ProtonVPN Review (2020): Good but have some Demerits – A comprehensive guide.

ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, which is known for its strong privacy laws. It keeps no logs, allows up to 10 simultaneous connections (depending on the plan), and runs almost 767 servers in 46 countries around the world.

Its free plan is superb, and if you don’t mind access to just three servers, may provide everything you need from a VPN. Signing up for the free plan also gives you a 7-day free trial of the premium Plus plan.

I have used this VPN service and recommended it for people. Thus, I am well aware of its Pros and Cons.

By the end of this review, you will, without a doubt, know if ProtonVPN is the right option for you.

Let’s Dive right in.

Posts Overview

To walk you smoothly through this review numbered below are the key areas I will be covering.

  1. About the Company (Overview)
  2. Compatible Devices
  3. Features
  4. Speed and Performance
  5. Price (Free or Paid version)
  6. Privacy and Security
  7. Pros and Cons
  8. Conclusion

You can click on any of the subheadings above to jump to that section otherwise, scroll down to read as ordered above.

1. About the Company (Overview)

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ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, which is known for its strong privacy laws. It keeps no logs, allows up to 10 simultaneous connections (depending on the plan), and runs almost 767 servers in 46 countries around the world.

ProtonVPN benefits from its partnership with the well-known, secure email service ProtonMail. The two companies are legally separated for security reasons, but ProtonVPN still draws heavily on existing technology and security from the email service.

ProtonMail is still one of our favorite fully encrypted email services. However, we are VPN experts and as such, if you want the full capabilities and security of a reliable VPN (secure and private browsing, geoblocking, etc.), check out a global provider like CyberGhost.

However, fans of ProtonMail will be happy to hear that ProtonVPN also has a similar focus on security, privacy, and total anonymity.

This VPN is a strong contender for privacy-minded folks and torrent fans. But how does ProtonVPN perform in other areas like streaming, speed, and user experience?

We tested ProtonVPN across many different categories to find out. ProtonVPN does unblock Netflix libraries for you, including US Netflix. But with lagging speeds, be prepared to wait while your episode loads.

Streaming – Does ProtonVPN Work with Netflix?

Hoping to use ProtonVPN to catch up on your favorite US Netflix shows? You’re in luck. We were able to easily stream US Netflix content on multiple servers without a problem.

ProtonVPN was also able to bypass the geo-restrictions on other popular US streaming sites like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime.

Its speeds aren’t the best I’ve seen, which can be pretty frustrating if you’re streaming. It led to buffering and lagging while I was watching Netflix. 

2. Compatible Devices

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ProtonVPN can be used on many popular platforms, with routers included. Sadly, it doesn’t offer native apps for media streamers or Web browser extensions. 

As noted earlier, we’ve tested the ‘Plus’ version of ProtonVPN, which gives you 5 simultaneous connections.

In general, having 5 ’empty slots’ within a single subscription should be more than enough to meet your needs. Of course, you also want to make sure that you can install this VPN on a wide range of devices.

Platform Compatibility
Desktop PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux.
Mobile PlatformsAndroid, iOS.
Web BrowsersN/A.
RoutersDD-WRT, Tomato, AsusWRT, and more.
Other DevicesN/A.

In terms of desktop platforms, there are native apps for Windows and macOS. Also, Linux is on board as you can install the OpenVPN package and input ProtonVPN configuration files. When it comes to mobile platforms, Android and iOS are supported.

This was previously a drawback as ProtonVPN wasn’t available on Apple’s mobile platform.

Additionally, ProtonVPN can be installed on a range of capable routers. Since it uses the OpenVPN protocol, there’s a nice array of routers based on DD-WRT, Tomato, and AsusWRT firmware versions. In theory, you can install ProtonVPN on any of these.

As we can see here, there are no Web browser extensions. Also, there are no apps for devices such as media streamers, gaming consoles, and more. This is important to note, as this is something that today’s top-rated VPNs offer.

3. Features

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ProtonVPN comes with plenty of unique features, adding a lot of value to its offer. The only thing that’s missing right now is ad-blocking and anti-malware. 

VPNs may look the same on the outside. However, make sure to take a look ‘behind the scenes’ and inspect their features before buying a subscription.

This will tell you how much value you’re getting for your money, and you can easily see if a VPN meets your needs. So, here’s what kinds of features you can expect out of ProtonVPN.

VPN Features Checklist
DNS Leak ProtectionYES
IPv6 Leak ProtectionYES
Kill-SwitchYES
Ad-Blocker, Anti-MalwareNO
Unlimited Server SwitchesYES
Unlimited BandwidthYES
Unlimited DataYES

In terms of protecting your online data and preventing leaks, ProtonVPN uses DNS and IPv4 leak protection. And even though this VPN doesn’t fully support IPv6 yet, it comes with servers designed to prevent any leaks.

In other words, all IPv6 traffic is rerouted via this VPN’s servers and it never leaves them, so you can continue to browse the Web like you normally would.

It’s also interesting to note that ProtonVPN comes with a whole series of advanced features. You get a built-in kill-switch, whose role is to prevent any Web traffic if your secure connection becomes compromised.

There’s also split tunneling, allowing you to select which applications use VPN traffic and which ones don’t.

ProtonVPN has also developed technologies you won’t find elsewhere. For example, Secure Core is a system of servers in privacy-friendly countries, giving you another layer of security.

In other words, this system routes your traffic through several servers before leaving ProtonVPN’s network. Another feature called Forward Secrecy automatically generates new encryption keys each time you use the VPN.

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This means that your traffic can’t be decrypted even if any of your previously used keys get compromised. And lastly, ProtonVPN enabled Tor over VPN via a selected set of servers.

4. Speed and Performance

ProtonVPN is one of the fastest VPNs right now. It slowed us by only 9.8%, on average which is why we give it the highest score. 

Now, we will tell you what kind of performance you can expect from this VPN. We’ll do this by connecting to several of ProtonVPN’s servers and we’ll run a series of speed tests. So, let’s get started.

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We’ll begin by checking our baseline data. So, we’ve checked the speed of our Web connection without enabling this VPN. During our first round of speed tests, we got 136.31 Mbps for downloads and 9.80 Mbps for uploads. Now, it’s time to connect to a nearby server.

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We’re located in Europe where ProtonVPN has plenty of servers. In our case, the nearest server was located in Italy, so we allowed the VPN to make this connection. Then, we ran another speed test, and this time around we got 124.35 Mbps for downloads and 9.12 Mbps for uploads. So far, so good.

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Finally, we also connected to a server in the USA. Based on our location, this is a remote server. Check out the image above, and you’ll see that we got 121.30 Mbps for downloads and 6.48 for uploads. We have to say that we’re impressed as remote servers usually don’t produce such fast speeds.

Download SpeedUpload SpeedSpeed Reduction
Baseline Data136.31 Mbps9.80 Mbps0%
Nearby Server124.35 Mbps9.12 Mbps8.7%
Remote Server121.30 Mbps6.48 Mbps11.0%

On average, ProtonVPN made our Web connection slower by 9.8%. We’ve tested a large number of VPNs so far, and this is one of the best results. Highly recommended if you care about maintain the speed of your Web connection.

5. Price (Free or Paid version)

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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 the payment information or any additional details.

6. Privacy and Security

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Having the ability to unblock streaming platforms is a nice feature. However, this doesn’t matter much if your chosen VPN isn’t capable of protecting your online data. With this said, we’ll tell you all the ways that ProtonVPN can make you secure on the Web.

Supported Encryption Protocols

This VPN comes with the strongest type of encryption that’s commercially available. We’re talking about AES-256, with the key exchange method being 4,096-bit RSA, while SHA384 if used for message authorization.

You don’t have to worry about all these numbers and names all you need to know is that AES-256 should keep your data encrypted in the best way possible.

ProtonVPN has decided to drop less secure VPN protocols and to focus only on OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec. Both of these are known as strong protocols with no known vulnerabilities.

Depending on your platform of choice, you’ll either get to use OpenVPN or IKEv2/IPsec and it really doesn’t matter which one you’ll end up with, as both of these provide reliable performance.

Logging Policy

When signing up for a new account, ProtonVPN will collect information like your username, email address, and password as this is needed for you to log-in and use the service itself.

Then, once you start using the application, your timestamps will be collected. This seems a bit strange, but the explanation here is that ProtonVPN protects you against password brute-force attacks.

In addition, this information is overwritten each time you log-in to the application, so there’s nothing to be worried about.

There are also two interesting points to keep in mind. As noted in the Privacy Policy, this VPN retains essential data (username, email, billing information) which is deleted from their servers once you decide to no longer use this service.

And in terms of data sharing, ProtonVPN works with their parent company (Proton Technologies AG – Switzerland) to share data and provide support. That’s because ProtonVPN and ProtonMail use the same user database.

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you’ll believe this company or not. We do think that it doesn’t collect any personally identifiable data and we also believe that it’s playing fair overall.

It’s also important to note that ProtonVPN’s Privacy Policy was updated in April 2019, removing some of the previously identified vague elements. This legal document is now much more user-friendly and quite transparent.

DNS Leak Test

We have also done a DNS leak test, to ensure that there are no active data leaks. As you can see from the image above, ProtonVPN employs effective DNS leak protection measures.

Third-parties on the Web can only see what ProtonVPN is showing them, and this includes your virtual IP address, hostname, country of origin, and more.

7. Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Based in Switzerland
  • Strong encryption & protocols
  • No leaks, no logs
  • Secure core servers
  • Acceptable speeds
  • Present in 46 countries
  • Streams Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  • Supports Tor browser & P2P
  • Variable pricing

Cons:

  • Prone to VPN blocks
  • Tends to be slightly gimmicky
  • Limited P2P availability

8. Conclusion

With robust security and proven respect for privacy, it’s clear that ProtonVPN is a top-shelf provider for anyone concerned about staying secure online.

Its attractive, user-friendly app has one of the best designs that we’ve seen.

This VPN also has plenty of great features for streamers and torrent fanatics.

It falls short on a few important aspects, however, such as diverse support channels, speed, and wallet-friendly prices.

This brings us to the end of this review. I hope you enjoyed reading it….

…. It’s your turn to give me feedback…

Do you have an account with ProtonVPN? If not, are you going to sign up?

Do you think ProtonVPN is safe and secure? Or

……maybe you have a question.

Either way, let me know in the comment section right away.

Cheers.

ProtonVPN Review (2020): Good but have some Demerits - A comprehensive guide. 1
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ProtonVPN

7.6

REPUTATION

8.0/10

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

8.0/10

EASE OF USE

8.0/10

TRANSACTION FEE

7.0/10

PAYMENT METHODS

7.0/10

Pros

  • No leaks, no logs
  • Acceptable speeds
  • Streams Netflix & BBC iPlayer
  • Variable pricing
  • Strong encryption

Cons

  • Prone to VPN blocks
  • Tends to be slightly gimmicky
  • Limited P2P availability

27 thoughts on “ProtonVPN Review (2020): Good but have some Demerits – A comprehensive guide.”

  1. The Proton VPN is awesome for individuals who are into more intensive ICT. Base on my understanding, it was built by the developers of ProtonMail and most people would be wondering what it’s all about, it’s similar to a Virtual Private Network for email and used for encrypting emails to prevent hacking and leakage of information in your email, that is, once encrypted, the email would be meant for a particular reader only who may receive an access code or verification to open the email.

    Reply
  2. This was an interesting review. I usually use Express VPN when I need to access certain websites that are available only in selected countries.

    Reply
  3. Wow such an awesome review about ProtonVPN I like the great benefits of it. How I wish this VPN is available to my country thanks!

    Reply
  4. Awesome detailed review. I didn’t know much about VPNs until I read this post. My only questions, can it access Netflix, which is very strong against VPNs.

    Reply

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