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The Worst VPN Services in 2022 - services to avoid at all costs

Most VPNs suck. Most of them are absolutely terrible, but some are even more terrible than others.

 

A lot of VPNs don't actually live up to the standards you need to protect your privacy. They leak your data, give you up to the authorities and copyright trolls, fail to unblock content, their customer support is atrocious, they sell your data, and they infect your computer with malware. Yet, at the same time, all of these terrible VPNs, regardless of how terrible they may actually be in reality, will boast and bluster and brag about being the very best VPN on the planet. They say they're the fastest, the most secure, the most trusted, the most this, the most that – even though they know what they're selling isn't any of that. They know what they're peddling is a load of trash, but they don't care because all they're interested in is lining their own pockets.

We are always writing about the best VPNs, so I thought it would be fun –  if not joyfully morbid – to switch it up a bit and dedicate a post to some of the worst VPNs and emphasize the fact that the vast majority of VPNs are absolute garbage. Most of them aren't worth your time and money.

 

The worst VPN services

So, without further ado, I present you with the worst of the worst. These are a few of the very worst in the industry – VPNs you wouldn't want to touch with a ten-foot pole:

HolaVPN is by far the worst VPN service around. The service offers zero encryption, allows users to access your IP address, and it logs everything you do online.

  • Pricing

    • 1 Year: $7.69/mth
    • 3 Years: $2.99/mth
    • 1 month: $14.99/mth
  • Pros

    • Great speed
    • Almost every platform covered
    • Easy to use
  • Cons

    • Disingenuous statements
    • Doesn't work with Netflix
    • No torrenting support
    • Logs all your online activity
    • Not actually a real VPN
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Unblocks

Hola is, in our opinion, the worst VPN provider currently on the market. This service certainly deserves mention here as well, simply because of how dodgy its operation really is. First, if you use its free service, Hola will turn your internet connection into an exit node for other Hola users to connect through. Basically, this means that anyone out there doing whatever it is they're doing online could be using your IP address to do it. Yup, and you can be held responsible for the online activity conducted using your IP address – an activity that's certainly not always legal.


Removed from Chrome


In September 2021, Hola was removed from the Chrome store for "containing malware". This isn't surprising given the way in which the service operates, but it serves as yet another nail in the coffin for an undeniably controversial service.



No real protection


Even if you opt for a paid Hola subscription (which I hope never even crossed your mind), there's still no guarantee that your connection won't be used by other Hola users as an exit node, regardless of what the company says. To add insult to injury, the prices being demanded are frankly ludicrous. Per month? It's $14.99 for "Premium" or $29.99 for "Ultra". These prices drop to $7.69/$19.99 for an annual payment and to the equivalent of $2.99/$7.99 if you're mad enough to sign up for a three-year deal with Hola.


Please don't use this service


Hola gives you essentially zero protection online because it leaks your IP, logs your internet activity, and will cooperate with authorities at the drop of a hat. Let's make no mistake about it; Hola doesn't care about you, or your privacy – it truly is one of the most unprincipled and morally bankrupt VPN providers on the planet. I wouldn't trust anything about this provider, no matter how innocent and sweet its happy little animated flame mascot appears to be. Don't get burned, stay far away from Hola VPN.

HoxxVPN is another awful service that we encourage you to avoid. It leaks IP addresses and DNS, it's privacy policy is awful, and it tracks your location.

  • Pricing

    • 1 week: $3.5/mth
    • 1 month: $8/mth
    • 3 months: $6.33/mth
    • 6 months: $5.16/mth
    • 1 year: $4.16/mth
  • Pros

    • End to End encryption
    • Free plan available
    • Claims servers in over 50 locations
  • Cons

    • Logs a lot of user information
    • Slow connection speeds
    • Based in the US - No guarantee of privacy
    • No kill-switch
    • No support for torrenting

If you want zero privacy online and your personal data and browsing activity tracked, sold to third-party partners, and shared with government authorities, then go ahead, sign up for Hoxx VPN. You’re free to do whatever the hell you want to do, after all. But, if none of that sounds appealing, you’ll do well to give these guys a hard pass. It’s laughable that Hoxx’s Privacy Policy claims right off the bat that it’s "committed to protecting your privacy" when you consider that it will track your activity and sell you out in an instant, and considering its IP and DNS leaks rival that of an offensively overfilled diaper.


Intrusive surveillance



Hoxx not only logs your device's unique identifiers such as IMEI number, cell network and even your phone number, but it also tracks the location of your device and the speed at which it is traveling. The privacy policy claims this is to "facilitate your use of certain features", but why you would want Hoxx to know where you are or how fast you’re traveling at any given time is completely beyond me, as is it exactly what features this would possibly relate to unless they were planning to tell you off for using your phone while driving.


Weak security and slow speeds


The fact Hoxx are tight-lipped about what encryption (if any) it actually uses should be a massive red flag to anyone concerned about keeping themselves safe online. The service also lacks basic security features like a kill-switch, Hoxx’s server network is narrow and the provider is dreadful for unblocking the content you’ll likely be wanting to unblock, like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. You can also expect to see up to a 90% drop in your connection speeds depending on the location you pick, so even if it could reliably unblock streaming services, its service is all but unuseable for streaming or gaming.


 

Faceless.me is not as dangerous as the other services in this list. It is, however, an all-round poor service with few up-to-date features. It's slow, doesn't offer proper encryption, and it's expensive for what it is.

  • Pricing

    • 3 Months: $19.95/mth
    • 6 Months: $29.95/mth
    • Free: $0/mth
  • Pros

    • Solid speeds
    • PPTP and OpenVPN support
    • No logs
  • Cons

    • Random website issues
    • Desktop client very dated
    • No WireGuard support
    • No support for streaming
    • No ability to make online payment

While there's nothing outright sinister about Faceless.me, compared to some of the other services on this list, it's just a poor product all around that doesn't really work well, lacks basic features, allows only one connection at a time, and only has servers in three countries. It's also quite slow and you can only use OpenVPN through the third-party OpenVPN client. On top of all this, the free connection only allows 2Gb of traffic before it shuts you down.



Some decent features


Claimed support for torrenting, an apparent no-logs policy and a relatively easy-to-use desktop client don't make up for an all-around poor service that doesn't seem particularly interested in staying up to date. Their blog was last updated in early 2019, and their Twitter page has been gathering dust since 2014. Their Android app is still on version 0.0.1, and the Windows desktop app is still showing a copyright notice dated 2011! Frankly, their client also looks like it hasn't been updated since the era of Windows 98. The design is exceptionally dated and basic compared to sleek offerings from companies like NordVPN or Surfshark.


Far too expensive for what's on offer


On top of all this, Faceless.me's pricing is a mess. The paid plan for the desktop will cost you  $19.95 every three months, or $29.95 every six months and clicking on the payment link bring ups up a message suggesting that they haven't bothered to pay/renew their merchant to allow them to take card payments. They also offer a VPC, which is a Virtual Private Cloud, but all the tech on the page is talking in terms of a regular VPN client, and again trying to follow links to purchase this VPC will instead take you to... the Apple app store. You'll be asked to download a mobile client and encounter a third set of prices!


You'd be better off looking elsewhere for a superior VPN product with a full suite of features at a far more reasonable price point, such as any of the providers that we recommend in our best VPN list. With outdated clients, dodgy payment options and their apparent confusion over what a VPC is, there's simply nothing to recommend here.

SuperVPN is not so super. Its website isn't secured with HTTPS, it tracks your online activity, it's no good for streaming and is willing to sell your data on to third-parties.

  • Pricing

    • 1 month: $5/mth
    • 3 months: $4.6/mth
    • 6 months: $4.5/mth
    • 1 year: $4.3/mth
  • Pros

    • Decent server speeds
    • Supports torrenting
    • Support for split-tunneling
  • Cons

    • Doesn't use 256-bit AES encryption
    • Leaks user data
    • Servers in only 9 countries
    • No kill-switch
    • Split-tunneling doesn't work with 3rd party apps like Netflix

Despite what this provider's name may lead you to believe, there's really nothing actually super about SuperVPN. First of all, the SuperVPN website isn't secured with HTTPS, which is quite curious considering this is supposed to be a service that protects your privacy and keeps you safe online. In any case, that should be your first red flag that something's not exactly right with this one. They also only offer a client for Android devices, nothing for iOS or any kind of desktop. Which is not necessarily a bad thing when there are so many other better options out there.


Big Brother is watching


SuperVPN will track your activity, store your session logs in the US and UK, and will sell you out to authorities in an instant. Customer support is basically non-existent, but if you're lucky enough to get in touch with an agent, they will have no idea what they're talking about. There's no dedicated client software for any operating system, meaning you'll need to set it up manually. The encryption is weak, there's no kill-switch, no network block or firewall, it can't unblock any streaming services and it even leaks user data. The best part is, it's ludicrously expensive!


Risky business


And good luck trying to get your money back if you're not satisfied with the service; support tends to get combative when you question the value of the product, and there's no money-back guarantee. Basically, SuperVPN is an absolutely awful product that will do nothing to protect your privacy and will not hesitate to throw you under the bus if it sees you doing something online it doesn't approve of – but you'll have to pay for that privilege. The icing on the cake is that the mobile client is filled with intrusive advertising. Just in case everything else wasn't enough to convince you to look elsewhere.


Going with SuperVPN is super risky, to the point of being outright dangerous. I wouldn't recommend SuperVPN to my worst enemy.

Expat surfer is the last in the list, but it's still pretty bad. The service only offers insecure encryption, it doesn't have a dedicated client, and it's customer service is expensive.

  • Pricing

    • 1 Year: $95/mth
    • 1 month: $9.5/mth
  • Pros

    • At least it's not actually malware?
  • Cons

    • Doesn't work with streaming sites
    • No support for torrenting
    • Only offers PPTP encryption
    • No custom client, manual setup only
    • No money back guarantee

Expat surfer may look like something you'd want if you were an expat, right? I mean, the name of the service even has the word "expat" in it, so it must be good for expats, right? It's got all this talk about accessing UK TV no matter where you are in the world, and protecting you on public Wi-Fi hotspots, so it must be worth picking up... right? Wrong. Unfortunately, Expat Surfer is not good for expats. In fact, it's not good for anyone. Please don't use this service when so many better alternatives exist.


A specialist service?


This is a service geared towards UK expats looking to unblock UK TV from outside the country, so it only has servers in the UK. If you're not scared off by its horrendously dated website, and, for whatever ungodly reason, you decide to pony up the preposterous asking price for an Expat Surfer subscription, know that your privacy won't be protected via its outdated and woefully unsecure PPTP encryption. Oh, and they have no SLA for uptime, so if the service is down all the time? Oh well. You've no recourse as they offer no guarantee of availability. Their privacy policy is also barely four paragraphs long, and is very, VERY light on details about exactly what they might be logging, and provides no information about what they do with that information.


Manual setup or pay through the nose?


Naturally, there's no dedicated client software, which means you'll have to set the service up on your machine manually. But if you need help with the setup, a representative will be able to remotely connect to your computer to try and help with the setup. "Oh, that's a nice little service they provide their paying customers," you may be thinking. Yeah, but you'll need to drop £35 for about a half-hour of the representative's time. Oh, and if you do decide that everything we've said here isn't enough to put you off and you want to give them a try, you have a jaw-dropping two day free trial to make your mind up. Oh, and you need to provide payment details up front, so if you forget to cancel them before the end of that 48 hours then... tough. Because they don't offer refunds.

So, which VPNs are actually good?

Fortunately, I'm an optimist and I don't normally like to harp on the negative. But, by the same token, I'm a realist as well, and if I notice a company totally hosing its customers, I'm going to call it out for what it is. But, man, can that make my blood boil.

Anyway, let's turn our attention to the best VPNs – the VPNs that are actually good.

Not all VPNs are a big ol' pile of digital garbage, believe it or not (even if most of them are). Thankfully, there are VPNs out there that offer all the tools you need to stay safe online and unblock all the content you want. There are VPNs that actually care about your privacy, provide the proper encryption, offer the proper security features, have dedicated apps, supply sufficient speeds, are easy to use, work to unblock the content you want to unblock, and have customer support agents who are responsive, helpful, and actually on your side. There are VPNs out there that won't try to trick you into buying an awful service. They can be difficult to find, though, when you have to wade through all the trash.

Personally, my VPN of choice – the one I use daily and would enthusiastically recommend – is ExpressVPN . Let's just say ExpressVPN is the exact opposite of those abominations listed above. ExpressVPN is a provider that genuinely does everything right, and it's constantly improving. You'll get amazing speeds, military-grade encryption, world-class security features, a massive global network of servers, 24/7 live chat support, and the ability to bypass firewalls and beat censorship. To top it off, ExpressVPN will unblock any streaming service you throw at it. Sure, it's a tad on the expensive side, but for what you're getting, it's completely worth every penny. 

If you're looking for something a little lighter on your wallet, I can personally vouch for NordVPN , Surfshark , and CyberGhost VPN . Each one is super easy to set up and use and provides all the security and features you'd expect from a first-rate VPN, just a bit cheaper. 

Why would you risk your hard-earned cash and your digital privacy on a fourth-rate VPN that doesn't work as advertised, won't do anything to keep you safe online, and can be downright dangerous to use? When you can get an excellent VPN for the same price or even cheaper, there's absolutely no reason to entertain the idea of trying any of the terrible VPNs I outlined above.

Written by: Shaun Dewhirst

Shaun is a former IT Support Engineer who got tired of asking people if they'd tried turning it off and on again. After a few years working in that strange and nebulous industry known as "The Blockchain" he escaped a maximum security stockade to the Hertfordshire Underground. Today he survives as a reviewer of good coffee, bad movies and as a technical writer right here at ProPrivacy.

1 Comment

D. B. Cooper
on November 27, 2022
Reply
Definitely don't use hola! VPN. This Israel based VPN company is a nightmare for privacy and security and not to mention a scam.
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