Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux) begins at $9.95 per month (billed monthly) for three simultaneous virtual private network (VPN) connections, which is a fairly good deal among the competition. However, it’s a little less golden for Linux users since one of Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux)’s key features is its Chameleon protocol, which currently isn’t available under Linux. That and a little less attention paid to setup than is normal (even for Linux software) keeps Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux) behind NordVPN (for Linux), Private Internet Access VPN (for Linux), and TorGuard VPN (for Linux), our three Editors’ Choices in our VPN Apps (for Linux) review roundup.
Pricing and Access
Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux)’s overall pricing is solid. The initial $9.95 price can increase to $12.95 if you upgrade to its Premium plan. That will get you get five simultaneous connections and access to VyprVPN Cloud, a dedicated cloud VPN server, as well as the aforementioned Chameleon protocol that helps you bypass internet service providers (ISPs) that are actively blocking your ability to connect to the VPN. If you elect to get billed annually, then there is a significant discount applied, though you’ll need to contact Golden Frog to get an exact number.
Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux) gives you access to over 700 servers across multiple continents and a variety of features to help keep you safe online. Both plans include access to VyprDNS, a zero-knowledge Domain Name Server (DNS), which means that it retains no record of the URLs you have accessed during your session. Since the Domain Name Server (DNS) is often the last gap in security when it comes to VPNs, this is an excellent feature. Linux users will be happy to know that Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux) supports OpenVPN protocols, which tend to be the preferred protocol for Penguin people, though the platform also supports Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)/Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), and the proprietary Chameleon protocol.
As stated, however, this is where Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux) gives Linux short shrift, since Chameleon isn’t supported outside the Microsoft Windows 10, Apple OS X, and Android operating systems (OSes) as well as Golden Frog’s own VyprVPN router. That means being able to bypass firewalls and proxies that actively block your connections isn’t natively available for Linux. However, if you’re willing to set up the VyprVPN router, this is a moot point. For technical users, which may Linux people are, this isn’t overly difficult, though it does require certain hardware resources and will obviously cut into the portability of the service. The VyprVPN router application can be installed on unlocked router and firewall hardware based on the Tomato MIPS/ARM CPUs. Exact hardware requirements and a listing of compatible routers are available from the Golden Frog support website.
Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux)’s other positives include no data restrictions or caps. While this isn’t necessarily ground breaking, it’s at least not adding any additional frustration on top of already prevalent ISP data caps. A final benefit is that Golden Frog didn’t skimp overly on support, providing a team available 24/7 via live chat or email 24/7. That means if you get stuck, there’s always someone knowledgeable on hand to help out even for Linux users, according to Golden Frog, though we didn’t actually test that during this review.
Setup and Configuration
The setup instructions for Linux are a little sparse and difficult at first glance, but if you’ve been using VPNs with Linux for a while, you’ll be able to make it work. Since Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux) supports OpenVPN (still the most popular VPN protocol for Linux), you can follow the somewhat clearer setup instructions for Microsoft Windows with a little improvisation. After downloading the OpenVPN template, just import it into your Linux distro’s Network Manager then feed in a user name and password. Everything should light up and work from there.
If you manage to find your way to the Golden Frog Support page and look hard enough, then you’ll eventually locate a total of three one-page posts to get Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux) running under Linux. But after putting in that effort, I found it to be an underwhelming resource that really should be fleshed out for the most popular distros and then placed front and center with the resources aimed at the other operating systems. This is doubly true since they even have instructions to configure a router to use the service, which is arguably a more difficult task. There are also no available graphical client apps for Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux), and users are left to stumble into the correct setup procedure, or dig even deeper through the support docs. All in all, I found this to be one of the least friendly setup experiences for Linux users.
If you get through it, however, then you’ll be happy to hear that Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux) supports Netflix streaming. In fact, Golden Frog goes so far as to boast that its Netflix streaming speeds are significantly faster than the competition. While we didn’t test actual Netflix throughput speeds, I did note that Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux) doesn’t require a Netflix plug-in, which immediately ranked it as one of the better Linux VPN streaming options, even with the lack of setup instructions. BitTorrent users also get some love in that Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux) fully supports peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing, though you’d still be wise to tread carefully since Golden Frog doesn’t have a zero logging policy.
Speed and Performance
The host platform for my VPN testing was a hardware system carrying a 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 32 gigabytes (GB) of total RAM. From this, I built a virtual machine (VM) based on the VMWare ESXi 6.0 hypervisor configured with 8 B of RAM, 10 GB of alloted disk space, and two virtual processor cores all running the Ubuntu 17 Linux distro. To eliminate other factors that could affect network performance, I assigned a dedicated 1GB wired network connection to my cable modem. No other VMs were active at the time of testing.
For your own testing, remember that speed is going to be determined largely by the server to which you connect. That means it’s important to be familiar with your VPN providers recommendations, which you’ll usually find posted on their website.
I tested three metrics that typically define a user’s experience over a network connection. First, I measured latency, which is the time it takes for packets of data to travel to a remote server and back to your computer in milliseconds. In this category, lower is always better. The other two metrics are upload and download speed. For those two, higher is always better. However, since everyone’s internet connection is different, and these values tend to fluctuate over time, I represent these as a percentage changed against a baseline measurement of my connection without the VPN. Each data point is tested domestically with a VPN server in the United States, and internationally with a VPN server in Australia. In addition, I cite the highest speed recorded. All metrics are gathered by using Ookla Speedtest, which is owned by PCMag’s parent company, j2 Global.Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux)’s domestic latency suffered only a 163.16-percent increase from my baseline measurement; however, international latency tested at a 478.26-percent increase, which is significant. Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux)’s lowest recorded domestic ping time was 24 ms while its highest was 68 milliseconds (ms). For comparison purposes, the lowest international ping time of the entire roundup was 216 ms while the highest was 310 ms.
For download speed, there was a 4.33-percent decrease in speed domestically,and a 91.13-percent decrease in speed internationally. The domestic upload speed decreased on average by 5.10 percent. International upload speed had a significant but expected decrease in download speed of 66.10 percent, on average. The fastest recorded download speed for Golden Frog VyprVPN (for Linux) was 298.86 Megabits per second (Mbps) and the fastest upload speed was 26.29 Mbps.
Logging and Privacy
Golden Frog is located in Meggen, Switzerland and operates under that country’s legal jurisdiction. Each time a user connects to VyprVPN, the user’s source IP, the assigned IP, and connection information are logged for 30 days. This is predominantly for troubleshooting and the rare case of criminal prosecution. It does actively avoid logging users’ traffic content and doesn’t perform any deep packet inspections or make any attempts to throttle your connection based on what the service thinks you’re doing. GoldenFrog says it doesn’t take an active role in criminal investigations either, but the company will respond to subpoenas if they’re served such. Active BitTorrent users would do well to keep this in mind.
For those traveling to China, Golden Frog offers a China VPN connection to bypass China’s Great Firewall. This should be good news for reporters or other individuals engaging in sensitive activities while traveling abroad.; but it can also be of help to the rest of us who sometimes just want to watch Netflix in a country where it’s blocked.
Fast But Not Overly Penguin-Friendly
If you add on the Linux factor, then VyprVPN (for Linux) falls even farther behind due to its short-shrift documentation and the fact that some of its best features aren’t supported under the Penguin. If you poke around in their support site, you’ll find what you are after and have good success, but you’ll feel like a third-class citizen. All in all, VyprVPN (for Linux) represents a sold VPN service but Linux users should know what they’re doing and not require too much in the way of proprietary features.