Pandapow VPN Review
Based in Hong Kong and a trademark of a company called DoEnter Limited, PandaPow provides a VPN service that is fast to configure and easy to use. PandaPow advertises unrestricted and anonymous browsing, which sounds very good on paper. However, the truth is that no VPN service can make you 100% anonymous and that some restrictions apply regardless of what service you decide to opt for.
Is My Privacy Protected with PandaPow?
There is a mention that they may share your information if legally obligated, and that your personal information will never be shared with a third party for commercial or other purposes.
There is also a mention of a possible termination clause in case there are copyright infringement issues, in which case they reserve the right to close the specific account in order to avoid legal actions. One may wonder how exactly they identify people engaging in copyright infringement if they do not store any information about users’ activity? This is questionable.
“Your privacy is critically important to us, and we are committed to protect your privacy online. We are also committed to providing you with the best experience we can offer on our website.
As a provider of online-enabled services, we might require users to provide contact information, such as their name and e-mail address, as well as other necessary data, depending on the service, to set up and maintain their services with PandaPow. We use customer contact information to send customers information about our company, as well as newsletters and promotion information. Users may opt-out of receiving future mailings by choosing to un-subscribe. We will never provide your information to a third party unless absolutely necessary to conform with a legal requirement, comply with the legal process, protect and defend the rights or property of PandaPow, enforce this online agreement, or act to protect the interests of our customers. We do not retain credit card or banking information.
This website has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under our control. All data is protected by using the most advanced methods available.
In addition to any personal information you provide us, we may store the following pieces of data: IP address, times when connected to our service, the total amount of data transferred, and transfer speed information. We store this data to be able to provide our users with the best possible service. This information is kept secure and private and never shared with any third party.
If we receive complaints regarding copyrighted materials such as music and movies being shared over our network, we may be forced to take some measures to prevent legal actions towards our service. Such measures include filtering traffic in order to determine what account is misusing our service, and to cancel that specific account.
We do not under any circumstance store any private information about our user activities on our network, such as emails, chats, VOIP calls, websites visited, etc.
The Account Holder is responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of his/her security credentials, and/or passwords (if any) and is liable for any harm resulting from disclosing or allowing disclosure of any password or sharing of security credentials. In the event of a breach of security, the Account Holder will remain liable for any unauthorized use of the Service until Account Holder notifies PandaPow. Concurrent or simultaneous logins from the same account are prohibited.
PandaPow does not and will not actively monitor user sessions for inappropriate behavior, nor do we maintain direct logs of any customer’s Internet activities. However, PandaPow reserves the right to investigate matters we consider to be illegal or violations of these T’s&C’s. We may, but are not obligated to, in our sole discretion, and without notice, remove, block, filter or restrict by any means any materials or information (including but not limited to e-mails) that we consider to be actual or potential violations of the restrictions set forth in these T&C’s, and any other activities that may subject PandaPow, or its customers, to liability. PandaPow disclaims any and all liability for any failure on its part to prevent such materials or information from being transmitted over the Service and/or into your computing device.
PandaPow will never intentionally disclose any private electronic communication or personal customer information.
PandaPow reserves the right to terminate an account immediately for violating any part of this agreement.”
How Much is PandaPow? Is There a Free Trial?
Considering the features they offer, we found the prices to be quite decent, and with a good variety of plans available, you are very likely to find a plan that best suits your needs.
We have to emphasize the fact that we disliked the restricted number of payment methods available and the fact that bitcoin is not a supported payment method. This is not something that has to do with the functionality or desirability of the product, but we feel that having bitcoin as an accepted payment method should be a must in the case of VPN products which are meant to increase your online privacy.
PandaPow Speed Test
The speed tests provide some decent results. Nothing out of the ordinary, but we had steady and acceptable results regardless of the tested server location. The speed was not great on paper, but the browsing experience was good. There were no interruptions or disconnects and the connection was made very quickly, even on servers in remote locations.
How is Customer Service at PandaPow?
Support is by ticketed email or live chat. It might be because my time zone in the UK is very different to that of Hong Kong, but live chat was never available when I visited the website. Phone support is available during Hong Kong business hours (GMT+8). Regular international call charges apply.
I sent some questions by email and received only a partial response two days later. When I asked for clarification and additional details, PandaPow took a full two weeks to respond. Now, I know this all happened over the holiday period, but I was still rather surprised by this very long delay.
Easy to use apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone & iPad & more
Unlimited server switches for all servers
Unlimited speed, bandwidth, speed test usage
7 Day Money Back Guarantee, hassle free
Amazing Support – Email, Live Chat & Remote Control
120+ VPN servers in 16 countries and counting
3 Simultaneous connections
No logging of your browsing activity
Awesome affiliate program – Anyone can sign up
Instant activation – Get started in minutes
We were unable to access Netflix or Hulu on any of the tested servers. It would have been a nice plus, but we will not count it against PandaPow since it’s very common for these features to be unavailable with VPN services nowadays. Other media streaming services such as CNN were available and performed very well.
We addressed the support team about the availability port forwarding but we still have not received an answer from them. We were unable to find anything on their website so we will assume that the feature is unavailable. The same situation applies to proxy.
We appreciate that their software allows sees the connection log. Speaking of connection logs, we noticed that they are using 128-bit Blowfish cipher, SHA1 160-bit for data channel encryption and RSA-1024 for authentication. That is insecure by today standards.
Is PandaPow Safe?
Despite telling me that that PandaPow uses a proprietary SSL-based protocol, it does, in fact, use regular OpenVPN. Indeed, its Windows client is a custom build of the open source OpenVPN 2.3.11 client. PandaPow claims its “proprietary” VPN protocol is “designed specifically to avoid detection and blocking that otherwise breaks standard VPN protocols.” When I asked for further details, I was told that,
“We don’t want to describe in detail what may be used against us, by those who want to block our VPN. Let’s just say our VPN service has been successful for years in places where many of our competitors are having problems getting blocked.”
The OpenVPN configuration and log files make it clear that the following encryption is used: Blowfish-128 cipher, RSA-2048 handshake, and HMAC SHA-1 hash authentication. In other words, baseline OpenVPN settings. Please see VPN Encryption Terms Explained for more details.
PandaPow says that perfect forward secrecy (PFS) is implemented. This would not be surprising, as PFS has been implemented in the latest official OpenVPN 2.4.0 update. However, the PandaPow Windows software client is based on OpenVPN 2.3.11, and no Diffie-Hellman or ECDH keys are specified in the config files. This suggests that PFS is, in fact, not used.
In short, I feel that the service performed well enough in some aspects and that it lacks in others. I understand that all VPN services provide different features for different prices but I also feel that some of them should be a must regardless of what the price of the service is.