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ClearVPN might be one of the easiest virtual private networks (VPNs) to use for your everyday activities, like streaming. The Ukrainian service is a blend of the best encryption protocols out there at a low cost.
ClearVPN also sports a well-designed interface that has everything to get you up and running quickly: a location changer, a smart connection option, and a streaming tool.
When we tested ClearVPN, it unblocked every international streaming service we threw at it, while keeping internet speeds fast. That's an invaluable feature that makes the best VPN services stand out from the rest. Let's dive in further and see what else makes ClearVPN so recommendable, as well as some of its flaws.
Who is ClearVPN best for?
Our experience with ClearVPN
ClearVPN test results
ClearVPN customer support
Bottom line: Is ClearVPN any good?
ClearVPN review at a glance
|Max # of connected devices||6|
|Number of servers||An unknown number of servers in 40 countries|
|VPN protocol||IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN|
|No-logs policy||No logs|
|Learn more||Get ClearVPN|
Who is ClearVPN best for?
- Recommended for beginner VPN users who are interested in privacy and ease of use.
Ease of use is one of ClearVPN’s main highlights. It's clear that MacPaw, the developer, took time to assess what is necessary in a VPN interface. While the design looks simple, it is very inviting and lays out everything in big clickable icons.
The settings are also clear and understandable, with no cumbersome jargon getting in the way of your privacy. That makes ClearVPN an excellent choice if you’re a VPN newbie — or if you prefer a simple approach instead of a features-packed service.
The service’s privacy aspect is equally as important. ClearVPN uses the same AES 256-bit encryption that the best VPNs like NordVPN use. It has a no-logs policy, keeping your most private data out of anyone's hands.
This all comes at a competitive price that’s based on the length of the plan you subscribe to. Paying for a plan with a longer subscription length is one way you can easily save money on a VPN if you intend to use it for a while.
ClearVPN pros and cons
- User-friendly interface
- Streams Netflix and other services effortlessly
- Free plan (limited) available
- Possibly low server count
- Failed DNS leak test
With a paid subscription you unlock ClearVPN's full server network, with locations in 40 different countries. You can also connect up to six devices, which isn’t a lot compared to ExpressVPN’s eight-device limit and Surfshark’s unlimited device support, but it may be more than enough for you.
ClearVPN comes with a kill switch, an ad blocker, and a smart connection tool, which we'll dive into as well. It is a little disappointing that there is no threat detection or antivirus. But for what you pay, it's pretty robust for a VPN.
What do you get with the ClearVPN free plan?
ClearVPN’s free version connects you to servers in the U.S. and Ukraine. If your only focus is to have privacy online, it's worth trying ClearVPN out for free. It’s also one of the few free VPNs that doesn’t cap your bandwidth or data usage, though you’ll miss out on a few other features.
The only streaming service the free ClearVPN plan unblocks is Megogo, a Ukrainian streaming platform. Needless to say, to get the most out of ClearVPN, a paid subscription is the way to go. Luckily, if you wanted to try it out first, one month costs only Free.
Server count and countries
- An undisclosed number of servers in 40 countries
ClearVPN servers operate in at least 40 countries, but the VPN service doesn’t disclose the exact number of servers it has.
Because of this, we can’t be certain whether ClearVPN has a high or low server count. Why does this matter?
A high server count can be necessary to limit server congestion, as it gives you more servers in the same location to choose from. If you connect to a congested server and experience slow internet speeds, you can hop over to the next nearest server to see if your connection improves.
No-logs policy and headquarters
- ClearVPN logs policy: No logs
- ClearVPN headquarters: Kyiv, Ukraine
ClearVPN is a product of MacPaw, a company that's centered around creating Apple-based solutions. Based out of Kyiv, Ukraine, MacPaw and therefore ClearVPN operate outside of the Five, Nine, and 14 Eyes Alliances. These alliances allow certain countries to collect and share surveillance data that may include VPN logs.
In this case, Ukraine is not beholden to the government to keep or show any record of your activity. And ClearVPN doesn’t collect any logs outside of the information necessary to create your account, upholding its strict no-logs policy.
However, at this time, ClearVPN hasn’t completed a logs audit by an independent company, something we’d like to see it address in the future.
When we strip away the fun streaming aspect, a VPN is, at its core, a cybersecurity tool. The encryption and protocols do a lot of the heavy lifting to keep you safe, but there are extra security features as well.
- Split tunneling: Lets you choose which websites you want to be channeled through your VPN and which ones you don't. Unfortunately, split tunneling is not available with ClearVPN.
- Kill switch: If your VPN service drops for any reason, this feature disconnects your device from the internet until the VPN connection is secure again. This is important to keep your connection encrypted and not leak your IP address or other data if the VPN stops working. ClearVPN’s kill switch lives in the system settings tab.
- VPN protocols: This refers to the encryption methods for the VPN. ClearVPN offers two strong protocols, IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN. The best option is to let the service choose the protocol, which is easy with the Smart Connection feature.
ClearVPN Smart Connection
The ClearVPN Smart Connection lets you choose what type of connection you want, and then ClearVPN optimizes its settings to give you the best possible experience. The interface has three options to choose from:
- No restrictions: Connects you to servers with the fewest amount of VPN blocks and restrictions.
- Fastest server: Finds the most optimal server in relation to your location.
- Top protection: Connects you to countries that value privacy in their laws. (Heads up: there’s a disclaimer that this may affect internet speeds.)
ClearVPN's subscription prices are duration based. This means that you unlock all the features even if you pay for only one month of service. However, you may save money in the long run if you choose the 3-month or 6-month plan.
Comparing these prices to say, NordVPN, ClearVPN comes in at a lower price — especially if you choose the longer plan terms. If you end up loving ClearVPN, then its cost for 2 years of service with the 6-month plan still costs about $20.00 less than NordVPN's lowest-tier plan. Does that make it worth it? For the price, yes.
ClearVPN plan comparison
|Features||Free||1 Month||3 Months||6 Months|
|Location changer||Yes — U.S. and Ukraine only|
|Smart connection||Yes — no ad blocker|
|Streaming optimization||Yes — Megogo only|
|Details||View Plan||View Plan||View Plan||View Plan|
Once you send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org, you'll be able to get your refund. We recommend doing this a few days before the 30 days is up to allow ample time for ClearVPN to process your request.
Our experience with ClearVPN
Installing ClearVPN is very straightforward and simple. Once downloaded, the interface boots up and you're welcomed to a nice violet-hued app. But wait! Before you hit the button that says "Teleport me," first log in. If you paid for a ClearVPN plan, logging into your account unlocks more than just the U.S. and Ukraine servers for you to connect to.
If you’ve paid for a plan, you can be adventurous and pick from any of the 40+ countries to connect to. Then use the streaming tool to see which services you can unlock. BBC iPlayer is great for catching up on “Doctor Who,” but also it's football season, so using a VPN to watch out-of-market games is a great option.
ClearVPN test results
A VPN is a great tool to use when you want to keep your data private while using the internet. But routing your IP address through servers far away to disguise it, can slow down your internet speeds. That's why we test VPNs beforehand to know how much it affects performance.
- ClearVPN speed test results: ClearVPN passed the speed test without much slowdown.
For real-world speed tests, we used a MacBook Air with 1 Gbps internet service. Our control test showed download speeds at around 344 Mbps and upload speeds of about 40 Mbps. Then we turned on ClearVPN to see whether it slowed our connection.
The download speeds slowed down in all servers from the U.S. U.K., and Australia, but not more than 40%. The U.S. had the least amount of slowdown at a 21% loss in speed. Slowdown happens due to the distance between servers and the time it takes for a signal to reach it.
Upload speeds while connected to a U.S. server saw only a 6% drop in speed. But the further away a server was located, the worse our upload speeds got. The Australia server had a 55% loss in upload speed.
So, we suggest using a U.S. server if you plan to upload files.
ClearVPN speed test results
|Test type||No VPN||US to US||US to EU||US to AU|
|Download speed||344.64 Mbps||271.45 Mbps||215.86 Mbps||217.55 Mbps|
|Upload speed||39.90 Mbps||37.36 Mbps||27.72 Mbps||17.87 Mbps|
|Latency (ping)||76 ms||113 ms||322 ms||341 ms|
|Download speed % difference||N/A||-21.24||-37.37||-36.88|
|Upload speed % difference||N/A||-6.37||-30.53||-55.21|
|Latency % difference||N/A||48.68||323.68||348.68|
ClearVPN streaming support
- Does ClearVPN work with Netflix?: Yes, ClearVPN unblocks Netflix.
Watching Netflix is a breeze with ClearVPN — we streamed “Better Call Saul” with no hiccups from the U.K., Canada, and Australia. To unblock geo-restricted content on Netflix and other streaming services, all you have to do is pick a country from ClearVPN’s server list and you're off and running. The only annoying thing was the time it took for it to start streaming — 15 seconds at the longest.
But what about Disney+? For some of us, Star Wars is life, and we need to catch up on "Ahsoka" wherever we are. Well, good news! Not only will ClearVPN open up region-locked catalogs on Disney+, but you're able to watch them too.
Here are a few other streaming services that work seamlessly with ClearVPN:
- Amazon Prime Video
ClearVPN Netflix test results
|US to US||US to UK||US to Canada||US to AU|
|Did it work with Netflix?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
DNS and WebRTC leak tests
- ClearVPN DNS leak test results: Failed the DNS leak test
ClearVPN WebRTC leak test results: Passed the WebRTC leak test
We tested ClearVPN for both a DNS leak and a WebRTC leak using the trusted site Browserleaks.com. Testing a VPN for leaks is important, especially if you plan to use it to remain anonymous online.
ClearVPN's DNS leak test is where we saw the product’s true limitations. DNS (Domain Name System) is the link between you and a website. IP address information is exchanged with a DNS and can be seen by your internet service provider (ISP) or unwanted third parties like hackers.
What we wanted to know is if ClearVPN would hide or leak information about our DNS, and unfortunately, it leaked. This means that your online activities might not be safe from prying eyes, even while using ClearVPN.
That’s bad news for the DNS leak test results, but we have good news about our WebRTC leak test. WebRTC handles peer-to-peer communication on a website, specifically over video. We tested this and the WebRTC came up leak free.
Even though MacPaw specializes in Mac products, ClearVPN can handle most device types. Which is great if you have six devices on different operating systems. These include:
ClearVPN customer support
ClearVPN's customer service is very helpful, but not without a few flaws. The website has a few options to get answers. Clicking on the support tab takes you to a page with a search bar.
This seems common in a lot of other VPN services, but we found ClearVPN’s support content a bit thin. For example, there is no answer anywhere about a specific server count. Even the articles that came up didn't contain information on the subject.
So, to definitively get a solid answer, we contacted customer support. There are two ways to get in contact: live chat and email. We chose the latter and received a reply a day later.
The support team was very nice and provided help. A while afterward, we got another email checking in on us and asking if we needed any more help. This is a sign of great customer service. So yes, while the articles provide limited information, the support team is helpful and respectful.
If you've decided ClearVPN isn't for you, then we have some alternatives you might like better.
- NordVPN: Reviewed as one of the best VPN services out there, NordVPN comes with Threat Protection, an anti-malware and ad blocker tool. NordVPN also sports a very high server count and 24/7 customer support.
Get NordVPN | Read NordVPN Review
- CyberGhost: A Romanian-based VPN service, CyberGhost has a strict no-logs policy and an antivirus option for Windows. It’s also well known for unblocking almost every streaming service out there.
Get CyberGhost | Read CyberGhost Review
- ExpressVPN: A versatile VPN service with servers in 94 countries, ExpressVPN offers reliable security and anti-malware protection. It’s also compatible with numerous device types, including smart TVs, gaming consoles, and routers.
Get ExpressVPN | Read ExpressVPN Review
Who owns ClearVPN?
ClearVPN is owned by MacPaw, a Ukrainian tech company that specializes in Apple-based products.
Does ClearVPN keep logs?
ClearVPN does not keep any user logs. The company has a strict no-logs policy.
Where is ClearVPN based?
ClearVPN is based in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Bottom line: Is ClearVPN any good?
ClearVPN is an overall good VPN service that unblocks Netflix and other streaming services and comes at a reasonable price. We like that it has a strict no-logs policy, strengthened by its headquarters in Ukraine. ClearVPN also has great streaming connectivity and we like that it has a free version while also making upgrades reasonably inexpensive.
At the same time, when we tested for DNS leaks, ClearVPN failed to cover up our location. That's something that could cause concern. We also found its self-help articles not expansive enough to help with potential problems. (We recommend talking to customer service instead, they’re fantastic.)
So while ClearVPN has a few flaws, that doesn't mean we don't recommend it. Although it's not as powerful as NordVPN or Surfshark, ClearVPN is still a great option in the VPN landscape. And it supports Ukraine by offering free VPN app access to all residents.