ZenMate was previously known as a free product, which helped build a significant user base of over 40 million. Today, there is only a paid version, aimed at users who are willing to pay for fast, reliable connections and the luxury of a variety of VPN servers.
The last time I tested this VPN, it had a few issues, including a questionable logging policy, slow speeds, and DNS leaks. Still, ZenMate has been working hard to improve the service, so I’m curious to see how much has changed.
ZenMate’s short-term plan starts at $10.99 per month, and it’s not cheap. However, if you sign up for a longer term, you can save a lot of money: just $4.49 per month for one year or $1.64 for three years. You also get a seven-day trial, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and no limits on the number of devices you can use the plan on.
Speeds in the UK are average at 120 Mbps, but in the US the ZenMate reaches 200 Mbps, which is impressive if not class-leading, and should be fast enough for most users.
Streaming performance is a bit disappointing, though – Netflix and YouTube are available, but other services like BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video are blocked. Still, torrenting is good, and most of the 3800+ servers are P2P compatible.
You only get email support and no live chat, along with a knowledge base full of articles. While email support promises a response within 48 hours, we received a response in less than an hour, which is pretty good. However, the knowledge base is not quite adequate, with poor explanations and many broken links. As always, we would welcome a live chat feature.
- No logging
- Unlimited concurrent device usage
- 74+ server locations
- Multiplatform support
- Browser extensions
- Off switch (Windows and macOS)
- P2P support
- AES 256-bit encryption
- 24/7 live chat support
- 30 days money back guarantee
- 7 days free trial
Most servers are located in Europe, but ZenMate also operates servers on the east and west coasts of the US, Canada, Brazil, Israel, South Africa, throughout East Asia, and Australia.
ZenMate markets itself as an easy-to-use VPN service aimed at non-professionals. It’s decent enough, but that means it’s a bit basic in its feature set.
ZenMate’s speed is disappointing. When connecting to a nearby server, we measured an average download speed of 47Mbps, which is a 52% speed loss compared to using it without a VPN. The speeds are fast enough to browse the Internet unhindered, but nowhere near as fast as the fastest VPNs.
Long-distance connections are even worse in terms of speed. We measured a 90 percent loss when connecting to Australian servers and an 80 percent loss when connecting to the US. Latency is also very high, so it’s not a good choice for gaming.
|Connection||Ping||Download Speed||Upload Speed|
Overall, these speeds are mediocre – there are much faster VPN for activities like streaming and torrenting.
Local speeds were calculated by connecting from our physical location in London to a VPN server in London. Here are the results of the full speed test.
- Download speed without ZenMate: 98 Mbps
- Download speed with ZenMate: 47 Mbps
- Drop in download speed when ZenMate is running: 52%
These local speeds are below average. It is normal to have a larger speed drop when connecting to a distant server, but not when connecting to a server in the same city.
Long-Range Speed Test Results
ZenMate’s speeds on long-haul connections were also disappointing. We connected to servers in the U.S., Australia, Singapore, and Germany from London and measured the speeds before and after our connection.
Here are the Zenmate’s average speeds when connecting to several international VPN servers.
- US: (download) and 78 Mbit/s (upload)
- Germany: 89 Mbit/s (download) and 92 Mbit/s (upload)
- Australia: 10 Mbit/s (download) and 21 Mbit/s (upload)
- Singapore: 11 Mbit/s (download) and 32 Mbit/s (upload)
When connecting to servers in Germany, the VPN performs much better with a speed loss of only 9%. It is unclear why the German servers performed better than the UK servers, suggesting that ZenMate is not the most reliable VPN in terms of speed.
Overall, the ZenMate’s speeds are average at best. It’s fast enough for occasional online activities, but if you want to use a VPN for longer-term activities like traveling or streaming, we recommend an alternative.
When it comes to price, ZenMate is quite affordable. There are three subscription plans to choose from: 1 month, 18 months, and 6 months. Here are the prices for each plan.
- 1 month ($10.99)
- 3 years ($1.64/month) (15% discount)
- 12 months ($4.49/month) (59% discount)
As for the payment options, ZenMate can only be purchased via PayPal and credit cards. Beyond that, you won’t get an option to buy ZenMate anonymously with Bitcoin. But the good thing is that all ZenMate subscription packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Also, I forgot to mention earlier that ZenMate also offers a 7-day free trial, which I think is pretty awesome.
Our ZenMate VPN review revealed that premium users can access web servers in 37 different countries. These companies are able to deliver connectivity to most countries with their services. Most servers are located in Europe, with a few in Asia, North America and Oceania. They also have servers in the east and west of the US for faster connections from Europe and Asia. The list of these countries is as follows.
Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK, USA.
IP Leak Test for Unstable Connections
I always recommend using a VPN on mobile devices. Payments, social networks on public Wi-Fi hotspots, etc. can be a real risk. Moreover, some people use their mobile devices for responsible activities or other sensitive tasks.
However, many are not aware that VPNs in some cases do not guarantee the protection of data and the user’s real location, not only on public Wi-Fi networks.
Leakage occurs when a VPN server connection is accidentally interrupted for various reasons.
- Problems with VPN services
- Unstable or weak Wi-Fi or cellular signal
- Changes to the VPN location
- Movement between different access points
- Switching between Wi-Fi and mobile Internet
VPN services have long offered an effective solution to prevent data leakage – Kill Switch. This blocks all traffic to the device if the VPN connection is suddenly interrupted.
ZenMate has Kill Switch only in the Windows and Mac apps. It is not available in the Android app. While the feature helps provide more reliable data protection when torrenting on a PC, it does not protect traffic when torrenting on an Android device or when the connection to the VPN server is interrupted.
ZenMate supports all major platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, game consoles, Firestick TV, Apple TV, Chromebooks, Raspberry Pi, routers, and smart TVs. There are also browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. It’s worth noting that not many VPN services offer an extension for Opera, so if that’s your browser of choice, ZenMate has you covered.
ZenMate allows up to 5 simultaneous connections, which is pretty much standard for modern VPNs. You can easily add more devices by downloading the software from the website and using your credentials in the client (your credentials are identical to the client’s credentials). On the other hand, you can remove any device instantly from the personal dashboard on the website.
ZenMate’s free extensions for Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Opera provide an easy way to enable or disable services and select a new location in the browser interface.
Like all browser proxies, they have some limitations – in particular, they only protect browser traffic, the others use standard connections – but for simple website blocking tasks, they should be sufficient.
The plugins are free, but they are limited to four locations (Germany, Romania, Singapore, and the US), don’t support unblocking streaming sites, and regularly serve ads that prompt you to buy the full service.
The Chrome extension (and its Firefox counterpart) opens in a simple console where you can select your location and join with a few clicks. The site selection looks pretty much the same as the desktop version – there’s a list of sites, a simple favorites system, a text filter, but no data on server usage or ping time – and if you’ve used other VPNs before, you’ll get to grips with it all in seconds.
Paid users get access to some valuable extras. Incognito Connection automatically clears cookies, browsing history, and cache when you disconnect from the VPN; Smart Location automatically switches to a new location when you visit a site (if you visit Netflix, for example, you can connect to the U.S.); and a simple whitelist lets you identify sites you’ve accessed through a traditional connection rather than the VPN.
ZenMate offers users a simple and fast user experience and unlocks Netflix: whether you want to watch movies or TV shows, ZenMate gives you access to the streaming giant’s entire library.
Apps are available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. There are no apps or profiles for Linux, but there are extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. And since one license can connect up to five devices at once, you can back them all up with one account.
They also have a kill switch called Ever Secure that protects you if the VPN connection is interrupted. And since ZenMate is based in Germany, where there are strict privacy laws, millions of people trust their service.
Security and Encryption
It is a tunneling protocol that provides a secure, encrypted gateway between your computer and the rest of the Internet.
Protocols like PPTP and SSTP were born out of necessity. Some VPN providers still offer these services, but they are usually not as secure as the best tunneling protocols.
By far the most recommended and widely used tunneling protocol is OpenVPN. It is open-source software, which means that it has been tested by network security experts around the world to identify issues and vulnerabilities.
It generally relies on AES 256-bit encryption, which is also used by many military and government agencies for their top secret data. Most importantly, if you use the OpenVPN protocol, you are likely to be safe and anonymous no matter what you do on the Internet.
These are perfectly acceptable protocols, but for Zenmate there are concerns about firewall vulnerabilities and limited platform support. Windows users can choose the same protocol with the addition of L2TP.
Customers can only access OpenVPN, the tunneling software favored by techies around the world, via a paid subscription. In other words, Zenmate really wants you to pay for its service.
Even if you pay, you won’t get the 256-bit encryption that most other popular VPN providers have. On its website, Zenmate argues that 256-bit encryption is too hard for the average user. It slows down connections and leads to higher costs.
ZenMate VPN supports multiple protocols. They have also recently released a special version of their software that supports the OpenVPN protocol (UDP/TCP). OpenVPN is generally considered to be a particularly good protocol that offers strong encryption and protection. You can switch from TCP to UDP via the settings in the ZenMate software.
Other protocols supported by ZenMate VPN include IKEv2/IPSec and L2TP/IPSec. In general, ZenMate VPN offers a good level of protection and encryption, especially with the addition of the OpenVPN protocol.
ZenMate enables P2P and torrenting with its premium package. This is often one of the reasons why people choose to use a VPN – so it’s good to see ZenMate now offering this service as well. Torrenting is essentially using P2P when downloading smaller data packages from multiple computers (instead of downloading a huge file). In this case, a VPN is needed to protect the data when an open connection is made.
Games and Consoles
The ZenMate website has a section on gaming consoles such as Xbox and Playstation, but there are no specific applications for these consoles. If you’re using a VPN for gaming purposes, don’t expect anything more than a simple encryption protocol and IP address making. For many of us, that may be enough. However, you should make sure that your device supports OpenVPN or IKEv2 protocols, as these are the only ones available in ZenMate. The more secure WireGuard used by CyberGhost has not been adopted yet.
ZenMate performs well in terms of streaming. This is partly due to its decent speed and ability to unlock some popular streaming platforms. The most notable of these is Netflix USA.
While Hulu is not yet supported, the VPN has also managed to unlock HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. It’s also worth noting that ZenMate has a special streaming profile that allows you to choose a server optimized for the streaming platform you want to use.
As with most services, ZenMate covers the basics with FAQs and guides on its customer support page. Here you’ll find everything from common problems to the best solutions.
If you prefer a hands-on experience, you can create a ticket through their support system. Although their live chat seems to be the faster solution. When I contacted them, I was assigned a customer service representative almost immediately.
Pros and Cons
- 7 days free trial for the premium version
- 14 days money back guarantee
- Cross-platform support
- Up to five simultaneous connections
- Free browser extensions
- Extremely easy to use
- Unlocked for US Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Kill switch, DNS leak protection
- Minimal control over settings
- Average speed
- Unclear encryption and security methods
- Difficult to reach customer support
- No anonymous payment methods
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Zenmate allow torrenting?
Yes, Zenmate does allow torrenting. You can easily torrent with this VPN as it allows P2P file sharing protocol. the VPN provider allows torrenting at high speed. You can torrent very fast with this amazing VPN service. The company also offers a dedicated torrenting section with servers optimized for P2P. If the main purpose of buying a VPN is torrenting, Zenmate is a good choice. You can torrent without any restrictions or limitations.
Will Zenmate unblock Netflix?
Yes, Zenmate will unblock Netflix and many other streaming sites. Now you can watch your favorite content with this VPN service. With Zenmate, you can easily access geographically restricted content without any restrictions. There are many streaming sites that you can unblock with this VPN. Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, HBO GO, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu. You can easily unblock these streaming sites with Zenmate VPN. Now you can watch your favorite shows and programs with one of the cheapest VPNs Zenmate has to offer. There are many VPNs that block Netflix and other streaming channels.
Does ZenMate VPN offer customer support?
ZenMate VPN has email customer support, however, there is no live chat, which is disappointing. This means that you might have to wait a few days to get an answer to your question. The company’s website does offer support and troubleshooting articles, but details are lacking here.
Is ZenMate VPN compatible with desktop computers?
The ZenMate desktop Windows app is based on CyberGhost 7, which means that users familiar with CyberGhost products will recognize several aspects of the ZenMate app. However, it lacks the ad-blocking and tracking features found in the CyberGhost app. Otherwise, the tools and design are relatively similar.
When you launch the Windows app, the system automatically provides a default server location based on your connection location. You simply click on the connection to activate the VPN. The list of server locations is easy to manage and includes an option to sort VPN servers in 78 countries by load time and distance. The app also provides an option to easily connect to servers that support torrenting or streaming, and to save your favorite server locations for easy access later.
The app doesn’t offer kill switch notifications, which is a major shortcoming. Normally, VPNs notify the user when a connection is broken, preventing the transmission of unencrypted data. However, the ZenMate disconnects without any explanation.
Is ZenMate compatible with mobile devices?
ZenMate VPN supports an unlimited number of devices, including iOS and Android. This means that you can use the VPN on both mobile and desktop devices. iOS and Android mobile clients are similar to the desktop version, with a simple design and a lack of advanced tools. There is a large connection button, an easy-to-navigate location list, and a favorites system.
The Android and iOS clients only support OpenVPN. Only 2 configuration options allow you to choose UDP instead of OpenVPN-TCP or connect to random ports.
Does ZenMate offer a browser extension?
As part of the ZenMate test, we analyzed and compared browser extensions. In addition to the Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android apps, ZenMate offers free browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Edge browsers.
The Zenmate VPN browser extension provides an easy way to enable or disable VPNs from the browser interface. The VPN browser extension works as a proxy, so it only protects browser extensions; everything else goes through your normal ISP Wi-Fi connection. It has blockers for tracking and malicious websites, as well as WebRTC leak protection. These options are not enabled by default, so you have to turn them on manually.
The browser extension acts as a free VPN, but it can only be used on servers in four locations – Germany, Romania, USA, and Singapore – and does not support unblocking streaming sites. The extension also includes ads prompting users to upgrade to ZenMate Ultimate.
What is ZenMate’s network firewall?
ZenMate’s web security offerings aren’t limited to VPNs. The team has also developed the ZenMate Web Firewall, which protects computers and mobile devices from malware and other malicious agents.
ZenMate Web Firewall is also useful for blocking annoying advertisements. The firewall is free as an add-on for Chrome.
Is ZenMate secure?
ZenMate uses the strongest encryptions and protocols to ensure a balance between security and speed. This is reflected in decent connection speeds and the ability to pass DNS/IP leak tests with ease.
We also found no evidence that ZenMate’s free VPN or its paid version attempts to deliver malware to unsuspecting devices.
Like most VPNs, ZenMate collects some personal data for billing and service improvement purposes. It has clarified that none of this personal data can be linked to browsing activity on the VPN.
There is no denying that the German-based VPN provider is not ideal. Being part of the 14-Eyes alliance means an increased risk of data requests from government agencies.
However, since Zenmate does not store any incriminating data on its servers, it does not pose a serious threat to user’s privacy.
If you need a VPN that works well in Europe and North America, ZenMate is a good choice. Power users, however, may need to look elsewhere. For advanced users, it simply doesn’t offer much, such as fine-grained server selection or the ability to change VPN protocols.