasantly surprised to see city-level choice in 15 countries throughout the global server network, including in some usually less well-served locations such as Taiwan. You won’t struggle to find a high-performance server in Europe or the Asia Pacific region, and South America also has a decent level of choice. The only continent sadly lacking is Africa, which is only represented by South Africa and Egypt.
You can find the complete list of Astrill server locations by country and purpose on their website below.
Platforms & Devices
Astrill offers a decent range of custom apps for a range of platforms including Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. You can also buy pre-configured routers from Astrill’s website, allowing you to connect other devices to the VPN out of the box without having to install individual apps on each one.
Astrill additionally provides a range of extensive setup guides for those devices lacking native apps, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire, Windows Phone and Blackberry. There are also instructions on how to manually configure your existing router to support the software, as long as it runs on DD-WRT, Tomato or ASUS Merlin firmware.
Astrill, unlike many other top-tier providers, unfortunately does not provide any type of browser extension for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari. Most of their rivals will offer at least a proxy extension for Chrome, with some even offering full-featured extensions for all popular browsers. This is unlikely to be too much of an issue for the majority, however if you’re a heavy browser user seeking a more lightweight experience you might want to look elsewhere.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
You can also use Astrill with a range of games consoles and streaming devices, either by connecting them to a configured router or sharing the VPN connection with another device running the software, such as a laptop or smartphone. This is where Astrill’s generous limit of 5 simultaneous connections comes in handy, as you can protect several devices at once.
There are loads of detailed manual set-up guides on Astrill’s website to help you get your streaming devices connected. These are incredibly user-friendly and very easy to follow with lots of helpful screenshots so you shouldn’t get too stuck. We were a little disappointed at the lack of custom apps for streaming devices, which is something that rivals, such as IPVanish, already offer.
Streaming & Torrenting
Astrill is one of our top picks for reliable access to major streaming services. We had no problems watching Netflix through its US (and UK) servers, and with such a large amount of choice it wouldn’t even be an issue if one of them stopped working, as there are so many others to try. Thanks to fast speeds, we experienced HD quality video with very little buffering.
Fortunately, we were able to watch BBC iPlayer on half of the UK servers too. This is huge bonus for fans of the service, especially considering many providers don’t offer access to it due to the BBC’s recent crackdowns on VPN traffic.
Great speeds mean Astrill remains popular with fans of other streaming services including Hulu, HBO and Now TV. Torrenters and keen Kodi users should also seriously consider Astrill, as servers marked with a yellow star are optimized for use with P2P software and allow port forwarding.
Encryption & Security
Astrill is a fantastic choice if complete privacy is your priority. The desktop app automatically connects via OpenWeb, but we’d recommend changing it to OpenVPN from the drop-down menu as soon as possible as this is the most secure protocol. Encryption is via AES-256, a top cipher used by the federal government and considered unbreakable.
The VPN kill switch is an essential feature, preventing your true IP address from being leaked by blocking all web traffic should the VPN connection drop for any reason. DNS, IPv6 and WebRTC leak protection are also included, further protecting you against potential browser issues that could expose your online activity. 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 far less secure third-party servers, such as those operated by your Internet Service Provider or Google.
We love the split tunneling feature, allowing you to protect your browsing without losing access to local network devices, such as printers or smart TVs. Astrill’s own OpenWeb protocol is another added bonus that offers the same level of encryption as OpenVPN but is a lot more lightweight and therefore performs well in high-censorship countries.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- DNS Leak Blocking
- First-party DNS
- IPV6 Leak Blocking
- Supports TCP Port 443
- VPN Kill Switch
- WebRTC Leak Blocking
- Split Tunneling
A few years ago, Astrill was one of the most-recommended providers for China, however since the country’s recent VPN crackdown it’s now more of a mixed bag in terms of reliability and performance. You’re also not eligible for the seven-day free trial if you sign up in China, meaning it isn’t possible to test out the software before you commit to a paid subscription.
Astrill’s own Stealth protocol is inspired by OpenVPN and provides an additional layer of obfuscation, meaning it currently works to overcome the Great Firewall. The story is the same with OpenWeb, another proprietary protocol, but this only protects your browser activity. There are also servers optimized for connecting out from China, but some people are saying these still don’t work to beat the censors. Astrill does appear to work for the majority but there are providers out there that offer a more consistent experience.
Due to Astrill’s proprietary protocols it remains a popular choice for users in other high-censorship countries such as Turkey, Iran and UAE. A decent-sized global network also means you’ll never be too far from a high-performance server.
Astrill collects a limited amount of connection metadata in order to maintain a high level of server performance. The system logs your connection time, IP address, device type and VPN app version for the duration of your VPN session, however as soon as you disconnect this information is permanently deleted, an approach we really like. This is simply used to limit the number of devices connecting from a single account simultaneously.
Additionally Astrill keeps your last 20 connection records, including connection time and duration, country and device type. These are used for customer support purposes and crucially do not contain any personally identifiable information such as your IP address or physical location. If you don’t use the software for 30 days, these logs are wiped.
Astrill is incorporated in the Seychelles, putting it beyond the reach of US and EU jurisdiction and data regulations. The Seychelles doesn’t require companies to store or report any customer data, nor is it part of any information-sharing agreements with privacy-unfriendly countries.
Seeing as Astrill doesn’t collect or store any personally identifiable information, none of your online activity can be traced back to you. This means that even if a law enforcement agency requested your details, Astrill wouldn’t have anything to give them.
Ease of Use
Astrill doesn’t have the most attractive set of apps we’ve ever seen, but they do the job incredibly well. The main screen of the desktop client displays an on/off switch, a drop-down menu of server locations and some real-time information about your connection. Servers that work with torrents are helpfully marked with a yellow star for use with P2P applications.
Additional settings can be found behind the burger menu (three horizontal lines) at the top left of the app, such as on/off toggles for the kill switch and leak blocking and a long list of DNS servers to choose from. The split tunneling feature is also easily accessible, giving you control over which apps are able to bypass the VPN connection. One major downside is that desktop app defaults on startup to OpenWeb rather than OpenVPN, and more inexperienced users might not be aware that this only protects your browser activity unless you change your settings. Other than that, it’s user-friendly enough.
The mobile apps are sleeker and more attractive, however sadly lacking in the more important privacy features including the VPN kill switch. You’re also not able to choose your own DNS server and are limited to Astrill’s own protocols, rather than the more secure OpenVPN. 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.
Downloading and installing Astrill is incredibly quick and simple, getting you from purchase to connection in just a matter of minutes. Astrill offers its own Wiki site featuring set-up tutorials for almost every device you could possibly think of, making the process easy no matter what platform you’re using.
The general process is to download the relevant software from the website, then simply follow the prompts given to you by the installation wizard. These are incredibly straightforward but if you get stuck the set-up guides should get you back on track. Once you’ve done this, all that’s left to do is enter your login credentials and you’re ready to start using the VPN.
Astrill’s customer support delivers in most instances, however the major downside for us was the buggy live chat feature. We clicked on the button to start a chat and were immediately prompted to “be patient” and wait to be connected, which sometimes happened but often didn’t. Even when we did get to speak to a support agent, they often tried to avoid answering our questions and sent us back to Astrill’s website, which was disappointing, particularly for a provider at this price point. You’re better off ignoring live chat and emailing support – we got a detailed response within a few minutes.
The support on Astrill’s site is extremely useful, offering FAQs on loads of common issues and video tutorials explaining some of the more advanced features. There’s also a ridiculously huge amount of manual set-up guides on their Wiki site, which really sets them apart from other providers. It’s refreshing to see a contact phone number too, for if you’d rather speak to a human being, although support is currently only offered in English.
The Bottom Line
- Fast, reliable performance of up to 95Mbps on local connections
- Quick, hassle-free access to Netflix and iPlayer
- Servers optimized for P2P/torrenting
- User-friendly apps. Instant set-up on a broad range of devices
- Good-sized global network - connect securely to 62 countries
- Live chat feature doesn’t always work
- Annual plan is still fairly pricey
- Mobile apps lack advanced privacy features
Astrill is a great example of a VPN that prioritizes privacy without compromising on performance. It’s not the cheapest option on the current market but offers a premium experience compared to most other providers. Excellent speeds on local connections combined with hassle-free access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming sites make it a great choice for streaming fans, and torrenters will love the speedy uploads, but gamers can experience much ping times with other providers.
When it comes to privacy, Astrill is definitely one of the most secure options out there. Minimal connection metadata is collected and discarded after 30 days, and more importantly none of it is personally identifiable so your browsing can’t be traced back to you. Astrill also offers loads of extra privacy features such as a kill switch, split tunneling and its own Stealth protocol that means the software can be used in high-censorship countries.
The apps don’t look great but are very user-friendly and include lots of configurable settings to play with. If you have any issues, it’s best to ignore the live chat on the site and just email the support team for a quick, detailed response. Astrill is nipping at the heels of other top-tier providers and is one of our top picks for a consistent, high-performance VPN.