SwitchVPN is a decently-priced VPN with reliable speeds and the ability to unblock some streaming sites.
So, are you ready to learn more about SwitchVPN?
Let’s dive in!
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
- Unblocks most streaming sites. I was able to unblock top streaming sites like Netflix (including the UK and US libraries), Hulu, and Disney+ but SwitchVPN didn’t work with Amazon Prime Video. Take a look at my streaming results.
- Decent speeds. It’s not the fastest VPN I’ve tested but SwitchVPN offers mostly good speeds with some variation around the network. Jump to my speed test results.
- Relatively small server network. The VPN has just 300 servers in 31 countries. Find out more about the server locations it offers.
- Basic security features. You’re protected by 256-bit encryption and decent security protocols but features vary across devices. Skip to my security review for the lowdown.
- P2P-friendly servers. All of SwitchVPN’s servers allow P2P traffic and there are some torrent optimized servers too. However, check out my torrent review to find out why it might not be the safest VPN for P2P traffic.
- Based in the US. SwitchVPN is not based in a privacy-friendly country. Find out why a US HQ is worrying.
SwitchVPN Features — Updated in May 2021
|Number of countries with servers||31|
|Number of servers||300|
|Number of IP addresses||500|
|Does VPN keep logs?||No|
|Does VPN include a kill switch?||Yes|
|Number of devices per license||6|
SwitchVPN unblocked US Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO Max during my tests. The only streaming site I wasn’t able to access was Amazon Prime Video.
I didn’t face any significant interruptions when streaming with SwitchVPN. Overall my connection was fast enough to stream in HD — but not Ultra HD.
The VPN also provides dedicated streaming-optimized servers listed by country, which makes it easy to find the right server to try for your chosen streaming site.
Unblocked: Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max
Using SwitchVPN, I was able to unblock Netflix US, UK, and some other smaller Netflix regions. Netflix US and UK have two of the biggest libraries available, so I was pleased to see that SwitchVPN bypassed their geoblocks easily.
SwitchVPN does an excellent job at providing Disney+ access, too. I could easily access Disney+ using servers based in the US, UK, and other countries including France and Italy.
I also tested multiple SwitchVPN servers with Hulu, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer, and was able to unblock each of them.
The only slightly annoying issue was that I had to try out different servers with these streaming sites as each one gave a different download speed depending on which streaming platform I was trying to access.
Eventually, I was able to unblock them all with decent streaming speeds — but it was annoying and time-consuming to have to try a few different servers first.
Blocked By: Amazon Prime Video
As you can see in the screenshot below, Amazon Prime Video detected SwitchVPN immediately. I couldn’t stream any APV content.
If you want a VPN that can unblock APV (and all other major streaming sites), check out our list of the best Amazon Prime Video VPNs instead.
SwitchVPN isn’t the fastest service but, overall, its network is fast enough for browsing and streaming.
When analyzing speed, I tested 3 different elements:
- Download speed refers to how fast you receive data from the server you’re in sync with. Your download speed affects your ability to load web pages and stream videos on platforms like YouTube and Netflix. It is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
- Upload speed indicates how fast you send data to the server. It includes activities like posting on social media and making voice calls over WhatsApp. Your upload speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
- Ping is measured in milliseconds (ms) and refers to the time taken for data to travel from one server to another. A low ping rate indicates a highly responsive connection, hence allowing you to proceed with your online activities without any interruptions.
I tested 25+ server locations without experiencing a drastic decline in network speed, despite using servers located in far-off regions that were thousands of miles away from my true geographical location.
When connecting to a US server (Chicago), I had a download speed of 9.5 Mbps, which was slower than my average of 20 Mbps. That’s still fast enough to stream Netflix but only in HD, not Ultra HD — you need 25 Mbps to stream in UHD.
Interestingly, when I connected to a server in Australia (which is much further away from my real location) I experienced speeds closer to my base connection:
18 Mbps is still not fast enough to stream Netflix or APV in Ultra HD but it’s fine if you don’t mind slightly lower quality.
If you’re looking for a speedier service, take a look at our list of the fastest VPNs according to our latest tests.
Are SwitchVPN’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes, But Some Servers Have High Ping
I was able to play online games like Valorant and Minecraft but high ping sometimes gave me annoying latency issues.
As all online gamers know, it’s important to have the lowest ping possible to play online games smoothly. However, my ping occasionally went above 100 on some of the SwitchVPN servers I tested — giving me occasional lag.
Some servers let me play Valorant with no issues but, as with my streaming tests, it was a bit annoying to have to try several servers before finding one that worked well.
Take a look at our rundown of the best gaming VPNs to discover services that are more reliable for playing online games.
SwitchVPN has 300 servers based in 31 locations across the globe. I tested multiple servers and got a reliable connection with most of them, although speeds weren’t as consistent across the network as I’d have liked.
The majority of SwitchVPN servers are located within the US (10 locations including Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, and Silicon Valley). It has 3 servers within the UK. I tested all of these servers and they worked well from my geographical location in the US.
SwitchVPN also has servers in South America (Brazil), Asia (including countries like Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore), the Pacific Islands (Australia and New Zealand), North America (Canada and Mexico), and Europe (in countries like Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, and Romania).
SwitchVPN’s security features are pretty basic. It encrypts your connection with AES 256-bit encryption. That’s the highest level of encryption and the standard for most VPNs — it makes sure your traffic can’t be monitored or intercepted by hackers or snoopers.
There is a kill switch but only on the Windows and Mac apps.
A kill switch cuts off your traffic if you lose connection to a VPN. It prevents your traffic defaulting to your ISP and accidentally exposing your online activity. Most VPNs offer multi-platform kill switches as standard so I was disappointed that it wasn’t available for mobile or Linux users.
The kill switch also only works with OpenVPN. If you want to use another security protocol, you won’t be able to use the kill switch — leaving you vulnerable.
The customer support representative I spoke to told me that split-tunneling is available but only on Android apps.
Split-tunneling is a useful feature that lets you choose which apps you route through your VPN and which ones you leave out. So you could use a VPN with your browser but whitelist your banking app to prevent the VPN triggering any location alerts with your bank.
The representative also assured me that the split-tunneling feature works as a kill switch on the Android app — cutting off your selected apps if you lose connection to the VPN.
Overall, SwitchVPN has decent security features but doesn’t offer anything special.
I’d also like to see more uniformity across its apps. You can’t always guarantee you’re getting the best protection when you use the VPN with different devices.
SwitchVPN offers IKEv2, OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP, and PPTP. These protocols help with encryption and help to secure your online activity.
- IKEv2: This protocol showed promising results during the tests I conducted. SwitchVPN’s IKEv2 protocols generally work best when your browsing session is synced to a server that’s close to your geographical location. I’d recommend using IKEv2 when browsing from a mobile device simply because it has an auto-connect feature that helps you stay protected when you’re making the switch from Wi-Fi to data, or vice versa.
- OpenVPN: A remarkably safe protocol, OpenVPN sees regular updates and transformations at the hands of qualified security professionals from around the world. This security protocol is offered in 2 versions: UDP and TCP. While UDP is better for live streaming and calls, TCP is ideal for browsing because it offers a more stable connection even though it is slower than UDP.
- L2TP: An older security protocol developed in the 90s, L2TP offers decent speeds but there have been some reports that suggest it might be vulnerable to security leaks. It’s also not good at getting around firewalls.
- SSTP: Created by Microsoft, SSTP works best with Windows devices. It’s slower and less secure than OpenVPN and IKEv2 but it is good at bypassing firewalls — so it’s worth trying it out if you’re having trouble getting around censorship or other internet restrictions.
- PPTP: One of the oldest security protocols around, PPTP is fast — but only because it offers hardly any security. I don’t recommend using PPTP if you value your online privacy.
SwitchVPN also offers the SOCKS5 proxy. Proxies help you change your IP address and can be a bit faster than VPN protocols because they don’t encrypt your connection. Without encryption though, your traffic is open to snoopers and hackers so I’d always recommend sticking to a VPN protocol instead.
Leak and Virus Tests
All the servers I connected to — in Canada, the US, Austria, and more — were water-tight with no IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks. It’s crucial that your IP and DNS are hidden, or your true location can be revealed. This could prevent you from unblocking streaming sites or expose you to nasty online threats. WebRTC should also be disabled because the communication protocols with your browser can show your location to the webpage you’re visiting.
The VPN also disabled IPv6, which is reassuring because some VPNs don’t send IPv6 traffic through the VPN “tunnel”.
The IP address successfully changed to match my chosen server location — my geolocation changed accordingly, hiding my actual location. This is great for unblocking streaming sites, and keeping your online activity secure.
I also ran a virus test on SwitchVPN’s installer files and found no malware or viruses.
The VPN is also located in the US, which is a member of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. The Eyes Alliance is an international intelligence sharing pact and the US is a particularly non-privacy-friendly member.
The VPN claims only to store “non-identifiable information”. It says it doesn’t log your IP address or anything you do online while connected to the VPN.
However, I was a bit alarmed to see “user IP addresses, browser types, domain names” listed amongst the “Non-Personally Identifiable Information” the VPN collects about you.
The VPN’s Terms of Service and DMCA policy also make it very clear that SwitchVPN will comply with any “valid legal processes”. That means it will hand over any information it has about you to authorities if it has to.
As I mentioned before, normally this wouldn’t be an issue if the VPN doesn’t store any logs — it can’t hand over information about you if it doesn’t have anything to hand over. However, SwitchVPN has never undergone any independent audits so you can only take their word that they aren’t logging information that could be used to identify you.
All of SwitchVPN’s servers are P2P-friendly.
However, it also has special P2P-optimized servers in countries including the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Sweden. I was able to find these P2P servers using the filter function in the SwitchVPN app.
The VPN also offers port-forwarding, which speeds up P2P connections and helps you enjoy faster file sharing.
I tested SwitchVPN’s P2P servers with my torrent client and my speeds were fast enough for quick and easy torrenting.
That being said, SwitchVPN’s privacy and DMCA policies aren’t exactly torrent-friendly.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is designed specifically to prevent copyrighted material from being shared online. It can be very easy to get into trouble under DMCA law when torrenting, if you accidentally download something that is copyrighted.
Instead, I’d recommend that you use one of these safe VPNs for torrenting instead.
Does SwitchVPN Work in China? Yes, And It Has Servers in Hong Kong
SwitchVPN claims to be able to work in China. It even has China-optimized servers and servers in Hong Kong, giving you a better chance of good connection speeds when using the VPN in China.
If you have any issues connecting with SwitchVPN in China, there’s also a quick troubleshooting guide on the website.
Simultaneous Device Connections — 3 or 6 Allowed
You can connect up to 3 devices on the Premium Plan and up to 6 devices on the Family Plan.
For a paid VPN, this limit is a bit off-putting. You can definitely find other VPNs that allow you more device connections, and some even offer unlimited simultaneous connections.
Device Compatibility — Compatible With Major Platforms
SwitchVPN is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux.
Manual setup guides are also available for Chromebook, ASUS routers, gaming consoles, Smart TVs, and NAS devices.