ZenVPN Review 2024: Overpriced and Underperforming

ZenVPN is an extremely limited, underperforming VPN with lackluster features and functionality meant more for businesses than individuals.
2.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On ZenVPN's website

VPN
ZenVPN
  • Lightweight VPN that's easy to install
  • Passed WebRTC and DNS leak tests
  • Significantly more expensive in the long term compared to purchasing a quality VPN with a multi-year contract
  • Lacks major features like a kill switch
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ZenVPN overcharges and underdelivers. Its lack of basic features like a kill switch and a limited server library makes it less useful than its competitors. Meanwhile, the monthly paid plan is more expensive than many other virtual private networks (VPNs) on the market when you consider long-term usage.

If you’re looking for a VPN to watch geo-restricted content, play online games, speed up your internet, and keep you anonymous online, we have some great suggestions that shine where ZenVPN falters.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy installation
  • Doesn’t leak data
Cons
  • Lacks major features
  • Common server locations cost extra
  • Limited app functionality
In this article
Our experience
Who is ZenVPN best for?
Prices and subscriptions
Main features
Test results
Compatibility
Customer support
Top alternatives
FAQs
Bottom line: Is ZenVPN good?

ZenVPN overview

Price $5.00/mo
Free version Yes
Max # of connected devices 3
# of servers Servers in 35 locations
VPN protocol WireGuard, IPv6
Encryption Unlisted
No-logs policy No logs
Headquarters Cyprus
Netflix access No

How we test and rate VPNs

We complete standardized hands-on tests for each VPN we review so we can put their claims to the test. This includes vigorous third-party testing by comparing our internet speed while connected to different servers, checking for DNS leaks, making sure the kill switch actually works, and more. We also make sure we can comfortably access popular streaming sites, like Netflix, and still do our day-to-day work without interruption.

Once we’ve completed the testing, our editorial rating is calculated by taking into account key features you’d expect from a good product. We score each VPN in the following categories and use a weighted average to calculate the final rating out of 5 stars: price, server count, speed, security, and features.

Our experience

We installed ZenVPN on our up-to-date MacBook Pro, running an M2 chip. The installation process wasn’t difficult, and we didn’t run into any issues.

Once we downloaded it and set it up, we were surprised to see very little functionality in the app. We could choose from the available servers and add team tunnels.

ZenVPN servers tab showing there are no servers yet.

The first thing we noticed was that the site didn’t advertise the number of server locations that we saw in the dashboard. When we logged in to our dashboard via our browser, we saw there were more server options available.

Since we wanted to test out U.S. servers, we attempted to add one to our available options and were prompted to agree to an additional $15.00/mo for that server. That would’ve taken our overall monthly total to $20.00/mo, which is the most expensive VPN we’ve seen.

An invoice from ZenVPN to buy a dedicated gateway.

Obviously, we declined. We did attempt to test the split tunneling with Netflix, but it failed to bypass any geo-blocks.

Another thing that really annoyed us was how ZenVPN kept resetting options we’d manually changed. For instance, we disabled the VPN from opening on startup and then found that ZenVPN changed this feature back without our permission. That alone would have made us delete it if we didn’t have more testing to do.

ZenVPN displaying items that open at login.

Our experience with ZenVPN was lackluster from start to finish. As soon as we were done testing it, we removed it from our device. If you’re looking for a traditional, easy-to-use VPN, this is not it.

Who is ZenVPN best for?

  • Recommended for work teams/environments

ZenVPN doesn’t have a lot of the features and functionality that you’d want from a personal VPN. We found that servers from many major countries were missing from the classic VPN option, even if you have the paid tier, and adding them incurs an additional cost monthly.

This would be better for work teams or work environments where a VPN was being used to connect safely with applications (hence the API integrations).

ZenVPN prices and subscriptions

ZenVPN offers two subscription tiers for personal use. The ZenVPN Free price tag on the Classic plan is a little high, considering competitors allow you to lower your overall monthly cost by purchasing a longer subscription.

Choosing from one of our alternatives will help you save money on a VPN while getting better features.

Features ZenVPN Free ZenVPN Classic
Price Free $5.00/mo
Number of devices 1 3
Number of servers In 35 locations In 35 locations
Classic VPN
Kill switch
Split tunneling
API integrations
Dedicated gateway Yes — $15.00/mo Yes — $15.00/mo

With a paid plan, you can add additional devices for $4.00/mo per device as well as additional costs for more server options.

ZenVPN features

ZenVPN really pushes its split tunneling abilities. Other than that, however, there are very few features.

There are fewer free servers you can use than are advertised on the site. We also couldn’t find where we could choose which VPN protocol we wanted to use. Since ZenVPN notes it offers WireGuard and IPv6, we’re assuming it chooses for you based on your activity. Overall, we were pretty disappointed with ZenVPN’s offerings.

ZenVPN dashboard open to split tunneling settings.

Server count and countries

  • Servers in 35 locations

The site lists an undisclosed number of servers in 35 locations globally, but we found the included options to be less than that.

You can also purchase additional servers, but it can get extremely expensive as they’re each $15.00/mo. There are other products, like NordVPN, that are constantly increasing server options without making their customers pay more for them.

The ZenVPN dashboard open on the shared locations tab.

No-logs policy and headquarters

  • ZenVPN logs policy: No logs
  • ZenVPN headquarters: Cyprus

ZenVPN notes it has a no-logs policy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t collecting A LOT of your data. The privacy policy explicitly states that ZenVPN, or the third-party services it uses, can collect things like unique identifiers for your personal device, your IP address, what browsers you use, ways you interact online, and a lot more.

Seeing the blanket phrase “no-logs policy” makes people feel safe and think they can trust the service. You don’t actually need logs to collect the data ZenVPN is collecting. It can be acquired in real time, which would still mean it's not keeping logs. Instead, it’s gathering information on you as you use it.

Additionally, ZenVPN allows third parties to serve you cookies and collects them itself. Cookies store data. Since they’re technically not logs, however, ZenVPN can still claim it doesn’t keep logs. It’s all very dicey, and we don’t like any of it.

Split tunneling

Split tunneling is ZenVPN’s flagship feature. ZenVPN seems to be pushing you to use it both on its site and when you have the product downloaded, even if it’s not something you would need.

Split tunneling involves routing some traffic through one VPN server and other traffic through another VPN server. You also have the option to route some traffic without VPN protection at all.

Kill switch

On the other hand, you do need a kill switch, but ZenVPN doesn’t have one.

A kill switch severs your internet connection if the VPN connection drops. This protects you from hackers who could potentially find your IP address or other information if your VPN fails, even briefly. This is why it’s important for a VPN to have a kill switch.

VPN protocols

ZenVPN uses WireGuard and IPv6 protocols. There isn’t the opportunity to choose between them, as we believe ZenVPN automates this option.

ZenVPN test results

We test every VPN for speed, security, and Netflix access.

While there are many other streaming services out there, Netflix tends to be the most aggressive toward VPNs. If a VPN can thwart Netflix’s VPN blockers, it will usually work with most streaming services.

As far as speed and security, without proper speeds, a VPN is unusable. Likewise, if it leaks your data, it’s not worth your time. Our tests returned some pretty interesting results.

Speed tests

  • ZenVPN speed test results: ZenVPN significantly slowed our speeds down.

We tested ZenVPN on our MacBook in a Wi-Fi environment with other devices connected. Since we weren’t able to access free servers for the U.S., U.K., and Australia, we tested Canadian and French servers.

We looked at how much slower download and upload speeds were and how much longer it took the ping to execute our request. For fast internet speeds, you want high download and upload speeds and very low latency (pings).

The slowdown was considerable, especially on the Canadian server. We were actually surprised by that because we’re on the same continent as Canada, as opposed to the French server, which is much further away. Our testing definitely showed some wonky speeds.

While the French server was still usable, the Canadian one was a complete waste of time. ZenVPN automates everything, so if it has more than one server in Canada, and this was the best one it could give us, we just want to say, “No thanks.”

The baseline speed test before testing ZenVPN.

No VPN.

ZenVPN speed test results for France.

ZenVPN had the slowest speeds we’ve ever seen.

Speed test results

Test type No VPN US to FR US to CA
Download speed 157.02 Mbps 99.22 Mbps 3.26 Mbps
Upload speed 22.44 Mbps 11.46 Mbps 1.80 Mbps
Latency (ping) 99 ms 329 ms 160 ms
Download speed % difference N/A -36.81% -97.92%
Upload speed % difference N/A -48.93% -91.98%
Latency % difference N/A 232.32% 61.62%

Test results as of 04/02/2023.

Netflix tests

  • ZenVPN Netflix test results: ZenVPN failed to bypass Netflix blocks.

We entered Netflix into the split tunnel, but when we went to the site we were greeted with American shows. When we removed it from the split tunnel, we were given an error message, essentially letting us know that Netflix saw our VPN. Either way, we couldn’t watch Netflix with ZenVPN.

Netflix pop-up about how the ad-supported plan is not available in the region.

Netflix test results

US to CA US to AU
Did it work with Netflix?

Test results as of 04/02/2023.

DNS leak tests

  • ZenVPN DNS leak test results: ZenVPN passed its DNS leak tests.

Domain Name System (DNS) is the internet’s address book. It’s how it translates human language to computer language to take you where you want to go online.

Let’s say you typed in AllAboutCookies.org into your browser. The computer reads it, converts it to code to access the AAC website, and then delivers it back to your browser, which translates it back into a language you can read. During all of this exchange of information, your personal data, like your IP address, will be shown.

Luckily, ZenVPN didn’t have any DNS leaks.

ZenVPN DNS leak test results.

WebRTC leak tests

  • ZenVPN WebRTC leak test results: ZenVPN passed its WebRTC leak tests.

Similarly, when you want to make a video or audio transmission, be it an Instagram Live or a Skype call, WebRTC functionality takes that data and transmits it to make the connection. A WebRTC leak is when the data transmitted during those instances shows up even with a VPN connection.

A VPN is meant to hide the personal information contained in these data transfers to keep you safe, secure, and anonymous online. If it leaks, it’s not worth using. We were relieved to find that ZenVPN can at least protect you from WebRTC leaks.

ZenVPN's WebRTC leak test results.

Kill switch test

  • ZenVPN kill switch test results: ZenVPN failed its kill switch test.

ZenVPN doesn’t have a kill switch, so we weren’t able to test how well it works.

Without a kill switch, ZenVPN can leak your data as you change servers or when your VPN connection unexpectedly drops. This can be especially concerning if you use public Wi-Fi, as it’ll leave your device open to hackers.

ZenVPN compatibility

ZenVPN notes it’s compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux. In our opinion, this is pretty limited. Competitors like ExpressVPN and Surfshark offer compatibility with laptops, desktops, mobile devices, gaming systems, routers, streaming devices like Fire TV Sticks, and more.

ZenVPN does offer API integration. When you’re looking at the features included with the free and paid plans, you may be wondering what API integration and dedicated VPN server gateways are.

API integration, simply, is a connection between two or more applications. A dedicated VPN server gateway is a personalized server that lives in the cloud. These aren’t very useful for everyday home use.

ZenVPN customer support

There’s no place on the site to contact customer support, so you’ll have to do that through your online dashboard.

Ironically, when we tried, the site was blocked because a secure connection couldn’t be reached, even with the ZenVPN client turned on and active.

Safari loading page error

Top alternatives

Since ZenVPN doesn’t really seem to be a great choice for individuals, we’ve given you a few options below that would work well for you and your family. These are some of the best VPN services available and all come with a variety of features, servers, and extra security options.

Price $3.09–$15.99/mo $2.19–$17.95/mo $2.19–$12.99/mo
Free version
Max # of connected devices 10 Unlimited 7
# of servers 6,300+ servers in 111 countries 3,200 in 100 countries Servers in 100 countries
VPN protocol NordLynx (WireGuard), OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2 Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2
Encryption AES 256-bit AES 256-bit AES 256-bit
No-logs policy No logs No logs No logs
Headquarters Panama The Netherlands Romania
Netflix access
Learn more Get NordVPN Get Surfshark Get CyberGhost

FAQs


+

Is ZenVPN good?

Overall, we don’t think ZenVPN is good. On the plus side, ZenVPN doesn’t leak your data, is lightweight, and the installation process is painless. Other than that, we had issues with speed, accessibility, and limited app functionality. There are less expensive VPN options with more features and better accessibility.


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Is ZenVPN free?

Yes, ZenVPN does have a free tier. For consumers, ZenVPN has a paid and free option.

The free plan allows only one device and doesn’t allow you to add additional devices. However, you still have API integration with the free plan if that’s something you’re looking for in a VPN.


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Is ZenVPN good for streaming?

No, ZenVPN isn’t good for streaming. With limited server availability, poor speeds, and VPN detection by Netflix, ZenVPN won’t do you any good if you’re trying to use it to stream. Instead, we suggest NordVPN, Surfshark, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, or Private Internet Access, which all have a variety of servers, fast speeds, and streaming support.

Bottom line: Is ZenVPN good?

ZenVPN isn’t very useful for the average person. It feels like a business tool that the company decided to sell to individuals.

The minimal features and limited server options won’t appeal to VPN users. In fact, the lack of a kill switch could actually put your data at risk. The icing on the cake is the fact that ZenVPN is actually a lot more expensive long term than purchasing a quality VPN service with a multi-year contract.

There are better options out there if you’re looking for a VPN to keep your data safe, access geo-restricted streaming libraries, thwart throttling, and provide online security. You can find them in our top alternatives or view our list of the best VPNs.

2.6
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On ZenVPN's website
VPN
ZenVPN
  • Lightweight VPN that's easy to install
  • Passed WebRTC and DNS leak tests
  • Significantly more expensive in the long term compared to purchasing a quality VPN with a multi-year contract
  • Lacks major features like a kill switch
Author Details
Mary is a seasoned cybersecurity writer with over seven years of experience. With a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Clarion University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Point Park University, she educates audiences on scams, antivirus software, and more. Her passion lies in educating audiences on helpful ways to protect their data.