ProtonVPN claim in their tagline that they are a “High-speed Swiss VPN that safeguards your privacy.” ProtonVPN offers a high-speed connection despite the use of strong encryption, using only high-speed servers with a minimum speed of one Gbps, they claim that most of their servers have a maximum speed of 10 Gbps.
ProtonVPN claim a high level of privacy, and they attribute this to their main location being in Switzerland, a country that has some of the strongest privacy laws in the world. Switzerland does not have questionable regulations against online privacy and security, unlike other countries in the EU, and members of the Fourteen Eyes alliance.
Click the image of their logo below to visit them now!
ProtonVPN started in 2017, so it’s relatively new compared to other VPN providers. However, the people behind ProtonVPN are also the same CERN and MIT developers behind ProtonMail, one of the largest secure email services.
It’s no wonder then that the provider has features that are at par with established VPN providers. Some of ProtonVPN’s most notable features are:
- AES-256 encryption
- Perfect forward secrecy
- IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN protocols
- DNS leak protection
- Kill switch and always-on VPN
- P2P and Tor network support
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Simultaneous connection of up to 10 devices (depending on the plan)
Aside from providing digital security, ProtonVPN also prides itself for having a secure infrastructure; its servers are located in an underground data center in Sweden. Its critical hardware is also located in a former Swiss army shelter 1000 meters below the surface.
Servers & Countries
ProtonVPN is still in the process of expanding its server locations. It currently has 387 servers in 32 countries, including the United States, Sweden, Iceland, Austria, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Africa.
One of ProtonVPN’s strongest features is its Secure Core servers which reduce the risk of compromising all VPN traffic whenever a VPN server is being attacked or monitored.
For instance, if a ProtonVPN server in the US is being monitored, the tracking will end where the Secure Core server begins. No one will be able to trace the true IP address and location of ProtonVPN users that use a Secure Core server. The Secure Core server feature is available to users with Plus and Visionary ProtonVPN plans.
Reliability & Speed Tests
Users experience different speed qualities depending on the plan they are on. Those using the free service will experience low performance because they can only access a few servers which are loaded most of the time. On the other hand, users under ProtonVPN’s paid plans will experience better performance because they have a lot more server choices.
ProtonVPN gives these tips for a faster and more reliable connection:
- Paid plan: Gives you access to more servers which are not used by a lot of people.
- Connect to servers that aren’t loaded: ProtonVPN’s website lists all servers and the corresponding load of each server. Choose a server that doesn’t have a high load percentage.
- Don’t use Secure Core or Tor servers: The extra layer of security that Secure Core servers provide will slow down the connection. The same is true with the Tor network which is already slow, to begin with. If you prefer a high-speed connection over an extra layer of security, simply don’t use these ProtonVPN features.
Like any VPN provider, the speed of your ProtonVPN connection will depend on a lot of factors, including your connection speed, your distance from the server location, and the VPN protocol you are using.
Pricing & Payments
ProtonVPN has a free VPN service plan that has no data limit and no advertisements. The free service is funded by the provider’s paid plans, and users under the free plan are limited to:
- Users can only access seven servers (out of 387) in three countries (Japan, Netherlands, and the US).
- Only one device is allowed.
- It has limited features and speed.
While the free plan allows users to browse the Internet anonymously and securely, it doesn’t give users access to premium features like Secure Core servers and P2P traffic. To gain access to all 32 countries and other features, users must sign up with any of these paid plans:
- Basic plan at $4/month: The basic plan allows P2P traffic and unlocks the basic servers in all serviceable countries. Under the plan, you can connect two devices simultaneously.
- Plus plan at $8/month: Tagged as the best deal in all ProtonVPN plans, the Plus plan gives users access to Secure Core and Tor servers, and it allows P2P traffic and secure streaming. You can connect up to five devices simultaneously.
- Visionary plan at $24/mo: The Visionary plan has all the features of the Plus plan, and adds ProtonMail Visionary is added, and allows up to 10 simultaneous connections.
Like other VPN providers, ProtonVPN gives discounts if you sign up for the whole year. The provider doesn’t have terms longer than one year.
ProtonVPN’s support is pretty limited as there are only three venues where customers can get support. Issues about delayed responses also come up once in a while as in the case shown in the screenshot below:
The provider, however, is investing in its customer support department so there should be improvements. Some users though still report that their inquiries are not being addressed even after two days. ProtonVPN’s support is in the following forms:
- Knowledge base: This is where ProtonVPN will direct you first, as this support channel may have the answer to your query. You can find common account-related issues, download and setup instructions, general information, troubleshooting guides, and common questions related to unblocking content.
- Contact form: The operating system and version will auto-populate, then you need to enter your username, email address, and the details of your concern. This is the recommended means of communication, but there’s no disclosure as to how soon you’ll get a response.
- Social media: Service announcements can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. Their subreddit has loads of answered queries that might also help you.
There is certainly room for more improvement with regards to ProtonVPN’s customer support. What concerns us is that its terms of service states, “We shall have no obligation to provide support or maintenance for the Services under this Agreement.”
Policies & Logging
ProtonVPN claims that it has a no-logging policy. It may collect personal information like email addresses during account and ticket creation. The company doesn’t share these details with third parties, and it will only use them for account-related communications. It also logs the timestamp of the user’s last successful login attempt, but this data is overwritten with every successful login.
There is an issue raised on Reddit that the provider actually logs IP addresses. The number of comments questioning ProtonVPN’s logging policy is quite concerning.
The slowness at which ProtonVPN addressed the issue (the company replied after five months) also didn’t make us comfortable.
ProtonVPN is more expensive than most of the VPN providers in our top ten list because its paid plans fund the operational cost of its free service. What sets ProtonVPN apart is its location—Switzerland is one of the most pro-user privacy countries in the whole world, unlike other European countries. ProtonVPN banks on this Swiss advantage a little too much.
While ProtonVPN may not be one of the best VPNs we’ve reviewed, they could still appeal to some users for their dedication to privacy. If you are one of those people, click the picture below to visit them now!