CactusVPN is one of the youngest players on the market with a refreshing corporate design, compared to other VPN services. The things they do are a little different from the competition by adding a small but unique VPN service to the range of available VPN providers.
CactusVPN has a small fleet of twenty VPN servers in nine countries. Most of them are located in the largest markets, such as the USA, Great Britain, Canada, the major European countries, Australia and South Korea. Please note that the use of Bittorrent is only allowed on servers in Holland and CactusVPN’s home country Moldova.
This small fleet (compared to other VPN services) covers your browsing activities in prominent areas. But more importantly, they offer the highest quality service. Servers are fast, reliable and well secured without exception. Internet speeds are only slightly below those of the fastest VPN providers. But are high enough to allow continuous streaming, browsing and downloading.
CactusVPN supports streaming of American Netflix and UK’s BBC iPlayer services, and that is to say the least. The company has clearly made support a key principle of its strategy, which is reflected in its subscriptions. Specific servers are reserved for bypassing geoblockades, spitting out new IP addresses on demand and around the clock.
This arrangement usually ensures very fluid streaming. However, there is one caveat: this setting is vulnerable to slowdowns when traffic on these servers is high. And as with any VPN geoblocking service, this setup will only take as long as it takes. Streaming services like Netflix are constantly trying to block new IP addresses related to VPN.
The availability of local, smaller streaming services is expected to take a while longer, which gives expats every reason to use VPN to watch shows in their home country.
The applications you connect to a VPN server are optimized and efficient. Connecting to a standard server is easy, and people who want more complicated setups will be satisfied. If you’re learning a little more about the applications, you’ll find options to switch encryption protocols, move to a new server location, or enable (or disable) additional protection against DNS leaks.
Connecting your smartphone or tablet to a VPN server is also a snap. Each subscription gives you access to three separate VPN connections. Which should be more than enough for most users. The only (logical) restriction is that you cannot use one of these connections for more than one device.
The relatively small size of the Cactus VPN server network hardly registers the upload and download speeds that we measured when testing the service. They can stream effortlessly within the borders of Europe and the USA, and even we have noticed a slight delay in our connections. Just enough to advise against using CactusVPN in full security mode for online games, especially when dealing with US servers.
Real speed freaks will want to check the smart DNS service offered by CactusVPN with some of its subscriptions (also sold as a separate subscription), which changes your IP address without changing the encryption layers used in the VPN. You use the Cactus server network without protection, which of course makes you more susceptible to leaks and the like, but also increases your upload and download speeds considerably. Smart DNS is an interesting option for people involved in legal streaming services.
Most VPN providers offer monthly and annual subscriptions that give you access to the full service. CactusVPN subscriptions go a different way. Consumers choose the services they need (think they will need them) and pay only for those options. This catering model has five different subscription types, each offering lower monthly fees for longer subscriptions.
For users who simply want to use VPN to stream content from the US or UK, CactusVPN offers two options at a very reasonable price. You get access to US and UK VPN servers for a fixed fee of 4 Euro per month or 2.5 Euro per year. Free VPN’s are available, but we do not recommend to use them.
Other users can view the Liberty VPN subscription, which is tailored to the needs of people looking for safe countries to surf the Internet. This subscription allows access to servers in the Netherlands, Moldova and Germany. Countries where freedom of expression is respected and you can express yourself online without fear of prosecution. The same fixed fee (4 euros per month or 2.5 euros per year) applies to this subscription model.
While these subscriptions are relatively cheap compared to competitors’ offers, others are expensive. An extensive subscription with access to all available options (including smart DNS) will cost you 15 euros per month or 4 euros per month if you choose an annual subscription. A smart DNS is available separately for 10 Euro per month or a lower fee depending on the duration of your subscription.