VirtualShield VPN | TechRadar
Non-business users can choose between two service packages. The first is called Protect Myself and is designed for one user running VPN connections on up to three devices at the same time. The other is Protect My Family, intended for groups of between two and five people in the same household. It can be used on up to 15 devices at the same time.
If you opt for the Protect Myself package, you’ll get the best discount for the two-year subscription, which costs an equivalent of $4.99/month. The cheapest family subscription will cost you $14.99/month for two years.
During the purchasing process, you can also go for additional options like Unrestricted Streaming, Protection Plus, Premium Phone Support, Monthly Maintenance, Webcam Privacy Basic, and Webcam Privacy Plus – all of which increase the final price.
The provider’s generous 30-day free trial allows you to test the service for an entire month and just cancel if you don’t want to continue. You do have to sign up and leave your financial details, but you’re not charged for the first month. Just remember to cancel your subscription in time, because there are no refunds.
Accepted payment methods include PayPal and credit/debit cards.
VirtualShield has its good sides, but it’s still far behind industry leaders like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark and CyberGhost, which support installation on routers, have thousands of servers all over the world, can unblock BBC iPlayer, and have independently verified no-logs policies.
Some VPN providers are capable of providing users with access to geo-restricted content on famous VOD platforms they otherwise wouldn’t be able to watch. VirtualShield VPN is partially successful here, as it can unblock Netflix content without any issues, but unblocking BBC iPlayer proved a step too far.
About the company
This VPN service is run by VirtualShield LLC, with headquarters in Los Angeles, California. Its website states that it has servers in ten countries: the United States, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, India, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and Singapore. Weirdly, India didn’t appear in the Windows app but Serbia and Switzerland, which aren’t on the website list, were offered as an option.
Privacy and encryption
To protect your privacy, VirtualShield uses the L2TP and OpenVPN UDP/TCP connection protocols but is silent on the matter of encryption. We couldn’t find any information about the encryption algorithm it uses and customer support ignored our email.
Windows users will have access to a kill switch, which terminates internet access if VPN connection is lost, but it needs to be activated manually. This app also has a few other handy features, including App Guard, an extension of a kill switch that allows VirtualShield to terminate an application automatically if the VPN connection is interrupted.
Although this provider is located in the US, it seems to allow torrenting.
The only exception is temporarily recording your successful connection to one of the provider’s servers, “for the sole purpose of limiting an account’s simultaneous connections.” This information includes your account ID and a randomly generated connection ID, and it is removed from VirtualShield’s database as soon as you disconnect.
We are told that this information doesn’t include “the time at which you connected, which server you connected to, which location you connected from, which device you connected from, or any other information that could be used to track any activity back to a single user”. The Policy also adds that this means the vendor can’t ever associate any specific activity to a specific user on its VPN network.
This all sounds very reassuring but we’d prefer to have stronger evidence in the form of an independent audit.
VirtualShield VPN has apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android, as well as extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. The Linux app is currently in beta.
This VPN can also be manually installed on Android SmartTVs, Chromebooks, Kodi Boxes, Fire Stick/Fire TV and Nvidia Shield. It can also be used on Roku devices and gaming consoles, but only through your computer using a Crossover cable. VirtualShield doesn’t support installation on routers.
The various mobile apps and browser extensions all scored between 3-4 stars out of five, but none are updated regularly. The iOS app, for example, hasn’t been updated for more than three years at the time of writing.
All download links and instructions can be found on the support website and you can contact customer support directly via online chat on the website (not 24/7) or email. We tried the email route but the provider never bothered to respond.
Speed and experience
The VirtualShield VPN Windows app was very easy to navigate and we received a notification each time the VPN connection was established. During our speed tests, we noticed all the servers were owned by the company running this VPN, which promises better control over how your data is used. That said, some of the servers failed to connect.
Our tests were conducted over a 54.13Mbps connection and from a location in south-east Europe, delivering some very good results. For instance, Switzerland hailed a very fast 33.47Mbps, although the UK only managed to pull off 12.50Mbps.
It was surprising that the US East Coast server didn’t lag much behind the UK, delivering a very usable 11.24Mbps. Finally, a server in Singapore gave us 8.37Mbps, which is still a good result for a location so far from our own.
VirtualShield VPN is a solid VPN solution that provides good privacy mechanisms, torrenting support, excellent download speeds, and Netflix unblocking capabilities, on well-designed apps for the major platforms. It deserves extra points for its tier-one servers, very favorable one-month free trial and flexible subscription options.
Unfortunately, there aren’t enough servers or server locations, there’s no support for routers, it can’t unblock BBC iPlayer and doesn’t offer refunds, giving market leading services the upper hand.