CactusVPN Review 2022
|Servers||36 servers in 22 countries|
|Works in China||Unstable|
|Compatibility||Android, Apple, Desktop, Chrome, Firefox, FireTV|
In this CactusVPN review, we’ll look at some of the decision-making factors, such as jurisdiction, security, speed, pricing, streaming, torrenting, customer support, and more, to help you make a sound decision for your VPN needs.
However, I encourage you to opt for the best VPN services to have easy access the top-tier features like camouflage mode, streaming support, massive server network, and more.
CactusVPN is a small VPN service that makes the promise that it can help you conceal your IP addresses, get around geo-restrictions, and browse anonymously.
The streaming content is accessed using the CactusVPN Smart DNS rather than a VPN, according to CactusVPN, which claims to work with 340+ streaming sites from 10+ countries.
When my team and I evaluated CactusVPN’s Smart DNS, we were constantly able to access well-known streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
I appreciate how seriously CactusVPN takes your security. Military-grade AES-256 encryption, DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and an app killer are some of its features.
However, the VPN has a dubious no-logs policy, which makes me unsure about the security of providing this VPN provider with my personal information.
You are free to give CactusVPN a try without any risk. There is a Cactus VPN free trial of 3 days and a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can evaluate the service before committing.
So without any further ado, let’s get to know more about the provider by starting with pros and cons.
CactusVPN Review: Pros & Cons
- Unblocks streaming sites such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and more
- Strict no-logs policy
- Easy-to-use apps
- Torrenting friendly VPN
- Learning center support to educate users
- Small network of servers
- Leak protection not enabled by default
- Canada-based VPN (Member of 5 Eyes Alliance)
- Jurisdiction: Where Does CactusVPN Operate From?
- Security: Can CactusVPN Keep You Safe Online?
- Leaks: Does CactusVPN Leak Your IP/DNS/WebRTC?
- Servers: How Many Servers Does CactusVPN Have?
- Streaming: Does CactusVPN Unblock Netflix and Other VoDs?
- Torrenting: Is CactusVPN good for Torrenting?
- Speed: How Fast are CactusVPN Servers?
- Compatibility: Can I Use CactusVPN On All My Devices?
- Setup & Installation: Is CactusVPN Easy to Install and Use?
- Pricing: How Much Does CactusVPN Cost Exactly?
- Trustworthiness: What Do Users Say About CactusVPN?
Jurisdiction: Where Does CactusVPN Operate From?
In 2011, CactusVPN Inc., a tiny, independent VPN provider, was established in Moldova. However, it covertly changed its jurisdiction in 2016 from privacy-friendly Moldova to surveillance-heavy Canada.
Canada is one of the founding members of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance meaning that intelligence organizations can snoop on users’ digital activities.
CactusVPN is based in Canada and subject to Canadian data laws
Canada, where CactusVPN is headquartered, is a member of the Five Eyes data-sharing coalition. As a result, it is governed by Canada’s notoriously intrusive data privacy rules.
However, the fact that CactusVPN offers a strict no-logs policy that guarantees client data won’t be recorded, monitored, or retained allows us to relax despite the Canadian jurisdiction.
This implies that, if required to do so, CactusVPN immediately deletes any information it may have about a customer before it can be given to law enforcement.
CactusVPN Logging Policy
CactusVPN does not keep logs of any kind.
The service goes to great lengths to clarify that there is no information that the service stores on its users that could be a cause of concern.
The service states that CactusVPN does not store your IP address, traffic logs, connection timestamps, session lengths, and bandwidth used.
Security: Can CactusVPN Keep You Safe Online?
Is CactusVPN safe? Yes, CactusVPN is a highly safe option. Although I would’ve liked to see a couple of improvements, I don’t think any issues should set the alarm bells ringing.
Encryption & Protocols
CactuVPN uses AES-256-bit encryption for most protocols.
Additionally, users will be able to use SSPTP, PPTP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, OpenVPN (UDP & TCP), SoftEther, and WireGuard. I should add that all of these protocols are well-equipped to keep users safe from any potential attempts to hack them online.
CactusVPN Virus Test
I conducted a virus test using Virus Total on the service’s main site and installation files. This would ensure that there were no malicious files attached that could prove troublesome for users. Here is the result of that test:
Unfortunately, one security vendor has flagged the CactusVPN URL as malicious.
Leaks: Does CactusVPN Leak Your IP/DNS/WebRTC?
I conducted a series of IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak tests to be certain that there was no vulnerability while using CactusVPN. Here are the results of those tests:
As users can see, there are no leaks that should concern the users.
Servers: How Many Servers Does CactusVPN Have?
CactusVPN provides a modest network of 39 VPN servers across 22 countries.
Only the four continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia are covered by these servers.
The region having the most server sites is Europe, with 13. Asia-Pacific only has 6 server sites, whereas North America is second with 9 server locations. The Middle East and Africa don’t have any servers.
The servers of CactusVPN are situated in numerous nations, including the US, Canada, Brazil, the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Latvia, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and India.
Server connections are consistent and typically take 5 seconds. Additionally, a tab on the app lets you filter the server locations with the quickest speeds based on how close they are to where you are.
CactusVPN uses a combination of physically located and virtual servers. For example, the French server is a virtual server and the actual server is in the UK.
The VPN provides dedicated P2P servers. However, none are designed for streaming. You can use any of the network’s servers as a free proxy server for any purpose.
Does CactusVPN Work in China?
I inquired about the VPN’s compatibility with China by contacting support, and they responded positively. Despite not mentioning China on its website, the support confirmed that CactusVPN in China works.
The network makes use of obfsproxy, a technique that alters the path your web traffic takes by encrypting it. As a result, you can safely unblock content in prohibited areas since obfsproxy will fool ISPs or governments into believing that the traffic is just ordinary, secure HTTP traffic.
China’s restrictive censorship policies are well-known to most internet users. VPNs are regular victims of these. So CactusVPN being operational in this region is one of its impressive qualities.
Streaming: Does CactusVPN Unblock Netflix and Other VoDs?
With CactusVPN, you can access content from the US, UK, and Australian Netflix libraries as well as from Hulu, HBO NOW, Disney Plus, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube.
You can use Smart DNS to access ITV Player, NBC, NBC Sports, CBS, BBC Sport, BBC Bitesize, CNNgo, and virtually every other well-known streaming website.
I was unable to unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Hulu on CactusVPN’s standard servers. Instead, I could only stream using its Smart DNS service.
With CactusVPN’s Smart DNS feature, you can unblock streaming websites from the US, UK, France, Sweden, and Italy by changing your DNS to appear as though you’re in a different country.
CactusVPN unblocked Netflix and Amazon Prime Video
I was able to access Netflix US when I connected to the Los Angeles server. Without any buffering, I watched Lost in Space from the Netflix US library.
I also performed six further tests and successfully cleared the Netflix libraries in Australia, Japan, and the UK.
I was also able to unblock Amazon Prime Video and watch all US content without any buffering issues.
All in all, the CactusVPN Netflix unblocking capability makes this VPN a worthy service if you’re a streaming geek.
CactusVPN couldn’t unblock HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Disney+
I attempted to log onto HBO Max by connecting to a Los Angeles server, but it didn’t unblock the streaming site. Instead, I was presented with an error page.
I was also unable to stream on BBC iPlayer when I connected to a London server of CactusVPN. Whenever I tried to log in, iPlayer would block me and show an error.
Hulu also prevented me from logging in when I tried unblocking it with a New York and Los Angeles server.
And since Disney+ and ESPN are owned by the same parent corporation as Hulu and employ the same VPN restrictions, I didn’t bother to log into them.
Torrenting: Is CactusVPN good for Torrenting?
CactusVPN torrent servers are limited and indicated as a P2P tab in the desktop app. These servers are located in Romania, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Latvia, and Malaysia.
CactusVPN P2P servers can notice poor speeds if you’re far from these places because the majority of P2P servers are located in Europe and there is only one in Asia.
Additionally, because CactusVPN only provides a small number of P2P servers, speeds may decrease during peak times as a result of crowded servers.
For testing, it took me about 18 minutes to download a 600MB torrent from the public domain.
In my opinion, CactusVPN for torrenting is okay if you’re a casual torrenter. However, the slow speed in peak times can frustrate users. For an amazing experience, sign up for one of the best torrenting VPNs.
Speed: How Fast are CactusVPN Servers?
Its server count may be on the lower end, but can it deliver the most important feature of servers, i.e., speed?
On close servers, CactusVPN maintained fast speeds. However, this wasn’t the case with the further locations. Even yet, the download and upload rates on every server I tested were sufficient for HD streaming, quick torrenting, and online games.
I carried out a speed test on a 100Mbps connection to see how fast its servers are by connecting to Canada, the US, the UK, Spain, and India.
Here are the results of those tests:
Compatibility: Can I Use CactusVPN On All My Devices?
CactusVPN is compatible with most common devices. For Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV, it offers VPN applications. Additionally, it works with Firefox and Chrome browser extensions.
The CactusVPN download option is available on the website, with the choice to select and download the VPN app for your particular device.
The VPN also provides manual settings with OpenVPN, SoftEther, Wireguard, and other protocols. Roku, Chromebooks, Linux (Ubuntu), and routers can all be used with this configuration.
More devices like the PlayStation, Xbox, Samsung TV, Apple TV, and LG TV support the Smart DNS service.
The following routers are supported by CactusVPN: ASUS, TP-Link, DD-WRT, D-Link, Linksys, Tomato, Mikrotik, OpenWRT, and Tenda. CactusVPN gives you versatility in how you may use its features thanks to a wide range of device compatibility.
Windows — Any device running Windows Vista or later can use the VPN. On their website, you can get comprehensive setup guides for setting up a VPN on a Windows device. The installation of the software only took a few seconds, and I had no trouble using it.
Mac — The Windows and macOS versions of the software are comparable. Applications for macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) or newer are simple to download. Users of earlier versions might have to manually install the software.
Android — Android devices are compatible with CactusVPN. The Google Play Store makes it simple to download and set up the app.
iOS — The Apple Play Store is where you can download the CactusVPN app for your iPhone or iPad. The application is simple to install and use.
Browser extensions — You’ll discover applications for your Firefox or CactusVPN Chrome browser extensions. On its website, there is a thorough setup guide for both extensions.
Android TV — Because the VPN is compatible with Android TV, you may also use it on your smart TV. The setup is quick and simple.
Amazon Fire TV Stick — From the CactusVPN website, you may easily download the VPN for your Amazon Fire TV. It only needs a few seconds.
Routers — Routers can also be set up to connect to a VPN. ASUS, TP-Link, DD-WRT, D-Link, Linksys, Tomato, Mikrotik, OpenWRT, and Tenda routers are all compatible with it. You can find a thorough setup guide for each of these routers, including instructions on configuring different protocols.
How many devices can connect to CactusVPN?
With CactusVPN, an infinite number of devices may be connected to a single subscription. This is good news because most VPNs have restrictions on how many devices can be connected at once.
This is amazing since you receive great value, especially if you have a large family and numerous devices.
I contacted customer support to confirm this, and they said the VPN permits an unlimited number of connections at once. I also connected my phone and PC at the same time, and neither experienced any lags or connectivity problems.
Setup & Installation: Is CactusVPN Easy to Install and Use?
The installation and uninstalling procedures for CactusVPN are simple. On the website’s support page, there are thorough setup instructions for every kind of device. The user-friendly, intuitive CactusVPN app is the same on all widely used OS systems.
How to Install CactusVPN on Windows
Step 1: Sign up for a CactusVPN subscription plan.
Step 2: You’ll receive two emails. One to verify your email and another to set up a password. Set up a new password by clicking on the link in that email.
Step 3: Once you set up your password, sign in with your account on the CactusVPN dashboard.
Step 4: Download the Cactus VPN for Windows file.
Step 5: Install the CactusVPN app file.
Step 6: Launch the CactusVPN app.
Step 7: Log in with your CactusVPN account.
Step 8: Connect to a VPN server of your choice.
How to Setup CactusVPN on Firestick
Step 1: Sign up for CactusVPN.
Step 2: Install the Cactus VPN Firestick app from the Amazon App Store on your Fire TV Stick.
Step 3: Once installed, click on “Open.”
Step 4: Enter your CactusVPN login credentials and click on “Sign in.”
Step 5: Select a server location and connect to the VPN.
Pricing: How Much Does CactusVPN Cost Exactly?
CactusVPN currently offers the 4 following plans:
- Monthly ($9.99 per month)
- Quarterly ($7.99/mo. and $23.99 total cost)
- Yearly ($5.83/mo. and $69.99 total cost)
- 2-Years ($3.95/mo. and $94.99 total cost)
The 2-year plan offers the best value and comes with a budget-friendly CactusVPN price.
CactusVPN Refund Policy
CactusVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. In my experience, this is the industry-standard time frame that allows users to use the service for an adequate time frame and understand whether the service meets their needs or not.
CactusVPN Payment Methods
Impressively, the service allows users to pay via their VISA/Mastercard credit and debit cards as well as through Bitcoin, Litecoin, PayPal, and all other methods that a user may want to use, making it incredibly flexible in that regard.
How to Cancel CactusVPN Subscription
If you don’t know how to cancel CactusVPN subscription, then don’t worry. It’s really easy. Just follow the steps below:
Step 1: Go to the CactusVPN website and log in with your account.
Step 2: Click on “Subscriptions” on the left panel.
Step 3: Click on “Request Cancelation.”
Step 4: Submit a support ticket to get a refund.
Trustworthiness: What Do Users Say About CactusVPN?
Does my experience fall in line with what the rest of the internet feels about CactusVPN? To check that, I headed over to Cactus VPN Trustpilot and Reddit to see what users have to say about the service. Additionally, I also looked at its customer support. Here’s what I found:
CactusVPN Trustpilot Review
A 4.7/5 rating on Trustpilot usually would mean a glowing review for the service in question. However, there are several reasons why I would advise against placing too much emphasis on this rating.
The primary reason why is that just 30 reviews have been made for the service on the review platform. It suggests that either users were not willing or were simply unaware of this service.
Just 30 reviews do not make for an impartial rating, meaning I cannot give too much weight to its 4.7 rating.
CactusVPN Reddit Review
Upon my test for CactusVPN review Reddit, Redditors were their customary selves when I looked at some of the comments for CactusVPN. Users shed light on several issues that I would have ignored or not even considered, to begin with.
Coincidentally, this is exactly how I feel about the service. Users pointed out that the amount of information that CactusVPN requires is unusually high for a VPN service and does not inspire confidence in its intentions at all.
At the same time, some users appreciated the sheer simplicity of the service and how it keeps its client’s interface and features simple to use, giving it a highly user-friendly outlook.
CactusVPN Customer Support
CactusVPN previously had a vigilant live chat. However, I was disappointed to find that the provider doesn’t have a live chat option now.
Other than that, CactusVPN currently has 5 customer support options. They are:
Setup Tutorials — You can immediately get support from this section without having to wait for a reply from ticket support. The material inside struck me as thorough and valuable.
Submit a Ticket — Sending them an email with your question will also get you in touch with assistance. Once sent, a ticket is created to keep track of your communications with support.
Learning Center — The VPN provides a learning center with tips for new users of smart DNS and VPNs.
FAQ section — The issues, account settings, smart DNS, and VPN service questions were all answered in a helpful manner. I got help from this section of customer support many times.
How to Start section — This section helps beginners in setting up a VPN and other technical information about a VPN that they may not be familiar with.
CactusVPN has a lot of problems. While I can say that there are hardly any VPNs that don’t have some slight issues, but that would be beside the point.
For instance, a service that claims to value the privacy of its users shouldn’t require such intensive information just to set up an account. Additionally, in 2022 I expect VoD unblocking to be a standard feature that all VPNs must have regardless of anything else.
For users that do not want to provide such info or want the ability to seamlessly unblock streaming platforms like HBO Max, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, Surfshark would be the best option thanks to its 3200+ servers, all available at the most affordable rates on the market.
Do I Recommend CactusVPN?
Concluding this CactusVPN review, yes, I recommend CactusVPN to anyone searching for a provider with reasonable rates and cutting-edge security features.
The VPN is compatible with a wide variety of devices despite having a small server network. Even better, a single membership allows you to connect an infinite number of devices at once.
The ability to use the Smart DNS technology to open up more than 340 websites was its main selling point.
The cost of CactusVPN is reasonable, and it also provides a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, I would have liked to see more servers and coverage in other regions, including the Middle East and Africa.
CactusVPN Review: FAQs
Is it safe to use CactusVPN?
Yes, CactusVPN is very secure and safe. It encrypts your traffic with the AES 256-bit method, which is the military-grade mechanism also used by banks, a kill switch feature to prevent data leaks, and secure protocols like OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2.
Is Cactus VPN free?
Unfortunately, there is no CactusVPN free version. CactusVPN only offers a 3-day free trial. However, the provider offers a 30-day money-back offer.
How can I download the CactusVPN app without using the Play Store?
To download the CactusVPN app without using Google Play Store, follow these steps:
- Go to the APK Pure or APK Mirror using a browser on your Android phone.
- Search for the CactusVPN apk file.
- Download the apk file for your Android phone.
- Run the app.
- Log in with your CactusVPN account.
- Connect to a server location.
Can Cactus VPN unblock Netflix? I think it is a little expensive and not as big a brand as nord, express etc.