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:
- Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, and more. I was able to unblock several popular streaming sites using its secure streaming feature. Check out my full results to see what ClearVPN couldn’t unblock.
- Speeds are fast enough for streaming and gaming. You can stream in HD easily and speeds fell well under the 100ms ping cap for lag free gaming. See how upload speeds could affect your game time in certain areas.
- It has a smaller server network. It only offers users around , which is quite a bit less than most premium providers. Find out more about server numbers and locations.
- Lack of any real advanced security features. It does offer industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption, is no-logs, and has it’s own protocol in addition to OpenVPN and others. Find out if it can bypass the Great Firewall.
- The app is easy to install and use. One-click connections to the best streaming, gaming, and browsing servers makes ClearVPN great for beginners. Learn more here.
ClearVPN Features Updated in 2021
|📆 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|
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
Blocked By: BBC iPlayer and 9Now
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.
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.
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.
ClearVPN doesn’t give information on exactly how many servers it offers but it does have over 70 IP addresses in 10 countries.
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.
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.