What is Unlocator?
Founded in 2012 and created by Linkwork ApS, Unlocator is a Denmark-based Smart DNS and VPN provider. Introduced as a solution for unblocking geo-restricted websites, Unlocator still needs a great deal of work to become a robust online privacy/security solution.
Their Smart DNS system often experiences blocks by ISPs or network owners, and the VPN that acts more like a backup fails on providing appropriate anonymity online. Not a good solution at all, even for simple bypassing of geo-restrictions, or keeping your identity hidden.
It is bad enough that Unlocator has poor performance that their headquarters is in a Nine Eyes Alliance Jurisdiction. Denmark does impose privacy standards of GDPR, but do not get fooled by them.
The country is labeled as one of the freest jurisdictions to misinform users when in reality they indulge in Mass Surveillance and Intelligence Sharing with other members of the alliance.
As such, the location cannot be considered a “Safe” jurisdiction. Yes, Denmark does not have an ONI profile yet, but it is still included in the regional overview for Nordic Countries.
VPN use remains legal, despite Denmark having the legal authority of restricting online access. Yet, I would not trust Unlocator to keep my identity and information private!
If you go a little in-depth into our review below, you will realize that Unlocator literally sucks at keeping your identity hidden. They do not provide any privacy to consumers since they use a Smart DNS system, which does not add encryption to your network connection.
The Unlocator Hybrid that includes the VPN offering does not mitigate these issues concerning privacy, and the worst bit is the provider even admits to keeping usage logs, which according to them are removed within 24 hours of the termination of a session, but how can we ever know?
If you’re wondering; Is Unlocator Safe? The answer is no! The VPN is not a safe choice. In fact, I could not even get it to work on my Windows operating system. I got really frustrated!
I did use it for a little while on Android and iOS, but did not think of conducting a test then, since I usually perform them on my PC. I had to screen record the client performance on Windows.
As you can see below, before launching Unlocator.exe, my internet connection was working fine. Right after the launch, the internet disconnects and then reconnects upon closing the app.
Sure, the service works on smartphones, but what about laptop and desktop users? I will post the IP/DNS leak tests, after I get this client working!
It is always good to know about the headquarters, owners, investors, board of directors, warrant canaries/transparency reports, and auditing processes (if any) of a VPN service.
This way, users can determine whether is Unlocator legal or not? Luckily, they do provide information about their company, which is a registered trademark by Linkword ApS.
The provider itself is located in the city of Copenhagen. I have sent an email to Unlocator, asking them INVASIVE questions, similar to other providers in my transparency guide.
I am, however, still waiting on the responses to my questions from Unlocator. I guess it has been a week since I contacted them!
Unlocator typically offers netizens two subscription packages: Smart DNS and Smart DNS + VPN, which are further divided by duration for leveraging discounts.
The Smart DNS package starts at $4.95 monthly. If you opt for the 6-months deal, the per month costs drop to $4.58, meaning you pay $27.48!
If you go with the yearly deal, the costs drop to $4.16 monthly, totaling to $49.92 for 12-months access. For the Smart DNS + VPN, pricing starts at $9.99.
This is quite expensive, considering the VPN is in a growing phase and needs a lot of improvement. For better value, opt for the yearly package that starts at $6.58/mo, meaning you pay $78.95 for 12-months access!
Despite being in the marketplace since 2012, Unlocator does not have a very impressing list of servers. The numbers extend to 42 servers only and most of them offer poor performance.
I tested the VPN and its servers to figure out if they are bare-metal or virtual. Every server address I added into the CA App Synthetic Monitor showed a packet loss of 100%.
It is not my first time testing servers, so I know this problem is only consistent with Unlocator. To still get a better idea, I conducted a trace-route on their UK server.
The results show a low ms and RTT, which indicates the server is indeed located as advertised, but I still do not understand why I was receiving errors in pinging to the server from multiple locations.
On Android and iOS, the apps worked smoothly but the speeds I received were really poor. I also encountered frequent disconnections, hindering the entire experience.
The Windows client did not work at all, so I do not have much to say about it. I did try unblocking US Netflix via their Smart DNS and VPN on Android but failed countless times.
Even despite configuration Unlocator’s DNS settings, the results remained constant. As far as Unlocator unblocking MLB.TV, it did work but again the performance was very poor!
In terms of compatibility, Unlocator does offer apps for all famous platforms/OS. You have native software for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Browser extensions for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera are missing. There is no Unlocator Apple TV app either and the provider is working on releasing an app for Amazon Fire TVs & tablets.
For other more tech-savvy individuals, Unlocator does offer detailed setup guides for all operating systems, media players, gaming consoles, smart TVs, routers, and smartphones (mostly for their Smart DNS service though).
Unlocator actually does quite well in offering customers support. They provide a multitude of options like email, live chat, and knowledgebase page.
For email, I received a response within 2 3 hours of sending a query. The live chat was not available after 12 am, but I did get a quick response as soon as it was available.
The knowledgebase has quite a lot of information concerning problems surrounding the client along with setup guides.
You even have 7 different sections for support: Getting Started, Unlocator VPN, Smart DNS, Your Account, API, and Tips & Tricks!
Would I recommend Unlocator?
Umm, HELL NO. Nine Eyes Jurisdiction, connectivity issues, slow speeds, lack of servers availability, no browser extensions, and the list goes on.
There are way too many negatives to consider Unlocator a safe choice, be it for streaming or receiving anonymity online.
The only positives are a proactive support team and plenty of choices available for pricing, but that is just about it. Unlocator is not reliable!