Encrypt.me Review

Features

7
(18 User Reviews)

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Based in the USA, Encrypt.me is best known for impressive speeds on most of its servers. Until 2016 when StackPath acquired it, it was referred to as Cloak VPN. StackPath, a leader in network security changed Encrypt.me for better. On the flip side, the VPN doesn’t fully support torrenting and cannot bypass China Firewall. Even though it keeps logs, its security protocols are some of the best in the VPN arena. For more details on privacy, anonymity, and reliability, here is a full review of Encrypt.me.

Server Spread

Ecrypt.me packs 132 servers in 25 countries. These are not impressive numbers given that top VPNs provide a server selection that’s beyond 5000 and yet their plans are affordable. The US, UK, Australia, and Canada have a city-level server selection. But if you are in South America or Africa, you only get one option in Brazil and South Africa. The number of servers offered by Encrypt.me is not so bad but they only cover a few countries. Without a close server, your speed of browsing might reduce because you will be forced to use a server from the neighboring countries. For instance, internet users in South Asia are likely to experience slow speeds because the servers are too far away. The majority of servers are in Europe, Canada, and North America. Another risk that is involved is connecting to servers that are already overcrowded. So if you need a VPN with major diversity in server park, Encrypt.me may not be a good option.

Data Encryption and Security

The smartphone app for Encrypt.me uses the IKEv2 while the desktop utilizes OpenVPN. With the latter, you can choose between TCP and UDP versions. No kill switch is available and other obfuscation tools are missing. The only extra feature on Encrypt.me is OverCloak for Mac to protect users from IP leaks. The level of encryption is obscure and all we can deduce is that it uses AES-256 military-grade standard from the OpenVPN protocol. It is the safest cipher in the VPN world which you can rely on to secure online data. 256-bit encryption is indestructible no matter how many supercomputers are deployed to launch a data breach.

Encrypt.me works on a variety of devices and the protocols differ. Android and Mac users are protected by the OpenVPN while iOS users get IPSec. Windows devices use the StrongSwan protocol which is highly effective open-source technology that woks with IKEv1 and IKEv2. The absence of OpenVPN for iOS and Windows is a bit traumatizing because it is arguably the most secure internet protocol for VPN servers with SSH keys. Even though IKEv1 and IPSec are safe, they cannot match the OpenVPN standards.

Streaming

Encrypt.me unblocks Netflix only through the strongest servers. Remember that Netflix has a tough war against VPNs and not so many services have managed to win. You can rely on Encrypt.me to unlock BBC iPlayer but you must connect to its London server. This is a remarkable functionality considering that even some big names are struggling with this. UK Netflix is inaccessible but as we carried out our tests we found about 3 servers (Washington DC, Dallas, and Los Angeles) that can easily stream US Netflix. We also accessed Hulu which is a geo-restricted site. We thus recommend this VPN for accessing geo-blocked streaming sites.

Torrenting

On the official website, the service provider claims that Encrypt.me is not designed with illegal activities in mind. All P2P operations are throttled so it would be useless to download torrents. The main purpose of the VPN is to help users conceal their identity on unsecured networks. Torrenting with Encrypt.me is a little headache as the service does not give full-blown support. According to StackPath, subscribers will not be safe if they engage in suspicious activities. This means that the company will not protect you even if, by mistake, you download files from P2P networks.

Logging Policy

The logging policy is a major factor when seeking the best VPN to use. It is a shame that Encrypt.me is too invasive. It keeps logs, i.e. your real IP address, for 16 days. After that, the system permanently deletes your information. What does this tell you? That they can disclose your actual location to media houses and copyright trolls if need be. They refer to the logs as personal session information. A rundown of the data logged by Encrypt.me is as follows:

  • Your real IP and the assigned (virtual) IP
  • The period of time you connect to the VPN
  • Source port of the traffic including the starting and ending times
  • Number of bytes received and sent

If you have a serious privacy concern, we do not recommend this service.

IP Leaking and Potential Malware

It is very easy to get caught by your ISP or any other snooper if DNS or WebRTC leaks when connected to a VPN. Suppose you connect to a server in the London and your IP leaks. This becomes an opportunity for the government, cybercriminals, or ISP to collect your data. It doesn’t look like a big problem at first but it could wreak havoc your online operations when you are handling sensitive matters especially in authoritarian countries with strict cyber rules such as China and Iran. To verify the credibility of Encrypt.me, we conducted 6 IP trials to check both WebRTC and DNS leaks. In each test, Encrypt.me proved to be leak-free. None of the tests showed leakage and so we give it a thumbs up in our recommendation.

We took a step further to check potential viruses and malware that could be hiding in the installation files. Luckily, the install files passed numerous checks from VirusTotal. You can rest knowing that you will not be handing over your personal information as you install the app.

The Cost

The year-long plan for Encrypt.me goes for $99.99 which translates to $8.33 per month. This is quite a hefty figure considering that the VPN is light on features not to mention the US jurisdiction. The monthly plan, which is recommended for business and travel, costs $9.99/month. The good thing is that the provider does not renew the packages automatically. You can also use a 14-day free trial with no strings attached. The free trial is one of the best we’ve come across because the provider doesn’t bill you ate the end of the 14 days. All you need is to provide basic information and take a test drive for two weeks. One drawback though: payment methods are limited to credit cards only. If you don’t like the service, you can ask for a refund after 30 days for any purchase you make through the official site.

Speed

The server speeds of Encrypt.me are above average. UK servers have an average download speed of 54Mbps while Asian servers show speeds around 45Mbps. Almost every server in America has a higher upload speed than the download speed. After connecting the VPN to Canadian and US servers, you are likely to experience a drop of 33%. Australian servers fare the same which is quite impressive reliability. Ideally, you will experience faster connectivity from nearby servers. So make sure you are connected to the nearest big city for a good reading.

User Interface and Device Support

Encrypt.me is incredibly easy to use if you download it on Mac. The mobile app is clean and everything is located where it should be so you have no chance of messing up. But the app for windows is a little ugly and minimalistic. You are free to use iPod, iPad, and iPhone devices and can make unlimited simultaneous connections. The VPN cannot however be used on Linux so you have no option but to get Mac or Windows OS. The VPN does not support TOR either. Custom apps are also available for iOS and Android devices and are very simple in design but there’s not much you can perform with them except connecting to your preferred server. One of its most appreciated features is the Amazon Fire TV app. Keep in mind that the software detects Wi-Fi connections for first-time users and treats them suspiciously. It is good to add your trusted networks like home Wi-Fi so that the VPN connects automatically.

Jurisdiction

The reason Encrypt.me seems like a busybody is that it is based in the USA, a very unsafe place for VPN. Being a committed member of the Five Eyes alliance, the country is notorious with data surveillance. On their website, StackPath clearly states that they cooperate with law enforcement agencies from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Britain. They can release your information if asked by the government. So your internet logs are not safe in the hands of the provider for more than 2 weeks.

The Support System

A live chat is available on the Encrypt.me website. To our disappointment, the support team did not respond to our message even after waiting whole hour. What is the point of the live chat button then? We also could not find a ticket submission button. The only place you can find quick answers is the ‘Help’ section that contains frequently asked questions. To talk directly to the support, you can only use the email option which took us several hours to get feedback. Their feedback was very helpful nonetheless.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Does not leak IP or DNS
  • Access to Hulu and Netflix
  • Fast worldwide speeds

 

Cons

  • No kill switch
  • Terrible logging policy
  • No live chat
  • Relatively expensive
  • Poor server distribution across the globe
  • Intrusive jurisdiction

Verdict

Encrypt.me offers a solid, leak-free internet connection. The UI is friendly and you can even watch content from Netflix! Getting started on Encrypt.me is a straightforward process: Go to the official website and choose a plan then download the software. You can try it before you make a major commitment using the 14-day free trial.

With the credibility that StockPath has gained in the industry, it is expected to deliver top-notch services but we can see some gaps that make many people find Encrypt.me not worth subscribing to. In terms of security, the VPN performs well. Everything about data theft prevention is excellent. But we’ve found a weak point in server distribution. The number is low and the further the servers are from the US, the higher the lag is.