Private Internet Access Android App Review

Private Internet Access recently released an Android app for their popular VPN service.  You can download it free directly from Google Play.  We tested version 1.0.2 which was released on April 13th and will share a review of our experience.  The new PIA Android client is free to all new and existing members.  You can enjoy unlimited access to any of their 260+ VPN servers in 9 countries for just $6.95 a month or $39.95 a year.

Let’s dive right into the review.  We had the pleasure of testing the new app on both a Samsung Note II and Asus Transformer Prime tablet.  Both worked fine.  For our demonstration the screenshots will refer to the Note.

PIA Android App Setup

First we visited Google Play and download the latest version which was v1.0.2 released on April 13th, 2013.  Once installed we opened the app and entered our PIA credentials including username and password.  The user interface allows you to save your password and select a server automatically or manually.

The first time you connect to PrivateInternetAccess through the app you’ll be presented with a warning screen letting you know that the VPN connection will intercept your network traffic.  That’s the whole point.  To use PIA as a secure tunnel.  Just click the “I trust this application” button and the message will no longer appear.

App Usage and Speed Testing

Let’s take a look at the PIA app running on our Samsung Note II:

PIA Android App

As you can see we connected to a PIA server in Texas.  Once the VPN is enabled you can view your data usage stats, disconnect and configure additional features.  Here’s a look at the settings pages and our speed test:

PIA Android speed test

By default the Private Internet Access app uses OpenVPN UDP connections.  We prefer UDP as well for speed.  If you notice data loss or other issues then check the “Use TCP” box.  You can also set the client to use a remote (random) or local port.  The 1-click connect feature will let you automatically connect when the app is started.  You can also set the app to connect on boot.  In addition you can select from a full list of VPN server locations.

Last but certainly not least we tested the speed while connected to PIA on our Note II through AT&T wireless.  The results were impressive.  As you can see in the screenshot above we were able to achieve a download speed of over 13 Mbps and upload of nearly 10 Mbps.  Fast enough to easily stream Netflix.

In conclusion we enjoyed testing the Android app.  You can tell the team at Private Internet Access put a lot of effort into development.  Carrying a lot of the desktop client features over to Android.  We look forward to using the mobile client more on an upcoming trip.  In the meantime visit Private Internet Access and check it out.

Enabling OpenVPN on Windows 8

We recently had a guest ask how to enable OpenVPN on windows 8.  They had just upgraded from Windows 7 and their VPN client was no longer supporting OpenVPN connections.  We suggested they try the IPVanish software which gives you the option to enable OpenVPN for Win 8.  The client is available for Windows and Mac users.  You can download the latest version free and enjoy unlimited VPN access from $6.49 a month.

Using OpenVPN on Windows 8

To enable the OpenVPN protocol launch the IPVanish client and click on preferences at the top of the user interface.  From there you will be presented with a screen like the one to the right of our screenshot.  As you can see they clearly have an option marked “Windows 8 Enable OpenVPN”.  Simply check the box and click Save.  You will now see options at the bottom of the client for OpenVPN (TCP) and OpenVPN (UDP).

The main difference between using a TCP and UDP connection is error checking versus speed.  OpenVPN (TCP) includes error checking while OpenVPN (UDP) provides maximum performance.  We use UDP most the time and enjoy the boost in speed.  It allows us to nearly max our Internet connection on some U. S. servers.  We have also successfully tested OpenVPN with Hide My Ass (TCP-only in the client), ExpressVPN and ibVPN.

Free iPhone App for PureVPN

PureVPN iPhone setup just got a whole lot easier.  They just released a free VPN app for iOS.  The user interface looks great and let’s you setup any server location.  You can get the PureVPN app from iTunes.  It’s available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.  The app is free for all members.  If you’re not already using PureVPN, they are kindly offering our guests 35% off.  Enjoy unlimited VPN access for $11.70 a month.

PureVPN iPhone App

You can check out several more screenshots of the new PureVPN iOS app on their iTunes page.  Here’s a short list of features available in the PureVPN iPhone client:

  • App automatically identifies the fastest server
  • Connect to 50+ servers in 17 countries
  • Set up a new server location anytime
  • Choose between PPTP and L2TP protocols
  • Use the same PureVPN account on multiple devices

Like most other iPhone VPN apps the PureVPN iOS client works as a front end to help you set up a connection to their servers.  It does so by adding a profile to your device.  The profile includes the server and protocol information for connecting to PureVPN.  You can choose between server locations and protocols.

We gave the app a quick test on iPad.  Choosing a PureVPN server in Chicago for testing.  From there the app immediately went to work creating a profile for our connection.  During the setup process it prompted for our PureVPN username and password.  We tested using PPTP so it didn’t ask for the L2TP secret.

Once we had a profile configured for the VPN server in Chicago we tested the service.  For those trying it out you’ll want to go to Settings – VPN on your iOS device.  There you’ll see an entry for the server.  If you use more than one VPN provider make sure PureVPN is checked.  Then toggle VPN to ON for encrypted access.

Next we fired up Netflix and watched some Better Off Ted.  the show streamed for a few minutes without any connection issues.  We browsed the web and viewed a couple YouTube videos without any delays.  A test using the app showed that our download speed was 3.99 Mbps while connected to PureVPN.

Take the new iOS app for a test drive and let us know what you think @VPNSP.  We look forward to using it more in the days to come.  As always we’ll share our experience.  Adding a link to our full review right here in the weeks to come.  In the meantime check the client out for yourself.  It’s available to download free on iTunes.

IPVanish Client Gets a New Look

The IPVanish team just rolled out a new release of their popular Windows VPN client.  Version comes with a fresh new look.  The user interface displays all 90+ IPVanish VPN servers along with their response (ping) times.  We tested several locations and were able to switch between servers and IP’s worldwide.  The new client is included free with their service.  IPVanish offers unlimited VPN from just $6.49 a month.

Let’s take a look at the user interface in the new Windows client release:

IPVanish Windows Client

As you can see we were connected to a VPN server in London when we took this screenshot.  The client clearly shows our location (London, UK) along with the IP address ( assigned to our connection.  With an IP in the United Kingdom we could watch BBC content.  The same is true when connected to servers in the United States.  Unblocking access to popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Pandora.

With the new software design you can easily choose between OpenVPN (TCP or UDP), L2TP or PPTP protocols.  We like OpenVPN (TCP) the best for maximum protection.  For streaming services OpenVPN (UDP) provides the fastest connection speeds.  We regularly achieve over 30 Mbps download speeds in the United States while enjoying encrypted VPN access.  Fast enough to stream HD content without any lags.

Cheers to the IPVanish development team.  The fresh look and feel of their new Windows client will be enjoyed by new and existing users alike.  We use the service on a regular basis and look forward to future releases.  Follow us @VPNSP for all the latest news and specials.  Download the new client from

Award Winning iPhone VPN Apps

So far this year we’ve seen Hotspot Shield and GetCloak take home awards for their mobile VPN clients.  Hotspot Shield was named one of the Best Apps of Mobile World Congress by Softonic.  GetCloak won an Editor’s Choice award from MacObserver during at Macworld.  Last year we saw a lot of mobile apps come to market.  It’s great to see some of the leading iPhone apps gaining widespread attention.

Let’s take a closer look at the award winners:

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield iPhone

The AnchorFree team is very well known for their Hotspot Shield VPN service.  With over 100 million downloads.  Their free ad-supported Windows client is very popular.  Now they are branching into the premium market with Hotspot Elite.  An unlimited VPN offering without the ads.  We recently reviewed the service.

The Hotspot Shield iOS app is perfect for both iPhone and iPad devices.  The app and privacy service helps members browse anonymously and access content from around the world.  In addition the iOS app will compress your cellular data to save you time and money.  Download HotSpot Shield directly from iTunes.

The HotSpot Shield mobile app will run on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.  Android users aren’t left out either.  Instead of a paid service they currently offer a free, ad-supported VPN app for Android users.  You can check it out on Google Play.  The iOS version does not include ads.  Prices start at just $0.99 a month.


GetCloak award

GetCloak is a relatively new VPN company.  They started beta testing last year and recently announced the launch of their paid service.  We can share a basic overview of the service.  The company is based in Seattle and is dedicated to building an easy-to-use online privacy service.  For more details visit the GetCloak site.

Being from Seattle puts the GetCloak team in Microsoft country.  In fact the founders are Microsft veterans with years of experience in cloud, mobile and secure computing.  Their attention to detail in designing the product is noticed the first time you use Cloak.  Helping users protect their online privacy on both Mac and iOS devices.

Cloak 1.0 launched at this year’s MacWorld conference in San Francisco.  The perfect time and place to launch a privacy service specifically designed for Apple fans.  The company launched in 2011 and was profitable by the end of 2012.  We look forward to more innovations to come as they continue to build out the Cloak service.

Cheers to Hotspot Shield and GetCloak as they both celebrate awards for their iPhone VPN clients.

New IPVanish Mac VPN Client v1.2

IPVanish recently released a new version of their popular VPN client for Mac users.  The new client includes some improvements and addresses some bugs in the previous version.  Existing members can download version 1.2 directly from the IPVanish site.  Those new to the service can sign up for one of their specials which include unlimited VPN for $10 a month or $99 a year.  IPVanish offers all new members a 7 day guarantee.

IPVanish Mac Client v1.2

Here’s a list of the new features and changes in the IPVanish Mac v1.2 software:

  • Improved OpenVPN Logging
  • Improved DNS Handling for OpenVPN
  • Improved Server List Update Response Time
  • Improved Log Viewer
  • Connect at Launch Bug Fixes

Along with the new Mac release the IPVanish team has been hard at work adding new VPN server locations.  In the last month alone they’ve added servers in Brazil, India, Latvia and Norway.  Bringing the IPVanish network to over 90 servers across 41 countries around the world.  All of which support OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP.  Allowing support for Mac, Linux, Windows, iOS and Android devices.  Along with two simultaneous connections.

Read our IPVanish review to learn more or visit and download the new Mac VPN client v1.2.

2012 VPN Year in Review

Since the world didn’t come to an end on December 21st we thought we’d share some of the highlights we’ve noticed following the VPN industry throughout the year.  First a heartfelt thanks to all those involved in making the online world a safer place.  We appreciate all your efforts.  While we’ll be sharing some of our favorite’s from 2012, there are hundreds of VPN services and team members working to help protect users online privacy.

2012 VPN Year in Review

The Year of Growth

It would be an understatement to say that 2012 saw growth in the VPN space.  We receive requests each and every week from new services and those wanting to learn more about the industry.  Just how fast is VPN growing?  Last January we had around 150 VPN services listed on VPNSP.  That seemed like quite a few at the time.  Now the list is up to 300 with more to come.  It’s hard to guess how many companies we’ll end with in 2013 but we welcome them all.  Competition is good as long as you do your homework.

With well over 300 VPN providers to choose from it’s easy to get lost in the giant list of options.  We thought the same thing when their were 150 services and now you can multiply the confusion.  We work hard to provide you with quality reviews but please don’t stop there.  Take a close look at our speed tests and compare them with your own results.  Before signing up check out the provider’s money back guarantee.  Then test the service hard for the first few days.  Connecting to various locations and testing your desired online services and applications.

Network Expansion

The year also saw rapid growth from leading VPN companies like Hide My Ass.  HMA started the year with 210 servers and ended it with over 325.  Along the way they also added 15 new countries and more than 15,000 IP addresses.  IPVanish is another 2012 success story.  The service grew to cover 28 countries and over 62 servers by year end.  That would be a fine accomplishment on it’s own but IPVanish is also consistently the fastest VPN provider in the U. S. and Europe.  We anticipate continued growth from both services in 2013.

DNS Services

We always keep an eye on new offerings from leading providers.  That includes companies like OverPlay and StrongVPN.  Overplay has been offering SmartDNS and Strong is beta testing their new StrongDNS service.  These new DNS offerings will help users access online services without the extra overhead of encryption.  While they aren’t meant to secure your connection they are handy for accessing sites and services located in other areas of the world.  We would expect to see a lot more growth in this area in 2013.

Mobile Apps

This year we saw several providers working to develop mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices.  Testing from an iPhone, Galaxy S3 and Nexus tablet gave us a good chance to see all the new apps.  Most the apps we tested were best suited for early adopters.  With some technical bugs and UI misses.  Yet as the year went on we saw more polished results.  Services like ExpressVPN, VPN One Click, VyprVPN and ibVPN made strides in mobile this year.  We look forward to continued mobile app innovations in the year to come.

There were some other notable additions in 2012.  We saw a focus on expanding payment options for customers.  With more emphasis on anonymity.  With the rise of Bitcoin from services like Private Internet Access.  We also saw more interest in VPN routers.  With companies like Sabai Technology and FlashRouters leading the way.  Partnering with VPN services to better protect home and business networks.

Cheers to everyone who helped improve users online privacy and anonymity in 2012.  We look forward to 2013!

VyprVPN Releases Mobile VPN Apps

Whether you’re a Giganews Diamond user or a member of Golden Frog’s VyprVPN you’ll be happy to hear about their latest innovations.  Last week Golden Frog released mobile apps for both iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and Android devices.  The new client apps are free to Giganews Diamond users and VyprVPN Pro customers.  You can visit the Golden Frog blog for more information or download either the iOS or Android apps.

VyprVPN has provided members with free Windows and Mac clients for a long time now.  Along with supporting iOS and Android devices.  The difference is they now have custom apps which are more useful and easier to use than manually configuring your own VPN connections.  Let’s take a look at some of the features in the new Vypr mobile apps.  We’ll start with their iOS app with it’s “on Demand” feature and then move on to Android.

VyprVPN iOS App

The VyprVPN iOS app is free to all Giganews Diamond and VyprVPN Pro members.  You can download it directly from iTunes.  Our favorite feature by far is their new “VuprVPN On Demand” which connects you to the VPN service any time you access the internet.  Without having to turn VPN access on and off.  This is the first iOS app we’ve seen that connects on demand.  Here are some more features in the new Vypr iOS app.

  • VyprVPN on Demand – automatically connect when you browse the internet
  • Encrypt all your usage including other iOS apps, email and web browsing
  • Choose which VPN location to connect to with servers in six countries
  • Automatically connect to your nearest VPN server
  • Stay secure when using your iOS device on Wi-Fi networks

VyprVPN Android App

I can hear the Android fans saying blah, blah iOS.  How about support for Android devices?  Golden Frog didn’t forget Android.  In fact they released both apps the same day.  Showing their commitment to customers by supporting both platforms.  The VyprVPN Android app has a number of nice features.  Get the easy to use app and connect to any server on the VyprVPN network.  You can download it now from Google Play.

  • Encrypt your Android apps, email and internet browsing
  • Choose which VPN location to connect to with servers in six countries
  • Single tap access to any VyprVPN server
  • View your current server location, time connected and throughput
  • Stay secure when using your Android device on Wi-Fi networks

We look forward to testing the new mobile apps.  Both from an iPhone and Android tablet.  We’ll let you know how it goes.  We’re especially excited to test out the new VyprVPN on Demand iOS feature.  Check the apps out for yourself.  Usenet fans can sign up for a Giganews Diamond account.  If Usenet doesn’t interest you then visit Golden Frog to sign up for a VyprVPN Pro account.  Either way you can enjoy unlimited mobile VPN access.

IPVanish Mac VPN Client v.1.1

IPVanish announced the launch of a new Mac VPN client in October.  Since then their team has been developing new features for the v.1.1 release.  Mac users will be happy with the new version 1.1 which is easy to setup and allows you to change protocols with just one click.  Existing members will be prompted to upgrade.  If you’ve been considering VPN now is a good time.  IPVanish is offering unlimited VPN from just $6.49 a month.

There are quite a few online privacy services that support Mac systems.  Most do so through other means like Tunnelblick.  Which is the OpenVPN GUI for Mac OS X.  There’s nothing wrong with Tunnelblick but you’ll find the IPVanish client easier to configure and use.  Along with selecting between OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP protocols, you can easily choose to connect to any of there 56+ VPN servers in 21 countries.

The new IPVanish v.1.1 Mac client is compatible with Mac OS 10.6.8 and above.  These with iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) will be happy to know you can also setup IPVanish to work on your mobile devices.  Whether using your cell carrier or Wi-Fi their privacy service can help secure your connection.  You’ll find setup guides on their site.  Connect from your Mac and iOS device at the same time.  Giving you two VPN accounts for the price of one.  IPVanish offers one simple plan with unlimited VPN access for $10 a month or $77 a year.