Encrypt.Me Review – Strictly Not Suitable for Torrent Users
Encrypt.me was previously known as Cloak VPN, until it was bought out by StackPath, a powerful firm operating in the online security arena.
StackPath states that its mission is to keep the internet safe by offering a secure edge platform and having a VPN does make sense for the firm to serve its purpose.
But since StackPath has such credibility in the industry, especially among product developers, I had my expectations high from its VPN service, expecting it to deliver a top of the line service amongst many VPN reviews.
So is this the best VPN provider people should subscribe to? In this comprehensive Encrypt.me Review, we will take a look at exactly that question by putting the service to multiple, VPN related litmus tests including its security performance, streaming support etc.
Encrypt.Me Security Review
If your DNS or WebRTC is leaking even if your VPN is on, then you can be found out by anyone including your ISP.
Say you got connected to a provider’s server in Tokyo, but if your VPN has DNS or WebRTC leaks, your ISP, hackers, your government and anyone else trying to find you, will succeed eventually and that too, quite easily.
While it might not seem like such a big deal, an IP leak from such avenues can wreak havoc on people who are using the internet for sensitive activities like a journalist operating in a repressive regime like China or Iran.
So before claiming on doing anything, a VPN must not leak your IP, ever.
And that’s exactly why, we, at BestVPN.co, have initiated a strict test for confirming exactly that.
We make a VPN connection from provider pass through at least 7 different IP leak tests, which include checks for both DNS and WebRTC leaks.
If the provider is leaking on even one of them, we give it a major downgrade and it always lands in our Not-recommended VPNs list.
So did Encrpt.Me ace them all?
- https://www.dnsleaktest.com/: Clear
- https://www.perfect-privacy.com/check-ip/: Clear
- https://ipx.ac/run: Clear
- https://www.perfect-privacy.com/dns-leaktest/: Clear
- https://ipleak.net/: Clear
- https://ipleak.org/: Clear
- https://browserleaks.com/webrtc: Clear
Yes, it sure did and it is seriously, the best part about the service!
But our checks don’t end there as we ensure that a service is absolutely secure before we recommend to you.
So, apart from leaking you IP, how else can a VPN be used to potentially harm you?
Through an unclean client app.
Most VPNs offer clients apps these days that we download and use without batting an eye, so its easy for the provider to dupe you by planting malware in to these files and siphon off with your data or invade your system, while being clear on the connection level.
We ran a thorough check on Virustotal.com to ascertain the legitimacy of Encrypt.Me’s client app files.
And again, the provider passed through unscathed, with nothing being detected on the site’s 70 malware tests.
So, it can be safely assumed that the provider secures your connection and doesn’t have any sort of malicious malware in its apps.
But does that make it safe?
Wait, there’s a lot more to VPN security than just DNS leaks and malware reports.
Even if a VPN is clear on these fronts, it can make you run into trouble if it either keeps logs or is situated in a problematic location.
And Encrypt.Me has both of these problems.
Here’s what I found, when I dug deep into the provider’s logging policy:
When you use Encrypt.me to secure your connection, we collect:
- The number of bytes sent and received
- The length of time connected
- The IP address connected from and the (virtual) IP we assign
- The source port of the outgoing connection with start and end times
We keep this information for at most sixteen (16) days, after which we permanently delete it.
We call this information your “personal session information” and it is the most sensitive data we collect. We treat it that way. After at most sixteen days, we permanently delete your personal session information.
The provider does keep logs, that’s established here. But are those logs problematic and detrimental to your overall internet security?
Not all of them, as most of them relate to connection timestamps, which is harmless most of the time. But logging your IP and the one to which you connect to, is where I got concerned the most.
If the provider has you IP records for 16 days, any authority coming to get it will easily do so.
And with that, coming to its jurisdiction. Encrypt.Me is based in the United States, one of the most unsafe locations for a VPN.
The country is a member of the 5 Eyes alliance, which implies that at least 5 countries, including the US, can easily prompt StackPath to release your IP data when required, and StackPath will have to comply.
So, with your IP logs resting with the provider for over 2 weeks, the authorities have ample time to get to you.
Having said this, Encrypt.Me itself mentions that it supports no illegal activity at all. So if you want to use this VPN for protecting yourself while Torrenting copyrighted material, drop the idea.
Encrypt.me is only good for protecting yourself against external threats like hacking attempts, MITM attacks etc. But, for the shady stuff, this provider isn’t the right fit.
Now the only thing left to check in Enrypt.Me’s security arsenal are its encryption and protocol offerings.
Encryption is standard at AES-256 military grade, which is unbreakable even if you deploy a thousand supercomputers to launch a brute force attack.
As far as protocols are concerned, Encrypt.Me has different protocols for different OS.
For iOS devices, Encrypt.Me offers the IPSec protocol, Mac and Android users get OpenVPN protocol support, while Windows users are protected through a protocol named StrongSwan, a highly powerful protocol run on open source technology and one that can accommodate IKEv1 and IKEv2 protocols.
Encrypt.Me is relatively secure, but its logging policies and its jurisdiction should be understood before you sign up with this service.
The provider itself says that it doesn’t allow or secure you against any illegal activity, so be wise and before getting into it, make sure you are not going to do stuff that might get you into trouble with the authorities.
Encrypt.Me Pricing Review:
The provider just has two pricing plans:
Monthly Plan: $9.99 billed once
Yearly Plan: $99.99 billed once
So are these plans reasonable in return for the value you will get out of the services that this provider offers?
I wont say so!
That’s because, a lot of other bigger providers are offering even better features than Encrypt.me and that too, for a far lesser price tag.
NordVPN’s one year plan will cost you just $83.88 billed once and it offers 5000+ servers compared to Encrypt.Me’s miserly count of 132 servers.
And on top of that, NordVPN offers even better plans if you plan to subscribe for longer periods for e.g. its 3 year plan will cost you just $2.99/month!
So I would definitely say that Encrypt.Me is losing its appeal majorly on the pricing front.
You cant offer a lesser service at a higher price than your competition.
The provider has some other plans that you can opt for as well. Like its “Passes” plans, which has a weekly subscription plan being offered at $3.99 billed once. I really liked this plan as this is perfect for those who are going out on a trip abroad and need to protect themselves fro just a week or two.
You can also get subscription to the family deal, which offers both monthly and yearly packages. In this family plan, you can create up to 5 accounts and each one person can sign up with unlimited devices.
Getting the family plan for a month will cost you $12.99 while getting the family yearly plan will cost you $149.99 billed once.
There is also a mini-monthly plan on offer for $2.99/month but it maxes out at 5GB if you exceed 5 GB of bandwidth before the month turns over.
While doing Encrypt.Me’s pricing review, I got the feeling that this VPN is better suited to those who come in teams and not for individuals.
If you don’t want to take our word for it, then there is Encrypt.Me’s best feature which will allow you to use its service for 14 days for free, zero strings attached.
This free trial policy is by far, among the best and the most friendly ones I’ve come across the industry till now!
Now for another downside to the provider. Encrypt.Me accepts only credit card payments. No other payment mode is accommodated, not even Bitcoin, so the choice is really restrictive here.
Encrypt.Me Client App Review:
One place where the provider scores some major points is its client app repository.
It offers a dedicated app for the following devices:
The dedicated app for FireTV devices is undoubtedly, a great thing to offer as one of the primary functionalities of a VPN these days is to amplify streaming opportunities by unblocking geo-restricted sites. And that can be done more easily with the availability of a dedicated client app for streaming devices like Firestick.
Windows app is still in beta mode, which implies that the app is there to use but still needs some more coding tweaks and twists before it becomes stable.
The rest of the apps are also there and they are super user friendly. No complicated actions to perform at all!
But the most peculiar part here is that their apps are not like the apps we usually see in the industry.
No flashy Connect buttons, no optimized location windows with flags and all, no nothing. Just a simple list of locations that you can click on from the top right and the connection gets initiated.
Encrypt.Me Server Review:
The weakest point of Encrypt.Me is its server spread. With just 25 countries covered with a 132 servers available currently, Encrypt.Me will offer slow speeds to those who live in regions where its servers are not available in close proximity, for e.g. South Asia.
North America, Canada and Europe get the majority of servers with some of them located in Far East Asia and Down under as well.
A low number of servers can often result in overcrowding whenever a large number of users try and connect at the same time, resulting in slow speeds for everyone of them, so this problem will surely afflict the provider every now and then.
But, there is something incredibly good in Encrypt.Me’s server park here that might offset the disadvantage that low number of servers might bring to it.
Encrypt.Me can unblock Netflix US.
And be mindful here, as this is not an easy thing to do.
Netflix stopped VPNs connecting to its site in 2016 and since then, hundreds of VPNs have lost the war against it.
A VPN that can still unblock Netflix has a stellar server network that stays ahead of Netflix’s vicious VPN ban that sniffs out VPN servers quite easily.
Encrypt.Me also offers Torrenting, but because of its logging policy, I wouldn’t recommend you to use the provider for this purpose, or else you could easily get in trouble if a copyright troll complains to the provider of a violation on your end. Your real location can be exposed to a media house by the provider if you’ve something illegal, even unknowingly.
Encrypt.Me Support Review:
Live chat is the norm in the industry as far as offering customer support is concerned. Its fast, super convenient and ultra-facilitative.
So does, Encrypt.me offer it?
It does have a sort of live-chat window but you don’t get to talk to a support executive right away.
You first need to enter your personal details, device and problem and then you will get a reply for it after a couple of hours.
So I cannot term it as live chat. Its slow compared to that, and I really recommend the provider to do away with the cumbersome process to make its service as bit more modern.
Encrypt.Me is a good all round service, but do I recommend it?
Yes, but for only those who want protection against hackers, Netflix unblocking and some super cool client apps but at a higher price than is reasonable.
The provider doesn’t offer live chat support, isn’t suitable for Torrenting and it keeps logs.
So while it can protect you against hackers, it can also hand over data to authorities implicating you on a single gag request, so choose wisely.
Don’t go for the provider if you are looking for high value at a reasonable cost.