VPN Gate Review (2020)
VPN Gate is a revolutionary VPN service that relies on public relay servers spread across the globe.
The biggest draw, of course, is the fact that it’s FREE.
With the service, you can alleviate budget constraints as well as any downsides associated with credit card information.
But that’s not the only advantage the provider claims to offer.
VPN Gate also promises that unlike many traditional VPNs, their service can break through ‘most government firewalls’.
Is it all too good to be true?
Keep reading this VPN Gate review to find out!
A Quick Overview
|Logging||Keeps some logs|
|Server Network||4500+ servers, 20+ countries|
|Torrent and P2P allowed||Allowed|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|Better alternative:||Find it here|
My Rating Criteria
VPNs are great for protecting your online privacy. They also allow you to circumvent internet restrictions and access content from anywhere in the world.
But as you probably know by now, all VPNs are not created equal.
A service that may be perfect for privacy may prove to be less than ideal when it comes to video gaming or streaming.
Before picking a VPN, you need to make sure the provider can meet your needs.
Here are some of the things that I consider when choosing a VPN:
Presenting VPN Gate VPN
VPN Gate is a Japan based VPN service that has been around since 2013.
It’s a child project of the SoftEther Project and was launched as an academic research at the University of Tsukuba with the aim of “expanding the knowledge of global distributed public VPN relay servers.”
So far, on that front VPN Gate has done well.
They provide access to 200+ servers across multiple countries around the world. The service is entirely free and is sustained by global volunteers who host their own relay servers.
When it comes to security, VPN Gate offers AES 256-bit encryption with SSL-VPN (SoftEther VPN), L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, and Microsoft SSTP.
Supported devices include Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android.
Protocols & Encryptions – Is It Safe?
As I pointed to earlier, a VPN can keep you safe when online.
It can protect you from hackers and stop your ISP from snooping on your online activities.
VPN Gate supports four protocols, including L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN, SSL-VPN (SoftEther VPN), and Microsoft SSTP protocol.
All these protocols offer varying degrees of safety, with OpenVPN being the most secure and the de facto industry standard.
However, the sole VPN Gate client mainly uses SoftEther and can Microsoft SSTP and L2TP/IPSec protocols.
As for encryption, the service uses the AES 256 algorithm, which is as strong as it gets. The cipher has no known loopholes and guarantees protection against brute force attacks and numerous other threats.
Beware! VPN Gate Collects Some Logs
Here’s is where VPN Gate disappoints! As often is the case with free services, VPN Gate logs user data, which is a massive let down to those seeking online anonymity.
- Connection time stamps
- IP address used to connect to the VPN
- IP and hostname of the VPN Server used
- Amount of data transmitted during a connection
Additionally, the provider states that they may provide this information to the authorities when asked to do so.
Leaks Test – IP, DNS, & WebRTC
A zero-logging policy and robust encryption are all good.
However, if your VPN is leaking your IP, DNS, or WebRTC information, your identity may still be exposed.
With that in mind, I decided to test VPN Gate and see if there were any connection leaks. Although the provider makes no claims towards DNS leaks, I was thrilled to see that the VPN had leak-free connections.
As you can see in the ipleak.net snapshot below, there were no IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks. The leaks test only detected the IP and DNS addresses of the server I was connected to and not my personal IP or DNS information.
Note: I was connected to Oak Harbor, Washington, US, when conducting the test.
Few, But Well Distributed Servers
Thanks to its design and approach, VPN Gate offers good server coverage.
The VPN has over 4549+ public relay servers in over 20+ countries around the world.
Servers are mainly based in Asia in countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Mongolia, Viet Nam, Thailand, and Indonesia.
They also have servers in strategic locations like:
- United States
- United Kingdom
Quite impressively, VPN Gate provides a real time list of available servers on their website along with VPN protocols each server supports.
On their windows app, you can also see server load and speeds, making it easier to choose the best server in each location.
Although VPN Gate has a vast server network, it’s still plagued by the same issues that affect most public relay server VPNs.
Volunteers come and go as they please, which can cause previously available locations to suddenly become unavailable.
Speed Test – How Fast Is VPN Gate?
No VPN can match your baseline internet speeds.
Not even speed monsters like NordVPN and Surfshark can pull it off.
Think about it.
VPNs work by encrypting and rerouting your traffic through servers across the globe. So, speed loss is unavoidable. However, while this is all true, some providers can guarantee a minimal change in speed.
Unfortunately, VPN Gate isn’t one of them.
Among all the VPNs I’ve tested, the service has some of the slowest speeds.
The provider relies on volunteers’ relay servers, and as such, speed not only depends on server load and distance but also on the bandwidth of the volunteer.
When connected to the VPN, my connection speed dropped by an average of 85%.
The US servers delivered were among the slowest with over 90% reduction in speed.
The Asian servers ( Japan and South Korea) performed better, but their speeds (-72% and -70% respectively) were still below the recommended levels.
Below is a quick summary of the speed test results.
Note: When conducting the speed tests, I was using a 50 Mbps internet connection.
|Speed before using VPN Gate||12 ms||49.78 Mbps||25.06 Mbps|
|Tokyo, Japan server||424 ms||13.68 Mbps (-72.51%)||8.29 Mbps (-66.92%)|
|South Korea server||371 ms||14.76 Mbps (-70.34%)||6.46 Mbps (-74.22%)|
|United States server||418 ms||4.20 Mbps (-91.56%)||2.32 Mbps (-90.73%)|
Does VPN Gate Support Torrents?
Yes, the service supports torrenting on most of their servers.
However, I do not recommend the VPN mainly because of its logging issues.
Their ‘Anti-Abuse Policy’ makes it clear that they may provide VPN Connection Logs to police, prosecutors, lawyers, and other court-authorized individuals.
Streaming – Is It Compatible with US Netflix?
Netflix is the most popular streaming service in the world. It is also one of the most restricted. When using the service, you can only view movies and TV shows that have been made available in your country.
And given that the US Netflix version has the most extensive content library, it’s little wonder why many people are using VPNs to spoof their location and access it.
VPN Gate claims to offer “free access to world knowledge beyond government’s firewall.” To that end, they perform admirably.
But when it comes to Netflix, that’s a whole other ball game.
Needless to say, they do not provide access to the streaming site (but neither do they claim to do so).
If streaming is a top priority for you, I recommend checking out our best VPNs for Netflix.
Compatibility & Ease of Use
VPN Gate is compatible with the following platforms:
There are no native apps, and you’ll need third-party software such as OpenVPN Connect, SoftEther VPN Client, and Tunneblick. To use L2TP/IPsec, you’ll have to set it up manually on your device.
VPN Gate’s SoftEther VPN client for Windows is pre-configured and can be downloaded directly from their website.
Still, its installation process is a bit complicated, but it’s nothing you can’t master.
Connecting to VPN Gate Using SoftEther (Windows)
The pre-configured SoftEther client provides the most comfortable and quickest way to connect to VPN Gate. It, however, runs on Windows only.
- To connect, double click the “VPN Gate Public VPN Relay Servers” icon.
- If any notification just keep pressing next until the ‘server list’ window appears. Navigate to your preferred option and click “Connect to the VPN Server” button.
- If the selected VPN Gate Server supports both TCP and UDP protocols, the screen below will appear. Choose either TCP or UDP on the screen.
- Voila! You’ve now connected to VPN Gate.
Customer Support – Is It Reliable?
Even by freemium standards, VPN Gate’s customer support is awful.
They do not provide any direct support at all. There is no ticket system, email, or live chat (although I wasn’t expecting the last one anyway).
The only way you can get in touch with them is through their Twitter handle @vpngate. However, given that their last tweet was in 2015, I wouldn’t be too enthusiastic about getting a response.
Additional support options include:
- FAQ section
- Community forum
- Setup tutorials
As always, I searched the web to see what other users were saying about VPN Gate.
Unfortunately, there weren’t that many notable comments on the VPN service.
The few that I found centered on privacy, speed, and ease of use, with most being negative. That said, many users were happy with the fact that the service is free.
Alternatives to VPN Gate VPN
There are other providers like NordVPN, Surfshark VPN, GoTrusted VPN, and Cyberghost that deliver better all-around performance.
NordVPN – Best Overall
NordVPN is a powerful VPN service that delivers robust security and privacy without sacrificing speed. Its connections are fast, which makes it ideal for streaming, torrenting, and video gaming.
NordVPN offers 5100+ bare metal servers in 60 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, and India.
The service is well priced, and if you are lucky, you may find their 1-month free promotion still available.
Surfshark offers unrivalled compatibility. The VPN supports Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, smart TVs (including FireTV and Apple TV), and consoles (Xbox and PlayStation).
In total, Surfshark provides access to 1040+ servers in 61+ countries.
The service is fast and works well with Netflix.
At $1.99 per month, the service the most affordable option on the list.
Go Trusted is a US based SSL VPN service that provides fast and secure access to numerous geo-restricted services.
The VPN offers servers in over 70-plus locations in 12 countries across the globe.
GoTrusted’s pricing plans are somewhat expensive, but the provider now offers a 7-day free trial allowing you to try the service risk free.
CyberGhost is another secure VPN Gate alternative.
The service is located outside the 14-eyes jurisdiction and maintains a strict no-logs policy. With the VPN, you can connect to 5950 servers in 110 locations across 89 countries. In regards to security, CyberGhost uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption with OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec.
Do I Recommend VPN Gate?
No, I don’t.
VPN Gate has a lot to work on.
While I did find their security features to be decent, as with all free VPN services, there are compromises you have to make.
First their logging policy are a cause for concern and I found connection speeds to be too slow for streaming, torrenting, and in some cases, even browsing.
Additionally, the service’s lack of native clients makes it difficult to setup and use, especially on Mac, iOS, and Android.
All things considered, VPN Gate is not worth the risk or hassle.