ProtonVPN Review

Our rating
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80%
Features Read more toggle icon
80%
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A super secure VPN that offers both free and paid plans, ProtonVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market in terms of security. This Swiss-based company believes that everyone has the right to online privacy and this is reflected in its four different ProtonVPN plans, with each one offering users more security features than the last.

ProtonVPN operates 1073 servers in 54 countries, even in locations that are often ignored by VPN providers such as African and Asian countries. Although the number of servers is small in comparison to providers like NordVPN, it is constantly growing. New server locations are constantly appearing around the world, offering users more and more options. There is no bandwidth limit with ProtonVPN, which is great news for streamers and gamers.

When it comes to your privacy, ProtonVPN has a transparent no-logs policy. This no-logging policy ensures that the company will never store or misuse your personal data. Its privacy policy is clear but brief, and since the company is based in Switzerland, it takes advantage of some of the best privacy laws in the world.

The company uses the best and newest protocols, steering clear of PPTP which is commonly found in free VPNs. The ProtonVPN also features DNS leak protection and a kill switch, even in its free version. If you're looking for effective privacy and protection from hackers, ProtonVPN is definitely one to consider.

  • pro icon No-log policy
  • pro icon Tor over VPN
  • pro icon Unlimited Bandwidth
  • pro icon Free version available
  • con icon No dedicated IP option
  • con icon Only 5 simultaneous devices
  • con icon Few payment options
Price Starting At: 4 $ / monthly 48 $ / annually
For New Users: 7 days free trial + 30-day money-back guarantee
Number of servers: 1077+
General information
Max Speed: 300000 Mbps
Type of IP offered: Dynamic
Simultaneous connections / Users: 5
Number of Netflix Libraries: 12
Information sharing: None
OS support: Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows
Router support:
VPN Promotion: Get VPN from ProtonVPN for 4$ per month
Capabilities
Unlimited Bandwidthcross iconKill Switchcross iconSplit Tunnelingcross iconZero Data Loggingcross iconFree Version / Trialcross iconMobile Appcross iconBrowser Extentioncross iconNetflix Approvedcross iconFirestick Compatiblecross icon
Payment options
  • Bitcoin
  • Dankort
  • Diners Club International
  • Mastercard
  • Mastercard Debit
  • Paypal
  • Visa
  • Visa Debit
  • Visa Electron
Geolocations available
  • Argentina
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

ProtonVPN Security

80%

If you need a VPN that offers impenetrable security, then ProtonVPN is one of the best options. From its free version to paid plans, there is an abundance of security and privacy features to protect users. The company is famous for creating ProtonMail, an encrypted email service that provides privacy to journalists. For this reason, we wouldn't expect anything less than first-rate from the ProtonVPN.

Firstly, the main protocols of ProtonVPN are OpenVPN and IKEv2, the best in terms of security. ProtonVPN employs the military-grade, AES-256 encryption for extra secure browsing. ProtonVPN also uses encryption cipher suites to guarantee the secure transfer of data. These cipher suites only include those that have Perfect Forward Secrecy. This means that if any encrypted data is stolen, then it cannot be easily decrypted.

As well as this, ProtonVPN is completely leak-free, so you needn't worry about your data being compromised. The ProtonVPN comes with DNS leak protection, which is automatically switched on in the client or app upon download. This means your real IP address is not at risk of being revealed. There is also a kill switch feature, to ensure that your internet connection cuts out, should your VPN server suddenly drop.

With ProtonVPN there is also no risk of WebRTC leaks occurring. These leaks can occur when a web browser communicates directly with another one, and IP addresses can be revealed. We ran ProtonVPN through some tests for our review, and luckily, our real IP address was never leaked.

On the ProtonVPN Plus plan and visionary plan, users have access to the ProtonVPN Secure Core Network. This advanced security feature adds extra protection to your data traffic. The Secure Core Network provides you with two server links, first to the core Proton-owned server, then to the VPN server. This means that you have an extra layer of protection.

Thanks to the Secure Core Network, if anyone ever manages to access the VPN server and decrypt the data, they will never see your true IP address. They will only see the IP address and data of the secure core servers. The network is fully owned by Proton so you can surf with the reassurance that no third parties have messed with the server.

The Secure Core Network is similar to Tor but gives users extra peace of mind since they know that Proton owns the core servers. These servers are located in former military locations, meaning that no one can access them apart from Proton.

In terms of user privacy, ProtonVPN does a lot to reassure its users that their details and data use are fully protected and that Proton itself won't ever misuse this information. The company has a strict no-logs policy. ProtonVPN will only ever log a timestamp of each account's most recent log-in. Nothing more. Although for some people, logging of any kind isn't a good thing, each logged timestamp is overwritten with a new log-in. This guarantees that ProtonVPN doesn't store this information forever.

ProtonVPN is appealing due to the company's base. As a Swiss company, it benefits from the country's great privacy laws. However, Switzerland cooperates with the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. This alliance is made up of countries that supply one another with data for security reasons. The country's laws are out of the company's control and don't directly reflect the attitude ProtonVPN has towards its users' privacy.

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ProtonVPN Features

80%

There are four different plans with the ProtonVPN, with each one offering more features than the last. If you're new to the world of VPNs and want to dip your toe in the water, then ProtonVPN offers a free plan. This plan provides you with all the basic security features like DNS-leak protection. It also doesn't operate on worse protocols like many other free VPNs.

However, you get more features on the ProtonVPN Basic and ProtonVPN Plus plans. With a basic account, you can connect 2 devices simultaneously and have the option to use every server in all of the territories. With the plus plan, you have 5 simultaneous connections, the ability to use all servers, and access to the Secure Core Network. There is also the option to choose Tor over VPN if you want extra security or are using ProtonVPN for torrenting.

ProtonVPN also has a smart protocol feature. Say, for example, the OpenVPN protocol isn't functioning properly, Proton will automatically switch you onto the IKEv2 protocol. You can also choose which protocol you prefer to use, but OpenVPN is usually the default option.

ProtonVPN is easy to use and its download and installation process is simple. Once ProtonVPN is downloaded onto your computer, the client opens up and is extremely user friendly. You can choose between servers using the well-designed server map.

As well as the above, you can create profiles and save particular server settings. If you like one server for gaming and another for company work, by creating profiles, you can quickly and easily choose to use these servers again and again.

As well as this, the ProtonVPN features a kill switch. This means that should your VPN server go down, your internet connection will cut out. As well as this, there is the Always-on VPN feature. If for whatever reason, your device disconnects from the VPN server, you'll be automatically connected to a new one.

Switching between servers with ProtonVPN is fast, and there is no wait like with other VPN providers. Both the kill switch and Always-on feature guarantee that your browsing will always be encrypted.

Speed is an important feature of any VPN and we've put ProtonVPN to the test with a speed test. Depending on the plan you get, the speed will change. On the free version, server speed is much slower than the other plans, since you only can connect to 3 servers.

Speed improves on the basic and plus plans since you can use all servers. Of course, speed depends on several factors like your distance to the server and how many users are on one server at a time.

We checked the ping, upload, and download speed of several server locations and our speed test results showed that the USA server speeds were the best. The ping speed on the plus plan was mostly good, although it suffered an occasional lag that occurred on a couple of servers. This isn't a massive issue but it could cause problems for users who use VPNs for streaming and gaming.

Overall, if you're looking for speed, ProtonVPN is good aside from its free version. Unfortunately, a lack of server options drastically affects speed. So, if the internet speed is non-negotiable for you, it's worth paying more to ensure you get a good speed.

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Summary

4
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Impressive Features for Desktop & Mobile

When it comes to security, ProtonVPN provides the perfect service to ensure no third party sources can see your internet data. The VPN also comes with a range of impressive features and has a sleek and easy to use desktop and mobile client. Our speed test results also showed that ProtonVPN offers good upload and download speeds.

But when it comes to a VPN review, we must consider other factors, such as price plans, whether P2P and torrenting are allowed, and whether users receive good-quality customer support should they encounter technical issues.

How Much Does ProtonVPN Cost?

Something that every user is interested in, is the cost of a VPN service. In the VPN world, there is a massive price range. ProtonVPN has a subscription tier and includes four plans.

With all of the paid plans, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, unlike some other VPN providers, Proton states on its website that it only returns the money for the remaining full days you haven’t used. So, if you use the ProtonVPN Plus plan for 10 days and then decide to cancel it, you’ll only get your money back for the 20 unused days.

A few users have claimed that the 30-day money-back guarantee policy is misleading and unfair. However, since Proton offers its free VPN service, it seems entirely reasonable that the company only refunds users for the days they haven’t used. People have the opportunity to try out the basic features of ProtonVPN for free before subscribing to a payment plan. We suggest that you do the same if you are uncertain whether or not this VPN is for you.

If you’re pretty sure that this is the VPN service for you then you can subscribe to a two-year plan and receive a huge 33% discount. This means that you get access to an incredible service for two years for a fraction of the price. Regardless of the plan you pick, you’ll have access to unlimited data since there is no bandwidth limit.

Is ProtonVPN Compatible With All Devices?

Depending on what system your laptop or phone runs on, this can affect your VPN choice. Not all VPNs are compatible with every system. Luckily, ProtonVPN can be used with Android, iOS, Mac OS, Windows, and even Linux systems. Whilst researching for our ProtonVPN review, we found that there are no built-in options for smart TVs or gaming consoles. This reduces the options for streaming services and gaming add-ons.

The ProtonVPN app for phones is easy to use and so is the extremely user-friendly desktop client. You might assume that a security firm would be less interested in design and functionality aspects, but ProtonVPN is surprising in its client’s aesthetic appeal and simplicity. It’s easy to navigate and use. Both the client and the app are now available in Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, and Polish, as well as English. More users can now access the VPN in their native language.

ProtonVPN also supports most browsers. However, since its technology is constantly being updated, some older browser versions are not supported by the VPN, namely Internet Explorer. If you surf the internet on any of the major browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, you should be fine. Just make sure your browser is running the latest update for enhanced compatibility.

Downloading and installation are simple if a little slower than other VPNs. However, once ProtonVPN is installed on your phone or desktop, many of the settings are already configured. Proton even provides a little guide on how to use the client. This is especially useful for users who are new to VPNs and it provides seamless ease of use.

Is ProtonVPN Trustworthy?

As we outlined in the security section, ProtonVPN was created by Proton Technologies AG. This technology company is dedicated to enhancing virtual privacy. Since there are many VPN services that sell user data to third-party corporations, we made sure to research the trustworthiness of the company for our ProtonVPN review.

ProtonVPN has a strict no-logging policy and its audits prove that it has a good track record when it comes to not misusing user data and information. So, if you’re wondering, does ProtonVPN sell user data? The answer is, no.

However, it’s important to note that the company is located in Switzerland. Swiss laws state that governments can ask security companies for information in the case of antiterrorist activities.

Since US intelligence agencies also carry out work in Switzerland, it seems that perhaps Proton could have its hand forced to hand over data if asked. However, since only timestamps are logged, the company would only ever be able to provide this information. Therefore, it appears that, compared to other VPNs, ProtonVPN is one of the best in terms of protecting users’ privacy.

Is ProtonVPN Safe?

With VPNs, at times it’s possible for there to be small gaps in protocols that can cause data to escape. Even in the strongest of protocols like OpenVPN, these holes appear. This isn’t a rare occurrence and it’s more common than you think.

Since ProtonVPN is open source, this means that members of the community can check its protocols and detect if there is any malware or malfunctioning. This is a good thing, as it ensures that any safety issues which could affect your encryption are quickly solved.

We ran ProtonVPN through several leak tests to check that there were no data leaks, and we’re happy to report that we didn’t find any. For this reason, we’re satisfied with the level of safety that ProtonVPN offers and we believe that the fact it is open source is a major advantage.

What’s more, Proton’s Secure Core Network adds an extra layer of security. The company has its own servers that users can connect to before being linked to a VPN server. This is reassuring since VPN servers are often in locations where they cannot be controlled by the VPN provider itself. This means that they are vulnerable to being tampered with.

All of ProtonVPN’s secure core servers are in secure locations, in a former military base in Switzerland. This guarantees that they won’t be meddled with.

The ProtonVPN Plus plan also offers users access to Tor over VPN. Tor is similar to Proton’s Secure Core Network, but it is a lot safer. Tor has many more server links between your real IP and the server you end up using. So, when you’re using ProtonVPN, you can be certain that your online activity is completely concealed.

Overall, we would recommend ProtonVPN as an extremely safe VPN. Since the VPN has been developed by a leading technology company that specializes in security, you can trust that the VPN is made to protect user privacy and ensure safe surfing.

Is ProtonVPN Good For Netflix?

One issue that all internet users face is geo-blocked websites. Depending on your location, you won’t be able to access certain sites. This is due to your IP address, as every website you visit will register your location from your IP. For people who are Netflix junkies or love a variety of streaming and gaming services, this can be extremely problematic.

A VPN is a good way to access blocked websites. Many people use VPNs to change their country so that they can use a different Netflix. For example, there may be a British TV series that you want to watch but that is only available on UK Netflix, and your location is in the US. By using a VPN and connecting to a server in the UK, you can trick Netflix into thinking you have a British IP, thus enabling you to stream the shows you want.

We’ve tried and tested ProtonVPN with different Netflix locations and we can safely say that it is a good VPN for this streaming service. On the free and basic plans, users cannot access blocked sites. However, with the plus and visionary plans, we managed to get into UK Netflix on one of its servers. ProtonVPN has a good connection speed, which meant there was no excess buffering, just an occasional lag.

However, Netflix is constantly improving its VPN blocking technology. This means that some servers are blocked, whereas others are able to get past Netflix’s security wall. VPN providers are constantly having to adapt their technology to match Netflix’s strong VPN blocks. So, while one server may function well on one day, on another day it may be unable to get you onto your favorite streaming site.

With regard to other streaming sites, ProtonVPN worked well with Amazon Prime and Disney+. We have reason to believe that ProtonVPN would work well for gamers, since it provides a fast connection, and would enable users to unlock games and add-on features.

Does ProtonVPN Offer Split Tunneling?

Although split tunneling isn’t a necessity for VPN users, it is a nice extra to have. ProtonVPN has a split tunneling option, for those of you who want to make use of both your local internet network and your VPN. If you want to visit a website through your internet service provider (ISP), while simultaneously accessing your company’s local network via the VPN server, you can do so with ProtonVPN.

This option means that you can use your ProtonVPN for confidential online actions, that you don’t want your ISP to pick up, without hiding all of your online activity. As we said, this isn’t an essential part of a VPN, but the fact that it is an option is a nice touch.

Are P2P And Torrenting Allowed With ProtonVPN?

P2P or Peer-to-Peer networking and torrenting are both permitted with ProtonVPN, to some degree. Since the company is based in Switzerland, it is therefore under the jurisdiction of Swiss law. This means that the company’s official policy is that any file sharing has to be for personal use only, and should be completely legal.

However, it’s not possible to engage in P2P file-sharing or torrenting on Proton’s free plan. This is because there aren’t enough servers, so it would overload them and slow them down. Since the free plan only operates on three servers, allowing users to torrent could make the upload and download speed even slower.

Therefore, if you are looking for a VPN provider then will work for P2P networking and torrenting, you’ll need to purchase one of Proton’s paid plans. With one of these, you’ll have access to faster speeds due to the wider range of servers around the world, which will make it easier to share and download files. This is good news for users who like to share files, on trusted sites. With a ProtonVPN, your P2P and torrenting activity will be completely private.

How Do I Contact ProtonVPN If I Have a Problem?

Something that all VPN users need to know about before downloading a VPN, is if a provider’s customer service is good or not. Although not usually considered an essential aspect of a VPN, if you run into technical trouble, then you’ll need some help from the provider.

Disappointingly, there is no live chat support on Proton’s website. It isn’t essential for VPN companies to provide their users with live chat support, but it’s a nice option since it can help resolve problems swiftly and easily.

Fortunately, there is a support section on the website that contains a knowledge base with information on common problems. There are also answers to FAQs about the VPN services. As well as this, there is a request form page, where users can directly contact the customer support team. The website says that a response from a member of the team could take a few days, but we were surprised to see that queries usually receive replies within a matter of hours.

So, although there is no live chat service or a phone number option that a user can call, we’re pretty satisfied with the services offered. The knowledge base is continually updated, to make sure that the information is always relevant, and the customer service team is fast at replying to user emails.

What Is ProtonMail?

Before Proton Technologies launched its ProtonVPN, it was originally known as ProtonMail, named after the encrypted email service. ProtonMail was launched publicly in 2014, as an end-to-end encryption service that protects user’s data and emails more than other email services.

The service was launched in order to protect journalists and activists. The company believes that people deserve and need protection from ISPs and hackers, especially those in the field of journalism, where email hacking is rife. The company itself is constantly challenging big business and government access to public data, and its products are a reflection of this.

Like with the ProtonVPN, the mail service is available in four options. There is a free service, which has a limit on storage and emails that can be sent in a day. Then, there are the Plus, Professional, and Visionary options. With the latter two, users can send an unlimited amount of emails and have 5GB and 20GB storage.

Proton’s Mail service employs PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) to ensure that incoming and outgoing messages are encrypted. Every user will have a public and private key, both of which can be exported to contacts to verify emails. Upon creating an email account, you will generate new keys. It’s possible to select 4096 bit RSA for your keys, which provides you with the maximum protection, ensuring your emails will be safe.

ProtonMail’s web client has a clear interface, which makes it easy for user’s to access. There is also an app version of the encrypted mail service for Android and iOS devices. As well as this, the company has developed ProtonMail Bridge, an application that provides end-to-end encryption for emails sent on Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird.

In terms of providing users with complete virtual privacy, the company shows no signs of stopping. Based on the quality and success of its mail and VPN services, we expect Proton to continue to develop first-rate software that gives people the online privacy they need.

Can You Use ProtonVPN In China?

One country where many people use a VPN is China. This is because there are many websites blocked in China, that US citizens take for granted. From social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to video-streaming services like Netflix and YouTube, there is a long list of blocked websites.

Up until recently, ProtonVPN worked in China and would enable people to consume blocked content. However, since the end of 2019, ProtonVPN has been added to China’s block list as the country continues to restrict its citizen’s internet freedoms. China’s firewall is known to be one of the strongest in the world, and it makes use of incredible advanced technological tools to sniff out and block prohibited VPN servers.

As China continues to limit the online content that Chinese residents can view, ProtonVPN has launched a campaign to protect the freedom of Hong Kong citizens, who will soon face the same restrictions as Mainland Chinese residents. Contrary to public opinion, ProtonVPN servers have not been removed from Hong Kong, and the company has no plans as of yet to removes its servers.

Instead, the company intends to increase the strength of its current servers. Proton’s approach is incredibly optimistic since it seems as though the great firewall might soon extend its reach to Hong Kong. However, it is admirable to see a company that wants to ensure the virtual freedom of its users, regardless of the territory they live in.

So, if you are planning a trip to Mainland China and want to use a VPN while you’re over there, it’s a good idea to look for another provider. While we recommend ProtonVPN as an overall VPN provider, it won’t help you in China. However, China does approve the licenses of some VPN companies, which enables people to visit several blocked sites.

Author Madeleine Hodson

I’m Madeleine and an author for VPNSurfers. I have a keen interest in VPNs and believe that everyone deserves internet freedom and security. I have lived in several countries, including a two year stay in Hong Kong which incl...
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