Celo VPN Review (2020)

Celo.net VPN logo
MY VERDICT:
NOT BAD
MY SCORE:
4.0 / 5

Celo is an Australian based VPN that promises safe and secure connections free from the prying eyes of ISP’s, hackers, and government agencies.

Its name comes from the Latin word Celo, which means to hide, conceal, or keep secret.

But does the service live up to its claims? Are its server connections as anonymous as advertised?

What about speed and Netflix access?

Keep reading to find out.

In this Celo VPN review, I’ll be covering everything from pricing to security, speed, and compatibility.

Quick Overview of Celo VPN

CriteriaDetails
JurisdictionAustralia
LoggingNo logging
Locations & Servers12 countries, 16 servers
Simultaneous Connections6 devices
EncryptionAES 256, RSA 2048
Torrent and P2P allowedYes
SpeedAverage speeds
UsabilityAverage, 3/5
Live Chat
Yes
Supported PlatformsAll primary platforms
Refund10-day money-back guarantee
Cost:1-month plan – $7.00/mo
3-month plan – 6.00/mo
6-month plan – $5.83/mo
1-year plan – $$5.50/mo

My Rating Criteria

When testing and reviewing Celo VPN, I used the following criteria.

Speed – Is It Fast Enough?

While VPNs will slow down your internet speed to a degree, you don’t have to settle for a service that saps your entire bandwidth. The best VPNs can ensure a subtle change in speed, allowing you to enjoy fast downloads and interruption-free video streaming.

Encryption & Protocols

I always prioritize services that offer military-grade AES 256 bit encryption, which is the same standard used by governments and security experts around the world. As for the protocols, OpenVPN and IKEv2 remain the top-recommended options. Newer additions like the WireGuard protocol are also worth considering.

Jurisdiction + Logging Policy

Ideally, you should opt for a no-logs service located in a non-14-Eyes jurisdiction. The 14-Eyes is a spy alliance whose members collect online data and share intelligence. VPNs located in these countries are often required to abide by obligatory data retention laws forcing them to share your browsing history to the government.

Global Server Distribution

A high number of servers is always welcome, but it’s really the distribution of VPN locations that you should really focus on. While a long server list may allow you to find fast, less loaded servers, to bypass geo-blocks easily, you will need a truly global server network.

Apps & Ease of Use

A VPN can be compatible with lots of devices but only have custom dedicated apps for one or two platforms. If you are a novice, such a VPN can prove complicated to set up. I suggest looking for a service that has user-friendly native apps for your primary devices.

Customer Support

Never brush aside the importance of reliable customer support. Sooner or later, you may run into some problems with your VPN service. When that happens, fast and reliable customer service can prove invaluable.

What is Celo VPN?

Celo VPN homepage screenshot
Founded in 2014, Celo is an Australian-based VPN that is owned and operated by Celo Net Pty Ltd. They have a modern website that is well-organized and quite easy to navigate. The company has 16 server locations servers spread across 10 countries around the world. However, this is not much, especially when you consider the thousands of global servers delivered by NordVPN and ExpressVPN. Security-wise, they offer advanced features such as Tor compatibility, ShadowSocks proxy, and Obfuscated SSH Tunneling. Also, the service works with all the major platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and routers. And with a single license, you can connect up to 8 devices at a go. So far so good. But before I get into the nitty gritty, let’s take a quick look at Celo’s good and bad points.

Pros

  • Advanced security features
  • Does not keep logs
  • Zero throttling
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • Fast live chat support
  • Free trial package

Cons

  • Limited server coverage
  • 5-Eyes jurisdiction
  • Short money-back guarantee period

Pricing & Payment Methods

While fairly priced, Celo isn’t exactly cheap. Their lowest priced plan will set you back $5.50 paid annually. But on a good side, their monthly subscription is one of most affordable you can find. In total, the provider offers 4 packages to choose from. All the plans have the same features, with the sole difference being the billing cycles. And as is the norm, the longer the billing cycle, the less you will have to pay in the long run. Here are the current subscription plans:
  • 1 Month Plan: $7.00/month billed monthly
  • 3 Month Plan: $6.00/month ($18 billed every 3 months)
  • 6 Month Plan: $5.83/month ($35 billed every 6 months)
  • 1 Year Plan: $5.50/month ($66 billed every 12 months)

Impressively, Celo VPN comes with an incredible 2-day free trial to get you started. However, to obtain it, you’ll need to contact customer support, who will then provide you with a link to the free trial.

On top of the free trial, you also get a 10-day money-back guarantee, which gives you extra time to evaluate whether this is the right VPN for you. Celo VPN supports a wide range of payment methods, including:
  • PayPal
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • Dinners Club
  • JCB
  • Cryptocurrency

Protocols & Encryption– Is It Secure?

Celo VPN is equipped with best-in-class AES 256-bit encryption, which is foolproof against public Wi-Fi attacks and other cyber threats. They also offer a  variety of protocols that cater for both speed and security. You can choose between:
  • OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
  • IKEv2
  • L2TP/IPsec
  • SSTP (Windows only)
  • WireGuard
Of these, OpenVPN is the top-recommended option as it strikes a perfect balance between speed and security. The protocol supports military-grade AES 256-bit encryption making it the ideal choice for security-conscious users. Celo VPN also offers the new WireGuard technology, which they claim provides faster speeds than all the traditional options. While fast, I would, however, advise against relying on this protocol where privacy is important. This is because WireGuard is not yet complete and as such, has not undergone the proper degree of security auditing. That said, the protocol allows you to discover new generation encryption standards like ChaCha20, which are fast as well and perfect for real-time communication. As with WireGuard, Celo is also among the first to implement the V2Ray/VMEss protocol, which can come in handy if you are looking to get around tight restricted networks.

Other Security Features

In addition to the basics, Celo also offers advanced features that you don’t usually find in many VPN services.

Internet Kill Switch

When your VPN connection drops, your device defaults back to the original IP address. In effect, this exposes your traffic, enabling your ISP to track your online activities. Luckily, Celo VPN supports a kill switch. In the event your Celo VPN connection drops, this feature automatically stops your internet access, preventing your IP and, by extension, your identity from being exposed. But the problem is that, Celo’s kill switch is only available in the Windows client.

ShadowSocks and Socks5

Celo VPN also offers ShadowSocks, Socks5 proxy that uses HTTPS encryption and allows you to bypass strict censorship like the Great Firewall of China.

Ad & Malware blocker

Celo VPN comes with an ad and malware blocker built into their VPN servers. The tool blocks suspicious links automatically, preventing tracking, phishing, and other malicious attacks.

Leaks – IP, DNS, & WebRTC

The fact that Celo VPN offers DNS leaks prevention suggests the service is secure. Still, I decided to conduct a comprehensive leak analysis to see if the VPN could indeed be relied upon to keep you safe. When conducting the tests, I connected to the Phoenix, US server, and tested for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.
Connected to Pheonix, AZ
Here is a snapshot of the leak test results.

IP Leaks

As you can see in the screenshot below, there weren’t any IP leaks, whatsoever. The tests returned the Celo VPN Phoenix IP.
No IP leaks were found

DNS Leaks

True to their claims, Celo VPN did not leak my DNS leak information.
No DNS leaks were found

WebRTC Leaks

The service didn’t expose my WebRTC information either and ensured my physical location remained hidden from snoopers and phony sites.
No WebRTC leaks

Celo VPN Logs Policy

Celo VPN states in no uncertain terms that they maintain a ‘100% no logs’ policy. According to their privacy policy, they do not sell or share your browsing history and Personally Identifiable Information with third parties. They do admit to collecting some personal data, such as your email address and payment details. However, Celo keeps this information well encrypted and they only use it to facilitate transactions.

Jurisdiction – A 14-Eyes Member?

Celo is based in Australia. The country is a founding member of the 5-Eyes alliance. And like the rest of the 5-Eyes, Australia is also a 9-Eyes and 14-Eyes jurisdiction. This means the provider is subject to some of the most intrusive data laws in the world, and as such, you should be very careful how you use Celo VPN. However, this is not to say that the VPN is not safe. The fact that they do not keep logs should protect in case the authorities come knocking.

Global Server Coverage

Celo VPN provides access to 16 servers in 15 cities across 12  countries, including the United States, UK, Australia, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

While the number of servers is not much, they have done a good job of distributing them across several continents.

Still, the server network remains a huge negative at the moment. That’s because they can easily get overloaded, causing your connection to become unstable.

Small Celo VPN server coverage

No Smart DNS or Dedicated IPs

Celo VPN does not support Smart DNS or Dedicated IPs on any of their servers. Both features are useful for streaming and bypassing internet restrictions. Smart DNS connections are unencrypted and allow you to access geo-blocked media with little to no speed loss. Dedicated IPs, on the other hand, are hard to detect and blacklist, which makes them more suitable for accessing restrictive services like Netflix and iPlayer.

Celo VPN Speed Tests

Overall, Celo VPN delivered average speeds. As often is the case with most VPNs, the nearest server (UK) had the fastest connections with a 39% dip. The US server halved my speed, which wasn’t the worst scenario considering the Australian server posted a 71.54% dip. For reference, my baseline internet speed was 75 Mbps.
PingDownloadUpload
Speed before using Celo VPN
19 ms73.68 Mbps24.01 Mbps
Connected to Maidenhead, UK147 m44.56 Mbps (-39.52%)14.90 Mbps (-37.94%)
Connected to Phoenix, US221 ms35.90 Mbps (-51.28%)12.16 Mbps (-49.36%)
Connected to Sydney, Australia334 ms20.97 Mbps (-71.54%)7.76 Mbps (-67.67%)

When conducting the tests, I was using AES 256-bit encryption with OpenVPN.

Speeds varied from server to server, with some performing decently while others were frustratingly slow. For the best results, I advise connecting to a location near you.

P2P Compatibility - Is Torrenting Allowed?

Torrenting is a great way to share files on the internet.

But while downloading or streaming torrents in itself is legal, dealing with copyrighted material can land you in a whole lot of trouble.

The problem is that it may not always be clear which content is legal and which isn’t. And with ISPs and copyright trolls always on the lookout, it’s advisable to use a VPN.

Celo VPN supports torrenting on almost all their servers.

There are no data caps, and you can download as much as you want.

Streaming – Does Celo VPN Work with Netflix?

Netflix employs some of the toughest geo-restriction measures, and as a result, only a few VPNs can unblock the service.

Fortunately, Celo VPN works with Netflix.

The provider recently added US and UK streaming servers that readily unblock Netflix as well as Hulu, iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.

I connected to each of the five available US servers and all unblocked American Netflix on the first try.

Device Compatibility & Usability

Celo is simple to use but the initial setup isn’t as easy. That’s because Celo does not offer any native apps, which means you’ll to configure the VPN manually. In all, You can use the VPN on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and routers.  If you intend to use OpenVPN, then Celo makes thing a bit easy by providing pre-configured OpenVPN clients for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.  To use the VPN on your iOS and Android smartphone, you’ll need to set it up with a third-party OpenVPN app. It’s not the ideal user experience for beginners, but the provider does offer set-up guides to make installation easier.

Customer Support – Is It Reliable?

Celo VPN offers good customer support. Responses were fast and generally took less than 5 minutes during service hours.

Generally, you can contact them via:

  • Live Chat
  • Email
  • Ticketing system

I found the live chat and ticketing system to be quite reliable. However, you should note that it’s only available during normal working hours. 

Beside email and live chat support, Celo also provides a knowledgebase section where you’ll find setup guides and answers to common questions.

What Other Users Are Saying About Celo VPN

After scouring the web, I came across many comments about Celo VPN that were positive.

Many users seemed delighted with Celo’s customer service, with one user going as far as giving it a A+ rating.

I also found positive feedback about the VPN’s security and privacy features, most notably the AES 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, and the internet kill switch.

There were some negative comments, however.

Most revolved around the limited server coverage and the lack of custom apps for Android and iOS.

Some reviews

Alternatives for Celo VPN

Celo VPN has a lot going for it.The service offers robust security, and its connection speeds are respectable.

Its device compatibility is, however, limited and their global server coverage is quite small.

Luckily, there are other providers like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, ZoogVPN, and IPVanish that provide more extensive server networks and seamless access to Netflix.

NordVPN – Best Overall

NordVPN is a powerful VPN that offers excellent security and ultra-fast connections. The provider is located in a non-14 Eyes jurisdiction, and they keep neither activity nor connection logs.

NordVPN boasts a massive server network comprised of 5400+ servers in 59 countries across the globe. The Panama based VPN also features dedicated IPs and SmartPlay, a secure Smart DNS feature that allows you to access geo-blocked sites with a single click.

The service is competitively priced and is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee allowing you to try it risk-free.

Other Geat Alternatives:

ExpressVPN offers incredible global server coverage. With the service, you can access over 3000 servers in 94 countries across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific. The VPN supports a wide range of devices and has native apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Chromebook, and Amazon Fire TV.

ZoogVPN is an affordable CeloVPN alternative that delivers fast and secure connections. However, the service could use some improvements in regards to server coverage. Its server network is comprised of only 50 servers in 26 countries, which is a small number, to be honest.

IPVanish is a lightning-fast VPN service that provides access to 1400+ bare-metal servers located in 74 countries. The VPN is secure and although it’s based in the US, which is a 5-eyes, 9-eyes, and 14-eyes jurisdiction, it does not keep your activity logs.

Do I Recommend Celo VPN?

Yes and No.

It all boils down to your needs.

If you’re looking for an easy to use VPN, then Celo might not be the ideal option for you. It does not offer native apps and as such, setup can be a bit frustrating to beginners.

That said, the VPN does exceptionally well in terms of security. It uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, and its connections are leak free.

It also works well against geo-restrictions and seamlessly unblocks Netflix.

Besides, Celo VPN is competitively priced and I was particularly impressed by their no-credit-card needed free trial.

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