McAfee Safe Connect is a basic and affordable VPN aimed at users who are not looking for a complex security solution on the market. Available for multiple platforms and not too expensive, Safe Connect does some things well and also benefits from McAfee's more comprehensive support services. But the picture is not so positive when you start to dig deeper.
There might be a problem for Netflix users, while the information about key security features can be much more extensive. So it's a mixed bag. Our McAfee Safe Connect review will take a closer look at why we reached this conclusion and assess whether this is the VPN for you.
|Range||No. 138 out of 232 suppliers|
|Support||24/7 live chat|
|price||Starting at $2.92/month|
|Free or trial version||yes 7 days|
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security and privacy
As for encryption, Safe Connect has "bank grade" protection, which usually means AES-256. However, that's all the information the company provides about encryption, which is disappointing. There is no specific information about handshake methods, different configurations, or even the protocols available to users. That's pretty bad for a product that claims to be a top VPN. Still, the "bank grade" must be a strong level of protection.
There's also very little about IP address anonymization and leak protection. McAfee doesn't detail what's available in these areas, only promising that the app "hides your IP address". The client also simply gives you a "green light" for protection and a "red light" when protection has not been activated. It's kind of a black box when it comes to privacy, and users have to trust the developers. We don't like that at all.
As we said before,Safe Connect is a simplified VPN, so there are very few additional security features. There is no Stealth VPN or built-in malware scanner, and most importantly,we could not find any evidence of a kill switch. It really matters. Without a kill switch, you won't know when your VPN coverage drops, potentially leaving you open to cyber attacks and surveillance (and compromising your ability to work with geoblockers). She is a great lady.
Finally, McAfee is an American company, with all that that implies. If you are worried about NSA surveillance or malicious P2P demands, this is not a secure VPN to download.
Does McAfee Safe Connect keep logs?
Short answer: yes.
speed and performance
Bank-grade encryption and some degree of IP anonymization might make Safe Connect worth using if your connection speed is top notch. With a lightweight VPN from a large company like McAfee, this should be the case. But it is not.
In speed test comparisons, Safe Connect performs relatively poorly.Download speeds tend to be 65% slower than our standard speeds, and rarely exceed 40 Mbps. These speeds also vary greatly between server locations. This can be really frustrating for travelers or people looking for access to European streaming sites.
Upload speed levels tend to be slightly better, averaging around 60 Mbps. This is decent, but not outstanding. We also found that lag times were too long for multiplayer games, another big pain point for many VPN users.
As with all other aspects of Safe Connect, McAfee does not provide us with sufficient information to make a definitive judgment about server coverage.
We knowservers are located in 18 countries, which provides nearly worldwide coverage. But this is really a small community of servers compared to otherbest paid vpn, providing users with very few options.
Again, this is an area where Safe Connect simply cannot match the industry leaders. It's actually pretty pathetic.
Ease of use and cross-platform support
Users can download client apps for:
There is no service for Mac and no service for Linux users.
You can't install it on Kodi or streaming devices like the Amazon Fire Stick, and there's no router implementation. It really does the bare minimum, as far as the platform is concerned.
However, the apps available are very simple and easy to use. The mobile app is easy to install and quick to master, particularly given the lack of features to play. Adds a neat lock icon to your status bar, letting you know when protection is on, and doesn't take up much memory.
By downloading the VPN, you can also use it on 5 devices. So you can add protection to PCs and smartphones if needed. You can also pay extra for additional devices, which gives you a degree of flexibility you don't get from all VPNs.
Unblock Netflix and other streaming platforms
Many users will be directed directly to this section as using VPN to unblock Netflix is one of the must-haves for any effective provider.
Unfortunately, McAfee fails miserably on the Netflix front.
Using this VPN, we had very little luck breaking through the streaming platform's geoblockers. So whether you want to watch your favorite TV show abroad or just want to maximize your options, choose a different tool to beat geo-restriction policies.
The same applies to other platforms like Hulu or BBC iPlayer.. And, as noted above, Safe Connect is not compatible with devices or streaming platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire Stick. So Amazon Fire users will definitely want to look into other options.
Check our list ofBest VPNs for Netflix.
P2P e torrents
McAfee does not mention torrenting on the Safe Connect website, and secure torrenting is not a VPN selling point. However, that doesn't always mean that providers can't offer decent speeds.
Unfortunately, that's not the case with Secure Connect. We had trouble getting any kind of P2P connection, and there's no SOCKS5 proxy option either. The absence of a kill button also makes it a total wash for torrenters.
Check our list ofThe Best VPNs for Torrenting.
Bypassing online censorship in China and elsewhere
McAfee is strongly committed to defeating censorship. This is one of the most attractive features of the company. But does it serve countries like China?
Online comments suggest thatSafe Connect struggles to defeat China's online surveillance. However, there is hope. In 2018, McAfee bought VPN provider TunnelBear, and TunnelBear has a decent track record in China.
There's no sure sign that Safe Connect has integrated TunnelBear technology (for example, it doesn't use TunnelBear's network of servers), but that could change. However, at this time, Safe Connect is not a great option for anyone trying to beat censorship.
For a large IT corporation, McAfee provides very little help through itsfrequently asked questions, which has to be one of the least informative we've ever seen. However, customers using Safe Connect benefit from McAfee's broader customer support services.
- Live phone support
- 24/7 live chat
- Tickets by email 24/7
- social media teams
So getting in touch shouldn't be that difficult, but the absence of a dedicated Safe Connect support service is odd. There is no sign of a dedicated telephone support line for VPN users. This would be useful, especially for a service launched for first-time users.
McAfee Safe Connect comes in a few packages:
- Book- Comes as a 7-day free trial, which resets automatically on a paid plan. It has a limit of 250MB/month, only allows 1 device and offers a single server location.
- Award- Charges $7.99/month or about $1.66/month annually, has no monthly data cap, supports 5 concurrent devices, and offers the full 18-server portfolio. 24/7 live chat and email support will also be available.
Both packages feature "bank-grade" encryption, while the premium version promises to "geo-block access to content". It's unclear why the free version failed to unlock this content, and we've seen little sign that the premium version could actually handle the blocks imposed by companies like Netflix.
There's also no clear refund policy or money-back guarantee. Usershe canit apparently asks for a refund, but this is not detailed on the Safe Connect website, which suggests that McAfee is not very fond of customers looking for a solution.
In short, the verdict of our McAfee Safe Connect review is: stay away unless you just want a very basic VPN service. McAfee's entry-level VPN is unreliable, lacks basic security features, isn't that fast, offers poor performance for streaming fans, and isn't that cheap either.
Add in the lack of information about how it works, and we can't recommend it for most users.
Why won t my VPN connect to McAfee? ›
What to check if your VPN doesn't connect to the internet. Verify that a firewall app or other VPN app is not conflicting with your McAfee VPN. If you have another security product or VPN installed, either uninstall or temporarily disable them. Try connecting to the VPN on another network.Is McAfee Safe Connect VPN worth it? ›
If you're looking for a short-term solution for up to a year, then McAfee can be a decent option to go for. Paying only $2.92 for a month gives you an easy-to-use VPN application that is fairly safe, unblocks most major streaming sites, and is fast enough to have a quality time.Does McAfee VPN hide my IP address? ›
Personal VPNs, such as McAfee VPN, are becoming increasingly popular with home users for the following reasons: Privacy: A VPN replaces the IP address of your device with a different IP address, effectively hiding your location.How good is McAfee Safe Connect? ›
Safe Connect uses strong AES 256-bit encryption by default. Weaker encryption isn't an option. To put it simply, this type of encryption would take a supercomputer many years to crack. AES 256-bit encryption makes sure that your data traveling through the Safe Connect VPN is safe and secure.Should I turn on VPN with McAfee? ›
Is the McAfee Safe Connect VPN safe to use? The McAfee Safe Connect VPN is safe to use thanks to its 256-bit AES encryption. 256-bit AES encryption is the industry standard for VPNs, which ensures that your internet traffic and IP address stays hidden from your ISP.How do I stop McAfee from blocking VPN? ›
- Click on the McAfee icon in the lower right of the desktop or locate the software in the start menu.
- Click on Turn on VPN or Turn off VPN option (whichever displays) in the pop-up .
- Choice will be confirmed by a second pop up.
Since your VPN is your best form of protection against hackers and helps keep your information private, it's best to leave your VPN on whenever you're on the internet.Is NordVPN better than McAfee? ›
Yes, NordVPN is a better choice than McAfee VPN. It is faster, more secure, doesn't log any user data (unlike McAfee VPN), and has tons of useful features.Does McAfee VPN slow down internet? ›
VPN might slightly reduce your internet speed
It's common to notice a small reduction in speed while using a VPN. This reduction in speed is caused because your data travels through additional, secure servers. There might also be several other reasons why you experience speed loss when using a McAfee VPN product.
No, your web traffic and IP can't be tracked anymore. However, if you use a poor quality VPN, you could still be tracked.
Does VPN hide browsing history? ›
VPNs can hide your search history and other browsing activity, like search terms, links clicked, and websites visited, as well as masking your IP address.
Just to recap what we discussed above, VPNs hide your browsing history from your router, ISP, and search engine by encrypting your internet traffic. The encryption takes place before the data leaves your device, and only the VPN server has the decryption key.How do I enable VPN on McAfee? ›
- Once you reach the “Settings” menu, select “Wireless & Networks” or “Wi-Fi & Internet.”
- From there, select “VPN” (depending on your device, you may first need to tap “More”).
Sometimes, servers go down for maintenance and the VPN app doesn't update in time, giving you the option to connect to a server that's actually inaccessible. If you can connect to one of your VPN's other servers, this is likely what has happened.What causes VPN not to connect? ›
Problems with VPN connection can be caused by firewalls, blocked ports, outdated VPN software, or a malfunctioning router.Why is VPN not able to connect? ›
If your VPN won't connect, this could indicate that your app has a bug, or maybe its setup is corrupted. Check this out by removing or uninstalling your VPN, then downloading and reinstalling the latest version.