Bitdefender VPN Review 2021: A super-fast VPN from a big name
If you are looking for the best VPN, the only way to get it is to understand your needs first. From there, you need to know what a particular VPN has to offer. The second part is where we come in, and here we have reviewed a VPN from one of the biggest security names.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent speeds
- Unblocks Netflix & iPlayer
- Allows torrenting
- Kill Switch & Split Tunneling
- Very affordable
- 7-day free trial
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Keeps some logs
- No OpenVPN
Bitdefender is a well-known name in the cybersecurity industry, and they now have a VPN service simply known as Bitdefender VPN. The VPN comes as a standalone product and not just an additional feature on Bitdefender’s security products.
Here’s a quick overview of the VPN:
- Works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer
- 1,500+ servers in 41 countries
- Kill Switch & Split Tunneling
- Unrestricted torrenting
The VPN boasts several great features, and although it is not a white-label service, it runs on the back of one of the most popular VPNs – Hotspot Shield. This makes it one of the fastest VPNs, but what can else can it offer?
This Bitdefender VPN review will explore the VPN in more detail to help you make an informed decision. We'll also seek to know whether Bitdefender's experience and reputation make the VPN better or whether it means the VPN can't compete with more specialized products such as ExpressVPN.
📑 Table of Contents
Bitdefender offers several functionalities.
Streaming: Does Bitdefender VPN work with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other services?
On the website, Bitdefender VPN promises users to let them access Netflix US from anywhere in the world. We found this to be true during our tests, so Bitdefender is a good Netflix VPN.
Apart from Netflix, we glad to see that the VPN also unblocks BBC iPlayer when connected to a UK server.
Does Bitdefender VPN support torrenting?
Yes, Bitdefender VPN supports torrenting. The VPN does not impose any usage restrictions, and so you can connect to any server and enjoy P2P and BitTorrent. You can also enhance security by enabling the VPN's kill switch and another feature labeled Peer-to-Peer Apps. The latter automatically establishes a VPN connection when you start a peer-to-peer file sharing app such as a BitTorrent client.
Does Bitdefender VPN work in China?
No, Bitdefender VPN doesn’t work in China. This is because the VPN is not equipped with stealth capabilities that can bypass deep packet inspection (dpi) blocking in countries that block VPNs.
Bitdefender VPN is owned by security giant S.C. BITDEFENDER S.R.L., a company with its official headquarters in Bucharest, Romania. Although Romania is part of the EU, the country is not a member or partner in SIGINT Seniors Europe (SSEUR), and it also doesn’t have any mandatory data retention laws. This means that Bitdefender VPN is based in a friendly jurisdiction and can therefore offer good privacy.
However, this is complicated by the fact that Bitdefender uses Hotspot Shield’s server set up, and the latter is located in the US (Here’s our Hotspot Shield Review). Hotspot Shield doesn’t have the best track record in terms of privacy, but it has undergone lots of changes in the recent past to offer more privacy. Further, Bitdefender states that all data is handled “in accordance with Bitdefender's instructions and for the sole purpose of providing VPN services to users.”
Bitdefender VPN’s logging policy states that:
…we collect for this service only randomly generated or hashed user and device IDs, IP addresses and randomly generated tokens to establish VPN connection for the sole purpose of providing the VPN service.” Further, “We do not store any details regarding your location or online activity, nor do we share them with other entities.
As part of privacy assessment in our Bitdefender VPN review, we carried out several tests to check if Bitdefender VPN leaks any user information. During the checks, we looked for IP leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks.
We were glad to find that Bitdefender VPN doesn’t leak any user information.
However, we also noticed that the VPN uses Google’s public DNS and not a private (log-free) DNS.
In the VPN’s user manual, Bitdefender VPN states that they use both AES-128 GCM and AES-256 GCM. AES-256 is the industry standard and is termed very secure, but AES-128 is also pretty much unbreakable, and so it isn’t a huge source of concern. The VPN also uses RSA for handshake and SHA for authentication, although the specific standards are not stated.
As for the protocol, the VPN recently switched from OpenVPN to Hotspot Shield’s Hydra protocol. The protocol is proprietary and is known for its excellent speeds.
Overall, Bitdefender VPN does well in terms of both privacy and security, although some users would like to have OpenVPN as a choice.
Bitdefender offers several features that enhance the VPN’s functionalities.
A kill switch is an essential privacy and security tool as it prevents users from accidentally exposing their real identity. The tool does this by blocking all internet connections whenever the user loses VPN connection.
Bitdefender VPN has a kill switch that jumps into play when the app notices that you’ve accidentally lost your VPN connection. The feature is quite effective, and it also activates an autoconnection functionality. Note that the kill switch doesn’t work when you disconnect the VPN intentionally.
Multiple Auto-connection options
Bitdefender VPN does well in terms of keeping users connected to a server. The VPN achieves this through multiple auto-connection options that include:
- When your device starts
- Whenever you connect to an unsecured network
- Whenever you start a peer-to-peer filesharing app
- When you open certain apps or domains
- When you open a particular category of websites
You can also choose the VPN location for any of the above situations. However, the autoconnection feature works best with apps and networks, not websites.
Split tunneling is a feature that allows users to let certain services bypass the VPN tunnel. For example, you can have a local website or an IP-sensitive website (such as local banks) bypass the VPN when you are connected to a server outside the country.
Bitdefender VPN provides split-tunneling to let users enjoy the flexibility of the functionality. However, split tunneling on the desktop apps only works with websites at the moment, so there’s no option for bypassing apps.
10 Simultaneous Connections
This is not much of a feature, but it’s still one of Bitdefender’s best offerings. Most VPNs only allow users to connect up to 5 devices simultaneously.
Bitdefender VPN has a server network that consists of 1,500+ servers in 42 countries, although the website still states 1,300+ servers in 25 countries. The VPN’s servers are well distributed, and there are servers in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
The VPN’s apps do not group servers into specific cities, although that may not be necessary as you won’t notice any significant speed differences between regions.
Bitdefender VPN provides two major plans that offer the same features and functionalities. The only difference comes in the subscription length you go for. Here’s a breakdown of the two plans:
- 1-month plan: This plan costs $6.99 a month, billed every 30 days
- 1-year plan: This plan costs $2.49 a month, billed $29.99 for the first year. It renews at $49.99, billed every 12 months.
Bitdefender comes out as one of the best-priced VPNs. The VPN’s monthly and yearly plans are some of the best in the market, and you’d have to go for 2-year or 3-year plans to get such rates from most VPNs.
Apart from the above plans, Bitdefender VPN also offers a free plan to users with other Bitdefender software subscriptions such as Bitdefender Internet Security. The free plan offers a tough limit of only 200 MB a day per device, so you’ll still have to upgrade to enjoy the VPN.
Supported payment methods
Bitdefender is quite flexible in the forms of payments that the company accepts. You can pay for the VPN via a credit/ debit card, PayPal, wire transfer, and Web Money. If you are in the US, you can also pay via check or even cash if you have a 7-eleven/ACE near you (PayNearMe).
Does Bitdefender VPN have a free trial?
Yes, Bitdefender VPN provides a free 7-day trial. The VPN’s free trial is available to all users, and you don’t even need to provide a credit card. To get it, just download the app and create an account. You’ll then get an option for a trial. The Bitdefender VPN trial provides all the VPN’s premium features, and so it makes a good case among the best free-trial VPNs.
Does Bitdefender VPN have a money-back guarantee?
Yes, Bitdefender offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. The refund doesn’t have any tricky clauses, and all you need to do is contact the support team via chat or email. Note that the company only provides refunds to purchases made via the VPN's website. If you buy the VPN through a third party, you'll have to reach out to them for a refund.
Being part of a larger security company, Bitdefender VPN doesn’t have an independent website. This automatically makes it relatively harder to get more information about the VPN.
The Bitdefender website has a Bitdefender VPN page that can be reached from the larger Bitdefender website by going to For Home > Services > Bitdefender Premium VPN.
Getting an account is relatively easy as there are only two plans, and you can then pay using your preferred payment method. However, just like other security companies with a VPN, Bitdefender will ask you for lots of information such as your city, zip or postal code, and state or province. But apart from that, the process is quite straightforward.
Which devices & platforms does Bitdefender VPN support?
Bitdefender provides VPN apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. This is not the most exhaustive list, and you won’t be able to configure the VPN manually either. That said, most users will feel sorted with the four apps provided.
Ease of use
To give you an idea of how user-friendly Bitdefender VPN is, we installed the VPN on Windows, Android, and iOS.
Desktop App (Windows)
The Windows app is available on the main VPN page, and it has a size of just about 13 MB. After running the installation file, the VPN will then download additional files, but this should only take you a few seconds. You can then log in using your account.
The VPN’s front page displays a menu on the left-hand side, the selected server, a huge connection button, and your connection status. When you connect to a server, it then adds your VPN’s IP address.
To select a server, you can click the virtual location button. You’ll then get a list of all the locations you can connect to listed in alphabetical order. The VPN also provides an automatic connection option that you can use to select the fastest server. However, the app doesn’t tell you where you’ve connected to.
On the left-side menu, there’s a dashboard that shows you the connection time of your last session, the amount of data that has gone through the VPN, and the top locations depending on connection time.
Below the dashboard button is a settings button that you can use to customize your VPN connection and how the app behaves in general. You can set up when the VPN auto-connects as well as activate the kill switch and split tunneling.
The tabs below the settings tab help you manage your account and get help when necessary (all outside the app).
Overall, the Bitdefender VPN client for Windows is well designed, and it’s also easy to use. The various auto-connection options make it easy to stay safe, while the kill switch and split tunneling are very handy features.
The Bitdefender VPN Android and iOS apps take the same approach as the desktop app. The main page features a location button, a map sketch with a connection button, and the connection status. When you are connected, the map highlights the location of the server, and your IP address is also displayed above it.
On the top right side of both apps, there’s a settings button that provides configuration options. The iOS app features an auto-connect option and a kill switch. Although there aren’t many customization options, the kill switch is quite commendable as even most top VPNs don’t provide the feature on iOS.
The Bitdefender VPN Android app features the same above options and throws in split tunneling. Unlike the Windows app, the split tunneling feature on Android allows you to select both apps and websites that you’d like the VPN to bypass. You can also allow the device to access other devices on the network.
Note that split tunneling and local network access require you to turn off the internet kill switch.
As mentioned earlier, Bitdefender VPN relies on Hotspot Shield’s server setup and protocols, although the servers used for the VPN are different. Therefore, we were quite interested in knowing whether the VPN's speeds come anywhere near Hotspot Shield's, which are some of the best in the market.
We used the Windows app on a Windows 10 PC to carry out the tests. We then tested nearby and distant servers using a 50 Mbps connection.
Interestingly, Bitdefender VPN performed even better compared to Hotspot Shield. We didn’t notice any drop in speeds in any of the servers, regardless of the distance. Our download speed remained the same during various times of the day, although the upload speeds averaged about 6 Mbps.
Overall, Bitdefender VPN is one of the fastest VPNs we have tested, thanks to the reliance on Pango’s server architecture. And if you are wondering, the reason the VPN performed better than Hotspot Shield is due to the fact that the VPN has fewer users compared to the popular Hotspot Shield.
Bitdefender VPN’s support is provided as part of the overall Bitdefender support. This means that the representatives you reach out to are the same people dealing with other Bitdefender products. Also, the support part of the website is the same as that of other products. The only specialty is that the support is different for home and business products.
Apart from that, Bitdefender provides help through calls, live chat, and email. The phone support is available for 16 countries, and worldwide callers also have contacts they can call. Most of the call centers are available 24 hours a day.
The live chat option is the most preferred support method in the VPN world, and it is available 24/7. When we contacted them, we were connected to an agent within 20 seconds. The representative was quite helpful and knowledgeable about the VPN.
Apart from the support team, there’s also a support section on the website, and it lets you choose Bitdefender VPN as your product. You’ll then get articles, configuration guides, troubleshooting guides, and FAQs. There are also videos and a community forum where you can engage other users.
Is Bitdefender VPN good?
Bitdefender VPN is a decent VPN service that offers excellent speeds, Netflix streaming, and unlimited torrenting. The VPN also has several features that make it a good option.
Is VPN Free with Bitdefender?
If you have a subscription to a Bitdefender software package such as Bitdefender Total Security suite, you will get a free version of Bitdefender. However, the free version is limited to only 200 MB of data per day, and you can only connect to a single server.
How do I enable Bitdefender VPN Premium?
If you have the free version and you’d like to upgrade, you can click the upgrade button on the app. You will then get an activation link after completing your payment.
How do I get Bitdefender VPN activation key?
After upgrading, the email that comes with the activation link also comes with an activation code written in fine print. You can copy that code, sign in to your Bitdefender Central account, and find My Subscriptions. Enter the code under Activation Code and click Activate, and your VPN will switch to premium.
Is there Bitdefender VPN free trial?
Yes, Bitdefender VPN provides a free trial. To get it, just download the VPN’s app and create an account. You’ll then see the option to activate the free trial.
Bitdefender VPN is a product from a reputable company, and it has some real strengths. The VPN's only major issue is that it collects IP addresses, which may not be ideal for privacy-minded users.
But other than that, Bitdefender VPN is a very good option. The VPN offers some of the best speeds that you’ll come across, and it does so at half the price of its bigger brother, Hotspot Shield. You can also enjoy streaming on various sites as well as torrenting without restrictions. If speed, streaming, and torrenting are a priority to you, then Bitdefender VPN is a VPN that we would recommend.