VPNGate Review (2019)

VPNGate Highlights

softether_logo
  • Country: Japan
  • Logging:  Yes (Traffic), Yes (Connection),  Yes (IP address)
  • Bypass VPN Block (DPI): SoftEther (Windows & Linux)
  • Pricing: Free
  • Allows P2P/ Torrent: Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: No limit 
  • Live Chat Support: No
  • Custom clients/apps: Yes (Windows only)
  • Alternative website: http://37.120.154.37:23010/en/
  • Trustpilot rating: N/A

My First Impression

VPNGate is not a usual commercial VPN service, it is a free VPN service supported by volunteers across the globe. The project is managed by the National University of Tsubaka, Japan.  The same University that has developed SoftEther VPN project. The VPNGate project has been active since 2013, and serving to users from almost all countries. 

The website is simple and informative. On the main page you come across the free VPN relay servers. There is also usage statistics by country and active usages by country on the main page. The site offers mirror websites, in case the main domain is blocked in your country, and the website is available in English, Japanese and Chinese languages.

Does VPNGate keep logs?

If you are looking for a non-logging VPN service, VPNGate is not the best option. In order to prevent abuse, both VPNGate itself, and the volunteers keep logs. VPNGate does not keep packet logs, but it keeps connection time, source and destination IPs, protocol type, VPN software and bandwidth usage logs. The volunteers, or VPN Relay servers, keep packet logs for about two weeks.

vpngate_logging
VPNGate Logging Policy

To sum up, we can conclude that VPNGate stores all types of logs: traffic logs, connection logs and IP addresses.

VPNGate also states, that in case of wrongdoing by a user, it will hand connection logs to a policeman, a prosecutor, a lawyer or a court who is authorized by applicable laws.

 

VPNGate Abuse Policy

Does VPNGate bypass Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and similar firewalls?

Countries like China, Turkey, Russia 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 providers offer extra protocols, often called StealthVPN or anti-DPI protocols, that help users to bypass VPN block and access free internet.

VPNGate offers SoftEther protocol, which was also developed by the University of Tsubaka. The current version of SoftEther VPN was the personal research work carried out by Daiyuu Nobori to obtain a Master’s degree at Tsukuba University. On March 8, 2013, following completion of the initial development, he decided to release the work as freeware on this softether.org website.

The developers claim that SoftEther is one of the most powerful and easy-to-use multi-protocol VPN software in the world. The word “SoftEther” means “Software Ethernet”. It is open-source and runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, Solaris and FreeBSD. SoftEther VPN incorporates OpenVPN, SSTP, IPsec/L2TP and SoftEther protocols. As shown on the diagram below, the SoftEther VPN protocol is only available for Linux and Windows users.

softhether_diagram
SoftEther VPN - protocol compability diagram

Testing VPNGate

As usual, I test the VPN on a Windows 7 PC, on an ADSL internet provided by the local telecom company.

I have used VPNGate before, so I expected the VPN to bypass the restrictions. And, during the test some servers were able to evade the DPI, and I had acess to the blocked websites, like YouTube, Facebook, etc. However, not all of the servers were good at connecting, actually about 20 percent of the servers I tried, connected succesfully. The reason for this could be tha blacklisted IP addresses by our ISP. Another issue with the VPNGate is the speed. The speed issue could be because of the throttling of the ISP, or many simultaneous users accessing the VPNGate. But since the service is free, I do not thing it is major issue, as long as it does not disturb the users.

VPNGate Windows test
VPNGate Windows test

To sum up, in the tests VPNGate managed to bypass the deep packet inspection in my country on Windows (SoftEther). If you are not sure whether VPNGate will work in your country or not, you can try the service for free. 

Is VPNGate affordable?

It is totally free, and also they plan to stay free in the future.

What features are offered by VPNGate?

– Supported Platforms

VPNGate supports Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android platforms. The stealth protocol, SoftEtherVPN, is available to Windows and Linux users only. Also, P2P/Torrenting is allowed on the servers, but not that secure due to logging policy of the VPN service operator.

– Supported Protocols

VPNGate supports OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP and SoftEther protocols.

– Number of Servers

VPNGate provides VPN services with about 5500 servers from over 30 countries.

Conclusion

What I liked:

  • SoftEther (anti-DPI)
  • Free
  • P2P/Torrenting allowed

What I didn’t like:

  • Logs stored: Traffic, Connection, IP address logs
  • No anti-DPI protocol on iOS, Android, macOS
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