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PandaVPN Review & Test 2021 – Is This VPN Safe to Use?

Author Image Kate Veale
Kate Veale | Cybersecurity Researcher
Updated on 23rd April 2021

PandaVPN is a small VPN with a surprisingly extensive server network, covering some 60 countries. Operating from Seychelles since 2018, the VPN provider is an excellent pick for both freelancers and large corporations alike.

However, I noticed that it had servers in China and Russia — and this was a red flag for me. VPN servers in Russia and China can come under the scrutiny of government and authorities, meaning user data is never really private nor protected. Knowing that PandaVPN operates in these countries led me to question if this VPN is really safe to use.

I knew I had to dig a little deeper to find out more about this little-known VPN. So I went through its background, features, and policies to uncover precisely how it worked and how safe it really is.

Get Started With PandaVPN!

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

PandaVPN Features — Updated in May 2021

Number of countries with servers 60
Number of servers 3000
Number of IP addresses 1000
Does VPN keep logs? No
Does VPN include a kill switch? Yes
Number of devices per license 3

Streaming — Doesn’t Work With Most Major Platforms Like Netflix

PandaVPN claims to unblock all major streaming platforms. The list includes popular offerings such as Hulu, Disney+, and Netflix. Yet, actual user reviews online say otherwise. I personally couldn’t get the VPN to connect at all, so I cannot guarantee it will work for you. If you’re looking for a VPN for streaming purposes, you might want to try other providers that have been proven to work.

Unblocked: None

Using the mobile application, I couldn’t unblock a single streaming platform. I used the free servers and that may be the reason why it didn’t work. However, if this is their vertical slice offer, that is to say, a taste of what’s to come, I see no reason to spend your money on this particular VPN if streaming is all you want.

Blocked By: Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video

Even though the vendor claims it can unblock most streaming websites, I had no luck. This is quite bizarre considering that the VPN provider offers 38+ dedicated streaming servers for Amazon HD, Disney+, and Hulu. I tested all I could but none loaded.

Virtually every major streaming platform fails to load

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Speeds — Not Bad, But There’s a Caveat

Great results but at the same time, useless

The VPN speeds are incredible. So great that it was kind of baffling. I got a whopping 63,3Mbps download and 94,7Mbps upload speeds with an excellent 1ms jitter percentile on a multi-connection using German servers. The platform even has a Smart location system that picks the most optimal server for you, so you don’t lose bandwidth speed.

However, all these speeds are for naught as I couldn’t even load Google’s home page in reasonable timeframes. It isn’t some error on our end either, as I used the native app on an Android phone. I can only assume that this is a limitation of the free plan but then again, what’s the point of that free plan then If we can’t use it to see a real-world performance metric?

Are PandaVPN’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes, in Theory.

The VPN doesn’t load anything correctly and it can’t run on consoles. In theory, PandaVPN offers incredible speeds that should satisfy any gaming need but several games I’ve tested couldn’t boot into an online match. I can’t really say that it is a worthy option for gamers.

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Server Network — Surprisingly Large Network for a Small VPN

PandaVPN has server locations in 60 countries, including the US, UK, Russia, and China. It’s hard to find VPNs with servers in China and Russia, so this might be a bonus point if you’re looking to access content that’s geo-restricted to those countries.

That said, there’s a reason why many VPNs don’t have servers in China and Russia. Servers in those countries are subject to anti-privacy legislation, so they can’t guarantee your privacy and safety. It’s safer to use a server in a neighboring country if you want complete anonymity.

I chose Smart Connect to find the best server for my location but you can do all of this manually by picking the desired connection from the list of countries or streaming-optimized servers. PandaVPN also has one game proxy server in Japan that gives you access to Japanese gaming servers.

Security — There’s Room for Improvement.

PandaVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption – the highest level possible – to lock down your traffic against hackers or snoopers. It claims to use a kill switch too, which should cut off your internet if you lose connection to the VPN (to prevent any of your information from becoming exposed).

However, it’s unclear which of its apps have the kill switch feature. But I could not see any security settings on the macOS app that I tested. Finally, PandaVPN provides split tunneling but lacks Onion Over VPN and double VPN servers, although the latter is a costly feature not found in budget-friendly offerings.

Privacy — Not Trustworthy

PandaVPN’s privacy agreement states that the VPN has a strict no-logs policy and does not log or store any of your identifying information. I wasn’t even required to input my email address when signing up for the service. Instead, PandaVPN generates a random account number for you to use as your login.

This number generation system is great for maintaining your privacy and did go some way towards alleviating my concerns over the VPN’s Chinese and Russian servers. After all, if a VPN doesn’t store any information about you, it has nothing to hand over to a government agency or anyone else.

Sadly, you can’t pay for the VPN using cryptocurrency, which negates the random account number effort mentioned earlier. Having a crypto option would have added another level of security to the payment process, but alas. All traditional bank transactions typically come with account holder information.

PandaVPN’s website also says that the company is based in Seychelles – outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. However, during my research, I noticed some users expressing concern that the VPN originates from China or Hong Kong.

I did some digging and found that the company’s GitHub commits are logged in Chinese. On Twitter, on the other hand, the company claims to be American – with their HQ in the US. Both China and America are famously anti-privacy countries, so the confusion over the VPN’s origin raises some red flags. It calls into question the trustworthiness of PandaVPN’s logging policy.

Get Started With PandaVPN!

Torrenting — It Works But It’s Not Worth It

The speeds are too low for loading anything significant.

PandaVPN offers you a list of dedicated servers designed to maximize torrent speeds. There aren’t many of them but those that are on offer promise good connection speeds. However, this seems like a running theme of PandaVPN; I couldn’t open a torrent website regardless of the connection.

Yet, I could connect to peers using a torrent file. This is a workaround but it also means convenient magnet links are out of the question. But you’d be off without it as the speed is slow. I managed to maximize a 450+ kb/s download on a 150 seed file. That’s not optimal for large files.

Does PandaVPN Work in China? It Does.

PandaVPN claims to work in China. The company offers an intelligent proxy system that unblocks content in mainland China. This system was designed both for mobile and desktop users, with the latter being a bit less robust in terms of options.

The mobile client has a Smart Mode that can bypass LAN and China websites in mainland China. This mode also bypasses LAN filters in other countries. You also get options to not use a proxy and LAN on Chinese websites.

The desktop client, on the other hand, isn’t as rich in terms of connection modes but it does get the job done if you just want to use unrestricted Internet. The desktop version only gets you access to Smart Mode and to be frank, I would have preferred feature parity between the two clients. Still, you will be able to access international content inside of China.

Try PandaVPN Today!

Simultaneous Device Connections — Limited

PandaVPN gives you 3 simultaneous device connections. I was disappointed with this as it’s not as generous as many other VPNs, which usually offer at least five or more.

Having just 3 simultaneous connections does limit how much you can use the VPN – especially if you live in a large household where several people might want to connect at the same time.

You can add additional device connections through licenses, but the thing is, you have to pay for additional licenses which can be costly if you are into technology.

Device Compatibility — Consoles are Missing

PandaVPN is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. It also has an app for Android TV.

Yet, I was disappointed to see no games console and router support – especially as the VPN has a gaming-optimized server. It is rendered useless now, but it might be a hint that the vendor could add consoles down the line, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Get Started With PandaVPN!

Ease of Use

5.3

Set-Up & Installation — Super Easy

Perhaps one of the best parts of the platform is the installation process. Just download the executable directly from their website and follow the on-screen prompts.

You’ll then be asked to log in to your account using the previously generated account number and hit the connect button to start browsing using the Smart Mode. You can also manually choose a server but it is a bit more complicated.

You need to scroll through dozens of connections and it took me a while to find the server I wanted. Overall, I didn’t find the interface particularly intuitive or straightforward. There is a search bar you can use to at least narrow down the list but users shouldn’t be resorting to it, to begin with. Yet, what salvaged the user experience was the VPN’s Smart Connect and Auto Connect features.

Compare PandaVPN with the top alternative VPNs

Pricing

1.3
1 Year
$3.99 /month
3 Months
$6.99 /month
1 Month
$9.99 /month

PandaVPN isn’t the most expensive VPN I’ve tried, but it’s not the cheapest either. It has a good range of affordable subscription prices, with monthly payments significantly decreasing if you choose a longer-term plan.

You can currently pay for PandaVPN using a credit card, PayPal, Alipay, or Paymentwall. I would have liked to have seen the option to pay with a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, as it gives you more privacy. Payments are covered by a 7 money-back guarantee – much shorter than the 30 days offered by most premium services. There is also a 3-day free trial, but this is only available on PandaVPN’s Android and iOS mobile apps.

Overall, I don’t think PandaVPN gives you good value for money. I’ve used many VPNs that have been much more powerful and reliable but cost less than PandaVPN.

Try PandaVPN With Its 7-day money-back guarantee!

Reliability & Support

3.3

Waiting an hour in a live chat kind of defeats the purpose

I did not find PandaVPN to be a reliable or stable VPN. I couldn’t use it to access the streaming sites I tried, and I experienced lots of dropouts and downtime where the VPN wouldn’t work at all. Users in mainland China report the same. Server timeout and maintenance is a common occurrence.

PandaVPN’s customer support was lacking. There is a 24/7 live chat available to contact them, as well as there’s an email address for more elaborate requests. However, when I’ve sent them a message requesting a refund on my subscription, I didn’t get a prompt reply from either the live chat or email. After 3 days, I also tried to contact them via Twitter but didn’t get any response. It took a whole week before an agent emailed me back to confirm that my refund had been processed.

There is a Help Center on the PandaVPN website. It is perhaps the most helpful section of the website. There’s plenty of information provided in the FAQs list, but it appears there are no tutorials or guides to help you troubleshoot more specific issues.

Try PandaVPN Today!

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict

I wouldn’t recommend using PandaVPN. While it does have some affordable pricing options and its apps are relatively straightforward and easy to use, it simply doesn’t offer the reliability that other VPNs can give you for the same price or less.

Despite the VPN’s impressive server network, my results found the service to be patchy and unreliable. It was incapable of bypassing geoblocks on most of the major streaming providers I tested. Thankfully, the mobile and desktop app doesn’t seem to impact the performance of my somewhat modestly spec’d PC and smartphone. However, I also found its customer support disappointing. It was challenging to get in touch with the support team. So much so that I have yet to confirm that my refund is being processed.

Lastly, I would be very wary of trusting the VPN’s no-logs policy as it’s unclear where the service is based and who it’s run by. If it is based or run from China or the US, this could be a cause for concern when it comes to protecting your privacy and safety online.

FAQs on PandaVPN

Is PandaVPN safe?

No, it is not. PandaVPN uses the highest level of encryption and has a strict zero-logs policy designed to protect your privacy online. However, because there is a lack of transparency around where PandaVPN is based, it’s unclear whether you can trust these features.

Can PandaVPN unblock Netflix?

No, Netflix remains blocked. Both the mobile app and its desktop variant don’t unblock the site in any capacity even though the app says you are using their service.

Will PandaVPN slow my speeds down?

No, it will even increase them. The VPN will increase the speed, but you won’t use the added benefit as no website or mobile app will work or load for some bizarre and unexplained reason.

Money Back Guarantee (Days) : 7
Mobile app :
Number of devices per license : 3

PandaVPN User Reviews

6.0
Based on 2 reviews in 1 languages
Eugene
My positive experience - 10
Eugene -
May 6, 2021

This worked for me surprisingly well. The reason I looked for alternative VPN providers after years of being a loyal express VPN customer was for a period of time they just had terrible connections and frequent drops, customer service couldn't do anything to help. Upon switching to Panda I had blazing speed, what used to be the eternal spinning wheel of waiting to be connected now is just a click less than a second. It worked like a charm on all my devices until I left China in 2020. So I don't know why it is not rated higher. IMO this is a majorly underrated speedy VPN service for people in China.

Felix Höhne
Not a recommended VPN - 2
Felix Höhne

The VPN has a terrible connection in China. If you look closely on their website there is the address of *their office * but if you google the address it's a hospital. And this VPN is definitely based in China because the support telegram chat is in Chinese.

Check the top 3 alternative VPNs

Rating: 9.9 / 10

Rating: 9.5 / 10

Rating: 9.3 / 10

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