F-Secure VPN Review: Seems Leak-Proof, But Are There Privacy Concerns?
F-Secure is a Finnish mammoth traded in Nasdaq stock exchange. Just how private can a public company be? Read the full F-Secure VPN review here.
Price Currency: $
Operating System: Windows
Application Category: Utility
F-Secure VPN is a secure VPN from a cyber security company that’s been at the industry’s forefront for over 30 years.
Previously F-Secure Freedome VPN, the service includes all the basic essentials of a VPN – but how do its additional features compare to other top providers?
We took a comprehensive look at F-Secure VPN, from its encryption and protocol offerings to connection speeds, server locations, streaming capabilities, and more.
F-Secure VPN History
Founded in 1988 and based in Helsinki, Finland, F-Secure began with an antivirus focus before extending into cloud data management and then launching its VPN in 2014.
The company has grown to offer F-Secure TOTAL, a service that combines online security, identity protection, and a VPN in one app.
Throughout its three-and-a-half decades of service, F-Secure has won multiple awards, including several Best Protection Awards from AV-TEST, and is one of the few publicly listed VPN companies (available on the NASDAQ).
Pros & Cons
|No-logs policy||Missing Advanced Features|
|Kill Switch||No Router Support|
|30-day money-back guarantee||Servers in only 20 countries|
|More than 3 decades of experience|
F-Secure VPN Overview
|Server Locations||20+ Countries|
|Customer Support||Email, Telephone, Live Chat|
|Log Policy||No logs|
|Encryption Protocols||OpenVPN, IPSec/IKEv2 (depending on OS)|
|Supported Platforms||Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows|
|Simultaneous Connections||Depends on Package|
|Split Tunneling||Yes (Android only)|
|Torrenting (P2P File Sharing)||Yes|
|Country of Registration||Finland|
|Price||From $39.99 (12 months for 1 device) – $104.99 (24 months for 10 devices)|
|Free trial/money-back guarantee||5-day free trial / 30-day money-back guarantee|
Streaming Movies & TV Shows With F-Secure VPN
Using F-Secure VPN will reduce the number of geo-restrictions encountered online, according to its website.
By using one of F-Secure VPN’s virtual locations, you should be able to unblock and access local content available on streaming sites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more. Unfortunately, F-Secure VPN only offers around 20 virtual locations, which doesn’t provide as much choice as other premium VPN services.
F-Secures’s help pages warn that many streaming sites recognize and block VPN servers as well. Since F-Secure seems to focus more on security and cyber protection than unblocking online content, its VPN may not be the ideal one if streaming is your primary intent.
Compatible Devices and Services
F-Secure VPN supports multiple operating systems, including:
- Windows (8.1, 10, and 11).
- macOS (10.12 or later).
- Android (8.0 or later).
- iOS (11 or later).
Apps and user guides are available for each platform F-Secure VPN supports.
F-Secure VPN is not compatible with Linux systems or routers, which means it also can’t be used on gaming devices or TVs.
Netflix is an American media giant offering a subscription-based online streaming service.
A key dilemma users often face is the geographical barriers Netflix imposes on its customers: content libraries are specific to each country, depending on titles’ regional licensing and copyright laws.
For example, an American watching Netflix in the US won’t be able to access certain Japanese anime movies that the Japanese Netflix library has, while someone in Japan may not be able to watch a US sitcom that the US Netflix library offers.
A VPN can make it possible to access this content though, by making it look like the user is in the country where the content is available.
To prevent this, Netflix actively works to block IP addresses known to belong to VPN servers, so not all VPN providers will work with the service.
F-Secure VPN offers support for streaming, but it’s not the most reliable at unblocking Netflix.
Like many VPNs, F-Secure includes a number of beneficial features. Here we’ll look at some of the aspects that might make this VPN stand out for you.
Protocols are guidelines for communication data – they determine how information moves between the device and the VPN server. Based on specific rules, protocols are crafted to be efficient in security, reliability, speed, ports, tunneling methods, and the systems they work with.
F-Secure VPN only offers three types of protocols and, compared to other providers, is limited in how they can be customized or used depending on your device.
For Windows and Android devices, F-Secure VPN’s built-in protocol is OpenVPN, and for iOS, you have to use IPsec.
Open VPN (Open-Source Virtual Private Network)
(Windows, macOS, and Android)
OpenVPN uses socket layer/transport layer security (SSL/TLS). It’s been the industry’s most widely used and trusted protocol for years.
Open VPN is F-Secure VPN’s default protocol. It can be used over the UDP protocol, which is usually faster, but it can be used over the TCP protocol when OpenVPN over UDP is blocked.
Android users can only use OpenVPN over UDP.
(Windows, macOS, and iOS)
IPSec/IKEv2 involves two security services: Authentication Header (AH) and Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP). AH authenticates the sender and finds changes during transmission, while ESP encrypts the information.
This protocol may be slightly faster than either OpenVPN option, but not all devices or routers can handle it.
No Logs Policy
Having a strict and verified no-logging policy is vital for any VPN provider.
“We respect your right to privacy.
- We encrypt your data traffic.
- We do not share nor sell any of your traffic.
- We do not read your traffic.
- We do not know what traffic is yours.
- We have no back doors.”
The company is located in Finland, which is outside the 14-Eyes Alliance jurisdiction. Despite this, F-Secure VPN says it “respects lawful warrants and court orders of the jurisdictions applicable to us” and will “provide information to the authorities when it is required of us under law, but not otherwise.”
Such cases only include serious crimes and illegal activities.
F-Secure VPN comes with a kill switch for Windows, macOS, and Android devices.
A kill switch will disconnect a device from the internet if the VPN fails, to prevent any user data from being compromised.
The maximum number of simultaneous connections is the number of devices that can use the VPN under one account at the same time. For example, you might want a VPN connection for your desktop computer while you’re browsing the web and still want your phone, plus any of your family’s phones, connected as well.
F-Secure VPN offers different subscription plans depending on the number of devices you want to protect. The cheapest plan allows one device for 12 months, while the most expensive allows up to 10 devices for two years.
Is F-Secure VPN Good For Torrenting?
Torrenting is a peer-to-peer technology in which two or more parties share a file through a distributed system. It’s a useful way to share and download non-copyrighted files.
When we tested it, F-Secure VPN worked well for torrenting.
It should be noted that the service can impose restrictions on internet access when torrenting is detected, and it will block BitTorrent programs to prevent illegal downloads.
Plans and Pricing
F-Secure VPN offers two lengths of subscription plans: 12 or 24 months.
Users can then choose how many devices they’d like to be included: 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10.
12 Month packages:
- 1 device: $39.99
- 3 devices: $45.99
- 5 devices: $49.99
- 7 devices: $52.99
- 10 devices: $55.99
24 month packages:
- 1 device: $79.99
- 3 devices: $89.99
- 5 devices: $94.99
- 7 devices: $99.99
- 10 devices: $104.99
F-Secure also offers an upgraded bundle option, called F-Secure Total, which includes internet security and ID protection along with the VPN.
All plans come with a 3o-day money-back guarantee.
Is There a Free Trial for F-Secure VPN?
F-Secure VPN offers an unlimited 5-day free trial via its website. No credit card information is required.
iOS devices can access a 7-day free through the Apple App Store, but this does require an in-app subscription first (though this can be canceled within the 7-day trial period before any payment is taken).
F-Secure also offers a 30-day free trial of the F-Secure Total package. This comes with complete access to the full version (including the VPN) for up to 5 devices and includes free customer support, with no obligation to purchase a subscription after the 30 days.
F-Secure VPN lets users pay by credit/debit card or Paypal.
Crypto-based payment methods are not an option, so those looking to purchase a VPN completely anonymously and without restrictions will need to look elsewhere.
How To Cancel F-Secure VPN?
Cancelling your F-Secure VPN subscription depends on how far into your subscription you are and how you purchased it
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
If you’re within the first 30 days of purchasing a subscription, you can claim F-Secure VPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee by emailing its support team with your order number, stating that you would like to cancel your contract. You should then be issued with a full refund.
It should be noted that the 30-day money-back guarantee is only eligible for those who signed up through the F-Secure VPN official website – users cannot claim a refund if they purchased through a third-party, such as the Apple App Store or Google Play store.
After the 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
To cancel a subscription after the first 30 days, you’ll need to log in to your F-Secure account. At the top of the screen, you should be able to see when your subscription is due to expire, and if it will renew automatically.
- If it’s set to manual renewal, you don’t need to do anything – the subscription will just run out after your subscription term runs out.
- If auto-renewal is on, change it to manual renewal.
Subscriptions will also run out (without you having to actively cancel them) if you activated your plan with a subscription code.
If the subscription was bought from a third party (eg, Google Play or the Apple App Store), you need to check with that service whether your plan is set to auto-renew (and cancel it if necessary).
Privacy and Security Features
Created by a long-standing cybersecurity company, F-Secure VPN should have robust privacy and security features to ensure its users’ privacy and protection.
We took a look at its encryption standards, server technology, and additional protection features to find out.
Encryption uses algorithms to convert information into unreadable code which can only be decrypted with a unique key – either symmetric or asymmetric.
F-Secure VPN uses Advanced Encryption Standard 256-bit (AES-256). This is the industry and military standard, as adopted by the Federal Government in 2002.
Unusually for a VPN provider, F-Secure doesn’t state the number of servers that make up its infrastructure network.
It does say they’re located in more than 20 countries, including North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia, with the service available globally.
While not as many as other VPN services (such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN), if you want to watch a Singapore soap opera, tune into a German weather report, or just check out the latest shows from the USA or Canada while traveling, F-Secure VPN should have you covered.
One of the key additional security features F-Secure VPN offers is ‘tracking protection’.
It stops advertisers from tracking your online traffic and then targeting you to make money. This means you can use the internet without worrying about your online privacy, tracking attempts, or whether you’re being followed by advertisers.
DNS Leak Protection
DNS stands for Domain Name System, and a DNS leak is when a user’s online requests are transmitted outside of the secure VPN tunnel by mistake. This could lead to their online activity, including IP address, location, and web searches, being exposed.
So how secure is F-Secure VPN?
We tested for DNS leaks while connected to F-Secure VPN using multiple tools, including Browserleaks, Doileak, IPx.ac, IPleak.net, and Perfect-Privacy.
Here are the Doileak test results, which show no DNS leaks:
F-Secure VPN is designed to have a straightforward download and installation process while offering competitive performance and speeds.
We took a look to find out if that’s the case.
How Easy Is F-Secure VPN To Install?
It’s a straightforward process to install F-Secure VPN on a compatible platform.
Once you’ve purchased a subscription plan from F-Secure’s official website and signed up for an account, you can download the VPN app for your device and then follow the instructions to install it.
How Fast Is F-Secure VPN?
Using a VPN can affect your internet speeds, depending on your location to the server and its capability.
We ran a speed test while using F-Secure VPN servers in three different continents: America, Europe, and Asia.
|Country||DL (Mbps)||UL (Mbps)||Ping Idle (ms)||Ping DL (ms)||Ping UL (ms)|
Download speed (DL) and upload speed (UL) will likely influence your browsing experience and streaming speed the most.
Does It Work in Other Countries?
F-Secure VPN currently offers virtual locations in the following countries:
- Canada (Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver)
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
- USA (East coast, Northwest, South, Southeast, and West coast)
F-Secure offers various ways to contact its support, including live chat, telephone, and email. The operational hours for its phone line, depending on which country you’re phoning from, are available on its website.
F-Secure VPN has support for more than 20 languages.
Its website also has user guides, instructional articles, and a community forum for questions.
F-Secure has spent more than 30 years establishing itself as an industry leader in cyber security, so it’s no surprise its VPN focuses on secure user protection and privacy. Leak proof, based outside the 14-Eyes Alliance, and with a no-logs policy, F-Secure VPN is a great choice for those wanting a reliable and reputable service.
Its various methods of customer support, availability in 20 languages, and lack of complex features make it ideal for VPN beginners or non-native English speakers as well, especially if they don’t have extensive technical knowledge.
And with its free five-day trial and 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try it risk-free to find out if this is the right VPN for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does F-Secure VPN compare with ExpressVPN?
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN services available, with servers in 94 countries (compared to F-Secure VPN’s 20+) and extensive additional features.
ExpressVPN offers a wider choice of VPN protocols and places a greater focus on streaming and gaming, with servers optimized for the speeds and capabilities necessary for these activities. F-Secure VPN offers a greater emphasis on privacy and security, and its smaller company size enables more personalized customer support.
Is F-Secure VPN better than Surfshark?
No single VPN provider is better than another, as the best VPN service for each person comes down to their individual needs and preferences.
Surfshark’s network is spread across more countries than F-Secure VPN’s (100 compared to 20+), so it can bypass more geo-blocks and online restrictions. Surfshark also offers users an unlimited number of simultaneous connections with any of its plans, whereas F-Secure VPN has a tiered payment structure based on the number of devices required, so it will depend on your use and budget.
Is F-Secure VPN free?
F-Secure VPN is a premium VPN provider. It does offer a 5-day free trial, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee, but then it requires users sign up for a paid subscription plan for either 12 or 24 months.
Free VPNs often come with increased security risks or dangers, such as data logging or exposure to malware, whereas F-Secure VPN delivers strong security and privacy through comprehensive protection features and encryption.
Does F-Secure Safe have a VPN?
F-Secure Safe (which is now F-Secure Internet Security) is one of the products offered by F-Secure. It is a different, separate service from F-Secure VPN.
F-Secure Internet Security is a comprehensive security suite that protects devices from viruses, malware, and online threats through features like antivirus software, firewall, parental control, and browsing protection, whereas a VPN focuses on ensuring online privacy and security by encrypting internet connections and hiding IP addresses.
Both products can be purchased individually from F-Secure’s website, or included together as part of the F-Secure Total package.
What is the difference between free and paid F-Secure VPN?
F-Secure VPN offers users a free 5-day trial of its full service – there are no differences between the trial and paid versions.
No credit card information is required for the free trial if downloaded from the F-Secure website. iOS devices can access a 7-day free trial through the Apple App Store, but this does require an in-app subscription first (which can be canceled before the first payment is made).