Technology

Test: VPN services in the test


NordVPN - Nervige Ländersperren umgehen mit VPN-Tool

Conclusion

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) want to let users surf anonymously, encrypt the data transmission and unlock blocked content. CHIP has in October 2018 14 VPN services tested. The quality of the services fluctuates strongly – and some well-known manufacturers end up far behind.

Advantages

Bypass country blocks

When surfing anonymously on the go
Disadvantage
slows down Internet speed
Services are usually chargeable

Secure online with VPN

With a VPN you can surf the internet anonymously and access websites that are otherwise blocked in this country. CHIP has 14 Tested VPN services that are very easy to use and run on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.

If you have VPN software on your computer, smartphone or Using a tablet, all internet traffic is encrypted and redirected via a server, which assigns its IP address to you when the page is accessed. This has two effects: You surf safely, for example in an open hotel WLAN, and you can change your location elegantly if you access a server in the USA, Switzerland or another country. Practical, for example, to watch American Netflix series.

VPN services test table

Place Providers Overall Rating price per year (Euro) Safety ( 50%) Operation & equipment (25%) speed (25%) To the provider

1

NordVPN

99, 3 (very good)

72

100

100

97

To the provider

2

ProtonVPN Plus

89 , 9 (good)

96

85

90

100

To the provider

3

PureVPN

89, 3 (good)

43

93

89

83

To the provider

4

CyberGhost VPN

89 , 2 (good)

60

91

97

79

To the provider

5

ExpressVPN

86, 6 (good)

86

93

93

68

To the provider

6

hide.me VPN Premium

83, 7 (good)

110

93

71

78

To the provider

7

Avira Phantom VPN Pro

81, 6 (good)

60

85

91

66

To the provider

8th

F-Secure Freedome VPN

78, 4 (good)

60

85

70

73

To the provider

9

mySteganos Online Shield VPN

77, 9 (good)

50

88

73

62

To the provider

10

Avast SecureLine VPN

69, 8 (satisfactory)

80

52

88

88

To the provider

11

ZenMate VPN Ultimate

69, 1 (satisfactory)

84

77

91

32

To the provider

12

HideMyAss Pro VPN

68, 6 (satisfactory)

72

44

97

89

To the provider

13

VyprVPN Premi around

64, 1 (satisfactory)

65

65

93

33

To the provider

14

Kaspersky Secure Connection Premium

63, 7 (satisfactory)

30

57

56

85

To the provider
CHIP

Concealment of the IP address

Users state that the most common reason for using a VPN is to overcome geo-blockages, be it to switch to streaming Access platforms abroad, communicate with relatives in other countries, or bypass corporate firewalls. Very often, “anonymous surfing” is also mentioned and also advertised by many VPN providers. But that's not really true. What VPNs do very well is hiding your real IP address.

You cannot recognize websites based on their IP address and your internet provider is also blocked from seeing what you are doing on the internet. While this is a good thing, what is often forgotten is that the IP address is only a feature for user tracking. Already a browser with a few extensions, adjusted settings and cookies, plus the evaluation of the operating system and screen resolution make visitors to a website distinguishable. So important: No VPN service makes you completely invisible in the network. Nevertheless, VPNs are useful, namely as a security tool through encryption and to bypass geoblockers.

The best VPN offers

Price / Performance (Quality)

  • Very good
  • Satisfying
  • Bad

The specialist editors of the CHIP editorial team evaluate the products advertised by the retailers based on qualitative criteria.

  • Source: PureVPN

    PureVPN – 3 years premium for 61 Euro

    Crazy price for 3 years Premium VPN. So you pay 1, 69 Euros per month.

  • Source: CyberGhost

    CyberGhost VPN – 3 years premium + 2 extra months for 88 Euro

    Price-performance hit over 3 years. The good client and the good apps are particularly noteworthy here.

  • Source: NordVPN

    NordVPN -3 years premium for 114 Euro

    Safe, fast and many server locations . Our current test winner offers the best overall package. Unfortunately, the discount is not that big.

VPN provider in security check

Even if a VPN is not a cloak of cover – security is the most important criterion in the test of the 14 Services. Exemplary, all providers use the open source protocol OpenVPN and use encryption as AES – 256. Just ZenMate gives way to AES at least for his browser extensions 128 bit off. However, that is still safe enough. OpenVPN is not only secure, it also makes you flexible. You can use a client of your choice, such as OpenVPN GUI; this is practical if you change the VPN service frequently, because then the software stays the same for you.

There are major differences between the tested services when it comes to logging. If you route all of your data traffic, even if encrypted, via a provider's server, the provider should not log any data about it. In this regard, only the test winner NordVPN and ZenMate exemplary: According to their own statements, they neither save the websites visited (traffic), nor their IP address, the DNS server used or connection data such as time stamp and bandwidth. All other VPN services collect data in some way. Most often, the providers log the used bandwidth, which is still okay given the references to quality control and utilization control on the servers.

In addition to NordVPN and ZenMate, only waives ProtonVPN thereon. But more data is being collected. For example, half of the providers also save time usage, i.e. when and how long you connect to the VPN. It becomes critical at the latest at the providers who record the real IP address of the users: Do this F-Secure , the two Avast services SecureLine and HideMyAss as well VyprVPN . Investigators could try to get real IP addresses from VPN users from these providers and thus identify you. Providers who do not create any IP logs at all cannot pass them on later on request. The good news: According to data protection declarations, no service in the test saves the websites visited and the DNS servers used.

Avast SecureLine fails to protect all IPv6 traffic; the real internet provider becomes visible. Image: Screenshot / CHIP

Gaps in VPN software

In theory, a VPN service beams you to a location of your choice and disguises the IP address and the DNS server used. So no conclusions about your real location or your real internet provider should be possible. But not all services work properly in the test: The two Avast offers SecureLine and HideMyAss as well as Kaspersky Secure Connection fail to manage all IPv6 Protect data in the VPN tunnel. So even though the VPN is switched on, a data trace remains with your internet provider. The problem with these IPv6 leaks is that websites immediately know which provider you are actually surfing with and where your location is.

Avast has not responded to our note so far, Kaspersky is already working on a patch for the next client version. All other providers show no IP leaks. A similar problem can occur with VPNs with DNS data, i.e. with the servers for the name resolution of IP addresses. They shouldn't leak through encryption either. Our 14 Test candidates work flawlessly in this regard, specific DNS leak tests did not provide any evidence of data leaks.

Download: Top 5 VPN services

Netflix keeps blocking the servers of the VPN providers. Despite the location in the US, you will not be able to see any US content. Image: Screenshot / CHIP

Netflix doesn't always work

Bypassing geo-locks is a breeze for VPNs. Would you like to see a video that is only available to Canadian users? No problem, select a Canadian server in the VPN software and the provider already looks as if you are in Canada. In the test, providers collect more points that cover more countries. HideMyAss sets the best value and is in 190 represented countries, PureVPN brings it up 141 countries and ExpressVPN still on 94 – rich Selection. Steganos, however, is only in 19 Represent countries, ProtonVPN in 21 and F -Secure in 23. But not every country is equally important: Great Britain, the USA, Austria and Switzerland are among the most popular locations for streaming fans, apart from Kaspersky SecureLine are these countries accordingly in all VPN services available.

Netflix & Co. are not so easy to outwit in practice. Addresses of known VPN servers end up on a blacklist of the providers, then the screen of the American Netflix offer remains black despite the US IP address. We therefore specifically tried to access foreign Netflix content in the test, which was also successful in most cases. Only hide.me, F-Secure, Steganos and Kaspersky failed due to the Netflix blockers. Another construction site is exchange exchanges, which many users would like to use protected via a VPN. The tested VPNs are doing well here too, only F-Secure blocks Bittorrent.

You don't have to say a lot about the operation of the VPN software, the providers do their job well. However, there is not an important aspect for all services: An emergency shutdown, also known as a kill switch, ensures that the Internet connection is disconnected if the VPN fails. This is an important function, because otherwise it can easily happen that you continue surfing without protection. Only Steganos, Avast SecureLine and Kaspersky do not use this function.

The runner-up, ProtonVPN, delivers a free, slow-speed version that is also limited to three countries. The optimal free entry into the world of VPNs Image: ProtonVPN

VPNs slow down your internet connection

No matter how fast your internet connection is, every VPN slows it down because the encryption creates an overhead and the routes via the server of the Providers are longer than usual. In the test, we therefore worked with extensive benchmarks to differentiate between fast and slow VPN providers. In addition to the pure speed, we also evaluated ping times as well as connection establishment and change speed. ProtonVPN and test winner NordVPN are in a class of their own. But even with the best value from NordVPN, the data rate from our test connection goes from 388 Mbps on average at 263 MBit / s down.

Our fast connection brings the VPNs to their limits. ExpressVPN for example delivers better values ​​on a slower connection, but cuts the data rate at around 150 Mbit / s. These speeds are perfectly acceptable for normal surfing, with an average DSL connection you would hardly use a VPN service. We found quite a few dropouts in the test only at ZenMate: The service only delivers 26 Mbit / s – you can clearly feel this speed brake. With the exception of PureVPN and ExpressVPN, all providers offer free trial versions. This allows you to check in advance the performance and the compatibility of your desired applications with the services on your Internet connection.

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Joerg Geiger

Joerg Geiger

As a technology expert, Jörg Geiger is interested in software and hardware and services. Almost everything is tried out, but besides, he also pours many topics into real tests.

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