BlackVPN Review

BlackVPN moved their business to Hong Kong in 2012.  They feel it’s the best location to operate from in order to protect the privacy of their users.  BlackVPN isn’t alone as other VPN companies including PureVPN are also based out of Hong Kong.  As you’ll see in a moment BlackVPN has a lot to offer.  I wish they had a custom client but otherwise the service is excellent.

Pricing and Special Offers

BlackVPN offers a wide range of plans based on your needs.  We’ll start with their best account, the Global Package.  It’s the plan we used to test the service.  With Global you get access to all their servers and can switch between them anytime.

Here’s a quick look at all the BlackVPN packages:

BlackVPN packages

Given the differences between plans it’s easier to read the details off the image above or directly from their homepage.  As you can see BlackVPN offers four plans – Privacy Package, TV Package, Global Package and Single Server.  Once you decide on a package you can sign up by the month or save on a quarter or annual term.

Risk Free Trial Period

As with most VPN providers BlackVPN doesn’t offer a free trial.  However, they understand that you need time to test the service.  In response BlackVPN offers a 14 day no-risk money back guarantee.  Giving you a full two weeks to test the service.

BlackVPN money back guarantee information:

You are entitled to a full refund on a new order if all of the following apply:

  • you claim your refund within 14 days of your order date
  • your account has not already been suspended by us for your breach of our terms of service
  • you have not previously claimed a refund from us under this policy

You are entitled to a full refund on a renewal order if all of the following apply:

  • you claim your refund within 14 days of your renewal date
  • your account has not already been suspended by us for your breach of our terms of service

BlackVPN Network and Server Locations

I would call BlackVPN a mid-size provider in terms of their network.  They have VPN servers located in strategic locations around the world.  While perhaps not as large as some other networks, the BlackVPN is large enough to ensure the privacy of their members across a range of countries and purposes.

CountriesLocationsServersProtocols
1213unknownOpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP

BlackVPN has VPN servers in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Panama, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia, Estonia and Singapore.

Privacy and Security

While many online privacy companies are vague when it comes to what they log, BlackVPN makes it very clear.  That’s an advantage of their service.  BlackVPN is known to be strong on privacy and is growing a customer base of those who appreciate their approach.

Let’s take a look at what BlackVPN does and doesn’t log:

  • We NEVER log your real IP address.
  • We NEVER log your internet activity.
  • We DO keep your email address and payment record.
  • We DO log the time stamp of when you connected to allow us to deal with hacking/spam and to comply with copyright violations on our USA/UK/CA/SG locations. We keep this data for 7 days on our Privacy locations and 30 days on all other locations.

The rules of the service are simple:

  • Do not spam
  • Do not hack
  • Do not harm others
  • Do not do P2P on servers outside our privacy locations

I can hear some of you reading that last line over again.  BlackVPN does allow P2P but only on specific servers.  Follow their rules or you could have your account banned.  If you plan to P2P do so on their servers in the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, Panama, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia, Estonia or Luxembourg.  Do NOT do P2P on servers in the United States, United Kingdom or Singapore.

From the security side BlackVPN has all the bases covered.  They offer a full range of protocols including OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP to encrypt your online communications.  Giving members strong privacy along with compatibility with a wide range of operating systems.  They also sell VPN routers.

Hands-On Testing

I’d like to start by saying that BlackVPN performed very well.  The service holds it’s own against our top 10 providers in terms of speed.  Where they fall off is the lack of custom client software.  Not to be confused you still have software options including OpenVPN for Windows and TunnelBlick for Mac.

When it comes to custom client software and mobile apps I think a lot of them.  The easier you can make a service to use the better.  As long as it doesn’t compromise security.  As a sys admin I can say that those with some technical knowledge won’t have any issue setting up BlackVPN.  My parents on the other hand would not be a good match as they really need something easier.

Connecting from Windows

While BlackVPN doesn’t have a custom client they do offer OpenVPN set up guides for Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP.  Along with instructions for manually setting up PPTP and L2TP connections.

Let’s take a look at the OpenVPN GUI for BlackVPN:

BlackVPN OpenVPN

A couple quick tips.  Make sure you install and run OpenVPN as an administrator.  That will help you avoid errors with any provider that uses the native OpenVPN client.  As you can see the OpenVPN GUI provides a list of server locations to connect.

I like how BlackVPN separates the locations into “Privacy” and “TV”.  The TV locations are meant to help you access services like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Pandora, Spotify, Vudu, Zattoo and more.  While the privacy locations will provide you with anonymous access.  Remember that P2P users need to stick with the Privacy server locations.

Connect from Mac

I tested BlackVPN on a Windows 8 box so I can’t personally speak to the quality of the service on a Mac.  They offer a Tunnelblick guide for OpenVPN set up on Mac.  Along with instructions to manually set up L2TP and PPTP connections.  They suggest you avoid PPTP and I agree.

Connect from iPhone or iPad

BlackVPN doesn’t have an iOS app but they support all the devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).  iOS natively supports VPN.  BlackVPN has a guide for using the OpenVPN Connect iOS app with their service.  Along with manual set up for PPTP and L2TP.

Connect from Android

Once again BlackVPN doesn’t have a custom app but the service supports Android phones and tablets.  You’ll have the option of OpenVPN or OpenVPN for Android apps.  Along with help manually setting up PPTP and L2TP connections on Android.

BlackVPN Speed Test

BlackVPN  shined in terms of performance.  The speed of their server in Chicago was excellent.  I nearly matched my ISP speed while connected through the OpenVPN GUI on Windows 8.  I think you’ll be pleased with the responsiveness of their network.BlackVPN Speed Test

Conclusion

BlackVPN is solid  They are strong advocates of online privacy.  At the time I tested and reviewed their service, BlackVPN was donating 10% of every Privacy Package to the EFF.  A group that is well worth supporting and a class act on BackVPN’s part.

What I liked most about the service:

  • The service performed really well
  • Support for OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP protocols
  • Clear stated logging policy and terms of service
  • Term discounts on quarterly and annual terms

Ideas to improve the service:

  • Add BlackVPN clients for Windows and Mac
  • Add BlackVPN apps for iOS and Android
  • Consider dedicated IP as an add-on

The only negative for me was the lack of a custom VPN client.  BlackVPN has done a good job with their set up guides and uses well known open-source client software for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.  If you are somewhat technical then you won’t have any issues.  If you aren’t all that technical then I suggest you look for a provider that offers an easy to use VPN client.

Visit BlackVPN