Based in Finland, and originally established in 1988 under the name Data Fellows, F-Secure has become a full-service provider for online data security products. The company began offering a VPN tunnel for their customers in 2014 and has grown to be one of the more popular VPN provider. The company offers several add-ons for users to enhance their VPN connection with additional security.
- Free Trial
- Encryption Type
- Extra Features
Not only does Freedome offer a 14-day unrestricted free trial for their new customers, they have a generous money-back guarantee. The free trial does not require that users enter billing information and includes all of the features offered to full-paying customers. Should users decide that they want to continue with VPN service, they simply sign up for a full-paying membership.
New customers are also offered a no-question-asked money-back guarantee as long as it is requested within 30 days of beginning their membership.
Freedome does not openly state their encryption protocols, although the information is available in their website's support forum. Navigating the forum, while there are many articles is frustrating and the language in the articles is not always worded for the layman to understand. The standard encryption protocol used by Windows, Mac and Android clients is OpenVPN, which is considered by security experts to be the best level of currently-available technology. As iOS is not compatible with OpenVPN protocol, the company uses IPsec for iOS devices.
Those wanting to use a VPN for torrenting activity should note that there are several servers in the VPN network which block all torrenting. Among those which automatically block torrent traffic are servers in the UK, Netherlands, and Singapore.
F-Secure not only publishes their privacy practices, but their privacy principles, which are tenets upon which their service is built. Some of these principles include the statement that the company only requests information from their customers if they really need it, that there are no backdoors to their software and that security is dependent upon privacy.
The company also promises to be transparent in their interactions with their customers, and communicate in plain language, rather than using jargon. This final promise of transparency is less apparent in their interactions with customers and difficulty for prospective customers to receive information. Much of the support forum upon which the company depends to gather information is not easily searched, nor are all of the articles written in easily-understood terms.
F-Secure offers their customers several additional features, which are not present in many of their competitors. Among these is virus scanning, protection from known phishing sites, malware, and ad trackers. This allows users to surf the internet with the VPN with confidence and security.
- Customer Support
Freedome, unlike many of their competitors does not offer multiple choices of payment plans. They do offer choices for the number of devices which are included in the protection. Customers may cover 3, 5 or 7 devices. Freedome is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. All plans are paid in annual installments. The cost per device is higher for Freedome than for their competitors. Additionally, with the added products which F-Secure offers, the checkout process offers many opportunities for add-on products, which quickly raise the price of the subscription.
- 1 year (3 devices) - $49.99
- 1 year (5 devices) - $59.99
- 1 year (7 devices) - $79.99
Freedom accepts the following methods of payment: Major credit cards, PayPal, PayNearMe, electronic wire transfer and check/money order.
Freedome's average download speed is 14.3 Mbps and 2.18 Mbps for uploads. While speed can vary greatly when switching servers, and even while connected to an ISP without being logged into a VPN, Freedome's results vary greatly among speed tests. More than any other VPN provider, Freedome's connections have been reported as being sluggish. Media-heavy and streaming sites took the biggest hit, but only in some instances did customers report that they were completely unable to view their desired site. The significant difference is that 4K videos on YouTube were hardly viewable or would not load for many customers using Freedome's VPN network. The computed average speed in the United States for download/upload are 20.8 Mbps and 5.2 Mbps, respectively.
Like many in industry, customer support is lacking with Freedome. The company has a live chat option, which is available weekdays from 6 am - 4 pm, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). This limits the time during which customers in the United States can contact live support to 2 am - 12 pm (Eastern).
Additionally, when being asked for support, the representatives rely heavily on copying/pasting responses with links to obscure documents in the forum. Customers report high levels of frustration with customer support agents. Upgraded support is available for an additional $19.99 per year, which while a nice opportunity is one which intuitively should be included with the product, rather being something which must be paid for.
The Bottom Line
F-Secure Freedome offers many benefits to their users. The company is proportionately more expensive than their competitors, and offers few devices per plan. This is offset with the promise of 100% uptime and added features. The company has fewer options for customers service than many of their competitors, and is available at times which are inconvenient for many, being that the company is based in Finland and operates within normal business hours locally.
In spite of the limitations of F-Secure Freedome, the company has much to offer. The added features are those which enhance their users' security greatly and allow them to maintain more anonymity online as well as to protect their devices. As such, the Review Team recommends Freedome for those who are aware of and able to work with the company's limitations.