ProtonVPN is a Swiss-based company, developed by the team behind the highly regarded ProtonMail, a secure email provider. Switzerland is well-known for its strong privacy laws, which is an added advantage. The company was founded in 2014 with a mission to protect journalists and activists’ communications. Since then, they’ve expanded their services to a global audience, prioritizing secure and private internet access for all. In the plethora of options available, ProtonVPN has emerged as a popular choice. Offering a combination of top-tier security, impressive server distribution, and competitive pricing, ProtonVPN is known for being a robust and reliable service. This review will delve into the various aspects of ProtonVPN, evaluating its servers, security features, pricing, speed, and customer support.
ProtonVPN is a reliable choice for anyone seeking to improve their online privacy and security. It excels in security and privacy, boasting strong encryption, advanced features, and a no-logs policy.
ProtonVPN has a robust network of servers. They have over 3,000 servers spread across 68 countries. This widespread distribution ensures you’ll find a server close to your location, regardless of where you are in the world. It also means you can access region-locked content from different corners of the globe. One thing I particularly appreciate about ProtonVPN is their transparency regarding servers. They provide a real-time status update for each server, making it easy to choose the best option at any given time.
ProtonVPN is equipped with numerous features that distinguish it as a robust and reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN). Let’s have a look at some of its key features:
- Strong Encryption: ProtonVPN utilizes AES-256 encryption, which is the highest level of encryption currently available. This ensures that your data is securely transmitted across the internet.
- Secure VPN Protocols: It uses secure VPN protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec, both of which are renowned for their security and reliability.
- No-Logs Policy: ProtonVPN adheres to a strict no-logs policy, meaning that they do not log or retain any user activity data. This policy aligns with Switzerland’s strong privacy laws, where the company is based.
- Secure Core: ProtonVPN’s Secure Core architecture routes traffic through multiple servers in privacy-friendly countries before it leaves their network, thereby providing an additional layer of security.
- Tor Over VPN: ProtonVPN supports integration with the Tor network, allowing you to route your traffic through the Tor anonymity network and access Onion sites.
- Kill Switch and Always-on VPN: These features prevent data leaks in case the VPN connection drops unexpectedly. The Kill Switch blocks all network traffic if the VPN connection breaks, while the Always-on feature automatically re-establishes the connection to the VPN.
- DNS Leak Protection: ProtonVPN provides DNS leak protection to prevent your online activity from being exposed by leaks from DNS queries, further strengthening its privacy protections.
- Multi-Platform Support: ProtonVPN offers apps for a wide range of platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. It also provides tutorials for setting up the VPN on routers.
- P2P Support: ProtonVPN supports Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networking, which is essential for torrenting.
- Streaming Support: ProtonVPN also unblocks many streaming services, letting you access geo-restricted content.
- Simultaneous Connections: Depending on the plan you choose, ProtonVPN allows for simultaneous connections on multiple devices.
- NetShield: This is a feature that blocks ads, trackers, and malware while you’re connected to the VPN, providing a cleaner and safer browsing experience.
All these features work together to provide a secure and private online experience. The combination of security and usability makes ProtonVPN a strong choice for a VPN service.
When it comes to security, ProtonVPN is top-tier. They employ strong encryption methods, including the gold-standard AES-256 encryption. Their protocol suite includes OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec, both well-regarded for their security. ProtonVPN also utilizes Perfect Forward Secrecy to ensure that your encrypted traffic cannot be captured and decrypted later.
Their ‘Secure Core’ feature routes your connection through multiple servers before leaving the ProtonVPN network, adding an additional layer of protection against network-based attacks. For users concerned about anonymity, ProtonVPN also supports Tor over VPN.
One significant advantage is that ProtonVPN operates under Switzerland’s strong privacy laws and is not part of the Fourteen Eyes surveillance network, adding a level of legal protection for user data. Furthermore, ProtonVPN upholds a strict no-logs policy, meaning they do not store any user activity or connection logs.
ProtonVPN offers a range of plans, catering to different user needs. They have a free tier, which provides access to servers in three countries. While it’s a limited offering, it doesn’t restrict data, a rarity among free VPNs.
The basic plan costs $4 per month (or less if you pay for a year upfront). It offers access to all the countries, but it lacks some of the premium features like Secure Core, Tor servers, and streaming support.
Their Plus plan, priced at $8 per month, is the most balanced in terms of price and features. It provides access to all the servers, including Secure Core, Tor, and P2P. It also supports streaming, meaning you can access your favorite services from any region.
Finally, there’s the Visionary plan at $24 per month, which includes everything from the Plus plan and a ProtonMail Visionary account.
VPNs inevitably slow down your internet connection due to the added encryption, but a good VPN will minimize this impact. In my experience, ProtonVPN has shown impressive speed performance. Local server connections usually maintained around 80-90% of my non-VPN speed, while long-distance connections were around 60-70%. Speed can vary depending on server location and load, but ProtonVPN’s performance has been consistently above average.
ProtonVPN’s customer support is good but has room for improvement. They offer support via email and a comprehensive knowledge base on their website. I found the response times via email to be satisfactory, typically within 24 hours, and the responses were detailed and helpful. However, ProtonVPN lacks live chat support, a feature provided by many other VPN services. Live chat can be crucial for addressing issues immediately, and its absence is a noticeable gap in ProtonVPN’s support offering.
ProtonVPN ★ Pros and Cons ★ Verdict:
In conclusion, ProtonVPN is a reliable choice for anyone seeking to improve their online privacy and security. It excels in security and privacy, boasting strong encryption, advanced features, and a no-logs policy. Its server distribution is impressive, and the speeds are more than adequate for most tasks, including streaming and torrenting. Pricing is fair, and the option of a free tier is a generous offering, although advanced features do require a paid plan. The customer service is good but could be improved with the addition of live chat support. Whether you're a casual browser or a power user, you're likely to find a plan that fits your needs. As with any service, it's important to evaluate it based on your individual requirements, but ProtonVPN undoubtedly brings a lot to the table.
- Strong security and privacy features
- Broad server distribution
- No-logs policy
- Good speeds
- Fair pricing with a free option
- Lack of live chat support
- Advanced features only available in more expensive plans