Encrypt.me is like the little VPN relative from StackPath, a giant in enterprise network security.
It also used to be called Cloak VPN until just recently, joining them in only April 2016.
Today, SlackPath’s goal is to create a “scalable security platform,” including everything from threat detection to prevention and collaboration.
So their VPN is just one small piece of a much bigger pie.
In this Encrypt.me review, we’ll take a look at whether it serves as a critical front-line tool, or whether it’s underfunded and neglected as a result of being the red-headed stepchild to a much bigger security arsenal.
|OVERALL RANK:||#56 out of 78 VPNs|
|USABILITY:||Simple and easy to use|
|LOG FILES:||Some Logging Policy|
|LOCATIONS:||15 countries, 43 servers|
|SUPPORT:||Unhelpful customer support|
|NETFLIX:||Unblocks Netflix USA|
|ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL:||1536-bit and 2048-bit DH group encryption; strongSwan|
Encrypt.me provides a solid, leak-free connection, that’s user-friendly, and even works with Netflix!
Keep reading for a complete rundown.
1. Leak-Free Connection with Zero Malware
DNS leaks unintentionally send out your true physical location, despite having a VPN setup.
Your VPN client says you’re connected to a server in New York City, but everyone from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to the CIA can see where you’re really sitting.
Not a big deal for some. But for journalists or activists in authoritarian countries?
It can literally be the difference between life and life in jail (or worse).
These high stakes are the reason we’ve painstakingly run every single VPN we’ve reviewed (78 and counting) through as many as six different DNS leak tests.
But we don’t just stop there.
The other hidden danger to look for is potential viruses or malware buried deep inside a VPN’s install files.
You download, run the program, and will unwittingly hand over all your data to someone else in the process.
Encrypt.me’s install files also passed over 67 checks from VirusTotal.com. So no need to fear.
2. Two of Three Netflix Servers Worked
Netflix has gone after VPN users with a new vengeance ever since 2016.
Before then, it was easy for expats to fire up their favorite U.S. shows while living abroad.
Not only do most VPN connections fail.
Most are also giving up entirely, throwing in the towel, and telling users not to even bother using their service for Netflix.
Unfortunately, this same lesson applies to other streaming services, too. So no Amazon or Hulu, either.
Encrypt.me says on their site that they work with Netflix. But we’ve been down this road a time or two (or seventy-four).
So we also put them through their paces. We connect to a few different servers and try streaming new Netflix content on each.
And you know what?
Netflix worked on two of three Encrypt.me servers!
3. Good Device Compatibility for Most Users
Encrypt.me uses the IPSec protocol on their iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices (1536-bit minimum DH group encryption).
Otherwise, they stick with the industry-standard OpenVPN for their Mac and Android ones (custom-generated 2048-bit DH group encryption).
Windows devices run on an open-source protocol called strongSwan, which is an IPsec-based one that works with both the IKEv1 and IKEv2 key exchange protocols.
The short answer? They’re all solid.
Just stick with their default options, unless you have an old device or slow connection limitations.
But wait, there’s more!
Encrypt.me can work with all Amazon Kindle Fire devices (on their latest OS 5.0+).
Pretty good for most users with simple needs. They even have a kill switch to protect your connections.
Users are also allowed unlimited simultaneous connections, which is a major plus.
However, power users might not like the following.
There are currently no native router or Linux setups. And Tor isn’t supported, either.
Instead, they try to upsell Tor-interested consumers to their “Tor Browser Bundle” product.
So advanced techies might want to look elsewhere.
4. Good Usability for Beginners
Sticking with their consumer-friendly approach, the Encrypt.me app is also easy to use.
Installation on Windows was easy and straightforward. Just click “Install,” and that’s it.
The client then started working pretty quickly after, with no major lags or complaints.
Encrypt.me touts ‘ease of use’ as a major benefit of its apps. And they weren’t joking.
Try to screw this up:
When you log on for the first time, the app detects your WiFi connection and classifies it as untrusted.
Don’t be alarmed.
Once you connect, the app is set to automatically turn on every time you connect to an untrusted network. This feature is perfect for people who travel a lot and might use three or four different new connections in a single day.
For those connections you trust (like your home WiFi network), you can add them to a list of trusted networks. This means that the app will not connect automatically when you’re connected to a trusted network.
Changing servers can be done using two mouse clicks.
You can also change the default server you connect to, and untrust ethernet and cellular networks, if you want your connections to those networks automatically encrypted.
Technically, the Windows app is still in beta.
That’s software code for “we think it’s pretty decent but there still might be some issues.”
Everything for us was super stable, though. No major crashes or lags, which we normally see with other beta products.
Only one drawback. It did take a little bit of time to connect to a Netherlands server for some reason. We tried others, like New York and Germany, which seemed to work faster.
So there might be a few kinks in the Windows system for a little time.
5. Torrenting Allowed, But with Caveats
Encrypt.Me has only one thing in mind:
Lock-down your connection on unsecure networks. And reportedly, they’re optimizing the entire experience around that.
Why is that relevant for torrenting?
Because while they technically allow BitTorrent traffic, they heavily block certain sites or use cases. For example, they won’t allow access to any piracy-related sites.
And they state:
“If you want to download copyrighted content, Encrypt.me is absolutely not the right tool for you.”
So this one is on the fence. Yes, they allow it. But not for the reasons many might be looking for.
Encrypt.me delivered the goods across several important categories.
But nobody’s perfect.
They also dropped the ball in a few others.
Here’s a quick look.
1. Keeps “Personal Session Information” Logs for 16 Days
Let’s come out and say it:
Encrypt.me logs some data. Here are a few of the bigger things:
- The number of bytes sent and received
- The length of time connected
- The IP address connected from and the (virtual) IP we assign
- The source port of the outgoing connection with start and end times
- We keep this information for at most sixteen (16) days, after which
we permanently delete it.
This last one is especially interesting. They refer to is as your “personal session information.”
But this isn’t the VPN to illegally download music (or other nefarious activities).
They have your “personal session information” for up to a few weeks. And they won’t hesitate to use it (or divulge it).
Which brings us to Con #2.
2. Inside Five Eyes – USA Jurisdiction
Encrypt.me is wholly-owned and operated by StackPath LLC, which is headquartered in Dallas, TX.
That means in addition to amazing barbeque, Encrypt.me is also home to the five eyes security allegiance.
But unlike the former, the latter is bad news.
Your VPN jurisdiction has a huge bearing on your privacy.
Select one in a neutral place and you’re good. But choose onside inside the extended Eyes agreement, and you risk exposure to half the countries in the world.
A VPN’s local government can and will demand user data if they suspect anything malicious. And that puts them between a rock and a hard place.
They’ll almost always give up their user data at the end of the day. They don’t have many other options.
When that happens, you might be OK if they don’t log any of your data. In this case, though, Encrypt.me has a few weeks worth on their hands.
Which means when the U.S. government comes calling, they’ll give it right over. And every other member of the Eyes alliance now has access to the same information in their database.
Let’s tie this back to the first point above now.
“Through the manual process of investing a report of abuse.”
You can probably figure out the rest.
Use Encrypt.me to protect your data on public WiFi connections. But don’t use it for anything that might land you in hot water.
3. Average Connection Speeds
Encrypt.me posted a combined 112.74 Mbps speed test across two servers, putting them in 27th place.
That’s not bad by any stretch. But it’s definitely average.
Here’s how we come up with that number.
First, we connect to a server in the EU, and collect both Download and Upload numbers.
EU Server Test:
- Ping: 35ms
- Download: 58.97 Mbps (39% slower than 97 Mbps benchmark)
- Upload: 38.06 Mbps (28% slower than 53 Mbps benchmark)
Next, we connect to another server in another part of the globe to get a fair reading.
Generally speaking, you’re always going to see better performance from closer servers.
That means connecting to the largest city in your backyard will give you a good reading. While one across the pond won’t.
So to rule out any bias, we also connected to an Encyrpt.me server in the U.S. Here’s how that one looked:
U.S. Server Test:
- Ping: 121ms
- Download: 54.27 Mbps (44% slower than 97 Mbps benchmark)
- Upload: 14.81 Mbps (72% slower than 53 Mbps benchmark)
As you can see, not as good.
Put the two download speeds together, and compare your averages against everyone else.
4. Limited Number of Available Country Servers
Encrypt.me has 46 server locations across 24 countries.
The total server number isn’t bad, but the country number is on the low side.
Remember that last part about your physical location?
Here’s where it comes into play.
If a VPN doesn’t provide any servers close to you, there’s no other choice than to look across other neighboring countries.
In an ideal world, you would avoid that. There’s a good chance your browsing speed might drop from that alone.
The other downside is that you risk trying to connect to other overcrowded servers. Chances are, you’re not alone. There are probably others around you in the same predicament.
Overcrowded server resources are spread too thin. And now you have another potential speed issue.
VPN server numbers aren’t always how they appear. Some companies outright lie about them.
But generally speaking, more is better.
5. Unhelpful Customer Support
Encrypt.me has a knowledgebase where you can find your own DIY answers. Just like every other VPN.
But also just like every other person, we bypass it as quickly as humanly possible.
Instead, we wanted to talk to a real employee of the company.
We didn’t see any live chat option. We also didn’t see an official ticket submission process, either.
This is where panic started setting in.
Thankfully, there is a “Contact Us” link in the upper-right of the main menu. But it just gives you a random email address.
So why not. We tried it out.
Turns out, this email funnels into ZenDesk. A good sign.
And just a few hours later, Rob followed up. Slow, but not the end of the world.
Except for a few things:
- Instead of answering my question, he just threw me a FAQ link. HUGE pet peeve.
- And when you follow that link, there are 21 different Q&As. Yes, I counted them.
So, what? Customers are supposed to click on every single one and hunt for the answer now?
Thanks for nothing. Literally.
Encrypt.me VPN Cost, Plans & Payment Methods
Encyrpt.me keeps things nice and simple with only two plans for individuals to consider.
Both plans offer the same exact access and features. The only difference is that you’re paying for one month ($9.99), or one year ($99.99).
Unsurprisingly, you get a nice little discount on the annual plan (saving about ~$20 bucks a year).
There are also a few other plans for special circumstances, though.
First, they offer a Mini Plan for only $2.99/month. The catch is that you only get 5GB of data on a monthly basis. It won’t last long. But it’s a perfect way for you to dip a toe into VPN waters for the first time.
They also offer $3.99 weekly passes on a one-off basis. These come in handy if you’re going on vacation and want to protect yourself on unsecure connections.
Otherwise, there are both family and team plans, too. These range anywhere from $12.99/month or $149.99/year for five family members, or $15.98/month for two team members.
You can pay with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners, and JCB credit or debit cards. You can also pay through in-app purchases.
But that’s about it, unfortunately. They do not accept prepaid cards or any cash equivalents. They also won’t accept PayPal or Bitcoin (and have no future plans to do so).
If you’d like to go for a test drive before purchasing, Encrypt.me does provide a free 14-day trial. No card required.
Some VPN terms read like a riot act.
They use all manner of legalse to confuse you, or hopefully find a loophole to back out when you ask for a refund.
Encyrpt.me’s on the other hand?
“If you’re unhappy with Encrypt.me for any reason, please email us and let us know.”
Whoa. Like, that’s it?
You can get a full refund within 30 days after paying on their website.
If you purchased service through an App Store, like iTunes, for example, you’ll have to go through them (iTunes) to get the refund, because they handle all payment transactions.
Do We Recommend Encrypt.me VPN?
Nope, we don’t.
Some of Encrypt.me’s features might be good for beginners. Their unique pricing plans, like the weekly ones, probably make them a good bet for certain types of people.
But for other serious users, don’t bother.
Most legitimate VPNs will be leak-free, provide easy-to-use apps across most devices, and also work on Netflix. This is table stakes.
Otherwise, Encrypt.me’s speeds were just average. They definitely log data and are located inside Five Eyes. Customer support was nonexistent. And they’re not even located in two dozen countries.
All of this and their pricing is on the high side, too.
Overall, there are much better options available in our Best VPNs Guide to check out. NordVPN is ranked 1st and Surfshark 2nd.
Encrypt.me is an unusual VPN provider to review. They are geared towards group (team and family) plans. We are not sure how many the sell as the prices tend to be quite high. Encrypt.me has the same parent company (J2 Global) as our most recommended VPN (IPVanish) in addition to StrongVPN, and Overplay.net. Unfortuantely, the offerings aren’t nearly as generous as its sister companies. The brand currently offers roughly 30 different servers. This compares to almost 1300 for IPVanish. Fortunatley, the news isn’t all bad though. Encrypt.me is one of the few no log VPN providers to offer a 14 day no credit card required free trial. I am sure many can come up with a good use for this.
Encrypt.me has a slightly different pricing model as not only do they offer subscriptions, but also passes for a week. Plus, subscriptions for families and teams.
These passes can secure up to 5 members.
Monthly – $12.99 / Yearly – $149.99
On a side note this package is fantastic value, depending on how they define a family. If you could put 5 users
On a pay monthly plan starting at $7.99 for 2-24 members, sliding to $6.99 25 – 99 team members and down to $5.99 for 100+ members.
Speed Test and App Overview Video
- + Encrypts All User Data and Cloaks Your IP Address
- + Ensures The User Protection From “Browser Leaking”, “WiFi Eavesdropping”, and “Broadband Spying”
- + 14 Days Free Trial
- – Email Only for Customer Support
- – Works With Some Servers For Netflix
- – No Browser Extensions are Available for Download
Encrypt.me Review Pros and Cons
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it cost?
Prices start at $8.33 / mo
How many servers are there?
30+ servers all based in the US
What apps are there?
Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, Android
Are there logs?
Keep minimal logs, for at most 16 days
What protocols exist?
IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, l2TP, PPTP
Is there a trial?
14-day free trial
- The number of bytes sent and received
- The length of time connected
- The IP address connected from and the (virtual) IP we assign
- The source port of the outgoing connection with start and end times
For 16 days and then it is permanently deleted.
The following is kept indefinitely:
- Each account has a record of lifetime bytes sent and received and time connected.
- Each VPN endpoint maintains aggregate usage metrics for monitoring and analysis.
- We collect aggregate statistics for regional IP address blocks to track geographic trends and help optimize our infrastructure.
The third point is fair enough, and probably other companies do the same. But keeping the number of bytes and endpoints is damaging. For example, it’s easy to prove if you are using Bit Torrent or Kodi. There is enough vague language used within these terms to make us feel uneasy.
To us this is a big thumbs down.
- Execute any other abusive activities, determined at our sole discretion
This could just be vague language because as a US company, they have to use those words. Or it could be enforceable.
Does It Work Well With Kodi?
Kodi allows you to gain access to the latest films, television and even live sports events. It’s an all in one entertainment centre in your living room. Without having to pay for subscriptions to the many different on demand tv providers.
However, with Encrypt.me’s policy around abusive activities, you might want to think of choosing a VPN provider with no logs on byte usage. As watching a lot of video would show up in high data usage.
Encrypt.me is not designed with the intention of spoofing GeoIP checks. All their VPN servers are based in the US. So, you would certainly be able to access Netflix USA. But not anywhere else.
Encrypt.me makes no mention of Tor or using a double layer VPN service with Tor. There seems no reason why it wouldn’t work, but again it’s not explicit
As mentioned with Netflix, all of their servers are in the US. Encrypt.me would not work for GeoIP regional restrictions.
Speed tests came in pretty average for US and UK. But location is crucial. If you want to use this VPN in China, and all the servers are in the US< then Encrypt.me isn’t for you.
Encrypt.me in its advanced article for coders, talks about the different types of encryption it uses for its iOS and Android applications which include IKEv2/IPsec, which stands for Internet Key Exchange and Internet protocol security. This is top of the line security and nothing less than you would expect at any reputable VPN provider.
Just email and FAQ’s. No live chat function from Encrypt.me which is pretty basic and could be frustrating if you have pressing technical issues you want resolved. I suspect corporate teams would have a more direct way to contact the company.
The company is based in the US and clearly states that it must abide by Federal Law, and also the Five Eyes. There is nothing that gives us the confidence to commit anything vaguely illegal, as we are sure that Encrypt.me would serve up your data on asking.
The VPN is designed to be used on mobile phones, to protect you while using Public WIFI, so works on Android and iOS and has great functionality.
30+ servers all based in the US
Final Thoughts for the Encrypt.me Review
Some really thoughtful pricing models, and we are sure the application works well. Good if you want to protect your identity, but for most of the activities a lot of people would use VPN for like Kodi, P2P and anonymised browsing. There are better VPN providers out there which are cheaper and keep your data completely anonymous.
What is Encrypt.me?
Encrypt.me is a VPN (virtual private network) service and application, designed to help keep you safe while online. By using an encrypted VPN, hackers and malicious attackers are prevented from stealing or snooping on your data when connected to public wifi networks (like at coffee shops, hotels, or airport). Encrypt.me’s cross-platform support means that not only is your iPhone or iPad safe, but you can also secure a Mac or windows laptop or Android device, so all of your most sensitive data is safe.
Encrypt.me can automatically secure a connection of change your connection location.
Screenshot: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac
Why it’s great
Encrypt.me, like most VPN apps, uses their own cloud servers to act as the receiving end of your VPN traffic. The app (formerly known as “Cloak”) has been around since 2011 and have a track record of honoring customer privacy. This means they aren’t looking at your data and are ensuring that customers web traffic is safe. You don’t want to skimp when it comes to protecting your private data. Encrypt.me is the best VPN app for protecting you without breaking the bank or abusing your personal information.
Additionally, Encrypt.me offers a wide range of price options, from a 1-week pass (great for using on vacation) to monthly or annual subscriptions (for more frequent users) and family plans that protect up to 5 users.
Who it’s for
A trustworthy, reliable VPN app is something everyone should have available these days, and Encrypt.me has proven to be just that. Whether you’re a frequent coffee shop visitor, a business traveler, or a family on vacation, having a VPN can ensure that your sensitive web activity (like banking, shopping, or private information) is safe.
Why Encrypt.me is the best VPN app for iOS
If you care about your online safety, and we all should, you need Encrypt.me. It is the best VPN app for keeping you safe on public and untrusted networks.
A VPN which emphasises security, Encrypt.me is a fairly unimpressive solution for those looking to protect their data online, thanks to slow speeds and feature inconsistencies.
First Look Click to expand
What is Encrypt.Me?
It’s billed as being the super-simple VPN, and it pretty much lives up to the claim. You can try it free for 14 days and you don’t have to tie yourself into an annual or even monthly plan.
Instead, you can choose between monthly and annual subscriptions or passes that let you use the service for a week, a month or a year.
Encrypt.me VPN Alternatives
Encrypt.me is far from the best VPN out there, but the good news is that there are plenty of better alternatives that are cheaper, faster and don't have the downsides of Encrypt.me.
For a clearer understanding of exactly where Encrypt.me falls in regards to other VPN services, take a look at this helpful table. Once you see the competition, you'll notice that you're better off checking out a different VPN:
5 out of 10
Encrypt.Me: The Good
There are a couple of positives with Encrypt.me VPN, though these don't go far enough to outweigh its drawbacks.
Simple and Effective
The PC app is basic, but effective, and does a solid job of encrypting your traffic, preventing telltale DNS request leaks that can give away your location, and disguising your IP address.
Decent Server Range
While Encrypt.Me doesn’t have the largest or widest network of servers, it has a good presence in the US and a decent selection in Europe.
Encrypt Me: The Not-So Good
A few negatives prevent Encrypt.me from being one of the best VPNs we've tested.
While you should be able to pick servers from a list on the PC app’s main screen, this doesn’t actually seem to change the location you connect to.
Instead, it’s better to go to the Transport section of the Settings screen and select a new location from there – this isn’t particularly intuitive.
The app seems very basic, and while Encrypt.Me says that it has a built-in, non-optional Killswitch, connections don’t stop and apps don’t close when you disconnect the VPN. This could, potentially, give the game away, revealing your true server location – it's only an issue for the most privacy conscious of users, but one to be aware of.
Speed performance is the biggest issue. Local connection speeds are poor, though long-distance, transatlantic connection speeds are a little faster.
In our tests, Encrypt.Me failed to unblock US video streaming services and websites, including Netflix and Comedy Central, so it’s no use if you want to catch up with TV stateside while you’re travelling abroad. See our roundup of the best VPNs for accessing Netflix to choose a service that won't let you down.
Some Data Logging
Finally, Encrypt.Me does keep logs that could be used to track your activities, though these are only kept for a specified period and not supplied to a third-party unless legally required. This, and no support for Peer-to-Peer applications, should put any file-sharing fans off the service.
Whether you buy a subscription or a pass, you’re looking at $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year, which makes the distinction seem pretty pointless unless you’re getting the cut-price $3.99 week pass.
You can use an unlimited number of devices on one plan, but that plan covers only one user. If you want your whole family covered, you’re expected to pay up for a $12.99 per month/$99.99 a year family plan, which covers five members of the family across all their devices.
It’s very easy to sign-up to Encrypt.Me, and you don’t even need to enter any credit card details to get started with a 14-day trial. Just enter your email address and a password and you’re sent a validation link by email. This contains links with instructions to download the mobile apps plus links to download the MacOS and Windows apps.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed you just enter the log-in details you provided earlier, and you’re good to go.
The app is incredibly simple. Click the big Encrypt Me button and it connects you to the nearest, fastest server, or you can choose a different location by clicking the settings icon in the top-right.
Encrypt.Me is a simple, friendly VPN, but it’s not the most fully-featured option or the best all-rounder. It’s reasonable value if you only care about beefing up security when you connect to public Wi-Fi, but other VPNs do a whole lot more.
You’ve probably heard a lot about numerous dangers that Wi-Fi connections bring. Public and open Wi-Fi networks come with significant vulnerabilities that allow third parties to steal your data and infect your device with malware. However, you’re not without a solution. A reliable VPN can protect your device and safeguard your private data. Still, not every VPN will do this job in a proper way, so you need to be careful about which one you pick. With this said, we’ll be talking about a VPN service called Encrypt.me. It’s been around for a while now and comes with a long history of protecting both trusted and untrusted Web connections.
Before we dive deep into our Encrypt.me review, we’ll first introduce you to this VPN service. For this purpose, we’ve prepared a series of helpful tables, with the first one showing you the basic yet crucial information about Encrypt.me.
We know that many of you need a VPN to unblock the US version of Netflix. Don’t worry, we’ve tested Encrypt.me and its media streaming capabilities, so here are the results.
And lastly, we’d like to show you the pros and cons of using Encrypt.Me. In case you don’t have the time to read this entire review, we’re sure you’ll find the following information to be helpful.
Finally, we’re ready to dive deep into our review of Encrypt.me. So, make sure to stick with us until the end of this article, and you’ll learn everything you there’s to know about this VPN.
Encrypt.me – TechNadu’s Hands-On Review
Wondering how we review VPN services? Well, we have a uniform structure for our every VPN review, where we put the tool we’re testing through a serious of rigorous tests. Make sure to click on the provided link in this paragraph to learn more.
Background, Jurisdiction & Reputation
Trust us, it’s important to know where your chosen VPN comes from. Different countries have different laws regarding data logging, and you’ll want a VPN with a favorable background.
Jurisdiction & Applicable Laws
Encrypt.me was created by a company called StackPath. In case you’re not a software developer, you probably didn’t hear about this company before. However, it’s one of the big players of today’s IT industry. Upon checking additional information about this VPN, we stumbled upon a highly complex network of companies. So, here’s what you need to know.
StackPath has been widening its portfolio of brands and services during the last couple of years and acquired a company called Highwinds Network Group – the owner of IPVanish. In the meantime, StackPath formed a new company called NetProtect, which owned several VPN brands. And then, NetProtect was acquired by J2 Global – the company that’s now the owner of Encrypt.me and IPVanish. However, let’s also not forget that StrongVPN is yet another brand acquired by J2 Global – based in Los Angeles, California. What this means is that Encrypt.me is now a brand owned by J2 Global.
It’s safe to say that Encrypt.me doesn’t leave a positive first impression. And let’s not forget that the USA is a member of the 5-Eyes Alliance, a network of countries that freely collect and share all kinds of intelligence information.
Previous Data Leaks
We’re happy to report that Encrypt.me comes free of any data leaks. In other words, there are no reports of this VPN leaking private data or being compromised by any third parties. Considering that it’s been available for close to a decade now, this is still a good sign that Encrypt.me might be a trustworthy VPN. However, make sure to read the rest of this article before you make up your mind.
Supported Platforms & Devices
You’ll want a VPN that’s present on various devices, so you can easily install its native applications. Let’s see what kind of compatibility does Encrypt.me bring.
We can see that Encrypt.me supports the most popular desktop and mobile platforms. However, we can also see that many devices and platforms are missing including Linux, Android TV, and routers. Perhaps the biggest downside is that you can’t install Encrypt.me on a router, which would allow you to protect your entire household at once.
Still, it’s good to know that you can use Encrypt.me on as many devices as you want – as there’s no limit to how many simultaneous connections you can have. The only requirement this VPN has is to keep one account per person.
Installation & Initial Configuration
Installing Encrypt.me is easy – download the app, install it, and then log-in. Even complete beginners shouldn’t have a hard time getting started with this VPN. Our Score: 10/10.
Before you start using this VPN, you first need to sign-up for Encrypt.me – which is done on its official website. Then, proceed to log-in to your account on the website, and you’ll access your account dashboard. This is from where you can download apps offered by Encrypt.me.
In general, the process of installing Encrypt.me takes no more than a few minutes. On Windows and macOS, you install this VPN like you would install any other application. And when it comes to iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire OS – download the app from its respective app store, log-in, and that’s about it. This entire process is quite streamlined and user-friendly.
If you need a basic VPN, Encrypt.me will meet your needs. However, you can find much more capable alternatives out there, without having to spend more. Our Score: 6/10.
We’ll use this segment to find out whether Encrypt.me is made for average home users, or maybe it comes with high-end features designed for advanced users. Let’s find out.
We can see that Encrypt.me covers the basics in a nice way. It comes with several different methods of preventing data leaks, including IPv6 leaks. It should be also said that there’s a kill-switch included, but this feature doesn’t work all the time. There’s no way to enable/disable it via the application’s settings, which means that it’s trying to assess different scenarios and react in the background on its own.
When it comes to more advanced features, you should probably check other VPNs. That’s because no advanced features are found here. There’s no split-tunneling, ad-blocking, or anti-malware. The application doesn’t offer plenty of fine-tuning either, as everything seems to be automated.
Encrypt.me comes with one of the smallest server networks we’ve seen yet. However, it is present in 40 countries and comes with strategically placed servers. Our Score: 4/10.
While many VPNs proudly show their server network, this isn’t the case with Encrypt.me. To see how many servers this VPN offers, we had to dig to find any precise numbers.
The truth is that Encrypt.me doesn’t have a large network of servers. In fact, this is one of the smallest server networks we’ve seen yet. However, the situation isn’t quite terrible – these servers are spread around the world. After all, you need a nearby server if you want to avoid dealing with slow VPNs. Considering that this VPN is present in more than 40 countries around the world, the chances are the many of you will be covered well.
However, it should be said that there are VPNs offering thousands of servers, while still being priced affordably. For example, ExpressVPN has more than 3,000 servers while NordVPN is the champion of this field with over 5,500 servers. So, make sure to do your research.
Ease of Use
In case you’re looking for a very simple and automated VPN, you’ll like what Encrypt.me offers. However, more advanced users will need to look elsewhere. Our Score: 6/10.
Encrypt.me is built with simplicity in mind – which has its good and bad sides to it. On Windows, this is a taskbar-located application that you open by clicking on its icon. This is when the VPN’s home screen will appear, letting you know whether you’re connected to a trusted Wi-Fi network or not. You will also see whether your Web connection is encrypted, which can be enabled by clicking on the prominent ‘Encrypt Me’ button, found at the bottom of this application’s interface.
Aside from letting you encrypt your Web connection, the home screen of Encrypt.me allows you to choose a server manually. This is done in the upper-right corner of the application, under an option named ‘Change Transporter’. This is where you’ll see a list of 70+ servers and you’re free to choose any of these. Sadly, there’s no way to search for a specific server or make a list of your favorites, which is definitely a downside. Instead, you’ll have to choose a server manually.
In the top-right corner, you’ll get to open this VPN’s settings panel. It consists of four tabs, allowing you to check your account information, add trusted Wi-Fi networks, choose a server, and check for updates. As you can see, everything about this VPN is fully automated and there’s not plenty to change on your own. We believe this is what average home users will want. However, there are more advanced users out there who’d like to fine-tune their Web browsing experience. These users should check other VPNs, as it seems.
Media Streaming & Torrenting Support
Encrypt.me is focused on security – and not on media streaming and P2P traffic. It can unblock some services, but major ones aren’t supported. Our Score: 3/10.
If you like streaming media online, you need the best VPN for streaming. So, could Encrypt.me be a viable alternative to top-rated VPNs? Let’s find out.
Media Streaming & Torrenting Support
You’ll find conflicting reports online about whether Encrypt.me works with Netflix. As per our tests, it doesn’t. We’ve tried numerous servers located in the USA, and none of those managed to trick Netflix that we’re trying to stream for inside the US. We had better luck with BBC iPlayer, as we managed to unblock this website via a server located in London.
Security & Privacy
Even though this VPN comes with strong VPN protocols complemented by capable encryption, the problem is that it collects plenty of personal data – and can easily identify what you do online. Our Score: 1/10.
If Encrypt.me isn’t made for media streaming and torrenting, perhaps it’s focused on security instead. So, let’s see what kind of VPN protocols and encryption it brings and whether it collects personal information about its users.
Supported Encryption Protocols
When it comes to iOS devices, Encrypt.me uses the IPsec protocol complemented by 1,536-bit minimum DH group encryption. And when it comes to macOS and Android, OpenVPN is used – alongside 2,048-bit DH group encryption. Finally, we have the Windows app (still in beta), which uses a protocol called StrongSwan, based on the IPsec protocol,
In general, both IPsec and OpenVPN are highly reliable protocols capable of protecting your identity online. In addition, you get high-end encryption that among the most secure commercially available types of encryption.
Encrypt.me collects plenty of data and this happens as soon as you visit its website. A number of trackers are used to analyze this website’s popularity and performance. When you sign-up for a trial account, the following types of information are collected: your email address, IP address, the referring affiliate, and an optional campaign banner ID. And to get a paid account, you’ll need to provide your name, billing address, and credit card information.
As soon as you start using any of this VPN’s apps, plenty of data is being uploaded in the background. This includes your real and virtual IP address, the number of bytes sent and received, the length of time connected, and the source port of the outgoing connection with start and end times. Some of this data is deleted after sixteen days. However, there are types of data that are being kept indefinitely in aggregated form.
DNS Leak Test
As the screenshot found above shows, there are no DNS leaks. This means that Encrypt.me keeps your information protected online and only shows your ‘virtual’ information instead.
Speed & Performance
As per our tests, this VPN slowed us down by 42%. This is slightly above the average result, which means you can easily find better-performing VPN services. Our Score: 6/10.
One of the cons of using VPNs is the fact that you’ll face some throttling. However, top-rated VPNs have numerous ways to mitigate that issue, so let’s see if Encrypt.me is one of those VPN services. We’ve done a series of speed tests – and here are the results.
Our baseline data.
First, we’ve tested the speed of our ‘naked’ Web connection – without having this VPN run in the background. We managed to get 67.52 Mbps for downloads and 18.74 Mbps for uploads.
The performance of a nearby Encrypt.me server.
Then, we wanted to connect to a nearby server. We’re located in Europe, with a number of different options in terms of the available servers. After allowing Encrypt.me to connect us to the closest one (found in Germany), we got 48.51 Mbps for downloads and 15.65 Mbps for uploads.
The performance of a remote Encrypt.me server.
And finally, we also checked the speed of a remote server. For us, that would be a server located in the USA (on the East Coast). This time around, we got 29.30 Mbps for downloads and 9.29 Mbps for uploads.
On average, Encrypt.me slowed us down by 42% – which isn’t a terrible result. It’s actually a bit above the average in terms of download and upload speeds. However, there are plenty of VPNs that come with speedier performance.
Encrypt.me comes with a number of helpful resources. However, their customer support isn’t quite responsive and there’s no live chat available. Our Score: 5/10.
If you set out to search for answers to your questions, your first destination should be this VPN’s help section (on its website). This is where you’ll find a series of quick start guides, as well as a wide range of frequently asked questions. Even though we can see that a large portion of this content hasn’t been updated in a long time, it appears to be relevant still.
When it comes to other methods of getting support, you should try writing to this company. In general, you can expect to receive a reply within 48 hours, which means that this team isn’t the most responsive one out there. Sadly, there’s no option to chat live with this VPN’s customer support team.
Encrypt.me isn’t the most affordable option out there and could be said that it’s overpriced. Its long-term plan also doesn’t come with significant savings. Our Score: 3/10.
Encrypt.me comes with a simple pricing scheme. You can choose from its monthly or yearly subscription, and here’s what you need to know.
We can see that Encrypt.me isn’t the most affordable VPN out there. Priced at $10 per month, we believe you’ll find plenty of more capable VPNs that don’t collect your data. Of course, if you consider subscribing to Encrypt.me, we recommend considering its annual plan, which offers some savings.
Interestingly enough, this VPN comes with a weekly pass as well – priced at $3.99. This isn’t a subscription, but a one-time purchase. And also, there’s a ‘Mini’ plan priced at $2.99 per month.
Among other important information, you can try Encrypt.me free of charge for up to 14 days. And if you decide to pay, you can do that via your credit card. Then, you have 30 days to change your mind if you want to have your money returned.
Do We Recommend Encrypt.me?
Even though this VPN comes with some interesting features, they are simply not worth the price. There are many obstacles to using this VPN service, where data logging is one of the most prominent ones. With this said, we think there are much better ways to spend your money. You can get easily find more capable all-in-one VPN services that can even help you save money in the long-term.
- PROS: Strong encryption; Capable VPN protocols; Easy installation; Unlimited simultaneous connections.
- CONS: Collects plenty of personal data; Small server network size; Half-baked customer support; Can’t unblock media streaming websites; Not recommended for torrenting.
A VPN service can be used for all sorts of purposes, but its primary use is keeping your data secure. Encrypt.me is a streamlined VPN that can be installed on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows and FireOS. And unlike any other VPN we’ve tried out, this one can be installed on an unlimited number of devices under your account.
But basically, a VPN protects your data by creating a secure connection between your computer and a remote server. It’s best used on public networks where you cannot be sure who is tuning into the information that comes and goes from connected devices. When you use the internet on a VPN, your data and activity is routed through a server via an encrypted tunnel. When something is encrypted, that means your data is scrambled and basically unreadable by anyone who might intercept it. A VPN will also hide your IP address, which can be used to identify your network. These measures are ultimately taken to keep your personal information out of the hands of malicious third parties.
VPNs can provide more than just security, though. For example, there may be a movie or website you want to check out, but cannot due to your country’s internet restrictions. A VPN can be used to circumvent this problem by connecting to a server located in a country where these aren’t blocked.
Encrypt.me comes in a somewhat different package from what we’re used to. Unlike, for example, NordVPN, which presents a fleshed-out user interface in a window, Encrypt.me uses a minimal interface that runs in the background most of the time. The mobile app is similarly minimal, though all formats share the popular quick connect functionality. Right off the bat, you can simply flip a switch and this VPN will automatically connect you to the server with the least latency — that is, the server that’ll provide the best connection.
Among VPNs we’ve tested, Encrypt.me is quite small. The service hosts about 114 servers (at the time of writing) in over 40 countries around the world. NordVPN, on the other hand, currently hosts 5,161 servers in 59 countries. Encrypt.me’s small server count was initially concerning, as it might not be able to support a large user base. But we tried watching some 4K videos on and off the VPN and didn’t notice any difference in buffering. We also played Planetside 2, which features huge battles that sometimes involve hundreds of online players, and there weren’t any connection issues to speak of.
In this brief guide, we'll go into detail about how a VPN works as well as how it keeps your information private.
Encrypt.me is lacking many of the additional services we’ve seen in other VPNs. For example, it does not host servers with extra layers of protection, the way NordVPN does with Double VPN. And unlike many big VPNs, Encrypt.me does not host servers specifically designed for circumventing region-locked media. Encrypt.me states that, while its service can be used for that purpose, it did not design it to do so.
Unfortunately, we also missed some popular settings that are typically available on VPNs. One such feature is a kill switch, which, when enabled, prevents your device from connecting to the internet while the VPN is off. However, a useful option we did find was one that allows you to select trusted networks that may bypass the VPN.
Encrypt.me is a simple VPN, there’s no getting around that. It has a handful of servers compared with bigger names out there, and far fewer extra features than we are used to. However, we were impressed with the server speeds as well as the transparency of Encrypt.me’s data policies. And it’s one of the few VPNs we’ve come across that can be used on an unlimited number of devices.
Encrypt.me is a long-standing US-based VPN service which has recently become a member of the J2 Global group. With the support of J2 Global behind it, Encrypt.me may well become a service to watch out for in the future. But at present, it struggles to differentiate itself from the crowd.
Encrypt.me makes a distinction between “passes” and subscriptions, but other than the existence of a 1-week pass, the only difference is that payment for passes does not auto-renew, while with subscriptions it does.
An unusual feature of Encrypt.me’s pricing is that in addition to personal plans, it offers family and team plans (for up to very large groups).
Encrypt.me states that you can use “multiple devices at the same time if you like” on a single unlimited data account. It seems that paying for a family or team account (presumably if the team is not too big) is largely a matter of honesty on the customers’ part.
That said, at $12.99 per month for up to five family members, the family price is quite a bargain.
Encrypt.me also offers a Mini Plan for $2.99 per month, which has a 5GB data limit. All payments are via credit/debit card only and are processed by Stripe.
New users can take advantage of a 14-day free trial, which we are pleased to note does not require any credit card details. A valid email address is required to register, and Encrypt.me takes steps to disposable ones.
- Apps available for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Servers in 44 countries (including “Africa,” which turns out to South Africa)
- Content filtering
- Security audit
Torrenting is blocked by default and during the 14-day free trial, but paying customers can request that the block be lifted. Notably missing on all platforms is any kind of kill switch.
When an unknown network is detected the VPN will auto-activate in order to protect your traffic.
When you connect to an untrusted network this feature automatically restricts access to the internet until a VPN connection is established. This feature is only available in the desktop clients.
This feature is not available at the time of writing but is expected to premiere soon. It uses DNS blocklists to block ads, adult content, malware, social media, and suchlike unwanted content as specified by you.
This is very similar to what most browser-based ad-blockers do, but it’s nice to have an all-in-one solution.
Encrypt.me underwent a security audit in 2016, with a follow-up audit published in November 2020. Unlike some other VPN services, Encrypt.me has made the full unedited text of the audit available on its website, which is something we strongly applaud. The audit covers Encrypt.me's applications, and to a limited extent, its website. Note that it is a technical security audit, and does not procedural issues such as logging. The results of the audit were positive.
No serious problems were found, and the issues which were discovered are being fixed by Encrypt.me's developers as this is being typed. This is all great but doesn't alter the fact that we detected leaks in the Window client.
Does Encrypt.me unblock Netflix?
In tests, US Netflix detected that we were using a VPN and blocked us. Connecting to a UK server did, however, allow us to watch BBC iPlayer.
Speed and Performance
Please check out our Speed Testing page for the latest weighted results, but at the time of writing Encrypt.me is number eleven on our fastest VPN list. Which is not too shoddy at all, although this is not matched by a rather ordinary max burst speed result of 198.8 Mbits/s.
DNS lookup times are fairly middle-of-the-road, although a snappy average connection time just 2.7 seconds (max 4.0s) means you won’t be left hanging around when you start the VPN.
In macOS we were pleased to discover no IP leaks whatsoever. In Windows, however, we detected regular DNS leaks and also IPv6 leaks via WebRTC. At this time we cannot test to IPv6 leaks on mobile platforms, but we detected no form of IPv4 leak in Android or iOS.
Ease of Use
The website looks smart enough but is rather short on hard information. And when information is available, it is often badly out of date – some articles go back to 2011! We certainly hope that things have changed during the intervening years!
A blog expends a lot of digital ink explaining why VPNs should never be considered anything close to “anonymous.” While this is true in many ways, and pointing it out is somewhat laudable for a VPN service, it also sounds to us like Encrypt.me is keen to absolve itself of its responsibilities as a VPN provider.
No, a VPN should never be regarded as 100 percent secure, and it does not guarantee anonymity. But done well, a VPN can do a great deal to protect your privacy when online. As we see in the rest of this review, Encrypt.me has simply not taken many of the steps required to do VPN privacy well (we are looking at you, connection logs and no kill-switches).
The website features a number of FAQs, but these failed to answer any questions we had. Live Chat Support is available once you get past the canned responses, but the support team is mainly. based in Australia. If you contact support outside of Austalia office hours then an email response will arrive later.
As we can see in the technical security section later in this review, the answers we received were far from satisfactory.
Signing up for an Encrypt.me account is very easy. To take advantage of the 15-day free trial, simply provide a valid email address and password and off you go. A confirmation email provides a link to the downloads page on the website.
Apps are available for macOS, iOS, and Android. A Windows (7+) app is also available, but this is in beta only, so Encrypt.me makes no promises about its stability or security. Which as we have seen, is just as well.
There is also a “Fire OS app”, although this is just the regular Android (not Android TV) app made available through the Amazon App Store.
No setup guides or OpenVPN config files are available for manual setup on unsupported devices or with third-party VPN clients.
The macOS client
The macOS client is a fairly simple affair, but it gets the job done just fine.
The Auto-Secure and OverCloak features are both available in macOS. The app also permits you to switch between UDP and TCP modes, which almost certainly indicates that it uses the OpenVPN protocol.
The mobile apps
Other than a Security App Lock feature in Android which secures the app with a password, the Android and iOS apps appear to be identical. The Android uses OpenVPN, however, while the iOS app uses IKEv2.
They both feature Auto-secure for WiFi networks and work generally work well. Although neither app features a switch, more recent versions of Android now have a kill switch built-in to the OS itself.
The Window client
The Windows client is very similar to the macOS client and includes support for Auto-Secure and OverCloak. It uses IKEv2 rather than OpenVPN however.
Despite what the website says, we are reliably informed the Windows client is no longer in beta. So there is little excuse for the IPv6 and WebRTC leaks we detected.
Encrypt.me is based in Dallas, Texas, but is now owned by J2 Global, a US-based umbrella company that also officially owns seven other VPN brands. These include IPVanish and StrongVPN, and SaferVPN. In addition to these, it provides white label services for a number of other VPN products.
The United States has no mandatory data retention laws, but the scale and scope of mass surveillance by the NSA and other government agencies, as exposed by Edward Snowden, means that it is prudent to assume that all tech services which offer privacy have been compromised in some way.
Encrypt.me keeps a full set of connection (metadata) logs for users of its VPN service.
- The number of bytes sent and received
- The length of time connected
- The IP address connected from and the (virtual) IP we assign
- The source port of the outgoing connection with start and end times
This is mitigated somewhat, however, as they are only kept for 16-days before they are deleted. This is not very long but is probably enough time for a court order to be obtained if given sufficient priority.
The service also employs extensive website tracking, including the use of trackers from Google Analytics. Inside the apps analytics data is gathered by the third party Fabric.io and Google Firebase services, although it is possible to opt-out of this in-app.
Customers from or residing in the EU enjoy the usual privacy advantages laid out in the GDPR.
The Windows and iOS apps use the IKEv2 VPN protocol, while the macOS and Android apps use OpenVPN. The OpenVPN settings used (as far as we can determine them) are:
Data channel: an AES-256-CBC cipher with SHA256 data authentication.
Control channel: full details are not available, although there was a brief mention of using AES-GCM. As this is not specified in the OpenVPN config files, we hazard that AES-256-GCM is used as both cipher and for data authentication during the TLS exchange.
We don’t know how the key exchange is secured or whether perfect forward secrecy is used.
For more information on this subject please check out our Ultimate Guide to VPN Encryption. We also asked support if Encrypt.me uses use single-occupancy bare-metal VPN servers or virtual servers (software-based VPS instances on shared servers). Or a mix…
“Complicated question. The network is huge. Mainly our own servers but we do not rent out VPS from hosting providers and build that into the network if that's what you're asking.”
Which, to be honest, leaves us none the wiser. As already noted, none of the apps feature any form of kill switch so if the VPN connection fails then your IP address will be exposed to the internet.
As also noted, and whatever the recent security audit results, we found the Windows client to be Windows rather leaky.
Other than being based in the US and keeping far more logs than we like, there is nothing very wrong with Encrypt.me except for a very leaky Windows client.
At the end of the day, Encrypt.me is a decent-enough VPN service. But in today’s highly competitive marketspace, its relatively high asking price and lack of features make its value proposition something of a hard sell.
If simplicity is a top priority and you're happy with the basics, Encrypt.me offers fair value and excellent US speeds. The Windows client is poor, but it's better on Android and iOS, and the 14-day trial gives you plenty of time to check it out for yourself.
- Excellent US speeds
- 14-day free trial
- Apps have been audited
- Unblocks Netflix, iPlayer
- Poor Windows client
- Some session logging
- No P2P
- Above average prices
Encrypt.me is a popular VPN provider owned by StackPath, the company behind IPVanish, StrongVPN and other VPN brands.
The website has minimal details on the features you will get with this VPN, partly because it doesn't have many. There's no P2P support, no ability to manually install the service on routers or other devices, no secure DNS, malware blocking or anything even faintly surprising.
Even basic details like the number of countries or locations available aren't easy to find. Are you curious about protocol support, or unblocking abilities? Encrypt.me is tight-lipped about most things - annoying, when we're used to much more transparency from the likes of ExpressVPN.
Although the company claims this is all about keeping things simple and focusing on 'the needs of average Internet users', the website regularly uses technical language.
A list of plus points on the front page of the website includes items like 'Deploy private endpoints in one-click', 'Using a Docker image means fast deployment everywhere', and points out that if you 'want to run your own private endpoint', 'we publish our endpoint software on GitHub.' Are these items really simpler and more relevant to 'the needs of average Internet users' looking for a VPN, than something like 'we support this many cities in that many countries'?
It's a pity that Encrypt.me isn't more forthcoming, because the company does have several features worth boasting about.
70 locations in more than 40 countries gives you plenty of options, for instance. Some companies have even more choice – HideMyAss claims 280 locations in 190 countries, for example – but Encrypt.me more than covers the basics, and its locations are spread more widely than you'll usually see elsewhere.
There's a full set of apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac, and even Amazon Fire OS 5.0.
Tired of annoying limits on devices or simultaneous connections? Encrypt.me is, too, so it doesn't have any.
A smart auto-connection mode monitors the networks you're using, and automatically connects to Encrypt.me whenever you access anything insecure. No need to remember to launch the app to do this manually, Encrypt.me handles everything for you.
Still unconvinced? Encrypt.me offers a 14-day free trial, no credit card details required, which is as good a deal as you'll find anywhere.
Plans and prices
Encrypt.me plans are only average value, but the company makes up for this with some real billing flexibility.
Only need a VPN for a quick trip, maybe? A one-week pass can be yours for only $3.99, a major improvement on the $10-$13 you'll often spend on minimum one-month accounts elsewhere.
Monthly billing is a reasonable $9.99, but the annual plan looks expensive at $8.33 a month, or $99.99 upfront. Surfshark offers twice the subscription length for less than half the cash (2 years for $1.99 a month, or $47.76 in total).
Encrypt.me makes up for this a little, though, with its 'Families' plans. These can protect up to five members of the family and all their devices for a total of $12.99 billed monthly ($2.60 per user). There's an annual plan, too, although the savings are minimal at $12.50 a month, or a minimum $2.50 per user.
If you're looking to secure your business, Encrypt.me's Teams plan enables protecting as many team members as you need for $7.99 each per month (minimum of two, or $15.98), and includes central management and billing.
While that's fair value (NordVPN's Team plans start from $9 per user per month), some providers charge much less. Windscribe’s ScribeForce offers all its regular features, plus web management and centralized billing, for only $3 per month (minimum of five users, so a monthly $15 in that case).
Best of all, and as we mentioned above, if any of this sounds interesting, you can try out the full service for 14 days, no payment details required. Given that many providers no longer have any kind of trial, this is very impressive.
All sections have clear and straightforward summaries, with no complicated legalese. Read on and inevitably there's a lot more detail, but the text is precise, well-formatted, and it tells you exactly what you need to know.
Take logging, for example. The company explains that although it doesn't monitor where you're going online, a record is maintained of your last 16 days of session data: the incoming IP address, the virtual IP, the bytes sent and received, the time you're connected, and the source port of each outgoing connection, with start and end times. (The last one records the existence of a connection, but not where it's going.)
Why? The company says it allows them to respond to complaints. If someone's used Encrypt.me to send spam or hack a system, having session records enables the company to find the offender, pass along the complaint to them, or maybe take some further action (not 'call the police', more like 'terminate the account') if the offense is serious.
This won't make a lot of difference to most people, and if you're only using the service to unblock Netflix or send emails, you might not care very much. But if you need a true zero-log VPN, Encrypt.me isn't it.
The company delivered better news in September 2019, when it announced the results of a public audit. Encrypt.me had contracted consultancy Security Innovation to thoroughly test its apps 'and, to a limited extent, the Encrypt.me website', and issued a full report. Only two vulnerabilities were found, one low severity, one medium, and both were fixed before the report appeared.
This isn't the most thorough audit we've seen, though. It only covered the apps in any detail, for instance, and even then, Security Innovation wasn't given the source.
There's also no clear commitment to ongoing audits. Contrast that with TunnelBear, which now has annual audits of its 'entire codebase, server infrastructure, website and apps.'
However, Encrypt.me is still showing far more transparency than the vast majority of the competition, and so it gets a major thumbs-up from us.
Signing up for Encrypt.me's trial was as easy as providing and verifying our email. A click took us to an account area on the website, where we could download apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Amazon Fire.
The web console doesn't have the low-level geekiness you'll get with some providers (no guidance on sideloading Android apps or setting up custom OVPN files here). Many will see that kind of simplicity as a plus point, though, and Encrypt.me does have other advantages. You can have the website text you a download link, for instance. Or if you need to manage your account, there's none of the usual browsing around nested menus or tabbed panels – just scroll to the bottom of the console and everything you need is presented in a few lines.
We downloaded and tried to install the Windows client. Tried, and failed, as the installer warned that 'installing Encrypt.me requires changing a setting that conflicts with a security policy set on your computer. Encrypt.me cannot be installed.' We tried rebooting, clearing our temporary folders, uninstalling any apps we thought might be conflicting, checking Windows and the Registry for related settings – but had no luck.
This seemed like a good chance to try Encrypt.me's support. The support site is poor, featuring few articles, with most of those being dated and short on detail, so we opened a live chat session. Despite being at position #1 in the queue, it took more than 10 minutes before an agent arrived. It's a problem with security policies, he said (well, yes, the error message told us that). He then asked if we had any third-party antivirus on the system? No, we didn’t. We were then advised to create a new user on our system, log in and install from that account, instead.
Although installing from a new user account is sensible troubleshooting advice as a general rule, we're not sure how well it would go down with Encrypt.me's target audience of 'average internet users' whose priority is simplicity. We tried it, anyway, and Encrypt.me still refused to install.
Switching to full-on geek mode, we set up and analyzed logs, checked key system settings, inspected the Encryt.me MSI file, checked the Event log and more, and sent an email to Encrypt.me with every important detail.
Some support teams ignore this kind of in-depth, low-level report, but to its credit, Encrypt.me replied immediately saying it had passed our data onto one of its Windows developers. The next day, a message arrived with a simple suggestion: find <obscure registry value> and if it's zero, set it to one, and try again. It was zero, we changed it to one and that solved the problem.
Encrypt.me got off to a poor start, then, with the installer's misleading error message (it wasn't a security policy issue) and first-line support's initial inability to help. The developer almost rescued the situation all on his own, by immediately diagnosing the (very unusual) issue and giving us the fix. But we're still left wondering if users who weren't able to collect together and send so much diagnostic information, would have seen the same result.
Encrypt.me finally installed, we clicked the system tray icon and a simple pop-up appeared with an Encrypt Me button, along with tiny Location and Settings icons.
The pop-up displayed a green background with a white tick, which we suspect many users would assume means they're protected. This isn't actually true, though, and you must read a lengthy status description to find out: 'Your connection to Identifying... is a trusted network, but not encrypted with Fastest Available set as your Transporter.'
That 'Identifying...' doesn't fill us with confidence, as presumably it means the client has failed to figure out our network name, and the code isn't smart enough to handle that and displaying something better ('Unknown').
The reference to a 'Transporter' is Encrypt.me-speak for 'location.' Your Transporter can be a city, a country, or 'Fastest Available' to locate the best server for your current location. That's easy enough to understand, but we're struggling to see why Encrypt.me thinks inventing new jargon is helpful to users.
The status line isn't immediately updated with your latest chosen location, either (uh, sorry: your chosen Transporter). Suppose you connect to London, close the connection, change the Transporter to New York. The status line will still say you are 'not encrypted with London set as your Transporter', confusingly, until you've reconnected.
Clicking the Encrypt Me button launched an IKEv2 connection (there's no support for OpenVPN or other protocols), getting us online in a very few seconds.
There's little feedback on connection state. The client doesn't use desktop notifications to tell users when it connects or disconnects, so you won't know for sure unless you're looking at the client console. Even there, Encrypt.me is less than intuitive; with green meaning 'VPN off', the client turns blue to indicate 'VPN on.'
The client doesn't seem to monitor your connection state, either. We forcibly closed our connection, and although the underlying Encrypt.me engine reconnected within seconds, the client didn't display a single alert to tell us what was happening.
On top of that, there's no kill switch to protect you if the VPN fails. When we closed the Encrypt.me connection, our real IP address became visible to the outside world. It was hidden within a few seconds, but if the client hadn't been able to reconnect, perhaps because of a server failure, we could have been vulnerable until we happened to check the client interface.
A basic Settings dialog includes a Transporter area where you're able to choose your default location. Most apps have their 'Automatic' setting at the top of the list as you'll use it so often, but if it's not currently selected, the Windows client displays its 'Fastest Available' option in the middle of the location list (the sequence runs Estonia, Fastest Available, Finland). You'll quickly figure that out, but it's another odd touch which detracts from overall usability.
There's better news in the client's ability to automatically connect whenever you access untrusted networks. Setting this up is more awkward than it should be, because the client doesn't allow you to choose from a list of local networks, and instead forces you to enter a network name. It works, though, and the client can make life a little easier by automatically trusting Ethernet and cellular networks.
Encrypt.me's Android app has some major interface improvements over its Windows cousin. Out goes the horribly basic scrolling list of locations, for instance; in comes a neat panel organizing servers by continent, with a separate Favorites tab for your most commonly used locations.
The app remains easy to use, though, and while it's very much aimed at novices, there are a handful of advanced options.
You can have Encrypt.me automatically secure connections to untrusted networks, for instance. Split tunneling support enables choosing apps you don't want to go through the VPN. And an Auto-Secure scheme works as a kill switch, blocking internet access if the VPN drops.
Encrypt.me's iOS app is a close visual match for the Android app, and is equally straightforward and easy to use. There are very few options or settings – 'change protocol, what's a protocol?' – but that's much less of an issue with iOS VPN apps, which generally have very few features compared to Android or desktop editions. An excellent App Store rating of 4.5 suggests most users are very happy with this approach, too.
If there's a small issue here, it's that the apps don't appear to be updated very often (at the time of writing, it's 98 days since the last iOS update, 124 days for Android.) Looking back at the iOS history, that's fairly typical: the app has seen 10 updates over the past two years, and very few of those added any significant features.
Still, if the app works and does everything you need, that's not a big deal, and overall Encrypt.me's mobile offerings performed very well.
Encrypt.me doesn't make any claims about its website unblocking abilities, saying that attempts 'may or may not work at any given time' and 'this is not a market that we serve.'
We tried the service with a few platforms, anyway, and it did much better than the company's official line might suggest, getting us into US YouTube, BBC iPlayer, UK and US Netflix (Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video were the only fails). Encrypt.me clearly isn't the best unblocking choice because the company isn't committed to supporting these services in the future, but right now, at least, it's a reasonable performer.
There was even better news in our leak tests. Encrypt.me's apps did an excellent privacy preserving job, with no DNS or WebRTC leaks to compromise our identity, and our browsing was protected at all times.
Moving on to the final speed tests, we found our local UK servers managed an average 67Mbps on a 75Mbps test line, very close to the maximum we'd expect from any VPN.
The real highlight came in our US tests, though, where Encrypt.me delivered an exceptionally consistent 225-240Mbps on our 600Mbps connection. We've seen a handful of VPNs deliver better results, recently – NordVPN managed 260-290Mbps, Speedify a variable but fast 275-400Mbps – but Encrypt.me's performance trampled all over most of the competition.
Encrypt.me is very fast along with being user-friendly, and it can work well for mobile users. But its session logging, price, poor Windows client and all-round lack of features make it hard to fully recommend when providers like ExpressVPN exist in the world.
Just like ice cream, VPNs come in different flavors. Some VPNs are better for watching Netflix and some are better for providing network security. Likewise, the right VPN for you depends on what your priorities are. Encrypt.me, the VPN I’m reviewing today, was made for one reason: to solve the problem of privacy on public networks. So when you’re out and about and connected to an untrusted network, you can connect securely and be confident your private information is safe. Let’s find out if Encrypt.me succeeded and how their VPN compares to the rest.
Now I’m going to give you the full scoop (ba dum ch) on Encrypt.me— it’s features, performance, subscription plans, customer support, and the Encrypt.me app. Next, I’ll compare it to NordVPN, one of the behemoths in the VPN space. Finally, we’ll decide together if Encrypt.me is the right VPN flavor for you. Let’s get started with our Encrypt.me VPN review!
Encrypt.me Pros and Cons
Let’s go over the main pros and cons of Encrypt.me before we get into the finer details.
What We Like
- Flexible payment plans: With the family plan option and five users, the price hits rock bottom (in a good way, of course).
- Unlimited number of devices: You can connect to Encrypt.me no matter how many devices you have.
- Highly-rated app: Ratings were positive from both the Android and iPhone apps.
What We Don’t Like
- No Netflix: Encrypt.me themselves say Netflix with a VPN, they are not right for you.
- No torrents: Expect a bad time if you’re trying to torrent with Encrypt.me.
- Harsh data logging policy: Sure, they delete your data after 16 days, but why collect it in the first place?
OK, let’s dive in.
Encrypt.me was founded in 2011 as Cloak VPN. They are based in the US with offices in Seattle, Dallas, Orlando, and also one in Guadalajara. In 2017, they changed their name to Encrypt.me. They have over 100 servers in around 60 locations around the world. You might be thinking that isn’t very many. Well, you’d be right. Other VPNs, like ExpressVPN, have over 2,000 servers globally. And typically when it comes to VPNs, the more servers the better as your proximity to a server influences your internet speed.
Like I mentioned above, Encrypt.me is based out of the US, which is a part of the Five Eyes international surveillance agreement. This means data could be legally requested from Encrypt.me and they would be forced to comply. Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes alliance as “some sort of a supra-national intelligence organization that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries”. Yikes. As someone who believes in a right to privacy, I would prefer my VPN to be based from just about any other country than one in a Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes country.
Encrypt.me VPN Features
Will Encrypt.me Log My Data?
The little secret in the VPN world is that every VPN says they don’t log any data, but surprise surprise…every VPN logs at least some data. Of course, some of this data is required to run a VPN service. If a VPN wants to recommend you the fastest server, it needs to know at least your general location. If a VPN wants to charge a subscription, they need your payment information. Past this basic information is when VPNs start to differ. So what kind of data some Encrypt.me log?
Encrypt.me Data Logging Policy. Screenshot from their website.
Well, as you can see above, Encrypt.me logs your “personal safety information”. This includes:
- the number of bytes sent and received,
- the length of time connected,
- the IP address connected from and the (virtual) IP we assign, and
- the source port of the outgoing connection with start and end times.
While they do permanently delete your “personal session information” after 16 days, this is more data collected than some VPNs. If you are a political activist and wouldn’t like your government to know your web activity, then I wouldn’t use Encrypt.me. If on the other hand, you are a regular Joe Shmoe then this level of privacy might be enough.
Does Encrypt.me Have A Kill Switch?
iOS App Screenshot. Photo provided by Encrypt.me.
What happens if your VPN server goes down for a split second? Would your computer connect via your private IP address, compromising your privacy? Well, with Encrypt.me it depends on what device you’re using. A kill switch (or “auto-secure” as Encrypt.me calls it) is a feature that ensures you only connect to the internet using the VPN server. Encrypt.me’s Mac, iOS, and Android applications offer this network locking function. If you use a PC though, you are out of luck; a kill switch is not currently available on Windows.
Does Encrypt.me Offer Split Tunneling?
Split tunneling is a fancy word for the ability some VPNs have to route some of your traffic through the VPN tunnel and some through your regular internet service provider. For example, this feature would give you the flexibility to watch Netflix in your home country, and surf the web with your VPN at the same time. For Encrypt.me, this feature is only available on Android.
Can I Use Netflix with Encrypt.me?
This same question is asked in Encrypt.me’s FAQ and their reply: “Short answer is no.” If you’re trying to bypass Netflix’s geographical restrictions or watch your Netflix shows while traveling abroad, Encrypt.me is not for you. If you are prone to binging one too many shows on Netflix, I would recommend NordVPN.
Can I Torrent Files using Encrypt.me?
Technically, you are allowed to torrent when using Encrypt.me, but to use an analogy: it would be like swimming in jeans. Yea, no one is stopping you, but you’re not gonna have a good time. Listen to what Encrypt.me says about torrents on their website:
“We allow BitTorrent traffic — we love tools like BitTorrent Sync and think they’re essential. But we block access to a number of well known piracy websites, trackers, and common seeders. If you want to download copyrighted content, Encrypt.me is absolutely not the right tool for you.”
I like their transparency, but at the end of the day if you’re looking for a VPN to torrent files I would choose a different VPN.
With all your data running through a VPN tunnel, you might be wondering how secure that tunnel is. I am happy to report that Encrypt.me uses 256-bit AES encryption through all their applications. You’ll often hear 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) called “military-grade encryption” on the web. Despite sounding cheesy, it is true that top-secret information in the United States government uses AES-256 as the standard for encryption. Your encrypted data is then transported using VPN protocols. The specific VPN protocol used will depend on the device you’re using Encrypt.me on.
Internet protocols determine how data packets are dispatched across a network. On Mac and Android, Encrypt.me is built using OpenVPN. DHE key exchanges are used by default, which provides perfect forward secrecy. On iOS and Windows, Encrypt.me uses the IKEv2/IPSec VPN protocol. Both are considered secure (although OpenVPN a little more so). You can find more information below on what these VPN protocols provide.
OpenVPN is an open-source VPN protocol used to make secure tunnels for your web traffic. OpenVPN is sometimes referred to as the gold standard when it comes to VPN protocols, and rightly so because it offers a good balance of speed and security. It offers up to 256-bit encryption using the Open SSL library and many other security features that can be configured as desired with protocols such as PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2/IPSec, SSTP, and more.
Internet Key Exchange version 2 is a widely used VPN protocol that automatically re-establishes your connection with your VPN after you’re disconnected from the Internet. This comes in handy when you would like to switch between Wi-Fi and mobile hotspots, which happens all the time when you’re on a mobile phone.
Now that we know Encrypt.me is secure, the next question is: Does it work? I’m looking for a VPN that is fast and won’t leak my IP address no matter what. Let’s see how well the Encrypt.me software performs.
Whichever VPN you choose, you’ll have to accept the fact that your internet speed will decrease. The extra protection from VPN security protocols comes at a price. If you have fiber internet, maybe losing some speed doesn’t matter. But if you’re one of us mortals without lightning-fast internet, choosing a VPN that won’t dramatically slow you down is critical. I want to see how Encrypt.me’s speed compares to the rest of the pack.
Please note that internet speed is determined by many factors— time of day, location, internet service provider, software, hardware, VPN server distance, and of course the VPN service provider. I’m testing Encrypt.me in Poland on a Macbook Pro running Mac OS Catalina and my trusty Lenovo ThinkPad T430 running Windows 10 Pro.
Encrypt.me Download Speed Tests
First, I measured the difference in download speed in megabits per second (Mbps). Encrypt.me was really slow for me in terms of download speeds as you can see from the above picture. My Mac slowed down by about 58% and my Windows by 70%. My internet was noticeably slower, such that even surfing the web felt more sluggish.
Encrypt.me Upload Speed Tests
Next, I tested the difference in upload speeds with and without the VPN. This time, Encrypt.me performed well on my Mac, but abysmally on my Windows. The upload speed decreased 8% on the Mac, and 82% on the Windows.
Encrypt.me Upload Speed Tests
Finally, I tested the ping, or latency in milliseconds. For this category, both the Windows and Mac computers were moderately slowed down. The latency increased by around 50 milliseconds for Windows and Mac.
Overall, I’m disappointed by how much Encrypt.me slowed down my Mac and Windows computers. The only positive result was the upload speed test on the Mac. If these are the speeds Encrypt.me consistently provides, then it will be hard to recommend regardless of Encrypt.me’s other features.
DNS Leak Test
DNS leak tests are important to do because a device might either send DNS traffic outside of the VPN’s tunnel, or it might use the VPN tunnel but connect to a third-party server. Luckily, Encrypt.me offers DNS leak protection. You just need to make sure the “Enable DNS Leak Protection” feature is selected inside the application.
Encrypt.me DNS Leak Test Screenshot
As you can see above, the only IP addresses detected from my connection were in Belgium. This means my real IP address wasn’t leaked, so Encrypt.me passes DNS leak tests. The next question you might be wondering is: Will Encrypt.me allow me to download Belgian waffles? As far as I know, the answer is no. Are we really living in the future?
WebRTC Leak Test
Are you going to use your VPN with Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Opera? Then you need to know about WebRTC leaks.
WebRTC, otherwise known as Web Real-Time Communication Test, is a collection of standardized technologies that allow web browsers to communicate directly with each other rather than going through an intermediate server. WebRTC allows for faster speeds for video chat, live streaming, and file transfers. OK, so what’s the problem?
Well, any two devices that are communicating with WebRTC need to know each other’s IP addresses. So theoretically, a website or third party could use WebRTC to detect your real IP address. No bueno. Some VPNs have software that automatically blocks WebRTC leak tests, while others ask you to disable WebRTC in your browser manually. I tested Encrypt.me and thankfully, Encrypt.me protected me from WebRTC leaks.
Now let’s talk about dollar bills. Will Encrypt.me cost you an arm and a leg? Your firstborn child? Thankfully, no.
Encrypt.me has some interesting payment options. To start, they offer a free two-week trial so you can try out Encrypt.me and see if it floats your boat. Then once you’ve decided you can’t live without it, you have a couple of different options. I really appreciate free trials where you don’t have to provide any credit card information, so if you’re considering Encrypt.me I would encourage you to try it out.
Encrypt.me Individual Subscription Options
First of all, you can choose the normal monthly and yearly subscriptions. These are pretty standard. Honestly, it’s not a big drop off in price for the one-year commitment. So I would pay monthly for a while before committing. What is more out of the ordinary is their Mini Plan, which gives you up to five GB of data a month. If you’re just using Encrypt.me like the founders intended (only when you’re on untrusted networks), this may be enough for you.
Encrypt.me Family Subscription Plans
The next category of plans Encrypt.me offers are family plans, which work for up to five users. If you can max out this plan with five users, the monthly price drops to down to around two and a half dollars a month per user. And that’s without any long term commitment. It depends on your situation, but this option could be a game-changer.
Encrypt.me Payment Passes
The last category of plans are what Encrypt.me calls passes. They are the same as subscriptions, except you won’t be automatically billed for another cycle when your term runs out. I think I can speak for everyone when I say it sucks be automatically charged when you don’t want to renew a service, so I love that Encrypt.me has this option.
Keep in mind that Encrypt.me offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if Encrypt.me isn’t cutting the mustard, you can get a full refund. I would recommend trying the service for a month before investing in a lower cost, longer-term plan.
With any subscription, you’ll be able to switch between an unlimited number of servers. You can also use an unlimited number of devices with your subscription. They do ask that you use one account per user though. Overall, I really like the flexibility Encrypt.me offers in their payment plans. If you decide to use their VPN, I am confident they have a plan for you.
Encrypt.me requires you to use one of their client applications to connect. It’s not possible to manually configure Encrypt.me on unsupported devices. This means you can’t use Encrypt.me on Linux.
Unfortunately, Encrypt.me doesn’t offer any browser extensions.
Encrypt.me Customer Support
Undoubtedly if you’re using a VPN for long enough, you’re going to need to contact customer support eventually. Let’s see what kind of customer support Encrypt.me has.
You can contact Encrypt.me for customer support only via email. I would have liked to see a live chat or phone support option. Communicating back and forth through email is just about the slowest form of support possible. When I contacted customer support for questions to write this review, their response took two hours. As far as email support goes, that’s not bad. Let’s see how their other users rate the Encrypt.me customer support experience.
Customer Support Ratings
If you are buying Encrypt.me through Amazon, you’ll see that they have an overall customer rating of 3.2 from over 27 customer reviews. The only reviews that mentioned customer support were positive. The one-star reviews mentioned poor speeds and disliking their data logging policy. So although 3.2 out of five is pretty average, I would say Encrypt.me does well in terms of customer support.
The Encrypt.me App
Encrypt.me iOS App Screenshot from my iPhone
Most of the time you spend dealing with a VPN will be on their apps so a good user experience can make or break them. Let’s talk about the Encrypt.me app – which devices are supported, what it offers, and whether it has good functionality.
The Encrypt.me app is supported on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Amazon FireOS. Inside their apps, you will find a big button or bar to turn on the VPN service. It’s a simple user experience that will be intuitive for everyone. And it seems that most of their users think highly of their apps as well. Encrypt.me has a stellar 4.5 rating from the Apple store and a not too shabby 4.1 rating from the Google Play store.
Encrypt.me Vs. NordVPN
NordVPN is another popular VPN so let’s see how it compares with Encrypt.me. While Encrypt.me has over 100 servers in more than 60 countries, NordVPN has a whopping 5,246 in 62 countries. Talk about David and Goliath. With 50 times more servers, NordVPN has a much better chance of connecting with a server in your part of the woods.
NordVPN is also not part of an international surveillance alliance or subject to data retention laws, as they’re based in Panama. As I mentioned above, Encrypt.me is based in the United States which is a part of Five Eyes. This means that NordVPN is significantly less likely to pass your data along to the government.
Encrypt.me vs NordVPN Features
In terms of data logging, Encrypt.me logs your personal session information and then deletes it after 16 days, while NordVPN just doesn’t log this personal session information. Both offer kill switches, except on Windows for Encrypt.me. Only NordVPN lets you stream on Netflix or torrent files.
While both VPNs offer anonymous IP addresses, NordVPN will give you the same IP address each time, which isn’t great for privacy. At least your IP address will be shared with other NordVPN users, so you should blend in with the crowd. Encrypt.me regularly rotates its IP addresses, so this makes it harder for third parties to track you.
Now that we’ve gone over how NordVPN and Encrypt.me’s features compare, let’s talk about their performances. NordVPN was significantly faster on both my Mac and Windows computers. It wasn’t even close. Neither system had any DNS or WebRTC leaks. Overall, I’d recommend NordVPN to pretty much any user, except if you’re on Android and really value split tunneling.
Recap of Encrypt.me
In summary, I wouldn’t recommend Encrypt.me. To be frank, I don’t like their data logging policy, and I don’t like that they don’t allow you to watch Netflix. There are some things I do like though, so let me go through the pros and cons to see if Encrypt.me will work out better for you than it did for me.
Encrypt.me might be the VPN for you if you value:
- Highly-rated app: Both Android and iPhone users rated the Encrypt.me app at least four stars.
- Good customer support: Very few customers reported a bad experience.
- Flexible payment plans: Cheap options available if you just need a VPN occasionally or a short time period.
- Unlimited number of devices: On one subscription, you can connect with however many devices you want.
On the other hand, you might want to avoid Encrypt.me if you can’t stand:
- No Netflix: Encrypt.me is upfront that if you want to watch Netflix with a VPN, they are not right for you.
- No torrents: Likewise if you’re interested in a VPN to mask your torrent activity, keep looking.
- Low speeds: Encrypt.me performed poorly on both the Mac and the Windows speed tests.
- Harsh data logging policy: Sure, they delete your data after 16 days, but why collect it in the first place?
- Data retention laws: Your data could be requested legally and Encrypt.me would be forced to comply.
- No kill switch on Windows: Windows users beware.
As a VPN service, Encrypt.me makes a strong argument for itself based on value. A below-average monthly fee plus the unlimited simultaneous connections means you can fit any number of people and devices onto an account for less than most other VPN services. The service's excellent speed test results add to its appeal. What holds it back from a higher score is a poor client experience on Windows, few server locations, and a complicated relationship with P2P services.
What Is a VPN?
When you switch on a VPN, it creates an encrypted tunnel between you and a remote server controlled by the VPN company. All your web traffic travels through that tunnel, hiding it from anyone on your network and your ISP—which is good, because they can sell your data to advertisers now. From the web, your traffic is mixed in with all the other users on a particular VPN server, making it harder to see who is doing what. You also appear to have the IP address of the VPN server, further protecting your privacy.
VPNs are great tools, but they won't protect against every threat. Using two-factor authentication, antivirus software, and a password manager will go a long way to securing you online. If you need even more anonymity, you'll be better served by using Tor, or a VPN that can access the Tor network.
Pricing and Features
A monthly subscription with Encrypt.me costs $9.99. According to my research, the average price of the ten best VPNs I've reviewed is about $10.80 per month, making Encrypt.me an affordable option. For comparison, NordVPN costs $11.95, ProtonVPN costs $10, and TunnelBear costs $9.99.
As with most VPN services, Encrypt.me offers longer-term subscriptions at a discount. A year of service costs $99.99 with Encrypt.me. NordVPN, on the other hand, costs $83.88 per year, ProtonVPN costs $96, and TunnelBear undercuts them all at only $59.88 per year. That all being said, I recommend that people avoid long term subscriptions at first. It's better to try out a VPN to see if it fits your life before forking over cash for a long-term subscription.
With either the monthly or annual subscription, Encrypt.me lets you use an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. Most companies allow up to five simultaneous connections on one account, but many are starting to offer more. NordVPN lets you use six devices simultaneously, and Private Internet Access allows 10. Along with Encrypt.me, Avira Phantom VPN, SurfShark, and Windscribe all place no limit on the number of connections.
This is where it gets confusing: Encrypt.me also offers a variety of other subscription plans and passes. In general, I actually really like VPN services that have flexibility in their pricing, but Encrypt.me spreads out its offerings across several pages and links. I'd much rather have all the options lined up so I can compare them and make the choice that works for me, especially when there are as many choices as Encrypt.me offers.
An example of Encrypt.me's arcane pricing structure is that it offers both "plans" and "passes." The difference is that plans are ongoing and renew automatically. Passes, on the other hand, are one-offs. Both allow unlimited data. You can opt for a $3.99 weekly pass, a $9.99 monthly pass, and a $99.99 year-long pass. I really like services that offer flexible pricing like this. The week-long pass, for instance, is a great choice if you're traveling or are looking for an ephemeral "burner" experience for whatever reason.
There's also a Teams option, which is geared towards corporate customers and charges more the bigger the team. Pricing starts at $15.98 per month for two accounts and goes up to $1,491.51 per month for 249 accounts. Encrypt.me says that larger accounts are available.
If you like the idea of members of your family having individual accounts, you can opt for the Families option. For $12.99 per month or $149.99 per year, you get five Encrypt.me accounts for your family, each with unlimited data and an unlimited number of devices. That's all well and good, but if you can already use an unlimited number of devices on a single account, it's much cheaper to simply hand out those credentials to every person in your family. I'm not sure this option makes sense.
If you want to go even cheaper, Encrypt.me has a $2.99 per month Mini Plan that limits you to 5GB of data. Notably, ProtonVPN offers a $5 per month plan with no data limit.
Encrypt.me deserves credit for its 14-day free trial, which you can use without providing your credit card information. If you're considering this service, I highly recommend you start here and make sure it works for you.
There's been a lot of bad press around free VPNs, but some companies offer excellent free services. TunnelBear, for example, offers 500MB of data per month, which can be upgraded to 1GB per month if you post about the company on social media. ProtonVPN, however, has the best free plan I've seen, which places no limit on the amount of data you can use but does restrict you to three servers and one device. Still, it's hard to beat free.
While the Encrypt.me free trial does not require a credit card, major credit cards are the only payment option with Encrypt.me. Other services allow anonymous payment options, like cryptocurrency or gift cards.
The company also has a complicated relationship with BitTorrent and other P2P services. Encrypt.me tells me that all P2P activity is blocked in the free trial, and must be manually unlocked by contacting support after you've purchased a subscription. I'm glad that the company allows P2P and BitTorrent for its paid members, but that's a tedious process that needs to be improved. TorGuard VPN, by contrast, is a service built around serving the needs of seeders and leechers.
A unique feature Encrypt.me offers is Private End-Points, which lets you roll your own VPN. You simply deploy Encrypt.me's software on your own server, or a cloud-based option like Amazon AWS. There are other self-hosted VPN options, such as Jigsaw's Outline or Algo. "Simply," is, of course, a relative term. Self-hosting provides a lot of assurance and control, but also requires some foreknowledge and a DIY attitude. I'd advise against tackling this unless you are already comfortable with the technologies and services involved.
There are many ways to create a VPN connection. I prefer OpenVPN, which has a reputation for speed and reliability, as well as being open-source. That means its code has been picked over and audited for any potential vulnerabilities. WireGuard, another open-source protocol, is likely the future of VPNs, but it's still experimental and hasn't seen widespread adoption.
I'm pleased to see that Encrypt.me uses OpenVPN in its Android and macOS apps. The iOS and Windows apps from Encrypt.me use IKEv2, another strong option.
Servers and Server Locations
While more is always better, the correlation between the total number of servers provided by a VPN and the quality of service is not as strong as you might expect. When I reviewed ProtonVPN, I found that its lower-tier options with fewer available servers actually delivered better performance. As I show later in this review, Encrypt.me earned excellent speed test results despite having only 131 servers. That said, many more servers offer customers more options to find one that works for them. NordVPN, for instance, has over 5,200 servers available, while CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access, and TorGuard all offer over 3,000 servers respectively.
The number of server locations and their distribution is also an important consideration. While VPN companies will focus their efforts in the regions that earn them the most customers, more locations means that customers have more choices for spoofing their location. Encrypt.me offers servers in a respectable 43 countries. Most of these are in Europe, with only a single server for the entire continent of Africa and two for all of South America. I appreciate that Encrypt.me provides any support for these regions, as they're often overlooked, but I would like to see more. ExpressVPN, for example, supplies servers in 94 countries. Encrypt.me does offer servers in Hong Kong, but other regions with restrictive internet policies such as Turkey and Russia are not included.
Virtual servers are software-defined servers, meaning that one hardware server can play host to many virtual ones, which themselves can be configured to appear as if they are somewhere other than their hardware host. Many VPN companies use virtual servers to accommodate sudden surges in traffic, while others use them to provide coverage for potentially dangerous regions by placing the physical host in a more secure area. This could also be a potential privacy concern, since virtual servers obscure where your data is actually headed. Encrypt.me tells me that it doesn't use any virtual locations, and that each server is exactly where it claims to be.
Your Privacy With Encrypt.me
When you use a VPN, you're giving that company the ability to monitor and intercept all your online activities. That's why it's important to understand each company's position on privacy before you sign up. Encrypt.me has clearly worked hard to make its privacy policies easy to understand, and it deserves credit for the effort. The company clearly states:
A representative for the company told me that Encrypt.me's only source of revenue is VPN subscriptions. That's great, since a VPN company shouldn't profit from user data.
Cloak Holdings, LLC, and the parent company NetProtect own Encrypt.me. The company has been acquired by J2 Global, which owns PCMag's publisher ZiffMedia.
Encrypt.me is based in the US, and is subject to US law. The company goes on to outline its policies for responding to legal requests.
It is, overall, a good policy, but I would like it to be stronger. Other VPNs use their location outside the US to shield customers from legal requests for information. Encrypt.me also does not have a transparency report, which would outline how many requests for information the company had received, and how it had responded.
Importantly, Encrypt.me does not log your activity while connected to its service. It does, however, log some information:
- The number of bytes sent and received,
- The length of time connected,
- The IP address connected from and the (virtual) IP they assign, and
- The source port of the outgoing connection with start and end times.
To its credit, Encrypt.me rightly identifies this as extremely sensitive information and says that it deletes this information after 16 days. Other VPN companies, such as AnchorFree Hotspot Shield, can manage accounts without logging origin IP addresses at all. I'd like to see Encrypt.me gathering even less information.
Several VPN companies have begun releasing the results of third-party audits, in order to establish their privacy bona fides. Encrypt.me was audited in 2016, and the results of a second, comprehensive audit of its apps was released in late 2019. TunnelBear similarly committed to releasing annual security audits, and does so publicly. Encrypt.me has not participated in the Center for Democracy and Technology's VPN questionnaire.
It can be difficult to draw definitive judgments about a VPN's security and privacy practices, as those are hidden from reviewers and customers alike. As is the case with most security products, trust is key. If, for whatever reason, you do not feel you can trust a particular company, there are many other options to explore.
Hands On With Encrypt.me
When I went to install the Encrypt.me client on my test computer, a noble Lenovo ThinkPad T460S, I was surprised to find that the Windows app was labeled as a beta. As a rule, PCMag doesn't review beta software, but a final version was released days later. I wasn't particularly impressed with the beta client, and am disappointed that the final application showed no substantive improvements.
On Windows, the Encrypt.me app lives in your system tray. When you click the icon, a window appears that vanishes whenever you click away. Is it too small? Too hard to see? Too bad, it's bolted to that spot on your screen and there's nothing you can do about it. The app's single window also looks rather antiquated on Windows 10. Something about it reminds me of HTML tables.
I do appreciate the simplicity of Encrypt.me's design. With a single button to start your connection and defaulting to the fastest server available, it's super simple to get started. I can even overlook an ugly client (Private Internet Access had a truly awful user experience for years) but there's a lot of strange decisions in this app. For one thing, the giant connect button says Encrypt Me to start a connection and Stop Encrypting to disconnect. Sure, that gets the branding on there, but I can't imagine that customers are going to think about the product in those terms. Another odd choice: while using the app, I saw references to "transporters," which was very confusing. Am I on Star Trek? Popular action film franchise The Transporter?
It turns out that "transporter" is what Encrypt.me calls its servers. The company can call them whatever it likes, I suppose, but it would help if it were clear to the user. It didn't help that the so-called "transporters" are tucked away in a drop-down menu. I like that Encrypt.me includes a full and detailed list of locations, but I much prefer VPN apps that make their
transporters servers searchable and sortable. Encrypt.me also doesn't include information about its servers beyond location. There's no way to tell if the Cleveland server is more crowded or higher latency than the Chicago server, so why bother telling me they're different servers? I much prefer interfaces like NordVPN, which let you choose a broad location from a map, or drill down to specific servers with information about each. TunnelBear goes in a different direction, with a fully graphical interface built around a map, but that is also easier to use than Encrypt.me.
Clicking Settings opens a new window with precious few options. You can, for instance, manage a whitelist of trusted Wi-Fi networks. An odd feature is that the app trusts cellular and ethernet connections by default, which doesn't seem like the best choice to me.
I was surprised to find that in the Account tab that I was currently enrolled under the A Plan. Is that short for "annual?" Is there a B Plan somewhere? Not that I saw. This is a tiny point, but it's indicative of the confusing design choices in the Encrypt.me app. You could argue that such minimalism is in service of a "set and forget" model, but I would counter that unless I understand what to set I won't feel comfortable enough to forget. Encrypt.me needs to sort this out.
When you use a VPN, you expect that it won't leak information about you or your online activities. I confirmed that Encrypt.me did indeed change my IP address and successfully obscured my ISP information. Using the DNS leak test tool, I also confirmed that Encrypt.me redirected my DNS requests from my ISP.
Encrypt.me and Netflix
Using a VPN is a great way to improve your privacy online, but not all sites appreciate it. Some banks, for instance, will block VPN use on the grounds that it looks suspicious. Streaming services, such as Netflix, also tend to block VPN traffic because you can use a VPN to spoof your location and access content that's not supposed to be available in your locale.
That's the case with Encrypt.me. When I tested the service, I was unable to stream Netflix content while connected to a VPN server in the US. Keep in mind that this might change at any time, as VPN companies and Netflix are locked in cat-and-mouse combat.
The VPN space is increasingly crowded, which has driven some companies to pack in more features in order to stand out. TunnelBear, for example, offers a stand-alone ad blocker for your browser, as well as the Remembear password manager.
Currently, Encrypt.me does not offer any add-ons or additional features beyond VPN protection. A company representative tells me that, in the future, Encrypt.me will offer ad-blocking and content filtering to customers.
Speed and Performance
Using a VPN adds distance and complexity to your already complex internet connection, which usually results in higher latency and lower download and upload speeds. To get a sense of how much an impact each VPN makes, I run a series of tests using the Ookla speed test tool and find a percent change between when a VPN is active and when it is not. These tests probably won't reflect your experience, but allow me to compare between all the VPNs I've reviewed.
I am shocked by the results from Encrypt.me's tests. It increased latency by only 21.9 percent, which is not the lowest but still quite good. Encrypt.me set a new best upload score, reducing upload speed results by only 49.3 percent. It reduced download speed results by 59.7 percent, a hair's breadth from beating the current best score.
You can see how Encrypt.me compares in the chart below, which shows the ten best results from among the three dozen VPNs I've tested.
Previously, HideIPVPN held the title of fastest VPN. It had the best upload and download scores, but was way off in terms of latency. Encrypt.me sneaks in a best upload score, comes very close with is download score, and far outperforms HideIPVPN in terms of latency. Even though it only has the best score in one category, it outperforms the previous winner in two categories, making it the fastest VPN I've yet reviewed.
All that being said, I always caution against purchasing a VPN on speed alone. For one thing, your results will almost certainly be different from mine. For another, I consider design, pricing, value, and technical excellence to be far more important factors than mere speed.
Encrypt.me on Other Platforms
Encrypt.me currently offers first-party apps for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. Notably, you can also download an Encrypt.me app for Fire OS devices, such as the Amazon Kindle Fire. Many other VPN companies offer proxy browser plugins that allow you to spoof the location of your browser location, instructions on how to configure your router to use a VPN, or even the option to purchase a preconfigured router.
I couldn't find instructions for using Encrypt.me with Linux on the company's website. I also couldn't find any information on how to manually configure an operating system to use Encrypt.me. Both are, admittedly, fairly minor considerations, but likely important for some.
Speed Isn't Everything
Encrypt.me checks a lot of boxes I am looking for in a VPN. It offers flexible, affordable pricing and supports all the major device platforms with a simple, usable client. The fact that it has remarkable speed test scores is gravy. That said, there is a general lack of clarity that permeates Encrypt.me, making its simple app hard to use and its flexible pricing difficult to understand. The fact that it logs IP addresses, while temporary, is also disappointing. With a little tidying, and tweaks to how it handles sensitive information, it could compete, but we continue to recommend our Editors' Choice winners: NordVPN, Private Internet Access, ProtonVPN, and TunnelBear.
- Unlimited simultaneous connections.
- Excellent speed test scores.
- Flexible pricing.
- Unique self-deployed option.
- Free trial.
- Poorly designed client.
- Temporarily logs IP information.
- Confusing subscription plans.
- Low diversity of server locations.
- Complicated support for BitTorrent.
- Few servers.