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ProtonVPN Review

We all have a right to privacy, but it’s getting harder to maintain privacy online in 2020. Advertisers keep track of IP addresses while some governments and ISPs even intercept private communications. 

The only way for you to be sure that your data and information is secure is through a VPN such as ProtonVPN. 

 

ProtonVPN

 

There are a lot of companies that offer VPN (Virtual Private Network) services, but ProtonVPN is one of the best. 

We have created this review of ProtonVPN to help you understand exactly what you get from this service. Thereafter, you should be able to decide if this is the right software for your security and privacy needs.

 

Brief Overview of ProtonVPN

The name of the service, ProtonVPN, may seem familiar to some people who have either heard of or use ProtonMail. Both of these services are provided by the same company – Proton Technologies AG. 

To understand the story of ProtonVPN, you have to go back 6 years. In 2014, Proton Technologies AG started a crowdfunding campaign to collect funds to create ProtonMail. The goal of the campaign was to collect a minimum of $100,000. 

This goal was surpassed when over 10,000 individuals raised over $550,000. It was a testament to the need among people for increased privacy, and thus ProtonMail was born. 

In the 5+ years, it has existed, ProtonMail has grown to be the largest provider of secure email with about 20 million users around the world. 

To further increase users’ online privacy, ProtonVPN was also created by the company. The service is also now one of the most popular VPN services with great reviews. Proton Technologies AG is based in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Most of the company’s founders are either scientists, engineers, or developers working at CERN. Looking at the team behind ProtonVPN is mind-blowing because, if anything, they are overqualified. This should give you a lot of confidence in the technology behind the service.

VPN ProtonVPN 
Based inGeneva, Switzerland
LogsNo logs 
Price (per month)$0 (Free)

$5 (Basic)

$10 (Plus)

$30 (Visionary)

SupportEmail, Twitter
Refund30 days
Websitehttps://protonvpn.com/

 

What ProtonVPN Offers

Because there are a lot of companies offering similar services, it is no longer enough to just promise VPN services. In the case of ProtonVPN, this is what you can expect to get for your money… or lack thereof. More on this in the next section. 


Encryption

Cases of cybercrime are on the rise, mainly because hackers are able to steal personal information by eavesdropping. When your computer or phone is connected to a public Wi-Fi, for example, a hacker with the right software can see the information being exchanged.

ProtonVPN protects you from these attacks by encrypting all your data with the strongest encryption protocols. 

The encryption also ensures forward secrecy by generating a new encryption key with every connection. This way, your data cannot be decrypted later even if someone got a hold of the decryption key. 

 

IP Address Masking

Your browsing patterns and data are tracked using your IP address. It is how advertisers know who to target specifically with their ads. 

This is also how governments are able to block certain websites and content from their residents. Some services are even restricted to specific regions, also by taking note of the IP address. 

All of these challenges can be eliminated when you use ProtonVPN because the service masks your IP address from anyone watching

ProtonVPN masks your actual IP address so that anyone watching will see a different one. This hides your actual identity so that you are free from any restrictions. 

 

Data Privacy

Perhaps the biggest problem nowadays is that ISPs and other companies collect data on people to sell to advertisers. Unfortunately, some VPN providers have become complicit and do the same with their users’ data. 

The good news is that ProtonVPN operates a strict no-logs policy on all its customers so that you can be sure of your privacy. 

Being located in Switzerland is a major benefit because it is one of the countries with strict privacy laws. 

It is now common knowledge that government agencies collect personal information on their residents in most countries. Companies within these countries can be forced to give up your information when requested. 

Various surveillance agreements between countries mean that your information can be exchanged among different countries. 

This all means that it is very difficult to have any sense of privacy. Fortunately, Switzerland does not participate in any of the aforementioned surveillance agreements. 

ProtonVPN has been recognized for this privacy feature, which is why so many people contributed to the project. 

The service is also very popular among individuals with a need for privacy such as journalists and residents of oppressive regimes. You too receive the same protection when you use ProtonVPN to access the internet. 

 

DNS Protection and Kill Switch

Some VPN services focus only on the actual data transfer and overlook DNS queries. In so doing, your real identity can be revealed, hence making the VPN useless. Such DNS leaks are not possible with ProtonVPN since DNS requests are also done through encrypted tunnels. 

There are also moments when your connection to a VPN server is compromised and that leaves your real IP exposed. 

To prevent such accidents ProtonVPN uses a kill switch that immediately blocks network traffic in such a case. 

Even then, a complimentary always-on feature is kept in place to reconnect your device to the VPN server when it is available. This system is so effective you won’t even notice when any disconnection occurred. 

 

Tor Network

To access the dark web, you need Tor browser that is able to handle onion routing protocols. 

With ProtonVPN, though, you would not need to download Tor because the company’s servers already support onion routing. Thus, you can quickly access the dark web without having to download another web browser. 

 

Mobile Apps

Most people now access the internet on mobile devices, so it is necessary to cater to these as well. 

 

fast-and-secure-vpn

 

ProtonVPN is available for download to all mobile devices including iOS and Android. Once installed in a device, you can keep browsing knowing you will still enjoy all the benefits of ProtonVPN. 

 

Pricing of ProtonVPN

Proton Technologies AG understands that people have different needs depending on their goals. Toward fulfilling everyone’s particular needs, there are several pricing tiers offered for using ProtonVPN with an increasing set of features. 

It is also important to note that the prices below receive 20% and 34% discounts when you subscribe for 1 or 2 years respectively. 

 

Free

You can download ProtonVPN on any device and connect to the internet knowing that your identity is secure. However, there are some limitations when you get the service for free, and your privileges only extend to:

  • Only 1 device allowed
  • 3 countries for server locations
  • Medium speed

 

Basic

By paying $5 every month, you get a little more than if you were using the service for free:

  • 2 devices allowed
  • Highest speed
  • Access to all 50 server locations
  • P2P (torrenting)

 

Plus

For $10 every month, the suite of features gets even larger:

  • 5 devices allowed
  • Highest speed
  • Access to all 50 server locations
  • P2P (torrenting)
  • Tor servers
  • Plus servers
  • Secure Core servers 

 

Visionary

This is the ultimate VPN service with a full suite of features… and then more:

  • 10 devices allowed
  • Access to all 50 server locations
  • Highest speed
  • P2P (torrenting)
  • Tor servers
  • Plus servers
  • Secure Core servers
  • ProtonMail Visionary included

 

Pros of Using ProtonVPN

Millions of people use ProtonVPN today simply because it provides a lot of benefits to its users. If you’re considering a VPN for your own use, here is what ProtonVPN has going for itself.

 

Good Speed

As you search for increased privacy through a VPN, be prepared to lose on speed. Because traffic will be routed through various servers to mask the original IP as well as encrypting data, it takes a bit more time. 

Besides, the servers are shared between all the ProtonVPN clients. It is impossible for everyone to access a dedicated server, so instead the servers are shares. This further reduces speed because of limited bandwidth. 

All that being said, ProtonVPN is still reasonably fast at loading web pages because the servers have high bandwidth. The minimum bandwidth is 1 Gbps while there are even faster 10 Gbps servers for higher paid tiers. 

We conducted our own tests to see how ProtonVPN would perform. Before activating the VPN, our download speed was 64 Mbps while uploads clocked in at 5.92 Mbps. 

To reduce latency, we then manually selected the closest server to our location and the download speed fell to 1.52 Mbps.

Fortunately, ProtonVPN allows you to select a server of your choice. In addition, you are also able to see the amount of traffic on that particular server. At the moment, ProtonVPN has 801 servers in 50 countries, and you can choose any of these. When we selected a less congested server, download speeds rose to 29.25 Mbps.

What’s clear is that from the tests that you should be prepared for reduced speeds when using ProtonVPN. The problem here is that the company uses IKEv2/IPSec VPN protocols over L2TP/IPSec and PPTP. The more complex the protocol, the slower the browsing speed.

Nevertheless, this is not a huge dip in performance, especially when considering the significant benefit of increased security. 

 

Free and Capable

It’s not unlikely to find a VPN company that offers a taste of the service for free. However, in such cases, the service is limited either in speed, bandwidth, or amount of data to be transferred. 

ProtonVPN’s free service, though, does not place any limit on its users, at least not that directly. Sure, you won’t get access to all the servers in the world, but the speed is still good and there is no limit on data usage. Compared to other services, this is very remarkable and really teases you to pay for a higher tier plan. 

At a higher tier, users are granted access to faster servers, hence the increased speeds as well as other services listed above. 

 

Secure and Private

All data being transferred is encrypted to ensure it is secure. With the highest level of AES-256 encryption, your data is completely secure from hackers, even when you are on a public network.  The system also goes further to mask your IP address and protect you from eavesdroppers

ProtonVPN also keeps no logs or personal information stored, instead of making a profit from selling subscriptions and not selling information to advertisers. Its situation in Switzerland further protects your information even from government requests. And even when forced by Swiss court order, Swiss lay dictates that you should be notified as well. 

 

No Leaks

We have already discussed how DNS leaks occur on other VPN providers, revealing your true identity. Through the kill switch and always-on feature, you are guaranteed there will be no leaks and that you can always be reconnected when the network is re-established. 

 

Allows Torrenting

File sharing through torrent apps like uTorrent is often blocked by most VPN providers, presumably because it takes a lot of resources, particularly with bandwidth. Here, ProtonVPN allows you to share all the content you want, provided you have the right subscription. 

 

Affordable

The question of cost is a subjective one because, as they say, the customer is always right. However, when compared to other VPNs, ProtonVPN was priced according to the market average. This demonstrates that the service is affordable, and not to forget the 20% and 34% discounts for 2- and 3-year subscriptions. 

 

Available on All Platforms

It would be no good if your desktop browsing was secure when your mobile browsing data was not, would it? Therefore, there are apps available for iOS and Android devices to provide the same level of encryption. This is in addition to the apps you install on either a Mac or Windows computer. 

For the more tech-savvy, you can even install the service on Linux systems and even routers. Basically, it’s available wherever you need it. 

 

Netflix and China

The most often asked questions are whether a VPN can be used in China and whether it can be used to watch Netflix. Well, the answer to both questions is yes, and this is a huge thing.

 

netflix-and-china

 

There may still be problems with the loading speeds when streaming, but at least you can do it. 

 

Cons of Using ProtonVPN

Nothing can ever be perfect, and ProtonVPN isn’t either. Before you start using it, these are some of the drawbacks you need to be aware of:

 

Customer Service

You can only contact customer support by email and no other way. In fact, upon submitting the contact form, the website advises you to wait for up to 2 days to receive a response. 

Compared to other VPNs, this is not a good look at all and drags ProtonVPN behind. This problem is only redeemed by the fact that you can usually expect a reply within 24 hours, but it’s still nothing to celebrate about. 

 

Limited Number of Servers

ProtonVPN has done a great job to include servers in Africa and even China. Nevertheless, the overall number of servers is limited and that means lesser server locations to choose from. We believe this will change in the coming years, but for now, it is still a problem. 

 

Average Speeds

The browsing speed on this VPN is only average. In fact, you have to keep switching server locations to maintain a decent speed and avoid traffic congestion. That really takes away from many of the good things ProtonVPN has to offer. 

 

Conclusion

As we mentioned earlier, nothing can ever be perfect, but ProtonVPN is very nearly there. Apart from a few drawbacks discussed above, the rest is an impressive list of benefits. 

This VPN is particularly targeted at the security-conscious individual; even if it means slightly lower speeds. It is the best option for the person who wants a safe experience browsing the internet, even if they don’t spend a lot of money. 

There is some strong competition in 2020 in the market from other popular platforms like ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Both of these have slightly better speeds and a larger number of server locations according to our reviews. On the other hand, ProtonVPN has stronger and more reliable encryption of data. 

We would, therefore, fully recommend ProtonVPN to anyone. Furthermore, you can get started for free to get a taste of what’s to come.

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