ActiVPN Review & Test 2020 - Keep This in Mind Before Buying

Kate Veale | Cybersecurity Researcher
Updated on 11th July 2020

ActiVPN is a small provider with high-end security features. It operates a smaller network of 61 servers across 32 countries. Because its network is so small, ActiVPN can’t unblock Netflix. You need one of our best VPNs for Netflix if you’re looking for a VPN for streaming.

ActiVPN is compatible with most devices and allows up to five simultaneous connections per account.

Let’s take a closer look at ActiVPN’s features to find out if it is the best VPN for you. In the meantime, if you want a VPN with 1,000s of servers across the globe, check outNordVPN.They have 5,600+ high-speed servers in over 60 countries.

Streaming – Does ActiVPN Work with Netflix?

No. Netflix detected that I was using a VPN and blocked my stream.

I tested ActiVPN with some other popular streaming services and was disappointed that it could only unblock one.

ActiVPN Speeds

My connection was quick while using a local server, but when I tested its overseas servers, I noticed a dramatic speed loss. Some servers were so slow that my connection timed out before I could load a webpage.

Web browser timeout message

It’s normal to lose some speed when you connect to a VPN because your traffic has to travel farther to reach its server. It also takes extra time to encrypt and decrypt your data. However, with a premium VPN, this speed loss should be barely noticeable.

To test ActiVPN’s speeds, I first needed to determine my connection speed without a VPN. My connection was running at 13.71 Mbps download, 0.81 Mbps upload, with a 52 ms ping.

Speed test performed before connecting to ActiVPN.

When I connected to a local ActiVPN server, I got 11.19Mbps download, 0.74 Mbps, with a 52 ms ping. Although my ping increased and my download and upload speeds both decreased, I didn’t notice a difference. Unfortunately, it decreased quite a bit when I connected to its US server.

Speed test on an ActiVPN server in Sydney.

When I tested its US server, my speed dropped to 1.2 Mbps. Although there are multiple servers in the US, only one could mask my IP. And, with this connection speed, I couldn’t stream or download files. I also had problems loading quite a few websites, including speedtest.net. I had to test the US server speed using fast.com, instead.

For comparison, my pre-VPN speed according to fast.com was 11 Mbps.

Is AirVPN Good for Torrenting?

ActiVPN allows torrenting on all of its servers, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

When I tested ActiVPN’s speeds, I found that only one of its US servers could mask my IP. IP leaks like this can expose your location to your P2P network and anyone who is monitoring your connection. This makes it a poor choice for torrenting.

Is ActiVPN Safe?

Yes. Although ActiVPN is based in a 5/9/14-Eyes country, it doesn’t keep any logs. This means that if the government summoned them to supply users’ records, it wouldn’t have any information to give them.

Does ActiVPN Keep Logs?

According to its Terms of Service, ActiVPN does not log your browsing activity.

ActiVPN logs policy

In fact, it keeps and updated page on its website that tells users if authorities have asked it for any information or documents.

Although its parent company originated in Finland, ActiVPN is based in France which is part of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance. Generally, I don’t recommend VPNs that are based in 5/9/14-Eyes countries. But, if ActiVPN doesn’t log any of its users’ data, it would have little information to give allied governments.

Does ActiVPN Have and Adblocker?

Yes. ActiVPN blocks banners, pop-ups, and video ads.

Does ActiVPN Work in China?

Yes, ActiVPN does work in China.

Price and Value for Money

There are similarly-priced VPNs that offer much better features than ActiVPN. Compared to premium services like NordVPN and CyberGhost, ActiVPN doesn’t provide any value for your money.

Does ActiVPN Have a Free Version?

ActiVPN doesn’t offer a free trial, or money-back guarantee.

ActiVPN’s Refund Policy

ActiVPN offers users the opportunity to ask for a refund if their service doesn’t work.

There are two conditions that must be met for ActiVPN to consider refunding your money. You must comply with their troubleshooting steps, and you must not have been able to connect to several servers.

This refund policy is vague, and if ActiVPN deny your request, there isn’t much you can do. It doesn’t cover refunds for issues like slow speeds, or the inability to access a specific server, either. With most VPNs offering generous money-back guarantees, it doesn’t seem worth the risk.

Is ActiVPN Compatible with My Device?

ActiVPN is compatible with Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. You can connect up to five of your devices simultaneously with one account.

Encryption

ActiVPN uses AES-CBC 256-bit encryption. This high-end security will protect your data against hackers, trackers, and spies.

Botnet Blocking

ActiVPN blocks known Command & Control servers that black-hat hackers use. You can learn more about botnets in our experts’ internet security guide.

Anti-DDoS Protection

ActiVPN deflects DDoS attacks at the network layer.

ActiVPN Customer Service

When my ActiVPN account wasn’t activated after I paid for my subscription, I reached out to customer support for some help. The contact form I filled in said I would received an answer within two business days, but it only took two hours to receive a reply.

The customer support agent I spoke to told me that because I had used a “differed payment,” my account wouldn’t be usable until my payment cleared. This wasn’t a clear explanation, so I did some research for myself.

Customer Support

The issue was that I had used a PayPal eCheque to pay for my subscription instead of a credit card. I always use eCheques to pay for my VPN subscriptions, and no other provider has delayed my account activation because of it. However, there wasn’t much I could do, so I had to wait for the money to clear.

The support agent was polite, but their answer wasn’t helpful. I would have appreciated more information about the issue, as well as instructions for canceling my account and getting a refund.

User Experience

ActiVPN lacks most of the common features that make VPN apps easy to use. Its installation guide was outdated, and because the steps aren’t explained well, you have to rely on the pictures and diagrams. The labels on the pictures are in French, so installation involves a lot of guesswork and trial and error.

The app is hard to use. Switching servers is a time-consuming process because you have to login again each time you want to connect to a new location.

ActiVPN’s connection speeds on international servers were painfully slow. I wasn’t able to unlock popular streaming services like Netflix. There are very few servers available, so if the one you’re on isn’t working, you may not find another one in the location you need. ActiVPN has a long way to go before it’s worth the subscription fee it charges.

Summary

I don’t recommend ActiVPN. It charges a premium price, but doesn’t deliver on speed or features.

Although it offers high-end security, it’s unreliable and slow. If you need a VPN for streaming, ActiVPN isn’t for you. It wasn’t able to unblock Netflix, Hulu, or BBC iPlayer.

Without a free trial or money-back guarantee, ActiVPN is too risky to invest your money in.

If you’re looking for a high-quality VPN for roughly the same price, I’d recommend trying NordVPN. It offers all the features you’ll need for high-speed streaming, browsing, and torrenting, and all its plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Features Details
Number of countries with servers 24
Number of servers 37
Does VPN keep logs? Partially
Does VPN include a kill switch? Yes
Number of devices per license 5

Ease of Use

8.0

ActiVPN’s app is outdated and difficult to use. The installation process was a nightmare; I had to install the program from a third party because ActiVPN’s download didn’t work. It operates using OpenVPN, so you need to download both OpenVPN’s UI client and ActiVPN’s configuration files, and then manually transfer those files to the correct program folder on your computer. If you’re new to VPNs, this isn’t the service for you.

I tried to follow ActiVPN’s installation guide, but, unfortunately; it hasn’t been updated for quite some time. It relies on screenshots rather than step-by-step instructions, and those screenshots are only available in French. They’re also based on an XP-era Windows PC, so they weren’t any help for my slightly more modern computer setup.

French instructions

I followed the guide to the best of my ability, but once I finished, the program wouldn’t open. In the end, it took a great deal of experimenting on my part to install the files correctly. This alone took about an hour.

Once it was finally installed, ActiVPN was extremely disappointing. In the app, all of your servers show up in a single list with coded names. This made it difficult to select a server in a specific country.

After connecting to a server, I was prompted to use ActiVPN’s IP checking tool to make sure my IP was masked. Unfortunately, my connection was too slow to load this page and my browser timed out before I was able to test it.

Compare ActiVPN with the top alternative VPNs

Pricing

9.4
VPN - 2 Years
$2.00 /month
VPN - 1 Year - Limited Quantity
$3.00 /month
VPN - 1 Month
$11.00 /month

ActiVPN offers three subscription options: one month, one year, and two years.

The one and two-year plans are cheaper than the monthly option, but they are limited. ActiVPN only makes one or two of these plans available. This felt more like a marketing ploy to create urgency than a great deal, so I visited the page a few times over the course of a week to check it out. Sure enough, these exclusive plans never sold out.

One of ActiVPN’s biggest downsides is that it doesn’t offer a free trial of money-back guarantee. This seems like a risky investment when there are much better VPN services available that offer free trials and refunds for similarly priced plans.

ActiVPN accepts VISA, PayPal, American Express, Mastercard, and BitCoin.

Unlike most VPN providers, ActiVPN won’t activate your service immediately if you pay with a PayPal eCheque. When my account didn’t become available straight away, I contacted customer support. A few hours later, they informed me I wouldn’t be able to use my VPN service until the money cleared into ActiVPN’s PayPal account.

This created a significant delay, but the thing that really frustrated me was that ActiVPN doesn’t state this on their website. I had to contact ActiVPN and wait for a response to find out what was happening with my money. At least this gave me a great opportunity to test out its customer support.

Reliability & Support

8.0

ActiVPN provides all of its customer support via email. If you need to get in touch, you’ll have to fill in the contact form on its website. This form isn’t easy to find. I had to dig through the page footer to find a link to it.

Contact information

Its standard response time is two business days, but it only took two hours for a customer support representative to get back to me. Their response didn’t adequately explain why my account activation was delayed. Their message came across as unprofessional and rushed because they didn’t use proper grammar or even capitalize their sentences.

With so many providers offering almost instant live chat support, a two-day response time feels slow. When you’re using a VPN to protect yourself online and something goes wrong, you need it fixed as soon as possible, not in two business days.

The Bottom Line

ActiVPN charges a premium price for a substandard service.

It’s difficult to install. I’ve been using VPNs for years, and I even I had trouble. Its installation guides are useless and having to search for and install the OpenVPN client from a third-party site is unacceptable.

The app is confusing and time-consuming to use. Most of its servers are so slow that my connection timed out before my page loaded.

It also couldn’t unblock Netflix or the other major streaming sites I tried.

I don’t recommend ActiVPN. For a similar price, you can get a premium VPN like NordVPN that is fantastic for streaming, and has modern apps, high-speed connections, and great customer service.

  • High quality security and encryption
  • Low ping makes it a great choice for applications like games
  • All traffic encrypted for more privacy
  • Unlimited data transfer
  • Use on PC, Mac, tablet, router, and phone
  • The software is very easy to use
  • Get started with ActiVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days) : 0
Mobile app :
Number of devices per license : 5
VPN Plans: www.activpn.com

ActiVPN User Reviews

5.4
Based on 7 reviews in 2 languages
Customer service was very helpful. Netflix works well - 10
Jeff Jones

Customer service was very helpful. Netflix works well

Fait le taf - 8
Peter

Un peu plus d'un an d'exploitation de ce service. Contrairement aux avis précédents, le P2P n'est pas bloqué pour moi (cela dépend peut être des fichiers de config, que je change de temps en temps d'ailleurs). J'ai eu droit à 2 coupures qui n'ont pas duré plus d'une demie journée. Je le recommande donc.

Service devenu NUL - 2
Thibault

IL y a 3 ans c était top, Maintenant le Peer To Peer bloqué, Netflix France Bloqué service client ne répond pas, les serveurs ont très peu de bande passante et pas forcement un bon ping, ne compter jouer avec.....A FUIRE

Check the top 3 alternative VPNs

Rating: 9.9 / 10

Rating: 9.9 / 10

Rating: 9.6 / 10

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