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 take a look at the features that make 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 most common being OpenVPN, SSTP, PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, 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 15 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.
The provider does allow P2P and BitTorrent traffic, but you’ll need to upgrade to their premium package to enjoy these features.
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, Mac, iOS, Android, and smart TVs as well as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Features and Benefits
Servers and Performance
CactusVPN operates 25 servers in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, South Korea, Poland, Switzerland, Japan, Singapore, Latvia, and Romania.
While their server network is small, 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, Cactus 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 uses both AES128 and AES256 encryptions, and although all protocols support AES128, not all support AES256. Their PPTP protocol supports 128-bit encryption only, and OpenVPN is configured by default with a minimum AES128 CBC.
Both encryptions are great, and while AES256 is more secure, AES128 is faster and light on computer resources.
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 Cactus 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, and Romania.
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.
CactusVPN offer four subscription packages and three billing cycles; monthly, quarterly, and annually. I found the “UK VPN” and “US VPN” plans to be quite limited as they lack P2P support and have four servers only.
The VPN+DNS package is, however, is quite generous.
The service is moderately priced and comes with a 24-hour 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.
However, a few complained about the VPN’s limited server coverage and understandably so.
While Cactus 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:
NordVPN is a well-respected name in the VPN industry. The VPN is based in Panama, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and does not keep logs.
With over 5,100 servers in 60 countries across the world, NordVPN is an ideal choice for by-passing geo-restrictions.
In regards to security, NordVPN uses AES-256 military-grade encryption and similarly to CactusVPN, has a wide range of VPN protocols to choose from.
Additional privacy and security features include perfect forward secrecy, DNS leak protection, and CyberSec, which blocks ads and malware.
NordVPN features several specialty servers, including Onion-over-VPN servers, Obfuscated servers, and Double VPN servers, where traffic is encrypted over two separate hops. Streaming fans will be pleased by the providers SmartPlay technology, which automatically circumvents geo-restrictions.
The VPN is a good alternative to Cactus and comes with a risk free 30-day trial allowing you to try their service risk-free.
ExpressVPN is another excellent alternative to CactusVPN.
The British Virgin Island VPN has some of the fastest speeds you can find, and their server network is equally impressive.
Servers are spread across 160 cities in 94 countries and thanks to the VPN’s Smart Location you don’t have to look for the best server manually.
The VPN does it for you!
ExpressVPN does not keep any logs and uses 256-bit encryption to keep your data safe when online. The VPN features DNS/IPv6 leak protection, and tunneling protocols include PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, and OpenVPN with TCP/UDP.
The VPN also comes with a unique split tunneling feature that lets you route some of your traffic through their VPN servers while allowing the rest to access the internet directly.
Although ExpressVPN does offer exciting features, their pricing plans – especially the one-month subscription – are among the most expensive.
IPVanish is a simple, easy to use VPN that provides robust privacy and security. The VPN has over 40,000 IPs on 1,300 bare metal servers across 75-plus countries. Although the provider is based in the US, they neither keep connection nor activity logs.
IPVanish uses 256-bit encryption and offers multiple VPN protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, and IKEv2. Mac and Windows users also get an internet kill switch and DNS leak protection.
There are apps for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Chromebook, and routers, and a single account can support up to 10 simultaneous connections.
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 Cactus VPN here.