DotVPN Review

written by

Jack Foster

last updated

September 16, 2020

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Features

2.7/5

Speed & Performance

4/5

Ease of Use

4/5

Mobile App

4.5/5

Customer Support

3/5

Pricing

4/5
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DotVPN Pros:

DotVPN Cons:

A “better way to VPN” – that’s what the guys at DotVPN claim. So, is it really better to use DotVPN than the other providers out there? I explore these claims in full detail in my review.

Overview

DotVPN is a mobile VPN, which is copyrighted by Smart Security Limited. A quick look on the website reveals that the company is based in Hong Kong. So, what does this mean from a security standpoint? 

Well, it is a bit of a tricky one! I wouldn’t say Hong Kong is the most ideal location for a VPN because of its close proximity to China. I cannot say that they would decline requests from the Chinese government for data sharing, yet there is no legal obligation for them to do this. In fact, there are no data retention laws that apply to Hong Kong, as it is an independent jurisdiction. My thought is that you simply cannot count on the fact that their close relationship with China won’t make things a bit blurry in this area!

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Speeds

I must admit that DotVPN surprised me in the speed department, and yes, I am talking about the good kind of surprise.

The drop in speed was so minor that I didn’t really notice it when compared with running my typical Internet. 

I tried out plenty of different servers, and most of them did not result in a significant drop in speed. 

The server coverage is pretty small, though. Despite DotVPN claiming to have 700 servers, once I downloaded the app I realized that there were only servers across 12 different countries, so I was pretty disappointed. There are only varied options in Europe and North America.

Outside of this, the only other servers are in Japan and Singapore. This means that there are no servers in Africa, South America, or Australia. 

You don’t have the option of city-level servers either, which is going to be especially frustrating if you live in a big country, such as the United States. This means you could have to connect to a server thousands and thousands of miles away. 

For greater service choice, I would recommend checking out my ExpressVPN review.

Security

The version of the software you use is going to dictate the level of security you receive.

The highest level of protection is offered via the Android app. This app will use AES-256 encryption and the industry-standard OpenVPN protocol. On the other hand, the iOS app offers the same level of encryption but it uses the IPSec protocol, which is less secure. 

I worry less about the IPSec protocol because it is combined with the strong encryption. However, this protocol is more vulnerable to hacker attacks, so it is essential that I point this out.

Consequently, I would probably recommend going for a different app if you have an iPhone. Purely because there are so many different mobile VPNs out there, and so why go for a slighter lower quality of protocol when there is no need to? Surfshark is a good option.

I would not put you off using DotVPN for an Android device, though.

There are various toggle options within the app, including AdBlock, Firewall, Block Analytics, and Tracking Protection. This is a good set of features.

Through some digging I was able to discover that DotVPN uses its own DNS servers, which is always a good thing. I wasn’t able to detect any IPv6 or DNS leaks, so that’s another box ticked.

There is one feature that is certainly missing, though, and this is the kill switch. For those who are unaware, a kill switch will stop your genuine IP from being revealed if your Internet connection stops working for any reason. I am sure everyone reading this has experienced their Internet connection dropping out before. It does happen! So, not having a kill switch is a big disappointment, and I hope that DotVPN will rectify this. However, as you will soon discover, DotVPN do have a bit of a habit of promising things and not delivering them. 

Privacy policy

I was happy with the privacy policy in place at DotVPN. It is presented in a format that is easy-to-understand, and so you know exactly what information is collected. This is the following:

  • Your password and email address
  • Comments on the website or data from tech support for up to two years
  • Information about payment dates
  • Your IP address (for 24 hours) 

While it would be better if there were no IP address logging, this information cannot be used to identify you, so there’s not too much to worry about here.

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Ease of use

You shouldn’t find it difficult to download DotVPN on your device. Simply search for it in your app store, and it should be the first result.

I like the appearance of DotVPN; it has a sleek design, which is easy to use. 

The simplicity of the app is great but then this does mean that there is not much customization and the settings menu is rather limited as well, enabling to toggle on and off the ad blockers and security features.

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Torrenting

Torrenting is banned or unavailable on all of the servers on DotVPN. The company has clearly stated that they do not support P2P connections or torrents. 

Despite this, they do intend to add this service in the future, as they have stated such. Nevertheless, I have no idea when this feature will be added. It could be in 10 weeks or 10 years, so I would definitely not recommend purely signing up and waiting for torrenting to be introduced. You could be waiting for a very long time! 

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Unblock streaming services

I could keep this section short by simply telling you to forget about it and look elsewhere. DotVPN is simply not good for streaming.

I tested it on all of the popular streaming servers, and I had no success. You won’t be able to unblock BBC iPlayer, nor will you be able to unblock Netflix. 

If you’re looking for a VPN for streaming services, check out my reviews on ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost.

Does DotVPN bypass the Great Firewall of China?

There are no extra obfuscation tools as part of the DotVPN package, and because of this, it’s not an appropriate solution for tackling censorship. 

After browsing the support section on the company’s site, I noticed that they state they always try to overcome all online blocks, but it is simply not possible in some cases. 

Therefore, for censored countries, like China, I recommend looking elsewhere. After reviewing Astrill, I would definitely say it is one of the best options out there for China specifically.

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Compatibility

As mentioned earlier, DotVPN is a mobile VPN, and so you’re not going to get a version for MacOS or Windows at the moment. In fact, their website still states that the desktop version is “coming soon” and will be “available in mid-2019.” Someone needs to tell DotVPN that we’re already in 2020!

The mobile app, though, is available on iOS and Android. 

You can check out my “reviews by device” if you would like more information on the best VPN for a specific device.

Games consoles and streaming devices

DotVPN is not an appropriate choice for gaming. There are not any native apps for games consoles, which means you’d be better off using a different VPN instead.

There are also no native apps for streaming services like Amazon Fire TV or AppleTV. 

Browser extensions

There are browser extensions available on DotVPN. This includes extensions for Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome.

It is vital to remember that these extensions are not full VPNs. They are basically proxies that work to spoof your IP address, meaning there is no additional security to speak about.

Any other background services or programs, such as Spotify or Netflix, are going to work outside of the VPN tunnel.

I would only ever recommend using an extension if you simply want to browse the Internet with a little bit more privacy.

The security is not great with the browser extensions. This is because it uses the 4096-bit RSA encryption, and this has been hacked on a number of occasions. It also uses an SSL-proxy to create a tunnel, which is a bit of a dated move. It works wonders in terms of speed, but it is not ideal for security.

Customer support

The customer support is very basic, and another area that I would like to see DotVPN work on. 

There is no live chat feature with DotVPN, and the FAQ section is very limited. It is only accessible via the website; there is no FAQ section on the website. 

Your only option when getting support is to use the contact box. While this is easy to use, it took a day for me to get a response, which is quite long when you consider how customer service has advanced in recent times. 

If good customer support is important to you, check out my review on IPVanish.

Pricing

As far as pricing goes, DotVPN keeps things simple with two options: Free or Premium. The Free VPN is very limited. You get unlimited data usage and cloud firewall protection, but that’s all!

The Premium VPN is much more comprehensive. It costs $4.99 per month if you choose to be billed on a monthly basis. 

I would recommend opting for yearly billing if you can afford the upfront payment. This will cost you $2.99 per month, or $35.88 upfront for the year. This means that you are going to save $24 per year if you decide to go for annual billing, so it is definitely worth it. The only drawback is that you’re locked into the service for a year, rather than being able to cancel at any time with the monthly billing option.

I wasn’t able to find any option in terms of a free trial. However, there is a return’s policy in place. If you are not happy with DotVPN, you can cancel your subscription within 30 days of signing up and request a refund.

To request a refund, use the email function to contact the support team. Give them the name of your account, your payment details, and a description of why you want to cancel your account and get a refund. The customer services team should then be able to process your refund with ease.

Summary

All in all, there is a lot to like about DotVPN, but there are also some significant drawbacks too. As a basic mobile VPN for Android phones, it’s an acceptable choice. However, the lack of torrenting and streaming will result in a lot of people ruling out DotVPN as an option.

I would recommend looking at some of the other VPNs that I have reviewed if you’re looking for a VPN that can deliver streaming and torrenting.

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