ButterflyVPN takes a completely unique approach to online privacy and security. Rather than downloading intuitive apps, ButterflyVPN has opted for a plug-and-play approach; and it works.
It is a portable and stable, two-way proxy that offers fast speeds and unlimited data. It comes complete with industrial strength encryption, zero interaction protocol, and an ad blocker. It has two working modes: home and traveler. The traveler one is designed for those in China trying to reach blocked sites, or those away from home trying to reach local sites from their home country. While originally designed for the Chinese market, the VPN works just as well anywhere else; we personally tested it in the UK.
ButterflyVPN is contained within a USB device – similar to a disc-on-key. You plug it into a power source, connect through an existing WiFi signal, and you are good to go.
However, the same aspects that make it simple to use also create some problems for mobile use. The USB must be connected to a power source to work, and it only works through an existing WiFi signal. However, with mobile USB chargers and a growing number of WiFi hotspots, it is easy enough to find a workaround when you want to connect through your phone or tablet.
ButterflyVPN is very simple to set up and the quick start guide gives you all the information you need to get connected. Setting up the VPN connection that is right for you takes a little more work, but once you have done it the first time, it is simple to repeat the process. You have three connection options with Butterfly – Intelligent, Full, and Tor.
In intelligent mode, the VPN is meant to choose the best line based on the website you are visiting. We had some difficulty with this option as the system didn’t seem to ‘turn on’ regardless of the website address that was typed.
Full mode worked exceptionally well, giving access to geo-blocked services, including US Netflix. The only possible downside with this mode is that there are a limited number of regions to choose from – Taiwan, Europe, US, Singapore, Japan, China.
If we had one major complaint about the provider, it would be the content and layout of the onsite support. FAQs are limited and much of the help is written in technical language, which could be off-putting for the average user. However, the customer service representative that we spoke to via email was very helpful.
Overall, ButterflyVPN is a useful tool for creating secure, private connections for everyday surfing, streaming, and bypassing geo-blocks. Its three-year subscription deal and unlimited device connections make it value for money. However, the need for a power supply and an existing WiFi connection does create some limitations.