SaferVPN review: This newcomer is off to a good start

SaferVPN has some great European connection speeds and is very easy to use.

safervpn
SaferVPN
At a Glance

SaferVPN in brief:

  • P2P allowed: Netherlands server only
  • Business location: Tel Aviv, IL
  • Number of servers: 400+
  • Number of country locations: 33
  • Monthly cost: $72 billed annually, or $83.77 for two years

A relative newcomer to the world of VPNs, SaferVPN got its start in 2013 with 150 servers in 24 countries. Over the past four years, it has more than doubled its server count and pushed its country list just over 30.

SaferVPN is a solid choice in terms of performance, but it has some potential downsides for the extra privacy-conscious.

Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

Features and services

safervpn2 Ian Paul/IDG

The Safer VPN interface with its various options revealed.

SaferVPN has a very simple interface. The service’s desktop program for Windows features a single panel with a non-interactive map of the world with current status information when connected such as your PC’s current public IP address and time connected.

If you click on the map marker to the left of the Connect button, a second panel shows up on the left with a list of SaferVPN’s possible connections. The list includes 34 options including two U.S. connections, and U.S. and UK streaming servers. Don’t get too excited about the U.S. streaming server, however, as it doesn’t work with Netflix or Hulu. The UK server, however, did work with Netflix in my tests if you’d like to experience the catalog available to folks on the other side of the pond.\

safervpnsettingsview Ian Paul/IDG

SaferVPN's settings view.

For those who want to get a few extra features, click the “hamburger” menu icon in the upper right-hand corner and select Settings. From there, you can select a specific VPN protocol such as OpenVPN or IKEv2. SaferVPN’s settings also include the ability to auto-connect whenever you’re on a Wi-Fi connection, and a kill switch to stop internet traffic when the VPN connection goes down.

SaferVPN's new app also fixed my previous quibble that the desktop program did not leave the taskbar when you click the “X” in the upper-right corner. Instead, it just minimized to the taskbar. Now it does disappear, and you can re-open it by clicking on the SaferVPN in the System Tray. 

SaferVPN is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. There is also a Chrome extension and the company sells routers with its services built in. Paid account holders can connect up to five devices at once.

Performance

SaferVPN’s speeds were respectable, and, in some cases, very impressive. The German and UK speeds, for example, were every high. They were about average in the U.S. compared to other VPNs we’ve tested, which means it easily has what you need for 1080p video streaming. Overall, SaferVPN’s average speed in my tests came out to nearly 33 percent of the base download speed. That means SaferVPN will definitely get the job done, but we have seen VPNs with faster U.S. connections.

Update: This article was updated on July 17, 2017 with updated speed scores.

Privacy, anonymity, and trust

safervpnchrome SaferVPN

SaferVPN for Chrome.

SaferVPN does maintain some metadata about how you use the service, meaning that privacy and anonymity specialists may want to carefully consider this service. SaferVPN is upfront about everything in its privacy policy. SaferVPN says it logs how long and when you connect to its service, the amount of data transmitted, from which country you're connecting from (your IP address is no longer logged), and the IP address of the server that you used. It does not monitor or log the data sent over its network or the websites you visit.

For those who like SaferVPN’s performance and usability, that may not be a problem. However, the information SaferVPN does retain could be problematic for the more privacy-conscious. 

SaferVPN begins by allowing you to run a 24-hour free trial. All it requires from you to start is an email and password. If you decide to sign up, SaferVPN accepts Bitcoin, PayPal, and credit cards, allowing for various levels of anonymity when paying.

As far as the company itself, I have personally met with the team to discuss its service. Their offices are currently at 26 Nachmani St. in Tel Aviv. The company CEO is Amit Bareket, and co-founder Sagi Gidali is the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO).

Conclusion

For basic users who just want a VPN that works and gets you connected securely over public Wi-Fi or at home, SaferVPN is a good choice. The pricing is higher than you’ll find with the other services we’ve looked at, but overall it’s a good service that makes it easy to get started with a VPN.

Editor’s note: Because online services are often iterative, gaining new features and performance improvements over time, this review is subject to change in order to accurately reflect the current state of the service. Any changes to text or our final review verdict will be noted at the top of this article.

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At a Glance
  • SaferVPN has good performance with more than 400 servers in 29 countries; however, it may not appeal to the more privacy or budget conscious.

    Pros

    • Approachable interface
    • Lots of servers

    Cons

    • One of the more expensive VPN options
    • Logging policy may dissuade privacy-conscious users
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