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Review Free VPN provider SumRando

Sumrando is a VPN provider based in South Africa, that is just a good start if you care about privacy since USA and UK based VPN providers are open to blackmail from their oversealous governments. Of course any VPN provider in the world can be forced to spy on their customers by serving them with a secret gagging order, but South African secret services do not have a long tracking record of worldwide data mining like the USA and UK governments do.

I have been using Sumrando free 10GB/month account for a couple of months, I have point out that they are a new company still testing their services, hence the free accounts, in the future Sumrandon plans on offering paid for plans already listed on their site but no available for purchase yet, those plans allow for more bandwidth allocation.

Sumrando VPN disconnected
Sumrando VPN disconnected

Sumrando VPN softare is available for Windows and Android, the Windows version I have been using is fairly easy to use, simple, but effective, no fancy maps, only a drop down menu from where to choose your preferred VPN server, the range includes India, Hong Kong, USA, Sweden and Turkey, a single server on each country, they cover all continents except Africa. Sumrando VPN client will activate a coloured green and black window around your desktop when not active and a green one when the VPN is working, if this annoys you, the banner window can be hidden, it is useful in case of disconnection, although I have suffered a couple unexpected VPN disconections and my IP was exposed on the Internet, the banner warns you if you happen to be looking at the screen when the VPN or your router accidentally disconects you but if you are not watching, like for example in file sharing, your computer IP will be left out in the open, this is something that they should improve.

When the VPN server disconnects all Internet connection should stop until the user manually reconects, I have seen other VPN clients binding your computer IP to make accidental exposure impossible, Sumrando could learn from them. On the plus side, Sumrando VPN software makes it easy to connect to the fastest server by selecting “ultrafast navigation“, but this might not correspond to the country you would like to choose.

Sumrando VPN connected to Hong Kong server
Sumrando VPN connected to Hong Kong server

Speeds were uninpressive but since they are still in testing mode I guess you should expect better performance when their real paid for service launches, I would imagine that they are overloaded with free customers, the test I carried out from Europe in their Hong Kong server gave me 0.15Mbps, this is not enough to browse the Internet, and their closest server in Sweden gave me in between 1Mbps and 4Mbps depending on day. The US server speed also varies greatly, it might not be enough to stream online video from Hulu at busy times, you need a minimum of 1Mbps to watch online video comfortably, but at least they are not blocked by the services I tried, ABC.com, CWTV, Hulu and Songza. There were also numerous days when a few of Sumrando servers were down, their website lists server status but without any indication of when they will be back up.

Sumrando privacy policy is another point that needs improvement, it is not very clear about how long for they keep connection logs, it only says that the company will not log what sites you visit but they store the number of logins and last login, that will be disclosured if required by law. There are no rules against file sharing but sinde VPN accounts hand a bandwidth cap heavy file sharers will save money choosing an unlimited bandwidth VPN provider instead, Sumrando also claims that they do not support people infringing copyright, this is fair enough, no VPN company out there will admit to support this, what they need to do is to make clear how they intend to enforce DMCA notices if they get one, there is no information about how Sumrando plans to deal with this.

My feeling is that SumRando VPN is very much work in progress, this comes down to the low speed and the constant server downtime, they are fine for the ocassional web browsing, I would not reccomend them as a free VPN to watch online TV because some days you will not have enough speed to stream online video. I was also dissapointed that they had no UK server, so you can not watch the BBC iPlayer, only US content, bu then server location can quickly change once they launch for real, right now, it is what it is, low speed and a lousy privacy policy that says nothing about how long for they keep logs, fine for low level privacy and light Internet browsing.

Visit Sumrando homepage

Update November 2013: The free plan is now only 1GB a month.

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