Webroot WiFi Security Review

Webroot WiFi Security is the security brand’s relabelled version of SaferVPN, with a temptingly good value introductory subscription fee and some extra integrated features to protect against online threats.

Verdict

Webroot’s VPN service has a decent range of security features, although its lack of support for less than entirely typical use cases means that it won’t suit everyone. While its speeds were consistently below average in our tests, they weren’t slow enough to interfere with our online activities, but we’re not fans of its high renewal fees.

Pros

  • Allowed for international Netflix and iPlayer access
  • VPN kill switch

Cons

  • Expensive renewal rates
  • Logs some connection data
  • Below average throughput

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £31.99
  • Three devices £31.99/year
  • Five devices £47.99/year
  • Renewal billed at £47.99/£63.99 per year
  • Supports OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, PPTP
  • Clients for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS

What is Webroot WiFi Security?

It’s increasingly common for major internet security software makers to provide VPN (virtual private network) services among their product ranges. In the case of Webroot, a subsidiary of Carbonite, its VPN service is a white-label version of the SaferVPN backend infrastructure, whose operator, Safer Social, is based in Israel.

Webroot incorporates its own BrightCloud Threat Intelligence to provide an integrated web filtering feature. Unusually, it doesn’t cost more than SaferVPN’s own-brand service.

Related: Best VPN

Webroot WiFi Security – Features and usability

Clients are available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, but there’s no Linux support, no browser plugins and no instructions for connecting routers or other devices. This is definitely a VPN for typical home users rather than people with more complex requirements.

Note also that the iOS app doesn’t currently have a kill switch to cut off internet traffic and thus protect your privacy if the VPN connection drops unexpectedly. All the others do, but you’ll have to enable it in settings.

The WiFi Security Windows client’s core interface is simple, with an instant connection button and the option of opening a list of endpoints by country, with 34 available locations. There’s also a dedicated UK streaming server although, oddly, there wasn’t a non-streaming UK server listed when we carried out our most recent tests.

It has a somewhat wider range of settings than many of its big-name online security rivals’ VPN apps, allowing you to define trusted Wi-Fi networks, configure startup behaviour and switch VPN connection protocols.

Webroot WiFi Security – Performance

Endpoints/VPN UK Netherlands United States
Webroot WiFi Security HTTP 68.45Mbps 87.91Mbps 41.27Mbps
Webroot WiFi Security FTP n/a 79.18Mbps 20.04Mbps

We were generally disappointed by Webroot’s performance in our transfer speed tests. Although by no means unusably slow, its throughput was consistently below average when compared to its rivals. I also found that the client was a little slow to connect and disconnect from endpoints.

In the UK, I couldn’t successfully use FTP, even with repeated reconnection attempts to force myself onto a new endpoint. Over HTTP, though, I got a transfer speed of 9.95MB/s (83.46Mbps). 

Things were a little better from endpoints in the Netherlands, with HTTP throughput of 10.54MB/s (88.41Mbps) and FTP speeds of 8.44MB/s (70.79Mbps). Webroot’s best performance compared to rival services was in the U.S., where it achieved 7.48MB/s (62.74Mbps) over HTTP and 5.97MB/s (50.08Mbps) over FTP.

It’s not a bad service for video streaming, either, allowing me to watch Netflix, Shudder, and Crunchyroll from U.S. endpoints, plus BBC iPlayer from UK endpoints. I wasn’t able to convince All 4 that I wasn’t using a VPN, though.

Related: What is a VPN?

Should I buy Webroot WiFi Security?

Webroot WiFi Security bills its headline feature as the ability to automatically connect and protect you by routing all your internet traffic via its encrypted tunnels whenever you connect to an unsecured Wi-Fi network. This is actually pretty standard for VPNs and most of its rivals have the same feature built in.

It also provides the usual assurances of protecting your privacy online and region-shifting to access streaming content. Some logs are kept, including session timestamps, the VPN server the user connects to and the country they connect from, as well as housekeeping data such as the number of simultaneously connected devices. However, Webroot informs us that “WiFi Security does not collect users’ entry or exit IP addresses. It also does not collect their browsing activity, downloaded data (or shared or viewed data), or DNS queries.”

Initial subscription fees are reasonably priced, working out at around £31.99 per year for a three-device account and £47.99/year for five devices. However, automatic renewals are enabled by default and are surprisingly steep at £47.99 and £63.99/year respectively.

Verdict

Webroot’s VPN service has a decent range of security features, although its lack of support for less than entirely typical use cases means that it won’t suit everyone. While its speeds were consistently below average in our tests, they weren’t slow enough to interfere with our online activities.

However, we’re unimpressed by subscription fees that go up significantly when they renew. Windscribe is a faster and more versatile alternative for around the same price.

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