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12VPN Review 2023 - Keep This in Mind Before Buying

Author Image Ivana Sarandeska
Ivana Sarandeska Cybersecurity Researcher

12VPN (also known as 12VPX) is a bit of a mystery service. Its website promises secure connections and fast speeds, but doesn’t really provide much more information than that.

Intrigued, I signed up and took the VPN for a trial run to see whether it really is as fast and safe as it claims — and whether it ranks among the best VPNs currently on the market. To make my analysis, I tested 12VPN’s unblocking abilities, speeds, security and privacy measures, ease of use, and more.

While the VPN unblocked a few streaming platforms, I found its privacy policy quite worrying. Plus, I had one of the strangest customer support exchanges I’ve ever experienced…

Try 12VPN Today!

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

12VPN Features — Updated in February 2023

💸 Price 5.99 USD/month
📆 Money Back Guarantee 14 Days
📝 Does VPN keep logs? No
🖥 Number of servers 70+
💻 Number of devices per license 6
🛡 Kill switch No
🗺 Based in country Netherlands
🛠 Support Live Chat
📥 Supports torrenting Yes

Try 12VPN Today!

Streaming — Unblocks Some Platforms, but Not Netflix

12VPN has decent streaming capabilities. I could watch some of the most popular platforms with it, though others were blocked.

The VPN’s website itself does not offer any info regarding streaming, so I didn’t know what to expect. The support agent I spoke with told me that the VPN doesn’t encourage you to use the VPN to access geoblocked platforms, as it usually goes against streaming services’ terms of use. For that reason, he couldn’t give me any server recommendations for streaming.

This seemed unusual, as VPN support agents usually give me useful information about streaming with their services. It’s especially odd since the server list in my app included a streaming-optimized server for US platforms (though it never connected during my tests).

Unblocks: Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and Peacock TV

I was able to access some major platforms, but only with some servers and connection types (which took a while to identify).

For example, Hulu worked with almost all US servers I tested — but only when using the VPN’s custom WEB protocol. When I tried using OpenVPN connections, I could access the site, but couldn’t stream anything because the speeds were slow.

A screenshot of The Great Gatsby playing on Hulu using 12VPN, connected to the New York server using WEB connection type12VPN’s WEB protocol worked with Hulu, though OpenVPN didn’t

Accessing HBO Max was a bit more of a struggle. It took a while to find a server that worked. Eventually, I was able to unblock the site with a server in Fremont while using the WEB connection.

Streaming Insecure on HBO Max using 12VPN while connected to the Freemont server using the WEB connectionAfter multiple failed attempts, I finally got the site to work with a server in Fremont

Disney+ opened only with the Chicago server while using the WEB connection. All other server and connection type combinations gave me a black screen.

Streaming Encanto on Disney+ using 12VPN, connected to the Chicago server, using WEB connection typeUnblocking Disney+ was challenging, but 12VPN got there eventually

Blocked by: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer

No matter which 12VPN server and connection type I tried, region-specific Netflix content remained unavailable to me.

A screenshot of Netflix US blocking 12VPN, connected to the Los Angeles server using OpenVPN TCP connectionNetflix US only showed me its Top 10 list and wouldn’t let me stream anything

BBC iPlayer detected the VPN almost immediately too. Changing the server or the connection didn’t help.

Screenshot of BBC iPlayer noticing I am not located in the UK while connected to 12VPN's GB Mixed server, using WEB connectionThe service knew I wasn’t in the UK, so it completely blocked my access

Even though 12VPN is not advertised as a streaming VPN, it performed better than I expected. Bypassing the strong encryption and VPN detection used by Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+ is a big plus in my book.

But if you want a more reliable streaming VPN, try one of these services that unblocks Netflix instead.

Speeds — Very Slow Using OpenVPN

12VPN provided me with good speeds on most servers using its WEB connections, but OpenVPN slowed me down terribly.

The Windows app that I tested offers several connection types. The WEB connection type and its variants are actually custom protocols developed by 12VPN. WEB only uses AES-128 encryption (a weaker level), which is why it’s faster. The OpenVPN connections are significantly slower and in some cases, I couldn’t even load the speed testing website while using them. This is unfortunate as OpenVPN is much more secure (but more on that later).

I first tested my connection speeds without the VPN. My base speed at the time of testing was 472.39 Mbps download, 490.43 Mbps upload, and 4 ms ping.

Then, I tested numerous VPN servers across different locations including the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, US, Canada, Japan, and China. I also tested the different connection types.

When testing 12VPN’s speeds, I took into consideration 3 metrics:

  • Download speed – this represents the amount of data you can receive from the internet measured in Mbps (megabits per second). This is important if you want to stream.
  • Upload speed — measures the amount of data you can send from your computer per second. It's measured in Mbps and useful for video calls, sending messages, etc.
  • Ping — measured in ms, and represents server response time. This is important in gaming, as high ping leads to lag.

WEB Connection Speeds

In my first round of tests, I used the WEB connection. Nearby European servers gave me good download speeds, averaging 444.51 Mbps download, 59.04 Mbps upload, and a ping of 47.3 ms.

Screenshots of 12VPN's speed test on the French, German, and Netherlands servers using WEB connection12VPN’s custom protocol gave me good download speeds

My download speeds were similar to those of my base connection, but upload speeds took a huge hit — up to 88%. I had a fast connection in the first place, so I wasn’t affected by this. However, such a drop would make activities like video calling impossible on a regular 20 Mbps network.

More distant servers, located in the US, Australia, and Japan dropped both my download and upload speeds. The US server gave me the biggest overall speed decrease at over 80%.

Here’s a breakdown of my test results using the WEB connection:

Location Download Speed Upload Speed Ping
Base speed 473.39 Mbps 490.43 Mbps 4 ms
France 444.95 Mbps (6% decrease) 58.47 Mbps (88% decrease) 44 ms
Germany 487.65 Mbps (3% increase) 58.90 Mbps (87% decrease) 49 ms
Netherlands 400.94 Mbps (15% decrease) 59.90 Mbps (87% decrease) 49 ms
The US 75.07 Mbps (84% decrease) 16.29 Mbps (96% decrease) 132 ms
Japan 312.42 Mbps (34% decrease) 7.82 Mbps (98% decrease) 259 ms
Australia 252.11 Mbps (46% decrease) 4.55 Mbps (99% decrease) 316 ms

OpenVPN Connection Speeds

Switching to the OpenVPN TCP connection type led to speed decreases of 85%, even on nearby servers. Most servers gave me speeds above 20 Mbps, but only because my base connection was very fast in the first place. The same 85% drop on a 20 Mbps connection would make streaming in HD impossible.

What was most alarming is that some servers wouldn’t connect at all when using the OpenVPN TCP connection. Locations including Sydney, Montreal, Stockholm, and New York never gave me a working connection.

Screenshots of 12VPN speed tests using OpenVPN TCP protocolSome locations never even let me connect

Here are my full test results using the OpenVPN protocol:

Location Download speed Upload speed Ping
Base speed 472.39 Mbps 490.43 Mbps 4 ms
The US 10.41 Mbps (97% decrease) 8.00 Mbps (98% decrease) 145 ms
Canada 29.03 Mbps (93% decrease) 18.29 Mbps (96% decrease) 134 ms
Russia 44.42 Mbps (90% decrease) 20.31 Mbps (95% decrease) 54 ms

In general, 12VPN gave me good speed results when using the WEB connection. But as soon as I switched to OpenVPN TCP, I lost my speed. The biggest disappointment was discovering that at least 5 servers didn’t work.

If you want a fast VPN that offers a stable and reliable connection no matter which protocol you use, I recommend you take your pick from this list of super-fast VPNs.

Server Network — Small and Unreliable

12VPN has 70 servers in 39 countries. While the network is not huge, it is well distributed across the globe.

The VPN has servers in the following countries:

Australia Austria Belgium Bulgaria Canada Czech Republic Denmark
France Germany Greece Hong Kong Hungary India Ireland
Israel Italy Japan Lithuania Latvia Netherlands New Zealand
Moldova Norway Poland Romania Russia Singapore Serbia
Slovenia South Africa South Korea Spain Sweden Switzerland Taiwan
Thailand Turkey UK USA

The server list gives you additional data about online status, availability in China, supported protocols, and the IP address you’d get when using each of the servers. There’s also a check box option to show or hide a server from the list.

Additionally, the VPN states that you can use servers marked with FLIX-USA to access US-specific steaming platforms. However, this server wouldn’t connect during my tests.

While 12VPN covers some locations that are rare for VPNs (like Russia), overall this isn’t a reliable or comprehensive server network. While most of the servers were OK and connected within 15 seconds, there were a handful of servers that wouldn’t connect at all.

Try 12VPN Today!

Security — Customizable Encryption and Decent Protocols

12VPN offers good protection overall, but it mostly depends on the settings you use. While it offers AES-256 encryption with OpenVPN, it only has AES-128 with its custom WEB protocols.

Protocols and Encryption

The VPN website claims that the service supports a range of protocols (including IKEv2, IPSec, SoftEther, and PPTP). However the native Windows app only gave me access to the following:

  • OpenVPN — this is the industry-standard protocol, offering strong encryption and fast speeds. 12VPN offers the TCP protocol and an OpenVPN Stealth option to bypass firewalls.
  • WireGuard — a relatively new protocol, designed to be faster and more lightweight than OpenVPN (though it isn’t quite as secure). WireGuard is only available with 12VPN via manual configuration.
  • WEB — 12VPN’s custom protocol, designed to load-balance over multiple servers for better performance. This protocol gave me much faster speeds than OpenVPN.

For iOS, Android, Linux, and everything else, it only works through manual setup, with the following protocols:

  • iOS — WireGuard and Shadowscale
  • Android — v2rayNG and WireGuard
  • Linux — WireGuard and OpenConnect
  • Routers — WireGuard and v2Ray
  • ChromeOS — WireGuard and v2rayNG

v2ray has built-in obfuscation which hides traffic in TLS — it runs parallel with web servers. OpenConnect is an open-source software that creates secure point-to-point connections. With Shadowscale, configuration can be imported by scanning QR codes or by manually entering URLs.

It’s worth noting that your level of encryption depends on the protocol you choose. OpenVPN and WireGuard are both paired with the ultra-secure 256-bit AES (the highest level of encryption you can get). But the VPN’s proprietary WEB protocol only uses 128-bit encryption, which is faster but less secure. The website says you can choose your level of encryption in the Windows app, but I never found that option.

Leak Tests

I tested the VPN for IPv4, IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC data leaks. I am happy to report that 12VPN did not leak any of my data.

This means that all my information was completely protected online. If the VPN leaked my IP address, any website or app I used could see my real location and identity, which beats the purpose of having a VPN. DNS are similar, but it's the browsing history that gets exposed in case of a data breach. Overall, 12VPN did a good job keeping me safe.

A screenshot of a leak test on 12VPN, showing that the VPN prevents leaksThat means your real location and online activity stay hidden while using the VPN

Virus Test

One of the most worrying things about this test is the fact that when I checked 12VPN’s apps using VirusCheck, a Trojan.Wacatac script was detected. This is a type of ransomware that can alert you to fake threats, using scaremongering to prompt you to add your details and payment to a bogus solution that then reads your information, leaving you at risk of targeted attack.

Aside from the fact that every user who installs the app could be exposed to this threat, it really doesn’t fill me with confidence when a VPN client itself is infected. If the VPN can’t keep itself protected, I don’t have much faith that it can really safeguard my data.

Graphic showing 12VPN Windows app infected with Trojan virusVPNs should protect you from these threats, not expose you to them

Additional Security Features

12VPN provides a kill switch, but it’s not turned on by default. Kill switches are important because they cut off your internet traffic if you lose connection to the VPN. This prevents your identity, location, and online activity being accidentally leaked to your ISP. I prefer kill switches to be automatically enabled (so I don’t have to remember to do it) but I’m glad 12VPN provides one.

Servers are automatically protected by a NAT firewall too. This kind of firewall prevents any traffic from passing through, unless a device on your network requested it. Any unsolicited requests are discarded, preventing communication with potentially dangerous devices on the internet.

There’s also a SmartDNS service but it’s not safe to use. SmartDNS allows you to access geoblocked sites and services. Similar to a proxy, it directs only a part of your traffic — your DNS requests — through its servers. However, that means you get no online protection (like encryption) while you browse. I also found out that 12VPN’s SmartDNS stores your IP address until you cancel your account. For these reasons, I didn’t feel safe testing the service, so I can’t say whether it does a better job of unblocking than the regular servers.

It was disappointing to find that there is no multiphop option available. Multiphop is a way of using two servers instead of just one, giving your connection an extra layer of protection and encryption. There is also no way to use the VPN with Tor, which protects your IP address and stops your true identity being seen by the Tor entry node.

All in all, the VPN offers some solid security features to keep your data safe and protect you from potential cyber attacks and hackers, but its apps may be dangerous.

Try 12VPN Today!

Privacy — Possible Logging and Vague Privacy Policy

12VPN claims to have a no-logs policy, but the small print suggests otherwise.

When I dug into the privacy policy, I found a clause that says the app allows you to “optionally share the app log” with the VPN team. Apparently, this data is used for “troubleshooting and improvements” and can be stored for up to 90 days. But there’s no clarification on what the app log is, or what information it stores.

After a bit of hunting around the app, I found the log in question. I was shocked to see that the VPN was logging all sorts of data, including my IP address and my device’s MAC address.

There is a checkbox next to the log, where you can opt in or out of sending all logged information to the VPN team. This was automatically enabled, meaning my information was already being forwarded to the team without my knowledge. You can opt out of sharing your app log but there’s no guarantee that opting out prevents the information from being logged in the first place.

As I mentioned earlier, the privacy policy also states that the VPN’s SmartDNS service logs your IP address in order to work. Your IP address is then stored until you either change it to a new one, or delete your account.

A screenshot of 12VPN's privacy policy showing that it logs your dataThe client is set to share logs with the VPN provider by default

This is all very worrying considering the VPN is located in the Netherlands, which is part of the 9/14 Eyes Alliance. Alliance countries are known for online surveillance, and sharing citizens’ data with other members. That means 12VPN could be forced to hand over any data it has on you if requested by Dutch authorities. Since it seems like the VPN does log some of your information, this puts your privacy at real risk.

I found 12VPN’s privacy measures really disappointing, especially as the VPN markets itself as safe and secure. If online privacy is your main goal, choose one of these no-log VPNs instead.

Torrenting — Not Allowed

12VPN does not allow torrenting on any of its servers. If you get caught using the service for torrenting, your account will be terminated.

You can check out these torrenting VPNs that are perfect for the job instead.

Does 12VPN Work in China? Yes

The customer support team says that it does. The rep I spoke to even provided me with an alternative URL for the VPN that works in China, since 12VPN’s usual site is blocked there.

screenshot of 12VPN's email support answer12VPN’s website is blocked in China, but it offers an alternative

The server list also provides you with useful, up-to-date information about which servers are currently working in China.

Installation & Apps


Simultaneous Device Connections – Up to 6

12VPN allows you to connect 6 devices with one subscription. This is a fairly standard offering, aligned with other VPNs I’ve tested.

The Windows native app also allows you to share a WEB connection with other devices in your network — so you can create your own VPN.

Device Compatibility — Multi-Platform Compatibility, but Only with Complex Configuration

12VPN only provides native apps for Windows and macOS. It is compatible with other platforms, but only via complicated manual setup. Each one can also only be configured with certain protocols.

  • Android: Can be manually configured with the WireGuard client or the v2RayNG app (a Chinese app developed to use v2Ray VPN tunneling with Android devices)
  • iOS: Manual configuration with WireGuard
  • Apple TV: Smart DNS service only
  • ChromeOS: Manual configuration with the v2RayNG app
  • Within the Windows app:
    • Extension for Google Chrome, Brave Browser, Chromium, Opera, Vivaldi, Dissenter, and more.
    • Extension for Firefox
  • Linux: Manual configuration with WireGuard or OpenConnect on Ubuntu
  • Routers:
    • OpenWRT: WireGuard, v2Ray, Policy Based Routing, SmartDNS
    • Merlin: OpenVPN, PPTP, SmartDNS
    • DD-WRT: PPTP (Preferred and Alternative), OpenVPN
    • Sabai: OpenVPN, PPTP
    • Xiaomi: PPTP
    • TP-Link: PPTP
    • Apple Airport: SmartDNS

It’s worth remembering that 12VPN’s SmartDNS service provides no encryption and logs your IP address. So the devices that are only compatible with SmartDNS could put your privacy at risk.

Set-Up & Installation — Manual Setup Not Suitable for Beginners

Setting up 12VPN on Windows or Mac is easy; all other platforms are complicated.

Since there are native apps for Windows and macOS, getting started is just a case of downloading the app and logging in. But even that is made more time-consuming by a complicated login process. I had to go back to the VPN website, log in to the dashboard, and retrieve another set of login credentials for the app. While this wasn’t difficult, it was annoying.

Once you’re in, the app’s interface is simple and offers quick access to the server list and the types of connections. Underneath these options is a small box that displays your connection status, duration, traffic, and assigned IP address.

Screenshot of 12VPN' Windows app12VPN’s Windows app has a simple UI and is easy to use

The menu contains several tabs — General, Accounts, Advanced, and Sharing. General includes Autoconnect options, the controversial app log, last connection information, and window position. In Account, you can see your subscription’s expiration date. Advanced allows you to set up a proxy, turn the kill switch on and off, set network detection options, and connection timeout. Sharing, as the name implies, is for setting up a shared connection on your network.

To see what the manual installation process was like, I also installed the VPN using WireGuard on Windows. The detailed guide helped me set it up in minutes. Once installed, there are no additional settings — you basically choose a location and connect. I also found step-by-step setup instructions for manually installing the VPN on other devices.

Overall, I don’t think 12VPN is aimed at first-time VPN users. The installation guides are easy to follow, but manual setup can be confusing if you’re new to VPNs. It’s also much more time-consuming and complicated than just downloading an app and choosing a server.

Try 12VPN Today!


12 Months
$ 5.99 / month per month
6 Months Plan
$ 8.99 / month per month
1 month plan
$ 10.99 / month per month

12VPN accepts credit cards, AliPay, Union Pay, Paypal, and BitPay. Paying with crypto gives you an additional layer of anonymity, so I was pleased to see BitPay on the list. That is, until I looked into the refund policy…

The VPN is backed by a 14-day money-back guarantee, but there are catches. Firstly, you can only get a refund if you’ve used less than 5GB of bandwidth. Secondly, you can’t get a refund if you pay with crypto.

Overall, the prices are too high to take the risk. 12VPN is similar in cost to the likes of ExpressVPN, which is a far superior service and gives you more for your money. I would not be happy paying such a high price for a VPN that does not guarantee my privacy — especially as you might not even get a refund if 12VPN doesn’t suit your needs.

Reliability & Support


12VPN’s customer support team terminated my account when I asked too many questions. This has never happened to me before, with any of the VPNs I’ve tested.

I had contacted the live chat team to ask several questions that weren’t addressed on the website. So it was particularly frustrating when the support agent constantly directed me back to the website for answers. As I persisted in asking the agent to give me more precise answers, he terminated my account and refunded my payment.

screenshot of 12VPN's support answerAt least this is a guaranteed way to get a refund

This was especially exasperating as lots of 12VPN’s support channels are only available once you’ve got an account. You can’t access the live chat or knowledge base until you’ve signed up for the VPN. That also means you’re blocked from key information about the service that might inform your decision to subscribe in the first place.

Locked out of the live chat, I tested the email support instead. That team at least replied within a few hours and provided short but concise answers.

All in all, I was pretty shocked at how I was treated by 12VPN’s live chat rep. It did nothing to allay my privacy and security suspicions about the service.

Compare 12VPN With The Top Alternative VPNs

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict

12VPN has too many red flags for me to recommend it. It apparently works in China, but can’t unblock Netflix. The team says it doesn’t encourage the unblocking of streaming sites, but provides a streaming-optimized server (that doesn’t work). The proprietary WEB protocol gives you excellent speeds, but the service grinds to a halt with any other protocol.

The VPN claims to be focused on user-privacy — but it logs and stores a lot of information about your device and sessions too. This is especially worrying as the VPN is based in a 9/14 Eyes country.

But the real deal-breaker for me was the customer service. The available knowledge base might be useful, but it’s only available if you sign up. Plus, it is not at all reassuring to have your account terminated for trying to get more information about a VPN.

My advice would be to save your money. You can get some of the best VPNs in the world for the same price (or less) than 12VPN.

  • Unblocks HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney+
  • 70 servers in 39 countries
  • Works in China
  • Military-grade AES-256 encryption
  • 6 simultaneous device connections

FAQs on 12VPN

Is 12VPN safe?

No, it’s not a secure service. Firstly, you get different levels of encryption depending on which device you use — so you’re not always guaranteed the best security measures.

Even worse than that, the VPN’s app seems to log a lot of your data.

Can 12VPN unblock Netflix?

No, it can’t. While 12VPN has some solid unblocking capabilities and allows you to watch platforms like Hulu and HBO Max, it can’t bypass Netflix’s strict geoblocks.

Will 12VPN slow my speeds down?

Yes, it will. Depending on the protocol you use, you get different results. When I used the WEB connection type, I didn’t notice a slowdown. But when I switched to OpenVPN’s TCP protocol, I experienced speed drops of over 85%.

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 14
Mobile app:
Number of devices per license: 6
VPN Plans: www.12vpn.net
12VPN User Reviews (User reviews are not verified)
Based on 10 reviews in 1 languages
Write a Review on 12VPN

Please rate VPN.

Lesprit David
Lesprit David
Best VPN for China

Resident in Shanghai for the last 9 years here. Tried Astrill, Express, and Nord, and all of them were problematic at some point and I can't understand how websites like this one or TechRadar keep recommending them. The guy doing the reviews must have never set foot in China... 12Vpn improved a lot over the last years, is it perfect? No, certainly not, but it works and that's what matters...

The VPN for china

The only VPN that works consistently for me in China. Yes, it's not the cheapest but it just works, I tried others like Express, Astrill and always had problems at some point. I've stuck to 12 for the last 3 years and will renew for one year. The author of the review doesn't know much about the VPN experience in China...

12VPN is excellent for China

I've lived in China for 5 years, using both ExpressVPN and 12VPN. The review above is doesn't quite reflect the reality on the ground, suggesting 12VPN doesn't offer an obfuscated connection method and is not recommended for China. In fact, its main connection protocol (which is called Web) uses an HTTPS proxy method based on ShadowSocks, and this is far more reliable than *any* obfuscated OpenVPN protocols. I let my ExpressVPN subscription lapse and now use 12VPN exclusively. They support multiple protocols with China in mind, including specialized tools like v2ray that is developed by Chinese developers for devices that run Linux, even something like a Raspberry Pi. Their Asia servers are fast with low ping times. I agree that outside of China, their feature set is not ideal, but living here and the reality is that their mix of proxy-based protocols and constant focus on Chinese users works more reliably than other methods. Thank you!

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