CactusVPN is Moldova based online privacy service that has grabbed the attention of users from all around the globe. This is because the provider follows the notion of online freedom in true letter and spirit. It allows users to enjoy the online anonymity from anywhere at any time.
But does it match up to the best VPN provider?
This CactusVPN review will answer this question among other things.
Let’s dig in.
- Availability of Smart DNS Option
- 30 Days Money back Guarantee
- Customer Support is Fast and Efficient
- Compatible with all the major Platforms and Devices
- Zero Logging Policy
- 24 hours Free Trial
- Limited Server Network
CactusVPN Review – A Free VPN Service
Right of the bat, I will start this CactusVPN review by discussing its nifty trial. The trial lasts for 24 hours but lets you avail all the benefits of the VPN. Through CactusVPN free trial feature, you can check the performance of the VPN in detail.
You can consider our extensive guide about free VPN to know about VPN that do not cost a penny.
Free Smart DNS
Streaming has now become the primary source of entertainment for millions of individuals across the world. It is estimated that streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu will replace the conventional TV within a few decades.
Although streaming makes it easy to access a treasure trove of video content, it remains plagued by geo-restrictions. This is where Smart DNS comes in.
Smart DNS are tools that help you get past geo-restrictions and stream with absolute freedom.
CactusVPN offers Smart DNS services separately for $3.49/mo. and with a VPN service for $4.89/mo.
It gets better.
A seven-day CactusVPN free trial of Smart DNS can be availed without giving away any credit card information. This trial lets you experience the complete benefits of the Smart DNS and see if it’s worth your while.
290+ Sites Unblocked
To stand out among the glut of VPN providers, CactusVPN markets its capability of unblocking 290+ sites.
This is a bold claim considering that the list includes Netflix US and BBC iPlayer. Although I wasn’t able to test out all of these sites on Cactus, I did test Netflix US among other websites and the result was disappointing (more on that later).
The VPN was able to easily unblock streams like BBC iPlayer.
Despite mixed results, CactusVPN’s ability to unblock streaming services makes it all the more appealing.
Another positive attribute of the VPN I found in this CactusVPN review is the provider’s no-nonsense logging policy. Therefore, you can select the service if you want to protect your personal information from logging issues. In addition, you can go through our guide on VPN that does not keep logs.
Fortunately, the service gives importance to the online privacy of their users. Therefore, the provider does not indulge itself from recording the online and web surfing activities of the users.
Jurisdiction: Outside the 5 Eyes Agreement
Being based in Moldova, CactusVPN is outside the jurisdiction of any international intelligence sharing agreement.
This is a good thing.
A VPN can go to extreme length to protect user information. However, it cannot withstand pressure from the government or any other authority to handover customer data.
Hence, it is better for your VPN to be located in privacy friendly country like Moldova, a country far away from the clutches of American and British intelligence agencies.
CactusVPN can boast an authentic zero logs policy thanks to the VPN’s jurisdiction.
Protocols and Encryption
CactusVPN is pretty well equipped to deal with hackers, malwares and other internet demons. It is packed with OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec and SoftEther tunneling protocols.
All of these protocols have their respective strengths as I explain below:
- OpenVPN: Armed with a 256-bit encryption, OpenVPN is the most secure tunneling protocol in 2018.
- SSTP: Best suited for confidential activists, SSTP is one the safest protocols available. However, it does eat up a lot of your internet speed.
- PPTP: Considered as obsolete, PPTP has proven to be vulnerable to variety of online threats.
- IKEv2: It offers greater security, fast speed and superior reliability. However, it is supported on limited platforms.
- L2TP/IPsec: L2TP does not offer any protection on its own. Hence, it is combined with the IPsec protocol. This combination is slow but offers foolproof protection.
- SoftEther: It offers a great blend of speed with security through a 256-bit encryption.
CactusVPN Setup: Easy and Seamless
Setting up this VPN is a walk in the park. You just have to go to Cactus VPN download page and select the client for your platform.
Once you are finished with the download, the installation hardly takes a minute. The interface of the VPN has an attractive design.
The settings section lets you toggle plenty of options including the kill switch and DNS leak protections. It also lets you choose between the five protocols.
Selecting a server is also an effortless task. You can pick out a server manually or let the software select one based on speed.
All in all, using this VPN is pleasing experience. There are lags or other performance issues with the software.
The support section of CactusVPN has all the ingredients to solve the queries of their subscribers. Through the support section that is available on the official website, you can get information about troubleshooting, account activation and other issues.
Here is the list of different useful subsections you can explore on support area that consists of:
- How to Start
- Setup Tutorials
- Learning Center
- Ticketing System
Furthermore, the users can opt sections like Blog and Client Area to use the service according to their own terms.
Perhaps, the most bedazzling part of the customer support is how quickly the provider answers your emails. Seriously, hit them up now and witness the swiftness of their response.
I emailed some general queries to the VPN and got a reply within 10-12 minutes. This is outstanding if you ask me. Even better than the live chat feature of some VPN providers.
No DNS or IP Leaks
DNS and IP leaks occurs when your actual information spills over to the internet whilst you are connected to a VPN. Unfortunately, this is not a rare occurrence as VPNs often inadvertently leak user information and leave them exposed to numerous threats.
I tested this VPN for DNS and IP leaks and the results were reassuring.
No DNS and IP leaks occurred when I was connected to Cactus VPN.
Speed factors while evaluating a VPN in totality. A fast VPN helps users stream and download torrents without worrying about hackers and malware ruining the experience.
Hence, I would have considered this Cactus review incomplete without a quick speed tests.
Anyhow, here is what my speed looked like before connecting to the VPN.
The CactusVPN download speed was 12 Mbps less than my usual speed.
The speed dropped by quite a bit. Hence, the provider should definitely look into this aspect of the service.
Netflix: Not Working on the VPN
You can unblock Netflix with CactusVPN. But as always, there is a catch.
One needs the SmartDNS service to access Netflix US. Now, I do not have to pay extra for Netflix but the provider should be upfront about this policy.
Claiming to unblock 290+ sites (including Netflix) whilst only providing this feature on the Smart DNS package is just not right.
As impressive CactusVPN is, its Netflix service needs an urgent reform.
CactusVPN P2P/Torrenting Review
CactusVPN review unveils that the service supports P2P activities of the users on limited servers. This is because there are countries that do not support torrenting procedure. Still, you can use CactusVPN to secure your privacy while downloading torrents.
Here is the list of countries you can use their servers to perform P2P activities anonymously. These are:
If you want to know about other VPN services that endorse torrenting, read our best VPN for torrenting guide.
CactusVPN for Kodi
CactusVPN is compatible with Kodi, the open-source streaming platform. Hence, you should opt KodiVPN to circumvent the issue of region blocking and DMCA notices. By doing so, you can protect yourself from getting copyright infringement notices instantly.
Moreover, you can watch your favorite media content be it movies, TV shows and so on through best Kodi add-ons from anywhere.
According to our CactusVPN review, the service offers 23 servers in 14 countries throughout the world. Depending on the proximity of these servers, you receive fast, slow or average speeds.
The provider has to improve its servers’ network drastically to grab the attention of potential users in future. With the industry standard for server list increasing day by day, Cactus needs to catch up fast.
Here is the list of countries where the VPN provides its servers. These are:
Pricing & Plans
The pricing plan offered by CactusVPN for its services are somewhat reasonable. It means you can select the monthly pricing packages at the cost of $3.49 and $4.89 respectively.
This is because the service caters the needs of their users by offering five types of monthly pricing plans. These monthly plans include US VPN, UK VPN, VPN+ Smart DNS and Smart DNS too. Although these pricing plans may confuse a lot of users, they can be convenient for Netizens who have very specific demands from a VPN.
For instance, anyone who needs a VPN to unblock BBC iPlayer can opt for the UK VPN and save some bucks.
If you are contemplating about CactusVPN quarterly packages, you have to pay $9.09 and $12.59 to avail these plans. By doing so, you can attain 14% discount on all five different sorts of packages straightaway.
The users can select annual pricing plans if they want to pay the dues of their packages on yearly basis. You can avail four kinds of pricing plans at the cost of $38.99 and $54.99 respectively.
The annual VPN +Smart DNS plan allows you to use twenty-four servers available in different countries like UK, USA, France, Germany, Canada, and others. Hence, you are able to obtain appreciable discount up to 35% instantly.
Online Payment Methods
Readers of the CactusVPN will be glad to know that the VPN has an extensive list of online payment methods to the users. Here is the list of online payment options that consists of:
- Yandex Money
- Boleto Bancario
- Master card
Above all, the provider has recently added 20 cryptocurrencies to its existing payment options. Therefore, you can pay your dues securely from anywhere.
Money Back Guarantee
One of the highlights of this CactusVPN review is the VPN’s money back guarantee, which lasts up to 30 days. Moreover, you can avail the user-friendly refund policy to get your refunds at the earliest if you are not satisfied with the level of service.
Almost all VPNs cater to the users of Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. But CactusVPN takes it up a notch.
Not only is this VPN compatible with multiple platforms, it has a dedicated client for each.
Quite simply, the VPN saves you the trouble of setting up the VPN manually on Android TV and Fire TV.
Here is the list of devices on which CactusVPN works to perfection.
I was also delighted to observe that the service is compatible with streaming devices like Boxee Box and Chromebook. Thus, you are able to sustain your right of online freedom and anonymity on different devices straightaway.
And this is not even the best part.
You can make five simultaneous connections to the VPN, securing your entire household in the process.
If you are still unsure about your online privacy, you can search about our best VPN reviews written on different VPN services. These VPN services are:
CactusVPN Trustpilot Review
Trustpilot has raving reviews about CactusVPN. Some customer sing praises of its customer service.
Meanwhile, some reviewers are more critical of the VPN especially due to its slow speed.
CactusVPN Twitter Review
This VPN continues to capture the imagination of the user even on popular forums such as Twitter.
CactusVPN is pretty great, especially for that monthly price. I think I'll go with that as my VPN service from now on.
— Mystic (@MysticDistance) January 8, 2018
Praises continue, as CactusVPN impresses even more users on the forum.
@CactusVPN is a very good vpn, very impressed with it
— Ralphy (@RalphyRamone) April 15, 2018
CactusVPN Reddit Review
Reddit contains some of the most knowledgeable VPN customers and some of them consider CactusVPN as obscure. This means that the service needs better marketing efforts.
Meanwhile, redditors are having trouble unblocking BBC iPlayer with the VPN. The results were a bit different during my tests, which shows that VPN are never consistent with streaming services.
Finishing this CactusVPN review, I reaffirm that the service possess all the desired ingredients to become a major player of an online privacy industry. The service offers a list of features including Smart DNS, free trial, country wise pricing packages and others.
Therefore, you can select the service if you want to protect your online freedom right in true letter and spirit. Furthermore, you can use tunneling protocols and encryption features that allow you to obtain online anonymity from anywhere.
You can share your feedback in the comments section below about the performance of CactusVPN.