ProtonVPN Review

Last updated: October 11 2019 By Sam Chester

ProtonVPN reviewSome brief information about ProtonVPN:

ProtonVPN – VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service headed by the ProtonVPN company AG (Switzerland).

The service was found in 2017 by the team of soft developers of specially protected e-mail service ProtonMail.

ProtonVPN has, at the same time, a free trial version and a paid version (with a 30-day money-back guarantee).

+ extended functions of security

+ servers for torrent/P2P

+unblocking of streaming services (but not on all plans)

+apps for all platforms

-the choice of locations in 40 countries (500 servers)

-from 2 to 10 devices simultaneously

-the speed depends on the price of a tariff plan.

You can download ProtonVPN for every platform. Moreover, you can find detailed instructions on the routers setup.

Now let’s do it step by step.


The full version

I am going to start with a detailed description of ProtonVPN’s its full paid version, and then I will tell you about some shades of a free trial version and a free version.

There are common characteristics for all versions.

It is an opportunity of unblocking websites and super secure AES 256-encryption that protects your data regardless of using a free or a paid version, Kill Switch (switches on in the settings) that secures you during the failure of the VPN connection.

I would like to point out that the supreme level of the apps that contain no advertisement has a friendly-user interface and convenient section division in the settings. A large amount of information is available in the main window:

  • A geographical map for the convenient choice of locations;
  • A text-based list of countries and servers;
  • Active IP/country/server;
  • The operating rate (is rare among the competitors).

The operating rate of the server

The amount of transmitted and received traffic with the visualization:

The convenient visualization of countries and bandwidth consumption

The full version is available on 2 tariff plans with the opportunity to pay monthly or annually.

Basic: $4 per month for a 1-year subscription ($48) or $5 for a monthly subscription.

Plus: $8 per month for a 1-year subscription ($96) or $10 for a monthly subscription.

For both plans, 40 countries are available. You can choose not only countries but also servers in these countries according to your preferences and the operating rate. But not all of them will be available because there are some differences between plans.

In contrast to the majority of other VPNs, ProtonVPN segregates plans not according to the price policy but according to their abilities. The less you pay, the fewer functions are available for you and vice versa.


tariff “Plus”

+40 countries

+5 devices

+the servers of the highest speed

+additional servers with the “Secure Core” function

+torrenting

+Netflix

+Tor

It is the most powerful plan that offers tops of opportunities.

All servers will be available for you, and you can choose less uploaded ones for the highest speed due to the marks showing the operating rate of each server. And the servers with the Secure Core function can give you an additional level of protection from tampering attempts of the encrypted VPN canal.

Moreover, it allows torrenting, and you can stay anonymous.

The peculiarity of the tariff plan “Plus” is the opportunity to unblock Netflix for each region. More detailed information you can find in this paragraph ProtonVPN for streaming.


a tariff “Basic”

+40 countries

+2 devices simultaneously

+P2P servers

+high speed

-servers for Netflix are not available (other services for streaming can work)

-no extended settings of security

The name speaks for itself. All main functions will be available for you, but some additional ones will be restricted. If some reduction of simultaneous connections is not so essential, so the absence of a possibility to watch Netflix will be a decisive point.

Moreover, take into account that you can’t use Secure Code servers. Objectively, this function is only necessary for the transmission of the information of special importance, and its necessity is quite controversial. For all common tasks found among VPN users, this function is unnecessary.

I would like to mark that there are some restrictions of using TOR in the tariff plan “Basic”.


Pros of ProtonVPN

Safety and reliability

Privacy, anonymity, and security are on the highest level of ProtonVPN:

  • AES-256 encryption, key exchange is done with 4096-bit RSA, and HMAC with SHA384 is used for message authentication;
  • No IP leaking (WebRTC web browsers are exposed to leaking, DNS and IPv6 leaking can show your location);
  • Protection on public Wi-Fi or other unsafe networks.

You can trust ProtonVPN in matters of data protection because it has a 5-year experienced development and support of secure e-mail service with data encryption.

I didn’t find any references to scandals or other discreditable information (selling information about its users to third parties, the spread of malicious software and so on) connected to ProtonVPN. Its software tests on different platforms showed no IP leaking.

ProtonVPN IP leaks test

No IP leaking

Logging policy

ProtonVPN claims about strict “No logging” policy:

ProtonVPN doesn’t keep logs

It means that the provider doesn’t save any information about your online activity.

Moreover, it should be noted that ProtonVPN is located in Switzerland that is out of the “14 eyes” alliance. It is an additional advantage of security

Additional functions

The Secure Core servers are set in the special data center at a depth of 1km in the rock.

Protected data center in Switzerland

Protected data center in Switzerland

Only stuff has access to VPN in this DC. If you want to use ProtonVPN with these servers, you should buy a subscription for the tariff plan “Plus”.

The Split Tunneling function offers to choose apps and indicates IP when you need to shutdown VPNs for them for some reason.

Opportunities on different platforms

Not taking into account some visual differences of apps, functionality for Windows, MacOs, Android, iOS, and Linux is the same. There are no differences in a free trial version like many competitors have. You can download ProtonVPN from the official website using the link, or you can use Google Play Market or Apple App Store.

Methods of payment and money refund

ProtonVPN offers to buy the subscription using your credit card, cash, bitcoins or PayPal.

You can buy a VPN anonymously using other VPN providers.

If you need to refund your money, you can do it by applying to technical support for 30 days.

The number of simultaneous connections

ProtonVPN offers from 2 to 10 simultaneously (10 connections with Visionary plan).


Cons of ProtonVPN

The choice of country

40 countries are the average rate on the market. If you need a provider with a greater choice of locations, I recommend you NordVPN or CyberGhost that offers 60 countries.

Speed

On the one hand, ProtonVPN has fast servers and good infrastructure technology, but on the other hand, you can top speed only for $8 - $10 per month. It is more expensive than the competitors offer.

Speed measure on the tariff plan “Basic”:

Speed measure on the tariff plan “Plus” showed much better numbers:

US: 67Mbit/s
NL: 71Mbit/s

Hong Kong: 19Mbit/s


A free trial version

Undoubtedly, it is an advantage of ProtonVPN. A 7-day trial version of the top plan “Plus”. You will get access to all functions of VPN even without using your credit card (in comparison with a large number of competitors with a free trial version of VPN). But this is not all. After the end of a trial version you can continue to use VPN for free but only a restricted version. This opportunity offers only ProtonVPN among the other good VPNs. 


A free version

ProtonVPN is one of the few providers that preserved a free VPN of high quality. Nevertheless, it doesn’t have a lot of restrictions in comparison to other providers.

What does ProtonVPN offer for free?

+unlimited traffic each month

+credit cards are unnecessary

+speed with fewer restrictions

+extended functionality

+absence of ad

-only 3 locations (US, NL, JP)

-torrenting is not available

-Netflix is not available

After the end of using a fully-functional period, you can see this message:

Message about the end of a trial period

After that, you can either continue to use VPN or buy a paid tariff plan. We are interested in the first variant. After pressing the button “Maybe Later”, you will be sent again to the main window of the app, and there are no differences at first glance. They will occur only during the process of use. The choice of locations offers only 3 countries available:

Locations of Free ProtonVPN

There will be 1-3 servers available with the mark “Free” and their upload is quite high according to my tests. During the process of testing, I highly appreciated speed and convenience (in comparison to other FreeVPNs). I had no problems with opening websites. For example, you can watch Youtube videos of high quality. In general, there were no difficulties before I began to test Netflix. The website Netflix opened properly, but when I opened the video I got the standard error:

Error Code M7111-5059

When I tried to download torrents I also failed at the maintenance of ProtonVPN:

ProtonVPN doesn’t allow torrenting on its free tariff plan

Consequently, the provider offers a good free VPN for some simple tasks but at the same time gives some restrictions to other tasks. That is why it is quite difficult to say is it suitable for you or not because it depends directly on purpose.


ProtonVPN for streaming

ProtonVPN for Netflix

You can unblock Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other services for suitable regions with the subscription to a tariff plan “Plus” of ProtonVPN. This opportunity is also given you for free but only during a 7-day trial period. During tests, I was able to unblock Netflix for all main regions: US, UK, NL, JP. If you need cheaper of another free VPN for Netflix, read our review: Free and Best VPNs for Netflix: how to find and where to download them? 


Torrenting

Free anonymous torrenting is available on both plans and during a 7-day trial period. The speed is quite high, but if you want to reach the maximum, you need to buy the most expensive subscription. You can see other ways of torrenting in our review Best free VPN for torrenting: Can I use it in 2019?


About the Proton VPN AG company

The company ProtonVPN AG was founded in 2017 as a beneficiary of the Proton Technologies AG company which deals with the service ProtonMail and Foundation Genevoise pour l'Innovation Technologique (FONGIT) of a non-profit fund financed by the Federal Technologies and Innovations commission in Switzerland.

Chemin du Pre-Fleuri 3
1228 Plan-les-Ouates
SWITZERLAND
phone:   +41225483551
e-mail:  noc (at) protonvpn (dot) com
website: protonvpn.com


Conclusion

Is it worth to choose ProtonVPN as your VPN service?

Like with other VPNs, it depends on the tasks and requirements.

If you look for a free service for web-surfing, it is an ideal variant for you.

If you look for a free VPN for torrenting or streaming, I recommend you to choose another provider.

Moreover, ProtonVPN will help you to bypass censorship in China, Iran, and other countries.

Regarding the paid version, I consider this provider the good one but not the best one among the best VPNs because of the price. Study our review of good cheap VPN providers if you want to find a cheaper variant. ProtonVPN is good for those tasks that do not need saving. This is the support of high privacy and security in the cases of transmission of, particularly important information. Perhaps, in this case, ProtonVPN is the best one.

 

Write a review

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Sam Chester
It seems to be the best free VPN today. It combines a free trial version and a free tariff. The traffic is unlimited, the apps are user-friendly, but… only 3 countries are available, it doesn’t support Netflix or torrents.

Dean Chester
A paid version is emphasized on security and data protection. It has a good functionality, it’s convenient in use and good for any tasks, but ProtonVPN is one of the most expensive VPNs.
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Unlimited traffic
One of the best in data protection
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Very limited free version
High price for full functionality
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