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F-Secure Freedome Review

Rebecca Duff
By Rebecca DuffUpdated
Our Score7.2
User Rating
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User-friendly VPN with simple apps. Inconsistent server performance. Works with iPlayer.

What we like
  • Local download speeds of up to 52Mbps
  • Currently works with BBC iPlayer
  • Simple custom apps for popular platforms
  • Connect securely to 23 countries
  • Built-in protection against ad trackers

F-Secure Freedome is a user-friendly VPN that’s best suited to those who are mainly going to be connecting locally. Performance was pretty inconsistent but good enough on nearby servers for buffer-free streaming.

Access to BBC iPlayer will be a bonus for fans of it, but US Netflix remains blocked. Custom apps are available for Microsoft Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android but unfortunately, there are no manual workarounds for anything outside of these platforms, including routers.

F-Secure Freedome users benefit from strong encryption, but an intrusive logging policy means that detailed connection logs are collected and stored for up to 90 days. There are also very few advanced features. Customer support is really helpful with loads of useful resources and friendly support agents available on live chat.

Pricing & Deals

If you’re buying the VPN directly from the website, F-Secure Freedome doesn’t offer subscriptions that differ in length, but rather each of its plans allows you to use the VPN on a different number of devices. If you’re purchasing from the Google Play Store or App Store, it is possible to pay monthly – either on a fixed term or auto-renewable. The more devices you choose to protect, the cheaper it works out per device.

All of F-Secure Freedome’s plans on its website are 12 months long – the cheapest one covers you on three devices and costs $4.17 on a monthly basis (or $1.39 per device).

The biggest savings can be found on the 7-device subscription, which will set you back $6.67 each month but works out at a considerably cheaper $0.95 per device. There’s also an in-between option for five devices, costing $5.00 per month ($1.00 for each device).

If you want to pay monthly, you’ll have to download the software from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. Prices start from $5.99 per month for iOS and the same price for Android, but take note, these subscriptions are auto-renewing. It’ll cost you an extra dollar per month for the fixed-term plan. If you pay for 12 months upfront you can bring the monthly cost for each device down to $2.50, saving yourself 50%.

F-Secure Freedome Pricing & Deals

Best Value Deal
12 Months
US$6.67/mo
7 devices - Billed $79.99 every 12 months
12 Months
US$5.00/mo
5 devices - Billed $59.99 every 12 months
12 Months
US$4.17/mo
3 devices - Billed $49.99 every 12 months
Get F-Secure Freedome30-day money-back guarantee

F-Secure offers a five-day free trial as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. We love that you don’t have to provide any personal details or payment information in order to take advantage of the free trial, all you have to do is download the relevant software from the website and you can begin using the VPN. There are no speed caps or data restrictions and you can select from the full list of server locations, allowing you to thoroughly test out the software before you submit to a paid subscription.

The 30-day money-back guarantee is completely no-questions-asked, meaning you don’t need a specific reason to request a refund, you can ask for your money back even if you just change your mind. All you have to do is contact a member of the support team, either via email or live chat, and your request will be processed. This makes signing up to F-Secure Freedome largely risk-free.

Payment Options

F-Secure offers a very limited range of payment options in comparison to the majority of other VPN providers. You can pay using most major credit or debit cards, PayPal or via wire transfer, but that's it. There's no way of paying using cryptocurrency and no international methods for those living abroad either.

Speed & Reliability

We were a little underwhelmed by F-Secure’s overall performance in our speed tests, as while it was more than quick enough locally for everyday users, the results were incredibly inconsistent from one test to the next. Uploads were a lot more reliable than downloads but harsh restrictions on torrenting mean P2P users might want to look elsewhere, and above-average latency (even on same-city connections) is bad news for keen gamers.

Local downloads were decent enough but nothing to get too excited about, peaking at 52Mbps in the UK and hovering around the 30-40Mbps across the rest of Europe, which is more than quick enough for HD streaming on a couple of devices simultaneously. Connecting out to the US from Europe you can expect up to a zippy 32Mbps, which is pretty impressive considering we test from London, however sometimes speeds struggled to reach 20Mbps, although we made sure to connect to the same server each time. Performance over longer distances was distinctly average, at 15Mbps in both Australia and Japan, which is about what we’d expect from a provider of this size.

The lowest latency we found was 13Mbps in the UK, which is still pretty high for a same-country connection, even if it won’t affect the majority of everyday users. Hardcore gamers will want to look into other providers though, with some offering ping times of as low as 1ms, which is ideal for a smooth gaming experience.

Our biggest gripe with F-Secure was the sheer inconsistency. Connecting to one server might produce results of 10Mbps on one test and 30Mbps+ on another, making it really difficult to establish the true level of performance. On a positive note, we didn’t experience any connection drops, but we’d really appreciate an increase in reliability in the near future.

Uploads were actually quicker than downloads, with local connections in the UK peaking at just under 80Mbps. Despite this, we’d hesitate to recommend F-Secure to torrenters, due to the fact that P2P activity is actually prohibited on a large number of their servers, including those in the US, UK, most of Europe and some countries in Asia. If you try to torrent on any of these servers, your connection will be ‘temporarily restricted by a firewall’ lasting a few hours, leaving you unable to connect to that location for a short while.

Overall, F-Secure’s performance is decent but could be a lot better. Those just looking to connect locally in order to browse or stream won’t have any issues at all, however torrenters or gamers could struggle due to restrictive rules on P2P activity and high latency. Speeds were also very inconsistent in our tests, so if you’re going to be doing something online that requires a very fast, reliable connection, this might not be the VPN for you.

To find out more about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.

Features

Server Locations

23Countries23Countries
29Cities29Cities
29+IP Addresses29+IP Addresses

F-Secure Freedome operates a very small server network with only 23 countries to choose from across the world. These may well be enough to cater to the needs of most everyday VPN users, however those requiring a more diverse choice of locations might be better off looking elsewhere. If it you don’t think it will meet your needs, providers such as HideMyAss! offer up to 190 countries.

The F-Secure Freedome support team was unwilling to disclose the exact number of servers and IP addresses maintained by F-Secure as it says that it’s “not set in stone and could change at any given time”.

You can drill down to city level in Canada only with three cities on offer. The US is split into five regional servers labeled ‘East Coast’, ‘West Coast’, ‘South’, etc., which goes some way to help with performance.

The majority of its servers are located in Europe and North America, so users outside of these continents may struggle to find a suitable location close by. The Asia-Pacific region is limited to Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, and there’s no server choice at all in Africa or South America.

You can find the complete list of F-Secure Freedome server locations by country and city on its website below.

Platforms & Devices

Apps

Windows LogoWindows
Mac LogoMac
iOS LogoiOS
Android LogoAndroid

F-Secure offers custom VPN apps for just the four main platforms – Microsoft Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. Unfortunately, there’s no way of manually configuring the software to work with any other devices, such as Linux, so if you’re looking to use a VPN with anything like this you’ll need to look into a provider with a wider range of solutions, such as Windscribe.

It’s not possible to install F-Secure at router level, meaning the only way you can use it is by installing individual apps on each of the devices you want to protect. It supports up to seven devices at the same time, which should be enough for the majority of users.

If you want to protect games consoles and streaming devices, there loads of providers on the market offering reliable, hassle-free solutions, such as CyberGhost.

Browser Extensions

F-Secure Freedome doesn’t offer any browser extensions at all. This may not be an issue for you, but there are better providers out there if you only want to protect your browser traffic. Be careful though, as these offer various levels of protection – some are only made to spoof your IP address and don’t provide any sort of encryption, whereas others are full-featured VPN extensions with exactly the same features as the desktop app – such as seen on ExpressVPN.

Streaming & Torrenting

F-Secure Freedome is a good choice if you’re a fan of BBC iPlayer, but not so much if you enjoy watching Netflix. We’re not even sure how much longer it will work with BBC iPlayer, as F-Secure Freedome currently only has one choice of server in the UK, so if this stops working you’ll be out of luck. Thankfully we didn’t have any problems in our most recent tests, with almost no buffering and excellent video and audio quality. We could access UK Netflix through this server too.

None of the US server locations worked at all for Netflix and, according to what we’ve read online from F-Secure Freedome subscribers, they haven’t been working for a while. If you’re mainly going to be streaming while connected to the VPN then check out our top VPN picks for Netflix.

We would hesitate to recommend F-Secure Freedome to P2P users due to the fact that torrenting is prohibited on the vast majority of their servers, including those in the US, UK and most of Europe. This is due to copyright laws and the fact that it can’t tell whether or not you’re accessing illegal content – if you attempt to torrent in any of these locations, you’ll be temporarily blocked from connecting to that server for a few hours – so be careful.

Encryption & Security

F-Secure Freedome will be secure enough for most everyday users, but it’s let down by the lack of advanced privacy features. We like that the Windows, MacOS, and Android clients run exclusively on OpenVPN, as this protocol offers the best balance between performance and privacy, however we would have liked to be able to toggle between UDP and TCP.

The iOS app operates on IKEv2, which is second-best to OpenVPN but still very safe. Encryption is via AES-256, a top cipher that’s considered to be ‘unhackable’.

F-Secure Freedom offers the essential VPN kill switch feature, which cuts off all web traffic in case of a VPN connection drops. F-Secure also operates its own DNS servers, further protecting your personal information, as it means your DNS requests won’t be routed through less-secure servers operated by a third party. We didn’t find it to be leaking our DNS requests either.

F-Secure Freedome really shouts about its proprietary ‘tracking protection’ feature, which shows you how many times it’s blocked attempts by tracking companies (i.e. advertisers) to collect your information. If you really want to, you can temporarily log and view these attempts on an interactive map, which is pretty cool. If you’re looking for configurable options such as split tunneling or manual port selection, though, you won’t find them here.

Protocol
  • IKEv2/IPSec
  • OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
Encryption
  • AES-256
Security
  • DNS Leak Blocking
  • First-party DNS
  • IPV6 Leak Blocking
  • VPN Kill Switch
Advanced features
  • Ad Blocker

Bypassing Censorship

If you live in or are planning to travel to a high-censorship country like China, F-Secure Freedome shouldn’t be a name near the top of your list.

This is primarily due to a lack of additional obfuscation protocols, helping you beat the censors and access restricted content. F-Secure’s small server network doesn’t help here either, as even if you managed to bypass the Great Firewall there aren’t many servers in nearby countries, so performance won’t be much good for anything more than general browsing. Check

The same goes for other high-censorship countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Iran. If unrestricted internet access is essential to you in these kinds of locations, we’d recommend opting for a provider that offers some kind of ‘stealth’ protocol that’s optimized for this purpose – you can find out our top picks for China here.

Privacy

Logging Policy

F-Secure Freedome’s logging policy is one of the more user-friendly ones we’ve seen, including just enough information without too much technical jargon. It does collect fairly detailed connection logs, though, which include:

  • Your originating country and IP address
  • Duration of your VPN session
  • Total amount of data transferred
  • Device ID and your public IP address

All of this information is stored for 90 days before being permanently deleted. This is about standard for most VPN providers that collect this sort of metadata, but is still longer than we’d like – especially considering your IP address could potentially be used to identify you if it came down to it. It states that this information is necessary for troubleshooting purposes, as well as to monitor the service for misuse, but we don’t see why it can’t be periodically deleted on a slightly more regular basis.

Jurisdiction

F-Secure is based in Helsinki, Finland, meaning it’s exempt from intrusive data-retention laws and intelligence-sharing agreements with other countries such as the US. This would be a major positive, if it weren’t for the fact that in its privacy policy it states that it will share user data if necessary to comply “with a court order or a warrant issued by the authorities in the relevant jurisdiction”. It doesn’t publish any kind of transparency reports or warrant canaries, so there’s no way of us knowing whether or not it has passed on any information to third parties in the past, but this statement is pretty concerning.

It also states that “disclosing your personal data may also be justified to protect ourselves against liability or to prevent fraudulent activity”, which again isn’t something you want to hear from your VPN provider.

Ease of Use

We really like the design of F-Secure Freedome’s custom apps but they could do with a few more configurable settings. The home screen is incredibly simple, consisting of just a big on/off button in the center and your chosen server location. There’s also some information about the amount of traffic protected and the number of harmful sites and tracking attempts that F-Secure has blocked.

There’s a ‘How Does This Work?’ prompt in the top-right corner that explains how virtual locations work and where you should connect for the best possible performance, which is a nice little touch for VPN newbies.

You can find the settings menu on the left-hand side of the app – this is limited to a few basic options, such as whether or not you want the VPN to connect on startup, as well as the kill switch.

In our view, the software is great for inexperienced VPN users or those looking to ‘click and forget’, however the more tech-savvy might be disappointed with the lack of manual configuration on offer.

Getting Started

Getting started with F-Secure was actually a lot easier than most providers and only took us a couple of minutes from purchase to connection. Just follow the prompts given to you by the installation wizard, which are pretty self-explanatory, and then the VPN software will launch automatically.

You don’t even need a username and password to begin using the VPN, just the activation code it sends you in your confirmation email, so make sure you have this to hand during the process. It’s that simple that even VPN first-timers shouldn’t struggle, but just in case you do encounter any issues, you can find detailed setup guides on the support section of F-Secure’s website.

  • Installing software
  • How to use the app

Customer Support

F-Secure’s customer support is excellent, if a little difficult to navigate. Because the company offers so many different products, and even different VPN packages, you have to do a bit of digging to avoid getting lost in irrelevant content.

Once you know where you’re going the resources on offer are incredibly useful and will solve the majority of basic problems.

There’s also a live chat feature that’s available during normal working hours (9am-6pm for the UK) with friendly, helpful agents that were willing to answer all of our questions in detail. We never had to wait longer than a couple of minutes to be connected to someone and email responses were almost as quick.

It’s refreshing to see that F-Secure also includes contact telephone numbers for those that would rather speak to a human being – this isn’t very common with VPN providers, but we think it’s a really valuable feature that will be appreciated by a lot of people.

The Bottom Line

What we like
  • Local download speeds of up to 52Mbps
  • Currently working with BBC iPlayer
  • User-friendly apps for popular devices
  • Connect securely to 23 countries
  • Built in browsing and tracking protection
What we like less
  • Very inconsistent server performance
  • Doesn't work with US Netflix
  • Only compatible with four main platforms
  • Very small server network

F-Secure is an ideal VPN if you’re looking for simple, user-friendly apps and the security of going with a big-name brand.

It’s pretty good value for money if you’re going to be protecting multiple devices. Performance was a little shaky, to say the least, but for the most part good enough locally to be able to stream in buffer-free Full-HD. It’s working with BBC iPlayer for now but Netflix fans should look elsewhere, and strict torrenting restrictions mean it’s not a good choice for P2P users.

It’s secure enough to protect you on public WiFi connections but we wouldn’t recommend it for much more than that due to an intrusive logging policy and a lack of advanced privacy features.


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