CactusVPN Review (2020)
CactusVPN is an easy to use VPN software that delivers robust privacy & geo-spoofing features without sacrificing speed.
When traveling abroad, I often turn to movies and TV shows for entertainment.
As long as I have a good connection, I’m always able to access the latest content on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more.
However, I recently noticed that my Netflix catalog shrinks considerably when I’m in certain countries. And it’s even worse with iPlayer, which is only available in the UK!
That’s where CactusVPN comes in. The service promises a speedy connection that allows you to access any content online.
But is it worth your time and money?
In this CactusVPN review, I’ll take a look at its features that make the VPN worth trying.
Things to Consider Before Buying A VPN
When selecting a VPN, there is a lot to look at.
Generally, the best service for you will depend on your needs.
But before you rush into picking your ideal VPN, consider the following features.
Speed is the first aspect you should consider when choosing a VPN.
No one likes a sluggish connection, and despite how secure the service may be, a slow VPN isn’t worth the hassle.
With a fast VPN service, you can enjoy a smooth browsing and streaming experience.
While essential, fast speeds shouldn’t be the only priority. Security is equally important, and any mistake here can be costly.
Different VPNs use different protocols with the top recommended being OpenVPN and IKEV2.
One advantage of a VPN is its ability to allow access to geo-restricted and censored content. However, to do this, a VPN need to have servers in a location where such content is available.
The same goes for HBO and US Netflix, as different content is available in different countries.
Some VPNs record and sell user data to third-parties in a bid to generate an extra income. That’s why it’s advisable to ensure your provider maintains a true ‘zero logs’ policy.
Just like with any other software out there, VPNs can develop problems.
And as always, problems seem to happen at the most inopportune time.
That’s why it helps to use a provider that offers customer support 24/7.
Ease of Use
A good VPN should be easy to set up and use.
If your VPN requires you to be a tech expert, it might be time you looked for an alternative.
CactusVPN is a Moldova based VPN service provider that offers to unblock premium sites while also allowing you to browse privately.
The VPN has servers in 22 countries and delivers lightning fast speeds making it a perfect choice for streaming high definition content.
In addition to anonymizing your connection, the VPN also encrypts your internet traffic, safeguarding sensitive data such as passwords and credit card info away from hackers, snoopers, and other malicious individuals.
The VPN’s encryption is top-class, and users are offered multiple protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, SSTP, PPTP and SoftEther.
With Cactus, you will also get an App Killer and an automatic kill switch that will keep you protected when your connection drops.
But, on the bright side, the VPN is moderately priced and provides 5 connections per subscription.
CactusVPN is easy to use and comes with apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TVs, and Fire TV as well as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Features and Benefits
Servers and Performance
CactusVPN operates 35 servers in 22 countries: USA, Canada, Brasil, UK, Netherlands, Germany Switzerland, Spain, Latvia, Romania, Italy, Portugal, France, Poland, Russia, Sweden, South Korea, Australia, Japan, Singapore, India, Malaysia.
While their server network isn’t the largest, the VPN doesn’t struggle with geo-blocks. As long as the site you are accessing is located in one of the above server locations, CactusVPN will unblock it.
When it comes to performance, CactusVPN doesn’t disappoint either. While it’s true VPNs slow your internet connection, the best VPNs can ensure a subtle change in speed. CactusVPN shines in this regard.
The VPN is one of the fastest I’ve tested, and it keeps getting better.
Security is important, and CactusVPN really excels in this area. Not only does the provider provide military-grade encryption, but they also provide all the major VPN protocols.
You can easily switch between OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, SSTP, SSL, and SoftEther to match your speed and security needs.
CactusVPN supports both AES128 and AES256 encryptions.
In total, supported algorithms on OpenVPN include:
The VPN also allows DES-CBC, RC2-CBC, DES-EDE-CBC, DES-EDE3-CBC, DESX-CBC, BF-CBC, RC2-40-CBC, CAST5-CBC, RC2-64-CBC, CAMELLIA-128-CBC, CAMELLIA-192-CBC, and CAMELLIA-256-CBC.
Although CactusVPN comes with 128-bit AES as the default encryption standard, you can easily level up to 256-bit encryption with a few configurations.
However, AES 128-bit is not necessarily weaker than the AES-256. It’s robust and cannot be cracked through full-scale search on the key.
AES 128-bit is also much faster than AES 256-bit and uses less CPU resources, which means its less likely to slow down your computer.
Additional security features include an internet kill switch and DNS leak protection. However, the latter is only available in Mac and Windows clients.
CactusVPN also does support perfect forward secrecy.
CactusVPN operates out of Moldova, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction outside of the FVEYS. The provider maintains a strict no-logs policy, meaning they do not store any data relating to your online activities.
CactusVPN also guarantees that they do not record or monitor user IPs and connection timestamps.
Netflix and BBC iPlayer
CactusVPN claims to unblock all the premium streaming services. Naturally, you would run services like Netflix, Hulu, and iPlayer to confirm if that’s true.
That’s what I did, and boy was I impressed. Not only did CactusVPN unblock these services, but also it unblocked every other site I tried.
CactusVPN’s Smart DNS works almost flawlessly and gives you direct access to sites with no speed loss. The feature allows you to watch 4K videos with no buffering.
If you want some security when streaming, you can always use the provider’s VPN, although it will be a little bit slower.
P2P File Sharing (Torrents)
CactusVPN supports P2P connections and is an ideal choice for downloading torrents. However, not all servers allow P2P.
To enjoy the feature, you will need to connect to servers in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Latvia, Romania, and Malaysia.
CactusVPN can be installed in a wide range of devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire TV, Android TV, and routers.
Their Smart DNS provides even more compatibility and can be installed in game consoles and other devices that don’t support native VPN clients.
CactusVPN has 24/7 customer support, and options consist of a live chat and online ticket support. The provider also has a Learning Center, an FAQ section, and Setup Tutorials.
I tested their live chat support, and a customer rep (Silvano) responded in less than a minute.
CactusVPNs offers a single package that has all their services.
Currently, you can choose to pay monthly, quarterly, annually, or biannually.
All subscription plans include a free Smart DNS, free proxy, and allow up to 5 simultaneous connections.
The service is moderately priced and comes with a 3-day free trial – no credit card needed.
A 30-day money-back guarantee covers all CactusVPN subscriptions, and the service accepts payments via PayPal, Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Qiwi, Yandex Money, AliPay, Bitcoin and more.
What Users Are Saying About CactusVPN
After looking at several other user reviews on CactusVPN, I found many customers were impressed by the VPN’s geo-unlocking capabilities and Smart DNS service.
However, a few complained about the VPN’s limited server coverage and understandably so.
While CactusVPN is a fast and reliable VPN, its server network may prove inadequate to some users.
Luckily, several other VPNs offer servers in some of the regions CactusVPN does not cover. Here are the best alternatives:
CactusVPN is an excellent option for users looking for an easy way to bypass geo-restrictions and censorship. Their Smart DNS is reliable, and it works well with sites like Netflix, Hulu, and iPlayer.
On the privacy and security front, the VPN delivers reliable performance as well. The provider’s fast speeds and features like the App Killer, and P2P support make CactusVPN an ideal all-around VPN.
Check out CactusVPN here.