JurisdictionBerlin
Price$1.64/mo on a 3-Year Plan
Servers2,600 Servers in 37 Countries
LogsStores Session/Connection Logs
Encryption128-bit AES-GCM
Unblocks NetflixNo
TorrentingNo
Works in ChinaNo
Recommended No
Websitehttps://zenmate.com/
CompatibilityWindows, Android, Apple

Established in 2014, ZenMate is a Berlin-based provider of secure VPN tunneling services. Initially, it was a free privacy extension for Chrome. Fast-forwarding to three years, ZenMate has now jumped onto the freemium bandwagon.

It offers compatibility to popular devices and operating systems, while still providing plug-ins for Opera, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox browsers. Sadly, ZenMate’s policy of maintaining complete logs of user activity is a complete deal-breaker. 

The service, for the most part, does have potential, but cannot be considered a safe choice in terms of privacy. As a better alternative, I suggest going for the inexpensive yet reliable, Surfshark that has been independently audited by Cure53! 

Rating Criteria

  1. Jurisdiction: Where is ZenMate Based?
  2. Security: Can ZenMate Keep You Safe Online?
  3. Leaks: ZenMate IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS Test
  4. Servers: How Many Servers Does ZenMate Have?
  5. Streaming: Can I Unblock Netflix US and Other VoDs?
  6. Speed: How Fast are ZenMate Servers?
  7. Compatibility: Can I Use ZenMate on All My Devices?
  8. Pricing: How Much Does ZenMate Cost Exactly?
  9. Trustworthiness: What Do Users Say about ZenMate?

Jurisdiction: Where is ZenMate Based?

Zenmate operates out of Berlin, Germany. Like most EU countries, the location has the formidable GDPR to ensure user anonymity and privacy online. However, there are dangerous loopholes that make it an unsafe location.

Sadly, Germany is also a member of the 14 Eyes intelligence alliances, meaning user information can be shared with other agencies whenever required. As such, the country cannot be considered a desirable place for VPNs, casting a shadow over claims of providing anonymity.

Security: Can ZenMate Keep You Safe Online?

No, ZenMate cannot be considered a safe choice for privacy/anonymity. It loses its credibility being linked to a 14 Eyes country and on their privacy policy page, they also mention the recording of IP addresses, which goes against the premise of keeping you anonymous!

Does ZenMate Actually Keep Logs?

Yes, they do store logs and considering they offer a “free” product, you cannot trust their word for a no-logging policy. Not that the provider makes any such claims, as their privacy policy does openly states the recording of IP addresses.

They also preserve certain information with user consent. This may include when you select a certain server, contact customer support, subscribe to newsletters, or post in forums and communities. Your email address is stored and used for marketing.

There is no information regarding retaining of cookies, page requested, bandwidth data, etc. However, the VPN also has to follow guidelines by the German government. In response to this, a representative from ZenMate contacted us to clear the air:

At ZenMate, we do not log traffic data or store any usage data of any user. Even though, our company is based in Germany, which is one of the countries participating in the ’14 Eyes Country,’ we have never and will never share customer usage data.

This means, even if any representative reached out to us to demand access to such data, we wouldn’t be able to provide it for the simple reason of not having stored it in the first place. It is also important to point out that the ‘14 eyes country’ rule does not apply to VPN companies, as it is an agreement between national intelligence agencies…

In the end, it is up to users to determine whether they should trust the service or not. Our job is to provide our readers/viewers with complete transparency on the logging policy.

Protocols and Encryption Information

Zenmate does provide a relatively secure connection using the best protocols and encryption that includes OpenVPN, SSTP, IPSec, L2TP, and PPTP. Users have an added option of opting for either the SHA-256 authentication or the AES-GCM 128-bit encryption. This is in addition to using RSA handshakes and TLS 1.2 (RFC 5245), guaranteeing a formidable layer of protection for users.

Leaks: ZenMate IPv6, WebRTC, and DNS Test

I conducted a series of tests to analyze whether Zenmate has any potential leaks in its service or not. I did not find any indication of any leaks using the following services to perform several tests:

WebRTC and HTTP Request Leaks:

DNS Leaks:

IPv4/IPv6 and Torrent IP Leaks:

ZenMate Leak Testing

Servers: How Many Servers Does ZenMate Have?

Zenmate curiously offers a highly respectable 2500+ servers out of just 37 countries. While users may find the number of servers impressive, the low countries will be a major hindrance.

Comparatively, some of the other competitors in the market such as ExpressVPN and PureVPN can offer users access to more than 100+ countries.

Does ZenMate Support P2P/Torrenting?

Zenmate is extremely ambiguous about whether it supports torrenting or not on its own website. After using Zenmate ourselves, I concluded that it does not offer dedicated support for P2P sharing. However, their servers do not block torrents either.

In any case, I do not recommend using this service for torrents, due to their lack of dedicated support which may land users in hot water, especially in countries with strict anti-piracy laws. Also, you have no SOCKS5 proxies or split tunneling features available.

Streaming: Can I ZenMate Unlocator US and Other VoDs?

Yes, Zenmate will be able to unblock Netflix for users. Not just Netflix, it is fully capable of unblocking other popular streaming sites like Voot, Hotstar, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and HBO Now with ease.

The only problem is that ZenMate tends to be a little “moody” as far as bypassing geo-restrictions are concerned. Sometimes the service may not work for unblocking and can be detected by different streaming platforms!

Unblocking Netflix via ZenMate - Orange is the New Black

Speed: How Fast are ZenMate Servers?

ZenMate has a plentiful 2,500servers in 37 countries, but to see exactly how fast are these servers, I decided to put the service through a speed test on a 100 Mbps connection and analyze the variations on servers in Australia, Canada, Italy, Brazil, and South Africa:

ServerDownloadUploadPing
Australia21.88Mbps23.78Mbps225ms
Canada28.95Mbps25.67Mbps110ms
Italy24.03Mbps20.97Mbps78ms
Brazil18.91Mbps17.79Mbps189ms
South Africa22.45Mbps14.77Mbps192ms
Average23.24Mbps20.43Mbps179ms

Compatibility: Can I Use ZenMate on All My Devices?

Users will be happy to note that Zenmate offers complete cross-compatibility, available for use on 5 simultaneous connections with a single account.

This means that users will be able to use Zenmate on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS without any issues. Similarly, it also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera making it even more convenient for users to use.

Zenmate App Interface

Our ZenMate review finds their client to be too simple and less effective. There is plenty of room for improvement. The lack of functionality and list of customization options reduce the appeal of the software. We would like seeing a more streamlined appearance too.

zenmate-windows-review

 

Under the hood, you have a good list of features. You can choose from the app to Autostart with your PC, or activate EverSecure (an equivalent of a kill switch). There are links to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service pages too for extra assistance.

 

zenmate-windows-settings

Pricing: How Much Does ZenMate Cost Exactly?

Zenmate gives users a number of payment plans that should suit most of the users’ needs. Users opting for the monthly package would be paying $9.99 per month. Similarly, users opting for the 1-year package would pay a total of $53.88 annually, which means $4.49 per month.

However, if you want to leverage the best deal from ZenMate, I recommend going for their 3-year package that will cost users a trivial $59 for 3 years, meaning a charge of $1.64 month. This is quite inexpensive, considering most 3-year plans end up costing above $100!

ZenMate Pricing

If you can check the VPN price comparison, the pricing plans are quite cheap of ZenMate.

Payment Methods

Users will be disappointed to learn that Zenmate offers a severely inadequate number of payment options. The two accepted modes of payments are PayPal and VISA/Mastercard/American Express credit cards.

The lack of support for Bitcoins and other forms of cryptocurrency means that users are unable to attain the financial anonymity that some other alternative VPNs are easily able to offer.

Trustworthiness: What Do Users Say about ZenMate?

To give you better idea about ZenMate VPN, I have provided details about the provider from the perspective of “users” on TrustPilot and Reddit. These should help with the decision-making process, if you plan on signing up with the provider!

ZenMate TrustPilot Review

Zenmate enjoys a positive 4.5/5 rating on Trustpilot. Upon further investigation, it turns out that 73% of the users have rated their experience with the VPN provider as excellent.

ZenMate Trustpilot Rating

ZenMate Reddit Review

Users on Reddit did not share the same positive appraisal of Zenmate’s performance. Many were visibly frustrated and angry with the possibility of Zenmate keeping taps on use activity as well as user locations.

ZenMate Reddit Review 1

Zenmate confirmed some of these suspicions without elaborating on why it was doing so in the first place. Similarly, there were other comments that pointed out other alternatives that deliver better services.

ZenMate Reddit Review 2

Interestingly, Zenmate’s change in management may have played a major role in changing users’ perception of the service. Users complained of failing to receive a proper refund, the service’s inability to properly obfuscate a user’s IP, and incredibly poor customer support.

ZenMate Reddit Review 3

Customer Support

At first glance, Zenmate’s customer service appears to be on par with some of the best VPN services available. There is 24/7 live chat, a detailed FAQs section, as well as a blog and news section, which makes it easy for users to stay updated with Zenmate’s latest developments.

However, despite being “24/7”, I could not connect to the service and was instead directed to email them with any queries I had. For a service that claims to be always there for its users, this does not leave a positive impression, especially for newbies!

ZenMate Alternatives

There are a number of other alternatives that you could opt for instead of Zenmate. The admission of keeping logs should be enough reason for users to steer clear of it. VPN providers like PureVPN and Surfshark have a long history of providing valuable features at affordable rates and a complete no logs policy.

Here are some other alternatives of Zenmate

Avast Secureline VPN Review
NVPN Review
VPNSecure-me Review
TigerVPN Review
iVPN Review
AzireVPN Review
TurboVPN Review

Do I Recommend Zenmate?

No, Zenmate would not be on my list of recommended VPN service by a long shot. Not only does it operate out of a country that is a member of the notorious 14 eyes alliance, but users online have a less than favorable view about the provider.

What really settles the debate for me is the logs policy. Any VPN that keeps logs of any kinds is engaging in the very practice it is supposed to protect its users from. And, with so many reliable alternatives to choose from, there is no compelling reason at all to choose Zenmate.

Compatible with device: Windows, Android, Apple, , ,

One Response to ZenMate Review 2020

  1. Connor
    (1/5)

    Zen guaranteed they work for streaming but this was nothing but a lieeeeee. I have had trouble accessing Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Stay away from this phony service.

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