satisfactory
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Server Network
8.0 / 10
Bedienung & Features
7.4 / 10
Performance
7.4 / 10
Security & Privacy
6.0 / 10
Support
6.0 / 10
VPN

ZenMate VPN Review: German Quality?

Author
Martin Gschwentner
Translation
D Bare
Last update
17. Mar 2023
Ad disclaimer: For links on this page, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. This supports our work and has no influence on our editorial rating.

When you think of Zen, you probably imagine relaxation and simplicity, but how about a German software developer? Eastern mysticism has recently grown very popular for marketing purposes, however, there is definitely more to ZenMate than meets the eye. The service provides its users with peace of mind while surfing in a decluttered interface.

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What Is ZenMate?

ZenMate* is a Berlin-based VPN provider, owned since 2018 by Kape Technologies (London), the parent company of CyberGhost and a handful of other VPNs. Below, we check whether ZenMate allows users to profit from this infrastructure and its experience, or if the provider needs to meditate on its purpose.

ZenMate VPN Review

Review
7.0
satisfactory
Visit Website*
Server Network
8.0 / 10
Bedienung & Features
7.4 / 10
Performance
7.4 / 10
Security & Privacy
6.0 / 10
Support
6.0 / 10
  • User-friendly applications

  • Good speeds

  • No split tunneling

  • Unimpressive server network

  • Data security and privacy concerns

1.

Installation and Features

ZenMate subscribers can use the service on as many devices as they like. Alongside applications for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS the program also offers Firefox, Opera, and Chrome browser extensions.

ZenMate subscribers can connect as many devices as they would like.

Following its acquisition by Kape Technologies, ZenMate's software received a well-needed makeover. The application's user interface now looks more like CyberGhost's: Its main screen is arranged around a large power button that, with a single click, connects you to the best available server. The elongated interface is reminiscent of a smartphone app and has similar usability, an achievement that the developers can be proud of.

When you click on the server location button, a drop-down menu opens that allows you to select from among your favorites or servers that are configured for streaming.

ZenMate's app is eye-catching.

If you want to select from the complete list of servers, click on "More Servers" in the drop-down menu. There, you can scroll through an alphabetically sorted list of servers, or use the search function. Should you be looking for a particular kind of server (for streaming or torrents), you can select from the categories on the left side of the interface. The list also displays information about the distance to servers, their usage, and the ability to favorite them.

In the server menu, you'll be able to see distance, usage statistics, and mark servers as favorites.

Since ZenMate's desktop client is practically identical to that of CyberGhost, we couldn't help but compare the two. Unfortunately, ZenMate drew the shorter straw.

It includes standard VPN features, like a kill switch and protocol selection. Users won't get CyberGhost's "no-spy" servers. This might be because ZenMate is based in Germany, a country that isn't popular amongst privacy activists. Other CyberGhost features that ZenMate users won't get include the ad-blocker, no-track, and smart rules. Even when searching for a server, you can only select a country, not a particular city.

As a trade-off, ZenMate's browser extension includes a few additional features: "Smart Location" offers split tunneling for websites, allowing you to specify which websites automatically connect using a pre-selected VPN server. Alternatively, you can use the white list to define those sites that never use your VPN connection.

ZenMate's browser extension includes additional features.

Mobile app

ZenMate's Android and iOS apps are identical to its desktop clients. Here too, when connecting, you'll tap on the large power button in the center. To change servers, simply open the location menu below it.

In comparison to the desktop client and to CyberGhost's mobile app, the functions available in ZenMate's mobile app are limited. For example, you cannot change VPN protocols or use split tunneling.

ZenMate's mobile app is identical to its desktop client.

Set alongside CyberGhost, ZenMate offers little that other providers don't, and lacks some features that have become standard. We can live without an ad-blocker, but the absence of split tunneling or no-spy servers is an issue. In total, ZenMate offers a decent package, but there's a lot of room for improvement.

Visit Website*
Bedienung & Features
7.4 / 10
2.

Server Network

Things look a bit different when it comes to servers, as since our last check-in (2019), ZenMate has more than doubled the size of its network, now having a presence in 77 countries and 2,900 servers around the world. As is common, Africa and Asia aren't as well-covered in Europe or North America.

ZenMate's server network has been steadily growing over the past few years.

Despite its progress, ZenMate still can't really come near to the best in terms of network size. Even its Kape Technologies counterpart, CyberGhost, has twice as many servers. Overall, ZenMate's network is nothing to scoff at, but it isn't particularly remarkable either.

Visit Website*
Server Network
8.0 / 10
3.

Performance

We measure the speed of all VPNs from our sample using a European-based server with a 1 GB/s connection. To accomplish this, we connected to random ZenMate servers in the US and Germany at different times of the day. More information about our methodology is available in our VPN speed test article.

The table below shows the average results from the last 365 days, arranged in order of download and upload speed (descending):

1.
NordVPN
195.6 Mbit/s
Download
42.9 Mbit/s
Upload
2.
Surfshark
191.7 Mbit/s
Download
42.8 Mbit/s
Upload
3.
Mullvad
200.8 Mbit/s
Download
18.1 Mbit/s
Upload
4.
ExpressVPN
175.0 Mbit/s
Download
42.0 Mbit/s
Upload
5.
HideMyAss!
167.7 Mbit/s
Download
16.1 Mbit/s
Upload
6.
TorGuard
166.5 Mbit/s
Download
16.3 Mbit/s
Upload
7.
hide.me
153.9 Mbit/s
Download
27.0 Mbit/s
Upload
8.
PrivateVPN
155.1 Mbit/s
Download
21.2 Mbit/s
Upload
9.
Proton VPN
154.8 Mbit/s
Download
18.8 Mbit/s
Upload
10.
IPVanish
156.4 Mbit/s
Download
15.0 Mbit/s
Upload
11.
PureVPN
113.1 Mbit/s
Download
41.4 Mbit/s
Upload
12.
TunnelBear
129.4 Mbit/s
Download
18.4 Mbit/s
Upload
13.
VPN Unlimited
109.6 Mbit/s
Download
37.6 Mbit/s
Upload
14.
ZenMate
126.3 Mbit/s
Download
18.8 Mbit/s
Upload
15.
CyberGhost
118.6 Mbit/s
Download
18.4 Mbit/s
Upload
16.
Private Internet Access
109.7 Mbit/s
Download
17.0 Mbit/s
Upload
17.
Windscribe
82.2 Mbit/s
Download
43.3 Mbit/s
Upload
18.
Hotspot Shield
79.9 Mbit/s
Download
38.8 Mbit/s
Upload
19.
VyprVPN
106.0 Mbit/s
Download
12.2 Mbit/s
Upload
20.
Perfect Privacy
99.3 Mbit/s
Download
12.7 Mbit/s
Upload

During testing, ZenMate clocked a download speed of 126.6 MB/s and an upload speed of 18.8 MB/s, entitling it to fourteenth place in our ranking, one below where it was in 2019. Nothing to write home about, but decent.

The diagram below shows ZenMate's average speeds over the past months:

MonatDownloadUpload
2/23February 2023
Download: 141.2 Mbit/s
  141.2
Mbit/s
February 2023
Upload: 17.2 Mbit/s
 
3/23March 2023
Download: 146.4 Mbit/s
  146.4
Mbit/s
March 2023
Upload: 18.7 Mbit/s
 
4/23April 2023
Download: 138.8 Mbit/s
  138.8
Mbit/s
April 2023
Upload: 18.0 Mbit/s
 
5/23May 2023
Download: 131.7 Mbit/s
  131.7
Mbit/s
May 2023
Upload: 17.3 Mbit/s
 
6/23June 2023
Download: 133.2 Mbit/s
  133.2
Mbit/s
June 2023
Upload: 17.4 Mbit/s
 
7/23July 2023
Download: 127.1 Mbit/s
  127.1
Mbit/s
July 2023
Upload: 18.4 Mbit/s
 
8/23August 2023
Download: 130.7 Mbit/s
  130.7
Mbit/s
August 2023
Upload: 17.5 Mbit/s
 
9/23September 2023
Download: 124.1 Mbit/s
  124.1
Mbit/s
September 2023
Upload: 17.3 Mbit/s
 
10/23October 2023
Download: 121.9 Mbit/s
  121.9
Mbit/s
October 2023
Upload: 17.0 Mbit/s
 
11/23November 2023
Download: 142.0 Mbit/s
  142.0
Mbit/s
November 2023
Upload: 17.0 Mbit/s
 
12/23December 2023
Download: 132.3 Mbit/s
  132.3
Mbit/s
December 2023
Upload: 17.9 Mbit/s
 
1/24January 2024
Download: 127.7 Mbit/s
  127.7
Mbit/s
January 2024
Upload: 18.1 Mbit/s
 
2/24February 2024
Download: 137.0 Mbit/s
  137.0
Mbit/s
February 2024
Upload: 18.5 Mbit/s
 

We also assessed how the service did in terms of everyday usage. For regular surfing, our connections were quickly established and without disruption. The kill switch was reliable and we didn't have to complete annoying captchas.

When streaming, our results were mixed: We were able to access foreign Netflix and Amazon Prime catalogs, however, we didn't have any luck with BBC iPlayer or Disney+.

In terms of performance, ZenMate finally steps out from CyberGhost's shadow, owing to the connection problems we had with the latter during testing. At the end of the day though, there are VPN services that make it possible to access content from all four streaming platforms (and more).

Visit Website*
Performance
7.4 / 10
4.

Security and Privacy

Both the desktop and mobile versions of ZenMate use AES 256, whereas the browser extensions feature 128-bit encryption. Among protocols, OpenVPN and IKEv2 can be selected, however, most users will probably stick with the default settings. Unfortunately, in contrast to CyberGhost, the newest protocol, WireGuard, isn't supported.

Since it's based in Germany, ZenMate cannot offer the same data privacy guarantees as its competitors in Panama or the British Virgin Islands. Germany does have relatively good data protection laws, but the country is a party to the multilateral 14 Eyes intelligence-sharing agreement. This won't bother most VPN users, however, ZenMate's privacy policy is not as robust as those of other providers.

The program passed our VPN leak tests for IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC without difficulty. Additionally, the kill switch is always activated, both in the desktop client and mobile app.

ZenMate passed all of our leak tests without issue.

ZenMate advertises a "No-Logs" policy, which is hotly debated by data privacy experts. In 2018, ProPrivacy determined that ZenMate could store connection logs without infringing upon its policy. Following Kape Technologies' takeover of the company, the privacy policy has been modified:

Since they share the same parent company, ZenMate's privacy policy generates as much concern as that of CyberGhost.

In the past, Kape Technologies (previously Crossrider) was caught spreading malware and other dubious practices. Those sins might have been atoned for, however, having such a questionable parent company doesn't shed a good light on ZenMate.

On paper, we can't fault ZenMate for anything, and the provider's software did pass our leak tests without issue. Since the provider hasn't submitted to any external security audits, we can't help but feel that something isn't as it should be.

Visit Website*
Security & Privacy
6.0 / 10
5.

Customer Support

Even though the company is based in Germany, (incredibly) its support center, featuring FAQs and guides, is only available in English. The same is true for the contact form, with ZenMate stating "Our support is provided in English owing to our international user basis."

When it comes to support, ZenMate only provides the minimum.

While other VPNs offer live chat and email support in a variety of languages, ZenMate falls a bit flat. It is somewhat frustrating that questions via the contact form are not answered with an automatic response or logged from the moment they're posed. An answer to our query came after four days, definitely making it one of the slowest services from our sample.

Visit Website*
Support
6.0 / 10
6.

Pricing

Monthly, annual, and three-year contracts are offered. You'll pay the most per month if booking a monthly ZenMate subscription, however, its three-year package is a bargain. A current price list can be found here:

3 years1 year1 Month
Monthly Price $1.64 $4.49 $10.99
Contract Period (Months) 36 12 1
Limits
Data Volume unlimited unlimited unlimited
Number of Devices unlimited unlimited unlimited
Features
Number of Servers 4,800 4,800 4,800
Number of Countries 78 78 78
No Server Logs
P2P Allowed
Tor Access
Kill Switch
Protocols
OpenVPN
PPTP
SSTP
IKEv2
IPSec
L2TP
OpenVPN
PPTP
SSTP
IKEv2
IPSec
L2TP
OpenVPN
PPTP
SSTP
IKEv2
IPSec
L2TP

A free version of ZenMate is marketed as a browser extension, however, you'll only be able to select from four different servers and have to accept throttled speeds of 2 MB/s.

ZenMate offers custom packages for organizations or businesses tailored to their needs.

Conclusion

Review
7.0
satisfactory
Visit Website*
Server Network
8.0 / 10
Bedienung & Features
7.4 / 10
Performance
7.4 / 10
Security & Privacy
6.0 / 10
Support
6.0 / 10

Perhaps it's unfair of us to be as critical of ZenMate as we have been, particularly since it has the same parent company as another service from our sample, CyberGhost. At the same time, there's no denying that CyberGhost offers more features, newer protocols, and a larger network. We can objectively state that ZenMate lacks several of CyberGhost's strengths while having all of the same weaknesses.

With regard to performance and speed, there's little to criticize. We liked that a free version is offered and that the three-year subscription is reasonably priced. Considering how much ZenMate's network has grown since our last review, chances are good that there will be more of the same. However, what we'd really like to see, even more than additional servers, would be an independent security audit.

ZenMate VPN
ZenMate VPN
(1,918 )
4800+ IP addresses
solid server network
potential privacy concerns
no split tunneling
average performance
7.0
satisfactory
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
6
Contract Period
1 - 36 months
ZenMate 3 years
$1.64
monthly price
Visit Website*

Customer Ratings

Based on the reviews that we evaluated, ZenMate enjoys a good reputation. The company's customer support is both praised and criticized. Some users emphasized the service's good performance, particularly when using streaming services.

Customer Ratings
3.3 / 5
1,918 Bewertungen
Visit Website*
We analyzed the reviews and ratings from various portals and found 1,918 ratings with an overall rating of 3.3 out of 5 .

Alternatives

CyberGhost, which is owned by ZenMate's parent company, offers additional features such as split tunneling and a larger server network while having a nearly identical appearance. We did run into some connection issues with it during testing, however.

The fastest service from our sample and our overall winner was NordVPN. In contrast to CyberGhost and ZenMate, NordVPN has submitted to external security audits, reinforcing its "No-Logs" guarantee.

More of the best alternatives to ZenMate can be found below:

Best Overall 2024
NordVPN
NordVPN
(877,857 )
NordVPN is our number one VPN because it combines speed, ease-of-use, and functionality in a slick package that's also pretty affordable.
5,500+ servers, 60 countries
excellent performance
no logs
6 devices simultaneously
affordable 2-year package
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
6
Protocols
5
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
NordVPN 2-year plan
$3.79
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
(736,465 )
ExpressVPN can impress with a strong performance, a huge server network, and excellently designed applications, but this quality also comes at a higher price.
3,000+ servers
160 cities in 94 countries
reliable performance
good for streaming
secure browser extensions
9.4
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
5
Protocols
7
Contract Period
1 - 12 months
ExpressVPN 12 Months
$6.67
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee
Proton VPN
Proton VPN
(144,686 )
With its open source philosophy and extra security features, Proton VPN targets security-conscious VPN users. But thanks to its user-friendly interface and suitability for streaming, it's worth a look for a wide audience.
open source & external audits
2,900+ servers in 67 countries
great performance
free plan without data limit
not suitable for China
9.1
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
1 - 10
Protocols
3
Contract Period
0 - 24 months
Proton VPN Free
$0.00
monthly price
Visit Website*
Free forever
Surfshark VPN
Surfshark VPN
(207,223 )
Surfshark is one of the cheapest providers on the market, but it's a lot more than a great budget option: the relatively new VPN boasts strong protection, many features, and a great support with 24/7 live chat.
3,200+ servers in 100 countries
unlimited number of devices
many apps (Linux, FireTV, ...)
cheap 24-month plan
expensive monthly plan
8.8
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
3
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
Surfshark 24 months
$1.99
monthly price
Visit Website*
Get 83% Discount
HideMyAss! VPN
HideMyAss! VPN
(86,656 )
HideMyAss' main claim to fame is its impressive server infrastructure, but the VPN also delivers solid speeds and handy features like its IP Randomizer. When it comes to streaming, however, it's not always the most reliable choice.
290 locations in 210 countries
IP Randomizer
strong performance
support with live chat
unreliable for streaming
8.6
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
5
Protocols
1
Contract Period
12 - 36 months
HideMyAss! 36 months
$2.99
monthly price
Visit Website*
30 days money-back guarantee
Top VPN Provider 2024
Sponsored
from $3.79
per month
NordVPN
from $6.67
per month
ExpressVPN
from $0.00
per month
Proton VPN
from $1.99
per month
Surfshark
show all
Author (German Version): Martin Gschwentner
Martin Gschwentner majored in American Studies and Media Studies in Germany, the USA and France and works as a freelance editor in Paris. He is a doctoral student at the Institute for English and American Studies at the University of Paris Diderot, where he is researching the influence of money on US politics. On EXPERTE.com he writes about IT security, data protection and software for the self-employed and small businesses.
Translation: D Bare
* Ad disclaimer: For links marked with an asterisk, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. The commission has no influence on our editorial rating.
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