If you’re in the market for a full-fledged VPN service that can deliver on a variety of fronts simultaneously while also going the extra mile to ensure your traffic and identity are as secure as possible, Bitdefender is an option you should definitely consider.
This comprehensive software package leaves little to be desired, so let’s dive right into it because there’s a lot to talk about here.
Bitdefender VPN Performance
Bitdefender VPN operates like a desktop app on both Windows and macOS, meaning you’ll have to install and leave it to run in the background. This traditional implementation may not be the most accessible when it comes to setup times but it’s certainly the most consistent long-term option.
As evidenced by the numbers featured herein, Bitdefender VPN is likely to maintain at least 70% of your usual downlink speeds regardless of the specific environment you require. If you select a server country close to you, you can expect to keep upwards of 85% of your download speeds, according to our testing.
Those figures are near the top end of the VPN spectrum and leave little room for complaints. Bitdefender VPN’s upload performance is even better and will oftentimes be indistinguishable from your real uplink throughput. On an occasion, using the software even improved our upload speeds on paper, though that’s because certain Bitdefender servers prioritize Ookla’s Speedtest.net.
Needless to say, that’s a shady and misleading practice, though we’ll cut Bitdefender some slack in this regard because it’s not like we ever found its throughput performance lacking.
Bitdefender VPN Privacy & Security
Bitdefender VPN is the solution for anyone who likes their privacy like they like their lunch – with plenty of side dishes. Beneath its shiny exterior, there are so many extra bells and whistles here that it’s truly difficult to decide where to even begin.
Some of the suite’s key utilities include the OneClick and Startup Optimizers, Disk Cleanup, and Anti-Theft services. Much like their names suggest, those have all been devised to ensure your hardware maintains peak performance levels.
At the same time, the Bitdefender suite also offers a robust password manager, as well a file encryption service, online banking platform SafePay, disk scrubber, dedicated anti-tracker, and even a firewall devised solely to protect your webcam, microphone, and other audiovisual computer peripherals.
It’s starting to sound ridiculous at this point, but that’s not all; the Bitdefender ecosystem also includes a broad range of software making up a rather comprehensive antivirus suite, including anti-ransomware services, file protection, and solutions meant to combat spam, as well as browser-related threats.
Oh, and Bitdefender has also thrown in a VPN for good measure somewhere in there. We jest, but that sentiment kind of illustrates the main issue with using Bitdefender for your VPN needs – you can’t divorce it from that sea of other stuff the company’s adamant to shove down your throat no matter what.
On the subject of logging policies, Bitdefender doesn’t collect any alarming data or keeps track of your browsing history, but note that it does collect a couple more informational tidbits than your average VPN precisely due to the fact it’s not just a VPN but a varied software suite with numerous licenses. Consequently, it needs to know on which devices you’re using its solutions, in addition to being able to differentiate between the two, usually by the way of IP addresses, which it sometimes stores. Not a deal-breaker, but definitely a worse alternative to industry-standard no-logs-no-exceptions policies.
The Bitdefender VPN itself is excellent, as the rest of this review explains, but there are many plausible scenarios wherein a given user isn’t interested in anything else, hence deducing the vast majority of the Bitdefender VPN package is unapologetic bloatware.
Truth be told, we can hardly blame anyone who arrives at that conclusion, even though we disagree. That’s why this shortcoming won’t massively affect Bitdefender’s Privacy and Security rating. In layman’s terms, this is a solution you’ll either love or hate, but no one can argue Bitdefender VPN is not a robust, privacy-oriented ecosystem of apps and services with consumer-friendly policies.
Bitdefender VPN Warrant Canary
Bitdefender doesn’t keep a regularly updated warrant canary, which is a shame, but not worse than your average VPN in any price range. A much larger disappointment hit us upon realization that the company isn’t really maintaining transparency in regards to law enforcement data requests in any other way like rivals such as Windscribe do.
This review won’t be delving into details of what warrant canaries actually are and why they’re a decent idea at worst, we already wrote about it here: what is a warrant canary? But let’s just say this omission from Bitdefender’s portfolio, combined with its (admittedly light) logging practices, doesn’t equal better privacy protections for consumers. Womp womp.
Bitdefender VPN Ease of Use
Being a fully fledged software suite, Bitdefender is certainly not the most straightforward VPN option to use. That isn’t to say you’ll find it cumbersome, but getting used to it will likely require a couple of hours.
The bulk of that will come down to figuring out how to handle various VPN profiles, a feature that’s too good not to use but one that isn’t nearly as automated as Bitdefender would like you to think. Being able to switch between work and entertainment setups which prioritize different network aspects is an invaluable asset, especially once you get it to work like you want.
Another accessibility drawback worth noting is the act of uninstalling Bitdefender, which in reality consists of half a dozen separate uninstallations. Behaving like malware certainly isn’t the best look for a software package meant to combat malware, among other things.
On the bright side, basic VPN functionality is simple enough to access; booting up a foreign version of Netflix will hence take you just a few mouse clicks, and switching between server regions is equally straightforward.
Bitdefender VPN Pricing
The Bitdefender Office Security suite starts at about $100 per year, which is steeper than most VPN services out there, though note that this figure includes a bunch of other useful software, as well as licenses for up to five devices. The ecosystem supports Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, so it’s not like you’re likely to have (m)any of those licenses go to waste.
The only cheaper option is getting Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, a somewhat smaller package that still includes the VPN Premium service and starts at about $75 yearly, depending on your location.
Bitdefender also offers a 30-day free trial, but note that this service tier limits you to mere 200MB of VPN bandwidth per day. In other words, it’s more expensive than your average VPN, so the main question you’ll want to answer here is whether that extra oomph is worth it to you.
Bitdefender VPN Review Summary
Bitdefender is a VPN solution you’ll either love or hate, depending on how great your need for related computer services such as antiviruses, password managers, and system optimizers is.
The overall score doesn’t represent an average of all individual ratings but a weighted average which values Performance as 33%, Privacy & Security as 33%, Ease of Use as 12%, and Pricing as 22% of the final figure. It’s meant to standardize our reviews by giving more weight to the attributes we value the most in VPNs (speed, privacy, and security) without completely disregarding the rest. Naturally, much like any other review out there, the starting points/ratings are still inherently subjective to a particular reviewer’s experience.