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Avira Phantom Review

By Simon Migliano | Updated August 5, 2019

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Ranked #39 out of 74 VPNs

Avira Phantom screenshot

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Avira is well-known for its anti-virus software, but it ventured into the world of VPNs in 2016 with the introduction of Avira Phantom VPN.

This self-proclaimed ‘ultra-secure’ VPN service has received mixed reviews in the past, but what we really want to know is:

  • Is Avira Phantom VPN safe?
  • Is it good for torrenting?
  • Will Avira VPN work in China?
  • Does it unlock Netflix?
  • Is there a free version of Avira Phantom?

We answer these important questions, as well as many others, in our in-depth review of Avira’s VPN service.

Overview

Avira Phantom Pros & Cons

  1. Moderately fast same-country speeds
  2. Many servers allow torrenting
  3. Protection against DNS leaks
  4. Simple, streamlined VPN apps
  5. Connect securely to 25 countries
  1. No access to Netflix or BBC iPlayer
  2. Small VPN server network
  3. Very limited customer support
  4. Apps lack advanced settings

Avira Phantom Key Summary

Top Download Speed73Mbps
Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
IP, DNS or WebRTC LeaksNo
JurisdictionGermany (14-Eyes Member)
ServersNot disclosed
IP Addresses-
Countries34
US NetflixNo
TorrentingRestricted
Works in ChinaNo
Support24/7 Live Chat
Cheapest Price$6.50/mo over 12 Months
Official WebsiteAvira.com

Keep reading to find out what we really thought, starting with the results of our hands-on VPN speed tests.

About & Logging Policy

Who is Avira Phantom?

Avira was founded in 2006, but its anti-virus software was developed back in 1986 by its predecessor, H+BEDV Datentechnik GmbH. Avira launched Avira Phantom VPN in 2016.

Avira’s headquarters are located in Tettnang, Germany, “by the shores of Lake Constance.” It also has offices in China, the Netherlands, Romania, and the US.

Usually, Germany wouldn’t be an ideal jurisdiction for a VPN service, as it falls under EU data retention laws and is also part of the 14 Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance. However, Avira Phantom’s very minimal logging policy means this isn’t too much of a concern.

Avira also states in its privacy policy that it will comply with data requests from public authorities, but it can’t hand over any personally-identifiable information as it doesn’t store any.

Logging Policy

Avira Phantom logs the bare minimum of connection metadata in order to ensure the service operates as well as it possibly can. Annoyingly, however, there is no link to the privacy policy on the homepage of Avira’s website.

We eventually found it after some digging. The only information Avira Phantom collects is:

  • Total amount of bandwidth consumed
  • Amount of time a user is online
  • Whether the account is Free or Premium

Avira Phantom VPN does not log or monitor your browsing activity, IP address, or the VPN server you connect to, meaning there’s no way of it tracking your online activity back to you.

You can also choose to send Avira your diagnostic data to help with product improvements, however this is totally optional and can be switched off in the settings menu of the VPN app.

Speed & Reliability

Pretty quick on same-country connections

Avira Phantom’s speeds have really improved in recent months, especially if you’re planning on connecting to a server in the same country as your physical location.

Avira VPN is still struggling over longer distances though, unable to compete with our fastest VPN services on connections from the UK to the US and Asia.

It will still be more than quick enough for most everyday users, even if you’re planning on using the VPN on multiple devices at the same time.

Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server.

Before using Avira Phantom:

  1. DownloadMbps

    97.18

  2. UploadMbps

    99.3

  3. Pingms

    2

When connected to Avira Phantom:

  1. DownloadMbps

    73.13

  2. UploadMbps

    84.95

  3. Pingms

    4

Avira VPN’s latency was surprisingly low, making it a solid choice for keen gamers – we recorded around 4ms latency connecting to its UK server (we test from London). Good same-country upload speeds mean it’s not too bad for torrenting either.

Avira isn’t the most reliable VPN service we’ve seen – we still experienced very few connection drops and speeds did vary more between tests.

Connecting out to various worldwide locations from the UK, these are the average speeds we experienced:

  • USA: 19Mbps (download) & 32Mbps (upload)
  • Germany: 64Mbps (download) & 33Mbps (upload)
  • Singapore: 11Mbps (download) & 10Mbps (upload)
  • Australia: 9Mbps (download) & 11Mbps (upload)

Check out our speed testing methodology to find out more about the ins-and-outs of our manual speed tests.

Server Locations

46 cities spread over 34 countries

Globe with a blue flag34Countries
Image of a city landscape46Cities
Image of a pink marker-IP Addresses

Avira VPN has a limited server network covering only 34 countries.

We were also unable to find out exactly how many individual servers and IP addresses Avira maintains. We asked Avira for more information, but they refused to disclose any specific details. This likely means the overall number of servers and IP addresses is small, which can lead to slower speeds at busy times.

Avira VPN’s server coverage is best in Europe, which accounts for 24 of its total locations. There’s four server locations in Asia (Hong Kong, India, Japan, and Singapore), but only one in South America (Chile), and none at all in Africa.

The only two countries with city-level choice are Australia (Melbourne & Sydney) and the US. US-based users can choose from Avira Phantom servers in 12 different cities, including:

  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York City
  • Newark
  • Phoenix
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Washington DC

It’s quite refreshing to see this much city-specific choice in a small server network, however we would have traded this to see Avira Phantom serve a wider range of countries.

Streaming & Torrenting

Not good for streaming or torrenting

If you’re looking for quick, one-click access to major streaming services, Avira Phantom isn’t the right VPN service for you.

It hasn’t been possible to stream Netflix through any of Avira’s US-based locations for a while now, and as there are no optimized streaming servers, it’s a case of waiting to see if any of these will begin working with the service again.

It’s the same story with BBC iPlayer, which has been blocked through Avira Phantom’s UK server since we first started testing it months and months ago. As there’s only one Avira server in the UK there are no backup options if it fails.

This is hardly surprising given the BBC’s active work against VPN providers, but there are still a handful of VPNs that work reliably with the service if that’s a dealbreaker for you.

Torrenting

It’s difficult to know whether or not Avira Phantom is a good choice for torrenting as there’s no information about P2P activity on its website. It seems to depend on the laws of the country in which the VPN server is located.

Until Avira provides a definite list of which servers allow torrenting and which do not, we’d be very reluctant to recommend it to torrenters. Avira’s minimal logging policy and VPN kill switch are plus points for P2P activity, though.

Bypassing Censorship

Won’t work for users in China

Judging by comments on its online forums, it looks like Avira Phantom VPN isn’t working in China and hasn’t been an effective solution in the country for quite some time now.

Screenshot of a comment on Avira Phantom's user forums

Not only does Avira not have any additional obfuscation tools to hide your VPN connection, the apps also use the OpenVPN protocol, which is very easy for censors to detect and block, especially given China’s unrelenting crackdown on VPN providers.

We also can’t recommend Avira Phantom for other high-censorship countries, such as Turkey or Iran, due to its lack of advanced privacy features. Its very limited VPN server network means you are likely to suffer from slow speeds, too.

Platforms & Devices

Compatible with all major platforms - but not routers

Apps

Windows LogoWindows
Mac LogoMac
iOS LogoiOS
Android LogoAndroid

Avira Phantom provides the usual range of custom VPN apps for various devices, including:

Unlike many other VPN services, Avira isn’t compatible with any routers, meaning you have to download the VPN software onto each of your devices. Thankfully Avira allows you to use the VPN on an unlimited number of devices at the same time.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

It isn’t possible to use Avira Phantom on games consoles or streaming devices as it isn’t compatible with any model of router. If your Smart TV runs on an Android operating system you could try downloading Avira’s Android app, but there’s no guarantee it will work.

Your only other option would be to piggyback off a VPN connection from another device running the Avira Phantom app, such as a laptop or smartphone.

Browser Extensions

Chrome LogoChrome

Avira Phantom has recently introduced a browser extension for Google Chrome. Unlike the proxy versions offered by many other providers, this is a true VPN extension that uses the same level of encryption (AES-256) as the desktop client.

It’s great for masking your IP address but unfortunately it’s not a complete substitute for the desktop VPN app, as it doesn’t have any of its advanced privacy features (like the VPN kill switch).

 

Encryption & Security

Secure VPN service lacking in advanced settings

Protocol

IKEv2/IPSec

OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)

Encryption

AES-256

Security

DNS Leak Blocking

First-party DNS

VPN Kill Switch

Advanced features

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

Even though Avira Phantom doesn’t provide the same amount of advanced privacy settings as some of our top-tier VPN services, it will still keep you safe online.

All of Avira Phantom’s custom VPN apps run on OpenVPN, the most secure connection protocol, apart from iOS devices, which use the (still very secure) IKEv2. Encryption on all of Avira’s apps is via ‘unhackable’ cipher AES-256.

Avira Phantom’s VPN kill switch is a useful feature, as it protects your IP address should the VPN connection drop for any reason. Avira also operates its own DNS servers rather than renting them from third parties, and protects you against DNS leaks, too.

Screenshot of Avira's leak test results

The results we saw on browserleaks.com when connected to Avira Phantom’s US-based server

If you’re looking for a ton of configurable settings, you’ll be better off looking at a VPN service like TorGuard or Astrill, but everyday users should find their needs met by Avira Phantom.

Ease of Use

Cluttered apps with some usability flaws

How to Install & Set Up Avira Phantom

Avira Phantom is a very simple one-button VPN that’s almost identical on both desktop and mobile. Avira’s main screen only displays an on/off button and your current virtual location – we would like to see some more connection information here.

Avira really falls down when it comes to advanced features – or rather its lack of them.

Aside from a VPN kill switch and the option to automatically secure untrusted WiFi networks, there are no advanced settings at all, putting Avira well behind its rivals in terms of configurable options.

The Avira Phantom apps also lack any protocol options, and even fails to inform you what protocol you are using. If we didn’t know that Phantom was based on OpenVPN, which Avira confirmed to us, we wouldn’t feel very confident in its security.

If you’re looking for a VPN with uncluttered and accessible software, Avira is a great choice. However if you like having lots of advanced features to choose from, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Customer Support

24/7 live chat makes up for limited resources

EmailYes
Online ResourcesYes

Unfortunately, Avira Phantom limits personalized customer support to paying users only, meaning free users or potential customers won’t be able to take advantage. Thankfully email responses were quick and professional, although clearly it’s company policy not to reveal too many details about Avira’s VPN server network.

The knowledge base on Avira’s website is pretty limited, with the main feature being a list of a few simple FAQs. However we have to admit that when a product is this simple, there’s a limit to the amount of resources that can be created.

Screenshot of the video tutorials on Avira's website

Avira has recently introduced a handful of video tutorials to the site, which are very helpful and informative. The ‘chat bot’ is another recent addition by Avira, but all it ever seemed to do was redirect us to the FAQs or prompt us to leave a message for the customer support team.

Pricing & Deals

Longest plan is excellent value for money

Avira Phantom Coupon

Avira Phantom Pricing Plan

Avira Phantom only offers two different standard pricing plans – they both offer the same features but the longer you sign up for, the less you pay each month.

A single month is the most expensive option at $10 and is reduced by 35% to a reasonable $6.50 if you commit to a 12-month plan.

It also offers a mobile only plan, charged at $5.99 per month.

  1. Monthly

    US$10/mo

    Billed $10.00 every month
  2. 12 months

    US$6.50/mo

    Billed $78.00 every 12 months
    Save 38%

All plans have 30-day money-back guarantee

Payment & Refund Options

Avira offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for those who aren’t satisfied with their purchase, or 14 days for monthly subscribers. This is a genuine ‘no questions asked’ guarantee with no restrictions or fair usage policies, simply contact cleverbridge (Avira’s billing partner) and it will process your refund.

If you don’t want to commit to a paid plan right away, Avira Phantom also offers a free trial that you can use for as long as you like. This does give you an idea of what Avira is like, but you are limited to a monthly data limit of 500MB and miss out on some key privacy features.

We love that you don’t have to provide any personal details to access the free service, however Avira offers to double your monthly data allowance if you provide your email address.

Avira Phantom doesn’t offer a very large range of payment options, particularly in comparison to top-tier VPN providers. It does accept most major credit and debit cards, as well as PayPal, but there is no option to pay using cryptocurrencies or international methods.

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and internet freedom research. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio

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User Reviews for Avira Phantom

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  1.  40% 

    I'm disappointed

    I bought the Avira VPN along with the anti-virus and I'm disappointed, it's just too glitchy and has reverted to the free version many times. It's just been a real pain and I won't touch it once my year's subscription is up. There is even censorship, it blocks a controversial website at least from the Uk server.