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SwitchVPN Review (2022) - Good Overall, But Some Drawbacks
SwitchVPN is a decently-priced VPN with reliable speeds and the ability to unblock some streaming sites.
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.
Streaming — Works With Most Sites Excluding Amazon Prime Video
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 — butit 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.
Speeds — Decent Speeds, Fast Enough for Most Online Activities
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.
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.
Server Network — Modest Number of Servers but Good Coverage
SwitchVPN has 250 servers based in 33 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).
Security — Basic Security Offering With No Extra Features
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.
It's safe to download SwitchVPN, the files contained nothing malicious
Privacy — Too Vague for a US-Based VPN
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.
Torrenting — P2P-Optimized Servers but Worrying DMCA Policy
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.
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.
Installation & Apps
Set-Up & Installation — Easy and Simple Apps
The installation process is quick and easy. It only took me a few minutes to download, install, and get started.
Once subscribed, you can log into the client area on the SwitchVPN webpage. This takes you to an easy-to-navigate dashboard, with the apps immediately visible. I was able to find and download the Windows app in seconds. As well as the native apps, there’s a manual setup option. Here you’ll find the guides for configuring the VPN on a router so you can use it on any device on your network.
The Windows app installed without any problems, and I could log in straight away. It showed my current IP address, with a “select server" option on the main screen. There’s also a recommended server list, which I found to be reliable.
Under settings, you have some very straightforward options under different tabs. You can change your general options like launching the app on Windows startup, and connecting to the last used location.
The protocol area will let you switch to your preferred protocols, like OpenVPN UDP/TCP and IKEv2, and even has a handy description telling you the effectiveness of each one — I thought this was a nice touch.
When you’ve selected your server, you just click on the connect button and wait for the app to confirm you’ve established a connection. Your connection speed is also displayed under the server location.
From installation to connection only took me about 5 minutes, so you won’t have any difficulties getting started with SwitchVPN.
To activate this VPN on Windows, be sure to visit the “Network and Internet" tab on the Settings menu. There, you will find an option that says “Add a VPN connection." Click on it and add “SwitchVPN" to the “Connection name" section. You will also need to input your user ID and password here, so keep those handy during set-up.
Don’t forget to save your settings, too, or else you may have to repeat the entire process.
SwitchVPN’s Premium package costs from $6.99 per month when paid on a monthly basis. This package allows users to connect up to 3 devices at a time and includes all of the service’s features.
When paid annually, the same package will cost you just $3.99 per month, hence bringing down the overall annual cost from $83.88 (if paid by the month) to $47.88 (when paid altogether for the entire year).
The Families package costs $9.99 per month when paid on a monthly basis but will only cost $5.99 when billed annually. You can save 40% off the original price by paying for the entire year in one go. If paid for annually, this package will cost you $71.88, but when paid on a monthly basis, it will cost you $119.88 for 12 months.
The Families package has the same features as the Premium option. Save for one thing: you can connect up to 6 devices at a time with the Family package as opposed to only 3 when employing the Premium deal.
You can pay using cards supported by Visa, American Express, and MasterCard. PayPal, bitcoin, and Alipay are also accepted.
You can try out the 3-day sample plan for just $1. This trial period can help you decide whether or not to subscribe to the service as a permanent member. If you want a bit longer to test out the VPN before committing, there’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Reliability & Support
SwitchVPN offers excellent customer service with a 24/7 live chat and large knowledge base, making it easy to overcome any issues you may have with the service. The live chat support team got back to me within minutes and provided in-depth and helpful answers for all of my questions.
As for reliability, I’d say that this service is quite reliable. I’ve been using SwitchVPN for a few months now and have not faced any major issues during this time period.
Many servers to choose from, though limited number of IP addresses
SwitchVPN is reliable but not outstanding. I found the service easy to use and mostly fast enough for everything I wanted to do online. However, its unclear policies and US headquarters were red flags when it comes to privacy.
The VPN gives you access to most major streaming sites and its speeds are good enough for streaming if you don’t mind watching in HD instead of UHD. It’s also one of the few VPNs that actually works in China.
I prefer to be completely sure that I’m guaranteed anonymity and privacy when using a VPN so I would choose a service with a more watertight privacy police over SwitchVPN.
SwitchVPN provides decent security features and claims to have a no-logging policy. However, its security features aren’t consistent across its apps so you don’t always enjoy the same protection depending on which app you use.
Yes, SwitchVPN can unblock Netflix within the US and the UK. In order to watch US Netflix, just select a US server. If you want to access British Netflix, be sure to select a server based within the UK.
All VPNs can be expected to slow you down but the best VPNs are so fast you barely notice any difference. SwitchVPN isn’t the fastest VPN I’ve tested but gave me mostly reliable speeds that were good enough for browsing and streaming in HD. Check out our list of the fastest VPNs if you want something speedier.