ProtonVPN Review

UPDATED Jul. 2020
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ProtonVPN is a renowned community-supported project developed by MIT and CERN experts who also brought us ProtonMail, one of the largest encrypted email services in the world. ProtonVPN was launched in 2016 and gained a lot of traction immediately primarily thanks to its free plan without any intrusive ads, bandwidth limits, malware or user activity logs. Since it is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, ProtonVPN operates under some of the strongest privacy laws in the world.

If these facts caught your attention, there is plenty more to come in this comprehensive ProtonVPN review, so stick around as we discuss its main features and policies and reveal the results of our exhaustive hands-on tests as well.

ProtonVPN homepage

Speed & Performance

Our testing team in Belgrade, Serbia (Europe) experimented with 20 different ProtonVPN servers over a period of one week to determine the VPN’s overall performance quality and find out how the implemented encryption affects the average connection speed.

ProtonVPN speed test without vpn server

The free plan gives you access to the servers in the US, the Netherlands, and Japan, so we tested those locations first. The US servers were usually able to retain around 70% of our original speed, the locations in the Netherlands kept around 80%, and Japan provided us with subpar performance averaging at around 10% of our benchmark connection speed.

ProtonVPN speed test witht vpn server NewYork

ProtonVPN speed test witht vpn server Sweden

When it comes to our top performers, we have London at 90.55%, Stockholm at 86.03%, Frankfurt at 83.89%, and Amsterdam at 83.86%. The US servers in Denver and Los Angeles gave us decent performances with 64.32% and 51.88%, respectively. Apart from Japan, we also recorded subpar speeds in Latur, India (14.27%), Sidney (8.67%), Paris (15.36%), and Atlanta (12.99%).

During our tests for this ProtonVPN review, we did not experience any sudden disconnects or major issues of any kind. We were able to connect to any server relatively quickly and, once established, the VPN connection was perfectly stable at all times. ProtonVPN does not provide seamless server switching, so rerouting your connection to another VPN location will interrupt your downloads and expose your true IP to geo-restricted services.

LocationPing (ms)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)
Americas
New York, US13211.754.28
Los Angeles, US18018.616.66
Atlanta, US1554.667.27
Denver, US16623.076.63
Vancouver, CA2095.555.44
Toronto, CA13324.757.16
Barueri, BR23125.347.34
Europe
London, UK5032.487.25
Amsterdam, NL4730.087.33
Frankfurt, DE4230.097.33
Kiev, UA4531.397.3
Paris, FR495.516.37
Stockholm, SE6830.867.29
Oceania
Perth, AU7152.922.96
Sydney, AU3663.114.4
Auckland, NZ35419.593.27
Asia
Tokyo, JP4013.511.97
Hong Kong2642.496.58
Singapore18718.946.08
India1865.127.31

Supported Platforms

ProtonVPN currently supports Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and GNU/Linux. You can also use it on all the popular browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera, iOS Safari, Samsung browser, Chrome for Android, and MIUI browser. Apart from this, the official download page features OpenVPN config files for third-party VPN clients or routers. Note that if you are using native ProtonVPN apps, there is no need to handle these files manually.

Servers

ProtonVPN currently operates 620+ servers across 44 countries. The entire server network is split based on your subscription, so the Plus and Visionary options grant access to more servers than the free and Basic plans. The client provides you with load information for each server, which allows you to avoid crowds and ensure top speeds at all times. If you are not sure about the best server for your location, the Quick Connect option will pick one for you automatically. Note that the software will probably pick a location in your own country, so Quick Connect is not ideal if you are looking to geo-spoof certain popular services. Finally, the function can be adjusted to choose the fastest server for your location or pick one at random.

ProtonVPN Client Main Screen

Plus and Visionary members also have access to the so-called Secure Core service, which simply routes your traffic through multiple servers within the company’s secure network and provides you with an extra layer of protection. This is what we call a multi-hop feature because your connection “hops” between multiple servers (usually in different jurisdictions) before it exits on to the regular Internet. This option will keep you protected even if one of the VPN servers gets compromised for whatever reason.

The ProtonVPN client allows you to create custom user profiles with pre-defined connection modes, countries, and servers for easier one-click access. The VPN comes with unlimited bandwidth, speeds, and server switching.

Finally, some of the servers in the client are marked as Tor-friendly, which means you can use them to access the Tor (Onion) network with VPN protection. In other words, you do not have to install the Tor browser in order to prevent your ISP from realizing you are using Tor’s hidden services.

ProtonVPN pays great attention to the physical security of its infrastructure as well. Its main hardware in Switzerland is located 1,000m below the surface in a former army fallout shelter. Its Iceland infrastructure is kept within a former military base and the servers in Sweden are located in an underground data center as well.

Safety & Security

ProtonVPN supports OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec connection protocols and does not offer any PPTP and L2TP/IPsec locations. Servers with these protocols are much cheaper to maintain, but these security options are extremely outdated. ProtonVPN supports both TCP and UDP connections.

ProtonVPN Connection Settings

When it comes to encryption, the company opted for AES-256 cipher with HMAC SHA-384 authentication and RSA-4096 handshake, which is a pretty solid configuration, according to modern cybersecurity standards. AES-256 is virtually unbreakable by modern computers and is used by the military and banks to secure sensitive information.

ProtonVPN also implements perfect forward secrecy, which means that a new security key is generated for every session. In other words, even if somebody managed to obtain your encryption key for that particular session, it would be rendered useless the moment you disconnect. Having said that, the level of encryption offered by ProtonVPN is unbreakable by today’s standards, so this is more of a failsafe that you will probably never have to use.

The split-tunneling feature allows you to route some of your apps through ProtonVPN while keeping the rest of them out of the secure VPN tunnel. You can use this to prevent any speed drops when handling secure and trusted applications that do not require encryption.

ProtonVPN Ipleak net Test

Our tests did not detect any IP or DNS leaks, so your real information will never be picked up by your ISP, government agencies, international spy networks or malicious hackers.

Finally, the software comes with a reliable automatic killswitch feature, which will block your Internet connection the moment your VPN gets compromised or drops connection for whatever reason.

Logging & Privacy

ProtonVPN is very consistent in its attempts to record as little user data as possible. With that in mind, the company will NEVER log your online activity, throttle your connection or discriminate against certain applications, devices, and protocols.

Let us take a look at the personal data collected by ProtonVPN:

  • Account creation – During registration, ProtonVPN will only collect your username, email, and password. You can also register by providing your existing ProtonID. In other words, you will never be prompted to provide your real name, address, and other personal information.
  • Support – When you submit bug reports or support requests, ProtonVPN will store the contents of these interactions, including any information you choose to share with the company.
  • Payment – If you opt for credit card or PayPal payments, the company’s third-party payment processors will store your name and the last 4 digits of your credit card. If you prefer to keep things anonymous, ProtonVPN also accepts Bitcoin and cash payments.

The stored information is used to communicate with you, provide you with the requested service, process payments, and provide customer support. When it comes to your rights, you can always access, rectify, and delete the collected information. You also have the right to data portability and you can even lodge a complaint to a competent supervisory authority.

When it comes to non-personal data, ProtonVPN might employ a local installation of Matomo and it also uses tools like Google Analytics. These tools are implemented to collect non-identifying data like screen resolution, titles of the pages you viewed on the official website, referrers, outlinks, and website and page speed. This data cannot be used to identify you since ProtonVPN does not record your IP address.

Streaming

When it comes to accessing popular streaming platforms outside their countries of origin, ProtonVPN allowed us to stream Netflix US, Germany, UK and Japan from our location in Europe while serving us with a proxy error on Netflix Canada, and France. We were also able to access Hulu and Crunchyroll. As already mentioned in this ProtonVPN review, the speeds during our tests were pretty decent, which enabled us to stream our favorite content in full HD without any problems and buffering issues.

ProtonVPN Advanced Security Settings screen

Torrenting

ProtonVPN DOES allow P2P filesharing and torrenting on its servers, but the company does not condone the use of BitTorrent-based applications to download and share any copyrighted materials. Having said that, since no logs of your Internet traffic are kept, ProtonVPN does not actually have a way of monitoring your online activities and detecting P2P traffic. In other words, the company implemented its no-illegal-downloads policy for legal purposes without any ways of actually enforcing it. Bottom line, if torrenting is your main reason for purchasing a VPN, Proton is definitely the way to go.

Plans & Pricing

1 Month
3 Months
6 Months
1 Year
2 Years

1 Month
$5.00
3 Months
/
6 Months
/
1 Year
$4.00
2 Years
/

Apart from its free plan that gives you access to 3 countries, medium speed, and 1 simultaneous connection, ProtonVPN offers 3 premium subscription options available on a monthly or annual basis.

The Basic subscription ($5 per month; $4 per month with the annual subscription) grants you access to all countries, P2P filesharing, fast speeds, and up to 2 simultaneous connections.

The Plus option ($10 per month; $8 per month with the annual subscription) goes one step further and provides you with Plus servers, Secure Core feature, secure streaming, and up to 5 simultaneous connections.

Finally, the Visionary subscription ($30 per month; $24 per month with the annual subscription) also comes with ProtonMail and up to 10 simultaneous connections.

As we already stated in this ProtonVPN review, the company accepts credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and even cash payments. Every purchase comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and there is also a 7-day free trial, which gives you more than enough time to test the software and check if it meets your personal demands. When you download the free version of ProtonVPN, your Plus free trial will activate automatically without you providing payment information or any additional details.

ProtonVPN pricing plan

Support

ProtonVPN features a decent FAQ section on the official website, so you will be able to find answers to pretty much all the usual questions right there. You can always submit a support ticket or bug report in case you encounter a problem not covered in the FAQs. Sending an email is also an option, but the support staff admits that you will receive your answers much quicker if you submit a support ticket. Unfortunately, there is no live chat at the moment.

ProtonVPN Pros & Cons

At the end of this ProtonVPN review, here’s a quick overview of the features that wowed us and the aspects of the service that could use some improvement.

Pros
  • 620+ servers in 44 countries.
  • Solid security configuration
  • Unlimited speeds, bandwidth, and server switching
  • No activity logs
  • Perfect forward secrecy
  • Split tunneling
  • Automatic killswitch
  • Built-in Tor support
  • P2P allowed
  • DNS leak protection
  • Fully functional free version without any ads
  • Up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • 7-day free trial
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Bitcoin and cash payments accepted
Cons
  • No live chat

User Reviews (7)

ProtonVPN customer rating based on 7 user reviews.

The ProtonVPN reviews listed below reflect the opinions and experiences of real users and are in no way influenced by the dating site reviewed here. Before publishing each review, our team checks whether it was submitted by an actual user in an effort to prevent false or spammy reviews.

  1. SB135 | July 31, 2019

    I’m happy with ProtonVPN, in todays world of hacking, its best to be safe than sorry, so if you can afford the Visionary Plan go for it, gives you both encrypted email for your own email and domain names and ProtonVPN is included in that price. If there is company worth supporting by buying a subscription it is certainly this one. I also like the idea that it is Swiss based. Very Happy, i highly recommend ProtonVPN to all internet users and if you can afford it buying a yearly subscription is worth the effort! You simply can’t put a price of security these days!

  2. Libero Zagreo | February 28, 2019

    I have a Plus account and I use it both on Linux (Debian) and Android. I don’t know why many websites don’t consider Proton in they comparisons: it seems to be an excellent VPN service, not cheap but if you can afford a Plus account it’s worth the money. Visionary is very expensive but it’s for companies and most users don’t need it at all. Speed is decent and, if you use a close server, it’s almost equal to your normal speed.
    What i like of Proton is the secure-core option (only for Plus and Visionary) that allow you to use an extra server located in a privacy-friendly country and the TOR servers: thanks to TOR servers you can browse onion sites without installing TOR: you just enable onion in Firefox from “about:config”: find “network.dns.blockDotOnion;true”, double click and change it to “network.dns.blockDotOnion;false”. You are done!
    On Android it works like a charm both on wifi and data.
    For Linux users my advice is to use the command line version rather than manage it from the network-manager.
    My final thought about it: ProtonVPN is a solid reliable service to protect your privacy and encrypt your traffic.

  3. Bharat Sahu | February 19, 2019

    5 stars

  4. Martin Dale | May 28, 2018

    This is brilliant for what I want it for, using it for Windows now just waiting for it to be on the Amazon Firestick/TV.

  5. Roger Daniels | January 16, 2018

    THE best VPN, if you can afford Plus or Visionary.

  6. Joanna Jonson | December 6, 2017

    Really easy to use, no logs, great protection, but I think that there should be a Visionary plan without ProtonMail and that it should cost less, because really, $24 is way too much.

  7. Sam Giles | October 22, 2017

    Awesome VPN, but needs more servers. Plus, don’t bother with the free plan, the speeds are unbearably low.

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