Celo VPN Review (2020)
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
|Locations & Servers||10 countries, 16 servers|
|Simultaneous Connections||6 devices|
|Encryption||AES 256, RSA 2048|
|Torrent and P2P allowed||Yes|
|Supported Platforms||All primary platforms|
|Refund||10-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
|Better alternative:||Find it here|
My Rating Criteria
I’ve tested and rated Celo VPN using 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.
Some 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 are collect and share intelligence.
VPNs located in these countries may, as such, be required to abide by obligatory data retention laws.
Global Server Distribution
While a high number of servers is always welcome, it’s the number of VPN locations you should really factor.
An extensive server list may allow you to find fast, less loaded servers, but to bypass geo-blocks easily, you will need a truly global server coverage.
Apps & Ease of Use
A VPN may be compatible with lots of devices but only have custom dedicated apps for one or two platforms.
If you are a novice, such a service can prove complicated to set up.
Opt for a service that has user-friendly native apps for your primary devices.
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?
Founded in 2014, Celo VPN 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 provides access to 16 servers in 10 countries around the world.
On a good side, they offer advanced security features such as Tor compatibility, ShadowSocks proxy, and Obfuscated SSH Tunnelling.
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 5 devices simultaneously.
Below is a brief look at the main pros and cons of this service.
How Much Does Celo VPN Cost?
Celo isn’t exactly an affordable VPN.
However, the provider does provide an incredible 2-day free trial to get you started. You can utilize this trial to test the service before purchasing a package.
In total, Celo VPN 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:
On top of the free trial, Celo also provides a money-back guarantee, which gives you an extra 10 days to evaluate whether this is the right VPN for you.
Payment options include: PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and Bitcoin.
Protocols & Encryption– Is It Secure?
Celo VPN offers a variety of protocols that cater for both speed and security.
Of these, OpenVPN is the most 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 privacy-conscious users.
Celo VPN also offers the WireGuard protocol, which they claim provides faster speeds than all the traditional options. While fast, I would, however, advise against relying on the protocol.
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.
Besides AES 256-bit, Celo VPN also comes with RSA 2048-bit algorithm as the default encryption in its Windows client.
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.
That’s unless you are using an internet kill switch.
Immediately the VPN connections, this feature automatically blocks your internet access, preventing your IP and, by extension, your identity from being exposed.
Celo VPN supports a kill switch.
But the problem is that it’s 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.
Due to its lightweight encryption, the protocol is, however, not designed for privacy and anonymity.
Ad & Malware blocker
Celo VPN delivers an ad and malware blocker built into their VPN servers.
The tool blocks suspicious links automatically, preventing tracking, phishing, and other cyber threats.
Leaks – IP, DNS, & WebRTC
The fact that Celo VPN offers DNS leaks prevention suggests the service is secure.
Still, out of curiosity, I decided to conduct a comprehensive leak analysis.
I connected to the Phoenix, US server, and tested for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.
Here are the screenshots:
There weren’t any IP leaks, whatsoever. As seen in the image below, the IP leak test returned the Phoenix public IP above.
True to their claims, Celo VPN did not leak my DNS leak information.
The service didn’t expose my WebRTC information either and ensured my physical locations remained hidden from snoopers and phony sites.
Celo VPN Logs Policy
Any provider that claims to offer a secure VPN service shouldn’t keep any activity logs.
Celo VPN states in no uncertain terms that they maintain a ‘100% no logs’ policy.
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, and as such, you should be very careful how you use the VPN.
Global Server Coverage
The VPN has 16 servers spread in 10 countries, including the United States, UK, Australia, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
While the number of servers is meager, they have done a good job of distributing them across several continents.
Still, the server network remains a massive negative at the moment
The servers can get overloaded quickly, causing speeds to slow further.
And with many of the locations having a single server, switching to a different server may prove unhelpful.
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.
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, making 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 VPNs, the nearest server (UK) had the fastest connections with a 39% dip. The US server halved my speed, which wasn’t bad considering the Australian server posted a 71.54% dip.
For reference, my baseline internet speed was 75 Mbps.
|Speed before using Celo VPN||19 ms||73.68 Mbps||24.01 Mbps|
|Connected to Maidenhead, UK||147 m||44.56 Mbps (-39.52%)||14.90 Mbps (-37.94%)|
|Connected to Phoenix, US||221 ms||35.90 Mbps (-51.28%)||12.16 Mbps (-49.36%)|
|Connected to Sydney, Australia||334 ms||20.97 Mbps (-71.54%)||7.76 Mbps (-67.67%)|
When conducting the tests, I was using AES 256-bit encryption with OpenVPN.
Speeds were good enough for streaming, but for best results, I advise connecting to a location near you.
P2P Compatibility - Is Torrenting Allowed?
Torrenting is a great way to download files on the internet.
It is legal in many countries, including the US, UK, and Canada.
But while torrenting itself is legal, downloading copyrighted material can land you in legal 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.
Luckily, Celo VPN allows torrenting on 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.
As a result, only a few VPNs can unblock the service.
I connected to each of the five available US servers and tested to see if any was compatible with Netflix.
All I got for my efforts was this error message:
APPs & Supported Devices
Celo VPN supports all the primary devices, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and routers. They do not have dedicated custom apps but rather provide pre-configured OpenVPN clients for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
To use the service on your smartphone, you will 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 provides three customer support options:
I found the live chat and ticketing system to be quite reliable.
Responses were fast and generally took less than 5 minutes.
Celo VPN also has FAQ and Knowledge sections where you can find set tutorials, informative articles, and answers to common questions.
What Other Users Are Saying About Celo VPN
After scouring the web, I came across some comments that seemed positive.
Several users were 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, as well.
Most revolved around the limited server coverage and the lack of custom apps for Android and iOS.
Alternatives for Celo VPN
Celo VPN has a lot going for it.
The service offers robust security, and its connection speeds are respectable.
However, when it comes to unblocking Netflix, the service fails miserably.
Its global server coverage is also 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 5800+ servers in 60 countries across the globe. The Panama based VPN also comes with 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 has native apps for all the primary devices, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.
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 has 50 servers in 26 countries, which is a small number, to be honest.
IPVanish is a lightning-fast VPN service that provides access to 1300+ servers in 74 countries. It is based in the US, which is an unsafe jurisdiction and a member of the 5-eyes, 9-eyes, and 14-eyes alliances. On the bright side, the provider does not keep any activity logs.
My Final Verdict
Celo VPN does exceptionally well in terms of security. It uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, and its connections are leak-free.
Do I recommend it?
The answer is NO.
Celo VPN is located in a 14-Eye, which should worry every privacy-focused user.
The service also comes with limited server coverage and is not compatible with Netflix.
Again, if you are a novice, Celo VPN’s setup process can be frustrating.
It’s OpenVPN client is complicated, and the service lacks native apps for popular platforms like Android and iOS.
Even though the VPN has respectable speeds, the drawbacks are just too critical to ignore.
For an all-round service, I recommend NordVPN (get a solid discount).