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ClearVPN Review & Test 2021 - A Newbie Friendly VPN

Author Image Kristin Hassel
Kristin Hassel | Cybersecurity Researcher
Updated on 18th November 2021

ClearVPN is one of the many offerings from MacPaw, a company that strives to create private and secure online connections. Its intuitive design and ability to unblock streaming services is impressive but it isn’t ready to compete with top providers just yet.

The server selection and distribution is a bit thin and it’s short on security features. The free version won’t get you access to the best servers for gaming or streaming either. Luckily it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so at least you can test all of the features risk-free.

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings:

Download ClearVPN Now!

ClearVPN Features Updated in 2021

💸 Price 3.49USD/month
📆 Money Back Guarantee 30
Does VPN keep logs? No
💻 Number of devices per license 6
🛡 Kill switch Yes
🗺 Based in country United States
📥 Supports torrenting Yes

Streaming – Unblocks Most Major Streaming Services

While ClearVPN can unblock most major streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, it won’t do it on the free version. When I attempted to access the services using the free version, I was met with nothing but error messages. I had to upgrade to the monthly plan to get access to the Secure Content Streaming one-click feature that unblocks all of these services.

Unblocked: YouKu, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and more

A screenshot of the streaming services unblocked by ClearVPN.

YouKu, Netflix, and Hulu were all unblocked using ClearVPN’s one-click streaming feature

Blocked By: BBC iPlayer and 9Now

A screenshot of two services ClearVPN was unable to unblock.

Even with the streaming feature I couldn’t unblock BBC iPlayer or even download the 9Now app

Speeds – Buffer-Free HD Streaming

Again, if you want to stream, you’ll need to pay. While all of the speeds on the free servers were fast enough to stream in HD, the only service I could access was YouTube. I was able to watch it buffer-free but its disappointing that I had to upgrade to watch anything else; not unusual, just disappointing.

The good news is I was able to browse quickly, and participate in  Zoom chat with my friend in D.C., without disconnects or freezing. If you love video chat, the free version works great for Zoom, Messenger, and even WhatsApp.

A screenshot of the connections and speed test results for those server connection on ClearVPN.

Only the nearest regular server in the US had speeds fast enough for UltraHD

My base speeds were 54.3Mbps download, 48.4Mbps upload, and 5ms ping. These are exceptionally good speeds for streaming, gaming, and torrenting. Just as an idea of how good these speeds are, here are the recommended speeds for a few common online activities:

  • Streaming: UltraHD 25Mbps download, HD 5-8Mbps download, SD 3Mbps download
  • Gaming: 20-100 ms ping, 5Mbps upload
  • Video Chat: HD 2.5-10Mbps download

Without the VPN I can quickly perform any of these tasks, so I wanted to see if my speeds would still be acceptable after connecting to ClearVPN. The first server I connected to was in the US, my download speeds dropped by 43%. I usually don’t like to see anymore than a 20% drop in speeds, that said I was still able to watch YouTube movies and videos in UltraHD.

I popped over to the Hong Kong server next, I was able to stream content in HD but not UltraHD. Download speeds also dropped by over 60% from my base speeds, which is pretty significant. At the same time, since these aren’t the streaming or gaming optimized servers, I wasn’t surprised the speeds weren’t stellar. UK server speeds were pretty close to the Hong Kong speeds, again dipping by around 60% for download. By far the worst server I tested was in Australia, where neither the download or upload speeds even broke 10Mbps.

Next I activated the one-click Secure Content Streaming feature and retested my speeds. I was pretty impressed with the results. My download speed increased by 22%, and my upload speeds increased by 26%! My ping did increase significantly but I was connected to a server halfway across the US, so that’s to be expected.

A screenshot of a speed test while connected to ClearVPN streaming feature.

My download and upload speeds actually increased

This is due in part to the VPNs Dynamic Flow VPN technology, that connects to the fastest server available with the lowest ping based on what you are attempting to do online. For example, lower ping when you the activate gaming feature and higher download speeds when you activate the streaming feature.

Are ClearVPN’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes

Some of the servers on the free version are fast enough for gaming, especially those in the US and UK. On the downside there is no guarantee those servers won’t easily become overcrowded.

ClearVPN does have a specialized option for gaming that offers one-click access to improved gaming but it’s only available on, you guessed it, the paid version. The good news is, if you pay for the VPN you won’t be disappointed. I didn’t experience any lag or disconnects while using the paid version of ClearVPN.

A screenshot of ClearVPN's interface including gaming shortcuts as well as a speed test screenshot showing Ping.

ClearVPN offers a one-click gaming feature that connects you to the best gaming server nearby

Server Network – Small but Effective

ClearVPN doesn’t give information on exactly how many servers it offers but it does have over 70 IP addresses in 10 countries.

Security – Just the Bare Minimum

ClearVPN features industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption and OpenVPN protocols, in addition to its own secure protocol, IKEv2, IPSec, and more. It doesn’t have a kill switch but does offer a basic ad blocker, so you can watch YouTube without annoying ads.

Privacy – No-Logs and Leak-Free

ClearVPN automatically collects some personally identifiable information, if you give them permission they collect more than basic payment, email, and device information. That’s why it’s important to opt out of this type of data collection immediately. The service doesn’t collect usage data, browsing history, or anything while you are using the VPN.

A screenshot of the Privacy Policy for ClearVPN and the results of an IP/DNS leak test performed on the service.

ClearVPN has a solid no-logs policy and didn’t leak my IP address or DNS requests

Does ClearVPN Work in China? Yes

I was able to unblock YouKu and Sohu using ClearVPN. I was even able to comfortably stream in HD. That said, the speeds weren’t phenomenal on the Hong Kong server during non-peak hours, so you may deal with some buffering if you try to stream video services then.

Simultaneous Device Connections

ClearVPN gives you up to 6 device connections per license.

Device Compatibility – Most Major Devices

ClearVPN works with macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS. I was unable to find anything to confirm they support gaming consoles, routers, or Linux.

Ease of Use

8.8

Downloading the app for any supported device takes less than 2-minutes.  I did find that using the app on Android was by far the best experience, the easy access buttons and quick-connect streaming and gaming features seem built for mobile devices.

Setup and Installation

The installation and setup process is extremely intuitive and it offers plenty of personalization options, as well as quick access shortcuts to uploading images to social media, streaming content, and gaming. All of which can be personalized.  There isn’t really a Settings option, as most features are available by simply swiping left on the interface.

I was able to install it on my iPad, Android cell phone, and Windows 10 device with a standard 64-bit processor. I also tried it on my Windows 10 Samsung S Book, unfortunately it doesn’t work with 64-bit ARM processors apparently. It kept telling me to uninstall the previous version, which was confusing because I didn’t have a previous version installed.

A screenshot of an error message received when attempting to install ClearVPN on Samsung S Book.

ClearVPN wouldn’t install on my Samsung S Book

Compare ClearVPN With The Top Alternative VPNs

9.9
9.5
9.3
9.3

Pricing

6.1
2-Year Subscription
$3.49 /month
1-Year Subscription
$4.99 /month
1-Month Subscription
$12.95 /month

ClearVPN offers a free, monthly, and yearly plan option. The free version doesn’t include the quick connect features for gaming or streaming, those and the rest of the shortcuts are only available with a paid subscription.

You can pay via Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, Google Pay via Google Play Store, and Apple Pay via the App Store. ClearVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The Bottom Line

A good but not great VPN service.

Overall, it’s a good VPN. The interface is incredibly well designed with making things easier for the user at the forefront but if it wants to compete with services like ExpressVPN, it’s going to need a lot more servers and some stronger security features.

The small server selection could mean extreme buffering, disconnects, and latency issues while streaming or gaming during peak hours, as there may not be another server available in the same area if the one you’re on is overcrowded. It would also go a long way toward privacy if you didn’t have to immediately opt out of data collection, to keep personal information safe.

  • Access to blocked sites, services and applications
  • Protection against cybercrime
  • Safely use Wi-Fi hotspots in unsecured places
  • Secures your online activities from hackers
  • Get started with ClearVPN now

FAQs

Is ClearVPN safe?

ClearVPN doesn’t leak your IP address or DNS requests, and you can opt out of all personal data collection options. The Privacy policy clearly states it only collects personal data if you allow it to, so it’s important to opt out of certain permissions immediately. The no-logs policy means your browsing history and usage of the VPN are never stored or shared with third-parties.

Can ClearVPN unblock Netflix?

Yes. ClearVPN is good for unblocking multiple Netflix libraries. That includes libraries in the US, UK, Canada, and more. Just remember you’ll need to subscribe to the service to get access to streaming services, as its Secure Content Streaming feature is only available when you upgrade.

Unfortunately, the small server selection may make it difficult to access the Netflix libraries you want, when you want them. If you want a larger server selection for accessing more libraries worldwide, check out the best VPNs for Netflix.

Will ClearVPN slow my speeds down?

Some decrease in speeds is to be expected but generally you don’t want more than a 20% drop over base speeds. All of the standard servers I tested decreased my speeds significantly but the one-click streaming feature’s server increased my download and upload speeds by over 20%.

Looking for a VPN that offers fast speeds across the board? Check out the fastest VPNs for 2021.

Money Back Guarantee (Days) : 30
Mobile app :
Number of devices per license : 6
VPN Plans: clearvpn.com

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