CactusVPN is a Moldovan based VPN service which like other VPNs hides actual IP and protects data with strong encryption. Though Moldova is a privacy-friendly country, so what makes this Moldovan based VPN an average VPN for beginners? We will be discussing all the pros and cons in detail and will be sharing our expert’s feedback on it.
There are plenty of things users are not aware of about CactusVPN; thus, this review is intended to inform about all of the features this VPN provides. By the end of this review, you will have an idea of what CactusVPN is all about and should you buy it or not?
|VPN Servers||23 Servers in 14 Countries|
|Offered Protocols||PPTP, OpenVPN, IKEv2, SoftEther and L2TP/IPSec|
|Level of Encryption Used||256 bit AES Encryption|
|Dedicated Apps for all Devices||Yes|
|Support||24/7 Live Chat Support|
CactusVPN started in 2011 with a unique approach to offer a well-rounded VPN and smart DNS service. While testing CactusVPN features, we found them pretty ordinary in terms of the global server network, server speed, and limited security features.
CactusVPN claims a no-logs policy and offers a wide variety of payment methods. It also offers 30-days money back guarantee, but exceptions policies are shady:
- CactusVPN can terminate your account due to its privacy violations
- If the website you want to unblock cannot be done since it is not on this list.
- The service is not supported by your device/OS.
Only then you can claim your money-back guarantee.
Complicated Payment Plans with too many Limitations
These are the payment plans:
Their month-to-month plan is at $4.99 for US VPN, UK VPN, and Smart DNS Feature, while VPN +Smart DNS combined is offered at $6.99.
A quarterly plan is also offered to encourage people to subscribe for three months. As per the quarterly plan, $12.99 is for US, UK VPN, and Smart DNS only, while $17.99 is charged for VPN + Smart DNS combo.
Their Annual subscription is at all time low where, $38.99 was for US, UK VPN, and Smart DNS only, while the VPN + Smart DNS cost at $54.99.
Since their pricing is a bit confusing, we have put every detail in a table to help you understand their pricing plans.
Pricing in a Nutshell
|Package||Monthly (Every 1 Month)||Quarterly (Every 3 Months)||Annually (Per Year)|
Limitations Associated with Different Pricing Plans
It is annoying when a VPN provider limits its users on features and speed. We gasped when we read that the US and UK VPN subscription is only for US and UK servers respectively. This means if a user has subscribed with this pricing plan then he cannot access other servers than the US and UK which are four in number.
Moreover, there is another pricing plan named “Smart DNS” which enables users to access more than 290 websites. Please note that it is not a VPN service but only is a Smart DNS service that unblocks websites.
Lastly, their VPN+SmartDNS plan is the most obvious. It offers their entire server (23) and allows P2P torrenting; this has its limits, you cannot use torrent if you are away from their “Torrent Specific” server. We will dig deeper into the torrenting dilemma later in this review.
You can pay for these plans using your credit or debit card. You can also use third-party gateways such as Paypal, or stay anonymous and subscribe via Bitcoin or Altcoin.
Scarcity of Servers a Major Drawback
What is the main goal of a VPN? To provide you with secure and private internet access, right? Moreover, one important role of a VPN is to unblock geo-restricted content and allow users to surf anonymously anywhere. Why are we stressing on this core principle of a VPN? Reason being that a VPN only unblocks geo-restricted content when it has a server on location. For instance; you want to stream Netflix and you are outside the USA, and the content you want to watch is only available for Americans, then with the aid of a VPN, you can alter your IP with the one you desired and watch your favorite shows right!
But what if a VPN provider doesn’t have the US server? So the point is, that the number of servers is critical in the success of a VPN provider. And did I mentioned that the number of the server means faster connectivity speed!
CactusVPN has only 23 servers in 14 different countries, this is what concerned us the most. As the number of servers is directly proportional to the success of a VPN provider, it is quite haunting that a VPN provider that is serving since 2011 has only 23 servers as yet.
Smart DNS Feature and Websites It Can Unblock
You all must be wondering what Smart DNS is and how can CactusVPN rely on it so much that it has a separate pricing plan for it? Well, here an answer.
A smart DNS doesn’t hide your IP or encrypt your data, but it gives you access to blocked websites. In terms of speed, a Smart DNS gives better speed when watching a video as compared to a VPN. CactusVPN’s SmartDNS unblocks these 290+ websites which are enough entertainment for a user.
Well, they have a separate pricing plan for this feature, this means that they know which feature to cash.
Netflix and CactusVPN Not Recommended
If you are planning to watch your favorite Netflix series using CactusVPN then don’t bother, you’re only wasting your time.
CactusVPN’s claims to unblock a ton of website with Smart DNS feature and the very first one is the Netflix US, but there are turns of events that follow.
Netflix US can only be unblocked by Smart DNS which means their VPN cannot unblock geo-restricted content on Netflix. To Netflix lovers, this is the sole reason they opt for a VPN, but sadly CactusVPN isn’t something you can rely on. However, you can purchase a separate subscription of Smart DNS if you are that crazy to watch the stream.
Torrenting Limited to Only a Few Servers
CactusVPN does allow torrenting but….
Only on specific servers.
Servers that allow torrenting are located in Europe and since it is understandable that the farther you are from the VPN server physically, the slower your connection will be. Thus, torrenting is only a plus for people in Europe and people outside or far from those specific servers; all we can say is Sorry you will be disappointed!
Furthermore, as their payment plans are region specific, only people with a VPN and Smart DNS subscription can avail this feature.
Privacy-Friendly Moldovan Based VPN
VPNs usually mask all the questionable activities its users do on the web, but some give up. There are cases where VPN providers have opted rather to give up user’s activity to feds than to serve a jail sentence. Those VPN providers are liable as per the jurisdiction of the country they operate to share data with intelligence on the context of National Security.
There are VPNs based in countries that are part of the 14 eyes intelligence sharing pact. This Eyes Alliance, where the user’s data can be shared with 14 other civilized countries is rather daunting where there is no privacy at all.
Since CactusVPN is Moldovan based, it is outside of any strict intelligence sharing jurisdictions. Unlike many of its competitors, CactusVPN is outside of any security agreements that question a user’s online activity. Additionally, CactusVPN does not keep any logs it has nothing to offer to any fed officer when inquired.
So relax, CactusVPN has your back!
Supports a Wide Range of Protocols and AES-256 Encryption
CactusVPN offers six strong protocols which include;
VPNs today do provide a wide range of protocols, but what sets CactusVPN apart is that it provides 128bit encryption with some protocols.
CactusVPN claims that contrary to the common belief, 128-bit encryption is not weaker than AES-256. Furthermore, it argues that AES-256 uses 40% more GPU than its previous version.
To some extent these claims are true, as most hacks aren’t direct attacks to bypass encryption, they are inclined to user negligence first, and if a user has an older device, then this low-level encryption may come in handy because it doesn’t out strains on the computer’s CPU.
Fast, Professional and Friendly Customer Support
A good product is derailed by lousy customer support, but this is not the case with CactusVPN. While testing for writing a review, we read many positive comments about how fast their customer support is, so we put it to check.
We sent an inquiry ticket asking whether their VPN provides access to Netflix and whether it is compatible to be used with Tor. We were quite impressed by how fast they respond, as many companies take an average of a day or two to respond a ticket, it merely took 6 minutes for CactusVPN customer support team to send a response.
In case you are in a hurry and need assistance right away then CactusVPN have it covered for you, they offer 24/7 live chat feature for instant support.
Compatibility with Tons of Platforms
in the market are compatible with multiple popular platforms these include the basic ones like MacOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.
CactusVPN not only offers custom softwares on basic popular platforms but is also compatible with Amazon Fire TV, Linux Ubuntu, BoxeeBox, Game Consoles, Chromebook, Routers and Smart TV’s from Apple or Samsung.
Not only this Moldovan based VPN works with a long list above but also is usable with Tor browser. This means you can use a Tor VPN together for an ultra-secure connection.
CactusVPN allows five connections simultaneously keeping you all covered up from mobile, computer and TV. You can use unlimited connections with a router if you know how to do it.
After conducting a thorough review of CactusVPN, we’ve concluded that this Moldovan based VPN is an average privacy tool that is perfect for beginners. Since you are reading this part of the review, it means you have a thorough idea of what this VPN is all about and what are the ground realities. Decide wisely and tell our readers and us about your experience with Cactusvpn.
- Smart DNS
- Unblock Streaming Sites like Netflix
- Kill switch Included
- 24/7 Live Chat
- Strict No Log policy
- Free trial
- Less number of servers to choose from
- Windows client is underpowered
- WebRTC and IPv6 protection not present
- P2P allowed only on a specific payment plans