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Avira VPN Review

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Introduction

Avira Phantom VPN is a virtual private network service offered by the cybersecurity company Avira. Avira is a well-known name in the antivirus and internet security space, protecting over 500 million devices worldwide.

Leveraging this security expertise, Avira launched Phantom VPN in 2019. It promises to keep users’ online activity private and secure when browsing the public internet. This review will analyze how well Avira’s VPN performs at protecting user privacy, its speed and reliability, pricing options, and overall usability compared to competitor VPN services.

Security and Privacy

As expected from its cybersecurity background, Avira Phantom VPN comes equipped with standard VPN security features. It uses AES 256-bit encryption for securing data traffic between your device and the VPN servers. Users can connect using OpenVPN, IPSec and WireGuard protocols.

The VPN provider has a strict no-logging policy stating it does not track or store any user activity logs nor connection logs. However, Avira does collect some diagnostic data to monitor the health status of its servers. The company can comply with legal orders since payment information for paid accounts may be stored.

It’s also worth noting Avira is headquartered in Germany. While part of the 14 Eyes intelligence alliance, Germany has strong privacy laws and generally favorable conditions for operating a no-logs VPN service.

Server Network and Performance

Avira Phantom VPN’s server network is relatively small compared to top VPN services. It operates 1,400 servers in 37 countries worldwide. While this allows connecting to most major countries, users may experience more pronounced peak-time congestion versus on larger networks.

The VPN also lacks dedicated IP addresses. This limits using Avira VPN with devices that require static IP addressing.

In terms of speed, independent tests clock Avira Phantom VPN at lackluster rates. While the VPN uses fast WireGuard protocol, connections over OpenVPN hover between 2-15 Mbps only. This suffices for light browsing but cannot support HD streaming or large downloads. Compared to leading VPNs averaging 60-100+ Mbps speeds, Avira Phantom VPN ranks below average on performance.

Streaming and Torrenting

Avira Phantom VPN’s slower speeds also impact its streaming and torrenting abilities. Positive notes include successfully unblocking BBC iPlayer and Netflix regions like UK, Canada, and Japan during testing. Users report smooth HD streaming with the Windows VPN client but frequent buffering on mobile apps.

As for torrenting, Avira VPN allows P2P filesharing on some international servers only. Torrenting performance is again limited by the slower connection speeds. Users cannot expect fast downloads or contribute much upload bandwidth back to the swarm.

Pricing and Features

A standout aspect of Avira Phantom VPN is offering both a free VPN tier and premium upgrade options:

  • Free version – Offers 500MB monthly data allowance but retains the same security and unblocking abilities. Limited to lower priority access on slower servers. Only OpenVPN connections supported.
  • Premium – Priced at $47.99 billed annually, the premium VPN subscription lifts all restrictions. It allows unlimited data usage at full speeds on all 1400+ servers using OpenVPN or IPsec protocols. Connect up to 5 devices simultaneously.

The premium plan offers good value with an unlimited data allowance. But advanced users may be frustrated by the lack of customizable VPN options for protocols, encryption or connection preferences available in the settings. Surprisingly for a privacy service, router installation is also not officially supported currently.

Customer Support

Avira offers customer assistance for Phantom VPN through email, live chat and phone support. Self-help options are available via knowledge base articles and video tutorials on the website.

Anecdotal reviews however paint a mixed picture regarding Avira’s customer service quality. While some users report timely and useful responses from the support team, others faced extended delays receiving a resolution for technical issues like apps crashing or server connections dropping frequently.

Considering most users are paying customers, this highlights room for improvement to match customer support standards set by big-name VPN services.

Conclusion

To conclude, Avira Phantom VPN gets a lot right when it comes to security fundamentals in using AES 256-bit encryption and supporting secure protocols like WireGuard and OpenVPN. The free VPN plan is also very competitively priced, with an unlimited premium upgrade available.

However, the slower connection speeds currently hamper performance for streaming and torrenting compared to rival VPN services. Avira also needs expand its server network coverage along with improving customer support responsiveness to better match the competition.

So while the VPN shows promise building on Avira’s security credentials, users may be better served opting for an ExpressVPN or NordVPN that offer reliability, speed and service on par with their premium price tags. For those wanting just basic privacy protection during everyday web browsing though, Avira Phantom VPN’s free tier can certainly do the job on a budget.

Points to Consider

Avira should prioritize upgrading infrastructure to offer faster VPN speeds if it wants to contend as a security AND performance-driven VPN provider catering to advanced users. Expanding server locations to underserved regions like Africa would also help broaden its appeal.

Regarding customer support, more transparency and quicker response times are important considering most subscribers are paying customers. Learning from industry leaders on offering 24/7 live chat and ticket tracking would help enhance users’ post-sales experience greatly.

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