AdGuard has offered ad-blocking and tracking protection software for over 10 years, so my expectations of its VPN were reasonably high.
On AdGuard’s website, there are several promises. It boasts about providing you with high speeds, the ability to virtually teleport you around the world, and keep you safe online. It also promises you the ability to watch “anything from anywhere”.
While all this sounds amazing, I took AdGuard VPN for a spin to make sure it can deliver excellent performance and live up to its word. The VPN pleasantly surprised me in many ways. While not as good as top-tier VPNs, AdGuard has a lot to offer.
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Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
AdGuard VPN Features — 2024 Update
Money Back Guarantee
Does VPN keep logs?
Number of servers
Number of devices per license
Based in country
Streaming — Unblocks Some Streaming Services
AdGuard VPN unblocks certain popular streaming platforms, but not all of the ones I tested. It could access platforms which are usually difficult to unblock. But it did not unblock everything.
Unblocks: Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer
When connected to the relevant countries' servers, I could watch shows on various Netflix libraries, including the US.
I could access various Netflix libraries with ease
The US servers successfully masked my real IP address and gave me access to Hulu. I streamed 2 episodes of Little Fires Everywhere without any disconnects or buffering.
Its US servers gave me access to Hulu within seconds
The VPN was also successful at bypassing Disney’s strict geo-blocks. Usually, when using a VPN to access Disney+, I get a completely black screen because it recognizes VPN technology. However, with AdGuard VPN, I accessed the platform without issues.
I had no problems accessing Disney+ with AdGuard VPN
I was also able to unblock BBC iPlayer and HBO Max. Using the London server, I was able to load Dr. Who instantly and stream in HD with zero issues. I used the Atlanta server to access HBO Max. While Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince loaded up quickly, the picture was pixelated for about 10 seconds before it resolved into the highest quality. I was impressed that there was zero buffering on either platform.
Blocked By: Amazon Prime Video, Peacock TV, and ITV Hub
No matter which US server I tried, I couldn’t access Amazon Prime Video’s US library. The platform was always able to detect the VPN and block me.
AdGuard VPN couldn’t bypass Amazon Prime Video’s strong VPN detection technology
This platform’s geo-blocks were too strong for AdGuard. However, if Amazon Prime Video is a must for you, you can check-out these VPNs that’s proven to access Amazon Prime Video anywhere.
Peacock TV detected that I was using a VPN and it didn’t let me stream anything. Even though the platform is usually quite easy to unblock, AdGuard VPN couldn’t do it.
Peacock knew I was using a VPN
While the UK servers unblocked BBC iPlayer, I was never able to unblock ITV Hub. The London server let me access the platform, but everything came up as being: “unavailable to watch.”
AdGuard is good at getting around specific geo-restrictions, but it’s not the best for streaming. You should also keep in mind that various factors may influence its ability to unblock content, such as server network updates, server traffic, and more.
Speeds — Good Speeds Throughout Its Network
AdGuard VPN provided me with consistently fast speeds on almost all the servers I tested. It promises a fast connection, and that’s mostly what I got — my speed drop remained in the average 10-20% range.
It even provides you with a choice of the 3 fastest locations. What’s more, the service checks the ping for each server in real-time and updates the list as soon as there’s a speed change. So the 3 locations displayed may frequently change. The ping is shown for every server, so you can always pick the best one for your needs.
The server list is displayed on the right side of the app, with a search bar on top and the 3 fastest servers directly below it. Servers are listed alphabetically along with their ping times. Low ping under 100ms is displayed in green, while higher ping is in yellow — making it easy to find the fastest servers. The only thing I didn’t like is that you can’t close this window, which makes the interface a little crowded.
Before connecting to a VPN, my base speed was 46.72 Mbps download, 2.49 Mbps upload, and a 7 ms ping.
When I connected to AdGuard’s servers in Europe and the US, my speeds never dropped below 40 Mbps (including Bulgaria, the UK, the US, France, and Turkey). Upload speeds averaged 1.67 Mbps, and my average ping was 72 ms.
With AdGuard VPN my speeds remained steady and fast
Servers in Australia and Asia (Japan, UAE, Korea, Taiwan), gave me an average of 30 Mbps download, 0.5 Mbps upload, and a ping of 254ms.
I experienced the biggest speed drop while connected to a South Africa server (over 50%). My speed dropped to 22.69 Mbps download, with 0.43 Mbps upload.
Overall, AdGuard VPN gave me fast speeds on (almost) all servers I tested. I never experienced major delays or loading times when using the service. I could even stream in HD without interruptions. AdGuard stays true to its promise — it does provide you with fast speeds. But when compared to other VPNs, such as ExpressVPN, it’s still not the fastest choice out there.
Server Network — Small, But Well Distributed
AdGuard VPN has a small server network consisting of 100+ servers in 44 countries with 65+ total locations. While the network is fairly small, it is well distributed across all continents.
All the servers I tested were working. They connected in seconds, and the connections remained stable throughout all of my tests.
|Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and UK
|Canada, US, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil
|South Africa, and Egypt
|Cambodia, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE, and Vietnam
Take note: If you sign up for the free version of the app, you’ll only have access to 14 servers.
Security — A Variety of Features to Keep You Safe Online
AdGuard VPN provides various security features, like encryption, AdGuard VPN protocol, a kill switch, split tunneling, and IP leak protection. Overall, I’m confident it can keep you protected from cyber threats.
The VPN gives you the option between AES 256 and 128-bit encryption. I prefer the military-grade AES 256 when online backing as it's the most secure. However, if speed is your primary concern, I suggest 128-bit as it still offers great protection but is slightly faster.
The AdGuard VPN protocol disguises your VPN traffic as normal HTTPS traffic. This means that websites and platforms that block VPNs won't know you’re using one and thus not block you.
The VPN comes equipped with a kill switch that cuts off all internet traffic in the event the VPN unexpectedly drops. If this happens, you’ll be protected from data leaks. This feature is turned on by default. I was unable to confirm whether its kill switch is available on all operating systems.
To make sure this VPN keeps your data safe, I tested it for IP and DNS leaks. Fortunately, AdGuard VPN protected me from all data leaks. My real IP address remained hidden, along with my browser history, and any cached data.
With AdGuard you don’t have to worry about data leaks
The browser extension also has WebRTC protection, and this feature is turned on by default.
WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is a technology that enables third-party sites to detect your real IP address and identify you. Keeping WebRTC blocked is important if you want to keep your online activity private while browsing.
Using split tunneling, you can decide which applications you want to exclude from the encrypted VPN tunnel. This option is useful if you need to browse certain websites using your actual IP address (for example, local Google search results), while also taking advantage of the VPN’s security features to protect your sensitive data when torrenting.
Ad Blocking and DNS Servers
AdGuard DNS is a free program you can download from AdGuard’s website to block malicious websites. It lets you connect up to 20 devices, and it has many filters. You can use the default option where AdGuard blocks any websites it believes are unsafe. Or, you can customize it with parental controls to block adult websites or manually block certain IPs.
This is separate from the VPN, along with its AdGuard Ad Blocker program. The ad blocker isn’t free, but it does offer a free trial. Both of these programs do a reasonable job of keeping you safe. But, many VPNs do offer similar features within their apps, which makes them a little more convenient and, in some cases, cheaper.
Additional security features
The VPN also has “Launch on Start-up” and “Auto-connect” features. These features automatically protect your devices on unsecured networks — the VPN launches as soon as you power up your devices. Both features are turned on by default, but you can turn them off if you don’t need them. I found these options really useful when travelling and frequently connecting to public WiFi Hotspots as I would often forget to switch on my VPN.
With AdGuard VPN, you can add Exclusions to specify whether you want the VPN to tunnel all your website traffic or only some of it.
In Regular mode, your entire online traffic is routed through the VPN, with the exception of certain websites that you specifically choose. When accessing these selected sites, you will be utilizing your real IP address, and your online traffic won't be secured through encryption.
On the other hand, with Selective mode, only the websites you've listed will use AdGuard VPN.
There are also Subnet exclusions for IP subnets. This feature allows you to exclude traffic from specific devices connected to your network. For example, your Google Home Voice Control or your robot vacuum. This option is located in the Advanced settings menu.
Privacy — Follows a Strict No-Logs Policy
AdGuard VPN clearly states it won’t share any of your personally identifiable information. However, the VPN does retain certain data necessary to provide you with a fully functional service. This includes your email address, password, Cookies for personalizing the AdGuard VPN website, and billing information.
Additionally, the VPN adheres to European privacy regulations, including the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As per this regulation, the company is prohibited from gathering any data from its customers.
Created by a team from Russia, AdGuard software Limited is headquartered in Limassol, Cyprus. While the country does follow European privacy laws, it’s not part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance.
Torrenting — Might Be Good
I contacted support and was told that AdGuard's servers for torrenting are located in DMCA Free Zones. The VPN also provides good security and fast speeds, so it should be a good option for torrenting.
Please be aware that torrenting is prohibited in certain countries, and engaging in the downloading of copyrighted material is a violation of the law. My team and I strictly discourage any involvement in illegal activities. Therefore, it is crucial for you to exercise caution and thoroughly review the materials you are planning to share before proceeding.
Does AdGuard VPN Work in China? Not Clear
I can’t confirm if AdGuard works in China.
The VPN’s website does not provide any information. I contacted support, but they again referred me to the website’s FAQ section — no information there, either.
If you are looking for a reliable VPN that can bypass the Great Wall of China, take a look at this list of tried-and-tested VPNs.
Simultaneous Device Connections — Up to 5
AdGuard VPN lets you connect 5 devices at once, which is quite generous. There are only a few VPNs that let you hook up more. IPVanish for example, lets you add an unlimited amount. However, 5 should be plenty for most, especially since most VPNs only give you 5 simultaneous devices.
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