DefenceVPN is a fairly new player in the VPN market and it’s pretty cheap too. But its newness shows, with a lack of configurable options, tiny server network, and limited range of custom apps.
While it has a pleasingly minimal logging policy, a VPN kill switch, and strong encryption, we did find the Windows app to be leaking our DNS requests. Don’t expect blistering speeds, though.
We hope to see some big improvements from DefenceVPN in the near future, because it has the foundations of being a good beginner’s VPN.
Pricing & Deals
DefenceVPN is pretty cheap, even on shorter plans, but to save the most money in the long-run we’d recommend the yearly plan. It cuts the $9.99 monthly price by 70% to just $2.99 a month.
Get 70% off DefenceVPN's 12-month plan
DefenceVPN Pricing & Deals
DefenceVPN offers a seven-day money-back guarantee but it’s subject to some limitations.
Firstly, you aren’t eligible for a refund if you’ve used over 5GB of data within the week, which you could easily burn through if you stream or torrent a lot. It’s also not available for Lifetime subscriptions or for those who paid with Bitcoin.
Payment & Refund Options
DefenceVPN accepts a decent range of payment options including major debit and credit cards, PayPal, and some cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
Speed & Reliability
DefenceVPN isn’t particularly fast, but it’ll do for most casual browsers and streaming fans.
Local downloads peaked at 44Mbps, and uploads at 54Mbps. Not bad, but not all that good either. Saying that, it’ll be quick enough to stream in HD on one or two devices at once. It’s also fast enough for torrenting but DNS leaks and heavy restrictions on P2P outweigh the performance.
Speeds from Europe to the US were respectable, peaking at almost 20Mbps down. There are no servers located outside of Europe or North America, so it’s hard to say how it performs over long distances, but other speed results suggest it won’t be brilliant.
Latency was fairly high, coming in at 15ms on same-country connections. That’ll most likely be fine for the majority of users but gamers might notice some the lag. Some VPNs offer ping times of under 1ms.
To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.
DefenceVPN has one of the smallest server networks we’ve come across for a premium service. With just 16 server locations in Western Europe and North America only – and only two-city level servers in the US – many will want to look into other VPNs with far larger networks.
Users in other parts of the world, namely Asia, Africa, or South America, are left with no choice but to connect over long distances, which may lead to poor performance.
If the number of server locations is a let-down, the amount of individual servers comes as a massive disappointment. With just 24 in total, there’s bound to be some congestion and consequent performance drops during peak time.
Platforms & Devices
DefenceVPN offers custom apps for Microsoft Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
You can use the VPN with Linux and compatible routers (Sabai, DD-WRT, Asus, or Tomato), but that requires some manual configuration with OpenVPN files.
While there are clear instructions given for Linux you’re left to your own devices when it comes to router installation.
You can use DefenceVPN on up to five simultaneous at one time, but by configuring your router you can protect all Internet-connected devices in your home in one go. That includes streaming devices such as the Amazon Fire TV and games consoles like the Xbox One.
Streaming & Torrenting
DefenceVPN isn’t ideal for streaming due to the lack of server choice, and we couldn’t access Netflix or BBC iPlayer during our most recent tests. DefenceVPN’s customer support team told us that they are working on a solution for this. For a reliable streaming VPN, we recommend CyberGhost.
It’s also bad news for torrenters since P2P activity is limited to the Bulgaria servers only, which could lead to significant overcrowding at peak times. Take a look at our roundup of the best VPNs for torrenting if you need one for that purpose.
Encryption & Security
DefenceVPN isn’t the most configurable of VPNs but it at least has the basic security foundations.
The apps use both OpenVPN, our preferred protocol for its balance between privacy and performance, and IKEv2. Both are secure but there is no way to toggle between them, so one is automatically selected upon connecting, which is frustrating. Thankfully, the encryption used with both is considered unbreakable – AES-256.
The VPN kill switch is absolutely essential (available for Windows), so even if it’s the only advanced security feature DefenceVPN offers we’re glad it’s this one. It blocks internet traffic in case of a VPN connection drop, preventing your IP address from being leaked to any third parties.
There aren’t any other security features to note and, worryingly, DefenceVPN failed all of our DNS leak tests on the Windows app. This means that any websites you visit while connected (DNS requests) can be seen by your ISP or any on-path eavesdropper. Not what we want from a VPN.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- VPN Kill Switch
DefenceVPN doesn’t have what it takes to get past the Great Firewall, so take look at our recommendations for China if you need a VPN for bypassing censorship there (or in any other high-censorship country such as Iran or Turkey).
A lack of obfuscation tools means that DefenceVPN’s VPN traffic will be easily detected and blocked by censors. Its small server network means that you’ll have to connect over quite a distance, which would lead to a drop in performance too.
The only thing it logs is the total data used during each session (stored by username), which is kept until 30 days after user cancellation. While that’s longer than we’d like, this information can’t be used to identify an individual.
DefenceVPN is incorporated in Canada, which isn’t an ideal for privacy as it’s a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, and DefenceVPN will comply with court orders. However, there is so little user information to hand over that this shouldn’t be an issue.
We are further reassured that our personal data has so far been kept out of harm’s way since DefenceVPN publishes a Warrant Canary to let users know that “no warrants, searches or seizures of any kind have ever been performed on DefenceVPN.com assets.
Ease of Use
DefenceVPN’s custom apps are fairly easy to navigate, but they’re really clunky and far from polished.
For desktop, DefenceVPN offers a system tray app, which means it doesn’t take up too much room. When connected, you’re new IP address is clearly displayed, along with the chosen server location.
However, we have a real issue with the server list display. Locations are listed by city, not country, and don’t come in alphabetical order either, which is frustrating. Even more annoying is the lack of scroll bar – plus, there’s an arrow at the bottom to move down the list but no arrow to go back up.
Worst of all were the connection failures that we experienced on multiple occasions. We couldn’t access the Amsterdam server at all.
Setting up DefenceVPN on a Windows, MacOS, or Android device takes a matter of minutes. Just download the software from the website, follow the installation prompts, and log in when the client opens.
Manual configuration for other devices such as iOS and Linux is a little more tricky, but with DefenceVPN’s step-by-step instructions it shouldn’t take too much longer to set up.
DefenceVPN doesn’t offer much in the way of online resources – just a few manual setup guides and some basic FAQs. While these will do for absolute beginners, those with more experience will miss more in-depth support.
That’s where the 24/7 live chat support would come in handy. While it’s advertised as such, we were left waiting for a response for hours on occasion, and the chat box often timed out. When an agent did reply, though, we found them to be friendly and very knowledgeable, but it was frustrating to wait for so long. Email support is equally slow – it seems to be run by just one person.
The Bottom Line
- Peak local downloads of up to 44Mbps
- Strong encryption with a VPN kill switch
- Very minimal logging
- Simple setup for custom apps
- Windows app leaks DNS requests
- Tiny server network
- Limited range of custom apps
- Very slow response speed from live chat support
Speeds are underwhelming, and the server network is tiny. If you live outside Europe or North America, DefenceVPN is probably not going to cut it.
DefenceVPN has the makings of a decent VPN for newbies but it needs to iron out some kinks until we can truly recommend it above other similarly marketed services.