Editor’s Note: Encrypt.me has recently been acquired by StrongVPN, and based on our research, StrongVPN is a top contender in the VPN space.
When you’re online, most of the time you’re not really thinking about how the internet works — you just want to buy that dog bed on Amazon.
And that’s okay. Not everyone needs to be concerned with the inner workings of networking and privacy. But you should consider exactly how vulnerable you are. Your internet service provider is watching everything you do, and with very little effort, bad actors can gain access to some of your most private information.
That’s why a growing number of consumers are utilizing virtual private networks to access the internet. VPNs provide an additional layer of security by encrypting your traffic through their network of servers, preventing prying eyes from checking in on what you’re doing.
Encrypt.me is one of the simplest VPNs I’ve tested, but don’t be deceived. What it lacks in frills it more than makes up for in protection. But before we start unpacking the service and get into the features and tech, let’s take a quick look at what they get right, and where the service might be a little lacking.
One of the first unique things you’ll notice about Encrypt.me is that they offer a free two-week trial period. Not a “we’ll give your money back if you don’t like the service” trial, either. You can just use Encrypt.me for free, and ultimately purchase it if you like what you see. This level of confidence on their part inspired confidence in me as well — if they thought I’d like the service enough to buy it after using it for a period of time, it has to be pretty solid, right?
Well, before we get into that, let’s talk about what you’re going to be paying after those two weeks are up.
True to form, Encrypt.me makes their payment plan super simple. I break this down more in our guide to Encrypt.me costs and plans, but all you really need to know is that there’s a month-to-month plan as well as an annual plan. Here’s the real quick breakdown:
|Subscription Duration||One Month||One Year|
|Free Mobile App||Yes||Yes|
Both plans offer unlimited data, and there’s no limit to the number of devices you can connect under one subscription — pretty generous on their part. If that price is looking a little steep, though, Encrypt.me does offer a monthly mini plan for $2.99 that lets you secure up to 5 GB of data.
Pro Tip: Want security for your whole family? Encrypt.me offers digital protection for families, too. Protect up to five individuals monthly for $12.99, or for the whole year at $149.99.
Encrypt.me also offers what they refer to as “passes.” These are similar to their subscription plans, but they don’t automatically renew. Kind of a novel approach, and good for short-term travelers who’d like to be protected abroad. Here’s the breakdown:
|Pass Duration||One Week||One Month||One Year|
|Free Mobile App||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Similar to subscriptions, Encrypt.me passes have no data limits, and you can secure as many devices as you please.
One thing to point out here — Encrypt.me VPN doesn’t offer a lot of ways to pay. More specifically, you can only use a credit card. That’s not a huge deal for most folks, but a lot of VPN services out there will let you use cryptocurrencies to set up subscriptions. Many privacy-minded folks prefer this method because it adds a layer of anonymity to things, but I’ve never considered it essential. Just something to keep in mind.
Something else to point out, although Encrypt.me does offer a money-back guarantee, you’re going to have to drop some cash up front to put it to the test. (If you’re uncomfortable with this, you might consider checking out Windscribe VPN plans, as they offer a free trial version.)
Once you’ve selected your Encrypt.me plan, it’s simple to create your account. Enter an email and password, and just like that, you’re ready to go. Encrypt.me will send you a verification email, and once you click through that, you’ll be prompted to download the software.
FYI: Keep in mind that Encrypt.me works on Mac and Windows computers as well as Android and iOS devices. They even have a version for Amazon’s Fire OS.
Once you’ve downloaded and executed the installation package, you’re protected from prying eyes.
Encrypt.me makes no bones about being a simple service. Security is their singular goal, and they do a really good job of it — but that’s really it. There is literally nothing to the dashboard — it’s designed to be a service that you set up and forget about.
And during the time I was testing Encrypt.me, that’s exactly what I did. It ran quietly in the background for the most part and rarely gave me issues. Occasionally there would be some hiccups if my computer was coming back online from an idle state, but I wouldn’t say there were any significant reliability issues.
FYI: If you’re looking for a little more flash, read my review of NordVPN. They’ve got a lot of bells and whistles as well as one of the most interesting dashboards on the market.
That said, in their quest to be super simple and user-friendly, Encrypt.me might have lost some important functionality. For example, it’s a little difficult to select exactly what server you want to connect to, and while the process is pretty straightforward, it seems like an afterthought.
We’ll get more into this in the next section, but there aren’t a whole lot of options for customization here. No optimizations for P2P file sharing, and no servers tuned for streaming. Is that a dealbreaker? No, not necessarily. Encrypt.me is pretty clear from the start about what it is and what it isn’t. So if you are looking for advanced features, you might want to look elsewhere.
FYI: One place you might want to look is my ProtonVPN review — they’ve got a slick design and some James Bond-level functionality that’s definitely worth exploring.
Of the items I uncovered in my research, there were two particularly concerning aspects. One, the Encrypt.me server network is pretty small — they only operate 120 endpoints. That said, those endpoints are all owned and controlled by Encrypt.me, which means they can offer a higher degree of security than other services. Also worth pointing out, Encrypt.me never assigns shared IP addresses, meaning that you won’t be wasting time with CAPTCHAs and other slowdowns associated with known VPN traffic protocols.
FYI: For context, some of the larger VPNs on the market have server counts in the thousands. For example, my analysis of ExpressVPN notes that they operate over 2,000 servers around the globe.
The other aspect that gave me pause was Encrypt.me’s data logging policy. They explicitly say they are uninterested in helping users engage in illicit activity, and that data can be logged for up to 16 days.1 They’re also headquartered in America, meaning they’re beholden to data-sharing agreements with international law enforcement agencies. As the saying goes, if you’re not doing anything wrong you have nothing to hide, but this gets a little sticky. If you’re using a VPN for privacy, you might want to consider a no-log service. Check out my SurfShark VPN review if that piques your interest.
If you’re just an average Joe looking to protect himself a little more online, you’re not going to go wrong with Encrypt.me, but if you’re — say — a journalist in a hostile regime, you might think twice about using this service.
With that in mind, though, let’s take a second to pop the hood and explore what really makes Encrypt.me tick.
Again, you’re not going to find much by way of advanced functionality with Encrypt.me, but there are still a few things to discuss.
If you open up the preferences menu, you’ll have some general options regarding notifications and sounds, and if you select the “transporter” option, you’ll be able to set your server preference.
If you go to your advanced settings, you’ll be able to select which version of the OpenVPN protocol you’ll be using — UDP or TCP. Generally speaking, UDP will give you faster speeds, while TCP is a little more secure.2
And… well… that’s about it. There’s not a whole lot of options with Encrypt.me that you can fiddle with. For some people this is going to be a solid checkmark in the pros category — the service is nothing if not user- friendly — but for other, more advanced users, the lack of customizability could be an issue.
One final point to mention here, though, is that Encrypt.me has a built-in kill switch, meaning that if your VPN service is ever interrupted, your internet connection will be terminated. In my personal experience I never had to experience this, but in my research I did notice other folks complaining that the kill switch functionality was a little faulty. Just something to keep in mind if you’re going to be engaging in activities you might want to keep private.
So now that we’ve run through the day-to-day functionality and advanced features of Encrypt.me, let’s put it to the test. How fast is Encrypt.me?
Given Encrypt.me’s small server footprint, I didn’t have high expectations for their speeds. That said, I never really noticed significant slowdowns during the test period. Whenever you use a VPN, you should expect to see some decreases in your performance, but with most, these decreases are imperceptible. I’m happy to report that was my experience with Encrypt.me as well.
Without running the VPN, my speeds were looking pretty decent at the time of my test — a little over 86 Mbps on download, and 103 Mps on upload.
Once I flipped Encrypt.me on, I did see a downtick. Through their network I was running about 56 Mbps on download and 60 Mbps on upload. Keep in mind, too, that I was using Encrypt.me’s “fastest connection” setting, too.
So — not the greatest speeds I’ve seen, but the decreases weren’t really enough to hurt. If this is the trade-off for securing my internet connection, I’ll take it.
And speaking of that, I put Encrypt.me’s security to the test as well.
Thankfully, in my test, nothing indicated that the VPN wasn’t functioning properly, and I was reasonably confident that my data was secure.
For context, this test looks for what’s known as a DNS leak. This is a security flaw with some VPNs that allow DNS requests — how your computer looks up web addresses, essentially — to go over the traditional ISP network.3 These leaks can reveal your location and browsing history to prying eyes, so it’s important to make sure whatever VPN you’re using is secure.
So let’s recap so far: reasonable speeds, tight security, and a user-friendly, utterly uncomplicated interface. Encrypt.me is looking pretty good on most criteria, but there’s one final thing to discuss before we wrap up — the Encrypt.me mobile app.
This is where Encrypt.me really shines. One of the things they really pride themselves on is their ability to secure devices while on unsecured networks, and their mobile app is an extension of that prioritization. A kill switch is automatically deployed so that if you connect to an unsecured network the VPN will engage, and if it’s interrupted, your connectivity will be terminated.
FYI: The app is make-or-break for a VPN service. You’re most vulnerable when you’re out and about, so you need a VPN with a great mobile client. You never know who you’re sharing a public Wi-Fi network with, so it’s in your best interest to always be protected.
Again — true to their word — the app is extremely simple. Flick a switch to “on,” and your data is secure.
There are no settings to mess with, nothing to configure, and no instances of obtuse jargon. Everything is clearly laid out and the (very limited) features are exactly where you’d expect them to be.
In this sense, Encrypt.me’s mobile experience is very similar to the desktop version. Simplicity is paramount, and ease of use is prioritized over customizability.
So that about covers the critical aspects of Encrypt.me. With all this in mind, what’s the final verdict?
At the end of the day, Encrypt.me is refreshingly transparent about what the service is and isn’t. Their primary goal is to secure your data, and they do a fine job of it. No, you won’t be able to stream Netflix from other countries. And no, you’re not going to find high-tech frills. But you will have access to set-it-and-forget-it protection that doesn’t take a Ph.D. in computer science to figure out.
FYI: If streaming is important to you, check out my latest review of CyberGhost. That’s definitely their forte.
For the average internet user, Encrypt.me is all you’ll ever need. However, if you’re the type who likes to have the flashiest new tech and needs to customize and optimize everything, you’re likely going to be disappointed.
Simply put, Encrypt.me is an extremely basic VPN, but there is utility in its simplicity. What it does, it does right, and I can definitely appreciate it in that regard.
If you’re not convinced that Encrypt.me is right for you, you might consider checking out our list of the top 10 best VPN services on the market today. There are plenty of options to pick from, and several standouts you’ll be interested to learn more about.
In my tests, I didn’t find anything that would indicate Encrypt.me has any critical security flaws.
Encrypt.me did slow down my connection speeds; however, those slowdowns were not significant enough to cause a problem.
Encrypt.me does not prioritize streaming or file sharing, so it will not unlock geo-restricted versions of media platforms.
Encrypt.me does keep logs — traffic is traceable up to 16 days later, and as they are based in the U.S. they are obligated to cooperate with authorities.
Encrypt.me’s prices are reasonable for the level of service provided.
Wall, Jacob. (2017, Oct 7). Do you keep logs, and if so, what and for how long? Encrypt.me.
Guru99. (2021). TCP vs UDP: What’s the Difference?
DNS Leak Test. (2021). What is a DNS leak and why should I care?
With a decade of experience as a journalist, Derek Prall has been covering cybersecurity for seven years. He has spent more than 1,000 hours researching digital privacy and has covered almost 100 topics related to VPN and identity theft protection. Previously, Derek has covered tech issues at American City & County magazine, where he won numerous national awards for his cybersecurity coverage. His areas of expertise included network security, big data analytics, and AI applications in public safety. Derek graduated with dual bachelor’s degrees in English and Communications from Furman University and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and two cats.