EarthVPN seems to be a very competent provider that blends a low cost with a high quality of service. Usually I recommend people to stay away from the low cost options (with exception to PIA VPN) because, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. I’ve seen some providers that offer monthly rates as low as $2.99, but the quality of service is terrible. Nevertheless, we’re going to take a closer look at EarthVPN to see if they can compete with the big dogs in the industry. Before we take a look at their features and level of security, let’s look at their pricing model.
EarthVPN keeps things simple with an basic pricing model. They don’t run any gimmicks like other VPN providers by packaging their service into disadvantageous tiers on shorter terms, and they’re incredibly affordable. Like most other providers, they discount the monthly rate with longer subscriptions but by very little. Even though they offer more options on subscription length than most services do, the cost is only pennies higher on the monthly option. The following outlines their pricing model:
- 1 month: $3.99 per month
- 3 months: $10.99 quarterly ($3.66 per month)
- 6 months: 20.99 semi-annually ($3.50 per month)
- 12 months: $39.99 yearly ($3.33 per month)
- 2 years: $77.99 bi-annually ($3.25 per month)
- 3 years: $109.99 triennially ($3.06 per month)
These two subscription options form the basis of their subscription when you visit their website but you can change the length of the plan on the check-out form, something that is easy to miss on first glance. They also offer add-ons which we’ll discuss shortly. The service costs less than the price of a greasy fast food meal per month.
I also would have liked to see a free trial or trial version of their service. But it’s uncommon for the majority of providers to have a free trial. Instead, they only have a 7-day money back guarantee. Perhaps I’m overly critical, but I would have also liked to have seen a longer money back guarantee. Many of their competitors offer a 30-day money back guarantee.
Now let’s take a moment to talk about add ons. There are several features you can add to their VPN tunnel for an extra $1.99 per month, which isn’t bad, but I’d have preferred it if they’d included them for free. I think they are trying to appeal to more users by cutting out extra features many people may not want or use in order to offer lower prices. The following are the add-ons you can select:
- adding extra simultaneous connections
- purchasing a static IP address
- increasing OpenVPN encryption from AES-128 to AES-256
- SSH tunneling with Socks proxy
In addition, they accept a wide variety of payment options including VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover via PayPal, PayPal, BitCoins, AliPay, UnionPay, WebMoney, CashU, Ukash, and Paysafecard. All in all, I am very pleased with their pricing structure and their guarantee. EarthVPN’s monthly rates for their annual subscription is dead even with PIA VPN.
In addition to extremely favorable pricing, they also have a robust set of features. The first feature I liked is their global network of VPN servers, which is larger than most. Users can access servers in 54 countries in 190 locations over 6 continents (sorry if you wanted to connect to Antarctica).
EarthVPN also supports all the major platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iPhone, iPad, iTouch, Android, DD-WRT routers, and Tomato routers. Also, they do allow up to 3 simultaneous connections, but there is one annoying encumbrance: all three devices need to be using the same public IP address.
Basically, this means that all 3 devices need to be on the same private network, such as the Wi-Fi in your home. Most of the other features listed on their website are little more than marketing copy, since every other VPN provides the same features. For instance, they list one of their features as being, “encrypts your connection.” That shouldn’t even be listed, because every VPN tunnel encrypts your connection.
They also list features like unlimited data, bandwidth, and server switching. But again, that’s a bit of a joke since that’s a standard expectation. But all in all, their features are a little above average, and I thought their global network of servers was adequate. Plus, I like how they permit 3 simultaneous connections.
Privacy & Security
They also offer strong encryption protocols including PPTP, L2PT, SSTEP, OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), and an SSH/Socks proxy, which is a secure form of a proxy server. They offer more encryption protocols than most providers, so users have a great deal of flexibility to fine tune their connection. OpenVPN uses AES-256, which is one of the strongest encryption protocols available from any VPN provider.
“EarthVPN neither logs VPN usage nor user activity. Neither us nor third parties are technically able to match an IP address to an account. Under no circumstances we will provide any personal or private information to third parties. We are located in the jurisdiction of Northern Cyprus.”
Altogether, EarthVPN gets an A+ for security and privacy.
Speed & Stability
EarthVPN likes to say that they have a lightning fast network composed of 1Gbps VPN servers. However, as technology advances, this is becoming the norm. In fact, TorGuard offers US-based customers access to a 10Gb network for an extra $19.99 per month. Still, they didn’t disappoint with the speed test. The results are as follows:
- Download bandwidth: 4.92 Mb
- Upload bandwidth: 0.91 Mb
- Ping to speed test server: 60ms
- Ping to Google DNS server: about 84ms
This provider tested faster than most other services, surprisingly enough. I lost hardly any upload or download bandwidth, and the ping times were uncommonly low. There weren’t any problems browsing the web, downloading small files, or streaming video from YouTube. I was quite impressed with the speed of their servers, though they’re still not the fastest VPN in the world.
They did a moderately good job with their customer service as well. EarthVPN created a rather extensive FAQ section that will answer all of your common questions. In addition to a well designed knowledgebase, they even have a Network Status area that shows real-time statistics, as well as historical statistics.
However, they didn’t include a live chat feature or a telephone number to call, which I found a little irritating. The only way to start a support ticket is via email, and there have been a few complaints of slow response times.
And if they don’t have everything you need, you can always add on additional features for $1.99 a month. I would recommend this VPN provider, especially for people who need a cheap and simple (yet effective) VPN service.