ZenMate is a VPN provider well-known for its proxy browser extensions. ZenMate VPN service offers easy-to-use apps and high speed. Keep reading my (ultimate) ZenMate review to find out more about the pros and cons of ZenMate VPN!
ZenMate review 2018 in a nutshell
|Headquarters & jurisdiction||Germany|
|Log policy||Some logs.|
|GDPR compliance||Yes, according to the support team.|
|Servers & locations||300+ servers in 30+ countries.|
|Dynamic & static IPs||Dynamic IPs.|
|VPN protocols & security||IPSec, L2TP.|
|Advanced VPN protocols||No.|
|P2P & torrent policy||Not allowed.|
|VPN applications||Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS.|
|Plug & Play Routers||Yes, FlashRouters.|
|Other devices (manual setup)||No.|
|Browser extensions||Yes, for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox.|
|Kill Switch||Yes, for the Windows application.|
|DNS leak protection||Yes.|
|IPv6 leak protection||Yes.|
|Automatically change IP||No.|
|Proxy & SOCKS5||Yes, it offers access to HTTP proxies in the browser extensions (no manual setup). No SOCKS5 proxies.|
|Simultaneous connections / devices||5 devices.|
|Free trial||Yes, 7 days of premium free trial, limited free afterward.|
|Pricing||From $9.99/month, lower for the annual plan.|
|Promos & discounts||Refer-a-friend coupon, website promo – Get 3 months for free!|
|Payment methods||PayPal, Credit cards, Union Pay, SEPA Bank Transfer, Qiwi Wallet.|
|Moneyback||Yes, 30 days.|
|Support||24/7 email and support tickets. No live chat.|
|User reviews||Mostly positive, complaints about support.|
|Multilanguage||Yes, website and apps.|
|Pros/What I like||Straightforward apps, good speed.|
|Cons/What could be improved||No OpenVPN, no live chat, no bitcoin accepted.|
Headquarters & jurisdiction
ZenMate is a VPN provider based in Berlin, Germany. As a member of the Fourteen Eyes group of countries, Germany shares intelligence to avoid breaking domestic laws. A VPN service provider located in one of these countries might share user data with intelligence services in some instances. You should keep this in mind when using a VPN provider located in Germany.
ZenMate VPN review – Log policy
In order to prevent attacks against ZenMate your IP address will be saved temporarily on the server without being stored permanently or used for any other purposes. […]
… you may consider which server to choose to use ZenMate and to which country therewith you want your IP address and site request to be transmitted and possibly used and saved temporarily in order to establish a connection. […]
If your account’s data volume is limited we will measure the data you transfer and receive. However, we will not collect or store the content of the data. We will only record the mere volume of the data.
I have contacted ZenMate support team regarding the GDPR issue. They stated that:
We are GDPR compliant, and as Germany already had one of the strictest laws in regards to data privacy before the GDPR, we did not have to change a lot – all of our processes are in place and all legal requirements are met.
As it is ZenMate’s mission to protect the people online, we are fully welcoming the EU-wide rollout of stricter laws and the global increase of awareness of internet user’s rights.
Servers & locations
ZenMate offers unlimited bandwidth on 300+ servers in 30+ countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.
Dynamic & static IPs
All ZenMate VPN servers have dynamic IPs. It means that every time you connect, you will get a different IP address. For a specific location, you will get connected to a server from the server pool, which assigns you a random IP address.
ZenMate security review – VPN protocols and security
ZenMate VPN implements the strong AES-encryption with a 256-bit key for its applications. However, the Zen Mate browser extensions use the 128-bit AES encryption.
A shortfall of ZenMate regarding VPN protocols is that it does not implement OpenVPN and does not allow protocol switches. L2TP and IPSec are the protocols used by the Zen Mate applications.
P2P & torrent policy
ZenMate does not seem to be designed for P2P and torrent traffic. Their Terms of Service states that:
(4) You agree not to commit any copyright infringement when using ZenMate, for example by downloading copyright protected files or granting other people access to those. Such use is prohibited.
However, it looks like there are no filters to prevent torrenting on ZenMate servers. My advice is to use ZenMate for P2P traffic only occasionally. There are other VPNs for torrents you may use.
Must read: Learn how to torrent safely!
ZenMate review – VPN applications
ZenMate Windows app
The Windows application (as well as the other ZenMate apps) is very simple, and it does what is supposed to: connects to a VPN server from the desired location.
After login, choose the desired location (you are only able to select a country) and click on the ZenMate shield to connect. Within seconds you are connected. Nice!
From the My Settings screen you are able to activate the following options (I was not able to find the presentation of these features on the ZenMate site. Thus, they are presented exclusively from my point of view.):
- EverSecure: It maintains the VPN connection active as long as the ZenMate application is working.
- Run ZenMate on startup: It runs the app on the OS startup.
- Kill Switch: It terminates the Internet access/connection if the VPN connection drops (more details below).
- DNS Leak Protection: It offers protection against DNS leaks.
- Enable locations monitoring: It probably monitors the server/location usage.
The ZenMate Windows app uses the L2TP/IPSec protocol. Unfortunately, OpenVPN or other VPN protocols are not available.
Important! I noticed that the ZenMate VPN connections are using the Google public DNS (126.96.36.199). Not a very good choice, as the Google DNS is known to keep logs. Other public DNS servers that do not keep logs would be better alternatives.
To sum up the ZenMate VPN review regarding the Windows application: very easy to use, it does what is expected to do. However, it lacks OpenVPN and info regarding the available features.
ZenMate MacOS app
The ZenMate Mac OS application is similar to the Windows app, and basically, it does only one thing: connects your Mac to the chosen VPN location. Additionally, you may set up the app to run on startup.
The ZenMate Mac OS app uses the IPSec (IKEv2) protocol to connect to the VPN servers.
ZenMate does not have their VPN app listed to the MacOS App Store. You may only download it from the ZenMate site.
ZenMate iOS app
ZenMate offers great apps for mobile devices. The ZenMate iOS app is again straightforward, but it also provides some advanced features like the AdBlocker, Tracking Protection, Malware Blocking and EverSecure.
The EverSecure (Always-ON) forces the VPN connection to reconnect on demand, every time the device connects to the Internet.
The ZenMate iOS mobile app uses the IPSec VPN protocol. In-app purchases are available if you don’t already have an account.
ZenMate VPN Review – Android app
The ZenMate Android app uses the L2TP protocol. As expected, it easily connects to the chosen location. Additionally, you may turn ON the EverSecure, Malware Blocking, Tracking Protection functions.
If the Always-on / EverSecure VPN feature is enabled and you close the ZenMate app (swipe it from recently used apps), the VPN disconnects for a few seconds, before being reconnected in the background.
Browser extensions and add-ons
ZenMate started as a proxy service run as browser extensions. With millions of downloads and users, the ZenMate extensions are top-notch! You may install them from the Chrome, Opera, Firefox extensions stores.
If you don’t have an account, you need to create one. Next, you can get started: select the desired location and turn the extension ON. It connects smoothly and provides excellent speed.
The ZenMate extensions also provide access to the following advanced features:
- Smart Locations (-> Features) – you may setup the extension to automatically connect to a particular location/server when the chosen site is visited.
- Malware Blocking (-> Features) – when enabled it blocks malicious sites and code snippets.
- Tracking Protection (-> Features) – when enabled it prevents 3rd party services from tracking you.
- SmartPrice (-> Settings) – it activates on shopping sites and shows you reviews and alternative offers to the product you’re currently searching for.
Important! The Zenmate extensions are vulnerable to the WebRTC IP leaks. However, you may solve the issue by installing the Zenmate WebRTC Protect Chrome extension or disable WebRTC on the other browsers.
ZenMate implements Internet KillSwitch (the Internet access is completely cut off in case of VPN disconnect until it is manually restored or the VPN reconnects) only for the Windows application. You may turn it on from My Settings -> Kill Switch.
DNS leak protection
ZenMate provides strong DNS leak protection. This can be enabled and disabled in the Windows application, while it is enabled by default on the other apps.
You may use ZenMate on up to 5 devices simultaneously. It should be enough for a medium-sized family. If you need more than five simultaneous connections, you may create an additional account.
ZenMate offers 7-day free trial, but it is not trivial to get one. Here is how I was able to create a ZenMate free trial account. Firstly, I installed the ZenMate Chrome extension. Next, I clicked the ZenMate icon that loaded an activation page from the ZenMate site. After some search, I noticed the Try ZenMate Limited instead link from the very bottom of the page (take a look at the image below). Clicked the link, waited for 10 seconds and then created the account.
Note: To benefit from the ZenMates premium free trial you need to verify your email address.
Business VPN accounts
ZenMate VPN for Business offers a management dashboard that allows you to configure and manage all your VPN accounts. The business accounts can be used to:
- Share confidential business data with coworkers and clients.
- Complete financial transactions online with securely encrypted banking.
- Secure and protect your business data while traveling.
- Test appearance and localization of your business from anywhere in the world.
ZenMate Premium review – Pricing
Although ZenMate can be used for free (limited features on Chrome and Firefox), the ZenMate premium account is the one that offers the most value (good speed, locations, extra protection).
The monthly price is $8.99. If you are happy with the VPN service, you may go for the semi-annual plan ($53.99) or the annual plan ($71.99).
The pricing for the Business accounts is not publicly available. You need to ask for a quote if you are interested.
Promos and discounts
If you know someone that is already using ZenMate you may ask for their Refer-a-Friend code. You will get a 10% discount on all plans.
Also, ZenMate continually runs promotions on their website, like the 44% off from the annual plan that is available at this time.
Are you looking for a VPN deal? Here is a site that lists active VPN promotions. If you know other ZenMate promotions feel free to share them in the comments below.
You may pay for ZenMate services using the followings: PayPal, credit cards, Union Pay, SEPA Bank Transfer, Qiwi Wallet. No Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies accepted.
When you subscribe to the ZenMate service, you have 30 days to cancel your account (no questions asked). You will be refunded in the same payment method that you initially used to pay for the subscription, at no extra fees. However, the following payment methods are non-refundable: PaysafeCard, UKash, BitCoin.
The ZenMate team offers ticket support, but no live chat. You may contact ZenMate 24/7/365.
ZenMate VPN review – Performance/speed testing
You need to know that there are factors that influence the speed of your Internet connection while connected to VPN, factors that are not related to the VPN service, like: the speed of your regular Internet connection (without VPN), the connection from your location to the VPN server, the load of the VPN server (the number of users on the server), the available bandwidth for the VPN server. This is something you need to take into consideration when measuring the performance of a VPN provider.
To get an idea of the ZenMate connection speed, I performed several tests for different locations.
Firstly, I have tested my regular Internet connection and then compared it with the download speed of the VPN connection when the ZenMate app was connected to a US server (useful for unblocking Netflix streaming). Interestingly, the speed connected to the ZenMate server was superior to my regular Internet connection (no VPN).
Secondly, I have set the ZenMate app to the UK location (for BBC streaming):
Lastly, I tried the connection to VPN server located in Asia (Japan):
To sum up the ZenMate review speed test, I found the performance/speed of the ZenMate servers excellent. The download speed was higher (for US and UK) than my regular connection. However, the upload speed was significantly lower.
The ZenMate site looks very nice and straightforward. However, the technical information is somehow difficult to find. It took me a while to find information in the knowledge base regarding the implemented VPN protocols, about the EverSecure or the Tracking Protection features. The checkout process is simple, and you instantly get access to the VPN service after payment. You may visit ZenMate here.
You may find independent ZenMate users reviews on TrustPilot. The leading causes of client dissatisfaction are the auto-renewal subscriptions that are not canceled and the quality of support. However, some users are very happy with the service.
ZenMate review – Pros – What I like about ZenMate
ZenMate service is excellent: simple and effective. Here are some of the things I love the most about ZenMate:
- Straightforward applications.
- Exceptional proxy browser extensions.
- Stable and reliable VPN service.
- It seems to work with Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
- Good speed.
ZenMate review – Cons – What could be improved
Several things could be improved:
- Live chat support (at least for several hours) should be implemented. Also, support should be faster and more effective.
- OpenVPN is not available.
- It may not work in China, Iran, Egypt as the L2TP, IPSec protocols are blocked.
- Bitcoin payments not accepted.
- You may not select a server from a particular city or region.
ZenMate review 2018 – Conclusion
To conclude this ZenMate premium review, ZenMate is a top VPN service that I recommend to those interested in a one-click VPN service. The apps and browser extensions are user-friendly, and you may get started in a matter of seconds. However, ZenMate is not suitable for those looking for more control regarding the VPN protocols and other advanced features.
What do you think of ZenMate? Have you tried it? Would you recommend ZenMate? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.