ProtonVPN – VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service headed by the ProtonVPN company AG (Switzerland).
The service was founded in 2017 by the team of software 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 44 countries (610 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 router setup.
Now let’s do it step by step.
- The full version
- A free trial version
- ProtonVPN for streaming
- About the ProtonVPN AG company
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 user-friendly 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 amount of transmitted and received traffic with the visualization:
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, 44 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.
The “Plus” tariff
+the servers of the highest speed
+additional servers with the “Secure Core” function
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.
The “Basic” tariff
+2 devices simultaneously
-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 on 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.
No IP leaking
ProtonVPN claims about strict “No logging” policy:
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
The Secure Core servers are set in the special data center at a depth of 1km in the rock.
Protected data center in Switzerland
Only staff 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 shut down 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
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:
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
+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:
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:
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:
When I tried to download torrents I also failed at the maintenance of ProtonVPN:
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
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: 10 Best VPNs for Netflix That Work in All Countries
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 10 Best VPNs for Torrenting (2021): Up-to-date Rating of 5 Paid and 5 Free Services
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.
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e-mail: noc (at) protonvpn (dot) com
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.