CactusVPN Review

CactusVPN

  • Pricing

    From $3.25 / month
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • Android
    • Mac
    • iOS
    • Linux
  • Features

    • Torrenting
    • Netflix
    • Livechat
    • Money-back Guarantee
ProPrivacy.com Score 9.4 out of 10
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Summary

CactusVPN is a service based in Moldova. It provides connections to a global network of servers with top quality features and a user-friendly interface. OpenVPN encryption is extremely strong and has a number of options that can be toggled. The VPN also has a number of excellent security features such as a killswitch and DNS leak protection. But, if you are looking for a VPN for Netflix, then you may want to look elsewhere. CactusVPN wasn't able to get access to the American Netflic catalouge and this may be a deal breaker for some!

VPN Stats

  • Simultaneous connections 5
  • Countries 15
  • Jurisdiction Moldova

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Features

  • 14 server locations with 22+ servers
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, PPTP and SoftEther protocols
  • Application killer
  • Internet kill switch
  • DNS Leak protection
  • Fast speeds
  • Unblocks BBC iPlayer
  • No logs policy
  • 24/7 support
  • Shared static IPs
  • Dedicated P2P servers
  • Free proxy servers
  • Smart DNS service included
  • Free 24-hour trial
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Speed and Performance

ProPrivacy.com uses a custom server-based speed test system to provide you with more accurate results than other VPN comparison sites. As you can see from our results, CactusVPN’s server speeds are better than average - but not as good as the top VPNs on the market. 

CactusVPN has an average download speed of 21.3 Mbit/s and a max download speed of 64.5 Mbit/s. This puts CactusVPN near the top half of the market. Our tests revealed that CactusVPN has no IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks. This means it is secure for privacy purposes. To test CactusVPN for leaks visit ipleak.net.

Price

CactusVPN's "Liberty VPN" subscription plan includes both its VPN and Smart DNS service. That plan is $6.99 per month. $17.99 for a three-month subscription (5.99 per month). And $54.99 annually ($4.58). Liberty plan provides access to all servers and server locations and provides P2P support. 

Smaller plans include a US and UK-only VPN,  and an option for the Smart DNS service only. 

All major credit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin are accepted. In addition, CactusVPN offers a free 24-hour trial for both its VPN and DNS services and a 30-day money-back guarantee to trial the service risk-free.

Privacy and Security

CactusVPN has a strict no logs policy. CactusVPN never stores IP addresses, traffic logs, connection timestamps, used bandwidth or the session duration.  Thus, there’s no worry of usage data being handed over to third parties. 

That being said, CactusVPN does state that it may “send personally identifiable information about you to third parties” if they have your consent or if they receive a warrant that requires them to disclose available information to the authorities. That means your name, date of purchase, and payment method could, in theory, be disclosed to law enforcement. This is as good as a VPN policy ever gets - so CactusVPN is considered excellent.

Encryption

CactusVPN has pretty solid encryption on it's Windows and Android VPN apps, but not the best.  OpenVPN is implemented with an AES-256-CBC, SHA256 HMAC authentication (on both data and control channels) and an RSA-2048 handshake. Keys are distributed for connections using perfect forward secrecy (ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384.) 

The Mac and iPhone VPN clients only support IKEV2 encryption instead of OpenVPN. See the Cactus VPN website for more details about this.

All in all, this is excellent encryption implementation that is much, much stronger than the last time we checked it. This makes Cactus extremely good for data privacy. We are happy to see that CactusVPN is working hard to keep itself up to date in terms of security.

Final thoughts

CactusVPN is a much better VPN than the vast majority of services on the market. It is good for unblocking censored or geo-restricted websites and services (though it does not work with Netflix). Torrenting via P2P is permitted and is secure thanks to its no logs policy. OpenVPN encryption is great but could be stronger. To be fair, however, it is adequate for most people's needs. Its server network isn't massive, but it does have a nice choice of server locations around the globe. 

Also good news, CactusVN provides a 24-hour free trial– and if you aren't quite happy when you subscribe, you can make use of its 30-day money-back guarantee. To conclude, CactusVPN is a good all-round VPN that we enjoy using and that we have few criticisms of. Not the best - but you could do a lot, lot worse.

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Written by: Mandee Rose

Mandee Rose has been an advert for cyber security for 5+ years, working to spread knowledge via her technical writing and investigative journaling. Her work is centered around a variety of infosec topics including data breaches, digital surveillance, and of course, VPNs. You can follow her on Twitter at @Mand33InfoSec.

34 Comments

  1. H.D.Brandt

    on August 27, 2019
    Reply

    I am still unable to utilize Cactus VPN. I have sent them a second notice today. It downloaded, but would not accept a password. I attempted to re-register with the promo code but was informed that that person (me) was already registered. I do understand that they are a fairly new company, but if they do not respond I will have try another VPN service. At this time they have sent no reply although on the screen there is a message that an email will be sent. Any help would be appreciated Thank you, H. D. Brandt

  2. Norman Bickerdike

    on February 22, 2019
    Reply

    Really cant fault the service or tech support. The client software is very easy to install and use and sets everything up automatic. I can not recommend highly enough. Norman

  3. Ann Bone

    on October 26, 2018
    Reply

    I have been with Cactus for a couple of years now . The system is very good and constantly keeps abreast of the changing climate of VPN servers . On the rare occasions that anything goes wrong the customer service is excellent , they respond quickly and are extremely efficient at resolving any issues . Highly recommended .

  4. BM

    on May 23, 2018
    Reply

    Terrible customer service and no refund. Their connection always drops, I can't complete a few GB downloads. They sent this text for every problem, Please try the following: Connect to different VPN servers (cities). Connect using different VPN protocols. Disable your antivirus or firewall if you have any installed. They can block the connection. If you have a router, check if it supports PPTP and L2TP VPN passthrough and if it's enabled. If the problem still persists, let me know more about your problem: On what device (PC, phone, tablet, TV, etc) and operating system (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, etc) you try to set up our services? Did you use the CactusVPN app or created the connection manually? What error do you get? Don’t ignore your system's errors. Many times the careful reading of messages helps to fix the problem. Tell us your router model, if you have one. And at the final they want to trouble shot remotely via Team Viewer, I doubt they know what kind of service they are selling, why people pay for VPN. And anything with Google a thumb down for me. I can't trust Google in any manner, they don't allow you use their service without collect your data.

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