Updated · Mar 24, 2022
Best for: VPN usage in restrictive countries
The BolehVPN headquarters are in Malaysia, but it was incorporated in Seychelles.
Moreover, it’s unclear how many people are using this VPN service in 2021. I found only 13 user-generated BolehVPN reviews between Trustpilot and G2. And this company has never been mentioned on Capterra.
To be fair, all of the said testimonials were relatively fresh and rated the service 4.3 stars out of 5 on average.
The problem is that the company has more years in the business than it has testimonials. To me, it’s a symptom of a declining VPN service. It almost seems like this vendor isn’t interested in growing its current user base.
Is this a fair statement? Am I reading too much into this lack of unsolicited reviews?
To judge it fairly, I decided to test it the way it wants to be judged: through its BolehVPN trial.
And for this BolehVPN review, I focused on the Windows app only.
Let’s get started!
Here’s the lowdown on this VPN’s basic functionalities:
BolehVPN is compatible with major desktop and mobile operating systems. But it has downloadable clients for Windows, macOS, and Android only. You can find all of its installers on its site.
The OSes that the BolehVPN-GUI supports are as follows:
- Windows: 7 or higher
- macOS: 10.7.5 (Lion) or higher
- Android: unconfirmed
If you have an older macOS version, you’ll have to download Tunnelblick first.
When it comes to the native BolehVPN Android client, it’s available in the form of an APK (Android application package) file only. Its installation needs a bit more work, but rooting your device won’t be necessary.
However, you can also download Arne Schwabe’s OpenVPN for Android from Google Play.
BolehVPN itself recommends this alternative setup if your device runs Android 4 or later. But the company warns that this third-party app doesn’t support VPN obfuscation like its own custom Android client does.
To use this VPN service on iOS, you’ll have to install OpenVPN Connect. This app directly comes from the makers of its namesake open-source tunneling protocol.
On Linux, you can set up BolehVPN through the system’s Desktop Network Manager. Aside from the configuration files, the Network Manager’s OpenVPN extensions are the only other requirement.
BolehVPN works on routers running DD-WRT, Asuswrt-Merlin, and Sabai OS. This is a big deal, for it enables you to protect your entire network in one fell swoop.
Installing this VPN on your router is a good workaround to create a BolehVPN Kodi TV or a BolehVPN PS4 connection.
Using OpenVPN, BolehVPN’s FullyRouted servers tunnel all data from online apps, including web browsers, instant messengers, and torrent clients. They’re versatile, but these all-around servers are prone to high latency.
Further, Fully-Routed servers make it possible to pull off a BolehVPN Over Tor (The Onion Router) setup for increased privacy. This BolehVPN Tor configuration reminded me of NordVPN’s Onion Over VPN.
Proxied configurations are the closest thing BolehVPN has to split tunneling. They don’t impact latency as much, so they’re suitable for online activities that need a faster response time.
With proxied servers, connecting programs to the VPN is optional. If you want to, you’ll just need to enter the right BolehVPN’s proxied configuration.
If you want a BolehVPN Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer, the company recommends HTTP. But you may also use the SOCKS proxy when configuring your browser.
Basically, SurfingStreaming servers are FullyRouted ones minus P2P traffic support.
Their utility isn’t limited to unblocking content libraries in the United States. But they’re particularly effective in getting around IP (internet protocol) blockers on YouTube, iTunes, Hulu, Pandora, and Veoh.
The company recommends using SurfingStreaming configurations based on UDP (User Datagram Protocol) to enjoy faster and more stable speed. Consider TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) servers only if you can’t bypass a firewall.
One word of caution: these configurations might render some internet-enabled apps non-operational.
Since it doesn’t provide enhanced internet privacy and cybersecurity, use configurations when connected to a safe network.
In some regions, connecting to BolehFlix servers is the way to go to view Netflix US and Hulu.
On macOS and Linux, you can use BolehFlix connections with no extra setup. On Windows, you have to tweak the settings a little.
This vendor has no data cap. The same policy applies to the BolehVPN free trial. So, you can give it a go without any bandwidth restriction.
Three Connections per License
A BolehVPN subscription entitles you to up to three device connections at the same time.
This VPN service provider doesn’t sell additional slots yet. But a router counts just as one connection no matter how many devices are linked to it.
This feature routes all traffic through a secure tunnel in the event of a leakage. This way, nothing will flow out if you lose your VPN connection.
Technically, lockdown isn’t a kill switch, but functions like one. On BolehVPN’s forum, a member of the vendor’s staff described it as “superior”.
When it comes to the traditional kill switch, there’s some confusion about it. The existence of this feature was one of my BolehVPN issues. I couldn’t find it on the Windows app.
In 2015, a BolehVPN employee explained in the community that the company’s client has a built-in kill switch, coexisting with Lockdown.
One forum member shared that the BolehVPN help desk clarified that there was none. And nobody from the company disputed this claim.
On Boot Configuration
With this option, you can set which server to connect to the next time you load BolehVPN.
Other VPNs simply go with the last one used or with the fastest one. But this feature can be helpful if you like to reconnect from the same server whenever you use a VPN.
DNS Leak Protection
This option helps hide your DNS (Domain Name System) requests from your number one snooper: your ISP (internet service provider).
Strangely, it’s not activated by default, so make sure to turn it on to prevent any DNS leak.
BolehVPN Advanced Features
Here’s an overview of this vendor’s extraordinary VPN capabilities:
Cloak servers enable you to mask your traffic, making it seem like you’re using the internet as normal. These pieces of obfuscated VPN hardware can neutralize the efforts of governments that actively hunt VPN users.
Any of these servers support the BolehVPN Tor setup too.
Unfortunately, Linux and OpenVPN for Android configurations don’t support it.
If you live in a country that heavily censors the internet and can’t use OpenVPN, this proxy is a good alternative.
Shadowsocks encrypts data in a lighter manner. Its goal is to masquerade traffic data to move it around unnoticed, not to extremely scramble it.
This protocol isn’t compatible with BolehVPN Android, Windows, and iOS clients, though. To access the company’s Shadowsocks servers, you’ll need to install their namesake client first.
Available in some FullyRouted servers, this option can accelerate BolehVPN torrent download speed.
Since it permits unsolicited connections to bypass your NAT (Network Address Translation) firewall, it may introduce a cybersecurity vulnerability.
In-App Server Status Display
Some VPN vendors, including RUSVPN and CyberGhost, let you view the availability and performance of individual servers on their sites. But with this tool, you can monitor its service status on the app itself.
Supposedly, you should be able to see key information like ping and speed. But in my experience, all of the fields were blank.
BolehVPN Servers and Locations
BolehVPN has 35 servers in 12 countries across the world. This vendor’s fleet isn’t huge, but it’s still larger than the networks of a few VPNs we’ve reviewed.
Want to know which server locations can support which traffic? Have a look at the list below.
- Luxembourg (with BolehVPN Port Forwarding support)
- Switzerland (with BolehVPN Port Forwarding support)
- United Kingdom
Here’s how fast BolehVPN’s servers:
Montreal Speed (download speed: -72.78%, upload speed: -35.94%, ping: 817.86%)
Luxembourg Speed (download speed: -17.97%, upload speed: -42.19%, ping: 842.86%)
Singapore Speed (download speed: -45.19%, upload speed: -12.50%, ping: 396.43%)
I must say - the connection was occasionally unstable. There were times when even Speedtest by Ookla couldn’t load properly. So, I had to take a break and try again to get these results.
BolehVPN Privacy and Jurisdiction
Although the BolehVPN headquarters are in Malaysia, the company also answers to the Seychellois government. Like Trust.Zone, this vendor has formed its corporation there to avoid mandatory data retention laws.
Neither country answers to the Fourteen Eyes Alliance.
However, two-thirds of its network is in either a Fourteen Eyes state or a European Union member. Arguably, Japan and Singapore covertly share intelligence with the Alliance.
Fortunately, you can be optimistic about BolehVPN’s zero-log policy.
As a general rule, the company doesn’t record data related to user activity, like:
- IP address
- DNS requests
- Bandwidth usage
There’s some exceptions to this rule, though.
The company monitors the overall traffic and number of connections per server. And if it notices any unusual activity or receives a spamming or hacking complaint, it might begin logging personal data.
This vendor would only do this to identify any potential abusers and terminate their accounts to protect its network’s integrity.
BolehVPN admits that this has happened in the past. But it claims that it has never disclosed such records to third parties. It simply deletes the logs from the system.
Also, the company issues a monthly warrant canary. This statement will reveal any recent attempts to search or seize any of its assets and/or any logging requests.
BolehVPN Security and Protocols
BolehVPN supports three tunneling protocols:
- L2TP/IPSec (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol over Internet Protocol Security)
By default, the company’s configurations center on OpenVPN. The L2TP BolehVPN configuration is an option only if your device doesn’t natively support OpenVPN.
If you’re looking for advanced security features like double VPN, you won’t find it on BolehVPN.
But you can set it to launch upon startup and automatically connect and reconnect.
BolehVPN Leak Test Results
Using AirVPN’s Ipleak.net, I discovered that you shouldn’t use BolehVPN without enabling DNS Leak Protection first. When this option was deactivated, the service couldn’t keep my DNS requests a secret all the time.
The screenshots of my original IP and DNS addresses are as follows:
Here’s how BolehVPN did when DNS Leak Protection was off:
Here’s the difference when it’s on:
Good news is that it was able to consistently mask my IP address, especially when surfing the Web. Here’s the result of my WebRTC leak test using ExpressVPN’s checker:
BolehVPN and Streaming Services
As mentioned, the company has streaming servers. But none of them were included in my free trial. Nevertheless, I tried to unblock Netflix without using a dedicated BolehVPN Netflix server.
I tried to stream Joker with BolehVPN on. This film is available in Canada, but not in the Philippines.
Here’s how I verified that this vendor’s regular server in Montreal was no good against Netflix’s geo-restrictions:
How Good Is BolehVPN for Torrenting?
Advocates of P2P file sharing would love the BolehVPN torrent downloading capabilities. It has plenty of optimized servers and advanced options like port forwarding that can speed up your downloads.
Be careful, though. The company has P2P-friendly hardware in countries that are less tolerant of torrenting like Germany and the UK.
To prove that it can obscure your identity on BitTorrent, check out the following screenshots:
Can BolehVPN Bypass Geoblocks?
Yes, it can.
I tried to browse through Disney+’s site, which is inaccessible to someone in the Philippines. That’s why I used BolehVPN’s Montreal server to view the censored page.
Here are the before-and-after screenshots:
Ease of Use
Hard navigation was a common complaint of many BolehVPN reviews. Its interface is crowded with icons and panels.
It wouldn’t take casual VPN users forever to learn how it works. But its distracting visual elements hurt its intuitiveness.
Moreover, the company doesn’t seem to follow its own server naming conventions, at least on the BolehVPN trial. With the exception of the Singapore server, there’s no telling what traffic the other four other ones support.
Performance wasn’t BolehVPN’s saving grace either. Its Windows client was clunky. It would crash whenever I tried to switch servers. And an error message would occasionally pop up when connecting upon launch.
When it managed to change my public IP address and establish an encrypted tunnel, it would take tens of seconds.
The easiest part was registration, which was required for the trial. Right off the bat, the company warns against using a disposable email address.
Good thing Blur supports multiple domains. I was able to create an account using a masked email address in my second try.
This is among my biggest BolehVPN issues.
It provides no phone number to call, but you can reach its team through email. Likewise, you can submit a support ticket or begin a conversation with the company through Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram.
If you want to get in touch with BolehVPN in a more secure manner, you can use the encryption program called Pretty Good Privacy. When you register, the company will email you the download link to its public key.
The company maintains a forum too. It’s not as active as it once was, though.
If you prefer to do your own research, you can explore BolehVPN’s on-site help desk. It wasn’t good, though. In fact, it has been hijacked by SEO professionals that wanted to build links.
BolehVPN’s FAQ was so much better. And its setup guides were excellent. But when I sent a ticket to engage with this vendor’s support staff, I got no reply. It waited for three days to no avail.
I shouldn’t be surprised, though. Its Trustpilot profile hasn’t been claimed, which indicates that the company has no plans to directly talk with customers.
After using the BolehVPN free trial for a day, you have to upgrade to a premium plan to keep the service. You can choose from these protection plans:
- 1 week: $3.70
- 1 month: $9.99
- 2 months: $8.50/month
- 6 months: $7.50/month
- 1 year: $6.67/month
BolehVPN supports the following payment platforms:
Therefore, you can buy a BolehVPN subscription using:
- Credit cards, debit cards, or prepaid cards
- Bank transfers
Any new BolehVPN subscription is refundable within 14 days. But it’s not a guarantee if you use crypto.
If the company grants your crypto refund request, don’t expect to receive the same amount. This vendor applies a 2% administration charge and issues a refund based on a plan’s fiat value.
At the time of writing of this article, BolehVPN wasn’t running any promotions. It did send me an expired discount code that could supposedly knock 25% off the BolehVPN price upon registration, though.
BolehVPN Review - Verdict
BolehVPN has no excuse for being unresponsive and clunky. Its old-fashioned interface is forgivable, but its small network of servers has got to grow.
Nevertheless, this vendor clearly isn’t trying to please average individuals. Only power users would have patience to set it up on different platforms for streaming and/or torrenting.
However, people living in restrictive countries would find tremendous value in its Tor, Shadowsocks, and VPN obfuscation support.
Romj is a veteran copywriter who used to be a Jack of all trades. Now, he's trying to be a master of one: technology. He jumps down the rabbit hole to size the latest innovations up. As a content contributor for TechJury, he hopes to help you keep up in our fast-paced world with his discoveries.
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