Total VPN Review (2020)
TotalVPN is a relatively young VPN that has been quickly gaining popularity.
The service promises access to your favorite sites, streams, and locations all at zero cost.
But then again, as Warren Buffett once put it, price is what you pay; value is what you get.
Can you trust Total VPN with your online privacy? Is the service reliable?
I’ll answer those questions and more in this in-depth Total VPN review.
|Logging||Questionable logging policy|
|Simultaneous Connections||3 devices|
|Torrent and P2P allowed||Yes|
|Compatibility||All popular devices|
|Payment Options||Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal|
|Price:||Free package |
$4.79/mo billed annually
$5.99/mo billed monthly
|Better alternative:||Find it here|
Aspects You Should Consider Before Buying a VPN
It all comes down to usage. For instance, if you are a streaming fan, you should expect your priorities to differ from someone who uses a VPN for torrenting.
Generally, I consider the following:
How Secure Is the VPN Service?
The safety of any VPN depends on the level of encryption.
I recommend a service that offers the military-grade AES 256-bit encryption and the highly secure OpenVPN protocol.
Additionally, it should also be devoid of any VPN leaks that might otherwise expose your identity.
Are the Connections Fast Enough?
Whether you are streaming, torrenting, or merely browsing, you want a VPN that will allow you to do so seamlessly.
Unfortunately, most providers struggle when it comes to speed due to the encryption and routing processes involved.
Still, there are several VPNs out there that manage to keep the impact to a minimum, allowing you to enjoy fast, stable connections.
How Wide Is Their Server Coverage?
When it comes to VPN servers, it’s more about the quality rather than the quantity.
Yes, having a high number of servers does have it’s benefits, but it’s the server distribution that should worry you more.
Remember, for you to access geo-restricted content, your VPN must have servers in a country where that specific content is viewable.
Does It Keep Logs?
A VPN that logs your data simply isn’t safe to use.
If your provider is based in a 14-Eyes jurisdiction, they may reveal your online activities to the authorities.
And in the case of free VPNs, many go as far as selling or sharing that information with third parties further compromising your privacy.
Is the Service Easy to Use?
Why waste time trying to configure a VPN when you can just click and go?\
Any VPN that takes lots of time and energy to set up and use isn’t worth the hassle.
Here you should include all providers that don’t offer native apps for any of the primary platforms.
Is Their Customer Service Reliable?
Should your VPN develop any issue, responsive customer service can prove invaluable.
Today, any VPN worth its salt should offer either phone or live chat support.
Still, you shouldn’t be dismissive of the convenience of email ticketing.
Which of the above benchmarks does Total VPN tick?
We’ll find out below.
What is TotalVPN?
Total VPN is a US service that delivers both freemium and premium versions to its users.
It is owned and operated by Endurance International Group, the same company that owns Bluehost and Domain.com
I was impressed by their website’s modern and easily navigable design. It immediately inspired confidence.
On the front page, TotalVPN proudly touts its geo-unblocking and streaming capabilities.
They provide access to servers in 45 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. The VPN also claims to offer total anonymity something which should entice privacy-conscious users.
TotalVPN is compatible with all the primary platforms – Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android – as well as routers and Smart TVs.
The main draw to this service is, of course, the fact that it’s completely free.
Their paid subscriptions are also among the cheapest I’ve ever come across.
Pricing – What Is the Cost of TotalVPN?
TotalVPN offers relatively affordable pricing plans to its users.
Their pricing structure is organized into free and premium plans.
There are two paid plans – a monthly plan and a yearly plan.
The monthly subscription is available at a competitive $5.99 per month, billed monthly. TotalVPN also offers users an opportunity to lower that cost by up to 20%, which you can obtain by subscribing to the annual plan.
The two premium plans differ only in billing cycles and offer similar features across the board. However, the same cannot be said of the free version.
As expected, the freemium plan comes with several limitations, most of which revolve around speed, simultaneous connections, and the number of server locations.
With the free plan, you can only access 3 servers in the Netherlands, Singapore, and Iceland, with a 2 Mbps bandwidth limit. They do not impose a data cap though, meaning you can use the VPN as much and for as long as you desire.
As far as quality is concerned, the free option is definitely one to avoid.
For this review, I used the premium version.
When it comes to payments, you can use either PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Delta. There is no option to pay with Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.
Money-Back Guarantee/Refund Policy
In addition to the freemium plan, TotalVPN offers a generous money-back guarantee. But as opposed to the free version, with this option you get to try all premium features free of charge.
Well, unless of course, you forget to cancel the subscription within the stipulated 30-days.
Compatibility – Apps and Supported Devices
TotalVPN works with all the major devices and platforms.
The service comes with native clients for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
The company has also announced that they will be releasing a dedicated app for Chromebook in the coming few weeks.
But TotalVPN’s compatibility doesn’t end there.
You can also manually set up the VPN on several devices that currently lack native support. These include Linux, smart TVs, game consoles, and some DD-WRT routers.
Security – Protocols & Encryption
Most free VPNs tend to underperform when it comes to privacy and security.
Usually, the bulk of the blame falls on the logging policy, but we’ll dive deeper into this shortly.
First, let’s look at TotalVPN’s protocols and encryption standards.
I was impressed, and you can even say a bit surprised to find out that this freemium VPN uses the AES 256-bit encryption cipher. The algorithm is highly secure, and it remains the gold standard in the VPN industry.
The provider also offers AES 128-bit encryption, which although less secure, is much faster and better suited for less sensitive uses like streaming.
As for protocols, Total VPN supports PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, and IKEv2.
But this is about all the service offers on this front.
Quite concerning, it lacks vital security features like an internet kill switch which is supposed to protect your identity in the event the VPN connection drops.
Global Server Coverage
Servers and Locations
TotalVPN claims to offer several servers in 45 locations across the world.
They do not, however, mention the exact number of servers anywhere on their website.
Their server distribution paints a global image and you can connect to almost all the continents, including North America, Europe, Asia (India & Asia Pacific), Oceania, and Africa.
Does TotalVPN Offer SmartDNS?
The answer is a resounding YES!
TotalVPN is one of the few VPNs that offer Smart DNS.
The feature allows you to access geo-restricted sites and services with minimal speed loss.
Why the minimal speed loss?
This is because SmartDNS does not encrypt your internet traffic.
But while it does not offer any protection, it comes in quite handy if you are a streaming fan looking to circumvent internet restrictions without sacrificing speed.
Speed Tests – How Fast Is TotalVPN?
When watching a movie, there are few things worse than having it buffer continuously. As I mentioned earlier, there isn’t a single VPN won’t lower your internet speeds.
But that was never the issue.
The problem is by how much does the VPN lower my speeds?
For some providers, it can be by a mere 5-10% while for others it can be by over 90%.
Overall, I was quite pleased with TotalVPN speeds. I connected to several servers in different locations around the globe, and the results are as follows.
Note: I ran the speed test on a 75 Mbps internet connection. The actual download and upload speeds at the time of testing were 74.71 Mbps and 23.48, respectively.
|Speed before using TotalVPN||26 ms||74.71 Mbps||23.48 Mbps|
|London, UK server||97 ms||27.13 Mbps (-10.93%)||8.77 Mbps (-9.49%)|
|Chicago, US server||201 ms||30.00 Mbps (-21.42%)||11.85 Mbps (-23.43%)|
|Hong Kong Server||169 ms||21.35 Mbps (-16.58%)||7.64 Mbps (-17.41%)|
The server speeds were good enough for streaming, and I was able to watch high definition videos without any buffering.
The London server, being the nearest, delivered the fastest speeds with only a 10% decline. And as you can see in the table above, the Chicago and Hong Kong servers weren’t any bad either.
Streaming – Does It Work with Netflix?
TotalVPN does work well with US Netflix.
Most of the US servers unblocked the streaming service without a fuss.
The VPN also works with Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, HBO, and several other websites.
Is It Good for Torrenting?
TotalVPN allows peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing and torrent downloads on a majority of their servers.
The VPN also offers torrenting optimized servers which you can connect by simply selecting the P2P option from the server list.
But is the service a good option for torrenting?
The service also offers fast and stable, allowing you to download large torrent files in no time.
Leaks – IP, DNS, & WebRTC
If your IP, DNS, or WebRTC information is exposed, anyone looking can see your true identity and in the case of ISPs, monitor or record your online activities.
Luckily, TotalVPN won’t leak your whereabouts and to confirm, I connected to the Chicago, US server and did some testing.
Below are the screenshots.
TotalVPN Trustworthiness – Is It Safe?
Unfortunately, TotalVPN is based in the Netherlands, which is a member of the 9-Eyes alliance.
The Nine Eyes is a group of countries that actively spy on their citizens and share any data they collect amongst themselves. Other members include the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, Denmark, and Norway.
Even more alarming is the fact that the provider keeps activity and connection logs.
They also admit to sharing personal data with third-party service providers and government authorities.
Customer Support - Email & Live Chat
Customer support can make or break a VPN service. And from the look of things, this provider understands that.
TotalVPN offers several customer support options. You can get direct support via email or a 24/7 live chat.
I tried both and the response times were pretty impressive. The responses weren’t misty either, and the support agents proved to be professional, friendly, and knowledgeable.
In addition to having customer agents standing by, they also have a well-maintained knowledge base section where you can find tutorials and set up guides.
Social Proof - What are Other Users Are Saying?
TotalVPN is a service that divides opinion. But that is to be expected, especially when you consider the stark difference between their freemium and premium versions.
I scoured the internet, and I was able to find several user comments on the VPN.
Most users seemed to be quite pleased with TotalVPN’s fast speeds and the overall reliability of the VPN.
However, the free version drew the ire of many users who found its slow speeds and data cap to be quite annoying.
Luckily, there are several other secure VPNs like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and IPVanish that you can turn.
NordVPN is an excellent service that offers fast and secure connections. The VPN offers over 5,600 servers in 60 countries including locations like Brazil, Mexico, and Israel, whichTotalVPN does not cover. With so many servers and addresses, bypassing geo-restrictions is a breeze.
The VPN uses secure protocols with the military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. Additionally, NordVPN also detects and blocks ads, malware, and phishing domains. It also comes with an internet kill switch and Multi-hop VPN, both of which TotalVPN lacks.
NordVPN is easy to use and can be installed in almost any platform—Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Android TV, routers—or as a browser extension.
For a premium service, NordVPN is quite affordable. The VPN will only set you back $3.49 per month, and a single NordVPN subscription, you can support up to 6 simultaneous connections.
ExpressVPN may be known for its fast speeds, but it is also one of the best all-around VPNs on the market. The VPN is located in the British Virgin Islands, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, and they do not log user activities. ExpressVPN connections are also free from IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks.
CyberGhost is safe and secure to use. They maintain a strict no-logging policy and use the secure AES 256-bit encryption. Additionally, their NoSpy servers are located safely outside the jurisdiction of the 5 Eyes (and even 14 Eyes) making the VPN a fantastic choice for torrenting.
IPVanish: A US VPN service, IPVanish is located at the center of all spy alliances. However, the provider maintains a strict no-logs policy which significantly reduces the risk of your data falling into the hands of the authorities. Extra features include robust AES 256 encryption, an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection.
My Final Verdict
TotalVPN is an exciting new VPN that has a lot going for it.
Although I felt an internet kill switch is needed, I was generally pleased by their advanced security and privacy features. When it comes to speed, the service is equally impressive. Bypassing geo-restriction was also quite a breeze.
TotalVPN is also an ideal choice if you are looking for an easy to use VPN.
As for pricing, few VPNs can compete with this VPN.
But do I recommend the service?
Well, it depends on whether online anonymity is a major concern for you.
From a privacy standpoint, I wouldn’t recommend the VPN.
The fact that they not only log but also share personal data is alarming.
If you are looking for a service that is both fast and secure, I suggest you check out NordVPN.