Given that SmartVPN was launched in response to a French legislation that allowed government agencies to systematically hunt down copyright infringers, the service is specifically aimed at heavy BitTorrent users and shields them from receiving warning letters.
Servers and locations
SmartVPN doesn’t explicitly say how many servers it has as well as in which countries are they located. However, from information available on its official website and whatever we already know about the service, we can confirm that SmartVPN has servers in around 20 countries around the world.
These include Germany, Netherlands, France, USA, Morocco, Russia, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Ukraine, Singapore, Brazil, Korea, Sydney, Ireland, Japan and Isle Of Man.
Supported VPN protocols
SmartVPN supports four protocols, including PPTP, L2TP/Ipsec, openVPN, and IKEv2. The service’s official website contains a useful table (shown below) that details the protocols and kind of encryption available for each supported platform.
The FAQ section on the service’s website makes it clear that all PPTP/L2TP servers are TCP only, but the OpenVPN ones operate in TCP and UDP.
SmartVPN website says the service can be used on most operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Apple OSX, Linux / Unix, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone. But a quick look at the setup page reveals that configuration details are only available for Windows (7,8, and 10), Mac OSX, iOS and Android, with dedicated clients available only for Windows and Mac OS.
Pricing and payment methods
SmartVPN offers a total of three subscription packages, namely Basic, Premium, and Dedicated. While the former costs $3 per month, the latter two carry a price tag of $6 and $13 per month, respectively (prices are same in both dollars and euros).
It’s worth mentioning that Basic and Premium packages offer shared IP, while Dedicated package – as the name suggests – includes a dedicated IP for the user.
While there aren’t any free trials, SmartVPN does offer a 7 day money back guarantee. However, if you purchase five or more accounts under volume licensing, the money back guarantee won’t apply to your purchase.
As for the supported payment modes, SmartVPN lists “payment by credit card, Paypal and HiPay,” in the FAQ section of its website, but the actual payment page lists PayPal, HipPay, and BitPay as the available options. Adding to the confusion, the following image appears at the bottom of website:
Limit on simultaneous connections
Although SmartVPN doesn’t not restrict you to any particular device, it doesn’t allow you to simultaneously access your account from more than one device as well. “With SmartVPN, you can use your account on multiple devices, one at a time! When you change device, you must disconnect first,” the company says on its website.
We reached out to the team behind SmartVPN with a list of questions about their service. Here are their answers to some of our privacy-related queries:
Q. Do you keep ANY logs which would allow you to match an IP-address and a time-stamp to a user of your service? If so, what information and for how long?
A. We don’t keep any kind of logs. However, SmartVPN’s website does say, “We do only store the connection times and total data usage, and they are stored for a limited time.”
Q. Is BitTorrent and other file-sharing traffic allowed on all servers? If not, why?
A. BitTorrent and other P2P protocols are allowed on all our servers.
Q. Which payment systems do you use and how are these linked to individual user accounts?
A. We use BitPay ( BitCoins ), PayPal, and HiPay.
Q. What is the most secure VPN connection and encryption algorithm you would recommend to your users? Do you provide DNS leak protection and tools such as “kill switches” if a connection drops?
A. We recommend OpenVPN for Desktop and IKEv2 for Mobile devices, As of the encryption we use AES-256-CBC algorithm. DNS leak protection is already enabled however “kill switches” will be available soon.