SpyOFF ticked a lot of right boxes. My first interaction was with the support staff (via email, the service does not have live chat support) which was perfectly satisfying in every respect. After signing up and accessing the client area, I was greeted with very helpful pop-up messages that shared a link to download the app for my Mac, a QR code to download the app on my mobile device, and a shareable link that would save me a monthly payment for every friend I would manage to convince to try the service.
I felt pampered, no other VPN had managed to make me feel that way. I didn’t even think it possible. SpyOFF gets the customer journey perfectly right. Now if the actual performance matches the glitzy entrance, we may very well have a jewel of a VPN on our hands
SpyOFF’s server network covers 38 different countries That’s a decent number; it falls below the 60+ count of bigger VPN service providers, but is still perfectly adequate for the vast majority of users. Here they are:
- America: Canada and the United States
- Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland
- Asia: Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Turkey
- Africa: South Africa
- Oceania: Australia
And similar to all respectable (paid) service, there are no limits on the number of server switches nor any caps on bandwidth consumption or internet speed.
As you can see on the map from SpyOFF’s website, the server locations seem to be mainly concentrated in Europe and North America. The network also includes a few countries in far east Asia, but aside from that, it’s presence is weak to none existant in the other areas of the world.
You might have also noticed that some countries are missing from the map. SpyOFF has some work to do.
In fact, this lack of polish is quite common with SpyOFF. You will notice some mixing of English and German intermittently on some pages of the site and in the email communications. To be fair, this takes nothing away from the service, but it definitely does not convey quality either.
Platforms & Simultaneous Connections
SpyOFF apps are available for Android and iOS devices, as well as Mac OS and Windows machines. There are also guides to set it up on Linux, DD-WRT and Tomato routers, and Windows Phone.
The four major platforms + Linux + the ability to install on routers is all that you’ll need from a VPN. I usually argue for the importance of being able to set up the VPN on a router easily, since it can extend the benefits to an unlimited number of devices. But in this instance, that doesn’t matter. SpyOFF allows for an unlimited number of devices using one subscription. This a very rare option, and one that wins SpyOFF a lot of points.
SpyOFF can run using one of three VPN protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP over IPSec, and PPTP.
OpenVPN is an open source, robust software that is generally recommended “for the most security-conscious”. It is reliable and supports a great number of strong encryption algorithms and ciphers.
L2TP/IPsec is typically used when newer protocols aren’t supported – think old hardware – or in cases where security isn’t a major concern. The protocol is also used for countries where its ability to penetrate government and ISP firewalls is needed.
PPTP is the oldest of the bunch, and, understandably, the least secure. It is typically only used when security is not an issue.
SpyOFF uses the military grade 256-bit encryption for OpenVPN and L2TP, and 128-bit for PPTP.
Location & Logs
SpyOFF has a no logs policy. But as we all know, the definition for no logs can differ for every provider.
SpyOFF does record some things anonymously to ensure smooth operation, including:
- Successfully installed and activated apps and app versions
- Utilization of the server to be able to balance load peaks
- The total amount of data running through their infrastructure
What SpyOFF does not record are IP addresses, browser history, the destination of internet connection, metadata, and DNS requests.
SpyOFF is operated by Sareta S.r.l. and based in San Marino. The decision to base the company there was made “to protect as many people as possible from surveillance, censorship, ISP throttling and governmental control,” according to the website.
DNS and WebRTC leaks, which can reveal a user’s true IP address, are common problems associated with VPN providers. SpyOFF has DNS leak test and a WebRTC leak test on their website and in the mobile app.
A DNS query is a request made by a user to translate the name of a server (a hostname, like www.gmail.com) to an IP address. A DNS leak results from a problem with the network configuration while sending DNS queries over insecure links instead of using the VPN connection.
Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is a collection of standardized technologies that allows web browsers to communicate with each other directly without the need for an intermediate server. Any two devices talking to each other directly via WebRTC, however, need to know each other’s real IP addresses. In theory, this could allow a third-party website to exploit the WebRTC in your browser to detect your real IP address and use it to identify you.
As I mentioned earlier in the review, SpyOFF does not have live chat support. That’s a big feature to miss. But the staff responses by email were acceptably late. The knowledge base is very decent too, provided that you don’t mind some German here and there.
This is the make or break moment for any VPN. I tested the performance of SpyOFF servers in France, England, the US, and Turkey, and the results were disappointing, unfortunately. I had really high hopes for SpyOFF.
Download speed suffered horribly while using the server in the US, dropping an average of 64.2%. Upload was miserable in Turkey: an 82.1% drop. The best performer was France, with drops of 40.7% and 55.1% respectively for download and upload.
Overall, the download speed dropped 50.3% on average across the tests while the upload speed suffered a 68.4% drop on average.
Pricing & Final Verdict
SpyOFF needs to fix its speed problem, there’s no way around it. Everything else works fine, it matches and even exceeds top tier VPNs in various criteria. It still needs some polishing here and there, but those can wait. But at $12.99, the monthly plan is expensive. The $10.99 a month for the 6 months plan is not worth it either. The yearly plan which sells for $5.60 a month does not convince me either. If only it could fix its speed problem.