Top Level Overview
Mumbai-based SwitchVPN offers an affordable VPN service with good security, decent speeds….but some lasting concerns about its location in India.
SwitchVPN has a fair amount of servers in over 30 countries, which include places like South America, Oceania and Asia, though I am yet to see servers in Africa or in the Middle East.
I’m sure as the company expands, there will be moves to extend their reach, but for now, the server locations are fairly adequate for my needs.
The good news is you get 5 devices on their plans, top-level security and decent pricing; so hold tight for more details.
SwitchVPN takes customer service pretty seriously too. They offer 24/7/365 support through multiple outlets. They have a dedicated Live Chat option and an email ticketing system run through their KnowledgeBase.
Live Chat responses took mere minutes to come through and the email ticket system could have you waiting about an hour, which is still decent. All communication was friendly, quite helpful and comprehensible!
It seems that SwitchVPN has done away with its free trial period for customers, which is a bit of a bummer since I definitely like being able to try out a product before I commit to handing over credit card details.
However, they sort of make up for it by offering a 30 day money back guarantee. This is one of the most generous guarantee offers I’ve seen, so I’ll let the ‘no free trial’ thing slide, though at this stage in the game, it should just be standard practice.
SwitchVPN offers two different plans for interested users:
- 1 month plan is $9.95 per month
- 1 year plan is $6.66 per month
They used to offer a 3 month plan, but that option has since disappeared, along with the free trial
Every plan includes all of SwitchVPN’s features: PPTP / L2TP / OPEN / SSTP, multiple VPN gateways, simultaneous connection on 5 devices, instant setup, unlimited bandwidth, P2P and VoIP, log-less promise, 24/7 online support, compatibility on all devices and 30 day money back guarantee.
I love that SwitchVPN pays attention to their clients’ need for speed, as the VPN service promises that unlimited bandwidth is standard and that lags are a thing of the past.
As far as security goes, SwitchVPN is solid but not the best out there.
Their OpenVPN uses the default 128-bit Blowfish for datastream encryption, with handshaking done over RSA-1024 with a 2048-bit static key providing an added layer of security on top of the RSA.
Hash authentication uses SHA-1, which I approve of as it is a step up from the standard Blowfish cipher. They also offer L2TP/ISEC through the bespoke client.
I’ll speak a bit more on this in the security section.
My VPN needs are not too convoluted. I like to book, bank and surf the web on unsecured networks and I absolutely love to stream tv that’s not available in my current location.
For that reason, geo-restricted content is my nemesis, but SwitchVPN was pretty supportive on that front. I never had any issues accessing a previously blocked media streaming site and for that, I’m eternally grateful.
I was also able to test the service from China (Guangdong) and was able to avoid the great firewall. Bonearse (my silly way of writing ‘bonus’). Let me off; writing these reviews can get tedious!
I also love that SwitchVPN offers SSTP, which is so helpful for those who are living or traveling in censorship prone areas. I love that this disguises the use of VPN technology and allows users to access the unrestricted web through ‘stealth servers’ that make your traffic look like run of the mill HTTPS.
Again, this is excellent news for those thinking of visiting China, but who want to keep up with their Facebook newsfeeds.
The desktop version of SwitchVPN is very streamlined and easy to use, I’ve got to give them credit here. I really appreciate that all of the features are stacked neatly in the ‘advanced’ section and that you can also select a Kill Switch, disguised as “VPN drop” to protect you in the event of a VPN disconnection.
They also offer an ‘auto reconnect’ feature, which I thought was a cool addition.
Security & Privacy
So it works, pretty well in fact but let’s talk location.
SwitchVPN is based out of Mumbai, India. What does this actually mean for users’ privacy and security?
Though the company claims that it is completely logless, I did a bit of digging into India’s history of internet privacy.
Just be aware that a Central Monitoring System (instated in 2013) gives both national and local governments “the power to intercept and monitor digital communications without requiring judicial approval.”
Like some other companies, SwitchVPN does record session duration, time connected, VPN server location and bandwidth used. They’re also pretty strict: copyright infringement and other illegal activities are not allowed.
This is kinda standard, but given the context of location and privacy laws, PirateBay users beware!
SwitchVPN falters on security, though it’s not immediately apparent as they advertise 1024 over 2048 bit encryption. Don’t be fooled, it’s not really as good as it sounds.
1024-bit RSA (RSA-1024) private key encryption can be cracked and is why Google upgraded all of its SSL certificates to the much secure 2048-bit RSA key length in 2013, a move made by most of the security industry.
Okay, you have the static 2048 on top, but why not just upgrade to 2048 as standard?
Aside from that, you do have the protection of the Kill Switch, which will cover your internet trail in the event of a VPN disconnection, which is a good, must have feature.
Speed & Performance
It’s time to talk about speed and I admit, SwitchVPN’s is pretty good once you can get past some minimal connection blips.
Connecting to busier servers was an occasional bust, so I tended to opt for less popular ones, which was good as they were quicker. What I was most pleased about was speed of streaming media content. It had virtually no lag, which is greatly appreciated.
Nothing negative really to report on speed. You’ll be good to go.
As previously stated, SwitchVPN’s customer support is definitely one of the better elements of their company. When they say 24/7/365, they mean it!
They’re always available on Live Chat or the email ticket system. Live Chat gives you quick responses, but the email ticket system definitely yields the most comprehensive responses.
I routinely waited for under 10 minutes for the Live Chat and under an hour for the email ticketing system- they’re quite speedy. There is also a KnowledgeBase where users can troubleshoot for themselves.
SwitchVPN offers a 30 day, money back guarantee, which is one of the most generous I’ve seen in the VPN world. However, this generosity is sort of counterbalanced by the fact that SwitchVPN does not seem to offer a free trial anymore!
Signing Up & Getting Started
With SwitchVPN, signing up is pretty easy. You need to enter an email, and then optionally a name and country, and of course, some payment details.
You can use everything from major credit cards to Bitcoin to a variety of payment options like PayPal, Perfect Money, WebMoney, Western Union, Bank Wire transfers and AliPay.
Switch VPN Review Conclusion
SwitchVPN offers some amazing streaming and file sharing speeds, which caught my eye, but ultimately, their security faltered a tad with the 1024 RSA. They do make up for that a bit with good features like the Kill Switch and SSTP.
The monthly price was a tad high, though 5 device connection makes it worthy.
I don’t know how I feel about SwitchVPN’s location in Mumbai after reading about India’s government’s relationship with the internet! Can it be truly logless?
The desktop client is nicely laid out and intuitive, as is the mobile. No complaints. Customer support is prompt, helpful, available 24/7/365 and versatile. Always welcome in my world.
- Great speeds
- Great customer service
- The price
- Security could be better
- Says they are logless but could be an issue based in Mumbai