DotVPN Review: Quick Expert Summary
DotVPN doesn’t protect your data and privacy, and you should avoid it all costs. There are much better options on the market today, including our top-rated VPNs like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, or ProtonVPN.
What’s most alarming about DotVPN is that it leaks your IP address, which means websites you visit will know where you live. Another serious flaw is that DotVPN doesn’t have a kill switch, so your data is vulnerable to leaking onto the web if your VPN connection drops without your knowledge.
And unfortunately, the drawbacks don’t end there. DotVPN logs your IP address (temporarily), doesn’t work with most streaming services, doesn’t allow torrenting, and doesn’t have apps for Windows or Mac. Plus, its mobile apps are glitchy, its server network is tiny, its ad blocker doesn’t block ads, its speed test is inaccurate, its customer support is lousy, and it only allows 3 simultaneous connections.
DotVPN has a free plan and paid monthly and yearly plans that are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee — but only if you use less than 10 GB of data and under 100 total connections.
|🏅 Overall Rank||#53 out of 80 VPNs|
|🌍 Number of Servers||1000+|
|📱 Number of Devices||3|
|💸 Starting Price||$2.99 / month|
|🎁 Free Plan||Yes|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||30 days (as long as you use less than 10 GB and 100 connections)|
DotVPN Full Review
I tested and researched DotVPN to see how it matched up to some of the top VPNs on the market, and frankly, it fell well short. While it has 128-bit AES encryption, good speeds, and sometimes works with Netflix, these are the only things that are good about it.
What’s more, DotVPN doesn’t allow torrenting, it’s unable to access Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, or BBC iPlayer, its mobile apps are glitchy, there are no desktop apps (only browser extensions), and I was unable to reach customer support to address security issues.
All in all, I can’t recommend using DotVPN due to its privacy and security vulnerabilities, as well as a wide range of other red flags.
DotVPN has 128-bit AES encryption, which isn’t as secure as 256-bit AES encryption, but it’s still very secure — and you also get a 4096-bit key (a commonly used encryption cipher). DotVPN claims to use 128-bit AES because it’s faster (which it should be since it involves less encryption). However, DotVPN also claims that 256-bit AES encryption has known vulnerabilities, but there’s no evidence to back this up.
DotVPN is also missing is a kill switch, which shuts down your internet connection if the VPN connection is lost — this keeps your data from leaking onto the internet. So, if your DotVPN connection drops and you aren’t aware of it, all of your data is vulnerable to being exposed on the web. ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access both have kill switches for most of the major operating systems.
DotVPN doesn’t list what leak protections it has, so I ran leak tests on a server in each of DotVPN’s 12+ servers. My test results showed no issues with the TLS or DNS leaks, but DotVPN failed my WebRTC and IPv6 leak tests. This means my IP address was exposed while using browsers and sites that support IPv6 traffic.
When it comes to protocols, DotVPN uses IPsec for the iOS app and OpenVPN for the Android app. Both are good and secure, but IPSec is faster than OpenVPN. That being said, WireGuard is faster than both IPSec and OpenVPN — and many top VPNs like Private Internet Access, ProtonVPN, and CyberGhost VPN all use WireGuard and have some of the fastest speeds on the market.
There are a few extra features available on the apps and the browser extensions, including:
- Ad blocker. DotVPN includes an ad blocker, but it didn’t work in my tests — I still encountered banner ads and full-page ads that covered my entire screen. If you’re looking for a very good ad blocker, check out Private Internet Access and ProtonVPN, which also both block trackers and malicious websites.
- Bandwidth saver. DotVPN says this feature can save up to 30% of your data traffic. This might be useful for those who get limited bandwidth from their ISP. I found that I got a slight increase in speeds while this was toggled on.
- Firewall. This feature shields your device from hackers, who can infect your device with malware or steal your personal information. It’s automatically enabled by default.
- Speed test. The browser app comes with a built-in speed test that runs automatically whenever you connect to a server. This is a nice feature, but my tests showed that the displayed speeds were typically off by 20+ Mbps when I used other third-party speed test sites. ExpressVPN has an easy-to-use and accurate speed test on its Windows and macOS apps.
DotVPN Privacy & Security
What’s worse, DotVPN clearly states that it stores your IP address for 24 hours from the last time you use the service. This is unacceptable, as there’s no reason for a VPN to store your IP address for any length of time, even if just for 24 minutes.
Instead, I prefer VPNs that have clear, strict, and transparent no-logs policies that don’t log your IP address and browsing history (and many top VPNs like ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN have had their no-logs policies independently audited and confirmed).
DotVPN is based in Hong Kong, which is outside of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances (a group of countries that share intelligence data). This is good, but DotVPN says it will share personal data and user connection history if demanded by the Hong Kong court.
DotVPN Speed & Performance
I ran speed tests on servers based in the 12+ counties offered by DotVPN using the Chrome browser extensions. The local servers gave me surprisingly great speeds and the distant servers were decent.
First, I ran a speed test without the VPN connected to find my baseline speeds:
DotVPN has an auto-connect tool, which connected me to a server in the UK (my home country). Here are my speeds:
And here are my speeds while connected to the US:
Overall, I was impressed with DotVPN’s speeds, particularly on servers that were nearby.
The local servers actually increased my speeds by about 24%, and I had similar experiences connected to servers in other European countries such as Ireland and France. Web browsing was rapid and Netflix shows started right away without any buffering.
I experienced drops of about 78% when connected to servers in the US or Japan — websites took a few seconds to load and videos took up to 8 seconds to start but played pretty smoothly once they began.
DotVPN Servers & IP Addresses
DotVPN has 1000+ servers in 12+ countries (Canada, Germany, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, the UK, and the US). This is a small network when compared to some of the top VPNs like ExpressVPN (3,000+ servers in 90+ countries) or CyberGhost VPN (9,400+ in 90+ countries).
I like how DotVPN displays the ping (the amount of time it takes an internet signal to travel from your device to the VPN server) for browser extensions — but not the mobile apps — after you connect to a server. However, I wish it displayed the ping before you connected to a server so you could find the fastest servers (like Private Internet Access).
Overall, DotVPN’s network is smaller than many of its competitors and it doesn’t support torrenting.
DotVPN Streaming & Torrenting
DotVPN isn’t good for streaming — the vast majority of streaming sites blocked me from my accounts, including Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer. That said, DotVPN sometimes works with Netflix, and it’s able to access some other lesser-known local sites like Dropout and Funimation.
Overall, DotVPN doesn’t work with the most popular streaming services (other than Netflix), and torrenting isn’t allowed on any of its servers.
DotVPN Plans & Pricing
DotVPN has a free plan, as well as monthly and yearly premium plans. Each plan only allows 3 simultaneous connections, which is below the industry average of 5 — ExpressVPN allows 5 connections, ProtonVPN and Private Internet Access each allow 10 connections, and IPVanish allows unlimited connections.
The free plan includes unlimited data and access to the firewall, but it throttles your speeds, limits your server locations to just France and the US, and doesn’t allow streaming. If you’re only in the market for a free VPN, I recommend ProtonVPN, which has unlimited data, fast speeds, and excellent security features.
Upgrading to DotVPN’s premium plans, which start at $2.99 / month, unlocks access to all of the servers, faster speeds, streaming support, and all of the features. While DotVPN’s prices are reasonable, it doesn’t offer the same value as the top VPNs on the market in 2023.
DotVPN accepts PayPal, local payment systems like AliPay and Santander Argentina, as well as for cryptocurrencies. However, I’m disappointed that it doesn’t accept credit/debit cards.
DotVPN backs each purchase with a 30-day money-back guarantee, but your traffic must not exceed 10 GB or you can’t have more than 100 connections in order to claim a refund.
DotVPN Ease of Use: Mobile & Desktop Apps
DotVPN has apps for Android and iOS, as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera — but there are no native apps for Windows and macOS (even though it says on the website that apps are coming for these platforms in 2016!).
Installation of the mobile apps and browser extensions was easy and took less than a minute in each case.
However, I don’t like the mobile apps. It took a long time to connect to a server and there were also several occasions where the app would automatically start connecting to servers even while I had the auto-connect function turned off. For a glitch-free VPN experience, I recommend checking out our list of the best Android and iOS VPNs in 2023 (ExpressVPN has the best app for each operating system).
The browser extensions are much nicer than the mobile apps — you get a fun interface, which displays a picture that is from each server location (for example, the French server has an image of the Eiffel Tower), each server includes the ping, you can sort servers by region, and connecting to a server is very fast.
Overall, the browser extensions are quick and easy to use, but the mobile apps are a bit glitchy, and there are no desktop apps (click here to view the best VPNs for Windows, or here to check out the best macOS VPNs).
DotVPN Customer Support
DotVPN’s customer support is awful — it’s limited to very basic and outdated guides and email support, and there’s no 24/7 live chat.
The email support is a joke. I sent 8 different email messages but never received a response. Competitors like ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access respond to all emails, reply within 6 hours, and always include helpful information.
Not only are there very few guides on DotVPN’s website but they’re often years out of date, referencing upcoming updates planned to introduce the desktop apps in mid-2016 (that still don’t exist).
If you’re looking for industry-leading customer support, check out ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and CyberGhost VPN, which all offer 24/7 live chat, responsive email support, an extensive library of troubleshooting and installation guides, and tutorials.
Is DotVPN Good Enough in 2023?
DotVPN has some significant security and privacy issues — for example, it leaks your IP address, lacks a kill switch, and doesn’t have a strict or clear no-logs policy. All of this puts your data and personal information at risk, which is why I don’t recommend using DotVPN for any reason at all.
You can find excellent alternatives on our list of the top VPNs in 2023, including ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and ProtonVPN.
DotVPN has many other problems. It records your IP address for 24 hours after each VPN session, it’s not good for streaming (but it sometimes works with Netflix), it doesn’t support P2P traffic, and it’s missing native desktop apps. In addition, its mobile apps are buggy, its ad blocker doesn’t block many ads, and its speed test isn’t reliable. What’s more, its customer support is basically nonexistent, you only get 3 connections, and the 30-day money-back guarantee is only valid if you don’t exceed 10 GB.
DotVPN — Frequently Asked Questions
Does DotVPN work with Netflix?
DotVPN doesn’t consistently work with Netflix. During my testing, I had some success accessing Netflix, but some servers didn’t work. Also, I failed to access other top streaming services like Disney+, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer.
Is DotVPN secure?
Not really. Unfortunately, DotVPN has some major security and privacy issues. It doesn’t have a kill switch (this means you’re vulnerable to data leaks if the VPN connection drops), it constantly leaked my IP address, and it stores your IP address for 24 hours.
For a secure VPN experience, I recommend ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access, which both include all of the industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, a strict (and verified) no-logs policy, and full leak protection. Both VPNs also come with advanced security features like RAM-only servers (none of the data is stored on the hard drive and all of it is erased each time the server is reset) and perfect forward secrecy (changes your encryption key to prevent past or future keys from getting compromised).
What browsers does DotVPN work with?
DotVPN has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. These extensions are easy to install and intuitive, with a visually pleasing interface. Unfortunately, many of the features they come with don’t work as they should — for example, the ad blocker doesn’t block many ads. DotVPN also has an app for Android and iOS (though they are buggy), but there are no native desktop apps.
ExpressVPN is my top recommendation for browser extensions. It has extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, and the extensions come with WebRTC leak protection, are feature-rich (and all of the features work as expected), and are very easy to install and use.
Is DotVPN free?
DotVPN has a free version. Free users get unlimited data, access to servers in the US and France, and a firewall, but you need to upgrade to DotVPN’s monthly or yearly plan to add all of the servers, faster speeds, the ad blocker, and audio/video streaming.
For very budget-conscious users who are only looking for a free VPN, ProtonVPN offers the best free plan out there — it has unlimited data, access to servers in the US, the Netherlands, and Japan, fast speeds, and high-end security features.
But for the best experience, I suggest purchasing a low-cost VPN like ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access. They both have top-notch security features, very fast speeds, and excellent streaming and torrenting support.