Celo VPN is overpriced, underperforming, and provides an unpleasant VPN experience, but it does have some good things going for it.
On the positive side, it works with BBC iPlayer and torrenting, which is available on all servers, with lots of tutorials, and P2P support.
Yet its inconsistent and poorly designed, with extremely limited servers. This is a VPN equally unsuitable to the newbie and the seasoned VPN user alike.
Pricing & Deals
This is an expensive VPN – $7.00 a month. It drops to $5.83 when you subscribe to a six-month subscription and $5.50 per month with an annual obligation, but this isn’t a dramatic price drop in relation to the commitment.
Celo VPN Coupon
Get 21% off Celo VPN's 12-month plan
Celo VPN Pricing & Deals
There’s also a 10-day money-back guarantee, which isn’t as stringent as a single week, but some top VPNs offer a whole month. This means you will have less time to decide whether Celo VPN is the service for you – there’s no free version or trial period.
Payment & Refund Options
You can subscribe to Celo VPN with PayPal, Credit Card, Payza, BitCoin, and numerous other cryptocurrencies, which is a good option for those most interested in maintaining their privacy.
Speed & Reliability
Celo VPN consistently underperformed in our speed and reliability tests.
The peak performance came out of the Netherlands, where it reached 32 Mbps for downloads and 71 Mbps uploads, which is quite mediocre for a paid VPN. Worse, it’s all downhill from there, with 31 Mbps for UK downloads, 24 Mbps for France, and 22 Mbps for Germany.
Far from our UK base, we saw download speeds plummet to 7 Mbps in Australia, 8 Mbps in the US, and 11 Mbps in Canada. Uploads are somewhat better across the board with the exception of Australia at a measly 4 Mbps in uploads.
10ms ping in the UK isn’t good when some top-tier providers have less than 1 ms. Across continents it was even higher than reasonably expected – 354ms for Australia, when it is usually under 300 ms even for mid-range VPNs.
Unfortunately, there are absolutely no servers even close to South America, Africa, or the Middle East, and only a handful to cover the entirety of Asia. Anyone outside of Europe or the US should likely look for another VPN, such as NordVPN.
On our first testing of the VPN we couldn’t connect to a single server, persistently getting the message ‘Verification Failed’. Trying again the next day the servers began to work.
Platforms & Devices
Celo VPN offers a decent variety of apps, including Windows, Android, macOS, iOs, Linux and router.
There are also lots of helpful setup guides on the website with annotated screenshots, including how to setup the VPN on the router, how to setup Shadowsocks, Torrent Clients, check and fix DNS leaks (though only for Windows and Linux), and more.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
Streaming & Torrenting
Celo VPN has dedicated servers for your streaming needs built into our favored OpenVPN protocol, which is good news for fans of Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Celo VPN does indeed provide unrestricted access to US Netflix via a dedicated server. The caveat is that the poor US speeds meant for a less than perfect picture quality and a fair bit of buffering.
However, BBC iPlayer did stream exceptionally well, making this a good option for fans of the streaming service.
Celo VPN also provides P2P support and torrenting is available on all servers, with tutorials specific for uTorrent, BitTorrent and others.
Encryption & Security
Celo VPN runs a good number of encryption protocols: WireGuard, OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2 SSH, ShadowSocks, and Socks5 Servers. These are robust options, particularly when offering useful open-source proxies like ShadowSocks.
For other security features, you can turn the kill switch on in the settings, which is a must for a VPN user. There is also obfuscation tunneling to shroud VPN activity, the inclusion of ad/malware blocking, and it also works with Tor.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- Ad Blocker
- Split Tunneling
- TOR via VPN Server
It’s usually the case that if a VPN can bypass censorship in China, it is likely to do so in other censoring countries like Russia and Turkey.
So we contacted Celo VPN support to determine the efficacy of the app in China and it told us: “Some of our users have reported our openvpn service to work at times just fine […] I think it depends on how the “great firewall” is feeling at the time.”
While this isn’t the wholehearted affirmation we hoped for, it is about what we expect when considering that fewer and fewer VPNs work effectively there and at least it’s honest.
It did, however, say that the ShadowSocks proxy “works 100% of the time in China.” ShadowSocks is an open-source encryption used to bypass censorship in China, which isn’t strictly a VPN but rather a proxy with no privacy or anonymity features.
You do have to head to the Celo VPN website and download the proxy from there and follow the tutorial. Just remember that ShadowSocks is not a VPN.
It claims a no-logs policy, which means it isn’t tracking what you download or stream, or what sites you visit. This is a must for any VPN.
Further down, it says Celo VPN does not share what (minimal) information it retains on its users with any third-party, unless “we are ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.” Die hard privacy advocates may be put off by this, and so a VPN that retains no data at all (or even metadata) might be worth seeking out – such as Private Internet Access.
Celo VPN is under the jurisdiction of Australia.
Australia is part of the Five Eyes intelligence apparatus, which means the government works alongside many other nations to collect and share mass data.
It’s not an ideal location for a VPN service if protecting your privacy is the chief motive for your purchase.
Ease of Use
For all the positive technical advantages of Celo VPN, the app itself is a huge let down, trading transparency at the expense of usability.
While you can see logs, configure protocols, use proxies, see your encryption, and compare new to old IP addresses, the user experience of the app is dreadful – unfriendly, intimidating, and unpleasant to use.
For example, there is no obvious back button, which lead us to exit the entire app and having to login a few times before discovering that the logo in the top left corner functions as the back option. A simple thing, but one that makes the user experience so much more difficult.
Furthermore, you have to select a protocol every time you choose a server, which is a bit intimidating and felt as if the app was doing no work of its own.
More so, we failed to connect to a single server on our first time using the app, it asking us to choose between ‘node’ or ‘port’. We tried different ones but failed to connect each time. This was a bad start. Luckily it fixed itself when we went back a second time.
You can download the installation software by heading the site and typing in the details you used to purchase the VPN. Choose where to install the app and then once downloaded, simply log in with the same details.
Beside the standard FAQ, customer support is accessible via the client area in which you can submit a ticket. It’s a bit annoying having to log in to its website and fill out a form when many VPNs employ live chat help.
It took four hours to receive a response to our query, which isn’t by any stretch instant assistance, as we’ve experienced with other VPN providers like ExpressVPN, but it’s not
The Bottom Line
- Robust encryption protocols
- Very friendly to torrenting
- Poor server list - limited number of countries
- Quite expensive
- Mediocre performance
- Terrible app design and usability