ProtonVPN review, a VPN for privacy. Check out our experience!

19-Feb-2019

ProtonVPN is a Swiss VPN service that focuses on protecting the privacy of its users. You will find out in this review about ProtonVPN.ProtonVPN has achieved a very high level of brand awareness in a very short period of time at the start of the VPN service. One of the ways they have done this is by using the brand awareness of their previous product: Protonmail to promote ProtonVPN. In this ProtonVPN review you will find out if this is the VPN service that suits your needs. We extensively test all functionality and share our experience with this VPN.

ProtonVPN review, a VPN for privacy. Check out our experience!

Servers at ProtonVPN

At the time of writing, ProtonVPN has more than 400 servers spread over more than 30 countries. The distribution of the countries worldwide is mainly focused on Europe and North America. But you can also find servers in countries like Hong-Kong, Australia, Japan and so on. All in all you can find a server on every continent, this means that you can find a server relatively nearby all over the world for a (if it's okay) fast VPN connection. ProtonVPN has different types of servers that meet different needs. For example there are VPN over VPN servers, in this setup your data will be transferred over 2 different VPN servers. This provides an extra layer of security at the server level and there are also several servers that you can use the tor network with. You can then access the Tor network via a VPN connection. This is a very secure way to send and receive your data. It is almost impossible to link certain data streams to your internet connection when using this method.

Using ProtonVPN

In recent months ProtonVPN has been busy releasing software for various software platforms. Previously there was only support for Windows and Android, since some time there is also software for MacOS. So ProtonVPN is busy making software for all common operating systems. All in all we can say that the software we tested for this review is fine. This ensures that the ease of use of ProtonVPN is very high.

ProtonVPN on Windows

For Windows, there has been a client available for a long time that allows you to connect to ProtonVPN's VPN servers. The Windows software looks very tight and all functions work intiutively. Below are 2 screenshots of what ProtonVPN looks like on Windows. You will also see a list of available ProtonVPN servers including the server load of those servers. In this way you can easily see which server you can choose the best server, which servers are suitable for tor, on which server peer to peer traffic is allowed. For example, if you want to download torrents via the VPN, you will also find useful options in the software. Think for example of enabling the kill switch, setting the program to automatically start and connect when starting Windows and other useful options

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Linux

For Windows, ProtonVPN has created installation scripts for the most popular distributions of Linux. This way it is a piece of cake to have the VPN connection on for example Debian, Ubuntu and Arch Linux. This addition for people using Linux we can warmly welcome and these are really plus points in this review.

MacOS

As mentioned before, the VPN client for MacOS has recently been released. Of course this was high time but it is to ProtonVPN's credit that they only release the software when it is in order. Check the screenshot below to get an idea of what ProtonVPN looks like on MacOS.

Android

The ProtonVPN Android app works extremely well and has the same look and feel as the software on MacOS and Windows computers. The app on Android looks like this.

ProtonVPN for iOS for iPad and iPhone

If you want to use the ProtonVPN VPN connections on iPad or iPhone, there is now also an app available for your device. This app is very similar to the one available for Android. It all looks very sleek and works very intuitively. You can easily select a location you want to connect to. Once you are connected, the bottom bar of your screen will turn green and you know you can safely surf the web with your smartphone or tablet.

Privacy and security

ProtonVPN is a company based in Switzerland. This is a country with very strict privacy rules. One of the reasons for this is that it is a stand-alone state within Europe. It is not obliged to transfer data of its users if a government asks for it, nor is it a company that originated from ProtonMail. A mail service known for its anonymity and high level of privacy by encrypting the mail messages. So you can assume that privacy is of paramount importance. Anonymous use of the internet with ProtonVPN is therefore possible.

Secure Core

To ensure your privacy ProtonVPN has devised and developed "Secure Core". This option is particularly interesting if you want to connect VPN to a VPN server in a country where there is strict monitoring. NordVPN and Surfshark also have such oppositions, they are only called differently: when you enable Secure Core, your traffic first passes through a VPN server in a country with very strict privacy laws. This means that if you want to use a server in America, for example, with Secure Core enabled, the traffic will go via a VPN server in Switzerland, for example. America is known as the country that quickly eavesdrops on data while Switzerland has very strict and good privacy laws.

Tor via VPN

There is also an option to use the tor network via VPN. This means that any data you send is first sent via a VPN server and then enters the tor network. When you receive data from the tor network the data will be sent to your computer via the VPN server.

Kill Switch and DNS Leak

The Windows and MacOS client of ProtonVPN have a kill switch option. For Android this option is not available. However, you can use the option "VPN always on" in Android and the ProtonVPN clients have a DNS leak security. This prevents website address requests from going through another DNS server than the one of ProtonVPN. We have tested all this according to our VPN test and everything turned out fine with ProtonVPN during this test.

Pay with Bitcoin

It is possible to pay with Bitcoin, the payment method to remain anonymous. However, this requires that you first choose the free ProtonVPN subscription. From there you can upgrade to a paid subscription with Bitcoin. As a new customer, you cannot pay for a paid subscription directly with Bitcoin.

Stability a speed of ProtonVPN connections

As with every VPN review, we also tested the speed and stability of the ProtonVPN servers and included them in this review. During the previous test we found that the speed of ProtonVPN was a bit disappointing, but this seems to have improved over the last few months. For testing the speed we used the Google speed test. First without VPN connection, then with VPN connection. Without a VPN connection the speed was 47.4 Mpbs download and upload 9.46 Mbps and the latency was 12 ms.The speed with a VPN connection with a Dutch server of ProtonVPN was during the test 46.9 Mbps download and 9.05 Mbps upload. The latency during this speed test of the ProtonVPn server was 9ms, so the speed during our test is good. The speed with a VPN connection is only a little bit lower. The latency is even lower, something that has a positive effect on fast browsing. The stability is also good. During the period that we were connected it did not happen once that the connection was lost.

Costs ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN has 4 basic subscriptions with different prices for the VPN. The following subscriptions with associated costs are available: The difference in the subscription options lies in the number of allowed simultaneous connections, extra servers, the availability over tor server and the availability over the "Secure Core" option.That said, most people will choose the "plus" subscription. This gives you access to all servers and all options of ProtonVPN. The only thing you don't have at plus and visionary does is an account at Protonmail.below you can see a screenshot of the price table as it can be found on the ProtonVPN website.All in all we can say that we think the price of ProtonVPN is very high. This is a disadvantage in our review. This is actually the most expensive VPN service tested so far and we don't think the price-quality ratio is quite right. You have a lot of cheap VPN providers with a much better VPN service, think for example of CyberGhost.

Free subscription van ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN does have an extensive "Free" subscription to use the VPN connections. This free VPN subscription, just like other free VPN providers, has certain restrictions. For example, you can only connect with one device at a time, you have a lower speed and access to servers in 3 countries. While using ProtonVPN's free VPN service you will notice that they are doing their best to entice you to opt for a paid subscription. When you opt for a paid subscription you still have the 60 day money back guarantee. For this ProtonVPN review we have used these 60 days to thoroughly test the service.

Netflix via ProtonVPN

For many people Netflix is the reason to purchase a VPN. After all, you will be able to see films and series that are normally not available in the Netherlands or in another country where you are. With a good Netflix VPN you have the possibility to pretend to be in another country and receive the offer from, for example, America in the Netherlands. There is only one potential obstacle: Netflix tries to block people who try to connect via a VPN connection. They try to recognize what a VPN connection is and what isn't. With some VPN providers this doesn't work, for example ExpressVPN. ProtonVPN claims that they can also guarantee access to American and Canadian Netflix. ProtonVPN claims that they can also guarantee access to American and Canadian Netflix. ProtonVPN claims that they can guarantee access to the American and Canadian Netflix without being blocked.

Conclusion, our ProtonVPN experience

ProtonVPN has been developed by a team that knows its business. For example, the software is very good and the privacy and security options are very good. On the other hand, the speed of the connections is disappointing. And it is also that the price is so high. All in all, we think there are VPN services that offer a better price-quality ratio.

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