- P2P allowed: Yes (through the Downloads shortcut)
- Number of servers: 47
- Business location: United States and Ukraine
- Cost: $93 per yr
- VPN protocol: OpenVPN (default)
- Data encryption: AES-128-CBC
- Data authentication: SHA-256
- Handshake: 2048-bit key
Most VPNs use the identical simple method: You, the consumer, choose from a listing of nations and typically a listing of servers, press Connect, and also you’re off to the races. Every at times, nevertheless, there are VPNs just like the newly launched ClearVPN from MacPaw that take a extra activity-based method. The interface says to the consumer, “tell us what you want to do and we’ll connect you to the best possible server for that purpose.”
Note: This overview is a part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for particulars about competing merchandise and the way we examined them.
Are you simply internet searching, for instance, or do you need to view U.S. Netflix? Are you interested by Hulu, or searching with an advert blocker? ClearVPN has quite a few choices for most traditional use instances.
When you first begin up ClearVPN on Windows, it presents a lot of tiles to select from, together with a trio of Quick actions for choosing a server for video streaming, enabling safe searching, or connecting to a selected nation location.
ClearVPN’s nation checklist is pretty small, overlaying solely 16 nations, with no means to drill right down to particular servers or areas. You additionally aren’t given the choice to pick out a VPN protocol or ranges of encryption. That’s all taking place within the background, with protocols and servers being determined on-the-fly, utilizing what MacPaw calls “Dynamic Flow Technology” (DFT).
DFT picks the very best server for you robotically, in addition to dealing with the protocol and encryption connections. ClearVPN has its personal VPN protocol for sure use instances, however it additionally makes use of OpenVPN and IKEv2.
ClearVPN will not be your best option for energy customers who need extra management over their connection, however it does have some attention-grabbing options for everybody else. Dive into the Shortcuts tab on the high of the interface for a way of your choices. Examples embrace a portal to Netflix USA, for instance, and likewise the odd choice to “Get Harry Potter on Netflix,” which connects you to a Netflix nation the place the flicks can be found.
Interestingly, I noticed some VPN trickery after I linked to Netflix for watching Harry Potter—websites similar to IP Leak Test nonetheless noticed my precise IP and never a VPN IP. This sort of fake-out will not be terribly shocking since getting round Netflix’s VPN filters is one thing of a chore. Nevertheless, remember that your precise IP should be seen when utilizing a few of ClearVPN’s options. You don’t need to use the Harry Potter choice, for instance, when attempting to cover your actual location from websites that aren’t Netflix.
Other supported choices on ClearVPN embrace HBO Max (good for ex-pat Americans with a U.S. bank card), BBC’s iPlayer, Hulu, gaming, and stay sports activities. Then there are extra safety centered choices similar to Safe Chats, No Malware, and No Limitations. I requested the MacPaw for readability on the latter two. No Malware actively blocks URLs recognized to ship malicious advertisements. No Limitations is supposed to bypass nationwide firewalls that censor individuals’s searching habits.
Once you utilize one of many Shortcuts, it exhibits up on the first dashboard underneath Recent exercise, permitting you to rapidly bounce again to any choices you utilize incessantly.
There isn’t a lot to say about ClearVPN’s settings. There’s nothing to tweak aside from whether or not you need ClearVPN to launch at system startup.
ClearVPN prices $13 monthly or $93 per yr and permits as much as six simultaneous connections, with apps for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. ClearVPN may even be an choice in Setapp, a MacPaw subscription-based market for Macs. Payment choices through the ClearVPN internet retailer embrace bank card and PayPal.
We examined pre-release variations of ClearVPN and obtained a number of updates throughout the our testing testing. As the updates got here in, efficiency improved, and we anticipate this may proceed for a while as ClearVPN is a brand-new service.
In our assessments over three days, ClearVPN maintained near 10 % of the bottom velocity, which is dreadful. As we stated, nevertheless, ClearVPN’s updates improved efficiency and on the final day of testing the common was 20 % of the bottom velocity. That’s nonetheless not unimaginable efficiency, however it’s acceptable and exhibits regular enchancment. It needs to be quick sufficient for many makes use of, however for those who want a high-performance service ClearVPN will not be there proper now.
Privacy, anonymity, and belief
As we talked about earlier, ClearVPN was created by MacPaw, an organization formally based mostly in San Francisco, however the CEO and its growth places of work are in Ukraine. MacPaw makes a lot of utilities and purposes for Mac (in addition to one Windows choice) similar to CleanMyMac X and the aforementioned Setapp. MacPaw’s CEO and founder is Oleksandr Kosovan and the CTO is Vera Tkachenko.
MacPaw says ClearVPN has a “strict no-logs policy,” however on this context a no-logs coverage means the corporate doesn’t accumulate and retailer the websites you go to, any private data, or your IP tackle.
Surprisingly, it collects “applications usage,” which suggests “identifying all the apps downloaded to a device.” MacPaw says it wants this knowledge “in order to provide you with the best possible VPN connection.” We requested the corporate about this and a consultant informed us that it does certainly accumulate a listing of put in purposes on all platforms, and that it makes use of this to “build a customer profile and provide personalized solutions.”
ClearVPN additionally data profitable connection makes an attempt, which VPN location you linked to (however not your outgoing IP tackle), and which nation and ISP you’re connecting from, however not your supply IP tackle. Plus, it collects the mixture sum of information transferred with a purpose to detect suspicious conduct.
We’re nonetheless not carried out. It additionally collects unspecified “minimal usage statistics” and your system’s OS model, language, and system identify.
I don’t suppose I’ve ever seen a no-logs VPN that logs a lot data. At least the corporate is being sincere about what it feels it wants to offer the service, however this isn’t what we’d take into account a no-logs VPN.
ClearVPN is off to an attention-grabbing begin. It has some work to do on growing speeds, however it does work as promised. The worth is somewhat increased than we’d like given the speeds we noticed, however it’s not prohibitively costly both.
We can’t suggest ClearVPN to those that need as a lot anonymity and privateness as potential on-line. If all you need is an unblocking service to your favourite streaming websites, nevertheless, then ClearVPN could be for you.
Editor’s notice: Because on-line providers are sometimes iterative, gaining new options and efficiency enhancements over time, this overview is topic to alter with a purpose to precisely mirror the present state of the service. Any modifications to textual content or our last overview verdict might be famous on the high of this text.