VPNs are among the most useful enhancements you can add to your PC or mobile device, making it possible to remain anonymous on the internet, safely surf public WiFi, bypass geo-blocking, and much more. However, when searching for the right provider, it helps to do so with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Disadvantages of ZenMate
Dubious parent company
ZenMate, along with ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access, is owned by Kape Technologies. A conflict of interest arises as Kape Technologies not only has several VPNs in its portfolio but also a handful of VPN review platforms. Even more alarming is the company's past; under its earlier name, Crossrider, they were criticized for spreading malware. While this doesn't necessarily mean that its subsidiary, ZenMate, has security gaps, scandals like this are hard to live down. This is a rather serious red flag, particularly in the VPN sector, where safety and privacy play a major role.
Lacks split tunneling
Split tunneling allows you to limit your VPN connection to certain apps or websites. This can be useful, for example, if you want to watch Netflix content from halfway around the world while downloading a large file at top speed from a physical location closer to home.
Only had a decent performance score
While your connections with ZenMate should be relatively smooth, their service is far behind the top-ranking providers from our sample in terms of performance. With little to offer besides decent upload and download speeds, the German VPN came in 14th place.
ZenMate doesn't offer live chat for interacting with its support staff; the only way to reach them is through a contact form. Unfortunately, we waited four days to receive a response to our query. Other VPN providers are both faster and easier to get in touch with.
Due to these shortcomings, ZenMate could only claim 19th place in our comparison. That means we'd recommend 18 other programs before settling on their service. Here's a brief introduction to some of the best alternatives.
The Best Alternatives to ZenMate
Faster Than ZenMate: NordVPN
Just because ZenMate placed 14th in our performance ranking doesn't mean that it's slow. In fact, its speeds are solid even when compared to some top-ranking VPNs, and should be more than enough for most situations. However, some VPN services are considerably faster—first and foremost, NordVPN.
The overall winner from our review series doesn't just deliver excellent speeds; it offers an especially user-friendly app packed with features, including split tunneling, double VPN, and Tor integration as well. Their customer support, including a live chat, is also top-notch.
NordVPN took first place in our EXPERTE.com VPN review.
We also have no complaints so far as NordVPN's security standards are concerned. They adhere to a no-log policy and back up their security promises by submitting to regular independent audits. We didn't identify any DNS (or other) leaks during our review.
Unfortunately, NordVPN costs slightly more than ZenMate but is still quite inexpensive compared to other services. All things considered, it's our first choice as an alternative to ZenMate.
User-friendly app including an interactive world map
Average server network
Few protocol options
Equally Inexpensive, but Better All Around: Surfshark
Surfshark is almost on par with NordVPN but has the added advantage of being somewhat cheaper to boot. For a minimally larger investment compared to ZenMate, you'll get a feature-packed VPN that delivers excellent performance (ranked 2nd in our speed test). Among its features are split tunneling, MultiHop, an ad adblocker, and a static IP.
Surfshark is slightly more expensive than ZenMate, but has much more to offer.
As such, Surfshark offers more bang for your buck than ZenMate, presenting an especially attractive alternative to the service.
Server network could be larger
Greater Emphasis on Privacy: ProtonVPN
Our main concerns with ZenMate were their affiliation with Kape Technologies and their lack of audits. Concrete security lapses, such as data leaks, were not identified while testing their program. However, that's a relatively low bar, especially considering how many providers take security to the next level. Foremost among these is the Swiss service, ProtonVPN.
When it comes to other VPN providers' scheduled security audits, ProtonVPN can only shake their heads; the company's apps have been completely open-source since 2020, which means anyone can access the source code and test it for vulnerabilities.
On top of that, ProtonVPN includes some useful security features that you won't find anywhere else. For example, in addition to a regular VPN connection, their "Secure Core" feature sends your traffic over secure servers in countries with strong data protection laws on the books.
ProtonVPN is a good choice for anyone concerned about their security and privacy.
ProtonVPN also offers an impressive free plan which doesn't limit your data traffic or connection speeds. You can't use the free version to bypass geoblocking on streaming platforms, but it's suitable for anonymizing your connection and is a good way to get a feel for what the Swiss provider has to offer.
Enhanced security features
Server network still growing
Few support options
The second place in our VPN comparison went to ExpressVPN, which is also owned by Kape Technologies. That being said, ExpressVPN offers a better overall package and picks up points for its routine security audits. Their service, however, costs more than four times as much as ZenMate.
UK-based HideMyAss has a huge server network and was among the top providers in our performance test. Users will also get access to some practical features such as automatic IP switching.
Like ProtonVPN, hide.me has a rather generous free VPN plan. While surfing isn't unlimited, the 10 GB they provide per month is much higher than what their competitors offer. Hide.me's server network could be a bit larger, but overall, the service managed "good" scores in all of the categories we tested it in.
In our comprehensive EXPERTE.com comparison, we tested and compared 22 providers across six categories, five of which were scored. These were, "Installation and Features", "Server Network," "Performance", "Security and Privacy", and "Customer Support". As we mentioned above, ZenMate didn't finish far from the bottom, coming in 19th place and only receiving a "satisfactory" overall score.
In our opinion, many other VPNs are preferable to ZenMate. Here's our complete ranking of providers:
We won't mince words: ZenMate didn't impress us during our VPN comparison. Among other concerns, we were disappointed by their lackluster performance, slow support, missing features, and questionable parent company, Kape Technologies. Luckily, there are numerous other VPNs that did better in some or all of these areas.
Our overall winner, NordVPN, delivers better performance and a stronger package overall. Surfshark offers a significantly better price-performance ratio, while ProtonVPN has higher security standards.
Our EXPERTE.com VPN comparison gives detailed insight into 22 popular services, nearly all of which (18), outperformed ZenMate.