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ProtonVPN Review 2021

ProtonVPN is a really popular VPN service, but is it even worth using in 2021? Does it work with Netflix? Or does it offer decent protection? Find out everything you need to know in this in-depth review.

Based inSwitzerland [UNSAFE]
Price$4.00/mo
Servers1200+ (55 Countries)
LogsNo Logs
Multi Login10 Devices
Refund30 Days
RecommendedYes
WebsiteProtonVPN.com

From the makers of the super-popular ProtonMail, comes ProtonVPN. Headquartered in Switzerland and equipped with a decent network of 1200+ servers, ProtonVPN seems to have all the necessary features of a good VPN service, especially when you consider it bundles in ProtonMail Visionary plan and also offers a totally free version.

However, if you actually spend time testing the service as I did in this PorotonVPN review, you’ll see that it not only has an expensive cost of $4.85/mo and only offers OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec protocols for security. In comparison, ExpressVPN costs only $6.67/mo and offers way more advanced features. After much consideration, ProtonVPN scored a 3.4-star rating in 2021. 

My Rating Criteria

Here is a list of 9 factors that I have used to carry out my testing and review of ProtonVPN:

  1. Jurisdiction – Where is ProtonVPN headquartered?
  2. Security – Is ProtonVPN safe?
  3. Leaks – Does ProtonVPN leak IP, DNS & WebRTC?
  4. Servers – Does ProtonVPN work in China?
  5. Speed – Is ProtonVPN fast?
  6. Streaming – Does ProtonVPN work with Netflix?
  7. Compatibility – Which devices can I use ProtonVPN with?
  8. Pricing – Is ProtonVPN free?
  9. Trustworthiness – Is ProtonVPN trustworthy?

Jurisdiction – Where is ProtonVPN headquartered?

ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, which is not a direct part of the 5 eyes; however, it is still a cooperative member. Although mostly a safe jurisdiction, Switzerland does have to comply with any data sharing intelligence requests. In this scenario, using ProtonVPN can actually be a risky business for your online privacy.

Security – Is ProtonVPN safe?

Well, considering that ProtonVPN offers 256-bit military-grade encryption along with a 4096-bit RSA key exchange, ProtonVPN is actually safe. If we talk about protocols, ProtonVPN offers OpenVPN along with IKEv2/IPSec protocols. This combination is enough to secure you against pretty much most hacking attempts. Aside from encryption and protocols, let’s go through some of the other features that ProtonVPN comes with.

Secure Core

Now you might be thinking, what is a secure core? Well, it’s basically an additional security feature that ProtonVPN offers. This feature basically works as a double-hop server that routes your traffic through Sweden, Iceland, and Switzerland for added privacy and anonymity.

protonvpn-secure-core-feature

Since this feature of ProtonVPN scrambles your data through multiple server locations, it would become near impossible for any ISP to track you down. That being said, the secure core feature is only included in their  “Plus” or “Visionary” subscription plans.

Does ProtonVPN have a Kill Switch?

As a matter of fact, ProtonVPN does have a built-in Kill Switch feature. This feature works as a safety measure to protect your online identity in case of an abrupt disconnection. Essentially, it prevents your IP address from being exposed to your local ISP. I’ve extensively played around with this feature and found it to work very well.

Tor over VPN

ProtonVPN also offers Tor-over-VPN functionality. In fact, it offers built-in support for Tor. I’ve tested this feature to access Onion sites and didn’t encounter any issues accessing the dark web. However, I wasn’t too impressed by the overall speed.

ProtonMail

ProtonMail is a secure emailing app that’s bundled with their premium VPN packages. ProtonMail allows users to send and receive emails via encryption. The servers of ProtonMail are hosted in Switzerland, which is a country know for its privacy-friendly laws. It is a widely used email service and has gained rapid popularity after the recent email leaks scandals.

Logging Policy – Does ProtonVPN Keep Logs?

ProtonVPN essentially offers a no-logs policy. If you go through their privacy policy, you’ll see that they claim not to keep logs of:

  • Log users’ traffic or the content of any communications
  • Discriminate against devices, protocols, or applications
  • Throttle your Internet connection

protonvpn-no-logs-policy

However, if you dig a bit deeper into the privacy policy, you’ll see that it does store some connection logs. For instance, ProtonVPN mentions that it monitors timestamps.

protonvpn-collects-connection-logs

In addition to timestamps, ProtonVPN also logs the following information:

  • Username
  • Email address
  • Billing information
  • Cookies

Luckily, ProtonVPN deletes all your data despite collecting connection logs once you unsubscribe or delete your account. It also overwrites all connection timestamps every time users log in.

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Leaks – Does ProtonVPN leak IP, DNS & WebRTC?

ProtonVPN offers excellent leak protection. I’ve performed multiple tests and found it not to leak IP, DNS, and WebRTC. For all of my testing, I connected to their Japan server. Here are the test results:

IP Leak Test

As you can see from the screenshot below, my original IP address is not visible anywhere. This is a clear sign that my IP is not leaking.

ProtonVPN-IP-Leak-Test

DNS Leak Test

For the DNS leak test, I again connected to the Japanese server. As you can see, all of my requests are being handled by a Japanese DNS server.

ProtonVPN-DNS-Leak-Test

WebRTC Leak Test

Aside from not leaking my IP or DNS information, ProtonVPN also passed my WebRTC leak with zero issues.

ProtonVPN-WebRTC-Leak-Test

Virus Test

Last but not least, I also checked for viruses in the ProtonVPN app. Luckily, I did not find any hidden virus or trojan. Here is the screenshot of the scan result:

ProtonVPN-Virus-Test

Servers – Does ProtonVPN work in China?

Despite offering 1200+ servers in 55 countries, ProtonVPN failed to access Chinese blocked content. That’s because it doesn’t offer any actual servers in China. Instead, it only offers servers in Hong Kong.

If we talk about the servers included in the free version, ProtonVPN only offers 3 server locations in the US, Japan, and the Netherlands, which is disappointing.

ProtonVPN also offers specialized p2p servers that are good for securely downloading torrents. You can select any of ProtonVPN’s Basic, Plus, and Visionary plans to avail of the P2P functionality.

Does ProtonVPN free allow Torrenting?

Although the paid version of ProtonVPN offers excellent P2P compatibility, the free version of ProtonVPN doesn’t have support for torrenting. You’ll have to subscribe to one of their paid plans to start using the ProtonVPN torrenting feature.

Speed – Is ProtonVPN fast?

ProtonVPN is quite fast. While writing the ProtonVPN speed test blog, I was impressed with the results. Here’s a brief table with all the speed test results compiled for your convenience.

Server locationDownload speedUpload speedPings
Australia81.42 Mbps92.34 Mbps180 ms
Canada39.5 Mbps92.75 Mbps261 ms
France60.17 Mbps28.25 Mbps366 ms
India74.59 Mbps47 Mbps219 ms
Israel43.42 Mbps84.92 Mbps169 ms
Russia61.34 Mbps30.75 Mbps180 ms
South Africa69.84 Mbps96.42 Mbps293 ms
UAE87.09 Mbps94.09 Mbps50 ms
USA75.59 Mbps89.59 Mbps233 ms

Streaming – Does ProtonVPN work with Netflix?

Yes, ProtonVPN works with Netflix. In our tests, we were able to unblock US Netflix with ProtonVPN but didn’t have the same luck when trying to unblock other Netflix regional libraries.

However, the free version of ProtonVPN doesn’t support Netflix because it is only the paid (Plus) servers of ProtonVPN that unblock Netflix:

ProtonVPN-unblocks-US-netflix

Other Streaming Services

As for other streaming services, I managed to unblock both the BBC iPlayer and Hulu without any issues. However, speed was again a bit of an issue while streaming. ProtonVPN is also a great VPN for Popcorn Time free of cost using its free version to stream unlimited content as it offers unlimited data for free users.

protonvpn-working-with-bbc-iplayer-and-hulu

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Compatibility – Which devices can I use ProtonVPN withThisis VPN offers Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android devic when it comes to compatibilityes. But that’s it. This VPN has no apps for Smart TVs, routers, and gaming consoles, meaning you will have to set up the VPN on other devices manually. It’s a great VPN for PC.

You can find out how to set up ProtonVPN for Kodi here. Furthermore, you can see ProtonVPN setup instructions for Roku.

ProtonVPN Windows

The user interface of ProtonVPN’s Windows app is quite clean. Everything can be conveniently found where it’s supposed to be. I like that its app displays session stats with Up and Down speeds at the bottom of the app.

protonvpn-windows-interface-and-user-experience

ProtonVPN macOS

Similar to the Windows app, its macOS app is also quite well designed. But instead of showing connection stats down at the bottom, the macOS app of ProtonVPN shows all the stats at the top left corner. Overall, it is super easy to use.

protonvpn-mac-interface

ProtonVPN iOS

The iOS app of ProtonVPN is also pretty well built. I like how easy it is to switch different server locations. Also, the iOS app boasts decent customization without any lags or glitches.

protonvpn-ios-interface

ProtonVPN Android

Finally, I also played around with ProtonVPN’s Android app and found it to be pretty well designed. Compared to its iOS app, the Android app does show a bit more information.

protonvpn-android-interface

If you experience any connectivity issues, you can see the discussion regarding ProtonVPN not working in our separate blog.

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Pricing – Is ProtonVPN free?

Aside from three paid ProtonVPN pricing plans, ProtonVPN also comes with a free plan. ProtonVPN also offers a free trial that allows you to test premium features for 7-days without requiring credit card details.

proton-vpn-price

All of these plans except for the free one are year plans. These are named Basic, Plus, Visionary. All of the plans that I mentioned come with a 30-days money-back guarantee, which you can avail of by canceling your ProtonVPN account within 30 days after purchasing it.

What differentiates these plans is the number of simultaneous connections, ProtonMail subscription, Tor Servers, and a few other features.

As far as payment methods, ProtonVPN only accepts either PayPal or Credit Card / Debit Card. This can be a bit disappointing for folks looking to purchase through Bitcoins.

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Trustworthiness – Is ProtonVPN trustworthy?

Judging by the 3.5/5 star ProtonVPN Trustpilot rating, ProtonVPN is pretty trustworthy.

proton-vpn-trust-pilot-rating

Most people seem to have pretty positive reviews about the service. In fact, 46% of users have rated the service as excellent.

protonvpn-reviews

But aside from Trustpilot reviews, let us now see what users have to say about ProtonVPN on Reddit:

ProtonVPN Review Reddit

ProtonVPN mostly has pretty positive reviews on Reddit, especially ever since it announced that it’s now open-source and audited. Here are a few user comments praising ProtonVPN for the bold step forward:

protonvpn-reddit-review-2020

Customer Support

As for customer support, ProtonVPN doesn’t offer a live chat option. The only way you can contact their support team is via Ticketing System or Contact Form. That being said, their customer support team is very knowledgeable and professional.

You can shoot them an email at either [email protected]tonvpn.com or [email protected] to solve any issue you might have with the service. In addition to contacting their support team, you can also get quick help through ProtonVPN’s Support Center or FAQs section.

VPN Comparison between ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN

In case you’re not satisfied with ProtonVPN, here’s a quick comparison between ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN:

FeaturesExpressVPNProtonVPN
Price$6.67/mo$4.00/mo
Servers3,000 in 94 Countries1200+ Servers in 55 Countries
CompatibilityAll DevicesWindows, macOS, Linux,
Android, iOS.
JurisdictionThe British Virgin IslandsSwitzerland
Logging PolicyZero LogKeeps Connection Logs
Customer SupportLive Chat & Email SupportTickets, Email, Twitter
Trust Pilot Score4.73.5
WebsiteExpressVPNProtonVPN

ProtonVPN Alternatives

Here are a few alternatives for protonVPN in case you want to try out something different:

Do I Recommend ProtonVPN?

Yes, despite a few flaws, I still recommend you guys give ProtonVPN a try. On the negative side, ProtonVPN lacks live chat support. This VPN can also be used as a free Facebook VPN instead of a proxy online.

However, on the plus side, ProtonVPN offers a free version with no bandwidth limits, doesn’t leak, offers plenty of servers and security features, and works with streaming services like Hulu and BBC iPlayer. Best of all, it doesn’t keep any usage logs, not even in the free version.

If you are interested in checking out other VPNs, check out our unbiased VPN reviews 2021.

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'Abdul Rehman

Abdul Rehman

Author
Posts by Abdul Rehman

Abdul Rehman's Biography :


A Cyber Security analyst who’s fed up with the eroding state of online privacy. I write about real privacy and social issues that plague our time.


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