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Updated: Dec 04, 2020 / Article by: Timothy Shim
SaferVPN isn’t one of the names you’d typically associate with top VPN brands.First developed by a company called Safer Social, Ltd in 2013. Despite a few small initiatives to help bloggers in some countries bypass censorship, it has led a so far unremarkable life.
In 2019, it was acquired by J2 Global, the same organization which also owns IPVanish and Encrypt.me. As of now, all three VPN brands still remain distinct. Despite the strong background of J2, VPNs under their umbrella are a bit suspect, being headquartered in the US.
SaferVPN is relatively well balanced with decent speeds and a fair spread of server locations. However, their price offering remains mediocre at best for what's on offer. Personally I would opt for a better service at more competitive prices.
SaferVPN, despite its relatively low long-term rates, offers most of what other VPN service providers do. This includes mainstream protocols such as OpenVPN and IKEv2 which are the ones I’d recommend at the moment if you don’t have access to WireGuard.
It can be deployed on many types of devices as well, including desktops, mobile, routers, and some browsers. This is important for reasons you’ll see later on in this review. Of course, you also get the usual standard of security when it comes to a VPN today, 256-bit encryption plus the typical kill switch.
While there may not be anything outstanding in all of this, it does check a lot of boxes that are essential to providers for privacy and security services.
2. SaferVPN Servers Offer Decent Speeds
With a spread of 55 Server locations and an unknown number of servers in play, SaferVPN is neither large nor small by today’s standards. For example, it doesn’t match up to network behemoths like CyberGhost with their 6,000+ servers in 90 locations, but it can step over the smaller fry like FastestVPN.
Also, you have to take into account their ownership by J2, meaning they can make use of servers operated by other VPNs in their little gang. This can clearly be observed by SaferVPN connecting to IPVanish servers sometimes during speed tests.
Let’s see how fast SaferVPN performance is:
Baseline Speed Test
SaferVPN Speed Test – US Server
SaferVPN Speed Test – German Server
SaferVPN Speed Test – Singapore Server
SaferVPN Speed Test – Australia Server
SaferVPN Speed Test – Africa Server
3. Netflix Works – Sort of
I’m a Netflix junkie and the region I’m in has a pretty sad Netflix movie library. Of course, that means I use VPNs to access Netflix US region content. As a stingy old miser, I tend to make full use of my Netflix account and get rather miffed if I can’t get it to work.
Of course, I test every single VPN for Netflix access. At first I was a bit dubious whether SaferVPN could do it or not – and was surprised when I could actually connect to Netflix with a SaferVPN US server.
Sadly, it refused to work with Netflix giving me the standard error messages each time I tried to play something. The bright spark is that Netflix will work if you use the SaferVPN Chrome app, very smoothly in fact.
This might not be the ideal solution for everyone though. If you’re using the Chrome extension, the SaferVPN app needs to be shut down. That means a glaring hole in your data privacy for everything else except the browser.
Still, as I said, Netflix will work.
4. Customer Support is Fast and Helpful
One of the things I dread the most about any service (not just VPNs) is getting in touch with customer service. It is normally laborious and infuriating, compounded by long waits given different time zones that everyone is in.
Customer service is one area that SaferVPN wasn’t a let-down in. Their response was fast (I was second in line) and the agent managed to resolve my issue competently. This scenario did however highlight something I did not like – that the SaferVPN app would not work with Netflix.
If you’re looking at SaferVPN for a short use duration – there is no point really bothering. Just go for one of the big names in the VPN business like ExpressVPN and be done with it. If you’re looking for a budget VPN over an extended service life, then you might consider this one.
For a three-year subscription SaferVPN’s price drops to $2.50 per month. While not the lowest around, it does offer a decent balance of speed and usability that can satisfy most. There are some top dogs around that can meet this price, but not many.
Consider it a superior alternative in the mid-tier market.
SaferVPN Cons: What I Dislike
1. They’re Based in the US
There have been arguments about whether the jurisdiction that a VPN service provider falls under matters. However, consider this: as long as you’re operating a business in a country, you’re subject to the laws of that country.
Even if they can’t outright force you to do something, governments can exert a stunningly high amount of pressure on corporate entities if they wish to. With SaferVPN being based in the US, the government isn’t likely to ‘let things go’ if they want something.
As an even greater point of concern, SaferVPN is owned by the same company as IPVanish now. The latter has demonstrated before that it was guilty of keeping user logs and handed them over to US agencies on demand.
All in, not a fantastic track record, and dubious circumstances to entrust your privacy and security.
2. Very Limited P2P / Torrent Support
As I have mentioned many times, P2P or torrenting is a cornerstone of my life. I use it to find many things – you will be surprised at the nutty stuff you can find on P2P networks. Because of that, I’ve always frowned on service providers that try to curtail these activities.
Yes, it is understandable that P2P users take up a lot of bandwidth, but if you’re in the business, provide the service! Some providers like NordVPN can get away with things like this since they have a massive network of servers, so users still have choice.
On SaferVPN, P2P is limited to three locations: the Netherlands, Spain, and Canada. Not commenting on the choice of these three countries, it simply means that those of us in Asia are SOL when it comes to P2P with them.
Verdict: Is SaferVPN Worth a Buy?
SaferVPN is a good example of the fair to middling ground in service providers. It benefits from being associated with some strong brands and can make use of their infrastructure when needed. However, it also inherits the drawbacks of those companies such as a hit in reputation.
Personally, this isn’t a service I would go for and if looking for something better in the same price range, I would much rather go for something like Surfshark. It’s newer to market but has so far performed very consistently, kept its nose clean, and offers serious bang for buck.
Earning disclosure – We use affiliate links in this article. WHSR receive referral fees from companies mentioned in this article. Our opinions are based on real experience and actual test data.
About Timothy Shim
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.