Bitdefender offers a range of computer security products including a VPN service. However, the VPN service is only available when bundled with one of three product suites.
|Uses the best available encryption algorithm||Locked into one of two VPN protocols depending on the platform.|
|Doesn’t have any IPv6 or WebRTC leaks||Only available when bundled with other paid software.|
|Allows torrenting||Barebones feature set|
|Appallingly deceptive shopping cart practices.|
Bitdefender’s VPN only offers two VPN protocols. Windows and Android are limited to only using OpenVPN, while iOS and macOS can only use the Catapult Hydra VPN protocol.
Tip: Catapult Hydra is a newer VPN protocol that hasn’t gone through the same level of security analysis that the more mature OpenVPN protocol has.
The top-of-the-line 256-bit AES algorithm is used to encrypt your device’s connection to the VPN server.
Bitdefender uses the third-party Pango, formerly known as AnchorFree to process data. Pango is the same company that runs the Hotspot Shield VPN and was historically found to be injecting trackers and ads into Hotspot Shield’s free tier traffic.
Some users have reported DNS leaks, while it was not possible to confirm this, it does increase the risk that your ISP could identify the websites, although not the specific pages you’re accessing. Bitdefender doesn’t have any IPv6 or WebRTC leaks.
Relatively small network
Bitdefender only offers VPN servers in 27 countries although the spread around the world is respectable given the overall network size. Three locations are provided in North America, two in South America, five in Asia, and fifteen in Europe. Exact numbers of servers available in those locations are not published, though the spread indicates that there is a decent if average variety.
Torrenting is supported over Bitdefender’s VPN however, given the reports of DNS leaks you may not want to use this VPN for torrenting. The DNS leaks could allow your ISP to monitor what websites you access.
Bitdefender can unblock some region-locked content such as content on YouTube, but access to Netflix and the BBC iPlayer is spotty at best – a lot of servers are blocked by the providers.
Price and Platforms
Bitdefender doesn’t offer its VPN as a standalone product, it can only be purchased and installed as part of one of three of their product suites “Bitdefender Total Security”, “Bitdefender Internet Security”, and “Bitdefender Antivirus Plus”. Unfortunately, from this poor starting point, the purchasing experience only gets worse.
The Bitdefender website offers two places where you can select the product you want to order and proceed to the shopping cart. The one at the top of the page allows you to select which product suite you want to buy and how many devices you want your licence to cover. Then you can select if you want a yearly or monthly VPN subscription for $39.99 or $6.99 respectively. After clicking the “buy now” button, everything will be as expected if you selected the yearly plan. If you selected the option to pay monthly, however, the VPN subscription will not be added to your cart and the product suite will be configured for the yearly subscription rate. The duration of the product suit subscription can’t be changed, a recommendation to add the year-long VPN subscription is also included for good measure.
If you choose to use the purchasing options at the bottom of the page, the yearly and monthly subscription offers will scroll you back up to the top of the page. Worst of all though, if you click “buy now” on the free tier VPN included with the Bitdefender Total Security suite, it will take you to a shopping cart with the product suite and a full year-long VPN subscription pre-entered.
To sum up the purchasing process; you can’t purchase the VPN as a standalone product, you can’t add a monthly subscription to your cart, and if you try to select the free bundle option it places the year-long subscription in your cart instead.
It is unclear if the VPN can only be used on a single device or if you can use it on as many devices as you select for the main product suite.
Bitdefender doesn’t offer any extra features such as a VPN kill switch, double VPN, or a dedicated IP.