AdGuard VPN Review

AdGuard VPN review header
AdGuard VPN Review

AdGuard VPN logo

Name: AdGuard VPN

Offer price: 3.99

Currency: USD

Operating System: "Windows", "macOS", "Android", "iPhone"

Author: Hans Wagner

Overall
4









  • Speed









  • Apps









  • Service









  • Policy









  • Price









Summary

.

Pros

  • Good download speeds
  • Works in China
  • Good range of apps
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Cons

  • No protocol selection
  • Logs more than we would like
  • Doesn’t work with Netlix


In the crowded world of VPN providers, AdGuard VPN has carved out a distinct identity for itself, paralleling giants like ExpressVPN in the quest for ultimate online privacy and security.

Other reviews praise it for a remarkably user-centric experience and claim AdGuard VPN combines blazing speeds with innovative features such as advanced filtering options, adding a layer of sophistication that’s uncommon in the VPN market, but is this true?

As we sail into 2024, does AdGuard VPN still hold its ground as a reliable fortress against online vulnerabilities and are some other reviews telling the truth? Can it still wear its crown in the competitive realm of internet security?

We’ve gone to great lengths to bring you one of the most comprehensive AdGuard VPN reviews to answer these burning questions and more. We’ll hold no punches here and cut out any fluff you’ll find elsewhere.

Intrigued? Keep scrolling.

Don’t have time to read the full review? Check out our AdGuard VPN video review:

1. Service

Speeds

Speeds header

When I tested AdGuard VPN, one of the first things I noticed was its speed performance.

I was pleasantly surprised to find minimal drop-offs in my internet speed even when connected to servers halfway across the globe. In the age of streaming, online gaming, and large file downloads, speed is essential.

AdGuard VPN did not disappoint in this regard. I tested various servers, including those in the U.S. and Europe and found only marginal decreases in my regular connection speed.

Australia did struggle more than other providers but still produced relatively good speeds for such a distance making it certainly useful for streaming or other high-intensity tasks.

We connected on a standard UK residential connection, exactly like the one you’re likely to be using.

Our speed without VPN at the time of testing was: 460.6 Mbps.

The following are a selection of speeds we achieved while connected to the respective AdGuard VPN server:

  • United Kingdom – 411.1 Mbps
  • Netherlands – 396.6 Mbps
  • France – 298.4 Mbps
  • Sweden – 339.3 Mbps
  • New York, US – 165.7 Mbps
  • Australia – 52.5 Mbps

Streaming Netflix and other services was a breeze, with no noticeable buffering issues, although as we’ll discover later, AdGuard VPN doesn’t work great with Netflix for other reasons.

For the everyday user who wants to browse, stream, or game without lag, AdGuard VPN holds its own in terms of speed.

Note

Speed results are a simple snapshot of achieved speeds at a moment in time. Your results will differ depending on many factors such as time of day, internet provider, using Wi-Fi or wired connection, and more.

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Logging

Privacy is one of the main reasons why people use VPNs, and I discovered when using AdGuard VPN that they take this somewhat seriously.

Their logging policy is clearly laid out in their terms of service, and it’s geared toward maintaining user anonymity. Specifically, they claim not to log your browsing history, IP address, or any other personally identifiable information.

AdGuard is clear they do log the following details:

  • Email address
  • Sign-up date
  • Subscriptions and licenses
  • Installed AdGuard apps
  • Latest synch date
  • Anonymized IP addresses of devices

This is more or less the same as many other leading providers. A nice feature of this is, you can download the data they store about you in raw format.

A little disconcerting they do store the first three parts of your IP address, eg; 178.122.51.x or the equivalent of an IPv6.

While this can’t pinpoint you exactly, it can certainly reveal the network you’re using and your local area, this could be cross-examined against other information and for this reason we would prefer this information wasn’t retained at all.

AdGuard VPN claim this is for the “internal logic of the system”, but again, not retaining this information would be more beneficial for you, the user.

The logging policy is both reassuring and not in equal measures.

The policy strikes a good balance between user protection and compliance with legal obligations, but there is room for improvement.

Simultaneous Connections

One of the conveniences of AdGuard VPN is the ability to connect multiple devices simultaneously.

Up to 10 devices at the same time to be exact.

When I tested this feature, I was able to secure my smartphone, laptop, and even my smart TV all at the same time. This is a huge advantage for households with multiple users or for someone like me who uses various devices for different activities.

The service remained stable across all platforms, and I didn’t experience any significant drop in performance. So if you’re looking for a VPN that allows you the flexibility to protect more than just your primary device, AdGuard VPN has you covered.

Jurisdiction

AdGuard VPN is based in Cyprus, which is generally considered to be a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.

It’s outside the 14 Eyes surveillance alliance, which is a group of countries known for sharing intelligence data with each other.

Learn More

Discover what the 14-eyes countries are.

This gives an extra layer of comfort for users concerned about the legal implications of their online activities.

However, I would advise users to always read the terms and conditions carefully, as laws and circumstances can change.

Nevertheless, being based in Cyprus offers a reasonable assurance that the company is less likely to be subjected to intrusive government surveillance or data requests.

The main AdGuard company does have links to Russia, however they are open and honest about these and go to great lengths to point out that many of their staff have relocated to Cyprus and others are based globally.

AdGuard jurisdiction

AdGuard VPN’s explanation regarding their location.

Customer Support

Customer support can often be a make-or-break aspect of any service, and in this case, AdGuard VPN delivers competently.

I reached out to their support team with some general queries and received responses that were not only timely but also informative and friendly. They offer various channels for support, including email and live chat.

Although they don’t have 24/7 phone support, the quickness of their email and chat services more than makes up for it. Overall, I felt like the support team was equipped to handle issues efficiently, making for a smooth user experience.

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2. Server Locations

Server locations

When I tested AdGuard VPN, I was keen to explore their range of server locations as it’s a critical aspect for many VPN users. AdGuard VPN offers a diverse selection of server locations, spanning multiple continents in 53 countries across the globe.

They have servers in:

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • South America

The total number of servers is not as extensive as some other big-name VPN providers, but the geographic spread is reasonable enough to provide a global reach.

One thing I appreciated was the clarity with which AdGuard communicates about its server types.

They do not use virtual servers widely; most of their locations are tied to physical servers, which is a plus for those concerned about the authenticity of the server location they are connecting to.

This is especially beneficial for tasks that require precise geolocation, such as accessing region-specific content.

There are some exceptions to this rule such as their Russian and Indian servers. Often this is due to local restrictions, but they do resolve with local IP addresses for their respective country.

AdGuard VPN does not currently offer dedicated IP addresses, a feature that some users might miss if they require a stable and personal IP for specific tasks.

However, this is often a trade-off for better anonymity and privacy, which seems to be AdGuard’s priority.

As for advanced features like double-hop servers, where your traffic gets encrypted twice by routing through two servers instead of one, AdGuard VPN does not offer this service at the moment.

Double-hop can provide an extra layer of security and is a feature often desired by those with strict privacy requirements.

If you’re looking for a service with double-hop servers then VPN.ac or NordVPN are two good choices.

Last but not least, the issue of functionality in China. China’s Great Firewall poses a unique challenge for VPN providers.

While AdGuard VPN does not explicitly guarantee that their service will work in China, anecdotal evidence suggests that some users have successfully used it there. However, given the ever-changing nature of internet restrictions in China, it’s always a bit of a gamble.

Surprisingly, AdGuard VPN’s free service did work in China, but speeds were mostly unreliable. While you may be able to grab an odd email, they won’t be suitable for your everyday use.

AdGuard VPN's free service in China, 1.08Mbps.

AdGuard VPN’s free service speeds in China.

Their paid version worked much better.

Several servers worked well although they seemed limited for speeds. Our on the ground testing found that their Las Vegas servers performed best and produced the best speed results.

AdGuard VPN China speed 308Mbps.

AdGuard VPN’s paid service speeds in China.

Their Silicon Valley servers also performed well.

In our tests we found they performed better in the morning and afternoon, but often struggled in the evenings to the point of being unusable.

AdGuard VPN speed in China, 109Mbps.

AdGuard VPN’s paid service speeds in China.

3. Security and Safety

Protocols & Encryption

Protocols and encryption

In my experience, one of the most crucial aspects of a VPN service is the protocols and encryption methods it employs.

Surprisingly AdGuard VPN doesn’t use any of the most common VPN protocols such as OpenVPN or Wireguard generally found elsewhere.

Instead AdGuard VPN claims to have developed their own in-house VPN protocol different from all other providers out there.

We know very little about this protocol as it’s not open source and while AdGuard VPN claim they would like to make this open source in the future, that currently isn’t the case.

AdGuard VPN does say about their protocol that it is “nearly impossible to distinguish from normal HTTPS traffic” and “for encryption we use HTTPS (TLS), which copes with this task perfectly.”

As you have no way to verify their claims, you’ll need to take their word for it.

DNS Leak Testing

After installing AdGuard VPN, we put it through a rigorous examination to ensure its DNS leak protection claims stood up to scrutiny.

Utilising multiple reputable DNS leak testing services like DNSLeakTest.com, IPX.ac, and others, we tested the VPN across different servers and geographic locations.

AdGuard VPN DNS leak test results showing no leaks

AdGuard VPN DNS leak test.

The testing was straightforward; we connected to AdGuard VPN and immediately ran the leak detection tests.

In all instances, the results showed that none of our original DNS information was exposed, confirming that AdGuard VPN offers solid DNS leak protection.

Further AdGuard VPN DNS leak test results showing no leaks

AdGuard VPN DNS leak test.

The VPN successfully rerouted all DNS queries through its secure servers, thereby passing our tests with flying colors.

Is AdGuard VPN Safe for Torrenting?

AdGuard VPN seems to be a reliable VPN option for torrenting activities. It employs robust encryption, effectively safeguarding your data from prying eyes.

Coupled with its solid in-house protocol, it provides an extra layer of security that’s essential for safe torrenting.

When I tried this service for torrenting, I had to appreciate the no-logs policy, meaning your online activities aren’t stored or shared. However, as I said earlier, I’m a little uneasy about the partial IP storage.

This, however, shouldn’t be an issue for pinpointing you precisely as a user.

However, it’s important to note that AdGuard VPN doesn’t openly advertise itself as a torrent-friendly VPN, unlike some other providers that specifically optimise their servers for P2P file sharing.

So while the security features are strong, you may want to proceed with a bit of caution.

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4. Apps

Apps

Mobile Apps

In my testing of AdGuard VPN’s mobile app, I found it is incredibly user-friendly and efficient. I really like that the design is clean and straightforward, making it easy for even VPN beginners to navigate.

AdGuard VPN Android app

AdGuard VPN Android connection screens.

When I tested it on my Android phone, the connection was swift and stable, which is exactly what you’d want when you’re on the go. My favourite part was the quick-connect feature, allowing me to establish a secure connection with just one tap.

Oddly, the mobile app appears to have a few more options than the desktop app. With most providers it’s usually the other way around. Sadly, there are no options regarding VPN protocol.

AdGuard VPN Android app settings screen

AdGuard VPN Android app settings screen.

Desktop Apps

The desktop application for AdGuard VPN is equally impressive. I’ve dealt with desktop VPNs that are cumbersome and clunky, but this one is different.

AdGuard VPN Windows app main window

Windows app main screen.

The interface is clean, and the settings are intuitively laid out. When I tried this on my Windows laptop, I was pleased with the speed and stability of the connection. The same can be said when I used it on my desktop.

The connection window isn’t much different from when you’re disconnected, although the helpful ninja character makes it easy to see you’re connected. I would like to see a time connected counter, however.

AdGuard VPN Windows app main screen connected

Windows app connected screen.

There’s also a more extensive list of server options on the desktop app, which I found useful. But I had to note that it could use a built-in ad blocker.

Settings wise the app is light. There are options to exclude certain websites and apps from the VPN connection which I found extremely useful.

AdGuard VPN Windows app exclusions settings

Windows app settings screen.

However, more advanced settings are far and few between.

Sadly the desktop app doesn’t allow you to alter anything regarding your protocol. If you’re a beginner then I’m sure you’ll love the click and forget aspect of this.

For more advanced users, it’s lacking customisation.

AdGuard VPN Windows app advanced settings

Windows app advanced settings screen.

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Apps for Other Platforms

AdGuard VPN also provides applications for other platforms like macOS and even browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. In my experience, the macOS app was just as reliable and easy-to-use as its Windows counterpart.

Yes, AdGuard VPN does support browser extensions. When I tried them, they were available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Opera.

When I tried the browser extension, I found it perfect for quick tasks like secure browsing without having to launch the full desktop application.

My favourite part was how lightweight these extensions were; they didn’t slow down my browsing experience. However, it’s worth mentioning that browser extensions only secure your web traffic and not the entire system’s data.

Yes, AdGuard is primarily known for its ad-blocking capabilities. However, it’s worth noting that the AdGuard VPN and AdGuard ad blocker are separate services.

When I tested them, they could work in tandem to provide both VPN protection and ad-blocking features. However, the desktop app doesn’t come with a built-in ad-blocker as standard which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.

After weeks of testing I discovered that AdGuard VPN’s apps are easy-to-use and efficient, but each VPN service has its own unique offerings.

When I compared AdGuard to ExpressVPN, I noticed that ExpressVPN provides a larger number of server locations and also has a more established reputation for speed and reliability.

However, AdGuard has the added advantage of being well-known for their ad-blocking service, something that ExpressVPN doesn’t.

NordVPN’s app offers some advanced features that I missed in AdGuard, like the Double VPN and Onion Over VPN options for added security layers. NordVPN also has a built-in ad blocker called CyberSec, making it a more all-in-one solution.

However NordVPN’s ad blocking capability is limited to DNS blocking only. If you’re happy to install two apps then AdGuard’s separate ad-blocker offers a different level of blocking.

CyberGhost VPN stands out for its user-friendly interface designed around specific tasks, like streaming or torrenting.

Although AdGuard is straightforward to use, CyberGhost takes the guesswork out of server selection for particular activities, which I found to be quite useful.

5. Streaming

Streaming

Does AdGuard VPN work with Netflix?

When I tested AdGuard VPN, I found that it does not work with UK Netflix.

Sadly it also doesn’t work with US Netflix. When searching for region specific content like ‘Trust Me’ on the UK service and ‘Polly Pocket Sparkle Cove Adventure’ on the US service, they weren’t displayed.

This means AdGuard VPN is detected by Netflix and the only results visible are Netflix originals and other content they have global rights for.

Sadly, this isn’t a good option for Netflix users seeking to unlock different libraries.

Does AdGuard work with BBC iPlayer?

In my experience, AdGuard VPN successfully unblocked BBC iPlayer when connected to the Manchester – UK server. The streaming quality was good, and I didn’t encounter any lag or buffering issues.

AdGuard VPN with BBC iPlayer

It didn’t, however, work with their London server which could be somewhat confusing, especially if you’re a beginner.

This makes AdGuard a viable option for accessing BBC iPlayer content from outside the UK.

30-day money back guarantee

6. Prices and Plans

Prices and Plans

AdGuard VPN offers a range of pricing options designed to fit various needs and budgets. Here’s a quick breakdown of their subscription lengths and prices:

  • Monthly Plan: $11.99 per month
  • 1-Year Plan: $3.99 per month (billed annually)
  • 2-Year Plan: $2.99 per month (billed every two years)

When I considered the pricing, I found it competitive, especially when you opt for the longer-term subscriptions.

AdGuard VPN pricing

For context, ExpressVPN usually comes in at about $12.95 per month for their one-month plan, while NordVPN’s equivalent offering is around $11.95 per month.

If you opt for their one-year packages, ExpressVPN and NordVPN average out to about $6.67 and $4.92 per month, respectively.

In summary, AdGuard VPN offers reasonable pricing, particularly for their long-term plans.

Compared to industry leaders like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, AdGuard manages to hold its own, offering a good balance between cost and features.

7. Verdict

Verdict

In my experience, AdGuard VPN is a well-rounded service with a focus on simplicity and user-friendliness.

When I tried this VPN, one of the standout features was its in-house VPN protocol, although I would like to see this become open-source sooner rather than later.

My favourite part was the easy-to-navigate interface, both on mobile and desktop, making it accessible even for VPN beginners.

However, I had to note that while the service offers a decent range of server locations, it doesn’t provide some specialised features like dedicated IPs and double-hop servers and if you require these it could be a deal breaker.

Moreover, it’s not explicitly tailored for activities like torrenting or bypassing China’s Great Firewall, although I’ve dealt with less secure VPNs and found AdGuard to be relatively reliable for torrenting.

It also worked well in China in the mornings but struggled later in the day.

As for pricing, the long-term plans offer good value for money, especially when compared to bigger names like ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

The browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and others were a handy addition for quick browsing sessions, although these only secure web traffic, not your entire system.

In summary, AdGuard VPN is a solid choice for general users who prioritise ease-of-use and robust encryption. While it may lack some advanced features, it does a good job in the areas that matter most for everyday online activities.

Overall it’s a decent VPN service and offers a good range of options that will suit a multitude of users. There are a few areas I’d like to see improved, but if you’re after a relatively cheap service, it’s worth a look.

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Author: Hans Wagner

With a Computer Science degree in his toolkit, Hans is passionate about online privacy and cybersecurity. He loves breaking down complex tech topics so that everyone, from beginners to experts, can understand and benefit. He's all about empowering people to navigate the digital world safely and confidently.

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