As a self-hosted VPN, Tailscale works a bit differently to others I’ve reviewed in the past. By connecting your devices it lets you create your own private network — rather than connecting you to servers owned by the service.
I was interested to see how easy it would really be to set up a personal private network. After checking out a few of its security features I was impressed by how simple the VPN is to use. However, Tailscale is missing certain features I expect from typical VPNs.
Due to the service’s lack of a worldwide server network, you can’t really use it to stream from sites or particular libraries that employ geoblocking. If you’re mainly looking for a VPN to stream and torrent with, others I’ve reviewed in the past might suit you better.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
- Not suitable for streaming. Tailscale VPN doesn’t have a server network and won’t be able to bypass any geoblocks. See what happened when I tried to stream.
- Personal server network. Doesn’t offer a standard server network — instead you create your own network between your devices. For more information, read on.
- Fast transfer speeds. Allows you to quickly transfer files between your connected devices. Read more about my speeds results.
- Superior security. For maximum safety, P2P encryption is implemented on every connection in your network. See my full security analysis.
- Versatile plans. A wide selection of plans to choose from, including the bespoke enterprise plan built to suit your needs. Find out more details.
- Generous pricing. The basic plan is completely free, and allows you to connect up to 20 devices simultaneously.
- Questionable privacy practices. It’s based in Canada, a 5 Eyes Alliance territory, and does log certain information. See what else I found out.
Tailscale Features — Updated in January 20225.5
|📝 Does VPN keep logs?||Yes|
|💻 Number of devices per license||20|
|🛡 Kill switch||No|
|🗺 Based in country||Canada|
|🛠 Support||Via Email|
|📥 Supports torrenting||Yes|
Tailscale VPN was not designed to bypass geoblocks, so you won’t be able to access streaming platforms. It allows you to connect devices so that you can access their files from any other connected device, but this is not particularly helpful for streaming.
The only way you can use the service for streaming is by using an exit node and a device in a different location. By doing this, you’d be able to route your internet connection through another device and access local streaming websites when you’re traveling. Only Linux machines can act like exit nodes now, but Tailscale promises to increase compatibility in the future.
I can’t recommend Tailscale for bypassing streaming geoblocks if that’s your main reason for wanting a VPN. Check out these top VPNs for Netflix instead.
Tailscale provides fast transfer speeds but doesn't affect your internet connection the way a regular VPN would. This is because it creates secure tunnels between devices, rather than routing your traffic through an additional server.
It’s also built on WireGuard, a high-speed security protocol built on super-fast encryption algorithms. That means it provides super-fast P2P transfers between the devices connected to it.
If you’re looking for a way to bypass ISP throttling, then you should check out one of these super-fast VPNs.
Unlike a typical VPN, Tailscale VPN doesn’t have a network of worldwide servers for you to choose from. Instead you’re creating your own private network by linking your different devices.
In order to do this, you need to set up the client on each of your devices and connect to the Tailscale network. Once you have set up this network, you can easily and safely transfer files between them.
You have multiple options for connecting your machines. In the Route settings from the dashboard, you can choose to create a subnet route or an exit node. The subnet route allows you to connect devices that are not compatible with Tailscale, while the exit node lets you to route your internet connection through a different machine.
Even though you don’t have a classic server network, Tailscale offers a different solution. It allows you to safely connect and transfer files between your devices, create gaming servers, or use a secure internet connection. The site has guides and blog posts to help you figure out how.
Tailscale operates on what’s called a zero trust network. The basic idea is that even secure networks are susceptible to intrusion, so zero trust networks assume all connections can’t be trusted.
As a result, each connection is protected by P2P encryption so you’re protected even as you access one connected device from another.
Because Tailscale is built upon Wireguard’s framework, it provides impressive security with low latency whenever you connect to another device.
Tailscale is not as privacy-friendly as other VPNs out there. Even though it allows you to create your own private network, it does require some communication with Tailscale’s coordination server.
This is especially concerning considering Tailscale is based in Canada, which is part of the 5 Eyes Alliance. Given that their location means it may have to share information with the government, I consider this a big privacy concern.
Torrenting — Uncovered
Tailscale won’t mask your IP address because it’s not designed for that. However, it does create a P2P network between your devices, so you can technically transfer files faster.
Given this, it might not help with the torrenting itself but it will help you to share your downloaded files between connected devices.
Does Tailscale Work in China? No
Tailscale can’t bypass the Great Firewall.
It’s built on Wireguard which doesn’t obfuscate the users location, and relies on a centralized coordination server. As a result, it can be blocked by the Great Firewall of China.
Device Compatibility — Compatible with all Major Platforms
Tailscale is available for major platforms such as Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as iOS and Android. It can also work with Raspberry Pi & ARM, and Synology.
Since it has extensive compatibility, you can connect all your devices and create secure transfer tunnels. This is especially useful for companies with multiple data centers around the world.
Note that if you wish to create exit nodes to connect to other countries, for example, only Linux devices are currently capable of this.
Simultaneous Device Connections — From 20 to Unlimited
Device connections depend on your plan. The basic personal plan allows you to connect up to 20 devices, and if you upgrade to the personal pro plan this increases to 100 devices.
However, it should be noted that the basic plan only allows one user despite the generous amount of device connections.
The higher tier plans allow you to add as many users as you need for a set amount extra per month and give you more devices per user. If you need even more you can contact Tailscale about its Enterprise account. This gives you unlimited devices, unlimited subnet routers, unlimited admin users, and more.