If you think about it, the internet is a lot like outer space. It’s dizzyingly vast, things travel through it at extraordinarily fast speeds and there’s a whole lot of strange hazards and devious entities strewn throughout it, just waiting for an unsuspecting traveler to pass by…
All right, so maybe that last one is more a product of our imagination than an empirical fact. Our point is, if you’re going to venture out into something so huge and unknown, you’d better be well-prepared.
One of your options is Astrill VPN, which encrypts your data and tunnels it through the location of your choice. It’s like slapping a Martian insignia on your Earthling spaceship, then turning on the cloaking mechanism.
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But will Astrill shuttle you to infinity and beyond? Our Astrill VPN review will reveal the answer – read on and find out if this VPN is a shining star or a black hole.
If You’re In a Rush and Just Want Our Concise Opinion …
Looking for a VPN that gives you total control over every aspect of your connection, from encryption cipher to packet size to split tunneling? Astrill VPN is perfect for you – plus it offers fantastic speeds and the much-hyped WireGuard protocol.
About Astrill VPN
Founded in 2009 and based in Seychelles, a group of islands located off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, Astrill aims to provide security and internet freedom to users around the world.
The company’s website doesn’t divulge any details regarding its owners or employees, and a WHOIS search revealed only that Astrill’s domain name was registered through an anonymizing middleman service. It’s not unusual for a VPN provider to keep such information secret, but we wish we were able to see a bit of the company’s human side.
Astrill VPN Usability
Astrill’s website is sharp and simple, with straightforward navigation and an occasional flourish of gently floating stars. The minimalist outer space theme serves well as a vessel for the website’s detailed feature guides, which stay out of the uber-technical realm while still providing ample information about the VPN.
Unlike most of its competitors, which use specialized support base platforms, Astrill’s help articles are presented in Wiki format. If you’re more of a visual learner, Astrill also provides video tutorials for some of its apps.
You’ll find interesting articles about digital privacy, internet laws and VPNs in general on Astrill’s blog. The blog is updated sporadically – as of July, only two new posts have been made in 2019 – but much of the existing content is still relevant and well worth a read.
Astrill offers apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android and routers running DD-WRT or ASUS Merlin.
Linux users can choose between a command-line app or a standalone app with a GUI. The standalone app can run on Debian, Ubuntu 8 and up, Linux Mint 10 and up, Red Hat, Fedora and CentOS; if you use another distro or prefer a more lightweight approach, the command-line installer should serve your needs well.
Astrill provides manual configuration guides for Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Chrome OS, Apple TV and Boxee Box. If you want to use the VPN on a device without native VPN support, you can enable the “VPN Sharing” mode in the Windows, macOS or Linux app; after that, just direct your device to use your desktop computer as its gateway and DNS to route all its traffic through the VPN.
Where other providers go with flashy full-screen apps, Astrill keeps things more low-key. The app’s tiny form factor may require you to get out your reading glasses, but there’s a lot of power packed inside this small package.
A familiar On/Off button takes up most of the app’s home screen, with a drop-down menu underneath allowing you to select your server. You can scroll through the full list, view a selection of Astrill’s recommended servers or choose from your own custom Favorites list once you’ve identified a few of your preferred options.
At the bottom of the interface you’ll find a data usage graph that charts out your most recent upload and download bandwidth consumption. At the top you can see your current protocol and change it by clicking on it.
So far, things have been pretty simple… but that changes when you open the Settings panel and explore Astrill’s huge range of advanced options.
Experienced VPN users will appreciate the level of configuration made possible by Astrill’s highly-customizable connection settings. You can change your encryption strength, MTU (packet size) values, ports, cookie settings, UDP or TCP usage, auto-start behavior, hotkeys and more – if you’re the type who likes to fine-tune things to perfection, Astrill has you covered.
Even the more basic settings give you a higher level of control than we’ve seen with most other providers. If you want to change your DNS from Astrill’s own servers, for instance, you can select a provider from a list of popular choices or input your own server details; the kill switch offers a similar level of flexibility, allowing you to block all traffic or just certain types or sources (see the “Kill Switch” section for more on this).
Other options include split tunneling (which we’ll discuss further in a bit) and various leak protections (DNS, WebRTC and IPv6). You can also run a speed test on any or all of Astrill’s servers; doing so will let you see a server’s latency and download speed before connecting to it.
The mobile apps are structured similarly but are much more limited in terms of settings. On Android, for example, you can enable Smart Mode (which tunnels international websites while leaving domestic sites to use your base connection), switch between UDP and TCP, change your port and configure your split tunneling preferences, but that’s it; the iOS app has only Smart Mode and a “Reconnect” feature that automatically restarts the VPN if the process is killed by iOS.
Usability Score: 8/10
Astrill’s aesthetically-leasing and accessible website, though an excellent resource for novices and casual users, doesn’t necessarily contain the kind of information that would lure techies in. But under the surface, this VPN is full of surprises, particularly when it comes to the advanced features that many experienced VPN users have been missing with other providers.
From the numerous Linux app options – more UI choices and supported distros than we’ve seen anywhere else – to the nitty-gritty connection tweaks that populate the Settings dialog, Astrill is a power user’s dream. We’re impressed with both the depth and breadth of the configuration possibilities here; if you’ve ever longed to mod your VPN like you can with your CPU or GPU, you’ll have a hard time beating Astrill.
If you’re scratching your head at our mentions of ports and protocols and MTU values, chances are you’ll still appreciate Astrill’s versatile features. On-demand server speed tests and ultra-customizable split tunneling are handy tools regardless of technical knowledge.
With such stellar desktop apps, it’s a shame that Astrill’s mobile apps don’t follow the same lead. Hopefully future updates bring more features and options to Android and iOS users, whose apps seem pretty bare-bones in comparison to their powerful desktop counterparts.
Astrill VPN Performance
Servers and Locations
Astrill has an unspecified number of servers located in 115 cities across 64 countries. The company’s FAQ gives an estimate of “over 300” servers, but this information appears to be outdated as it also claims that servers are located in just “50+” countries; the official server list seems to be more current.
Astrill uses only physical servers, not virtual ones. Virtual servers function the same as physical ones from the user’s end, but they share hardware and resources with other servers and sometimes display a location other than their true one, so many VPN users prefer physical servers for reliability, performance and trustworthiness.
Most servers are located in Europe and North America. The USA in particular has a huge variety of locations to choose from, including smaller cities like Buffalo, Kansas City and Salt Lake City that aren’t typically home to VPN servers.
Other regions aren’t quite so dense with servers, but they’re still represented adequately enough for most users. Asia’s servers are divided fairly evenly between the east, southeast and south of the continent: Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and India.
In the Middle East, you can choose between Israel, Pakistan, Turkey and the UAE; in Africa, your two options are Egypt and South Africa. South and Central America host servers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Panama; Australia and New Zealand round out Astrill’s global offerings.
Some of Astrill’s servers are located in countries with strict VPN regulations and laws, including Russia, Turkey and the UAE. These servers provide access to those living in a world of internet censorship, but it’s important to be aware of the risks of using internet services in these countries; Russia, for instance, is known for seizing VPN servers located within its borders without warning.
Chances are you’d never say no to higher speeds, but past a certain point, any benefit gained from speed increases is negligible for all but the most demanding tasks. Additionally, your speeds could be impacted by just about anything: server load, ISP throttling, underpowered or outdated hardware, firewall issues, even the weather!
For these reasons, we don’t recommend choosing a VPN simply because it’s the fastest (whether that’s according to the provider or to other users). If your VPN speeds on a local server are 80% or more of your base speeds, that’s indicative of a solid connection; if you’re connecting to Europe from North America (or vice versa), that percentage can drop as low as 50% while still falling under our acceptable range.
Astrill’s speeds satisfy our criteria, particularly on long-distance connections. With local speeds hovering at around 80% of baseline, there are faster VPNs for domestic connections, but few offer such consistent international speeds.
USA-Europe speeds range from 60-85% of baseline depending on exact distances, in some cases even beating out speeds from local servers. In fact, if your ISP engages in speed throttling based on the type and destination of traffic it detects, you may even reach speeds that exceed your baseline.
Elsewhere around the globe (including Australia, Japan, Russia, Israel and India), speeds are consistently above 35% of baseline, rarely falling below 25Mbps on a 75Mbps base connection. For reference, a 25Mbps connection is recommended by Netflix for streaming 4K Ultra HD video, perhaps the most bandwidth-intensive task you’re likely to perform with a VPN.
Astrill’s website has a speed test page that displays daily speed test results from many of its servers. Without knowing the base connection and location used to conduct these tests, the precise numbers aren’t of much use, but the page still makes a good reference for comparing speeds between Astrill’s servers.
Astrill used to advertise itself as a streaming site unblocker, but recently it’s toned down its emphasis on that potential usage. That’s not surprising: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and many other streaming sites are stepping up their VPN detection game to such an extent that many VPN providers simply aren’t able to keep up.
While Astrill doesn’t provide streaming guides or individual support for finding a streaming server, like some other providers do, users still report success in accessing various streaming sites. American Netflix, which is possibly the most-desired streaming site, is generally accessible from Astrill’s USA servers, as is Hulu; Amazon Prime Video is an iffier target but is occasionally accessible.
The UK servers have inconsistent success with bypassing VPN blocks from BBC iPlayer and UK Netflix. If you need reliable access to these sites, you may wish to look elsewhere, but if you don’t mind trying your luck every so often, you’ll probably get through at least sometimes.
As great as VPNs are, sometimes they’re just not right for certain apps or websites. If you want to watch local streaming video without getting an error message, game online without lag or access your bank’s website without setting off “suspicious login” alerts, Astrill’s app and website filtering feature (more commonly known as split tunneling) may be what you’re looking for.
You have two options for configuring the filters, should you decide to use them: route only specified apps through the VPN or route only specified apps through your base connection.
If you only need the VPN for a few apps (web browser, torrent client) and want the rest of your traffic to use your full base connection, you’ll want to choose the former option. The latter is best for those who want most of their traffic to use the VPN except for a few apps or websites that don’t function properly through it, such as business networks or online games that require low latency.
Performance Score: 4.5 / 5
It’s no surprise that Astrill performs so well, given that you can tune it like a sports car engine. But even without touching any of the advanced settings, this VPN still delivers a balanced and consistent experience.
With a strong global network of physical servers, Astrill is able to provide some of the most reliably decent speeds we’ve seen. If you’re looking to max out your connection on a single server, you might be better off with another provider, but if you’d rather have access to solid speeds whether your chosen server is five or 5,000 miles away, Astrill has you covered.
Streaming isn’t Astrill’s main selling point, but it’s far from its weakest point, with reliable access to US Netflix and at least intermittent access to many other sites, including BBC iPlayer and UK Netflix. And if you’d rather avoid the error messages altogether while still protecting your most sensitive traffic, Astrill’s flexible filtering/split tunneling feature lets you do just that.
Astrill VPN Security
Your VPN protocol dictates the inner workings of your tunneled connection; depending on which one you choose, you’ll see differences in your speed, performance or security. While most providers offer a respectable three or four protocol options, Astrill offers a whopping ten, including two proprietary protocols developed by the company itself.
Most of the protocols offered by Astrill use industry-standard AES-256 encryption by default; this algorithm is so secure it would take billions of years to brute-force just one encryption key. You’re able to use a lower encryption strength (such as AES-196 or AES-128) instead, and if you select OpenVPN as your protocol, you’ll be able to choose a different encryption algorithm altogether, such as Blowfish, CAST or Camellia.
Astrill’s FAQ notes that some protocols are only enabled upon request, and there are some device limitations as well.
Open-source, widely supported and adept at balancing speed and security, OpenVPN is the most popular VPN protocol. It can use UDP for speed or TCP for reliability – the choice is yours, though it uses UDP by default.
OpenVPN is available in all of Astrill’s apps. However, you don’t need to use Astrill’s apps to use OpenVPN; third-party clients are available for most OSes and these can be manually configured to connect to Astrill’s servers.
A newer open-source protocol that’s geared towards those who need the highest security, WireGuard is a rare offering among VPN providers. It’s extremely lean, containing only 4,000 lines of code as opposed to OpenVPN’s 600,000, which means better performance and fewer opportunities for attackers to break into it.
Rather than using AES-256, WireGuard uses ChaCha20, a lesser-known algorithm that offers a similar level of security while hugely reducing processing times and resource consumption, making it excellent for lower-powered devices. It’s available in the Windows, macOS and Linux Astrill apps.
OpenWeb is one of Astrill’s proprietary protocols. It runs over TCP, making it indistinguishable from ordinary web browsing traffic, and it uses multiple layers of encryption for increased security; additionally, it simplifies the connection process so you can switch between servers almost instantly.
Astrill recommends OpenWeb for users in countries with internet censorship or VPN bans, such as China or Russia, as it’s able to bypass the deep packet inspection (DPI) used by these governments to detect and block VPN traffic. The protocol is available in all of Astrill’s apps except the router app.
StealthVPN is Astrill’s other proprietary protocol. It’s similar to OpenWeb but adds an additional layer of obfuscation to defeat automated firewalls used by workplaces, governments and other network snoopers; like OpenVPN, it allows you to switch between UDP for speed and TCP for reliability.
Because its security is more intense than OpenWeb’s, StealthVPN isn’t quite as fast as its sibling, but it’s able to get around even the toughest VPN blocks. It’s an option in all of Astrill’s apps except the iOS app.
An open-source protocol that uses SSL (just like regular old HTTPS traffic), OpenConnect is based on Cisco’s closed-source AnyConnect protocol, which was originally designed to run on Cisco routers. OpenConnect uses a combination of UDP and TCP ports – when a firewall blocks UDP traffic, OpenConnect will switch to TCP, bypassing the block.
Though your data is encrypted with AES-256, the resulting data packets are encrypted again before transport, this time with TLS and DTLS, providing an extra layer of security. OpenConnect is available in all of Astrill’s apps except the iOS app.
A joint project between Cisco and Microsoft, Cisco IPsec provides high security via two layers of encryption: first your data is encrypted, then the data packets themselves are encrypted. However, it’s susceptible to firewall blocks as it doesn’t disguise your VPN traffic.
Ironically, Cisco IPsec is available in all of Astrill’s apps except the Windows app. Astrill recommends this protocol for iOS and Linux users in particular, citing excellent performance on these platforms.
IKEv2/IPsec is very similar to Cisco IPsec, but it’s more optimized for mobile devices. It can seamlessly handle changes between WiFi and mobile data networks without dropping the VPN connection, making it a popular choice for Android and iOS users.
As with Cisco IPsec, IKEv2/IPsec is susceptible to network filtering due to its port usage and metadata structures. It’s available in all of Astrill’s apps and is the only official protocol option when manually configuring the VPN on a BlackBerry device.
L2TP/IPsec is an older protocol, which means that it works on a huge number of devices from many generations of tech. However, it’s quite slow and clunky, and Edward Snowden claims to have seen evidence that the NSA can break the protocol.
Between its slow speeds and high detectability, using L2TP/IPsec isn’t recommended unless necessary. It’s supported by all of Astrill’s apps and is used when manually configuring the VPN on Chrome OS; it’s also unofficially supported by BlackBerry.
SSTP is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft. It’s considered secure, but is quite slow by today’s standards due to its older codebase and its exclusive use of TCP port 443, which is also used by HTTPS traffic and is frequently overloaded.
There isn’t much of a reason to use SSTP over any other protocol unless your device is too old to support any newer ones. Though formerly a Windows-only protocol, Astrill now offers it on Android and Linux as well.
The oldest VPN protocol still in use today, PPTP has been broken numerous times and shouldn’t be used for anything that requires security. However, it’s extremely fast on newer hardware and some users employ it for bandwidth-intensive tasks like streaming and legal torrenting.
Astrill offers PPTP in all of its apps, though it recommends only using it if no other protocol is compatible with your device.
If security is a particularly high concern for you, Astrill’s Multi-Hop VPN feature may give you a little extra peace of mind. It allows you to route your traffic through up to three VPN servers, making it virtually impossible to associate you with any of your internet activity, even if snoopers already know the IP addresses of you and your initial VPN server.
The Multi-Hop feature uses only Astrill’s OpenWeb protocol, which itself uses multiple layers of encryption to secure your data. Multi-Hop is only available to Astrill VIP subscribers (see “Pricing and Payment” for more on this).
Onion over VPN
Tor is known by many users merely as the browser used to access .onion sites on the deep web; to others, it’s a free way to encrypt your traffic and make it untraceable. But some security experts warn against using Tor, as many of its nodes (computers or servers that reroute your traffic) are run by law enforcement agencies for monitoring purposes.
Astrill VPN enables you to access .onion sites in your normal browser without needing to install or use Tor. While your normal ISP can’t process requests for .onion sites without Tor, Astrill can – all you need to do is type the .onion address into your URL bar and hit enter, just like you would with any other website.
Kill Switch and App Guard
Nobody likes a dropped internet connection, but it’s especially unpleasant when it’s your VPN connection. Sure, your websites will continue loading and your files will continue downloading, but they’ll be doing so over your unsecured base connection – and you might not notice until your IP address has already leaked.
Astrill’s kill switch aims to prevent this. When it’s enabled, it’ll instantly cut off all internet traffic both incoming and outgoing should your VPN connection experience any issues, eliminating any risk of IP leaks or transmission of unencrypted sensitive data.
Some users may want the safety of a kill switch for most applications while still allowing traffic for certain apps, such as music streaming apps or instant messaging clients. For these users, Astrill’s App Guard feature will get the job done – it allows you to specify which apps to kill and which ones to leave running in the event of a connection issue.
The kill switch is available in Astrill’s Windows, macOS and Linux apps. App Guard is currently only available on Windows.
Security Score: 4.25 / 5
There’s a common theme between Astrill’s various aspects: choice. Few VPNs give you so many opportunities to customize your experience just the way you like it; fewer still offer so many protocol options.
VPN connoisseurs will have a lot of fun trying out the new and unique protocols offered by Astrill, including the much-hyped WireGuard, the versatile OpenConnect and the proprietary StealthVPN and OpenWeb protocols. Our one fear is that less-experienced users will find themselves paralyzed by the number of options and their highly-technical pros and cons; however, this fear is mostly assuaged by the fact that many of the protocols need to be specifically requested by the user before becoming available.
Even more choices abound with Astrill’s kill switch and App Guard features, though we wish they were available on mobile devices as well (and, in App Guard’s case, on the other non-Windows platforms). The premium Multi-Hop feature would be a nice inclusion for all subscribers, but it should be well worth the extra expense for those who truly need it.
The ability to access the deep web in your regular browser cements Astrill’s status as a security powerhouse. For Windows users, its protection is unbeatable; for others, it’s not quite number one, but it comes pretty darn close.
Astrill VPN Privacy and Policies
Astrill is based in Seychelles, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean that’s technically part of Africa. Seychelles is known for its beautiful beaches, its rare wildlife and its lack of data retention laws – a real paradise on Earth.
In 2003, Seychelles passed a law that prevents companies and other entities from using or sharing an individual’s data without their informed consent. However, as of December 2015, the law has yet to come into effect; the reason isn’t known, but the fact that the law passed is indicative of the country’s general attitude towards privacy.
There isn’t a lot of information out there about privacy and internet regulations in Seychelles, and that’s a good thing. It doesn’t appear that the government has any interest in monitoring internet activity or interfering in private business operations, which is great news for a VPN company.
Because there are no mandatory data retention laws in Seychelles, Astrill is free to enforce any logging policy it wishes. We’re about to find out exactly what that means in practice.
Astrill’s website collects various pieces of non-personal data used by trackers like Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel; this data includes your IP address and the pages you visit on the website. However, Astrill does respect Do Not Track headers and encourages you to use a tracker blocker, both of which prevent the collection of this information altogether.
Upon registering your account, Astrill collects your name and email address, though you’re free to use a pseudonym and an anonymous email address to disassociate your identity from your account. Depending on your chosen payment method, various amounts and types of payment information are collected by Astrill’s third-party payment processers; this information is never stored by Astrill itself.
To enforce the simultaneous connection limit, Astrill collects the following pieces of data for the duration of your VPN session: connection time, device type, app version and IP address. You’re able to delete this data instantly at any time in the member area of Astrill’s website, and it’s automatically and permanently deleted as soon as you disconnect from the VPN.
Astrill does store records of your last 20 connections for troubleshooting and support purposes, though it emphasizes that these records do not include any personally identifying information. They do include connection times, connection durations, app versions, device types and your country; the records are deleted after 30 days of account inactivity, and you can also request full deletion at any time by contacting Astrill.
Finally, Astrill logs your total bandwidth consumption in order to manage and expand its network. This data consists only of the total number of bytes you’ve transmitted through the VPN – no other information is attached.
Astrill never logs any session data such as the IP address of the servers you use, the websites you visit, the files you download or any activity you conduct through the VPN.
Astrill does allow torrenting on some of its servers and even offers a torrent client setup guide on its support Wiki. The P2P-enabled servers are marked with a star in the server list.
Torrenters can take advantage of Astrill’s advanced features, such as port forwarding, to optimize their speeds and connections. The various leak protection settings will prevent your torrent client from revealing your true IP address or location to any copyright enforcers lurking in your peer list.
Privacy and Policies Score: 3.75 / 5
There’s something about island nations that draws VPN companies in, and Seychelles is no exception. While the climate and environment certainly don’t hurt, the main attraction is definitely the lack of data retention and surveillance laws; the fact that it’s not associated with Five Eyes, Fourteen Eyes or other alliances is another big plus.
Astrill doesn’t legally need to keep any logs, and while we understand why it collects the information that it does, we can’t help but wish there was less logging going on.
With that said, Astrill logs far less than some of its supposedly “no-logs” competitors, who keep track of things like which servers you connect to and portions of your IP address.
You also get much more freedom over your Astrill logs than you get elsewhere – it’s easy to disable all web tracker logging on Astrill’s website, and you’re free to delete your current session data at any time. All other logged data (except your total bandwidth consumption, which isn’t a useful statistic for anyone except you and Astrill) can be erased with a simple email.
The bottom line is that Astrill doesn’t log any of the things you’d really want your VPN to hide, and the data it does log is still largely under your control. It’s not perfect, but it’s a reasonable policy for all but the most privacy-hungry users.
Astrill VPN Service and Value
Astrill offers customer support through two venues: live chat and email support tickets.
The live chat functions much like any other: type in your name and your question and an agent will reply to you in the chat window, usually within a few minutes. Live chat support is best suited for simple questions, such as account registration issues or inquiries about details of features.
Email support allows you to address more technical issues that require more explanation, such as app debugging or configuration difficulties. You can’t attach any files to your ticket initially, and responses take longer to receive (anywhere from an hour to a couple of days, depending on issue complexity and ticket backlog) but you’ll get more detailed assistance than you would through live chat.
Astrill notes that it can only provide support in English, so if you prefer to communicate through another language, you may need to use a translator.
Pricing and Payment
Astrill offers one service tier: unlimited bandwidth and five simultaneous connections (the website mentions “unlimited devices” but this refers to the number of devices you can install the apps on, not the number of devices that can use the VPN at once). There are three pricing tiers and three optional add-ons.
One month of service costs $15.90 – nearly six dollars higher than many competitors’ monthly plans. Pay for six months upfront and your monthly cost drops to $11.95, which is more reasonable but still a dollar or two more than a month of service from most other providers.
The best value comes from the yearly plan, which reduces the monthly price to $8.33. Any way you slice it, it’s not cheap, but the yearly plan represents the biggest savings you can get with Astrill.
If you need a private IP address, you can get up to three for an additional $5 a month each. Private IPs are available on most of Astrill’s servers, which you can select from at checkout.
For an additional $10 a month per 100GB of bandwidth, you can become an Astrill VIP, which gives you access to exclusive servers in the USA, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and China; these servers are optimized for low latency and high speeds, so Astrill recommends them for gamers. The VIP add-on also gives you access to the Multi-Hop feature.
Finally, you’re able to purchase a router that arrives preconfigured with Astrill VPN software, ready to plug in and use right away. At time of writing, two routers were available, with one costing $39 and the other costing $139; these are one-time payments, not recurring monthly charges.
A free seven-day trial is available, though getting it requires you to provide a mobile number in order to receive a confirmation code via SMS, presumably to prevent excessive registrations. No refunds are offered.
Payment is accepted through Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay, Maestro, Cirrus, PayPal, AliPay, Wechat Pay, Perfect Money, bank transfer and Bitcoin. It’s always nice to see an anonymous payment option, and hopefully Astrill adds more in the future.
Service and Value Score: 3 / 5
To put it bluntly, Astrill is expensive. At its cheapest, it’s barely more affordable than the priciest plans from some of its competitors – and you have to pay for a year in advance in order to get the price that far down.
And that’s assuming you don’t need any add-ons. At an extra $10 a month, the VIP add-on costs as much as another VPN subscription just about anywhere else; this is not a VPN for the penny-pincher, that’s for sure.
The free trial is nice, but it’s a shame that it requires something so personal as your cell phone number, and if we had to choose between a free trial and any sort of money-back guarantee, we’d take the latter. One thing’s for sure: if you go with Astrill, you need to be certain that it’s right for you.
Final Score: 4 / 5
This has been a very polarizing review – we’ve gone from awe at Astrill’s advanced features to disbelief at its prices, with our final opinion lying somewhere in the middle.
On one hand, Astrill simply can’t be beat in the settings department. If you’ve got some technical experience under your belt and enjoy tinkering with your apps, you’ll find more options with Astrill than with any other provider we’ve seen.
That’s not to say that casual users won’t get anything out of Astrill; just because it’s got a lot of settings doesn’t mean they all need to be messed with in order to achieve proper functioning. Astrill works just as well out of the box as it does after a ton of fine-tuning, so it’s great for VPN newbies as well.
However, Astrill’s mobile apps could use a few upgrades, particularly with regard to simple security features like a kill switch and leak protection. We’d also like to see a price drop (or at least a money-back guarantee) to bring its value more in line with that of its competition.
If you’re looking for a provider that doesn’t log any data for any length of time, or if you’re on a budget, this isn’t the VPN for you. However, if you’re willing to pay a premium for stellar settings, incomparable protocol options and consistent performance, Astrill should suit you perfectly.
Thought we were done talking about VPNs? Think again – we’ve got a lot more to say, particularly on these topics:
Which VPNs Support Onion over VPN?
Tor is a great tool for privacy and security, as well as visiting the darker side of the web, but it’s frequently sluggish and often an all-around pain to use. Some VPNs, like Astrill and NordVPN, offer Onion over VPN, which allows you to access the deep web without using Tor.
What is WireGuard?
Move over, OpenVPN… step aside, IPsec… there’s a new protocol in town. WireGuard is an open-source VPN protocol that utilizes some clever tricks and newfangled technologies to provide a lightweight yet ultra-secure encrypted tunnel for your internet traffic.