With more people adopting VPN services to unblock their favorite shows and protect privacy, vendors have to make sure that their offerings are up to the task. VPN suppliers have to be competitive in terms of speed and have enough unique features to stand against the industry leaders. So where does StreamVia - a UK-based VPN service provider sit in all of this?
The VPN has been on my radar for months now, ever since it opened its doors back in 2010. I will take a look at features, ease of use, and pricing. I’ll also be covering reliability, support, and speeds, so there’s a lot of ground to cover before deeming it one of the best VPNs.
Will StreamVia match industry veterans? Or will it fall short? Find out in this in-depth review.
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Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
Stream Via Features — 2024 Update
Money Back Guarantee
Does VPN keep logs?
Number of servers
Number of devices per license
Based in country
Streaming — Great, But There’s Room for Improvement
StreamVia unlocks every major streaming platform out there, including popular on-demand video streaming options such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and BBC iPlayer — however, bandwidth is an issue. You can also use your Kodi streaming setup too since there is support for all the necessary libraries. If you are having trouble viewing any of these, the vendor offers a nice troubleshoot section where you can find various solutions.
The streaming quality is decent, but there are occasional stutters and macro blocking if the highest video quality is selected. There’s just not enough bandwidth speed required by high bitrate video content. This is further exacerbated if you are viewing content from Asian markets.
To mitigate the bandwidth limitation, the company offers a feature called SmartStream DNS. While not exactly a VPN feature and more of a proxy system, the solution allows for enhanced unblocking and is available in all three plans. Before you use it, make sure it works in your country.
Speeds — Varies Per Connection But Overall Passable
Overall good, but not all connections are equal. I tested a bunch of UK-based addresses and got a solid 70 to 72 Mbps connection speed. However, that wasn’t always the case, as the VPN offers different connectivity options that vary in performance.
On the first server, I got a 14 to 28Mbps speed range, and on the second one, I only managed to get around 5.70Mbps. If I’d had to guess, I assume that the first server has the most bandwidth of the entire service line.
The company doesn’t limit your speeds if you are using the service to do downloads, VoIP, movie streaming, and gaming. You can also do some light and more crucially, legal P2P activities using its Netherlands servers. So much so that you can rest assured knowing that your torrenting sessions are hidden from ISPs.
Are StreamVia’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Not Really.
Suitable but with limitations. If you are looking to play League of Legends, World of Warcraft, or even CS: Go, those speeds are more than enough. However, the ping can jump from time to time which can result in a subpar experience.
Another problem is that the vendor doesn’t support P2P connections that means you won’t be able to use your Nintendo Switch, PS5, or Xbox Series S/X to play online as most games on consoles use peer-to-peer (P2P) connections.
Games such as Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and Splatoon 2 will not work, but in rare instances, when a game uses a dedicated server, you will be able to play it. To reiterate, games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty War Zone will work, but Smash, Mario Kart, and Splatoon are out of the question.
Server Network — Limited, But What’s There It’s Good
All connections are pretty solid with little to no latency. Being a UK-based service, it offers a nice selection of UK IPs, but you will be limited on an international scale. You only get 18 countries to pick from, including popular choices such as the US, China, and Australia.
What’s cool about the service is that you can rent a UK cellular IP address. For websites, you’ll appear as a 4G/LTE user from the UK, meaning you will be very resistant to blocks. You can also get access to an equally equipped router, mobile SIM card, and dynamic IP address that you can take control of. All of this comes with a 100 GB data cap.
The company also offers a DNS connection for better streaming. If messing with tech isn’t your thing, you can order a pre-configured router that you can use to share your VPN connection with other connected devices.
Security — Standard Features
Support for OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and StealthVPN is present. The company openly states that it keeps track of the username you’ve used to access the service, the time you started using their VPN, the IP you used to connect, the amount of data you requested/transmitted, and the individual ports you’ve requested. All connections StreamVia offers use 256-bit encryption so there’s no need to be worried that your data will be compromised due to an exploitable connection.
Privacy — Questionable Log Policy
All personal information such as what sites you’ve visited, what queries you’ve input, and what resources you’ve requested is not stored. Furthermore, all data that had to travel during your browsing is encrypted and impossible to crack. That is to say, it uses military-grade protection, but the caveat is that there is no outside confirmation.
But all of that doesn’t mean that the company doesn’t collect some information from you. In fact, it keeps tabs on the following:
|What data is collected
|For what purpose
- The company monitors the use of the network to ensure better service and technical purposes;
- Time and date when you connected and disconnected from the service;
- To prevent and protect their services from fraudulent activities (i.e credit card tampering);
- How much data you’ve transmitted through their service;
- To prevent and detect network abuse (i.e spamming, illicit activity, and file sharing);
- The IP address that you’ve used to connect to the service;
- Ports of the server you’ve used;
- The IP address of the VPN server you used;
StreamVia ensures its users that it keeps data 14-days tops, after the date, it deletes it. Only in rare cases such as violations of the End User Agreement (this includes the Acceptable Use Policy too) the company will keep the data you’ve generated for more than 14-days.
If your goal is to use StreamVia solely for the SmartStream DNS feature, you are sharing the following data:
- Your username;
- Time and date when you connected and disconnected from the service;
- The IP address you’ve used to connect to the service (for server authorization purposes);
As with the VPN service, it deletes SmartStream DNS data daily. All current SmartStream DNS data is stored for as long as your account is active. That is to say, it does not keep historical data, and current updates overwrite the previous ones. Only if you violate, as you might have guessed, the End User Agreement and Acceptable Use Policy the company will store your data longer.
Torrenting — Not Accepted on Any Servers
StreamVia has a strict no-torrent policy. The VPN provider blocks all P2P connections as part of their policy. This limitation means you won't be able to download stuff from Usenet sites. P2P is required for torrent clients to work correctly. Regardless if you use uTorrent, Bittorrent, Azureus, Vuze, Popcorn Time, Usenet, or Deluge, the vendor will block the connections on all of its servers.
It even goes as far as stating it’ll terminate your account if someone reports you torrenting. This block is probably in place due to strict anti-piracy law in the UK, but torrenting isn’t always about piracy. Some people use torrents to efficiently send out large files. With this block, such a task becomes impossible.
Granted, you can use the Netherlands server to share only legal content (i.e not copyrighted material) through Usenet clients but expect sub-par speeds. This block is also the reason why console gaming is out of the question.
Does StreamVia Work in China? Yes, and With Decent Results
It works but, only through VPN options. What this means is you won’t be able to enjoy bonus bandwidth when watching Chinese shows. Still, the connection was good enough, and my team didn’t experience any stutters or time skips.
You can also expect the service to work in China, Egypt, Iran, UAE, and Mainland Turkey but only if you use VPN service and not SmartStream DNS.
Simultaneous Device Connections — Up to 5 Max
You can connect 5 concurrent devices but keep in mind that the speeds will be shared, including the 2TB fair usage limit. You’ll get a static IP address but only in the later plans. If you are planning to share this VPN with your entire household, you will run out of data really fast as an hour of FullHD video will eat around 1,5 Gb of data. Each tier offers a set number of connections:
- UK Residential VPN (Shared IP) - Up to 2 devices;
- UK Residential VPN (Dedicated IP) - Up to 5 devices;
- SmartStream DNS - Up to 5 devices;
Device Compatibility — Good Variety
Device compatibility is good, but you need to be patient. What I mean is that your device should have an option to add manual connections. Or be able to install some sort of OpenVPN program.
Most Android and iOS-based devices allow you to add custom connections without an app, and they do have the option to sideload OpenVPN. Naturally, this also includes PCs, Macs, but not 9th generation gaming consoles. In full, you can hook StreamVia to the following list of devices:
- Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
- iPhone, iPad, Android
- DDWRT routers, and Chrome OS
If you plan on using this VPN on your console, you’ll have to add the connection through the system menu on the console itself by adding a specific DNS address. Not the easiest way, but it gets the job done.
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