SaferVPN offers decent encryption, a cheap service, simple custom apps and average speeds. This is where the good news ends, though. The VPN’s security features are offset by privacy and performance issues – it stores connection logs, has limited P2P support, and cannot reliably unblock Netflix.
SaferVPN has been around since 2013 and boldly describes itself as “the fastest and simplest VPN.”
SaferVPN’s mission is to “provide secure, private and uncensored Internet access to anyone, anywhere,” but does it succeed in reaching that goal? And can it really be as good as it claims?
We have thoroughly tested out SaferVPN’s service to find and answer to that – plus the following questions:
- Does SaferVPN work with Netflix?
- Is SaferVPN fast?
- Does SaferVPN collect user logs?
- Can you use SaferVPN to torrent?
- Does SaferVPN work on Firestick?
- Is SaferVPN legit?
We go into a lot of detail in the below review to give you a comprehensive understanding of what SaferVPN can do. But if you want a sneak peek, take a look at its main pros and cons below:
SaferVPN Pros & Cons
SaferVPN Key Summary
|Logging Policy||Anonymous Server Usage Data|
|Jurisdiction||US (Five-Eyes Member)|
|Works in China||Unreliable|
|Support||24/7 Live Chat|
|Cheapest Price||$2.50/mo over 36 Months|
SaferVPN is undoubtedly cheap, and the company has done some commendable work for internet freedom with its Unblock the Web initiative, but is the VPN service really as good as it boasts?
Let’s find out, by first looking at SaferVPN’s background and logging policy.
Who is SaferVPN?
About & Logging
SaferVPN was first released in 2013 and was recently acquired by NetProtect, a subsidiary of J2 Global, which is based in the US.
The US is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which is bad news for privacy.
SaferVPN’s logging policy isn’t as privacy-friendly as it could be but it doesn’t keep logs of any personally identifiable information like your originating IP address.
However, SaferVPN’s servers do collect the following information each time a user activates the VPN service:
- Date and time at which the session began and ended
- Amount of data transmitted during the session
- The chosen country and server location
- The country which you connected from
SaferVPN keeps these logs for 90 days, which is longer than we’re comfortable with, but considering it’d likely be very difficult to link any online activity back to an individual using this data it’s not too concerning.
Reasonable speeds on nearby servers, less reliable on distant connections
Speed & Reliability
SaferVPN is by no means the fastest VPN but it’s quick enough for casual users looking to surf the web and stream in HD.
On same-country VPN connections (like London-to-London) you can expect SaferVPN to bring down your download speeds by around 18% drop, which isn’t too bad for a VPN.
With speeds of around 76Mbps we could stream buffer-free and download large files pretty quickly.
Local Speed Test Results
Before using SaferVPN:
When connected to SaferVPN:
Download speed without SaferVPN: 92.40Mbps
Download speed with SaferVPN: 76.09Mbps
Our download speed loss when SaferVPN is running: 18%
International connections, such as the UK to the US, are far less speedy, dropping by around 76% – a very noticeable difference.
While 22Mbps is still fast enough for HD streaming on Netflix, you may struggle if you have a slower internet connection without a VPN – ours clocks in at 100Mbps.
If you want an idea of how fast SaferVPN is on international connections take a look at our speed test results connecting out from the UK to SaferVPN servers in:
- USA: 22Mbps (download) & 34Mbps (upload)
- Germany: 61Mbps (download) & 75Mbps (upload)
- Singapore: 15Mbps (download) & 7Mbps (upload)
- Australia: 13Mbps (download) & 3Mbps (upload)
Upload speeds are generally good as long as you connect to a nearby server, but torrenters should take note that P2P is only permitted on the Canada, Spain, and Netherlands servers. We recommend looking at these P2P-optimized VPN services instead.
However, gamers will be generally satisfied with SaferVPN’s low ping times.
Small server network covering most popular locations
SaferVPN has recently expanded its server network to a respectable 1,300 servers across 55 countries. The global spread is strong and covers all the usual VPN server locations, plus a few rarer options.
Europe is represented all the way from the west (Ireland, Portugal, France), to Scandinavia (Sweden, Finland, Norway), down to the Baltic States (Latvia, Estonia), and right to the south (Greece, Italy, Bulgaria).
Asia is well represented not just with the usual options like Singapore and Japan, but also India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, and South Korea.
There’s servers in the Americas from top to bottom, and Australia and New Zealand. There are also servers in Nigeria and South Africa. This is a good start, but we’d like to see slightly more even coverage of the continent.
If you live in Africa, South Africa is the only SaferVPN server on your entire continent.
The only regional options here are in the United States (with an East, West, and Streaming option) and the UK (which has a regular server and a streaming-optimized server).
Given the size of some of the countries catered to, like India and Australia, just one server in each of them might mean slow speeds – even if you’re within the country itself.
If you want a VPN service with a much larger server network, Cyberghost VPN has servers in over 90 countries.
ExpressVPN is also an excellent choice if you require plenty of city-level servers in the US.
SaferVPN operates just over 1,300 individual servers, and all of them are virtual machines. This means that SaferVPN leases cloud-based servers from third-party providers.
While SaferVPN encrypts traffic on those virtual servers, we prefer VPN services to own physical servers so that they are in full control of the servers to ensure maximum security and privacy.
SaferVPN says on its support site that it has over 2,000 IP addresses. However that information is likely outdated, as it hasn’t been updated since it expanded its server network. With its number of countries nearly doubling and number of total server more than tripling following a May 2020 update you can expect that 2,000 IP address figure to be considerably higher now.
Streaming servers often don't work, limited P2P support
Streaming & Torrenting
SaferVPN has servers that are optimized for both US and UK streaming services, but they often don’t work.
For the past couple of months we’ve had trouble connecting to the dedicated streaming servers, and when they do eventually connect we sometimes found our favorite platforms like Netflix and BBC iPlayer to be blocked.
In the past, SaferVPN was a great choice for streaming fans, but its recent instability has pushed it way down our list of recommendations.
Until it resolves the constant connection issues these are the best VPNs for streaming.
SaferVPN provides fast upload speeds if you connect to a nearby server, but since torrenting and P2P are only permitted on three server locations (the Netherlands, Canada, and Spain) if you live far away you should take a look at the best VPNs for torrenting instead.
The small number of P2P-friendly servers may also lead to server congestion and slow speeds during peak times.
You can use SaferVPN with Kodi too – if you want to use it on your Amazon Fire TV Stick or other streaming device you’ll have to install the VPN on your router.
Honestly, there are safer VPNs out there for torrenting, like IPVanish.
An unreliable VPN for China
SaferVPN is unreliable for China. Since the Chinese crackdown on VPNs started, SaferVPN has struggled to maintain consistent connectivity in the country.
The custom VPN apps are blocked, but sometimes manually configuring the VPN with the OpenVPN protocol works. It’s a fairly lengthy and technical process, and it’s still not guaranteed to work.
SaferVPN lacks the additional obfuscation tools that are usually needed to overcome these more aggressive government blocks.
Take a look at our current VPN choices for China that come with all the necessary anti-censorship features.
In other high-censorship countries, SaferVPN remains a decent choice due to its powerful privacy tools, accessibility to Tor over VPN and selection of servers in Asia-Pacific
Simple custom apps for four popular platforms, plus router support
Platforms & Devices
SaferVPN offers custom VPN apps for the most popular devices:
- Microsoft Windows
- Apple MacOS
On SaferVPN’s website you can also find loads of manual set-up guides for those devices without native apps such as Linux, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.
You can connect to SaferVPN on five devices at once – a pretty standard number for most popular VPNs.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
SaferVPN doesn’t have any custom apps for streaming devices or games consoles, so if you want to use it on your Amazon Fire TV Stick or Xbox, you’ll need to manually configure your router.
Or, if you own a Fire TV Stick, you can take a look at our list of the best Amazon Fire TV Stick VPNs of 2020.
SaferVPN provides step-by-step instructions for setting up its VPN on your router, or you can buy one pre-flashed.
Once your router is set up with SaferVPN every internet-connected device in your home will be protected, including games consoles and streaming devices.
These browser add-ons are included in the price of the paid subscriptions, but also available to free users (subject to a 500MB monthly data cap).
These extensions are proxies: they don’t create an encrypted VPN connection, or have the advanced features as the SaferVPN desktop client. We can’t recommend using these extensions as a complete substitute for the main SaferVPN app.
Strong encryption & all the necessary security tools
Encryption & Security
DNS Leak Blocking
IPV6 Leak Blocking
VPN Kill Switch
TOR via VPN Server
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
SaferVPN provides strong encryption and some great security features to keep you safe online.
You can set the app to auto-select the best performing VPN protocol – we recommend OpenVPN wherever possible as this offers the best balance between performance and privacy.
AES-256 encryption, which SaferVPN uses, is as strong as it gets. In fact, this cipher is considered near-unbreakable.
SaferVPN’s kill switch is an essential feature, ensuring your true IP address isn’t exposed by stopping all web traffic should the VPN disconnect unexpectedly.
SaferVPN doesn’t operate its own DNS servers, which is disappointing, but it does use Google Public DNS, which is considered to provide a very high level of performance and security.
Recent updates to the SaferVPN app include DNS and IPv6 leak protection. This prevents DNS requests from being exposed to your ISP and, thankfully, we found no such leaks during our independent tests.
For an extra layer of privacy, you can access Tor through SaferVPN, and you can also allow local network devices such as printers to bypass the VPN connection (split tunneling), which is very useful.
Quick & easy setup, but suffers from lots of connection issues
Ease of Use
How to Install & Set Up SaferVPN
SaferVPN’s custom VPN apps are super easy to download and install, but recently the app’s stability has sharply declined with far too many server connection failures to make for a smooth experience.
We were often unable to connect to our preferred servers, even after seeking help from customer support.
Aside from that, the apps are very basic and easy to navigate for beginners.
Installing SaferVPN’s browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox is really simple. All you need to do is click through to either the Chrome Web Store or Mozilla Add-ons store, download the extension, log in, and connect. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.
Live chat agents lack in-depth knowledge
|24/7 Live chat support||Yes|
SaferVPN does offer 24/7 live chat support but it left us feeling frustrated at times. While live chat responses are extremely quick, the support agents often struggled to answer even the most basic of questions.
When we enquired how long SaferVPN stores connection logs for, the agent was reluctant to tell us any specific information. We resorted to emailing the support team, and thankfully got a response in less than 10 minutes that actually answered our question.
SaferVPN’s online knowledge base covers the basics of installation and troubleshooting well enough, but we want to see a higher level of depth and detail in some areas.
Cheap plans with 30-day money-back guarantee
SaferVPN Pricing Plan
SaferVPN, like most VPN services, gets cheaper on a monthly basis the longer you subscribe for.
A single month is the most expensive option at $12.95, but you can save 58% if you opt for an annual SaferVPN subscription ($5.49 per month), and 81% on the three-year plan, coming in at a very affordable $2.50 a month.
US$12.95/moBilled $12.95 every month
US$5.49/moBilled $65.88 every 12 months
US$2.50/moBilled $89.99 every 3 years
All plans have 30-day money-back guarantee
Payment & Refund Options
SaferVPN accepts most standard payment methods including cryptocurrencies for purchasing privacy:
- Major credit and debit cards
- A host of other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Tron through CoinGate
There are currently no international options accepted, which means no Alipay or UnionPay.
SaferVPN offers both a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 24-hour free trial. The money-back guarantee is ‘no questions asked’, with no hidden catches, restrictions or data caps.
Your card will be charged when you sign up but all refunds are processed in approximately ten working days, making it a relatively risk-free process.
The free trial gives you full access to the service for 24 hours. The only information requested by SaferVPN is your email address, so it’s is a great way to test out the VPN software without having to worry about applying for a refund if you aren’t satisfied.
Do We Recommend SaferVPN?
The Bottom Line
SaferVPN used to be a good VPN, but recent server connection issues make it far too unreliable for us to recommend it anymore.
Speeds are underwhelming, streaming access has plummeted, although the recent massive expansion to its server network is a big positive – more changes like that in near future would be welcomed.
SaferVPN also logs a bit more data than we’d like to see (and it’s based in the US).
Alternatives to SaferVPN
Fast international speeds is one of ExpressVPN's biggest selling points - there's simply no faster VPN out there when it comes to long-distance connections. It's also safely located in the British Virgin Islands, away from prying government eyes. Read ExpressVPN review