ProtonVPN review

ProtonVPN review.

Extremely safe and easy to use.

OUR VERDICT

ProtonVPN nicely encapsulates Swiss security in a VPN, with a fantastic free option, a strong no-logging policy, and unique features like multi-server connection routing and Tor over VPN. While the premium plans are a little pricey, ProtonVPN offers a lot of value for your money.

(+) FOR

  • Free unlimited plan is fantastic.
  • Apps are free and safe to use.
  • On the premium plan, there is excellent streaming support.
  • Apps for mobile devices are quite handy.

(-) AGAINST

  • Plus plan a little expensive
  • No WireGuard integration
  • No live chat

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ProtonVPN may very well tick all of the boxes for you if you’re looking for the best VPN that focuses on rock-solid security but doesn’t make too many sacrifices in terms of day-to-day usability. It’s a compelling proposition, with open-source programs, a rigorous zero-logging policy, P2P compatibility, and the finest free VPN on the market.

Nevertheless, there are a few areas where ProtonVPN lags behind the competition, so in this in-depth ProtonVPN review, we’ll look at what the Swiss provider has to offer, what features it lacks, and whether it’s the perfect VPN for you. All you have to do now is keep reading to learn more.

Latest updates

ProtonVPN now has over 1,200 servers around the world, with the launch of a server in Cyprus.

Android TV support is now available, allowing you to make use of ProtonVPN’s superb streaming capabilities.

Up to ten simultaneous connections are possible.

NetShield is a fantastic new addition to the suite. It’s a DNS-based web filter capable of blocking malware, advertisements, and trackers. It’s a powerful service with more configuration options than most competitors — you can choose to merely block malware or additionally block adverts and trackers.

ProtonVPN on paper

Number of servers: 1,200+
Number of countries: 
55
Platforms supported:
 Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chromebook, Android TV
Simultaneous connections:
 Ten
Split tunneling:
 Yes (Windows and Android)
Kill switch: 
Yes
Supported protocols: 
OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec
Country of registration:
 Switzerland
Support:
 Email, knowledgebase

Plans and Pricing

ProtonVPN is one of the most appealing free choices of any provider we’ve encountered. You may receive an ad-free service with no data logging and no bandwidth limits without paying anything. The only caveat is that you can only choose between servers in three countries.

Pricing for paid plans is a little more complicated. A basic plan costs $5 per month if paid monthly, however it costs $4 per month if paid annually and $3.29 per month if paid for two years. This includes P2P support, two simultaneous connections, and access to ProtonVPN servers in every region – but not the ‘Plus’ servers, which are geared for streaming.

You’ll need at least a Plus plan to get the Secure Core feature and content unblocking, which costs $10 per month ($8 per month if paid annually, $6.63 per month if paid over two years). This plan also includes 10 simultaneous connections, but it’s still a bit pricey. It’s definitely the one you’ll want because it gives you access to all of ProtonVPN’s servers and allows you to stream video.

If you really want to go all out, the Visionary option costs $30 per month and contains everything from the Plus package plus a complete ProtonMail subscription. The Visionary plan is dropped to $24 per month on a one-year plan and $19.96 per month on a two-year plan, but it still comes at a high price that we believe few customers will pay unless they require encrypted email and a VPN.

As an aside, with the ProtonMail Visionary package, which includes the VPN, is essentially the same.

ProtonMail is a great email service that prioritizes security without sacrificing usability – and the Visionary plan includes a lot of extras if you need them. Importantly, when you sign up for ProtonVPN, you may remain entirely anonymous. The platform allows Bitcoin payments and offers ProtonMail email accounts.

If you want to remain as anonymous as possible, this is a significant plus.

How private and secure is ProtonVPN?

ProtonVPN has an early advantage over the competition in that it is situated in the security-conscious Swiss canton of Zug. In contrast to much of the rest of Europe. Switzerland is not a member of any intelligence-sharing alliances such as the 5 or 14 Eyes, is not a member of the EU, and guards its data with zeal.

ProtonVPN’s no-logging statement is extensive, and it shows in practice — the only data stored is your very last timestamp, which is instantly erased the next time you connect.

While you can pay with PayPal and credit card (both handled by a third party and anonymous to ProtonVPN), you can also pay with Bitcoin or even cold, hard cash when you join up, on sign-up you can also use the company’s secure ProtonMail as your email. Apart from Mullvad, ProtonVPN is the only VPN worth signing up for that does this, making it the most anonymous VPN from start to end when compared to competitors.

Secure Core is one of the most interesting and unique features that ProtonVPN has to offer. This simply means that when you use ProtonVPN to connect to a server, your connection is routed via many of ProtonVPN’s most secure servers first. As a consequence, even if you visit a malware-infected website, network attackers will never know your real IP address or browsing history.

In the event that your connection fails, ProtonVPN has a built-in kill switch to safeguard your IP address. Although you can’t enable ProtonVPN to open a connection automatically when you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, you may set it to do so when you switch on your computer.

ProtonVPN offers a smaller server network than many other VPNs that charge similar or lower rates, with just over 1,200 servers scattered across 55 countries. There are few servers in Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East, but most nations have upwards of six servers accessible if you wish to connect to Europe or North America.

Privacy freaks will appreciate ProtonVPN’s Tor over VPN feature, which combines your VPN connection with the anonymous Tor network. All data is routed through the Tor network with a single click, providing the user with an extra degree of anonymity as well as access to Onion sites. Apart from NordVPN, there aren’t many VPNs that offer this as a built-in function.

Lastly, ProtonVPN underwent an independent audit by SEC Consult in January 2020. The findings were excellent, with just 11 problems discovered across all apps, none of which were considered high-risk.

While this may appear alarming, these audits are incredibly thorough, and when vulnerabilities are discovered, the developers are able to patch them.

Overall, we’re satisfied with ProtonVPN’s privacy and security, from cash payments to the audit, and if you’re looking for a private VPN to keep you safe online, we’re confident in stating it’s one of the finest available.

How fast is ProtonVPN?

Aside from anonymity, one of the most crucial elements of any VPN is connection speed, which may make or break a service. On a UK connection capable of 1Gbps speeds and a 600Mbps line, we put ProtonVPN to the test. We used services like Ookla’s SpeedTest and TestMy.net to measure speeds.

ProtonVPN delivered OpenVPN speeds of 300-310Mbps in the United Kingdom, which is rather good. The results were similar in the United States, with constant speeds of 280-290Mbps and some peaks of over 400Mbps.

In the grand scope of things, these are extremely useable, and they’re on par with some of the greatest OpenVPN speeds we’ve seen, particularly in the United States. However, companies that use WireGuard, such as NordVPN, and those that use in-house protocols, such as ExpressVPN, may achieve far faster speeds than any VPN that still uses OpenVPN.

So, while ProtonVPN is great for what it is, we should anticipate it to be even faster with WireGuard integration.

How good is ProtonVPN for streaming?

ProtonVPN promises to be capable of unblocking geo-restricted streaming content in addition to being a super-private VPN.

For many, Netflix will be the most crucial feature, and ProtonVPN was able to unblock both US and UK Netflix in our tests. In comparison, some providers, like as IPVanish, can only unblock US Netflix, while others can’t unblock it at all, thus this is a significant victory for Proton.

The BBC iPlayer is frequently more bothersome than Netflix, and the free streaming service is a thorn in the side of many a VPN. ProtonVPN, on the other hand, unlocked iPlayer without a hitch, and we were able to watch without difficulty.

Following that, we were able to unblock Disney+ and, to round off the picture, we were able to access US Amazon Prime Video from three distinct locations.

So, the Swiss VPN has delivered an outstanding performance, but there is one catch. You’ll need to upgrade to the Plus plan to obtain access to all of these capabilities; the Basic and Free plans don’t include content unblocking as standard.

How good are ProtonVPN’s desktop apps?

ProtonVPN has desktop software for Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as mobile versions for iOS and Android. The user interface is simple and modern, and it includes a map that shows all of the company’s active server locations. If you don’t like the map, you can turn it off and only see the server list.

It took roughly seven seconds to connect, which is a little slower than some other VPNs we’ve used, but not by much. We also liked how the list of accessible servers is color-coded to show latency and load, so you know what to expect when you join.

The ‘profiles’ feature of ProtonVPN is a handy usability gimmick that allows you to preserve your frequently used settings. For example, you may have discovered that a specific server works very well for accessing US Netflix or P2P, but you also use a randomized Dutch connection for day-to-day browsing. You can connect to either with a single click if you save them as profiles.

You’ll also find a wealth of information in-app, like your IP address, time connected, data up and downloaded, server load, and typical connection speeds.

You can adjust options like the kill switch, split tunneling, enable Quick Connect, and DNS protection under settings, which is a pleasant surprise. For us, everything went well, with no settings sticking or refusing to alter (a surprisingly common issue with software like this).

By the way, that kill switch is quite effective. Whatever we tried to throw it off, it always worked as predicted and didn’t expose our genuine IP address.

There are a few drawbacks, such as the ability to only use OpenVPN (IKEv2 can be configured manually) and the lack of auto-connect on insecure networks, but these are minor annoyances.

How good are ProtonVPN’s mobile apps?

It’s a bit like deja vu on Android, as it’s nearly identical to the Windows build. The map, Profiles system, and nation list will all be the same. You’ll also be able to set up split tunneling, a kill switch, NetShield, and a lot more – the only feature lacking is custom DNS servers, but IKEv2 is significantly easier to set up on Android than it is on PC.

The iOS version has a somewhat different look and feel, but it’s clearly the same program. However, due to iOS’s constraints, it’s a leaner build, with some functionality such as split tunneling missing. It’s actually fairly complete, and it accomplishes a lot of the same things like the Android and PC apps.

You don’t like Proton’s apps? There is no need to be concerned. All of its OpenVPN config files are available for download and usage in any app or device. That gives you a lot of options, and you can even download everything as a zip file.

Support

ProtonVPN’s customer service could be better, as the company only provides email help. Although there is an online knowledge base, it does not cover a broad range of topics, and the supplied manuals are brief. Even so, you’ll most likely be able to find answers to typical issues like connection setup or troubleshooting.

We’d like to see some kind of live chat incorporated, as most of the top players do, and it’s more useful than you might believe. VPNs of all types can have issues with shady servers or incompatibilities with other software, and being able to receive a solution in minutes – or even seconds – is considerably preferable to waiting for an email response. Proton, on the other hand, responded to our test emails within a day and provided extensive, practical solutions.

The competition

ProtonVPN’s subscription package isn’t cheap, and it’s not the only VPN that provides outstanding security and privacy while still allowing you to watch. If you sign up for a two-year membership, Surfshark costs just $1.99 per month and has a similar no-logging policy.

If you’re ready to spend a little more for the best, ExpressVPN offers a one-year plan for $6.67/mo, which includes outstanding speeds, exceptional security, and industry-leading live-chat support.

ProtonVPN: Final verdict

If you value privacy and security, ProtonVPN is one of the best VPNs we’ve seen. Secure Core is a one-of-a-kind feature that makes it nearly impossible for even the most sophisticated assaults to capture your IP address. It’s also a good addition to be able to create network profiles for rapid access.

ProtonVPN’s sole drawback is that accessing the service’s most intriguing features is a little pricey. Although we like ProtonVPN’s free service, there are cheaper alternatives if you want to upgrade to the Plus or Visionary plans. It does, however, provide a unique blend of functions, so if it can supply what you need, we’d say it’s well worth the money.

 
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