How willing are you to trust a snake with your digital privacy? Personally, I’m more of a non-reptile VPN mascot kind of a guy. But I’d heard great things about Switzerland-based VyprVPN.
VyprVPN was supposed to be nimble and super light, (and priced so low I was going to be looking for a fire). I’d also heard Vypr was the brainchild of internet privacy crusader and Giganews founder Ron Yokubaitis.1 And that was enough to convince me to take VyprVPN out for a top-to-bottom test-drive.
To save you some time, I’m going to start with the most important stuff: why you should, or should not, consider VyprVPN for digital privacy.
First off, VyprVPN has great infrastructure packed into its apps. It’s uber secure, firmly privacy-forward, and the limited privacy customizations you can make are the ones that matter. Just keep in mind that VyprVPN will not leave you wallowing in exotic features. On the plus side — and in my book this is indeed a plus — you’ll master the entire VyprVPN desktop and mobile dashboard in about five minutes.
VyprVPN comes with four major protocols for connecting to your VPN, including the notoriously speedy WireGuard. Quite a pick. Even so, you’re not going to be drag-racing against NordVPN behind the helm of VyprVPN anytime soon. For most normal VPN activities, you’ll be just fine, but make no mistake: VyprVPN is no speed demon.
VyprVPN’s no-nonsense setup does come with one huge advantage: It only costs $60 for three years. (If you just did a double-take, so did I, but it’s a fact.) To put this into perspective, that’s 25 percent cheaper than CyberGhost. Find out what else, besides great pricing, makes CyberGhost one of our top VPN picks in our in-depth CyberGhost review.
So there you have VyprVPN in a nutshell: well engineered, but somewhat bare bones. It’s not so fast, but almost impossibly affordable.
Now let’s get set up and running.
VyprVPN’s homepage is weird. You’ve got a big, psychedelic leaf filling half of it (spring sale, ya’ll!), and a red “buy now” button on the right, instead of a more discreet pricing tab. But that’s ok because the button works. I clicked on it, registered, and purchased VyprVPN without any weirdness at all.
Here’s some advice when you get to VyprVPN’s pricing table. You’re going to notice Vypr’s three-year, $60 deal first. It just reels you right in. It’s also the only option that gives you a 30-day, money-back guarantee. So, if you have it in the bank, I’d go for it.
The only thing left to do was give VyprVPN an email address and a credit card. (For you crypto people, you can’t pay with crypto but you can pay with
UnionPay for you China-based VPN people.) Vypr took my money fast, and then automatically found my OS: Mac. Nice! I even had the option of checking out installation instructions for any devices I wanted to run VyprVPN on. More on that later.
Here might be a good place to mention that VyprVPN is fully compatible with all major operating systems, desktop and mobile, including Linux. It might also be the time to mention that you’re only going to be able to connect five devices to your VPN simultaneously, which means: “No Netflix on your Fitbit, honey!”
Jokes aside, this could turn out to be an inconvenience, or even a no-go if you’re anything more than a household of two with two devices apiece. If that’s you, then check out Surfshark. Surfshark gives you unlimited simultaneous connections, and a few extra really useful dashboard features, which you can read all about in our nuts-and-bolts Surfshark review.
There’s nothing much to report on installation. It was a breeze. I logged in and VyprVPN connected me to my fastest server option. The whole process took about a minute.
One thing you should be prepared for because I sure wasn’t: If you’re partial to huge, sweeping, cockpit-like dashboards that make you feel like a Delta airline pilot, Vypr’s interface is, like, small. Tiny, crazy small. And you can’t expand it.
But here’s the great news. After I got over my dashboard-size anxiety (DSA), I got used to the mini controller fast. In fact, I ended up really liking it. Mainly because I had no VPN customization anxiety. Once I’d set the Vypr controller up (a lot more on this in a minute), I didn’t feel like I had to keep tweaking or monitoring it. It was just an unobtrusive fixture in the corner of my screen, the blue shield pulsating like a lullaby.
There was one minor installation hiccup I’ll mention just in case you experience something similar. While the VyprVPN app told me (in big white letters) that I was connected to my VPN as soon as I logged in, I didn’t actually have full functionality until I toggled on the kill switch. So don’t be surprised if something like that happens to you.
On the other hand, I’m happy to report that I didn’t experience anything like that when I installed VyprVPN on my Android. If anything, installation was even quicker.
First off, the VyprVPN desktop and mobile app are exactly the same, which is seriously great. Right under the “disconnect” button, which stretches across the controller, you’ll find three small buttons: customize, connection, and servers. Besides a hamburger menu up top that gives you account and support access, that’s all you’ll need to use VyprVPN.
The first thing I did was hit “customize” and toggled on Public Wi-Fi Protection. It’s a good thing Vypr put this feature up top, too. Because there’s nothing worse than settling in to work at Starbucks only to realize a half hour later that you’ve been browsing naked the whole time. (Happened to you, too, huh?) With Vypr’s built-in Public Wi-Fi Protection, all you have to do is flip the toggle and you never have to worry about surfing unprotected on the go again.
Another small point to be aware of is that the design makes it crystal clear when you enable Public Wi-Fi Protection: the gray “off” toggle label slides to a green “on.” I’m giving VyprVPN a few user experience points here because design clarity is incredibly important for VPN apps since the tweaks you make here are major privacy choices.
Next, I made sure my banking app wasn’t connecting via my VPN. I did this with VyprVPN’s super nifty “Connection Per App” tweak.
You may be asking why I did this. Simple. Not all apps are thrilled that you’re using a VPN. Like my banking app. If my bank sees that I’m connecting from Tangiers, they may assume someone else is trying to access my account from Tangiers. Like a good bank should, they’ll lock me out.
Pro Tip: If you’ve been exploring VPNs, you’ve probably come across the term “whitelisting.” Sounds technical, but it’s actually not. When you whitelist an app on one of your devices, you’re just telling your VPN to ignore it. That app, in other words, will access the internet on your normal, unprotected router connection. Without the whitelist feature, you’d have to disconnect your VPN entirely to gain access to any app that blocks VPNs.
VyprVPN also comes with a handy native malware blocker and a kill switch, which isn’t automatically on, fyi. I toggled on both. When I enabled the kill switch, I ran into that minor hiccup I described above.
After I got the kill switch sorted — it was simply a matter of granting Golden Frog (VyprVPN’s parent company) system permissions — I was good to go. When I tested the kill switch (by disconnecting manually), there were no issues. The kill switch kicked right in and it was just my desktop and me until I reconnected.
If you’re new to VPNs, protocols are the instructions that control how efficiently and securely your data flows through your private VPN tunnel. Like the architecture of the tunnels you drive through in your car, the protocols engineered for VPNs are constantly evolving. Which brings us to WireGuard.
WireGuard is the default protocol for all VyprVPN’s apps, even Android TV, which isn’t something you see every day. WireGuard is lighter (about 4,000 lines of code compared to OpenVPN’s 600,000 lines), faster, and it uses cutting-edge encryption,2 but it also hasn’t been around as long. I figured the folks at Golden Frog had a reason for recommending WireGuard, so I kept it on. But I also had the choice of connecting via tried-and-true IKEv2 and OpenVPN, or Chameleon.
Chameleon — we’re at two reptiles and counting, people — is VyprVPN’s own proprietary VPN protocol. Instead of focusing on speed like NordVPN’s WireGuard-based NordLynx, Golden Frog bills Chameleon as an “anti-censorship” protocol, “designed to bypass geo-blocks so you’re invisible to governments, corporations, and ISPs.” Which kind of made me wish I was watching Guy Fieri YouTube videos in Cuba so I could test it out, but alas.
Did You Know: Ever wondered why you only get French Netflix in France? It’s because of something called geo-blocking, which allows content providers to deliver region-specific content. A lot of geo-blocking boils down to licensing agreements. But when governments get involved, they can restrict access to pretty much anything they want, which is why there’s no Facebook in China.
Why do having all these protocol choices matter? The fact is, when we settle on a protocol, most of us just leave it running in the background. But, as we’ll see in a second, protocols can misbehave — they can also simply not work in certain countries — so it’s nice that VyprVPN has given us a few extra options to connect to our VPNs securely.
The final major customization you can make with VyprVPN is choosing your domain name system (DNS) server. VyprDNS is the default, but you can connect via a third-party DNS server if you want. (Customize > VyprDNS > 3rd Party DNS.)
My advice? I’d probably stick with VyprDNS because for one thing, Golden Frog, VyprVPN’s parent company, owns and runs their own servers. Even better, those servers are “zero-knowledge,” which means they don’t collect any information about the websites you visit.
Practically speaking, this means no one — not AT&T, not Hacker John, not the FBI — can slip in between your request to visit a website and your actual arrival. And, even if they did, there would be nothing to steal.
FYI: Whenever you ask your browser to visit a website, your VPN service filters that request through a domain name system (DNS) server. If that server doesn’t belong to your VPN provider, it’s easier for bad actors to slip in and snoop on you. If that server keeps records of your online activity, that’s even worse. That’s why the cream of the VPN provider crop do two things: They own and operate their own DNS servers, and they erase any trace of your activity on them right after you’re done typing.
The short answer is no. Though if you run VyprVPN through, say, dnsleaktest.com, it may look that way. The explanation is a little technical. It involves the complexities of the DNS and how it processes browser requests.
Geek spoiler: If you’d rather bench press The Undertaker than dive deep under the hood of your operating system, just skip to the next section.
In a nutshell, if you do test VyprVPN on dnsleaktest.com, like I did, you’ll get a warning message that your IP address may be exposed, but it’s actually not.
Vypr’s main concern is that your online activity can’t be traced back to them. They do this for a number of reasons, but mainly so you can’t be blocked by any restrictive governments, organizations, or services on the lookout for VPNs. The way they avoid detection is by masking their servers via a DNS relay system, which is where the confusion occurs.
Sites like dnsleaktest.com sometimes pull up a random DNS server that isn’t the actual one VyprVPN filtered your DNS request through. If you want to test it out yourself, just ping the suspect, third-party host name dnsleaktest.com gives you. You’ll see that the IP resolve is completely different.
Bottom line: You aren’t leaky.
Pro Tip: Once your VPN is up and running, all your traffic should be passing from your devices through your encrypted tunnel and on to your VPN provider’s DNS servers. If that isn’t happening, your traffic could be heading straight to your internet service provider’s (ISP) DNS servers, which means your online activity is an open book. Checking for DNS leaks is easy, and I recommend it. Just head on over to dnsleaktest.com or ipleak.net and run their test. If your VPN’s DNS servers turn up, your data is safe.
Before you leave the customizations menu, make sure you scroll all the way down and toggle on Auto-Reconnect. This isn’t so much a question of vulnerability (your kill switch will kick in if your VPN cuts out). It’s just a question of convenience. If you lose your server connection, VyprVPN will connect you again automatically. While you’re down there, make sure push notifications are on, too.
The last thing you’ll want to familiarize yourself with on VyprVPN’s low-fat dash is its no-frills servers list. You can open it by clicking on the servers icon on the bottom right of the controller.
The first thing I noticed is a favorites list just under the search bar. When I connected for the first time, that list only included “fastest server.” (That isn’t a dropdown menu, by the way. Clicking on “fastest server” broke my existing connection, so be careful.)
Filling up my favorites list was super easy. I just scrolled down the servers list, found a location I liked, and clicked on the star. That location was automatically added to my favorites list.
And now for the bummer.
The only real info VyprVPN gives you about servers, besides locations and countries, is latency (lag in data transfer). No server loads or speeds. Would I like to see those? Yes, as much as Elon Musk wants to colonize Mars. That way I’d know in a heartbeat if my connection issues were due to my own router or to 50,000 other people connecting to the server I’m trying to reach at the same time.
VyprVPN won’t find the best servers for what you’re doing either, i.e., torrenting, gaming, or just surfing in private. Other popular, all-around services like NordVPN and CyberGhost do.
FYI: VPN providers operate hundreds, sometimes thousands, of servers. Searching through them all to find the best server for your needs can feel a little like looking for a needle in a haystack. That’s where a feature like NordVPN’s Specialty Server can come in handy. To see how it works in the wild, head on over to our pro analysis of NordVPN.
Speaking of servers, you’re probably wondering about VyprVPN’s numbers.
If you’ve been reading up on VPNs and have gotten used to seeing server numbers in the thousands, VyprVPN is going to look a little dinky with its 700 servers.
The same issue popped up in my NordVPN vs ProtonVPN comparison, and I’ve gotten the same answer. It’s not about server numbers necessarily. It’s about network loads and user numbers, and where you are.
To flesh this out, if you’re connecting to L.A. from Penal Colony #2 in Vladimir, Russia, that’s quite a trek. Distance, in this case, might slow you down no matter how many servers your VPN provider has in L.A.
On the other hand, say you’re connecting to the same server in L.A. from San Francisco. If a huge number of your fellow VPN users were also connecting to that specific LA server at the same time, your connection could start wobbling.
You’d be in even worse shape if your VPN provider had only one server in L.A. (I actually don’t know how many servers VyprVPN has in L.A. because granular location info like that isn’t available.) Safe to say, the bulk of VyprVPN’s 700 servers are in the U.S. and Europe (along with 14 locations in Asia, five in the Middle East, seven in Central and South America, and two in Africa.)
Where does that leave you? I wouldn’t fret over VyprVPN’s 700 servers — not unless I’d run into any serious turbulence. And I haven’t. I’ve been perfectly happy with my VyprVPN connections — in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East — so far.
Is the VyprVPN’s stripped-down desktop dashboard design-greatness or shiny, low-fi Fisher Priceness? Fair question. After using it for a few days, I’m definitely leaning towards design-greatness. Here’s why.
Most of the functionality I need is there. I unblocked and streamed Netflix in seconds (more on this below). I torrented without a hitch. I whitelisted any apps I didn’t want to access via my VPN, and I browsed in private. All with the flip of six or seven toggles.
These are my everyday needs. Yours may be different. Just be aware, unless you subscribe to VyprCloud, an enterprise-grade option for companies looking to ramp up network privacy, don’t expect any more security or privacy features than I’ve already mentioned.
Ok, folks, now for the numbers you’ve been waiting for. (Unless you skipped to get here, which is fine.)
To get an idea of how well VyprVPN performs on the open highway, I ran four speed tests (on ookla.com) on an unwired 150-170 Mbps line. My goal wasn’t to see how fast VyprVPN was, but how much it slowed down my connection.
For my first test, I used the recommended WireGuard protocol and connected within the U.S. As you can see, my download speed took a 17 percent hit, but my upload speed was pretty much lossless. Is 140 Mbps fast enough for me? I’m not complaining.
When I connected to a server in Italy for my second test, upload speeds were still good. The download speed sank a little, but not too much.
Then I switched to an OpenVPN protocol, and things weren’t so rosy. On a base 150 Mbps line, my U.S. download speed nosedived to 64 Mbps (that’s a nearly 40 percent decrease), and my upload speed was cut in half. Italy, as you’d expect, was a little worse, even if my upload speed actually rose. I can’t explain that. But I can say this.
Speed tests are never indicative of universal performance — there are way too many moving parts to control. That said, if you do test-drive VyprVPN, go with WireGuard. Two days in, I’ve had no connection or speed issues.
Pro Tip: When judging VPN performance, we often get hung up on download speeds, which are good indicators of how fast a VPN is. But you should pay attention to upload speeds, too. You can’t game without decent upload speeds. Ditto for cloud storage, photo sharing, emailing attachments, and plenty of other things we do everyday online.
Technically, VyprVPN’s got the two things that guarantee your data is beyond safe: cutting-edge AES-256-GCM and SHA384 HMAC encryption, and zero-knowledge DNS servers they own and run.
On top of that, VyprVPN submitted their entire infrastructure to an independent, third-party audit in 2018, and they came out squeaky clean. If you don’t believe them, the results are online.3 Two other notable members of that club? Fellow Switzerland-based privacy hawk, ProtonVPN, and Panama-based NordVPN.
What’s important about VyprVPN’s encryption isn’t necessarily the numbers (though you’d actually have better chances counting all the atoms in the universe than busting AES-256-GCM encryption). It’s something called Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS),4 which works like this.
When a VPN service, like Vypr, uses PFS, the keys they use to encrypt and decrypt your data are constantly changing, so even if someone did (almost impossibly) breach your data, their key would only work on a fraction of it.
I don’t know about you, but with cybercriminals becoming more sophisticated by the day, having this extra layer of industry standard security protecting my VPN tunnels will make me sleep easier at night.
I’ve quoted you a bunch of security features and specifications. But to really understand what kind of service VyprVPN is, just consider this startling fact from Golden Frog cofounder Ron Yokubaitis’s vision paper, which is well worth reading.
According to watchdog NGO Freedom House, back in 2014, when the world was more connected than it ever had been, internet freedom was on the wane — four straight years and counting.5 The reason? In 46 of the 65 countries Freedom House investigated, the culprits were increased government surveillance, repressive laws and regulations, and cyber attacks. The key safeguard against all these privacy encroachments? Rock-solid encryption.
Governments keep pushing for backdoors to our data. Internet privacy activists, like Ron Yokubaitis, keep pushing back to keep it under lock and key.
This is the true value of encryption. And, rest assured, if you’re looking for a VPN provider that positions itself on the right side of the encryption wars, VyprVPN is it.
(Also, VyprVPN unblocks Netflix.)
In its support documentation, VyprVPN claims to unblock a bunch of streaming services, including German, the U.S., U.K., and Canadian Netflix. But you never know until you try, especially with Netflix.
I did manage to unblock Netflix, faster than you can say “A Star is Born.” (That’s the number one pick in the U.K. today, by the way, and I unblocked it instantly.) Other hot attractions on the VyprVPN unblock list are: HBO Max, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video.
Bottom line? If you’re stuck in a hotel on the other side of the world and you’re tired of watching Italian weight-loss infomercials or old “ER” episodes dubbed into Slovenian, you’ll be good to go for entertainment with VyprVPN.
Choosing a VyprVPN plan is as straightforward as its apps. There’s no cloud storage, no password vault, no device limits by tier. Three years for $60 dollars is the best way to go. It includes a 30-day, money-back trial period. To get the full report on VyprVPN pricing, check out our in-depth VyprVPN pricing guide.
Otherwise, if you decide to pay for a month of VyprVPN, and you’re not happy at the end of it, you won’t get your money back.
Compare that to budget VPN Surfshark (about $120 for three years) or CyberGhost ($80 for three years and three months). Want to learn more about Surfshark and CyberGhost? Head on over to our Surfshark plans and pricing guide, or check out our latest rundown of CyberGhost costs.
Getting connected with live support was head-spinning quick. My test issue — why was my connection with OpenVPN so much slower than with WireGuard? — got a canned response. But, in all fairness, there wasn’t much Edward from the support department could say definitively.
As for VyprVPN’s email support, let’s just say it’s also WireGuard-fast. I posed a different test question and got a response in seven minutes. (I’d actually like to hang that screenshot up in my Email Support Hall of Fame.) In the intervening seven minutes, I went exploring Vypr’s support documentation by myself.
Here’s what I liked about VyprVPN’s support documentation experience: When I clicked the Help Center button on my desktop app, it connected me instantly to a Mac FAQ with 14 questions.
Here’s what I didn’t like about VyprVPN’s support documentation experience: being stranded on a Mac FAQ in the middle of an entirely new support microsite. Because, folks, I realized after a moment on that FAQ page that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. The original VyprVPN website was gone.
Fortunately, the door to the Help Center was in the support microsite’s footer. There, I found an easy-to-navigate knowledgebase with setup tutorials, troubleshooting guides, and even a section devoted to using Vypr in China. Maybe a popular topic among Vypr’s fan base?
Also unusual was a guide to installing VyprVPN directly on my router. (Spoiler: you’ll need a special router and you’ll need to flash some firmware on there, so not for the faint of heart. But maybe just what you need if you’re a full household.)
Generally speaking, while I did like what I found in the Help Center, VyprVPN’s documentation isn’t quite overflowing with detail, so don’t expect the depth and almost encyclopedic reach of NordVPN or ExpressVPN, which you can get a good taste of in our in-depth ExpressVPN review.
At first, the viper logo and mini controller soured me to VyprVPN. Because, let’s face, you live with your apps. If you don’t like how they feel, you won’t like using them. But once I got VyprVPN up and running on my desktop (in about a minute) and started using it, it won me over.
VyprVPN’s got everything most of us need and it’s effortlessly easy to use. It runs WireGuard (the fastest, smartest VPN protocol on the market) without a hitch. It unblocks Netflix and has no problem handling P2P (torrenting) connections. Plus, I can run it on my Android TV!
On top of all that, the folks at Golden Frog are behind VyprVPN. Golden Frog is a company dedicated to internet freedom and privacy with a proprietary protocol that isn’t about speed, but about the basic right to communicate freely.
So give VyprVPN a try for 30 days. Worst case scenario, you may decide you need a VPN service with more features. In which case, any of the top-notch VPN providers featured in our Top 10 VPNs for 2021 are only a click away.
VyprVPN costs $60 for three years, making it one of the most affordable VPN services on the market.
Using the recommended WireGuard protocol, speeds aren’t bad at all, but nothing close to rubber-burning Hotspot Shield’s blazing fast speeds.
VyprVPN is exceptionally easy to use. Once you install the app on any of your devices, setup takes a minute or two.
Let’s just say VyprVPN is a VPN purist’s VPN. They use industry standard encryption, operate their own zero-knowledge DNS servers, and passed a top-to-bottom, third-party security audit with flying colors in 2018.
Vypr has really fast live chat and email support with a growing, but pretty basic knowledgebase located on a support microsite that’s not as easy to find as it should be.
Yokubaitis, R. (2018, January 19). It’s time to take our privacy back from tech companies. The Hill.
Finley, K. (2020, March 2). WireGuard Gives Linux a Faster, More Secure VPN. Wired.
Leviathan. (2018, November 9). VyprVPN No Log Assessment.
Greenberg, A. (2016, November 28). Hacker Lexicon: What Is Perfect Forward Secrecy? Wired.
Freedom House. (2014). FREEDOM ON THE NET.
Derek Prall is a VPN and cybersecurity expert with more than seven years of experience in the industry. He has spent thousands of hours researching identity theft protection, VPNs, and other ways to keep safe online. To date, Derek has written nearly 100 comprehensive resources for SafeHome.org. As a professional journalist, he has contributed to reputable publications such as TD Magazine, New Jersey Herald, and many others. Learn more about Derek here