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MonVPN Review & Test (2022) - Why It's NOT For Everyone
monVPN is a small service that claims to be “simple and reliable”. So far so good. But can it live up to these not-so-lofty ambitions? Or are there better VPNs out there for the same price or less? (Spoiler: there are).
I tested the VPN’s unblocking capabilities, speeds, server network, and I went through its security and privacy features to see what it has to offer.
Sadly, it didn’t match up to my expectations. monVPN has a few redeeming features, but they’re overshadowed by some hefty reliability issues and one of the worst VPN websites I’ve come across...
Streaming — Good Unblocking, but Poor Quality Stream
monVPN does a good job unblocking most streaming services. I was able to access US versions of Netflix, Hulu, ESPN/ESPN+, Peacock, Disney+, and HBO Max with no problems. The only streaming service that it could not unblock was Amazon Prime Video.
monVPN’s US medias TCP server proved to be the most reliable in terms of streaming quality and speed. This server is often listed as the fastest connection, and I recommend using it for streaming. But using servers in different countries posed some issues.
Connecting to other servers would often result in sluggish loading times and poor streaming quality. I was still able to unblock some streaming services, but it was difficult to get decent enough speeds for stable viewing on most other servers.
Unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, ESPN/ESPN+, Peacock, Disney+, and HBO Max
monVPN successfully unblocked Netflix, Peacock TV, Disney+, HBO Max, ESPN, and Hulu. I used the US medias TCP server, and it provided me with a quick and reliable connection.
monVPN was able to unblock Netflix in multiple countries, including the US
I was able to stream shows and movies on Hulu with monVPN without issues
monVPN allows you to access geoblocked sports on ESPN/ESPN+
Blocked By: Amazon Prime Video
monVPN was unable to unblock Amazon Prime Video. I tested multiple servers in different countries, and each time my VPN connection was detected by the site.
Amazon Prime Video identified the VPN and blocked my access
Overall, I can’t recommend monVPN for streaming. Even if it did unblock most of the platforms I tested, the connection was spotty and wouldn’t even allow me to watch in SD most of the time. Check out these top VPNs for streaming if you want to keep up with the latest titles.
Speeds — Significant Slowdown
My connection speed was impacted significantly.
I went through and tested my connection with monVPN and without it. I found that my connection was, at best, about 40% the speed of my local connection.
At worst, I saw my speeds plummet to under 10% of my base speed when connected to the VPN’s network. General browsing won’t be noticeably affected, but you will be able to tell when it comes to more intensive tasks like gaming, streaming, or downloading content.
I started out with a download speed of 589 Mbps, 10 Mbps upload, and a ping of 32 ms. On the Ashburn server, I noticed a 58% decrease, while the Fairfax location slowed me down by 75%. I had very bad results on the second Ashburn server, where I experienced a 98% drop. If my base speed was slower, regular browsing would have been almost impossible.
monVPN’s ping was way too high for a smooth gaming experience. My connection speeds did technically meet the minimum threshold for online gaming, but the experience was far from ideal.
At first, I was able to hop into Rocket League with no ping or latency issues. However, there were moments when my speeds would drop drastically, resulting in lag. These moments were frustrating and happened even on the fastest servers. It put me at a serious disadvantage to other players.
I do not recommend competitive gaming while using this VPN. Instead, take a look at these best VPNs for gaming.
monVPN has just 40 servers in 20 countries. I noticed that 18 servers are located in France, but its offerings in other countries are much more limited.
In fact, most of its servers are in Europe. There are 4 servers in Asia, two in the Middle East, and a total of 6 in North America. The other servers are spread out among a handful of countries, with most having two servers each. The US was the only outlier with four servers in total.
The small network could explain a lot of monVPN’s problems. Small networks often lead to congestion, as the VPN’s users crowd onto the few available servers. You might also find that your connection suffers if monVPN doesn't have any servers near your true location. All of this means slow speeds for you.
Security — Frequent Crashes That Can Leak Data
monVPN protects your data — when the app is working properly. Unfortunately, the application froze a lot, and that left me unsure that my connection was secured.
Switching between servers often resulted in crashes, which at times had to be resolved with a PC restart or manually closing the program and OpenVPN through my task manager. There is a kill switch, but it becomes useless when the app fails completely. That means your data could be exposed every time the VPN crashes.
I was able to choose from a range of security protocols. The VPN offers OpenVPN, OpenVPN+XOR, OpenVPN+TOR, VMess, SSTP, and SOCKS5. The problem is that SSTP is an old and insecure protocol, while SOCKS5 is a proxy that doesn’t encrypt your connection. This leaves OpenVPN as the only solution, which is not ideal for all operating systems and devices.
While the VPN was up and running, there were no IP or DNS leaks when I tested servers from the US and Canada. But the frequent service failures meant I had little confidence that the VPN was actually safe to use.
Privacy — Basic No-Logs Policy
It does retain some information about you, but it was all fairly normal from what I could see. Your email address, name, and country of origin are kept to create your account. Your correspondence with customer support is also logged. None of that is unusual for a paid service, though.
I also found out from monVPN’s terms and conditions that it’s based in the privacy-friendly Seychelles. This is good news for your online safety; the Seychelles aren’t included in the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance — an international government surveillance pact. So monVPN can’t be legally forced to hand over any of your data, even if it was logged.
Of course, like a lot of smaller VPN services, monVPN has never been independently audited. It claims it doesn’t keep logs, but we can only take the company’s word for it. If complete anonymity is your goal, I’d recommend you check out these VPNs with strict no-log policies and additional measures to protect your privacy.
Torrenting — P2P-Friendly But Not Secure
monVPN only allows P2P torrenting on its servers in Canada, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. It blocks the use of Emule on all servers.
The problem is that the app crashed frequently during my tests, leaving me exposed. When you connect to a P2P network (such as BitTorrent), your IP address is shared along with the files you transfer. If the VPN fails to hide your real IP address, then it could be visible to other peers, which is a major security risk.
Even when it works, monVPN’s speeds made uploads and downloads pretty frustrating.
According to the support team, monVPN can bypass China’s Great Firewall and access geoblocked content from around the world. There are special instructions for installing the application and using it in China, which can be found on the FAQ page.
However, it doesn’t have the best security features, and the unreliable app may suddenly disconnect you from the network and leak your sensitive data. So I can’t recommend it for China. Instead, take a look at these VPNs that are sure to bypass the Great Firewall.
I was able to connect 10 devices simultaneously with monVPN. The FAQ page has direct links and installation instructions for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux systems.
The VPN website doesn’t mention this, but its mobile apps don’t give you the same servers as its desktop apps. There were plenty of servers I could access on my laptop that I couldn’t find on my Android device.
If you’re mainly a mobile user, this is a frustrating discrepancy. There are better Android VPNs and iOS VPNs that don’t limit your service.
Device Compatibility — Not Comprehensive
monVPN has dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android.
It lacks native support for iOS, consoles, and plug-and-play devices such as Amazon Fire Stick. However, the VPN can be installed manually through third-party tools like OpenVPN Connect.
It was easy to install the app on my mobile device and sync my account. Manual installation is a bit trickier. That being said, I followed monVPN’s step-by-step guide to router setup with OpenVPN and it didn’t take me too long to get it working.
Overall, monVPN’s compatibility offering is basic. It works with the main platforms but lacks the more comprehensive support you get with bigger VPNs.
Ease of Use
Set-Up & Installation — Not Very Straightforward
monVPN’s confusing website makes it difficult to get started.
Thanks to some incomplete web pages, I couldn’t even figure out how to buy and download the VPN to begin with. The main page, client portal, and services section all lack links for downloading the software. Some pages I clicked on were filled with undecipherable HTML.
It would have been helpful to have a direct link to the download page with clear directions. Instead, the download links are hidden on the FAQ page.
From there, the installation was easier. Once I found the link, it only took a minute to download and run monVPN. Type in the username and password you used to make an account on the site and you will be good to go.
Using monVPN to connect to a server is simpler, too. You get a list of servers on the left side of the client window. Click on your location of preference and hit “connect.”
Aside from directly connecting to servers, there is only one other option in the settings menu. You can toggle an automatic kill switch on or off to protect your personal data when browsing.
Overall, I can’t recommend monVPN if you’re a new VPN user. The entire process is tedious and you may have a hard time setting it up.
monVPN’s pricing is average. It costs a bit less than some of the more premium options while still being a bit above what I would consider a budget VPN.
You can pay with VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, PayPal, and Bitcoin. I was glad to see the cryptocurrency option, as this gives you an additional layer of anonymity when signing up for the VPN.
There’s a 7-day money-back guarantee but it’s conditional. During my testing, I exceeded my 1GB of allotted bandwidth and I was unable to get a refund. This policy is pretty limiting, especially if you plan to try out torrenting or streaming services before deciding if you want to go ahead with your subscription.
monVPN did not offer a reliable experience. The application frequently crashed when attempting to switch servers. Those crashes, coupled with the inconsistent server speeds, made for a frustrating experience.
The support team was more accessible as a prospective user than a registered one. When you’re not signed in, you can access a live chat and get immediate support. But as a registered user, you have to fill out a support ticket to get your questions answered.
My support ticket was answered within a couple of hours, which wasn’t nearly as immediate as communicating through a live chat.
monVPN is an average VPN with a limited number of servers and features. It did not deliver the best user experience or offer any competitive features that really set it apart from comparable options in the same price bracket.
The VPN’s inconsistent connection speeds, frequent crashes, limited server selection, and clunky installation process meant it fell short of my expectations and I can’t recommend it.
Unblocks Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, ESPN, and PeacockTV
10 simultaneous device connections
Compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and Linux