You’re probably aware of Astrill VPN’s strong marketing claims, especially regarding its effectiveness in China.

However, when you try out each feature, examine its privacy policies and security measures, and evaluate aspects like server network, speeds, torrenting support, gaming, and streaming, you might find that it’s not the best choice for everyday users outside of restrictive countries.

While its China-optimized servers are secure, the overall network is limited and can be unreliable. Navigating the app can be challenging due to its numerous features, and you might encounter technical issues requiring troubleshooting with customer support. If you’re looking for a simpler and more dependable online safety solution, exploring other VPN options is advisable.

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

 

  • Unblocks most streaming platforms. When you try it out, Astrill unblocks most streaming platforms, including Netflix and Hulu. However, be prepared for the time-consuming task of finding servers that actually work for streaming.
  • Slow and inconsistent speeds. You might experience slow and inconsistent speeds, with a potential drop of up to 40%. The connection may not be stable, leading to significant speed fluctuations.
  • Some leaks detected. While using Astrill, you could detect some leaks. Certain servers may use your personal information effectively, but others may need to be more secure.
  • Works in China. If you’re in China or dealing with restrictive online conditions, Astrill could work well for you. It offers unique features like StealthVPN and Smart Mode, which are specifically designed to bypass China’s Great Firewall.
  • Too complicated for beginners. You might need to work on the interface because you’re new. However, the customizable desktop clients are designed for more experienced users and offer a variety of options for customizing your VPN experience.

2023 Update Features Of Astrill VPN

💸 Price12.50 USD/month
📝 Does VPN keep logs?No
🖥 Number of servers114+
💻 Number of devices per license5
🛡 Kill switchYes
🗺 Based in countrySeychelles
📥 Supports torrentingYes

Streaming – Takes a Lot of Effort to Work On Most Popular Platforms

Trying Astrill successfully unblocks various streaming platforms, but it heavily depends on specific servers. Unlike many other VPNs that offer specialized streaming servers, Astrill doesn’t provide these, turning the process into a bit of a lottery. You won’t find designated streaming servers, and getting access to a specific platform means reaching out to their support team hoping for a server recommendation. With most locations being ineffective, streaming can become quite challenging.

Before diving into testing, you might reach out to Astrill’s support for server recommendations. While experiencing this, the support suggested using the StealthVPN protocol, known for its obfuscation that hides VPN connections from firewalls and websites. However, despite following the instructions, you may not unblock any streaming platform using this protocol.

Upon contacting support again and receiving a server recommendation (Dallas 1) for Netflix, you might find temporary success. However, the instability becomes evident when Netflix stops working after reconnecting to the same server, leaving the impression of an unreliable service.

Astrill couldn’t bypass Netflix’s geoblocks with the recommended StealthVPN protocol.

You could experiment with the OpenWeb protocol for faster speeds and better quality. Yet, even with this protocol, finding servers that unblock streaming services can be tedious. Spending about 40 minutes to get one working server for Netflix might feel frustrating, especially when having to repeat the process for each platform.

The overall experience with Astrill can be confusing and time-consuming. Spending over 5 hours navigating through different protocols and servers to unblock streaming services may not align with the expectations of such a pricey VPN. Considering the effort involved, exploring other VPN services that offer more reliable connections without such complexities might be wiser.

Unblocked: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, ESPN, and HBO Max

When you try Astrill, you can watch movies on Amazon Prime, Netflix, and HBO Max, specifically on the Los Angeles Supercharged server, but only when using the OpenWeb protocol. Despite the Supercharged servers promising lower latency and higher overall performance, be prepared to spend some time finding a server that works for you.

Astrill unblocked Netflix with the OpenWeb protocol.

Unblocking ESPN can be complicated. On some servers, you might see the shows but struggle to play them, while on others, you could find yourself looping back to the login screen whenever you attempt to watch something. The only server where you can actually watch ESPN might be Chicago 1, and that’s only with the OpenWeb protocol.

As for Disney+, the journey to unblock it can be an adventure. After going through over 30 US servers across all four protocols, you can unblock Disney+ on the Portland server using the OpenWeb protocol. The process can be exhausting; if you were trying to watch a show, you might consider giving up.

It might be strange that an Astrill live agent claimed no VPN could unblock Amazon Prime anymore. The agent suggested buying a private IP on Astrill’s Dallas 1 server, explaining that the platform now detects multiple requests from the same IP address and blocks those IPs. However, you may find that you can unblock Amazon Prime with Astrill’s OpenVPN protocol and various other VPNs.

On a positive note, you could successfully unblock Hulu on the Portland server. However, remember that it only works with the OpenWeb protocol, and no other server can unblock it for you.

Astrill Unblocked Every Platform I Tested Eventually

As you try Astrill, it eventually succeeds in unblocking every streaming platform you attempt. However, you wouldn’t recommend it despite its capability to bypass geo-blocks. The process is excessively long and intricate, and certain servers may need to be fixed to add to the complications. For instance, five of its UK servers couldn’t connect to any streaming platform.

Suppose you’re searching for a streaming VPN. In that case, it’s suggested that you choose one equipped with specialized streaming servers and an extensive network. This way, you can avoid the hassles of a prolonged and convoluted unblocking process, and the larger network helps prevent IP addresses from getting blocked.

Speeds – Inconsistent on Most Servers

As you try Astrill, its speeds are generally good but can be incredibly inconsistent. Run tests on both local and international servers to see if the distance makes any difference. Use Ookla’s speed test tool and measure your:

  • Ping estimates how quickly you get a reaction from a site or application, which is critical for gaming, as high ping, as a rule, prompts slack.
  • Download speed is the amount of time it takes to download information and files from the internet, such as streaming movies and images.
  • Transfer speed – the time expected to send documents from your PC.

It’s normal for a VPN to slightly slow down your connection, considering your information has to travel a greater distance and undergo encryption. However, you might observe a significant difference between the speed tests you take, even if they are only a few minutes apart. This suggests that Astrill’s reliability is questionable.

Local Speeds

I tested local Romanian servers in Brasov, Cluj, and Iasi and had huge differences in speeds

As you try Astrill, it offers decent local speeds, but you could encounter inconsistencies. Despite Astrill having its own in-app speed testing tool, for these tests, you decide to use Speedtest by Ookla due to its reputation. Before testing Astrill, perform a speed test from your location in Romania to establish a baseline. Without a VPN, you measure 92.31 Mbps download, 68.44 Mbps upload, and a 4 ms ping.

Unlike most VPNs you’ve tried, Astrill lacks a Best Location feature that automatically chooses the optimal server for you. Instead, you must scroll through the server list to find one nearby. While relatively easy, it feels annoying and time-consuming. After connecting the VPN, you might notice a 45% decrease in download speed to 51.08 Mbps and a drop in upload speed to 58.94 Mbps. The ping increases to 55 ms.

It’s expected to experience a speed reduction when using a VPN as it takes time to route your traffic through its servers. However, a good VPN typically results in only a 10-20% loss of speed, not 45%. This is where things get interesting: during your tests of Astrill’s streaming performance, you realize you’re getting inconsistent results, prompting you to conduct more tests.

LocationDownload speedUpload speedPing
Without a VPN(Bucharest, Romania)92.31 Mbps68.44 Mbps4 ms
Connected to local Brasov server51.08 Mbps (45% decrease)58.94 Mbps (14% decrease)55 ms
Connected to local Cluj server70.58 Mbps (24% decrease)57.92 Mbps (15% decrease)157 ms
Connected to local Iasi server43.23 Mbps (54% decrease)60.33 Mbps (12% decrease)55 ms

When you try the same server three times with Astrill, the speed changes considerably. Typically, with other VPNs, the connection speed remains relatively stable. However, with Astrill, you could experience up to 40% variations with each try. This implies that while you’re utilizing Astrill, your association speed may be exceptionally quick one moment and incredibly sluggish the following. Dissimilar to other VPNs where speed diminishes are reliable across tests, Astrill presents a degree of irregularity that might influence your general insight.

Long-Distance Speeds

When you try Astrill VPN’s long-distance servers, you might get a decent connection initially, but maintaining consistency could be an issue. Connect to a Los Angeles-based server for your first test, and you might find a 43% decrease in download speed, which is understandable given the distance. However, considering Astrill’s instability on local servers, running more tests using the same LA server might be insightful.

During the second test, your speed might drop by 59%. You might notice little difference in your online activities if your initial speed is very fast. However, slower networks may need help with productivity on international servers.

Using the same Los Angeles server, I had very different speeds each time I ran the test

As you continue your tests and shift to Astrill’s UK servers, you could experience a significant 57% decrease in speed. Yet, adjusting settings and switching protocols, such as from StealthVPN to OpenVPN, could yield surprising results. For instance, your upload speed might increase by 37% compared to the original speed—a noteworthy improvement.

OpenWeb gave me better speeds than StealthVPN when I tested the London server

While achieving good speeds using Astrill VPN’s servers is possible, the inconsistencies and the need to constantly change and test different settings make obtaining those desired speeds a hassle.

Can Astrill VPN's Speeds Support Gaming? Yes, but only on Certain Servers

When you try Astrill, only its local servers provide the necessary speed for gaming. Attempting to play games on Astrill’s international servers could be disappointing due to slow connections. In some cases, certain servers may not work at all. These issues might lead you to reconsider Astrill as a VPN for gaming.

As you test both single and multiplayer games utilizing Nvidia GeForce Presently, recollect that you want something like 25 Mbps to mess around at 60 fps. To evaluate the effect of distance on game quality, interface with a US server. Although your lowest download speed might be 38.09 Mbps, suggesting gaming is possible, using Nvidia’s tool could reveal that multiplayer online games may not run smoothly due to high ping. This realization might influence your decision regarding Astrill’s suitability for gaming. When you try gaming with Nvidia, it measures three values to assess your connection:

  • Bandwidth reflects how much information you can send or receive on the network.
  • Packet loss determines the amount of information you’re getting during the transfer.
  • Latency/ping – this represents the time it takes for data to be transmitted to your device.
Astrill’s US servers can’t handle gaming

Even if your speed seems impressive, if your ping is too high, it can disrupt your gaming experience. It’s best to keep your ping under 50 ms for online gaming without lag. For instance, on Astrill’s US server, the ping might reach 361 ms, making it impossible to play both single and multiplayer games due to frequent connection drops.

However, when you switch to a local server, you might notice a lower ping and sufficient speed for gaming. Despite a slightly higher ping, it still meets the requirements, allowing you to play a Fortnite match with minimal lag.

Consider upgrading to a VIP Plan priced at $8.61 USD for 100GB of traffic, granting access to servers optimized for gaming with lower ping.

Astrill VPN might not be the most suitable choice for gaming. Some of the UK servers may need to function better, and by opting for the VIP package, establishing an optimized gaming connection could be challenging. Additionally, finding a functional server might take up a considerable amount of your time.

Server Network — Very Few Servers, but Some Useful Features

As you try Astrill, you’ll find it boasts 114 servers spread across 56 countries, allowing for fast speeds in most parts of the world. The server network includes specialized options like China-optimized and torrenting-optimized servers.

Notably, a significant portion of Astrill’s servers is located in the US, with approximately 50 servers in its client—an admittedly low number. This means that if one server isn’t functioning well, you’ll have limited alternatives to choose from. If you are going through 35 servers without success, you might start questioning Astrill’s capabilities.

Multi-Hop VPN

As you try Astrill, you’ll find that the multi-hop VPN feature, designed to route your traffic through multiple servers for added anonymity, is exclusive to Astrill’s VIP users. This paid feature begins at $8.69 USD for 100GB of traffic. While the multi-hop approach aims to make your connection more challenging to trace by adding an extra server, it might be considered overkill for most users, as your VPN should already conceal your location. However, it’s important to note that during your tests, multi-hop has the potential to significantly reduce connection speeds, making it nearly impossible to perform even basic online tasks.

While the multi-hop feature enhances connection security, the associated slow speeds may negate its advantages, making it potentially not worth the investment for you. Additionally, it’s crucial to know that the multi-hop feature is compatible only with the OpenWeb protocol.

IP Address

Astrill offers two types of IP addresses:

  • Shared IP addresses — While connecting to a server, you share an IP address with others using the same server. This setup is excellent for anonymity since numerous people use the same IP, making it challenging to trace individual actions. However, streaming platforms often block shared IPs.
  • Private IP addresses — If you prefer a dedicated IP, it’s available at an extra cost of 5$ per month on top of your subscription. You’re the sole user with a dedicated IP, ensuring a consistent connection to the same location. This reduces the chances of being blocked by streaming platforms since they can’t differentiate it from a real IP. However, dedicated IPs offer less security, allowing specific port openings and traffic forwarding to your device.

It’s critical to note that buying a devoted IP is confined to longer membership plans, which could frustrate you if you’re on a month-to-month plan.

The United States, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Australia, Korea and Brazil all offer dedicated IPs.

Smart Mode

As you try Astrill, you’ll encounter the Smart Mode feature designed to discreetly manage your IP addresses for local and international traffic. It aims to maintain your original IP address for local activities while utilizing an international IP for accessing geo-blocked content, effectively concealing your VPN usage.

With Smart Mode, you gain control over which apps or websites utilize the VPN. For instance, you can direct your browser traffic through the VPN while letting other applications like Skype and Telegram run on your network without going through the VPN.

This functionality proves particularly useful for individuals in highly censored countries, as it helps avoid triggering any flags related to VPN usage while enabling access to international websites without complications.

Security and Privacy — Astrill VPN Is Generally Safe to Use

Astrill VPN boasts an extensive array of security features on paper. Still, the availability of these settings can vary depending on the chosen protocol and luck. It’s worth noting that despite its comprehensive feature list, Astrill VPN lacks the prominently advertised DNS and IP leak protection. Therefore, users must exercise caution and vigilance when using the VPN to ensure a secure online experience.

Encryption and Protocols

When you try Astrill VPN, you’ll discover four primary protocols, each serving a distinct purpose and employing different encryption systems. As you turn on the VPN, you can choose between these protocols and decide on the level of encryption (AES 256, 193, or 128-bit). Each protocol comes with its own set of slightly different settings, contributing to the overall complexity of the VPN experience.

When you try Astrill VPN, you’ll encounter four primary protocols, each serving specific purposes:

  • OpenWeb: This protocol serves as a solution for circumventing limited networks. For instance, if your workplace blocks certain websites like Facebook, OpenWeb allows access despite the restrictions. It’s unique in permitting server changes without turning off the VPN. As it mimics regular HTTP and HTTPS traffic, it remains undetectable to internet providers and government institutions. However, it can only tunnel traffic from popular web browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Opera.
  • StealthVPN: Designed to disguise your VPN connection, StealthVPN conceals your online activities, making it appear like regular internet traffic. This feature proves useful for bypassing network restrictions and overcoming internet blocks, particularly in countries like China. While it offers flexibility with TCP and UDP protocols across numerous ports, changing servers requires turning off the VPN, which can be inconvenient.
  • WireGuard: Known for shorter connection times and high performance, WireGuard utilizes six encryption protocols. Initially developed for roaming, it ensures that your VPN remains connected when your device switches between mobile data and WiFi networks.
  • OpenVPN: Unlike StealthVPN and WireGuard, OpenVPN doesn’t aim to hide traffic. Instead, it establishes stable, secure, and fast connections between parties. It’s accessible to anyone without necessitating a specific client.

Aside from these four, you can manually set up protocols such as IKEv2/IPsec, L2TP/IPSec, Cisco IPSec, SSTP, and PPTP.

Strict No Logs Policy, but With a Catch

While Astrill VPN asserts a stringent no-logs policy, it does retain certain information and sensitive data for a limited duration, which is important to be aware of.

As you try Astrill VPN and delve into its privacy policies, you’ll discover that it retains certain data for a limited period. This includes information about your connection time, country, device type, bandwidth usage, and Astrill’s version number, aiding in managing connected devices on an account. The data is stored for the last 20 logins and is automatically deleted if you don’t use the VPN for 30 days.

Moreover, while your VPN is active, Astrill logs details such as connection time, IP address, device type, and Astrill’s client version. Notably, this information is promptly deleted once you disconnect, ensuring a level of anonymity protection. However, it’s essential to be aware of these logging practices.

In a surprising turn of events, you might encounter difficulties when attempting to download logs. The download process may prove elusive even after multiple connections and disconnections to generate more logs. Reach out to the support team for clarification. They may not provide immediate insights, promising to contact you once the issue is resolved.

Considering the encountered leaks on certain servers and ongoing problems, you might find it compelling to explore alternative VPN options. Notably, Astrill’s need for third-party audits on its apps or policies may contribute to concerns about the overall reliability of its privacy claims.

Leak Tests and Protection

As you try Astrill VPN, you may encounter leaks on certain servers. It’s worth noting that the VPN actively prevents you from utilizing the most popular leak-testing tools.

While trying Astrill VPN, you may encounter challenges accessing popular leak testing platforms like ipleak.net during your initial tests. When seeking clarification through the live chat, you’ll be informed that most of them intentionally block these tools due to concerns about the potential sale of IP data. Instead, the support team may suggest using Astrill’s proprietary DNS leak test.

This restriction on using external leak testing tools might raise concerns for you, considering that other top VPNs generally allow the use of such tools, instilling confidence in their transparency. When you try Astrill’s DNS leak test on different, highly secure VPNs, you may receive inaccurate information about the security of your connection.

Astrill’s server leaked my information

In your quest for a DNS tester not blocked by Astrill, you may discover ipleak.com. Testing with servers such as Los Angeles B may reveal significant shortcomings, exposing your IP address, ISP, location, city, country, and coordinates. This situation undermines the very purpose of using a VPN.

While testing with a Canadian server may fare better by hiding most data, the leakage of local time poses a concern, potentially revealing activity on your network to prying eyes.

Given the observed deficiencies in Astrill’s IP and DNS leak protection, you may need help to trust its effectiveness. The limitation on using external tools further raises doubts about ensuring the security of your connection. Considering these factors, you should explore alternative VPN options that offer both security and the flexibility to verify your connection’s integrity.

Kill Switch

As you try Astrill VPN, you’ll find that its automatic kill switch functions effectively as a safety net in case of VPN failure. This feature works by cutting off your internet connection if the VPN connection drops, preventing your personal information from being immediately exposed in such instances.

However, you may notice a slight inconvenience while testing the kill switch on your MacBook. Upon closing the VPN, the kill switch interrupts your internet access. Consequently, it would help if you restart your WiFi connection whenever you disconnect the VPN.

To enable the kill switch, go through Astrill’s privacy settings & check the “Internet Kill Switch” box for added security and protection against potential VPN failures.

App Guard

As you try Astrill VPN, you’ll discover the App Guard feature, which is specifically available on Windows. With App Guard, you can manually select the apps you want to run exclusively through the VPN. This protects your online identity and hides your IP address for those chosen applications.

It’s essential to note that App Guard operates slightly differently from the traditional kill switch. While the kill switch blocks all apps from accessing the internet in case of a VPN failure, App Guard provides more granular control, allowing you to choose which apps should be tunneled through the VPN.

The classic kill switch works seamlessly for macOS and Linux clients, providing a reliable safeguard for your identity in case of a VPN disconnection.

Outside of the Intelligence-Sharing Community

As you try Astrill VPN, you’ll find that it is headquartered in The Republic of Seychelles, a location outside the 14 Eyes Alliance. This strategic location means Astrill VPN is not obligated to share your data with other countries or intelligence agencies. Additionally, Astrill VPN adheres to a minimal data retention policy, meaning it doesn’t store extensive information about you.

Upon exploring Seychelles’ data protection laws, you’ll notice that entities collecting data are not required to send any information to the government. If an international entity seeks access to data, the Seychelles Data Protection Commissioner has the authority to block such transfers. This jurisdictional advantage adds an extra layer of assurance regarding the protection of your privacy while using Astrill VPN.

Site Filter

As you try out Astrill VPN’s selective website routing feature, you’ll notice that it lets you choose which websites go through the VPN and which ones utilize your regular IP address. However, it’s essential to note that this feature solely applies to websites, with all apps automatically routed through the VPN.

In your attempt to test this functionality, adding ipleak.com to the list initially resulted in unexpected outcomes. Despite instructing the VPN to tunnel that website exclusively, it failed to conceal your IP, city, and other information you intended to hide. Subsequently, attempting to exclude ipleak.com from filtering led to the same disappointing outcome. Astrill VPN didn’t tunnel the specified website as instructed or mask any of your information.

Astrill’s split tunneling feature comes with many options.

An additional inconvenience you may encounter is that configuring website inclusion or exclusion requires knowledge of IP addresses rather than URLs, except when using the OpenVPN protocol. This process can be intricate, requiring some coding skills to navigate effectively.

This selective website routing feature is available across all of Astrill’s client platforms and functions with the OpenVPN, StealthVPN, and WireGuard protocols.

Port Forwarding

The port forwarding feature, which enables remote devices to access your computer through a private local area network, will be discovered as you explore Astrill VPN. When you want to establish a direct connection between a device in your home and another remote device, like monitoring security cameras while you’re away, this feature comes in especially handy.

If you opt for a shared IP address, you can select one pre-designated port for forwarding. On the other hand, having a dedicated IP address gives you the flexibility to choose and forward any port while benefiting from the NAT Firewall. The Network Address Translation (NAT firewall) serves as your router’s security system, ensuring that the devices registered on the network can securely access the internet.

Astrill’s port-sending choice permits you to advance up to 3 ports on a similar organization, furnishing you with an adaptable and secure answer for working with direct associations between gadgets.

Onion Over VPN

As you try out Astrill VPN, you’ll encounter the Onion over VPN feature, offering a secure way to explore the dark web while maintaining your anonymity. Instead of relying on Tor, activating this feature directs your online activity through a series of nodes.

Astrill successfully accessed ProPublica’s .onion domain without the Tor browser

When you enable Astrill’s Onion over VPN, all your traffic is initially routed through the VPN and then through the Onion network. This configuration allows you to access .onion sites from any browser, not restricted to Tor. You might experience slower speeds during your use compared to a regular connection. This is normal as your traffic traverses both the VPN server and the Tor nodes. While this feature significantly enhances security for accessing the dark web, it may need to be revised and faster for regular internet traffic

Ad Blocker

If you’re concerned about ad blocking, you might find Astrill’s built-in ad blocker unreliable. If you try turning off your browser’s ad blockers and enabling Astrill, you may still notice ads and pop-ups persisting. In such a case, it might be more effective to continue using your regular ad-blocking software rather than relying solely on this feature within Astrill.

Torrenting — Fast P2P-Optimized Servers

If you’re considering Astrill VPN for torrenting, remember that while it performs adequately, there’s no assurance of complete anonymity and security for your connections. The service offers the option to connect to a SOCKS5 proxy, designed to add an extra layer of security by routing data through a TCP connection behind the firewall. Additionally, Astrill provides specialized servers marked for torrenting purposes within the app.

Astrill’s servers that are marked with a star are suitable for torrenting.

You may notice varying speeds as you try connecting to various servers in different locations, like Romania, Canada, the US, the Netherlands, and the UK. While local servers might offer good speeds without connectivity issues, international servers could be significantly slower. Astrill VPN effectively works with clients like BitTorrent, LimeWire, uTorrent, and even Transmission, which tend to have compatibility limitations.

However, to use Astrill VPN for torrenting, you’ll need to activate port forwarding, a feature that, despite its functionality, might compromise some aspects of security. Also, note that P2P-optimized servers are inaccessible when using the OpenWeb protocol.

In conclusion, while Astrill VPN performs decently for torrenting purposes, more than secure connections are needed. Considering this, relying solely on Astrill VPN for your torrenting needs is not recommended.

Does Astrill VPN Work in China? Yes

Suppose you’re planning to use an Astrill VPN in China. In that case, you can take advantage of its capability to bypass the Great Firewall using the StealthVPN protocol and Smart Mode feature. Astrill has a mirror website accessible in China and even a fully functional .onion domain, addressing the challenge of accessing VPN websites blocked by the Chinese government.

When you reach out to Astrill’s support team for confirmation about its usability in China, they will assure you that it works. The StealthVPN protocol, which employs obfuscation technology, is crucial for disguising your VPN connection as regular internet traffic, making it difficult for China to detect and block VPN usage. It uses the OpenVPN protocol and provides encryption options using either UDP or TCP. However, it’s not compatible with iOS devices.

According to the support agent, you can use Astrill VPN in China

Smart Mode, another unique feature by Astrill, enhances anonymity in China. Simulating DNS and HTTPS traffic with a regional Chinese IP allows you to unblock international websites while appearing to use a local IP address. Smart Mode is specifically available when using the OpenWeb protocol. Still, you can access local sites while connected to the VPN using the Website Tunneling feature with any protocol.

To ensure the security of your connection, try using Astrill’s China-optimized servers. For instance, when connecting to the Seattle China-optimized server, you can expect that your IP address, ISP, and location remain hidden without any leaks. These features make Astrill VPN a reliable choice for navigating online restrictions in China.

Installation & Apps

If you’re a beginner, using Astrill can be quite challenging and frustrating. After creating your account and logging in, the VPN automatically starts with the OpenWeb protocol, leaving you to search for the right server yourself. The need for more information on recommended server/protocol combinations means you have to try different configurations to stream, torrent, or access specific sites successfully.

I had to de-select "Tunnel Browsers only" when I first opened Astrill to make sure my entire device was protected

Unless you use the OpenVPN protocol, you must turn off the VPN before switching servers, disrupting your ongoing activities. Unfortunately, Astrill lacks a list of recommended servers or an automatic selection feature found in many top-tier VPNs. In the settings menu, options change based on your protocol, and navigating them can be complex.

Your security settings change depending on which protocol you use.

With technical issues aside, Astrill offers decent speeds and a relatively clean interface. However, for VPN beginners, understanding and navigating its features might take a lot of work. Some server/protocol combinations may cause connection issues, exposing your real IP address or leading to webpage loading problems. Testing each server is necessary to find the right one for your needs.

It's easy to change your Astrill VPN settings.

To hide the Astrill user, visit the menu, which you can find under “Interface Options”, and deselect the “Always on Top” checkbox. Despite its standard apps, the time required to find a suitable server makes Astrill VPN a less recommended option. There are faster and more user-friendly alternatives available.

Astrill’s Optional Extras — They're Not Really Worth the Price

If you’re considering Astrill’s extra features, here’s what you can try:

  • The VIP Plan provides additional features, including multi-hop, optimized gaming servers & extra servers in Asia.
  • The price varies depending on how much data you need. For example, giving a shot of 100GB of traffic will cause an extra $9.97 USD on top of the $12.50/month USD month-to-month membership cost.
  • Remember that the traffic resets constantly, so if you choose to attempt it and don’t completely use it, you’ll have to repurchase.
  • Many VPNs commonly include such features in their standard plans, so consider trying them before opting for the VIP add-on.
  • A dedicated IP address is beneficial if you prefer to keep your IP private from other users on the server.
  • It costs $5 USD monthly and enables you to access and open specific ports. Additionally, you can share these ports with other Astrill users.
  • This feature might assist in accessing geo-blocked streaming sites since a dedicated IP address is more challenging to detect and block.
  • Before committing to this extra cost, try exploring standard plans from other VPN providers, as many include similar features without the additional expense.

Simultaneous Connections — Connect up to 5 Devices

If you’re considering Astrill, you can have up to 5 simultaneous connections under one subscription. Download and use the VPN on your MacBook, Android phone, or Windows laptop, and even with multiple devices connected, your speeds remain consistent.

Try installing the VPN on your router for unlimited simultaneous connections at home. Using this trick, you can use only one connection to pass all of your WiFi devices through the VPN. Guarantee that your switch is viable with the OpenVPN convention for this arrangement to actually work.

Device Compatibility — Works With All Major Platforms and Devices

Astrill extends its compatibility across various platforms like Windows, macOS, Android, Linux (including distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, or Linux Mint), iOS, and ASUS Merlin and DD-WRT routers. Integrating Astrill with your router expands its functionality to encompass devices like smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Kindle, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Boxee, Roku, and gaming consoles like PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo consoles.

While Astrill doesn’t offer a browser extension, it doesn’t hinder its adaptability for direct usage on Chrome or Firefox. Astrill’s wiki page features detailed tutorials, enabling configuration assistance for platforms such as Windows phones, Blackberry phones, and Chromium. This diversity provides options to adapt Astrill to many devices and operating systems.

Desktop Apps

Launching Astrill’s desktop app initiates with the OpenWeb protocol, ready for connection to any server. Exploring the app on a Mac might take roughly 15 minutes to navigate and discover all its functionalities.

Upon opening the app, it’s initially configured to channel browsers exclusively. This setup leaves other applications using your network. It exposes your activity – a significant concern if you plan to use the VPN for torrenting.

Unlike some VPN services that offer recommended server lists or an automatic connection feature for optimized setups, Astrill lacks these conveniences. When you switch protocols, the entire interface transforms, presenting you with different configuration options.

Astrill’s security protocols can be changed whenever the VPN is off.

On desktop, Astrill offers:

  • Site Filtering: This functionality lets you decide which websites will utilize the VPN. It proves beneficial when you prefer your regular IP address for local browsing and a foreign IP address for international sites.
  • Ad Blocker: Though claimed to block ads, it falls short in efficacy and lacks advanced options. Opting for dedicated ad blockers might offer a more reliable solution.
  • Port Forwarding: This feature enables forwarding a network port on a different node, enhancing your network’s security against unwanted access.
  • VPN Sharing: Facilitates VPN sharing on your router. Activation prompts the need for router configuration.
  • Kill Switch: This automatic feature halts your network’s communication with tunneled websites and apps in case of a connection failure, enhancing security.
  • Split Tunneling: Similar to the site filter, but with the added ability to select specific apps for tunneling.
  • Smart Mode: Exclusive to Windows, Smart Mode assigns a local IP address for accessing websites in your country and a foreign one for international sites.

iOS and Android Apps

When you use Astrill’s Android and iOS apps, you’ll notice some differences compared to the desktop version. Notably, the absence of the kill switch in the mobile apps poses a vulnerability if the VPN connection fails. Upon logging in, you can select your server and protocol, and the app provides a notification about your subscription status.

If you encounter issues like you might do on Android due to battery optimization settings affecting Astrill’s performance, try adjusting those settings to ensure smooth operation. Once resolved, connecting to a server should offer fast loading times for both apps and websites.

However, on iOS, you might face a more significant challenge: occasional difficulty in turning off the VPN, requiring a phone restart. This issue may persist even after following support instructions involving app closure and RAM clearance.

On desktop, Astrill offers:

  • UDP and TCP modes — UDP and TCP modes are like the standard shipping options for your internet data. TCP, a bit slower but super reliable, carefully checks your data for errors and ensures it’s fully delivered—think of it as a meticulous courier double-checking your order. On the other hand, UDP is the express service, faster but skipping some checks along the way; it aims to get your order to you as swiftly as possible, but there’s a chance you might not receive everything.
  • Connection Port — The connection port is like the address where computers talk to each other, and the port you select determines how your data travels through the network.
  • Logs — Logs in Astrill’s mobile client provide you with a list of all the recorded activities.
  • App Filter — With the App Filter, you can easily decide whether to channel all your apps or only browsers through the VPN.
  • However, on the mobile version, you miss out on HTTPS Redirects, meaning your connection might need to be more secure. There’s no DNS/IPv6 leak protection, potentially exposing your original IP to the websites and apps you use. By default, all your apps are configured to go through the VPN unless you specify otherwise using the app filter.

Router App

You can try setting up Astrill on your ASUS Merlin or DD-WRT router using the OpenVPN or RouterPro protocols. Follow the bit-by-bit directions given on Astrill’s site, and you’ll make them run in only a few moments. The instructional exercises are direct, so you should be fine as a halfway client.

If configuring the router seems daunting, consider purchasing one of Astrill’s pre-configured VPN routers. This option could be ideal if you need a VPN on your router but aren’t comfortable with manual setup.

Setup & Installation — Ready to Go in 3 Minutes

When you download and set up Astrill’s apps, the process is quick, taking about 3 minutes to install. However, finding a working server might take some time. After installation, open the app, choose a protocol, and select a server to start technically.

However, complications arise when the protocol or server doesn’t function as expected.Setting up additional features can add complexity even after finding a suitable server. Once Astrill is set up on your device, you can access a 36-page user guide, which might either assist you or feel overwhelming.

Quick Guide: How to Setup Astrill VPN in 3 Easy Steps

 

  1. Download Astrill VPN. Get started by heading to Astrill’s website and creating your account. Once done, grab the client tailored for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, or specific routers. Remember, the client download is accessible only after creating an account.
  2. Install the client. Installing the client is a breeze, with a straightforward process that won’t keep you waiting.
  3. Log in, choose a server, and connect. Log in to the client, pick your preferred server, and establish a connection. The client typically initiates with the OpenWeb protocol enabled, but it’s flexible—switch protocols hassle-free before connecting if needed.

Pricing

Astrill offers various payment options, including PayPal, credit cards, and cryptocurrencies like UnionPay, Alipay, Perfect Money, WebMoney, Moreno, WeChat Pay, and bank transfers. When attempting to use a credit card, you might encounter issues—like getting redirected to re-enter billing information. In such cases, PayPal might be a more reliable choice after a few tries.

Remember, there’s no refund once the purchase is made. Consider the shortest plan for a trial at $12.50/month USD. However, be aware that Astrill’s refund policy doesn’t cover scenarios like ISP blocking VPNs or system incompatibility.

Explore their Invite Friends System for a free 30-day Astrill account by inviting a friend who purchases a subscription. Additionally, if you’re a business user, check out their tailored business packages for better value.

While Astrill offers a 7-day free trial, it might only work seamlessly for some. Some countries might face restrictions despite VPN legality in your location, which the support agents may explain. Keep in mind that it’s perfectly legal to use a VPN in your area.

Reliability & Support

You’ll find it prompt, but could be more helpful when you reach out to Astrill’s 24/7 live chat support. Trying to gauge their response time, you may get quick replies, but the live agent might seem uninterested in your queries. If you encounter multiple problems and seek assistance, the answers may be short and inconsistent.

Suppose you message them to inquire about the recommended server for unblocking Netflix. In that case, the agent might suggest StealthVPN initially, but you might find it ineffective. Further questions may lead to a lengthy and hard-to-follow tutorial that must resolve the issue.

It didn’t take long to get a reply from live chat.

An alternative is reaching out via email by filling out the contact form. In about 40 minutes, you could receive a thorough response. The disparity between live chat and email support can be significant. Despite the fast support appeal, you might avoid Astrill’s live chat.

In addition to email and live chat support, Astrill provides resources such as an FAQ page, a Wiki guide (Astrill Wiki), manuals, and video tutorials. The FAQ page is available in 14 different languages.

Comparison: Is It Better Than the Competition?

You’ll notice some intriguing differences when you compare Astrill to the leading VPNs.

 Astrill VPNExpressVPN
Our speed rating#87#1
Server number114 servers3,000 servers
Obfuscated serversYesYes
Specialized serversYes, for China and torrentingNo
JurisdictionRepublic of SeychellesThe British Virgin Islands
Zero-logging policyNoYes
Encryption256-bit AES256-bit AES
Kill switchYes, for desktop onlyYes, except for iOS
Split tunnelingYesYes
Allows torrentingYes, specialized P2P serversYes, on all servers
Simultaneous connections58
Unblocks Netflix USYesYes
Unblocks BBC iPlayerNoYes
Works in ChinaYesYes
Pricing$12.50/month$6.67/month
Money-Back GuaranteeNone30 days

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict: Works in China, but Inconsistent Performance and Complicated App

If you already have some experience and can manually configure settings, Astrill might be an okay VPN for you. It offers decent speeds, although there can be inconsistencies. The clients are optimized for mainstream operating systems, but the mobile apps have some limitations. Overall, it’s mostly secure, can bypass certain blocks, and is effective in China, which is a significant advantage.

However, considering its relatively high cost, you may expect more reliability. It took you a considerable amount of time to unblock streaming platforms, playing games on international servers was challenging, and there were connection issues with some servers. Additionally, you encountered leaks, which is a concerning issue.

Suppose you’re searching for a superfast VPN that consistently unblocks geo-restricted content and is user-friendly. In that case, you should explore other options.

Frequently Asked Questions (Astrill VPN)-

Is Astrill VPN available for free?

No, Astrill VPN does not provide a free service. While they offer a 7-day free trial, it may not be accessible in certain countries. Upon reaching out to Astrill’s support team, I learned that some countries are blacklisted and cannot use the VPN, despite VPNs being legal in my location.

The pricing includes a monthly plan at $12.50/month USD and a yearly subscription for $120 USD per year. Astrill supports various payment methods, but their reliability may vary.

Can I use Astrill VPN on Android and iOS?

Yes, Astrill offers mobile apps for both Android and iOS. However, these apps have some limitations. Although they deliver essential VPN features, it’s worth noting that Astrill’s mobile apps need IP and DNS leak protection, making them not entirely secure.

Where are Astrill’s servers located?

Astrill operates 114 servers across 56 countries, including the US, UK, Latvia, China, and Canada. However, not all servers may work reliably, requiring some testing. If you need recommendations for unblocking specific websites or streaming platforms, it’s advisable to contact Astrill’s support team.

Is Astrill VPN safe?

The safety of Astrill VPN can vary. While some servers, especially the China-optimized ones, proved secure, others may need to be more. Testing connection security can be challenging, as the VPN blocks common leak testing tools.

I recommend using alternatives like ipleak.com to ensure the security of your connection.

Can I connect multiple devices with a single Astrill account?

Yes, Astrill allows the connection of up to 5 devices under one subscription. Additionally, you can set it up on your router, providing VPN access to all devices in your home or office.

Does Astrill VPN keep logs?

Astrill retains some logs, such as device information, client version, bandwidth usage, and country, which are eventually deleted. Only the last 20 logins are saved, and users can delete them from their accounts. All logs are automatically erased if the VPN goes unused for 30 days.

However, there might be concerns, as attempting to download logs led to their deletion, raising suspicions about Astrill’s log policy.

Can I download a modded APK for Astrill?

While it’s technically possible, it is not recommended. Accessing Astrill requires a valid account, and using a modded APK may introduce security risks and potential malware.

For a secure experience on your Android device, create an account and download the official app from the Play Store.

Does Astrill VPN work in China?

Yes, Astrill VPN effectively bypasses the Great Firewall of China. Its Smart Mode ensures local traffic flows through your IP address. In contrast, international traffic is routed through the VPN, enabling access to global websites. The StealthVPN protocol further enhances this capability, making detecting and blocking your VPN connection challenging for networks.

To download Astrill in China, mirror websites like astrill-mirror.com or astrill4u.com may be used.

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