TRUST.ZONE Review: VPN that leaks DNS
By late 2019, many VPNs have updated their apps, optimized their pricing, added support of new devices several times. Trust.Zone has also attempted to support Netflix by creating a special US server. We allowed some time to pass and decided to test the performance of the service in general thoroughly and write an unbiased review of all its features, pros, and cons of this VPN provider.
To do that, I have conducted all the necessary tests and checked the claims of supporting the popular streaming service.
What did I find out? The result is ambiguous. Generally speaking, we were disappointed but…
On the one hand, Trust.Zone doesn’t meet strict modern VPN requirements. But at the same time, it sells some absent features for an extra fee.
Well, let’s examine this service in more detail.
Take a look at the basic characteristics of Trust.Zone:
It’s easy enough to notice that Trust.Zone has a major drawback: it allows location leaks through DNS queries.
At the risk of jumping ahead, I’ll mention that this happens even with the DNS Leak Protection setting being active. Aside from that, the Windows app transfers unencrypted DNS queries via the IPv6 protocol.
I will tell you more about the DNS issue and other test results in the “What can Trust.Zone do? (Pros, cons, tests, advice”.
The top 3 alternatives
- NordVPN is an excellent available VPN with Panamanian jurisdiction. It has more than 5900 servers in 60 countries and supports Netflix, torrenting and other opportunities at high speed. NordVPN has user-friendly applications for any platform with a 7-day trial period and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark is the cheapest VPN that offers more than 3200 servers in 100 countries despite working for a year. Obfuscation traffic, double VPN, the choice of apps and websites that don’t need a VPN are among Surfshark’s features.
- CyberGhost VPN is an excellent and cheaper VPN service with extended functionality and special servers for Netflix and torrent. It also has an adblocker, protects from malicious websites, etc.
5 differences from other VPNs
When I was writing this section, I had to think about what VPNs I should compare Trust.Zone to. If I use proven good VPNs, there will be many differences and most of them to the worst. But if I were to compare it to the most basic VPN services, I’d get differences to the best but the result would be far from objective.
Eventually, I took some differences from the top-tier VPNs and others from the average ones and outsiders.
5 differences of Trust.Zone:
- The provider only offers apps for Windows and Android. Most VPN customers prefer to use the apps provided to them by the services. It’s a widespread standard that most VPN services try to uphold. Trust.Zone, however, doesn’t have apps for Apple products, though it doesn’t mean that macOS and iOS are not supported. You can use Trust.Zone on any device supporting the VPN technology but to do it, you must configure your OS or use third-party VPN clients like the OpenVPN client.
- Long-lasting free trial with no ads. You can use the full version of Trust.Zone for free for 3 days or under 1 Gb of traffic on all platforms. No card is required and no ads are shown. The latter fact increases privacy because there aren’t any extra scripts running in the app.
- It has not 1 but 2 DNS leaks.
- It has almost no extra features. The apps only have port settings for the connection and the option to run a Kill Switch on (it protects you in the case of the VPN disconnecting but is available only on Windows). Trust.Zone can’t turn the VPN on for only certain apps, its software for Windows doesn’t support UDP and other VPN protocols but OpenVPN. IKEv2 and L2TP are only available on a third-party client or with manual system settings.
- Apps are rarely updated. I work with many VPN providers and their software daily and I know which ones update their apps automatically or offer to update them manually. Trust.Zone does it very rarely.
Using Trust.Zone for free
Despite not being a free VPN, Trust.Zone offers a great opportunity to use it for a short period of time for free.
As I have mentioned, the free version of Trust.Zone is the same as the paid one functionality-wise. The only restriction is the period you can use it for (3 days) and the amount of traffic (1 Gb). As long as you don’t exceed these limits, you can use all the locations in 36 countries without paying anything and without entering your payment information.
To start the trial, you have to sign up on the official site of Trust.Zone, download and install its app for Windows or Android or use a third-party VPN client (the service provides manuals on how to set it up on any platform).
What do you need to use Trust.Zone for free in a correct manner?
Unfortunately, the provider’s main app for Windows has a serious flaw – it leaks your location through the DNS (I’ll elaborate on this in the next chapter). That’s why the correct use of Trust.Zone depends on how much you value your privacy. It’s virtually impossible to determine your precise location based on the DNS but really easy to see what country you are in.
Additionally, your ISP can see some of the web addresses you visit.
If you don’t care about that, go ahead and use Trust.Zone. Its free version will help you unblock websites or use torrents safely on your PC.
If you can’t afford any risk, I recommend that you use a third-party VPN client. For example, my tests of the OpenVPN client show great results in terms of privacy and the absence of leaks.
Whichever variant you choose, 1 Gb is a too small amount of traffic. Here are some pieces of advice on how to optimize its use:
5 ways to optimize the use of traffic
- Don't leave the VPN on when you don’t need it.
- Turn the system auto-update off if you use a desktop or a mobile device in a Wi-Fi network.
- Close all apps you don’t need including those that work in the background.
- Don’t keep unnecessary tabs open in your desktop browser.
- Lower the video quality in the player of the video service you are using (including YouTube).
Trust.Zone, unlike many other free trial VPNs, doesn’t forbid using different accounts with the free plan on the same device (one after another).
What can Trust.Zone do? (Pros, cons, test, advice)
In this chapter, I’ll detail the issues of Trust.Zone, talk about its advantages and describe the peculiarities of its use on different platforms.
Safety of Trust.Zone
The biggest vulnerability of Trust.Zone is its apps. Using Wireshark traffic analyzer in my tests, I noticed there were some unencrypted packets going through the Wi-Fi adapter:
To explain, the DNS queries coming out of the port 53 through IPv6 protocol were unencrypted. You can clearly see website addresses in the contents of the incoming and outgoing packets. It means that the ISP or network administrator can also learn what websites the user has visited.
In the app menu, I found a DNS leak protection setting and turned it on. It didn’t help to get rid of unencrypted packets.
The next step was to use ipleak.net to analyze the currently used DNS addresses. Essentially any site you visit can determine the DNS just like ipleak.net by using special settings and scripts. So it is considered to be a good thing when the displayed IP address is in the same country as the DNS one.
Trust.Zone doesn’t do that.
First, my analysis of the config files for manual settings shows that Trust.Zone uses just two DNS servers for all countries. One of them is located in the Netherlands and the other one in Canada. It means that the country of the DNS and the country of the VPN server don’t match for most Trust.Zone locations.
How bad is it? Let’s put it this way: it can cause suspicions of the systems with extra protection. They can restrict your access or require a confirmation.
Second, ipleak.net showed the original DNS (which belongs to my ISP) leak:
The worst part, though, is that this happened with the DNS leak protection setting on!
I really hope that Trust.Zone will fix this problem.
For now, the only way to avoid it is to use a third-party VPN client.
Studying the performance of Trust.Zone on Mac, I used such a client – a program called Tunnelblick. When I imported the Trust.Zone configuration files into it, I got excellent privacy and data protection. All the information I transferred was hidden and encrypted.
I haven’t discovered any other privacy and security issues of Trust.Zone.
On the contrary, I should point out that the kill switch feature on Windows works very efficiently and protects the computer’s traffic not only when you change locations but also when the VPN is turned off.
The Android app, however, doesn’t have this function so I don’t recommend using it for torrenting.
Tests of Trust.Zone
In this article, you will learn what the speed of Trust.Zone is, whether it supports torrenting, how well the Netflix-related update works, and what differences there are on different platforms.
I’ve seen some Trust.Zone reviews mentioning that its server speeds are high and it’s its main advantage. But wait…
The US location:
This ain’t high speed. Many free VPNs are faster.
The speeds on the other locations I have checked were also under 5 Mbps. For comparison’s sake, NordVPN has speeds of more than 100 Mbps.
Trust.Zone’s speeds were somewhat higher when I tested it in the spring of 2019. Then, they reached and exceeded 10 Mbps but now became much slower.
Whether or not Trust.Zone supports streaming is an interesting question. In the last version of this review, I wrote that streaming wasn’t supported. But in the autumn, Trust.Zone contacted and informed us about the changes it had made. A specialized server for Netflix in the US location was added.
Today, I tested it:
As you see in the screengrab, it doesn’t currently work. Less than a month has passed since our communication with Trust.Zone.
But I have to give credit where credit is due: the provider’s team has found a solution. They offer a dedicated IP as an extra feature to those who want to unblock Netflix. Essentially, you pay extra for a clean IP address unknown to Netflix’s database.
An efficient solution, to be sure, but a one that makes the VPN service pricier. I’ll tell you more about the prices in the next chapter.
As I always do, I also checked Hulu support:
No, Hulu doesn’t work with Trust.Zone.
If you need an effective VPN for streaming, take a look at our ranking of paid and free VPNs for Netflix.
Trust.Zone has no issues with torrenting and it is supported on all locations.
I scanned my computer’s traffic with Wireshark for leaks just in case and found none. Since the use of the torrent client doesn’t need any DNS queries, this vulnerability doesn’t affect it. However, visiting torrent trackers can be dangerous.
The presence of a good kill switch, though, makes the use of torrents and apps implementing P2P technology (such as Popcorn Time) safer. However, this feature is only available on Windows. Torrenting, I think, could have been the strongest suit of Trust.Zone. However…
The provider’s slow speed is a huge flaw. I couldn’t increase the download speed past 1 Mbps.
If you want to use torrents with high speeds, check the VPNs on our best VPNs for torrenting list.
4. Google search and using Gmail
IP addresses of Trust.Zone don’t affect Gmail and Google search. Some VPNs can make your access to the mail difficult while the search engine constantly demands confirmation that you aren’t a robot.
5. IP leak test with the unstable connection
I usually test mobile devices by simulating an unstable mobile Internet connection and automatic reconnections from one Wi-Fi access point to another or an access point to the mobile network.
This way, I test how reliable the traffic protection is when the connection to a VPN server is lost. Without a kill switch or some other traffic blocking technology, however, it doesn’t make sense to do it.
Trust.Zone has no kill switch on Android while on iOS it can be only set up with third-party clients and manual settings.
So there’s no point in conducting this test as Trust.Zone doesn’t provide the necessary level of mobile device protection in complicated conditions.
6. Other issues of Trust.Zone
Of the secondary issues I found when testing Trust.Zone, I can delineate the most prominent two:
- Switching between VPN servers in the PC app, I made mistakes frequently by picking wrong locations (by the way, it is related to the second Trust.Zone’s issue – the inconvenient country choice). Then, I had to turn the connection off once it was activated. Frequently enough, this blocked the entirety of traffic while the VPN wouldn’t connect. I had to turn Wi-Fi off and on in my computer’s settings.
- The inconvenient choice of VPN locations. The United States is weirdly divided into two blocks. The names of other countries are listed at the end of the lines, which makes focusing your eyesight on them inconvenient as you scroll.
Switching to the spreadsheet mode doesn’t help because it doesn’t display the full names of countries.
The app would have been much more convenient to use had it been bigger and listed the full names of countries in the spreadsheet format.
Trust.Zone for Windows
Almost all the information in this article is about, first and foremost, this Trust.Zone app.
You can download and install the app from the official website of Trust.Zone.
Trust.Zone for Mac
The provider doesn’t offer an app for macOS. However, it can be set up safely by using a third-party VPN client. The best option is to use Tunnelblick. It showed a great level of security and privacy protection during my tests.
It’s interesting that manual settings let you choose between TCP and UDP (the PC app only works with TCP).
You can find a detailed manual on how to set Tunnelblick up on Trust.Zone’s website.
Trust.Zone for Android
The app for Android is really minimalistic.
It only has the country choice, auto-connection, and port choice settings. Only the OpenVPN protocol is available.
Cons of Trust.Zone for Android:
- minimalistic functionality
- no kill switch
- inconvenient country choice because their full names aren’t displayed
The link to the download page of the Android app isn’t easy to find. The beta version of the app was released back in early 2019 but it still hasn’t been added to the main DOWNLOAD page. Even the link in the SETUP VPN section doesn’t lead to the app download but to the OpenVPN config files.
To download Trust.Zone for Android, you have to use Google Play Market directly.
Trust.Zone for iOS
There is no Trust.Zone app for iOS. Just like on Mac, the iOS version can be obtained by using a third-party VPN client. I use OpenVPN Connect from the Apple App Store in such cases.
The drawback of this method is that you need to download files for every location from the Trust.Zone website and import them into the OpenVPN client one by one.
Trust.Zone for Chrome
The provider doesn’t support web browsers. You can only use Chrome or any other browser with the VPN by installing a separate app as was described in the previous sections.
All our VPN servers around the world ARE NOT storing any log files to keep your privacy safe. All the usage data is anonymous and not connected to your real, public IP address.
This claim can be trusted because this service is registered in Seychelles, far from any intelligence alliances and countries with data retention laws.
What are the advantages and prices of the paid version?
The prices of Trust.Zone are low:
The most lucrative subscription is the 2-year one and it costs $2.33 per month. If you compare this price to those of other VPNs, you’ll see that most services have higher prices. At the same time, though, there are more than a few cheap providers who offer more features for less money.
The subscription prices for 1 month and 1 year are market-average.
What are the differences between the paid and free versions?
As I’ve mentioned, the functionality of the 3-day trial is identical to that of the paid version. However, Trust.Zone offers extra paid features that expand the functionality of the basic version.
Extra features available for a surcharge:
- Dedicated IPs in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Their cost is very low compared to the same service provided by the competitors: one IP costs $1.84 per month.
- 3 extra simultaneous connections. The basic plans offer 3 to 5 simultaneous connections and $0.79 per month adds 3 connections.
Trust.Zone supports all modern payment methods including Alipay and 4 cryptocurrencies.
When you pay with cryptocurrencies, you get a 10% discount.
History of Trust.Zone and information about the owner
Trust.Zone provides VPN services from 2015. It was founded by Extra Solutions Ltd.
The provider’s current owner is SFM Ltd, registered offshore in Seychelles.
This company works with Tersys Group OÜ for payment processing. Tersys is based in Estonia (an EU member).
SFM Ltd address:
Unit 117 Orion Mall, Palm Street, P.O. Box 828,
Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles
According to public information, it is a medium-sized company that hasn’t other projects except for Trust.Zone.
Trust.Zone is not a registered international trademark.
So what have we learned about Trust.Zone?
It is a small VPN provider under a safe offshore jurisdiction. It offers affordable VPN services based mainly on the use of OpenVPN. Customers can use its apps for Windows and Android or install a third-party VPN client and set either it or the system up on any platform.
In summary, the provider is an average-tier VPN. Its development is as slow as its speeds and its platform support is lacking.
We will update this review when there are any changes in Trust.Zone’s characteristics. The latest full-scale testing was conducted in late November 2019.