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Lucas Novac



Published: January 25, 2024

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star 7.1/10
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ZenMate Review – Is It Safe in 2024

Nowadays, the market offers a variety of VPNs with different features for consumers. The questions of online security and free internet become more prominent day by day. It is a hard task to pick a decent provider among a tremendous selection of them.

The first way implies immersion into VPN settlement, security features, encryption types, and other technical stuff. But it will cost you tens of hours to study the materials and gather all the new information together in order to obtain a holistic imagination about the virtual private network. Instead of enjoying the free time of life, you will be compelled to waste it on the VPN’s materials.

The second way is to appeal to our dedicated resource, where you can find comprehensive intelligence about free VPN providers. Our team has a strong background in this field, which allows us to create accurate, clear, and comprehensive reviews. We do not jump over your head and explain materials in a human-readable form without complex terminology or definitions.

We discover distinctive sides of each service supplier: safeguard options, privacy policies, speed possibilities, and more valuable points of a virtual private network. All you need to do is select a particular provider and spend 10–15 minutes reading. It will be enough to create for you an imagination about VPN and the capabilities of the particular vendor. We hope our job will facilitate you gaining what you came for.

  • Easy installation
  • No registration
  • 8 security features
  • Fuzzy privacy policy
  • The US server gives zero speed performance
  • Only four locations available
  • German server throws an error
  • No ability to choose a protocol
  • No information about the existing protocol
  • Does not work in countries with high restrictions
  • No information about the pricing
  • Live support does not work

ZenMate VPN Features

The guest of our review is a German-based provider who developed VPN software for different platforms such as macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Chrome browser, Opera browser, Mozilla browser, and Edge browser.

The free software is available only for browsers; hence, the review is devoted to Google Chrome as the most popular member of the group. Believing the information from the official website, you may get an unlimited number of devices, lightning speeds, 77+ global server locations, and a strict no-logs policy.

But our task is to figure out if these conditions are applicable to the free software. The next sections describe this VPN from different sides, where we will see the real state of affairs.

Privacy and Logging

The ability to get strong privacy on the web is one of the VPN’s most important functions. There is no universal set of rules for maintaining confidentiality for all providers. Indeed, the peculiarities are very distinctive: some VPNs may collect a full pack of all possible personal sensitive data, while others adhere to a stringent no-log approach.

We have discovered the current provider’s privacy policy page and will show you the basic positions. After this section is finished, you will definitely be aware of what you may expect.

VPN service collects username and password
The first  screenshot from the privacy policy page.

When you use ZenMate software, their system will collect your username and password. It is not sensitive data that can disclose the user’s identification. According to this table, the provider can share collected information with Cyberghost VPN. The reason is that these two providers merged in 2023.

VPN collects name and email
Some more personal information.

As described in the screenshot above, the user’s name and email will also be collected for communication purposes. The current company shares this data with such services as ‘Google Analytics’, ‘Kayako’, ‘AWS Storage’, and ‘CDN Hosting’. If you do not agree to provide the mentioned information, you will not be able to contact ZenMate staff.

The description of measures for users data protection
How powerful it sounds, but what does it really mean?

It is a favorite thing of the VPN providers to write some important things superficially. How should we imagine what they are talking about here and how reliable it is? A big barn lock is hanging on the entrance door to their servers, a security guard is sitting nearby, and behind the door there is a screen where you need to enter a four-digit pin code?

These measures also fit their explanation, but it is nothing more than gibberish. It would be nice to know what exact measures and steps they implement to protect users’ data. On paper, it may seem good, but when it comes down to it, there can appear to be a ‘surprise’.

VPN retention of users data
And again, there is no finite amount of information.

The explanation about data retention is very ambiguous. This paragraph can testify about any random period of time that comes to mind. Consequently, you can delete an account and forget about this application; nonetheless, they will use your personal information for years ahead because they can store private data for longer periods of time, as mentioned in the screenshot above.

For example, it is clear when you know that the company stores your data for no longer than 30 days after the account is erased. But in the current case, their formulation is a pretext for period manipulation and an unlimited time range.

Possible situations when ZenMate can share users data
There are several cases when the provider shares personal data.

To summarize, ZenMate can actively share consumers’ data because of the set of reasons predicted above in the screenshot. It includes third parties, legal obligations, and the business’s reconstruction activity.

It means that all their partners can receive your data. The second point from the list about the law and regulation as well implies a vast range of situations to share the users intelligence; they do not write specific cases with specific circumstances, only a vague, superficial explanation that can lead to very different derivatives.

Lack of information about an important point
More provisions about data transfer.

According to the second bullet, consumers’ data is accessible from Israel. And a weird situation is that they did not finish the description: after the ‘You can read more here’ phrase, there should be a reference to a specific document that explains the specific cases when it is possible.

It seems that they simply forgot to write it down. Such behavior looks weird, especially for the company that offers its service globally.  

ZenMate age limitation
Age limitation is a responsible practice, but we wish for a better implementation.

The ZenMate VPN does not address their services to individuals under 18 years old, but we have not seen any measures from their side to detect the user’s age. Hence, in reality, any user under the age of 18 can easily use their service.

VPN service logs files
Log files for technical demands?

It is not the first or second time we meet fuzzy explanations. Log files can contain various information: it can be some technical data like timestamps when users use the VPN, and it can also be the URLs of visited sites. Considering that the current provider does not like to reveal details about his practices, we assume that logging files may include online users’ activity and possibly other sensitive data.

Third-parties have an access to users data
Third-parties can independently gather users’ data.

We want to emphasize that the provider allows the gathering of identifiable personal data and activity through his software. Identifying data encompasses distinctive valuable assets such as IP addresses, locations, billing details, device identifiers, etc. Almost all instances of identifying data are considered to be sensitive information; thus, despite any precise information they collect, such an approach does not suit strict privacy practices.

We have looked over the main provisions of the ZenMate privacy policy, and now you can build your own vision if this statement suits your needs. And now we are going to the next chapter.

Speed Tests – How Fast is ZenMate VPN

Each VPN software impacts the connection speed but does it differently. Some of them can take all the capacity of the internet service provider’s (ISP) speed, while others cause slight losses. There are a lot of details in the technical settlement of the software and hardware influencing internet velocity.

However, users do not require details about programming architecture; they need to know speed. Thus, we are not going to scrutinize the engineering stuff in this section; our main point is just to understand the real speed of the current VPN.

ZenMate issued programming provisions for various platforms, but the free version is available only for browsers. We will observe just Google Chrome, as it is the most popular representative among the browsers.

PC Test

This section is empty, seeing that the provider has not prepared a free application for the desktop.

Browsers’ Extensions Test

Usually we do measurements for two locations: one from the US region and another from the European region. Sometimes providers do not provide an option to choose servers for free software, so we utilize just what is available. In the current situation, we were able to conduct speed investigations both for US and European geos.

Three main indexes are important for us in this exploration:

  • The download speed index shows how fast your local device can consume the traffic;
  •  The upload speed index  shows how fast you can push content from your device to the web;

Ping time response reflects the response latency from a server or another user. This identification is especially notable for live-time events like online meetings, online video, audio calls, and gaming.

The initial speed without VPN
The genuine speed of the ISP.

The screenshot above illustrates the internet service provider’s speed rates. The indexes are:

  • The download speed is 76.15 mbps;
  • The upload speed is 50.79 mbps;
  • The ping time is 6 ms.
ZenMate for Chrome shows bad performance of the US server
US location.

As we see, the American server’s adjustments are bad; the speed tester even could not initialize the measurements. There is no benefit from this free location because it can not provide a liable connection; the test has failed. We tried to relaunch it several times, but the result was always the same.

ZenMate for browsers shows speed for the Romanian location
Romanian location.

The indexes of the Romanian server are:

  • The download speed is 62.93 mbps;
  • The upload speed is 51.45 mbps;
  • The ping time is 38 ms.

The download speed index loss is nearly 17%, the upload speed index demonstrated an improvement of 1%, and the ping time response increased from 6 ms to 38 ms.

The deterioration of the download speed is not critical, but it went beyond its affordable value. If the ISP speed is slow, it may cause some inconvenience. The upload speed index showed better performance than the initial speed, and the ping time is satisfying for real-time events.

Mobile Test

This section is empty, seeing that the provider has not prepared a free application for mobile.

About Safety – How Secure is ZenMate VPN?

In the ongoing section, we will discuss safeguard features intrinsic to the ZenMate extension for Chrome.

ZenMate security menu
Settings menu.

The security functionality includes four items. At first, we will describe the three last items, and in the second order, the ‘Privacy’ tab, because it is a separate unit that contains eight internal options.

  • Stealth Connection feature removes your cookies and clears your browsing history and cache. Once you disconnect the VPN, Stealth Connection erases every trace of your online browsing activity from when you first connected to ZenMate. Do not confuse this feature with the Stealth protocol, these are different things;
  • Smart Location feature enables users to customize how ZenMate connects to your favorite websites by automatically switching locations when you visit them;

Whitelist  feature that is also known as a Split Tunneling function. The main point of it is that you can manually define what URLs to route directly to the ISP network bypassing the VPN tunnel. Every site name or URL string that you type in will not be transferred through the VPN environment.

And here is the Privacy tab to show what it has.

Items inside the privacy feature
Security options of the ‘Privacy’ tab.

  • Tracking Blocker feature protects your privacy by blocking third-party services from tracking online activity;
  • Malware Blocker feature enables blocking of malicious sites and code snippets before they can reach your browser;
  • WebRTC Protect will ensure that your IP address will not be revealed online.
  • Stop Network Predictions stops Google from tracking your activity via network predictions, as Google logs previously visited websites;
  • Stop SafeBrowsing Tracking: Google tracks your visits to unsafe websites via their SafeBrowsing feature. To ensure complete privacy, you can turn off the Google SafeBrowsing feature by enabling the current option.
  • Private Credit Card feature prevents your banking details from leaking to malicious parties by stopping your browser’s autofill function.
  • Private Address feature prevents third parties from accessing your geographic information by disabling your browser’s address autofill settings.
  • Block Cookie Connection feature blocks websites from collecting cookies without your consent.

Generally, this security suit inspires confidence when you see it at first, but the provider did not share any technologies that stay behind these options. There is no information about the fundamental safeguard technologies, such as protocols used and encryption algorithms.

Nonetheless, this optionality gives more liability, but without a decent basis, it can be useless in the case of a real threat.

Desktop Apps

This section is empty, seeing that the provider has not prepared a free application for the desktop.

Mobile Apps

This section is empty, seeing that the provider has not prepared a free application for mobile.

Browser Extensions

In this section, we are going to illustrate the visual representation of the extension and its general features in order to raise your awareness about it.

ZenMate VPN extension design
The main screen of the application.

The extension for the Chrome browser has a classic pop-up design and contains four interactive elements on the main screen:

  • The hamburger menu icon in the left upper corner includes the general menu;
  • The Settings icon in the right upper-right corner encompasses security features that we observed in the previous section;
  • Turn-off/on button in the center;
  • Location field right away under the turn-off/on button.
The general menu of the VPN provider
Filling of the hamburger menu icon.

The menu is quite clear: four ordinary items with simple meanings that do need an auxiliary description.

An additional benefit of the free extension is that you do not need to proceed with the registration process; just install and use it. During the investigation, we did not meet any bandwidth limitations or session interruptions.


The speed abilities of the US and European regions contrast. The American server could not even launch the speed test because of too high latency or the significant velocity deterioration.

The Romanian server demonstrated very opposite results: the download speed index a bit exceeded the level of affordable loss value, and it is not critical. The upload speed index has improved, and the ping time response is good for running live-time events.

We found that the German server does not work and almost always reports an error when you try to launch it.

Work in Highly Restricted Countries

There is no information about this topic on the official website or inside the app.

Server’s locations

The servers’ network for the free plan is very lean and counts only four locations: Germany, Romania, Singapore,and the US.

Location selection of the ZenMate VPN
However, the German location does not work and almost always reports an error.

VPN non-working location

If you try some quantity of times to relaunch it, the application can show that you finally initialized the connection, and here we met another drawback: it is not true. In reality, you are running the last connected server, but not the German one. Any online tool that can detect location will show you that.

What Bonuses Does the Paid Version Offer, and How Much Does It Cost?

At the moment, the situation is not clear because in 2023, ZenMate VPN merged with CyberGhost VPN, and there is no information now as to the pricing of ZenMate. The ‘Upgrade now’ button in the extension leads as well to the CyberGhost pricing page.

According to the features description on the ZenMate website, you can get 77+ global locations, applications for desktop, mobile, and other platforms compatible with the provider, an unlimited number of simultaneously connected devices, and speed improvement.

About Support

On the official website, you can find in the footer of the website the ‘Support’ page. 

The support page on the ZenMate website
Only predefined topics.

This page contains a lot of instructions and answers to common topics and questions. Unfortunately, ZenMate does not offer dedicated live support. We found some of their emails on the privacy policy page and sent a message, but did not get an answer.

ZenMate VPN Review: Final Verdict

ZenMate VPN, a free extension for the Chrome browser, needs enhancement from different sides. Their privacy policy has a lot of gaps that do not inspire confidence in strict confidentiality. The US server has significant speed issues that do not allow you to use the service at all. One location does not work, and it is palpable, seeing that there are four free locations. 

The security functionality possesses many interesting features, but we do not know how reliable they are because the company did not share information about the safeguard fundamentals. Live support does not exist, and there is a misunderstanding about the pricing because of ZenMate’s integration with another VPN. Summarizing all the facts, we can not suggest current providers as reliable service.