Hong Kong based VPN service, IronSocket, offers an affordable but solid VPN service with good security and speeds that rival some of the top providers in the industry.
With plans to expand server locations across the globe, IronSocket currently boasts servers in 36 countries on 5 continents, including countries like New Zealand and Australia, Egypt, Brazil and Mexico.
This is more extensive than a lot of the VPN services I’ve seen in the past, but I would like to see an increase in the number of servers to ensure quick speeds and easy accessibility when traveling.
That said, unlike many, they have servers in SE Asia and the Middle East.
IronSocket customer service is (unfortunately) single stream, as they operate mainly through an email ticket system. Whenever I reached out, I received a response in about 10-15 minutes on average, which is good by most standards.
I’d like to see live chat support, but for the price perhaps that is asking too much.
IronSocket’s do not offer a trial period, which is a huge bummer. They do offer a 7-day money-back guarantee though, which is good but I feel like a free trial is just an industry standard at this point.
Let’s get into the nuts and bolts.
IronSocket offers a 3 different plans:
- The 1-month (“risk free!”) plan is $6.99 per month.
- The 6-month plan is $35.95 ($5.99/month).
- The yearly plan is $49.95 ($4.16/month)
The monthly price is very competitive, but the yearly price is insane. A VPN for $4 a month, and one in a secure country. Priceless. The features aren’t perfect though, so let’s explore that…
I love that IronSocket allows connection on unlimited devices, however they allow only three simultaneous connections.
This might be a deal-breaker for a small company or family who needs a VPN service for multiple users. But for an individual like me, it works like a treat. I use a laptop, mobile and tablet; so 3 works well for me.
Every plan includes all of IronSocket’s features. This really simplifies the pricing, which as a consumer I really dig:
- Access to all media streaming services (Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube)
- Wifi hotspot security
- Unlimited bandwidth and data transfer
- DNS Proxy
- HTTP Proxy and SOCKS 5 services
- limitless device connections
- 24/7 tech support
- Advanced VPN protocols.
The desktop program itself is decent; basic but functional. It also offers iOS and Android support. However, the big missing feature for me is a Kill Switch!
A VPN Kill-Switch is a critical piece of your VPN security solution, and should be a top feature to prioritize, especially for those using torrents
This simple feature will make sure that your true IP address is never exposed online in the event of a dropped VPN connection.
Security & Privacy
Let’s talk location:
I love that IronSocket is based out of Hong Kong. This is a game-changer for truly anonymous use because HK is famous for its censorship free internet policies and its freedom from any data retention laws. So, bravo to that!
Unfortunately, there is a bit of a caveat: though IronSocket labels itself a no-log company, they do collect the following information:
IP address, browser type, operating system, time of visit, pages and content you viewed, referral site, ad information and keyword search phrases in addition to time, date and duration of the session as well as number of bytes transferred per session.
This info is kept for 72 hours and then deleted. Not too sure how I feel about that, but since my VPN needs are pretty non salacious, I don’t feel hugely threatened by it.
If you’re really looking to stay anonymous, that may not be acceptable to you. For someone like me, who mainly uses the service to access media streaming sites and stay secure while banking over private networks, it’s perfectly fine.
Like most VPNs, IronSocket offers military grade security with 256-bit AES encryption. They also offer 4096-bit key authentication for OpenVPN, which as a security consultant excites me greatly.
This is solid security, though it still bugs me that IronSocket lacks a feature that I love- the Kill Switch, which has started to become a ‘must-have’ for me, personally.
If they included the Kill, plus some broader server coverage, this service would be near on perfect!
I also like that IronSocket allows users to connect through TCP port 443, just like SSL traffic, negating the probability that you’ll be identified/blocked as a VPN user.
If you’re in an area where censorship rules supreme, you’re in luck with this handy feature. I love being able to access Facebook in China or stream media that would otherwise be totally restricted from my travel location.
Speed & Performance
Let’s talk speed. As a Netflix junkie I require that my VPN delivers in the speed department and IronSocket does surprisingly well.
These speeds were pretty good across the board, with the tiniest lag from UK servers, so you might try connecting to a slightly less remote one.
I found that streaming content was delightfully fast, so if that’s your primary use for a VPN service, you’ll be satisfied with IronSocket.
Upload and download speeds didn’t really suffer either, which I have to say surprised me.
A bonus for me was the SE Asia servers. I’m all over these when in Thailand and Singapore.
As previously stated, IronSocket’s customer service is relatively quick. They only offer an email ticket system (I would love to see LiveChat offered soon). Questions were quickly (and efficiently) answered in under 30 minutes. IronSocket also boasts 24/7 service, which they can definitely back up.
IronSocket offers a 7 day, money back guarantee, which is fairly average. One thing that bugs me is that they do not offer a free trial, which I don’t understand. Just do it already!
I have to say, I disliked IronSocket’s website a lot. It feels a tad budget, packed with info that was sort of ‘scream-y’ and so many stock photos I felt like I was wading through it, trying to find the useful info among the chaos.
The information – technical and explanatory – was tucked away in an extensive FAQ, however.
Signing Up & Getting Started
With IronSocket, signing up is quite easy. You need to enter an email address and, of course, some payment details.
You can use everything from major credit cards to PayPal and Bitcoin to a plethora of gift cards that secure your anonymity when paying. That’s cool, and a sign of a security-serious firm.
Do note that personal information such as your name and address is logged by IronSocket and held for up to 72 hours.
IronSocket Review Conclusion
I think IronSocket is a great service. They offer great security protocols with fair global coverage and grade A speeds.
The missing Kill Switch feature was a game changer for me, but I reckon this is coming soon; it has to be.
The monthly price is good, and yearly it’s a steal.
I liked that IronSocket was based out of Hong Kong, because of HK’s ‘hands off’ policy with internet privacy.
IronSocket’s customer support needs a dedicated LiveChat option, but otherwise their email system is 24/7- speedy and helpful. What more do you want for $4.16 a month!
The website was a bit convoluted, but the desktop and mobile clients, despite being pretty barebones, are straightforward.
IronSocket’s speed is great, especially with media streaming. UK servers see a tiny lag, but nothing that would put me off.
- Based out of Hong Kong (great for privacy)
- 4096-bit key authentication for OpenVPN
- Good customer service
- 3 device simultaneous connection
- No live chat option on the website
- 72-hour basic information log
- No Kill Switch