X-VPN Review

Pros

Official Logo


  • Hong Kong Based: The company is based in Hong Kong, and the strict privacy laws in the country don’t mandate them to collect private data of the customers.
  • No-logs: The VPN provider has a no logs policy, and they don’t log any of the user’s online activity. There are mandatory data retention laws in the country which make no-logging possible.
  • Servers: The provider claims to have more than 5000 servers across more than 25 countries. The number of servers is huge, and the inclusion of dedicated servers for streaming make the VPN a lot more desirable.
  • Strong Encryption: The service comes with 256-bit encryption, and since it is the best encryption available, the user can feel confident about the security of his/her online data.
  • DNS Leak Protection: The service has its own DNS servers, and since there is no third-party involved, the user can browse the internet without the worry of leaking his/her online activity.
  • Kill Switch: The product comes with a built-in internet kill-switch. This feature ensures that the user’s data never gets compromised in case the VPN connection drops.

Cons

  • Unknown Protocols: The client has eight protocols available for their users, but they have not provided any information about the protocols. The user has no way of deciding if the protocols are safe-enough. The provider expects the users to trust these unknown protocols with their sensitive data.
  • No IPv6: The client does not support IPv6, and this can be a potential compromising factor in user’s privacy.
  • Limited Platforms: The service is not available for the lesser know platforms and operating systems. They do not even provide the VPN cover for routers
  • Customer Support: It is an arduous task for the user to get any information about the service. The lousy live chat support and non-informative support page don’t help the case at all.

Overview

X-VPN Main Screen (Before and after connecting)

‘Free Connected Limited’ is the parent company of X-VPN, and it is based in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is neither a part of the 14-Eyes countries, nor it has a communist
government like the one in China. Even though Hong Kong is a Special
Administrative Region of China, the state
has its own government elected by the
permanent residents, and they have their separate laws.

The laws in Hong Kong are pro privacy, and the organizations are not mandated to collect personal data of the users and customers.

The product brings a lot to the table. One of the most exciting features is the X-protocol which is used in collaboration with other tunneling protocols to provide a faster and safer internet to the users.

In this review, we will go through all the
facets of the VPN and see how capable the
new protocol system is which is put in place by the provider.

Along with the review of these unique aspects of the service, we will also
check the integrity of the major pillars
of an excellent VPN service. These
pillars are security, speed, and support.

In the end,
it will all boil down to whether X-VPN has all the ‘S’s required to qualify as a great VPN service.

Servers

Some Server Options

The service comes with a mind-boggling
number of servers. They claim to have more than 5000 servers on the network.

These servers are located across more than 25 countries at more than 50 server
locations.

Even though there is a lot of incoherence in the number of servers and the number of locations, we are still very much pleased with the astounding number of servers available on the network.

Majority of the servers are in the European
countries, some in the Americas and Asia Pacific countries, and the rest in the
Middle Eastern nation of Israel. There
are no servers on the African continent.

The client has also got dedicated streaming
servers. Some of the streaming servers are country and channel specific while
the rest of them are country specific only.

For example, there are dedicated servers to
stream Netflix US and Netflix UK. Similarly, there are other popular channels on the list as well.

The rest of the streaming servers are to
bypass the geo-restrictions implied in the country. This is when the need for more server locations is felt, as it would have made the inclusion of more streaming servers possible.

Server Sorting Options

However, there are no dedicated P2P file
sharing servers on the network. The provider has not commented on P2P file sharing, and we don’t think that users
will have an easy time downloading files
using P2P connections.

In the absence of dedicated P2P file
sharing servers, the users can try P2P sharing on any of the servers, but there
is no guarantee if they will be able to go through with the downloads.

The client gives the fastest server option
as well. Theoretically, this should be the physically closest server, but in
our case, we were not connected with the
geographically closest server for our location.

With the availability of so many servers,
the provider should try to come with dedicated servers for P2P file sharing and
gaming as well. The service can also benefit a lot by working to have more server locations under the network.

However, with so many servers existing in
the network, the users should not face slow connections as there should not be
high density traffics on the servers.

Privacy Policy

The increase in the demand and popularity
of the VPN services reflects the fact that people want to keep their private
information safe. The VPN services offer ways to users to stay anonymous on the internet.

One of the best ways that services came up
with to keep the data safe and away from others is by saving no data at all in
the first place. This eliminates all the
possible ways by which the data could have been
compromised.

This method has now become the new norm, and the users expect their VPN service
providers to store no personal information about them. However, the service
providers do need to maintain some records of the users to keep the service up
and running.

But all the top tier VPN providers maintain
only a minimal record of their customers.

X-VPN also promises a no-log service to the users. It becomes way more comfortable for them to have a no-logs
service because the local laws allow them to do so.

We still went through their privacy policy
to cross check the facts and verify if the service is faithful to its 100% no-logs policy or not.

After going through their privacy statement,
we think that it is a transparent company
when it comes to data collection. They do not record the user’s activity inside
the VPN tunnel in any way. They don’t store the original IP address of the
user, the website logs, or any other such data.

However, there is always that minimal data collection and they have mentioned it explicitly on the website. They give
information about the kind of data collected and state the reasons for the collection of the data.

The collected data includes an email address, transaction details, time
stamps, etc. There is also a collection
of some analytic and advertising data on visiting the website of the product,
and they have discussed this aspect as well.

They also said that the original IP address
of the user might be collected when he/she tries to sign-in on the website, but the
IP address is deleted automatically within 5 minutes.

All the aspects of data collection have
been discussed exhaustively in the policy, and they seem interested in gaining
the trust of the users.

Connection Time Analysis

Trial No.Time to establish a connection (seconds)
Avg.Time In Seconds3.123
12.96
24.28
32.28
44.35
52.97
62.77
72.12
83.91
92.68
102.91

The client offers a total of eight protocols to the users, and according to the table provided by them on the official website, the connection times are supposed to be different for some protocols.

But in our analysis, we found out that it
was not that case, and all the protocols gave almost the same result.

The table shown above is for protocol A. As you can already see that the client takes almost no time to establish a connection.

We did the connection time analysis for the
fastest server, and the average time was around 3 seconds for all the
protocols.

X-VPN is one of the quickest VPN services
when it comes to connection time analysis. The numbers are just as impressive
as were the number of servers.

Speed and Bandwidth

If we talk about the success of a VPN product,
then speed is one of the dictating factors.

There is nothing more annoying than slow
internet connection for a modern-day millennial, and for the other age groups as well. The services need to be fast, and
only then people take other factors such as security into consideration.

X-VPN claims to have more than 5000
servers, and these include some dedicated streaming servers as well.

There is the
fastest server option in the list of servers, and the client
automatically decides the quickest server
for the user according to his/her location. Generally, it is the closest server
available.

However, in our case, the client failed
miserably in finding the fastest or closest server for our location. As a
result of which, we got connected to a slower server because the later tests
showed that there was, in fact, a faster server available for our location.

On average, we have got upto 73% of original speed for X-VPN

The fastest
server option connected us to a server which gave 73% of the original speed,
while the local server on which we found the highest speeds gave 94% of the original speeds.
The difference in the speeds between the
two is significant.

The automatic selection of the client seems
to work against the service as it showcases results which are less impressive
than the actual ones.

We got speeds similar to that of the so-called fastest server for the rest of the
testing. For Sweden, the speed was again 73% of the initial speed.

There are dedicated streaming servers
available on the network, and we recorded
74% and 75% speed retention by the US Netflix and the UK Netflix servers.

The client regularly gave speeds around 75% of the initial speed across all the servers.

The speed observed on the local server was
stunning, and the rest of the servers
were also able to yield some satisfactory results.

The client is still not the fastest among
the VPNs. The service needs to provide more than 80% of the original speed continually across all the servers.

Other than the local server, none of the
servers were able to cross the threshold. However, the speeds are not
disheartening as well. The users can still have some good internet connection
on the network.

There is no limitation on the bandwidth available on the service which is good news for the users, and they can binge-watch as many shows as they want through the streaming servers.

Security

The analysis of the security measures on
this client is going to be an interesting one. Not only have they come up with
a new self-built protocol, but they have also
coupled it up with eight tunneling protocols.

To add to the chaos, they decided to give
code names to the protocols and said that it is to safekeep the privacy of the
user. There is no evidence which indicates that one of the conventional
protocols have been included in the
product.

The provider claims that not revealing any technical information about the protocols will make the client secure. We strongly disagree with this statement. The users can never be sure that the client is safe enough if they don’t have any information about the protocols being used on the product.

Before getting into this hosh-posh of protocols, let us first discuss the encryptions available on the client. They had no problem in announcing the kind of encryption available on the service, which is 256-bit.

The provider knows that it is the safest
encryption available, and therefore had no issues in notifying the users about
the same.

But, if you use the same logic in the case of protocols, then it indicates that the
protocols available on the service are not secure enough.

Different Protocol Options

They provide the user with a chart, in
which all the eight available protocols have been rated based on various
parameters such as ‘Speed before connect’, ‘speed after connect’, security, etc.

But there is no ground to support this
data. We don’t know where this data came from, and how these tests were conducted, so it is not possible for us to
trust some random tabular data presented to us.

By not providing the technical information
about the protocols, the provider has paved the
way for the demise of the product.

They were very open and transparent in the
privacy policy, but they cannot expect the users to trust the available
protocols without any reliable data.

We faced a few issues with the protocols,
which will further reduce the credibility of the protocols as well as the product itself.

For the whole duration in which we used the service, we were never able to
connect to the protocols D and G. The client always redirected us to the
protocols A or H when we tried to connect
to protocols D and G.

It became a lot bigger of a concern because
the client never informed us that we were
connected to some different protocol instead of the one we chose.

If it were
not for the exhaustive testing and analysis that we usually do, this bug would
have gone unnoticed.

A whole new
unknown protocol, mixed up with some unknown tunneling protocols, and the
presence of a bug which never gets reported. The
combination of these factors doesn’t make the product sound like a secure one.

The client comes with a built-in internet
kill switch, which automatically stops the internet traffic if the VPN
connection drops. This feature prevents
the user from browsing the internet without the security of the VPN.

They also claim to have their own DNS servers, and the DNS leak protection makes the product even more secure.

However, the client does not support IPv6,
and there will always be a chance of a leak if the user forgets to turn of IPv6
manually for his/her device.

We cannot let the service handle our sensitive
data because there is no guarantee of the safekeeping of the data on the
product.

Even if the service is the safest one
available, it is still a significant risk
as there is a lot of haziness involved with the security of the product.

User Interface and Experience

The user interfaces are designed to
showcase all the features and properties of the product. Every tiny bit of
customization option is included in the
user interface.

But X-VPN seems to have some other idea of
a user interface. The client allows the user to change the protocol and the
server location only.

The fact that choosing the protocol on this
service is equivalent to throwing a dice, the only purpose of having a user
interface is to change the server location.

There are no other customization options
available for the user.

Before establishing the VPN connection, the
user interface shows the IP address of the user and declares that the user’s
date is unencrypted and unsecure.

However, after the connection, it does not displays the server’s IP address.

Toggle Switch in UI

The account button provides the user with
the toggle switches for ‘Launch X-VPN on system start-up’ and ‘Application
control’. In application control, the
user can choose which apps will not use X-VPN when the system is connected to the VPN network.

The servers are sorted under three tabs-‘Recommended’, ‘All’, and ‘Streaming’. The names are self-explanatory.

However, one interesting feature in the
server list is that user can run a ping test for all the servers. Based on the
results of the ping test, the user can
judge the latency on various servers, and the choose the optimum server from
the list.

We liked this feature a lot as it made the
process of choosing the best server for distant locations very convenient.

The other choice for the user to make on
the client is to choose the protocol. The client provides eight protocols, and this number is almost double of
what many of the main-stream VPN services are providing.

However, two of the protocols, D and G, never connected us to the network, while
the rest were also not reliable as we had no information about them at all.

They have a
self-made rating system for the self-made protocols, and we are not sure
if the data is being secured in a fort or
a bubble.

Platforms and Devices

Platforms & devices

The user can have five simultaneous connections
on multiple devices from the same account.

The client is available only for the major
operating systems which are Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS and Linux.

If we talk about extensions, then it is
available only for a chrome web browser.

The product does not support routers and
any of the other platforms such as Smart TVs, X-box, Kodi, etc.

Such limited
platform support will not be able to suffice the needs of most of the users, as
these days, so many devices require an internet connection and the world wide web is
equally hazardous for all of these devices as well.

The provider should at least come up with a
way to provide the service for routers, and it will enable the user to have the
VPN cover on most of his/her devices.

The current scene of platform support will
not help the service gain much following, and they need to expand the platform
base and include as many devices as possible.

Customer Support

Customer support is one of the pillars for
a reliable VPN product. If you haven’t
been through the above sections, then the other two pillars are speed and security.

All the leading VPN services come with and
excellent customer support mechanism. Good
customer support does not necessarily mean having a live chat support.

Yes, good live chat support always helps,
but if the service can answer all the
queries of the customer in any other way, then it is a good customer support service for us.

Some of the ways
to do this, is by having an exhaustive and descriptive FAQ section, or having a
swift query ticket response mechanism.

Sadly, we were able to find none of the
above-discussed features in X-VPN.

The provider as mentioned on their website having a 24/7 live chat support for the service. But in our case, we got a reply after 24-hours on the live chat window. And we genuinely feel that this is not what a 24/7 chat support systems are meant to do.

The response on the live chat support, came
only after we sent an email to the
support team of X-VPN about the same. They sited high volumes of contacts as
one of the possible reasons for the delay in response.

Soon after the mail, we got a reply on our chat support window.

If you think
that we had a merry conversation with them on live chat support after that,
then hold your horses.

We decided not to reply immediately. We
tried contacting the live chat support after a few
hours. And we were not surprised that we are still waiting for a reply.

The email mechanism also takes a lot of
times to respond. If you are lucky enough, you will get a reply in a few hours,
else you might have to wait for the whole day.

The ‘help’ page on the official website
needs some help itself. There is virtually no relevant information about the
product on the page.

There are only four questions under the
heading ‘General inquiry’, which discuss
the product details. And the questions
don’t even scratch the surface when it comes to providing information about the
product.

The provider has not shared a lot of the
information about the product, some knowingly, and some maybe unknowingly.

They need to realize that fact that being
transparent is of utmost importance in the VPN world, and that transparency
should exist not only in the privacy policy but in other sections of the
product as well.

Conclusion

At the beginning of this review, we
mentioned the importance of the three factors (speed, security, and support), for a VPN service to win the
hearts of the users.

X-VPN started strong with some great speeds on the network. The speed across all the servers was satisfactory, and we got excellent speed on
the local server.

Then things got confusing in the security
front. The unknown protocols and the lack of information kept the user guessing
the reliability of the protocols all the
time. In the end, the provider was unable
to convince us that it is a safe enough service.

Lastly, the customer support on the service
turned out to be futile. The customer support disappointed us in so many ways
that we are now appreciative of the customer services of the VPN providers,
which we thought were providing poor customer support.

However, things were bright in some areas. They have more servers than the majority of the VPN providers if the information about the number of servers provided on the website is accurate. The encryption on the network and the no-logs policy are some of the positive features of the product.

We feel that the
outcome of the review could have been a lot better if they were more
informative. The provider seemed reluctant to discuss
some relevant issues, and this only decreased the credibility of the service as
well as the provider.

The decision to not reveal any information
about the protocols is poor judgement, and they should immediately address the issue.
There is no point of having so many protocols
if the user is not comfortable in using even one of them.

X-VPN has a lot of work cut out if it wants
to become one of the preferred VPN
services of the users.

Kim Martin Administrator
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