Astrill VPN Review 2020 - DON'T BUY IT BEFORE YOU READ THIS

What do we look at?

Astrill VPN Overview October 2020

Astrill VPN has a reputation for unblocking restricted websites in China — which surprised me because until writing this review, I’d never heard of it. Since even well-known VPNs often have issues working in China, I decided to run several in-depth tests to determine if Astrill deserves a spot in the top VPNs list.

I focused on the most important features for a VPN: speed, security, streaming capability, privacy, and overall value for the price. After my tests, I was extremely impressed by its speeds and security, but was discouraged by its high cost and limited streaming abilities.

Unfortunately, Astrill only offers a 7-day free trial. If you’d like a VPN that offers additional features and gives you more time to try it, check out NordVPN’s much longer free period of 30 days with its money-back guarantee.

Try Astrill VPN for free for 7 days!

In a Rush? Here’s a 1-Minute Summary

  • Unblocks Netflix and multiple other streaming services. I could get past location restrictions for Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max. Sadly, it failed to unblock Prime, Hulu, and the BBC iPlayer. See which streaming platforms I unblocked.
  • Lightning-fast speeds with all servers. I reached impressive speeds of up to 362Mbps with a local server and 236Mbps with the farthest server over 15,000 km from me. Check out the speed test results.
  • Solid security features. Astrill VPN has reliable security features, including a kill switch, leak protection, and a wide range of encryption protocols. Jump to the security section.
  • Some logging. Astrill keeps some anonymized data but very little compared to many other VPNs — and its location in the Seychelles means it can’t be forced to turn over data. Learn more about Astrill’s privacy policy.
  • Works in China. Astrill is the top VPN pick for China, with cutting-edge proprietary technologies that make it a reliable option for bypassing online censorship. Find out how Astrill works in China.
  • Support for the most popular devices and 5 simultaneous connections. I connected 5 different devices at once and didn’t notice a decline in the quality. Discover which devices are supported.
  • More expensive compared to other VPNs. Astrill’s pricing is high compared to most premium VPNs on the market. See all pricing options.

Try Astrill VPN today!

Astrill VPN Unblocks Netflix, HBO, and Disney+ (But Can’t Access Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer)

Astrill claims to support most major streaming services, although this was only half-true during my tests. I was able to unblock Netflix, HBO Max and NOW, and Disney+, but couldn’t access Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or the BBC iPlayer.

I recommend that you use Astrill’s OpenWeb protocol for streaming since it’s optimized for speeds and you can switch between servers almost instantly.

Netflix: Unblocked

Astrill VPN is a great choice for unblocking multiple Netflix libraries, including:

  • US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, France, and Hong Kong

Thanks to the speed of Astrill’s OpenWeb protocol (default on Windows), I could immediately play all streams in extremely high quality. I was also impressed that OpenWeb switches between locations instantly, unlike many other VPN protocols that take several seconds to change servers. This way, you can quickly and easily jump between Netflix libraries.

I also had minimal buffering with all of the servers I used (even with the Australia server which is over 15,500 km away from me!). Most surprisingly, I didn’t have to wait for stream quality to increase after the initial load like with most VPNs.

Screenshot of Astrill VPN connected to a US server and streaming Sherlock on Netflix.
I was very happy with Astrill’s ability to reliably unblock Netflix in high quality

Watch Netflix with Astrill VPN

HBO Max and HBO NOW: Unblocked

I had mixed results with HBO and couldn’t watch when connected to some US servers like New York. I kept getting this error message:

“Access Denied. You don’t have permission to access “http://www.hbomax.com/” on this server.”

Once I connected to the Los Angeles servers, I no longer had any issues. Then I was able to stream Curb Your Enthusiasm with the Los Angeles A and B servers. Buffering took just 7 seconds and the stream quality was almost immediately full HD.

Screenshot of Astrill VPN unblocking Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO Max.
I had the best results with HBO streaming when connecting to Los Angeles servers

Watch HBO with Astrill VPN

Disney+: Unblocked

I was able to unblock Disney+ on Astrill VPN with 5 Disney+ server locations (US, Canada, UK, Japan, and Germany). The streams loaded in just 5 seconds with immediate full HD quality, even using distant servers.

Screenshot of Astrill VPN connected to a Los Angeles server and unblocking Disney+.
I watched Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (Shorts) in high quality with Astrill

Watch Disney+ with Astrill VPN

Hulu: Blocked

I tried connecting to Hulu US with multiple servers, but was either unable to bypass the error page below or encountered a blank white page. This is likely due Hulu recognizing all of Astrill’s US IP addresses as belonging to a VPN.

Screenshot of Astrill VPN connected to a US server and being shown an error code by Hulu US.
I wasn’t able to bypass Hulu’s error page while connected to a US server

Watch Hulu with NordVPN

BBC iPlayer: Blocked

When I accessed the BBC iPlayer with a London server connection, I saw the following error:

“BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues.”

Astrill customer support told me that if you buy a private UK IP address from them, this will solve the issue. This makes it far less likely that your connection is recognized as a VPN and gives you more reliable access. Note that this is an added cost on top of your subscription.

Watch BBC iPlayer with NordVPN

Amazon Prime: Blocked

Connecting to Amazon Prime also displayed an error:

“Your device is connected to the Internet using a VPN or proxy service. Please disable it and try again. For more help, go to amazon.co.uk/vpn.”

I also spoke to customer support about this, and they recommended the same solution as with the BBC iPlayer — buying a private US IP address.

NordVPN can reliably unblock Hulu, the BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and all other services on this list at no extra cost. I tested NordVPN with multiple streaming providers and was extremely impressed with its reliability and quality.

Watch Amazon Prime Video with NordVPN

Important to know

Seychelles
2009
Yes
10
7 days guaranteed

Contact Details

[email protected]
www.AstrillVPN.com

Speed7.2

I had high speeds with all of the Astrill servers I tested, even with the Sydney servers over 15,000 km from me! The highest speeds I reached were 362Mbps with a Frankfurt server, with the slowest being 236Mbps (on a Sydney server). Since full HD streaming requires 5Mbps and 4K needs 25Mbps, you won’t have any problems with streaming despite the distance of the server from you. From my experience, Astrill gives you plenty of bandwidth for speedy browsing, streaming, and downloading without interrupting your other activities.

Screenshot of 4 speed tests with Astrill's Frankfurt, London, New York, and Sydney Servers.
You’ll have plenty of bandwidth with all of Astrill’s global servers

Browse at high speeds with Astrill VPN

Is Astrill VPN Fast Enough for Gaming? — Yes, Although I Encountered Some Errors

When you game online, you need the lowest possible latency (server delay), especially when playing fast-paced games such as first-person shooters. Fortunately, gaming on Astrill’s servers was a great experience when it worked.

I started my tests by trying to play Call of Duty: Warzone, but the game wouldn’t let me connect when I was connected to an Astrill server. I had the same issue when playing Rainbow Six: Siege.

Luckily, the other games I tested worked well. In Rocket League, my ping increased from 34ms to 44ms, and in Apex Legends it changed from 32ms to 38ms — essentially unnoticeable. I played a few rounds of each game and had a great experience with no lag or interrupted connectivity. Although it’s annoying that some games don’t work at all, Astrill offered a better experience in the games that worked than most VPNs are capable of.

Screenshot of Apex Legends and Rocket League pings when disconnected and connected to a local Astrill VPN server.
I had minimal lag when connected to a local Astrill server

Game on Astrill VPN’s fast servers

Why Most Speed Tests are Pointless & How We Correctly Test VPN Speeds

Speed determines how fast content uploads, so if you're torrenting or streaming, you want the speed to be somewhat identical to your regular internet speed. Since a VPN encrypts your data, it usually takes a bit longer to send your data back and forth, which can slow down your connection. However, if your ISP deliberately slows down your connection (also known as throttling) a VPN might increase your internet speed. Testing a VPN is somewhat pointless because new servers pop up and affect speed. Your speed can also differ according to your location, so your speed test might not match ours. Having said that, we tested the speed in numerous locations to provide you with the average.

Servers7.8

Server Network — Small but Powerful Global Network

Astrill has servers in 110 cities spread across 59 countries. Unfortunately, they don’t state an exact number of servers, making it hard to compare them against its competitors (although it’s a few hundred). However, it claims to only use fast, dedicated servers instead of the slower virtual private servers that many other VPNs rent from third-parties. During my testing, I noticed that Astrill’s servers give it a good performance edge.

First, I tested the OpenWeb protocol while connecting to multiple servers, including New York, London, Frankfurt, Montreal, Tokyo, Sydney, and various other global cities. All servers connected in under 3 seconds, with local servers taking just 1 second!

Then I tested connecting with the OpenVPN protocol, which slowed connections down to around 6 seconds. This is due to the longer “handshake” process (when encryption keys are exchanged at the start of a connection) that OpenVPN requires that OpenWeb doesn’t. Either way, you won’t be waiting long to get connected.

Try Astrill VPN’s high-performance network

Security — Strong Security Features Keep You Secure Online

Astrill has a variety of basic and advanced protocols and security features to keep your data safe.

A key security feature of a VPN is a kill switch — it completely disconnects you from the internet if your VPN connection fails. This prevents you from exposing any data that could be used against you. I tested Astrill’s integrated kill switch on my Windows PC by activating it and then disconnecting from a server multiple times. It worked every time without fail. You can also use the App Guard to block internet access to specific apps instead of everything. This is useful in certain instances, such as when you’re torrenting.

IP and DNS leak protection are used to prevent your real addresses from being linked to your online activity. As you can see below, Astrill passed all the leak tests.

Screenshot of Astrill VPN successfully passing DNS leak tests.
Your real IP and DNS addresses will remain anonymous when connected to Astrill

Astrill VPN also supports a number of customizable encryption types and protocols, like:

  • Encryption Types: AES, Blowfish, CAST, and Camellia
  • Protocols: OpenWeb, StealthVPN, WireGuard, OpenVPN, OpenConnect, Cisco IPSec, IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and PPTP

These protocols are designed to hide your online traffic and allow you to browse privately without being observable by your ISP, users sharing your local network, or even hackers. Its StealthVPN protocol was also specially designed to hide the fact you’re using a VPN from your ISP — ideal for China or other restrictive countries.

Secure yourself online with Astrill VPN

Privacy — Solid Privacy Policy and Safe International HQ Location

Astrill claims it has a “strict no-logs policy,” but there’s a little more nuance to the policy than that. Its system keeps track of active sessions (connection time, IP address, device type, and Astrill VPN application version) — but all of this is deleted once you disconnect from the VPN. This is supposedly just to prevent too many devices from connecting to a single account. It also measures the amount of data used in aggregate to measure how effective its network is at handling this load, but this data is anonymous.

The only data kept longer are the last 20 connection records including connection time, duration, country, device type, and Astrill client application version number. This is retained for 30 days to provide customer support but isn’t tied to your IP address, making it anonymous. Most importantly, Astrill states that the system is designed so that it can’t see which websites were accessed by specific clients. Although Astrill stores some data, it’s in line with what most premium VPNs log and doesn’t store any identifiable information. It’s also based in the Seychelles, where it doesn’t have any legal obligation to keep or provide logs to authorities.

When I tested Astrill’s ad blocker, I experienced mixed results. This is supposed to increase privacy (and reduce irritation at pop-ups), though I saw ads on roughly 70% of websites after I visited a number of sites known to be full of ads (including Forbes, Business Insider, and IGN). While some sites were ad-free, the majority weren’t so you’d be better off using a dedicated ad-blocker if you choose Astrill.

Browse privately with Astrill VPN

Torrenting — Great Torrenting Speeds After Minor Setup

Astrill supports torrenting, but not with all servers. You can easily find a server that supports P2P traffic by choosing one that has a gold star next to the name.

The process isn’t quite as simple as with other VPNs but only takes a minute to set up. Simply open the Astrill settings and enable port forwarding. Then go to your torrent software (qBittorrent in my case) and enter the same port as in Astrill into the incoming port setting normally under the Connection category. Be sure to also enable NAT-PMP or UPnP under the same category.

I tested this by downloading a video file while connected to a server closest to me. My average speed was super fast at 16 MiB/s (134Mbps) with a maximum of 330Mbps. I downloaded the 2.77GB file in just 3 minutes!

Screenshot of Astrill torrenting a file through its Polish P2P-supporting server.

Torrent securely with Astrill VPN

Does Astrill VPN Work in China? — Yes, It’s the Best VPN for China!

Astrill is actually ranked #1 on the best VPNs for China list. This is impressive considering very few VPNs actually work in the country.

Astrill has incorporated a number of custom technologies that enable it to easily bypass China’s internet censorship. This includes StealthVPN, which is a proprietary protocol developed by Astrill on top of OpenVPN — it hides the fact that you’re even using a VPN, making it harder for firewalls to detect.

The addition of Smart Mode ensures that you draw even less attention to your online activity. When you connect to a site from outside China, Astrill will automatically connect but default to a local Chinese IP address when you’re using a local website. This prevents your IP address from getting blocked in China and gives you much higher speeds, while retaining the high-end encryption while getting global access.

It’s easiest to download Astrill before you arrive in the country since China regularly blocks VPN sites. Luckily, you can still download it from astrill-mirror.com if you’re already within China.

Try Astrill VPN in China

Server Locations

Argentina
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Brazil
Bulgaria
Canada
Czech Republic
Denmark
Egypt
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong
See all supported locations...

User Experience8.4

Simultaneous Device Connections — 5 Devices At Once

You can connect up to 5 devices with your Astrill subscription at the same time. You can also log in on unlimited devices simultaneously without being logged out.

I tested this by connecting a Windows, Mac, 2 Android phones, and an iPhone — there was no slowdown or loss of connectivity on any of the devices.

Device Compatibility — Supported on All Main Platforms

You can use Astrill on the following devices:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • iOS (iPhone / iPad)
  • Android
  • Routers

If you need support for more devices, Surfshark offers unlimited device connections under a single subscription. You can try it for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee.

Native Apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux — Basic but Functional Interface

Astrill’s app interface is straightforward and functional, making it simple to navigate. You won’t have a problem with its limited list of settings and easy-to-find essential features.

The only issue I had was that Astrill’s desktop app was set on default to only tunnel your browser traffic. If I torrented before noticing this, I would have been exposing my real IP and DNS addresses — not ideal if you get caught with copyrighted material.

Astrill’s mobile apps are extremely basic and don’t offer the same functions as on desktop. Instead, you can choose between servers, protocol types, and specific apps to run through the VPN. For the first time you launch Astrill on Android, you’ll also be asked to turn off battery optimization for the app for “consistent results”. When I turned this off and on, I couldn’t notice a difference in performance — your experience may vary depending on your own device.

Screenshot of Astrill VPN's apps on desktop and mobile.
You can easily find any feature on Astrill’s simple interface

Ease of Set-Up & Installation — Easily Install in Minutes

  1. Go to astrill.com/download/ and download the VPN to your device.
    Screenshot of Astrill VPN download page.
  2. Open the file and start the installation process.
    Screenshot of Astrill install screen on Windows.
  3. Launch Astrill and log in. Choose a country and connect!
    Screenshot of Astrill VPN's Windows app.

Easily Uninstall Astrill

You can remove Astrill on Windows by going to Programs and Features in the Control Panel, selecting the program, and clicking uninstall. On Mac, drag Astrill from Applications to Trash.

On Android, hold down the Astrill icon and click Uninstall, or drag it to the uninstall sign on the screen. On iOS, hold down the app icon and click the X at the top of the app.

Support8.4

I expect high-quality support for a premium service and Astrill delivers.

You can get support through:

  • 24/7 live chat
  • Email (via form submission)
  • Manuals and FAQ (in 14 languages)

I contacted Astrill’s support through live chat and was connected in 2 minutes. Finding the option for live chat was easy, compared to several other providers that make it intentionally difficult to find the chat option. I asked the support agent for information on streaming services, but I didn’t get a clear answer.

Screenshot of Astrill's live chat support.
You can get quick support through Astrill’s live chat

I also submitted a question through the support form and waited for the email reply — it took just 20 minutes! If you prefer to find the answer for yourself, the manuals and FAQs are also full of in-depth information. The manuals are actually hosted on a separate Astrill Wiki page in extreme detail on numerous technical issues. The FAQs are available in 14 languages and give a good amount of more general answers.

Try Astrill VPN today

How We Test Customer Support and Why Should You Care

We personally test the customer support team of every VPN we review. This means asking technical question through the live chat feature (where applicable) and measuring the response time for email questions. Whether you need to connect to a specific server, change your security protocol, or configure a VPN on your router, finding a VPN with quality customer support should be important to you.

Pricing7.8

Astrill is one of the more expensive VPNs available, with prices quite a bit higher than many of the frontrunners in the VPN market. However, Astrill offers premium service with high speeds, extensive security features, and support in China — so it’s up to you to determine whether it’s worth the price for your needs.

Payment Options

You can pay for Astrill with the following payment methods:

  • Credit/debit cards, UnionPay, Alipay, WeChat Pay, PayPal, Perfect Money, Bitcoin, Monero, Webmoney, Bank transfer

No Refund Policy, but Has a 1-Week Free Trial

Unlike many VPNs that offer lengthy money-back periods, Astrill doesn’t permit refunds on any of its plans.

Instead, you can sign up for its free trial — simply visit the Astrill homepage with this link, find the free trial box, and enter your email. You’ll have to verify your phone number (to prevent multiple sign-ups from the same user), but there’s no need to enter any payment details. Although it lacks a refund policy, this free trial is about as easy as it gets to experience the service risk-free.

Astrill VPN offers the following plans

Final Verdict

Astrill is a fantastic VPN with extremely high speeds, solid security features, a strong privacy policy, support for torrenting — and is the overall favorite VPN for China. You can even unblock multiple streaming services, including Netflix, HBO, and Disney+, though it doesn’t work with a few others such as Hulu and the BBC iPlayer.

However, it comes at a premium price. With similarly high speeds, access to a much wider range of streaming services, and strong security, NordVPN is a more affordable alternative to Astrill. Luckily, you can try NordVPN for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee and decide which VPN you’d prefer to use.

Try Astrill VPN now

FAQs

😃 Is Astrill VPN worth getting?

If you don’t mind the premium price, Astrill is a fantastic option. It has extremely fast servers (I averaged 291Mbps), can unblock multiple streaming platforms, and has strong security features and multiple encryption protocols.

However, it’s also several times more expensive than my preferred VPN, NordVPN. It has similarly fast servers, access to more streaming services (Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime), and a secure server infrastructure — for roughly 4 times less. You can also try NordVPN for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee.

🤑 Can I use Astrill VPN for free?

Yes, you can try Astrill for 1 week completely for free. Simply visit this page, enter your email into the free trial sign up, and verify your phone number. You’ll be taken to the download page and can download the relevant installer from there. You might even be able to sign up for another free trial as long as you register with a different email and number.

🤓 Is Astrill VPN really safe?

Yes, Astrill has strong security and privacy features that will keep you safe online. The provider also created the well-regarded proprietary encryption protocols OpenWeb and StealthVPN. OpenWeb is optimized for speed and streaming, while StealthVPN helps you get safe access to the open internet in China.

😇 How can I download Astrill VPN from China?

You can use the website astrill-mirror.com inside China to download the app to your device. This URL is essentially just a copy of the official site hosted on a different server, so it’s less likely to be detected and blocked by authorities. Once you have the app, just follow the installation instructions and log in.

Astrill also has servers in neighboring Taiwan (which isn’t subject to China’s censorship) and you can get higher speeds when connected from China.

Just be aware that you can’t sign up for Astrill’s 7-day free trial from inside China, so you’ll need to subscribe before entering the country.

Try Astrill VPN now

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