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Witopia VPN Review

Editor's Overall Rating: 
9 User Reviews
Witopia VPN Review
Editor's Rating
Order to Installation
Software/GUI
Ease of Use
Features
Network & Speed
Help & Support
Scope of Protection
Overall Rating


Site: www.witopia.net
Alternative site: www.personalvpn.com
Site languages: En

Witopia VPN INTRODUCTION

Witopia provides the basic OpenVPN standard utilizing the off the shelf OpenVPN software application at the high end of the price range. Witopia only offers annual payment plans. Witopia has an extensive network of servers but not many off shore servers and no technology of its own to implement a better OpenVPN application. This review only covers Witopia’s Open VPN service.

The standard OpenVPN application does not protect against the dropping of your internet connection and Witopia has a privacy policy typical of US VPN services.

Review Summary

Witopia has a good server network and reasonable ping times. The major pro of the service is the server network and free unlimited server switching. But the very basic standard OpenVPN application which is unfriendly to use leaves this service in the middle of the VPN service heap. There are other VPNs with really good applications and larger server networks with monthly fees whereas this service only has an annual plan.

Witopia’s scope of protection is fair with a standard OpenVPN application which does not protect against the dropping of your internet connection revealing your originating IP and it has a privacy policy typical of US VPN services – not very good.

Witopia VPN PROS:
• 30 Day money back guarantee
• Large server network in 17 countries
• Unlimited Switching

Witopia VPN CONS:
• Fair support
• Could use off shore servers in the Americas
• Software standard OpenVPN with NO features and user un-friendly & inconvenient
• No automation on start up
• No automatic choice of fastest server (lowest latency)
• Dynamic IPs and Static IPs not available
• Does not protect your originating IP if the internet connection fails. All your applications will be switched to your local IP and you may not know it – an OpenVPN problem that is fixed by the better VPN services.
• Does not support IPv6
• Logs and stores personal information – typical US based privacy policy which is not that private or secure
• Management and server network is predominantly located in USA

Full Review

From Order to Installation: ★★★½☆ 

These are the Witopia VPN choices:

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When you chose the product you have to go through the checkout process which takes 10 minutes. With Witopia your account is up and running within 30 minutes if you use your credit card. I received this by mail a few minutes later:

Quantity: 1 Subtotal: $59.99 – You can only buy yearly plans.
To DOWNLOAD and ACTIVATE your personalVPN service from WiTopia, click the following link: http://wiki.personalvpn.net/wiki/Installing_personalVPN_on_Windows If you run into problems during install, check out our Frequently Asked Questions found here: http://wiki.personalvpn.net/wiki/FAQ If you find that any WiTopia web site is blocked, for information on how to alternatively reach WiTopia, go here: http://wiki.personalvpn.net/wiki/Blocking

When you get to the link, you will be able to follow the overview of the download or just click on the registration link, put in your order number and submit to start the download:

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Once you have activated your account:

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Once you put in your login credentials you can begin the installation process:

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By the time I got to this step I understood we are dealing with the simple and standard OpenVPN software package with no Witopia technology added. Disappointing:

OpenVPN (TM) — An Open Source VPN daemon Copyright (C) 2002-2009 OpenVPN Technologies, Inc. This distribution contains multiple components, some of which fall under different licenses. By using OpenVPN or any of the bundled components enumerated below, you agree to be bound by the conditions of the license for
each respective component.

Also beware if you have any OpenVPN products on your computer Witopia will uninstall them:

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Witopia’s installation software:

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This is the standard OpenVPN icon in the syst tray which also acts as the application.

Software/GUI: ★★★☆☆ 

Witopia states that:

“We’ve automated a lot of the process versus the competition, but a VPN is still a complex network security service so we’d recommend skimming through them once before jumping in. Then, proceed carefully and you should join the ranks of the fashionably encrypted within a few minutes.”

I must say that this is not automated in the least and compared to some of the competition this does not count as an application.

Your Witopia application is just a sys tray icon that needs to be opened to connect to a list of servers. It has no other features whatsoever. Witopia employs the OpenVPN standard application with no modifications. The application is the unmodified OpenVPN format that requires it to be opened with admin permissions (Windows & and Vista), login credentials have to be entered for each launch of the application (no possibility to save password); server has to be chosen for each launch, as in full OpenVPN implementation.

This is the application in its full glory:

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You see the little red icon in the systray on the right hand bottom. That’s the application. Click on that and you get your servers.

When you click on the server you want:

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And the icon turns green, if it’s yellow its connecting, red its off. Not much of an application considering 90% of the VPNs have precisely the same thing with no technology adds whatsoever. This has no other features whatsoever. Witopia employs the OpenVPN standard application with no modifications. The application is the unmodified OpenVPN format that requires it to be opened with admin permissions (Windows & and Vista), login credentials have to be entered for each launch of the application (no possibility to save password); server has to be chosen for each launch, as in full OpenVPN implementation.

Updates: Witopia provides automated updates.

Ease of Use: ★★★☆☆ 

As this is the standard OpenVPN application, it is not very user friendly. It cannot be automated for startup of the computer and requires some 5 clicks to start each time. One always has to re-choose the server. If one needs to restart this application a couple of times a day, it’s tiresome.

Features: ★★★☆☆ 

Witopia has all of the standard features of OpenVPN but has not added any application features of its own to the standard OpenVPN configuration. It has no automated features, choice of fast servers or other features that the better VPNs have and this basic OpenVPN application is a nuisance.

Witopia doesn’t offer dedicated IP option which complicates online shopping and banking as the merchants and third-party payment processors see multiple IPs which will trigger fraud alerts. Also there is no way of knowing in advance which server is currently not available or slow due to its location or current load.

Server Network: Location, Availability & Speed: ★★★★☆ 

This service has a large network with servers in 17 countries: USA, Canada, UK, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, China, India, Malaysia, and Singapore. Witopia lets you know in its knowledge base which servers are experiencing lag and for what reasons.

Initially I connected with the Dublin Ireland server:

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A ping test with a European server – Brussels server:

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Without Witopia and using a Belgium server the ping time was very similar so there was little latency.

Now let’s look at the Witopia San Francisco, USA server. This one did not fare as well:

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This is our server which didn’t do well either because of the number of hops (they are about the same):

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That’s the problem with using US servers to get outside of USA jurisdiction through Europe and it’s even worse if you try Asian servers. Better to have an off shore server near the USA with much less latency.

Keep in mind that VPN providers that are based in the USA and have servers in other cooperative jurisdictions cannot protect your data as it is transmitted across their servers. By definition a court order in cooperative regions can force Witopia to log, cache and submit any information to local and international authorities not withstanding Witopia’s current Privacy Policy to the contrary. Although Witopia has servers in off shore locations in Asia, it has no off shore servers closer to home if you live in the States. You are not going to use a Singapore or Russian server living in the US as the latency is just too great.

Presale Support to Product Help & Support: ★★★½☆ 

Post-sale support is done by a ticket system within the members’ area. I wrote to them and received the response:

I am asking our Level 2 support team to answer this for you so that they can provide you with more accurate details. Thank you for your patience.

I wonder how many levels I have to get through to win the prize.

Scope of Protection:

Protocols: ★★★½☆ 

Utilizing standard VPN protocols, Witopia changes your IP, removes packet headers and provides you with a single assigned IP from any of its servers. The dynamically allocated shared IP adds security by making sure your data packets are mixed up with everyone else’s as they exit Witopia’s servers. Witopia does not provide you with the choice between Dynamic IP Servers and Static IP servers which is very useful for use with PayPal accounts and Credit Card vendors.

Protocols: OpenVPN standard

Witopia does not support IPv6 or port forwarding. They offer a zero-configuration SMTP relay I case your ISP won’t carry your email when the VPN is connected. But its not clear if this relay is encrypted. No P2P.

Encryption: Pending Test

Encryption Strength Specified: 128 & 256 Bit

The effectiveness of any VPN provider is dependent on how effective is the encryption. Our independent encryption Test of Witopia is in process and will be posted here when completed.

Open VPN provides 128Bit. Witopia chose the less strong encryption standard probably because it’s a faster connection.

Server Security: Pending Test

To be independently tested pending permission from Witopia.

Privacy: ★★★☆☆ 

Witopia provides the following Privacy Policy summary:
“We are not set up in any way to view an individual customer’s activity, nor do we monitor, capture, or store logs that are directly attributable to any individual customer. Some indirect data, and the other bits that are cached during the regular course of running an Internet business, are regularly destroyed, mostly during our weekly maintenance windows. In fact, we only keep this minimal and temporary “trailing log” of indirect data in case we learn a user is violating the terms of use, e.g. spamming, committing crimes using the service, etc. In that specific case, we will report this to our abuse team, determine the guilty party through a laborious matching process, terminate their service, and take further action, if necessary.”
But as I have often said in these reviews, if a VPN service can determine the guilty party and take further action then they are logging and caching notwithstanding their protestations otherwise. They also state:
“We use your IP address to help diagnose problems with our server, and to administer our Web site… We use cookies to identify you so we can retrieve your information so you don’t have to re-enter it each time you visit our site. We will NEVER resell or provide your information to a third party unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to conform with a legal requirement, comply with the legal process, protect and defend the rights or property of WiTopia, Inc.”
This means that Witopia will log, cache, collect and provide that information to third parties and when absolutely necessary is legal speak for at their discretion, not yours. This is a US company: 11654 Plaza America Drive, #316 Reston, Virginia 20190-4700, so it has the limitation of providing real privacy because of the data retention laws and general liability laws in the USA.
Further, at Witopia’s Product Activation System point, you get the following message:

WARNING TO WOULD-BE CRIMINALS: If you purchased our services with some poor soul’s stolen credit card, or plan on doing harmful or illegal activities while attempting to hide behind our service, we likely already know. Your account will be placed in monitoring with our abuse team and we will begin collecting data for law enforcement or for some other unpleasant action.

I don’t condone any criminal activities but the threat of exposure and monitoring means that this service does have logging and caching in place to provide that information to law enforcement. This really does not have a place in an absolute privacy VPN service. This is a typical American view of limited privacy to protect Witopia from credit card fraud. The rest of us be damned.
To be completely secure, users should consider a VPN provider whose corporate headquarters are off-shore to begin with. Many jurisdictions are impervious to US and European court orders. USA VPNs that are prominently located in the US are not secure by definition.

Witopia VPN Review Summary

Witopia has a good server network and reasonable ping times. The major pro of the service is the server network and free unlimited server switching. But the very basic standard OpenVPN application which is unfriendly to use leaves this service in the middle of the VPN service heap. There are other VPNs with really good applications and larger server networks with monthly fees whereas this service only has an annual plan.

Witopia’s scope of protection is fair with a standard OpenVPN application which does not protect against the dropping of your internet connection revealing your originating IP and it has a privacy policy typical of US VPN services – not very good.

Witopia VPN PROS:
• 30 Day money back guarantee
• Large server network in 17 countries
• Unlimited Switching

Witopia VPN CONS:
• Fair support
• Could use off shore servers in the Americas
• Software standard OpenVPN with NO features and user un-friendly & inconvenient
• No automation on start up
• No automatic choice of fastest server (lowest latency)
• Dynamic IPs and Static IPs not available
• Does not protect your originating IP if the internet connection fails. All your applications will be switched to your local IP and you may not know it – an OpenVPN problem that is fixed by the better VPN services.
• Does not support IPv6
• Logs and stores personal information – typical US based privacy policy which is not that private or secure
• Management and server network is predominantly located in USA

Editor’s Rating
Order to Installation
Software/GUI
Ease of Use
Features
Network & Speed
Help & Support
Scope of Protection
Overall Rating

Features Overview

Witopia VPN Service Description
Price: 33.95 USD per year (PPTP)
59.95 USD per year (OpenVPN)
69.95 USD per year (PPTP & OpenVPN)
Bandwidth Limitations: Unlimited
Server Locations: US, CA, UK, BE, CZ, FR, DE, IR, IT, PL, RU, ES, HK, CN, IN, MY, SI
Data Logging: No
VPN Protocols: PPTP, OpenVPN
Encryption Strength: 128 bit PPTP, 128-256 bit OpenVPN
Public IP: Shared dynamically allocated
Other security: -
Payment Methods: CC
Test Account: No
Moneyback Guarantee: 30 days
Other features: -
Witopia VPN TOS & Privacy Policy
p2p Allowed: No
Mass-mail Allowed: Free SMTP Mail Relay – ensures seamless operation of your current mail service while the VPN is connected
Personal Data Collected: ?
Witopia VPN Company Information
Location: US
In business since 2005
Other Security Products: CloakBox™ VPN Router

Information incomplete or incorrect? Please let me know!

9 User Reviews »

  • Jacky says:

    I only use it for 3 months before giving up using it. I since let my parents used it instead since I paid for a year of service.

    Reasons?
    1. Location, seems they are located in Virginia USA as well as possibility located within or near CIA building! Honeypot anyone?
    2. Logs they keep logs for a week or 2.
    3. DMCA I personally never received it but my colleague did.
    4. Oversubscribed at certain times even the faster servers gives unstable speed.
    5. Moron/idiotic support. Asking them for help resolving technical issues they can’t help. Worse is complain about slow speed they kept saying it was at my end. Even when I went to Singapore I still get some unstable speed using Witopia and extreme fast speed without using Witopia.

    Ease of Use
    Features
    Network & Speed
    Help & Support
    Used this VPN for (how long): less than 6 months

  • sinking support says:

    I’m a long term WiTopia customer (5 years). Their services have grown and so has the price (but still reasonable). The thing that has suffered is support. I used to rave about WiTopia Support, but sadly that is a thing of the past. Now it’s like the standard run around. If you have a simple problem they can usually help, but you’re in trouble with anything else. All of their focus is on what you, your systems, your network, or your ISP might be doing wrong. Any data that indicates shortcomings in their services is totally ignored. Even when you politely rub their noses in the facts of the matter they remain completely blind. It doesn’t help that your issue seems to be handled by a different support agent on each reply. That is a totally illogical approach to difficult and highly technical issues. Each “new guy” starts all over again having no contextual understanding – an unworkable approach for complex ongoing investigations, particularly when they don’t seem interested in doing anything but pointing the finger in every direction but their own.

    Sad, very sad indeed.

    Ease of Use
    Features
    Network & Speed
    Help & Support
    Used this VPN for (how long): more than 1 year

  • Cheryl says:

    hi purchased Witopia OPen VPN 2 weeks ago and have been unable to download the software. The support staff tried to blame my web browser and insisted that I download an alternative web browser. Finally got the software downloaded but nothing works – have now had emails from at least 6 different staff, no one is solving the problem, meanwhile they are reducing the days on my account even though I can’t use it. I got a heap of instructions about personalising the gateway and changing DNS settings specially for China and it still doesn’t work. They don’t answer emails promptly, they don’t solve problems and now they want me to make and appointment sometime in the future for a senior person to assist – why should I wait, I paid for it, it doesn’t work – either they fix it or give my money back.

    Ease of Use
    Features
    Network & Speed
    Help & Support
    Used this VPN for (how long): (didn’t use)

  • Chuck says:

    On Saturday January 14th Witopia made major changes in their system. I was unable to use the system for three days. Their online chat support service is worthless. They finally told me after three days that I needed to download new software. There was n notice of this or anything or their website to that affect. I have downloaded their new client software and made my connection to their gateways. HOWEVER the connection constantly disconnects leaving me exposed on the internet AND IT DOES NOT NOTIFY ME OF THE DISCONNECT AS THE SYSTEM USED TO. Their service has gone to hell in a matter of days and it appears there is no relief in site. I highly recommend that anyone stay away from Wipotia until they have demonstrated that they have improved the service and customer support. Chuck

    Ease of Use
    Features
    Network & Speed
    Help & Support
    Used this VPN for (how long): more than 1 year

  • Jason says:

    I have been using Witopia for over 3 years now and have had nothing but good experiences with them.

    I am not sure why Rajesh has had a problem and I hope they sorted it properly. Every time I have ever had a problem their chat customer service has helped me resolve the issue in minutes.

    Ease of Use
    Features
    Network & Speed
    Help & Support
    Used this VPN for (how long): more than 1 year

  • Gregory says:

    My Witopia VPN stopped working and the support staff Shirin couldn’t help and the company didn’t want to refund the money. Their software and customer service sucks. I am using another VPN now which actually works!

    Ease of Use
    Features
    Network & Speed
    Help & Support
    Used this VPN for (how long): less than 6 months

  • Don Lava says:

    I’ve been a Witopia customer for over two years now and wanted to offer some comments, especially now that I’m looking into going to another provider.

    The truth is, there have been so few issues with Witopia over these past two years:

    1) has one of the highest number of servers (50-plus) across more countries (30-plus, I think) than most other VPN providers;
    2) downtime for me has been non-existent;
    3) customer support has been very good; not perfect, but very good;
    4) pricing is among the lowest of any VPN provider I’ve found;
    5) uses OpenVPN;
    6) ease of installation;
    7) technical support, via their chat system, is almost instantaneous, competent and friendly;
    8) free web proxy service for customers (allows me to access web-based content on any computer without having to install their OpenVPN software. Additionally, I can connect game consoles and other network-capable equipment (HDTV, Blu-Ray player, etc.) without exposing my real IP address);
    9) their own DNS servers;

    So why would I consider leaving when they have so much to offer? Good question. I really have NO complaints. I do, however, wonder:

    1) How is it that this company can offer so much for so little money? I might call it the “McDonald’s Syndrome,” that is to say, instead of asking why the food is so expensive at the ABC Restaurant, ask why McDonald’s is so inexpensive? So, I ask myself how is it that this company can offer almost everything I want in a VPN provider but yet do it for so little money? I guess it’s the “if it sounds too good to be true than it probably is” dilemma. Maybe I’m just a bit too jaded, but, it’s just something I’ve thought about.

    Now, would I be less suspicious about Witopia if they charged, say, $149.99 year? As weird as it sounds, I just might;

    2) I’m concerned about my VPN provider being within the jurisdiction of either the United States or the E.U. Not only that, Witopia’s headquarters are in Reston, VA. I look at that close physical proximity to all those nasty three-letter government agencies and I wonder….

    Again, would I be less suspicious about Witopia if they were located in, say, Green Bay, WI? Yeah, I suppose I would. But I’d really like it if they were in Iran or China, I guess. At least some place where they could just thumb their nose at US or EU authorities should they come calling;

    3) I wish they allowed for anonymous payment methods;

    4) P2P is not allowed, even on non-U.S. servers (which certainly raises the “Why?” question, unless they have some connection to ??? I don’t know, I’m just sayin’….).

    In closing, I want to reiterate that I really love using Witopia; it’s been an incredible experience and if it wasn’t for these four nagging issues I wouldn’t be looking and, instead, I would be recommending Witopia to anyone and everyone without any hesitation.

    These are just some thoughts I’ve had and it seemed that sharing them with those doing some shopping might be helpful to them. I hope that’s the case.

    l8trg8trATgmx.com

    Ease of Use
    Features
    Network & Speed
    Help & Support
    Used this VPN for (how long): more than 1 year

  • Rajesh says:

    I bought the Witopia one year subscription. Downloaded and installed, It worked for one day and then stopped. Live support was not co-operative, showed arrogance and stubbornness. second day, they said that your transaction is FRAUD and your service is cancelled. Imagine, without any information from them, they said that your transaction is fraud and keeping quiet with money paid to them. Please be careful while buying Witopia, if their service does not work with you, they might say that your transaction is FRAUD and sit on your money.

    Open VPN is unfriendly.

    thanks

    Rajesh

    Ease of Use
    Features
    Network & Speed
    Help & Support
    Used this VPN for (how long): less than 1 week

    • Jason says:

      Witopia requires you to do phone verification in cases where they believe it may be potential fraud. I admit this was a minor inconvenience to say the least as no prior notice was given. The service seems pretty rock solid so far. My only complaint really so far is the lack of port forwarding ability.

      Ease of Use
      Features
      Network & Speed
      Help & Support
      Used this VPN for (how long): less than 1 month

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