Cloudflare's Warp VPN is now available to all: a first look - gHacks Tech News

ADVERTISEMENT

Cloudflare's Warp VPN is now available to all: a first look

Cloud provider Cloudflare launched its privacy-focused DNS service 1.1.1.1 in 2018 and published apps for Android and iOS in the same year.

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 1.1.1.1: 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.

Cloudflare Warp

cloudflare vpn warp

The 1.1.1.1 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.  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 1.1.1.1 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. The main interface displays a huge toggle to connect and disconnect the VPN. The 1.1.1.1 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 1.1.1.1 with Warp to just 1.1.1.1 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.

Experience

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 1.1.1.1 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.

Closing Words

Cloudflare's 1.1.1.1: 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.

Now You: Do you use VPN apps?

Summary
Cloudflare's WARP VPN is now available to all: a first look
Article Name
Cloudflare's WARP VPN is now available to all: a first look
Description
Cloud provider Cloudflare launched its privacy-focused DNS service 1.1.1.1 in 2018; the VPN service Warp is now available for users of the app.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
Logo
Advertisement

Previous Post: «
Next Post: »

Comments

  1. Raj said on September 25, 2019 at 8:25 am
    Reply

    Thanks Martin for this article. I already use the cloudflare private dns on my android device. Will the warp make any difference?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 25, 2019 at 8:26 am
      Reply

      It protects your traffic from certain monitoring and manipulation attempts.
      Edited to reflect that the app does not hide the IP address.

      1. Kyle said on September 25, 2019 at 8:32 pm
        Reply

        It specifically says in the blog post: “It will not hide your IP address from the websites you visit.”

        I’ve tested and confirmed this is accurate. The VPN does not conceal your IP. Going to a what is my IP site will reveal the same IP when on and off the VPN.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on September 26, 2019 at 7:24 am
        Reply

        Thanks, I corrected this.

      3. AnorKnee Merce said on September 26, 2019 at 9:27 am
        Reply

        @ kyle ……. Are you using Cloudflare’s Warp VPN together with the 1.1.1.1 DNS.?

        VPN encryption prevents your ISP from seeing the IP addresses you are visiting and the destination server of the website you are visiting from seeing your source IP.

        Eg China’s Great Firewall of China requires her ISPs to firewall/block/censor certain “unholy” websites via DNS/IP-address blocking. In China, Google Search, Google Maps, GMail, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, NYT, etc websites(= IP addresses/DNS) cannot be accessed by local subscribers of local ISPs. VPNs can be used to bypass this. Many foreign expats and locals in China do this, ie use VPNs.

        In USA, the US government’s FCC forbids the ISPs from doing any censorship/blocking of its subscribers and collecting their private user-data, except when ordered to do so by the FISA courts.
        ……. Other countries are not as “free”. Their ISPs can often do Deep Packet Inspection of their subscribers’ suspicious web-traffic, in order to hunt for “rule-breakers and law-breakers”. Only VPNs can counter this.

        Some video-streaming websites enforce geo-blocking, eg Hulu and CBS restrict their videos to only IP addresses in USA. To bypass this restriction, you need a VPN which has servers in various countries/regions like USA, UK, Europe, Asia, etc, and allows you to change the geo-location or region of the VPN server.

      4. Ray said on September 26, 2019 at 2:15 am
        Reply

        Ok thank you for the explanation.

  2. Anonymous said on September 25, 2019 at 10:46 am
    Reply

    I hope the VPN service from Cloudflare will be change the VPN market overall, the prices and service, because its a “big player”. We have so many VPN services out there, a couple good ones but most of them are trash.

  3. Tomm said on September 25, 2019 at 12:31 pm
    Reply

    Even normal Warp which is free, feels somewhat faster compared to older 1.1.1.1, and connection is encrypted.

  4. Paul(us) said on September 25, 2019 at 12:32 pm
    Reply

    Thanks, Martin, great follow up from previous related articles, but it’s also a not only a good find but also a fluidly written (And therefore a pleasant reading) article.

    I am reading that there coming soon with a desktop version of the program.
    https://blog.cloudflare.com/1111-warp-better-vpn/

    Any ideas when that will be? Around the commercial smart beginning of the (web) physical shop holders, preferred customers Christmas gives buying period?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 25, 2019 at 12:34 pm
      Reply

      I don’t have any info on the desktop programs unfortunately.

  5. Anonymous said on September 25, 2019 at 12:40 pm
    Reply

    That’s a big part of the business of the Cloudflare “privacy company”: centralizing internet traffic through their servers (reverse proxies, DNS, VPN…) under reach of the dragnet state surveillance-friendly and illegal corporate data sale-friendly US jurisdiction, and tagging as many internet users as possible with unique identifiers. Tagging users with unique IDs with their MITM reverse proxies that intercept and decrypt traffic on a big part of the web. Tagging Tor users of a same exit node with different unique IDs. Hooray for privacy, Cloudflare saves us all.

    And now tagging users of their VPN with account information or referral IDs for no good reason except collecting more specific use data because the free part of this service seems open to everyone (and another bad reason anecdotally: Cloudflare wants to reward you for sharing referral codes, a system that allows to map social networks). Of course, your IP and the IP you’re visiting are stored by Cloudflare, and they comply with their legal obligations regarding what to do with their data as good citizens of the nation that brought us the Patriot Act.

    1. Anonymous said on September 25, 2019 at 1:10 pm
      Reply

      +2
      Cloudflare is the new Google
      No thank you.

  6. Anonymous said on September 25, 2019 at 1:53 pm
    Reply

    This service IT IS NOT a VPN.

    1. John Fenderson said on September 25, 2019 at 11:54 pm
      Reply

      Why do you say that? It sure looks like a VPN to me…

  7. ULBoom said on September 25, 2019 at 2:24 pm
    Reply

    VPN’s on phones don’t give much in the way of privacy, they can’t because phones can’t legally be locked down but location spoofing and IP obfuscation can be useful as long as users are sure mobile data isn’t being transmitted.

    Ad and tracker blockers are valuable features; phones work much better without the added noise but these fuctions should be separate from VPN’s. A VPN that offers anything but VPN service raises doubt; cloudflare does well in that regard but fails by not including server location info. Introducing WARP on phones, where very few users have the first clue about what it does is shaky.

    At least some user info has to be logged to make a VPN connection and return requests to the correct device. Good (real) VPN’s delete logs on or soon after disconnect, what about cloudflare?

    Cloudflare, regardless of all the online speed sites that show them to be near the top, is slow for me. Their claims of security and privacy combined with unclear explanations of MITM configurations read like a smokescreen for just another data collection company. “May include” may as well be “whatever we want.”

    The VPN’s I use (no point on our phones) are very clear with how they operate. I left Proton VPN and Protonmail when they started uploading crash data with no way to disable, then my free email account hostage for discontinuing the VPN subscription. No trust there anymore.

    1. BM said on September 25, 2019 at 4:10 pm
      Reply

      “VPN’s on phones don’t give much in the way of privacy, they can’t because phones can’t legally be locked down”

      Seems to be two separate issues, but not sure what “Legally be locked down” really means.

      Of course the carriers have to know your device and that it is authorized to use their service.

      But, does that mean they can read / decrypt the traffic you are sending through a VPN?

      1. John Fenderson said on September 25, 2019 at 6:39 pm
        Reply

        @BM: “not sure what “Legally be locked down” really means”

        I was wondering the same thing. Did I break the law when I locked down my phone?

    2. TelV said on September 25, 2019 at 6:35 pm
      Reply

      @ULBoom,

      Have a look at Mullvad if you’re concerned about privacy. They don’t want your email addy, or your phone number and in fact they don’t even want to know who you are. https://mullvad.net/en/

      They have 300 OpenVPN servers and 103 Wireguard servers. I use the latter even though it’s still in Alpha since Mullvad can be combined with a SOCKS5 proxy to block the connection if something goes pear-shaped.

      1. Richard Steven Hack said on September 26, 2019 at 1:51 am
        Reply

        That looks like an interesting service. They use openVPN and have quite a few servers inside the US.

        How are their servers’ perfornance? I use Private Internet Access which on Linux also uses openVPN – and fortunately someone developed a script which sets it up so I don’t need to be an openVPN expert whereas PIA’s own help is mostly useless. PIA’s servers tend to be OK, but do drop occasionally or slow down horribly for no known reason. This can happen every day or so, depending on the server selected.

        Using Network Manager (I’m on KDE on openSUSE) it’s easy to swap servers – hyst click disconnect on one, and connect on the other in the list from the desktop. On Mullvad, it appears one has to open the openVPN conf file and swap the server specification, then restart openVPN, which is a bit more complicated. Hopefully one doesn’t have to do it too often.

        Mullvad costs 5 Euros a month, PIA costs me $6.95 US (new prices are $9.95 but I’m grandfathered in on the old price.)

  8. Edu Fernandes said on September 25, 2019 at 3:50 pm
    Reply

    It does not work for me, i am still on the waitlist.

    1. Edu Fernandes said on September 25, 2019 at 3:53 pm
      Reply

      But cloudflare has stated to update to the latest version, rsrs.
      But there is no version to update to… Grr.

      1. Edu Fernandes said on September 25, 2019 at 3:54 pm
        Reply

        Oh wait, a update is available… rsrs.

  9. nobody said on September 25, 2019 at 5:46 pm
    Reply

    Damn, pretty soon i must leave completely the internet….even the last few (3 or 4) sites i still visited in the last year.

    Seems that this new empire (aka uncle sam GLOBAL surveillance state) got us all off guard. You have to admire what they’ve managed to do in about 30 or 40 years (only N Korea remaining “off-grid” as of today, but soon to be “integrated”).
    Remember it took the Ottoman Empire about 600 years to do the same for only 10% …and that by sword on the most part.

    Sorry! Martin, really loved your insights…

  10. svim said on September 25, 2019 at 6:25 pm
    Reply

    Can anyone actually provide a link or links that definitely prove Cloudfare is outright lying about their statements on privacy and security? This isn’t meant to be snarky or dismissive about those accusations but there are a lot of postings online that are all opinions and rationalizations. It would be helpful if there’s actually some evidence out there that’s more substantial than ‘don’t trust Cloudfare’ because I don’t’ statements.

    1. nobody said on September 25, 2019 at 9:41 pm
      Reply

      No offense, but do you really think an internet site or a text written on some paper will stop a government do it’s surveillance?

      To answer your question (my research took about 5 minutes starting from scratch):
      https://developers.cloudflare.com/1.1.1.1/commitment-to-privacy/privacy-policy/privacy-policy/

      “Cloudflare has agreed to provide APNIC with access to SOME of the data that Cloudflare collects ……. APNIC will be permitted to access query names, query types, resolver location and OTHER metadata ……”

      Didn’t find were SOME and OTHER metadata is detailed….anyway, let’s now check APNIC privacy Statement:
      https://www.apnic.net/about-apnic/corporate-documents/documents/corporate/privacy/#2.6

      “2.6 APNIC may also disclose personal information about you if such disclosure is:
      Reasonably necessary for one or more enforcement activities conducted by, or on behalf of, an enforcement body; or”

      No further comments….

    2. Cigologic said on September 26, 2019 at 3:25 am
      Reply

      > svim: “Can anyone actually provide a link or links that definitely prove Cloudfare is outright lying about their statements on privacy and security?”

      Residing in a regime where the ruling entity uses “man-in-the-middle” for internet censorship purposes, I can understand web users’ concerns regarding Cloudflare’s MiTM service. The below article by FireEye’s chief security strategist explains in detail what the issues are — albeit using Cloudflare’s partnership with Baidu as an illustration …

      Dark Cloud: Why CloudFlare’s Deal with Baidu could Haunt US Tech Companies (15 Sep 2015):
      https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/9akxv3/cloudflare-baidu-partnership-yunjiasu-china

      And there are other security, privacy & continuity of service issues including (but not limited to) the following …

      Astaroth Trojan Uses Cloudflare Workers to Bypass AV Software (02 Sep 2019):
      https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/astaroth-trojan-uses-cloudflare-workers-to-bypass-av-software/

      US Tech Giant Cloudflare Provides Cybersecurity for at least 7 Terror Groups (14 Dec 2018):
      https://www.huffpost.com/entry/cloudflare-cybersecurity-terrorist-groups_n_5c127778e4b0835fe3277f2f?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

      Phishing Attacks distributed through CloudFlare’s IPFS Gateway (04 Oct 2018):
      https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/phishing-attacks-distributed-through-cloudflares-ipfs-gateway/

      Cloudflare Worldwide Outage Caused by Bad Software Deployment (02 Jul 2019):
      https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/technology/cloudflare-worldwide-outage-caused-by-bad-software-deployment/

      Adware Launches In-Browser Mining Sites Pretending to be Cloudflare (16 May 2018):
      https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/adware-launches-in-browser-mining-sites-pretending-to-be-cloudflare/

      Typo in Cloudflare Server Source Code Leaks Customer Info, Cookies, Passwords (27 Feb 2017):
      https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/typo-in-cloudflare-server-source-code-leaks-customer-info-cookies-passwords/

      Personally, I find Cloudflare more annoying than anything else. It literally stands in the middle & blocks me from accessing various websites — as if the MiTM tactics by the ruling regime at my location are not sufficient. Once in a blue moon (like 1 out of 100 times), Cloudflare kindly offers me a CAPTCHA to verify that I am human, but proceeds to keep blocking me after I solved the CAPTCHA.

      The blockade can occur up to several times per week — even when it is the first time I have ever tried accessing those web domains, & even when I use a vanilla mainstream browser over a normal web connection.

      Apparently, Cloudflare blocks a huge majority of TOR network’s IP addresses. But I have never even tried TOR, torrenting, etc. (The ruling regime at my location monitors these, & I am not keen to get on the national blacklist.)

      The Trouble with CloudFlare (TOR Project – 31 Mar 2016):
      https://blog.torproject.org/trouble-cloudflare

      Or if Cloudflare doesn’t block me outright, one of those “rocket-loader.min.js” scripts served over ajax.cloudflare.com would give me grief by displaying the webpage for a split second, before turning it blank. (And blocking ajax.cloudflare.com would break major functions on the affected site.)

      Or perhaps when Cloudflare does allow me through, it might be serving me an altered version of the webpage from one of its CDNs — this I wouldn’t know.

  11. dante said on September 25, 2019 at 6:50 pm
    Reply

    I use the PrivateInternetAccess that Ghacks had recommended in the past. Would never trust CloudFlare. And NO I DON’T hope that CloudFlare change the VPN model to full advertising Tracking.

  12. asd said on September 25, 2019 at 8:50 pm
    Reply

    There is no such thing as “free VPN”. They must be making money off of you somehow.

  13. Q said on September 25, 2019 at 9:52 pm
    Reply

    The Android software did not seem to work properly for me, I could not get past the Privacy Policy page. I would receive an error (something like “an unknown error has occurred”) when trying to continue.

    I tried versions 3.2 (745) and 3.0.0 (737) of the Android software.

    Privacy-wise, it should also be noted that the versions I tested include the following add-ons (types):
    Firebase Analytics (Analytics), Fabric (Potential Analytics), Instabug (Crash Reporting), and Google InApp Billing (Licensing)..

  14. Yuliya said on September 26, 2019 at 12:05 am
    Reply

    >Cloudflare
    No.

  15. Richard Steven Hack said on September 26, 2019 at 1:58 am
    Reply

    I use Private Internet Access. It’s OK for $.6.95 a month, but any given server is likely to drop connections every day or every other day. I run openSUSE with KDE, so Network Manager makes it easy to select another server. I rather doubt it’s a good idea to rely on the company selecting the server for you automatically.

    As for privacy, I only used a VPN to “route around” the unfortunate tendency for AT&T’s DSLExtreme service (rebranded) to slow down doing file downloads. Nothing else was slow, just file downloads. Using a VPN avoided that for some reason.

    Now I’m on Comcast Xfinity Internet Essentials (at one fourth the cost and three times the speed than DSL – I’m a veteran in supported housing, so I qualify for the special price), which doesn’t have that problem. So now I use a VPN to just keep the files I download – and everything else I do – more or less not subject to inspection by my ISP, no matter who it is.

    Not sure I see any real advantage to switching to Cloudflare’s VPN. While I don’t trust PIA, I wouldn’t trust Cloudflare any more – and not being able to select servers seems like a deal-breaker, even if it turns out that they’re really good at maintaining a given performance level regardless of server.

  16. Steve said on September 27, 2019 at 2:06 pm
    Reply

    Based on comments posted on the Google Play store, which I tend to agree with, 1.1.1.1 Warp has some issues that Cloudflare needs to address.
    The previous release was much better, IMHO.

    1) The warp version is a battery hog! When the app is activated, my battery went from 100% down to 88% in under an hour.

    2) I could not open many apps,…Firefox, Banking apps, etc, without first adding them to the Exclusion list. Never had to do that before.

    Hopefully, Cloudflare is aware of the “bugs” and will fix them soon enough.

    3) I have read in various Forums that this app is NOT a VPN, in spite of what Cloudflare claims, so that also needs to be addressed.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 27, 2019 at 2:27 pm
      Reply

      Steve, I noticed the app blocking issue as well.I hope they are going to fix it soon.

  17. Shadess said on September 27, 2019 at 3:29 pm
    Reply

    Not seen anyone explain the difference between Warp and Warp+ in a way that actually explains it very well.

  18. MirkaSlav said on September 30, 2019 at 12:30 pm
    Reply

    Well, I’ve been using nordvpn since forever. Firstly I got it for the full price, then I got a coupon from a youtuber. The server list is one of the best in the market, also p2p servers/obfuscated servers. Tbf the price could be a little lower (without the coupons, as it is fairly easy to find them) but I’m really happy with the services provided. I was tempted to go to pia once, but in the end I chose to stay with nordvpn

  19. sajadhamid said on October 21, 2019 at 11:39 am
    Reply

    thanks for this program

  20. sajadhamid said on October 21, 2019 at 11:39 am
    Reply

    thanks for all

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.