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AdGuard VPN Review 2023 — Keep This in Mind Before Buying

Author Image Ivana Sarandeska
Ivana Sarandeska | Updated on 5th January 2023 Cybersecurity Researcher

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.

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

AdGuard VPN Features — Updated in January 2023

6.5
💸 Price 2.99 USD/month
📆 Money Back Guarantee 30 Days
📝 Does VPN keep logs? No
🖥 Number of servers 100+
💻 Number of devices per license 5
🛡 Kill switch Yes
🗺 Based in country Cyprus
🛠 Support FAQ section
📥 Supports torrenting Yes

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, and Disney+

When connected to the relevant countries' servers, I could watch shows on various Netflix libraries, including the US.

graphic showing Netflix US streaming using AdGuard's serversI 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.

graphic showing Hulu streaming using AdGuard VPNIts 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 Dsiney+, I get a completely black screen because it recognizes VPN technology. However, with AdGuard VPN, I accessed the platform without issues.

Streaming Hercules on Disney+ while connected to AdGuard's US serversI had no problems accessing Disney+ with AdGuard VPN

Blocked By: Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Peacock TV, BBC iPlayer, 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.

graphic showing Adguard unable to access Amazon Prime Video USAdGuard VPN couldn’t bypass Amazon Prime Video’s strong VPN detection technology

I got the same results with HBO Max. Even when using different US servers, HBO Max detected I wasn’t located in the US and blocked me. 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.

Graphic showing HBO Max blocking AdGuardVPNNone of the US servers let me watch HBO Max

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.

graphic showing Peacock blocking AdGuard VPNPeacock knew I was using a VPN

I was unable to watch BBC iPlayer when connected to a UK server. I could access the platform’s home screen, but couldn't watch anything because it detected I’m not in the UK. The UK server also failed to unblock ITV Hub. I accessed the platform but everything came up as being unavailable to watch.

Unable to streaming anything on BBC iPlayer as it detected I am not in the UK while connected to AdGuard's UK serversAdGuard couldn’t bypass BBC iPlayer’s geo-blocks

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.

AdGuard speed test results using a third-party speed testing app while connected to various serversWith 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. 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.

Server locations

Continent Country
Europe Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and UK
Americas Canada, US, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil
Africa South Africa, and Egypt
Asia Cambodia, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE, and Vietnam
Oceania Australia

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.

Choice Encryption

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.

Proprietary Protocol

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.

Kill Switch

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.

Leak protection

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.

Graphic showing AdGuard passing a DNS and IP leak testWith 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.

Split Tunneling

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 is a DNS service which has inherent adblocking capabilities. In fact, you can choose a specific DNS server on the VPN’s Android app and browser extension. In the Android app, you can choose between the default DNS and 10 additional servers by AdGuard, Google, Cloudflare, Cisco, or IBM (Quad9). In the Browser Extensions, you have only 7 DNS server choices.

In the Android app, you can set a custom DNS server, but that option is not available in the browser extensions.

Screenshot showing AdGuard's DNS optionsThe Android app and the browser extensions allow you to change the DNS server settings

Changing the DNS server will help you control and restrict access to specific websites, or potential threats. The different DNS servers offered by AdGuard VPN can help you remove ads and trackers from your device, enable safe search and adult content blocking (think parental control), or protect your device from malware, phishing, and spyware. You can change the DNS server in the Settings menu of both apps.

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.

With Regular mode, all your traffic will pass through the VPN except for the specific list of websites you select. When visiting these websites, you'll be using your actual IP address, and your traffic won't be encrypted.

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.

The VPN also operates under European privacy laws and follows the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). Under this regulation, the company is not allowed to collect 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.

However, torrenting is not allowed in all countries, and downloading copyrighted material is punishable by law. My team and I do not condone any illegal activities, so double-check the materials you’re about to file-share.

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

With AdGuard VPN, you can connect up to 5 devices at the same time. For me, 5 is enough, but if you’re a large household, you might want more. Private Internet Access offers up to 10 simultaneous connections. You decide what suits your needs best.

Installation & Apps

6.5

Device Compatibility — Available on Most Major Platforms

AdGuard has good device compatibility, and you can download and install dedicated apps for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. It also offers browser extensions.

However, it lacks support for Linux, and you can’t set it up on smart TVs, routers, or streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TV or Roku. This is disappointing as many VPNs can be installed on virtually any device, even those without native support for VPNs.

Set-Up & Installation — Fast and Simple

AdGuard is super simple to set up and use.

Go to its website, choose the device for which you want to download the VPN. Then, download the file, and install using the simple installer. When the installation is finished, log in with your credentials.

The Windows app has a simple UI. On the left-hand side, you’ll find a green Connect button. Once you establish a connection, the information about the server you use, and its ping will be displayed underneath the button.

On the right-hand side is the server list and it remains open at all times. At the top of the window, you’ll find menu options where you can change the app’s setting to your preference.

Screenshot of AdGuard's Windows interfaceThe AdGuard Windows app has a clean and simple UI

The Android app and browser extensions share the same user interface. So, it will be easy for you to find and change settings on different operating systems.

It is really straightforward to use which makes it a good choice even for beginners. More experienced users may benefit more from the advanced features such as split tunneling, SOCKS5 proxy, or subnet exclusions.

Pricing

7.0
2 Years
$ 2.99 / month per month
1 Year
$ 3.99 / month per month
1 Month
$ 11.99 / month per month

You can purchase an AdGuard VPN subscription using credit cards or PayPal. Unfortunately, cryptocurrency payment for increased privacy is not available.

At the time of writing, the VPN offered 3 paid subscription options each offering the same features. However, the monthly plan is a bit pricey and doesn’t have a money-back guarantee. I recommend its long-term plans starting at $2.99/month and I got a 76% discount with its 2-year subscription.

The VPN also has a free option that provides you with 3 GB per month, but server locations are limited, and speed is restricted to 20 Mbit/sec.

The long-term plans are backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can claim a refund straight from your account. In the My Licences tab, cancel your subscription, then click on the refund option. You’ll be directed to a different website, where after a brief exchange with the chatbot, you can claim your refund.

Reliability & Support

3.0

AdGuard offers a variety of support options — a FAQ section, a Knowledge base, and a support centre. The website also lists several emails and phone numbers.

I found help offered on the website very limited, and if you contact support, you’ll receive only generic replies. After receiving an email with a ticket ID that said it may take 2-5 days to get an answer, the response arrived after 8 days and was completely useless — it said to check the FAQ section. You might be in luck if you try to contact them via phone (it’s said to be 24/7 toll-free in the US, UK, and Germany), but I am not very hopeful.

screenshot showing AdGuard's customer support responseSupport didn’t help me with any of my questions and concerns

Compare AdGuard VPN With The Top Alternative VPNs

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict

AdGuard is a good VPN with various security features and fast speeds. It keeps your personal information protected at all times without noticeable slowdowns. Plus, it’s easy to set up and use right-away.

However, not the best for bypassing geo-restrictions on all major streaming platforms, and customer support is severely lacking.

  • Fast speeds for buffer-free HD streaming
  • Unblocks some popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu
  • 100 servers in 44 countries
  • Good security and privacy features to keep you safe online
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • Easy to use with all major operating systems
  • Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee

FAQs on AdGuard VPN

Is AdGuard VPN safe?

Yes, it is. AdGuard VPN offers strong security features and protects you against data leaks. It also follows a strict no-logs policy, and is located outside the intelligence-sharing pact of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance.

Can AdGuard VPN unblock Netflix?

Yes, it can. In my tests, I could easily access Netflix US and watch my favorite shows without any interruptions. The VPN also unblocks Hulu and Disney+, but I was unable to access Amazon Prime Video and Peacock TV.

Does AdGuard VPN block ads?

AdGuard's custom DNS service blocks adds. You can switch on the AdGuard DNS to remove ads and tracking to further protect your device.

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Number of devices per license: 5
AdGuard VPN User Reviews (User reviews are not verified)
5.6
Based on 5 reviews in 4 languages
Write a Review on AdGuard VPN

Please rate VPN.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10/10
Good VPN

First of all: A lot of people say it’s a Russian company. It’s not. It literally says it’s a company located in Cyprus if you scroll back up a bit. In fact, their VPN just got banned in Russia. Second of all: I‘m using the VPN on iOS and Windows. It is fast, and cheap and it never got detected when I was using it so far although the servers only have one IP. And I have been using it for a few months(around 2 months). The only thing that bothered me is that the support takes… well let’s just say it takes a bit long. When I asked a question, they took 8 days to respond. But their support was nice and thorough with the answer. In conclusion: The VPN works great for me.

Bhooooooty
Bhooooooty
2/10
Bad vpn

Not usable and reliable. Slow speeds. Disconnects. Poor support. Russian company. Expensive. Not good compatibility with Adguard Adblocker as there are kill switch issues. Detected by many websites and blocked.

Federico
Federico
4/10
Utile solo se si usa AdGuard

La recensione di questa VPN è semplice: se si usa AdGuard rappresenta una scelta quasi obbligata perché le altre VPN non includono la modalità "proxy locale"; in caso contrario meglio evitare. Le velocità sono spesso penose, del protocollo di trasporto impiegato non esiste un audit, altrettanto dicasi dell'algoritmo crupogafico per il quale si sa solo che è gestito su TLS (quale versione???) ma nulla più e per finire il KillSwitch ci sarebbe ma non funziona (bug noto da molto tempo e mai chiuso). Inoltre non esiste la possibilità di usarla se non attraverso la loro applicazione, quindi niente router. Insomma un mezzo disastro, per giunta anche piuttosto costoso in rapporto alle caratteristiche.

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