ProtonVPN Review

September 2019 ProtonVPN Review & Deals

In 2014, whilst celebrating 25 years of the web, ProtonMail, the largest encrypted email network was established to help make online privacy a reality. ProtonVPN was created by the people behind ProtonMail, CERN scientists as well as engineers and developers. Taking great pride in security and privacy, ProtonVPN has complete transparency. 

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Compatible With

  • Hulu
  • Facebook
  • Kodi
  • WhatsApp
  • Netflix
  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Android
  • iOS

Recommended For

  • Secure Browsing
  • Great Interface
  • 30 Day Money Back
Things We Like

The free plan includes unlimited bandwidth

Works with Netflix

Apps available for iOS and Android

High-speed servers for most locations

Multiple simultaneous connections available

Things We Didn't Like

Lacking in customer support

Limited torrenting capabilities

10.0
Usability

ProtonVPN is very simple to get going. You can head over to their website and download the software needed after you choose the plan that is right for you. There are a number of options available, including a free plan which will show you how this VPN works without spending any money at first.

Downloading and installing will take just seconds and will not be a problem, even for beginners. The interface is simple and polished with a professional feel and a zoomable map with highlighted server locations.

ProtonVPN for Windows will display a map of the world with green triangles letting you know exactly where it has server locations. You can choose to use ProtonVPN without the map if you wish just by clicking a button on the top left collapsing the map leaving you with a different interface,

On the left-hand side of the window, you will have a column of options including a Quick Connect option which allows ProtonVPN to find the fastest server available at the moment based on your location. Alternatively, there is also a list of countries that you can scroll through and manually select your location of choice.

Each country available will have an arrow on the right-hand side which will display the options for that server including the current capacity, TOR servers as well as servers which support P2P file sharing. If there is a “P” in the square next to the server in question it means that those are reserved for premium subscribers.

As soon as you connect to a particular server a line will indicate your virtual location as well as information regarding your connection like session duration, bandwidth as well as speed.

At the moment ProtonVPN has over 400 servers in 33 countries, but as their service grows, so do these numbers. This is a very new VPN service provider, but they have made sure to cover locations that are usually ignored by their competitors, even having locations in South America and Africa.

ProtonVPN comes with two already set profiles including Random, which will choose a different server each time as well as Fastest, which will connect you to the fastest possible server. If you wish you can create your own profile for torrenting, having ProtonVPN choose the best P2P server available.

10.0
Speed

ProtonVPN offers fairly good speeds in most areas, with Europe and Asia proving the best of the possible locations available. Although they’re not the fastest speeds available by any means when you take into consideration the limited, but growing number of server locations, ProtonVPN nonetheless offers impressive speeds.

Torrenting speeds are also quite decent and you can also use the dedicated Netflix servers to freely stream any television show you like. It should be noted that a lot of the time the servers based in North America are the slowest, most likely due to a large number of people using those particular servers.

As mentioned before there are also premium servers reserved for subscribers to that plan which will allow you to have a better connection and in turn a faster connection as well.

Taking into consideration that ProtonVPN doesn’t have as many servers available as some of its competitors it must be said that the speeds available are fantastic for most people’s needs. You can stream, surf and do some online banking without experiencing lag with your connection.

9.0
Privacy

Taking your privacy very seriously, ProtonVPN will not track your IP address, bandwidth usage or your browsing activity. In fact, the only information they will track is the timestamp from your last login which is overwritten each time you successfully login. The timestamp will include both the time and date of your login, but not your location or your IP address.

This is stated very clearly in their privacy policy which reads,

“When you use ProtonVPN, we do NOT do any of the following:

  • Log users’ traffic or the content of any communications
  • Discriminate against devices, protocols, or applications
  • Throttle your Internet connection

Each time a user connects to the Service, we only monitor the timestamp of the last successful login attempt. This gets overwritten each time you successfully log in. This timestamp does not contain any identifying information, such as your IP address or your location; it only contains the time and date of the login.

We retain this limited information to protect user accounts from password brute force attacks. This is necessary to identify password guessing attempts targeting specific user accounts and to take action to protect those accounts.”

If you use ProtonVPN on your mobile phone, the company does keep track of crash reports as well as geographic distribution.

ProtonVPN has jurisdiction in Switzerland which is a member of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. This means that most of your information is safe, but there are government agencies helping to spy on each other’s citizens within this group in order to maintain “worldwide safety”.

The great news is that ProtonVPN doesn’t retain much of its customer’s data, but should the information be needed by the government, ProtonVPN is forced to hand over what little information it has.

“We will only disclose the limited user data we possess when requested by a Swiss court for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offenses or the execution of criminal penalties, including the safeguarding against and the prevention of threats to public security. 

Court orders must be approved by either the Cantonal Courts of Geneva or the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. Under Swiss law, it is obligatory to notify the target of a data request, although such notification may come from the authorities and not from the Company.”

All in all, you shouldn’t worry about your privacy being compromised with this VPN service provider as they can only ever provide your login timestamps when ordered to do so.

8.5
Features

There are a number of features that make ProtonVPN a great choice of VPN provider for the average user. For example, there is the Secure Core feature which is just another name for a double VPN. This means your internet traffic is routed through two servers in two different locations. According to ProtonVPN;

“Secure Core servers are connected to the internet using our own dedicated network with IP addresses that are owned and operated by our own Local Internet Registry (LIR).” If you’re looking for added privacy, this feature is a must.

ProtonVPN also uses the highest strength encryption available, with network traffic being encrypted with AES-256, whilst key exchange is done with 4096-bit RSA, and HMAC with SHA384 is used for message verification.

Along with being able to connect with all major platforms you also have the option of router connection which is available on DD-WRT, AsusWRT and Tomato routers. In terms of protocols ProtonVPN also has iKEv2/IPsec protocol; which means your VPN tunnel is protected by the most reliable of protocols.

There is also Forward Secrecy. As stated on their website:

“We have carefully selected our encryption cipher suites to only include ones that have Perfect Forward Secrecy. This means that your encrypted traffic cannot be captured and decrypted later if the encryption key from a subsequent session gets compromised. With each connection, we generate a new encryption key, so a key is never used for more than one session.”

On top of all this, there is DNS leak prevention as well as a built-in Kill switch. This makes sure that all network traffic is blocked should your VPN connection falter.

8.0
Pricing

When it comes to costs, ProtonVPN really has something to suit everyone. There are four plans to choose from, some of which include discounts if you choose to pay annually. Let’s look into them individually.

Free

This is pretty rare for a reliable VPN service provider. Of course, there are plenty of free VPN options available online, few of which are actually worth it as many of them will sell your user data to third parties.

ProtonVPN will not do this, but as you might expect this service is quite limited. There are only three server locations in the free plan which include the US, Netherlands, and Japan. There aren’t very many features available, however, it will offer you the option of unlocking a seven day free trial of a paid plan, which will give you more than enough time to get used to the service and work out if ProtonVPN is the service provider for you.

Basic

The basic plan will allow you to have two simultaneous connections with access to all the 33 countries available with the ProtonVPN service.

Honestly, the speeds are not much better than the free option, but you have one more device that you can connect as well as P2P possibilities for a pretty good price.

Plus

As indicated on the ProtonVPN website, this is the best offer available and the most popular with ProtonVPN customers. You can connect with as many as five different devices simultaneously as well as enjoy the highest possible speeds available to this VPN service.

There is also access to Plus servers, Secure Core as well as Tor servers and secure streaming as well. If you pay for a full year or the Plus plan you save $24 which is a pretty good deal.

Visionary

This will set you back more than double the Plus plan, coming in at $24 a month, which is significantly higher than the $8 a month you would be paying with Plus. It comes with all of the options mentioned previously but will secure as many as ten devices and will also include ProtonMail Visionary.

If you decide this is the plan for you, it might be an idea to purchase the yearly subscription as you get a saving of $72.

You can pay for your chosen subscription by credit card or PayPal and there is also a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re unhappy with the service. It should be noted that if you use the ProtonVPN service for ten days, you will be refunded for the remaining twenty days you did not use, not the full amount, unlike some of the other VPN services on the market.

6.0
Support

There are various support systems available to ProtonVPN customers including email support as well as filling out the support ticket. Consultants are usually quick to respond and are very professional in doing so.

If you do fill out a ticket you can expect a reply within 24 hours or less. Unfortunately, there are some great VPN service providers out there that go much further in the support sector. These companies will often have how-to visual guides on their websites as well as some even offering 24-hour live chat support all year round. When you compare the two, ProtonVPN is somewhat lackluster in customer assistance, but that will surely improve as ProtonVPN expands.

If you are visiting a country with strict internet laws or heavy censorship, customer support is one of the most important aspects and having someone to communicate with instantly is key. If this is not an issue for you, ProtonVPN shouldn’t pose any problems in this area.