AirVPN: Excellent service that power users will love
Macworld|April 2021
An excellent service with a known history, a solid network, and very good speeds.
IAN PAUL

AirVPN is a popular service among privacy-conscious users. The VPN is well known for transparency about its network, reasonable costs, and attention to privacy. It’s not a perfect service, but it’s well worth considering for anyone who wants to ensure a good amount of anonymity.

AirVPN started life in 2010 as a free project developed by privacy-conscious “activists, hacktivists, and hackers,” according to the VPN’s about page (go. macworld.com/abpg). It then became its own entity with a dedicated company around 2012.

Currently AirVPN offers connections in 21 countries, with 240 servers. Anyone who wants to see the status of all of AirVPN’s servers can head to the Status page (go. macworld.com/stpg) on the company’s website. Here you’ll see each server location to the city level, current load, and even the number of users on that server. At the top of the page there are some even more interesting topics such as the top 10 user speeds, the 10 servers with the highest amount of user traffic, and the top 10 user session times. There’s also a pendingissues section showing servers with any issues. You can see, for example, that the Ross server located in Montreal is experimenting with the ChaCha20 cipher.

This is an amazing amount of transparency from a VPN service, and power users will appreciate the data.

SECURITY, SOFTWARE, SERVERS, AND SPEED

AirVPN displays what it uses for VPN connections on its Technical Specs page (go.macworld.com/tcpg). Here we can see that AirVPN uses OpenVPN as the protocol, and only OpenVPN. AirVPN tells us it is experimenting with WireGuard, but it won’t put the newer protocol into production until some of the technical and privacy concerns it has are addressed. You can read more about the issues in this AirVPN forum post (go.macworld.com/arfp).

AirVPN’s Data encryption uses AES256-GCM by default, and the specs page displays the order of negotiation for other ciphers. The control channel default is TLS-DHE-RSA-WITH-AES-256-GCMSHA384.

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