Witopia VPN review

Editorial

It’s important to note that Witopia itself isn’t a VPN, but rather a cybersecurity company that offers personalVPN and Secure My Email, which offers end-to-end email encryption.

Naturally, this review will be focusing on personalVPN, but it’s worth clearing up any ambiguity beforehand given that personalVPN is technically part of the overall Witopia package.

Witopia’s motto, ‘Encryption is the new black’, is snappy and memorable, but under closer scrutiny, makes no sense. Similarly, its security credentials are mostly bulletproof and really quite advanced. Taking a look at the privacy policy, however, reveals some truly ugly secrets that we’ll cover in greater detail below.

To underline the point using another example: personalVPN is one of the most accessible VPN clients around, with custom apps for just about every platform imaginable (excluding gaming consoles). Take a look at its pricing grid, though, and you’ll likely wind up slightly irritated by its restrictive subscription packages.

Witopia isn’t a terrible service overall, but there are certain things to be sure of before investing in the Witopia security package.

Is Witopia safe to use?

This review begins on a great note as personalVPN boasts military-grade encryption: the coveted AES-256-bit cipher.

The only downside is that this hack-proof encryption is only available on the Pro and Premier subscription packages. This makes the Basic package largely useless because your connection will not be as protected as it could be.

Witopia bounces back well enough, however, due to the fact that IKEv2/IPsec is supported across all subscription packages (alongside lesser protocols such as PPTP and L2TP/IPsec).

The lack of OpenVPN may alarm some users, especially those who are used to the industry-standard status that protocol has enjoyed over the years. Rest assured, though, IKEv2/IPsec is a more-than-worthy alternative.

Frustratingly, though, Witopia squanders these laudable credentials due to its lack of a kill switch. Military-grade encryption is one thing, but a kill switch protects your data in the event of a connection error.

Privacy

Witopia is based in Virginia, which places it squarely within the jurisdiction of the 5 Eyes alliance.

What this means is that any authorities within this alliance (the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) are able to seize information hosted by Witopia without any legal restraint.

Now, Witopia does not log any information beyond your login credentials, which would only prove in a court of law that you have a VPN, not what you use it for. Worryingly, though, certain users familiar with Witopia allege that the customer service team admit to enforcing a “trailing log” system in order to crack down on illegal activity.

Put simply, you shouldn’t be using a VPN to break the law in the first place. On the other hand, though, there are plenty of methods to ensure this does not happen, including waiting for and responding to complaints from bodies of authority and internet service providers.

The latter point is the approach most VPNs worth their salt will take, and they will respond by appropriately cancelling your subscription if the complaints are deemed legitimate.

That Witopia actively logs your information in the first place, however, is poor practice, and that it does not state how long it keeps these logs for is deeply worrying.

Thankfully, when put to the test, Witopia did not leak DNS, WebRTC, or IPv6 information. That’s a load off the minds, at least.

Speed and performance

Witopia advertises its “Optimized Super-Fast IPsec w/IKEv2” on each of its subscription packages. Naturally, this has to be put to the test for Witopia review.

To begin with, Witopia boasts a reasonably large fleet of servers that stretches over 43 countries. It’s not the absolute best, but it’s more than enough to guarantee strong connection speeds in most locations.

Lo and behold, Witopia performs, and it performs well. We obviously experienced the best connection speeds in locations near our own, but downloads continued to impress even when connecting to servers in more far-flung regions of the world.

Ease of use and support

Everything you need from Witopia is available to view, and easy to find, on its website. Many of the lesser-known VPN websites are amateurish and clearly unfinished, but Witopia, having been in business since 2005, brings its A-game in this regard.

The installation process is similarly painless. It’s a simple process of downloading the app client and setting it to configure, which it does automatically.

Moreover, the customer service team are on hand 24/7 for live chat support. They’re knowledgeable and friendly, and clearly dedicated to ensuring every user receives the best experience possible with Witopia.

Pricing

One of the most annoying things about Witopia is that you can only purchase its VPN service (personalVPN) in 36-month instalments.

Subscription packages longer than 12 months are unpopular for a reason: it’s a really long time to commit to a service of any kind.

There isn’t even the benefit of bargain pricing normally used to alleviate the pressure of long-term subscriptions. Witopia isn’t exorbitant, exactly; it’s about average, with the prices listed as $3.06/mo for the Basic package, $4.44/mo for Pro, and $5.83 for Premier.

Furthermore, there is no option to pay with cryptocurrency or any such secure payment methods. This is yet another drawback we have to cover in our Witopia review.

Witopia for Netflix

Witopia claims it has custom servers for Netflix, although it’s hard to figure out what this means.

All of the tested servers would not work with Netflix at all. In each instance, the streaming service immediately recognized that a VPN is being used, which it does not allow.

The same went for BBC iPlayer, which would not let us anywhere near it. With accessing geo-blocked content being such a major draw for users seeking a good VPN, it seems that Witopia is certainly not a great fit for those needs.

Witopia for torrenting

Another quite frustrating element of Witopia is that it doesn’t take advantage of its fairly excellent speeds by allowing torrenting on its servers.

Torrenting is illegal in many territories, but the way a good VPN will get around this is by including servers based in locations where it is permitted. Witopia, unfortunately, lacks such P2P-friendly servers in its fleet.

Is it good for users in China?

Although the speed tests revealed that connection speeds are relatively consistent across the globe, one thing we did notice is that some of its East Asian servers were almost unusably slow.

Witopia has the capability to bypass the Great Firewall of China with its support for the IKEv2 protocol. However, we were slightly disconcerted with the drastic plummet in connection speeds for many of the servers mentioned.

After pursuing the matter further and sourcing testimonials from users in East and Southeast Asia, it turns out that it just the distance that was causing our connection speed issues.

As it turns out, all of the servers that should ideally provide the best connection speeds for users in China are, reputedly, awful.

While Witopia seems to have the technology to bypass China’s notorious Great Firewall, then, it also seems like the servers it uses to do so are not nearly powerful enough to sustain a reliable connection.

Apps and extensions

Witopia’s personalVPN is available on an impressive range of platforms:

  • Mac OS X
  • Windows
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Linux
  • Chromebook
  • Blackberry
  • Microsoft Surface
  • Amazon Firestick/TV
  • Boxee

While the service does not have any browser extensions, the good news is that it does support router protection.

Not only this, but Witopia sells its own custom VPN routers. This is good news if you’re looking for a way to access Kodi, but it’s bad news if you don’t have $300 to spare.

 

Last modified: March 27, 2019

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