Last Updated: January 9, 2022
- Company location: Hong Kong
- Number of servers: 8000+ (allegedly)
- Zero-log policy: No
- Protocols: Eleven proprietary protocols
- Stealth VPN: No
- Double VPN: No
- Ad-blocker: No
- Torrenting: Supported
- Streaming: Supported
- Customer support: Email and live chat
- Free version available
- Extensive cross-platform support
- Good overall server distribution
- Great at unblocking streaming services
- Dubious tunneling protocols
- Invasive logging
- DNS leakage
- Overpriced service
X-VPN is a Hong Kong-based virtual private network service, aimed at novice users. It supports many platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and more.
According to the vendor’s website, it’s trusted by 80 million users. And that wasn’t the only bold claim.
I had a feeling that the company won’t be able to walk the talk.
For this X-VPN review, I used the free license for Windows, which has a 500 MB data limit.
So, let’s dive in.
X-VPN for PC is perfectly adequate when it comes to basic functionality. It has all you’d expect from a VPN — if your expectations aren’t too grandiose, that is.
Let’s start with the cross-platform support, which covers a broad range:
That is great! Now you can protect most of the devices you own in one fell swoop.
Fire TV Stick users can find the service on the Amazon AppStore for free. If you want to secure your router, however, you will need an X-VPN premium account. Be sure to check if your device is compatible because the provider supports only the following:
Five Simultaneous Connections
Simultaneous connections on multiple devices are always a benefit. As part of the X-VPN premium PC license, you can connect up to five devices at once. Free users can only count on a single connection, though.
Five is a standard number, but there are more enticing VPN options out there that offer more. You can also bypass this limit with a VPN-protected router if you’re up for it.
X-VPN premium comes with a kill switch. It will cut off your internet the moment your VPN connection falters. That way, you won’t be caught with your proverbial VPN pants down, even in case of a sudden connection drop.
I would’ve liked it to be part of the free X-VPN version, too, however, since this is one of the security essentials.
Interestingly enough, X-VPN offers split tunneling as a premium feature only, but under a different moniker. It’s called “Application Control.” That clumsy term isn’t too far from the truth. With split tunneling, you control which apps to encrypt and leave open whenever you enable your VPN.
There is one problem, though.
If it weren’t for the short X-VPN app description on Google Playstore, we wouldn’t even know that this feature is available. The website doesn’t mention it at all. That’s only one of the many things this company fails to elaborate on.
X-VPN Advanced Features
As for advanced security features, this VPN certainly looks skeletal. X-VPN for Windows doesn’t even have a proper settings page! You can look at the protocols, servers and upgrade your subscription — that’s pretty much it.
Still, here’s a couple of highlights.
The X-VPN free version has a specific corner just for streaming and gaming servers, which I appreciate. The dedicated gaming servers are for LOL, PUBG, and Roblox. The streaming offer is the usual: Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon, etc.
I have to be a bit nitpicky, though:
The way the servers are labeled and organized could be better. Scrolling through a list of identical servers that are all named just “N” (as in Netflix) is a confusing ordeal.
Eleven Proprietary Protocols
Right from the numerous website claims about eleven mysterious protocols, I knew something was up with the X-VPN security.
Here’s the deal:
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of tunneling protocols: open-source and proprietary. The former is developed as a joint effort of multiple organizations and is available for free use. Famous examples include OpenVPN and WireGuard.
Proprietary protocols, on the other hand, are internally designed by a single company or organization. The main difference is the lack of transparency.
And the company repeatedly brags about its protocols — all named alphabetically, with no info whatsoever. Nobody knows what makes protocol A different from protocol B. You can’t possibly know what kind of protection you’re getting. It’s the same across all platforms, not only on the X-VPN PC version I’ve primarily relied on.
And the funniest thing:
The company claims that it’s not using the real names of the protocols to protect your privacy.
X-VPN Servers and Locations
The vendor boasts about its coverage of 8000+ servers in 50+ locations. Now, according to X-VPN user reviews, this really can’t be the case. Besides, using virtual servers is a well-known tactic of boosting numbers — this VPN is no different. The overall distribution is satisfactory, with nodes in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
Let’s take a look.
Europe and the US offer a nice variety of multiple city-level servers. The South and Central American selection are decent, with Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina.
Asia is especially well-covered, with data centers in Bangladesh, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, etc.
Africa has the worst X-VPN server coverage, though, with two servers in Egypt and South Africa.
Another critical step in this X-VPN review is the speed test. After all, download and upload speeds have a massive impact on all your online activities.
This was my starting speed:
And these are the results when I connected to the VPN servers in the United States, Germany, and Australia.
Yeah, that is a steep speed percentage drop. Regarding the US and Germany, I’ve recorded similar values of 78-79%. It gets worse with the Australian server — a 88% download speed drop.
Honestly, it’s to be expected since this is the X-VPN free license. Usually, VPN services cap those speeds pretty rigorously to “motivate” you to upgrade to the premium version.
X-VPN Privacy and Jurisdiction
The vendor first lists off what it doesn’t log:
- Your browsing activity
- Your original IP address
- The server IP address that you connect to.
That blunder doesn’t bode well for X-VPN security. It only gets worse once you find out what the service does log:
- Account data — your date of registration, email address, and subscription status
- VPN usage data — your connection timestamps, choice of protocol, network type, and error reports
- Status data — your device information, app version, data usage, and geolocation (city-level)
- Payment data — your payment method, transaction ID, and timestamp
- Other information — anonymous aggregated data of all visited sites via X-VPN’s servers and feedback records.
Yes, only that. Click the X-VPN free download link and have a whole lot of your private data meticulously recorded as a bonus!
Sarcasm aside, there are some genuinely problematic parts here. For example, the vendor contradicts itself on the issue of not storing your IP address and geolocation. Oh, and the anonymous data of all the visited sites can be de-anonymized.
The provider has carefully phrased its dealings with third parties. It doesn’t sell or disclose personal data to third parties that aren’t mentioned in its policy. Scroll down, and you can find the ever-growing list of mentioned companies:
X-VPN Security and Protocols
Let’s move on to X-VPN’s encryption. Despite the suspiciously vague website statements about “bank-grade multi-layered encryption technology,” the VPN uses 256-bit AES. That means your traffic is extra hard to decipher.
What about the protocols?
I’ve talked (ranted, actually) quite a bit about the unknown tunneling protocols earlier in my X-VPN review. Choosing one is a gamble because there is virtually no information about how they’re protecting you.
To top it off, on the website you can find hints about a “protocol X.” Allegedly, it simulates other protocols to bypass security filters that would usually block you when you’re using a VPN. But, when you look for it in the client, you can’t find it!
The real question is:
Is X-VPN safe?
Everything encountered so far points to a firm no.
X-VPN Leak Test Results
My misgivings about X-VPN’s protection have only multiplied during the IP and DNS leak tests. I suspected that it wasn’t safe, and now I have practical proof.
I tested X-VPN for PC on IP/DNS Detect.
Before the leak test:
After the test:
So, it successfully cloaked my IP address and repeatedly leaked my DNS requests. That performance doesn’t get a passing grade — it’s a huge security flaw. It means that anyone can see what websites you’re visiting.
X-VPN and Streaming Services
Check this out:
It successfully broke through all of the walls that Netflix US, Hulu, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer built around their content. Some of these walls are notoriously hard to pierce, even for seasoned services. Good job!
Still, with the 500 MB data limit in my X-VPN free version, I couldn’t stick around and finish what I started watching. That data goes by fast, making binging your favorite shows an impossible dream — unless you subscribe to X-VPN premium. Of course, that’s why the limit is there in the first place. The slow speed made this an exercise in patience as well.
All in all, in terms of streaming, X-VPN has excellent potential.
How Good is X-VPN for Torrenting?
But, remember the sluggish speed test results? They didn’t do any favors for the service’s torrenting prowess. I gave X-VPN for Windows a try with my usual BitTorrent client and was promptly disappointed. Speed problems aside, there is another more pressing matter concerning privacy.
Let me explain.
You can’t rely on X-VPN to keep your torrenting activity private. The bizarre protocol configuration, DNS leaks, and extensive logging practice make it a risky endeavor.
Overall, this VPN is a shabby choice for torrenting.
Can X-VPN Bypass Geoblocks?
X-VPN has shown impressive skills in overcoming content blocks. Still, other types of geo-restrictions also need unblocking. Many users are in dire need of a reliable VPN service that can bypass even mass censorship.
So, is X-VPN a good VPN choice for overcoming one of the most robust firewalls — the Great Firewall of China?
Not at all. X-VPN doesn’t work in China. It looks like its top-secret protocol X isn’t what it’s advertised.
Ease of Use
The first thing I noticed when I ran X-VPN for Windows was how empty and sterile it looks. It’s a vast expanse of white, with a big central on/off button.
You can find the tiny preferences menu tucked in the top left corner. It’s a bit pointless since you can’t customize anything except the protocols. Perhaps the most significant oversight is the lack of contextual info or tooltips for the protocols. The X-VPN server selection could be more organized, too.
Honestly, the X-VPN Windows client looks unfinished. X-VPN for Mac, Android, and iOS follow the same aesthetic.
Given the lack of customization options and features, it’s no wonder that X-VPN is very easy to use. I didn’t experience any performance issues with the PC and Android versions, but the X-VPN Chrome extension was often unresponsive.
X-VPN offers email and live chat support. Contacting them, however, proved to be a challenge.
My emails went unanswered, but live chat support was always quick to react and polite. Still, they weren’t helpful because they didn’t provide me with any information I couldn’t find on the website.
The online help center and blog section aren’t exactly illuminating. All of the info is very basic, and you get the sense that it’s just there for necessities sake.
Other users have confirmed my qualms about the customer support’s helpfulness in their X-VPN reviews.
There are two options: free and premium. If you want to get a feel for the premium experience, there is a seven-day X-VPN trial.
The free version has a monthly data limit of 500 MB, and it doesn’t have the kill switch and split tunneling — sorry, “Application control” — features.
The premium version, on the other hand:
- Lifts the data limit
- Has all the features mentioned above
- Provides you with more protocols, more servers, and better speeds
- Allows up to five simultaneous connections
As you can see, this is a big step-up compared to the X-VPN free plan.
The real question is: is it worth it? Let’s zoom into the subscription pricing and find out.
You have the simple choice between:
- One year — $5.99/month, billed $71.88 annually
- One month — $11.99/month.
There’s a seven-day money-back guarantee.
Compared to other VPN services that offer more features and do everything better, this pricing is laughable. The company overestimates itself.
I really can’t recommend paying this much for a VPN service that doesn’t even conceal your DNS queries.
X-VPN Review — Verdict
So, where does this all leave you?
The fact that X-VPN offers users a free version is a plus right from the bat. True, it’s limited in many ways, but I still appreciate the thought, at least.
The extensive cross-platform support is a definite strength of this service. The overall server distribution was also satisfying (except for Africa).
But, the best part was the streaming, hands down. Even though others have reported similar results in their X-VPN reviews, I was still shocked by it.
And now, the negatives!
Security-wise, X-VPN really dropped the ball. You really can’t depend on a VPN that won’t disclose any information about the protocols it uses.
In a similar vein, the logging policy is deceptively phrased and quite invasive in reality. The multiple DNS leaks also did nothing to ease my worries.
With all those security flaws, the company is downright delusional for expecting users to pay that much for its premium service.
To sum up, I can’t recommend this solution. Not after everything I’ve listed in this X-VPN review. Its streaming talents might look tempting, but other similarly priced VPN services are still better in virtually every way.