UltraVPN Review 2023: Should you consider it?
There are hundreds of VPNs that advertise themselves as the best VPN, but only a few of them are worth looking at. One of the few is UltraVPN, and we have conducted an in-depth review and analysis of the VPN service.
Pros & Cons
- No loss in connection speed
- Works with Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu, and more
- Servers in 85 countries
- Allows torrenting
- Kill Switch & split-tunneling
- 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Keeps some logs
- High cost of renewal
- Based in the US
UltraVPN started operating in 2018 as a UK-based VPN service. In 2020, it was bought by American technology company Aura. The VPN then later merged with Hexatech VPN, and the service is now operated by Betternet LLC, an Aura subsidiary.
These ownership changes have seen Aura VPN undergo several changes of its own, and here’s a highlight of the VPN service:
- Works with multiple streaming services
- Servers in 85 countries and 122 locations
- Keeps some logs
- Well-designed & easy-to-use apps
- Based in the US
The VPN promises an “ultra-fast, ultra-secure, and anonymous” service. So, does it live up to the brazen claims?
This UltraVPN review will take you through the service and tell you everything you need to know before you make a purchase decision. We’ll look at the VPN’s privacy, security, features, capabilities, pricing, and more. We’ll also compare it with market leaders such as Surfshark VPN.
Table of Contents
Streaming: Does UltraVPN work with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other services?
UltraVPN lets users access various streaming services. We started by testing whether the VPN can bypass the Netflix police, and we were pleased to see that you can use it to access Netflix US.
The VPN can’t unblock other Netflix libraries, but we managed to access BBC iPlayer when connected to the UK server.
Other services that you can access with UltraVPN are Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu.
Does UltraVPN support torrenting?
Yes, UltraVPN supports torrenting. The VPN’s website won’t tell you that, but we confirmed with the representatives over live chat. They informed us that UltraVPN doesn’t impose any restrictions, so you can use the service with P2P and BitTorrent traffic. The best part is that you can use any server, which is better than VPNs that set aside a few P2P servers.
Does UltraVPN work in China?
No, UltraVPN does not work in China. The VPN doesn't have any obfuscation capabilities to work in highly restricted countries. If you plan to travel to countries like China, UAE, Iran, Syria, North Korea, etc., you can have a look at the best VPNs for China.
Yes, UltraVPN is a secure VPN service. Below is a better look at the VPN’s privacy and security.
UltraVPN was initially owned by Network Protect, a company registered in the UK. However, the company stopped doing business in August 2020 after Aura acquired all its assets (UltraVPN, SafeVPN, and Privacy Web VPN). The Aura association puts the VPN under the same parent organization as Hotspot Shield, Betternet, Aura VPN, VPN360, TouchVPN, and VPN in Touch.
In 2021, UltraVPN and Hexatech (also owned by Aura) teamed up, and now UltraVPN is operated by Betternet LLC, another subsidiary of Aura.
The above means that UltraVPN now operates under the US jurisdiction. This is one of the trickiest locations for a VPN as the region has strict data retention laws and surveillance policies. And although VPNs aren’t really required to keep logs, they are often subpoenaed to provide data and silenced with gag orders.
That said, some US-based VPNs still manage to offer privacy through a zero-logs policy.
UltraVPN’s Logging Policy
This may sound good, but it simply means that the data is collected but is not associated with your browsing activity.
The policy continues to say that although they delete IP addresses after a session, they also “collect the IP addresses for other reasons such as preventing fraud and advertising.” Further, they log “device hashes, which are used to identify devices and associate them with other data we collect” and also “log the domains visited but in an anonymized manner.”
From the above, you can see that UltraVPN can’t deliver much privacy. And to prove that, the VPN no longer promises a “zero-logs service” since the acquisition. If you are a privacy enthusiast, you can look at VPNs that have been publicly audited and proven to keep zero connection and usage logs, such as ExpressVPN.
Does UltraVPN leak data?
As part of our privacy analysis, we carried out several tests to check if UltraVPN leaks any user data. We tested for IP leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks.
During the tests, we didn’t find any of the above leaks.
However, the DNS tests showed that the VPN uses Google DNS and not a private one.
UltraVPN uses AES-256 CBC cipher for all data encryptions. Handshake is carried out using 4096-bit RSA keys, and SHA512 is used for authentication.
Overall, this is bank-level security, and it can’t be breached.
As for the protocols, Ultra VPN has recently replaced OpenVPN with Aura’s Hydra protocol. This is a proprietary protocol that Hotspot Shield developed, and it's aimed at providing the best speeds. There's also an option to use IKEv2, which is also a recent VPN that provides good security and speeds.
UltraVPN offers several features.
A kill switch is an important feature for any VPN as it prevents accidental exposure when the VPN disconnects. It does this by stopping all internet connections when it detects that the VPN connection is no longer active.
UltraVPN provides a kill switch that does this when the VPN disconnects accidentally (you didn’t press the disconnection button.) The kill switch also has an autoconnection feature that detects when the device is ready to reconnect. However, we noticed that you are usually exposed before the reconnection is complete.
Split Tunneling is a feature that gives users flexibility by allowing them to select certain apps and websites that they’d like the VPN to bypass. This means that the selected services will use your regular unencrypted connection.
UltraVPN has a split tunneling feature, but it only works with websites. The feature allows you to add specific domains that should not detect you are using a VPN, and we found it very effective.
IP Leak Protection
IP Leak Protection is an important privacy feature that ensures that your IP address is not leaked outside the VPN tunnel. These leaks mostly happen on Windows and are caused by IPv6 incompatibilities.
UltraVPN ensures that your IP address is never leaked by providing an automatic leak protection feature. Keep it turned on to avoid exposing your real IP address to websites.
UltraVPN provides 100+ servers spread across 122 locations in 85 countries. Although the number of servers stated by the VPN is quite small, the distribution is as good as any you’ll come along.
There are 36 locations in North America, 43 in Europe, 26 in Asia, 3 in Africa, 8 in South America, and 6 in Oceania.
On the app, servers are listed in alphabetical order, and there’s a search button to make filtering easy. The US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, and Spain have multiple locations which can be chosen by cities.
UltraVPN offers three pricing plans. All these plans have the same features and functionalities, so the difference only comes in the subscription length.
Here’s a break-down of the three plans:
- 1-month plan: Costs $6.99 a month for the first subscription. Renews at $8.99 a month.
- 6-month plan: Costs $4.99 a month for the first subscription. Renews at $9.98 a month.
- Yearly plan: Costs $2.99 a month for the first subscription. Renews at $7.50 a month.
The VPN’s 1-month plan is well-priced. However, the 6-month plan is strangely more expensive than the 1-month plan when you renew.
This is an unpopular technique that is most likely meant to drive users to the yearly plan, but the yearly plan doesn’t offer a fair discount during renewal either. The introductory and renewal price for the plan are worlds apart, so UltraVPN won’t be making it to our list of the best-priced VPNs any time soon.
Supported payment methods
UltraVPN only accepts payments through credit/ debit cards and PayPal. These may be sufficient for most people, but a little more flexibility would be welcome. Significantly missing is a cryptocurrency option, which would allow users to pay anonymously via Bitcoin.
Does UltraVPN have a free trial?
Ultra VPN used to provide a 7-day trial which offered about eight server locations. However, the free trial has been discontinued.
Does UltraVPN have a money-back guarantee?
Yes, UltraVPN provides a 30-day money-back guarantee. The VPN states that they have a no-questions-asked refund policy, ensuring that you can get a full refund if you are not satisfied with the service. There are no bandwidth limits that you must observe to qualify.
To start the process, you can contact the support team through live chat or the ticket system.
The UltraVPN website is well designed, and it focuses on simplicity. This makes it easy to use, and getting started is also quite straightforward. After clicking “Register Now” on the UltraVPN homepage, the VPN will let you choose a subscription plan.
If you stay on the page for a while and move your cursor away, the website will give you a 70% discount, an offer that has been around for the last two years.
You can then select a payment method and complete your registration process.
Which devices & platforms does UltraVPN support?
UltraVPN provides apps for:
These apps are few compared to some other VPNs, and you also can’t configure the VPN manually as it no longer supports the OpenVPN protocol. Nonetheless, most users should still have their devices catered for.
Ease of use
As part of this Ultra VPN review, we installed the VPN on various devices to assess its ease of use and performance.
Desktop App (Windows)
To download the desktop app, you need to scroll to the bottom of the website and click “Download Now.” This will lead you to a download page that will detect your operating system and give you another “Download Now.” The UltraVPN download file is about 15 MB, and it should install the app within a minute. You can then log in using your credentials.
The app has a huge connection button in the middle with the connection status and selected server below it.
Once you connect to a server, the interface changes to show you the amount of data you have transferred via the VPN, the duration, IP address, server type, and protocol.
You can switch a server by clicking the displayed server. This will give you a list of all servers, displayed in alphabetical order. You can then scroll down or use the search bar to get a specific country. For some of the countries, you can choose a particular city.
To customize your connection, click on the settings button on the top left side of the main screen. This will open the settings, where you can:
- Turn on/ off IP leak protection
- Activate the kill switch
- Enable sharing feedback on connection quality
- Set up split tunneling
- Select a protocol
IP leak protection and feedback sharing are usually turned on by default. As for the protocol, you can choose between Hydra and IKEv2(IPSec) or leave it as auto. The latter will select a protocol depending on the strength of your network.
Overall, the UltraVPN desktop app is very well designed and quite easy to use. You can select a server even when you are already connected, although arranging the servers into regions could make selection easier. During our tests, we didn’t experience any connection issues. However, the VPN could add more features.
The UltraVPN Android and iOS apps look similar and carry the simple design of the desktop apps. The two have a home page that consists of a connection button, server button, and a settings button. Server selection is also similar to the desktop app.
The iOS app has several configuration options that are grouped into General, Network Management, Rule for WiFi Networks, and VPN Protocol. Under General, you'll find a kill switch and options to determine when the app connects and disconnects. Network management on other hand lets you determine whether the app should connect on secured WiFi, unsecured WiFi, or both. If you wish to set rules for a particular network, you can select Rules for WiFi networks. The app also lets you choose a protocol between Hydra and IKEv2 (IPSec), although it recommends that you leave the settings as auto.
Apart from the above, the UltraVPN iOS app goes a step further to offer device integration. You can set app shortcuts that will appear on the VPN screen once you have connected to a server. You can also add Siri commands and even set a widget for the VPN. The latter will let you connect to a server without opening the app.
After connecting to a server, the app will display the shortcuts you added alongside connection details such as server load, latency, and amount of data transferred.
Overall, the UltraVPN iOS app is one of the best you'll come along, and its impressive 4.7 rating on the App Store reflects that.
The UltraVPN Android app is oddly outdone by its iOS counterpart. The app lacks any advanced features, including a kill switch. All you can do is determine when the VPN connects/ disconnects and add trusted networks. It also doesn’t display any connection details.
Apart from the features, the app worked well during our tests, and it has a rating of 4.3 on the Google Play Store.
As part of our UltraVPN review, we carried out several speed tests to give you an idea of how fast UltraVPN is. Before the tests, we were interested in knowing if the VPN offers excellent speeds like the other VPNs that use Hydra protocol, such as Hotspot Shield (here’s our review) and Bitdefender VPN (here’s our review).
We used a 50 Mbps connection to test the speeds and tested both nearby servers and servers in other continents.
After connecting to nearby servers, we found UltraVPN to be “ultra-fast," just as the VPN promises. We didn’t notice any drop in speed, and servers in neighboring countries also gave us 50 Mbps when using Hydra. IKEv2 averaged 45 Mbps.
After trying out servers in different continents, we noticed that distance didn't significantly change speed. All servers averaged 48 Mbps to 50 Mbps when using Hydra and 40 Mbps to 43 Mbps when using IKEv2. The upload speeds were more affected, averaging 10 Mbps for nearby servers and 5 Mbps for distant servers.
Overall, UltraVPN is one of the fastest speeds. The VPN has greatly improved in speeds since changing from OpenVPN to Hydra, and so you can use it to download, torrent, or stream in 4K without any issues.
Ultra VPN provides support through live chat and tickets. The two support methods are available 24/7, and so you can reach out any time you have queries. To get the live chat support option, you need to go to the pricing page.
We tested both the live chat and ticket system, and we were impressed with the response. We connected to a representative within 30 seconds, and we got a ticket reply after 55 minutes.
However, you don't have to contact them every time you have an issue, as the VPN provides a support section on the website. This knowledge base there organizes support articles into Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and General. You’ll find several guides and articles to help address most issues that you may have.
Is there Ultra VPN free trial?
The UltraVPN free trial is no longer provided. To test the VPN, you can take advantage of the no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee. This will let you try the VPN’s full strength risk-free.
Is there Ultra VPN Chrome extension?
No, there’s no UltraVPN Chrome extension. The VPN is only available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
Can I create an Ultra VPN free account?
No, you can’t create a free UltraVPN account. The VPN does not offer a free service, and so you won’t be able to connect to any server with a free account.
Is UltraVPN Hexatech?
Yes, UltraVPN is also Hexatech. The two VPNs merged to create a better version of UltraVPN.
But other than that, you can use UltraVPN to unblock multiple streaming services and torrent on any server. This, combined with its excellent speeds, makes UltraVPN a suitable option for streaming and torrenting fans.