ClearVPN markets itself as a VPN with a beautiful design and sleek interface. Plus, it claims to offer fast speeds and optimized servers for platforms like Netflix and Peacock. But can these perks overcome its drawbacks? Can such a small company stand a chance against the industry's top VPNs?
My thorough testing showed that ClearVPN is solid but not as good as our top-listed VPNs. It’s easy to use, delivers good speeds, and is excellent for accessing streaming platforms. Plus, it’s a decent choice for privacy and security, but there’s room for improvement. For example, I was unimpressed with its small server network and limited device compatibility. You can check out this list of our top-rated VPNs to find a more value-packed alternative.
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Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
ClearVPN Features — 2024 Update
Money Back Guarantee
Does VPN keep logs?
Number of servers
Number of devices per license
Based in country
24/7 live chat
Streaming — Excellent for Unblocking and Streaming9.6
ClearVPN has dedicated servers for most major streaming platforms like Max and BBC iPlayer. All these servers worked well during my tests, although I experienced a few instances of buffering. While the VPN doesn't have a dedicated server for ITVX, I managed to access it using the one for BBC iPlayer. The standard UK server failed to unblock the platform.
You can’t directly connect to the US or the UK with the free app. Plus, its “Smart connection” feature automatically routed me to servers in France and Spain, which made it impossible to access some of the most popular platforms. This made it harder for me to test and will probably end up frustrating you if you try streaming on the free tier.
Unblocked: Peacock, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Max, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and ESPN+
I easily accessed Peacock and watched several titles in great quality without buffering.
ClearVPN’s PeacockTV dedicated server let me load the video in less than 10 seconds
Next, it let me stream Game Night on Hulu in 4K though I experienced a few instances of buffering.
Only a handful of VPNs can unblock Hulu, so this is impressive
The VPN also worked well with BBC iPlayer.
BBC iPlayer streamed in crystal clear quality just as well as Hulu and ESPN+
I was similarly impressed by its specialized servers for Max and Disney+. They let me watch several titles, including Kim vs. Kanye: The Divorce, without any issues.
It was just as easy to unblock The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime Video with the dedicated server for the UK. The US location also let me watch several videos, but there were short buffering periods when I skipped around.
The Netflix servers in the US and UK also worked well during my tests. For example, the UK one let me view It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a title that is exclusive to the UK library. Most VPNs only unblock Netflix Originals (a version of the site that has Netflix's own video content.), so this is impressive.
Overall, ClearVPN is an excellent choice for streaming if you get the premium version. But I didn’t have any luck accessing platforms with its free version. That’s too bad because it does come with unlimited data usage, unlike most free VPNs.
Speed — Fast Nearby; Slow on Far Away Servers7.0
ClearVPN delivers impressive speeds connected to servers nearby and on some distant ones. All of our tests were done with the IKEv2 protocol because it was faster than OpenVPN.
We do our best to record all of our tests from a single location using the same internet connection, so we can make fair comparisons. Our UK-based specialist conducts tests on all the VPNs we review, with at least 10 tests per server.
On average, my speed dropped 9% on nearby servers and 48% on distant ones
The local server and the nearby one in France gave us the best results — only reducing our speeds by less than 7%. Surprisingly, the nearby server in Ukraine (about 2,000 km away) didn't fare as well. In fact, even more distant servers in the US and Canada outperformed it.
Unfortunately, the VPN doesn’t show server load, so I couldn’t tell if this was due to overcrowding.
For the other distant servers, the performance was lackluster; specifically, the ones in Australia, Malaysia, and Panama. These options decreased our tester’s speeds by 58%, 67%, and 92%, respectively. Such drops can make even regular browsing problematic.
This isn't impressive as its counterpart in the Middle East (Israel) delivered excellent speeds
On the other hand, the free servers are fast. My speed drops varied from 9.6% to 22% on both the free Ukraine server and two automatic selections with its “Smart connection” feature. While this is praiseworthy, it's worth noting that free servers often experience high traffic loads. So, I recommend using premium ones to maintain a consistently smooth experience.
ClearVPN did well on many servers, but the inconsistency can be a little annoying. There are a few top VPNs I’ve tested that drop my speeds by more than 55% on any server. If you’re looking for better speeds all around, you can choose one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested from this list.
Gaming — Play Online Without Lag8.6
ClearVPN worked well with all the online games I tried including Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel. Playing it was a joy — I was able to build my favorite decks and win matches without any issues. The VPN has no locations in Africa (where I’m located), but I was able to use its “Smart connection” option to get a fast server.
The free servers also provided a solid gameplay experience with minimal lag
In the realm of online gaming, ping values determine the speed at which your data is transmitted. A low ping is crucial as it ensures prompt reactions to your in-game commands.
The premium server I used averaged a ping rate of 160 ms. A latency below 100 ms is recommended for a seamless gaming experience, so I didn’t think it would work so well. The results were even more impressive since it’s located 6,000+ km away from me. However, I can’t guarantee it will work as well for you.
Your results will mostly depend on your distance from its servers and what game you play. Lastly, the lack of data limits with its free plan makes this one of the best free VPNs for gaming I’ve seen.
Server Network — Limited Coverage but Offers Specialty Servers4.8
ClearVPN has servers across 40 counties. Unfortunately, it doesn't give information on exactly how many servers it offers. This is one area where it lags behind its competitors. I was disappointed that I couldn’t really gauge the network's capacity and potential for server congestion.
The free version only offers access to the Megogo platform’s optimized location
The majority of these servers are in Europe, but you can also find servers in North America, Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania. There are no servers in Africa. Plus, it doesn’t let you choose a server at the city level, which is helpful for pinpointing your location more precisely. The free version only lets you use a Ukrainian server, auto-connect, and the 1 streaming location.
In the table below, you can see all its server locations:
It only has a single virtual location in India — the rest are physically located. Virtual servers help a VPN avoid having a footprint in countries with known security risks, so I’m glad it’s placed its Indian servers in Singapore.
The VPN leases all its servers. I usually prefer alternatives that own them as this removes the possibility of a third party that can misuse my private information. On top of that, it doesn’t offer RAM-based and private DNS servers, which add an extra layer of security. ClearVPN also doesn’t offer dedicated IPs — my go-to when I want to avoid annoying CAPTCHAS when browsing or streaming.
Overall, ClearVPN falls short in this category. You can get a VPN with an extensive server network full of more privacy features in this list.
Security — Secure Encryption, but Lacks Additional Features7.0
ClearVPN uses advanced encryption and protocols, but there’s room for improvement. For example, it lacks a split tunneling feature and the speedy WireGuard protocol that many VPNs offer. Otherwise, it’s very solid in this category.
ClearVPN uses the industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption to secure your traffic. This is the same level used by top VPNs and various organizations, including banks and cybersecurity firms.
It also utilizes Perfect Forward Secrecy for OpenVPN. IKEv2 doesn't have it yet, but the VPN is actively working to integrate it. This feature regularly changes your encryption keys. So, even if an older key is ever breached, your data remains protected through a freshly created one.
At the moment, it limits you to IKEv2 and OpenVPN. IKEv2 is good in specific cases, as it’s fast and suitable for mobile devices since it can quickly reestablish connections. OpenVPN is the safest protocol around because it’s open source, meaning it’s constantly being checked for vulnerabilities by experts .
Unfortunately, depending on your region, you may not be able to choose a protocol. ClearVPN will automatically pick the one that it believes offers the best balance between speed and security based on network conditions in these situations.
DNS, IP, and WebRTC Leaks
Every server I tested using OpenVPN was leak-proof. It offers protection against the leaks listed above along with IPv4 and IPv6, as well as security measures to prevent DDoS attacks.
I repeatedly checked these servers throughout the day to confirm they were leak-free
When I selected the IKEv2 protocol, I found that I was prone to DNS leaks. Plus, I couldn't use the kill switch with the same protocol. I notified the support team, and they assured me they'd look into it.
This feature makes sure you’re never online without an encrypted connection. It quickly terminated my internet connection whenever I switched to a new server, preventing data leaks. You have to enable it, and I recommend you do so before turning the VPN on.
During my test, the kill switch only worked with OpenVPN. However, the support team made me aware of a glitch that occurs with IKEv2 on Windows. As a precaution, ClearVPN has temporarily deactivated this flexibility until it releases a fix.
With the recent release of ClearVPN2, it’s possible more glitches could arise. Thankfully, it never leaked my IP, so I still believe in the strength of ClearVPN’s security. I also appreciate how quickly support got on the issue.
I found its ad blocker effective during my tests. On ad-intensive websites such as www.speedtest.net and FileHippo, I didn’t see any pop-ups, notifications, or banners. But I do wish it was more clearly labeled in the app. To activate it, you have to click Smart connection and choose Top protection.
Privacy — Transparent Policy but Still Unproven8.0
ClearVPN doesn't store any personal data when you're connected to its servers, and I appreciate how clear its policies are. However, some people could feel uncomfortable with its headquarters. Plus, its policy hasn't undergone independent verification yet, so it’s still not quite as privacy-friendly as the highest-ranked VPNs.
Does ClearVPN Keep Logs? No
It doesn’t collect any identifiable logs. However, with your permission, it does gather certain details like your device ID, along with anonymous analytics such as crash reports and speed test data. But, you can opt out if you're uneasy with this.
ClearVPN erases your data within 30 days of your exit or earlier if requested
The system gathers certain cellular details and basic usage statistics. It records the day of your connection (though not the specific time), the server you connect to, and the originating country. Additionally, it logs the version of your operating system and the name of your device.
It still doesn’t log any of your identifiable information, but this feels excessive, and I hope the VPN reduces it. Plus, it'd be great if ClearVPN accepted cryptocurrency, so you could pay anonymously.
Was ClearVPN Audited? No
ClearVPN's apps and privacy policies haven't undergone external verification so far. While the VPN has earned some cybersecurity awards, these don't serve as conclusive proof of its privacy measures. Top VPNs use independent third parties to authenticate their claims, and I hope ClearVPN considers this approach in the future.
Based in Ukraine
ClearVPN's parent company (MacPaw) is based in Ukraine, which is a privacy-friendly country with no data retention laws. However, its presence in the US (within the 5 Eyes alliance) raises some concerns. It only has an office in the country, but this makes me worry that it could be forced to change its policies in the future. Luckily, there have been no controversies related to ClearVPN so far.
Does ClearVPN Work in China? No
ClearVPN doesn’t operate in China, meaning you can’t use it to access services like WhatsApp and CNN while there.
From my experience, only a select few VPNs can successfully access global content from China
Although the Chinese government has banned many VPNs, it usually goes after the technology rather than individual users. However, I strongly advise reading up on the country's laws before making a decision to use a VPN there. If you so choose, try a VPN from this list that’s proven to work in China.
Torrenting — Good on the Premium Version7.0
ClearVPN let me download an 816 MB file in 21 minutes and 17 seconds. Without a VPN it takes 12 minutes and 17 seconds to download the same file. This was a decent result, especially since I couldn’t find a nearby server. It doesn’t have locations in Kenya (where I’m based) or anywhere in Africa, so I relied on its Smart connection to automatically use the fastest server available. All its servers are P2P-friendly, which should make it easier to connect to the nearest one to maintain short download times.
The performance of its free version (with no bandwidth cap) wasn’t as impressive — it finished the download process in 35 minutes and 59 seconds. Maybe the experience would have been different if I could have connected to a nearby server.
However, it’s possible to maintain impressive download speeds using a VPN with a fast global network from this list. On a positive note, ClearVPN’s strong security features, such as the kill switch and leak protection, made me feel secure while downloading torrents.
Torrenting is legal in most countries, but downloading copyrighted materials without permission isn't. My team and I don’t condone any illegal activities, so I recommend you only download files that are in the public domain to steer clear of legal issues.
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