PrivateVPN Review 2017

Summary: PrivateVPN is a Swedish-based zero-log VPN provider that offers support for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and other devices. It also provides a wide variety of connection protocols for power users. Read our PrivateVPN review to see how it fares against the competition.

For a secure and private VPN connection, get PrivateVPN here.

PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN Review – Pros and Cons

PrivateVPN is a Swedish no-logs VPN provider with a small server network. It offers a clean user interface and the ability to easily select from a connection protocol but falls down on user support and connection speed. Here are PrivateVPN’s strengths and weaknesses at a glance.

PROS:
  • Fast installation – running in minutes
  • Ability to specify connection protocols
  • Netflix works through US servers
  • Currently offering a 25% discount
  • Signups can be totally anonymous

CONS:
  • Small server network
  • Performance bottlenecks in some locations
  • No chat or phone support
  • Windows client is relatively simplistic
  • No two year subscription package

You can be sure to stay anonymous when surfing and streaming with PrivateVPN. Their price is competitive and you have enough time to decide whether you want to commit to a contract with their 30-day money back policy.

Overall Score for PrivateVPN: 82/100

PrivateVPN

8.2 Total Score
PrivateVPN Review

Usability
8
Speed
8
Privacy
10
Support
7
Value
8
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PrivateVPN Setup and Usability

 PrivateVPN is very straightforward to setup. Windows users simply log in to the download area at privatevpn.com, click on the link to the executable file from the setup guide, and select the Private VPN download file. After a two minute installation process, users will be prompted to restart their computer. At this point, valid login credentials need to be entered in order to access the tool. (Unfortunately there is no such thing as a Private VPN free version, so a current subscription to the service is required. You can however try them for a 30-day trial period, money back guaranteed).

Windows support guides

Android and iOS users can download PrivateVPN either via app in their respected app store or via a link on the website. Linux users can access the tool through a command line interface (CLI) or via network manager add-ons. The company does not currently offer a GUI for the open-source operating system..

Second stage setup screen

The user interface is simple and intuitive with only three main sections: the dashboard (which conveniently lists the external IP and current connection protocol), a basic settings area, and connection guard for configuring leak protection.

  • Basc settings configuration
  • Basic settings

Rating: 4/5. Installation and the user interface couldn’t be much easier, but we’re deducting one star for requiring a system restart to complete the setup process.

PrivateVPN Features

 Feature #1: Connection Protocols

Probably the most noteworthy feature of the PrivateVPN service is the wide variety of connection protocols that it offers. Although all VPN access involves tunneling encrypted traffic through a remote server, there are different encryption protocols ranging from relative newcomers such as IKEv2 to those that work better with older hardware such as PPTP (Point to Point Tunneling). For users that want to get under the hood of the VPN and enjoy the flexibility that choosing a protocol offers, PrivateVPN is one of the best vpn services on the market. Advanced protocol selection has been widely praised in other Private VPN reviews.

Feature #2: Server Network

As for the VPN itself: PrivateVPN operates over 80 servers in 55 locations around the world, giving users a relatively wide choice of connectivity options although overall this is still a small server network.

  • Connection to Dalllas with VPN protocol options
  • Choosing a server

Feature #3: Leak Protection

PrivateVPN offers both IPv6 and DNS leak protection.  Although it is not yet ubiquitous, IPv6 can cause leaks which give away both users’ locations and allow traffic to be intercepted by those monitoring the network.

Feature #4: Kill Switch

In addition to leak protection, PrivateVPN features a kill switch feature that automatically blocks the internet connection if the VPN link goes down. The programs that are automatically terminated if the link to the Private VPN Server is interrupted can be manually configured from within the UI.

Feature #5: Remote Installations

If even the thought of downloading and executing an installation file sends you recoiling in fear, worry not! PrivateVPN offers a fully-fledged remote installation service in which a customer service technician will temporarily gain access to your computer and get the service up and running (they’ll help with Windows, Mac, and even Linux installations!).

Rating: 4/5. PrivateVPN’s main differentiator is its support for multiple connection protocols and the ease of manually selecting these from within the program. The server network is adequate but small but remote installation support is a nice touch. Overall, its features are nothing extraordinary.

For a secure and private VPN connection, get PrivateVPN here.

Can PrivateVPN Unblock Netflix?

If you hoping to purchase PrivateVPN exclusively to gain access to Netflix’s multimedia library from a geo-restricted region, you have no reason to worry about wasting your money on a subscription that won’t help them achieve their objective. We’re happy to report that we had success accessing the website through the company’s New York server, and did not receive the dreaded proxy error. In total, the company operates seven servers throughout the USA so even if one falls afoul of the company’s blacklisting efforts, users should be able to access Netflix through other servers in the network.

Rating: 4/5. The company hasn’t been blocked by Netflix yet and the money back guarantee makes trying PrivateVPN to watch Netflix essentially a risk-free proposition.

PrivateVPN Price

As of the time of writing this PrivateVPN review, the company is offering a 25% discount on its usual prices. The deal is even sweeter for those looking to sign up for one year as the company is throwing in an extra month for free (monthly price: $4.15). The one month subscription is currently down to $8.21 and a three month option is also provided for $5.63 per month. Those who want to go the extra mile to protect their online privacy can also pay with Bitcoin. If you would like to try before making a commitment, PrivateVPN does offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

Rating: 4/5.  The current discount is enticing and the package is particularly good value for money when bought for 13 months. The three month option is also perfect for those only requiring a VPN subscription for a relatively short period of time, such as during a sports tournament.

How Fast is PrivateVPN: Servers and Performance

We used the Dallas server over OpenVPN (TUN + DUP + 1994) to test out the server speed and performance overhead.  Download speed was 39.66 Mbps before connecting to the VPN but dropped to less than 1.5Mbps afterwards. Although some servers offered slightly better performance, dropping to less than 5% of the prior connection speed was one of the most staggering drop-offs that we have seen during our extensive experience reviewing VPNs and is a substantially greater overhead than what is experienced using alternative providers such as ExpressVPN, which markets itself as the industry’s fastest VPN.

Speed without PrivateVPN 

Testing connection speed before connection to Dallas server

Speed with PrivateVPN

Testing connection speed while connected to Dallas server

Rating: 4/5.  Evidently, some servers in the network suffer serious performance and bottleneck issues. Although testing VPN server speeds is notoriously finicky, users have previously reported very slow speeds online.

How Secure is Private VPN: Private VPN Logs

PrivateVPN is one of the truly no-log VPN providers on the market and is headquartered in Sweden which is regarded as a relatively privacy-conscious society (the country in fact claims the honor of being the first in the world to enact comprehensive online privacy regulations).

A further boon for security-conscious users is the wide variety of connection protocols that the provider offers (including IKEv2, a modern connection protocol that features extremely strong cryptographic algorithms) in addition to the ability to pay for subscriptions using Bitcoin.

Users can sign up for the service using an anonymous email account, only providing an email address, and the terms of use are provided in plain English that is a refreshing break from the arcane language that some providers chose to employ.

Rating: 5/5. PrivateVPN is a no logs provider headquartered in a privacy-conscious society. The TOS is readily understandable and accounts can be created completely anonymously if required.

Is PrivateVPN Reliable – Customer Support

The company includes free support as standard to its users, but what it provides is significantly more limited than some competitors. While PrivateVPN has done a stellar job of creating some excellent support documentation (including detailed installation guides for all the platforms supported, including videos), human-to-human support is extremely limited. In fact, the only option that users have is to complete an online contact us form which will be responded to “as soon as possible”. Although the email support is extremely responsive (we heard back within five minutes of filling out the form!), yes, there are no live chat or phone support options at all.

  • Email support response
  • Contact form

Rating: 3.5/5. PrivateVPN has clearly placed emphasis on self-service support through documentation and videos. The lack of live chat or phone support is a major negative for those that run into difficulty.

Private VPN Rating by Secure Thoughts

PrivateVPN is a decent VPN service but besides from the ability to easily select different connection protocols, it doesn’t offer anything to make it stand out from the crowded pack. In addition, although Netflix is currently working through it, the server network is small and evidently suffers from some performance bottlenecks. Support options are also limited.

For a secure and private VPN connection, get PrivateVPN here.

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