PandaVPN Review (2023): Unreliable Servers, No Kill Switch
Panda is a relatively young VPN service operating out of the Seychelles. It boasts almost 60 million users around the globe, which is more than enough to merit this PandaVPN review. It also looks too good to be true at first glance.
We tested PandaVPN extensively to see how it performs under heavy scrutiny. It’s advertised as “the fastest, most private, and secure VPN.” Is this true? Could PandaVPN be the perfect privacy and security tool for you?
Read our full PandaVPN review below to find out.
PandaVPN: A Short Review
What We Like
No data leaks
Free three-day trial on mobile platforms
Torrenting is allowed
What We Don't Like
Servers assigning wrong locations
Subpar Windows app (compared to mobile)
No answer from the support team
Short money-back guarantee (seven days)
Suspicious emails started arriving after the purchase
Blocked by Malwarebytes Browser Guard during the purchase
Intrusive ads on the official website
Can't reliably unblock Netflix US
PandaVPN is headquartered in Seychelles, a good VPN location. It offers some excellent features paired with an ironclad commitment to user privacy. Unfortunately, it also has some serious problems that render it borderline unusable.
It didn’t leak our data during our tests, but it doesn’t have a kill switch. This can leave you vulnerable to traffic monitoring, hack attacks, fines, and even jail time in some countries (depending on your online activities). Using OpenVPN and WireGuard would generally get plus points from us, but not without a solid kill switch.
On the other hand, PandaVPN has one of the best VPN privacy policies we’ve ever seen – it only logs your email address if you choose to provide one.
Panda operates around 3,000 VPN servers in 80 countries, which is quite impressive. It provides good speeds and unlimited bandwidth but can’t unblock Netflix US consistently. Torrenting is allowed, and there are some dedicated servers for it, but we don’t recommend any P2P filesharing without a kill switch.
The pricing is affordable, but Panda only offers a seven-day money-back guarantee. We haven’t heard back from the support team after sending six emails.
After extensive testing and research, we gave PandaVPN an overall score of 5/10. Read all about our experience with this service in our full PandaVPN review below.
PandaVPN gave us some good speeds during our testing circuit. While testing the speed of any given VPN, we want to see a smooth VPN connection with minimal speed drops. The fastest VPNs on the market also have to hit a delicate balance between encryption strength and performance. With that in mind, we gave PandaVPN a 7/10 for speed.
The results of our speed tests can be summed up as follows:
PandaVPN dished out good speeds with stable connectivity.
We had problems measuring the speed on certain servers.
The day-to-day use was smooth and lag-free.
Speed test results for PandaVPN
For this PandaVPN review, we tested the speed of its Windows app from our office in the Netherlands. We first determined our speed without a VPN and compared it to our results on Panda’s servers.
Here’s the final report.
Fastest location (Bulgary)
United Kingdom (Coventry)
United States (New York)
United States (Los Angeles)
Brazil (Sao Paulo)
Argentina (Buenos Aires)
As you can see, Panda is a pretty fast VPN. The speed drops were there but within acceptable ranges. Apart from the Japanese and Australian servers nuking our upload, we saw no deal-breaking lag.
The pings were also acceptable, with some 200+ values as rare exceptions. We still recommend sticking to nearby servers if you plan on using Panda as a gaming VPN.
On the other hand, speedtest.net blocked some VPN servers during our testing. This included locations like Mexico and South Africa. So, we couldn’t get an accurate read on those.
Finally, we wouldn’t recommend letting the PandaVPN client pick the server automatically. During our testing, it kept pushing Bulgaria while many other locations offered better speeds in our office.
If you need a super-fast VPN for torrenting and accessing Netflix and similar platforms, we recommend going with Surfshark instead. It also offers airtight security and plenty of advanced features for power users. Moreover, it’s cheaper than PandaVPN on longer subscriptions.
We tested the speed of PandaVPN across numerous games and streaming platforms. First off, we watched some of the best Netflix shows, YouTube clips, Twitch streams, and anime. Unfortunately, PandaVPN couldn’t reliably unblock the best services like Netflix US or Crunchyroll and does not have dedicated streaming servers for popular platforms.
However, we had zero problems running multiplayer Diablo II: Resurrected or Minecraft sessions. PandaVPN also has a game proxy server in Japan, so if you are an avid fan of Japanese online games, you can play to your heart’s content.
Regular web browsing felt as if PandaVPN wasn’t even on. Although torrenting is allowed, we wouldn’t recommend it due to some privacy concerns we’ll discuss later.
Safety – How Secure Is PandaVPN?
Panda security did not fair very well in our tests, mainly because of the absence of a kill switch. Your VPN should anonymize your browsing and keep your private data hidden. To do this, it has to hide your real IP address, encrypt your connection, and keep zero harmful logs. With that in mind, PandaVPN gets a 5/10 for online security.
Here’s the main takeaway here:
PandaVPN supports OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols.
It implements a solid no-logging policy.
There’s no kill switch in PandaVPN apps.
We experienced no harmful data leaks during our tests.
You only have to provide a password during registration.
VPN protocols determine the overall speed and flexibility of your VPN service. Some of them can also help you bypass online censorship in restrictive countries. With that in mind, PandaVPN supports the following VPN tunnels:
OpenVPN: The most popular open-source protocol with excellent speed and security balance. It’s a well-rounded tunnel that should meet the needs of most VPN users.
WireGuard: The youngest VPN protocol, known for its speed and solid security. You can use it for bandwidth-heavy tasks like online gaming and HD streaming.
Only PandaVPN’s mobile apps let you switch between different protocols. The Windows client doesn’t have this option, and we’re unsure which protocol it uses. At some point during our testing, we thought that PandaVPN desktop apps were just proxies, with their mobile clients being the actual VPNs.
The wording of these options is very confusing, but it also further illustrates PandaVPN’s emphasis on proxies. In other words, PandaVPN feels like a proxy service with a VPN tag slapped onto it.
Per their website, there’s nothing smart about their “Smart Mode.” It’s just Shadowsocks, which can’t offer the same levels of privacy as full-blown VPN protocols. Namely, Shadowsocks only encrypts the traffic between your device and proxy servers, which lets you unblock streaming sites and similar platforms. On the other hand, VPNs protect your data all the way to its final destination.
So, using the Smart Mode in censorship-heavy countries could expose your private data to the authorities. This is handled very poorly since we can’t expect users to know what Smart Mode actually does. Its name implies it can pick the best protocol for you, but it just switches to Shadowsocks. The name of this option should be changed asap.
Panda’s website has a lot of complex (but poorly worded) explanations of its VPN encryption. When we cut through the clutter, we saw that it uses the AES 256 cipher for OpenVPN, which is the safest option out there. WireGuard, on the other hand, uses ChaCha20 for symmetric encryption.
If you’re looking for a VPN you can trust to protect your private data, we recommend getting the latest NordVPN deal and enjoying bulletproof online security.
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PandaVPN is headquartered in Seychelles, which is a good location for a VPN service. It’s outside the Eyes Alliance and can’t be the target of the US court subpoenas and gag orders. It’s also GDPR-compliant for users in the EU, which gives you the right to access, correct, transfer, and delete the collected data.
Speaking of recorded info, Panda is a proper no-logging VPN. You can provide your email address for easier communication, but you don’t have to. In other words, Panda won’t record your IP address, connection timestamps, the sites you visit, and other info that could jeopardize your privacy.
That said, the information about the PandaVPN company itself is basically impossible to find. They have a bare-bones Linkedin account, a Twitter account with many posts but sparse interactions, and a Facebook account with tons of complaints. Their Facebook comments are mainly in Chinese since Panda boasts functional servers in China. The official site doesn’t offer any relevant information.
Since Seychelles is such a fertile ground for shell companies, we recommend caution with this VPN. Sometimes a VPN service sounds too good to be true because it is.
An automatic kill switch is a fail-safe designed to block your internet connection if your VPN malfunctions for whatever reason. This prevents sensitive data like your IP address from leaking out.
Unfortunately, PandaVPN doesn’t have a kill switch. This is a serious issue since you won’t always notice when your VPN drops the connection. Even if you did, the time it takes you to reconnect is more than enough for a data leak. This is especially dangerous during torrenting, where thousands of peers could get your real IP.
For airtight protection against data leaks, we recommend going with Proton VPN instead. If activated, its permanent kill switch won’t let you access the internet without VPN protection.
During our testing, we experienced no DNS or IP leaks with PandaVPN. It managed to keep our real IP address and DNS requests well hidden during hundreds of separate tests.
However, some of its servers yielded confusing results. For example, we got a French IP while testing one of the UK servers on Android. This can be a problem if, for example, you want to unblock BBC iPlayer outside of the UK. You can’t do that with a French IP, and you won’t know what’s blocking your access.
Also, if you want to unblock Netflix UK, you might be surprised by the version you’d end up with. PandaVPN should sort this out and make sure each server location assigns the correct IP addresses.
What information does PandaVPN need?
In order to purchase PandaVPN, you only have to provide a valid payment method. In other words, you can create an account and buy a subscription without even providing an email address.
You can share your email if you wish to receive promotional messages, but we recommend against it. Also, your email will be recorded if you contact the customer support team. Since they won’t respond (in our experience), there’s really no need to share this data.
If VPN account registration requires an email address, we recommend creating a brand new anonymous email with no personal identifiers. We specifically advise against sharing your personal or business emails with VPN providers.
Usability – How User-Friendly Is PandaVPN?
PandaVPN has a user-friendly interface, but there are definitely some serious issues with this provider, especially regarding customer support. Speed and security aside, your VPN should also be easy to use and navigate. It should offer intuitive clients that can (ideally) cater to both VPN beginners and power users alike. After extensive testing, we gave PandaVPN a 3/10 for usability.
The site is simple and offers some useful info.
The installation was fast and smooth.
The mobile and desktop apps feature widely different options.
The prices are affordable but could go even lower.
Only email support is available, but we didn’t get any responses from the team.
PandaVPN’s website and installation process
PandaVPN’s official website is simple and fairly easy to navigate. Clicking on “Get PandaVPN” at the top of the homepage will lead you to the purchase screen, where you can create an account and buy a subscription.
After registration, you can access your personal dashboard by clicking the “Sign In” button in the top-right corner. This page allows you to:
Check your bamboo points
Inspect the connected devices
Add more devices to your subscription (for a fee)
Purchase custom servers
Get your invitation code to share for extra benefits
The installation was quick and simple. Panda offers native VPN apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and Android TV. For this PandaVPN review, we mainly tested its Android and Windows VPN apps.
Here’s an overview of the Windows installation process:
Click on “Get PandaVPN” at the top of the homepage.
Set your password.
Pick a subscription and payment method.
Download the app for your device from the homepage.
Click on the downloaded setup file to start the installation.
Follow the instructions and complete the installation.
After installing PandaVPN, you’ll get your ID code, which is required for logging in if you haven’t provided an email address. The pop-up will prompt you to save this code as a picture, and we recommend that you do so since you won’t receive any emails from the company.
When you start the app, you’ll see this login screen prompting you to provide your Panda ID and chosen password. If you haven’t saved the ID code and forget it, you won’t be able to access your account.
After installing PandaVPN on our PC, we didn’t get any emails, receipts, or promotional offers. This was expected since we didn’t provide an email address. However, after installing it on Android, we started getting weird messages with receipts for purchased computers and other goods. In other words, we believe that the PandaVPN Android app grabs your email automatically.
Also, when we clicked to download the Windows app, the site was immediately blocked by Malwarebytes Browser Guard. This made us realize that PandaVPN might not be as squeaky clean as it initially appeared to be.
PandaVPN supports up to three simultaneous connections, which is subpar nowadays. If you want unlimited connections for your entire household, we recommend going with PIA.
At first glance, PandaVPN’s apps are simple and easy to use. However, some complicated options paired with poor wording could lead to confusion in some cases. Oddly enough, Panda’s Android app offers many more advanced options than its Windows counterpart.
The Windows client features a prominent “Click to connect” button at the top, with the server list right underneath. You can also see the protocol info and find any server via the search bar located at the bottom.
The Android app looks minimalistic in comparison since it doesn’t feature the VPN server list on the main screen. It comes with a simple on/off toggle switch, a protocol menu, and a hamburger settings menu in the top-left corner.
We didn’t like the fact that the promotional banner stuck around in the Android app, even after we went premium. The official website also bombarded us with promotional pop-ups every couple of seconds, which got extremely tedious after a while.
PandaVPN Windows client doesn’t offer many customization options. It has some automation commands and some manual proxy settings. This further validates our point that PandaVPN feels like a proxy service disguised as a VPN (at least on Windows). We can’t switch protocols, and there’s no kill switch, but we have a ton of proxy settings.
The PandaVPN Android app, on the other hand, offers some interesting options, including split tunneling, ad blocking, GPS location mocking, and blocking malicious websites.
We don’t understand why a VPN provider would make its Android app so vastly superior to their Windows client, but that’s certainly the case with Panda. Moreover, all apps are available in English only.
Pricing and payment methods
PandaVPN’s lowest price is $2.49 per month for its yearly subscription. That’s not overly expensive, but it doesn’t make it one of the cheapest VPNs either. CyberGhost, for example, is a much better VPN that costs only a few dollars a month on its longest subscription. We definitely recommend going with CyberGhost if you want better value for your money.
Having said that here’s a quick overview of PandaVPN’s pricing plans.
PandaVPN only accepts credit cards and PayPal at the moment. We prefer staying completely anonymous by purchasing VPNs with crypto or taking the cash route with VPN services like Mullvad, for example.
It is worth noting that PandaVPN does have a free version, but this is just for Android and iOS users and lasts for three days.
How does PandaVPN’s money-back guarantee work?
PandaVPN offers a seven-day money-back guarantee, which is very short by today’s standards. We’re used to seeing 30-day refunds or even 45 days with CyberGhost.
We tried contacting the customer support team to request a refund, but we received no answer by the conclusion of this PandaVPN review. This effectively means that you can’t get a refund. Since subscription plans renew automatically, the only way to cancel them is by blocking future payments.
PandaVPN’s website features a slim FAQ section dealing with some common issues. It also has a decent blog that could provide some useful information.
However, the customer support team is where it all falls apart. Namely, they use a simple Gmail account, which doesn’t look overly professional. Furthermore, we received zero answers after sending plenty of messages with numerous questions.
As it stands, PandaVPN’s customer support is practically non-existent. We found plenty of users sharing similar grievances online as well.
Server Network – Can PandaVPN Unblock the Internet?
PandaVPN cannot consistently unblock the internet and streaming sites. The overall performance of your VPN largely depends on its network of VPN servers. Having a larger server network or an optimal server at your disposal ups your chances of breaking geo-blocks and ensuring top speeds. After our testing circuit, Panda got a 5/10 for its VPN server network.
Here’s our reasoning behind this score:
PandaVPN operates 3,000+ servers in 80+ countries.
It can’t reliably unblock Netflix US and similar streaming platforms.
Torrenting is allowed, but we wouldn’t recommend it due to the lack of a kill switch.
PandaVPN doesn’t have dedicated IPs.
Number of servers and locations
PandaVPN offers more than 3,000 servers across 80 countries and 170+ locations. It’s a great network composed chiefly of rented VPN servers. Unfortunately, although there are plenty of servers to choose from, they’re not exactly top-quality, which explains Panda’s unstable Netflix performance.
You can access the full list of servers on the Windows client’s main screen. They’re nicely grouped by country and even have ping indicators next to them. This is helpful since you can pick servers closer to you with lower latency.
As mentioned, some of Panda’s VPN servers showed the wrong locations during our ipleak.net testing. This is not unheard of, especially if we’re talking about virtual servers (like the ones in China, for example).
Here’s a full list of PandaVPN’s server countries:
Americas: Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, the US, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay
Asia Pacific: Australia, the UAE, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, India, Japan, Cambodia, Korea, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Turkey, Vietnam, New Zealand
PandaVPN’s server network feels more like a marketing stunt than a high-quality collection of servers. The company has spread itself too thin to offer more locations. This inevitably leads to a drop in quality, which is precisely what we saw during our testing for this PandaVPN review.
PandaVPN and streaming (Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, BBC iPlayer)
We tested PandaVPN with all popular streaming services and got a mediocre performance. Panda has servers optimized for streaming, which can access these platforms occasionally. However, the lack of consistency dragged the score down for us.
Although it could access these services occasionally, PandaVPN failed to do it consistently. That’s why we recommend using one of our best VPNs for Netflix instead. They’ll also work with other streaming services on this list.
PandaVPN and torrents
Although PandaVPN allows torrenting (on VIP servers), we’d recommend against it. Its lack of a kill switch means that your IP and P2P traffic will be exposed the moment Panda drops the connection. This is not a safe setup, and we suggest picking one of the best VPNs for torrenting instead.
Our Experience With PandaVPN
At first glance, Panda is a perfect VPN. However, careful testing revealed plenty of problems and inadequacies. The most glaring issue is the absence of a reliable kill switch. This means you’ll constantly have potential data leaks hanging over your head. It also disqualifies Panda from any serious torrenting action. It’s just too dangerous.
Panda’s VPN servers are generally fast, but some of them will assign the wrong IPs and cause needless troubleshooting. The server network is impressive but can’t reliably unblock Netflix US and similar geo-blocked platforms. You can only use Panda on three devices simultaneously with the option of buying more connection slots. However, that ruins the already shaky price-to-value ratio.
PandaVPN apps are easy to install and use, but mobile clients are much better than their desktop counterparts. They have more tools and let you switch between VPN protocols. There’s a three-day free trial on mobile, but the refund period is only seven days. PandaVPN offers only email support, and the team never responded to our questions. We couldn’t even get a refund after concluding this PandaVPN review.
PandaVPN has one of the best privacy policies we’ve ever seen. It only logs your email address if you share it with them. However, its Android app grabbed our email automatically, and we started receiving scammy emails after installation. Malwarebytes also blocked it, and it’s incorporated in Seychelles, where all shell companies go. We’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
We recommend giving PandaVPN a pass until all these issues are fixed and going with one of the tried and true options from our list of the best VPNs for this year.
PandaVPN Review: Frequently Asked Questions
Want some quick answers about PandaVPN? Just click on one of the FAQs below.
Is PandaVPN trustable?
We wouldn’t trust PandaVPN. They are incorporated in the Seychelles, we started getting scammy emails with Chinese names after installation, and Malwarebytes was trying to block the VPN during the installation process. You can read all about our experience in our full PandaVPN review and judge for yourself.
Is PandaVPN free?
No, PandaVPN is not free. It offers a free three-day trial on Android and a seven-day money-back guarantee to users on other platforms. If you’re on a budget, we recommend going with one of the truly free VPNs instead.
How much does PandaVPN cost?
PandaVPN’s pricing plans go as follows:
One month: $9.99/month
Six months: $3.99/month
One year: $2.49/month
All purchases come with a seven-day money-back guarantee. Having said that, you can get much better VPNs services for less money. Check some of them on our list of the best VPNs for this year.
Personal Opinions of VPNOverview’s Experts
“A mediocre VPN behind a polished facade”
Testing PandaVPN left a bitter taste in my mouth. It offers some fascinating features, and its zero-logging policy is second to none. That makes the disappointing inadequacies hit that much harder. A VPN without a kill switch is not safe, period. Getting blocked by my security tools also doesn’t breed an atmosphere of confidence. PandaVPN has great potential but is still far from realizing it.