Visit the OneVPN website and you'll find a long list of features. It claims to offer 390+ servers in 57 countries, optimized streaming with a built-in ad-blocker, zero logging, malware protection, a NAT firewall, wide protocol support (OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, OpenConnect) and 24/7 live chat on hand to deal with any problems.
There are Windows, Mac and Android clients, with iOS supported via a third-party app (Cisco AnyConnect), and the service supports simultaneous connections from up to five devices.
The company gets a little over-enthusiastic with its marketing, occasionally: 'World’s Fastest VPN Service', 'The VPN Service that Boost Internet Connection', 'The world’s largest VPN Protocols support', 'remarkable features', 'a unique tool', 'most affordable price.'
- Want to try OneVPN? Check out the website here
All providers love to tell you how great they are, but OneVPN goes beyond that, to the point where some of its claims look misleading.
Instead of saying its anti-malware feature blocks access to malicious websites, for instance, reducing the chance of downloading malware, the website makes it sound like a replacement for an antivirus: 'OneVPN Anti-Malware acts like an anti-infection, creating a shield to keep your device secured at all times.'
Jargon is thrown in to try and make this more convincing. OneVPN has an 'IPS (Intrusion Prevention System)', the company says, 'which make us most secure VPN of all times.' We'd love to know how that works and what OneVPN thinks it's doing, but the company isn't saying.
There are many more payment options than usual, including credit and debit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, gift cards and more.
OneVPN also offers a 7-day money-back guarantee, although with several restrictions. You only qualify if you 'are less than completely satisfied with our services or feel that OneVPN does not match your standard needs of a VPN', for instance, and you must state a reason when you ask for a refund. Also, you must not have transferred more than 3GB of data. That should provide cover if you have problems connecting, or performance is poor, but other services might give you more time to claim with no conditions at all.
Many VPN users are understandably concerned about logging, but OneVPN's website doesn't try to hide the issue. The company operates a ‘zero logging policy’, it says, stating: "We do not monitor or keep any logs of our users." That seems clear, but it's also a standard line for most VPN providers, so we headed off to the small print to dig into the detail.
Unfortunately, there's not very much more available, just some reassuring but vague words:
'We do not track any physical addresses and locations, numbers, or any other personal information. We do not store or keep records of your IPs and your payment processes. We do not keep any track of your online activities because that is what we deliver the privacy and protection.'
While this sounds promising, it's incomplete, as we already know OneVPN must be tracking some information. The company says it restricts you to five simultaneous logons, so somewhere, at some time, there's a record of login sessions. We're told you can't get a refund if you've used more than 3GB of traffic, which means there's a persistent record of bandwidth used.
None of that means OneVPN is doing anything dubious, of course, but what it suggests to us is that the company is saying what it thinks customers want to hear ('we don't log anything!') rather than fully describe what's happening ('we do log some information, but this doesn't hurt your privacy, and here's why.')
VPN providers have got away with that kind of vagueness for years, but maybe, just maybe, those days are coming to an end. Big-name providers like TunnelBear, VyprVPN, ExpressVPN and NordVPN have put themselves through public audits to give users solid evidence that they're doing what they claim, and if you want to compete with that, saying 'we don't log anything, honest, just trust us' is no longer enough.
Signing up with OneVPN seems straightforward. Choose a plan, a payment method, then enter your details, much like any other web service you've ever bought. The website tells you it's sent an email with your credentials, and explains 'we have designed 3 simple steps to start with OneVPN.'
And that's when our problems began.
The page had a green 'Getting Started' button, but clicking it did precisely nothing. Looking at the code, that's because it linked to the page we were already viewing.
Text at the bottom of the page suggested 'Contact OneVPN's 24/7 Live Chat Support at: www.onevpn.com', but the link didn't work, because it also pointed at the current page. The title of our browser tab - 'meta and title not available' - suggested there are more than a few coding errors here, so we gave up and closed the tab.
There was still the email with our credentials, right? Wrong. OneVPN took our money immediately, a PayPal receipt arrived within seconds, but it didn't send any acknowledgement or account information of its own.
Two hours went by, still nothing. The website mentioned '24/7 live chat', so we manually pointed our browser at onevpn.com, headed off to the Live Chat page, and... Were greeted with the message 'Unfortunately, our staff are currently unavailable... This feature has been disabled, please contact us via. email. Thank you.' The page included a form to send a message, but it was greyed out.
We found our way to the Contact page, filled in another form, sent a message explaining we'd received nothing, and copy and pasting in our PayPal receipt with the date, time, names, transaction ID and so on.
13 hours later, the next day, we still had no reply. To understand whether we'd been unlucky, or this is a common issue, we signed up again, with a different name and email address. And, yes, same problem: a broken 'Getting Started' page, a button which does nothing, a promise that 'your credentials have been sent to your email address', but an Inbox which only contains our PayPal receipt. Oh, and the '24/7 live chat' was still unavailable, something which continued throughout the review.
These kind of hassles aren't just an inconvenience. We'd signed up to a subscription, OneVPN had taken our first payment already, and if we got annoyed, wandered off, forgot we'd signed up, it would keep taking payments until we noticed. And because the company hadn't sent us our account credentials, we had no way to log in and tell it to stop doing that.
Normally we might wonder if there's an innocent explanation, some one-off disaster has struck OneVPN's systems and it can't process new orders right now. But the problem with that is OneVPN failed during our last review, too, not recognizing we'd paid and requiring three emails to support before we were finally able to use the service. This doesn't seem to be bad luck; it's just how OneVPN is.
Our first order was on Wednesday; now, it's Friday. Still nothing. We sent another email, explaining the situation, with copies of both PayPal receipts as confirmation of our orders. And, some ten hours later, we finally got a reply.
The company apologized for the 'inconvenience', but offered no explanation for its failures.
We asked for one of our two accounts to be refunded, it told us this was 'in process', but when we checked, the next day, no money had been returned.
The agent gave us some new information, explaining 'we are in the maintenance process of the OneVPN app backend', and recommending we use the third-party Cisco AnyConnect client, instead.
So OneVPN's 'maintenance process' means disabling its apps, preventing us from accessing its many whizz-bang bonus features, and this would continue for so long that we needed to use something else? But the company doesn't alert users to this on its website or Twitter account, or even tell you what's going on if you sign up during the down time?
It's hard to grasp how any company can care so little about its customers, but, still, it's not all bad news. This is a review, it's our job to find out what level of service you'll get from OneVPN, and our experience made that very clear: absolutely terrible.
We would normally devote the next few paragraphs to the provider's apps, their features, how good or bad they are. But as OneVPN's apps weren't available during the review, that's not going to be possible.
OneVPN's recommended third-party replacement, Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client, is a professional product, but proved irritating to use (it prompted us to enter our password every single time we connected) and didn't have the features you'd expect from a provider's own VPN app. That's not Cisco's fault, though, so we won't spend any time on it here.
AnyConnect didn't give us access to all the locations promised on the website. OneVPN claimed to offer servers in 57 countries, but the client listed only 41 locations in 19 countries. Even some of those appeared to be down (we weren't able to connect to London, for instance.) Maybe these were down for maintenance, too.
The client highlighted four locations as supporting P2P (two in Germany, two in the Netherlands.) Not a lot, but better than nothing.
OneVPN claims it 'offers easy to access online streaming channels and other content from all around the world', but the reality is a little different. Although the service allowed us to stream US Netflix, an improvement on the last review, it failed with BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.
UK download speeds were surprisingly high at 65Mbps on a 75Mbps test connection, and a decent 45-55Mbps when connecting from the UK to the US. If OneVPN successfully unblocks 4K video somewhere - anywhhere - you should be able to enjoy some glitch-free streaming.
There was more positive news from our final privacy tests when we found no sign of any DNS or WebRTC leaks. Success here depends on the app, though, so the credit goes to AnyConnect; if you're using OneVPN's own apps, you might see different results.
OneVPN's shopping cart works well, and the company took our money within seconds. Unfortunately, everything else was a disaster. The company couldn't deliver the service, said nothing for 48+ hours until we'd complained three times, before finally providing a partially functioning service which didn't begin to live up to the website promises. Avoid - just go for ExpressVPN instead.
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