ultrasurf vpn is a bit different than most of the VPN services we review. This is a free service, provided by the company UltraReach, which is headquartered in the US. It was designed to help people in China get around government censorship, but has a global user base. It’s one of the most popular censorship circumvention tools available at present.
Ultrasurf VPN Review
Born in the USA, Ultrasurf is a service exclusive to Windows PC and Android users. Their program was originally created to help Chinese internet users access the internet more freely. Today they offer a free and fast VPN for internet users that has some great features but a few downsides – depending on your internet needs.
One thing is for sure, you can certainly bypass online censorship securely and unblock content that is restricted in your current location, such as YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. Your IP address remains hidden so you can surf anonymously with no bandwidth restrictions.
Ultrasurf works by configuring a users browser so that only HTTPS traffic will be routed and encrypted to their servers whilst ignoring HTTP which carries on through your normal ISP. When installing on Windows, this program will automatically configure Internet Explorer and is set to automatically clear cookies and history details when a user shuts down their browser. Other browsers, like Firefox, will need to be manually configured. In essence, it’s not so much a VPN but a proxy. Each time you start the program, you will be given a new IP address.
A very simple Android app is also available that includes the same perks as the PC version, with no limits on bandwidth usage or the need to sign-up. Also, you’ll be pleased to know that no ads pop up randomly, like many other free apps on the market. This app will allow you to access other services (Spotify, Skype, Facebook or YouTube) while you’re on the move.
Despite Ultrasurf ‘s philosophy of being pro-privacy and anti-censorship, they have decided to implement their own filter which intends to block pornographic or illicit content. They do emphasize they keep user data logs for up to 30 days and asserts users that their data won’t be sold or disclosed to third-parties (except law enforcement, if required). Privacy conscious users are unlikely to be jumping for joy over this, as data retention practices such as this seriously negates the whole idea of having a VPN or proxy in the first place.
Having said this, many users still find their service works well and is generally hassle-free. You can easily secure your internet connection when surfing on WiFi hotspots which will stifle any attempts from hackers trying to steal your data. If preventing your ISP from monitoring and recording your internet activity is important to you then Ultrasurf is certainly tool to have in your arsenal. They require no registration or sign-ups so you can simply download and start surfing anonymously.
Ultrasurf VPN Pricing and Plans
This product is completely free of charge however the software client works on Windows PCs.
Privacy & Anonymity
UltraSurf was designed to circumvent censorship, but it’s not a privacy tool in the same way that the products from our preferred providers are.
UltraSurf does log. The logs aren’t retained for a long period of time, but UltraReach uses the data to check their network performance. This company has been criticized for being too willing to turn over information to the government when requested.
The service filters content, as well, which is perhaps ironic, given their mission. Adult sites and some other content may be unreachable over the network.
This service is browser-based and not appropriate for torrenting.
Customer support is available via YouTube videos and a user center on the company’s site.
UltraSurf is very easy to use. The program comes in a ZIP file and requires no installation. After the program is downloaded, you simply extract it, double-click the EXE file and the program runs.
The program will open IE by default, but you can change this in the preferences menu. A gold lock icon appears in the system tray area of the screen, indicating that you’ve been routed through an encrypted proxy. The client also displays a simple status window that lets you know you’re connected. Server selection is automatic.
Windows, Mac OSX, Android, IPhone, etc.
At present, this program is only available as a Windows application.
UltraSurf not only tested impressively for a free service, but rivaled some of the best paid services out there. In fact, there was barely any speed reduction at all. This product generally has a good reputation for performance and, in our testing, it lived up to that reputation. Our speed only dropped 2Mbps.
IPCheck and DNSLeak
UltraSurf changed our IP and DNS server addresses successfully.
FreeEasy to useNo installation requiredAutomatic server selectionVery high speed
Very accessibleNo charge at all
Areas for Improvement
This company has been criticized for not allowing third-party inspections of its product. There is very little information available on the specifics of how it works, but UltraSurf is known to use TLS/SSL security.
This service does offer quite a lot. If you’re in a nation where Internet access is censored and cannot buy a more feature-rich service, UltraSurf is a good option. It’s surprisingly fast. It is not, however, suitable for torrenting and there is some censorship on this network, so UltraSurf is not a replacement for a standard VPN service.