Interview With the World’s Cheapest VPN Provider
VPN99 (named as such for its super low price of $0.99/month) prides itself for maintaining high quality, reliable VPN services at a very low price. They also brand themselves as “a team of strong and dedicated superheroes, aiming to overcome the world of boring VPN-services, slow connections, and abstruse connection instructions.” We wanted to see for ourselves what makes the Seychelles-based team of superheroes tick. Here is our interview with them. Share
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background before starting a vpn service. How did you get started as a VPN service?
I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 15 years. Amongst projects that I have started there are numerous affiliate programs, file-hosting and peer-to-peer services service, including YouDo (a market leader in Russia) and ServerClub, a forex broker-company and dedicated server hosting. VPN99 is a home-grown project that was initiated by my employees at ServerClub. I was pretty skeptical about this project and didn’t pay much attention to it until I realised how unique our pricing model was, and how rare it is in the VPN market. Then it started rolling.
Who is your typical user? Do you cater to a specific VPN need (eg. business user, torrent downloader)?
There are different segments of users in VPN99: people who need to use a service that is geographically locked (blocked by local government or accessible only for specific countries), people who generally want to increase security of their connection (open wifi is too open without VPN actually), companies and people who need to test their competitors’ website from other countries, and some other segments we are not aware about yet.
What is behind your Cheapest VPN business model? How do you manage to maintain your service for just $0.99/month?
I realised that if you just make another VPN service with little bit better design, marketing and user interface then you will not make it. It has to be something completely different. I couldn’t come out with anything else than make it 5-10 times cheaper than any serious competitor. Of course, having our own hosting with 1000 servers and excellent contracts with providers helped a lot. Also, having access to top-notch technical people in Eastern Europe, with salaries sometimes 5 times cheaper than in the US or Europe helped a lot as well.
With Opera offering a free vpn, do you see a future for paid VPNs?
When Google Chrome will add VPN function as a default use-case then the market will start shaking. But Opera with 1% of browser market share is not a threat at the moment.
What about free VPNs like Windscribe and Hola, what is the differentiator for paid VPNs?
None of them can offer servers with gigabit bandwidth and helpful support. To use it once for something – sure it will work. But to use it daily – no way anybody has patience to wait extra 10 seconds for each webpage loading. If you had to choose between waiting 100 times a day for 10 seconds, or paying 3 cents per day for a fast and secure VPN, what would you choose?
How does being located in Seychelles benefit you?
Seychelles are known for business-friendly environment and security-friendly policies. Unless we hear that private data is not private on Seychelles anymore, we will stick to this lovely place.
You do not allow P2P traffic, why is this?
Having 7 years of experience in the hosting business, I know that heat from copyright owners will give us too much damage and headaches, so we made a decision to lose this segment of clients. Many think that it is because of the high bandwidth generated by such clients, but it is not, it is because of the abuse claims that would immediately start to flowing towards us if we enabled torrent traffic.
Some VPNs offer a lifetime deal. What do you think of this strategy?
I think it’s a pretty straight calculation. If your average user gives you $50, then it makes sense to offer lifetime deals of $60. As long as the lifetime deal is higher than your average LTV (life time value), then it makes sense. But don’t get stuck with only lifetime users, without fresh blood you will soon shut down. Currently we do not have plans to offer a lifetime deal.
What is your policy with regards to Data retention?
We do not track where our users go to and how they use our service, unless we’re directly asked to do so. We do see the user’s payment method and the IP addresses from which they logged in when they registered to our service. If we didn’t have that, law enforcement agencies could come to the data center and put a sniffer on the routers without our knowing; however, as a hosting company we would be informed of such operations, which gives VPN99 yet another advantage. Put simply, our policy is that we do not welcome criminals. That’s a segment of users we are willing to lose as well.
What makes VPN99 different from other VPNs?
I could say simplicity of usage, high speed servers and excellent support, but everybody says that. At the bottom line, we are the cheapest VPN service in the Universe.
What measures are being taken in your company to prevent outsiders as well as employees from looking at your users data?
We are trusted by hundreds of businesses clients that host on our servers, so it is an absolute must for all our employees to maintain our client’s data secure at the highest possible standards. Outside attacks are being prevented by systematical updates of all systems, and vulnerability black-box testing by our security partners.