SlickVPN Review: Fast but Mediocre
SlickVPN is a small American VPN service which seems to be a handy tool for ensuring high privacy. However, the tests have shown that its innovative technologies are applied without the adherence to specification, which negates some of the declared features.
In this review, I will not only recite SlickVPN features, pros, and cons but I’ll also tell you what threat it may pose to your privacy and give some recommendations on how to avoid that treat.
Well, if you are going to use SlickVPN, then you should know:
- what tasks SlickVPN can perform;
- why it is considered to be unsafe and how to avoid it;
- when it is better to use another VPN service.
Use quick navigation for easy access to the necessary sections:
- SlickVPN features
- SlickVPN Pros
- SlickVPN Cons
- Usage patterns
- Plans and prices
- Information about the owner
- Top 3 alternatives
|Ranking for free VPNs||No free plan|
|Ranking for paid VPNs||Average|
|Platforms||Applications for Windows and macOS. Settings for all devices|
|VPN protocols||OpenVPN, IPSec, PPTP|
|Price||$4 - $10 per month|
- Masking of IP-addresses and addresses of the sites you visit
- Unlocking sites
- Strong traffic encryption
- A wide range of protocols and ports
Additional features and capabilities:
- Torrenting is allowed
- Advanced privacy settings (dangerous!)
- The capacity of OpenVPN protocol additional configuration
SlickVPN provides 150 servers in 40 countries. This number is rather good but not as big as large VPN providers have. Some of them have up to 3000-5000 servers in 60 or more countries.
They have good upload and download speed. This is uncommon for providers like SlickVPN, which allow torrenting on all the servers. Moreover, to check the server speed, it is convenient to use the “Speed Test” menu item:
This function determines the download speed to high precision. But the upload speed, as our tests have shown, was determined incorrectly. Moreover, the difference between genuine and incorrect speed may reach up to dozens of times.
SlickVPN is well adapted only for desktops (Windows and Mac). The full-featured VPN applications are available for these platforms to download.
The applications allow choosing a port and protocol (TCP or UDP), so the VPN can be enabled even when standard VPN ports are not available:
On the SlickVPN setting menu, there are some items that you have to use with caution! I will tell more about it in the chapter “Usage patterns”.
You can use SlickVPN without changing the settings. The basic connection parameters are configured automatically when the application is installed. If you don’t have problems with the connection, it is only the locations that have to be configured.
The security features of SlickVPN applications are high. The “unbreakable” AES-256 encryption standard and the absence of IP leaks reliably protect information and disguise the user's real location.
However, SlickVPN does not have applications for mobile and other devices. To make them work you can either set up the built-in system parameters (PPTP and IPSec protocols) or install and configure the OpenVPN client.
Traffic encryption for mobile and other devices depends on the protocol you have chosen. If it is PPTP or IPsec, then 128-bit encryption is used. When using the OpenVPN client, 256-bit encryption is used by default, but it can be reduced or completely disabled to increase speed.
I’ve listed dry figures and described the main technical parameters. They are not much different from most other small VPNs.
And now I bring to your attention the results of SlickVPN practical tests. I’ve divided them into pros, cons, and use environment. Further, you will find out:
- What is Hydra technology and what is it capable of?
- What is SlickVPN's logging policy?
- What is wrong with VPN servers?
- Why could the attractive features of SlickVPN apps be dangerous?
- SlickVPN prices and their comparison with other VPNs` prices.
- Other interesting test results.
Choice of countries
SlickVPN offers a wide range of countries. The list of countries has expanded from 35 to 42 for the two years of the provider’s existence.
List of available countries:
- United Kingdom (UK)
- France (FR)
- Spain (ES)
- Sweden (SE)
- Ireland (IE)
- Switzerland (CH)
- Germany (DE)
- Slovenia (SL)
- Norway (NO)
- Austria (AT)
- Netherlands (NL)
- Russian Federation (RU)
- Romania (RO)
- Latvia (LV)
- Poland (PL)
- Hungary (HU)
- Belgium (BE)
- Italy (IT)
- Denmark (DK)
- Estonia (EE)
- Luxembourg (LU)
- Portugal (PT)
- Ukraine (UA)
- Czech Republic (CZ)
- Iceland (IS)
- Bulgaria (BG)
- Chile (CL)
- Brazil (BR)
- United States (US)
- Panama (PA)
- Canada (CA)
- Turkey (TR)
- Hong Kong (HK)
- Israel (IL)
- Singapore (SG)
- Japan (JP)
- Thailand (TH)
- Malaysia (MY)
- India (IN)
- Indonesia (ID)
- Australia (AU)
- South Africa (ZA)
However, the number of servers has barely exceeded 150 during this time, and they are spread unevenly. Approximately half of all the servers are in the US, the UK, and CA:
If you are looking for a larger location list or a wide range of servers in most countries, then I recommend NordVPN (5700+ servers in 60 countries), CyberGhost VPN (5900 servers in 90 countries) or ExpressVPN (3000+ servers in 94 countries).
One of the main features of VPN providers is their servers’ speed. The higher it is, the more invisible the work of a VPN is.
It is the speed that affects the comfort of using Virtual Private Network more than other parameters. It varies throughout the day and depends not only on technical capabilities but also on its workload.
I recommend choosing a provider with high-speed servers. It is advisable that the speed of servers would be by 1.5-2 times higher than your Internet connection speed. It makes it possible to compensate for a drop in speed when peak hours.
SlickVPN speed can be medium or high depending on locations. Here are the test results verified by www.speedtest.net:
DE server speed
US server speed
HK server speed
Thus we get:
US: Download 39.61Mbps, Upload 20.37 Mbps;
DE: Download 49.7Mbps, Upload 22.36 Mbps;
HK: Download 3.37Mbps, Upload 2.42 Mbps;
This speed is not as fast as the competitors have, but it is quite enough for performing most tasks, including fast torrenting.
Torrenting is allowed
Nowadays, VPNs that support or are loyal to torrenting are running short. Fortunately, SlickVPN is one of them. It allows torrenting on all of the servers.
However, two more terms should be met:
- No Logs Policy
- Kill Switch is allowed.
But there is a problem with the Kill Switch. It is absent. The fact is that when the VPN is reconnected, the protection is temporarily disabled.
Reconnection can occur for various reasons (I will tell about them in the chapter “SlickVPN Cons”), and the Kill Switch protects a device while blocking outbound traffic.
Having taken a cue from the specifics of Torrent clients, it may lead to the fact that the network administrator or your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will identify that you are engaged in torrents.
Therefore, SlickVPN is good for torrenting but only if there is a stable Internet connection.
So, let see what we have:
+ good speed
+ torrent support
+ No Logs
- Kill Switch
I recommend choosing the VPN providers that support Kill Switch for torrenting.
You can find such VPNs in our review, which is entirely dedicated to the torrenting issue.
Choice of protocols
There are some problems with the VPN if it works via standard ports. Each protocol has its standard ports, which can be blocked by the administrator, providers or because of censorship.
In this case, a good solution would be to use the application or settings that allow you to enable the VPN on constantly open ports. It might be a port 80 http and a port 443 https or any other important ports of system services. The use of non-standard ports is also effective. For example, 8080, 8888.
At the same time, the work of the system and other programs is not disrupted, and VPN traffic passes being almost unnoticed bypassing blocking (I hasten to add that it is not enough to bypass high-tech blocking in China and other countries with Internet censorship).
SlickVPN offers 3 ports to choose from (8888, 443, 8080):
I recommend using port 443 which is always open whenever it is possible.
Double VPN (Hydra Technology)
If a common VPN does not satisfy your requirements for some reason and you need double protection, then some VPNs can provide such service. Double VPN is a chain that consists of two VPN servers.
SlickVPN provides Hydra technology, which is a kind of double VPN extension. They declare that the system chooses the second optimal server for sites physically located in different regions.
How Does Hydra Technology Works?
I’ve managed to confirm the fact that Hydra technology does work. It is not difficult to do. First of all, we should identify the IP of the outgoing server and compare it with the IP from the operating system routes.
Here is the IP address of the outgoing server (the one that is visible to the visited sites):
Dutch IP is detected.
And here is the incoming IP of Hydra chain from the Windows routing table:
I’ve checked its location. The United States is detected:
So, my computer connects to the US server first, then to the server in the Netherlands (outgoing server). The VPN chain is activated.
SlickVPN states that its outgoing server is selected randomly. This is true, but an IP is always Dutch. I checked at least 10 connections and there were only NL locations.
The incoming IP also belonged to the network 198.186.x.x (US) all the time.
This is not so good in comparison with Surfshark which offers a more convenient choice of 15 possible combinations of incoming and outgoing double VPN servers in different countries.
No Logs Policy
To ensure users’ privacy and security, it may be important to know how a VPN provider collects logs about users and their activity. In a perfect world, a VPN provider would not record and store anything at all. But this never happens.
In any case, you enter email and payment details. Fortunately, this is not enough to identify who you are, quite apart from cryptocurrency payments.
The most important thing is that the VPN servers do not log info about users’ activity and personal data such as IP address, information about the browser, operating system, etc.
SlickVPN states that it does not keep logs, but they state it rather ambiguously. The fact that it does not keep logs is highlighted on every page of the official site:
Also, it is intimated in their FAQ section:
Although they provide us with detailed information on what data they register when visiting the official website, there is only one phrase as far as their servers are concerned.
It is impossible neither to test it out nor to know for sure. Therefore, all we can do is to believe what is said.
SlickVPN has both obvious and hidden disadvantages that appeared during the testing process. Thus, read this chapter carefully before making your choice.
Danger of the auto switch IP feature
As I have already said, SlickVPN has a setting that might increase confidentiality at first sight, but it turned out that it does not add but deprives a user’s anonymity.
I am talking about the feature that allows switching an IP address automatically within a regular time-span - “IP Settings”:
But where is the contradiction? How could this happen? After all, this is a great innovation!
Everything is simple. The auto switch IP feature should work together with the Kill Switch. If there is not, this setting shrinks to nullify all that VPN concept.
I will explain. Whenever an IP address is changed due to that auto-switching feature, reconnection to a new server occurs. During this process, your computer will be unprotected (for 10-15 seconds). This reconnection will take place every time the IP is changed.
And since all this happens without user interaction, you cannot always divine when you have to interrupt the work with visited sites or torrenting manually.
If not immediately, then at least after a while the things you are doing when online and your real IP (as well as your location) will be revealed.
This is a complete failure of privacy!
If SlickVPN had a Kill Switch, it would automatically block unprotected requests to sites and traffic, but this is not the case.
That’s why I strongly recommend against enabling the “IP Settings”!
Absence of Kill Switch
Previously I have written that the Kill Switch feature is designed to drop out the network activity of a device when it is connected to a new VPN server.
The Kill Switch protects an IP address of a user and dramatically increases the level of privacy when a change of locations is concerned, as well as in case of unexpected VPN disconnections due to servers’ problems or low connection speed.
Without the Kill Switch, the “IP Setting” has no sense and torrenting becomes quite risky.
SlickVPN does not have this feature.
Not many VPN providers offer Kill Switch. Moreover, even if a provider has it, that feature may be unavailable for mobile applications.
Therefore, I recommend reading VPN reviews carefully when choosing your provider. You can easily find a lot of thematic, detailed reviews, and rankings of more than dozens of popular VPNs on our website.
It does not work with Netflix
It's no secret that millions of people around the world are looking for a way to unlock geo-restricted entertainment content of such services as Netflix, Hulu, and many others.
This is because of the peculiarities of video content licensing during its production. The hostages of these peculiarities are the residents of the countries for whom only “their” films are available, as well as dozens of thousands of travelers and people who change their residence.
Until recently, SlickVPN did this job well. However, it seems that in 2019 the provider has gone in the doldrums.
None of the 10 servers that have been tested could unblock Netflix. When trying to watch a movie or a series, the streaming error M7111-5059 appears:
The official SlickVPN website still has the mentioning of “Five Great Reasons to Use SlickVPN with Netflix” on the Guides page, but the link shows the 404 error page:
It seems that the site owners have confessed that they no longer allow Netflix.
A full-fledged VPN should be able to assist either with your work or leisure. And there are a lot of providers like that. To choose a cross-functional VPN that supports Netflix, you can read our fresh review of VPNs for streaming.
Lack of applications for all platforms except Windows and Mac
Are you a system administrator configuring a VPN network for your company? I guess no. A system administrator is unlikely to be interested in SlickVPN. Then why you have to choose the VPN service with no convenient mobile app?
In 2019, the number of mobile device users has exceeded the number of desktop users. But over the 2 years of its existence, SlickVPN has not created applications for Android and iOS. This fact is a serious drawback.
Of course, you can configure the VPN manually using the instructions they provide and reconfigure it each time you need to change a location. But can it be compared with the applications, which allow you to choose a country and turn on/off a VPN with one touch?
A great number of servers with the failed connection
When I was talking about SlickVPN pluses, I mentioned that 42 locations are rather good for a provider. However, they are only 150 servers, and that is not as many as other industry leaders have.
But it can be even worse – it turned out that some of these servers do not work.
I’ve tested about 20 servers in different countries and 7 of them have failed to build a VPN tunnel.
The error that prevents connection to the server
I observed a similar situation when I tested the US, UK, and some other servers. I was trying to reconnect some time later but the error appeared again and again.
It turns out that SlickVPN provides possesses not as many locations as it has been stated.
The US jurisdiction
You've probably heard about “Five Eyes” (FVEY). For those who do not know, I will explain that this is an alliance for surveillance that includes five countries - United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. These countries are united by the agreement on cooperation in the field of intelligence signals. It is believed that the authorities of these countries may get access to private information and share it in some cases.
However, this issue is controversial. Some American VPNs declare that there were no cases of the intervention by force structure in their work. But the supporters of the conspiracy theory believe that this intervention could happen at any time.
SlickVPN seems to be familiar with these disputes because they posted interesting information concerning the possible access to their users’ data on their official site. It is said that they agree that such requests are possible but SlickVPN has not received them so far:
As of July 1st, 2019, SlickVPN.com, Slick Networks, Inc., Slick Network, LTD., (“SlickVPN”) has not received any National Security Letters or FISA court orders, and we have not been subject to any gag order(s) by a FISA court, or any other similar court(s) of any government. …
How important it is for your goals, it is up to you to decide. I recommend you to use VPNs with secure jurisdiction for better security. For example, NordVPN (Panama), CyberGhost VPN (Romania) or Surfshark (offshore).
I have already provided some tips for using SlickVPN. In this section, you will learn about additional recommendations to make use of SlickVPN in a more efficient way. These tips were not discussed in the previous chapters.
The Problem of the Unknown Publisher
Windows and Mac executables are not signed by a well-known publisher. This fact creates an installation problem.
Depending on Windows protection, you may need to change some system settings in order to install SlickVPN.
On macOS, you have to run the downloaded .pkg file, not from the browser or Launchpad, but the Finder via “Open”.
I do not think that the files can contain viruses or trojans. At least, my antivirus turned a blind eye during all the three days of SlickVPN testing.
OpenVPN advanced settings
You can practice some “creativity” when establishing a VPN connection using Windows and Mac applications.
On the Preferences -> Advanced item on the menu, you can enter OpenVPN instructions.
However, according to my observations, the option is useless. All my attempts to change significant parameters such as the encryption standard or the length of authorization key were doomed to failure. However, the ability to change some minor parameters such as turning on/off of LZO compression, are too useless to add this option to the advantages.
Perhaps you can use the ability to customize your OpenVPN advanced settings for personal gain. But it was not useful to me as well.
Plans and prices
SlickVPN is a paid VPN service. The only way to use it for free is a 30-day refund period when they give your money back upon request. By the way, this is the “free access” that is mentioned on every page of the website:
SlickVPN is available at the following prices:
$4 per month for 12 months’ subscription ($48 per year)
$5 per month if you subscribe for 6 months ($30 for every 6 months)
$10 on a monthly subscription.
SlickVPN plans and prices
SlickVPN supports the following methods of payment:
- Credit cards;
I have carried out a comparative analysis of prices and concluded that SlickVPN prices are average for the market. The monthly price is even cheaper than many other VPNs charge.
But at the same time, some top-level providers offer their services at the prices that by 1.5-2 times lower than those of SlickVPN.
As a comparison, you can have a look at the ranking of cheap VPN services’ reviews on our website.
Information about the owner
SlickVPN was launched in 2017 by Slick Networks, Inc., which has a complex business structure, including offshore components, subsidiary holding companies, and some Running Companies to protect their interests.
The marketing and advertising components are located in the United States and an operational entity is based out of Nevis (the island in the Caribbean, offshore).
Slick Networks, Inc:
Address: 713 E Greenville Street, Anderson, SC 29621, USA
Telephone: (866) 521-1757
Despite all the disadvantages listed in this article, SlickVPN can be anything but a small VPN. Still, the support of 42 countries with good speed requires a well-developed infrastructure.
It is rather a mediocre VPN with mediocre features.
But I still cannot recommend it for use because it has not been developing for the two years of its existence. This fact, as well as the disadvantages that have been listed earlier, and the absence of mobile applications are serious arguments against SlickVPN.
Netflix support and Kill Switch feature could make the difference. In the meantime, I advise you to look towards the top 10 cross-functional VPNs.
What is SlickVPN good for and what is not?
It is good for:
- unlocking sites
- hiding location
- special cases when you need double VPN
It is not good for:
- non-advanced Android and iOS users
So, I have described the SlickVPN service in detail. I hope that my review is helpful to you.
Top 3 alternatives
NordVPN is probably the best VPN service available today. It offers 5700+ locations in 60 countries, high-speed servers, Netflix and torrent support, obfuscation of the VPN protocol (that makes it suitable for China and other countries with VPN blocking) for $3.49 per month and the possibility of free use.
CyberGhost VPN is a great provider for Netflix, torrent, Kodi and more. It offers applications for all platforms, 5900+ servers in 90 countries, advanced functionality (including Kill Switch and Ad blocker). Their plans start from $ 2.75 per month and the free trial period is also provided.
Surfshark is the cheapest of the best VPNs. The provider offers the possibility of using a mobile version for free, obfuscation of the OpenVPN protocol, and applications for all platforms. Their monthly plans start from $ 1.99.