A perfect motto by Switch VPN: “Internet was meant to be free!” Believing in freedom and privacy is a big deal, yet providing them is bigger! SwitchVPN has been striving in providing fast and reliable VPN solution since 2015. The company expanded their VPN servers to more than 30+ locations and provides plenty of features with simple tools. However, is it working properly? and can it meet our ultimate expectations overall? Check our unbiased SwitchVPN review, learn every detail of our experience.
Country, server coverage, and speed performance
SwitchVPN does not have enormous server coverage. The company particularly focuses on the Western market by leaving Africa, South America, and Middle east almost all alone.
Currently, the coverage consists of 30+ locations along with 140+ servers and North America, as well as Europe shares the big percentage of the coverage pie.
At one point, the number of the locations might look enough, however, the performance of the servers hide behind the speed test results!
A dedicated server with poor speed performance would be nothing but cancer for the VPN users.
SwitchVPN download/upload performance test
We have tested SwitchVPN from West to East and shared the detailed performance table with you. The test was performed with 25 Mbit fiber connection from Europe.
The speed you will get might change according to your connection type, connection speed, how far you are from VPN server and how far the data is traveling.
The very idea of this test is to give you an insight of overall VPN speed performance under harsh conditions. In other words, it is very unlikely to get any lower values than these numbers -unless you have a worse connection.
It might look a bit surprising to see terrible speed results from SwitchVPN as they claim that they are the fastest!
Here is the reason why they are not the fastest…
As you can see the general server status, all of them are horribly crowded. How can we get a solid speed performance when all servers are overloaded?
SwitchVPN falls behind its opponents with the USA server. Still, it can keep up with the rest when the Europe performance is taken into consideration.
With the speed given, you can enjoy:
- fast website and social media experience
- HD quality (or below) streaming.
However, you cannot enjoy:
- Extensive social media streaming -video mostly
- Full HD or 4k videos
- Super high-quality Netflix or BBC iPlayer streaming (If works)
- Fast file sharing.
Our overall performance rating is below average and we do not recommend SwitchVPN if you are after a great deal of speed performance.
Once the company adds more server and relieves the burden, we will be running the speed test again to give you up-to-date performance results.
Fairness is our motto when it comes to performance test! Like any other VPN service, we also tested SwitchVPN torrent performance with the Netherland server.
We found a torrent file with more than 200 seeds. It took 10 seconds to collect reliable seeds then the download started.
At the very beginning, the performance peaked up to 300KB/second. Once the software found some more seeds, the speed idled between 400-500KB/second.
While downloading our 200MB file, there were many ups and downs as you already can see on the speed chart. The performance sometimes hit 800KB/seconds. However, it did not hold onto that limit much.
Our overall torrenting experience is almost similar to the server performance test. What you get with the speedtest.net will be your average speed while downloading a torrent file.
200MB under 6 minutes is fair. Yet! It could be better.
Popcorn time experience – Is it fast enough?
Some might expect super fast streaming experience while watching Full HD popcorn time TV show or movie. Unfortunately, you, somehow, might be let down by what you get.
Popcorn time is a visual presentation of the torrent files. Both torrent and popcorn time platforms work in the same way. What you only get with the Popcorn time is the visuals, not the rest!
In this sense, while choosing a show, make sure to go after HDTV or HD files rather than full HD files.
For example, if you like to watch Breaking Bad with HDTV quality, the seeds would be around 1000, while the full HD file might be under 200 seeds -which will give you super slow streaming experience in return.
We randomly chose a TV show with HDTV quality. It took around 20 seconds to collect the download seed and the show instantly started. As you can see in the bar above, the watchable blue line goes ahead of the gray bar with 300KB+/S.
Average speed around 300-400KB/second would be enough to give us smooth streaming experience. Thanks to SwitchVPN, we were able to get that and there were not a single lag or connectivity issues while watching the show.
SwitchVPN NetFlix and BBC iPlayer experience
The VPN service does not work either for Netflix or BBC iPlayer.
Pricing and refund policy
Unlike other coercive as well as long-term pricing policies, SwitchVPN adheres two simple plans: 1 month, 1 year.
Each plan has the same features without any kind of limitations. 1 Month plan goes for 9.95$/Month while the annual plan will cost 79.95$ (6.66$/Month). Pricing policy is relatively lesser than the competitors. However, considering price/performance, SwitchVPN falls behind the market average because of the poor server performance as well as Netflix, BBC iPlayer issues.
Leaving the performance behind. There are three payment methods available:
- Credit card
In order to secure your privacy, you can always use Bitcoin. And do not worry about the personal e-mail address as your user and password credentials will be totally different than your purchase account.
What we liked most about the SwitchVPN is the unconditional refund policy. If you are satisfied with the service for any reason, you can simply ask for a refund!
Do not forget!
Coin payments are non-refundable.
Desktop software and mobile apps
Once you have purchased the service, username and a password (not associated with your email address) will be sent to you. When you log in the system, server selection page will welcome you.
There are several servers categorized regions. At first, the default system will force you to select a server automatically -something super unnecessary. You have to disable this feature to connect to your desired location.
You can also use the favorite buttons for an easier access. However, there is no search bar in the software. Hope to see this feature soon.
Like many other VPN services, SwitchVPN also has some handy features!
Startup menu will help you launch the Service on startup. Moreover, to save time, you may also tick “Connect to the last used location…”
“Re-Establish connection and Network Lock” should be used at the same time.
When you are downloading a file, you want to keep the VPN connection running. In case, you have a connectivity problem, the “Network Lock” feature will stop all of ht internet traffic. In that sense, “Re-establish VPN connection” will make sure you are back and your online activities are encrypted!
Last but not least, SwitchVPN software crashes from time to time! Especially right after switching protocols, the software becomes buggy, then it stops working.
SwitchVPN for mobile devices
SwitchVPN has both iOS and Android apps. This time, we tried the Android version. The app is very light and easy to use. The speed was fairly good and we were able to get around 8mbps speed -good enough to watch HD shows, read your newspaper and browse social media without any kind of lag issues.
The mobile apps have all of the features that the PC version has. Yet, because of the mobile environment, they are either limited to L2TP or OpenVPN protocols depending on the device app is running.
Lastly, there is an app request we did not like! The app asks for a geo permission to provide you the nearest and fastest server available.
Sharing our location? Why would we go for that?
SwitchVPN has 3 different protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP. Each protocol has different types of encryption and speed performance.
- PPTP: least secure protocol with utmost speed performance.
- OpenVPN: secure and stable protocol with a reliable and fair speed performance.
- L2TP: the most secure protocol for the service. Your speed will drastically slow down when L2TP is chosen.
The number of the protocols looks promising. However, as mentioned earlier, the software has a bug while switching protocols. In order for the customers to enjoy the desired encryption, SwitchVPN should update their software ASAP.
Is SwitchVPN working properly?
Yes, it does. However, the PC software needs improvement a lot. First of all, it crashes when switching protocols. Secondly, you cannot easily search for the desired location.
On the other hand, the mobile apps do not have any kind of functionality or compatibility issues. Other than these, the connecting to VPN server is pretty fast and encryption is strong. Choose any protocol you like; access blocked websites, secure your data, or change your IP address to access geo-restricted content!
Here comes another minus point. Switch VPN does have a live chat service on their website. However, it takes so much time to receive a reply.
After having so many problems accessing streaming websites, we asked SwitchVPN to help us find a solution for this. However, we received the first reply after an hour. Later on, we replied back, still, there is no answer.
Other than this problem, SwitchVPN has a knowledgebase page where they cover general topics like set up, tutorials, troubleshooting etc…
Our overall customer support experience is bad and we will reflect this to the “Customer support” grading with a big minus.
Log policy! Does SwitchVPN keep logs?
The most challenging question of the review!
SwitchVPN claims that they do not keep any kind of logs: “Company does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network (“VPN”) service or Proxy.” On the other hand, there is plenty of data collected:
- For sign-up: email address;
- For credit/debit card payments: the billing address and credit/debit card number (Company collects, but does not store this information on its servers; the information is stored by a payment processor);
- For PayPal payments: PayPal email address to process the order and transaction ID associated with that order;
- For BitPay payments: Company only requires an email address used during sign-up, no additional information is collected;
- For Live Chat support: email address;
- For Google Analytics: anonymous Non-Personally Identifiable Information such as pages visited, geographical location of a user, conversion metrics, page loading times, and duration of web sessions related to order processing and not to VPN sessions; and
- Web server log (Nginx).
SwitchVPN also depicts: “Company may disclose your Personally Identifiable Information if required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to (i) comply with a legal obligation, (ii) protect and defend Company’s rights or property, (iii) act in urgent circumstances to protect the personal safety of Service users or the public, or (iv) protect Company from legal liability.”
In short, the company is located in California and operates under USA law. If any information is asked, they have to comply with the law.
SwitchVPN is a VPN service provider needing a great deal of improvement for the future. The service covers most part of the world with semi-level VPN servers. The speed is fine, yet, not great -giving us enough performance for daily browsing and streaming HD videos. Furthermore, you might not like the torrent performance, if you have internet connection greater than 10Mbps.
While using this service, we came across some technical issues:
- protocol switching causes the software crash
- mobile apps consume so much CPU in the background
- fails to unblock streaming for USA Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
Last but not least, SwitchVPN operates under USA law. If any information is asked, they have to obey USA laws.
If you are looking for an average VPN service provider to keep your online activities secure, go for SwitchVPN. It has plenty of servers and protocols to choose from. However, you may encounter software crashes as well as slow server performance.
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Accepts Bitcoin
- Software crashes
- Mobile apps consume so much CPU
- Stable servers, slow speed performance
- Fails for Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- USA company