- Jurisdiction: Moldova
- Advanced Privacy Features: Multiple VPN Protocols, Kill Switch
- Number of Servers and Countries: 35 Servers in 22 Countries
- Streaming and P2P: Yes
Although not the largest or most well-known VPN, CactusVPN is a plucky, reliable company with a well-established history and a devoted fan base. While it doesn’t excel in every category, there’s also lots to like here. Is CactusVPN a VPN that you want to use? Our complete CactusVPN review starts now:
What is CactusVPN?
When you think of VPN companies, you probably don’t think “family business,” but that’s basically the case here. Founded in 2011, CactusVPN was formed by three close friends. For many years, their client list mainly consisted of people they knew personally.
As the company has grown, the founders have resisted the urge to sell, instead of wanting to maintain their original commitment to customer privacy.
Jurisdiction and Privacy Laws
CactusVPN is located in the Eastern European country of Moldova. Although it’s not exactly known as a tech hotbed, this unique location does provide several benefits regarding customer privacy.
Moldova isn’t a member of the European Union. They’re also not part of any multi-national user data-sharing organization.
The country also has no laws mandating that VPN companies keep data logs. However, they do have a law that creates customer protections similar to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Basically, the only laws they have that regulate VPN usage are privacy-friendly.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the laws won’t change, as Moldova’s relationship with the EU and Russia is fairly fluid.
What’s CactusVPN’s Policy on Logging?
CactusVPN keeps its logging policy clear and direct.
They have a guaranteed no-log policy. No data related to your specific activities are logged, recorded, or monitored. They don’t store IP addresses, traffic logs, timestamps, session duration length, or other data.
What Are CactusVPN’s Advanced Privacy Features?
Their encryption is secure, but it’s not – strictly speaking – the absolute best you can find in a VPN.
CactusVPN uses AES-256-GCM on the control channel. They use AES-128-CBC on the data channel. Most top-of-the-line VPNs use AES-256.
How much does that matter? For the vast majority of users, AES-128 encryption provides excellent protection, even when using public wireless hotspots.
What Devices Does CactusVNP Support?
CactusVPN provides broad support to a variety of clients but remains slightly limited when compared to some of the larger VPNs.
Cactus VPN supports:
- OS X
While that covers practically every computer or smartphone, CactusVPN doesn’t provide integrated support for gaming consoles or AppleTV.
The Installation Process
Installation is slightly different than with other VPNs such as NordVPN or Ivacy. The installer gives you a high-level of control. If you don’t want to worry about it, the default options will work fine for almost everybody. However, if you want to adjust settings, you can turn on auto start options and more.
At this point in our CactusVPN review, let’s take a look at the platform’s main features.
- Multiple VPN Protocols
You can choose between the following six protocols:
- OpenVPN (TCP and UDP)
Configuring your connection is simple.
- Internet Kill Switch
Even the best VPNs can drop unexpectedly. If you lose the connection to your VPN, CactusVPN’s Internet Kill Switch immediately blocks internet traffic to your device to keep your browsing private.
Additionally, you can use the App Killer feature to designate which programs and apps on your device will close instantly if the connection drops. You can halt a browser, torrent, or basically any other running program.
On the downside, setting up the App Killer feature can get a tad complicated. You have to specify the exact .EXE file for the program, which means you’ll need to explore each program’s file directory.
- DNS Leak Protection
When using a VPN, your device sends requests to Domain Name Servers, which translate the numeric address of your computer to the internet addresses in your browser. A security flaw called a DNS Leak can occur during this process. It makes your DNS requests and your browsing visible, instead of hidden.
Ideally, protecting against DNS leaks is the responsibility of the VPN provider. Your VPN should have built-in leak protection. Fortunately, CactusVPN excels here. You can turn their DNS Leak Protection on with a single click. No technical know-how is required.
Is CactusVPN Fast?
Your connection speed when using a VPN depends on a variety of factors, some of which have nothing to do with the provider itself. For example, your ISP speed plays a major role.
However, CactusVPN is unlikely to slow you down. They offer a wide variety of servers, so you can select one near you, which helps improve performance.
Their speeds tend to vary between 35Mbps (slightly lower than average) and 140MBps (higher than average). You’ll likely get the best speeds from CactusVPN if you’re located in the US or the UK. However, customers in Japan and Germany may face the slowest speeds with this VPN.
Is CactusVPN Good for Unblocking Streaming Services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or Hulu?
Is it, but this gets a tad complicated. Using the VPN to evade region locks yields inconsistent results. You can unblock Netflix or Youtube, but you might run into issues with Disney+, Amazon Prime, and others.
However, CactusVPN also offers Smart DNS. It’s designed to unblock over 130 common streaming platforms. Finding the platform you want is easy because the control panel allows you to sort by country, device, or type (video, music, etc.)
What is the Price of CactusVPN?
CactusVPN’s prices are fairly competitive even compared to cheap VPNs.
- 1 Month – $6.99
- 3 Months – $16.79
- 1 Year – $38.49
- 2 Years – $66.49
All the plans have the same features. You get access to any of their 35 VPN servers across 22 countries. Additionally, you get a free proxy, P2P file sharing, free Smart DNS, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited speed, and the ability to connect up to five devices at once.
Servers and Locations
They have 35 VPN servers spread across. Most of their servers are in North America and the EU, including the US, UK, France, Sweden, and Spain. You’ll also find servers in Romania, Latvia, Japan, and Russia, among others. You can select a server or use the automatic option.
CactusVPN isn’t the best or flashiest name among VPN providers, but they deliver where it matters. They’re committed to treating each customer like family, with a unique location that helps improve customer privacy plus an intuitive user interface. Overall, as our CactusVPN review reveals, it’s a solid VPN service at a reasonable price.