Bitdefender VPN review: Simplicity and speed

Bitdefender VPN comes from a huge name in security yet offers a very minimal and easy to use service

Bitdefender VPN
(Image credit: Bitdefender)
T3 Verdict

Bitdefender VPN is a simple setup that makes it easy to use but may be lacking in features for some people.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Simple to use

  • +

    Unblocks Netflix and iPlayer

  • +

    Decent speeds

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Can't unblock Disney Plus or Amazon Prime Video

  • -

    Few features

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Bitdefender VPN is one of the best VPN choices for anyone that wants a simple setup that does the basics of keeping you anonymous online. But for features beyond that this might not be the ideal VPN to pick. Keep reading to get our full Bitdefender VPN review.

One minute Bitdefender VPN review

Bitdefender VPN combines simplicity with speed. The first part of that is a positive for beginners that want a VPN that just works with minimal effort on their part. For more advanced and demanding folk, this might be found lacking. The second part of that two-part appeal, speed, comes as this VPN is actually powered by the already well established Hotspot Shield VPN, which is a good thing - check out the Hotspot Shield VPN review to see why.

Connection speeds are above average and there are plenty of servers dotted about the globe. These are effective at getting around some geo restrictions and accessing US Netflix and BBC iPlayer, for example. But they failed to unblock the likes of Disney Plus or Amazon Prime Video.

For all other issues, there is a decent support service with live chat available. There are lots of apps for the big name operating systems with Mac, Windows, iOS and Android all covered. Plus you get 10 simultaneous connections at once so you can take advantage of all those offerings. 

The stats:

  • Servers: 1,300+
  • Locations: 30 countries
  • Devices: 10 simultaneous connections
  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
  • Protocols: Catapult Hydra
  • Top features: Unblocks Netflix, fast, Catapult Hydra

Bitdefender VPN review: How much does Bitdefender VPN cost? Is there a free trial?

Bitdefender VPN keeps pricing very simple, with two options to pick from: annual or monthly. Go for the longer term investment, with the year paid up front, and you stand to make a saving of up to 40%. While you have more freedom to end when you like using the monthly option, it's so affordable to go for the year it makes sense, especially when you take the 30-day money-back guarantee into account – but more on that below. 

Compared to the competition, at the more affordable end you've got Surfshark at $2.49 a month for its two-year plan. Then there's CyberGhost for $2.25 a month when you commit to three years.

Of course if you're already going to use, or use the Bitdefender security software, then you may find it a better deal to get the VPN as part of one of those packages on offer.

If all that sounds too much like commitment, you can make the most of their 30-day money back guarantee. You will need to give over your account details but won't be charged. Then, if you pay for a month, or year, and decide within 30 days this isn't for you, all your money will be given back.

This is a good option as one of the best cheap VPN choices. Though if you want to get more for less check out the best free VPN choices instead.

Does Bitdefender VPN work on Netflix? What other streaming services can it unblock?

Bitdefender VPN is a good option if you want to unblock Netflix. This can be a tricky service when it comes to geo restrictions, with many VPN services failing to unblock. Bitdefender had no issues accessing Netflix US and offers decent speeds while streaming too.

Another tough streaming service to get access to via a VPN is BBC iPlayer, but once again Bitdefender made short work of getting you up and running.

Where the service fell down in terms of streaming was with Disney Plus, which it wasn't able to access. The same happened when trying to get into Amazon Prime Video where the VPN was detected and access was denied. 

Bitdefender VPN interface

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

This doesn't quite fit in among the best streaming VPN services. However, for managing to crack those two tough nuts of Netflix US and BBC iPlayer, it may still be the ideal VPN for you unless you wish to watch Disney Plus and Prime Video.

It's worth making use of your 30 days to see what you can get access to from where you are with your local servers. We recommend checking out the speeds as well as accessibility to see if this performs well enough to suit your needs.

Bitdefender VPN review: What features can you expect and how do they boost security?

Bitdefender VPN is not a feature rich service but that isn't to say it doesn't offer a lot. You have apps for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows all of which offer features. On the Windows app, for example, you can search by country to find the ideal server location for what you need – perfect when streaming abroad. 

A kill switch is a useful feature here which works well, cutting off internet access when the connection drops – something that can save you from being attacked.

Bitdefender VPN as a part of Total Security package

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

There is a lack of split tunnelling. This would allow you to access multiple locations for various apps – ideal if you want to keep your online browsing local but your streaming apps set to another location, for example. 

A feature we like was the auto connection when a P2P app is launched. This means if you have a torrent client setup, the VPN will fire up as this is opened to make sure you remain anonymous while using the service. 

Dark Mode is another feature worth mentioning as it will allow you to run the client with a blackout background that's ideal for night time use. It's also a nice addition if you're running dark mode on your machine and want your apps to fit in the same. 

The privacy policy of Hotspot Shield, which this runs via, is clear in saying that there is no monitoring of your web traffic or browsing history. The downside comes from session logging, with more done than on most other services. That means things like recording device identifiers, browser types, device settings and network information. It doesn't mean they know what you're doing online, or who you are, but it's more information than some will feel comfortable giving up. 

Bitdefender VPN review of speed and overall performance

To test the speed and performance of Bitdefender VPN we used US locations on a 1Gbps connection. Testing was done by measuring the download speeds using Ookla's SpeedTest and Netflix's Each one is done across morning and evening times.

Based in US

Catapult Hydra: 340-410Mbps

Bitdefender VPN uses the bespoke Hydra Protocol from Hotspot Shield which means it's all about speed balanced with security. The top speed hit was 410Mbps which is impressive. It doesn't hit the top end, from ExpressVPN's Lightway protocol which managed 610Mbps in our tests, but it's still a lot faster than many. 

The key here is that our testing of Hotspot Shield found similar speeds. That means you're not getting a limited version of the service just because it's running through Bitdefender. 

Client set-up and available support from Bitdefender VPN

Bitdefender VPN, as mentioned, comes with apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. These are decent, if not the most feature rich, and all work as you'd hope. What's not so helpful is a lack of support for other services and the inability to install on a router, for example. 

A router install can be helpful as a way to get lots of devices running behind the VPN connection at the same time. However, since this service does offer an impressive 10 simultaneous device connections at once, the need for a router client may not be so great in this case. 

Setup of the clients is super simple, as is the use of them after that time. This service is all about keeping things minimal so it's as easy as possible to use even for those new to the service. 

Should you run into any issues, setting up or getting access to services when online, there is a helpful support service. The online live chat is decent with a quick response time and fairly well-clued up people on the other end. Failing that, or if you're in less of a rush, there is an email response service which works well too. Keep in mind the VPN is just part of the Bitdefender service, so any support you get is from people trained on the wider security system. This means they may not be as helpful as someone working for a dedicated VPN service. 

Bitdefender VPN review: Our final verdict

Bitdefender VPN is a fast VPN service that does a good job of offering smart torrenting support, unblocking of Netflix and BBC iPlayer as well as decent live chat support, a selection of easy to use apps and a pretty good privacy policy.

For those that want tighter security, more features and access to Disney Plus or Amazon Prime Video you may find something better suited to you in our best VPN guide.

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Luke Edwards

Luke is a former freelance writer for T3 with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others Luke wrote about health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. In his free time, Luke used to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.