CactusVPN (www.cactusvpn.com) is relatively a new player in the industry launched in the early 2012. In fact, CactusVPN is the latest addition to the anonymous web browsing marketplace with the ability to offer anonymous IP and unrestricted internet access to their subscribers.
Being a new company on the market, CactusVPN has a lot to prove, and are certainly looking good to achieve a good portion of the market share with attractively priced packages. The competition in the industry is quite tough, which means that CactusVPN has come up with some unique strategies to offer good quality anonymous web browsing services to their clients and in April 2014, added support for Softether VPN protocol.
CactusVPN also offers access to P2P traffic, which is something that only a handful of other VPN providers offer to their clients. And they offer the best in terms of browsing speed as well, which means this is one of the only few service providers that can stream online videos without any major buffering issues.
Unlike other VPN clients, you can sign up and use CactusVPN services for a free 24 hours. And that means you don’t have to pay anything for the 24 hours of subscription.
This mainly acts as a buffer or test phase where you can see for yourself if VPN services work as per your requirements. There is also a 30-day money back guarantee if you sign up for a subscription package, but are not satisfied with their services for some reason.
Installing & Setting Up Cactus VPN On Your System
One should note that it is extremely easy to install and use CactusVPN on your system. Cactus VPN deserves full marks here, as they have gone all out to design an interface that works. Maybe a late launch into the market has helped them understand the issues and pitfalls faced by existing VPN clients while accessing blocked content over the net. This is clearly evident in the way the CactusVPN platform runs and works.
As is the case with other VPN service providers, CactusVPN offers PPTP, SSTP, L2Tp/IPSec and OpenVPN security protocols. No surprises here, but what is outstanding to note is that CactusVPN has gone ahead and implemented a new VPN protocol. The SoftEther VPN protocol is new in its concept and offers high speed connectivity over extra layers of security. SoftEther VPN protocol is only offered by a handful of VPN providers, and CactusVPN is one among them.
CactusVPN platforms are offered for Windows, but not Mac OS, iOS and Android devices. Surprisingly, there’s also no Linux version available, but you can still connect to all of the mentioned platforms by using the built-in VPN feature. To do this, you will have to enter the login parameters that you received with your subscription. Using VPN without an application is actually preferable because that’s one less program to run on your computer and it just works.
All you have to do to get started with CactusVPN is to sign up, make payment and subscribe to CactusVPN from their website. Downloading the software doesn’t require you to sign up, but you need to obtain login parameters to log in to the server and browse the web anonymously.
Once you download and install the software, you will have to enter the login information, which will take you to the platform dashboard. Here, you will be greeted by a range of VPN options related to your VPN customization, but don’t expect any significant features such as static and dedicated IPs or the ability to choose a server of your choice(unless you have chosen the high end subscription pack). Still, the interface is pretty easy to use, and it runs in the background quite smoothly.
If you don’t want to use the platform, and are more comfortable with hard-wiring VPN on your system, you can directly configure your LAN settings with the user login parameters. Of course, that is your choice, and you have the option to choose either.
For those who prefer to use a VPN for streaming videos without buffering issues can also choose the Smart DNS option, which offers negligible lag while streaming videos and audio files.
Cost Of CactusVPN Subscription & Packages
This is really the best aspect of CactusVPN. They offer a wide range of features, with pricing options for servers in specific countries like the US, UK, and Netherlands. Their VPN with Smart DNS Technology is their most popular service, which includes 12 servers in all 4 countries at $6.99 per month. That is way less than the competition, and really cheaper than those VPN service providers that offer less than half the number of features as provided by CactusVPN. This means that they have certainly priced it right and is certainly a worry for the competition. If that doesn’t take your fancy, they offer Smart DNS on its own.
The only problem with CactusVPN subscription is that with some of the options, you only have a limited choice of servers, either from the United States, United Kingdom or Netherlands. And only the Netherlands server offers P2P access. It is in no way expensive, but the process of diversifying their packages can confuse some customers. Maybe a bit more aggressive pricing for a single package with all the bells and whistles would have been perfect. But we have no serious complaints.
You do get a full 24 hours of free usage with no strings attached. They wouldn’t even ask for your credit card details. This is pretty excellent from the part of CactusVPN, and they even offer 30 days money back guarantee. But if you are an online person, and if you have a blog, forum, website, or just about any form or online real estate with a PR or PageRank of at least 2, you can get a free VPN account from CactusVPN.
Yes, you can get a free account, but in return, you will be required to post a review or some text with a link back to the CactusVPN account. Therefore, the free VPN account is just a link-bait strategy, one that works for every party concerned (Disclosure: We received a free VPN account from CactusVPN in order to review their services).
The payment option is however, a weak point in the CactusVPN arsenal. Only PayPal and credit card payments are accepted. We all know that PayPal is blocked in some countries, and privacy credit card information is extremely valued by people who wish to be anonymous online. Hence, if you want to hide behind an anonymous IP without using either PayPal or credit cards, you should move on to other VPN service providers. Addition of multiple payment options can surely help CactusVPN beat the competition with the pricing on offer.
You can also get a decent discounts on bulk orders. The top end ‘VPN + Smart DNS’ package can be ordered at $17.99 for three months, $31.99 for six months and $54.99 for a year. For server specific packages such as US VPN, UK VPN and NL VPN, you can choose to pay $12.99 for three months, $22.99 for six months and $38.99 for a year. This result in an even cheaper pricing for your subscription compared to other competitors offering the same or similar set of features and services.
Speed Of Anonymous Web Browsing & Bandwidth At CactusVPN
Speed is another feature that truly works in favor of CactusVPN. Time and again, we have faced streaming issues with various VPN service providers. We couldn’t really complain about the loss of speed, because we understand that speed and bandwidth will be lost while rerouting traffic through different servers located around the world. But CactusVPN has given us what we had always hoped.
Instead of the standard 40-80% customary drop in available ISP speed with other VPN companies, CactusVPN was able to tap into almost 80-90% of the available ISP speed. Even we were surprised to find this was possible. This ensured that all streaming media could be viewed without trouble.
CactusVPN also offer unlimited bandwidth across the board, and there are no bandwidth restrictions. Good speed and unlimited bandwidth mean users with P2P traffic preference will certainly choose CactusVPN over other service providers. This does have its own disadvantages, as the NL server faces a few serious downtime issues, and at peak hours, there are issues of server outages. This trouble is not really that prevalent in the servers from US and UK. Adding a few servers will certainly solve this issue.
Number Of Servers & Server Locations
Number of servers and server locations is not really a strong suite for CactusVPN. At present, there are only three countries on offer, mainly United States, United Kingdom and Netherlands. The exact number of servers is not known, but expects it to be in the lower 20s. Unfortunately, this is a really low figure, and seeing that this is just a startup company, we can expect a greater number of servers in the near future.
CactusVPN Customer Support & Website Information
CactusVPN does not have what one would call a top-notch customer service department, but they aren’t any slouch either. The customer support is quite responsive, and you can send an email, submit a ticket or initiate a live chat. Live chat support is only offered to customers, and prospective clients will find it hard to talk to someone directly. Amazingly, there isn’t any direct contact phone number either.
The CactusVPN website on the other hand, is superbly designed and has all the right information. Even the tutorials are presented in an easy to read manner, which ensures that even a novice user can set up VPN on their system without any difficulties. You can find everything you need from their knowledge database, and if you do run into any issues during setup, the customer support team can be of great assistance.
Issues & Drawbacks Of CactusVPN
We have to be really picky to pick out the drawbacks of a VPN service that offer anonymous web browsing services at such an affordable price. But still, we have faced a few issues that we would like to be rectified. For starters, the number of servers is quite low, and we want a large number of locations added to the list as well.
This will also improve the overall speed and reliability, especially for users opting for the Netherlands server. Also, there isn’t an option for dedicated IP, not even as a paid option and this is something that people are willing to pay for. SSL security is also absent, which once again, is something that people will pay for. Combining these features and avoiding splitting up servers for the sake of offering low-priced packages should do the trick. CactusVPN is not overly priced at the moment, and we don’t get the theory behind mending something that wasn’t broken in the first place.
This is a no-brainer. For under $5 and with an all-inclusive package available, this is certainly something that will get all the anonymous web users excited. It isn’t as if CactusVPN were conservative with their features. There are unique and standard features on offer, and for this price, CactusVPN is a good choice. We can certainly ignore a few shortcomings, and seeing the way CactusVPN are making changes to their services, we expect most of the issues to be sorted out at the earliest.
CactusVPN Discount Coupons & Offers
There is a free 24 hour trial from Cactus VPN, after which, you can enjoy another 30 days money back guarantee. This means that you can use the CactusVPN without worry for an extended period of time to test out the service.
Now, you’ve heard our opinion of CactusVPN, but what are your own experiences? Did we hit spot on or do you disagree without verdict? If you have tried CactusVPN please share your thoughts with us using the comment section below.