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GnuVPN Review 2023 — Free Trial, but Is It Good and Safe?

Lawrence Wachira Updated on 28th August 2023 Fact-checked by Matthew Amos Senior Writer

GnuVPN is a small service that advertises itself as a secure and fast VPN. The price is fair, and the free trial lets you try all it offers, but is it even worth your time?

I tested all its features, and GnuVPN's performance doesn't match the big players in the VPN game. For example, its servers are mainly in Europe and Asia, restricting access to content from several popular regions. Plus, it’s missing some important security features, and customer support takes too long to respond. If you’re looking for the best value, check out this list of the top-rated VPNs with reliable money-back guarantees instead.

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings



GNUVPN Features — 2023 Update

💸 Price 3 USD/month
📆 Money Back Guarantee 30 Days
📝 Does VPN keep logs? No
💻 Number of devices per license 5
🛡 Kill switch No
🗺 Based in country Portugal
🛠 Support Email support

Streaming — Great at Unblocking Streaming Platforms


GnuVPN is good at unblocking platforms, but you miss out on content due to its small network. However, the servers it does offer are great for unblocking. I managed to access several services with little effort, and the streaming quality was impressive. Every platform I tried loaded almost immediately, although there were a few instances of buffering.

Unblocked: Netflix, Disney+, Rai Play, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer

GnuVPN unblocked Netflix originals on several servers, including Italy, Sweden, and France, and I was able to watch titles like My Name and ATHENA. Originals is a version of the site that only lets you watch the content Netflix owns. However, I was able to unblock one full library with the UK server. This let me watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a geo-restricted show.

A screenshot GnuVPN can unblock NetflixThe picture quality never dropped down, even when I skipped to different sections

I could also stream Auntie Edna on Disney+ in 4K. The video took a few seconds to load, and I didn’t experience any buffering. I used the UK server to unblock this platform.

A screenshot showing GnuVPN's UK server unblocked Disney+Disney+ streamed just as well as Netflix, even when I jumped to different parts

I was also impressed with how well it worked with BBC iPlayer. It let me live-stream several Wimbledon matches, including Alcarez vs. Chardy, in HD. I also tried to watch a few movies, and the experience was just as good.

In my next test, it let me live-stream the Tour de France on Rai Play. I experienced a few instances of buffering, but I was able to enjoy the race in perfect HD.

A screenshot showing GnuVPN unblocked RaiPlayRaiPlay is one of the toughest services to unblock, so I was impressed

Finally, I had a great experience while streaming on ITV. I live-streamed Good Morning Britain in crystal clear quality. Watching Empire State was just as good, but it buffered for a few seconds when I tried to jump to different parts of the video. I also had no issues streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

However, there was no way to access Netflix US, Max (formerly HBO), or Hulu since there are no US servers. If you watch a lot of US content, you’ll want to get one of the best VPNs for streaming that can unblock every major US platform.

Speed — Decent Overall With Some Inconsistencies


GnuVPN’s speeds are pretty good nearby, but a little slow at long distances. All its servers were speed-tested using OpenVPN, as it’s the only protocol provided. Its apps also auto-select the protocol, so it was difficult for me to determine whether it was using OpenVPN UDP or TCP.

All speed tests were taken from the same location with the same connection to ensure fair comparisons. We have a dedicated speed expert in the UK that tests every VPN we review. A minimum of 10 tests were performed on each server.

A screenshot showing the speed results for all of GnuVPN's serversMy speeds dropped 20% on average with nearby servers and 60% on distant ones

Some servers were quite slow even if they weren’t the farthest away. For example, I was surprised the closest server wasn’t even one of the top 5 fastest. In addition, the server in Australia was faster than one in Israel, even though it’s almost twice as far away.

All the nearby servers (in Europe) are under 4,000 km from our tester's location in the UK. A speed drop of 20% at this range isn’t bad, but there are many VPNs that are a bit faster.

Servers in Asia and Australia were notably slower. I anticipated the server in Kazakhstan to be quicker too. It’s just under 5,000 km from the UK, but its results were also disappointing. Unfortunately, the VPN doesn’t display the server load, so it wasn’t possible to tell if these inconsistencies were a result of overcrowding. I hope GnuVPN will add that feature soon.

Screenshot showing GNUVPN's Moldova server delivered the fastest speedIt slowed down my connection by only 4%, outperforming the local server in the UK

Overall, I recommend GnuVPN if your starting speed is high, as it can turn out sluggish even when you don’t expect it to be. You can avoid such inconsistencies across the network if you choose one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tested from this list.

Gaming — Excellent Performance for Gaming


GnuVPN performed well during my gaming sessions. Initially, I connected to a server in France and only experienced a slight stutter at the onset. Afterward, I was able to control my tank without any issues and engage my opponents without any lag, even during firefights.

A screenshot showing GnuVPN is ideal for gamingThis seamless gaming experience was replicated when I switched to servers in Australia and Singapore

These tests were on distant servers (8000 km from my location), so I thought it would work even better with one closer. However, since GnuVPN doesn't have any servers in Africa, I wasn’t able to test a closer location.

Generally, servers at a distance can increase ping rates — for lag-free gameplay, a latency below 100 ms is recommended. That’s why I was very impressed with GnuVPN’s gaming performance, and you should be able to use it for gaming from nearly anywhere.

Server Network — Limited Coverage and Not Evenly Distributed


GnuVPN has a small server network in just 15 countries. Most of them are in Europe. There are also a few in Asia, and just one in Oceania (Australia). With both the free trial and paid account, you get the same number of servers. I wasn’t happy about this limited network because it reduced the number of services I could unblock.

A screenshot showing all the server GnuVPN offersThere are 11 locations in Europe, 4 in Asia, and 1 in Oceania

On top of that, there’s no option to select city-level servers. I like when VPNs offer these because it allows me to really pinpoint a server closer to me. Also, it's unclear whether GnuVPN owns or rents its servers. Despite asking, the support staff only told me that it has servers in different places and in different data centers.

The questions about whether the servers are virtual or RAM-based also went unanswered. However, the VPN mentioned it offers dedicated or static IPs upon request. I didn't proceed with this due to its support team’s slow response times.

Overall, this is one of GnuVPN’s weakest categories. You can try a VPN with a huge worldwide server network on this list.

Security — Robust Encryption, but Missing Useful Features


GnuVPN offers solid encryption and a safe protocol, but the lack of a kill switch makes it unsafe. None of its servers revealed my DNS/IP requests, but I don’t feel completely comfortable using a VPN without a kill switch. Without one, GnuVPN can’t prevent your IP address from leaking while you’re switching servers or when your device enters sleep mode. To maintain your online privacy, you can find a VPN that offers a kill switch and many other vital security features in this list.


GnuVPN protects your online activities from prying eyes with military-grade (AES 256-bit) encryption. This is the same encryption used by NASA to secure its secrets. It scrambles your data, making it unreadable to third parties like hackers.

Security Protocols

I was disappointed that the VPN won’t let you choose a protocol. You’ll only get to know the protocol it offers when you establish a connection. I found this really strange since the top VPNs all give me a choice of several protocols.

The SoftEther protocol is only available on Android. Strangely, the VPN has positioned it in the list of countries, which is quite unconventional. This peculiarity suggests that GnuVPN is in the midst of streamlining and organizing its features.

  • OpenVPN. It’s the safest protocol since it’s open source, so it’s constantly being checked for vulnerabilities by professionals. Most VPNs use it for Firewall evasion.
  • SoftEther. It supports robust encryption like OpenVPN and offers better performance on throughput, latency, and stability. It can also bypass restrictive networks, but it’s not widely supported across a range of devices and VPN services.

DNS, IP, and WebRTC

I didn’t detect any leaks — meaning my identity remained private while using the VPN.

A screenshot showing GnuVPN passed my leak testsI tested 6 servers, and they all successfully replaced my real IP with new ones

There is no split tunneling feature. This is helpful if you need to keep some traffic outside of the VPN tunnel. For example, you can use your local banking app while you stream geoblocked content. So, I hope the VPN adds this feature soon. GnuVPN also doesn't incorporate an ad blocker feature, but Private DNS servers are in development.

Privacy — Good Policy but Still Unproven


Its privacy policy is transparent, and there appears to be no misuse of any data collected by the VPN. This is an assurance your sensitive information is protected from third parties like advertisers. However, make sure to thoroughly review it before using the VPN, as those terms are subject to change anytime.

This is all great, but I hope its policy is proven in the future. The top VPNs have their policies audited, so there’s no doubt they follow their claims.

Does GnuVPN Keep Logs? No

GnuVPN doesn’t keep any identifiable logs, and its privacy policy claims that your information will never be shared or sold to third parties. The VPN doesn’t collect your IP address, DNS queries, traffic destination, or browsing history.

A screenshot showing GnuVPN doesn't store any identifiable informationThe data it does store is anonymized to prevent any association with your personal identity

The VPN retains your account-related information, such as your email address and payment details provided during sign-up. Fortunately, you can reduce the details you share by opting to pay with cryptocurrency. GnuVPN also collects app diagnostic data like crash reports and usability diagnostics.

Was GnuVPN Audited? No

There’s no evidence its apps and policy have undergone external audits. The best VPNs allow experts to scrutinize all aspects of their services to validate their promises. Additionally, there have been no practical scenarios, such as legal proceedings, to verify the company's claim of not maintaining logs.

Based in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

GnuVPN headquarters are located in a privacy-friendly country, a jurisdiction outside the scope of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances. This is an agreement between governments to share their citizens’ information. So, the VPN isn’t subject to any legal requirements to retain or share your data.

Does GnuVPN Work in China? Maybe

The VPN has garnered positive responses from Chinese users. This means there’s a possibility the VPN will also let you access services like Facebook, Google, and CNN when visiting the country.

A screenshot showing customer support response on GnuVPN usage in ChinaThe Great Firewall blocks access to many services and services, including many popular VPNs

However, given it doesn’t offer any obfuscation feature and lacks a kill switch, I doubt GnuVPN will effectively safeguard your privacy in the country. Obfuscation plays a crucial role in disguising your VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic. This prevents Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) systems in countries like China, UAE, and Iran from distinguishing between them. You can maintain your privacy in China and use the internet without limitations with a VPN from this list.

While the Chinese government has banned many VPNs, it normally doesn't target people for using them. Nonetheless, I strongly advise researching the country's regulations concerning VPN usage before deciding to use one while there. My team and I don’t don’t condone any illegal activities.

Torrenting — Moderate Performance


GnuVPN supports P2P activities but also advises its users to exercise caution while torrenting. Torrenting is legal in most countries but becomes unlawful if you download copyrighted content. My team and I don’t condone illegal file-sharing, so make sure the files you download are in the public domain and adhere to your government’s rules to stay out of trouble.

The VPN let me download a 1.1 GB file in under 14 minutes on several servers. I noticed it took longer to download the file when connected to a distant server. So, if you don’t have any server preferences, always choose one closer to you to maintain short download times.

Without a VPN, I can download the same file in just 8 minutes, but your torrenting speed depends on many factors. However, it’s possible to achieve faster download speeds while simultaneously securing your privacy with a VPN from this list.

Installation & Apps


GnuVPN’s uncluttered and intuitive user interface makes navigating and configuring the VPN a breeze. Its main screen features a connect button and three horizontal lines that you can tap on to access the settings menu.

Screenshot showing GnuVPN's apps for Windows and MAc have a similar interfaceAll apps have a few menu options, so you can quickly interact with their features

Upon establishing a connection, the main screen of its app displays some essential information. This includes the VPN IP address, the employed protocol, as well as the download and upload speeds. I really appreciate this feature and wish more VPNs offered this type of data.

Setup & Installation

I managed to install the VPN and connect to a server on every device I tried in just 5 minutes.

A screenshot showing it's easy to download GnuVPNTo initiate the download process, simply click on the purple button

You can directly download apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, and an Android APK file from its website. Additionally, the Android app can be found on the Play Store, and the iOS app is available on the App Store.

Device Compatibility

GnuVPN is only compatible with Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, and Linux (Ubuntu). It currently doesn’t support any browser extensions, and there’s no smart DNS feature. Additionally, it doesn’t provide support for routers. So, you can’t use it on devices that don’t natively support VPNs.

If you want to switch locations or increase your security on game consoles or smart TVs, check out this list of the best VPNs for routers so you can secure your entire home network.

Desktop — Apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux

GnuVPN’s desktop app offers a consistent experience across both Windows and Mac. From the main user interface to the setting menu, everything is the same. The VPN also confirmed that it has a GUI for Linux. Even though it’s only for the Ubuntu distro, this is still very impressive. It’s rare a VPN lets you use its apps on Linux without interacting with the command line.

Android and iPhone (iOS)

You can easily use the VPN on Android and iPhone because the VPN offers identical interfaces. The only distinction lies in the Android app, which provides two protocols, OpenVPN and SoftEther. I was able to choose SoftEther, but you can only access OpenVPN by choosing the automatic option, which is a little confusing. This automatic selection of OpenVPN extends to the Mac, Windows, and iOS apps as well.

Simultaneous Device Connections

You can connect up to 5 devices with GnuVPN simultaneously. I tested this capability by streaming videos on my computer, browsing on my phone, and having 2 other family members use the VPN at the same time. All devices were connected to the same Singapore server, and I was able to watch several videos on YouTube in 4K without buffering.

When we switched to servers in France and Moldova, the experience was pretty much the same. The only small difference was when I started streaming in UHD. Then, I noticed a few instances of buffering during the initial loading and when I jumped to different parts. For the best experience, I recommend only using the VPN on multiple devices at once if your original internet speed is high.


12 Months
$ 3 / month per month
6 Months
$ 5 / month per month
1 Month
$ 8 / month per month

I recommend going for a long-term plan to save money. The other two plans are priced slightly higher without offering additional features. If you wish to test it without making a purchase, you can take advantage of its 24-hour free trial.

A 30-day money-back guarantee backs up this VPN, allowing you to try it for an extended period. Should you wish to claim a refund, you can reach out to support at customers@gnuvpn.com or through the 'Write to Us' feature on its website.

Screenshot showing GnuVPN only refunds the time you have left on a subscriptionIt takes up to 2 weeks to get the money back in your account

The VPN processes refunds within 10 days, and it took 5 for mine to be approved. However, my bank declined the transaction, prompting me to request a retry from GnuVPN — I have yet to get my money back 5 days later. Getting your money back from the top VPNs is normally easy and fast, and you can avoid longer refund waits with a reliable VPN from this list.

Even though GnuVPN uses top-tier encryption, it confines you to a single protocol. The added SoftEther protocol, albeit exclusively on Android, is still in its Beta phase too. It also lacks features like a kill switch and split tunneling and doesn't provide browser extensions. Competing VPNs at a similar price level offer more features, making them better choices.

GnuVPN accepts most forms of payment, including crypto, Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal. Your subscription will auto-renew when the current subscription period concludes. So, should you decide to discontinue, be sure to cancel on time.

Reliability & Support


The VPN provides support via email or a "Write to us" form on its website, but the team is sluggish.

It lacks a live chat option, so I had to rely on its contact form and email to reach the support team. The delay in its response was significant, prompting me to send additional messages to draw the VPN’s attention. When a reply eventually arrived, it could take 10 hours or more to receive a response. This experience was rather frustrating, particularly when compared to other high-end VPNs known for their faster response times.

A screenshot showing GnuVPN provide answers to most of my questionsThe support team is also well-informed, and when uncertain, they consult technical specialists

Its FAQ section only delivers responses to very basic questions, which is quite exasperating. The website and blog also do little to help. They simply present surface-level details without delving into the specifics of the VPN's offerings.

I was also displeased when this VPN questioned the volume of my inquiries. This interaction was a first for me with any customer service team. After I explained that its website was too basic and didn't provide ample details about its offerings, they got down to answering my questions. However, it took 15+ hours before I received any reply from the VPN.

A VPN that’s reluctant to answer my queries and doesn't provide alternative ways to explore its offerings is one I prefer to avoid. It raises concerns about its security because leading VPNs are generally proud to promote what they offer. Any time a VPN makes it challenging to learn about its features, my trust in it wanes. You can contact the support staff via live chat and get instant answers if you choose a VPN from this list.

Compare GNUVPN With The Top Alternative VPNs

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict — Good VPN With Room for Improvement

GnuVPN did impress me in a few areas. It offers okay speeds, and it worked surprisingly well for gaming. It can also unblock a lot of streaming platforms with the servers it offers.

However, the top VPNs offer much more for a similar or lower price. Its server network is small and doesn’t have any US servers, so you miss out on a lot of content. It only offers one protocol on most devices, and its customer support is hard to reach. Worst of all, your data might be at risk because it doesn’t have a kill switch. You can get a VPN with a reliable refund policy that outperforms GnuVPN in every area here

  • Decent speeds
  • Good for gaming
  • Easy-to-use apps
  • Respects your privacy

FAQs on GnuVPN

Is GnuVPN safe?

No, GnuVPN is not completely safe, since it doesn’t come with a kill switch. However, it uses military-grade encryption to ensure your data is secure. A kill switch is a necessary feature that blocks your connection if the VPN suddenly disconnects. So, I don’t feel comfortable using a VPN that doesn’t provide one.

Is GnuVPN any good?

GnuVPN is slightly above average. I like that it can unblock some streaming platforms and offers military-grade encryption. However, it lacks a kill switch, doesn't have many servers, and its privacy policy hasn't been verified. Plus, its customer support response takes too long, and you can't change any settings. All of these downsides make GnuVPN a service that's just okay.

Will GnuVPN slow down my speed?

GnuVPN might slightly reduce your internet speeds due to the encryption process and the distance to the VPN server. Sometimes the slowdown can be barely noticeable, while other times, it might be more significant. The impact on speed will also depend on your original internet speed, how crowded the server is, and the quality of its network.

Is GnuVPN really free?

GnuVPN provides a 24-hour free trial that gives you full access to all of its features. This allows you to test out the service before making a commitment. In addition, there is a 30-day money back guarantee for all its subscriptions. However, there is no long-term free option.

How does GNUVPN compare to popular VPNs like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost?

GnuVPN falls short of ExpressVPN and CyberGhost in most areas. It lacks a kill switch, a split tunneling feature, and has fewer protocol choices. It also can't match the server network size and speed of these providers. However, it shines in its lag-free gaming, and the inclusion of a free trial period is a great plus.

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 30
Mobile app:
Number of devices per license: 5
We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.
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About the Author

Lawrence Wachira, a Senior Writer at vpnMentor, is passionate about making the internet safer. Lawrence writes insightful product reviews, comparison pages, and blog posts to help readers protect their online privacy and choose the best VPNs.

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