Welcome back to Top Dog Apps, as ever the search for those Top Dog Apps goes on!! Today I am looking at yet another VPN service and helping you decide if they are worth your time. It’s crazy how many VPNs there are these days, and it’s hard sorting the good from the bad. Hopefully, we can help….
What is Stark VPN?
With a name like Stark you may think that this service is backed by the Marvel Famous Tony Stark, but of course it is not! Tony is unfortunately just a fictional character who doesn’t have the ability to start companies 🙂
All jokes aside, Stark VPN comes across like any other entrant to the VPN market. They really don’t do anything new or special here.
For those of you who aren’t aware of what a VPN is, basically it is a way to tunnel your website traffic through someone else’s server to make the destination site think you are coming from the location or IP address of those third party servers. This can be used to hide your internet identity or fool entertainment services such as Netflix to think you are in a country you are not.
Back to specifics on the Stark VPN offering…
I have been using a Canva alternative called Artify recently, that uses an abstract art style that I have been seeing becoming crazily popular with the websites of new startups. And funnily enough, the Stark VPN website design looks like it was pulled straight from Artify or something similiar. The problem is, so many new businesses are using this ‘abstract’ design it is starting to grate on me and adds to the feeling that Stark VPN is just a copy and paste ‘me too’ business.
This is pretty much the stock VPN experience. You download their app for Windows, Mac OS, Android or iOS. You can connect to their service for free or pay for their premium VPN with faster speeds.
When using this premium service, you can connect to VPN servers in 20 different countries.
That’s pretty much it. Stark VPN make some interesting claims on their site such as “Protect your Windows from security threats with StarkVPN” but don’t really go into any details as to what this means feature wise.
How Much is Stark VPN?
Weirdly, Stark VPN doesn’t have a pricing tab on their website like most normal business’, which set off alarm bells ringing in my head immediately.
Instead, they have a ‘Subscription Info’ tab hidden at the bottom of their site. Then when you look at this, it looks more like a policy page than a pricing page.
They say you pay $3.99 a week, $9.99 a month or $39.99 a year for their premium service. This is heavily weighting the discounts towards getting you to sign up for a whole year. In fact, this is the only pricing that seems cheaper than competitors, with both the weekly and monthly prices seeming pretty standard.
To add to the weirdness, they only talk about how to subscribe on iOS iTunes on this page, even though they are also present on other platforms.
What Do We Like about Stark VPN?
This tells me that this VPN service takes privacy seriously.
Fast Speed & Bandwidth
I have to say that I have been impressed with the speeds of the Stark VPN servers. The premium servers are fast enough to live stream and download files at a good rate compared to other premium VPN services. Even the free servers are decent as far as free VPN’s go, although it is pretty useless to me (more on that below).
Stark also doesn’t put any limits on your bandwidth, although they do talk about ‘fair usage’ in their terms of service. If you are using excessive amounts of bandwidth, they will limit your account, although they don’t quote any specific figures around this. All I can say is that I was never limited, even when using their servers heavily.
It would appear that you would be able to do torrenting with this service, and Stark never specifically mention that this is banned from their service. This is a grey area, however, as they do state that any illegal activity is not allowed, and technically torrenting is illegal in most countries.
No Account for Free Service
I like how, when using the free service, you can skip the account setup if you wish. This means they are not forcing you to hand over your private information if you don’t want to. Again, this shows me that this service cares about their users’ privacy.
What Don’t We Like about Stark VPN?
As said above, the whole lack of a clear pricing page is weird to me and doesn’t exactly give me confidence in Stark as a business.
Can’t Buy on Windows?
Along with the fact they have their price hidden away, it seems you can’t physically subscribe to the VPN on Windows. On the Windows application, there is nothing about upgrade or purchase subscription. There is also no way to make an account on Windows. Their website has no option to create an account either, so you have to do this on another platform, subscribe on there and then come back to Windows! Weird!
Where are they based?
It makes me feel as if they want to hide their location of operation for some reason.
1.0 Windows Software
As stated above, the Windows functionality of this VPN is so basic its almost laughable. This is backed up by the fact that their Windows client is a 1.0 software. I don’t know why they are so against developing on Windows, but at this point they should almost delete it from their service all together!!
Useless Free Service
It is great that they have a free service where you don’t even have to sign up with an account, but the service itself it worthless to me. They have a feature they call auto-connect that means you can’t actually choose which location you connect to. You can only do this with the premium plan.
If you want a free VPN, I currently like the Touch VPN Chrome extension that has decent speeds and good functionality. You will see why I think the Stark free service is useless!
Not a Professional Setup
There are quite a few small things that add up to make me think that the Stark VPN team is small and they don’t exactly have that big company professionalism or feel. One example of this is that their support/help page still has the “Just another WordPress Website” tagline that is default in WordPress. I can’t believe a paid service would forget to update such a thing!! This is something I expect from website making newbies, not someone with a paid service 🙂
Should You Subscribe to Stark VPN?
Frankly, this review was a bit of a shame in my book! Stark seemed to have so much promise as a VPN service. They don’t have issues with the main point of a VPN, a good choice of fast servers.
However, there are too many weird things about this VPN service that add up to make me loose confidence in the service as a whole. They might all be genuine mistakes or oversights, who knows! But when you have solid VPNs made by trusted and well-known companies, why would you take a risk on someone like Stark VPN? Personally, I would stick with the big boys, especially as the pricing is pretty similar.
If they clear up some of the weirdness in their service in the future, maybe I will rethink!