Lantern sets out to illuminate the path to a borderless Internet, all while keeping your traffic in the dark.
Lantern is NOT a VPN — and neither does it claim to be one. What we have here is an open-source proxy designed with accessibility in mind.
That said, Lantern does advertise encryption. It only works upon opening a restricted website or service, which renders the whole “security” argument void. But again, Lantern explicitly states it’s not an anonymity software, and users are made aware of that in the ToS.
Lantern also suffers from DNS and WebRTC leaks, while also struggling to perform its exclusive task — unblocking. US Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and BBC iPlayer were all off-limits for us, but it worked for YouTube. Simpler services like Facebook, Google, and WhatsApp are also fair game.
Worth it? If you don’t care where your sensitive info ends up, try the free version and see for yourself. But we disagree with Lantern’s slogan — it isn’t “better than a VPN”.
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.
Lantern mentions using “geo-optimized” servers, but doesn’t disclose numbers or locations. Users cannot choose which server to connect to, as it happens automatically upon visiting blocked websites/services.
Lantern is incredibly easy to set up — simply download the app, open it, and you’re all set.
This software gives “hands-off approach” a new meaning. Almost everything happens automatically once the app is running. No user input is needed, which turns out to be a bad thing when taken to this degree.
Settings include enabling/disabling auto-startup, disabling usage reporting (which is on by default), and choosing whether the app can manage the system proxy or not.
There are no manual configurations for other platforms.
Lantern’s main support hub is a Google Groups forum. It’s not ideal, but it’s something. Answers from staff are helpful, but take some time.
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.
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