Cloudflare's Warp VPN is now available to all: a first look
The company announced its Warp vpn service in April 2019 and invited users from all over the world to join a waiting list to test it.
The once-restricted VPN service is now available to everyone who downloads and installs the company's 188.8.131.52: Faster & Safer Internet application for Android or iOS.
Warp establishes a VPN connection on the device to route traffic through Cloudflare servers; this
hides the device's IP address and may improve performance and secures DNS and Internet traffic. Cloudflare suggests that Warp+ users see a 30% improvement in performance on average when loading websites.
Tip: if you are looking for a DNS solution, check out Adguard DNS.
The 184.108.40.206 application installs a VPN profile on the user's device when the option is selected. Cloudflare promises that it collects "as little data as possible" and that it won't "sell, rent, share or otherwise disclose" personal information.
The app displays the terms on first start; these reveal what Cloudflare collects and what it does with the data. Data may include the app installation id, the amount of data transferred through Cloudflare's network, and the average speed.
The registration ID is a unique random number that is assigned to each profile. Cloudflare notes that it is used for the referral system. The basic version of Warp is free and it has no traffic restrictions. Warp+ is an add-on service that improves the performance of connections made on the device by "avoiding traffic jams" and picking the fastest routes.
Users may refer others to receive Gigabytes of Warp+ traffic for free per month.Â The second option that is available is to pay $4 per month to get Warp+ Unlimited which enables Warp+ for the duration of the subscription.
Note: since there is no registration, you will lose the extra Gigabyytes of Warp+ bandwidth if you uninstall the app and reinstall it. Also, it does not seem possible to use it on multiple devices.
The Cloudflare DNS service 220.127.116.11 is always enabled and it may also be used without Warp if that is desired.
The application works automatically once you have set up the VPN connection. It requires no registration.Â The main interface displays a huge toggle to connect and disconnect the VPN. The 18.104.22.168 app displays a prompt when you disconnect that lists the following options:
- Pause for 15 minutes.
- Pause for 1 hour.
- Pause for this Wi-Fi.
- Until I turn it back on.
The pause for this Wi-Fi option requires that you give the app location permissions. On Android, you get a notification that informs you when you are connected and controls to stop the connection from the notification area.
The app has just a few settings. You may switch from using 22.214.171.124 with Warp to just 126.96.36.199 there, enable the dark theme, and open the connection options to disable the app for select applications.
Some applications may not work correctly when you are connected to the VPN; this may be the case for applications that restrict content regionally. Use the whitelist to exclude these to continue using them.
Two connection options -- protocol options and tunnel mode -- were grayed out in the Android version that I tested.
I ran several speed tests to test the performance of the service. The speed tests, e.g, Fast.com, were promising as the connection was maxed out when I ran them. It is possible that this may change in the coming weeks when more and more users start to use the application.
I did not notice any improvements in regards to the loading of websites but the loading was certainly not slower than before. I did not test Warp+ but plan to do so in the future to see if it speeds up the loading significantly.
All sites and services that I tried worked fine and without hitches. It needs to be noted that the app does not include any content blocking or protective features that other applications of its kind sometimes offer.
The 188.8.131.52 application gives users no control over servers and regions that it connects to. In fact, there is zero information about the server and region that you get connected to while using the application.
A quick IP check revealed that Cloudflare routed me through data servers in Germany. I would have preferred an option to pick another region/country.
Cloudflare's 184.108.40.206: Faster & Safer Internet application brings the company's DNS server and VPN service to Android and iOS. The VPN is free to use and without bandwidth limitations, but it limits options and features, and gives no control over regions and servers. Performance was excellent on the other hand and you get the benefits of being connected to a VPN.
Cloudflare is not without criticism though and there will certainly be Internet users who won't go anywhere near the application. Privacy-wise, I'm worried about the unique ID associated with an account even though Cloudflare states that it is only used for the referral system. It may be better than requiring users to create an account to use the application, however.
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