CactusVPN review – Based on analytics and real user experience

Sometimes we are so caught up in the numbers. When looking for a quality VPN service provider, we tend to look at the server, IP addresses or the country coverage numbers, even though we only swap between few servers. Bearing this logic in mind, CactusVPN gives us what we actually need with the least amount of servers.

Yet, can only 14 countries meet our ultimate VPN expectation? We will evaluate and decide on it in this super detailed CactusVPN review.

VPN + DNS

6.99$/ Month
6.99$/ Month
  • PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, Softether
  • 14 countries
  • Unlimited traffic + P2P allowed
  • Zero logPlease read the TOS details to learn more about what kind of information is being collected
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 3 devices
  • 30-day money-back guaranteePlease read the refund policy below

USA VPN

4.99$/ Month
4.99$/ Month
  • PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, Softether
  • USA only
  • Unlimited traffic + P2P not allowed
  • Zero logPlease read the TOS details to learn more about what kind of information is being collected
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 3 devices
  • 30-day money-back guaranteePlease read the refund policy below

UK VPN

4.99$/ Month
4.99$/ Month
  • PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, Softether
  • UK only
  • Unlimited traffic + P2P not allowed
  • Zero logPlease read the TOS details to learn more about what kind of information is being collected
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 3 devices
  • 30-day money-back guaranteePlease read the refund policy below

Country, server coverage, and performance test

CactusVPN provides VPN service in 14 different countries along within 23 different locations. The coverage maps extend from North America to Eastern Asia. While most of the English Speaking and the European countries are covered, CactusVPN coverage lacks in the South America, Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.

Thinking of the new server deployment in the last few months, CactusVPN is doing a great job. Looking forward to seeing new servers in new locations.

At the moment, the coverage is lesser than my expectation. However, is it still possible to get better speed results than its competitors? Let’s check the CactusVPN speed performance table.

Speed test results

RegionDownload / MBpsUpload / MBps Ping
Mobile - Wifi43.639.4767
Mobile - 4G14.713.4184
North America
Kansas City5.84.48346
Chicago5.674.15306
Los Angeles3.152.82437
Manassas5.944.41289
Canada - Montreal6.864.56298
South America
No server
Europe
UK - London14.144.8132
Germany18.34.92111
France13.064.56135
Netherlands3.032.33165
Romania3.354.83135
Asia
Korea - Seoul0.821.92683
Africa-Middle east-India
No server
Australia
Australia2.562.16732

CactusVPN has placed itself in the top three fastest VPN service provider in the market by providing impressive speed performance both with download and upload results.

Moreover, mobile speed performance was outstanding. It feels like you are not even connected to VPN when it comes to getting your online stuff done.

CactusVPN gave me the best speed result so far both on mobile and desktop.

Torrenting performance

Have you ever wanted to download a torrent file at the highest speed possible? CactusVPN will give it to you. So far, CastusVPN gave the best torrenting speed experience by peaking up to 4.2 MB/Second. So far, no other VPN provider could reach up to this performance.

Please click on the image to see it in a larger size.

Downloading a 270+mb file took less than 2 minutes. The connection was stable and CactusVPN passed the torrenting test with the best results!

%35 off on annual plan

Secure, no logging, reliable super fast servers. 30 days money back guarantee. Compatible with many devices. Try CactusVPN now!

4.99$

Popcorn time experience

We all do like free stuff, right? With Popcorn Time, you can watch any TV series or movie for free. However, while doing so, our IP adresses are exposed and we are not fully secure online. In this sense, using a vpn service would grant full coverage of our online identity.

So…

Is CactusVPN fast enough to give us a smooth Popcorn Time experience? Check the gif video below!

GIF cactusvpn popcorn time speed performance

When I  connected to the Netherland server and started streaming the show, it took around 15 seconds to collect necessary seeds. After that, Popcorn time started to download the show. The download was around 400 KB/Sec -which is less than my expectation, however, I was able to have HD experience without any lagging issue.

CactusVPN passed my Popcorn time experience with an average speed performance.

CactusVPN NetFlix and BBC iPlayer experience

Here comes the challenging part. NetFlix has been blocking the VPN provider and CactusVPN is one of them. Unfortunately, my first try with the USA server over CactusVPN (VPN) service failed and I was caught by the Netflix system.

Knowing this fact, CactusVPN development team has implemented Smart DNS service -something you have to pay extra bucks for normal VPN service.

By the Smart DNS service, you can simply make adjustments in the software choosing the website (you want to unblock) region as the USA and smart DNS server as Europe. This will give you an opportunity to watch any Netflix show you want. In Full HD quality!

is cactusvpn working with netflix? Check it out here!

As this is a VPN service review, sadly, CactusVPN has failed it. Yet, with an additional 2 bucks over VPN plan, CactusVPN with smart DNS will give you smooth and quality Netflix streaming experience.

Is CactusVPN working with BBC iPlayer?

Another platform to watch a quality show is BBC iPlayer. I am out side of the UK and I wanted to check a random TV series via CactusVPN DNS server.

I chose my website region as UK and DNS server as Europe. While browsing the website, I randomly pick a show called “Cauntryfile”

Below you can see the streaming quality cactusvpn bbc iplayer experience! it is working?

Again, I was able to watch the show with HD quality and had zero problems.

Note: As of 2018 July, CactusVPN cannot unblock BBC iPlayer. The tech team is working on that.

Pricing and refund policy

Here comes the weird part. On one hand, we have a minimalist VPN service provider along with the best performance available. On the other hand, we have the most confusing pricing in the market.

You can choose between 4 different plans. Each plan has either different location or purpose. In this sense, make your choice wisely.

While picking a plan -if you are a long time user, make sure to get %35 off the price by choosing an annual plan.

CactusVPN refund policy

The company offers 30-days money back guarantee with strict rules:

  • There is a list provided by CactusVPN. If the website you want to unblock is not listed in this list, you cannot ask for a refund. The system works on certain devices for certain websites.
  • If you violate any rules or share your account credentials and your account is terminated, you cannot ask for a refund.
  • If the original set up was working fine and you changed your device or ISP, and service stopped working, you will not be refunded.
%35 off on annual plan

Secure, no logging, reliable super fast servers. 30 days money back guarantee. Compatible with many devices. Try CactusVPN now!

4.99$

Like many other VPN services, CactusVPN accepts credit cards, Paypal, Crypto Currency as well as Yandex money and Ali Pay. Wherever you are located, you can easily complete the purchasing steps after selecting your location.

The payment gateway system will give you the desired options…

Desktop software and mobile apps

Seriously, CactusVPN had the worst VPN software till July 2017. The company finally updated the software and now it became an easy to use, modern looking one.

The previous version had two big issues:

  1. In the Windows OS, after you disconnect from the server, the software gets the windows bar bugged and you cannot do anything for more than 2 minutes.
  2. After the company added more server, the way new servers were looking was terrible.

However, after the latest update (July 2017), the CactusVPN software is working like a charm along with new features.

cactusvpn software interface

Now the servers are lined up with a drop-down button. You can easily run a speed test to find the fastest performing server close to you.

After you decide on the server, you can either keep the protocol to have a faster experience or make the encryption stronger by choosing the other ones.

Each protocol will give you different speed performance.

Once you click on the “Connect”, you are done.

change cactusvpn settings

In the settings menu, there is plenty of useful setting we can change as you can see above.

For greater privacy, please make sure to keep the “DNS leak protection” and the “reconnect if VPN connection is dropped” features on. Moreover, you can also add the apps to be shut down in case VPN connection is dropped.

%35 off on annual plan

Secure, no logging, reliable super fast servers. 30 days money back guarantee. Compatible with many devices. Try CactusVPN now!

4.99$

Security protocols

Did you know that CactusVPN was the first VPN service provider implementing the one of the fastest and most secure protocols Softether to its services?

In order to use Softether, you have to download and install 3rd party software. Check details here.

At the moment, there are 4 options in the software. These are OpenVPN, L2TP, SSTP, and PPTP.

In some cases, service providers do not allow you to use each server with any security protocol you want. However, with CactusVPN you are free to do so.

Update: CactusVPN is the first VPN service provider implementing the Softether technology to its system.

CactusVPN for mobile devices

In your smartphone, you will have the same features provided in the desktop software. I have been using this mobile app for more than a year and there was not any connection issue.

With the latest update, the mobile app has also a modern looking interface.

check how cactusvpn mobile app looks like

Other supported devices

Besides mostly used PC and smartphones, CactusVPN also supports the following devices:

  • Windows phones,
  • Ubuntu,
  • Chromebooks,
  • Boxee Box and finally,
  • Routers.

Customer support

Just in case, I thought I might have made a mistake and ask the customer support “Bogdan” that “If there was any way around to bypass Netflix restriction only with the VPN service.”

I got my answer within 10 seconds.

unfortunately, it’s not possible to unblock Netflix using our services. 

However, we unblock more than 200 media websites from the USA, UK, Germany, Poland, Canada and other countries. You can see the full list of unblocked websites here: https://www.cactusvpn.com/smart-dns/unblocked-websites/

My customer support experience was fairly fast.

VPN + DNS

6.99$/ Month
6.99$/ Month
  • PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, Softether
  • 14 countries
  • Unlimited traffic + P2P allowed
  • Zero logPlease read the TOS details to learn more about what kind of information is being collected
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 3 devices
  • 30-day money-back guaranteePlease read the refund policy below

USA VPN

4.99$/ Month
4.99$/ Month
  • PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, Softether
  • USA only
  • Unlimited traffic + P2P not allowed
  • Zero logPlease read the TOS details to learn more about what kind of information is being collected
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 3 devices
  • 30-day money-back guaranteePlease read the refund policy below

UK VPN

4.99$/ Month
4.99$/ Month
  • PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, Softether
  • UK only
  • Unlimited traffic + P2P not allowed
  • Zero logPlease read the TOS details to learn more about what kind of information is being collected
  • Simultaneous connections on up to 3 devices
  • 30-day money-back guaranteePlease read the refund policy below

Log policy! Does CactusVPN keep logs?

The company adopted zero log policy. That means you are safe.

No, they don’t keep any logs.

What you cannot do with CactusVPN:

  • Spamming,
  • Intellectual Property Violations,
  • Defamatory or Abusive Language,
  • Illegal access to other computers or networks,
  • Sharing your account details with someone else,
  • Any other illegal activities…

Summing up!

CactusVPN is an inexpensive VPN service provider giving us an extreme speed performance and reliable connection with a brand new software. It has 5 different protocols specifically designed to give any kind of privacy level.

CactusVPN gave us the best performance when on the mobile, torrenting and Europe speed test.

Currently, the company only operates only in 14 countries and has a limited number of servers. Moreover, users should keep this in mind that, CactusVPN is blocked by the Netflix and you have to buy an additional service “Smart DNS” over VPN in order to watch Netflix outside of the USA.

8.4 Total Score
Outstanding speed performance

You don't have to pay so much money on a regular VPN service, CactusVPN will give you anything you want with its reliable and well optimized servers.

Performance
8.5
Software
8
Price
8
Customer support
9
PROS
  • Great speed performance
  • Stable servers and software
  • Reasonable price
  • No-log policy
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • Frequent software update
CONS
  • We have to buy additional DNS to watch Netflix
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