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Unlocator Review 2022 - Keep This in Mind Before Buying
Unlocator started as a Denmark-based Smart DNS provider in 2013, but it has leveled up by providing a VPN service. I wondered whether this new addition could offer me the security and functionality I expect from a VPN service, so I tested it myself.
I found that Unlocator VPN is completely secure only when using the OpenVPN protocol.
However, the monthly subscription price for this Smart DNS-VPN Hybrid left me wanting. But still, you can try it out risk-free for 30 days.
Also, the VPN has limited server locations and showed a significant drop in my connection speeds. You’re better off using one of the best VPNs because they have bigger, faster networks.
With Unlocator Hybrid (Smart DNS and VPN combined), you can access many streaming platforms including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer.
Streaming — Unblocks 240 Platforms, Including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+
Unblocking geo-specific streaming services is one of Unlocator’s most popular features, especially since the company created the Smart DNS service for this. I went ahead and tested the Hybrid Plan to see for myself.
It’s important to note that the VPN comes bundled with a Smart DNS in Unlocator’s Hybrid Plan. However, they have different capabilities, which is why utilizing both features at the same time allows you to maximize Unlocator to its fullest capacity. For this reason, I will discuss what works with individual features.
My tests showed Unlocator’s speeds are inconsistent. Slight speed drops of around 10-20% are normal when using a VPN. However, my tests showed a significant speed reduction, no matter the protocol and location.
First I measured my baseline speed without the VPN.
The connection speed depends heavily on the distance from the server I am connected to. Of all the server locations I tested, the farthest from me is the New York server, at 13,800 km away. It took me on average 18 seconds to connect to anyserver.
I compared Unlocator’s speeds using the OpenVPN protocol and IKEv2 protocol via manual VPN configuration. When connected using the OpenVPN protocol, I noticed a significant drop in speeds. The download speed slowed by 35% to 80%, while the upload speed slowed by 35% to 95%.
Next, I set up the IKEv2 security protocol manually. The speed using IKEv2 was more consistent and overall slightly faster compared to OpenVPN, experiencing a maximum of 60% speed loss.
I tested Unlocator’s speeds using OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocol
Here are my speeds using the OpenVPN:
Download Speed (Mbps)
Upload Speed (Mbps)
Australia – Melbourne
38.52 (34.91% loss)
8.97 (83.03% loss)
14.40 (75.67% loss)
5.22 (90.12% loss)
15.03 (74.60% loss)
37.79 (28.50% loss)
1.32 (97.77% loss)
50.89 (38.96% loss)
11.91 (79.87% loss)
31.79 (39.85% loss)
17.24 (70.87% loss)
1.37 (97.14% loss)
10.13 (82.88% loss)
31.76 (39.91% loss)
United States – LA
54.19 (8.43% loss)
7.81 (85.22% loss)
United States – NY
36.07 (39.05% loss)
50.51 (4.43% loss)
Average for OpenVPN
27.57 (53.39% loss)
23.05 (56.38% loss)
I also tested those same server speeds using the IKEv2 protocol. On average, my download speed was 5.51 Mpbs faster, and my upload speed was 3.56 Mbps faster.
Are Unlocator’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes
Even when Unlocator VPN reduced my speed, it did not affect my game.
I tried multiple servers, including Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Norway, and the US, and experienced no reduction in the gaming experience. I used a server close to me to make sure the ping was lower, which is crucial for smooth gameplay.
I chose a server close to me to avoid high ping
I also tried playing with another player while connected to VPN, and the results were fantastic.
Even though Unlocator decreased my speeds, the gameplay using Unlocator’s VPN was completely lag-free
Unlocator has physical and virtual dedicated servers in key locations worldwide. It has 40 servers and an equivalent number of IP addresses spanning 30 countries, which is below average in the industry. The following are the server locations available:
Australia (Sydney and Melbourne)
UK (2 Servers on Maidenhead)
USA (Chicago, LA, and NY)
The low number of servers can be problematic because the speed can be affected if many people use a specific server simultaneously. But Unlocator stated that it is constantly working on adding new servers.
I liked that on the Unlocator app, you can add particular servers to your favorites list, which makes switching to preferred servers simpler.
Unlocator’s app has a favorites list
For manual configuration, you can find the list of servers and their addresses by clicking on the server list in your Unlocator dashboard, right under the VPN section.
For manual server set-up, go to VPN Server List on Unlocator’s dashboard
I found Unlocator is secure when using the OpenVPN protocol. Unlocator’s VPN uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption to keep sensitive data safe. However, the Smart DNS alone doesn’t encrypt your data, so using the VPN is a must for safety purposes.
Disappointingly, the VPN is missing security features such as malware blocking, ad blocking, perfect forward secrecy (wherein encryption keys are changed frequently to ensure that the connection will not be compromised), and double VPN (also called multi-hop) for additional security.
To make sure the installation file from Unlocator was safe to use, I ran it through VirusTotal. The results showed that the file was safe to use.
Unlocator’s app has no malicious software
Security Protocols, Kill Switch, and Unlocator Shield
Unlocator offers 4 security protocols to safeguard your data. Aside from the standard OpenVPN, IKEv2, and IKEv1, it also has WireGuard.
OpenVPN is the only protocol for macOS, Android, and Amazon Fire, which is reliable and secure. You can switch from UDP to TCP port connections. Choose UDP for faster connections and TCP to reduce data loss during transfer.
iOS users can choose between IPSec/IKEv1 and IKEv2 protocols.
For Windows, OpenVPN and IKEv2 are available. You can use the latter via manual VPN configuration on your device.
The upside to using OpenVPN through the app is that you can switch from one server to the next in just a few clicks. But with manual configuration, you’ll have to reconfigure your entire VPN connection to switch to a different server. Imagine setting up 40 servers manually.
WireGuard, a protocol known for its ability to bypass geo-blocks, is also available in case you need it in countries with high-internet censorship. However, I had to reach out to its customer support for this one.
In addition, Unlocator has both a kill switch and Unlocator Shield to ensure you're always protected.
Unlocator has a kill switch and Unlocator Shield for extra protection
The kill switch works by automatically cutting the internet connection if the VPN drops, then it goes back on when it reconnects. It prevents websites from detecting your true IP.
When enabled, Unlocator Shield shuts down your internet access anytime you’re not using its VPN. It makes sure that all your traffic is going through Unlocator servers only.
I ran my own leak test using both protocols to check for leaks. I found out that the OpenVPN protocol is much better at keeping the connection secure than IKEv2.
Unlocator passed the leak tests using the OpenVPN protocol
When using a US server, there were no IP or DNS leaks. I even checked for Torrent Address Detection, and the IP was consistent throughout.
However, the IPs were not consistent when using a different server (Poland).
Unlocator’s leak test was inconsistent while using a server in Poland
Instead of a Polish IP, it showed a French IP, while the DNS and Torrent Addresses were both in the US. These are not IP and DNS leaks, though; these are still Unlocator’s servers, which means they still protected my connection.
While the results of the OpenVPN protocol were pretty good, the results for IKEv2 were dismal.
My tests showed a WebRTC (IP) and DNS leak using Unlocator with IKEv2, which meant my data wasn't safe
The results for the IKEv2 test were consistent across more than a dozen locations — Unlocator always revealed my real IP.
While Unlocator states that it protects your privacy, it still keeps user logs.Plus, Unlocator’s home country is Denmark, part of the 9 Eyes Alliance — an international agreement on digital surveillance. That means that anytime the government requests users’ data, companies operating under their jurisdiction must comply. Furthermore, countries that are part of this alliance share information they collect amongst themselves.
On the other hand, because Denmark is an EU country, it also means Unlocator has to adhere to the GDPR laws. The goal of GDPR is to give people more rights over their personal information and how it is processed.
However, while Unlocator promises that all user activities are kept entirely private, it still keeps logs at a personally identifiable level.
The logs that Unlocator keeps can be traced back to its users
It maintains that the logs are purged within 24 hours, though this means your activities are not entirely private when using Unlocator.
If privacy is essential to you, you should consider other VPNs that practice a proper no-log policy. The information that Unlocator logs include your name, email address, credit card information, IP address, and other data collected during registration.
Furthermore, the website itself tracks users by leaving cookies in their browsers to provide a better user experience. You can opt out of all cookies if you don’t want Unlocator to track you.
As a way of showing it values your privacy, Unlocator’s website gives you the option to opt out of cookies
Unlocator is inconsistent in this aspect as not all servers worked equally well for me. I advise that you test multiple locations to find the one that works and the one with the best transfer speeds.
Unlocator does not provide clear information regarding torrenting and P2P sharing, so you should take caution. We don’t condone illegal activities so make sure that you comply with the laws and regulations of your country when using Unlocator or any other VPN for torrenting.
I tried torrenting a film in the public domain to test whether I could download P2P files while using Unlocator. I downloaded an old film using Japanese and Singaporean servers, and they worked.
Unlocator allows torrenting, but in my experience, it was very slow
While the transfer speeds were not the best, it is still possible. Also, remember that using its Smart DNS alone won't protect you while torrenting because it doesn't encrypt your data.
Does Unlocator Work in China? Yes
Both the Smart DNS and the VPN should work in China.If the default configurations and security protocols don’t work for you, Unlocator can provide an alternative protocol called WireGuard. To get the custom configuration, you must contact its support team.
WireGuard is a newer protocol that is more likely to work in China
If you want to skip the whole setup process, you should consider VPNs that can work in China right away. Keep in mind that using VPNs that are not government-approved is not allowed in China. However, no tourists have yet been penalized by the Chinese government.
You can connect up to 5 devices, typical with VPN services.
During my test, I connected 2 computers, an Android phone, an iPhone, and experienced no issues at all.
Ease of Use
Device Compatibility — Wide Range of Devices
You can use Unlocator Hybrid on most devices.The 7 operating systems it can work on are OS X, Ubuntu Linux, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8, and 10. However, you can’t configure some devices directly; you have to install the Unlocator Hybrid on your router and connect to that instead.
The devices where you can use Unlocator Hybrid are as follows:
Amazon Fire TV
Samsung TV And Players
Western Digital Media Players (manufactured in the US)
Xiaomi Mi Box
Sony TV and Players
LG TV And Players
Windows Phone 8.1
NOW TV Box
The routers that work with Unlocator’s Smart DNS are:
Also, Smart DNS can also help you change your device’s region to access content from a different app store.
Unlocator provides detailed information on setting up both the Smart DNS and VPN on the account dashboard, so I didn’t have any problem installing it.
On the My Account dashboard, you can find all the info on setting up both the Smart DNS and VPN
To use the Smart DNS on your device, all you have to do is access your device’s DNS settings and change the primary and secondary DNS addresses to the one that Unlocator provides.
You need to access your Network Connections to set up the Smart DNS
On the other hand, you can simply download the VPN app on Unlocator’s VPN apps page.
The installation took about a minute. After I logged in, I could use the VPN app immediately.
However, some devices such as Roku and Chromecast do not have an option to change DNS settings. To go around this, you would need to change the DNS settings on your router, which affects all devices connected to it.
Unlocator offers 2 subscription plans: the Smart DNS and the Unlocator Hybrid (Smart DNS with VPN). If you want to secure your connection, be sure to choose the Hybrid plan as the basic plan has just Smart DNS with no VPN.
Its starting price is $4.96/month per month. However, its longest plan is the most cost-effective.
You can try Unlocator for free for 7 days. I wasn’t even asked for a credit card to sign-up for a trial, which is excellent. All new subscribers also get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Its payment methods comprise credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, and JCB), Google Pay, Apple Pay, and PayPal.
If you’re looking to safely access your favorite streaming platforms, the Unlocator's Hybrid plan is a great choice. However, I found the VPN Hybrid lacking when it comes to speed and the number of servers.