It might surprise you that even though unknown to many, ZenMate actually has more than 40 million subscribers.
They started off with a free plan that enabled them to amass this huge number of users before they switched over to only paid plans…
But how do their services really compare with other big players?
In this ZenMate review in 2020, we are going to take an in-depth look at this VPN to establish its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to providing a safe and secure online browsing experience.
We’ll look at its various aspects including speeds, streaming capabilities as well as torrenting support among others.
I hope that by the end of this review of the ZenMate in 2020 you’ll be able to decide if ZenMate is the VPN for your needs or you should check out other VPNs.
Let’s get started.
ZenMate is a VPN company based in Germany that provides you with secure access to the internet and the ability to unblock geo-restricted content on streaming platforms like Netflix.
Even though it initially started as a free VPN, it has now transitioned into a paid VPNwith only premium plans.
They still reserve some free plans, though, for their browser extensions… though these free plans have some limitations that we’ll establish in the course of this ZenMate review.
How many servers does ZenMate have?
A huge server collection speaks not only to the size of the company but also to their ability to provide better services… at least in most cases. When there are a ton of servers, you get a lot of options when choosing a server to connect to.
It also ensures that server loads are evenly distributed to prevent overloads that could make the performance of particular servers suboptimal.
At the time of writing this review, ZenMate has a collection of more than 3,600 servers that are located in 74 different countries.
If you read around you’ll find most reviews stating that ZenMate has servers in 30 countries… it is important to note that this company has really expanded their server arsenal in the last few years and is now close to the big players.
Do you want a vpn for Netflix?
Streaming has been shown by recent VPN usage stats as the most common activity among VPNs users online.
It, therefore, means that most people who purchase VPNs want to know if they can use their VPNs for watching their favourite tv shows on platforms like Netflix, Hulu or iPlayer.
Since these platforms offer geo-restricted content, the only way to make the most of your subscription is to spoof your IP address and make it look like you based in a particular country whose content you want to stream.
Most common countries of interest when it comes to streaming are the United States, United Kingdom and Japan.
So does ZenMate work with Netflix?
YES, ZenMate is able to stream content on Netflix based in different countries. In fact, ZenMate makes it very easy for you to find a streaming server for Netflix based in different countries as they are labelled.
All you need to do is click on the “For Streaming” tab in your app menu and you’ll get a list of the servers that are optimized for streaming Netflix in different countries.
You can then connect to the country whose content library you want to access.
Alternatively, you can just search directly in the server search bar by typing “Netflix” and you’ll get all servers that work with Netflix.
In addition to Netflix, you’ll also be able to stream video content on platforms like Hulu, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer. ZenMate has US-based servers for both Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Typing iPlayer in the search bar also revealed UK based servers that work with iPlayer.
So if you are looking for a VPN that is great for streaming, then ZenMate is actually one of the best VPNs for Netflix, Hulu and iPlayer.
Internet speeds is a very controversial issue when it comes to vpns.
Most VPNs would shamelessly claims to be the fastest VPNs when they know very well that this is not the case. How could all VPNs be the fastest?
You want to tell me that these VPNs do not even perform comparative speeds tests in their offices and establish that they are actually slower than others… but still, go ahead and claim to be the fastest?
What a dumb statement.
Okay, back to ZenMate speeds.
In order for you to be able to enjoy the streaming capabilities of this VPN, you need great speeds so that your patience is not tried out when buffering videos.
I put ZenMate servers to test and here is what I established.
I used speedtest.net website to test for the speeds of these VPNs by connecting to their servers based in the US, UK and Hong Kong.
Before connecting to their server, I had download speeds of 18.59Mbps.
I then connected to their server that is located in the United States and my speeds dropped to 16.01Mbps. This is 86% of my original download speeds… and while this is great in my opinion, it’s still a big drop.
Next was the UK based servers. On this server I had download speeds of 19.34Mbps… now this is even more than my initial download speeds.
So I got more than 100% of my initial speeds when connected to their UK servers which means that their servers in the UK are pretty much faster than the US ones.
Lastly, I connected to a server located in Hong Kong and had even better speeds.
The HK servers gave me a download speed of 25.04Mbps.
Can you imagine? From an initial speed of 18.59Mbps to 25.04Mbps… the Hong Kong servers are the best optimized servers if you are looking for fast internet with ZenMate VPN.
Overall, this means that I have an average of 100% of my initial connection speeds, giving ZenMate speeds a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.
I know most ZenMate reviews often bash it as a VPN with average speeds but hey… I was blown away by these speed test results.
They seem to have really improved their servers lately.
If you are looking for a VPN with great speeds, then ZenMate is definitely among the fastest VPNs in 2020.
Does ZenMate support torrenting?
If you frequent thepiratebay.org then you know better than to start downloading anything without first hiding your real IP address. You could do this by using a proxy server but the best way is to use a VPN.
You don’t want law enforcement coming after you with a copyright infringement lawsuit. So let’s see whether ZenMate can really come to your rescue.
YES, ZenMate supports torrenting on its special P2P optimized servers.
If you want to download files using ZenMate, just click on the for torrenting tab and then you’ll be presented with a list of special servers that are particularly optimized for torrenting.
From there you can connect to any server that is closer to you and start torrenting.
Before you hit the ground running though, there are things you need to know about torrenting with ZenMate.
I don’t just torrent with a VPN because it says, “YES, you can torrent”.
So two things are clear…
If privacy online is your greatest concern then you want to take your time before you jump into bed with any VPN that you come across.
In fact, just because a VPN is fast and unblocks Netflix does not mean it is actually provides private internet access.
Torrent enthusiasts should particularly be curious here.
To begin with, ZenMate is located in Germany which is a member of the 14 eyes surveillance alliance of countries. These countries spy on their citizens and then share this information among themselves.
So it is not a very privacy friendly country to base a VPN company.
Some people might argue that… uhhm, but Germany does not have mandatory data retention laws yet… Screw all that! Any VPN based in a country that is a member of the 14 eyes countries is in danger… now you can decide to believe that or not, but I do.
Even after reading the entire document back to back, it is still not clear to me what logs, in particular, ZenMate actually keeps and what they don’t.
For the sake of this ZenMate review in 2020, I might want to say that ZenMate is a no-logs VPN that does not keep your internet activity… but I am afraid I can’t do that.
ZenMate could be keeping logs.
If you just want to stream Netflix and content on other streaming platforms then, ZenMate has a thumbs up… go ahead and get a subscription.
But if you want to torrent, or do anything online that you wouldn’t want traced back to you with ZenMate, run. I have put together a list of the best VPNs for privacy that will actually guarantee your anonymity online… you should check that out.
Encryption and Data Protection
In order to protect your personal information from hackers that might be eavesdropping on your internet connection, a VPN needs to encrypt your data in a format that is impossible to decrypt.
This ensures that the actual information can only be seen by the destination device and not anything in between.
What encryption does ZenMate use?
At the time of writing this ZenMate review, I established that ZenMate employs the use of two of the most popular encryption technologies.
On the desktop and mobile apps, you get to enjoy the tamper proof AES 256-bit encryption while on the browser extensions you get the faster 128-bit encryption.
Both are pretty secure encryption technologies and haven’t been cracked before.
In fact, 256-bit encryption is what militaries use to encrypt their sensitive information… so you can be sure it is bulletproof. In addition to these encryption technologies, ZenMate also uses certain VPN connection protocols in order to enable the VPN apps to securely communicate with the VPN servers.
Currently, ZenMate supports OpenVPN, L2TP and IKEv2 protocols.
While OpenVPN is known for being the most secure, IKEv2 has proved to be just as secure but with faster connection speeds.
Overall, though, all your internet access through ZenMate is completely invisible to your ISP, government and hackers as well.
You visit a website and while you are still scrolling to read what brought you there, a video ad starts playing in the background… often without audio.
Before you realize it, your data is exhausted, thanks to this sneaky video ad that you’ didn’t get to understand what it was really about. It is at that time that you start wondering if there was a way of turning off such things before they ruin your mood for the rest of that day or even week.
Thanks to VPN ad blockers, it is possible to block ads entirely these day.
Once turned on you can have an ad free browsing experience, which is great for a super user experience.
I understand that these websites rely on ads to make money, but most of them have taken this advertisement placement a tad bit too far.
Does ZenMate have an ad blocker?
ZenMate does not have any ad blocker in any of its apps that you can use to block these intrusive ads on sites, like the ones we just talked about.
It means that even though your connection is secure, ad networks can still install tracking scripts on your browser, build a profile of you and follow you around the internet with the same ads you already saw earlier and purposefully ignored.
So if you’re looking for a vpn that supports ad blocking then you are not in luck.
However, I put together a list of the best VPNs with ad blockers that will put this matter to rest for you.
Do you want to be able to access your work network remotely and securely?
Most sensitive applications and networks, like your work network, will only allow remote access from certain IPs that have already been whitelisted on their network.
But since a normal VPN connection uses a shared and often random IP address, you can’t whitelist that in your network for two reasons.
First, you are not the only one using that IP… so someone else who is aware of this arrangement could also access your work network.
Secondly, these IP addresses are bound to change without notice… so it might not be available for you to use tomorrow.
So you need a dedicated IP that is only available to you and will always be the same address… that is to say, the IP address will not change.
Does ZenMate have a dedicated IP address?
Unfortunately, again, by the time I was writing this ZenMate review in 2020, this VPN does not support any dedicated IP address. No, not even static IPs.
Before I forget though…
You should know that using a shared IP address is best for your security and anonymity online.
This is because hundreds of people could be using the same IP address at the same which makes it hard to tie certain activities on the servers to any particular user.
A dedicated IP on the other hand is tied to your account.
Since you are the only one using this IP address, it is obvious that any activities on this IP will be traced back to you. So if you want to torrent, or anything like that, then stick to shared VPN IPs.
However, if you still want a dedicated IP for more security-sensitive apps then check out my list of the best VPNs for dedicated IPs.
If you always want your identity to never be revealed on the internet, then you need to always keep your guards up.
This means that you should never access the internet without first connecting to a VPN.
That being said, there are times when your internet connection drops and your VPN app disconnects from the VPN server. It is during those few seconds that you are disconnected that your real IP is exposed, in case an app on your device continues to access the internet during this time.
You particularly don’t want this to happen if you were running your torrent client in the background.
In order to remedy this, you use an automatic internet kill switch.
Once activated, a kill switch will ensure that your access to the internet is only possible through your secure VPN tunnel. So any time that your VPN disconnects from the server, internet access for your entire device is blocked until the connection is restored.
Does ZenMate have a kill switch.
ZenMate has an automatic internet kill switch that will ensure that your actual IP address is never exposed.
Once you turn it on, all apps that are accessing the internet on your device will be temporarily blocked whenever your VPN disconnects from the server… they will have to wait until you securely connect to resume access to the internet.
In fact, a kill switch has become a basic need for any VPN… not a luxury.
If your VPN does not have a kill switch, run.
There are some instances when you don’t want all your traffic channelled through your VPN tunnel for some reason.
For example, your backup application on your desktop is being slowed down by the speed drops caused by your VPN connection… so you want it to be able to run at the full speed that your ISP allocates you.
In that case, you need a way to be able to exempt this particular app from having its traffic encrypted and channelled through your VPN tunnel.
Enter split tunneling.
With a split tunnel, you’ll be able to decide which apps will have their traffic flow through the VPN and which ones will have their traffic flow normally through the ISP.
Does ZenMate support split tunneling?
Unfortunately, ZenMate does not have a split tunnelling feature at the time of writing this ZenMate review in 2020. It, therefore, means that once your VPN is turned on, all your traffic is encrypted and channelled through your secure VPN tunnel.
You should remember, though, that the traffic that is split to go through your ISP is not encrypted anymore… so these apps do not get to enjoy the added security and anonymity that a VPN connection provides.
In case you really need a VPN that has split tunnelling, then check out this list the best VPNs for split tunnelling in 2020.
Works in China?
Are you planning to travel to China someday and are wondering if you can carry your VPN with you?
It’s a good question to ask as you probably already know that not all VPNs will work in China… or in most internet restricted countries like Iran and UAE.
In these countries, access to certain websites is blocked.
The government decides what you can access online and what you can’t.
In fact, a country like China has a firewall that will detect if you are trying to use a VPN to circumvent these content blocks and restrictions.
Once any VPN traffic is detected it is either throttled or blocked altogether.
So if you want to work around this firewall then you need to a VPN that will make its traffic look like normal HTTPS traffic and bypass the DPI technology of China’s firewall.
Will ZenMate work in China?
Unfortunately, all ZenMate apps and servers are blocked in China at the time of writing this ZenMate review. So you cannot use your ZenMate apps to access the internet in China.
But this doesn’t come as surprise as ZenMate comes clear on this on their own website, where they state that ZenMate will not work in China… they even discourage anyone in China from buying a subscription.
Now that’s the kind of honesty and transparent I am talking about.
Want a VPN that will work in China? Here are the best VPNs for China in 2020.
IPv6, DNS & WebRTC Leaks
Does ZenMate leak your IPv6 address or even your DNS requests?
These are definitely the type of information that can be used to identify you online.
A good VPN will use their own private DNS servers instead of using a public DNS server that will trace your requests. I performed some leak tests using ipleak.net website.
I wanted to see if ZenMate was leaking my IPv6 address, DNS requests or even WebRTC address… mostly used by real time chat applications.
Luckily, as I established, ZenMate does not leak any of this stuff.
So it is completely secure to use ZenMate and not worry about leaks to your IPv6, DNS or WebRTC.
Tor is a browser, also known as “The Onion Router”, that is used for anonymous access to the internet.
It makes you a ghost on the internet by bouncing your requests over multiple servers, making it impossible for the websites that your visit to know that it’s actually you requesting these pages.
However, the entry node to the Tor network usually sees your actual IP address.
In order to completely seal this off, you need a VPN that will successfully work with Tor in order to hide your IP address too. And it’s not obvious that a VPN works with Tor.
While some seamlessly support it, even giving your guides on how to configure Tor to work with your VPN, some actually stop Tor from working.
Does ZenMate support the Tor browser?
I looked around and I couldn’t find any materials pointing to setting up ZenMate with Tor. Since they are relatively quiet about the topic of Tor support, I wouldn’t count on it to work with this browser.
But other VPNs like NordVPN have clear guides that help set up your Tor browser to work with their VPN and you should check them out if you want a VPN that works with the Tor browser.
As we near the end of this review of ZenMate, let’s now look at the their various pricing plans to see which one gives the best savings…
Just like other VPNs, ZenMate embraces the pricing plan where the longer the plan that your purchase the greater the discount that you get.
This is done by design to entice to purchase a longer plan so that you can stay as a customer for longer.
So if you want to save the most, always opt for the longest plan available… that is after you decide it is the VPN for you… don’t be dumb and just buy a VPN subscription because they were offering a discount you can’t resist.
ZenMate has three pricing that are currently displayed on their website.
A 1 month plan that costs $ 10.99/month. A 6 months plan that costs $ 5.39/month, billed once as $ 32.34 every six months. And a weird 18 months plan that goes for $ 2.22/month, billed as $ 39.96/month for the first 18 months then yearly after at the same rate.
It’s like when you purchase a 1 year plan the first time, you get 6 extra months for free… now that’s very inviting, isn’t it?
Overall, though, ZenMate is actually one of the cheapest VPNs you can find out there.
In fact, its pricing only closely rivals Surfshark, which is a great VPN for only $ 1.99/month.
What options do you have when making payment for this kind of VPN?
Usually, I would scout for a VPN that offers multiple payment methods, including anonymous payment methods like Bitcoins or gift cards.
In fact, I believe that a VPN that is serious about keeping your identity online your own secret should provide anonymous payment options like cryptocurrencies.
That being said, ZenMate only supports credit cards and PayPal payments at the time of writing this review. It does not support any of the anonymous payments method like Bitcoin or gift cards.
If you have a Bitcoin wallet and would like a VPN that will accept your coins then check out this list of the best VPNs that accept Bitcoins in 2020.
What if you purchase a ZenMate subscription and then realize that you don’t like what you bought, can you get your money back?
Providing money back guarantees is kind of a right online these days.
If a seller does not offer any kind of money back guarantee, then run… it could be scam.
Though even some scammers still claim to provide money-back guarantees at checkout but don’t bother to refund your money if you are not happy with your purchase afterwards.
What is ZenMate’s refund policy?
If you purchase a ZenMate plan and realize that you are not impressed by their services, then you have upto 30 days from the day of purchase to decide if you want to keep your purchase or ask for you money back.
30 days is rather the standard in the VPN industry as that is what most VPNs provide anyway.
That’s quite an elaborate time to test drive ZenMate servers, the ability to unblock Netflix, Hulu among other streaming platforms and see for yourself if their speed claims are true or not.
However, if you don’t want to risk any money upfront but still want to check out ZenMate servers, then check the free trial section below.
Even with the most flexible money back guarantees, there are some people who still wouldn’t trust those claims…
If that’s you then it makes a boatload of sense to go for a free trial that does not require a credit card… so that you don’t have to jump through hoops to a refund later.
Does ZenMate have a free trial?
ZenMate VPN has a free 7 day trial at the time I was writing this ZenMate review… I say that because VPNs are known to publish and withdraw their free trials as they please, without notice.
It is a trial that you can sign up for and get access to all the premium features that you’d get with a paid subscription.
It is a great way to test drive their service and see if you like what you see before you make any kind of commitment to a long term plan that locks you in with $$$.
This 7 day trial is in fact much better than 24 hours trial that other VPNs will provide.
While still great, 24 hours is too short a time and gives me the pressure to ensure that I get everything tested immediately after purchase because the offer won’t stand by tomorrow evening.
How many devices does ZenMate support?
It is not uncommon to want to secure more than one device with your VPN plan.
In fact, it just comes naturally that once you have a VPN plan, you want all internet access on all your other devices to be channelled through your VPN.
It brings that good feeling that you are being taken care of from all sides.
However, this is an area where VPNs get quite restrictive as they restrict the number of devices that you can connect at the same time using the same plan.
While some limit you to only 5 devices, some allow an unlimited number of device.
ZenMate is one of those VPNs that allow an unlimited number of connected devices. It therefore means that with the same single subscription of ZenMate, you can connect as many devices as you want.
This used to be a major selling point of Surfshark VPN, but ever since a lot of VPNs have also jumped on to the bandwagon of unlimited connected devices to beat this competition.
ZenMate is the latest to move from 5 devices to unlimited devices.
Apart from the unlimited connections, ZenMate also has apps for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS that you can download and install to make use of your VPN connection.
In addition to these apps, you also get browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.
There are also guides that take you through how to get it to work with Linux.
Lastly, let’s finish this ZenMate review in 2020 by looking at the kind of customer support that you should expect from ZenMate VPN.
Having access to fast and effective customer support can be a huge plus especially if you are not a tech savvy person or are completely new to this VPN stuff.
I particularly prefer VPN companies that provide live chat support.
Does ZenMate provide chat support?
Even though live chat support is the order of the day these days, it is disappointing that ZenMate still can’t provide any kind of live chat support.
So you are only left with email support that you access by first raising a support ticket. While their response times though email is comparatively okay, I don’t see a reason why a big company like ZenMate cannot offer a freaking live chat support.
That being said, there is a knowledge base on their support website that has detailed guides that take you through troubleshooting most of the issues that arise when trying to set up a VPN on your device.
If you are big on customer support then I strongly suggest you look for a VPN that offers real-time chat support instead of back and forth email.
An example on point is Surfshark.
So would I recommend ZenMate to my mother, or anyone for that matter?
And talking about their price, you can still get the best of the pie for cheaper with a Surfshark subscription… which also gives you a free 7 day trial to test them out.
So tell me what you get with ZenMate that you can’t get from Surfshark, in a better package delivered for dirty-cheap?
However, if you are still hell bent on buying ZenMate then buy it if you want to enjoy fast streaming of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or BBC iPlayer.
Have you used ZenMate before?
Please share your experience in the comments below.