ShadeYou VPN Review (2020)
ShadeYou VPN promises complete anonymity and access to content from any country at a budget-friendly price.
But that’s not all.
On their homepage, they also claim to offer impregnable encryption and secure connections to public Wi-Fi hotspots.
In other words, ShadeYou promises to make you invulnerable on the internet.
But does the service deliver what it claims on the tin?
Or are they too “cheap” to be secure?
What about speed and Netflix compatibility?
Well, I’ll be answering those questions and more in this ShadeYou VPN review.
I will also outline its test results and let you know whether I recommend the service or not.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
A Quick Overview of ShadeYou VPN
|Logging||Zero activity logs|
|Locations & Servers||26 servers, 16 countries|
|Simultaneous Connections||3-5 devices|
|Encryption||AES 256-bit, RSA 2048-bit, RSA 4096-bit|
|Torrent and P2P allowed||Yes|
|Usability||5/5 (Windows), 2/5 (other devices)|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Routers|
|Payment Methods||PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, WebMoney, Bitcoin, and many more.|
|Better alternative:||Find it here|
How Do I Evaluate VPNs?
Ask any video gamer or a streaming fan, and they will tell you – speed is their top priority when choosing a VPN. But for tasks like online payments and banking, security should be your most critical consideration.
That said, in some use cases like torrenting, you want a service that strikes a perfect balance between speed and security.
So, if you are looking for an all-around VPN that ticks all the right boxes, then you need to focus on more than just one aspect.
Generally, my rating criterion includes the following:
What Is ShadeYou VPN?
Founded in 2016, ShadeYou is a relatively young VPN service that is owned by Data Accents LP.
The company was initially based in Ukraine but has since relocated to Scotland UK.
ShadeYou’s website is well-designed and they have a fantastic diagram on their homepage illustrating how the service can keep you safe.
Overall, I found the site to be quite navigable.
Here is what the homepage looks like.
ShadeYou provides access to 26 servers in 16 countries, including strategic locations like the US, UK, Russia, and Australia.
The company puts the security front and center. They claim to offer bank-level AES 256-bit encryption as well as RSA 2048-bit and RSA 4096-bit encryption standards.
They state this about their service:
While all these assertions are a step in the right direction, we can’t afford to take them at face value.
Before we take an in-depth look at ShadeYou VPN, let’s have a quick look at the main pros and cons of the service.
What Are The Prices of ShadeYou VPN Plans?
ShadeYou VPN is hands down one of the most affordable VPNs around.
They don’t offer two or three-year plans, but the price you are paying for a one-year package is the cheapest I’ve found.
Currently, the provider has two subscription plans:
The difference between the two isn’t that much pronounced.
The billing cycles are similar (1 month, 6 months, and 12 months), and, with the exception of security encryption and number of simultaneous connections, all other features are identical.
As usual, the longer the pricing plan the more you’ll save.
You can be able to tell the exact cost of your subscription by toggling the different pricing options on ShadeYou’s website.
On Google Chrome, the prices will change right away to reflect the package you’ve chosen. However, Mozilla seems to have a bug and as such Firefox users should express caution before committing to any plan.
While the Standard package comes with RSA 2048-bit cipher, the Premium option gives users the robust RSA 4096-bit encryption (more on this later).
With the premium plan, you can also cover up to 5 devices at a go.
What a difference $2.00 can make!
However, if you are on a month to month subscriptions, the premium package will set you back some $4.00.
All in all, the pricing is pocket-friendly. Nevertheless, I was gutted to find out that the packages do not include a money-back guarantee.
If the service fails to work, you can claim a refund within 7 days, but that’s just about it.
On the good side, they do provide a 24-hour free premium trial allowing you to try the service risk-free.
ShadeYou accepts a wide range of payment methods, including:
Security – Protocols, Encryption, & Features
You never know who might be keeping tabs on your internet traffic.
It could be some hawk-eyed hacker at the airport, library, or even in your favorite coffee shop.
It could be anyone, including your trusted ISP.
Fortunately, with a robust VPN, you can stay safe and secure online.
ShadeYou VPN packs all of the security features we’ve come to expect.
In total, it supports three tunneling protocols – L2TP, PPTP, and OpenVPN.
As for encryption, ShadeYou offers military-grade AES 256-bit encryption with the OpenVPN protocol.
Across the board, they use RSA 2048-bit encryption, but premium users get an upgrade to 4096-bit encryption.
Are they all solid?
L2TP and OpenVPN are secure and reliable, but I wouldn’t recommend the third option – PPTP –for sensitive tasks.
And while AES 256-bit is the recommended cipher, RSA 2048-bit and 4096-bit are solid and should be more than sufficient for most tasks.
Besides top-tier encryption and protocols, ShadeYou also comes with DNS leaks protection and an internet kill switch.
Pretty much every single VPN in the world claims to have a zero-logging policy.
Still, some will log your online activities and go on to sell the data to the highest bidder.
Luckily, ShadeYou is not one of those shady VPNs.
That said, they do admit to collecting some personal information.
And that’s where one of my biggest problems with this VPN lies.
ShadeYou mentions that they may log personal information, but they don’t bother to specify the type of information they collect.
So, despite their plausible no activity logging stance, ShadeYou certainly isn’t getting any points for their privacy practices.
In the spirit of transparency, they should clearly state what they collect and what they don’t.
Jurisdiction – 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, & 14 Eyes Country
Your provider’s jurisdiction has a significant bearing on your privacy.
ShadeYou VPN is located in the UK, which is a member of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes spy alliances.
Any VPN that is based in these jurisdictions is not safe to use.
Use such a VPN, and you risk having your data being spread across half the developed world.
Being a UK-based VPN, unfortunately, ShadeYou falls under this category.
ShadeYou VPN Servers List
ShadeYou’s server network is comprised of 26 servers spread across 16 countries.
That’s quite a small number.
Despite ShadeYou’s shortcomings in this category, they have outdone themselves in spreading the servers in strategic locations around the world.
Can Users in China Use ShadeYou VPN?
ShadeYou is a great tool for circumventing censorship and geo-restrictions.
However, if you are located in a country like China where VPN use is contentious, you may want to stay away. This is because the service doesn’t offer STEALTH VPN (obfuscated servers).
Streaming – Does It Work with Netflix?
Not long ago, you could access Netflix with just about any VPN.
Today, only a handful of providers can unblock the streaming service.
Netflix has put in place some strong security measures and not only blocks but also blacklists any detected VPN IPs.
With its limited number of servers and lack of dedicated IPs, I didn’t expect ShadeYou VPN to stand a chance against Netflix’s firewall.
Well, I was wrong.
ShadeYou does provide access to Netflix US.
It also works with other US based streaming services like HBO and Hulu.
But the VPN couldn’t circumvent BBC iPlayer and Netflix UK.
P2P – Is It a Good Option for Torrenting?
ShadeYou supports torrents. However, they only do so on less than half (eleven to be exact) of their servers. Locations with P2P compatible servers include:
Security wise, I expect the VPN to offer sufficient protection when connected to a torrent swarm. Its anonymizer is robust enough to ensure your identity stays hidden from ISPs and copyright trolls.
However, the low number of P2P compatible servers is a cause for concern. While good, its speeds are also not the best you can find for torrenting.
If you are a torrenting fan, I recommend you check out our top VPNs for The Pirate Bay. The providers on the list are also perfect for other popular torrent sites like YTS.LT, RARBG, and 1337X.
Performance – Speed Tests
Although every VPN will impact your internet speeds, you don’t have to settle for a service that saps your entire bandwidth.
ShadeYou may not be the fastest VPN I’ve ever tested, but I found their speeds to be very decent.
I conducted speed tests on ShadeYou’s US, UK, and Russia servers to see how the service performed.
The results were as indicated in the table below.
Note: When conducting the speed tests, I was using a 50 Mbps internet connection.
|Speed before using ShadeYou VPN||21 ms||49.56 Mbps||24.71 Mbps|
|New York, US server||286 ms||28.72 Mbps (-42.04%)||15.01 Mbps (-39.23%)|
|London, UK server||163 ms||31.30 Mbps (-36.84%)||15.53 Mbps (-37.15%)|
|St Petersburg, Russia server||326 ms||25.24 Mbps (-49.07%)||13.24 Mbps (-46.38%)|
You should note that online speed tests do not give the full picture of a VPN’s performance. Variables like the specific server you’re connecting to, distance from the server, and the VPN protocol you’ve selected, can affect the speed results.
In the speed tests above, I was using the OpenVPN protocol.
On the side, I also ran a couple of tests using L2TP and the difference could be any more noticeable.
For instance, the St. Petersburg, Russia server went from 25.24 Mbps (-49.04%) on OpenVPN to 40.46 Mbps (18.35%) on L2TP.
Quite some difference!
Leaks – IP, DNS, and WebRTC Tests
ShadeYou comes with both DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch to protect you from any IP and DNS leaks.
Remember, connection leaks can greatly compromise your anonymity and expose your online identity.
Luckily, Shade You VPN does not leak your IP, DNS, or WebRTC information.
Here is the snapshot.
Note: I was connected to a Chicago, Illinois US server when conducting the test.
Compatibility – Which Devices Does It Support?
ShadeYou offers good device compatibility for most users.
Supported platforms include:
However, of all the supported devices, ShadeYou only provides a native client for Windows.
I was looking for a MAC installation on their website and when I realized that they don’t offer it – my first feeling was I HATE IT.
To use the VPN on any of the other platforms, you’ll need to download a configuration file and set up the VPN manually.
As for the Windows client, its user-friendliness and advanced customizations make it ideal for beginners and seasoned users alike.
However, if you are a Mac user, it won’t be as much of a smooth sailing.
Unreliable Customer Support
The quality of customer support can make or break a VPN.
Maybe somebody should communicate that to the folks over at ShadeYou.
Because despite advertising 24/7 support, they deliver one of the worst customer service experiences ever.
They have a live chat on their website, so at first, I was optimistic. I tried it.
Hours later, I was still waiting for a response.
I proceeded to try the email option, and the story was no different.
It speaks a lot about ShadeYou if the FAQs and the Knowledge Base are their most reliable support options.
In total, they offer the following customer support choices.
Social Proof – User Comments on ShadeYou VPN
After testing and reviewing ShadeYou VPN, I went online and searched for other user feedback on this VPN. Most of the comments were, to a great extent, positive with many users complementing its stable performance.
Another thing many users were pleased with was the price tag.
Still, there were some negative feedback mostly revolving around device compatibility. As we’ve seen, ShadeYou has just one native client, so that’s understandable. A few users also complained about the server coverage and lack of money-back -guarantee.
Other than that, users seemed to be pretty pleased.
One user in particular was quick to point out that he hadn’t encountered any performance issues after months of using the VPN.
But that was in 2017. Do let us know if you run into any issues with the VPN and we’ll update our review accordingly.
Alternatives for ShadeYou VPN
ShadeYou has a lot going for it. The service is not only well-encrypted but also leak-free. Its low price tag is also a huge plus.
That said, their server network remains a significant downside.
There are other providers like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, and Cyberghost that deliver a better all-around performance.
ExpressVPN – Best Overall
ExpressVPN offers secure, ultra-fast connections making it an ideal VPN for both streaming and torrenting.
The service comes with 3000+ servers in 94 countries across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific.
If you are a streaming fan, then you’ll be thrilled by ExpressVPN’s Smart DNS which you can set up on smart TVs as well as gaming consoles. Security-wise, it’s no slouch either.
NordVPN is known for its robust security and privacy features.
The service features Multi-hop VPN (double encryption), Onion over VPN, and obfuscated servers, which allow you to bypass the Great Firewall of China.
As for global network coverage, NordVPN has over 5300 servers in 60 countries. The VPN is fast as well and works perfectly with Netflix, Hulu, and iPlayer.
Surfshark provides access to 1040+ servers in 61+ countries across Europe, the Americas, Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Africa. By default, the service comes with military-grade AES 256-bit encryption and the OpenVPN protocol.
Advanced features include Multi-hop, an automatic kill, and Camouflage Mode, which makes sure your ISP or government can’t tell if you are using a VPN.
Cyberghost is located in a non-fourteen eye jurisdiction (Romania) and maintains a strict no-logs policy. With 5300+ servers in 81 countries, you can easily find a fast, working server near you. Cyberghost provides fast and reliable access to Netflix and sports services like DANZ, ESPN+, and Sling TV.
The VPN is competitively priced and allows up to 7 simultaneous connections on a single license.
Do I Recommend Shade You?
The answer is not as straightforward as you might expect.
Performance-wise, ShadeYou is decent. They provide robust encryption, respectable speeds, and offer an incredible user experience.
We can’t ignore the fact that the provider has a server network the size of a pinhead. Their jurisdiction and the fact that they are not forthright with the kind of personal information they collect are also worrisome.
ShadeYou can be helpful when unblocking geo-restricted sites or streaming content on Netflix but it’s not the best option for privacy.
If you are looking for a VPN that ticks all the right boxes, from speed to privacy and Netflix, I recommend checking out ExpressVPN.