CactusVPN is a reliable VPN provider that you can trust. The company was registered in Moldova in 2011 between three friends who have huge experience under their belt. The service provides reliable protection of your data thanks to AES encryption, thus saving you from unwanted surveillance by your ISP or other unauthorized persons. The high-grade servers provide a good performance of the service and are great for streaming, also considering the small number of VPN servers successfully bypasses geo-blocking for access to streaming platforms.
CactusVPN offers a large number of protocols, such as OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), Wireguard, SSTP, SoftEther, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP. And what is important, CactusVPN does not keep logs, even considering the jurisdiction of Moldova. As not the most loyal country to the VPN service, the service can help neither the police nor anyone else because simply on their servers is no data about your online activities, history of your site visits, IP address when connecting, which is certainly a big advantage of the service.
In this review, we'll take a closer look at the security features, test the speed of servers, learn how the service copes with opening access to popular streaming platforms, which applications it is compatible with and much more.
|Cheapest price||Logging policy||Torrenting policy||Servers count||Customer support||Money back guarantee||Local speed (Avg.)|
|3,95$||No logs||Permitted||39||Live chat||30 days||45 Mbps|
Privacy & Security
CactusVPN has high standards of protecting your digital identity, providing you with anonymity and privacy when you connect to the Internet using today's strongest AES 256 encryption, thereby converting your data from readable to unreadable format and it is considered by right to be the most popular and trustworthy due to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) certification.
CactusVPN uses 7 VPN protocols, which opens a wide choice for VPN users. Firstly it offers us the OpenVPN protocol, which is considered one of the most popular among users due to its open-source and great ratio of high speed to high security, and secondly, it is the rapidly increasing in demand Wireguard protocol, also open source, which provides high standard secure connection thanks to using one cryptographic set and a set of modern ciphers, such as ChaCha20, HKDF, BLAKE2, Curve25519. In addition to OpenVPN and Wireguard, we would also like to talk about such protocol as SoftEther, although this protocol was created only in 2014, it is also rapidly gaining popularity because of the reliably encrypted tunnel between the client and the server without loss of performance. What else can be said about this protocol, the Deep-inspect packet registration function is supported by SoftEther, also this protocol supports strong encryption RSA with the key length 4096 and AES with the key length 256 and has high bandwidth. In addition to these protocols, CactusVPN also uses SSTP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP.
Logging policy & Jurisdiction
Let's start with the fact that the company is registered in Moldova, the jurisdiction of this country is generally favorable for VPN services, there is a law on the protection of personal data since 2011, but there is no right to privacy. It is also worth noting from the minuses that in Moldova there is a centralized database of all citizens of Moldova, but this is a minus only for citizens of this country.
But even if the court decision will give the legal authorities access to your online activities, unfortunately for them, but fortunately for us, as users of the VPN, they will not find anything, because Cactus VPN has a zero-logging policy, which is a very important aspect when choosing a VPN service, which means that your online activity, history of visiting sites is not tracked and not stored on the servers of the VPN, thus, you keep your privacy rights.
Performance (speed & reliability)
In this section, we will consider the speed of the connection when using a VPN server. If we will not have the speed at which we can not stream video, play games, download torrents, etc., then the point of using this VPN service? We will test the speed without a VPN connection, then connect to the nearest VPN server, and then connect to the VPN server in the U.S., because we want to find out how much the speed will drop when you connect to the server located far away from us and whether it is satisfactory for watching content without buffering on the famous streaming platforms. It's worth warning you right away that there are several factors that, by studying them, will help you understand why the speed drops so much when you connect to a VPN and what you need to do about it.
First, it all depends on your ISP, if they give you a low-speed package, no matter what you do, nothing will change. You should consider changing the tariff. But also your ISP can deliberately reduce the bandwidth, monitoring your actions so that you yourself switch to a more expensive package, but a zero-policy VPN service makes it impossible for them to control your actions, so the provider will not understand at what point to limit the bandwidth. Secondly, the bandwidth of the server itself, if the VPN server limits the bandwidth, your speed may decrease when the server is overloaded. So it is important to pay attention to whether the bandwidth is limited by the VPN servers. Also pay attention to the geographical location of the server, because the farther away the server will be from you, the more time will be spent on the data transfer and plus all need to understand what protocol you connect, for example, the Open VPN protocol has certainly strong secure encryption, but because of this may also be observed a slight drop in speed and as practice shows on testing CactusVPN, will be better combined Open VPN with UDP than with TCP. I do not advise using PPTP, as it does not have strong encryption, so a good balance would be to use the protocols IKEv2, SoftEther, L2TP / IPSec, SSTP but it all depends on your needs. CactusVPN showed itself well in my testing, what I liked about the application is that you can sort out the high-speed servers and you don't have to spend a lot of time searching. On average when connecting to the most remote server the speed drops by 60 to 75 percent, and when connecting to the closest server from 15 to 50 percent, it all depends on the choice of protocol, server location and what we talked about above. I used in the tests protocol SSTP.
Features & Usability
Let's take a look at the features CactusVPN has to offer.
In the application you will see SmartDNS - this is a very useful feature when choosing the best speed for viewing content. Smart DNS does not hide your IP and does not encrypt your data. It gives you the ability to open simultaneously sites that have different locations without the need to change settings and also the feature of this function is that you can connect an unlimited number of devices in the same network. In the application, you can update your IP address every 5, 15, 30 minutes, 1, or 24 hours.
Also, there is no bandwidth limitation on CactusVPN servers, which is a good advantage of the service, as it directly affects the speed of your connection to the VPN server.
The arsenal of additional features also adds to the App Killer, here you can add applications to the list and they will automatically shut down if your VPN connection fails, thereby protecting you from data leakage, which can be used by cybercriminals or your Internet service provider.
Protection from DNS Leak. When your DNS queries are sent out in an unsecured public form, it seriously compromises your anonymity and security online as an ISP with eavesdropping on your DNS query history and even hacking attacks such as DNS cache snooping and DNS spoofing. One attack implies that a hacker can find out which domains you have recently visited, and another attack infects the cache with a false DNS hostname match, so DNS leakage protection should not be underestimated and such a feature is an added shield, providing you anonymity online.
The application is user friendly and easy to use, even if you are a beginner you will understand it, the background is a dark color which is convenient when using the application at night, there is a sorting of servers with fast speeds which will simplify your searching process, and a nice interface with the cactus logo which I associate with a spiky wall, that once hurt hackers will not try to hack into it again.
CactusVPN uses 39 VPN servers in 22 countries. Yes, compared to other VPN services the CactusVPN server network cannot be called large, but there are a number of advantages, including free proxy servers, no bandwidth limitations, and sorting of servers by speed.
List of countries:
USA, Singapore, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Portugal, Poland, Netherlands, Malaysia, Latvia, Japan, Italy, India, Hong Kong, Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Brazil, Australia.
Is CactusVPN good for streaming and torrenting? Definitely yes, thanks to the SmartDNS feature that bypasses geo-blocks of streaming platforms and gives us access to watching video content with practically no speed loss, no buffering and in Full HD quality. CactusVPN had no trouble opening access to such popular platforms as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Video, Spotify, HBO, Disney+, and another 300+ sites. However, do not forget that SmartDNS does not hide your IP address and does not encrypt your connection, but a huge advantage is that this function has almost no effect on speed.
As for torrents, CactusVPN allows torrent downloads from servers in the Netherlands, Romania, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Latvia and Malaysia without bandwidth restrictions. Downloading protected content through torrents is considered a serious crime in some countries, and here CactusVPN also comes to our rescue, as it hides your IP address and makes the channel secure, by which you can not be identified to bring charges.
Platforms & Devices
One of the best features of this VPN service is an unlimited number of connected devices at the same time, while many VPN services provide an average of 3 to 10 connections simultaneously.
CactusVPN is compatible with many operating systems and offers applications for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Fire TV, as well as extensions for Chrome and Firefox browsers. The apps are well optimized, smart, and easy to use. You shouldn't have any trouble installing them, but if you do have questions when installing them, the site has a tutorial center where you can find installation guides or, as a last resort, contact support.
Given the arsenal of features that CactusVPN offers us, the price of tariffs can be called competitive. It all depends on your preferences and needs. CactusVPN offers us four tariff plans:
1 month - $9.99 per month
3 months - $7.99 per month
1 year - $5,83 per month
2 years - $3.95 per month
You can pay by credit card, PayPal, Ethereum Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Alipay and other methods like Webmoney.
If you found out that the service does not suit you for a certain period of time, CactusVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, and there is a free 3-day trial, but not all features are available, including Smart DNS.
Support is available 24/7 in online chat. You can also create a support ticket. There is a section with frequently asked questions, setup instructions and what I personally really liked, a huge knowledge base, where you can find an answer to almost any question related to the VPN. Based on this, we can conclude that the service treats its customers with the utmost care and gives instant answers to questions that may occur.
Pros & Cons
✓ Zero logging policy
✓ Robust military-grade encryption
✓ SmartDNS feature
✓ Free proxy servers
✓ DNS leak protection
✓ Dedicated P2P servers
✘ No ad blocker
✘ Small server network
✘ Not as feature-rich as Premium services
✘ There are connection problems in China
Last edited on Aug 3, 2022