ZenMate Review of 2019 – From a Browser Extension to Much More
VPNs are a necessity for netizens who wants to protect their sensitive information from hackers, scammers and vigilant agencies. However, as with most things, some VPN are more effective than other VPN services. Hence, we recommend you to look out for an experienced VPN such as PrivateVPN, look out for in our VPN Reviews.
- Easy to install and use
- Compatible with every platform and devices
- Encrypted with AES128
- No logs or traffic
- Unlimited bandwidth and turbo speed
- Affordable yearly pricing plan
- No live support
- Limited server location
Comparison: ZenMate vs PureVPN
|Servers||2,000+ in 140 countries||30 server locations in 29 countries|
|Compatibility||Windows, Mac. Android, iOS, Routers,|
Gaming Consoles, and Smart TVs
|Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera extension|
|Jurisdiction||Hong Kong||Germany (member of 14-eyes country)|
|Logging Policy||Zero Log||It keeps connection logs but no usage logs|
|Customer Support||Live Chat, FAQs, Email, Setup Guides, Contact Us|
|Trust Pilot Score||9.5||8.4|
ZenMate Review – Introducton
ZenMate is a Germany-based VPN provider that works as an app and as well as a browser extension. It is a Freemium VPN provider, meaning it has a free version and premium version. We provide a complete ZenMate review of 2019 that evaluate its performance.
This service is a Freemium VPN, meaning that it offers both, a free VPN service and a paid VPN service. If you are looking for some cheaper options, view this list of the best cheap VPN services in 2019. You will find limited features available in its free VPN service. We provided a detailed analysis of these features below:
ZenMate VPN Features
This VPN service provides a great mixture of powerful features to safeguard your digital security. However, there are some added featured for paying users. We have highlighted the difference between the free and paid services below:
Free VPN Features
Following are the features for a ZenMate Free VPN:
- Servers available in US, Germany, Hong Kong, and Romania
- Only an extension for Chrome and Firefox internet browser
- Unlimited data with no restrictions
- It has two protocols i.e. Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)
- NAT Firewall
Premium VPN Features
Below are the features for the premium Plan:
- Availability of 30 servers in 29 countries
- Installed for multiple devices i.e. Windows, Mac OSX, Android, and iOS
- Faster speed than the free version
- Blocks Malware
- Connect ZenMate in 5 different devices at a single time
Ultimate VPN Features
In addition to the features provided by the Premium and Free plan, Ultimate plan offers:
- Streaming Guarantee
- Service Optimization
- Identity Shield
Pricing and Plans
Even though this service offers a free extension/plugin for web browsers, our ZenMate premium review is primarily concerned with its premium plan. Using the paid plan, your entire web activities are encrypted, while the free plan will only get the activities in your browser encrypted.
The pricing plan offered by the service is no different from other VPN providers designed in three tiers. The pricing tends to change as you increase the subscription time with the VPN provider.
- For a one year subscription, the product costs at $5.99/month
- For a six-month subscription, the product costs at $8.99/month
- For monthly subscription, the product costs at $9.99/month
It is great to see the providers have reduced their prices to a great margin. Its one-year subscription-pricing plan stood at €6.49/month or $7.31, which was much more than the leading VPN providers in the industry were.
If we were to assess the pricing previously, we would dare say the product is clearly over-priced. Nevertheless, considering the revised pricing plan, we believe it is the right match and the one that is worth it.
To benefit from the app of this VPN service, you have to visit the provider’s official website. After this, download ZenMate app from its website and use the free trial version to check the performance of the app.
The app is synchronized with its websites. If you were logged in on its website then it would not require a username and password. The app will take you straight to the servers you want to connect.
If you are not interested in ZenMate, have a look at this detailed guide on best VPN for Android 2019.
ZenMate Chrome Extension
ZenMate for Chrome uses a 128-bit encryption for online security, which is a bit weaker to its premium version. However, the speed for ZenMate Chrome extension is far better than its app. The download speeds has an improvement and is quicker to perform.
Moreover, the extension offers some features that are not even present in the Windows client. In particular, it can set a new location itself when you visit a specific website. This saves your time.
Furthermore, the extension has a built-in system to block trackers and malicious websites.
ZenMate Firefox Extension
The Firefox extension of the service is easily navigable and has an aesthetic outlook. It provides variety of server options and users are allowed to choose between them.
Moreover, the Firefox extension provides ultrafast speed on most of its servers. However, the encryption provided here is somewhat weak.
All major credit card options (VISA, MasterCard, American Express etc.) are available including UnionPay,. However, we could not locate BitCoin option, which means the company no longer supports BitCoin payments. It is a shame that it was removed from the list. Bitcoin offer users an anonymous payment option, allowing anyone to sign up for the service without revealing personal information.
Interestingly, it seems as if the providers have also removed the PayPal option. This too is disappointing because PayPal is one of the most widely used online payment method. It is also extremely convenient while getting a refund of your payment.
Based on the above information, we can conclude that ZenMate is failing to provide an extensive range of payment methods to the users.
Once you obtain a premium package, you can access to 30+ different server locations, which is very low for a VPN service provider. Since ZenMate has recently started its premium services from being a browser extension, the performance seems very fair and it only will increase as the days prolong.
That said, the server list covers major locations and offers access to content from all over the globe. However, we would like to see more server options in the future.
The Official Website
According to our ZenMate VPN review, the service provides a detailed-oriented website to the new and potential users. If you explore the official website in detail, you will find different hidden attributes. Moreover, you can get valuable information about the service that helps you to use the provider accordingly.
However, you will have to spend some time in order to find the free version option on the official site. We were impressed to know that the service has strong presence on different social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and others.
Our Zenmate review suggests that the service offers extremely user-friendly desktop clients. ZenMate’s download process is extremely simple as its client is available on the provider’s website. Therefore, you can download your desired desktop client on your Windows devices hassle-free. Here is the list of steps you should follow that includes:
- Download and install the required file for your OS
- Once ZenMate interface pops up on your screen, you should log in to your account
- Wait for a second as you will be connected to the server automatically
- You can change your desired server to attain online anonymity
Our review allows you to get the answers of different queries like “What is ZenMate” or “What ZenMate Logo is all about” in detail. Therefore, we have made sure that you should know about speed test and IP leak test. By doing so, you can understand the performance of the service straightaway.
Speed Testing Results
Our ZenMate review 2019 reveals that the service may surprise you in terms of downloading and uploading speeds. Interestingly, the provider does not offer manual configuration feature to the users. Furthermore, you may not find the downloading and uploading speeds according to your liking.
IP Leak Testing Results
Surprisingly, the IP leak test literally surpassed our expectations. This is because the service does not leak the original IP address of the user. Therefore, you can assume that the provider performed to another level in terms of IP leak test.
For users who might want to contact the support staff on urgent basis can only contact through email. However, we found out that their responses were timely and covered all the aspects of the problem.
It is not difficult to contact the providers through email. There is a support icon on the homepage; it leads to a page that has four options:
- Getting Started
- Using ZenMate
- Contact ZenMate Support
The first three sections contain guides, manuals and detailed answers to genral queries about the service. These sections are regularly updated and contain useful information regarding the service.
If you are unable to find the information in the first three section, you can click on the fourth option and contact the service directly. All queries asked here are answered within 24 hours.
If the service enhances their customer support with features such as forums or live chat, then it would be an excellent upgrade. It will allow users exchange information with other users and staff. It will further help this VPN to improve their services based on user’s recommendation.
Users can contact the customer support staff via social media as its available on Facebook and Twitter.
Compatibility of the Service
ZenMate is accessible on many devices and platforms except for Linux as it does not mention anywhere on its page.
Users must remain certain that when using the browser extension, it will only encrypt browsing traffic, while other traffic will not be encrypted. However, the premium version of the service covers the entire traffic from user’s device.
In the customer support section, it also covers ‘Tutorials’ where users are briefed with installation process for browser, mobile, and desktop. However, the process seems very descriptive with no images, which becomes difficult to follow the steps.
Despite these facts, downloading ZenMate software is an easy process which only involves two steps i.e. downloading the software and providing logging details. So, providing a tutorial or not, it can easily be accomplished by a beginner user.
Protocols and Encryption
From the technical aspect, the latest protocol TLS 1.2 (RFC 5246) is being used by ZenMate to protect users’ data. It further uses AES 128 bit encryption algorithm, instead of AES 256 bit, to encrypt user’s traffic. In our opinion, the encryption level is not the strongest as per industry standard.
Furthermore, the lack of protocol options also plays down ZenMate. The actual reason for this is not clear; perhaps its due to the cost or merely a preference of performance, we are not quite sure.
ZenMate vs Hola
Hola is a free web browser extension just like ZenMate that offers a Premium Plan that could provide higher online security and privacy to its users. Hola is available has 300 server locations which means it has a better coverage than ZenMate.
The Premium Plan for ZenMate does not compromise or sell user information, in fact it does not store any logs or traffic. On the other hand, check out the Hola VPN Review sells your internet activity to third-parties and uses each user as a node in the overall network. Both these VPN services can be used by online users that do not have high requirements for online privacy. Read about another VPN service, the review of Opera VPN.
ZenGuard GmbH is responsible for collection of any kind of data or it’s processing on this service. This seems a bit doubtful from the users point of view as they are trusting the service with their information. The information is in fact managed by another party, which challenges the authority of the service in accessing the data.
VPN users are still unknown to the facts about 14-eyes countries. These are the 14 countries that have made a special agreement that allows them to collect, analyze, and share intelligence amongst themselves.
The agreement restricts these countries to spy on each other as enemies, but rather they can help each other by spying onto their citizens. US is not allowed to spy on their own citizens, and considering that matter they can ask UK to spy on them, which makes citizens vulnerable.
Since ZenMate is located in Germany, which is a part of the agreement, it will have to compromise user’s data when it accounts for performing illegal activities.
For initial years, the service operated as a web browser extension so that its users could access websites operating outside their country free. We are certain that when a user does not pay for the product, that means ‘users’ are the products.
They might collect user’s information and browsing history and sell it to the third party, therefore it does not make ZenMate safe and secure for the paid services as well.
However, the service has made it clear and evident that it does not collect, store, or process any user information. It further mentions that there are 5 different cases where this rule might not apply:
- When users contact with their customer support
- When subscribing to newsletter
- When providing information upon users request
- When users connect to a server to use ZenMate
- When users post comments on forums and communities
ZenMate P2P Support
The term and services of the service states that the VPN prohibits its users from downloading copyrighted material. There is no special mention of torrents and P2P networking.
This is why we do not recommend you to use torrents on this service. The P2P policy of this service is vague. Which is why it would be better for you to stay on the safe side and avoid torrenting on the service.
Alternatives to ZenMate
Some of you may not be satisfied with the features provided by this service. We cannot blame you for this. Digital privacy is a sensitive matter and therefore, everyone has his or her own preferences with VPNs. You can read the VPN reviews below to see if you find anything of your liking.
- Tunnel Bear Speed Review
- Turbo VPN Speed Review
- Hotspot Shield Speed Review
- SaferVPN Speed Review
- Getflix Speed Review
- VPN Unlimited Speed Review
- Incognito VPN Speed Review
- Betternet Speed Review
- Private Internet Access Speed Review
- PureVPN Speed Review
ZenMate Review on Twitter
To some VPN users, ZenMate is easily the best VPN they have ever had the pleasure of using. This is because it helps them unblock Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and other channels so they can stream their favorite TV shows and movies outside their country region.
zenmate probably the best you'll find here
— von (@stayinalive___) March 27, 2018
Meanwhile, some users are facing speed issues with the service.
Since then, it is a random 30 minutes
Surprised you claim Premium & Ultimate are at same speed
Your ads imply otherwise https://t.co/C8lNUrEkK1
— Blocked by @Keir_Starmer & @NadineDorries (@PiaPerro) July 18, 2018
ZenMate Review on Reddit
Reddit is a forum where privacy seekers share their individual experiences with VPN service. Therefore, we thought this forum would provide us with a more complete overlook of this VPN service.
Some of them have privacy-related issues with the service.
Like us, some reddit users are also concern about ZenMate being a part of the dread 14-eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions
ZenMate is located in Germany which is not an ideal place for a VPN service provider to operate. Germany has a clear stance to end internet privacy and the providers are loyal to German data privacy laws.
ZenMate provides protection and security to online users by letting them change their geographical location and to access the web from anywhere around the world.
ZenMate is used for accessing the web from any parts of the world that have geo-restrictions. It also offers protection and security to its users from external threats including cyber threats. It allows torrenting, visit the censored parts of the internet, using a public Wi-Fi, and allows expats to access online shops.
You can avail ZenMate without paying a penny. This service provides a freemium plan that provides TLS encryption, NAT firewall, Browser extensions and four server locations.
In addition, you can download the client for different platforms by availing ZenMate’s free download service.
Considering that you are not paying anything, these features should be more than enough to satisfy your privacy needs. However, if you need something more, you can buy either the Premium or the Ultimate plan of the service.
Upon buying the Premium plan, you receive Turbo Speed, 30 server locations, Smart locations feature, Malware blocking and Tracking Protection.
Meanwhile, the newly introduced Ultimate Plan of the service provides streaming support and OpenVPN protocol.
This VPN is rather inconsistent when it comes to unblocking Netflix. While testing its premium service, we succeeded in accessing Netflix US on some instances. While on other attempts, we were not so lucky.
Unfortunately, this is the case with many VPN services as Netflix has invested heavily in its VPN detection software. The streaming service is doing its best to make it impossible for VPN services to unblock its geo-restrictions.
The good news is that VPN has recently launched the Ultimate Plan that provides support for streaming. We are yet to test this service.
Accessing Netflix or not, but it definitely is able to unblock Live TV video content on Kodi.
Have a look at the best VPN for Kodi box to stream anonymously and avoid geo-restriction.
You can share your feedback in the comments section below.