Online censorship is on the increase. So too is cybercrime. SpyOff VPN is one of a growing number of Virtual Private Network operators to offer anyone and everyone the opportunity to protect their security and privacy online. This VPN provider is based in San Marino, Italy, and boasts hundreds of servers across the globe – in fact, more than 395 in 21-countries.
With geo-restrictions now blocking people from visiting websites because of their location, now is probably the right time to invest in a decent VPN service. That is if you value a free internet.
SpyOff VPN Review – It Switches on Privacy
If you haven’t already protected your privacy and security online, you may be interested to know that VPNs allow you to disguise your IP address so you can access blocked sites without detection and protect your personal information at the same time.
By accessing servers from different locations, you can change your virtual location and avoid not just the censors but the prying eyes of ISPs and, importantly, hackers.
SpyOFF says its puts data security and online security first with a high-speed VPN that offers unlimited server changes, SSL 256-bit encryption and no data or connection logging. I put it to the test using its client for Windows. Continue reading to find out how I how got on, and my overall opinion …
- 395+ VPN servers in 21 countries
- 256-bit SSL encryption
- Multiple Logins
- No data logging
- Unlimited server switching
- Kill Switch
- Supports numerous protocols – OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP
- Cancel anytime
- Price plans are limited and expensive
- Slower speeds in OpenVPN mode
- Limited protocols
- Unclear if service supports P2P (torrenting)
- Client not always able to connect
Limited Pricing Options
With so much competition, I was expecting to see a range of pricing options from SpyOFF. However, instead, I discovered only two. Although I am sure this will increase as its customer base across the US and Europe grows.
The current options are limited to either a relatively expensive monthly plan and a not much cheaper 12-month plan. Both offer the same range of services, and there didn’t appear to be any add-ons available when I reviewed the service.
The monthly ‘Starter plan’comes in at $11.99 per month, at the higher end of the pricing scale for this type of VPN provider.
The ‘Premium plan’is priced at $8.99 a month, which is much more expensive than some of its competitors’ pricing plans.
Ivacy, for example, has a 24-month plan at $1.87 per month, currently on offer with an additional year for free.
PureVPN also has a three-year deal – at $1.92 per month. SpyOFF’s payment options are also limited to Visa and MasterCard. However, subscribers can cancel at any time.
Some people may take the view that you get what you pay for. I’m sure you will agree, one significant advantage of SpyOFF is its massive network of servers?
SpyOFF Platforms and Software
SpyOFF has a client available for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, Linux and the iOS operating system. It provides a manual set-up for Linux users, meaning this passionate community is not overlooked.
A set-up guide is also available for routers. While SpyOFF software is not compatible with all versions operating systems, its range of clients will suit most users’ needs. Personally, I liked the choice on offer and added protection at home and on the move.
One hugely important plus for this VPN is its compatibility with mobile devices. That for me is especially important, what with Wi-Fi hotspots increasingly becoming breeding grounds for hackers.
Whatever pricing plan you choose, SpyOFF allows an unlimited number of connected devices on the account. Furthermore, they can be used simultaneously. That means you get to protect all your devices or family members devices for one monthly fee.
SpyOFF VPN Features
SpyOFF’s standard security suite includes military-grade 256-bit encryption and L2TP, PPTP and OpenVPN protocols. It recommends using the OpenVPN protocol for the best user experience in ‘ ultra-secure mode.’The protocols, which do appear to be limited compared to some other providers, can be used from the VPN client or installed manually. SpyOFF does; however, say it offers information about protocols on its blog.
The VPN service’s ‘balanced’L2TP supports the AES block cypher with a key length of 128 bits. That combined with Microsoft’s Point-to-Point encryption – is generally accepted as secure and reliable.
SpyOFF says its PPTP should only be used when bypassing censorship blocks when streaming. Its expert mode (I couldn’t find it on the client,) allows subscribers to customise the available protocols.
Other features include Unlimited server switches, a kill switch, no data logging and unlimited devices. The VPN does not state if its service supports P2P (torrenting). It does allow for streaming, and it came with an auto-start feature for Windows.
SpyOff has a strict no-logging policy. It does not keep data logs, and account information is protected with 256-bit SSL encryption. The data it requires for new accounts include a first name and surname, your address, telephone number, payment details and an email address.
Software Security and Performance Modes
SpyOff VPN offers different modes of security and performance. These can be used according to your needs via the downloadable client software. The modes are as follows:
Ultra Secure Mode
OpenVPN with 128-bit and 256-bit encryption. This level of encryption is the highest available, providing military strength security.
L2TP with 128-bit encryption. SpyOff says it recommends this mode to achieve the right balance of security and speed for the best user experience.
PPTP protocol, offering a lower level of security but higher speeds.
Configure your VPN protocol from the available protocols to meet your needs. Now, this option I could not find, and this information was taken from SpyOff itself. If you take a look at the Windows client images above, you will see there is no Expert Mode.
While the package options on offer are a little limited, I found it easy to sign up to SpyOff. Not more than a few minutes after sending payment and I was downloading the Windows client.
Once I had installed it, I was presented with a simple client interface with strong branding. I found it instantly easy to navigate and would recommend it to those who may be using a VPN for the first time. If you are not familiar with this type of security and privacy software, this provider makes all the essential features easy to locate and simple to use.
Switching between countries was not difficult. I could choose a server from the pool of countries or let SpyOFF choose one for me. I found the auto-start useful and was pleased the software comes with a kill switch. Meaning my anonymity was protected even if I lost connection to a VPN server.
On the downside, I could not connect to a server in the USA. Why? I do not know, as no error message was presented.
Network Connection Interrupted
Another negative when testing was my inability to test the Highspeed mode.As you can see in the image above, this error did present me with a message. Apparently, the connection between my computer and the VPN server was interrupted. As for why? It could have been that the server reached capacity or latency issues.
This VPN apparently is you read other reviews offers consistent download and upload speeds. However, the proof is in the testing, so that is what I did.
Overall, it performed best in Balanced Mode, but the Open VPN protocol was not much slower. I connected to an Australian server using both OpenVPN and L2PT protocols using the Windows client, and both worked without any interruptions.
However, if speed is everything to you, here are my test results.
Fibre Broadband Speed Test Without VPN
To give me something to compare the VPN too, I first tested my download and upload speeds without a VPN. As you can see in the image above, I was running at a download speed of 33.17Mbps and an upload speed of 9.11Mbps.
Test Number One
To start with I tried to test a US based server, but could not connect. So, after multiple attempts, I tried an Australian one based in Sydney that’s 10,553-miles away. It’s also worth noting that I am not currently receiving an optimal service from my ISP. My download speed should be 40Mbps and upload speed 12Mbps, but there is always some fluctuation.
The result, on clicking, connect and then visiting Speedtest.net,I was shocked to discover I had lost 66% of my download speed. It was now, at 12.44Mbps, the fastest I could get it after testing three times.
As for upload speed, again, the best I could get was a third of my non-VPN rate 3.23Mbps.
Test Number Two
Ok, so, I have tested from far away, but what about closer to home, would I see any significant speed drop? Disconnecting from the Australian server, I then chose the United Kingdom. Although, as you can see from the image above, it Frankfurt, I double checked my connection choice, and I certainly had chosen the UK. So, I assume that was an error in the client software!
As for the result, this time I saw a drop in download speed of about 40% from 33.17Mbps to 19.71Mbps. That’s not great even for a server in Germany; I was expecting high twenties at least. Moving onto upload strangely, I saw an improvement up from 9.11Mbps to 9.47Mbps.
Server speed conclusion
Both download times were much slower than I had expected, although the upload was mixed. Yes, this is a common occurrence for VPN users, but companies like ExpressVPN and IPVanish have much faster servers.
However, I found the consistency of advice was a huge benefit was the overall benefit from this VPN. I reached out for help when I couldn’t connect to the US server. I was quickly informed there was a problem, and I should try another.
Additionally, the advice that was given, about the four security modes was constructive. I imagine that in future attempts to use the client would have a better outcome. Because choosing a protocol that would support the best speed for my activities would be easier.
If you are looking for a VPN provider with multiple support options, SpyOFF is probably not for you. While its website does boast a decent enough FAQ section, it contains information covering the basics of its services and general information about VPNs.
Its knowledge base is quite limited, with no search bar. The blog section is now available in English and includes newsworthy stories about censorship as well as information and advice about the company’s services.
However, for English speaking customers like myself, I think placing a small almost imperceivable option to translate from German to English is not good enough.
Additionally, there is no Live Chat available, and contact, is via an email form. Anyone looking for an instant response to a question may be disappointed. SpyOFF could do more to improve its overall customer support offer. Having said that, maybe I was lucky, I submitted a support ticket and got a response within 20-minutes. After that, I was directed to the right resources, restarted the client and could play around.
While SpyOFF provides a good level of online security and privacy using the top level of encryption and no logging, it is expensive with limited pricing options. Compared to the likes of IvacyVPN it’s not quite as easy to set up. But, I still think its a good option for someone new to the VPN market!
Why? Because, although a little glitchy (for me) its client software was easy to use, by that I mean obvious, in how it works. However, other negatives are that it supports fewer protocols compared to some competition. Plus, it does not make clear if P2P is available or if torrenting is even allowed.
While customer support is not the worst I’ve seen, it could do with some minor tweaks to bring it up to scratch. A more populated FAQ section and live chat would do the trick.
Overall, a decent service provider for someone who wants to browse the web anonymously, protect their security but doesn’t need the fastest servers.
Not sure about this VPN? Take a look at our growing number of service provider reviews, your perfect match may be in there.