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WARP Review 2022 - Keep This in Mind Before Buying
WARP isn’t like a regular VPN. It isn’t meant for advanced users, but it's good for beginners because it’s so easy to use.
It doesn’t let you choose your location, and it isn't good for streaming. This got me wondering: is it really a good alternative to the more traditional VPNs out there? So, I put WARP through a series of tests to see if it’s safe, reliable, and useful.
Cloudflare — the company that owns WARP — is one of the most trusted DNS hosts in the community. WARP is a VPN add-on for its 184.108.40.206 DNS resolver (a free app that handles your DNS queries to make your connection faster). WARP essentially protects your traffic with encryption, while 220.127.116.11 optimizes your DNS to give you a faster connection.
My tests showed that WARP isn't good for streaming because it didn’t work for unblocking Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or other streaming sites. If you want to unblock region-locked content, use one of these VPNs instead.
So, while it may help you improve your online privacy, is it the VPN you should go for? Well, let’s find out.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
Speed tests showed a big decrease, but I didn't feel the difference. My download and upload speeds were cut in half, but WARP’s DNS routing service improves page loading time if your speed is over 10 Mbps. Jump to speed results here.
Budget-friendly. WARP comes with a $0/month subscription plan and also has a paid version (WARP+), but it doesn’t offer any money-back guarantee. Jump to Pricing section results here.
It is based in San Francisco. Cloudflare is based in the US, which means that any logged data are stored on US grounds. This isn’t ideal for privacy because if the US government legally requests your data, WARP must comply with the request. Jump to Privacy section results here.
WARP filters adult content. WARP comes with a family feature that helps block adult content which is perfect if you want to use it on your family device. Jump to Security section results here.
WARP didn't unblock any of the streaming services I tested. I don’t believe Cloudflare designed WARP with streaming in mind. You can’t manually choose the server location you want to connect to. For that reason, you can't make it look like you're in a country whose streaming sites you want to access.
You can only access streaming sites from your own country with WARP — it can’t bypass geoblocks at all. I could only access the standard local library on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video content. It was the same with Disney+ and Hotstar.
WARP doesn’t allow streaming region-blocked content on Amazon Prime Video
Blocked By: Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, and Other Streaming Services
Netflix US didn’t work. It was the same with Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services.
I tried searching for Radium Girls, a Netflix US-only show, but it wasn’t available.
Netflix US shows were not available while using WARP
BBC iPlayer instantly blocked my access to the site, and I couldn’t watch any shows. Funimation, too, blocked my access to the website.
WARP is fast and responsive enough for browsing, but it will slow down your internet connection.
There are 2 aspects to WARP’s speed (because it comes paired with Cloudflare’s DNS resolver): its DNS lookup and the VPN connection. WARP claims around 15 ms ping for all DNS lookups (twice as fast as Google’s DNS). This helps improve website load-up times, leading to speed improvement while browsing.
WARP claims to deliver great speeds for DNS lookups
The next aspect is the VPN’s speed. WARP uses the WireGuard protocol, which can be faster than standard protocols (like OpenVPN). This is because its code is much leaner, and it uses more modern cryptography. I found this true during my tests as all websites were loading up much faster than before I used the VPN.
Connecting to a VPN will decrease your speeds because it takes time for the VPN to reroute your data through its servers. So, you can always expect to see some loss of around 20% to 30%.
My baseline speeds were 95.06 Mbps download and 50.91 Mbps upload speeds with a 7 ms ping.
WARP slowed my speeds down
After connecting to the VPN server, my speeds dropped to 44.77 Mbps upload and 27.17 Mbps download (a 71% loss). The ping increased to 36 ms.
So, my tests showed that the speed did slow down, but to my surprise, the browsing experience didn’t worsen.
My connection speed is very fast, to begin with, and coming down to 27 Mbps means I can still browse without any issues. However, if your baseline connection is slow, WARP might make it unusable.
Are WARP’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Unfortunately Not
My gaming experience with WARP wasn’t great. I tried running some online games agar.io and diep.io, but I experienced immense lag, and the game became unplayable.
WARP has a great global server network across many locations. The bigger the server coverage, the greater your chances of having a server close by for a better connection. I connected to the server almost instantly — there was zero downtime, and my connection was super stable.
It uses Argo Smart Routing to find the shortest path to the server, which gives you the best speed possible. However, this also means it automatically connects to the closest server to you — which is why you can’t use it to manually choose your location. For this reason, you can’t use WARP to bypass streaming geoblocks, for example.
Here is a list of all the servers that WARP has:
Africa (20+ locations)
Middle East (10+ locations)
Asia (50+ locations)
North America (45+ locations)
Europe (45+ locations)
Oceania (5+ locations)
Latin America & the Caribbean (35+ locations)
Security — Adequate Protection With End-To-End Encryption
WARP has decent security. It uses BoringTun, a WireGuard implementation to encrypt all outgoing and incoming data.
WARP started as a DNS service meant to improve protection and responsiveness. Normally, when you visit a website, your DNS queries go to your ISP, which might use that info to track your activity. The 18.104.22.168 DNS service is more private because it doesn’t record the sites you’re visiting. Also, some DNS services (like your ISP’s) are slower than others, so using a third-party DNS like 22.214.171.124 can also make web pages load faster.
It further evolved into a VPN to encrypt your data for extra security. As well as protecting your DNS queries, WARP makes sure that no one can snoop around your data and that you are protected.
WARP also protects your privacy by masking your IP. This keeps all your incoming and outgoing data protected, so nobody can track you using your IP.
Leaks are a threat to your online privacy as IP, or WebRTC leaks can reveal your real IP to third parties (like websites). I tested this with an IP and DNS leak test. The results — WARP masked my IP and wasn’t leaking any data.
WARP reroutes your data traffic with a local IP
However, WARP does reveal your IP to sites in its network. This is because some websites use your location data to provide their services. While the number is small, it is still concerning as you might just get your data leaked online to hackers. But on the bright side, WARP’s network is highly secured, so it isn’t much of a dealbreaker.
Websites inside Cloudflare’s network can see your real IP address
Cloudflare’s website network is secure as it is a security company with roots in DDOS protection services and improving online privacy. So, if you want to have a secure connection with decent speeds, then WARP is a great VPN to use.
I ran a VirusTotal check to see if the app had any malware or spyware, and the results were great. WARP’s installer doesn’t have any malware and you can use it without worries.
The VirusTotal test shows that WARP has zero malware or spyware
It also comes with a family feature that blocks all adult content. Sites such as Pornhub are not usable, and it helps block all adult images on quick Google searches.
Privacy — Great Privacy Laws and Highly Secure
WARP is private and secure. You don’t need to create an account to use it, so you can be sure that WARP won’t store any personal information.
KPMG performed an audit, resulting in WARP retaining some logs for 24–25 hours and anonymized data indefinitely. This isn’t bad as it doesn’t store any personal logs or information such as name, number, or email address. You don’t even need to create an account in the first place. So, rest easy as all your information would be safe.
It is based in San Francisco, so your data won’t be leaving the US. However, being in the US brings some problems of its own. The government can legally ask WARP to share data, and it would need to comply.
However, WARP also mentions that it will not share any data or block access to any domain. Although, if legally requested so — it would need to share logs.
But since WARP doesn't seem to log user-identifiable data or sell your browsing data, this shouldn't be a problem. It stores only necessary logs. For example, it stores routing tables, ping, and traceroute logs local to your device. These logs are not shared with anyone, and you can also turn off logging in the settings.
WARP claims to never sell or leak personal data
Finally, Cloudflare doesn’t use your data to target you with ads or require your personal information.
Torrenting — Not Recommended for WARP
WARP works for torrenting, but it’s not suitable to use because you can’t protect yourself as you can with other VPNs. WARP does help encrypt your data which decreases the risk of torrenting files.
However, your IP would still be on display in the torrent swarm, which is not ideal for torrenting. It would prevent others from tracking your activities, but peers in your swarm could see your IP, which can be used to identify you.
It's uncertain if WARP works in China or not. I wasn't able to verify the claim from any official source or from customer support. Still, I have read comments of users claiming it to be working in China. However, you can’t use it to unblock geo-blocked content, and it is only designed to improve your security and privacy.
WARP may work in China, but it doesn’t have control over unblocking content
It only encrypts your data with your existing IP address, so you won’t be able to access any local Chinese content from a different country. However, I do not encourage using WARP in China as Chinese laws restrict VPNs or any other tech that encrypts your data. Despite that, there have been no reports of tourists receiving penalties for using VPNs.
You can use WARP on as many devices as you want. Cloudflare doesn’t mention a specific number of devices you can use simultaneously on a single account.
WARP won’t impact your performance while simultaneously connecting on different devices. I ran WARP on my smartphone, laptop, PC, and tablet simultaneously, and I found the results to be very similar across all of them.
Device Compatibility — Excellent Across Major Operating Systems
WARP is compatible with macOS, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS. Essentially, all major operating systems.
WARP’s Android app is easy-to-use and has a simple UI
I didn’t have any troubles running the app on Windows and Android. So, you can expect the same. The process is super simple; all you need to do is click on the connection toggle, and you'll connect to the closest server.
Ease of Use
Set-Up & Installation — Quick and Easy
Installing WARP is super simple. All you need to do is install the separate installer from its webpage or just head on to the iOS or Android app store.
The Android, iOS, and macOS apps can simply be installed through their respective app stores. However, for Windows and Linux, you would need to get the installer from WARP’s webpage. Next, you should see an install button, or you need to run the installer. Just follow the on-screen instructions, and you’re done.
WARP has a straightforward one-click installation process
Now, all you need to do is connect to the VPN. So, click the big toggle to connect to a server, and you’re on.
Yes, WARP is 100% safe to use. I ran many tests on the VPN, and security was one of the most important factors to consider. I didn’t find any viruses or malware, it masked my activities, and improved the overall responsiveness of various websites.
Can WARP unblock Netflix?
No. Unfortunately, WARP can’t help you unblock Netflix, and it only works with the standard Netflix content available in your country. So, if you were looking to watch some shows from the US, Japan, or any other country, then you’ll be disappointed.
Will WARP slow my speeds down?
Yes. However, all VPNs slow down your speeds.My tests showed that the speeds were indeed slow, but the overall responsiveness of most websites improved. This is mainly due to the fast DNS lookup that comes with the integrated 126.96.36.199 service.