CactusVPN Review 2021
CactusVPN is a VPN service based in Moldova. It offers 4 different pricing plans that are relatively expensive. The provider covers 22 countries and has 37 servers in total that don't support US Netflix but partially assist torrenting. The service has earned 3.0 stars rating overall.
CactusVPN is Moldova based VPN service that is not as widely known as some of the other brands in the industry but possesses decent security features.
In this CactusVPN review, I evaluated its key features and found it possesses some good qualities. For instance, it has a good logging policy, is based outside of 5 Eyes, and excellent customer support over live chat.
However, it has some negatives as well such as the fact that the service does not have a huge server spread like ExpressVPN or NordVPN. Furthermore, the service has to improve its performance in areas like speed and Netflix streaming as well.
Overall, the VPN has earned a rating of 3.0/5.0.
My Rating Criteria
I have tested CactusVPN as the following criteria for this review:
- Jurisdiction – Does CactusVPN belong to the Five Eyes country?
- Security – Is CactusVPN safe?
- Leaks – Does CactusVPN leak IP, DNS, WebRTC?
- Servers – Is CactusVPN P2P compatible?
- Speed – Is CactusVPN fast?
- Streaming – Does CactusVPN support Netflix?
- Compatibility – How much compatible CactusVPN is?
- Pricing – How much does CactusVPN cost?
- Trustworthiness – Trustpilot Rating, Reddit Reviews & Support
Jurisdiction – Does CactusVPN belong to the Five Eyes country?
Being based in Moldova, CactusVPN is outside the jurisdiction of any Five Eyes Alliance. This is a good thing because a VPN can go to extreme lengths to protect user information, but 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 a privacy-friendly country like Moldova, a country far away from the clutches of American and British intelligence agencies.
Security – Is CactusVPN safe?
Yes, CactusVPN is safe to use because it is pretty well equipped to deal with hackers, malware, and other internet demons. It is packed with OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec.
For encryption, it uses AES-128, which is an extremely strong standard of encryption that won’t fail you if any tries to break through with a brute-force or other common hacking techniques.
Additional Security Features
CactusVPN offers a few additional features as an insurance policy for your safety, giving you the peace of mind to surf the web without constantly being on your toes:
CactusVPN App Killer
The CactusVPN app killer is a feature that can be configured to shut down any app of your choice in the event that your VPN connection is lost. This way, your online activities through any apps remain invisible to the outside world even if your VPN session is interrupted.
CactusVPN Internet Kill Switch
The Internet Kill Switch is similar to the app killer, but the difference is that the Kill Switch will shut down your internet connection at the system level if your VPN connection is dropped. So if you don’t want to risk your data and privacy leaking online from any of your apps, you can use the Internet Kill Switch.
CactusVPN DNS Leak Protection
With CactusVPN, you get DNS leak protection, ensuring that your DNS requests are carried in a safe way without revealing any details about your identity or the activities you perform online.
Does CactusVPN Keep Logs?
CactusVPN keeps no sensitive logs relating to users. The provider does not collect your IP address, traffic logs, connection timestamps, bandwidth, or session duration.
As such, this is an impressive privacy-affirming policy that every VPN provider should be adhering to at the bare minimum.
Leaks – Does CactusVPN leak IP, DNS, WebRTC?
There is no denying CactusVPN is a leak-proof service. Testing the VPN for privacy leaks, it came completely clear. Here are the results:
IP Leak Test:
Testing the VPN for IP leaks, I found no evidence of any problems here whatsoever:
DNS Leak Test:
The DNS leak test results were also perfectly fine:
WebRTC Leak Test:
CactusVPN takes care of your WebRTC satisfactorily as well:
I checked its Android app link from VirusTotal and it was free of any malware:
Servers – Is CactusVPN P2P Compatible?
The service offers 37 servers based in 22 countries. Depending on the proximity of these servers, you receive fast, slow, or average speeds.
CactusVPN supports torrent downloading on 10 of these servers located in the Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland, Germany, and Spain. So, if you’re looking to download torrents, these are the servers you should use.
Does CactusVPN work in China?
CactusVPN might work in China. Although we haven’t tested its functionality in China, the SoftEther protocol does work for some Chinese users due to its inherent firewall-bypassing properties. However, there’s no guarantee that this will work considering the increasing sophistication of Chinese internet restrictions.
Speed – Is CactusVPN fast?
CactusVPN offers speeds that are on the lower end of average. To test the VPN speed, I used a 30 Mbps connection to test the speed of the VPN on different servers.
Connected to the US server, I got only 10.97 Mbps in download speed. which isn’t awful but not very fast either:
The speed on the UK server was slightly better at 11.24 Mbps:
Finally, the German server showed a further decline in speed but by a very small margin:
Thus, CactusVPN offers consistent speeds but its performance is average at best.
Streaming – Does CactusVPN support Netflix?
Frankly speaking, CactusVPN failed to work with Netflix when I tried its various servers. Although the service claims to be working with Netflix, it also points out that Netflix is always looking for new ways to block the service, so it won’t always work.
Other Streaming Services
I also tried CactusVPN for unblocking BBC iPlayer. This also failed and I was denied access to streaming my favorite shows on BBC iPlayer.
Compatibility – How much compatible CactusVPN is?
You can connect unlimited devices with a single subscription plan. CactusVPN offers dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Firestick/Fire TV, as well as a Chrome browser extension.
CactusVPN App for Windows & macOS
The CactusVPN desktop apps for Windows and macOS are the same in terms of interface as well as features. In both apps, you can connect to your preferred server location from the “VPN Service” tab and access the settings, app killer, and smart DNS service through separate tabs for each.
The app works quite well and is extremely easy to use.
CactusVPN App for Android & iOS
The Android app has a slightly different interface, streamlined for mobiles. You can choose a location from the main screen and change protocols between OpenVPN UDP and OpenVPN TCP from the settings. You can also set it to reconnect automatically in case the connection is dropped. It lacks the Kill Switch feature which the desktop apps are equipped with. Overall, the app is visually appealing and functions smoothly. As for ratings, CactusVPN has a 4.2-star rating on Google Play Store.
The iPhone/iPad apps of CactusVPN are very similar to the Android version of the VPN. It offers the same features and interface and is also the same in what they both do not offer i.e. Kill Switch. The iOS app only supports the IKEv2 protocol, which is a fast and strong protocol. It is a well-designed app that is stable and lightweight. As for ratings, CactusVPN has a 4.3-star rating on iTunes Store.
Pricing – How much does CactusVPN cost?
The pricing strategy of this VPN is relatively expensive as compared to other VPNs. At present, the service offers four types of pricing plans to its users. These are:
- 1 Month ($6.99/mo) Save 0%
- 3 Months ($16.79/mo) Save 44%
- 1 Year ($48.99/year) Save 59%
- 2 Year ($66.49/year) Save 72%
In addition, CactusVPN has an exclusive free trial feature in its armory. The CactusVPN free trial lasts for 3 days but still lets you avail of all of its features.
Readers of the CactusVPN will be glad to know that the VPN has an extensive list of online payment methods to the users including Bitcoins, PayPal, and Credit Cards:
You can get a 30-day money-back guarantee with all CactusVPN subscriptions.
Trustworthiness – Trustpilot Rating, Reddit Reviews & Support
CactusVPN has a remarkable 4.5/5.0 rating on Trustpilot but this is based on only 10 reviews. In most of these reviews, users have praised the customer support of the provider, while some have complained of slow speeds:
CactusVPN Reddit Reviews
There are hardly any recent threads on Reddit talking about CactusVPN. The latest discussion I found is a 3-year old user-submitted CactusVPN review on reddit:
The customer support of CactusVPN is exceptionally good. They have a highly responsive live chat support which was responded to in less than 5 seconds when I reached them out with a question:
You can also reach CactusVPN through email support.
In addition, it offers extensive tutorials, guides, and tutorials to help assist users.
Comparison between ExpressVPN and CactusVPN
I have mentioned the salient attributes of both these VPNs to help you decide about your privacy appropriately.
|Servers||3000+ in 94 Countries||37 in 22 Countries|
|Compatibility||All Devices||Windows, macOS, Linux,|
Android & iOS
|Jurisdiction||The British Virgin Islands||Moldova|
|Logging Policy||Zero Logs||No Logs|
|Customer Support||Live Chat & Email Support||Live Chat, Email,|
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Do I Recommend CactusVPN?
Yes, I recommend CactusVPN. Finishing this CactusVPN review, I explored that the service possesses all the desired ingredients to become a major player in an online privacy industry.
The service offers a good list of features including App Killer, Internet Kill Switch, and protocols such as SoftEther not offered by most providers. The best part about this VPN is its brilliant customer support.
On the contrary, this VPN fell short on other domains quite considerably. For instance, it has average speed, is unreliable for Netflix streaming, and a small server spread as well.
Based on the above review, the service has received a 3.0/5.0 star rating overall.
If Cactus is not the VPN you are looking for, head over to your VPN reviews 2021 page for a quick summary of hundreds of VPN services.