Founded in 2012, Bulgaria-based VPN provider, VPNArea, may be relatively new in the market, but it sure is a worthy contender in the industry. Owned by Offshore Security EOOD, VPNArea boasts of 100 server locations spread out in 55 countries around the world. Incredibly, their day-to-day servers are based in Switzerland which has strong privacy laws to protect user data.
A look at their LinkedIn page indicates that the company has 11 to 50 employees which passes it as a legal entity. Packed with tons of useful features that let you stream, browse or torrent, this VPN provider has you covered from all angles.
Users can also enjoy a reasonably-priced, personal dedicated IP address, which is a fantastic feature offered by very few providers in the industry. Better yet, VPNArea is a fantastic VPN for streaming Netflix with specialized hubs that are accessible 24/7.
VPNArea’s security features are one of its major selling points. With a secure registration process, VPNArea doesn’t store any logs and has 256-bit encryption as an added security layer. Additionally, security on the platform is reinforced with features such as malware protectors, double VPN, stealth VPN, killswitch system, and ad blockers.
Another selling point of VPNArea is that it allows sharing of the service with others, where 8 devices can be used simultaneously. We have reviewed some great VPNs but can ascertain that this feature isn’t common.
App-lovers can download their app available for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire Stick. However, there’s a slightly steep learning curve when using the apps. When facing any challenges with the apps or any other troubleshooting issues, VPNArea has a responsive customer support system with a 24/7 live chat.
All the servers on the network have unlimited bandwidth. Its recent support for the IKEv2 VPN Protocol allows the servers to be compatible with 3rd party app providers.
With price plans as low as $3.21/month, VPNArea allows numerous payment methods including credit cards, Paypal, Payza, Webmoney, or Bitcoin. They even have a 30-day, no-restriction money-back guarantee.
Our team of experts dug deep into VPNArea’s policies on security, pricing, speed, and performance to bring you the following comprehensive review. Buckle up and let our expansive tests answer whether this low-lying VPN provider is worth your money.
- I successfully unblocked numerous streaming sites including Netflix (both US and British libraries), BBCiPlayer, Amazon Prime Video among other streaming sites. Find details on streaming here.
- Has 100 servers distributed across 55 countries with special servers for accessing China and other restricted areas. Read more about the server network here.
- Download and upload speeds drop by 10% to 30% when connected to the VPN. Read more on the speed tests here.
- Compatible with all major operating systems including Windows, macOS, and Android. Find out more details on compatible devices here.
- Boasts of advanced security features such as 256-bit encryption, double VPN, Stunnel servers, and a kill switch. Find more details of their security here.
- Fairly priced packages starting from $3.21/month with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Check out the pricing chart here.
- Has a 24/7 live chat, email ticketing system, and an FAQ page to offer customer support. I tested their live chat here.
VPNArea Features — 2023 Update
Streaming — Good
VPNArea allows you to unblock numerous streaming sites quickly and easily. A unique feature of VPNArea is its specialized servers for accessing streaming sites. Using special servers available on the network, I managed to watch shows on Netflix US, Netflix UK, Amazon Prime Video, SkyGo Italy, and BBCiPlayer.
However, access to Hulu and Disney+ was blocked.
Unblocked: Netflix (US, Italy, and the UK) Amazon Prime Video, BBCiPlayer, SkyGo Italy
VPNArea has dedicated servers set aside for streaming Netflix. On selecting the USA-0-NFLX special server, I quickly accessed Netflix shows in the US. The VPN provider also has a dedicated hub, USA-0-NFLX-EU-Hub, for watching shows from the British Netflix library which I found amazing since most providers lack this feature.
Streaming ‘Stranger Things’ on Netflix using the USA-0-NFLX server
VPNArea also has special hubs to stream Netflix Italy, SkyGo, and DAZN (I streamed from these sites using the Italy-SkyGo-NFLX special server). I was also able to catch a few shows on BBCiPlayer using the UK server.
On connecting to other servers in random locations in the US, I could still access Netflix US and Amazon Prime Video. I also had access to YouTube on these servers.
Blocked By: Hulu, Disney+
Unfortunately, not even VPNArea could bypass the firewall set up by Hulu and Disney+ (which both share the same parent company). My attempt to log into Hulu was met by an error message as shown below:
A message showing an error when trying to log in to Hulu
Speeds — Inconsistent but Fairly Okay
When using a VPN, the speed of pings, downloads, and uploads is bound to be affected depending on factors such as server distance, level of encryption, quality of the network, and internet speed. I carried out numerous speed tests to check for any losses when using VPNArea. There was
An incredible loss in download speed (at times 80% drops) especially when I connected to international servers.
My baseline location was East Africa with a speed of 3.5 Mbps without any VPN connection. I then proceeded to test speeds when using different servers on VPNArea. There were drops in the speeds with the worst being servers in Canada.
I started with a nearby server in Nairobi: A slight drop to 3.44 Mbps
My speed test results on a server in Nairobi
Next was another local server in Mombasa: A substantial drop to 2.03 Mbps
My speed test results on a server in Mombasa
I also tested another in South Africa: Drops to 1.98 Mbps
My speed test results on a server in South Africa
For local servers, the drop in speeds was less than 10%. So, I decided to test servers in the United States and Canada.
First off was New York. Unfortunately, the speed dropped by over 70% to 0.72 Mbps.
My speed test results on a server in New York
To check whether it was unique to this state, I also tested a server in Texas. The drop was slightly less at 1.57 Mbps
My speed test results on a server in Texas
However, Canada had the worst drop to 0.8Mbps
My speed test results on a server in Canada
That said, VPNArea provides you with details on the distance you are from the server, the expected loss in speed, and the ping speed. While not all the servers on the network have this information, you may get a clue of how connecting to particular ones may affect the speed. Here are details on the same:
A section on the VPN showing the distance and expected loss in speed
That said, VPNArea agrees that using the OpenVPN Protocol may result in slower speeds. However, their latest versions for different devices support the IKEv2 Protocol which is said to improve speeds significantly. With this in mind, I decided to switch to IKEv2 (which involves a 13-step manual configuration). Unfortunately, the process is cumbersome and time-consuming, where I didn’t manage to execute it fully.
At the moment, the fastest VPN Protocol is WireGuard. Unfortunately, VPNArea doesn’t support it even with its lean codebase and high-standard encryption.
Are VPNArea’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes
If one is using the IKEv2 Protocol, then gaming on VPNArea is a fantastic experience. On the OpenVPN protocol which is what most people have, the gaming speeds are pretty decent. Having played GuildWars2 using one of the servers on the network, I can attest that there were no significant drops in load speeds.
Playing the GuildWars 2 game using the VPN
Server Network — Wide but Connectivity Needs Major Improvements
VPNArea has over 100 server locations spread across 55 countries around the world. The large network allows users to choose between two protocols; the OpenVPN protocol and the recently-added IKEv2 protocol.
A distinguishing feature of VPNArea is its special P2P servers dedicated to torrenting. These specialized servers have a large bandwidth that makes downloading fast and efficient. I can also attest that the large bandwidth isn’t restricted to the P2P servers but is available on the entire network. Server statistics are visible on the member area and desktop app which helps users pick the best server to give them optimum performance.
Another interesting feature of VPNArea is its Stunnel servers. The use of Stunnel technology is a secure way of accessing sites in countries such as China with strict prohibitions on accessing certain sites.
VPNArea is keen on the user: server ratio which ensures the network performs at an optimum level. Compared to its competitors, the ratio is 13 times better which has helped with customer satisfaction. Better yet, VPNArea has server monitoring software that lets the user see how many people are present in a particular server. Such information gives one the option to pick a server with fewer people which ensures better performance free from jamming.
VPNArea servers are distributed across several continents, with the majority in America and Europe. Below is a table that shows the number of servers in each continent:
Further, I tested several servers to check how fast they connect to the network. The best thing was that I could use it to connect to servers in China, which is a rare feature on other VPNs. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with quite a large number of the servers’ locations that took too long (over a minute) to connect and others didn’t connect at all.
Security — Advanced Security Features
Security is paramount when it comes to VPNs and VPNArea appreciates this fact. The network’s primary protocol is OpenVPN which is the industry-standard protocol due to its many benefits. The protocol uses SSL encryption which hasn’t recorded any known vulnerabilities and boasts of an above-standard encryption algorithm.
The presence of an AntiDNS Leak and leak protection feature ensures that one isn’t exposed when on the network. VPNArea also has a kill switch that helps block traffic when there are issues with connectivity. There’s also an always-on option to ensure one is always on the network.
A major advanced security feature on VPNArea is its military-grade 256-bit encryption. With such encryption which is used by powerful governments to secure their information, VPNArea guarantees user security on the network.
There are also the stealth mode servers that use Stunnel technology which obfuscates traffic on HTTPS. This feature is helpful for users in China, accessing school networks and restricted sites. The network also has a DoubleVPN feature that passes traffic through two servers for added security.
The settings section on the network has a toggle to switch on the ad and malware blocker. Desktop users also have an auto IP changer option which helps control how often one’s IP address changes.
Privacy — Safe with No Log Policy
To start with, the network has a no-logs policy which implies that they don’t record user data on the VPN or DNS servers. Additionally, the network is based in Bulgaria which has a strict ‘ no logs’ law which helps with the platform’s case on this matter. I captured some of the details of the no-log policy below and didn’t find anything questionable.
Try switching browsers if Hulu won't load
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood began streaming 2 seconds after I pressed play in perfect HD. I was able to watch it with zero interruptions.