VPN Master is a small, US-based Virtual Private Network (VPN) company. It is a terrible VPN that filed to connect and provides no assurances for privacy and encryption implementation. The VPN is priced at the cheaper end of the market, but is certainly not worth the money it asks. The service does have features that the company website doesn't advertise and even the customer support staff on the live chat system don't know about the facilities available. However, the VPN's features tend not to actually work anyway.
In this review, you'll learn the good points and bad points about VPN Master, how you can sign up for the service, and what you can expect if you do decide to use it.
VPN Master isn't terribly expensive, especially if you go for the one-year plan. However, the service doesn't have half of the features found on similarly priced VPNs, so we don't particularly recommend this service at all.
You get a cheaper monthly rate if you sign up for a longer period. However, you have to pay for the whole subscription period up front.
The company collects payments through PayPal, but you can pay with a credit card through that system, even if you don't have a PayPal account. The payment type logo list below was taken from the VPN Master website.
This list of payment methods doesn't include Bitcoin, but you can pay for the VPN Master service with it.
VPN Master Features
The features of the company's package are:
Servers in 14 countries
Proprietary app running PPTP for Windows
PPTP and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) available for manual setup
No activity logs
P2P allowed on German, Russian, and Polish servers
No data throughput limits
The VPN Master server network has locations in the US, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Poland, Romania, and Russia.
Most VPN services allow you to connect several devices simultaneously. However, VPN Master only lets you connect one device at a time.
VPN Master only advertises its PPTP servers. The system uses 128-bit Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption (MPPE). PPTP is not a very secure protocol. It was one of the earliest systems invented for VPNs and has quite a few weak points. The concern over the insecurity of PPTP led Microsoft to invent Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) to replace it. One advantage of PPTP is that you can install it just about everywhere, including on smart TVs, set-top boxes, and routers. However, that portability is being eroded. When Apple changed its Mac operating system from Mac OS X to macOS, it removed support for PPTP.
OpenVPN is a much better VPN protocol than PPTP, and most VPN services focus on that protocol. One unusual feature of the VPN Master PPTP implementation is that the company has produced an app for it. Usually, the user is expected to create a VPN connection through the device's network settings.
The OpenVPN implementation only includes access to one server. This seems to be a new service and no one at the company has much information on the encryption used for it. The log file for the service doesn't report this information either.
I eventually discovered that the system uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption with a 256-bit key. However, without any details about the handshake and auth implementation, it is impossible to say whether OpenVPN is secure on this platform.
Is VPN Master Private?
The VPN Master Website
The VPN Master website isn't very appealing. The homepage presents the service's highlights, but there aren't any more details on the other pages, so the details about the service are very thin.
The site includes a members Area, where you can check on your account.
You don't get access to this section of the site until you've signed up for the service. The Server Status page is another part of the site that is reserved for subscribers. This page doesn't list all of the servers and their status, but just notifies of service outages.
VPN Master Customer Support
Although the customer support pages of the site are all on the vpnmaster.info domain, the support email address is [email protected]
The main channel for quick answers is the live chat system. This can be accessed via the yellow notice at the bottom right of the site. I found this help desk manned every time that I visited the site.
You don't need to enter your name or email address in order to start a conversation, you just type a question.
The support operative wasn't too knowledgeable about the system. Her response to technical questions about the encryption used for the system consisted of long silences. Whenever I made suggestions about what VPN options might be available, she just agreed with me, which necessitated more quizzing to get to the truth.
Another channel for support is the support ticket form. This is available by selecting Support from the main menu and then Contact Us from the Support menu.
You also have the option of contacting the support team via email. When you raise a support ticket through the website, you can access replies to your issues through the client area of the site. You'll also be sent an email whenever a reply is posted. The technical support staff are very quick and I always received replies to my problems within half an hour of sending a request.
The website knowledge base isn't very informative.
Click on the subscription period that interests you from the three price boxes on the homepage. This starts the purchase process.
The subscription form requires your address and phone number, as well as your name and email. It's important that you enter a real email address because there's no download page on the website, so you'll receive links to the software and a list of server addresses by email.
Scroll down to fill in your payment details and then click on the "Complete Order" button.
After paying for the service, you'll receive an email containing your account details and links to the software downloads.
The VPN Master Windows VPN Client
You can download two apps for Windows. One is a custom app for PPTP. The install file should create a shortcut for the PPTP app on your desktop.
You have to log in with the credentials contained in the welcome email.
There are very few settings to deal with.
You need to select a server from the drop-down list at the top of the app. This gives you options to connect to 14 countries. There are two servers in the UK and ten in the US.
You will get a system notification when the VPN connection is established.
After trying to connect to both UK servers, all US servers, plus the Canadian server, I was unable to establish a working connection with this app.
You access the OpenVPN app via a webpage. After downloading the install file, click on it to get the app installed. The installer should put a shortcut to OpenVPN Connect on your desktop.
The app runs in minimized mode. Look for a keyhole icon in the system tray of your desktop. Click on the icon to get the menu for the app.
The menu has options to select whether you want to run using User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). You can also change the menu language in the Settings screen.
You only have one server available to you, which is in the Netherlands.
Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 Tests)
I tried to test the VPN's PPTP service. However, despite attempting to log in to two servers in the UK, one in Canada and ten in the US, I was unable to get any meaningful connections out of the service. I couldn't connect to the Canadian server and three of the ten US servers. Of the remainder, no webpage would load in my browser once I was connected to the VPN.
The speed tests of the VPN Master service were conducted while using OpenVPN over UDP. However, this service only offers a server in one location (the Netherlands). I tested a regular connection to the UK, then the same connection with the VPN Master server managing communications. In both cases, I performed five test runs with testmy.net from a location in the Caribbean. I used IPLocation.net to test the actual location of the VPN Master server. It was located in Haarlem, North Holland.
The graphs show highest, lowest, and average speeds for each server and location.
The VPN performed well, but the results were anomalous (a VPN should never make your internet speeds faster).
I checked for Domain Name System (DNS) leaks with ipleak.net while I was connected to the VPN Master server in the Netherlands. This test showed five DNS calls. Two of those DNS references were made to servers in the Netherlands, but the other three contacted servers in the Dominican Republic, which gave away my true location.
The test site doileak.net also detected DNS calls in the Dominican Republic. That site also noticed that the timezone setting of my operating system was different to the timezone of my supposed location.
I was unable to test for IPv6 leaks as my Internet Service Provider (ISP) doesn't use IPv6 addresses.
While connected to the VPN Master server, I tried to access Netflix. Although I could get into the site and browse available videos, the content delivery system spotted the VPN and blocked access.
The VPN Master PPTP app is available for Windows and Android devices. Owners of Mac OS X, iOS, and Linux gadgets can set up PPTP or L2TP VPNs manually. Only L2TP is available for manual setup on macOS computers.
You can install the OpenVPN Connect app on Windows.
VPN Master Review: Conclusion
Given that the PPTP connections don't work, and the OpenVPN service only offers one location, it's difficult to see how anyone could benefit from a subscription to this VPN.
App for PPTP
Accepts PayPal and Bitcoin
Online chat for support
Very fast technical support
I wasn’t so sure about:
Online chat host didn't know anything
PPTP didn't work
Only one location for OpenVPN
Refund period only 24 hours
Only one connection at a time allowed
VPN Master is staffed with polite and likable people. Therefore, it's a shame that the service doesn't work and that there is very little information available about the level of encryption and privacy that is provided.
The website doesn't explain that OpenVPN is available and there is no mention of Bitcoin until you get to the point of paying.
VPN Master should scrap its pointless and outdated PPTP VPN service and focus on expanding its OpenVPN implementation. The company needs to thoroughly test it service and make sure it is operational before it starts collecting money from customers.