Safeguarding one’s online privacy should never be compromised. In a world full of morbid onlookers, it’s smart to mask whatever you do on the internet. Even though the things you do could be mundane and straightforward, such as surfing your social media, you shouldn’t turn off your VPN.
VPNs have become significant in today’s day and age. When some of my readers especially emphasized ProtonVPN, I decided it was about time I reviewed it as well.
I was a tad reluctant to give ProtonVPN a shot, in all honesty. I’d utilized ProtonVPN years back, in 2015 to be exact. It was relatively new in the market, but the below average service couldn’t have been justified. In just a few months, I had to switch with a different VPN provider.
However, when I researched and read some of the reviews on reliable sites, I was intrigued enough to purchase ProtonVPN once again. After all, my perspective should be fresh and unbiased, right?
Here’s the truth; ProtonVPN isn’t the best VPN out there. It’s not the cheapest or the biggest, but it’s way improvised than it was back in 2015. Over the years, the company has grown its user base by a large scale and has 436 servers in 33 countries, which is commendable.
Pricing and Discounts
ProtonVPN is free, only eligible for one device and three countries.
The premium plans can be billed at $5/mo monthly and $4/mo annually for the Basic package, $10/mo monthly and $8/mo annually for the Plus package, and $30/mo monthly and $24/mo annually for the Visionary package.
By being billed on an annual basis, you could save up to 20% easily.
|Visionary Plan (Yearly)||US $24/month||Save $72||Billed US $288 every year|
|Visionary Plan (Monthly)||US $30/month||No Savings!||Billed US $30 every month|
|Plus Plan (Yearly)||US $8/month||Save $24||Billed US $96 every year|
|Plus Plan (Monthly)||US $5/month||No Savings!||Billed US $5 every month|
|Basic Plan (Yearly)||US $4/month||Save $12||Billed US $48 every year|
|Basic Plan (Monthly)||US $5/month||No Savings!||Billed US $4 every month|
ProtonVPN has three currency and two payment options available. You can pay with PayPal and with your Visa or MasterCard credit card.
ProtonVPN also comes with a 30 days money-back guarantee, and the user receives the refund in his selected currency.
Performance, Speed, and Stability
ProtonVPN has 430+ servers in 33 countries, and we ran speed tests in many popular server locations to derive its consistency.
My wifi’s download was around 50mbps when it was not connected to ProtonVPN. After enabling it, I set out to find the fastest working servers. It’s a benefit that ProtonVPN shows the traffic recorded on each server so it was easy figuring out which servers would be the fastest and the less crowded ones.
We ran tests in a few servers in the western US, and the maximum download speed recorded was 25mbps. In the UK and Europe servers, the maximum download speed did not exceed 20mbps, and the Asian servers such as Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. received even lower download speed around 13-15mbps.
Before Connecting to ProtonVPN:
After Connecting to ProtonVPN (US):
Note: Speed results from our physical location in India (50Mbps fibre optic connection).
In conclusions; ProtonVPN is pretty slow as compared to other VPNs out there in this price range.
I have to say; this is where ProtonVPN redeems itself. The server speeds are slow indeed; however, it is near impenetrable when it comes to DNS and Web-RTC leaks. ProtonVPN protects your IP address and prevents exposure from the government authorities, hackers, or even scammers.
There were no DNS, Web-RTC, and IPv6 leaks detected. ProtonVPN also has a kill-switch which automatically turns off your internet connection when it starts lagging. These minor lags could eventually result in significant exposure if it weren’t for the kill-switch.
Streaming and Torrenting
ProtonVPN for Netflix
ProtonVPN is capable of unlocking Netflix with most US server locations. The streaming quality is remarkable even though the speed isn’t that glorious. Locations such as New York and California servers were easily unlocked.
There weren’t any leaks detected in the short time I streamed Netflix. Some users have claimed that upon streaming Netflix US for more than a couple hours, the Netflix servers tend to detect the IP and restrict the access.
If Netflix blocks your access, you can start streaming again by switching the servers. I didn’t face this problem. Netflix US worked just fine with ProtonVPN, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, ProtonVPN is not reliable when it comes to torrenting. I optimized the Plus package, and it enabled me to open some torrent sites without any difficulty. However, there is a jar full of restrictions if you are torrenting with ProtonVPN.
I understand that many VPNs are more prone to shy away from allowing torrenting on their VPN but considering that ProtonVPN isn’t exactly cheap, it should have broadened its torrenting scope a tad bit. A vast majority of users purchase VPNs to torrent in peace; it’d be a shame to limit the very thing people mostly demand.
In conclusion; with the premium plans, torrenting is allowed but only on a limited number of servers. Even if you are lucky enough to find the servers which work with torrent sites, you could only access it for a short time before the access is blocked.
To torrent properly, I had to switch from various working servers from time to time, which was pretty exhausting.
P2P file sharing isn’t allowed in ProtonVPN’s free subscription. In the paid plans, the P2P file sharing is as limited as accessing restricted torrent sites.
The catch is; only a handful of server location enabled P2P sharing, and even, so it was necessary to switch servers for security reasons.
Youtube US, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime and Other Streaming websites
Streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime and Hulu can easily be bypassed with the help of ProtonVPN. There was no need to switch any servers, and no leaks were detected. We can stream as much as we want trouble-free on Amazon Prime and Hulu. Also, accessing Youtube with popular US locations is allowed.
BBC iPlayer, however, is a different story. ProtonVPN is incapable of streaming BBC iPlayer, and according to me, it’s a major con. It’s a renowned platform and has a wide fan-base.
Platforms and Devices
Supported Apps and Devices
One of the bright sides of ProtonVPN is its flexibility. If you wish, you can connect not just one, but up to 10 devices with ProtonVPN. There aren’t a lot of VPNs out there which offer device compatibility this vast. Personally, it was convenient to connect my laptop and Smartphones. I even connected my router with ProtonVPN for a secure connection.
ProtonVPN supports Mac and Window devices and has native apps for MacOS, iOS, Windows, and Android users. It enables us to save money, and in just one subscription, we can easily secure all of our devices.
The apps are user-friendly and effortless to understand. Unlike most VPNs, connecting to a router is also a cake walk.
Supported Browser Extensions
Browser Extensions, also popularly known as Proxy, are mini versions of a VPN. A proxy isn’t as vast as a VPN is, but it surely protects your browsing activity from being exposed.
ProtonVPN has partnered with Mozilla Firefox, and together they offer a brilliant extension which is capable of incorporating with HTTPS everywhere, and it even allows unlocking streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, etc.
Supported Gaming Consoles and Steaming Devices
One of the biggest downsides of using ProtonVPN is not being able to secure your gaming consoles and streaming devices with it. It isn’t compatible with devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Play Station, Roku, Xbox, etc. If you want to secure these devices, then the simplest way to do this is to configure your router with the VPN manually. Just make sure it’s compatible by looking on ProtonVPN’s DD-WRT routers setup page.
Privacy and Logging Policy
People have become more attentive to logging policies. A lot of VPNs were booked for saving the user’s personal information last year. It’s a good thing that those companies deserved what they got.
ProtonVPN follows the Swiss Law, which doesn’t allow the VPN to save any information that the user inputs. The user’s browsing history, passwords, contact details, etc. are guaranteed to be kept all safe and sound without the VPN ever accessing it.
Based on ProtonVPN’s reputation, I think the no logs policy is indeed trustworthy.
If one’s thing is certain, it’s that ProtonVPN doesn’t compromise in terms of security. It is equipped with the AES-256 bit encryption which impossible to penetrate. Many government officials optimize the AES-256 encryption as well.
Not just government authorities, but I’ve read most banks nowadays are adopting AES-256. Suffice to say, your data is safe and ProtonVPN makes sure it never lands in possession of any third-party.
ProtonVPN offers a ‘secure core’ features which only a few other VPNs provide. Like NordVPN, ProtonVPN enables the user to select through their preferred double-hop VPN configurations. Sure, it’s not as great as a Four-hop or a self-configurable VPN, but it’s pretty tolerable.
The speed tests ran on the double-hop VPN configurations were also decent, but when ProtonVPN is put in comparison with its competition, it severely lacks.
Tor over VPN
ProtonVPN provides a built-in tor capacity. Tor support increases the anonymity top a notch. The only quirk here is that tor is not supported in each one of ProtonVPN’s servers. However, the ones who support tor can help you access dark and extremely restricted sites.
I was surprised when I discovered that ProtonVPN could bypass the tremendously strict censorship of China. Even some of the high-profile VPNs are incapable of it. You see, the Great Firewall of China is not a child’s play. Therefore, being able to bypass it earns solid points in ProtonVPN’s favor.
Server locations such as Hong Kong, Beijing, etc. can be accessed, but one has to be careful of DNS leaks; your IP is most likely to be detected in these highly censored regions.
ProtonVPN doesn’t have a live chat. It offers its support via email. I have to admit, and the response time is below average. On most days, it takes the team about two days to respond to an email, but if you’re lucky, they might reply within a day.
I was expecting faster replies, to be honest. I firmly believe, a customer must not wait to have his query sorted. However, to boost-start the user’s basic familiarity with the VPN, ProtonVPN has several guides and FAQ pages lined up.
I think if ProtonVPN had a live chat, we were more likely to receive faster replies. The team needs to work on the support department.
To sum it all up
There are a lot of catches with ProtonVPN. One would think considerably before purchasing this VPN. However, there are a lot of splendid security features which even premium VPN providers don’t offer.
The AES-256 bit encryption cannot be mistrusted as it is excellent, and ProtonVPN follows the Swiss Law, which obligates them from storing user’s data. Therefore, the chances of data theft are pretty low. It’s partnered with Mozilla Firefox and offers remarkable features for Firefox users.
When it comes to protecting the IP address, it’s better than a lot of expensive VPNs; no DNS leaks were detected. Although, it needs to work on the speed; it’s below average for such an expensive VPN.
Also, ProtonVPN has only one protocol available (OpenVPN). It’s a bit worrisome for users who are incapable of using OpenVPN. There are a lot of catches, but the pros are outweighing the cons here. The biggest perk of ProtonVPN is that it can bypass censorship in China.
Do I recommend ProtonVPN?
Now the real question is; do I recommend ProtonVPN to my readers?
It depends on your utilization. I’d say if you aren’t bothered with the slow speed of your internet, then you’d have no problem using ProtonVPN. It works pretty solid on servers such as Hong Kong and Shanghai.
However, you wish to torrent heavily, or if you’re a gaming nerd, then ProtonVPN is not for you. Then I would recommend you to go for NordVPN or Surfshark. Both have fantastic features, security, and remarkably inexpensive option.