Our ProtonVPN review reveals if it’s a True Swiss knife VPN or just over priced average VPN? Know what we found about the most talked about VPN by security experts for privacy and security.
ProtonVPN is a Swiss based VPN service from the developers of ProtonMail, a very popular and probably the world’s largest encrypted email service provider. We have known Protonmail for years since it’s introduction at a TED talk and have been using their services since then. This Swiss security player’s big leap with a privacy and security focused VPN service known as ProtonVPN is really commendable.
ProtonVPN has been the weapon of our choice for a couple of months now and we love using it. As developers and privacy enthusiasts, we feel delighted to learn that ProtonVPN focuses mainly on security, privacy and speed rather than boasting it’s unblocking features of popular streaming service unlike other popular VPN services.
However, ProtonVPN can be used to unblock popular services like:
- BBC iPlayer
- And other geo restricted websites
But you may need a Plus or Visionary ProtonVPN to use these features as the free subscription may not help you.
Does ProtonVPN work in China?
ProtonVPN is reported to be working in China and is serving as a window to the ones residing in China behind the Great Firewall. However, it cannot be guaranteed to work in future.
You can find more about ProtonVPN’s ability to let you peep beyond the great firewall here
As mentioned there, if you plan to use ProtonVPN in China and experiencing connectivity issues, their support team can provide you with some possible workarounds to access ProtonVPN’s servers from China.
ProtonVPN only supports secure VPN protocols – IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN. ProtonVPN encrypts all network traffic with AES-256, uses 4096-bit RSA for key exchange and HMAC with SHA384 is used for message authentication. This makes sure that you are protected form predating ISP.
Like other popular VPN services, ProtonVPN comes with a built-in Kill Switch or always on VPN that prevents you from exposing your IP address even if you are not connected via VPN. It does so by blocking all network traffic unless you are connected to VPN servers.
ProtonVPN has more under the hood which is discussed in our privacy and security section
ProtonVPN has 450+ servers distributed over 30+ countries making it a highly reliable VPN network around the globe. They also have “Secure Core Servers” which provide an additional layer of protection against VPN endpoint compromises. However, these servers are only available for Plus and Visionary plans. So, make sure you choose one of these plans to have a smooth and utmost secure VPN experience.
ProtonVPN’s globally distributed servers ensure that smooth and consistent speeds are delivered to its users. Free plan has a disappointing speed while paid plans offer very good speeds for surfing, streaming or even gaming.
We did run a speed test but our internet connection was and is still running on a limited speed. Testing ProtonVPN on such a slow network as of ours and reporting under performing speed would be injustice to this great VPN. However, it performed beyond our expectation despite our slow network.
Peak Speed: 40- 56 Mbps
That is an indicator of the speeds you may get as they depend on time, congestion, network factors, etc. You are more likely to go beyond the upper limit of 56 MBPs than to fall below 40 Mbps.
If you’re experiencing speed issues, consider using ProtonVPN’s “Quick Connect” feature that connects you to the nearest server and offers great speed.
Is ProtonVPN fast enough?
Yes, it is
it comes to privacy, ProtonVPN sets the record straight. An email address is the only piece of information you need to get ProtonVPN. In case you want to prevent Gmail or email provider from knowing what you just purchased, you can signup for a ProtonMail address anonymously. ProtonVPN accepts payment via PayPal, credit card, Bitcoin, or even cash.
As briefly mentioned in our features section, all ProtonVPN connections use AES 256-bit encryption, 4096-bit RSA for the key exchange, and HMAC-SHA384 for message authentication.
Windows and Linux clients utilize the OpenVPN protocol while Android, iOS, and macOS apps use the IKEv2/IPSec protocol.
Perfect Forward Secrecy protects all VPN connections, so no one can capture users’ traffic and hope to decode it later if a key is compromised in the future. Every session has a specific key generated to avoid the threats posed by a compromised key. In addition to that, ProtonVPN routes all DNS queries made by the users through the VPN tunnel to prevent DNS leaks from leaking online activity.
Also, ProtonVPN being based in Switzerland is free from Five Eyes or Fourteen Eyes intelligence sharing agreements and its data retention laws do not apply to ProtonVPN. While the company is bound by Swiss law to cooperate with Swiss law enforcement authorities, those authorities cannot compel it to collect additional information on its users. Thus, the only data it can share for any account is the single login timestamp.
Coupling ProtonMail and ProtonVPN is the best thing you can do to protect your online activity and secure your communication.
Do we have trust in ProtonVPN’s privacy policies and security practices?
Visionary plan is billed at $30 per month, or $24 a month for annual plan. Visionary users can run 10 active VPN connections simultaneously and have access to all the same premium features the Plus plan. The big difference is that the ProtonVPN Visionary plan comes with a subscription to the ProtonMail Visionary plan as well.
This is not just a VPN subscription but a complete online privacy suite that protects users’ online activity and communications with advanced cryptography.
Plus plan is their most popular plan where users pay $10 monthly or $8 a month with an annual subscription. Plus plan offers up to five active VPN connections at once and users can access exclusive Plus servers, which are typically faster as they handle less traffic.
Features about these and other plans are as in this pricing screenshot.
ProtonVPN apps have beautiful UI and are very user friendly. Quick connect button lets you find the closest and hence, the fastest server near you. Finding specific servers that allow access to some of its other features is simple with the client’s server list and map of locations.
ProtonVPN comes with native apps for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows as well as a command line tool for Linux. Users can also install and use ProtonVPN on their WiFi router.
Proton VPN is a highly stable VPN and generally doesn’t fall prey to issues. In case you encounter one, the support team can be reached by raising a ticket on their support page or by email. Support can also be availed on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter, where users can send less sensitive queries.
The ProtonVPN support team comprises of people who understand how VPNs work and are trained on ProtonVPN specifically. Support staff is available between 9 AM and 5 PM Geneva time, six days a week.
ProtonVPN also offers a 30 day money back guarantee in case ProtonVPN fails to meet your expectations.
ProtonVPN is one the most trusted VPN services dedicated to online privacy and security. It is highly recommended by security researchers and privacy advocates. The added advantage of ProtonMail (highly secure encrypted email) in their visionary plan gives you an edge over privacy like no other VPN. Our ProtonVPN review makes us call it a Swiss army knife among VPNs.
Pros & Cons
- Fast Speed
- Upto 10 Devices
- Strict No Logs Policy
- Kill Switch
- 30 day Money Back Guarantee
- 24X7 Support is unavailable
- Free Plan is really slow