We’re yet again on our VPN discovery journey, looking for the next candidate to make the top of our list (or not, who knows) and it seems that we’ve found another suitable VPN service provider, called RUSVPN.
Although its name might not be exactly something that screams “pick me!”, the description on its homepage sure is. To kill the suspense, the description reads “BEST VPN CONNECTION IN THE GALAXY.”
If that doesn’t make you give it a try, I don’t know what will. It seems that modesty is a rare gem among VPN providers, who, like pizza parlors, claim to have the “best” services or products available on the market. Well, we’ll just see about that.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll describe and analyze data that are relevant to you, ranging from details about the company and features of their product to security and speed tests. At the end, we’ll give it a rating and that’s it. Ready? Go!
Data about the company
Well, we dug around as much as we could, but all we could come up was a lousy bit of data, which is the company’s name (ATRIX GROUP LTD) and the fact that they are registered in Great Britain. Judging by the name of the service they provide, one would’ve thought that they at least have a bunch of Russian ties, but it appears that we were mistaken in this case. It seems that the “RUS” part of the app’s name stands for Reliable, Unlimited and Secure.
That concludes the data digging part of our article since nothing else could be found about the team behind the RUSVPN project. Although you might believe this is a bit shady, consider this: if they’re THAT careful about placing company data online, maybe that’s the level of protection they’ll be giving you as well. Quid pro quo.
14 Eyes Alliance
One thing we immediately thought about upon learning that the company is based in Great Britain was the 14 Eyes Alliance. Actually, it’s a bit more than that, the UK is part of the initial UKUSA Agreement, which goes back to WWII and is based on sharing intelligence between the two countries.
This doesn’t mean that if a VPN provider is located in a country that’s a member of the 5, 9 or 14 Eyes Alliance, your data will be seized automatically, but it’s something you should consider, or at least know about when making a decision such as choosing your VPN.
Their stand on data logging
Long-story-short, RUSVPN claim that they don’t keep any logs related to their customers’ VPN usage. On the same page, you’ll learn that they only require an email address from you and a password and that’s about it. More so, if you’re concerned about the payment, they also provide you with several ways to keep that anonymous (Bitcoin, Webmoney, QIWI).
What you agree upon when using RUSVPN
Right from the start, we’re notified that RUSVPN shouldn’t be treated as a harbor for breaking the law in any form one might think of and should only be viewed as a service that protects your privacy and anonymity. A few examples of unlawful stuff you agree on not committing are sending spam, scan ports, scan for open proxies, send unsolicited emails and even attacking in any form other computers or the network you’re connected to.
In other words, you’re told that you should obey the law of your country or the country you’re currently located in.
What you’re responsible for
In the same Terms of Service section, the RUSVPN lets us know that they’re not responsible nor they should be held liable for various incidents (or, better said, events) that might occur on their turf.
Therefore, they mention that the service coverage area, speed, and quality might differ and that, in the event of emergencies, network issues, equipment malfunction and the such, they’re not responsible if your data gets lost, is not delivered, or gets redirected. That’s a bit unsettling, at least.
Service suspension rights
Another claim in this document states that, at their discretion, they can impose restrictions on their service as a whole or on any of its individual services and even suspend the operation. This means that they can deny various agencies access to their services by simply shutting them down, but it also means that they can cut you off at their discretion. Take it as it is.
However, something doesn’t add up. If they claim they don’t log user activity, they probably don’t monitor it either, so if you get your services suspended, the most plausible reason might probably be suspicion of unlawful behavior. Hmm.
The last part of this document informs you that, if you activate a subscription plan, you’ll be charged automatically every 30, 180 or 365 days, depending on the duration of the plan you chose. In order to cancel the payment, you need to contact the RUSVPN support team.
What data are they keeping
More so, you’re informed that you can opt out being tracked by Google Analytics by installing an add-on for your web browser, which lets you bypass this situation. Among the personal data that RUSVPN collects actively when you register for an account, you can only find your email address, since payments go through Decta Limited and payment data is transmitted via encrypted SSL and other details such as your name, IP address and phone number is not needed nor used by them.
When you’re connected
This part’s a bit questionable since they openly admit that they run a “non-permanent connection log” but that it’s only there to help them solve technical problems and that those logs are “reliably removed every few hours.” In our opinion, a few hours is plenty more than enough for someone to break in and analyze or steal that data, so that’s probably not a strong move.
In the same section, they also claim that they don’t monitor the activity of your browser and don’t store any records, as well as the fact that all the service-usage data is anonymous and not related to their customers’ real IP address.
In the event of a notice or authorities inquiry
In the second situation, when authorities come around asking about user-specific data, the company behind RUSVPN is forced to comply with this order. However, since they claim that the said data doesn’t exist, there’s nothing to offer. Of course, they also discuss the scenario where they become obligated to keep records or collect more specific data about their customers; they claim their response would be immediately notifying their users about this and either do everything possible to change the jurisdiction or close their services altogether.
Last, but not least, the bottom of this page contains a disclaimer stating that RUSVPN has the right to make changes at any time to this document, but, should that happen, they will make sure you’ll be notified by posting the changes somewhere visible on the website before they come into effect and also notifying you via email.
So, technically, you shouldn’t be worried that your private data will get exposed or shared with others. As long as you’re not doing anything fishy, you should be safe, right?
Registering for an account
First thing’s first, let’s get this out of the way. Creating an account to use with the RUSVPN website and the services they’re offering can be done by either click the large offer button in the homepage (if it’s still there when you reach it, we’re seeing a countdown right now). Alternatively, you can click the “Login” button located at the top-right corner of the screen and then the “Sign Up” or “Get access” buttons in the page you’ve been redirected to (we noticed they redirect to the same page, anyway).
After reaching the order page, you’ll need to decide on which subscription plan you want to purchase by simply clicking the one you find to be most suitable to your needs.
The next steps in creating your account are simply typing your email address in the designated box and selecting the payment method of your choice and hitting the “Next” button at the bottom of the page. Doing so redirects you to the payment page where you’ll need to provide them with the payment details, depending on your choice.
Downloading the application to your device
This is probably the easiest step since all you have to do is click the “Download VPN” button from anywhere on the webpage. It’s somewhere at the top of the screen, colored in green, you can’t miss it.
After doing so, select a device type from the left-hand menu and click the “Download” button. Some devices might have a different button such as “Android App on Google Play” or “Download on the App Store,” but the principle is still the same.
You can retrieve RUSVPN for Windows, MacOS / OS X, Android, iOS, Chrome / Yandex, Mozilla Firefox, OpenVPN and PPTP/L2TP (routers) from this section.
Malware scan results
As a rule of thumb, you should never trust any online document and you should subject it to malware scans as early as you can. This way you can avoid issues that might arise later, such as infecting your computer or letting someone spy on you.
We’ve downloaded the RUSVPN windows executable on our computer and uploaded it to VirusTotal, where it was tested against several antivirus engines.
The results were good, there was not even one issue within the installer file, not even one antivirus engine detected anything wrong with the document we’ve uploaded. The version of the installer we’ve used to perform this malware test is 220.127.116.11.
Note that, as stated above in this review, the installer doesn’t have a signature at the moment, so you might keep an eye out for potential issues, even though at the moment VirusTotal detects nothing wrong with the setup file.
The results of our scan can be accessed here.
Installing RUSVPN on your computer
We’ve decided to specify the details of deploying RUSVPN on your Windows computer since we believe this type of devices is among the most common in numerous households. Besides, installing it on your Android phone or iOS device only requires you to press a button.
Assuming you’ve already downloaded the installation kit (the executable setup file), go ahead and double-click it. Since the publisher doesn’t have a verified signature at the moment, you’ll probably be asked if you allow the app to make changes to your PC. Go ahead and press “Yes” if you want to proceed with the installation.
Once the setup window becomes visible, you’ll be able to choose where do you want it to be installed, what name should the Start Menu shortcut have and whether or not you want a desktop shortcut to be created for you. After you’re done with all of that, hit the “Install” button and it should all be done in no time. The version we’ve installed is 18.104.22.168.
Running it for the first time
By default, at the end of the setup process, RUSVPN is set to launch automatically. If you leave it like that, you’ll be asked (again) if you agree that this app can make changes on your device. This is due to the unverified publisher signature, so you shouldn’t worry.
After you get it up and running, note that you need to log into your account by either using a code or an email/password combination. Once you do that, you’re in.
The first impressions
At first sight, RUSVPN seems like a simplistic application that encompasses a plain, minimalistic user interface and intuitive controls. Not saying that the lack of a polished, eye-catching interface is problematic, just stating the facts.
The functions you can interact with are highly visible, so there’s really no reason for virtually any computer user (regardless of skills) to be unable to use RUSVPN in an effortless manner.
The main window displays your status, your real IP address, a server change menu, a “Connect” button and a gear-shaped button that you can use to access the “Settings” window. The little “?” button next to your location and IP address section can be used to quickly navigate to the application’s “About” window.
There’s a bunch of spelling errors here and there, as well, so, combined with the lack of a more polished interface, it adds up to the impression that the visual aspect of the app has been treated superficially.
Using RUSVPN to secure your connection
As stated above, its controls are very simple to understand and operate. All you have to do is click the server’s name in the main window (the button below “Change server”), choose your favorite location and hit the “Connect” button once you’re back in the main window.
A “loading” animation will be displayed on top of the app, while the main screen becomes sort of greyed-out and its controls inaccessible to you for a short while. After the waiting’s done, you’re connected to the server you chose!
Trouble connecting at first
When we first ran the application on our computers, selected the server and attempted to connect, we received an error (the same error) multiple times, that the app has failed to connect us to the server of our choice via any protocols.
We tried choosing another server (multiple times) restarting our system, reinstalling the app and even deploying it on a different computer that used a separate network, but the error persisted. Thinking that maybe this was a server-side issue, we tried using the mobile app and the browser extensions, which worked flawlessly, both of them being able to connect us to the servers of our choice in a timely manner.
We must add that the application itself isn’t exactly stable. We’ve experienced a bunch of issues with it during our testing. Some of the issues included the fact that we couldn’t uninstall it completely since the app refused to terminate, even when using Windows’ Task Manager, the inability to close the app by using the “Quit” function from the tray menu and also random shutdowns after encountering the server error explained above.
Modifying various settings
As we’ve mentioned before, you can access a “Settings” window where you can alter a bunch of parameters, if you’re interested. The window is divided into three different sections that you can navigate through by using the tabs located at the top.
The “Common” section (usually called “General”) lets you set the app to launch at system startup, connect to the last selected location or a recommended one after being launched, enable the killswitch as well as see your email and subscription details and log out of your account.
The “Protocols” tab lets you select the protocol of your choice that’s gonna be used every time you connect to the RUSVPN service. You can choose between UDP – OpenVPN, TCP – OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP and an automatic setting which picks the best protocol for you. The developers recommend that you leave this setting on auto since it always attempts to pick the best protocol for you and saves you the headache.
The last section of the “Settings” window is the “About” tab, which lets you see the version of the app, the date it’s been released and some copyright information. As mentioned above, the “About” tab can be accessed in a quicker manner by clicking the “?” button in the main window of the app.
RUSVPN’s network of servers
The full list of servers you can connect to while using RUSVPN’s services is as follows:
Albania – Servers available: 1
Australia – Servers available: 1
Bulgaria – Servers available: 1
Canada – Servers available: 1
China – Servers available: 1
Cyprus – Servers available: 1
Czechia – Servers available: 1
Estonia – Servers available: 1
France – Servers available: 2
Germany – Servers available: 3
Greece – Servers available: 1
Indonesia – Servers available: 1
Israel – Servers available: 1
Italy – Servers available: 1
Japan – Servers available: 1
Latvia – Servers available: 1
Lithuania – Servers available: 1
Netherlands – Servers available: 1
Poland – Servers available: 1
Russia – Servers available: 3
Singapore – Servers available: 1
Spain – Servers available: 1
Sweden – Servers available: 1
Turkey – Servers available: 1
Ukraine – Servers available: 1
United Kingdom – Servers available: 1
United States – Servers available: 4
As you can probably notice by yourself, the list of servers and locations isn’t exactly what you’d call a rich, wide or large one. It consists of 35 servers in 27 countries, which is an extremely low number. Well, the review isn’t over so let’s hope that these servers are secure and fast, at least.
Services it can(t) unlock
Although there’s plenty of mentions on their website on services this VPN provider is able to unlock for you, we could only access some social platforms from various servers (when we could actually connect to them, that is).
The more popular (and sought-after) services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and the such couldn’t be unlocked by RUSVPN. Mainly because we couldn’t connect to their servers via the Windows application, but in the rare moments it worked, the services weren’t available to us.
You need to understand that power players such as Netflix and Hulu waged war on VPN users and providers some time ago and are actively seeking and banning them. So even if one of the few servers RUSVPN has to offer could unlock Netflix, this fortunate situation would probably be “solved” shortly.
Tor and torrenting with RUSVPN
On the bright side, using this VPN to anonymize your connection while using a torrent client or other P2P sharing services seems to work. We connected to the VPN, launched a torrent client and started downloading a file. Retrieving the file was completed without a hiccup and, afterward, seeding it to others seemed to work without any issues.
Using the service alongside TOR is also possible, but just make sure to connect to the RUSVPN server of your choice before starting the TOR browser. However, there’s a bunch of downsides if you decide to do so.
First thing’s first, if you want to benefit from an extra layer of security by adding TOR to the scheme, be prepared for a huge spike in your connection’s speed. And we mean it. Second of all, you should be aware that exit nodes can do you harm since traffic that enters and leaves the TOR nodes is not encrypted and it could be easily monitored by a skilled someone.
Prepping our testing tools
As you probably know by now, we’re going to perform a series of tests on this service in order to decide whether it’s good enough for you to use. The two types of test this provider’s going to undergo consist of a security test that will assess if there are any leaks or security concerns and the speed test that will check to see exactly how fast are those servers they own.
The order those tests are in is no coincidence since we firmly believe that security is a whole lot more important than speed. If you’re seeking speed in a VPN and don’t care much about online safety, then you should stop using a VPN altogether, since your default connection is probably faster anyway.
The tools we’re going to use to perform security and speed checks on RUSVPN are, as usual, IPX and Netflix’s fast.com. The reason why we didn’t go with Ookla’s Speedtest is that fast.com’s results are more relevant to our situation. Ookla throws a bunch of technical data in our direction, such as ping, upload and download speed values, but fast.com says it as it is: how fast does your connection go.
Security results incoming!
Ok, so we’ve connected to a server in Poland, Wrocław (it worked this time!), fired up our testing tools and put them to work. The results are as follows:
Now, for the patiently waiting. The IP address was spoofed so that it now matches the address of the server we’ve connected to. The PTR, country, city, latitude, and longitude were also masked, but it didn’t match the location of the server we chose. Instead, they pointed to a city in France, as you can see in the results and screenshots. Moving on.
The ASN (Autonomous System Number), ISP, domain name and IP type have been modified to point to AS62160 Yes Networks Unlimited Ltd,Yes Networks Unlimited Ltd, yeshost.ru and, respectively Non-Residential (Data Center). So far so good.
As expected, IPv6 geolocation data was not available (and that’s a good thing). The DNS section displayed several DNS servers along with their address, location, and ASN, none of which were even remotely connected to our location. WebRTC data displayed our local IP address in the Private (IPv4) section and the server’s external address in the Public (IPv4) field.
Aside from the location issue that placed us in another location than what we chose, the IPX test results showed us that RUSVPN is secure. But we’ve got more tests incoming.
The results of the IPX test can be easily viewed by accessing this link.
We remained connected to the same Poland, Wrocław server, just so that we could see whether the France location was displayed erroneously. It appears that ipleak also spots us in France, so our guess is that RUSVPN uses virtual servers and their configuration isn’t exactly optimally done.
Now for the security results that we’re interested in. The IP address was masked, as well as our location and everything related to it (city, region, country, longitude, latitude). Even though it wasn’t set to the location that we chose, at least it wasn’t our real one, so that must count for something. IPv6 information wasn’t available, so, as a conclusion, RUSVPN doesn’t let your system leak IP information. So far so good.
Now for the DNS tests; while connected to RUSVPN, the ipleak tests returned 64 DNS servers, all of which were located in Belgium, none of them linked to our location or contained even a hint of our address or our ISP’s. This means that RUSVPN also passes the DNS leak tests without any issue.
The WebRTC test is a short one and we’re only going to say that, according to ipleak, RUSVPN doesn’t leak WebRTC requests.
The only information that ‘leaked‘ during our ipleak tests were some system-related information such as our User Agent, languages on our system and our screen resolution. However, as you might agree, this is not even nearly sufficient data to identify any user, so it won’t be considered as being ‘leaked.’
ipleak tests have come to an end, RUSVPN passed them as being secure.
Still connected to the Poland, Wrocław server, we’ve fired up our last testing service, BrowserLeaks.
The IP tests showed us that RUSVPN doesn’t let our system leak IP-related information. The location was still set to France instead of Poland, Wrocław, but that’s just a minor inconvenient and it’s probably happening due to the usage of virtual servers. IPv6 information was not available and our Flash IP address was nowhere to be found. Conclusion: RUSVPN doesn’t leak IP data.
Unfortunately, during our DNS tests we’ve been hit with several results linked to our ISP. Although our real IP never appeared within the list, the DNS used by our ISP were clearly visible, which means that RUSVPN leaks DNS requests. Not good.
As usual, the WebRTC tests came out negative, so RUSVPN prevents your system from leaking WebRTC requests. That’s good, at least.
As a conclusion, BrowserLeaks revealed that although RUSVPN doesn’t reveal IP and WebRTC data, it does leak DNS requests, which is a critical issue.
This concludes our security test and the result is: RUSVPN can hide your IP and WebRTC data, but one test out of three (1/3) revealed that they also leak DNS requests. Do we recommend it? Absolutely not.
What about the speed?
Now that we’ve got the security tests out of the way and decided that RUSVPN can handle a bit of heat, it’s time to see how well it does speed-wise. In order for these tests to be accurate, we’re going to pick a bunch of random servers (we’re going for a rather wide geographic spread so the results are given the chance to vary based on their testing environment) and run the fast.com service while connected to them.
With huge efforts and a lot of patience, we’ve succeeded to connect to a bunch of VPN servers so we could run our speed tests. As stated above, the application is highly unstable and, as you can see from the screenshots, some servers don’t even connect you to the location they should (connecting to a server in Poland, Wroclaw actually connected us to one in France).
The results are as follows:
- Czech Republic – 16 Mbps;
- USA – 6.7 Mbps;
- Poland (France?) – 26 Mbps
And that concludes our speed testing since the extension constantly kicked us out of our accounts while attempting to connect to a server in Australia. So that thing on their homepage about being the “BEST VPN CONNECTION IN THE GALAXY?” Not even close.
Our experience with the customer support department
After we’ve encountered the troubles with the Windows application, we’ve contacted the RUSVPN support team. In order to contact them, you can click the chat bubble in the bottom-left corner of their website, which opens a live chat window, where you can just type your message, maybe even attach a screenshot and send it to them.
Alternatively, you can use the “Support 24/7” option from the “Advantages” menu on their website’s toolbar. This redirects you to a form where you have to fill in your name, email and message and send a ticket to the support team. The first thing we’ve noticed is that there’s no notification about the ticket you just opened. You can only know it’s working after they reply to you.
No ticket management
More so, in your profile section on their website, there’s no information about tickets you’ve opened, either. In the response email we’ve received, there’s a status for our ticket that says “Open” and its priority set to “Low.” Well, if not being able to use their services is low-priority, then I wonder what do they consider to be of top priority? At least the reply came in pretty quickly (after an hour or so). The signature used in the reply was written in Russian, so we weren’t so far from the truth assuming that the RUS in the app’s name had to do with the fact that they’re probably Russian.
The chat reply came in after 5-10 minutes stating that their Windows application is under development and a recommendation to use OpenVPN or L2TP for now. They seemed pretty open about the whole thing and even offered to help us configure the connection on our computer.
If you’re interested, on the support page they have a couple of phone numbers that you can dial, in case you’re in favor of a more head-on approach. Both of the numbers have a Bulgaria country code.
Free VPN service
Finally, a VPN that offers its services for free in our list! Well, sort of, and you’ll soon learn why. Its services might be free for you to use, but you can’t benefit from the whole deal. You see, only the browser extensions can be accessed for free and those are subjected to a wide range of limitations.
For instance, you can’t use a torrent client if only your browser is backed by the VPN servers. More so, you can only access a bunch of servers (five as of now) as opposed to the whole range of servers a paid subscription lets you use. In the “Subscription Advantages” section on the website, we also noticed improved encryption algorithms, full speed connection, and unlimited traffic.
There’s no mention about the traffic when using the free extensions (or the connection speed for that matter), but it’s true that the encryption algorithm can’t be modified. As a matter of fact, you can’t do that from the Windows application (which can’t be properly used without a subscription), either.
Let’s talk about the money
As stated above, RUSVPN offers you three different subscription plans that you can use. These plans are as follows:
- A 1-month plan priced at 9.99$ per month;
- A 6-months plan priced at 6.99$ per month; you pay 41.94$ once every 6 months instead of 59.94$, thus you save 30%;
- A 1-year plan priced at 4.99$ per month; you pay 59.88$ once a year instead of 119.88, thus you save 50%;
Please note that the 6-months and 1-year plans are charged every 6 months, respectively once a year, as opposed to charging you a monthly amount. The discounts are based on the monthly plan’s price.
You can pay via VISA, Mastercard, bitcoin, PayPal, WebMoney, QIWI
To draw the line, RUSVPN is, as its name suggests, a VPN service provider that can help you anonymize your connection, secure it against the prying eyes of users who might attempt to compromise it and also unlock a bunch of services on the side.
They’re based in Great Britain, which is a 14 Eyes Alliance country. Actually, they’re one of the two countries who signed the initial agreement (UKUSA) that later turned into the 14 Eyes Alliance. Not that it necessarily means anything, just that you should be aware of this fact.
They claim to practice a zero-logging policy, but also openly admit that they run a “non-permanent connection log” that’s reportedly there to help them improve their application.
RUSVPN can be downloaded on Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS devices, but can also be used as a browser extension or via OpenVPN or PPTP/L2TP configurations. However, their Windows application is quite unstable (random shutdowns, refuses to connect to any server, can’t be terminated except from Windows’ Task Manager).
Security-wise, we’ve detected that they leak DNS requests while running our tests. More so, the speed tests we were able to run (we got kicked out of our accounts a bunch of times) showed that they aren’t exactly the fastest ones there are. The number of servers they offer is very low compared to other providers.
They offer a free version of their services, but it’s subjected to some limitations, such as not being able to work with torrent clients, a narrow selection of servers and, according to information available on their website, no improved encryption algorithms, limited traffic and limited connection speed.
You can choose from three subscription plans, which we believe are a bit pricey for what they have to offer, but at least they offer a hearty discount for the longest plan.
Do we recommend RUSVPN? No.
+ Zero-log policy; (4)
+ Live chat with helpful support team; (4)
– Tests showed that they leak DNS requests; (0)
– Run a connection log; (1)
– 14 Eyes Alliance; (2)
– Can’t unlock Netflix and other similar services although advertised on the website; (1)
– Low number of servers; (1)
– Unstable Windows application; (0.5)
– Low speed; (1)
RUSVPN receives a 1.61/5 rating.