- Company location: Romania
- Number of servers: 1,300+
- Zero-log policy: Yes
- Protocols: OpenVPN, Hydra
- Stealth VPN: Yes
- Double VPN: No
- Ad-blocker: Separate add-on
- Torrenting: Yes
- Streaming: Yes
- Customer support: 24/7 Web Chat
- Good for streaming and torrenting
- Very user-friendly
- 30-day free trial and money-back guarantee
- Over-complicated split tunneling
- Below-average speed
- No free tier
So, what is Bitdefender VPN?
It’s a stable virtual private network that masks your traffic and real IP behind servers in locations across the world. This protects your privacy, even from your own internet provider.
Where is Bitdefender based?
The company was established in Romania in 2001. It has offices in the US, Middle East, Australia, and Europe. Bitdefender’s products are distributed in more than 150 countries worldwide.
Bitdefender VPN Features
In this Bitdefender premium VPN review, I take a closer look at what makes the software tick. You’ll be able to use the internet securely and privately, whether at home or on the go. All from an easy-to-use app, available across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
But that’s not all.
Bitdefender privacy only works if you connect to one of its servers. Should this connection drop, then your real IP and traffic requests are exposed. Your ISP, websites that gather browsing data, and other more nefarious snoopers can get access.
The kill switch shuts down all internet requests until Bitdefender reconnects, protecting your internet privacy at all times.
This feature is off by default, which is a bit annoying. I advise you to hit the settings cog and, under general, you can turn a slider to activate the feature.
Bypass ISP Throttling
Many ISPs throttle (slow down) the speed of your connection based on the type of traffic you are using. Because VPNs encrypt the source of your traffic, it’s one way to prevent throttling. Bitdefender Premium VPN claims to do this.
Using a VPN, however, will also lower your speeds, although not drastically.
Furthermore, ISPs often throttle speeds at peak times or when you’re using a lot of bandwidth. Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether the type of traffic is detectable, just that you’re using a lot.
Because of this, it’s difficult to measure the effectiveness of this particular feature. But I suspect it works based on some speed tests I perform below.
Split Tunneling is the process of allowing certain traffic to bypass the VPN and operate as normal through your network.
The major criticism I have of this feature is Bitdefender’s implementation. It only allows you to add websites to the whitelist, while other VPNs also have blacklists. Most importantly, these services let you add programs and apps that connect to the internet or have inbuilt browsers.
You may miss this at first with Bitdefender, but these settings hide under another name called Auto Connect.
You must turn on the many Bitdefender auto-connect features as they are off by default. Some expand split tunneling functionality.
- Connect on Startup: Launches the software and connects to a VPN server whenever you start your device.
- Unsecured Wi-Fi: The service automatically works whenever you switch to an unsecured Wi-Fi network. For example, encrypting traffic at a public venue.
- P2P: Connects to the VPN whenever you start a P2P file-sharing app like those for torrenting.
- Apps and Domains: Allows you to always use the VPN for certain apps and websites, much like split tunneling.
- Website Categories: Connect to the service when only visiting certain types of websites, such as online banking sites.
Bitdefender supports unlimited bandwidth/ encrypted traffic. But you can only use the service on 10 devices together. That can cover a single household of devices.
In the course of my VPN Defender review, I hooked up Bitdefender VPN desktop software and the smartphone and tablet app. Next, I let them all play YouTube videos at the same time. I had no problems at all. Bitdefender VPN YouTube performance is as good as it gets.
Its dedicated software and apps cover Windows back to 7 SP1, macOS 10.12 or higher. There’s also Bitdefender VPN for Android and iOS.
You can control the type of notifications to receive under the settings tab. This includes:
- Connection and Disconnection
- Unsecured Wi-Fi reminders
- Opening a P2P program
- Opening certain categories of websites (I.e., financial sites).
Bitdefender VPN Advanced Features
As you’ve probably seen in other VPN Defender user reviews Bitdefender doesn’t offer a lot of advanced features – it’s more of an automated app, which is great for beginners. Nonetheless, there are some more complex things worth digging into if you’re to get the most out of the software.
Port forwarding is a way of bypassing your router’s inbuilt NAT firewall, so internet speeds are increased. This might compromise security with a regular internet connection. But if you are using a VPN, you get good speed while remaining hidden.
A key benefit for torrent users is stronger P2P connections. This makes downloading faster. Using a well-seeded torrent file and the BitTorrent client, everything ran smoothly.
Gaming and Ping
As well as general speed, ping latency is another measurement that’s especially relevant for gaming. In short, a ping is a signal that goes from your device to the site (or game). Latency is how fast the data can travel back to your PC. A slow ping is not a dealbreaker for most internet traffic but for gaming it can cause lag and ruin the experience.
With Bitdefender on, I recorded a ping of 49 milliseconds. With it off the ping was almost identical – 48ms.
These are poor, but that’s my own ISP’s issue. It’s the lack of difference that’s impressive.
So, is Bitdefender VPN good for gaming?
If your underlying connection is fast enough, you won’t experience any significant lag. Just remember to choose a good location.
Whether using Bitdefender VPN for PC or mobile, the most basic approach is to let it automatically choose your location. In theory, somewhere overseas provides better privacy because nobody will even know what country you’re in.
It is often wise to choose the location yourself, however, for faster performance or when carrying out certain tasks. As a rule, the closer the location is to your actual location, the faster the ping and overall speed.
So, for tasks like gaming, always go to the same country unless it is bogged down with other users. Unfortunately, with Bitdefender, you won’t know this is the case until you do your own speed tests. It doesn’t give you any info about server load.
Location is also important when aiming to bypass regional content.
Bitdefender VPN Servers and Locations
Bitdefender has over 1,300 VPN servers, which is a good number. These are located across the globe in 48 countries. While the number is below average, speed and performance are more important than the location of a Bitdefender VPN server. Even if other providers do cover more regions.
The overall spread is good. There are US locations and servers throughout the UK and Europe. But there’s also South Africa, Vietnam, Singapore, South Korea, and India.
Couple these with many overlooked South American countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, and it’s an excellent list.
It’s worth noting that Bitdefender leases its servers from Hotspot Shield, another VPN solution. Though that has generally good reviews itself and I tested the speeds myself.
Bitdefender VPN Speed
To test the speed of Bitdefender VPN for Windows, I first ran my own speed test using SpeedTest.net as a benchmark. This resulted in an average 20.91Mbps download and 13.43Mbps upload.
With the Bitdefender VPN app and using an automated location, download speed dropped to 12.49Mbps. Meanwhile, uploading stayed strong at 11.32Mbps. In short, that’s impressive, especially for P2P sharing and uploading like torrenting. For downloads, not so much.
Overall, that’s a speed drop of 59.73%, the higher side of the average range for VPNs. But the closer a server is to your actual location and the less load that server has from other users, the faster it will be.
When connecting to a closer server in Manchester, England, the speed somehow became faster than when Bitdefender was turned off. It recorded 25.50Mbps download and 16.95Mbps upload.
It may be that my ISP is throttling speeds and Bitdefender pulled off the impressive feat of bypassing this.
The initial results might also suggest that the VPN is quite poor at selecting the fastest server by default and you may need to do your own experimenting.
To conclude, for the average user that isn’t doing intensive tasks like gaming and streaming on multiple devices at once, the speed of Bitdefender VPN servers is acceptable.
Bitdefender VPN Privacy and Jurisdiction
Bitdefender’s main headquarters is in Romania, but it has sub-offices in the United States and the UK. The good news is Romania is not part of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance, making it less likely to divulge any of your personal information.
However, I can’t confirm the same about their international HQs.
Then there’s the partnership with Hotspot Shield to consider.
Most importantly, Bitdefender states they keep zero traffic logs, which on paper means they have nothing to share with others, anyway. At least in terms of your internet activity.
Although this is not as clear as I’d hoped, there is no sign of Bitdefender ever handing over data to third parties or the authorities. I also cannot find any accusations that Bitdefender itself has gathered or used user data internally.
Bitdefender VPN Security and Protocols
Bitdefender VPN security uses 256-bit AES encryption which is a powerful form of military-grade encryption. Granted, most premium VPNs use this, but it’s good to have it clarified.
It takes on Hotspot Shield’s custom Hydra VPN protocol, which uses multi-hop technology. This quickly sends traffic through several different locations before settling on one. Just like moving finances through a chain of companies, this makes your internet traffic harder to trace.
If Hydra isn’t functioning, Bitdefender uses the industry-standard OpenVPN as a backup. The newer and faster WireGuard protocol has yet to be implemented.
Bitdefender VPN Leak Test Results
IP and DNS leak tests were solid. With Belgium as the server location, I find no leaks at all via IPLeak.net. The information points to 63 addresses in Brussels using IPv4. It did not reveal any UK DNS addresses where I’m conducting this Bitdefender VPN review.
Bitdefender VPN and Streaming Services
To be honest, Bitdefender VPN didn’t ace my Netflix test.
Many users state in their Bitdefender VPN reviews they couldn’t access international versions of the streaming service, despite choosing the appropriate locations.
After this issue came to light, the company has updated its system and you can now unlock international Netflix with ease. Testing from the UK using US Bitdefender VPN servers, I could access Netflix US, Hulu, and other streaming services. In addition, using UK servers unlocked BBC iPlayer, suggesting this would be the same for those located in other countries.
Other recent Bitdefender VPN reviews agree that geo-blocking is no longer an issue and is easily bypassed.
Although Bitdefender is not the fastest VPN service in the world, it is still perfectly capable of handling HD streaming. I experienced excellent image quality and no noticeable buffering while watching Netflix and the Fite.TV app.
Bitdefender doesn’t have any smart TV apps but will work through media players like Kodi if the underlying OS is Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android.
How Good Is Bitdefender VPN for Torrenting?
If you want to use Bitdefender VPN torrent features, you’re in luck. It permits torrenting on all servers and this works automatically. Like all VPNs, speeds are never as quick as without them, but the privacy it gives you is the key benefit.
Moreover, because Bitdefender supports manual port forwarding, your upload speed doesn’t have to be reduced. Torrents work on a P2P sharing protocol that often requires you to upload to maximize download speed. Thus, port forwarding can produce better torrenting speeds than other VPNs.
My own tests above showed impressive upload speeds, so it’s safe to say Bitdefender is good in this department.
Can Bitdefender VPN Bypass Geoblocks?
Yes, although there have been some negative Bitdefender VPN user reviews in the past. I can confirm that the software now has no trouble Netflix unblocking or bypassing geo-restrictions. You simply need to choose a geographic location that’s relevant and the site should load.
For example, many news sites in the United States block Europeans because of GDPR rules. I could easily access one such site, Newsday.com, by using Bitdefender and selecting the US as the location.
Ease of Use
For more on how to use Bitdefender VPN, let’s take a closer look at the interface.
The software is very easy to use, whether you’re on the Bitdefender VPN mobile app, Windows, or Mac. It’s essentially the same interface that can work automatically just by hitting the on button, which finds the ‘best’ server. You can also select a location yourself from the list or by searching.
The downside is you can only choose a location, not a specific server. In comparison, other VPNs list every server, including their current load. This would give you a better understanding of the speed you could receive from a specific Bitdefender VPN server.
The settings menu is very easy to navigate.
First, down the left-hand side is a dashboard tab outlining connection time and traffic usage. Second, you’ll find all the other key settings under the cog icon. For example, the kill switch and split tunneling. There’re also settings for connecting on startup and for allowing various notifications.
You can easily view your account and access help from the app as well.
To sum up, Bitdefender is intuitive and beginner-friendly. Moreover, all its more complex settings come with useful explanations underneath.
My only qualm, as alluded to earlier, is that the auto-connect and split tunneling features overlap somewhat and could be better organized.
You can access customer support links directly within the Bitdefender VPN security software. The first will open the website’s FAQ page. This is full of useful but relatively basic answers to questions. Clicking ‘Send Feedback’, provides several options, such as ‘I have a connectivity issue’. You then get a box to send a support email. It took roughly 3 hours to receive a response to my test email.
Going to the website’s support page and using the live 24/7 web chat was much faster. You get a response in minutes this way. It also provides phone lines for many countries (24/7 in the US and UK).
Users engage with all of Bitdefender’s products on the community forum, but it is not the most active for VPN customers. I wouldn’t advise posting a question here if it is in any way urgent.
Bitdefender VPN Price
The site does not promote the Bitdefender VPN free trial. However, if you go to the download page, you can find a 30-day trial within the Total Security software package.
This provides 200MB of protected traffic per day. Therefore, it’s only good for quick testing, not streaming, gaming, or even browsing the web for a long time.
There is no permanent free Bitdefender VPN plan.
You get a 30-day money-back guarantee once you start paying for premium. Thus, there are more than enough opportunities to put the program through its paces without committing.
The two straightforward plans are as follows:
- Monthly Rolling Contract: $6.99
- One Year Upfront: $29.99
That’s the equivalent of $2.49 a month.
The Bitdefender VPN cost is more affordable than many other popular providers. It is one of the software’s biggest pros.
Bitdefender VPN Review – Verdict
To sum up, this is one of the most affordable and user-friendly options on the market.
The results from my tests for this Bitdefender VPN review left an overall positive impression. All the key features are here, including a kill switch and split tunneling. Moreover, you can use it for torrenting, gaming, streaming, and bypassing geo-restrictions.
With a free trial and money-back guarantee, it’s worth seeing if it meets your expectations. You can explore more expensive options later.