Features and Pricing Summary:
Network: Servers in 61 countries
Software: Windows, Mac
Refund Policy: 5 day guarantee
Retail Price: $4.95 to $9.95/mo
Discount Price: Save 37% Off
Welcome to our OverPlay review. OverPlay is a well known VPN service, and it has several features that are different from other providers. If you are looking for a way to view blocked content, a quick scan of their website shows that they offer two solutions, depending on your desires. We will take a look at those solutions in a moment, and explain the differences.
Prices and Discounts
If you have shopped around for VPN services, you realize that different providers may have various prices for their product, even if the product is similar. Remember while shopping, that good VPNs do not have to be high priced. OverPlay seems to have found a nice balance point between cost and features, and their normal cost is $4.95/mo or $49.95/year for their SmartDNS service alone, or $9.95/mo or $99.95/year for their VPN + SmartDNS package. However, Overplay has agreed to give our readers an additional 25% off of the first billing cycle, whether that is 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or a year. Have a look at the pricing below when using our discount. As you can see, there is certainly a discount applied.
As far as payment goes, OverPlay offers a few ways to pay for their service. They accept 3 major credit cards: Visa; MasterCard; and Discover. They also offer PayPal as an option. PayPal will renew the payment for you, and it is a good way to manage your subscription. The fewer people that have your payment data, the better. OverPlay also has a well documented 5 day money back guarantee.
Of course, every VPN provider is different. They all have different features, and here is where we will go over some of them for OverPlay. But first, let’s talk about the SmartDNS service that we mentioned earlier. SmartDNS is a little different from a VPN, and as you can see, the cost difference is substantial. What a SmartDNS does, is allow you to see blocked content from other countries, without any sort of speed loss. It does this by altering the computer or device’s settings to trick the geo-tracking technology. By doing that, as it shows on their home page, you could watch Netflix, Hulu, or any one of the other streaming services they offer. The catch is, it does not encrypt your traffic. It is a splendid tool though, if you just want to watch blocked content from other areas. First, we will talk about two of the features of their SmartDNS service.
One of the cool features of OverPlay SmartDNS we liked is called the JetSwitch. By logging in to their site, JetSwitch allows for rapid switching between zones of services like Netflix. That means if you are in one location, you can quickly and easily change the region you wish to view in. Another cool feature is the ability to set up the SmartDNS service with gaming systems. If you are familiar with games, you are aware that some games are not available in some areas. Also, since these devices can stream things like Netflix, you could choose to watch that way as well. OverPlay’s SmartDNS service supports PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U.
For their VPN service, OverPlay’s network includes servers in more than 60 countries. Within those countries, there are more than 140 servers in 76 locations around the world. If you are planning on using their SmartDNS service, you may gain access to popular streaming companies like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Pandora. If you are not aware, Pandora is a free music streaming service that is only available in 3 countries. So, if you are traveling overseas and want to watch your favorite shows, or try music streaming, you have a variety of options available.
Since the image above does not list the entire network, we will provide you with the full list of countries below.
Europe – Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
Americas – Argentina, Brazil, Bahamas, Chile, Canada, United States, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Venezuela.
Asia – China, Fiji, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey.
Africa and Oceania – Australia, Egypt, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Though some of the countries we just listed are not mentioned on their website, they are located in the client. That means they have recently added servers in more locations.
As with anything that is encrypted, you may expect a slight speed loss. When we performed our speed test, we were surprised to see a very minimal 5% reduction in speed. To be honest, you probably would not be able to tell the difference between 63.53 mbps and 66.32 mbps. In addition, you can see a small ping increase. There is only a 10 ms difference between the two readings, though. Again, a difference of 10-25% is considered reasonable because of the level of encryption, but a 5% loss is nearly unheard of. Make sure when choosing servers to select the OpenVPN (UDP) protocol, because it is the fastest and most secure.
Security and Privacy
VPN services use protocols to provide encryption. Each one of these protocols use their own algorithms to encrypt your data, and on OverPlay’s desktop version, you have 4 options. Those options are OpenVPN (UDP), OpenVPN (TCP), L2TP, and PPTP. Whenever possible, you will want to use either the UDP version, or the TCP version of OpenVPN. Whereas both of the versions offer 256-bit encryption, UDP is the fastest. If you have connection issues, OpenVPN (TCP) is the approach to take. It may be slower than the UDP version, but the data is error checked.
OverPlay provides email support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They also have a help center. There, you may post public questions and get them answered by the community. They also offer step by step guides in setting up their products. We like the fact that the guides are so straight forward. They make it easy for even the most basic of users to accomplish the goal. Only the possible addition of a live chat feature would improve their support.
OverPlay’s VPN service supports all major operating systems, whether mobile or desktop. Of course, that support covers:
- Windows – XP or newer
- Mac OS X 10.6 or newer
Please note, the VPN service may be used on Tomato and DD-WRT routers as well. Moving on to OverPlay’s SmartDNS service, the options are more open. Here is the list of device compatibility for SmartDNS:
- Mac OS X
- iOS 8 or newer
Consoles/ Streaming Devices/Routers:
- PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U
- Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Samsung Smart TV
- D-Link, Asus, Linksys, Netgear, 2wire, Apple, TP-Link, Fritz Box, Hauwei, DD-WRT
It is pretty clear that there is a large amount of support for devices, no matter which one you want to use to connect with. We are glad to see such a wide assortment of choices. This way, all you would have to do is log on to the website, choose a region in the JetSwitch feature, and you could stream any region of a service like Netflix, right from your favorite streaming device.
Now, we will take a look at the sign up process to demonstrate how easy it is to get started. First, you will want to start by clicking on the amount of service you want. We recommend the year subscription, because that is the most cost effective. At first, you will see the the setup screen, with the normal pricing. To get our deal, you must use a promo code in a field where the red arrow is located.
Once you enter our promo code in, you will see a message that says your discount is applied. Then, you may proceed to account creation. To create your account, there are a few fields you need to enter. We are glad to see that it is the bare minimum required to create an account. Not all VPN providers require such little information. The fields required are user name, password, and email address. After entering that, you use minimal payment information. The black arrows in the picture below point out the new rate, and the cost savings.
How to Use OverPlay for Windows
OverPlay is pretty easy to use, but we will take you through the process by using the Windows client first. Once you download the software, locate the file and click the install button. After installing, you will see a simple main console like this. By default, OverPlay uses our favorite protocol for streaming, OpenVPN (UDP). If you wish to choose another protocol, go to connection at the top and click advanced mode. Otherwise, you may leave that alone. We prefer the advanced mode, because it gives us additional information like server lag (ms numbers).
- Assuming you are going to use the regular mode, simply pick the country you wish to use. As an example, we will use the UK. Find the UK flag as shown by the red arrow, highlight the row, and click the connect button.
- Once you do that, the connection box shrinks to half of the size of the box on the right. The word connected shows up in yellow in the center of the box, and the disconnect button is right under it.
- Now, you are free to view content, just as if you were in London.
How to Use OverPlay for Mac
We will now go over the process for using OverPlay on the Mac. You first need to go to the website and download the Overplay client for OS X.
- Choose the location you wish to install the program on, whether it is the Macintosh HD or another location. Then, enter your password to allow changes.
- Next, go to your applications folder and find the OverPlay icon
- Double click the icon to open the program, and enter your login information.
- Clicking login will bring up a screen that looks like the image below.
Now, simply select a server like the ones shown above, click the connect button, and you may view content just like you would be able to if you were located there.
How to Use OverPlay for Android
For this section, we will start with directions for Android. Unlike the versions for Windows and Mac, the Android and iOS versions of the OverPlay software only support 2 protocols: L2TP and PPTP. We are normally accustomed to seeing stand alone software applications for Android and iOS, but neither exist for OverPlay. Instead, they have you go to your settings on your phone and add the VPN manually. You then pick the server you want to connect to, based on a list they provide. It does work quite well, but it is always nice to see stand alone mobile applications for VPN services.
We mentioned earlier that the support center has guides, and connecting to OverPlay from your Android device is one of them. Here is how you add a VPN to your Android device.
- Go to the settings button.
- Select the Wireless controls button.
- From there, go to the VPN settings link.
- Add a basic VPN by selecting the phone or carrier (it does not matter).
- Select whichever protocol you want to use, either L2TP or PPTP.
- Enter the server address provided by OverPlay.
- Push the save button, and if you are ready to connect, the connect link.
How to Use OverPlay for iOS
- From your home screen, go to the settings button.
- Select general, then network, then VPN.
- Now, go to add VPN configuration and select PPTP or L2TP.
- Just pick a server you want to connect to, and make sure the RSA SecureID is set to off. Encryption level should be set to auto, end all traffic should be turned on, and the proxy should be set to off.
If you want to use SmartDNS, we will give directions below for the Windows version. However, there are thorough instructions on the website, and they are specific to which device you want to use.
Access your Favorite Streaming Service
In recent news, there has been chatter about the crackdown on using VPN services while streaming content. The most well known company that has implemented this block is Netflix. If you are a Netflix subscriber, you know that every region has different titles, and the country with the largest number of titles is the United States. When Netflix made this move, subscribers were not allowed to use a VPN to stream content, even if it was in their home region. This has caused some backlash, because VPNs are primarily used for privacy protection, and should not be blocked.
Netflix was not the only media company to implement a block. Other favorite streaming services include BBC iPlayer in the UK, and Hulu in the US. These streaming providers would all be blocked if you try using the old method of connecting to a server in that country. However, OverPlay offers a different method that we’ll discuss shortly.
*Note* All OverPlay members have access to a SmartDNS service that’s included as part of their VPN service. Using this SmartDNS feature will help you circumvent the VPN blocks currently in place by popular streaming services.
Netflix – Receiving the error message that says “something went wrong” is never fun. Netflix also states in the message that they have detected a proxy, and you need to turn it off to be able to access content. That is the message you will see if you try to access the US library while using a VPN. If you connect to another region, you may not see this error, but certainly will when trying to connect to the US version.
BBC iPlayer – The UK is great for watching wonderful programming, and one of the more popular streaming sites is for the BBC iPlayer. Eleven different channels have feeds there, covering a variety of genres. Trying to access the iPlayer from outside the UK will lead you to a message that says you must be in the UK to watch this programming.
Hulu – If you are not familiar with Hulu, it is a joint venture by several terrestrial US TV stations. Without creating an account, you may watch several episodes of popular shows, providing you live in the US. Much like Netflix, we got the message that methods of protecting your privacy were not allowed.
The method that Overplay uses to assist their members involves changing your computer’s DNS entries to match their servers. SmartDNS is offered as a stand alone service, and it is also included with the VPN service. They give you the information to manually enter, so you will be able to gain access to the streaming services we just mentioned, and others. We will walk you through the setup for using SmartDNS by demonstrating this procedure on Windows.
Your first step is to log in to the website, and click on the box that says SmartDNS. After doing so, you will see a screen that looks like the one below.
Next, you will want to click on the link as shown by the red arrow. Select the guide that matches your operating system. The guide they show will walk you through locating your DNS settings. Once you do that, OverPlay shows the SmartDNS settings that you will enter. Then you are setup, and you may use the Jetswitch feature as you see above. Since many devices have DNS settings, you can change them on a number of different devices. Like we mentioned earlier, some of those include Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Apple TV, Roku, and various routers. That is all there is to setting up the SmartDNS service, and viewing content in other locations.
Favorite features for OverPlay:
- Competitively priced
- No restrictions on traffic
- Great support via support center and straight forward guides
- SmartDNS may purchased alone or bundled with VPN service
- Software is easy to use
- JetSwitch feature for region switching on SmartDNS
- Available for all devices
- Great Speeds
- Multiple servers/countries
Thoughts to make OverPlay better:
- A live chat feature
- Stand-alone mobile VPN software
- OpenVPN support on mobile
To conclude this review, OverPlay is a no nonsense VPN service. They do not have the flashy interfaces, but they seem to be adding countries and servers all the time. They are very competitively priced, and offer both SmartDNS and VPN options. Their JetSwitch feature makes it very easy to change regions and unblock channels quickly. That is a real plus in the wake of media companies blocking streaming content. Their interface is sleek and minimalist, and their software works as intended. As you saw by our speed test, they also have a very fast network. Please be sure to use our promo code to receive 25% off of VPN and Smart DNS service. OverPlay gives new members 5 days to test their service, which is plenty of time to make a good decision.