ZenMate Review


$4.99 $8.99

ZenMate Review
ZenMate Review
$4.99 $8.99
Simple one-button VPN
Smart features on browser extensions
Connection metadata logging is temporary, limited
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ZenMate is a solid, easy-to-use VPN for users wanting just the basics in privacy protection and a suite of desktop features. Launched in 2013, it has more features for Firefox, Chrome, and Opera than for Windows, Mac, iOS or Android—but you do get access to all platforms with your subscription. ZenMate is based in Germany, and therefore subject to EU data regulations. Speed is ZenMate’s most notable feature, but performance can be inconsistent, and privacy protections lack both OpenVPN and a killswitch. Their server network has enough locations for most users, but is small compared to many rivals’ networks. Customer support lacks live chat, and could use some improvement in the breadth and depth of their information; email response was disappointing as well.

7.3 Total Score

Easy-to-use VPN with web browser extensions. Good balance of privacy and performance. Server network has enough locations for most users, but is small compared to many rivals’ networks.

Speed & Performance
Unblock Content
Security & Privacy
Server Locations
Ease Of Use
Customer Support
Value For Money
  • Simple one-button VPN
  • Smart features on browser extensions
  • Connection metadata logging is temporary, limited
  • Protocols have few settings, no transparency
  • Poor performance in speed tests for most locations
  • Sub-par customer support and information

Speed & Performance: 7.2

Despite ZenMate demonstrating very fast speeds on its European servers, we could not score it higher due to the fact that it does not use OpenVPN, the industry standard protocol that we use in our speed tests whenever possible, making for an unfair comparison. Also, the server speeds were inconsistent (as much as six times faster/slower), both from day to day and for different server locations. In North America, Israel, Australia, and Hong Kong we saw consistently poor speeds, making video streams virtually unwatchable. Ping time was also below average; browser extensions were better, at 80% of our usual connection speed, but had some technical issues (see the Ease of Use section below).

Unblock Content: 7.1

ZenMate works with Netflix, Google/Gmail, Facebook, Kodi, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming and torrenting sites. However, the limited server locations means users can’t unblock content in a number of popular areas.

Security & Privacy: 7.0

ZenMate’s privacy protection is only very basic. ZenMate does almost no connection metadata logging—merely storing IP addresses temporarily on their servers, along with the volume of data for their Limited plans. However, it is not clear how long ZenMate stores this information, and this does matter, since it is subject to EU data retention laws. Unfortunately, ZenMate does not provide much information about what encryption and protocols it uses—the preferred OpenVPN is apparently not used—and it offers no additional obfuscation tools or protections.

Server Locations: 7.1

ZenMate has only 23 server locations, one of the smallest networks on the VPN market. It does cover the US, Canada, Australia, UK, and western Europe, but many other popular locations are missing, including Brazil, Mexico, and Singapore. If you live in one of the covered areas, ZenMate will probably work fine for you, but keep in mind that smaller networks can get congested and make maintaining anonymity a bit harder.

Ease Of Use: 7.0

If you are a “click and forget” fan, ZenMate could be perfect for you. But users who want to be able to tweak settings and view more connection details (VPN protocol, new IP address) should look elsewhere. Since ZenMate started out as a browser extension, it still lags behind as a desktop app. At this time, all you get for the desktop app is a big connect button and the server location. ZenMate also lacks a broad range of device compatibility—for example, no router installation or Linux. In Windows, ZenMate is a system tray app, so you have to find and click the icon in order to use it.

The browser extensions do offer ad-tracking blockers, anti-malware, and a feature allowing you to set up “smart locations” for websites. However, there are some glitches here as well, requiring reinstallation on Chrome during our testing, and running both the desktop app and the browser extension at the same time also caused problems. Since only browser activity is encrypted, using a browser extension leaves your other app connections unsecured.


  • Simple, one-button interface
  • “Smart locations” feature on extensions
  • Switching servers is simple


  • Desktop apps lack features and settings
  • Connection details difficult to ascertain
  • Extensions are buggy

Customer Support: 6.0

ZenMate’s customer support is a mixed bag, with a website that lacks basic information regarding their technical specs and server network. What ZenMate does well is give good privacy information covering a wide range of topics, located in the “Academy” section on the website. The Troubleshooting FAQs are relevant, clear, and well-organized. Email response was very poor, with some nonsensical canned (non-human) responses, never leading to personal contact before ticket deletion. There is no live chat at all. Overall, the website needs more visual images and video tutorials.

Value For Money: 7.1


  • Browser extensions add value
  • Very high speeds at times
  • Not blocked by streaming services


  • Lack of settings
  • Smaller server network
  • Inconsistent performance and speed
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