SetupVPN Review 2020
SetupVPN is a decent service. Its fast, free, offers decent unblocking features and apps. But because of a few issues, I've given it a 3.5-star rating overall.
SetupVPN is a brainchild of US-based VPN service called VPN1. It offers a free version and a premium version. It is indeed a good VPN for streaming purposes because it has fast servers and a decent SSL-based encryption. It does keep track of your browsing history but doesn’t sell it to third-parties. It is compatible with all major operating systems and offers over 100 server locations.
As for performance, it works in China, supports torrenting and offers 2,000 servers in 35 countries. Although unable to stream Netflix US, I really love the fact that even the free version of SetupVPN offers 1000 servers in 18 countries.
What’s even more impressive about this VPN is that it even offers its premium version for free for two days. The only thing I don’t like about SetupVPN is the fact that it lacks live chat, no protocols or 256-bit encryption.
If you care about this kind of stuff, I suggest going premium VPNs like Surfshark or PureVPN, but if you don’t, there’s probably not a better free out there than SetupVPN. Overall, after weighing in all of its pros and cons in this SetupVPN review, I’ve given it a 3.5-star rating.
My Rating Criteria
To thoroughly test SetupVPN for its pros and cons, I used my 9 step rating criteria:
- Jurisdiction – Where is SetupVPN based?
- Security – Does SetupVPN keep logs?
- Leaks – Does SetupVPN leak IP, DNS, WebRTC?
- Servers – Is SetupVPN good for torrenting?
- Speed – How fast is SetupVPN?
- Streaming – Does SetupVPN work with US Netflix?
- Compatibility – Which devices can I use SetupVPNwith?
- Pricing – How much does SetupVPN cost?
- Trustworthiness – Is SetupVPN safe?
Jurisdiction – Where is SetupVPN based?
One thing you’re not going to like right from the start is the fact that SetupVPN is based in the United States. Now, if you don’t know, this means that it actually falls under the jurisdiction of the infamous 5 eyes intelligence-sharing alliance. Companies normally oblige according to the law of their state.
This means that if the authorities were to ask SetupVPN to hand over its user’s logs, it will have to comply with them at all costs. So, if you value your privacy, SetupVPN’s jurisdiction of operations should be enough of a reason for you to avoid this VPN.
Security – Does SetupVPN keep logs?
- Email address
- Home address
- Web history
- IP address
- access time
- Website address
These types of VPN logs are critical to your online privacy. But the most important part is, they collect your home address and website address. So, if you happen to visit any website for illegal streaming, then they might inform the authorities to prevent abuse.
Encryption, Protocols & Basic Features
As for security features, you’re not going to find much in SetupVPN. It offers no 256-bit encryption and even offers no option to choose protocols. In comparison, other VPNs like Surfshark or PureVPN offer way more customization.
Aside from that, SetupVPN also lacks basic features like Kill switch, dedicated IP, Split tunneling or something as basic as an Ad-blocker. One this it does offer is an option to prevent WebRTC IP leaks which is pretty cool. Overall, if features are your main priority, SetupVPN might not be the best option to go for, especially if you value your privacy.
Leaks – Does SetupVPN leak IP, DNS, WebRTC?
Luckily, SetupVPN didn’t leak my IP, DNS, and WebRTC. I ran it through extensive testing and found no signs of leaks. Below are screenshots of all the results I got with the Japanese server.
IP Leak Test:
First, I checked for any IP leaks with SetupVPN. To carry out the test, I connected to a server in Japan to carry out the test. As you can see from the screenshot below, only a Japanese IP address is being displayed.
DNS Leak Test:
Next, I checked for any DNS leaks. But even after conducting multiple tests, it managed to show no sign of DNS leaks. Check out the screenshot below.
WebRTC Leak Test:
I also checked for WebRTC leaks just to be safe and SetupVPN passed this test too without any issues. So far so good. Check out the screenshot below:
Last but not least, I wanted to see if its app contained any hidden malware. So, I scanned for viruses using Virustotal.com and did not find any viruses on its Windows client file. Here are the test results:
Servers – Is SetupVPN good for torrenting?
Well technically yes. Considering that SetupVPN offers 2,000 servers in 35 countries, you can actually torrent with most of its servers. Aside from that, SetupVPN also offers unlimited bandwidth, which is what every torrenter needs. But one thing you are going to definitely miss is the 256-bit encryption. At the moment SetupVPN only supports SSL encryption only.
As for performance, SetupVPN is pretty good. I managed to download a rather decently sized torrent file without any issues. The best server location for torrenting that worked for me was the Netherlands and Russia. The server locations offered the best speeds.
Does SetupVPN work in China?
Yes, SetupVPN works in China. This really blew me away. The way SetupVPN manages to work in China is because it uses TLS for transport protocol and also Shadowsocks which literally no other VPN is currently offering. Overall, it pretty impressive to see SetupVPN bypass the Great Firewall.
Speed – How fast is SetupVPN?
SetupVPN offers good speed despite being a free VPN. To test how fast SetupVPN was, I performed the speed test using my 25 Mbps Internet connection on the US, UK, and Canadian server. First, here’s a speed test result of my internet connection without SetupVPN:
With SetupVPN’s US server, I managed to get seriously impressive downloading speeds. On average, the US server managed to output around 23.44 Mbps download speeds.
With the UK sever of SetupVPN, I got slightly better pings and even better speeds. At max, the UK server managed to push out around 23.63 Mbps download speeds with just 150 ms pings.
Last but not least, I also tested the speeds of SetupVPN using the Canadian server. Although it managed to offer slightly fluctuated speeds, it still did quite well. On average, I got around 18.79 Mbps downloading speeds.
Overall, SetupVPN managed to blow me away with its speeds. If you want to use some other VPN that’s also equally fast, you might want to check out Surfshark VPN.
Streaming – Does SetupVPN work with US Netflix?
Dissapointly, SetupVPN doesn’t work with US Netflix. However, you do have to give them credit considering they don’t falsely advertise over the top streaming capabilities. When I tried streaming a show on Netflix, I came across this error message:
Other Streaming Service that works with SetupVPN
But other than Netflix, SetupVPN managed to surprisingly work with BBC iPlayer. I tried playing a couple of shows with their UK server and it managed to play all of them. As for playback quality, I didn’t notice any lags or any buffering issues for that matter.
Compatibility – Which devices can I use SetupVPN with?
As for compatibility, SetupVPN supports all major platforms, however, I do wish they offered an app for iOS. At the moment, you can download SetupVPN apps for Windows, macOS, and Android, along with browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge. Overall, I found these apps to be well built and easy to use.
SetupVPN Windows App
The Windows app of SetupVPN looks very minimalistic. Although it doesn’t offer a lot of customization, it is very snappy to use. One thing I don’t like about it is its file size. For my Windows computer, the setup file took up 114 Mbs. But as far as usability is concerned, I found the app to be very decent.
SetupVPN macOS App
The macOS app also looks quite similar to its Windows counterpart. It is also very lightweight and doesn’t offer a lot of features or customization options. It also worked just fine me and I didn’t notice any issues with it as far as usability is concerned.
SetupVPN Android App
The Android app of SetupVPN looks very basic as well. The main screen gives you an option to select between free servers and premium servers. The Android app also gives you options to set up the app based on VPN by app and Bypass mode. It basically allows you to select the app that you want to protect with SetupVPN. As for the rating, SetupVPN has a 4.4-star rating on Google Play Store.
SetupVPN Browser Extension
Although SetupVPN doesn’t offer an app for iOS, it does offer browser extensions. The Chrome extension looks very minimalistic and gives you options to prevent WebRTC leaks and an option to look up your IP address. Overall, I really like their browser extensions, especially considering how fluid they are.
Pricing – How much does SetupVPN cost?
SetupVPN has both a free and premium version. I particularly love their free version. It’s truly one of the only lifetime free VPNs out there. Its premium version is also quite affordable. It currently offers 6 plans and all of them are covered by a 7 days refund policy. Here are pricings for all the subscription plans of SetupVPN:
As for payment methods, SetupVPN accepts pretty much all major payment mode. You can purchase a subscription for SetupVPN through one of the following:
- Visa & other debit cards
- Bitcoin & other cryptocurrencies
In terms of pricing, SetupVPN is fairly affordable, however, in comparison, Surfshark VPN offers a lot more value for money. But if you want something even more affordable, I highly suggest checking out these deals on VPNs.
Trustworthiness – Is SetupVPN safe?
Overall, SetupVPN is mostly safe to use. I mean the service is headquartered in the US, however, as long as you’re not doing anything shady, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Although SetupVPN doesn’t have a Trustpilot account, it does have mostly positive comments on Reddit.
For instance, here’s one Reddit comment stating how good SetupVPN is and how fast it is in terms of speed.
Here’s another comment about SetupVPN and how it works surprisingly well.
I naturally also came across a negative comment too. Here’s one Reddit comment claiming that SetupVPN has dirty IPs. However, since I didn’t get blocked on any website, I don’t think its entirely true.
The only way to contact their customer support staff is through email at [email protected]. Despite charging $4 a week, you still won’t get an option for live chat support. That being said, SetupVPN’s email support is rather quick. I managed to get a reply from them within a few hours. Overall, I have nothing to complain about SetupVPNs customer support system.
Comparison between SetupVPN and Surfshark
Overall, I think SetupVPN is a pretty decent service. However, if you still want to choose some other VPN service, perhaps you might want to check out this comparison table between Surfshark and SetupVPN.
|Servers||1040+ in 61+ Countries||2,000 (35 Countries)|
|Compatibility||All Devices||Windows, macOS, Linux,|
Android & Extensions
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Island (BVI)||United States|
|Logging Policy||No Log||Keeps Logs|
|Customer Support||Live Chat, FAQs & Email Support||Email-only|
Alternatives to SetupVPN
In case you want to try out other VPNs, you can check out this list of SetupVPN alternatives:
- Surfshark Review 2020
- NordVPN Review 2020
- ExpressVPN Review 2020
- PureVPN Review 2020
- Windscribe Review 2020
- AVG Secure VPN Review 2020
- IPVanish Review 2020
- Private Internet Access Review 2020
- F Secure VPN Review 2020
Do I Recommend SetupVPN?
Yes, I recommend using SetupVPN. After all, it is a free VPN service capable of delivering fast speeds. There aren’t many VPNs (including premium VPNs) that offer similar speeds as SetupVPN. I also love the fact that it offers 2,000 servers with the paid version and 1,000 servers in 18 locations with the free version.
Although it didn’t work with Netflix, however, it worked impressively well with BBC iPlayer and even torrenting. I also found it really impressive that SetupVPN works in China and how it uses Shadowsocks technology. Overall, if SetupVPN could just offer an app of iOS, it would definitely deserve a 5-star rating.
All in all, after compiling this SetupVPN review, I’ve given it a 3.5-star rating. Although I highly recommend, SetupVPN, if you want to check out some other VPNs, check out our unbiased VPN reviews.
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