There is a lot of hype surrounding WARP, a new VPN developed by the American cloud platform company, Cloudflare. But since this app is very limited, and it is built by an organization that already knows too much about you, it is recommended to look at other much better free vpn alternatives.
Cloudflare announced that it was working to expand its secure DNS service (called 126.96.36.199) to include a VPN.
Nearly 2 million people signed up for the waitlist in the months before WARP’s late September release.
Cloudflare created a lot of excitement by describing WARP as a fast, lightweight, mobile-first VPN that won’t slow you down or drain your phone’s battery.
Best of all, you can use WARP entirely for free with no data or bandwidth limits.
That all sounds pretty great. But in my experience reviewing VPNs, bold claims from vendors aren’t always backed up by reality. When something sounds too good to be true, sometimes it really is.
When WARP finally arrived on the market, I was excited to have the opportunity to try the VPN for myself. Unfortunately, WARP can’t unblock Netflix. So, if you’re looking for a VPN for streaming, I recommend NordVPN instead. It’s super-fast and it can unblock over 140 streaming services.
I ran into several issues while testing the app. I am also concerned by some of the things I discovered about WARP’s privacy policies.
Below, I will review WARP’s features and performance in detail across multiple categories.
Streaming – Does WARP Work with Netflix?
Cloudflare’s website makes it clear that the company did not design WARP with geo-spoofing in mind.
Unlike most VPNs, WARP does not assign you a new IP address when you connect. WARP encrypts your data, but it does not mask your real IP address from the websites you visit.
I was still able to access the Netflix catalog available in my local region, but I was unable to use WARP to access streaming catalogs in other regions. If you’re looking for a VPN that can unblock streaming services, check out the best VPNs for Netflix.
WARP doesn’t allow you to switch servers or choose a new virtual location. That means there is no way to use this VPN to access geo-restricted streaming content.
According to Cloudflare, WARP was designed from the ground up to maximize the connection speed on your mobile device.
One of the most common complaints that people have about VPNs is that they can slow down your device’s internet connection.
But, in some cases, a high-quality VPN can improve your loading times by optimizing your connection and bypassing bandwidth caps.
I tested WARP’s speeds on my iPhone to find out how it compares to other VPNs on the market.
I also wanted to see if WARP’s performance changed depending on whether I connected to wi-fi or used my mobile data.
Before connecting to WARP, my average download speed when using mobile data was 77.38 Mbps.
I first connected to the free WARP network. My average download speed was 21.20 Mbps.
That is a pretty significant drop in speed from my connection without WARP. I experienced noticeably longer loading times when browsing websites on my phone.
Next I upgraded my connection to the paid WARP+ Unlimited plan. My average download speed with WARP+ was 28.35 Mbps.
Although a slight improvement, this still isn’t great compared with my original speed of 77.38 Mbps with mobile data.
I continued to experience longer than usual loading times while browsing the web.
My speed with WARP+ also wasn’t very reliable. I experienced several big drops in speed with WARP+ enabled. As soon as I disconnected from the VPN, my speed returned to normal.
WARP+ didn’t give me a noticeable improvement from the free WARP service, and that’s a big problem.
Cloudflare encourages you to upgrade to WARP+ at every turn by promising it will give you faster speeds.
So if WARP+ isn’t really faster or more reliable than WARP, what is the point of paying for it? I don’t feel like I got any value from my purchase.
When I tried to test WARP’s connection speeds over wi-fi, I quickly ran into another issue. I was unable to connect to a wi-fi network with WARP enabled.
Every time I connected to WARP, my wi-fi connection dropped and my phone switched to mobile data. It was a frustrating experience as a user.
I looked for a solution in the app’s help center. This seems to be a frequent problem, because there is a FAQ section dedicated to the issue.
The company acknowledges that WARP has been causing issues with wi-fi for some users, and says that the development team is working to fix the bug. However, there is currently no solution offered.
Is WARP Good for Torrenting?
WARP is not a good choice for torrenting because it doesn’t provide anonymity.
Unlike a traditional VPN, WARP is not designed to mask your IP address or hide your identity from the websites you visit.
The company also collects more of your data than is ideal for torrenting.
If you are looking for a good VPN for torrenting anonymously, check out NordVPN.
Security – Is WARP Safe?
I didn’t find any evidence that WARP is not safe to use.
However, you should be aware that WARP does not offer the same level of security as a traditional VPN.
WARP encrypts your data to protect your private information from being stolen, but it doesn’t offer any additional security.
This VPN does not protect your anonymity in any way. You are not assigned a new IP address, and your traffic is not hidden from your ISP.
The websites that I visited recognized my ISP as Cloudflare, but my IP address and location were not hidden in any way.
The biggest issue is the lack of transparency about this missing feature, especially since IP masking is a basic feature that almost every other VPN offers.
The company advertises WARP as “the free app that makes your internet more private.” The app’s description on the App Store and Google Play Store repeatedly promises to protect your privacy.
It does not mention anything about your IP address being visible. This is very misleading to users.
If you choose to use WARP instead of a full VPN, keep in mind that your IP address and location will not be protected.
Does WARP Keep Logs?
WARP’s parent company, Cloudflare, is based in the United States, one of the founding members of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance.
If you are concerned about privacy, this might worry you. You can learn more about the international intelligence-sharing agreement here.
On the other hand, Cloudflare boasts its strong commitment to user privacy and promises never to misuse your data.
The VPN does not collect your name, phone number, or credit card information. It also does not collect your email address, unless you willingly provide one.
Unfortunately, that’s the end of the good news. This is what Cloudflare does collect about you when you connect to WARP:
- Your IP address and source port
- Destination IP addresses—in other words, the websites you visit!
- Your device model
- Your operating system
- Amount of data you transfer via WARP
- Performance information about how WARP affects your internet connection
- Crash logs
- “Limited DNS query data that is sent to the resolvers” when you use the app
In the world of internet privacy, that is a big red flag. Allowing your VPN provider to collect information about what you do online kind of defeats the purpose of using a VPN in the first place.
The company claims that your usage data is stored anonymously in a way that is not connected to your personally identifiable data.
Cloudflare also deletes its logs of your request data every 24 hours.
Cloudflare also claims the right to share your personal data when the company has a “good-faith belief” that sharing is necessary in cases involving illegal activities, suspected fraud, and potential threats to physical safety.
Does WARP Have an Ad Blocker?
No, WARP does not include an ad blocker in the VPN service.
Does WARP Work in China?
No, WARP does not work in China.
Price and Value for Money
WARP’s pricing is unique in a few ways. The VPN offers two different types of plans.
WARP is the name of the free service. WARP+ (sometimes written as WARP Plus) is the name of WARP’s paid premium service.
Cloudflare explains that WARP+ “is the even faster version of WARP that you can optionally pay for.”
In theory, WARP+ routes your traffic requests through exclusive channels to give you better connection speeds.
Unfortunately, I didn’t experience a noticeable improvement in speed or reliability after upgrading to WARP+.
There are two ways that you can get WARP+. The first is to get your friends to sign up for WARP. For every person you refer, you get an extra 1 GB of WARP+ data.
If you run out of WARP+ data, you can upgrade to WARP+ Unlimited to get premium access without data limits.
You can get WARP+ Unlimited by purchasing a monthly subscription through the App Store (iOS) or the Google Play Store (Android).
The cost of WARP+ varies by region. The price that you pay for a monthly subscription is supposed to be about the same as what you would pay for a McDonald’s Big Mac in your region.
At the moment, it isn’t really worth it to pay for the premium service. WARP+ simply doesn’t offer any real value over the free version.
If you are looking for a low-cost, high-quality VPN, there are other options out there like NordVPN that offer big discounts on long-term subscriptions.
Does WARP Have a Free Version?
Yes, the basic WARP service is completely free. It comes with unlimited bandwidth and data.
The free service provides the same amount of protection as the premium version, which is not a lot.
If you are looking for a free VPN with more robust security and anonymity, check out our top recommendations for free VPNs that really work.
WARP’s Refund Policy
WARP does not come with a money-back guarantee. The terms of service state that all fees are nonrefundable.
In the FAQ, Cloudflare says that if you are an Android user you might be eligible for a refund if you request one from the Google Play Store within 48 hours of purchase. iOS users do not have any refund options.
This is unusual for a VPN. Almost every popular VPN on the market offers some kind of money-back guarantee.
Is WARP Compatible with My Device?
WARP is currently only available to mobile users. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
There is no clear policy on the number of simultaneous device connections that are allowed with a single WARP account.
Some users have reported that they successfully connected to WARP from multiple devices through the same account, but it’s not a guarantee.
Cloudflare’s secure DNS service is called 188.8.131.52. It supports DNS over HTTPS and DNS over TLS encryption. You can switch between these two options in the app settings.
WARP gives you additional protection over 184.108.40.206. WARP was developed from an open-source UDP-based protocol called Wireguard.
Wireguard is a very new VPN protocol. It is designed to maximize speed and reliability in VPN connections.
It is much more lightweight than other popular protocols. For comparison, Wireguard has less than 4,000 lines of code total, while OpenVPN has hundreds of thousands.
Wireguard’s biggest weakness is that it is so new that it hasn’t been tested very heavily yet.
Some critics are also concerned that Wireguard is not good for privacy.
A few VPN providers have refused to use Wireguard because they claim it is impossible to use without keeping logs.
WARP Customer Service
The only way to directly contact customer support is to fill out a contact form through the app.
I was asked to enter my name, email address, and a description of my query. There was an option where I could provide screenshots to help explain a technical concern.
I submitted a contact form with several questions for the support team. Unfortunately, I did not receive a response.
On the App Store, I read several reviews from users who reported the same lack of responsiveness from WARP’s customer support.
WARP does win a few points for its informative FAQs that are accessible within the app settings.
The app also makes it easy to report any bugs or performance issues that you encounter. There is an icon on the app’s main interface that you can click to report bugs.
But without a response from the support team, it’s hard to know if they are really paying attention to user submissions.
My user experience with WARP was mixed. I like how it’s super easy to install and get started.
The main interface is attractive, clean, and simple.
You can toggle the VPN on and off with a single click. You can access the settings by clicking on the three lines in the upper right corner.
There are some user-friendly connection settings available. You can set WARP to disable automatically for cellular or wi-fi networks. You can also ask the app to turn off WARP when you connect to your home wi-fi network.
Another great feature is the ability to switch between its light and dark themes.
Simple one-click interface with dark or light modes.
On the other hand, I had some negative experiences. My phone was very slow whenever I enabled WARP. On a few separate occasions, my internet dropped or became very slow.
I also noticed that my phone got very hot while I was using the VPN for long periods of time. This is an issue I don’t usually have with other mobile VPN apps.
Another issue is that you might not be able to access some of your apps while using WARP.
In the FAQs, Cloudflare says that Sonos, CarPlay, Hotstar, Spotify, and some mobile games don’t always work properly with WARP. Luckily, I didn’t encounter this problem.
While exploring the app, there was one part of the settings menu that drew my attention.
Under a settings menu called Diagnostics, I was able to view the running “DNS logs” that the app was keeping when I connected to the VPN.
I connected to WARP and then loaded a Twitter page on my mobile browser. When I reopened the app’s DNS log, I could see that it recorded my activity:
The app claimed that this information was logged for debugging purposes.
Regardless of its purpose, this made me very concerned about how much information the company is really collecting about my activity.
I was excited to try WARP after all the hype, but I am disappointed by its performance. I experienced multiple bugs and connection drops while using the app.
The app pushes you to upgrade your account, but speeds are inconsistent even with a premium subscription.
The most important thing for you to be aware of is that WARP does not protect your anonymity.
Unlike a traditional VPN, WARP does not mask your IP address from the websites you visit.
You should not use WARP if anonymity is a priority for you. It’s also not a good option for streaming, torrenting, or bypassing censorship.
If you are looking for a powerful VPN that can unblock Netflix at a low cost, take a look at NordVPN, our current top-rated provider.
You can also take a look at our list of the 10 best VPNs that we have ever tested.
|Does VPN keep logs?||No|
|Does VPN include a kill switch?||No|
|Number of devices per license||Unlimited|