CactusVPN Review (2020)

CactusVPN logo
Verdict:
RECOMMENDED
Overall Score:
8.6 / 10

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.

Table of Contents

What Should You Consider Before Getting a Service Like CactusVPN?

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.

Server Speed

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.

Security Protocols

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.

Server Coverage

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.

For instance, if you want to access BBC iPlayer, you’ll need a VPN that has servers in the UK.

The same goes for HBO and US Netflix, as different content is available in different countries.

Privacy Policy

Almost all VPNs will claim to have a strict privacy policy, but as you would expect, not all do.

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.

Customer Support

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.

What Is CactusVPN?

CactusVPN website

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 CactusVPN, 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.

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.

Pros

Cons

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

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.

Privacy Policy

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.

Compatibility

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.

Customer Support

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.

Price

CactusVPN 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.

Alternatives to CactusVPN

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:

NordVPN

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 59 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, offers both OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec. In addition, NordVPN also offers the new WireGuard protocol.

Extra 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 provider’s SmartPlay technology, which automatically circumvents geo-restrictions.

The VPN is a good alternative to CactusVPN and comes with a risk free 30-day trial allowing you to try their service risk-free.

Similarities

Differences

ExpressVPN

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 ExpressVPN’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 AES encryption to keep your data safe when online.

The VPN features DNS/IPv6 leak protection, and tunneling protocols include L2TP/IPsec, IKEv2, 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.

Similarities

Differences

IPVanish

IPVanish website

IPVanish is a simple, easy to use VPN that provides robust privacy and security.

The VPN has over 40,000 IPs on 1,400 bare metal servers across 75-plus cities, in 56 countries.

Although the provider is based in the US, they neither keep connection nor activity logs.

IPVanish uses AES 256-bit encryption and offers multiple VPN protocols including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and IKEv2. Mac and Windows users also get an internet kill switch and DNS leak protection.

There are apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Android, Fire TV, and extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Similarities

Differences

Conclusion

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.

Try CactusVPN Risk-FREE!

Protect private web traffic from snooping, interference, and censorship. All plans are covered by a no-hassle 100% money-back guarantee for your first 30 days of service.

Bram Jansen
Bram Jansen
I'm Bram Jensen, a leading expert in the realm of cyberspace, ever since I was little, books like Neuromancer and The Foundation always fascinated me, this fiction of a world that isn't simply based within the real world. As I started growing up, I started gaining interest in how I could manipulate this cyberspace that's available in the real world, so I picked a career that I knew was right for me.
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