Welcome back to Top Dog Apps and another one of our VPN reviews. Today we are looking at a VPN service called ActiVPN. With so many VPN services out there, will ActiVPN do enough to get our attention? If you are interested to find out, please read on.
Why Might You Need A VPN?
The main purpose of a VPN is to hide your identity and location from the website you are browsing. This may be important to you if you don’t want people knowing who you are online, or if you want to use entertainment websites such as Netflix in a country that you are not currently in.
Think of it as a tunnel. People can only see the outer shell of the tunnel (run by the VPN) not the user inside (the VPN user).
What is ActiVPN?
ActiVPN is a VPN service out of France, not somewhere I am used to seeing these type of services based. Having being founded in 1999, they are the elder statesmen of the VPN world.
ActiVPN like to use the tagline ‘Created by PhD & Engineers, experts in offensive security & cryptography, ActiVPN is the most #secure #VPN’. They are definitely telling us they are nothing less than VPN professionals 🙂 In my reviews I have seen many similar companies saying they are the ‘best’ or ‘most secure VPN’, whether that is actually based in fact has been hit or miss 🙂
As with many VPNs I have reviewed recently, the feature list of this service won’t exactly blow your mind! It’s pretty basic stuff for the most part.
- High level security/ encryption (AES-CBC 256 & PKI RSA 2048 bits)
- Available through various protocols, including OpenVPN.
- No limits to data transfer.
- Use up to 5 simultaneous connections on your account.
- Available on PC, Mac and mobile platforms.
- 65 Servers
Before I fall asleep, lets get on with the review.
How Much is ActiVPN?
Being based in France, they state their prices in Euros. They have 3 pricing tiers, from one month all the way up to 2 years. As usual with VPNs, they reward you heavily for subscribing for longer.
In US Dollars it works out (at the time of writing) to be around $12 for one month, all the way down to $3 a month for paying 2 years in advance.
What We Like About ActiVPN?
To be fair, the price of this VPN is on the low side as long as you don’t go for the one month plan. To be honest, this is pretty much the same for 99% of VPNS, so I am pretty used to this.
Good Payment Options
It is good to see that they have a decent amount of payment options. I personally like to see payment options such as Paypal, as I find that much better than handing over a raw credit card number (maybe I’m weird!).
For those of you that are all for the ultimate privacy experience, they do offer the ultimate in anonymous payment (otherwise known as Bitcoin).
Payment options are one of the few areas that ActiVPN do well.
Good Selection of Servers
Although not the best in the industry, ActiVPN do have a decent amount of servers and server locations.
What Don’t We Like About ActiVPN?
For the life of me, I can’t find a refund policy on their website (it’s quite painful searching for these things on there, trust me!!).
With no refund policy, I would at least expect some type of money-back guarantee on the sales page…..but no. In this day and age it is frankly weird to not have such things. Most of their competitors would at least give a 7 day grace period for refunds and any service that wants to be taken seriously needs a refund policy.
I seem to be reviewing some badly designed VPNs recently! My eyes are being strained by some real 90’s design aesthetic, let me tell you!
ActiVPN is not so bad, but they really need to update their website theme or something. Misaligned text, weird fonts and tiny text that will strain your eyes is all part of the service here.
It baffles me, when making a website is so cheap and easy these days, why we still have such sites on the interwebs 🙂
Although this can be a cheap service, I don’t like the way they set up the nature of their pricing plans. They go straight from a month ‘rip-off’ plan to a 1 year commitment. Most of their competitors offer a bit more flexibility here for a 3 month or 6 month commitment, and ActiVPN should do this too. Such aggressive efforts to get people to sign up for at least a year is a bit much in my books.
This is such a rare occurrence with VPNs, I am pretty shocked that this service doesn’t have such a thing. Whether you care about the minute details of your privacy or not, this should still be a massive red flag for you. It’s the same as a bar not having a liquor licence!
The extent of customer support you will find here is a contact us form. No chatbot to answer basic questions and a basic and weirdly formatted frequently asked questions page means the level of help here is pretty basic.
The final nail in the coffin is the fact they are based in France. I usually expect VPNs to be based in the Seychelles or Cyprus. Somewhere that the government would be less likely to pry into the business of a VPN and its customers.
Although France is not on the current list of the ‘enemies of the internet’, they are known as a 9 eyes country. This is a big no-no for anyone looking for a privacy focused service such as VPN.
Let’s Talk About Server Speed
Usually I try to do some rigorous testing of the server speed of the VPN services I review. However, in this case it became clear very quickly that this product would fail in so many of my basic VPN requirements that it would be no use to test the servers. Frankly, there are so many red flags here that even if they had the best servers in the world, I still wouldn’t use them 🙂
I pay for all the VPN services I review, and I realized early on that buying a subscription here would be like throwing my money in the trash 🙂
Should You Subscribe to ActiVPN?
As you may have realized, this is a big fat NO. ActiVPN reminds me of a service that is so old and out of touch that it cannot compete in the modern VPN market. I would take a guess that back in the day they were seen as a good service, but have simply not moved forward with the modern requirements that most modern VPN users have.
This has been the weirdest and most disappointing VPN review I have ever done. But don’t despair, if you are looking for a good VPN I would direct you towards my current gold standard recommendation otherwise known as Pure VPN. They are a well known and well established VPN that set the benchmark for VPNs. Go check out their official website to see for yourself and please forget you ever heard of ActiVPN 🙂