Cactus VPN Review

3/10/2015

Summary:

Cactus VPN is an easy to use, affordable way to protect your online security and power through content blocks on the web.

They have high encryption and unlimited bandwidth, making them great for people that use services like Netflix and Hulu.

However, their customer service team has limited hours of availability and can only be contacted via e-mail.

Overall it covers the basics for what you want out of a VPN, earning a score here of 74/100.

This score is much less than the 97/100 scored by our top rated VPNExpress VPN.

To get Cactus VPN, sign up here: Cactus VPN.

 

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In today’s age of super-connectivity and online everything, more of our information than ever before hangs out in cyberspace.

With the technology to be connected always at our disposal, it’s easy to forget how quickly we can fall prey to having our information stolen.

With this age of accessibility has come a new type of crime that is quickly growing into one of the largest threats today – cybercrime.

All of us, but particularly those that use public Wi-Fi connections when getting online, are at risk for everything from identity theft to fraud.

Without the proper online security, our information can be easily compromised without us ever knowing.

VPNs provide peace of mind when it comes to online security. Virtual Private Networks put you on your own private network with a host company.

They encrypt your data, conceal your IP address, and give you an all access pass to the internet, that will blast through any content blocks, all while protecting your privacy.

Cactus VPN is one such provider, with software available for download online that may be the answer you’ve been searching for.

Here I’ll go through some of the finer points of their service, and how they stack up in terms of quality and service.

 

Will Cactus VPN Work On Your Operating System?

When shopping around for a VPN provider, the first thing you want to check is their list of compatible operating systems. If their service won’t work on all of your devices, there’s absolutely no point in going any further.

Cactus VPN works on most, but not all operating systems, including Mac, PC, and iOS, but is not compatible with Linux or Android – so heads up to you smartphone users with Android systems, this VPN won’t work with your gadget.

Rating:  3/5 – Works on 3 of the top 5 systems

 

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What Features Does Express VPN Have?

These are the finer points of your typical VPN, but still important criteria that you want to look for when selecting a provider. Depending on your needs and typical internet usage, this one can make or break a deal between you and a VPN provider.

 

Feature #1:  Multiple Connections

Cactus VPN is great for users that have a horde of gadgets at their disposal. You can use a single service plan on up to three different devices simultaneously, making this service a multi-tasking master.

Rating:  4.5/5 –  Connect up to 3 devices at once

 

Feature #2:  Money Back Guarantee

I love a company that puts their money where their mouth is. If you can’t connect to a Cactus VPN server after signing up for a service plan with them, you can get a full refund with their 30-day money back guarantee.

Rating:  5/5 – 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

 

Feature #3:  Number of Servers

Having plenty of server locations around the world is important, especially if you travel overseas. Cactus VPN doesn’t stack up well here, with server locations in only 4 countries and 15 cities around the world.

Be sure to check out their list of servers before signing up for a plan, to make sure you will be able to make the most of their VPN software.

Rating:  2/5 – Only 15 cities in 4 Countries

 

Feature #4:  Referral Program

A lot of VPN companies offer a referral program that rewards you (and sometimes a referred friend) with free service.

Sadly, Cactus VPN is not one of them, so there are no perks for spreading the word if you decide you love their service.

Rating:  1/5 – No Referral Program

 

Feature #5:  Data Logging

Data logging is something server administrators sometimes do to keep an eye on the activity that passes through their connections.

Countries with censorship and surveillance laws instituted by their governments may require data logging not just from public servers, but even those owned by private companies.

Sort of defeats the purpose of using a VPN, doesn’t it? Cactus VPN thinks so too. That’s why they never log any of their users’ data.

Rating:  5/5 – No Internet Browsing Data Stored

 

Feature #6:  Bandwidth

If you’re a YouTube addict, or can’t get enough of Pandora Radio, keep in mind that these are all high-bandwidth streaming services that a slow connection may not be able to cope with.

The result with a bad connection will be choppy playback, plenty of buffering, and one irritated viewer (that’s you).

Cactus VPN offers unlimited bandwidth, so your music plays back flawlessly, and Skype calls are always crystal clear. This is a great service for people that use services like this frequently.

Rating:  5/5 – Unlimited Bandwidth

 

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How Secure is Cactus VPN?

This is a huge selling point for VPN software, and it’s important that you’re getting what you’re paying for.

Cactus VPN has 128 and 256 bit encryption – the best on the market – so your information is always safe with them.

Rating:  5/5 – 256-bit encryption ensures your data is safe

 

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What’s the Setup Process Like?

Getting Cactus VPN set up on your device is pretty simple. The website walks you through the process after you sign up for an account.

Basically you just select your operating system, download the associated software, and install it. From there, it’s as simple as logging in to the Cactus VPN program, and selecting your connection.

Rating:  5/5 – 3 Simple Steps is all it takes

 

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How Easy Is It To Use?

Cactus VPN’s software is pretty straightforward and easy to use, although the VPN protocols are a little confusing, and not explained very well.

However, once you select a server location and a protocol, it’s as simple as clicking connect, and you’re in.

Rating:  4/5 – Easy enough for a tech-newbie to do it

 

Logging In

You’re presented with a log in screen once you’ve signed up for the software. It usually goes pretty smoothly.

But if you’re using their 24 hour free trial, as there are two separate log in sets for trial users – one for the customer portal on their site, and one for the VPN software itself.

Rating:  4/5 – If you can read, you can do it

 

Changing Servers

I really liked how simple it was for me to change servers. All you have to do is go to the Cactus VPN software dashboard, and click the drop down menu to select one of the available options.

If you’re having issues with one, you can just go back here and try another.

Rating:  5/5 – Couldn’t be simpler

 

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What if you run into problems?

Particularly if you’re new to VPNs, customer support is critical in selecting a provider.

If you’re having trouble with software, and in a crunch for time, the last thing you want to be doing is navigating complicated phone menus and waiting on e-mail responses.

Overall, Cactus VPN’s service is very prompt and friendly, but the ways you can reach them and their availability is pretty limited.

 

24/7

This is a big one to keep in mind if you’re having trouble with your VPN at an odd hour of the day. Cactus VPN’s customer service is not available 24 hours a day.

You will have to wait overnight for a response to a question you ask after normal business hours.

Rating:  4/5 – Not always open

 

Support Channels

Most VPNs have three major ways you can contact their customer service:

  • phone
  • e-mail
  • live chat

Unfortunately, Cactus VPN only offers support through an e-mail system.

Basically, if you’re having trouble, you log on to their web site and file a ticket through their client area, which is depressingly reminiscent of taking a number at the DMV.

You then wait for an e-mail response, which in my experience was quite prompt, though you won’t get a response after normal business hours.

Rating:  2/5 – Only 1 way to get a hold of them

 

Customer Support Test

Email Support Test #1 – Monday 11:24 AM

I had some issues logging in, and received a response within an hour during peak business hours. Though it took a few communications to resolve my issue, which turned out to be a faulty password.

Rating:  4/5 – Responded within an hour

 

Email Support Test #2 – Tuesday 10:35 PM

Outside of regular business hours, I was unable to get a response to a query.

Rating:  0/5 – Prepare to wait overnight if you’re having issues in the wee hours.

 

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How Fast is Cactus VPN?

I ran two speed tests to see how well Cactus VPN performed – one connected to a local server, the other connected through Cactus VPN.

As you can see from the screenshots below, the connection through the VPN was just barely slower, but still very efficient.

Cactus-Speed-11

 Without Cactus VPN

Cactus-Speed-21

 With Cactus VPN

Rating:  4.5/5 – Only a slight reduction

 

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How Much Does Cactus VPN Cost?

Cactus VPN is super affordable, compared to other VPNs, at less than $5 a month, with increasingly awesome discounts if you purchase quarterly or yearly.

Cactus Cost

Rating:  5/5 – One of the least expensive plans

 

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The X Factor

One feature I really loved with their software was the App Killer, which can automatically terminate the use of certain apps when the connection fails.

This way, if you’re connected to an app that contains sensitive information like PayPal, and your VPN crashes, the apps are automatically closed, so that your security is never compromised.

I did run into one odd and frustrating issue while using the VPN though.

I ran a simple Google search to see how well it performed under my normal web activities, and was greeted with this error message I had never seen before:

Cactus X

 

It seems that Google was having a hard time believing I was a real person. I tried this same search string under my own local network, and it worked fine, so it was clearly a problem with the VPN itself.

Rating:  6/10 – Can cause some strange error messages

 

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Conclusion

Overall, Cactus VPN is simple enough to use, and its bandwidth and encryption certainly gets the job done for most users.

I was disappointed by how limited the customer service was, and unimpressed by the number of servers they have.

Here’s the good:

  • excellent encryption
  • unlimited bandwidth
  • money back guarantee
  • user-friendly software
  • affordable
  • can use on up to 3 devices at the same time

…And the not so good:

  • not many ways to contact customer service
  • limited customer service hours
  • limited number of server locations
  • no referral program
  • not compatible with all operating systems, including Android

If you’re looking for something simple and affordable, there’s no denying that Cactus VPN has one of the cheapest plans out there, and gets the job done in terms of connection speed and security.

Final Rating:  74/100 – Could be better

To get Cactus VPN, sign up here: Cactus VPN

To see the highest rated VPN that scored a 97/100, click here:   Express VPN.

9.5 Total Score
Cactus VPN Review

Support
5
Speed
9.5
Privacy
10
Usability
9
Value
10
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Lyndon Seitz News maker and gatherer. Editor-in-Chief of Secure Thoughts.

1 Comment
  1. Reply artbay@yahoo.com'
    Art b.
    September 5, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    This is the note I got from their tech support after they have been running me around in circles because couldn’t get their software to work on my mac, even though it is supposed. There is no function within the app to create logs to show possible conflicts. They claim as you can see that the problem is my mac. I have been successfully running this machine for years with no problems with compatible software. In my opinion if they provide me software for a paid service that is supposed to work, then they should provide support apparently they disagree……..

    We provide VPN services, our servers work and there are absolutely no issues on our side. Also, we provide an Mac OS software that works for all our clients. Somehow, it doesn’t work on your mac. We do not provide technical support for Mac OS. On this matter you should consult an IT specialist near by. Also, you could try to reinstall your Mac OS.

    We suggested you to use the Tunnelblick to connect to our VPN servers, as you cannot do this with the CactusVPN software. We are not developers for Tunnelblick, this software doesn’t belong to our company and we cannot guarantee if a certain feature will work or not. We recommended it to you only as an alternative to ours.

    We provide the service of VPN, which is fast and reliable.

    Sorry for all the inconvenience we caused you, but please understand that the issue is not on our side.

    I recommend you to consult an IT specialist that could inspect your Mac.

    Best regards,
    CactusVPN

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