RA4W VPN Review: Why You Should Not Use It

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We have tested many small-scale VPNs hoping to find a hidden gem. When RA4W VPN caught our eye, we were impressed with its airtight privacy policy and strong encryption. Maybe this is the decent inexpensive VPN we’ve been looking for so long? 

RA4W VPN has a couple of features we wish other VPNs would pick up too. Along with that, as we dag deeper, we found many weaknesses that should stop many users from making RA4W their VPN provider of choice. Let’s take a look at some positives and negatives we revealed:

RA4W VPN Pros:

  • Zero-logging policy;
  • Military-grade encryption;
  • OpenVPN protocol;
  • Torrenting is allowed on some servers;
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections;
  • Reasonable prices;
  • Fast and responsive tech support;
  • Accepts Bitcoin. 

RA4W VPN Cons:

  • Poor privacy jurisdiction in the USA;
  • DNS leaks;
  • No Kill Switch;
  • Incompatible with the majority of tunneling protocols;
  • Only 30 servers in 20+ countries (more than half of which didn’t work anyway);
  • No dedicated apps for OS other than Windows;
  • Outdated app design;
  • Doesn’t work with Netflix and geo-blocked streaming services;
  • Slow connection speeds;
  • Neither a trial period nor money-back guarantee.

Our RA4W VPN review doesn’t end here. Below, we have more detail on how we tested the service, which criteria we used, and what conclusions we came to.

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Pricing and Payment

Back in the day, the highlight of RA4W VPN was a lifetime subscription for only $29.99. Today, this option is off the table. Right now, 30 bucks won’t even buy you an annual deal. It seems like the service got more expensive since the day it was launch. 

So, one month with RA4W VPN will cost you $4.99. A 1-year plan will lower the price for 1 month to $2.91 (total $34.99) and with a 2-year plan, you’ll pay only $2.08 per month (which equals to $49.99 for the whole period). In general, the prices are not sky-high. It would be weird if they were since there are not many features that come with a subscription. 

The service offers neither a trial period nor a money-back guarantee. Only if RA4W VPN faces a major defect or it fails to deliver the service you can hope to for a refund within 7 days after singing-up. 

We particularly liked this line from RA4W VPN refund policy: “Complaints which are based merely on the customer’s false expectations or wishes are not honored.” Your expectations are your problems… not cool at all.

Anyways, if you are willing to purchase RA4W VPN, you can pay with a credit card, PayPal, and Bitcoin (make sure to learn how to anonymously buy a VPN with Bitcoin). 

Devices and Operating Systems

The provider is very limited on the devices it supports. Currently, it supplies a dedicated VPN client only for Windows. You can set it up on macOS, Linux, Android, iOS and some routers but only through manual configuration. It is not user-friendly whatsoever. 

Unlike most VPN providers, RA4W VPN doesn’t restrict the number of simultaneous connections from the same account. The only thing you can’t do is connect to the same VPN server on two or more devices.

RA4W VPN Ease of Use

RA4W’s website has no links to download the client for Windows until you create an account and pay for a subscription. But once you signed up, you’ll be redirected to the Downloads section where you can find a Windows client and OpenVPN configuration files.

After installation that takes about a minute, you’ll have to sign in to the app. Weirdly enough, instead of the credentials you used to create your account with RA4W VPN, you have to go with a username and password provided by the system. You can find them on your dashboard on the website. It is a bit unusual but ok.

The Windows client looks outdated. Its layout feels like too much is going on but with all these ugly buttons and tabs, you can’t configure pretty much anything. There is no automated connection so you’ll have to choose a preferred server manually. It uses the same encryption and connection protocol all the time so there is no way to change this. In the settings tab, you can configure TAP Adapter but this is rather for advanced users. The only thing we liked about RA4W VPN app is connection statistics and real-time data about download and upload speeds. 

All in all, RA4W Windows client is easy to use but its interface takes the cake as the most hideous we’ve ever seen. 

RA4W VPN Servers and Locations

RA4W-VPN-servers-locations

RA4W VPN is a very small service that officially offers only 30 servers in 23 countries. What’s even worse, you can’t make use of all of them. At the time we wrote this review, there were only 14 servers in 10 countries available, the rest were offline. Even if all the servers were up and running, there are no options for South America whatsoever. Other regions are covered not much better: Africa got only 1 server (in South Africa), the presence in North America is limited to 6 servers (all are in the USA), only 1 location is available for entire Oceania, and 4 in Asia. In Europe, the advertised coverage is a little better (16 servers in 14 countries).

The funny thing is that the service’s website claims ‘we use only highest quality servers to minimize downtime’. Well, these ‘quality servers’ failed the mission because the majority of them were down.

RA4W VPN Speed Test

‘Lightning fast’, ‘unrivaled browsing performance’ – this is how RA4W VPN describes its connection. We never believe marketing tricks so we tested a few servers in the USA and Europe to see how fast they are. With only 30 servers on their network and only 14 currently online, we didn’t expect any good speeds. When we faced 70% slow-down on the US server, we weren’t surprised. European servers performed a little bit better but still far away from ‘lightning-fast’. With about 10-15 Mbps you can still browse but forget about HD video streaming or downloading. 

Unblocking Geo-Restricted Websites

Many VPNs brag they can unblock geo-restricted websites. In reality, however, it ends up being nothing more than empty promises. Still, we decided to test it out with some popular streaming services. To be honest, the result was predictable in advance since RA4W just doesn’t have enough servers. So, we tried out all four available VPN servers in the USA with Netflix, and as we suspected, we didn’t move further than a proxy error. Service didn’t work with the HBO and HULU either, and We couldn’t test it with BBC iPlayer because it doesn’t provide any working servers in the UK. 

Torrenting Support

Many VPN providers forbid P2P traffic so that they can avoid troubles if their clients download something illegally. RA4W VPN allows torrenting but only on 13 servers. But, the problem is there are not many servers in torrent-friendly countries. The service has servers in the Netherlands and Switzerland (which are great options for safe torrenting) but the Swiss server, surprisingly, didn’t support P2P connection. Like it wasn’t enough, the majority of servers were down when we tested them, including the one in the Netherlands, so the only safe option for torrenting that remained was a server in Ukraine. RA4W VPN recommends using servers in Russia and Romania but we don’t think these countries have friendly anti-piracy laws. 

Main Security Features

The service implements military-grade AES-256 encryption paired with RSA-2048 handshake and SHA1 authentication. Currently, this combination is considered impossible to crack. As for connection protocols, there is only OpenVPN. While it is recognized as the most secure protocol, it is always nice to have more options to switch to for better connection speeds. 

Good encryption doesn’t guarantee complete anonymity and safety. If a provider can’t stop leaking, user identity is at risk of revealing. Unfortunately, this is what happened with RA4W VPN. During our tests, we discovered DNS leaks. The service doesn’t have its own DNS servers so it has to rely on those of the third-party. Sadly, they didn’t perform well so our original location became known. RA4W VPN doesn’t offer any protection against DNS leaks but their websites suggest two solutions on how to avoid it. According to the service, you can either configure a DNS server on your router or network adapter. Neither of these methods is particularly user-friendly, especially when RA4W VPN lacks information on how to do it.

Besides the DNS leak issue, we were upset not to find a Kill Switch feature. If you suddenly lose a connection to the VPN server, nothing can stop your real IP address from getting exposed. 

Privacy Policy

Just like many other VPN providers, RA4W claims it collects no logs. We decided to check whether it is true and turned to their privacy policy. What we discovered pleasantly surprised us. Other than registering your attempts to connect to the same server from multiple devices, there is no logging. This is a great thing considering RA4W VPN is based in the USA.

To create and use your account with RA4W VPN, you will need to submit your name and email address but you can just make up a pseudonym and get a burner email for anonymity. Besides this information, the service will keep data about your payments, requests on the contact page, as well as cookies. This is a normal practice in the VPN industry to keep track of this information so RA4W VPN doesn’t go over the top.

Jurisdiction

The question that should bother every security paranoid user is where his/her VPN service is registered. In particular, whether it is inside or outside of the Five Eyes Alliance. When it comes to RA4W VPN, it turns out that it operates from the least privacy-friendly country, the USA (at least, in the scale of a VPN industry). America is one of the founders of the Five Eyes and it has been long known for spying over Internet users. The US government has the right to demand information about subscribers from VPNs and the services can’t disobey. They can’t even disclose cases when the government approached them with such requests. While there is some peace of mind considering RA4W VPN’s strong privacy policy, the fact that its jurisdiction could have been better doesn’t let us consider it 100% safe to use. 

Customer Support

If you run into a common issue (for example, how to fix DNS leaks), you can try to find the answer in the Knowledge Base first. It is not as detailed as we would like it to be but it helps in most cases.

If you need help from a real person, there is only one option – submit a ticket via the contact form. Normally, it takes a while to get a reply with this method but we didn’t have to wait long. A support rep contacted us back within just a few minutes and provided a detailed answer. We understand that a reply won’t always come fast if the support department is overwhelmed with requests but the first impression was very good.

Conclusion

RA4W VPN is a relatively new provider which still struggles with the challenges of growth. It was unable to increase its server network which resulted in slow speeds, limited torrenting, and failed attempts to unblock geo-restricted websites. RA4W VPN should work hard on adding more features, especially Kill Switch and DNS leak protection, as well as updating its Windows VPN client. Also, we would want it to develop more dedicated apps for other popular platforms and devices. Its privacy policy, strong encryption, and customer service deserve praise but they are overshadowed with poor jurisdiction, leaks, and limited contact options respectively.

Final Score
2
Bad
Right now, the service doesn’t offer anything unique that would set it apart from hundreds of other VPNs. There is too much the RA4W team has to work on that’s why we can’t recommend it to our users.
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Final Score