AirVPN review: Good speeds and full of stats

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Staff Writer

Joined: Nov 2016

At a Glance

Expert’s Rating
ProsDecent speedsGreat payment plan flexibilityLots of customization optionsConsSmall number of country and server locationsCan’t unblock streaming servicesInterface isn’t the most user friendlyOur VerdictAirVPN offers good configurability, solid pricing options, and open transparency. That being said, its small server network and inability to unblock streaming services hamstring its usability and keep it out of our top VPN recommendations.

Price When Reviewed£4.08 per month

Best Prices Today: AirVPN

AirVPN in brief:

P2P allowed: Yes

Unlimited device connections: No, 5 simultaneous device connections

Business location: Italy

Number of servers: 200+

Number of country locations: 23

Cost: $7.50 per month, or $52 for a year

AirVPN, in the same vein as other services such as Mullvad VPN, enjoys a bit of a cult following among VPN users and privacy advocates. Running almost exclusively on the OpenVPN protocol, and formed by a collective of “hacktivists,” AirVPN prioritizes security and privacy above all else. It’s a VPN service that sticks to its principles and tends not to deviate from outside of its comfort zone. 

With changing values about what constitutes a good VPN, I decided to take another spin with this VPN, originally created to combat censorship and defend net neutrality. I wanted to see how it measures up to the top VPNs and to see where it fits into the broader, modern consumer market as a whole.

Further reading: See our roundup of the best VPNs to learn about competing products.

What are AirVPN’s features and services?

AirVPN’s client home screen hasn’t changed in (presumably) decades.

Sam Singleton

AirVPN’s desktop software is called Eddie, and right off the bat, it looks like it was made in the early days of the internet. AirVPN itself was established in 2010, but its Eddie client looks like it originates from the ’90s. It shirks the flashy user interfaces of VPNs like NordVPN and Surfshark in favor of a more utilitarian design. That wouldn’t bother me, except for the fact that in this case, utilitarian doesn’t necessarily mean user-friendly. 

Eddie’s left rail features six menu items: Overview, Servers, Countries, Speed, Stats, and Logs. This interface looks exactly like it did in our last review, and it’s a bit disappointing that AirVPN hasn’t done anything to update it in that time.

As for the side menu, the first three items are the only options that will concern most users. The Overview section is where you log into the app and connect to a VPN network. The Servers tab shows you a list of available servers with a bunch of key stats. These include the city location of a server, its latency, current server load, and number of users on that server right now. On the right side bar you have buttons to connect to the selected server, add it to an allowlist, add it to a denylist, or a refresh button for the entire server list.

AirVPN’s list of servers includes tons of useful data for users.

Sam Singleton

Under the Servers tab, you have a Countries tab, which lists all of the 23 available country locations with info on the number of servers for that country, current server load for all servers in that country, and number of current users for all servers in that country.

There is a lot of data displayed here and I kind of like it. In fact, one of the best features about AirVPN has to be the level of transparency about the current conditions of its network. This information is a big advantage for power users looking to find the best possible server in a given country. It might not be the most intuitive for those who want a simple click-and-forget style VPN, but for data nerds like me, I quite enjoyed all of the information.

AirVPN’s settings menu allows power users to tweak security features to your heart’s content.

Sam Singleton

That’s about it for the basics on AirVPN. But open the Settings menu and you can drill down deeper than the mines of Moria. There are a ton of configuration features here and far too many for me to list. But some of the coolest include proxy configuration for Tor, DNS server customization, and network routing rules, among others.

AirVPN allows for five simultaneous device connections, which may have been good a few years ago, but many services such as Private Internet Access and IPVanish are now offering unlimited simultaneous connections. 

The company offers plenty of subscription length options from three days up to three years. Its prices are all listed in Euros — however, at the time of writing, a standard one-year subscription costs about $53 USD, which is above average compared to other VPN services. The one-month subscription however is about $7.50, which is actually cheaper than other services, so pricing is more conducive to using AirVPN in the short-term.

AirVPN accepts a number of payment services including PayPal, credit cards, AmazonPay, and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, DogeCoin, LiteCoin, and Bitcoin Cash. 

One of the best features about AirVPN has to be the level of transparency about the current conditions of its network.

How is AirVPN’s performance?

During my testing I rated speeds across AirVPN’s servers in five different countries all around the world over the course of a few days and then compared them to my baseline internet speed. AirVPN server speeds were actually pretty good. Across all locations tested, the average download speed was 52 percent compared to the base speed and the average upload speed was a slightly better 66 percent compared to the base.

Those speeds aren’t enough to take the “fastest VPN” crown, but I’m confident that AirVPN’s performance will be sufficient for most use cases. What surprised me about AirVPN’s performance was the consistency in speeds. Usually a few locations aren’t quite up to snuff — typically servers located further away. I did encounter some weak speeds here and there, but for the most part locations showed similarly strong performance during each round of testing.

While using any VPN both your download and upload speeds are likely to decrease due to latency between servers. It’s also worth noting that VPN server speeds are highly dependent upon area, time of use, and a multitude of other factors. Therefore your experience may differ from those in my, or anyone else’s testing.

It’s also worth noting that you can take advantage of AirVPN’s previously mentioned server load data (displayed next to the server name) to choose the best server at any given moment. Those with lower server loads will typically lead to faster speeds. I found this data to be extremely useful while using AirVPN and it’s something I wish more VPN services would display in the future.

Streaming service unblocking was disappointing to say the least. AirVPN wasn’t able to access any of the major streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, or Peacock, among others. Considering how many people seek out a VPN in order to get around region locks, this is a shockingly bad miss on the part of AirVPN. If you’re looking to use a VPN to access location-restricted content, I recommend you look elsewhere.

How is AirVPN’s security and privacy?


AirVPN uses the industry standard AES 256-bit encryption and in terms of protocols it only offers OpenVPN or WireGuard. This is very different from most other VPN services which offer three, four, or even five different protocols for users to choose from. This was seemingly by design as one of the AirVPN team’s original goals with their VPN was to provide the utmost privacy and security. Both of these protocols strike an excellent balance between performance and security. In fact, if you’re using a VPN for purely privacy or security reasons then AirVPN will make your connection feel akin to Fort Knox. 

AirVPN also offers a kill switch function that worked perfectly well in my testing, cutting off when my connection dropped unexpectedly. Additionally, I confirmed that there were no DNS leaks while using any of the AirVPN servers so you can rest assured your true location will not be compromised.

AirVPN’s privacy policy states that it doesn’t track your online activity while connected to the network. Anything it does need to keep, like your IP while using the network, is stored only in disk-less RAM servers and “only for the time being necessary to provide the service.”

The company’s no-log policy is very clearly stated and it’s forthcoming with what data it does and does not collect. That’s all well and good, but unfortunately it’s lacking an independent third-party audit, meaning users are left to take AirVPN at its word.

Third-party audits are becoming a bit of a necessity for VPN providers nowadays and for a company like AirVPN, which is so focused on user privacy—the founders created the service to protect net neutrality after all—it’s disappointing that it has never undergone an independent audit to back up its claims.

Is AirVPN worth it?

AirVPN is good, but not great. It has decent and consistent speeds, standard pricing, and plenty of configuration options for its service. It also makes the right privacy promises and has a high level of transparency about its network. That being said, it seems to be falling further and further behind other services with each new year. Its interface is sorely outdated and unnecessarily convoluted. All of this is a shame considering the altruistic reasons AirVPN was created. You want to see small teams with aspiring ideals succeed, but in today’s world that usually isn’t enough.

AirVPN is a service that won’t hold your hand and makes no compromises to appeal to a wider audience. There is something to be said for the AirVPN team sticking to their original values, but in the current market, VPNs are used for much more than just added security. Features such as the ability to unblock geo-restricted content and optimize connections for speed are becoming just as important as privacy and security. Users nowadays demand these things from their VPN provider and as a result they may be better served with a different service.

Editor’s note: Because online services are often iterative, gaining new features and performance improvements over time, this review is subject to change in order to accurately reflect the current state of the service. Any changes to text or our final review verdict will be noted at the top of this article.


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