VPN.ht does really well in some areas, but these fail to make up for its major shortcomings in others.
We like the fast performance, access to Netflix and privacy-friendly approach to logging, but it’s difficult to overlook the glaring security flaw that comes in the form of constant DNS leaks.
The usability needs to be looked at too, and the server network could do with some new locations. Until some changes are made we’re reluctant to recommend it.
Pricing & Deals
VPN.ht keeps it simple with just two different pricing plans – one month and one year. There’s currently a special offer for new users on the one-month plan though, which means you only pay $1.00 for your first month.
Get 33% off VPN.ht's 12-month plan
VPN.ht Pricing & Deals
The single month option works out more expensive in the long term but is still pretty good value (even at full price) at just $4.99. You can save yourself 33% by opting for the annual subscription though, which works out at just $3.33 per month.
There’s also a no questions asked 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can test out VPN.ht essentially risk-free. If for any reason you want to cancel your subscription, simply contact the support team and request a refund – the money is usually returned to you within seven working days.
You can pay for VPN.ht in loads of different ways. All major credit and debit cards are accepted, along with PayPal and tons of cryptocurrencies. This includes Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Litecoin and many more.
Speed & Reliability
VPN.ht is pretty quick, but this does come at a huge privacy risk. We found DNS leaks on almost every server, which make using a VPN in the first place totally pointless – more on that in Encryption & Security.
Downloads peaked at just under 70Mbps in the UK (where we test) and averaged around 50Mbps across the rest of Europe, which isn’t bad at all. Connecting out to the US was fairly good, but not the best we’ve seen, at 20Mbps.
Uploads were consistently good, hovering around 60-70Mbps on most local connections, however latency was incredibly variable – serious gamers should look elsewhere.
The one major issue with VPN.ht was how long it took to connect – upwards of two or three minutes in some cases. If you’re not going to be switching servers often this won’t affect you, however if you are, you may find yourself frustrated.
The speeds on offer here just aren’t worth the massive security compromise.
To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.
As server networks go, VPN.ht’s is nothing special but will likely do the job for those living in North America, Europe and most of Asia.
There’s a choice of 22 individual servers in the US, 11 in Canada and nine in the UK. It’s great to see this many options in a network of this size and enables you to select a server as close as possible to your physical location.
We would, however, have sacrificed this range of city-level choice for a dash more consistency across the rest of the network. There are very few servers in Central and South America, just Brazil, and South Africa is the only available location on its entire continent.
It’s refreshing to see a decent number of servers in Asia, though, as well as options in Australia and New Zealand.
Platforms & Devices
It’s currently possible to use VPN.ht on Microsoft Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and Linux devices. The latter doesn’t have a custom app but you can manually install the software using the setup guides on the support section of the website.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
You can also configure your router to support VPN.ht – again, the step-by-step instructions on how to do this can be found on the site. This means you can protect all of the internet-connected devices in your home, including games consoles and streaming devices, without installing individual apps on each one.
We also offer a handy guide to installing a VPN on your router – you can check it out here.
Streaming & Torrenting
If you’re a huge fan of BBC iPlayer, stop reading now, because VPN.ht isn’t for you. Those looking for hassle-free access to Netflix are in luck, however, as we were able to stream content from the site via all of the US servers we tested.
There are no dedicated streaming servers, so it could well be a case of trial and error in the case of harsher VPN crackdowns, but it seems to be pretty reliable for now.
P2P activity is permitted on all of VPN.ht’s servers, which is great news for torrenters, as is VPN.ht’s zero logging policy. Beware of the lack of kill switch while torrenting, though.
Encryption & Security
WhileVPN.ht users benefit from strong encryption (AES-256) and the strongest VPN protocol (OpenVPN), the software is sorely lacking any sort of advanced settings at all.
Not only is there no kill switch feature, meaning your IP address could be exposed should the connection drop for any reason, there’s also no protection against DNS or IPv6 leaks. This was made extremely evident in our tests when our DNS requests were being leaked on almost every server we connected to.
This makes using a VPN in the first place totally pointless, as not only can your ISP see everything you do online, they can also link this back to your physical location. This needs to be fixed before we’d even think about recommending VPN.ht as a secure provider.
Check out our guide to VPN leaks for more information.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
- Smart DNS
A lack of obfuscation tools means we’d hesitate to recommend VPN.ht to anyone planning on connecting out from China or another high-censorship country, despite it claiming to provide unrestricted access no matter where you’re located.
The support team recommends using OpenVPN in these sorts of locations, but we know this is one of the least reliable options as it’s easily detected and blocked by censors. If you’re looking for a provider with a proven track record at accessing blocked content, check out Astrill.
VPN.ht operates a strict zero-logs policy, not even collecting any anonymous connection metadata when you connect to the VPN. This means that, in theory, nothing you do online can be linked back to you, although the fact that it leaks your DNS makes it somewhat more of a concern.
Usually, VPN.ht’s Hong Kong jurisdiction wouldn’t be any sort of issue due to its zero logging approach, however the results of our leak test have made us a little more wary. It’s still not too much to be concerned about though, especially as there’s a warrant canary on the site that’s updated on a daily basis.
This warrant canary informs users that no personal information has been requested by or handed over to law enforcement agencies – it even includes a snippet from TorrentFreak to verify the date.
Ease of Use
Our experience using VPN.ht’s desktop app left a lot to be desired. Not only is it one of the most unattractive we’ve seen so far, it also has several usability faults that left us feeling frustrated and wasted a lot of time.
There’s no separate login screen and everything is squashed into one window – connection status, logs, and server list. The scrolling feature didn’t work but using the arrows on our keyboard solved the problem, although this shouldn’t be necessary.
Several servers failed to connect at all, and those that did work often took upwards of 60 seconds to get up and running, which is unacceptable. There’s a separate ‘Preferences’ tab but this only allows you to select your encryption and configure SmartDNS settings.
At least installing the software was easy enough. Just visit VPN.ht’s website, click the ‘Software’ tab and download the relevant custom app for your device. Follow the prompts given to you by the installation wizard and you can’t go far wrong.
The support on offer from VPN.ht is incredibly basic and sorely lacking in depth and detail. Not only this, the website is very badly organized, meaning it takes a lot longer than it should to find the most basic bits of information. The setup guides are useful but that’s pretty much it.
There’s also no live chat feature, so your only chance at getting in touch with a human being is to use the support form on the website. We sent them a very simple question and got a response within exactly 24 hours – it wasn’t very helpful, though. A lot of work is needed to bring VPN.ht up to scratch with its competitors.
The Bottom Line
- Good local speeds
- Works with Netflix
- No P2P restrictions
- Zero logging policy
- Compatible with major platforms
- DNS leaks on most servers
- Limited server network
- Basic customer support
- Apps need a huge makeover
- No advanced features
VPN.ht needs to make a huge number of improvements before it provides an acceptable level of security.
In terms of performance it certainly delivers the goods, but it’s just not worth sacrificing your privacy for, especially when there are providers out there doing a much better job for the same price.
If you just need a VPN to spoof your location and watch Netflix, VPN.ht will do the job, but anyone looking for serious levels of protection is out of luck.