StarVPN Residential and Business services both offer servers in 18 countries. The service gives users a good plaform for streaming but it misses in several key areas.
In a Hurry? Here Are My Key Findings:
- Streaming: It can unblock several Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more. See the full testing results here.
- Speeds: Fast enough to stream buffer-free on most servers in HD and Ultra HD. Find out just how fast it is here.
- Security & Privacy: Basic VPN features for its in-house Windows app, including a kill switch, DNS/IP leak protection, and military-grade encryption. See where it fell short here.
- Ease of Use: I had a bit of trouble with the Windows app, but was able to easily configure the VPN using OpenVPN Connect and StarVPN's stellar online guides. See more here.
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StarVPN Features — Updated in February 2023
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Does VPN keep logs?
Number of devices per license
Based in country
Can it Unblock Netflix - Yes
I chose the Datacentre plan for StarVPN, as DNSFlex and StarVPN recommend it for unblocking streaming services. I was not disappointed. The first time I tried to connect to Netflix UK before connecting to the VPN and received the following error "something went wrong." I couldn't even reach the log in page. Then I connected to a server in the UK.
StarVPN can unblock BBC iPlayer, several Netflix libraries, and more.
The speeds were decent for streaming in HD too, but I'll go into that a bit more later. I tried the same with US, Brazilian, and Australian Netflix and was able to access each time. I was also able to unblock BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video.
I did have a pretty slow connection for German Netflix, but it's important to remember that's pretty common the further you get from your original location. I was still able to stream buffer-free in SD, so it wasn't unbearable.
Speeds - Fast Enough for HD Streaming
As a bit of a foreword, I should explain a little about why your download and upload speeds matter. According to Netflix, one of the most popular streaming providers out there, the following speeds are best for streaming buffer-free:
StarVPN's speeds were fast enough for HD streaming and some instances UltraHD/4K.
- HD: 5Mbps+ download speed
- UltraHD/4K: 25Mbps+ download speed
Generally, you don't want more than a 20% decrease in speeds, even if you are using a VPN. Before I connected my download speeds were 34.5Mbps, and upload was 42.3Mbps. These are excellent speeds for streaming movies buffer-free. My ping was also incredibly fast at around 5ms.
After connecting to a server in Los Angeles, California, my download speeds dropped by 32.75%, to 23.2Mbps, and my upload speeds dropped by 24% to 31.9Mbps. Ping slowed to around 48ms.
Next I tested a server in Canada, the speed drop was a bit more significant. My download speeds dropped by 72.5%. Upload speeds didn't fare as badly, they only decreased around 56%. Ping reached over 105ms.
Finally I tested a server in Brazil, simultaneously attempting to access Netflix. While I was able to access Netflix, the download speeds dropped significantly from the Canadian server, around 39%. While upload speeds only decreased by around 28%. Finally, the ping back was over 125ms.
Is StarVPN Fast Enough for Gaming?
It depends. Gaming requires fast ping speeds to help reduce latency. The slower the ping speed, the less reliable and steady your connection will be. For the best gaming you'd ideally want 20-25ms ping back, no more than 95ms. That way you won't be dealing with latency issues that could cause your connection to drop or create lag.
My ping speeds increased dramatically from one server to the next, the further I got from my true location. While they were still primarily in the range of acceptable, it would depend on where you live and what country you are attempting to connect to. If you live in the Brazil and want to connect to a US server, you may deal with lag.
Looking for an affordable service that gives you lighting-fast speeds for gaming? Check out our best free VPNs for gaming.
Security & Privacy - Basic VPN Features
StarVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption, OpenVPN, a kill switch, and IPv6/DNS/WebRTC leak protection on its in-house app for Windows. StarVPN suggests using its native app because it doesn't have leaks, I was unable to get the app to work on my Windows device. I ended up installing it via OpenVPN Connect for Android. Unfortunately, that meant most of the additional security features were missing. If you use the StarVPN app for Windows, please share your own experiences on this in our User Review section below.
I did test the service to find out if it leaked my DNS or IP address. I was happy to find it didn't leak my IP address but a bit disappointed to find out it was leaking DNS requests.
IP address was transparent but it leaked DNS requests.
When I looked at the FAQs I found out that they don't allow torrenting. Yet, StarVPN has an option for torrenting on it's Windows app. So there is a bit of missing information in the FAQs. To clarify this StarVPN reiterated that they do indeed offer torrenting on the native Windows app. I'm not sure what that means for mobile, though they plan on releasing a native app for Android and iOS soon. It may be included in there, we'll have to wait and see.
If any of our readers out there have torrented with the native app, drop us a note below to let us know what you thought of the service.
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Installation & Apps
Setup was kind of a pain, I was unable to get the 64-bit app to work on my Windows 10 device. I checked all my settings and couldn't find a direct reason for the error. I have a 64-bit OS and am running Windows 10 Home. I had chosen the 64-bit version, and downloaded again just to make sure but I kept getting the same error.
Note: StarVPN notified us they fixed it shortly after our review went live. Please share your own experiences on the Windows app for StarVPN in the User Review section below. Let us know how it worked for you.
Even though I have Windows 10 installed and use a 64-bit OS, it wouldn't work.
I ended up using OpenVPN configuration for Android instead, since all of the other devices require setup through OpenVPN Connect anyway.
Luckily, StarVPN offers detailed instructions for setting up the service via OpenVPN Connect. After the hiccup with the in-house app for Windows, I was able to connect relatively quickly using OpenVPN Connect (thanks to the easy to understand instructions it provided).
Connecting to StarVPN's servers using OpenVPN Connect was a snap.
StarVPN and DNSFlex recommend using the default VPN Configuration UDP profile but I chose TCP and didn't experience any issues with speed or connectivity. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to import all the server profiles, and how seamlessly I was able to switch servers.
Having to manually configure a VPN using OpenVPN connect may seems like a negative, but it also means that any device that can use the OpenVPN Connect app can be used with StarVPN.
The residential VPN plan offers three plans: Free, Datacentre, and Business Residential. The best plan for users looking to stream content online is Datacentre.
It doesn't offer refunds as a general rule but if you contact customer support, they may issue partial refunds depending on the circumstances regarding cancellation. All potential refunds are at the companies discretion.
Reliability & Support
StarVPN offers multiple methods of contacting them, including email and support forum for residential VPN users. It also offers live chat via Skype for business customers.
The service says it takes anywhere from 24-48 hours to receive a response, as of yet I haven't received a response in regard to my question of whether or not they plan on making in-house apps for mobile to simplify the process. I also wanted to know if there was a reason my Windows 10 device wasn't compatible with the service.
I will post an update as soon as I get a response.