SaferVPN Review

SaferVPN

  • Pricing

    From $3.29 / month
  • Available on

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

    • Torrenting
    • Netflix
    • Livechat
    • Money-back Guarantee
ProPrivacy.com Score 7.3 out of 10
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Summary

SaferVPN is an expanding VPN provider serving customers all over the world. It has recently has upped its game, and is now a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that we can broadly recommend. Connection speeds and customer support are areas that it could still improve, but SaferVPN has all the privacy and security requirements of a good VPN service nailed down pretty tight.

VPN Stats

  • Simultaneous connections 5
  • Countries 35
  • Jurisdiction Israel

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Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 700
Countries 35
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers Combination
Router Support
Allows torrenting
Port selection

SaferVPN offers the following additional features:

  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Automatic location selection algorithm
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) torrenting is permitted (Netherlands server only)
  • WiFi protection
  • Chrome extension

Servers are located around the world, with some in more unusual locations such as South Africa, Brazil, India, Australia, and New Zealand.

Automatic Location Selection Algorithm

This is a feature that SaferVPN appears very proud of:

"We have a diagnose fix feature that runs in the background and selects the best VPN protocol to be used based on the system configuration. In most cases, we use IKEv2 over IPSEC (AES 256) and falling back to OpenVPN (AES 256)."

IKEv2 is widely regarded as a secure VPN protocol and is particularly great when regularly switching between WiFi and mobile, or between different WiFi networks. We generally recommend OpenVPN, however, as it is a proven standard for keeping your data safe. If you prefer to stick with OpenVPN then its no big deal as Automatic Location Selection Algorithm is entirely optional. 

 Please see my VPN Encryption Guide for a detailed discussion on this subject.

Visit SaferVPN »

Speed and Performance

All tests were performed on my Virgin Media UK 80 Mbps/5 Mbps fiber connection, using the OpenVPN protocol. I allowed SaferVPN to auto-select servers in a given location.

Safervpn Down

Safervpn Up

The graphs show the highest, lowest, and average speeds for each server and location. I have seen worse results, but meh.

Leak tests

DNS resolution was correctly performed by third-party servers. SaferVPN uses Google DNS for this, but the results are proxied to prevent Google from knowing who made them. Although not as good as a provider performing its own DNS resolution, I think this is fine. 

Unfortunately, the other results are less encouraging.  In Windows, I detected an IPv6 leak via WebRTC. Although WebRTC leaks are primarily a browser issue, many VPN services have tightened up their settings to minimize the likelihood of them happening. Even worse, the macOS client leaked my IPv6 address, not just through WebRTC, also as a regular IP leak. Anyone with an IPv6 connection is therefore strongly advised to disable IPv6 in their OS settings and block WebRTC in their browsers. 

Price

As is usual, the per-month price drops the longer you buy a subscription for. A 24-hour free trial is available, which is nice. No credit card details are required for this. SaferVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Payment can be made via credit/debit card, Paypal, or Bitcoin. More obscure payment options are also available courtesy of Paymentwall.

Ease of Use

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux

SaferVPN offers custom apps for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android. The mobile apps use OpenVPN with the same encryption settings as the desktop apps. SaferVPN also provides good manual setup guides for Linux, Blackberry phones, Windows phones, numerous routers, and various media streaming platforms.

The SaferVPN Windows VPN client

The SaferVPN client is quite simple, but gets the job done.

 SaferVPN desktop client

It is not clear which protocol is used when the default “Automatic” is selected. Support was unable to tell me this, either.

 SaferVPN protocols

The SaferVPN Windows client has a kill switch. I tested this by force-closing the app in Windows Task Manager, but found myself still connected to the internet. 

This means that the kill switch is reactive – it shuts down the internet when it detects that the VPN has disconnected. It does not work, for example, if the VPN client itself suffers a crash. A firewall-based kill switch that prevents any connections outside the VPN would be better, but any kill switch is preferable to none.

 SaferVPN auto WiFi

I did notice that the client connects to VPN servers very quickly, which is nice. As we shall see, though, the client does not include any DNS leak protection.

Android App

I own an Android phone, so I downloaded the Android app from the Play Store.

SaferVPN app permissions

SaferVPN has greatly reduced the number of permissions its app requires. The above list is now very reasonable.

SaferVPN mobile client

The app also looks good, and I detected no IP leaks while using it.

Chrome and Firefox Extensions

SaferVPN offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. I was told that (and I assume this also applies to the Firefox add-on):

“We do not explicitly use the encryption within our Chrome extension. The Chrome itself (internally) use SSL as security layer on top on http protocol to secure a user session data from being stolen by “bad” people.”

I think this means it uses HTTPS, but am far from sure. If you want an encrypted connection then stick with using the full VPN client.

SaferVPN Chrome extension

Customer Service

Free trial Yes - 1 Day
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee

Other than the setup guides, support is primarily via 24/7 live chat. A ticketed email system is also in place. When I contacted SaferVPN’s support via live chat, responses were almost instant, and very friendly.

I do not consider it fair to expect front-line support staff to have in-depth technical knowledge, but I was a little annoyed to be repeatedly given “I can assure you that we use the best possible encryption” answers when asking for details.

More importantly, when my queries were escalated via ticketed email for attention by more knowledgeable staff members, I found the answers rather unsatisfactory. Good examples of this are when I asked about Chrome extension security, and when I unable to discover if perfect forward secrecy is deployed.

Privacy and Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes

Jurisdiction

SaferVPN (and therefore Perimeter 81) is based in Israel, which has strong data protection laws that strictly and specifically limit the government’s ability to spy on personal data.

On the other hand, Mossad is a close ally of the NSA, and Israel is known for the robustness of its cyberdefense operations and for its cooperation with the NSA in its mass surveillance operations. On balance, though, Israel’s strong data protection laws make it a fairly privacy-friendly location.

Logs

On its home page, SaferVPN says,

“No Logging Policy! We value and respect your privacy — in and out of the web. We never log or monitor your VPN network traffic.”

Drilling down a bit more, SaferVPN does not keep any usage logs. It also does not  log your IP address when you make connections, or but it does keep a fair amount of other connection (metadata) information:

"•    date and time on which the Session began, date and time on which the Session ended,

•    the amount of data transmitted during each Session,

•    to which location (eg. USA East) (We do not hold servers’ IP addresses),

•    and from which country you connected from (We do not hold IP addresses)."

Technical security

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

SaferVPN uses the following OpenVPN encryption: AES-256 for data channel cipher, RSA-2048 for the Transport Layer Security (TLS) handshake, and SHA-256 for control channel hash authentication.

Support was unable to tell me any more details, so I will guess that SaferVPN uses SHA-1 is for the data channel handshake (which is fine). SaferVPN has now confirmed that it does use perfect forward secrecy (PFS) for all OpenVPN and IKEv2 connections.

This is a strong OpenVPN setup. The SaferVPN Windows and macOS apps also include DNS leak protection and a kill switch, but as we have seen, these are not always effective. SaferVPN's Android and iOS apps include a kill switch, which remains a very useful, if all too unusual, feature. 


Final thoughts

SaferVPN has made some major improvements, and is now close to being a great service. It uses excellent encryption, has plenty of servers in useful locations, allows five connections at once, and has a good logging policy. It also offers some very handy bells and whistles, such a Chrome extension and strong support for IKEv2. Only somewhat underwhelming speed performance and sub-par (but friendly!) customer support now holds SaferVPN back. IPv6 users, though, should take additional security precautions. 

With a 24-hour free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee, there's little reason not to check this highly competent service out for yourself.

Visit SaferVPN »

Written by: Douglas Crawford

Has worked for almost six years as senior staff writer and resident tech and VPN industry expert at ProPrivacy.com. Widely quoted on issues relating cybersecurity and digital privacy in the UK national press (The Independent & Daily Mail Online) and international technology publications such as Ars Technica.

5 Comments

  1. Myself

    on June 1, 2018
    Reply

    Hi. Can you do a review on RA4W vpn? Its base in usa though but it just says no logs collected but not much info. Reason i request is cause on xda developer depot site they give 9.99$ lifetime subscription. So was just wondering hows the vpn and all. Offer lasts for few days only now. Regards .

  2. Alexander H.

    on April 4, 2018
    Reply

    I have to say that SaferVPN are diligent in processing the 30 days refund. I decided to unsubscribe because I decided that I don't need the service, and was actually surprised that the refund process succeeded after exchange of 2 mails. This is my personal experience with them.

  3. bruce

    on September 19, 2017
    Reply

    Wow. I was considering signing up until I saw the comment by Philip.

  4. Philip

    on September 14, 2017
    Reply

    I used SaferVPN until the first of the year. Since then I tried ExpressVPN (you have my comments regarding that debacle). Safer was quick to assist when I had a problem last year, and their responses evidenced concern for the subscriber. Today all three of my systems will not log in to SaferVPN. The putative cause is an error in the password. I reset, in accordance with their provided link, and received a notice of successful reset. Then I still could not log in. I can't even use the client area, since I can't access without logging in, so it has to be a ticket. They have programmatically responded, but no suggestions have been received. There has been too much time wasted waiting for relief. So I am dropping them, and can only hope for a refund.

    1. Alma Vilcov replied to Philip

      on September 21, 2017
      Reply

      Hi Philip, We executed password reset on our end. The process should go smoothly but don't hesitate to come up on either on Live Chat or to follow up on your support ticket thread. We responded couple of hours with your password reset link but didn't hear back. We apologize for the inconvenience that might have caused to you and look forward to make up on the frustrating password reset process you had to go through. Thanks ahead, Alma Vilcov SaferVPN Customer Success

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