Tom's Guide Verdict
Encrypt.me delivers good speeds and a bare-bones client that may appeal to some users. However, security buffs will want to be wary of the extensive logging, and those new to VPNs, despite the simplified interface, may want to reconsider given the second-rate user support.
Good connection speeds
Service has been externally audited
Successfully unblocks Netflix and others
No kill switch in Windows, iOS or Android
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
If you’re looking for a basic, bare-bones VPN client for day-to-day operations like checking your email securely or watching geo-blocked videos, Encrypt.me has you covered. Just be prepared for a rather spartan user interface that can be a bit confusing at first.
Encrypt.me is a small and relatively new addition to the VPN community, but that doesn’t mean it doesn't have a lot to offer to the right kind of customer. To find out if that’s you, keep reading our Encrypt.me VPN review.
Plans and pricing
Let’s start with the basics. Encrypt.me offers a monthly rate of $9.99, which is about industry standard, and a yearly rate of $99.99, which is a little more expensive than many of its competitors.
There are some interesting options here, though. First of all, you can get a one-week pass for $3.99, which is cheap and convenient for out-of-town business trips, for example – and, while it works out more per month than a service like Surfshark, you’re not tied up in a two-year plan.
Families can save with a $12.99/mo or $149.99/year plan which includes five licenses, while teams pay just $7.99/user/mo for up to 25 users, $6.99/user/mo for up to 100 users, and $5.99/user/mo beyond that.
One massive bonus is that all plans allow for unlimited devices and simultaneous connections, which means you can cover your whole household with just one plan. There’s also a two-week trial available with no payment information required, so if you're sold, you can check out the plans in detail here.
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With 107 servers in 49 countries, Encrypt.me doesn't have the largest server selection, but it's wide enough to cover most bases, and with its relatively small user-base, bandwidth shouldn't be a problem. However, when we start digging into the details, we can’t say that Encrypt.me is the most secure VPN we’ve tested for a few reasons.
First, you have no choice of protocol: macOS/Android clients use OpenVPN, Windows and iOS apps use IPSec. While this isn’t a problem per se, different protocols offer different advantages, so just be sure you’re comfortable with the protocol choices in question.
Second, there’s some pretty significant logging going on: records of incoming and virtual IP, bytes sent and received, time connected, and start/end times are kept for 16 days.
Finally, Windows, Android, and iOS clients lack a kill switch, although for Mac users the OverCloak function blocks data leakages until a secure connection is established, which is a comparable function. It’s odd how this is limited to just Macs, though.
On the plus side, we’re happy to say that Encrypt.me has undergone (limited) third-party auditing, which we think all VPNs should be doing these days, and to be fair, none of the above security concerns is catastrophic for Encrypt.me’s target audience: average users looking to check email securely and watch the occasional overseas YouTube video. Investigative journalists operating under authoritarian regimes, however, should stay away.
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We had no trouble connecting to US Netflix or BBC iPlayer despite the fact that Encrypt.me’s website specifically says the service cannot be used to do so (and even recommends StrongVPN instead). However, as promised, neither Disney+ nor Amazon Prime worked.
On the plus side, we got some good speeds: 67Mbps on a 75Mbps UK connection, and upwards of 240Mbps on a 600Mbps US line, which is very good.
Interface and in use
In our testing we found the balance between simplicity and security skewed in the wrong direction. Windows and macOS clients are really bare-bones, and some questionable design choices will confuse many users who are new to VPNs – which is curious, given this is Encrypt.me’s target audience.
Clicking the menu bar (macOS) or system tray (Windows) icon brings up the main screen, in a reassuring green with a giant white check-mark on it. Unfortunately, this somewhat misleading layout means you’re connected to a password-protected network, not that the VPN is active. You’ll have to click 'secure my connection', and when the dialogue turns blue, you’re good to go. We have to question the decision to make what’s essentially the ‘off’ setting green – has the universal color for ‘on’ changed while we weren’t looking?
There are no favorites and there’s no server information, which we could accept in light of Encrypt.me’s mission to (over)simplify things, but if that’s the case, why employ non-standard terminology like ‘transporter’ in place of ‘server’, a well-known term even among technophobes?
The mobile apps do it better. We get a favorites tab and, while the color scheme is still misleading, you at least have a slider saying ‘off’ when not connected to a server/transporter. There’s also split tunneling, and an auto-secure feature to automatically connect to the VPN on unsecured networks.
Support from Encrypt.me is available in the form of a knowledge base or online chat.
Our experience with the online chat wasn’t stellar: we waited 10 minutes (despite being second in line), and the advice we received to get our Windows client up and running fell short (we did eventually get put in touch with the Windows developer who solved our problem). Additionally, although the website claims the live chat is open 24/7, as we write this article, the service is currently offline.
As for the knowledge base, you should find answers to your most basic questions, but if you hit any snags, you won’t find advanced trouble-shooting here (so get ready for a long wait with the live chat – if it’s online).
There are a number of other great VPN providers to choose from. Surfshark is one of the cheapest, with a $1.99/mo two-year plan, and includes support for Smart TVs and game consoles which is something Encrypt.me VPN doesn’t have.
Encrypt.me: Final verdict
Encrypt.me is fast and has a good mobile apps, and has useful plans suited towards individuals and teams. However, despite the fact that it’s aimed at the tech unsavvy, some questionable design choices and a second-rate knowledge base make us disinclined to recommend it to newbies.
That being said, if you’re just looking for a no-fuss VPN solution to check your email securely from cafés and connect to overseas YouTube from time to time, the session logging and lack of kill switch needn’t be a deal breaker – plus the unusual pass system that allows you to get cheap, short-term cover is really useful if you don’t plan on being a regular user.
Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon
Supported protocols: OpenVPN, IPSec
No. of servers: 100+
No. of countries: 49
Country of registration: USA
Payment options: Credit card, in-app purchase on iOS
Real name necessary? No
Encryption protocol: AES-256
Data usage: Unlimited
Bandwidth usage: Unlimited
Max. no. of simultaneously connected devices: Unlimited
Customer support: 24/7 chat and email
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Christian is a freelance writer and content project manager with over six years' experience writing and leading teams in finance and technology for some of the world's largest online publishers, including TechRadar and Tom's Guide.