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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

Tailscale VPN Review 2024: Keep in Mind Before Buying

Our Score: 4.8/10
Ranked 234th out of 298 VPNs
Andreea Juganaru Updated on 9th May 2024 Senior Editor

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 access global content, especially those that are geo-restricted (like banking apps or local news sites). If you’re mainly looking for a reliable VPN to watch local broadcasts in your region and torrent with, others I’ve reviewed in the past might suit you better.

The amount of your data logged by the service is also concerning. Read on to find out what I discovered in the service’s privacy policy.

Try Tailscale Today!

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 work with certain streaming sites. 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 — 2024 Update

6.5
💸 Price 0 USD/month
📝 Does VPN keep logs? No
🖥 Number of servers 8+
🛡 Kill switch No
🗺 Based in country Canada
🛠 Support Via Email
📥 Supports torrenting Yes

Streaming — Not Built for Streaming

Tailscale VPN was not designed to be working with 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 secure 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 open local streaming websites. Only Linux machines can act like exit nodes now, but Tailscale promises to increase compatibility in the future.

I can’t recommend Tailscale for uninterrupted streaming if that’s your main reason for wanting a VPN. Check out these top VPNs for Netflix instead.

Important: My team and I do not condone breaking any copyright laws. It’s up to you to use the VPN responsibly. We urge you to always act in accordance with the terms of service of any website, app, or service you utilize.

Speeds — Fast Transfer Speeds

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.

Server Network — Unavailable

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.

screenshot of Tailscale's dashboardYou can create subnet routes and exit nodes from your dashboard

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.

Security — Point-to-Point Encryption

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.

Privacy — Tailscale VPN Keeps Logs

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.

According to its privacy policy, the service notes your type of device hardware, hostname, all IP addresses, and more. It states that this is to help them understand the activity on the client app, to monitor and improve it, and to tailor your in-app experience.

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.

screenshot of Tailscale's support answer regarding its performance in ChinaYou may not be able to use Tailscale in 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.

Installation & Apps

6.3

Set-Up & Installation — Quick and Easy

Considering Tailscale involves you creating your own virtual private network, it’s incredibly easy to set up and install. When I installed it on my Windows device I was shocked by how quick the setup was.

Because you use your SSO to authenticate your devices, all you need to do is connect your Google, Microsoft, Okta, (or other SSO if you contact Tailscale) to your account. You can then simply sign into any device you connect to your Tailscale private network using your selected SSO.

To add another device to your network, you first need to install the app and login using your Tailscale credentials. After that, you’ll see the connected machines in the dashboard. When the VPN is on, you’ll be able to transfer any files through its system.

screenshot of macOS UI transferring files through TailscaleTailscale allows you to quick transfer any files between your connected devices

There are many other things you can do with Tailscale VPN. It allows you to set up private gaming servers, add multi-factor authentication to legal servers, or simply connect to your work computer from home.

Pricing

2.3
Free
$ 0 / month per month
Starter
$ 6 / month per month
Premium
$ 18 / month per month

There are a wide variety of customizable plans so the prices vary quite a bit. You can use the basic personal plan for free, or upgrade it to a pro plan for $48 annually.

The team plan allows you 2 admin users by default with 5 devices per user. It also increases your number of subnet routers from 1 for the basic personal plan up to 5. This plan is $5 per user per month.

The business plan costs $15 per user per month but gives you unlimited admin users, 10 subnet routers, and 10 devices per user.

For enhanced access, reaching out to Tailscale enables you to establish an Enterprise account. This account offers unlimited devices, subnet routers, admin users, and named ACL users. In addition to the existing features, you also receive priority support to address any concerns promptly. Due to the high level of customization associated with this account, the pricing is tailored accordingly.

Tailscale lets you try the team or business plans for free for days, and the basic version is free anyway. You can pay by either credit or debit card.

Reliability & Support

4.3

I found Tailscale’s customer support prompt but not always helpful.

There are a huge amount of guides on the VPN’s website, as well as a frequently updated blog. The guides cover everything from initial set-up to creating your own Minecraft server.

You can also contact the team via email or their Twitter account. I emailed to ask a few questions and got a response within a few hours, though I was just pointed back to the website’s guides.

screenshot of Tailscale's support answerTailscale’s support team wasn’t very helpful

Users who sign up for the Enterprise account can also take advantage of Tailscale’s priority support.

Compare Tailscale With The Top Alternative VPNs
Our Score: 9.9
Our Score: 9.7
Our Score: 9.5
Our Score: 9.4
Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, Cyberghost and Expressvpn are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company.

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict

Tailscale is a decent choice if you want to set up your own virtual private network. It will let you transfer files and information safely between devices thanks to its P2P encryption set-up.

If you’re looking for a VPN that will allow you to torrent or stream though, Tailscale won’t suit your needs. It gave me fast transfer speeds, but its lack of a server network means you can’t use it with streaming platforms as you would with a traditional VPN.

The location might be cause for concern too, as the VPN is based in Canada — a member of the Five Eyes Alliance. Tailscale also logs certain data in order to make sure the app is working correctly and to improve user experience. There’s no guarantee this data won’t be shared with authorities, and therefore other Alliance countries.

This is a very niche service so it might be perfect for you, but more likely you’ll find its abilities somewhat limited. Unless you are specifically hoping to create your own private network, there are other VPN services that can do more in a more straightforward manner.

  • Easy to set up personal network
  • P2P encryption
  • Free to use
  • Variable plans
  • 20+ simultaneous devices

FAQs on Tailscale

Is Tailscale safe?

Tailscale’s privacy policies are a concern. The network is built by the user on devices that you select. Tailscale operates on a zero trust network, meaning it encrypts all connections, even between these devices (that should be trustworthy).

However, the service logs a lot of your data. It’s also located in Canada — a member of the Five Eyes Alliance. This means Tailscale may be obliged to share information that it gathers from you.

Can Tailscale work with Netflix?

It can’t. Tailscale is based around building your own virtual private network, so it doesn’t provide reliable servers for secure access.

That means you can’t use the VPN for steaming as you would with other services.

Will Tailscale slow my speeds down?

It might, but barely. When I tested I found that Tailsale did decrease my speeds, but it was by a far smaller amount than many VPNs I’ve tested.

Money Back Guarantee (Days): 0
Mobile app:
Number of devices per license: Unlimited
We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
Tailscale User Reviews (User reviews are not verified)
9.0
Based on 8 reviews in 3 languages

Write a Review on Tailscale

Please rate VPN.

All Speed Streaming Security Сustomer service
Strzkrk
Strzkrk
10/10
Simple, small, good

Easy to set up, easy to handle, works, ACL access control list is very easy to set up and allows a dynamical configuration of access rules for all clients in the same VPN net. With Headscale you have the option to run your own local VPN host. You may find negative comments but not really useful: ex. DENNIS SCHRÖDER: "PublicKeys somewhere on some server", "Much more data is stored on the Tailscale servers". Best answers: "The public key is there to be distributed. And what other data is stored at Tailscale? Criticism is good, but it should be backed up.":) Maybe the tester was paid by VPN providers with costs!

Anonymous
Anonymous
10/10
Great for offsite NAS backups

Easy to set up, easy to manage remote NASs, and backup site to site. It's great for PC, NAS, and Mobile Devices. I’m not interested in torrenting or streaming, just secure, fast backups. If you’re that worried about privacy you’d better delete your Facebook, Google, and Amazon accounts.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2/10
No support at all

I wanted to use Tailscale for our organization based on the reviews here. I logged in but was told my account didn't have access to their admin console. I reached out to sales, then support. I waited over a week before moving on from them. They didn't reply one time. The service might be great, but it's shocking that a new account would have someone else make the administrator, and then they don't reply. It's sad when I want to give someone money, but they don't want to take it.

About the Author

Andreea Juganaru is a former senior editor for vpnMentor. She used her extensive knowledge in cybersecurity to research and analyze ways our readers can protect their online privacy.

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