Astrill VPN is a Seychelles-based VPN provider that was founded in 2009. I remember hearing about them back then and, based on the marketing I had seen, it looked like a decent provider that took privacy and security seriously.
However, I had never tried the service, so I was curious to see where I would end up after this review.
Right off the bat, I saw that its prices were rather high, which implicitly raises the bar a little when reviewing the service. There’s no way around the question: is it worth the price? Does Astrill provide users with something other providers don’t?
I wanted to answer the following questions:
- How fast is Astrill VPN?
- Does Astrill work streaming sites, like Netflix and Hulu?
- Is Astrill VPN secure and private?
- What is Astrill’s logging policy?
- Does Astrill VPN work in China?
I’ll be answering these questions and more in this review. If you have the time and want all of the details, you should read the full review. If you’re pressed for time, you can read my summary below.
If you like, you can read more on the criteria used to test Astrill VPN and our wider VPN testing methodology.
Astrill VPN Summary
Astrill VPN is pretty much a mid-tier VPN provider. It’s not the smallest nor the biggest. It adheres to a strong no-logging policy (with a few caveats, as we’ll see), and its speeds are quite good. The service includes a kill switch, an ad blocker, split tunneling, and multihop connections (where you connect to two chained VPN servers). These are all welcome. Astrill VPN can also work with some streaming sites (not all) and can also work in China.
However, while Astrill VPN supports secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN and WireGuard), it also supports two custom protocols (OpenWeb and StealthVPN) – which are always more difficult to trust. Astrill is also more expensive than most; and even more expensive than most premium VPN providers at that. It supports many platforms and provides a native app for most, but it isn’t the prettiest or the most intuitive. It might even scare off newer VPN users.
But all in all, while you could find a cheaper VPN provider, you could also do much worse than Astrill. It isn’t perfect, and it definitely should lower its prices, but it’s still a good VPN provider in my book – just not the first provider I would recommend to someone looking for a VPN service.
Astrill VPN Key data
|OVERALL RANK: #24 of 76|
|Average Speed*:||50.9 Mbps|
|Video Streaming Support:||4K UHD|
|Other Streaming Services:||Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+|
|Encryption Type:||256-bit AES, ChaCha20|
|Log Policy:||No logging but still logs data|
|Protocols:||OpenVPN, WireGuard, StealthVPN, OpenWeb|
|Value for Money||
|Lowest Monthly Cost:||$10.00|
|Money Back Guarantee:||No refund policy|
How does Astrill VPN compare to other popular VPNs?
|No value||Astrill VPN||NordVPN||Surfshark|
|Website||astrill.com||NordVPN.com||Surfshark.com||Average Speed (Mbps)||50.9 Mbps||196 Mbps||189 Mbps||OpenVPN data encryption||256-bit AES, ChaCha20||256-bit AES||256-bit AES||Kill Switch||Allows Torrenting||Connection logs||Effectively none||Unblocks Netflix US||Unblocks Prime Video||Unblocks Hulu||Unblocks BBC iPlayer||Lowest monthly cost||$12.50||$2.99||$2.21||Money back guarantee||30 days||30 days||Overall rating||2||9.7||9.6|
|Best deal (per month)||$12.50|
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Astrill VPN pros and cons
- Good speeds
- Kill switch
- Split Tunneling
- Works with some streaming sites
- Provides a native applet for routers
- Supports secure VPN protocols
- Works in China
- 24/7 live chat
- No money-back-guarantee, all sales are final
- Logs data despite no-logging policy
- Asks for phone number during sign-up
- It can be time-consuming to find a server that unblocks streaming sites
- The app could be more user-friendly
- It also supports custom VPN protocols
Speed: How fast is Astrill VPN?
I couldn’t complain about Astrill VPN’s speeds. They were quite good. The global average, across all times and locations, came to 50.9 Mbps.
I conducted my speed tests on servers located in North America, Europe, and Asia. And for most online activities, you shouldn’t notice a speed hit at all unless you have a blazing fast connection (100 Mbps or higher). Here are the averages for each region:
- North America (where I’m located): 82 Mbps
- Asia: 29.7 Mbps
- Europe: 41 Mbps
I used WireGuard for my tests, which is typically faster than OpenVPN. You may get better speeds using Astrill VPN’s custom protocols, but I prefer to use publicly-reviewed protocols like OpenVPN or WireGuard. Astrill VPN supports OpenVPN, WireGuard, OpenWeb (custom), and StealthVPN (custom). I don’t recommend using custom protocols, as they don’t get peer-reviewed, and you’re left having to cross your fingers the developers got it right.
I was also able to test Astrill VPN with online gaming. Astrill VPN supports ASUS routers, Tomato routers, and DD-WRT-capable routers. Astrill even provides its own applet that you can install on the router to set up OpenVPN within an Astrill GUI.
But not only that. Astrill’s native app has a “VPN Connection Sharing” feature that will share the VPN connection with other devices that may not have native VPN capabilities, such as gaming consoles. While this is something you can achieve natively on any macOS, Windows, or Linux computer without an app, it’s thoughtful and convenient to be able to do it with just a couple of clicks.
In my tests, gaming was smooth, and I experienced no lag or disconnects. I couldn’t even tell I was using a VPN. Everything was fast and responsive – just what you want.
See also: Fastest VPNs
Apps & devices
Astrill VPN supports the following platforms:
- ASUS routers
- Tomato routers
- DD-WRT-capable routers
I was also able to find setup instructions for Windows Phone 8.1 and Blackberry in Astrill’s Support section. But they weren’t advertised anywhere on its website. I think that’s pretty good coverage. But I’ve never been a fan of browser extensions. If browser extensions are important to you, Astrill may not be the best fit for you.
Providing a native Linux client app is something that stands out in itself. Providing a native Linux app with a GUI is extremely rare. Good stuff.
The app itself is functional and does pack quite a few features. But it isn’t the most intuitive app. Its UI is very small and isn’t very pretty. The app could use an update.
From the top right, you can choose your VPN protocol. And from the top left, you can access the app’s settings.
From there, you can configure things like ad-blocking, port forwarding, VPN sharing, custom DNS options, proxy server settings, the application filter, the site filter, and the kill switch (under Privacy). That’s a lot of features, but it’s also enough to intimidate new users.
We mentioned a couple of features that are worth explaining because just the name of the feature doesn’t really inform us of what it is.
This is Astrill’s name for split tunneling. Split tunneling allows you to choose where you route your traffic on an app-by-app basis: through the VPN or through your ISP connection. So you could choose to send your Netflix traffic through your ISP connection and send the rest out the VPN. Or, you could choose to only send your P2P traffic through the VPN and send the rest through your ISP. It’s become a very popular feature among VPN providers today.
Using Astrill’s app, you can choose between three options:
- Tunnel all apps
- Tunnel only these apps
- Exclude these apps
Choose your logic, select the apps, and you’re good.
Astrill’s site filter works the same way as the application filter, except that it works on a website by website basis. You can choose which sites to send through the VPN and which sites to send through your ISP connection.
The options are:
- Tunnel all sites
- Tunnel only these sites
- Exclude these sites
- Only international sites
- Unblock sites
Choosing Only international sites will only tunnel sites that are outside of your actual location (your non-VPN location). The Unblock sites option will attempt to unblock websites that detect and block VPNs (your mileage may vary). The other three options work as above.
Note that to include or exclude a website, you need to enter its IP address.
As I mentioned above, Astrill VPN supports ASUS routers, Tomato routers, and DD-WRT-capable routers. Not only that, it provides an applet that you can download and add to your router’s web GUI to facilitate setup. While it would be nice if Astrill supported more routers, like pfSense and OpenWRT, providing a native applet is practically unheard of. I was impressed.
While I find Astrill’s (non-router) client app somewhat bloated and potentially confusing to some, its applet actually makes things easier. Well done.
Check out our guide on VPN routers if you’d like more information on the subject.
Streaming and Netflix
Astrill doesn’t make a big splash about streaming support in its marketing. And that’s OK. Some VPN providers prefer to brand themselves as privacy services more than anything else. My personal reasons for using a VPN are not Netflix-related.
However, for many people, streaming over VPN is important. And that’s OK too.
With Astrill, you’ll get middle-of-the-road service when it comes to streaming. I was able to successfully access Netflix US, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. That’s not bad. But I could only access Netflix’s US library – none of the others worked. And I wasn’t able to access BBC iPlayer, ALL4, or ITVHub. Essentially, it works well for US-based services and nothing else. That’s something I pretty much confirmed with Astrill’s support department – more on that later.
However, while I did get it to work, I had to do quite a bit of server-surfing before I found one that worked. I could have just been unlucky on that day – providing Netflix access over VPN is a cat and mouse game between the VPN providers and the streaming site, so that could have happened with pretty much any provider.
Here are our recommended VPNs for streaming if you’d like for more information on the topic.
Does Astrill VPN allow torrenting?
Yes, it does.
Astrill provides dedicated servers for torrenting. The torrent-friendly servers are marked with a star within the app.
In my tests, torrenting went off without a hitch. I simply connected to a torrent-friendly server and launched my torrent client. Everything was fast and smooth—no issues at all on the torrenting front.
If torrenting is important to you, you can check out our recommended VPNs for torrenting.
Does Astrill VPN support split tunneling?
As I explained in the Apps and devices section, Astrill VPN supports split tunneling for both apps and websites natively in its client app.
Have a look at our recommended VPNs for split tunneling if you’re interested in split tunneling.
Security, privacy, and logging
I like that Astrill takes the time to distinguish between data collection while using the VPN and data collection when visiting its website. Many providers don’t clarify this at all.
So it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
On the one hand, Astrill claims to strive to collect as little information as possible, but on the other hand, it collects more data than the likes of ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
Astrill collects the following data points:
- The times at which you connect
- Your original IP address
- The device you’re using
- Your Astrill VPN app version
Astrill states that the above information is purged once you disconnect from the VPN server. Still, it’s more data than what would count as being strictly necessary. Logging the user’s real IP address alongside a timestamp is particularly concerning, as this could be used to corroborate online activity and thus identify a user.
Additionally, Astrill keeps tabs on the bandwidth used by each user. And it also keeps logs of the 20 connection records, which include:
- The connection time
- The connection duration
- The origin-country
- The device type
- The Astrill VPN app version
This tells me that when Astrill claims to delete the first four data points we mention above, it’s not really true because it’s actually logging that information for your last 20 connections. So we’re caught in a bit of a contradiction here.
For the rest of its privacy practices, I think it puts Astrill in a middle-of-the-road position. Many VPN providers collect a lot more, but many also collect less, and sometimes much less. So it may be more suited for casual browsing by the non-paranoid. Journalists, for example, should look elsewhere.
As far as the encryption Astrill uses, there isn’t much technical detail on its website. Astrill supports OpenVPN, WireGuard, and two custom protocols: OpenWeb and StealthVPN. Astrill states that it uses 256-bit AES encryption for OpenVPN, StealthVPN, and OpenWeb. WireGuard does its own thing and uses ChaCha20 for encryption. This is all very secure. The only doubts would be with Astrill’s homegrown protocols, which can’t be peer-reviewed, and hence shouldn’t really be trusted.
Looking at IP and DNS leaks, I wasn’t surprised to see that Astrill was not vulnerable to leaks of any kind.
IP Test – Without VPN
IP Test – With VPN
DNS Test – Without VPN
DNS Test – With VPN
Astrill VPN’s network consists of servers in 111 cities across 58 countries. The exact number of servers is not disclosed. But Astrill’s marketing claims to have hundreds of servers.
To some, that may appear to be a small network. To me, it’s more than enough. I actually prefer smaller VPN networks. I always wonder how much care can go into a VPN server’s configuration when you have 10 000 of them? I’m not trying to knock the providers that do. Some of the best VPN providers in the industry support many thousands of servers, and I would still recommend them. I just feel that over 50 servers are more than enough for most people.
Does Astrill VPN work in China?
Yes, it does.
This is confirmed in Astrill’s FAQ.
And it’s also confirmed in our in-depth article on which VPN providers actually work in China. We tested over 50 VPN providers to separate the ones that work from the ones that don’t. Astrill VPN was one of the providers tested, and it worked.
Astrill VPN can be a good choice if you’re a VPN user in China.
How good is Astrill VPN’s customer service
I couldn’t find much information about streaming media over Astrill VPN’s network, so I wrote to its Support department to find out and simultaneously assess how good, or bad its customer service is. And it’s really quite good.
Astrill provides 24/7 live chat support, which is always welcome.
After sending my initial question, I received a response within five minutes. And the response was informative, friendly, and polite—nothing to complain about. I got the information I needed quickly, and our exchange was courteous. Good stuff.
Astrill VPN pricing
Astrill VPN is more expensive than most – and much more expensive than some.
For example, the lowest price you’ll be paying is $10 per month. And for that, you’re going to have to sign-up for a year… While Astrill VPN does provide a good number of features, it still doesn’t justify its asking price, in my opinion.
Astrill offers three subscriptions:
- $20 for one month
- $90 for six months – works out to $15 per month
- $120 for one year – works out to $10 per month
That really is more expensive than most.
Astrill also does not provide a money-back guarantee. All sales are final, as per its FAQ. So there’s definitely room for improvement here.
Any of the above plans will allow you up to five simultaneous connections.
The above are Astrill VPN’s standard plans. But Astrill also offers “mobile” plans: one for Android and one for iOS.
iOS mobile plan
The iOS plan will cost you $9.99 per month and give you access to Astrill’s network from the iOS device on which you installed the app and bought the iOS plan from, only. No multiple devices here, just one. You also cannot change your VPN protocol.
It doesn’t seem all that attractive when compared to the standard plan… Perhaps that’s the point.
Android mobile plan
The Android plan makes a bit more sense, seeing as how it’s free. It also gives you everything in the $9.99 iOS plan, for free, with the added mention of limited server count. It might be worth trying out the free Android plan before signing up (if you have an Android device), seeing as how Astrill does not offer refunds.
Do I recommend Astrill VPN?
Well, I’d put it this way: I wouldn’t go as far as explicitly recommending Astrill VPN, but I could recommend it if its prices were lower.
Again, I consider Astrill to be a middle-of-the-road VPN provider. If I was a school teacher, I would give Astrill VPN a solid C.
Astrill provides good speeds, supports secure VPN protocols (as well as some doubtful ones, but you can always stick to OpenVPN and WireGuard). It also provides a decent feature set, like an ad-blocker, split tunneling, and a kill switch. It also unblocks some streaming sites (not all) and works in China. Astrill also goes above and beyond the competition with its router support. It’s not that it supports more router models than others – it doesn’t. But Astrill provides an applet you can install on your ASUS or DD-WRT-capable router.
So Astrill is no slouch when it comes to features.
Astrill loses points primarily because of its data collection practices, particularly the account validation via your phone number. You really shouldn’t have to provide your phone number to sign up for a VPN service.
The other downer is price. Astrill is overpriced, period. Looking at the competition, you’ll quickly realize that you can get more, from a more reputable VPN provider, for less.
But despite that, you could easily do a lot worse than Astrill VPN. If you’re looking to browse the Web with a bit more privacy and you’re looking to do things like unblocking Netflix US over VPN, aside from the slightly bigger hole in your wallet, you’ll be fine with Astrill. It’s just that given the competition’s features, pricing, and policies, it becomes hard to argue that your money wouldn’t be better spent elsewhere.
Just take a look at these alternatives, and I think you’ll agree.
Astrill VPN alternatives
ExpressVPN is one of the larger players in the commercial VPN market and benefits from an excellent reputation. Its privacy and security practices are extremely good. All of the VPN servers run from volatile memory (RAM) and are booted from read-only disks. This setup essentially guarantees that no remnant data (logs) can exist on the system’s hard drives, which is great for user privacy. ExpressVPN is a little more expensive than most providers out there, but it’s fast, secure, unblocks streaming sites, and works in China.
Surfshark is another provider worth looking at. I believe it to be the cheapest VPN service I’ve seen, with subscriptions starting at only $1.99/month. Surfashark only supports secure protocols and works with streaming services. It adheres to its strict no-logging policy and works in China. Surfshark also allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. Definitely worth checking out.
Methodology used for VPN testing
Below you’ll find the criteria used to assess the VPNs we review. It’s essential to be consistent across the board so that our reviews are reasonably objective and that we’re not comparing apples to oranges. For that reason, we want to expose our criteria.
- Speed – Speed is one of the most critical factors of any VPN. Slow speeds can be frustrating and prevent you from streaming or even browsing the web. To make sure we address this issue, we make sure all of our recommended VPNs scored very high in our most recent speed tests.
- Apps & ease of use – More people than ever are using VPNs today. So app design and its intuitiveness are critical. We look at the client apps’ UI, the features they provide, the supported operating systems, and their complexity.
- Streaming services – It’s getting harder and harder to access major streaming platforms over VPN. But many VPN providers can still provide access – with varying degrees of success. We test VPNs against a range of popular streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, and more, before recommending a VPN provider for streaming.
- Torrenting – P2P file-sharing has been around for a long time, and it’s still going strong. Some VPN providers dissalow torrenting altogether, while others go as far as providing dedicated P2P servers. We look at each VPN’s policy around torrenting and run tests on those that do to see how well they handle file-sharing.
The above represents a high-level view of our methodology. If you’d like more details, have a look at our full VPN testing methodology. This data-driven approach helps us better understand the services to recommend the right VPN to the right users.