Our AdGuard VPN score
AdGuard VPN Review (2023): A Secure and Fast VPN
AdGuard has come a long way from its start as a simple Chrome extension. This service is primarily known for its top-tier ad blocker. However, in 2020, the team harnessed their experience in privacy protection to release AdGuard VPN, a fully-fledged VPN service.
So, is AdGuard a good VPN provider? Can it compete with other top-tier VPNs? We tested AdGuard on several fronts: speed, safety, usability, and server network. Find out the results in our full AdGuard VPN review below.
AdGuard VPN: A Short Review
What We Liked
- Works with Netflix
- Free limited version
- Easy to install and use
- Reasonable pricing
- Up to 10 simultaneous connections
- Proprietary stealth protocol
- Zero harmful logs
- Servers in 65+ locations
- Split tunneling
- Automatic kill switch
- Torrenting is allowed
What We Didn't Like
- Slow on faraway servers
- No dedicated IPs
- No live chat
- Limited protocol options
In our experience, AdGuard VPN is a beginner-friendly yet powerful VPN, and that is why we gave it a total score of 7.6/10. The VPN app works intuitively and doesn’t have any misleading menus or hard-to-grasp options.
The VPN service has its own AdGuard VPN protocol, which provides good speeds paired with always-on camouflage. However, it’s noticeably slower when you connect to distant servers. In terms of privacy, this VPN keeps zero harmful logs and never shares your information with third parties. This is great if you intend to use it in a more restrictive country like China or Russia.
AdGuard VPN uses AES-256 encryption and allows reliable geo-unblocking anywhere in the world. That makes it a good choice for streaming. Its server network in over 50 countries is still a long shot from what the best VPNs have, but it’s a decent count for a new VPN.
Power users will find several advanced features that will cater to their needs perfectly. We’d like to see the addition of live chat and dedicated IPs in the future, however.
|From $2.04 a month
|📱 Operating systems
|Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
|💳 Payment methods
|PayPal, Credit card, Cryptocurrency
|📥 Torrent options
|📅 Money-back guarantee
|🎬 Works with
Speed – How Fast Is AdGuard VPN?
The fastest VPNs are the ones that prevent major speed losses caused by heavy encryption. We test VPN speeds across servers in different destinations. This way, we can gauge how encryption affects overall performance and see speed fluctuations between different locations. Based on our results, we give AdGuard VPN a 7/10.
Here are our main observations regarding AdGuard VPN’s speed tests:
- Speed dips are minimal, although speeds from distant servers are slow.
- We didn’t experience any noticeable speed fluctuations during daily use.
Speed test results for AdGuard VPN
For this AdGuard VPN review, we tested the speed of its Windows client from our office in the Netherlands. We began our speed tests by determining our benchmark speed (without the VPN), then compared it to the results gathered on different servers.
Based on your location and connection speed, you might get different results. Therefore, you should view this table only as an indicator of potential speeds.
Here are the results of our AdGuard VPN speed test:
|The Netherlands (Amsterdam)
|The United States East (New York)
|The United States West (Los Angeles)
|The United Kingdom (London)
As you can see, AdGuard VPN is reasonably fast on nearby servers. Connecting to any server (no matter how far) happened almost instantaneously. The server locations we tested in Europe (Netherlands, Germany, and the U.K.) all maintained at least 90% of our download and upload speeds. These are incredible results.
However, as we moved further away from the Netherlands, the ping increased, resulting in greater speed drops. While this is normal up to some degree, AdGuard’s speed drop-offs in North America (US and Canada) were disappointing compared to other premium VPNs.
For instance, based on our ExpressVPN review, we observed that the VPN was able to maintain at least 70% download speeds in the US, compared to AdGuard’s 30%. In faraway locations, including Japan, South Africa, and Australia, our AdGuard speeds were nearly wiped out.
These numbers indicate that AdGuard is a good choice if you’re connecting to nearby servers. However, you might experience slow speeds on distant servers, as we observed during our AdGuard VPN review.
Speeds during daily use
Using AdGuard VPN day-to-day was an absolute pleasure. It offered smooth browsing, fast downloads, and seamless streaming sessions. We watched YouTube clips, a few animes on Crunchyroll, and some of the best Netflix shows without a single buffer circle. This is where AdGuard’s fast local servers really shine.
For bandwidth-heavy online gaming sessions, we recommend going with the servers with the lowest ping. These will usually be the ones closest to your physical location. However, if you’re looking to use your VPN for unblocking gaming options available in faraway countries, we recommend choosing one of the fastest VPNs for gaming instead.
Safety – How Secure Is AdGuard VPN?
The main task of any VPN is to encrypt your private information. It achieves this by masking your real IP, encrypting your traffic, and refraining from harmful logging. AdGuard VPN performs rather well in that regard, so we gave it an 8/10 for online security.
While conducting our AdGuard VPN review, we observed that:
- AdGuard VPN uses a proprietary stealthy protocol called “AdGuard VPN protocol.”
- It doesn’t log any risky information that could trace your traffic back to you.
- It has an automatic kill switch.
- AdGuard recently faced controversy due to possible connections to Russia.
- It doesn’t suffer from IP, WebRTC, or DNS leaks.
- Registration only requires your email and payment info, allowing you to sign up anonymously.
AdGuard uses HTTPS (TLS) to encrypt your traffic. TLS encryption supports many ciphers, including AES, Camellia, and ARIA. AdGuard has opted for AES-256 since that’s one of the best encryption methods. It’s a virtually unbreakable cipher used by the military, banks, and hospitals.
Instead of picking one of the ready-made VPN protocols, AdGuard VPN employs a proprietary protocol (the AdGuard VPN protocol). Alongside that, they offer a SOCKS5 proxy.
Let’s talk about the VPN protocol and its history first. AdGuard’s adblocker, which is one of the best adblockers we’ve tested, is incompatible with other VPNs and their protocols on mobile devices. To make AdGuard’s VPN functional alongside its other products, the company built a new protocol.
The AdGuard VPN protocol comes with the following advantages:
- Impossible detection (obfuscation): The main point of obfuscation is to mask your VPN traffic to look like regular traffic. The AdGuard VPN tunnel uses HTTPS/2 protocol, making it virtually impossible to flag and block. It’s ideal for unblocking Netflix or bypassing restrictive firewalls, especially in censorship-heavy countries like China.
- Optimized performance: Since obfuscation can slow down your connection quite a bit, AdGuard wanted to make sure their protocol worked as optimally as possible. TCP connections perform “data confirmation” for each data packet, which can cause significant delays. AdGuard buffers data from several packets into one, saving time (and speed) on confirmation packets.
- Future-proofing: The company is planning a switch to HTTPS/3 and QUIC in the future for even better server communication.
Creating a VPN protocol with built-in obfuscation gets a huge thumbs up from us. However, many renowned VPNs offer stealthy servers paired with amazing performance. For example, by comparing Surshark with AdGuard, we could see that Surfshark is faster than AdGuard, even with obfuscation. Don’t get us wrong, AdGuard is plenty fast on local servers, just not uniquely so.
Aside from their proprietary AdGuard VPN protocol, AdGuard also supports SOCKS5. This proxy disguises your real IP address without any extra protection. This is helpful if your IP is blacklisted on Netflix or you get an IP ban in your favorite online game.
Note that SOCKS5 doesn’t encrypt your traffic, so it doesn’t provide VPN-level protection. It’s also easily blocked by proxy filters. As such, we wouldn’t recommend using SOCKS5 for torrenting or geo-unblocking in censorship-heavy countries like Russia.
Logging and privacy
AdGuard VPN was initially headquartered in Russia but has since moved to Cyprus, which is a clear improvement. Cyprus is not a part of the Eyes alliances, which is good for your privacy. It also is a member of the EU, meaning AdGuard as a company has to ensure GDPR compliance.
Let’s take a closer look at AdGuard’s logging policy. Here’s the information the VPN provider records based on our research during this AdGuard VPN review:
- Personal info: AdGuard VPN only logs your email address and password. This is required to communicate with you and reset your password.
- Billing information: Depending on your payment method, you’ll have to provide some additional information (name, credit card info, and billing address). AdGuard uses Paddle as a payment processor for all their transactions.
- Usage data (traffic volume and subscription duration): This allows AdGuard to impose and monitor traffic limits for free users.
- Diagnostic data: This information is not collected by default. However, if you’re having problems with your AdGuard VPN client, you can activate this option and allow the company to record anonymized diagnostic info for crash reports.
A kill switch blocks your internet access when your connection drops so you don’t accidentally leak information. AdGuard VPN comes with an automatic kill switch that activates the moment your encrypted VPN tunnel becomes compromised.
You can find this security option in the “General Settings” tab of the AdGuard software. Make sure the switch is green (“On“) to protect your data and online behavior optimally.
When we tested the kill switch during our AdGuard VPN review, it worked perfectly, cutting off our internet access whenever the VPN disconnected. When the VPN connection was back up, we could access the internet safely again right away.
SetApp removal controversy
In March 2022, SetApp, a Ukrainian platform that grants access to a growing collection of macOS and iOS apps, removed AdGuard from its roster. They claimed that AdGuard’s services had connections to Russian servers.
AdGuard Software Limited has denied these allegations, claiming that they never used any servers in Russia, even while being headquartered in Moscow. AdGuard mentioned it was always their plan to keep their servers in a different jurisdiction. Their network is located in Frankfurt, Germany. When it comes to Russian IPs, AdGuard VPN has only one virtual server that’s physically located in Sweden.
It’s worth noting that AdGuard Software Limited is in the process of moving its staff out of Russia. They still have an office there, but employees are currently migrating to Ukraine, Cyprus, and other countries. According to AdGuard’s statement, they’ll either maintain a small presence in Russia or abandon it altogether, depending on future developments.
Does AdGuard leak your data?
While conducting our AdGuard VPN review, we used BrowserLeaks.com to see if AdGuard leaks your real IP address. This kind of leak defeats the purpose of using a VPN since it means any party can detect your original location through your IP. Fortunately, AdGuard doesn’t suffer from IP address leaks or WebRTC leaks.
Furthermore, we checked to see if AdGuard suffers from DNS leaks. This usually occurs when your device directs your DNS requests through your ISP’s servers instead of the VPN’s servers. Thankfully, AdGuard does not leak your DNS, either.
What information does AdGuard VPN need?
Every VPN needs some information from you in order to provide its service. To sign up with AdGuard VPN, you’ll only have to provide your email and payment info. If you decide to go with the premium version, you also have to provide billing information.
To keep your payment info anonymous, you can buy this VPN with cryptocurrency. You can also boost your anonymity by providing a fresh email address created specifically for your AdGuard account. Want to know more about this? Read our guide to creating anonymous email addresses.
Usability – How User-Friendly Is AdGuard VPN?
AdGuard VPN strikes a fine balance between beginner-friendliness and advanced features. Even if this is your first VPN ever, you’ll have no problem navigating the app and getting it to work. That’s why it gets an 8/10 for usability.
Here is what we discovered during our AdGuard VPN review:
- AdGuard VPN’s website and apps are simple and easy to navigate.
- The installation is quick and effortless.
- It offers good value for the price (and even has a limited free version).
- Customer support is good but lacks a live chat.
AdGuard VPN website and installation process
AdGuard VPN’s website is very user-friendly. Clicking the “My Account” button in the top-right corner will open a simple registration form. The homepage offers some essential information, including a short FAQ section.
Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be granted access to your personal dashboard. Here, you can pick your language (out of 30), enable two-factor authentication, check your licenses, access customer support, and review your purchase history.
The installation of AdGuard VPN was quick and effortless. They have native apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
For this AdGuard VPN review, we tested its Windows client. Here are the steps you’ll have to go through to download AdGuard VPN free:
- Go to AdGuard VPN’s official website.
- Click on “My Account” in the top-right corner.
- Sign up with your chosen credentials.
- Go back to the homepage and download the installation file.
- Wait for the app to download.
- Click on the downloaded file, and the installation will begin.
- Follow the instructions on-screen.
After the installation, all you’ll have to do is log in to your AdGuard VPN client. You can use your chosen credentials or connect via your email service provider or a social network. For privacy reasons, we don’t recommend using your social media accounts to log in to services, especially VPNs.
Your free version will have a 3 GB data cap. This won’t last you very long, especially if you want to stream movies, so you’ll likely have to buy a premium plan for any substantial use. You can do this by clicking “Purchase” at the top of the AdGuard website, choosing a plan, and filling in your email. Follow the steps on your screen to finish off your purchase.
AdGuard VPN’s appearance and ease-of-use
AdGuard’s VPN client mirrors the user-friendliness of its website. During our AdGuard VPN review, we concluded that AdGuard’s website is simple, clean, and easy to navigate. Some advanced options might look overly technical, so we’d advise you to only use those if you’re an experienced power user.
The main screen features a prominent connect/disconnect button with a server list on the right-hand side. You can also view ping indicators next to each of the servers, so you can squeeze as much speed as possible from your VPN connection by picking the server with the lowest ping.
The menu bar at the top allows you to pick AdGuard VPN’s operation mode (under “Exclusions”), access customer support, apply updates (when available), and access settings.
The operation modes you can choose between for exclusions are “Regular Mode” or “Selective Mode.” Both of these options will affect your internet connection on sites you’ve entered as exclusions at the bottom.
“Regular Mode” will allow you to exclude the sites from your VPN connection: visits to these websites won’t be protected by the VPN. With “Selective Mode,” the VPN will only work for sites you’ve added to your custom list.
The settings menu includes the following options:
- General Settings: App language, kill switch, auto-updates, auto-launch, auto-connect on app launch, theme, DNS servers, and advanced settings (only for tech-savvy users)
- Split Tunneling: Exempts apps from VPN protection
- About Program/License: Information about your version of AdGuard VPN and your current license and subscription
We especially like the addition of “Dark mode.” This feature is always a welcome sight if you spend lots of time in front of your computer. Plus, the look fits perfectly with their ninja-inspired mascot.
Based on our AdGuard VPN review, we can confidently say that AdGuard VPN is a beginner-friendly service with some advanced features for power users. In our opinion, it’s an excellent gateway option if you’ve never used a VPN before. It also supports up to 10 simultaneous connections, so you can use it on all your devices.
Split tunneling is a great nice-to-have offered by AdGuard VPN. In some ways, it’s like their “Exclusions” options, but more in-depth and for apps instead of websites. You can find it in the “Settings” menu on the client’s main window.
Split tunneling allows you to protect some apps with your VPN while letting others access the internet without protection. For example, you can route your uTorrent client through AdGuard VPN while keeping all other apps outside of the VPN tunnel.
This feature offers a couple of important benefits:
- Speed boosting: Encryption will always lower your connection speed to an extent. To maintain your internet speed, you might not want to encrypt traffic coming from trusted apps while protecting traffic that could put you in harm’s way.
- Bandwidth conservation: Encrypted traffic also uses more bandwidth. This is especially relevant if you’re running a free version of AdGuard VPN. Having 3 GB at your disposal is not a lot, and split tunneling allows you to save as much of it as possible.
Pricing and payment methods
AdGuard VPN offers good value for money. It’s not the cheapest VPN out there, but its additional features help to justify the price tag.
AdGuard VPN offers the following premium packages:
AdGuard also offers a completely free version. However, like many free VPNs, it comes with some severe limitations, including:
- Traffic capped at 3 GB per month
- 20 Mbps speed limit
You’ll have to purchase a premium plan if you want unlimited traffic and higher speeds.
AdGuard accepts the following payment methods:
- Credit cards
It’s good to see that you can now purchase an AdGuard VPN subscription using cryptos like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Tether. We recommend choosing this option if you want to remain anonymous. Most top providers allow you to pay for their VPNs with crypto.
How does AdGuard VPN’s money-back guarantee work?
AdGuard VPN’s one-year and two-year subscriptions come with a full 30-day money-back guarantee, so you have a month to test the premium software and see if it works for you. AdGuard states that customers will get a 100% refund on their money, no matter their reason for canceling their subscription.
However, if you get a monthly subscription, you will not be able to claim your money back.
While conducting our AdGuard VPN review, we discovered that you could access AdGuard VPN’s customer support through a dedicated client tab in the software called “Support.”
AdGuard VPN offers a decent knowledge base on its official site. It covers the basics and complements that with useful setup guides. The FAQ section offers some useful answers, too. However, you have to select several categories before getting to an answer, which can be frustrating. There’s also a forum, but most of the topics only discuss AdGuard’s ad blocker.
AdGuard has other helpful support options, including GitHub to report issues, a Telegram channel for real-time chitchat, and a subreddit with threads you can follow.
You can contact AdGuard’s 24/7 customer support via email or phone. The number to call is provided on the site. During our contact with them, the support team was very forthcoming and knowledgeable.
Our main gripe with AdGuard’s support structure is the lack of a live chat. In our experience, real-time chat support is the most effective way to solve any VPN issues you might run into. We hope AdGuard will include this functionality in the future.
Important note: A large part of AdGuard’s support structure is located in Ukraine. The ongoing crisis could cause delays and prolonged response times.
Server Network – Can AdGuard VPN Unblock the Internet?
“The bigger, the better” is our main rule when it comes to VPN server networks. Having more server locations allows you to bypass online censorship and geo-restrictions more consistently. It also prevents server crowding and the resulting lag. With its current network setup, AdGuard VPN gets a 7.5/10 for its servers. Here are some of the key factors to consider:
- AdGuard VPN operates 1,000+ servers in over 50 countries.
- AdGuard can unblock various streaming services, including Netflix.
- Torrenting is allowed on all servers.
- Dedicated IP addresses are currently unavailable.
Number of servers and locations
AdGuard VPN offers 1,000+ servers spread across over 65+ locations in 50 countries. At the moment, AdGuard VPN offers servers in the following countries:
- Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and the United States
- Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom
- Asia: Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, the UAE, and Vietnam
- Oceania: Australia, New Zealand
- Africa: Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa
The list of available locations is easy to access from the client’s home screen. Apart from the countries, you can also see the individual cities, which allows for extra choice and precision.
AdGuard VPN and streaming (Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, BBC iPlayer)
Based on our AdGuard VPN review, we can confirm that AdGuard has excellent streaming abilities and was able to unblock all the major streaming services we tested.
|Can AdGuard VPN unblock it?
With its Netflix-unlocking potential, AdGuard VPN comes very close to some of our best VPNs for Netflix. We tested AdGuard across multiple Netflix regional versions, and here are some of the ones we were able to unlock:
- The US
- The UK
- The Netherlands
- South Korea
We were always able to play content on our first try and didn’t experience any lag or interruptions.
AdGuard VPN and torrents
AdGuard VPN allows anonymous P2P downloading on all of its servers. So, if uTorrent is one of your favorite tools, this VPN should meet all your torrenting needs. However, note that the company doesn’t condone illegal downloads.
Dedicated IP address
AdGuard VPN does not offer dedicated IPs at the moment. Having a dedicated IP address means that your VPN will assign you the same IP every time you connect. It’s tied to your account, and nobody else can use it.
Dedicated IPs help circumvent CAPTCHA popups and IP blacklisting (by Netflix or Hulu, for example) and make unblocking a lot easier, although it is more limited. If you’re looking for a good VPN that offers dedicated IPs, we recommend CyberGhost based on our extensive tests of CyberGhost VPN.
Our Experience With AdGuard VPN
Although AdGuard VPN is a new VPN, it has several features that rival those of the best VPNs and excellent performance to boot, as we discovered during our AdGuard VPN review. It has servers in over 65 locations and easily unblocks all the major streaming services. It also has AES-256 encryption and a unique VPN protocol.
However, AdGuard has some downsides too. Due to delays on long-distance servers, it also isn’t the fastest VPN out there. Finally, it has no dedicated IP address options, which means it might not be great for business or online banking.
Are you looking for a great VPN for a specific purpose? Here are useful options you can explore:
- The Best VPN for Your Business
- The Best VPNs for Online Banking
- The Best Free Trials With VPN Providers
Have more questions about AdGuard VPN? Simply click on one of the FAQs below to expand the answer.
Yes, AdGuard VPN is a good VPN provider. AdGuard VPN offers solid security paired with great speeds on local servers. Its proprietary VPN protocol disguises your VPN traffic to look like regular browsing. This makes AdGuard VPN a true geo-unblocking powerhouse. Read more about this rising star in our full AdGuard VPN review.
AdGuard VPN offers a free limited version that should satisfy the needs of light VPN users. It’s capped at 3 GB per month and 20 Mbps. Its premium plans include the following subscriptions:
- $11.99 for one month
- $3.99 per month for one year
- $2.99 per month for two years
If you’re looking for more affordable services, you can check our list of the cheapest VPNs on the market.
Yes AdGuard VPN is trustworthy. AdGuard VPN is currently located in Cyprus, which is subject to the GDPR. The company doesn’t log any harmful data that could identify you or trace your online traffic back to you. Even if the authorities request user data from AdGuard, they would have nothing to hand over.
Personal Opinions From VPNOverview Experts
Looking for a VPN?
Take a look at our overview of the most trustworthy, fast, and safe VPN services. Extensively tested by our experts.