We interviewed VPNArea’s Managing Director Dimitry Nikolaev on his opinions about the internet security, online freedom and the role of his VPN service in this context.
VPNArea is one of the newest VPN services to enter the VPN industry and has excellent service features that have allowed it to stand shoulder to shoulder with giants in the VPN industry. Dimitry was extremely open with us and gave us some unique insight into the dynamics of the VPN industry – both current and prospective.
Q1. Why did you decide to start a VPN service?
As an experienced VPN user myself I was quite sick of companies boosting about privacy and misleading customers that their data would be secure if they bought a membership. However it turns out that 95% of companies are based within countries known for being hostile against user privacy in the name of “perceived security”.
Some would say “okay but not all people care about privacy, how about content-restriction?”. That was the main reason why I was using VPN, to unblock content while I was traveling. Unfortunately most companies oversell their product and you end up having slow speed and unfriendly robot-like snobbish support people.
Then it was the software, OpenVPN’s standard software has so many limitations, Ic ouldn’t test seped, I could open 50 configuration files maximum, and it was like those companies support team – not user-friendly.So you can look at it this way – the VPN users needed us. They needed a provider and a good team that can deliver what VPN is really about – quality experience in unblocking content restriction, privacy and securing your internet traffic.
My family ran an internet provider when I was growing up and we also had an internet cafe and gaming club. I was from the first “network administrators” in our country, running a small ISP by the age of 15. Later on I was involved in other IT projects as well. All that experience made the whole VPN journey a pleasant and fun one. When you work something that you like, it is not work, it is pleasure. That is also the result why VPNArea provides customers with boutique like experience, where people care about you and the product itself is tailored to your needs.
Q2. What features/characteristics differentiate you from your competitors?
Everything really, starting from unlimited access to all our servers, that give the ability to change IP to 44 countries.
We also give out free private VPN server when you buy a private IP (on the unbeatable price of 15$ per year at the moment)
Our own software which has many extra features such as a Speed test, a function to show users online on a server so that you can get all the speed for yourself, a killswitch, anti-dns leak protection.
We’re based in a country that doesn’t have a law for VPN companies to retain logs. 5 multiple connections, 4.92$ per year, unlimited bandwidth. It’s like a VPN disneyland with us 🙂
Q3. What features does your VPN service offer and how do you think they improve the users’ experience?
USERS-Online function allows user to know if he is alone on a server, be it for anonymous reasons or for speed, people love it.
Speed test – you no longer have to crawl around servers and test speed one by one. You can do this directly from our software.
44 countries server coverage let’s users feel at home when they travel by allowing them access to their favourite web sites and local TV.
We offer dedicated IPs with a bonus private server, nobody does that, they just put the private IP on an existing server and you have to share the speed with others. With us you get yourself all the speed for you at all times when you buy a dedicated IP.
Q4. What packages do you offer and how do you believe they are better than those offered by your competitors?
All our packages feature unlimited bandwidth, 5 multiple connections and access to all servers. We also offer dedicated IPs (like mentioned above) in many countries. What else does a customer need? Friendly support – check. Our own software – check. Anything else you can think of – check.
Q5. What new service features can your customers expect from you in the future?
We have plans to start offering free cloud storage to existing customers in the near future.
Q6. Do you take feedback about your service from your users? If yes, how do you process it?
Like Bill Gates has said, the critics from users is your most valuable information. Thanks to them our software is and will improve further. As we speak there are 4 specific improvements that are being developed for our software.
Q7. What is your stance on keeping customers’ activity logs and do you keep logs of your customers’ activities? If yes, what do you log and for how long do you keep the logs?
We do not keep logs of customers activities.
Q8. What are your thoughts on torrent and File-sharing? Do you accommodate torrent and File-sharing users?
What you do in internet is your own responsibility. We do not limit customers to what they can do, as long as it doesn’t damage our servers. For example if we receive DMCA notice on some server and the data center threatens us to terminate the server, we will block torrent trackers on that server.
Fighting privacy is other people’s job, we do not get paid to do this or to judge it. My personal opinion? If a movie is worth it, go watch it on cinema. If a software is worth it, buy it and get quality updates and latest versions. I can understand filesharing in countries where there is no netflix or cinemas or salary is 200$ per month. I can’t understand it in developed countries.
Q9. Which markets do you choose to focus on and why?
People who travel or live abroad, people who care about privacy for the right reasons and gamers. We choose to focus on that markets because they represent 95% of VPN customers and because they don’t make trouble for our servers and thus they don’t affect other customers.
For example recently a user of ours from Palestine used our Kyrgyzstan server to hack into other servers and steal VoIP credits, we lost that server because of him. There is fine line to a right of Privacy and if people abuse it the whole world will become like USA and UK where (almost) everything you do in internet is spied on. We implore hackers and fraud-committing people to go elsewhere.
Q10. What do you think of Edward Snowden and his mission?
I think what he did is great. I think more people will come forward like him. I hope he will inspire software makers, inventors and industries to build an internet that is immune to spying. Just what VPN is trying to do.
Q11. What do you think of the NSA and GCHQ’s alleged surveillance activities?
I think we the people (in general) are sheep who say “beeh” and walk around with eyes closed until somebody moans our body hair for sweaters. That everything we do is spied on was perfectly clear all the time. Why did people need a wake-up call like Snowden to realise it? Assange did what Snowden did years before him, that’s why they are both prisoners, one in Ecuador embassy near Harrods and the other in a country with even worse privacy laws and no free press. What changed? Nothing.
Spy agencies will always exist, this is not what bothers me, they are a necessity. What bothers me is that they go into ordinary people’s lives, to a scale that nobody is immune anymore.
The only way this would change is if people invent OPEN SOURCE technology and keep updating it that will prevent spies from spying on us, at least in internet. As long as something can be done – it will be done. If they can’t spy on us how they will spy on us? They won’t. But as long as the software companies allow it, it will be possible.
Q12.Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Yes, if you don’t use a VPN, you’re a fool 🙂 We all were.