Based in Israel, Safer VPN is a relative newcomer to the VPN market and has been receiving some positive press from highly reputable sources. We thought we’d take a look and see what we made of its product offering, here’s what we thought:
Website: Arguably one of the most user friendly websites of any VPN providers we have reviewed, there has clearly been a lot of focus on the design and the site is super easy to navigate. It is clear from their homepage H1 that their focus is on simplicity and the website certainly delivers on this objective.
Plans and Pricing: Safer’s pricing structure is a little unusual, it consists of three plans - only 2 of which are consumer focused. The differentiator between plans is the number of concurrent connections; their lowest plan is $7.99/mo and allows just one solitary connection, the higher plan is $16.99/mo and permits 3 concurrent connections. The lowest plan certainly represents reasonable value but the higher plan really is prohibitively expensive.
Features: With Safer VPN you get all of the features you would expect to see from a fairly new to market VPN. They have a very acceptable server network that spans 24 countries, unfortunately no further information about additional locations/IP’s is provided. Safer does claim to offer unlimited bandwidth and unlimited download caps, which tbh is fairly standard nowadays. The primary concern for me is around the fact they openly state that they keep logs of user activity and it is a real concern. Safer VPN record/log the IP address you use to connect to the service and which IP addresses you are using when you are on the service.
Security & Protocols: Any kind of real security benefit i’m afraid goes out of the window when you start recording IP’s. They do offer a decent range of protocols and all of the usual suspects are offered; OpenVPN, PPTP, IKEv2 and L2TP/IPSec are all available.
Customer Support: Safer VPN are bordering on being too keen when it comes to customer support - you can’t visit any page of the website without some incredibly annoying support agent popping up in a colossal live chat window, claiming to be a real agent when every time you visit the site it's the same person! I get this happens all the time nowadays but it does still annoy me. Safer VPN’s knowledgebase/support center is actually really nice, well laid out and super informative, searching for articles is a nice experience and the tutorials are comprehensive. We had an email response within 13 hours and the live chat response was instant but not at all useful (I felt like it was all copy/paste generic answers, automated and irrelevant answers).
Customer Dashboard: The dashboard is unfortunately not as well designed as the frontend website, and the UX is woeful at best. There’s weird duplicate navigation and seemingly every time you click a link you’re taken to a totally different part of the site, either in the same window or a totally new one - it’s poor, really poor and the less said about the typography/iconography the better. To experience this after the beautiful frontend is a bit of a kick in the nuts. Super disappointing - come on Safer VPN!
Desktop Client: The client certainly goes someway to making up for the dashboard experience. We tested on a OSX El Capitan and found the client to be responsive and pleasantly designed. Furthermore, Safer VPN have nailed simplicity with the client and that is exactly what is needed; nothing complex, nothing unnecessary - just pick a connection and connect to it. There are a couple of buttons that take you away from the app, and allow you to adjust some very basic settings (protocol and startup behaviour) but on the whole we rate it highly. My only criticism would be that I would like to be able to search for and select another country without having to disconnect from the country I am currently connected to - it just felt a little clunky.
Mobile: The mobile app for Safer VPN is pretty buggy, I had real issues establishing a connection and wasn’t notified of any reason for my failed attempts. The app is certainly pretty but it lacks attention to detail with the design and this really harms the whole experience; there’s buttons that are without function and a timer to show how long one has been connected for, without actually being connected!! One thing I do want to give them praise for is how nice the process is of selecting a favourite and how seamless the creation of the favourites list is.
Conclusion: Safer VPN has a lot of potential to be a major player in the VPN market, however if they persist with their ludicrous logging of IP’s they will always face criticism. Mostly the experience is rather pleasant, but the neglected dashboard needs a lot of work before it reaches the standards that other parts of their product has set. If you are looking for a very simple VPN and are not concerned about IP logging, it’s a fairly good choice.