- Jurisdiction: The service comes under the jurisdiction of Cyprus. This island nation is not among the 14-Eyes countries, and the local laws don’t interfere much into the privacy of the users.
- Servers: The service has more than 31 server locations across various countries and continents. The server network gives the user a lot of options when it comes to bypassing geo restrictions.
- Multiple Protocols: The user can choose between OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP protocols on the service. However, it is not easy to switch between the protocols.
- P2P Allowed: The service provider allows P2P file sharing across all the servers, and users are not supposed to face any issues whatsoever when torrenting on the network.
- Excessive Logging: Despite the fact that the jurisdiction favors privacy, the service logs the user’s personal data. The major concern can be logging of the IP address of the user.
- Slow Speeds: The speed on the network is very poor. The slow speeds may hamper a lot with the ability of the user to carry on with the usual activities on the internet.
- No IPv6 support: There is no IPv6 support on the service. The potential mismatch in the IP may leak the IP address of the user.
- No kill-switch: The client comes without any kill switch as well. Without the kill switch, there is always a possibility of the leakage of user’s data on the internet without the VPN cover.
The Main UI
ZenVPN is the property of RubyVector Ltd.
The company operates from the island nation of Cyprus.
The nation was once a British dominion but
became independent in the year 1960. Cyprus is not a part of the infamous
The local laws help the company to safekeep
the user’s personal information.
If you visit the official website of the
product, you will see a lot of claims which portray ZenVPN as top-notch service. We are here to put all those claims to the test.
We will see if the service can stand up to
the claims. The review will be based on
facts and not mere words. There will also be some performance tests involved
By the end of this review, you will know if
ZenVPN is the service which will give you genuine
peace of mind.
Server Selection Options
Without the servers, there won’t be any
network in the VPN service. The importance of the server network can never be emphasized enough. Especially, when the
company is catering its services globally.
A vast and spread out server network makes
sure that users all around the world get satisfactory
connectivity to the network.
The proximity of the user from the server
location has a lot to do with the speeds he/she gets on the network. So, it is essential that the user is not too far away
from one of the servers in the network.
A good number of servers in the network
also reduce the chances of high-density traffic through the servers which affect the performance of the service.
ZenVPN’s server network contains 31 server
locations. The number is impressive when compared with a lot of the other VPN
The server network is dense in the European
continent, which is the case with the majority
of the VPN services. But there are enough servers for other regions as well.
They have server locations in North
America, South America, Asia, Australia, and Africa as well. The server network
makes the service accessible for a large population around the world.
The client, however, has not been appropriately designed to make use of the big
server network. There is no server sorting on the client.
All the server locations are available in a
long alphabetically ordered list. The servers are
not arranged according to the regions or functionality.
functionality, there are no dedicated servers in the
server list as well. P2P file sharing is allowed on all the servers, but the
service should have added some preferred servers for tasks such as gaming and
The client connects to a server location
automatically when the app starts. It connected
us to the closest server location. In the subsequent sessions, the client will
connect the user to the previous server location.
The absence of the optimal server location
option can also be annoying for some of the users.
The service is
based in Cyprus, and as we discussed earlier, the island nation is not a
potential roadblock when it comes to safekeeping the privacy of users.
It is not a part of the 14-Eyes countries,
and the local laws respect individual privacy.
The service provider claimed that they have
a no-logs policy, and given the favorable
conditions, we thought that it should not be a problem for them.
But, after going through the logging policy
of the service, we found out that it stores way too much than what’s needed.
The company stores the IP address of the
user for every session, and this log stays in the system for six long months.
We are unable to think of a reasonable
explanation which makes the company store such sensitive information for such a
They store the IP address of the user when
he/she sign-ups on the official website. The timestamps and bandwidth usage are also logged.
The policy of storing the IP address of the
user for every session, and that too for six
months, does not sound right to us. The
service provider should make the necessary changes in the policy and make the
service more privacy-friendly.
The service provider also collects the
email address of the user and the payment-related information. When the
customer uses the mobile application, the service stores the device information
Cookies also come into the picture when the
user visits the website of the service. Most of the websites including the ones of the VPN services collect some
information when the user visits them.
The data collected by the analytics services
is non-personal most of the times, and it is used to improve the service by analyzing customer behavior.
The logging policy of ZenVPN is not satisfactory
at all, and the service should reduce logging if the product is to remain
relevant in the VPN world.
Connection Time Analysis
The connection time is indicative of the swiftness
of the client. If you look at the connection times of many VPN services using
the same encryption and protocol, you are more likely to find a whole spectrum
of speeds rather than a single connection time.
ZenVPN took 15 seconds on an average to
connect to the network. Even though it is just a quarter of the minute, it is
not small enough when compared with the times of other VPN services.
A VPN service should not take more than 10
seconds under normal circumstances to establish a connection.
The client of ZenVPN is the simplest one we
have come across, and therefore the connection time is not satisfactory at all.
Speed Test for Various Server Options
Speed on the VPN service has now become one
of those parameters on which the success of the client depends.
Most of the VPN services are beefed up with
security features these days, and it is the speed on the network which is
separating the men form the boys.
More importantly, the user also does not want
to compromise with the speed on the network.
Many activities such as online gaming, and high-definition streaming
demand high-speed internet connections.
The service provider claimed that the
speeds are ‘blazing fast’ on the network, but the results of the speed tests are
telling a completely different story.
We connected to the closest server location
first, it was also the automatic server
choice when we ran the app for the first time. The resultant speed was a measly
28% of the initial speed without the connection.
Right after the first server, we got a clue that there will be some
slow-motion performances by the service.
We then connected to a few other servers as
well, and the speed kept getting lower and lower. In fact, we got more than 10% of the original speed on none of the servers besides the first
The speeds for the German, the UK, and the
US servers was only 6.8%, 8.8%, and 7.6% respectively.
The product failed miserably in this
section, and the service provider needs to address this issue or else the
userbase of the product will also slim down to the small number like the speed
on the network.
The fact that users wanted to feel more
secure on the internet called for the need for
something such as a VPN service.
It is not just the cyber criminals that
users want to stay away from, but also the surveillances and monitoring by the
governments and the ISPs.
A VPN service is simply not allowed to leave any end untied when it comes to
security on the service.
ZenVPN allows the user to choose between
three protocols available on the service, that is, OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP. But
the choice is not as easy as it seems.
The OpenVPN protocol can be used through the client of ZenVPN which can be downloaded for Windows devices.
The users need to take help of the clients
of other protocols or manually change the settings to use other protocols. The configuration settings and
methods to use all the protocols are
available on the official website.
The encryptions available also vary with
the protocols. 128-bit encryption is used with OpenVPN and PPTP protocols,
whereas 256-bit encryption is used with
The encryptions on the service are secure
enough, but the user is once again left deprived of the options.
ZenVPN supports IPv4 only, and this can cause an IP leak because of the mismatch. The
user can only manually disable IPv6 traffic
to stay safe from such a situation.
They use Public DNS servers, which is again
not good news, and we recommend the service provider to have their own DNS servers.
Adding to the list
of drawbacks, there is no kill-switch on the client as
well. A kill switch automatically stops the internet traffic if the internet
connection drops. This way it keeps the user’s data safe by not letting it
reach the internet without the safety of a VPN.
The service needs to reinforce security measures. They are far too behind the
rest of the VPN service when it comes to security.
User Interface and Experience
The user interacts with the service through
the user interface. The primary function of the user interface is to give the
user some control over the application.
The user interface showcases all the
properties and the functions of the application and allows the user to employ
them as per his/her convenience.
An intuitive and easy to user interface
often make the user stick with the service, and there can be no denying of the
fact that it is necessary for the services to have an efficient user interface.
ZenVPN seems to be walking in an entirely different direction though.
The client is available only for the
Windows devices. It comes with nothing more than the connection button and the
There are no customization options for the
user whatsoever. The service has not got many features in it, and that acted as
a catalyst to make the user interface even duller.
We don’t even see any special privilege
that the user may get by installing the client. It is just for the sake of
changing the server location.
There is absolutely nothing in the user
interface for us to describe or explain. However, you can access the logs by
right-clicking on the ZenVPN icon.
Platforms and Devices
Let us now discuss the accessibility of
this VPN service.
The client of ZenVPN is available only for
the Windows. For the rest of the operating systems and platforms, the user
needs to take help of proprietary clients of the protocols or manually change
the settings in the device.
The client available for Windows can make
use of OpenVPN protocol only. To use other protocols on Windows, the user will
have to go the manual way.
The service is available for Windows,
MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Asus RT, and DD-WRT routers.
Browser extensions are absent, and there is
no support for devices such as gaming consoles, Smart TVs, etc.
Another drawback of the service is the fact
that the user can connect to the VPN through only one device at a time from a
single user account.
Simultaneous connections from a single
account is not an option on the service. Most of the VPN services offer connectivity through 5 devices
simultaneously from a single account.
It seems that ZenVPN made no efforts
whatsoever to make the life easy for the
user. He/she needs to go through a lot of hassles to switch the device or even
So many complications will only repel the
user away from the service. The service provider needs to make do corrections
and improve accessibility on the service.
Customer support is a vital element of the
service when it comes to introducing the user to the product.
Customer support helps the user through the
support page, FAQ sections, live chats, and email support.
All these elements can be used by the
service provider to familiarize the user to the product and help solve any of
the issues that the user may face while using the service.
ZenVPN has no live chat support, and the
user can submit query tickets. The ticket gets answered within 24 hours most of
The responses that we got through the
tickets were also concise and helpful. The waiting was worth it, and every time
the customer service representative handled all our queries professionally.
However, going through the ‘Help’ page on
the official website was not that much of a satisfying experience.
There was no discussion on the relevant
topics related to the service, and this
was the primary reason we had to resort to the query tickets.
The website is full of vague information,
and the specification and details can nowhere be
The service provider needs to make the
website more informative and give the user a more clear and concrete idea of
what the service is all about.
ZenVPN was not even close what we expected
or what was promised to us on the
There is not even a single section where
some massive improvement is not needed. The infrastructure and blue print of
the product were promising, but the outcome is not exciting at all.
They need to employ server sorting for
their big server list, and some dedicated servers as well. The data collection,
as well as the duration for which it is stored,
need to be minimized.
Speed on the product needs some immediate
attention, and they need to come up with ways to increase the speed of
the product manifolds.
The client is virtually useless in its
current form and needs a complete transformation. The service provider needs to
make sure that it is available for all the supported platforms.
Improvement of the support page on the
website will also go a long way in increasing the appeal of the service.
ZenVPN needs to make some substantial
improvements before we even consider recommending it to the users.