|Based In||Middle East|
ArgoVPN is a free VPN Android-only product from a company called Filtershekanha. According to the Google Play Store, the app has over 1 million downloads. The website states they specifically designed the VPN service to get around internet censorship. It also offers several features that we’ll talk about below. There is no premium version, so you can’t upgrade the service to give premium options. We are typically wary of free VPNs because they usually mean you are the product. In our ArgoVPN review, we’ll keep an open mind and take the app through its paces to provide you with our assessment.
Privacy and Security
That said, the German cybersecurity firm, Cure53 independently reviewed ArgoVPN’s security two times in 2020. They provide security analysis, architectural advice, and penetration tests for online services. That at least shows that the company’s heart is in the right place, even if their security is below what we would like to see.
ArgoVPN has some surprising features for a free service. These include split tunneling, kill switch & always-on VPN, the ability to change internal and external DNS servers, add a firewall, VPN DNS Leak protection, the ability to bypass LAN and more. By changing the internal and external DNS servers, you can mix and match effects to get the advantage of no malware and the family settings. By doing so, you can make sure you don’t get malware and protect your family at the same time.
Additionally, you can choose from a public network, Bridge network, or Falcon network, as you see below. The Bridge Network allows you to connect to an ArgoVPN server through non-public addresses. Interestingly, if you are setting up a bridge network, it makes you submit a “Captcha”. However, those who do not natively speak Arabic won’t be able to read what the Captcha says. We tried and could guess based on the images, but that is not an ideal solution.
As you see in the image above, you have an option to use a Falcon network. When you use this one, you can register or add your own domain name to use in ArgoVPN to bypass internet censorship in your country. All you have to do is tap on the red circle with the plug to connect and use this VPN. Once it chooses the server for you, the program will turn the circle green. That is how you know you’re connected.
Is ArgoVPN Fast?
The answer to this question is not straightforward. There are two things you need to know. The first one is, there is no telling what server you will end up on. You won’t know that answer until you connect. The second issue is that it only uses 128-bit encryption. That makes it faster but less secure than many of the VPNs we test. As you can see in this image, we got a download speed of 128 Mbps. While that shows the service to be relatively fast, the lighter encryption means we can’t accurately compare it to the top competitors.
Does ArgoVPN Leak?
For this test, we used two different sources. Because of the DNS leak protection option we mentioned earlier, we were not surprised to see that ArgoVPN did not leak. The left side of the image shows that there was a request from CloudFlare (the DNS shown above). The right side of the image shows in our test that there is only one server shown, and it is from Cloudflare. As you can see, both sources show that the service passes the DNS leak test.
How Well Does ArgoVPN Unblock Streaming Services?
Keep in mind that this service is free and is specifically designed to unblock government censorship. That is why ArgoVPN’s failure of the streaming tests did not surprise us. Of course, the service is not ideal for streaming anyway. Luckily, we were able to reconnect until we were on a server in the UK for this test. When we tested BBC iPlayer, we got the message below telling us that we were not in the country. Although we can’t show the Netflix image here, because of the app’s security features, we were not successful there either.
Customer service for ArgoVPN gives you only a few options. These include an email address, two Twitter accounts, and an FAQ section (not translated into English yet). If you need help with anything, you can try those methods. You may be on your own, though, if you need immediate help. Ideally, we would love to see them offer more options and translate the FAQ section into English. That will provide more support for English-speaking users.
ArgoVPN may work well to help you get around censorship in your country, which appears to be the primary goal of the service. With that said, it is fairly limited to that purpose. As with anything, ArogVPN has good points and some areas where it could be improved. Let’s take a look at those now.
Things we Like About ArgoVPN
- Independently audited
- Decent speeds
- DNS does not leak
- Outside 14 Eyes jurisdiction
- The company does not sell information
Suggestions for Improvement
- Add more platforms (currently only available for Android)
- Increase encryption levels to more secure 256-bit encryption
- Offer transparency with encryption protocols used
- Give the user the ability to select the server location
- Resolve issues that stop the user from streaming region-specific content
- Add an option for a premium version for better access
In our opinion, ArgoVPN misses the mark if you are looking for a fully fleshed-out VPN. A good VPN will keep you safe with 256-bit encryption, offer you different protocols, stop DNS from leaking, unblock streaming services, and provide you with good speeds. Even though ArgoVPN passed our leak tests and has decent speeds, it seems to have them at the cost of security. Although the service was audited by a 3rd party, that does not take the place of higher-level encryption. There is no point in having good speeds if it won’t allow you to stream geo-restricted content. Because of the security issues and lack of server choice, we would look at other options. That is why we really can’t recommend using this one yet, but appreciate the efforts their team has made so far.