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Orchid VPN review

Crypto-powered VPN for extra privacy

Orchid VPN
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Orchid VPN might seem complicated to a user unfamiliar with blockchain and cryptocurrencies, but the company goes out of its way to make its apps accessible to everyone. Its download speeds are nothing to write home about, but considering you’re getting more privacy than with traditional VPNs, they just might be enough. Since our last review, Orchid has removed high ETH gas fees and is now taking advantage of both xDai and Ethereum, so its prices are now much more acceptable. The platform itself is also much more available to users who aren’t familiar with cryptocurrencies.

For

  • Next-level privacy
  • Unlimited users and simultaneous connections
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing model
  • Accessible to mainstream

Against

  • Below-average speeds
  • No free trial or money-back guarantee

TechRadar Verdict

Orchid VPN might seem complicated to a user unfamiliar with blockchain and cryptocurrencies, but the company goes out of its way to make its apps accessible to everyone. Its download speeds are nothing to write home about, but considering you’re getting more privacy than with traditional VPNs, they just might be enough. Since our last review, Orchid has removed high ETH gas fees and is now taking advantage of both xDai and Ethereum, so its prices are now much more acceptable. The platform itself is also much more available to users who aren’t familiar with cryptocurrencies.

Pros

  • + Next-level privacy
  • + Unlimited users and simultaneous connections
  • + Pay-as-you-go pricing model
  • + Accessible to mainstream

Cons

  • - Below-average speeds
  • - No free trial or money-back guarantee

Orchid VPN is a “crypto-powered VPN service and advanced network security tool” that gives you access to a network of VPN providers from within one app.

It allows you to create as many “hops” as you need, each representing one VPN connection. But to gain access to the service, you'll need to acquire Orchid's OXT token.

Price

This VPN provider doesn’t follow the same pricing models as its competitors - there are no pricing plans or subscription options. Instead, you pay for as much bandwidth as you need.

Orchid VPN has its own token, OXT, which you can purchase on cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinmama, Kraken, etc. Then you use this token to purchase the amount of VPN bandwidth you want.

Or you can buy a pre-funded Orchid account using native fiat currency to get Orchid credits. The purpose of this is to open the use of the Orchid network to a wider range of users, who may not be familiar with cryptocurrencies or simply don’t feel like dealing with them.

All Orchid accounts can be shared with an unlimited number of people and devices, potentially reducing the price if more people share it.

At the time of writing, the average Orchid VPN pricing is $0.06 per GB. There are no subscription options, your credits don’t expire, and there are three main pricing packages:

  • Try out Orchid at $0.99, which is good for browsing and some light activity
  • Average at $4.99, which works for an individual that requires short- to medium-term usage
  • Heavy at $19.99, which covers bandwidth-heavy users and sharing, and is ideal for longer-term usage

There’s no free trial, but the Try out Orchid plan might just be enough to satisfy your curiosity.

Orchid VPN

(Image credit: Future)

Alternatives

Although Orchid VPN’s blockchain-based model promises more privacy than traditional VPNs, a lot of people will appreciate the higher speeds, feature-rich apps, and installation support provided by established players, such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, or CyberGhost.

The competition also offers chances to try out their platforms for free, in the form of free trials and/or money-back guarantees.

Streaming

Orchid VPN will give you access to some of the most popular streaming channels, such as Netflix or Hulu. However, whether you can actually watch content will depend on the type of account you purchased, how much you’ve decided to pay, and how many users are utilizing the service at the same time.

For instance, our testing speeds for the cheapest Orchid plan were too slow for much streaming activity, but we assume the more advanced plans will provide more capability.

About the company

The organization behind this VPN is known as Orchid Labs and is based in San Francisco, California.

Since the company's model involves the services of multiple VPN providers, the number of server locations you can connect to can’t be pinpointed. Each time we connected to test the service, however, the server was in the US.

Orchid VPN

(Image credit: Future)

Privacy and encryption

The Orchid software uses its own custom VPN protocol, for which the company claims resembles in scope to OpenVPN and WireGuard. You can also enter your own OpenVPN and WireGuard configs into the app. The protocol runs on top of WebRTC. 

Thanks to the platform’s decentralized nature, no one will have any idea about your online activities, so you can be sure you’ll remain anonymous no matter what you’re doing.

According to the company, all the traffic passes through at least two layers of encryption. Add the multi-hop feature to the mix and the final result is quite a lot of anonymity.

Support

While its Windows app is still being developed, Orchid VPN currently has user-friendly clients for Mac, iOS, and Android. Unfortunately, no other platforms seem to be supported at this time.

At the time of writing, 440 users have rated its Android app, giving it a median score of 4.0 stars (out of 5). Over 50,000 users had installed it on their devices. The app for iOS/Mac had a slightly better score, 4.8, but has only been rated by 12 users. The company is working round-the-clock on making its apps up-to-date, as both had seen updates only one week prior to the writing of this review.

If you need help with anything related to this VPN, the website is a pretty decent source of information. There’s an interesting and informative blog, podcast, whitepaper, and an FAQ section on the website, but you can also get assistance inside the apps themselves.

In need of a more direct approach? Then you can contact the team on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Telegram, Discord, or Reddit. There’s even a YouTube channel, as well as a GitHub page. If you don’t like to use these ways of communication, then there’s the trusty email method to fall back on. 

Orchid VPN

(Image credit: Future)

Speed and experience

Connecting to the Orchid VPN Android app was extremely simple. All you need to do is tap on the “Connect” button, wait a few seconds, and you're ready to go.

Our testing connection wasn’t very fast: only 34.75Mbps of download speed. There was no way to choose a connection location and the app connected us to a server in the US.

The results were pretty low, but slightly better than the last time we tested this provider, currently standing at around 2.58Mbps. While this is hardly enough for many activities, like streaming HD video, there’s a high chance you’ll get better performance if you don’t mind paying more or have a better internet connection.

Verdict

Orchid VPN guarantees a higher level of privacy than its non-blockchain counterparts and industry heavyweights. However, it falls behind slightly in terms of download speeds, platform support and advanced features.

That said, it matches the best VPNs in the number of supported simultaneous connections, ease-of-use and access to geo-restricted content - provided you can reach higher download speeds than we did. The best part? You don’t even need to be a crypto expert to use it.