Ultrasurf is a free Windows client that lets you access any website while encrypting the traffic through a secure tunnel. The basic idea is the same as with a VPN.
It works with Internet Explorer by default, but you can also use it with Firefox. With other browsers, you need to manually set up a proxy when configuring Ultrasurf.
This program is basically just a file that you don’t even need to install. Also, keep in mind that your antivirus software might classify it as potentially dangerous. All you need to do is create an exception in your antivirus database and you’ll be safe.
One of the most interesting features of Ultrasurf is that it offers a completely free service. However, we have seen countless times that free VPN services are not as powerful as paid VPN services.
Nevertheless, we do not rule out the possibility that Ultrasurf will offer a premium service. Here are the features of Ultrasurf.
- Unlimited bandwidth for premium users
- Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux users
- It has a native mobile app
- Powerful encryption for Windows, Android, iOS, Mac
These are all features that Ultrasurf offers. Honestly, they are nothing to get excited about. There is no mention of a kill switch, unlimited speed, leak protection, or torrenting support. Ultrasurf also claims to log your Internet activity for 30 days, which is a serious concern.
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Ultrasurf not only tests the free service impressively, but also competes with some of the best paid services. In fact, there was virtually no speed drop. This product has a good reputation for performance in general, and it lived up to the hype in our tests. Our speeds showed a drop of only 2 Mbps.
UltraSurf VPN is a completely free VPN service. It never asks for any credentials, just download the VPN and use it on your own. As far as free VPNs go, UltraSurf VPN is one of the best VPNs out there.
When it comes to streaming, UltraSurf is able to unblock popular streaming services like Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and YouTube TV. While the VPN is free, it can also be used to unblock streaming services. Unlocking a streaming service from another location allows you to access content that is restricted to your location.
UltraSurf VPN can be used for torrenting, but once you are connected to a VPN, it is more likely that your browsing history will be tracked. Jurisdiction is within 14 eyes and torrenting is not recommended, even if it is possible via a VPN.
No installation is required to run Ultrasurf. You just need to download an executable file from their website, launch it and you’re good to go. The interface looks like something from the late 90s – blocky, compact and flashy, but only because it looks so dated.
We’d say this GUI does its job, but given Ultrasurf’s spartan functionality, there’s not much to tinker with. There are no features worth mentioning, and all the settings are geared towards quality of life.
Ultrasurf is browser-based and uses Internet Explorer by default. However, you can choose not to use it and opt for Firefox instead. There is also a Chrome extension (currently in beta) and an Android app, which is actually called VPN. The executable starts working automatically, so you don’t have to do any configuration. However, there is a manual proxy setting.
I don’t like that Ultrasurf claims to use encryption, but never explains the specifications. It is a closed, proprietary project, so there is no community verification to back up its claims.
Since this is a U.S.-based provider, data retention laws and wiretapping regulations combined with inadequate logging and disclosure of security specifications are a dubious proposition.
In the course of my research, I also came across a six-year-old Ultrasurf audit by a Tor investigator. It’s long out of date, but still worth reading. In fact, 6 years later, Ultrasurf is still not forthcoming about the technical specifications used for its solution, and still stands by its logging practices and cooperation with spy agencies. This is only true for inexperienced users who do not ask the right questions.
Moreover, Ultrasurf is known for its willingness to cooperate with the US government. Ironically, it also filters content for censorship, which is exactly what it claims to be against. If you ask me, that’s just too disgustingly hypocritical for a tool that avoids privacy and censorship.
Customer service is minimal, relying only on the ability to send emails.
Pros and Cons
- Users in over 180 countries
- Unlimited bandwidth
- No registration required to use
- Fast blocking of your IP address
- Completely free and easy to download
- Slow page loading due to heavy traffic
- Download for Windows, but beta version for Android is still being tested
Ultrasurf is a great option for those who only want to access censored websites, hide their IP and encrypt their communications.
If privacy and security are your main concerns, then it’s not a great option with sub-par speeds. Therefore, consider a full VPN that uses strong encryption and protocols to ensure perfect privacy.