Updated · Jun 06, 2022
Best for: Streaming with Popcorn Time
VPN.ht is a virtual private network solution from Wicked Technology Limited. On Google Play, the company goes by the name of VPN.ht Limited.
If you’ve recently heard of Wicked Technology Limited, it’s most likely because Hollywood sued it in the state of Virginia. A group of entertainment companies jointly filed a piracy lawsuit against it and its partner, PopcornTime’s anonymous developers.
Here’s a little context:
The connection between VPN.ht and Popcorn Time runs deep. They were once even integrated.
Notoriously called the “Netflix for Pirates”, Popcorn Time has been a financial threat to movie studios for years.
As a result of this success and the hit to movie studio profits, some production companies had enough and took the folks running PopcornTime.app to court. And they didn’t spare VPN.ht for lending the alleged copyright infringement violators a helping hand.
Mind you, VPN.ht wasn’t being singled out.
Many VPN vendors are facing similar allegations. Even leading streaming VPNs like ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and PIA are in hot water. Unlimited VPN, ZenMate, and TorGuard are also in the firing line.
Initially, Wicked Technology Limited put up a fight and argued that it wasn’t under Virginia’s jurisdiction.
This wasn’t the company’s first rodeo. It knew prosecutors would have no leg to stand on without proving it has any affiliation in Virginia.
However, to apply pressure, the plaintiffs convinced the court to freeze its PayPal assets.
For now, it seems that VPN.ht is out of the woods.
What does this development mean for VPN.ht desktop and mobile apps?
I’ll unpack its implications and determine whether a VPN.ht VPN premium plan is still worth it.
Here’s what to expect when using VPN.ht:
This VPN has native apps for Windows, macOS, Linux (Ubuntu), Redhat, Android, and iOS.
For the most part, you only need to visit this vendor’s site to initiate a VPN.ht download.
If you want to use VPN.ht on mobile, it’s best to visit Google Play or the iTunes Store instead.
For other supported technologies like ChromeOS or Synology, you need to configure this VPN manually.
Some VPN.ht setup guides involve a third-party client like OpenVPN Connect or WinSCP. The installation tutorial for Kodi (OpenElec) is a good example.
Also, VPN.ht supports routers, especially those running DD-WRT and Tomato.
Regrettably, I found no VPN.ht Chrome, Firefox, or Opera extensions.
VPN.ht has no data cap, so you can use it as much as you need.
Even if you want to secure your traffic when doing resource-intensive activities like streaming, you won’t need to pay anything extra.
Unlimited Server Switching
You’re free to pick whatever VPN.ht server is available and change locations as often as you want.
Nine out of 10 times, this feature is a given. So, I was happy to learn that this vendor doesn’t restrict server switching as nVpn does.
VPN.ht doesn’t intentionally slow down connection speeds. For this reason, you can expect maximum performance from all of its gateways, regardless of what you intend to do.
Some VPN service providers set speed limits to minimize network congestion. These constraints usually only apply to non-paying users.
Since there’s no VPN.ht free license, this vendor has very little reason to throttle its connectivity speeds.
Three Simultaneous Connections
With VPN.ht, you can simultaneously connect only three devices, which is a bit restrictive.
Rival UltraVPN received significant criticism over its limited concurrent connections. It has since increased its limit from 3 to 6. This gives us hope that VPN.ht will also consider a similar move.
For now, if you need more than three devices connected at one time, you must purchase a second license. This vendor doesn’t sell extra connection slots à la carte yet.
To conserve the few slots you have, install this VPN on your home or office router.
This setup can protect your entire Wi-Fi network while using just one connection. You can reserve the other slots for VPN.ht for Mac or iPhone to secure your portable devices.
In any case, you should strongly consider upgrading your hardware to a VPN-friendly router.
The VPN.ht app offers server location suggestions based on your physical location. This feature can assure that you stay connected with the fastest nearby servers.
However, taking this route will only make sense if you live in Europe, North America, or East Asia. Elsewhere, most VPN.ht gateways aren’t close enough to noticeably help keep speed loss to a minimum.
Random Server Selection
Using this method, you connect through a random location. It can boost your chances of getting a fresh IP for every VPN session.
Don't use this server selection approach when wanting to surmount IP blockers from specific countries. For example, if you are looking to circumvent German geo-restrictions, you should connect with a server located within Germany.
VPN.ht Advanced Features
VPN.ht doesn’t have an ultra flashy feature set. But it does do some things many vendors wouldn’t dare.
The VPN.ht mobile and desktop apps use only open-source software, and as such, its coding is accessible for all to learn what makes it tick.
Additionally, not hiding what’s under its hood is an open invite to concerned white-hat hackers. These ethical cybersecurity experts could expose any of this VPN’s potential vulnerabilities.
Such discoveries assist Wicked Technology Limited in addressing bugs before malicious parties like ransomware attackers can exploit them.
Smart DNS technology detects when you’re visiting censored sites and automatically masks your original IP to circumvent geoblocks.
Unlike VPNs, it doesn’t provide encryption. As a result, your re-routed traffic can move more quickly and doesn’t affect your online experience.
In particular, Smart DNS is a solid solution for streaming if cybersecurity isn’t a significant issue.
The feature comes at no additional cost with a subscription to the VPN.ht app.
OpenVPN Configuration Generator
For the more technically minded,you can create custom OpenVPN configuration protocols as an alternative to using the VPN.
With VPN.ht’s protocol generator, you have four options:
- Choose a location to connect through.
- Select a level of encryption (64-bit Blowfish, 128-bit AES, and 256-bit AES).
- Pick a port (UDP-Default, UDP-3389, UDP-53, TCP-443, and TCP-80).
- Disable Smart DNS.
This tool lets you download VPN.ht's custom .ovpn files as a guest. As such, you don't need to buy a subscription to use it.
IP Address Checker
On VPN.ht for PC or any other supported client, this tool displays your public IP for verification purposes.
DNS Leak Tester
This feature determines whether your VPN is leaking your DNS requests.
When your VPN is active, it should show your masked DNS address and not your ISP address. Otherwise, your ISP will still be able to observe your online activity.
In theory, VPN.ht’s DNS leak tester displays the DNS IP and ISP addresses and server location. Unfortunately, when testing, I received no data. And while this is disappointing, it isn’t the first time a vendor’s DNS leak tester failed me.
However, VPN.ht doesn't share any data unless one or multiple servers are down. Don’t expect any server details if there are no problematic gateways.
Other vendors provide status updates that include speed, load, and/or distance details, even when their servers are active.
VPN.ht Servers and Locations
At the time of writing this VPN.ht review, Wicked Technology Limited had a total of 90 servers in 26 countries.
Almost all of its server locations consider VPN use legal. The United Arab Emirates is the only outlier, for it heavily restricts what VPN users can do.
It’s expected that VPN.ht’s relatively low server count will further shrink once the company pulls the plug on its US servers as part of its legal settlement with Hollywood producers.
A small network size and limited coverage don’t automatically render a VPN untrustworthy. Perfect Privacy is a good case in point. Its unimpressive server fleet hasn’t stopped it from being one of the leading VPNs on the market..
Our Prague-based team tested the speed of VPN.ht’s servers in Europe, the US, and Asia. The results weren’t great.
We lost about two-thirds of our base download speed after going with this vendor’s Serbia gateway. A connection with its US-based hardware resulted in a speed loss of over 85%. After connecting through Japan, the decrease was a stunning 99%.
VPN.ht Privacy and Jurisdiction
Is VPN.ht a good VPN for privacy?
Yes, but I have some reservations.
Wicked Technology Limited has been a registered business in this autonomous Chinese territory since June 2015.
Interestingly, the company was also incorporated in the United Kingdom from February 2016 to July 2017.
According to UK public records, Wicked Technology Limited’s London office had just one listed officer, Mohamed Amine Faouani. While listed as an IT consultant, he was in fact, the company’s sole director.
Actually, Faouani is the owner of Wicked Technology Limited, as the piracy case in Virginia implies.
Moreover, there’s a chance that this VPN vendor also conducts operations in Belize. Its Trustpilot profile shows its address as 16 Lauren Berges Crescent, Belize City.
So what’s the big deal?
Wicked Technology Limited’s decision not to specify its Hong Kong address on Trustpilot is puzzling at least and possibly a concern.
Furthermore, setting up shop in Belize is strange in and of itself.
While many providers, including NordVPN, gravitate towards Caribbean jurisdictions for their mostly favorable data retention laws, VPN.ht chose Belize. A country presently lacking any legislation for data protection and internet privacy.
Then again, this is the murky modus operandi of many secretive VPNs. Just try unearthing who really owns Ivacy and SuperVPN, and you’ll see what I mean.
Is VPN.ht Safe for Privacy-Minded Users?
If Wicked Technology Limited’s headquarter is in Hong Kong, then it’s safe to assume it is outside the influence of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance. With that said, the company isn't necessarily far from China’s Great Firewall and its restrictive measures.
But even if Chinese authorities leave the company alone, other governments could apply pressure to reveal its records.
The Virginia piracy case clearly shows that countries within VPN.ht’s network can strong-arm Wicked Technology Limited. Therefore, the company is presumed to be under the jurisdiction of every location that houses a VPN.ht server.
If you’re worried about warrants, searches, and seizures targeting VPN.ht’s data assets, you can check out its daily warranty canary. When I viewed it, however, it was not up to date.
This vendor doesn’t practice traffic data logging, nor does it track the browsing history of its users.
Wicked Technology Limited collects personal data, including email addresses when registering and payment details when placing an order.
Also, it's not uncommon that the company will process generic diagnostic data and share it with a third party for analysis.
This data collection and analysis serves to identify and expediently fix bugs on VPN.ht for Android, Windows, macOS, and iOS.
Fortunately, this information can’t be linked to your online activity while using VPN.ht.
Sadly, due to the company’s settlement with US movie studios, it must log IP addresses. While Wicked Technology Limited intends to honor this order, it will only do so without compromising its principles.
To avoid exposing its customers, the company announced that it would cease using its US servers altogether.
As such, VPN.ht is precisely the kind of VPN service provider - privacy-conscious users are looking for. Thanks to its dependable zero-log policy, nobody can link your identity to your online activity.
VPN.ht Security and Protocols
VPN.ht supports three tunneling protocols:
- L2TP/IPSec (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol over Internet Protocol Security)
- PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)
OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec are relatively secure, as they only have a few known vulnerabilities.
However, OpenVPN is considered more reputable than L2TP/IPSec. So, stick with the former when possible.
When choosing OpenVPN, data transfers through an encrypted tunnel using either Blowfish or AES.
While PPTP is known for speed, it’s also highly vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.
If compromised, hackers could intercept and tamper with PPTP data. And since this protocol doesn’t verify whether the data source is legitimate, it can be difficult to identify malicious parties.
VPN.ht’s support for PPTP can be a privacy concern, but having OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec should alleviate concerns. Surprisingly, the popular protocol for mobile VPNs, IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2), is unavailable.
VPN.ht Leak Test Results
I experienced no IP, DNS, and WebRTC leakage with this service. But the authors of other VPN.ht reviews noticed IP leaks on some servers.
VPN.ht and Streaming Services
As a streaming VPN through and through, you can rely on VPN.ht Netflix unblocking capabilities. It can unblock Spotify too.
Take note though, VPN.ht doesn’t deliver the same amount of success with other top streaming platforms, like BBC iPlayer.
Thankfully, you can still use the free VPN.ht SmartDNS service. And this vendor’s support team is ready to assist if you are incapable of accessing a particular video-on-demand service.
How Good Is VPN.ht for Torrenting?
As mentioned, VPN.ht has made a name for itself as a torrenting VPN.
It’s unlikely though, to make it into our next round of top VPNs for P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing.
The VPN.ht torrent support is bound to weaken, as it no longer can keep its US-based hardware active without blocking BitTorrent traffic and logging IP addresses.
Nevertheless, you can still use the remainder of this VPN’s network.
Not being able to use its US gateways for torrenting isn’t all bad news. It wouldn’t be wise to use them anyway, as Uncle Sam does not exactly express kindness to copyright infringement offenders.
VPN.ht’s servers in Canada, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands are better alternatives to those in the US.
Can VPN.ht Bypass Geoblocks?
Yes, it can.
VPN.ht can hide your real IP and also help you securely get around geo-restrictions in 26 countries.
The deactivation of Wicked Technology Limited’s US gateways could also negatively impact streaming enthusiasts.
The bulk of VPN.ht servers are in Europe, but many people are primarily interested in US IP addresses. Dodging US-based geoblocks allows for seamless access to tons of quality media usually reserved only for American audiences.
Additionally, if living in places where American apps like Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat are banned, you will have fewer means of using them without the US IPs.
But if you’re not too concerned about internet privacy and cybersecurity, VPN.ht’s Smart DNS should do the trick. When the US servers are eventually gone, it could support the VPN.ht YouTube, Hulu, and HBO Max unblocking capabilities.
Ease of Use
VPN.ht has no usability issues, and its interface is highly intuitive.
Much like TunnelBear, this VPN also has a server map, which assists you in visually identifying the nearest gateway.
Additionally, it shows your location for a clearer understanding of the distances between you and the available servers and their related speeds.
If you don’t know where to begin, you can take advantage of its handy start guide. It produces personalized step-by-step instructions for VPN.ht desktop and mobile apps. This way, you can easily customize your setup to align with your preferences.
VPN.ht has no live chat support, but its helpdesk is reachable via support tickets.
I submitted some tickets to ask general questions and typically received replies in less than 12 hours.
Unfortunately, not every answer was satisfactory. On one occasion, a VPN.ht rep provided a vague response and ignored one of my inquiries.
Overall, VPN.ht’s helpdesk is just okay. It’s nowhere near the level of quality I experienced with WiTopia’s customer support.
VPN.ht is also on social media. But its Twitter and Facebook accounts have been dormant since 2015 and 2016, respectively.
In terms of self-service support options, Wicked Technology Limited has plenty of resources at your disposal.
You can consult its knowledgebase for setup instructions with various technologies. You can also find unconventional VPN.ht for Windows installation tutorials and more.
The knowledgebase has a FAQ category too. It answers only nine questions but nonetheless provides helpful troubleshooting tips for VPN.ht Mac, Linux, and PC apps.
Moreover, VPN.ht has a blog for announcing news and publishing interesting material. Unfortunately, there is no fresh content with the last post on May 12, 2016.
If you need hands-on technical support, VPN.ht’s helpdesk offers remote assistance via TeamViewer.
Overall, VPN.ht could do better at providing customer service. Live chat support is an industry standard and best for real time communication to ensure reliable VPN service.
VPN.ht only offers a single plan with two billing options: monthly and annual.
There’s no VPN.ht free version, nor is there a limited-time VPN.ht trial. The only way to use this VPN is to buy a subscription first.
But your first 30 days are practically free with an introductory first month’s subscription price of just $1.
Here’s how much VPN.ht regularly costs:
- Month to month subscription rate: $4.99
- Annual subscription rate: $3.33 per month
VPN.ht subscriptions are refundable within 30 days. This refund policy isn't a strict money-back guarantee.
The company will only return your payment if its service is unavailable or unusable during your first 30 days.
It’s encouraging that Wicked Technology Limited is willing to refund anonymous payments. Other VPN vendors explicitly specify them as non-refundable.
What payment methods can you use to buy a license for VPN.ht for Mac, PC, iPhone, and/or Android?
Here are your options:
- Credit and debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express) via Paymentwall
- Bank transfer
To avoid billing issues and ensure continuous service, you can add funds to your VPN.ht VPN premium account. You can deposit from $10 to $100, with a maximum allowable balance of $300.
Deposited funds are irretrievable. As such, be prepared to say goodbye to such funds whether spent or not.
VPN.ht Review - Verdict
Versatility is one of VPN.ht’s biggest strengths. While you may have to manually set it up, generating the necessary OpenVPN configuration files is a breeze.
However, its value for money is bound to become more questionable.
To begin with, this vendor’s lack of live chat support and its three-device connection limit can be a significant turn-off. Add to this the likely loss of its US servers and its appeal is bound to take a hit.
The free VPN.ht Smart DNS could soften the blow and appease some streamers when its US gateways shut down. But cybersecurity-wise, this tech isn’t a viable alternative to a VPN service.
As observed in older VPN.ht reviews, this VPN has no kill switch. This is a considerable disadvantage, as it provides optimal defense against snoopers and hackers if the connection drops.
To sum up, VPN.ht is increasingly becoming a tough sell over time. It’s an attractive choice if you want a VPN with built-in smart DNS. But other than that, it’s hard to argue for its merits.
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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