ProtonVPN Review 2019
ProtonVPN is a free VPN that doesn't keep usage logs. It unblocks US Netflix and has about 474 servers in 36 countries. Its premium version costs $4/mo and earns 3.4 star rating.
ProtonVPN’s headquarter is based at the Switzerland. It offers both free and paid VPN services. The ProtonVPN free service has no limitations, meaning it has ‘no bandwidth limit’.
It uses a strong encryption and doesn’t leak your IP or DNS. It has 474 servers in 36 countries and easily unblocks US Netflix. The speed is slow when you stream on its free version.
The popular saying goes; “If you are using something for free, you are the product”. Let’s see if it applies on ProtonVPN.
Today, I will discuss ProtonVPN review, the brainchild of the ProtonMail team.
Read more about VPN providers in our unbiased VPN reviews.
My Rating Criteria
Here is a list of 9 factors that I have used to perform ProtonVPN review:
- Jurisdiction – Is it located in a 5-eyes country?
- Security – Is ProtonVPN Secure?
- Leaks – Does it leak IP, DNS & WebRTC?
- Servers – Is it P2P compatible, or does it work in China?
- Speed – How fast is ProtonVPN?
- Streaming – Does it work with Netflix & other VoD services?
- Compatibility – Apps and supported devices
- Pricing – How much does ProtonVPN cost exactly?
- Trustworthiness – Trustpilot ratings, Reddit & Customer support
Jurisdiction – Is it located in a 5-eyes country?
ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, which is not a part of 5 eyes, 9 eyes, or 14 eyes country but it falls under cooperative. This means, it does cooperate with 14 eyes countries in sharing intelligence.
If these countries ask for any users’ data, they will gladly comply with their request. This makes it a risky business for your online privacy.
Security – Is ProtonVPN Secure?
ProtonVPN is equipped with OpenVPN protocol that comes with 256-bit military grade encryption by default.
This protocol and encryption combination can secure you against powerful hacking attempts. Until now, no one has been able to dupe these tools.
As a matter of fact, it has only OpenVPN protocol which is a disadvantage. Although OpenVPN is a competent tool, many devices do not support this tunneling protocol.
ProtonVPN provides secure core feature for additional security of users. Through this feature, users can utilize double-hop servers that are routed through Sweden, Iceland and Switzerland.
In simple words, this feature allows users to access VPN chains from the ten secure core servers of ProtonVPN.
Kill switch is in-built in the Windows and Mac clients of the service. It works as safety measure to protect your online identity.
Essentially, it disconnects your device to the internet whenever you lose your connection to the VPN. This prevents your IP address from being exposed to your local ISP and the website you are browsing.
ProtonVPN only keeps connection logs, but it does not in any way store usage logs. The only information they keep are the following:
- Email address
- Billing information
All of these data gets deleted once you unsubscribe or delete your account. They might share your data with their parent organization i.e. Proton Technologies AG (Switzerland).
When you connect to a ProtonVPN, the service records only timestamp of the last successful login attempt of the users. However, the said information is overwritten every time users log in.
Leaks – Does it leak IP, DNS & WebRTC?
In this ProtonVPN review, I checked if there were any potential DNS and IP leaks. Fortunately, I did not find any leaks.
I connected to their Japan server for testing. Here are the test results:
I checked for any viruses and glad to say I did not find any virus or trojan on Proton VPNs windows client. Here si the screenshot of the scan result:
Servers – Is it P2P compatible, or does it work in China?
Proton VPN has 474 servers in 36 countries. These server exclude the secure core servers that are only available when using multi-hop feature.
Its free version has only 3 server i.e. US, Japan, Netherlands which is a bit disappointing.
It has a specialized p2p servers that are good for downloading torrent and will keep your online identity hidden.
However, you can select paid versions of ProtonVPN to accomplish your torrenting desires. ProtonVPN P2P feature is available on Basic, PLUS, and Visionary plans.
It doesn’t have servers in China, so people from outside of China cannot access the content.
Speed – How fast is ProtonVPN?
While conducting the speed tests for this ProtonVPN review, I was disappointed with the results. The speed was too slow.
Conversely, if you have a ProtonVPN premium account, the speed and connectivity will improve but not by a lot.
This was my speed before connecting with the VPN.
On the same connection, the speed tests for free VPN servers provided the following results.
Streaming – Does it work with Netflix & other VoD services?
You won’t find much luck trying to unblock Netflix with this VPN’s free service. However, ProtonVPN works well with Netflix service on its paid plan.
The paid packages offer numerous severs with few being compatible with Netflix. This is extremely impressive especially considering that this VPN is relatively new.
ProtonVPN for Hulu & Amazon Prime
Proton can also unblock Hulu for non-American users. I used it myself to watch an Episode of the Handmaid’s Tale and faced no blackout.
Unfortunately, users wishing to unlock Amazon Prime with this VPN will not find much luck.
Unfortunately, ProtonVPN’s Kodi services are inefficient. This comes as a bad news for users who want to use Kodi on ProtonVPN.
The free service of ProtonVPN does not provide Kodi streaming facility to the users. This is why our ProtonVPN review suggests that the users should opt for VPN on Kodi to watch desired media content.
Compatibility – Apps and supported devices
When it comes to compatibility, this VPN is a mixed bag. It has apps for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android devices.
But that’s it.
The VPN has no apps for Smart TV, routers and gaming consoles, meaning you will have to manually set up the VPN on these devices.
There is some good news however. ProtonVPN is partnering with Mozilla, to promote secure browsing. Moreover, its iOS is on the way with a beta version currently being tested.
Pricing – How much does ProtonVPN cost exactly?
ProtonVPN is a free VPN no doubt, but it also offers a premium version for users who wants to protect their online privacy an extra mile. It has 4 pricing plans that are listed below:
- $4/mo (Basic- 1 Year Plan) 12% OFF
- $8/mo (Plus- 1 Year Plan) 24% OFF
- $24/mo (Visionary- 1 Year Plan) 72% OFF
All of these plans except for the free one are 1-year plans. These are named as Basic, Plus, Visionary. What tells them apart is their simultaneous connections, ProtonMail subscription, Tor Servers, and more.
It has 30-days money-back guarantee for all plans.
Here is a list of payment methods offered by ProtonVPN:
- Credit Card
- Workaround available for paying through ProtonMail
Trustworthiness – Trustpilot ratings, Reddit & Customer support
ProtonVPN has a rating of 3.7/5 or 7.4/10 which is fair. Now, let us see what users have to say about ProtonVPN on Twitter and Reddit:
Twitter has a fair share of ProtonVPN’s fans and critics.
Some are concerned about the speed of the VPN.
Other users are enjoying the Swiss VPN.
ProtonVPN Reddit Review
According to our ProtonVPN review, the provider has strong presence on the famous interactive platform Reddit. However, the service has to improve its performance to another level to grab the attention of Reddit users
On reddit, one ProtonVPN China user suggests that the service works efficiently in the country.
Conversely, some VPN users have nice things to say about the VPN.
There is a way to seek all your answers by visiting their Support Center or FAQs section.
ProtonMail and ProtonVPN
The developers of this VPN are mostly known for ProtonMail, a service that allows users to send and receive email in a secure manner.
It does this by encrypting your emails via an open source technology.
The servers of ProtonMail are hosted in the Switzerland, which means that your data remains protected by the privacy laws of the country.
It is a widely used email service and has gained rapid popularity after the recent email leaks scandals.
The subscribers of Proton’s Visionary plan are offered this service for free.
VPN Comparison between PureVPN and ProtonVPN
Here is a quick comparison between the two service provider with their important features and pricing. Let’s have a look at them:
|Servers||2000+ in 140 Countries||474 Servers in 36 Countries|
|Compatibility||All Devices||Windows, MacOS, Linux,|
|Logging Policy||Zero Log||Connection Logs|
|Customer Support||Live Chat & Email Support||Tickets, Email, Twitter|
|Trust Pilot Score||9.5||7.4|
Let us see some alternatives for ProtonVPN that might be useful for you while hiding your online privacy:
- Review of PureVPN
- Review of Opera VPN
- Review of PrivateVPN
- Review of Ivacy
- Review of Getflix
- Review of Hola VPN
- Review of Unlocator
- Review of VPN Gate
- Review of Surfshark
- Review of VPNBook
- Review of SurfEasy VPN
Yes, I do recommend using ProtonVPN.
ProtonVPN is a freemium VPN service and doesn’t have limitations on bandwidth usage. It was able to unblock US Netflix and doesn’t keep any usage logs.
Although it has slow speed when using its free version, but the premium version has fast speed. It easily passed all the leak tests and that is why I would prefer users buying this VPN service.
Overall, it is a good VPN to use.