Pricing and Features
Kepard has just one (Premium) pricing plan at $7 per month (or $35 for 12 months). For this you gain access to VPN servers in the US, UK, Germany, Canada and the Netherlands, connecting using OpenVPN, L2TP or PPTP protocols. There is no limit to traffic speeds or data use, and up to two devices may be connected simultaneously. P2P torrent use is allowed as long as you are connected to a server in the Netherlands, and Kepard is happy for you to have two devices connected simultaneously.
In addition to this, Kepard offers a trial service, allowing you to connect to its VPN servers for half an hour each day. What is not really mentioned anywhere on the website, and only becomes apparent when you install the Windows or Android clients, is that there is also a free 15 day trial of the Premium service on offer.
Website & Customer Support
The website looks great and is easy to navigate. Kepard is clearly proud of its Android app, as the little green robot gets pride of place on the Home page. The website otherwise has only a limited amount of information available, partly in the form of a short FAQ, but given the no frills nature of the service this lack of info does not trouble us too much. Kepard is keen to advertise its Affiliate program, offering between 40% to 100% commission on sales channelled its way. There is also Blog page dealing mainly with Kepard’s own doings, but this is updated only every month or three.
Customer support is only via a ticketed email system, but when we made an inquiry we were answered within minutes so although basic, it does appear to be quite efficient.
Privacy & Security
Kepard keeps logs for 3 days. These record your real IP address, session start and finish time and the email address you registered with (which is the only information kept on file after 3 days). In their Terms and Conditions Kepard do state that they will collaborate with the Moldovan authorities in the event of a subpoena, but as very little information kept for even 3 days we don’t think this a major problem.
As far as encryption goes, while the website mentions ‘up to’ 265-bit encryption, when we asked we were told that 128-bit blowfish OpenVPN is the default. As we have said before, we prefer to see at least 256-bit encryption as standard, but for most users 128-bit is fine.
We decided it would a be a good idea to try the free half hour a day service before laying down any readies. To do this we just needed to download and install the client, and then register with only an email address and password being asked of us.
If you want to pay for the Premium service once the trial period is over, you will be asked for more personal details.
The payment options are a bit limited but should be fine for most people. There is no Bitcoin payment option though, which is a shame.
The Windows VPN client
The VPN client is cleanly laid out and quite stylish looking, with a big ‘power button’ in the middle for turning the connection on and off. Changing countries is simply a matter of clicking on the flag and making your choice.
Selecting which protocol you would like to connect using, in addition to other basic parameters, is also simplicity itself.
Being able to choose between TCP and UDP versions of the OpenVPN protocol is a nice touch. The difference between the two is very technical, but in theory TCP is slower than UDP, but more reliable.
We tested the VPN connection using our 10 megabyte UK broadband.
Connected to a UK VPN server
Connected to a Netherlands server
The connection to the Netherlands is important, as torrent P2P can only be used when doing so. We have, it has to be said seen faster speeds, but on the other hand do find them acceptable.
Kepard provides dedicated VPN clients for Windows and Android, as well as detailed instructions for configuring Windows, Linux and OSX for the various protocols (no L2TP for Linux). Instructions are also provided for setting up Android and as manually using PPTP and L2tP/IP Sec.
Kepard appear to be very proud of its Android app so we it a try.
Simply sign in and ta-da! You are connected. This is the easiest way to connect Android to a VPN server using OpenVPN we have yet encountered.
We love the fact that the app uses a nearly identical interface to the Windows desktop client. We also like that it automatically connects using the same settings as our last desktop session.
The consistency between what are very different platforms is impressive.
Connected to a UK VPN server
Connected to a Netherlands VPN server
The results are pretty good.
- 15 day free trial (plus free 30 minutes each day)
- Unlimited traffic & no speed restrictions
- Choice of TCP and UDP OpenVPN
- P2P is ok (on NL servers)
- Fast (although we have seen better)
- Good looking and easy to use Windows VPN client
- Fantastic Android app
We weren’t so sure about
- 128-bit OpenVPN encryption is ok but could be better
- More details asked than necessary when you sign up to the paid service
We rather liked Kepard. Other than the Android app it does nothing very special, but it does it stylishly, efficiently and at a modest price point. The Windows VPN client is a great piece of software which is complimented by a fantastic Android app. Never before have we found connecting a phone to a VPN server using OpenVPN so easy, and we love the consistency between desktop and phone interfaces. The inclusion of a 15 day free trial is also noteworthy, and means there is very little reason not to give the service a try.