By creating a secure connection over the internet, a VPN allows you to access region-restricted websites, but also shields your online activities and protects your identity from prying eyes on unsecured networks. No wonder the use of VPN services has increased tremendously over the past few years.
Established in 2011 in Moldova, CactusVPN managed to gain a positive reputation in the VPN industry within just a few years of its launch. The VPN service is now considered one of the best in the market. But, is all this attention worth it?
Is My Privacy Protected with CactusVPN?
The company also guarantees that no user information will be passed on to third parties. Additionally, they “ do not store any IP addresses, traffic logs, connection timestamps, used bandwidth or session duration information that could be traced to a single person ”, which is exactly what almost all VPN users look for.
In addition, CactusVPN states that they may share users’ personally identifiable information to third parties only when: they have your consent for the same or they are in need to share information as a response to legal processes, court orders or subpoenas.
As an advanced measure, the VPN service also offers an internet kill switch feature to further benefit users.
How Much is CactusVPN? Is There a Free Trial?
CactusVPN offers a SmartDNS service, which is basically used to unblock geographically restricted websites and access regional-restricted content. Therefore, the company’s pricing plans are influenced by this to some extent.
Coming to the pricing plans, CactusVPN has them categorized as: US VPN, UK VPN, VPN + SmartDNS, and SmartDNS. Yes, this is perhaps the only VPN service we have across so far that has pricing plans specifically designed for US and UK VPNs.
You can choose between monthly, quarterly, and annual plans, and the pricing goes like this: $4.99 / month, $4.99 / month, $6.99 / month, and $4.99 / month for each of those categories respectively. If you choose quarterly payments, the amounts will be $12.99, $12.99, $17.99, and $12.99 respectively. And for annual payments, the amounts are $38.99, $38.99, $54.99, and $38.99 respectively. It might look a bit confusing, but in fact the only price that differs form the others is the one that offers VPN and Smart DNS.
We have to say that the pricing of CactusVPN is in fact one of the most affordable ones we have seen so far. In addition, the VPN service also offers a 30 days money back guarantee if the services available for your subscription plan do not work as claimed, and you can test the services for free with their 24-hour free trial.
CactusVPN also excels in the wide variety of payment methods it accepts. From PayPal to major credit and debit cards to a wide range of cryptocurrencies, this VPN service caters to people with different priorities. It also supports other payment platforms like Alipay, Webmoney, Qiwi, and more.
CactusVPN Speed Test
CactusVPN has a total of 23 VPN servers located in 14 different countries around the world. Though this number is not as high as what some of the leading VPN service providers have, this VPN service still managed to deliver fast speeds during our testing, compensating for the low number of servers.
Not only the US and UK VPN servers, but also those located in other parts of the world delivered reliable speeds at all times. Of course, as with any other VPN provider, we did face slight variations in speed sometimes, which is perfectly understandable because there are a lot of different factors that can influence the speed of a VPN. However, for the most part, the speeds were fast and consistent, making uploads, downloads, gaming, and streaming easy and fast.
How is Customer Service at CactusVPN?
When it comes to customer service, CactusVPN provides customer support via 24/7 live chat and support ticket facilities. Fortunately, the company has made sure that users’ requests are attended to in a timely manner, which is something every VPN service provider should focus on. We were able to chat with one of the company’s customer support representatives almost immediately after we initiated a message. Also, the response to our support ticket was quite prompt (took only a few minutes). Even though there is no phone support facility, we are really happy with what CactusVPN has managed to do in terms of providing customer support. In addition they also have a blog, which was very informative both for VPN users and future potential customers, as well as a FAQ section.
Starting with the website, it is more than obvious that CactusVPN has put in quite some effort to make sure that the concept of VPN and the services and features they offer are easily comprehensible even to new users. With simple, yet humorous, animations and illustrations, the company has managed to design a website that is not only attractive, but also informative, user-friendly, and easy to navigate and comprehend.
Signing up for the service is also an easy process. You can either register manually, like you would do with any other service provider, with your name, country, state, and email address, or choose the easy way and connect with your Facebook or Google account.
As mentioned earlier, CactusVPN brings to you both VPN and SmartDNS services. If your main objective behind using a VPN service is to access regionally restricted websites and web services, then you can go for the SmartDNS service.
CactusVPN works with a lot of different devices, such as Mac OS, Windows, iOS, Android, Ubuntu, Amazon Fire TV, Routers, Boxee Box, and Chromebook.
Is CactusVPN Safe?
CactusVPN supports six different VPN protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, IKEv2, PPTP, and SoftEther. Of the many VPN services we have reviewed so far, this is one of the very few ones that support so many different protocol options. For PPTP protocol, the VPN service uses 128-bit MPPE encryption, and for OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, SoftEther, and SSTP VPN protocols, it uses AES-128 encryption.
To justify the fact that they do not use the highest standard encryption, which is AES-256, CactusVPN states that AES-128 is not really weaker than the former. However, with almost every other VPN service using the highest encryption standard, it is certainly a disappointment that CactusVPN doesn’t.
Apart from that, the service does excel with its DNS and IP leak protection features.
Overall, CactusVPN is an amazing VPN service that caters to the varied needs of users. Its SmartDNS service is a great choice for those looking to only access regionally blocked content. If we put aside the minor disadvantage when it comes to security, they certainly manage to excel in every single aspect we looked at.