Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have become essential for many individuals all over the world for various reasons. Inhabitants residing in restrictive regimes when it comes to online activity have turned to VPNs as a means to encrypt their online activity to evade harmful monitoring. However, the uses of VPNs stretch far beyond online encryption. Implementing a VPN enhances a user’s anonymity, while also enhancing their overall online experience. By using decentralized servers located worldwide, users can access an internet connection which is faster and less subject to questionable practices such as throttling which is a growing concern in the internet service providing (ISP) industry.
The Moldova-based VPN service provider, Cactus, was established in 2011 and has a lot of perks to offer users. Their location is excellent as Moldova lies just outside of the European Union, which means that the company is not subject to EU data retention regulation policies. Moldova is also neighbor to Romania, which has a reputation for being the VPN capital of the world.
They provide an excellent encryption method, proved to have above-average speeds, and offers a very competitive price for their services. In addition, the company employs a no-log policy, which means that they keep no track of your online activity which ensures optimum privacy. Considering extra perks such as extremely efficient customer support as well as its Applications killer, Cactus should definitely feature in your VPN shortlist when you’re considering subscribing to a VPN service.
Pricing and Plans
Considering Cactus’ close physical proximity to Romania, it is often compared to the three Romanian VPN giants: VPN.ac, CyberGhost, and ibVPN. Price-wise, Cactus offers a range of competitively priced plans each tailored to suit any individual's specific needs. Cactus works on a subscription basis and plans range between $4.99 and $6.99 per month.
However, the firm also offers an annual billing option, which often affords users great discounts, with annual billing packages starting at $38.99.
Notably, you receive a 50% discount if you purchase more than one plan. This is ideal for friends or family members who can share costs. This also goes a long way in discouraging users to share the same VPN plan, Cactus prohibits that practice. The VPN service has the right to suspend any user account which is caught sharing their login credentials with other users.
The platform accepts all major debit and credit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin. Users can also choose to use an array of different payment options including Qiwi, Yandex Money, and Webmoney.
Free Trial and Money Back
Interested users are allowed a 24-hour period free trial as well as a 30-day money back period.
Cactus VPN offers 20 different servers located in nine different countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Australia, and Romania. The service allows the user to connect to several servers simultaneously. Perhaps one of the service's biggest downsides is its limited server base. Users who wish to access content in specific countries such as the US should perhaps look into a region-specific VPN service instead for optimal performance.
The Cactus VPN client allows the user full control and management of their user profile and settings. Users log into their user client by logging into the client arena with login credentials provided by the VPN via email. After the initial login, a user can change their credentials to something more memorable.
The Cactus VPN client is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Using the client, a user can easily change settings such as their Killswitch preferences, Apps Killer, Protocol preferences, server preferences, and many more.
In a series of test which was conducted from the UK using the speed testing tool, testmy.net, Cactus VPN demonstrated remarkable speed regardless of the chosen server.
In a series of five tests which connected to servers located respectively in London, the Netherlands, and Chicago, Cactus VPN showed remarkable performance in terms of speed, with the Dutch server seeming to perform the fastest. The platform recommends customers to use either their Romanian or Dutch servers, however, independent tests concluded that the server “The Netherlands 3” demonstrated the best speed performance.
Privacy and Security
According to the Cactus VPN website, the company has a strict no-log policy which means that they do not track and record information pertaining to web activity such as connection logs, traffic, bandwidth, DNS reqs, IP addresses, timestamps or any other information which can be used to trace back to a specific user. While the company does confirm that they will hand over what information they have when ordered to do so with a court-issued subpoena, it seems unrealistic to think that other VPN services might resist this.
Cactus VPN provides users security using OpenVPN’s Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption technique. However, this technique utilizes a 128-bit key, which is far below the industry standard of a 256-bit key.
However, it is possible to change the default encryption method in the VPN client. Users can manually select between SoftEther and OpenVPN. The former option allows users to enjoy 256-bit key encryption and is available for most devices and operating system.
Importantly, the service offers users a Killswitch feature which blocks an internet connection if the VPN is not used. However, the Killswitch settings can be managed in the client arena.
Cactus VPN a great general VPN service to average users looking to simply protect their online activity and access a medium amount of content and websites from other countries. The service offers high-speed performance at competitive prices. However, it might not be for everyone. Specifically, the service’s limited servers in the limited selection of countries might be frustrating for those users who are looking to access a wider variety of content from countries all over the world. However, this is a great entry-level VPN service for the average user.