#VPN is a simple, iOS-only offering that brings nothing exceptional to the table in an already-overcrowded free VPN market.
Those looking to watch Netflix using a foolproof, one-click app could well be in luck, but if you require anything more than an extremely basic level of privacy you should stop reading now.
It’s hard to recommend it when there are so many complimentary VPNs out there that do a much better job.
Speed & Reliability
Considering its only server is in the US and we’re based in London, it comes as no real surprise that #VPN performed incredibly badly in our speed tests.
Not only did downloads peak at a paltry 12Mbps, but they were also annoyingly inconsistent, never returning the same results from one test to the next. These kinds of speeds are enough for browsing and streaming, but that’s it.
Conversely, uploads were actually fairly quick, coming in at 60Mbps. We wouldn’t recommend #VPN for torrenting at all though, so this is largely irrelevant.
Latency was sky-high, reaching 100ms even at its lowest, meaning it’s totally useless for gamers – those located in the US shouldn’t have any issues, though.
To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.
#VPN only offers servers in the US, and there’s no indication of exactly how many. Every time we connected we appeared to be in New York, so we can make an educated guess that most servers are located there.
This is bad news for users located anywhere else in the world as it means connecting over a very long distance, and therefore slow speeds.
If you upgrade to Premium you’ll be able to connect to a handful of other locations including Canada, Singapore, the UK and a few other countries in Europe. This in no way justifies the hugely inflated price, though.
There are some free VPN providers that allow you to access a much wider range of server locations – to see some of our favorites check out our guide to the Best Free VPNs for 2019.
Platforms & Devices
#VPN is an iOS-only app so anyone looking for compatibility across a range of platforms is out of luck. There’s no way of manually installing it on other devices such as routers, either.
#VPN doesn’t provide any sort of browser extensions, either – not even proxies. If you’re only going to be using it on your iPhone, though, this is unlikely to be an issue.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
There’s also no way of using #VPN on any sort of games consoles or streaming devices like the Amazon Fire Stick. If plug-and-play solutions for these sorts of devices is what you need, we’d recommend our top pick ExpressVPN.
Streaming & Torrenting
We were pleasantly surprised to find that #VPN worked to unblock Netflix on our first attempt, especially considering there are no dedicated streaming servers.
Bad news for BBC iPlayer fans, though – a lack of UK-based servers means that there’s no way of accessing the service.
There’s no information on torrenting on #VPN’s website but according to customer support, it is permitted on all servers. Slow performance and an intrusive logging policy make us very hesitant to recommend it, though.
Encryption & Security
#VPN is better than most free VPNs we’ve seen in terms of the level of privacy on offer. True, encryption is via AES-128 rather than our preferred AES-256, and the VPN protocol is IPsec as opposed to OpenVPN, but it could certainly do a lot worse.
Beyond this, #VPN is really lacking. There are absolutely no advanced features, not even a VPN kill switch, putting your personal information at risk should the connection drop for any reason.
We also found several DNS leaks in our tests, which is most likely due to the fact that #VPN uses insecure Google-owned DNS servers rather than operating its own. There’s definite room for improvement.
#VPN lacks the additional obfuscation tools necessary for a VPN to work in China, so we’d be very surprised if it provided any sort of effective solution for users in that country.
Not only that, but because it’s only available on iOS, there’s a very high chance it won’t be available to download at all, especially following China’s recent crackdowns on VPN providers.
There are much more reliable solutions out there, but it’ll likely involve spending a few dollars per month – one of our top choices is Astrill.
Unfortunately, it collects very detailed connection metadata every time you connect to the VPN, including:
- Your originating IP address
- Geographical location of your device
- Mobile service provider
- Operating system and other device-specific identifiers
While these aren’t connected to your browsing history in any way, they can be used to personally identify you, and there’s also no indication of how long this information is stored for.
Another concern is Apalon’s jurisdiction in Belarus, one of the most privacy-unfriendly countries in Europe according to Freedomhouse.org. Not only does it have a reputation for censoring and blacklisting certain types of content, there’s also a strong state influence in the telecoms market.
This means that the government is permitted to oversee ISPs and conduct online surveillance at any time, which is not something you want to associate with your VPN provider.
Ease of Use
#VPN couldn’t really be any easier to use. In fact, it’s so simple that it’s almost frustrating – there’s just no configurability whatsoever.
Simply open the app, turn the VPN on and you’re ready to go. You have no control over the VPN protocol or anything else, so if you’re just looking to click-and-forget this could be ideal.
One major irritation was the constant pop-ups trying to get us to upgrade to Premium – every time we opened the app we were greeted with one of these, and they’re annoyingly designed in such a way that makes them hard to get rid of.
To get the app, simply visit the App Store and download it from there. You don’t need to enter your email address or password, just open the app, connect and you’re ready to go.
We’re not even really sure if #VPN’s meager offering can be classed as customer support at all. There are no online resources, not even basic FAQs, and the only way to get in touch with a human being is via a contact form on Apalon’s website.
We did eventually receive a response to our email but it took well over 24 hours to answer an incredibly basic question, which is far from ideal.
The Bottom Line
- Simple custom app for iOS
- Works with Netflix
- No manual workarounds
- Servers are US-only
- Slow performance
- Privacy-unfriendly jurisdiction
- Terrible customer support