On the surface, Avira Phantom VPN looks like a worthy competitor in the personal security industry.
The company provides OpenVPN protocol as well as AES 256-bit encryption. Potential customers with more robust requirements also may appreciate the relatively solid ability to watch Netflix with errors and to download torrents.
Avira makes it possible for customers to connect multiple devices simultaneously. There’s even a kill switch to sever a connection if the VPN becomes unavailable.
However, users are bound to see a drastic reduction in data transfer rates whenever they turn on this VPN. This makes for a frustrating experience, regardless of what you’re doing online. Also, the bad news is the fact that Avira has their headquarters in Germany, so if you’re a fierce privacy advocate, this may not be the VPN for you.
Security and Encryption
Avira Phantom covers most of the major operating systems in the industry, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. At this time, no other operating systems are included. The type of operating system that you are running will determine which VPN protocol is managing your connection.
Users running Windows or Android will automatically connect via OpenVPN, which has the recognition as an industry standard. MacOS and iOS systems will connect via IPSec. Though perhaps not as popular, IPSec still offers plenty of reliability and protection.
Unlike other VPN providers, Avira does not offer a choice when it comes to VPN protocols. However, since they are offering two of the best in the business, this is unlikely to be a deterrent for many people. Potential customers who may prefer other protocols for specific applications may want to look elsewhere.
Avira provides free and paid versions of its services. The paid version of any VPN service is virtually always the best bet because it likely offers additional privacy and protection. This is undoubtedly the case here, as only customers who are paying have the advantage of Avira’s kill switch. If you don’t want to find yourself suddenly exposed online, you’ll have to pay for it.
Avira Phantom does go the extra mile by providing in-house DNS protection. This additional layer of security makes it more difficult for outsiders to monitor the DNS requests that your computer makes to visit websites.
Avira Phantom VPN’s Server Network
This metric is where Avira’s shortcomings begin to come to light. While many VPN providers in the industry boast expansive server networks that feature thousands of servers in more than 100 countries, Avira can’t compete.
That’s because they have approximately 40 servers located in just 20 countries. Avira is a German company, and the vast majority of its servers can be found there and in neighboring European countries such as Spain, the U.K., Switzerland, Poland, the Netherlands, Romania, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Austria.
Avira Phantom does have an international presence with servers also located in Singapore, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Canada and the U.S. In fact, Avira has about a dozen servers in North America, but their coverage in other regions is pretty dismal.
South America is represented by just one location, and customers in Africa and the Middle East won’t find any local servers that are managed by Avira. Like many VPN providers, Avira’s website notes that they are always working to expand their network, but no details regarding these efforts are disclosed.
The upshot of having such a small server network is that data transfer rates are bound to be considerably slower. Each server has a limited amount of bandwidth. As more users try to connect to the same server, traffic gets bogged down. Another consideration is the lack of geographic diversity in Avira’s network.
Your data transfer rates will tend to be faster when you connect to a server that is close to your actual location. If you live in a place where Avira does not have any local servers, you can expect incredibly slow web traffic.
Is Avira VPN Compatible with BitTorrent or P2P?
Checking in with Avira’s customer support team revealed that the company makes no distinction between the types of traffic that go through the VPN. This means that torrenting and P2P file sharing is allowed. Moreover, Avira does not limit such activities to only specific servers. Of course, with so few servers available, you can expect any torrenting or file sharing activities to take a frustrating amount of time.
Speed Test Results with Avira Phantom VPN
The reasons for using a VPN are many. Most people are looking to protect their online privacy since ISPs, hackers and other parties always seem to be spying on their activities.
A VPN is the perfect way to disguise your physical location, hide your IP address and make sure that no one can track which websites you visit or what you do while you’re there.
The trade-off for this protection is speed. Although some of the top-rated VPN services can rival the lightning-fast data transfer rates of an unprotected connection, Avira is not one of these, according to our test results.
Much of this slowdown is related to Avira’s anemic server network. Without a higher number of servers, the company’s speed test results are unlikely to improve anytime soon.
Before turning on Avira, benchmark testing had the results with download rates of 98.71 Mbps and upload rates of 53.00 Mbps. Turning on Avira yielded some truly disappointing results. Download rates were now only 6.98 Mbps with upload rates clocking in at 9.02 Mbps.
This initial test was completed using one of Avira’s servers in the Netherlands. A successive analysis was carried out using a server located in North America.
These results were even more abysmal.
With rates of 4.34 Mbps for downloads and 2.23 Mbps for uploads, it’s clear that Avira isn’t going to be winning speed tests anytime soon.
For those of you keeping track, those numbers are a full 95 percent lower than those achieved without Avira running. It’s safe to say that no one is going to be satisfied with that kind of performance.
That’s because we’ve all become so accustomed to super-fast load times. Long gone are the days of the dial-up modem and having to wait for minutes for a website to load. Today’s load times are instantaneous unless you’re using Avira.
If you’re feeling nostalgic for the days of the dial-up modem, then maybe you want to give Avira a whirl.
Does Avira Phantom VPN Keep Logs?
Many VPN providers talk a good game when it comes to “no logging” policies. However, when you get into the fine print, you discover that there is quite a bit of data that they keep. In a refreshing change of pace, Avira openly discloses which data they are tracking.
Their disclosure notes that they do maintain data concerning diagnostic issues so that they can detect and fix bugs and other problems. Similarly, the company keeps tabs on which customers are using the free service and which ones are paying as there is a cap on the data that can be used by the “free” customers each month.
Nonetheless, the company also says that they do not keep any records concerning the websites that their customers visit or other online activities.
How Much Does Avira Phantom VPN Cost?
Avira does offer a limited version of its services for free. As mentioned before, this coverage comes with restrictions. Customers are only allowed to use 500 MB of data per month. If you are a heavy Internet user, then you’re likely to exhaust your monthly allotment within just a few days.
However, the free version may be adequate for some people, and it does come with encryption, DNS leak protection and access via multiple devices.
If people want to have similar coverage without the data restrictions and a few helpful extras, then it’s wise to go with Phantom VPN Pro, which is the paid version of the service.
People who pay for Avira get the kill switch that automatically ends a browsing session if the VPN should become unavailable. They also benefit from having access to customer service reps who can help with all sorts of questions. Of course, like many things connected with Avira, customers tend to report that reps are slow to respond to queries.
The paid plan costs just $10 per month, which is a bargain. However, it’s not necessarily money well spent when considering the slow data transfer rates and lack of customer support.
Is Avira a Recommended VPN?
Based on speed test results, Avira is not recommended. Additionally, Avira is not compatible with router setup or TOR, and smart televisions and game consoles have no support. Neither do the Linux devices.
Far more better-recommended VPN providers are already out there.