Who is X-VPN Free?
Logging Policy & Jurisdiction
X-VPN logs too much data. The VPN service retains your connection timestamps and city-level location. Moreover, it tracks all sites visited through its servers, though this is aggregated. We also found that X-VPN has links to China. In short, X-VPN Free is not a private VPN.
X-VPN was incorporated in July 2017 under the name Free Connected Limited in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is a good place for a VPN to be based as it doesn’t have any compulsory data retention laws and it falls outside of Five-Eyes jurisdictions.
However, when we performed a thorough investigation into free VPN apps we found X-VPN has links to mainland China, which is bad news for privacy.
Jin Li, the company’s director, and Chengdu Zhuozhuo Technology Co, the sole shareholder, are based in Sichuan province, China.
Read on to find out how that could affect you.
X-VPN Free’s logging policy is exactly the same as it is for premium users – it’s neither the most privacy friendly we’ve read, nor the worst.
Here’s what X-VPN collects for troubleshooting and service optimization purposes:
- Chosen VPN server
- VPN connection timestamp (date and time)
- Choice of VPN protocol
- Network type
- Server CPU load and bandwidth
Thankfully these are only stored for 96 hours before being erased.
X-VPN also stores this information when you open the app for product development purposes:
- Device information
- App version
- Data usage
- City-level location
While this data is stored for an undetermined length of time you can request for it to be deleted.
X-VPN also collects anonymous and aggregated data of the sites visited via its servers.
Nevertheless, X-VPN can’t link you with your online activities because it doesn’t store user IP addresses.
Fairly quick on nearby VPN servers
Speed & Reliability
X-VPN Free is slow. The VPN only has one server and chooses the location automatically. As a result, you may be far away and experience slowdowns. With that said, we connected to an X-VPN Free server, and still experienced a large speed drop of 28%.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind before looking at our X-VPN Free speed test results.
- The VPN automatically picks a server location for you, and it may not be close by. While it could connect to a VPN server located in the same city as us (London), you might not be as fortunate.
- X-VPN uses a proprietary protocol named ‘Protocol X’. This means that we can’t fairly compare results to those of other VPNs that use standard protocols like OpenVPN.
Here are the speeds we recorded in our tests:
Local Speed Test results before using X-VPN Free:
- Download Speed: 93Mbps
- Upload Speed: 92Mbps
- Ping: 9ms
Local Speed Test results with X-VPN Free:
Download speed loss when X-VPN Free is running: 28%
We lost about 30% of our internet speeds when connected to the VPN, which is slower than most other VPN services.
But again, it completely depends on the server location the VPN chooses for you. If it connects you to a faraway country you’ll experience much worse speeds.
As you can see, uploads were a little better than downloads, and ping times were very good too.
Having said that, X-VPN isn’t a good VPN for torrenting, which we’ll explain more about later.
Strong encryption but lacks basic security features
Security & Features
X-VPN Free uses a proprietary VPN protocol, which isn't as trustworthy as open-sourced options, like OpenVPN and WireGuard. The VPN also doesn't come with a kill switch, nor does it include any advanced security features. As a result, there are far better VPNs available for encrypting and securing your internet traffic.
As we mentioned above, X-VPN doesn’t use standard VPN protocols – it uses proprietary technology instead.
According to X-VPN, protocol X uses “unparalleled encryptions and authentications” to protect user data.
It uses nine different types of tunneling protocols, which you can find within the app settings.
Unlike the desktop apps, X-VPN’s free mobile apps give no contextual information about the different VPN protocols, which is very confusing to new users.
There is some information about them on X-VPN’s website, though.
While it’s nice to have some information about the level of security and speeds offered by each protocol there are no technical details to back up X-VPN’s claims.
For this reason, we’d prefer for X-VPN to provide standard protocols, like OpenVPN which is open-source and has been thoroughly audited for vulnerabilities.
Thankfully, all of X-VPN’s protocols use AES-256 encryption, a cipher considered unbreakable.
On the other hand, none of X-VPN Free’s apps come with a VPN kill switch, which could lead to users’ personal data being exposed should the VPN connection suddenly drop.
Annoyingly, the feature is present within the app settings, but you can only enable it if you’re a premium subscriber.
It’s not all bad, though.
X-VPN didn’t leak in our IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak tests:
X-VPN has a while to go before it’s as secure as our top-rated free VPNs.
Automatic VPN server location only
X-VPN Free only has one server location. The VPN will automatically connect you to your nearest server location. Depending on your location, this may noticeably impact speed performance. It also makes it impossible to use X-VPN Free for bypassing international geo-blocks.
When you use the VPN service it automatically connects you to the nearest server location.
For example, we’re based in the UK so X-VPN automatically connected to a London server.
While this is good for optimizing speeds – the closer you are to VPN server the faster the connection will be – it’s not at all ideal for accessing foreign content.
X-VPN also couldn’t confirm for us how many server locations are available to free users so there’s no way of knowing whether you’re near a free VPN server until you try it out for yourself.
The full list of premium server locations are included in the apps but if you click on one X-VPN will prompt you to upgrade.
X-VPN uses a mixture of bare metal servers and virtual servers, meaning that some aren’t really located in the country they say they are.
Doesn't work with streaming apps
X-VPN’s free service is a bad VPN for streaming. The paid version of X-VPN has dedicated streaming servers, but they are not available for free users. We were unable to access US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and all other streaming services in our testing.
Sadly, most free VPN services don’t prioritize streaming access. Popular platforms like Netflix and Hulu actively block VPN IP addresses, and free VPNs don’t put resources into getting around those blocks.
If you really need a VPN for streaming Netflix, then check out our recommendations for the best VPNs for Netflix
Unsuitable for torrenting
As X-VPN is only available on mobile, its torrenting ability is inherently limited. iOS doesn't allow torrenting at all, and it's more difficult on Android compared to a PC. Moreover, the free version of X-VPN only supports torrenting on some servers, so your experience depends on which server you get automatically connected to.
X-VPN’s stance on torrenting and P2P traffic is unclear.
X-VPN told us that it only supports P2P traffic on some servers, but didn’t let us know which ones.
Even then, X-VPN’s free apps don’t come with a VPN kill switch, which could leave your personal information exposed when torrenting.
It’s best to stick to a VPN service that is completely transparent about torrenting – here are the best free VPNs for P2P users.
Doesn’t work in China
We found that X-VPN Free has never been able to bypass the Great Firewall of China. It's also not a good option for other high-censorship countries due to the lack of server location options.
A member of the customer support team confirmed that X-VPN doesn’t support service in China due to “related policies.”
China aggressively blocks VPN traffic and X-VPN won’t work there.
Unfortunately, that’s the case for most free VPNs. You’ll typically need to opt for a paid VPN service if you travel to China – of all the VPNs we’ve tested, these are the best for working in China.
X-VPN’s free service isn’t great for other high-censorship countries either because you can’t select the server location, which will affect the content you can access and the VPN’s speeds.
Limited to mobile-only apps
Platforms & Devices
X-VPN Free is only available on mobile, with apps for Android and iOS. If you want to use X-VPN on desktop or on your TV, you’ll have to upgrade to a premium subscription.
X-VPN only has free VPN apps for Android and iOS devices.
You can try out the service on desktop for free but users are restricted to 500MB of data, and once it’s gone it’s gone for good. Most free data allocations renew each month, but not X-VPN.
The mobile apps are free for as long as you need them, though.
While X-VPN’s premium service comes with an app for Amazon Fire TV Stick, a browser extension for Google Chrome, and manual setup options for routers, these aren’t available for free users.
Simple, user-friendly apps
Ease of Use
As X-VPN is mobile-only, it's easy to set up and use. Find X-VPN within your device's app store and download the app. There’s no need to sign in, you can just select a server and click the connect button. Disappointingly, the app includes pop-up ads. These do significantly worsen the user experience.
How to Install & Set Up X-VPN Free
There are a couple of settings to configure in the X-VPN Free mobile app. Be sure to enable the VPN kill switch – but other than that it’s very basic.
Like many free VPNs, there are intrusive pop-up ads, which are annoying and interruptive when using the app.
Unreliable live chat & basic online resources
X-VPN's customer support is poor, which is common for free VPN services. There’s live chat support, but it disappointed in our tests. The online guides are resources were also below-average due to the lack of useful information included.
|Live chat Support||Yes|
X-VPN Free’s live chat support isn’t always available and on occasion we were left waiting hours (or even days) for a response.
The customer support agents aren’t very knowledgeable, either.
We were referred to the manager for some simple questions and even then we waited two days for an email reply.
The resources on X-VPN’s website are sparse and not very useful. Aside from a few setup guides, there are some very basic FAQs.
The website is in great need of an update – it’s tired-looking and some of the information is outdated.
Do We Recommend X-VPN Free?
The Bottom Line
X-VPN Free doesn’t come close to its competition.
While there’s unlimited data on offer, the VPN’s lack of server location options, desktop support, and constant pop-up ads were enough to put us off.
This is a mobile-only VPN that’s not particularly safe, fast, or effective – we recommend avoiding it if possible.
Alternatives to X-VPN Free
ProtonVPN is another free VPN service that provides unlimited data, but unlike X-VPN you can use it on all your devices, it’s super privacy-friendly, and you can choose between multiple locations. Read ProtonVPN Free review
With a 10GB monthly data cap, Windscribe isn’t as generous as X-VPN, but it has no pop-up ads, servers in 10 countries, and is torrenting-friendly. Read Windscribe review