FlowVPN Review (2018)

FlowVPN Highlights

  • Country: UK
  • Logging:  Yes (Traffic), Yes (Connection),  Yes (IP address)
  • Bypass VPN Block (DPI): OpenVPN over SSH on MacOS and iOS
  • Pricing: 3.99$ (per month, in yearly subscription)
  • Allows P2P/ Torrent: No
  • Simultaneous connections: 4
  • Live Chat Support: No
  • Custom clients/apps: Yes
  • Alternative website: N/A
  • Trustpilot rating: N/A

My First Impression

FlowVPN is a VPN company by a UK company Portable Ltd.

The website leaves an average impression. The website has a nice design, and a good knowledgebase. The website is not ideal however, the privacy page is very short, and no detailed information is available. Also, I did not find ToS and refund policy page. Lastly, the website lacks  live chat support and an option of changing the website language.

Does FlowVPN keep logs?

After searching a while, I found Terms and Conditions on the VPN knowledgebase. There, I found information about logging policy of FlowVPN. The VPN provider keeps some of data transferred. FlowVPN logs information about your subscription, your IP address and session data (connection log).

Moreover, it is stated that network activity is monitored for abuse, meaning that FlowVPN also logs traffic activity of the users. 

 

flowvpn logging policy
FlowVPN Logging Policy

In addition to mentioned logs, FlowVPN keeps personal information like email address, postal address etc. Another thing I noticed was that, FlowVPN may share personal information of the users with its suppliers and law enforcement agencies without informing the client.

So, FlowVPN stores following:

  • traffic logs (a.k.a user activity)
  • connection logs (bandwidth, timestamps etc.)
  • IP address
flowvpn logging policy
FlowVPN Logging Policy

Does FlowVPN bypass Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) or similar VPN blocking firewalls?

Countries like China, Turkey, Russia etc. implement firewalls that block access to VPN services. As an example China uses the Great Wall of China (GFW) system to block most VPNs and proxies. Some VPN services use extra protocols so that users in those countries can bypass VPN block.

The good news is FlowVPN offers OpenVPN over SSH to evade VPN blocking firewalls, the bad news is that only iOS and macOS users. PPTP and IPSec IKEv2 protocols are available for Windows users, whereas Android users cenjoy PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN protocols. As the protocols lack an obfuscation layer, I am doubtful about htier capability to bypass deep packet inspection. 

FlowVPN - OpenVPN over SSH

Testing FlowVPN

As usual, I test FlowVPN on a Windows 7 64-bit PC, and an Android phone running Android 6.0. I am testing ADSL internet provided by local telecom company, and mobile internet provided by local cellular provider.
 

The Windows test result was as expected, the VPN software failed to connect.

flowvpn windows test
FlowVPN OpenVPN Windows test

FlowVPN has several android apps: Global VPN, VPN Asia, UK / US VPN, Euro VPN, Budget VPN, Onion VPN. I ran my test using Global VPN.

The result was same as in the Windows software test. Global VPN, which uses OpenVPN protocol, failed to pass the test.

FlowVPN Android Test

To sum up, FlowVPN failed to bypass the deep packet inspection in my country on the Windows and Android platforms. Since the SSH tunneling was available only on iOS and macOS devices, I was not able to perform the test. (According to the iOS app reviews on AppStore FlowVPN works in China, which suggests that it may also work in other countries that use DPI).  

If you are not sure whether FlowVPN is for you or not, I suggest you to check Country Guide section, where other users will be testing which VPNs work good in your country, or alternatively try 3-day free trial, to check whether FlowVPN works in your country. 

 

Is FlowVPN affordable? (Pricing plans)

FlowVPN offers monthly, quarterly, and annual subscription options. If you buy annual subscription, then monthly cost of the VPN will be $3.99, in other words you will end up paying almost $1 per device (4 simultaneous connections allowed). The pricing is good, however lack of Android and Windows support of OpenVPN over SSH is a major drawdown. 

flow pricing
FlowVPN Pricing

 

FlowVPN accepts Visa/Mastercard and PayPal.

If you want to test FlowVPN,  you can try 3-day free trial (7 days on iOS app description).

As for refund policy, FlowVPN normally does not offer refund stating that:

Given the availability of free trials, it is the policy of Portable Ltd not to offer refunds unless it can be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the service is performing significantly less well than during the customer’s trial period.

What features are offered by FlowVPN?

– Supported Platforms

FlowVPN supports Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. 

– Supported Protocols

FlowVPN offers:

  •  PPTP and IKEv2 for Windows
  •  PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN and OpenVPN over SSH for MacOS
  •  PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, OpenVPN and OpenVPN over SSH for iOS
  •  PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN for Android

– Number of Servers

FlowVPN advertises 100 servers in more than 50 countries. I went to the about page and counted the servers, and found out that FlowVPN has 76 servers in 50 countries. 

Conclusion

What I liked:

  • SSH tunnel support (bypass DPI) for iOS and MacOS platforms
  • Pricing 1$ per device/month

What I didn’t like:

  • Traffic logs, connection logs and IP adresses are stored
  • No obfuscation on Android and Windows platforms
  • Linux and routers are not supported
  • Torrenting/P2P not supported
  • Paypal and Credit Card payment only
  • 128-bit encryption
  • No live chat support
  • No refund offered (free trial available)
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