Launched in 2017, VirtualShield is a relatively new VPN that claims to be family-friendly. But just how family-oriented is VirtualShield and what’s the price to pay to ensure your loved ones are protected on the Internet?
What is VirtualShield?
Before we reveal the results, here are some quick facts about VirtualShield.
- It’s a US-based VPN, registered under VirtualShield LLC.
- It has 20 servers in 12 countries and is one of the smallest networks we’ve reviewed.
- Common platforms are supported, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and browser extensions (Mozilla, Chrome, Opera)
VirtualShield does not offer any free subscription plans, but all of its paid packages are backed by a 30-day-money-back guarantee.
How Much Does VirtualShield Cost?
Unlike other VPNs, the pricing options for VirtualShield is complicated. VirtualShield offers two basic types of subscriptions with different limits of concurrent device connections.
Here is the cost for both types of plans:
- Protect Myself (up to 3 devices)
- 1-month plan: $10.99 per month.
- 12 months plan: $5.99 per month (billed $71.88)
- 24 months plan $4.99 per month (billed $119.76)
- Protect My Family (up to 15 devices)
- 1-month plan: $29.99 per month.
- 12-month plan: $17.99 per month (billed $215.88)
- 24-month plan $14.99 per month (billed $359.76)
Compared to leading VPNs in the industry, the price for long-term subscriptions is considerably high.
Another deviation from the norm is that VirtualShield offers a series of add-ons, some of which we feel should be included in its basic subscription. These add-ons will set you back even more financially on top of the VPN subscription.
- Protection Plus: $12.99 /month
- Unrestricted Streaming: $9.99/month
- Premium Phone Support: $14.99/ month
- Monthly Maintenance: $5.99/month
- Identisafe Basic: $49.99/ year
- Identisafe Plus: $79.99/ year
VirtualShield also offers VIP programs, which start from $129 per month to $1,599 per year. This makes us wonder about the performance of their basic subscription seeing as you need to join the VIP programs for superior performance and service.
The VIP programs allow users access to exclusive servers which are implied to be faster than its regular network. You’ll also have access to all the add-ons and other premium services such as a dedicated support team.
With its complicated pricing options and addons, will VirtualShield live up to its claims? We downloaded the app for both Windows and Android to find out the truth.
VirtualShield VPN—The Pros
VirtualShield does score some points as a VPN provider. Here is where we feel this VPN provider deserves credit.
1. No-Logs Policy
When you use a VPN, you trust the company to be discreet with the information that passes through its servers. For VPNs, it means having a strict policy that goes against keeping logs.
Some VPNs have ambiguous logging policy, but thankfully, VirtualShield has a clearly-worded no-log policy.
2. No IP/DNS/WebRTC Leak
In terms of privacy protection, it is important that your IP address and the DNS server of your ISP is hidden by the VPN.
There are suggestions that VirtualShield has suffered from DNS leaks in the past. We connected to one of the servers in the US and found no indication of leakage for our test.
Here’s the result indicating a California-based IP whereas our physical location is in Malaysia.
The DNS servers are also traced to various locations in California.
We attempted a WebRTC leak test and we found the result to be encouraging.
3. No Virus Found
Sometimes, you have dubious VPN providers sneaking in malware and viruses from the app installer. We did a quick scan of VirtualShield’s Windows installer and found it to be free from any threats.
VirtualShield chose to keep it simple with its Windows and Android apps. On startup, you’ll be greeted by a dashboard with all the controls laid out in easily-identifiable icons
Clicking the Connect button establishes a connection to the nearest VPN server. To manually choose a server, click the upside-down “V” icon below the connect button.
All the accessible servers are arranged in a simple scroll list.
You’ll also find advanced settings like the kill-switch by clicking the setting icon.
The VirtualShield Android app features an even simpler interface. With only minimal buttons, it’s hard to get stuck when using the app.
5. Live-Chat Support
Being a family-friendly VPN means you should have easy access to support. If you’re stuck or have any queries regarding VirtualShield, you can reach out to customer support via live chat.
However, VirtualShield doesn’t provide 24/7 live chat. The feature is only online between 7 am to 7 pm PST.
If you can’t get hold of its support personnel, you can visit VirtualShied’s FAQ page, which is pretty comprehensive.
6. Supports Torrenting
While VirtualShield does not explicitly market its service for P2P users, one of its FAQ pages indicates that you can use the service for torrenting.
You’re able to use BitTorrent or other P2P software while remaining connected to a VirtualShield’s server.
VirtualShield VPN—The Cons
As much as we like the ease of using VirtualShield, we found that it’s littered with flaws that can’t be ignored.
1. Unknown Encryption and Protocol
There are various ways to encrypt the information that passes through a VPN server, and most VPNs use the AES-256 bit encryption. AES-256 is highly-secure encryption used by banks and the military. Theoretically, AES-256 is unbreakable.
Apart from a mention of “256-bit encryption,” there is no indication that VirtualShield is using AES-256. We feel that such an important detail should be spelled out clearly by VirtualShield.
Also, there is no indication of the type of protocols used by VirtualShield. OpenVPN and IKEv2 are common protocols used by leading VPNs.
The Windows app only indicates TCP and UDP connection mode which aren’t protocols; along with L2TP which is known to exhibit vulnerability.
Sadly, we can’t assume that VirtualVPN employs the strongest encryption and protocol unless it’s explicitly stated.
2. Very Slow Connection
A VPN works by diverting information from your device to a secure server where it was encrypted. While this will create latency, connecting to a VPN shouldn’t affect the internet speed.
We had high expectations for VirtualShield but they fell flat when we started running speed tests on various servers.
Here’s what a VPN-less connection in Malaysia looks like in terms of speed.
We then connected to a VPN server in a neighboring country, Singapore, and the download dropped by more than 50%.
The number became worse when we tested VirtualShield’s UK server, as we ended with a measly 9.31 Mbps for download.
We then established a connection to a server in the US, where VirtualShield is based, and it only fared marginally better.
Such dismal speeds are inexcusable for a VPN and we suspect it’s largely due to its small number of servers.
Of course, VirtualShield claims that it offers dedicated servers that promise faster speed with its VIP program. But it wouldn’t be worthwhile paying a minimum of $129 per month to get decent VPN speed.
Instead, check out these fast VPNs with reasonable subscriptions.
3. No Netflix Support
Well, at least not with the basic subscription.
If you attempt to watch Netflix using VirtualShield, you’ll be greeted by the black screen.
In order to access Netflix, you’ll need to fork out an additional $9.99/month for “unlimited streaming.”
We feel that it’s a bad marketing strategy by VirtualShield as all the top VPNs offer streaming support and most unblock Netflix without additional payment.
Also, with its slow connection speed, we doubt purchasing the streaming add-ons will be of any good.
VirtualShield’s expensive plans are not justifiable with its inferior connection speed and limited features. We do not like the fact that you’ll have to pay more for unlimited streaming and to enjoy speed-optimized servers.
The cheapest plan has a limit of 3 devices and is easily outdone by any of our top VPNs. Most VPNs offer 5 or more devices for a similar or lower price.
It’s just a bad move to charge for features that other VPNs in the industry are offering for free.
5. Small Number Of Servers
With only 20 servers after 2 years of operation, it is no wonder that connection speed on Virtual Shield’s servers is suffering.
Leading VPNs boasting impressive connection speed have hundreds, if not thousands of servers across continents. It’s common sense that server overload would occur when the increase in users is not supported by the server infrastructure.
How to Install VirtualShield
If you’re still curious about how VirtualShield will fare on your devices, follow these instructions for Windows and Android.
Windows App Installation
1. Visit VirtualShield’s homepage. Click Sign Up.
2. Choose the preferred plan.
3. Choose add-ons or continue to the next step.
4. Enter your email and password to create an account.
5. Choose the payment method and complete the transaction.
6. You’ll be directed to the VirtualShield dashboard. Check your email for the activation email.
7. Verify your email address to activate your account.
8. Click Download on the dashboard and choose Download for Windows App.
9. Install VirtualShield for Windows.
10. Sign in to VirtualShield with your credentials.
11. You can now connect to VirtualShield VPN servers.
Android App Installation
1. Open the Google Play Store. Search “VirtualShield VPN” and select the app by the company VirtualShield.
2. Choose Install to complete the installation.
3. Select Sign In if you already have an account.
4. Enter your email and password. Select Sign In.
5. You can now connect to VirtualShield on Android.
As much as VirtualShield intends to be a VPN for family, we feel that it’s way off the mark. While we appreciate the user-friendly app and live chat support, there are just too many misses to our liking.
We’re concerned that VirtualShield is not using industry-standard encryption and protocol. As a VPN provider, it should be clear in backing up its claims to offering secure protection. Connection speed on its servers is also far from impressive.
The fact that users need to pay for features that are offered free elsewhere is decisive in earning VirtualShield a huge thumbs-down from our team.
We can’t recommend VirtualShield unless there are vast improvements. Instead, we suggest using these affordable and feature-packed VPNs.