SnowdenVPN claims to be focused on businesses and promises to offer the highest levels of security as well as super-fast speeds.
There were some things I liked, such as its unique pay-as-you-go system and personal servers. However, it’s let down by time-consuming manual setup, a small server network, and a lack of key features you usually get with the best VPNs.
Also, It claims to be a secure service for businesses, but the VPN has some fairly concerning red flags when it comes to privacy. Read on to find out what I discovered.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
- Limited unblocking capabilities. SnowdenVPN doesn’t have any servers in the US, so you won’t be able to unblock Hulu, HBO Max, or US Netflix with it.
- Unlimited bandwidth and decent speeds. When you create a server, no one else can use it, so you can browse freely without any slowdowns.
- Manual installation. This VPN doesn’t have any native apps due to “security concerns,” so you need to manually set it up on your machine.
- Small server network. SnowdenVPN has servers in 9 countries, so you’re limited in terms of locations.
- Strong security. It uses AES-256 encryption along with the OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec protocols, so you’ll be completely safe online.
- Located in Russia. The VPN claims to be no-logs but that isn’t technically true, and I found its Russian base slightly concerning.
- Works in China. The support team confirmed that SnowdenVPN works in China, but you need to configure it before you arrive.
- Unlimited connections (but with some limitations). You can use your account to connect as many devices as you want, but you’re limited to one IP per server.
- Great compatibility. SnowdenVPN is compatible with all the mainstream operating systems, and it also works on routers, smart TVs, and gaming consoles.
- No money-back guarantee. SnowdenVPN doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee, but given its “pay-as-you-use” system, you can try it out without investing too much.
SnowdenVPN Features — Updated in May 2022
Does VPN keep logs?
Based in country
Live Chat Support
Streaming — Limited Capabilities
SnowdenVPN unblocked a couple of streaming services — but not many.
I was able to access my Disney+ and BBC iPlayer accounts with servers in Amsterdam and London, but it took me a while to find connections that worked.
The VPN doesn’t offer any servers in the US at all. This means that you won’t be able to watch any US streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Max.
Since it’s a business-oriented VPN, SnowdenVPN is focused on providing security solutions for companies — not on unblocking international TV. If streaming is your main focus, I recommend you take a look at these streaming VPNs that can unblock hundreds of platforms instead.
Speeds — Unlimited Bandwidth
SnowdenVPN promises super-fast speeds, but it didn’t quite live up to the promise.
I was excited by the VPN’s claim it would give me speeds of up to 1 Gbps. While this sounds like a very good deal, it’s not always the case. I detected an average 20% drop from my base speeds, which is decent enough for a small VPN.
One good feature is that you can establish your own server — no one else will be able to connect to it, so you don’t have to worry about slowdowns due to server crowding.
Server Network — Small, but Reliable
SnowdenVPN has servers in 9 countries, but the actual number is unknown. According to the support agent I spoke with, SnowdenVPN uses virtual servers from Digital Ocean and Hertzner — he couldn’t tell me the exact number, though.
Virtual servers are fine when they work, but they don’t always give you the best performance. I prefer using VPNs with physical servers in centers managed by the VPN team — to protect against any third-party snooping.
Most of the locations are in Europe — the UK, Netherlands, Finland, and Germany. You’ll also find servers in Canada, Singapore, and India. You’ll find one location in each of these countries, except for Germany, which has 3 locations.
It’s easy enough to choose the server you want. I found a server list in my Dashboard and established a connection from there.
Security — Missing Some Features
SnowdenVPN has decent encryption and protocols but lacks important security features.
While testing the VPN, I was able to choose from the OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec protocols. I opted to use OpenVPN. It’s the industry standard for VPNs, and it guarantees a good level of security and fast speeds.
L2TP/IPSec is considered to be a secure protocol, but it can be slow. The data is transferred twice (once through L2TP, and once through IPSec where it’s also encrypted. However, it’s easier to crack than OpenVPN. If someone breaks through the first level (L2TP), they can intercept your data.
I couldn’t find any information about SnowdenVPN’s encryption level at first, but the support team told me the VPN uses 256-bit AES encryption. This is the strongest level of encryption available nowadays, and it would take a few hundred years for someone to crack it.
Since there are no native apps, you don’t get additional features like a kill switch. A kill switch is important as it shuts down your internet if the connection fails. This way, you can’t be accidentally exposed to the websites and apps you visit. Not having one puts you at risk.
SnowdenVPN justifies the lack of native apps with security concerns. If the VPN runs through open-source software, it’s supposedly safer than closed source software. However, I’ve used plenty of secure VPN apps before that kept me safe and gave me additional security measures.
Overall, I can’t say that SnowdenVPN’s security is the best out there. The VPN has decent protocols and encryption but the lack of features can be a letdown.
Privacy — Russia HQ is a Red Flag
SnowdenVPN is based in Russia, which is concerning. Most prominent VPNs withdrew their Russian servers in 2017 when the government banned VPNs that wouldn’t comply with the country’s censorship and surveillance laws.
The fact that SnowdenVPN operates in Russia is therefore worrying. There’s a chance the VPN could be forced to hand over your data if requested by government officials.
Theoretically, this shouldn’t be an issue as the VPN claims not to store any logs — but I found out this isn’t technically true.
It does in fact store some of your data, such as:
- Personal information — it keeps your name, email, and payment information when you sign up for a new account.
- Summary statistics — it measures and stores the total sum of data transferred by a user. Bandwidth is unlimited, but if one user pushes more traffic than thousands of others combined, SnowdenVPN may contact the user and investigate.
- Diagnostics and crash reports — every time the VPN malfunctions, SnowdenVPN receives some reports. You can disable these.
- MediaStreamer data — SnowdenVPN records the IP address that’s registered with the MediaStreamer, but it claims not to store it.
It doesn’t store browsing history, traffic destination, data content, or DNS queries. Plus, your IP address, the VPN address you’re connected to and the session duration are not recorded.
That means the information stored shouldn’t be able to identify you, but it’s still a bit too much logging for my liking. I prefer truly zero-log VPNs. Without any independent audits, we can only take SnowdenVPN’s word that it doesn’t log other data.
In my opinion, the partial logging paired with the Russian HQ make SnowdenVPN a privacy concern.
Torrenting — Allowed
SnowdenVPN allows torrenting on all its servers. However, it doesn’t have extra security features, so it may not be the best option. Since it doesn’t come with a kill switch, you could be exposed to other peers on the network if the VPN fails.
If you’re looking for a VPN to keep you safe during P2P transfers, take a look at these torrenting VPNs.
Does SnowdenVPN Work in China? Yes
SnowdenVPN works in China. The support agent I got in contact with told me that it has no problems accessing the internet safely from China, which sounds great.
However, you need to set it up before you arrive, so you don’t run into any problems.
Simultaneous Device Connections — Unlimited
You can connect an unlimited number of devices under 1 account. However, SnowdenVPN only allows one IP per server. This means that you can create as many servers as you want with your account, but you won’t be able to connect more than 1 IP to it. If all the computers in your home use the same IP address, then you may be able to connect all of them. Otherwise, you’ll need to create a new server.
I was a little disappointed by this, as other VPNs will allow you to connect to thousands of servers from multiple devices, regardless of the IP address. Depending on how many devices you need to connect, the service may be a little expensive.
Device Compatibility — Works With Most Devices, But Manual Setup
SnowdenVPN is compatible with the most popular operating systems, but you need to manually set it up.
You can use it on Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS. If you choose the MediaStreamer feature, you can also use it with devices that don’t normally support VPNs, such as smart TVs (Apple TV and Android TV), routers, and gaming consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, etc.)