Bitdefender originally focused on dedicated antivirus software and later decided to also offer VPN in their software package. Some of their current antivirus packages include Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Bitdefender Total Security, and Bitdefender Internet Security. The company recently added the VPN feature to their current antivirus packages.
Sign up for any of Bitdefender’s excellent security packages – Antivirus Plus, Internet Security, Total Security or its mobile apps – and you’ll now also get a bundled VPN. Sounds great, until you realize there’s no option to choose a location (the app automatically picks the nearest server), and you spot the tiny data transfer limit of 200MB a day.
Buying an additional Bitdefender VPN license gets you unlimited traffic and full access to all service locations. (Bitdefender VPN is powered by and using Hotspot Shield’s high-end VPN technology, a strong indicator that you’re going to get a decent service.)
Want to try Bitdefender Premium VPN? Check out the website here
Prices are reasonable at $6.99 billed monthly, or an equivalent $3.33 a month for year one on the annual plan, $4.17 on renewal. That’s a significant saving on Hotspot Shield’s regular annual price of an equivalent $5.99, good to know if you might have purchased it anyway. Although real Hotspot Shield fans who sign up for three years will pay only $3.49, making a small saving over time.
One potential issue to consider is that you’ll only be able to use the VPN on the number of devices covered by your Bitdefender security software license.
Bitdefender’s client is very, very basic, with the bare minimum of features. A large blue Connect button will by default connect you to your nearest server; you’re able to choose another location from a simple list, and there are settings to launch Bitdefender VPN along with Windows, and automatically connect whenever you access an insecure wireless network.
There are very few of the other features we would normally hope to see. The client doesn’t display a desktop notification when you connect; you can’t change servers until you’ve manually closed the existing connection; there’s no Favorites or Recently Used list to speed up accessing commonly-used servers; there’s no kill switch to block internet access if the connection drops; there’s no option to change protocol, or tweak your connection in any way.
There are some plus points. The client is so easy to use that even total beginners probably won’t need any support, and it handles unexpected situations with ease. When we made the VPN connection drop by forcibly closing the openvpn.exe process – a very aggressive step which is most unlikely to happen in real life – the client warned us immediately with a desktop alert, then automatically reconnected within seconds.
If you’re looking to buy Bitdefender VPN as a cheaper route to access Hotspot Shield, though, it’s worth noting that Hotspot Shield’s own Windows client has a few extra features, including a kill switch, extra leak protection and finer control over when the VPN will automatically connect. If you think you might need this extra power, Hotspot Shield’s free trial gives you 7 days to check out the service.
Bitdefender sells Premium VPN mostly for its encryption and anonymity benefits, but the website claims it can also ‘unlock media, videos & messaging from all over the world.’
Bitdefender VPN did successfully unblock US-only YouTube content, but then so does almost every other VPN we’ve ever reviewed.