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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

Astrill VPN Review 2024 — Works in China, but Expensive

Our Score: 5.3/10
Ranked 226th out of 305 VPNs
Matthew Amos Updated on 15th February 2024 Fact-checked by Anneke van Aswegen Senior Editor

Astrill VPN is one of the most popular VPNs to use in China. But it's also one of the most expensive VPNs available and doesn't have a money-back guarantee. With such a big investment, is it still the best VPN for China, and should you try it if you're located elsewhere?

After my tests, I can confirm it's an excellent VPN for China but falls short in other areas. It offers slow speeds and clunky apps with several issues, including connection problems. Mobile versions are missing tons of features, and it isn't good for torrenting and gaming.

If you don’t live in China, we recommend you check out our list of the top VPNs available today.

Try Astrill VPN Risk-Free >>

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

Pros

Cons

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Astrill VPN Features — 2024 Update

5.6
💸 Price 12.50 USD/month
📝 Does VPN keep logs? No
🖥 Number of servers 120+
💻 Number of devices per license 5
🛡 Kill switch Yes
🗺 Based in country Seychelles
🛠 Support 24/7 live chat
📥 Supports torrenting Yes

Streaming — Decent but You’ll Have to Troubleshoot

6.8

Astrill VPN isn’t the worst choice for secure streaming, but it can be a hassle. While you could hypothetically use Astrill VPN to unblock content from different regions, this could cause a copyright violation, and we do not support this.

My team and I only connected to servers in our respective countries during testing. This was to see if Astrill could keep us safe during our regular viewing schedules. Your results will vary depending on where you live.

Important. My team and I are firmly against any form of copyright infringement. Astrill VPN claims to follow a no-logging policy, which would prevent anyone from tracking your online activities. That means it’s up to you to use it responsibly. We urge you to follow all relevant streaming laws and to never break the T&Cs of the streaming platforms you engage with.

Works With: Netflix, Disney+, Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer

I could safely stream my local US Netflix library from the US without issues. This was my first test, and the excellent streaming quality excited me about how simple things would be.

Hulu worked with Astrill from the US, but it wasn’t easy. I had to test 3 servers before the Fremont 1 location let me stream safely.

These issues stem from the fact that many streaming platforms have anti-VPN technologies to intercept anyone that tries to watch from unlicensed regions. Unfortunately, this can happen even if you’re in the proper region using servers in your own country to encrypt your connection.

Screenshot of Disney Plus player streaming Logan while connected to Astrill VPN's Fremont 1 server The videos played without any hesitation and remained in high quality throughout

Similarly, it was frustrating trying to find local servers that worked with Max and Disney+. I did get it working with both eventually, but it took up a lot of time other VPNs won’t make you waste. Unfortunately, I couldn’t safely stream Amazon Prime Video from the US. My teammates in Romania and France were also unsuccessful trying to stream the platform from their respective countries.

Screenshot of Max player streaming Barbie while connected to Astrill VPN's New York 1 serverI was able to load videos nearly instantly and stream without buffering

My UK colleague could watch Prime Video and BBC iPlayer testing nearby servers. However, there was significant troubleshooting involved here as well. On the plus side, the quality was always good once it started working (with no buffering and short load times).

If you don’t live in a country with a large number of servers, your secure streaming experience with Astrill VPN will probably be hit-or-miss. Especially with such a high price, I recommend you choose one of our best VPNs for reliable streaming instead. They make it easy to find nearby servers that can encrypt your connection while you watch the platforms available in your area.

Speed — Slow When Using Full Encryption

4.4

You can’t get fast speeds with Astrill VPN without putting yourself at risk. Using the protocols that protect everything on your device results in big speed dips.

To be clear, my teammate and I needed to test international servers for speeds to see how Astrill stacks up. This was only done to demonstrate its performance. As stated above, we are strongly against all copyright violations and ask you to please use your VPN responsibly.

Now, on to the tests. We ask our speed expert to perform all the tests for our charts from the same location using the same connection, so it’s easy to compare. She tested each server at least 10 times and created averages for the chart you see here.

Screenshot of a speed chart showing tests done on a variety of Astrill VPN's worldwide serversMy tester's speeds fell 46% on nearby servers and 50% on distant ones

These tests were done with OpenVPN since it was the fastest protocol that offers robust protection. OpenWeb can give you speeds that are comparable to some of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested, but be aware this won’t protect any traffic outside of your browser.

The top VPNs only lower your speeds half this much on nearby servers (10-20%) and are often much faster than Astrill VPN at greater distances too.

Screenshot of Ookla speed tests done with no VPN connected and while connected to Astrill's London 01 serverEven on a nearby server, our tester's speeds fell by close to 50%

These results make it a poor choice for high-bandwidth activities like torrenting and gaming. It claims you can get faster speeds with its VIP servers, but the price is so high, they’re difficult to recommend. While it is the best VPN for China, if you live somewhere else, I advise you to try out one of the fastest VPNs around.

Gaming — May Be Incompatible With Your Games

2.0

Astrill is too slow for enjoyable gaming, and it caused my sessions to crash. I tried to use it with Steam connected to local US servers. Before I could even load Steam up, I was hit with a strange error.

It stated that Astrill VPN isn’t compatible with Steam. It told me I might experience crashes if I didn’t uninstall it. And that’s precisely what happened.

Every time I tried to play Counter Strike 2, it crashed, but it worked when Astrill was uninstalled. My attempts to reinstall or update the app never worked. Even if it works with your games of choice, my ping rates never went below 200ms. You usually need rates under 85ms for gaming without lag.

To play online games without lag, we recommend you check out our list of the top VPNs for secure gaming.

Server Network — Small With Expensive Upgrades

4.2

Astrill only offers 120 servers in 58 countries, small compared to its competitors. Many top VPNs will offer 30 times as many servers with nearly double the countries.

There are 50+ servers in the US, but the other countries all have far fewer locations. I do appreciate the decent server spread though since it at least offers cities to connect to in Asia, Europe, Africa, North and South America, and Oceania. It even includes some rarer locations like Argentina, Lithuania, and Taiwan.

Screenshot showing Astrill VPN connected and disconnected highlighting how the server list is inaccessible when the VPN is onYou can only switch servers with OpenWeb, which isn't safe to use

Besides the network size, switching servers is a hassle, and it takes a while to connect. With OpenVPN, WireGuard, and the Stealth protocol, the server list disappears while the VPN is connected. The long wait for connections makes this doubly annoying.

I also encountered a weird error where the VPN would say “ON”, but leak tests showed me it wasn’t. So, you should make sure the little screen pops up that tells you the VPN is “Connecting”. If it doesn’t, I recommend disconnecting and trying again.

Astrill VPN also rents all of its servers. On the plus side, it prides itself on having no virtual locations. You can also multi-hop with a VIP subscription. Technically, this should increase security, but it isn’t necessary with a truly safe VPN, and it causes major slowdowns.

Dedicated IPs are available, but you have to pay for each one. It’s a little more per month than with most VPNs. However, they are well-distributed.

Overall, if you’re outside the US or China, you’ll be better off with a VPN that’s more likely to offer several locations where you live. That will help you optimize speeds and give you a reliable way to use things like your banking app while you’re traveling. You can try one of the VPNs in this list that all offer larger networks with more high quality features.

Security — Okay but There Are Concerns

6.0

Astrill VPN should keep you safe, but I don't have 100% confidence in its security. The main issue came during my leak tests. Many of the tools I use to test leaks were blocked while I was connected to Astrill. Speaking to a support rep, they claimed sites like ipleak.net block Astrill connections when they’re detected.

This meant I had to use Astrill’s leak test tool and a few others that actually worked, which aren’t my top choices. I didn’t detect any IP or WebRTC leaks, except for when the VPN claimed to be connected but wasn’t really (as I detailed above).

This worries me because I’ve never encountered a VPN that was blocked by these leak testing sites (after years of reviews). On the other hand, it does come with military-grade encryption, the top protocols, and a kill switch (just make sure it’s enabled).

Thankfully, you don’t miss out on any essential security features with a standard plan. It even has a decent ad-blocker, which removed some pop-ups and banner ads in my tests, but not all of them. You can read a list of the VPNs that give you the best security available here.

Encryption & Protocols

As long as you use the right protocol, you’ll get one of the top encryption levels available. Its options of WireGuard, OpenVPN, and Stealth can all keep you safe with encryption keys that would take a supercomputer thousands of years to break.

Speaking of the protocols, check out this breakdown of what Astrill offers:

  • OpenWeb. This is a proprietary option that comes enabled by default. It only protects the traffic in your browser. You can use the UDP mode for faster speeds or TCP for reliability. It does offer AES-256 level encryption, but since it doesn’t protect your whole device, I can’t recommend using it. It supports all the top browsers, except for Edge.
  • OpenVPN. Often considered the safest protocol due to being open-source, OpenVPN is constantly being updated by security enthusiasts around the world. It also comes with TCP and UDP modes, and I recommend enabling AES-256 encryption. Unfortunately, this protocol isn’t offered in China.
  • Stealth. This is also a proprietary protocol, although support described it as a version of OpenVPN. Along with UDP and TCP modes, it will automatically encrypt you with AES-256.
  • WireGuard. This is normally the fastest protocol (but not in our tests). There are no different modes with this option, but it uses ChaCha20, which is basically equivalent to AES 256-bit encryption in security terms.

Application & Site Filters

This is Astrill VPN’s version of split tunneling; it’s a little clunky but it works. Split tunneling is a useful feature that lets you choose what traffic is encrypted by the VPN. For example, some banks may try to block VPNs to keep you protected, so you can leave your banking app out of the tunnel.

Like the name suggests, you can choose which apps or sites you want to exclude or include in the VPN tunnel. The main problem lies with the site filter, which requires IPs rather than the URLs you can add on most equivalent features. In China, this feature is called Smart Mode.

Kill Switch

This is an essential feature every VPN needs, which blocks your internet if there’s a sudden server disconnect.

The kill switch worked during my tests, but the app’s errors can make this annoying. I did perform properly while testing out OpenWeb. However, when I turned off the VPN, it got stuck on its “Disconnecting” screen. Sure enough, I couldn’t access any websites during this time, and I had to wait nearly a minute before it fully turned off.

Privacy — Good Practices That Could Use Small Improvements

7.6

Overall, I found Astrill VPN to be privacy-friendly. It logs a small amount of data, but it doesn’t keep anything personally identifiable long-term. Plus, it’s located in a country outside of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliances. However, it’s not completely perfect in this category, as you’ll see below.

Does Astrill VPN Keep Logs? No

Astrill VPN follows a legitimate no-logs policy. During active sessions, its systems track your connection time, IP address, and your app version. It states that this is all immediately deleted once you disconnect. At first, the mention of IP addresses concerned me. Thankfully, support let me know it means the VPN IP you’re connected to.

Screenshot of a conversation with Astrill VPN support where they state it only tracks the VPN's IP during active sessions Some agents were more vague, but I appreciated this one understood my question

Astrill’s policy claims it will never sell your data. All it keeps long-term is anonymized information on your connection time and duration, your app version, device type, country, and the amount of data transferred.

These are deleted after 20 sessions. So, its policy is solid, and it only keeps what it needs to keep its infrastructure running. It states it will never observe any of your online activities.

Was Astrill VPN Audited? No

Astrill VPN has never undergone an independent audit. Many of the top VPNs allow third parties to examine their systems and practices to prove they’re following their policies. I hope Astrill does this in the future.

Based in Liechtenstein

Astrill keeps its headquarters in Liechtenstein, a privacy-friendly country. This is outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances, an agreement between governments to share information on their citizens. It’s a country with no data retention laws, so I’m happy it's under their jurisdiction.

Does Astrill VPN Work in China? Yes

This is Astrill’s main selling point, and is one of the best VPNs to use in China.

Screenshot of a conversation with Astrill VPN support where they state it works in China It's widely considered one of the best VPNs for securing your connection in China

There are tons of testimonies of people online stating they can use the VPN in China, although it’s not always easy. It’s recommended that you connect with the Stealth protocol.

While the Chinese government has banned many VPNs, there are no public reports that they've gone after the individuals who use them. Before deciding to use a VPN in the country, we recommend you read up on all the current laws in your area. The vpnMentor team does not condone any illegal activities.

Torrenting — Slow Download Speeds

5.2

You can only torrent on some Astrill VPN servers, and they’re quite slow for downloading. Normally, I can download a 700MB copyright-free movie in about 20 minutes or less. However, on a nearby server it would have taken an hour. This was with port forwarding on, which should improve speeds.

Without port forwarding, it would have taken me 2 hours to finish the file. That’s too bad because Astrill has a good privacy policy and the right security features to be a solid VPN for P2P networks.

While torrenting is legal in most countries, downloading copyrighted files isn’t. My team and I don’t condone any illegal activities and urge you to only access torrents in the public domain. To make sure you’re protected while on P2P networks, look into our list of the best VPNs for torrenting.

Installation & Apps

5.0

Installation & Apps — Easy to Start; Difficult to Use

I had no real issues installing Astrill, but it’s quite unpleasant to use.

Screenshot of Astrill VPN's Windows app highlighting how to change protocols and access the settingsThe three lines at the top-left let you access the other settings

However, the UI is quite unattractive with all its apps, and many settings are more complicated and unintuitive than I’d prefer. While I appreciate how easy it is to switch protocols, switching servers or setting up split tunneling is a chore.

Setup & Installation

It’s easy to download and install Astrill on a wide variety of devices.

Screenshot of the Astrill VPN download page for the Windows apps You can find the login and download pages at the top of its website

Astrill even provides a GUI for Linux. That means it’s just as easy to install on those devices, and you don’t have to enter any commands.

Device Compatibility

Astrill covers all the major operating systems, and can be installed on some routers. While it doesn’t offer browser extensions, its OpenWeb protocol is basically one of those without the convenience.

There is no smart DNS feature, which makes it easier to connect to IPs on more devices. Many VPNs offer this feature to give you an easy way to bypass speed throttling on non-compatible hardware like game consoles. However, you can sideload the .apk file (available on its website) onto a FireTV Stick.

Overall, Astrill VPN only provides solid apps for desktop. I explain in more detail below why its mobile apps are lacking.

Desktop — Apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux

The Windows app is by far the best and the only one that offers OpenVPN. The Mac app is also missing the filtering options. The Linux app might actually be the most impressive because it comes with a rare GUI. This means you simply point and click to connect and use its features.

Android and iPhone (iOS)

Mobile apps are far inferior to the desktop ones and don’t come with a kill switch. The other main difference is iOS apps can’t use the Stealth protocol. Neither one can use OpenVPN. They also miss out on the site filter.

On a positive note, they actually have a more attractive and modern interface. To get one of the best VPNs for mobile devices, you can read our list of secure VPNs for phones.

Router Compatibility

You can use Astrill VPN on ASUS Merlin, Tomato, and DD-WRT routers. This version of Astrill can only connect to OpenVPN and the RouterPro protocol. The site and app filters are also available, along with a WiFi filter, DNS settings, and port forwarding.

Setting a VPN up on your router gives you an easy way to protect everything on your network, so I appreciate that Astrill’s router app is better than most.

Simultaneous Device Connections

You get the standard 5 connections with a regular Astrill VPN plan. Business plans do come with unlimited connections, but they’re quite expensive.

I connected Astrill to 2 Windows laptops, along with an Apple and Android phone. Even when I connected to the same server and streamed social media videos on every device, there was no degradation in quality. So, it works as advertised.

Pricing

3.6
2 Years Plan
$ 12.50 / month per month
1 Year Plan
$ 15 / month per month
1 Month Plan
$ 30 / month per month

Pricing — The High Price Is Only Worth It in China

Astrill is one of the most expensive VPNs available, and there’s no refund policy. It can get away with this because it’s difficult to find a reliable VPN for China. The prices do lower with longer plans. 2 year plans are about the same as an ExpressVPN monthly subscription, which has a relatively high price compared to most. It also tops Astrill in nearly every area.

That’s not to mention options like NordVPN or Surfshark, which are very affordable, and also offer faster speeds, more intuitive apps, and large server networks. The only category where Astrill can compete with these VPNs is its ability to work in China.

If you need a VPN in China, I’d recommend going for one of its long-term plans. I don’t recommend signing up through your iOS device’s store. If you do that, you’ll get an inferior plan that only lets you connect 1 device.

There are also VIP packages, which offer fast servers, but they have data usage limits. This is another way they can charge you even higher rates. Dedicated IPs are also paid monthly per location.

It accepts major American credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex), Bitcoin, Maestro, Cirrus, PayPal, Monero, and direct bank transfers. There is no free trial, but you can refer a friend. If they buy it, you get a free month. AliPay and UnionPay are also accepted, but only in China.

Reliability & Support

7.4

Reliability and Support — Decent Answers With Its 24/7 Chat

Astrill VPN’s accessible 24/7 live chat means it tops most VPNs in this category. Sadly, the vast majority of VPNs have no live chat, or only offer it at certain times. While it wasn’t always easy to communicate with support, at least Astrill gave me someone to talk to.

Screenshot of a conversation with Astrill VPN's live chat where I was told there is no Onion over VPN feature It never took longer than a minute to connect with support staff

Many times it was easy to get straightforward answers. Unfortunately, sometimes it seemed like they didn’t understand what I was asking. I also wish the agents weren’t so quick to leave as they disconnected a few times when I still had more queries to ask.

It also lets you ask questions via email and has a short FAQ section. The website additionally offers links to its Wiki page and includes some video tutorials.

Compare Astrill VPN With The Top Alternative VPNs
Our Score: 9.9
Our Score: 9.7
Our Score: 9.5
Our Score: 9.4

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict — Only a Good Choice for China

Astrill VPN is one of the best VPNs for China. It has some other good qualities, too, like its privacy policies.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend it to anyone who doesn’t need a VPN in China. This is because it comes with a long list of flaws that include slow speeds, poor gaming performance, clunky apps, and more. If you need a VPN anywhere else, or want a cheaper option for China, you can read about our top VPN picks in this list.

MuaODReug2A
  • Works in China
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Good customer support

FAQs on Astrill VPN

Does Astrill VPN work in China?

Yes, Astrill VPN works in China. Suport confirmed that it has many users within the country. It’s tough to find a VPN that actually works in this region, which is why Astrill VPN can charge such high prices.

Is Astrill VPN free?

No, there is no free trial and no money-back guarantee. There’s no way to test out Astrill VPN before you commit to a plan. I only recommend purchasing a subscription if you decide to use a VPN in China.

Who owns Astrill VPN?

Astrill VPN is owned by Veloxee Corp. This is not a Chinese company, and Astrill VPN keeps its headquarters in Liechtenstein. This is a privacy-friendly country outside of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliances.

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 0
Mobile app:
Number of devices per license: 5
We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
Astrill VPN User Reviews (User reviews are not verified)
6.7
Based on 41 reviews in 5 languages

Write a Review on Astrill VPN

Please rate VPN.

All Speed Streaming Security Сustomer service
OllyG
OllyG
4/10
Poor service on my laptop

I live in China and use Astrill VPN on my phone and my laptop computer, which is ChromeOS. On my phone, it works fine and always connects. Unfortunately, it is very unpredictable on my computer, often takes a long time to connect to whichever server I use, and often disconnects shortly after I have finally had success. I am not sure how it works on other laptops, but if you have a Chromebook then I would avoid it.

Tony
Tony
2/10
Horrible evil company

They have locked me out of my account for more than 11 days with no communication and no clear updates about what is going on. They are holding my money hostage and providing no service. This is an evil, spiteful, just overall bad company. If you can avoid them, please do.

Cris
Cris
4/10
THEY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN KEEPING REGULAR CUSTOMERS

I noticed that when I use a Ukraine VPN I opened Google and it is in Arabic. So, they don't have servers everywhere. Just to pretend they have it, but not. Yes, they keep raising the price year after year. I have been using Astrill for 5 years and paid from 75 USD to 120 USD. They don't have a special price for regular customers. THEY'RE NOT INTERESTED IN KEEPING REGULAR CUSTOMERS. Too greedy! I'm done with them too!

About the Author

Matthew is a writer and editor for VPNMentor with a proven track record of providing in-depth analysis of the most highly regarded VPNs, including ExpressVPN and CyberGhost. His unparalleled expertise has enabled him to consistently deliver cutting-edge insights on the most sought-after (and newest) VPN services.

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