ProtonVPN belongs to the makers of ProtonMail, which is one of the largest secure email services in the world. ProtonVPN is focused on users’ privacy and security and it is based in Switzerland. This service is actually quite suitable for the privacy focused users and torrent lovers mainly because of the intense focus of the service towards privacy and anonymity of its users. In our review, we have put everything on the test to see if it really is worth it for the privacy focused users. Let’s begin our ProtonVPN review.
Summary – ProtonVPN Review
In our ProtonVPN review, we have analyzed all the important aspects of the service, especially the privacy and security which is the strong suit of ProtonVPN. It does not have innovate features which some other privacy focused VPNs have, but whatever it offers is good enough for users’ privacy, if that is what the users are looking for.
In addition, ProtonVPN offers five simultaneous connections and it supports torrenting on some P2P optimized servers. The speeds are decent in Europe side, but our experience with other regions was not so good. But I was not too bad either. It also offers double VPN feature which enhances the privacy and security of the users. It also offers strong encryption and the best part is that the company behind it is security focused and reliable.
Overall, it is a good service and have some great features for the privacy and security of users. It is definitely worth a shot for the privacy focused users, but there certainly are better options available there too.
Our ProtonVPN Review Score
- Features: 3.9
- Apps: 3.9
- Security: 4.2
- Speed: 4.0
- Overall: 4.0
ProtonVPN Review in Points
- Minimal logs
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Speeds in European Countries are good
- Secure Core (double VPN)
- P2P torrenting permitted on selected servers
- Multiple protocols & strong encryption
- Based in Switzerland
- Comparatively small network of servers
- Customer Support not as good as others
- Slightly expensive than the competition
- Nothing ugly as such
ProtonVPN has one of the most simplified and transparent privacy policies we have seen in the VPN industry. Almost all the things about ProtonVPN makes it a suitable choice for the privacy focused users. It is based in Switzerland and the people behind the super secure Proton Mail are also the ones operating ProtonVPN.
Additionally it is a strictly no logs VPN service and keeps minimal connection logs for trouble shooting and service improvements.
Now, there are several other VPN service which too keep connection logs in the name of trouble shooting and service improvements. We have criticized those services for keeping connection logs because those are not minimal. Additionally, the headquarters of these services are also in the shady countries. On the other hand, here’s what ProtonVPN keeps:
“For the purpose of securing your account and making sure it’s you who is signing in, we store a single timestamp of your accounts most recent login. Here again, we do not store any information about where you signed in from, how long you were logged in or where you logged in from.”
Now you can easily see that why ProtonVPN is more privacy focused despite keeping minimal connection logs which cannot harm users’ privacy in any significant way, in fact in any way. Now we will look at some of the notable features of ProtonVPN in the next section.
Features – ProtonVPN Review
As we mentioned earlier that ProtonVPN is more focused on privacy and security for the users rather than helping them getting access to blocked websites for streaming or information accessing. So, here are some of the notable features which makes ProtonVPN a pro privacy VPN service. Most of these features are privacy and security focused.
ProtonVPN’s secure core is basically the multi hop VPN technology which lets the users have more security and privacy due to double VPN connection. The impressive thing to mention here is that the secure core servers by ProtonVPN are located in hardened datacenters which are present in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden. These countries protect them due to strong privacy laws and those servers are operated on ProtonVPN owned dedicated networks. However, this feature is offered in the high end pricing plans of ProtonVPN.
It is obvious that if a VPN service is focusing on users’ privacy and security then they need to offer string VPN encryption. ProtonVPN utilizes AES-256, key exchange with 2048-bit RSA, and HMAC with SHA256 for message authentication. This is the high end encryption protocol which keeps the data and internet connection via ProtonVPN extremely safe, secure and private to the user only.
Switzerland Based VPN
Being based in Switzerland is a feature in its own, because of the strong privacy laws. Also, ProtonVPN is protected from some of the most lethal privacy invading laws which are part of the EU and US jurisdictions. Additionally, it way too far from any of the fourteen eyes countries, in terms of legal necessities, which makes the users of ProtonVPN safe from these privacy invading laws in various countries.
Strong Physical Security
Where ProtonVPN is focused on security and privacy of the users via the service, it also keeps an eye on the physical security of the secure core servers of ProtonVPN. Here’s what they claim on their website about the physical security.
“Critical infrastructure in Switzerland is located in a former Swiss army fallout shelter 1000 meters below the surface. Similarly, our Iceland infrastructure resides in a secure former military base. Our servers in Sweden are also located in an underground datacenter. By shipping our own equipment to these locations, we ensure that our servers are also secure at the hardware level.”
Tor Over VPN
ProtonVPN is one of the few services which offers built-in Tor support for added privacy and anonymity of the users. They have specific servers which are optimized for Tor, by which users can easily router their traffic through the anonymity network of Tor. Using this, the users can also access the infamous dark web and the Onion sites with just a single click.
DNS Leaks Prevention
ProtonVPN offer DNS prevention by not utilizing the third party DNS providers and using their own DNS servers which are encrypted. The DNS queries of the users are routed through the secure encrypted tunnel. This way, the DNS queries do not leak and the browsing activity of the user remains private.
Internet Kill Switch
Like many other best VPN providers, Proton VPN also offers an internet kill switch which helps users to stay protected and private even in the instances of disconnections. Whenever a VPN connection is lost, the kill switch automatically cuts the network connections so no data can pass through without the safety of VPN.
10 Simultaneous Connections
It is a commendable offering by ProtonVPN as most of the service providers offer five to six simultaneous connections. With these 10 simultaneous connections, a user can easily protect all of their home and personal devices using a single account. Additionally, if you setup ProtonVPN on your router, it counts as one connection and you can connect as many devices you want to that router.
ProtonVPN supports P2P and torrenting but not on all servers. It has optimized dedicated servers for P2P and torrenting. These servers are only available for paid users and the free users cannot use peer to peer file sharing. There are various P2P supported servers in Europe and the speed on these servers are comparatively better than other P2P servers offered by ProtonVPN.
Prices – ProtonVPN Review
ProtonVPN offers free service as well where the users get access to only 3 countries. Apart from the free plan, ProtonVPN offers three different plans in which the Basic plan has limited features and is the cheapest price. The remaining two, Plus and Visionary, have all the VPN features included. The following are the prices
- Basic Monthly: $5/Month
- Basic Annually: $4/Month i.e. $48/Year
- Plus Monthly: $10/Month
- Plus Annually: $8/Month i.e. $96/Year
- Visionary Monthly: $30/Month
- Visionary Monthly: $24/Month i.e. $288/Year
The reason why the Visionary plan is super expensive is that it also includes the ProtonMail Visionary plan included along with all the features and server locations offers by ProtonVPN. Still if we look at the Plus plan, it is expensive than many other services. Additionally, ProtonVPN accepts payments via PayPal, Credit Card and Bitcoin.
ProtonVPN only supports OpenVPN UDP and OpenVPN TCP. It is sensible because OpenVPN is the most secure and trusted VPN protocol among all. ProtonVPN gives the reason for not using any other VPN protocol that “By using ProtonVPN, you can be certain that your VPN tunnel is not using a protocol that has already been compromised”. Some users might prefer using other VPN protocols, but OpenVPN is the best in terms of security and speed which is why we recommend using OpenVPN to all the users.
ProtonVPN Servers & Locations
ProtonVPN has a network of 261 servers placed in 22 countries around the globe. It certainly is not a very large network of servers, neither has it covered all continents yet, but still the speed in Europe is decent. We think that it is because of the fact that it is based near Europe. Additionally, not all of these servers are available for all the users. The free users can only access servers in three countries and the secure core servers are only for Plus and Visionary members. Also, the P2P optimized and Tor supported servers are also the part of these 261 servers.
ProtonVPN for Mac
ProtonVPN for Mac client is actually very easy to install and use. It has a dark theme, but the functionality of the Mac app is quite easy. The server selection options are good too as many users might want to select P2P optimized servers or Tor supported ones. Overall, the Mac app is good, but it is not among the best we have seen.
ProtonVPN for iPhone
ProtonVPN does not offer an app for iPhone or iPad. We are assuming that it is in the making but as of now, Proton VPN can only be setup or installed on iOS devices via OpenVPN. It is a bit of a hassle for iOS users to go for a service which supports their device via another app.
ProtonVPN for Windows
ProtonVPN for Windows app is the most complete and satisfying app among all others provided by the service. It has all the features integrated with proper functionality. The ease of use is there and it is a great advantage. Even the not too tech savvy can easily install and use the app in a matter of minutes. IN terms of performance, the European servers performs good and the DNS leak protection is decent too. However, the connection stability was a bit of a trouble.
ProtonVPN for Android
In Comparison with other platforms it is relatively new but ProtonVPN for android app is a nice looking and good functioning app which can fulfill the user purpose. However, do not expect too much from this because it is a good basic VPN app and cannot give you more if you are a pro user.
ProtonVPN for Router
ProtonVPN supports DD-WRT, Tomato and AsusWRT routers. Users can manually configure ProtonVPN on any of routers using any of three mentioned platforms. ProtonVPN has easy to follow tutorial to configure VPN on router and we suggest using the tutorial rather than going to the support because they are not too responsive.
Overall, ProtonVPN has a huge name associated with it and this is one of the main reason why it is mainly focused on security and privacy of the users. It is one of the providers which offer app for Linux as well, however, it is also one of the few which do not offer native app for iOS devices. The network of servers in very limited so the users who seek ultimate internet freedom will have to go for other options with larger network of VPN servers. In terms of speed and performance, it is good for European countries. So, this is our ProtonVPN review in detail.