ProtonVPN Review

Last updated:

Proton VPN is the complete package that provides you with the features you need and possibly one of the safest experiences currently available across both free and paid platforms.

So, let’s check out all these features in more detail with the ultimate ProtonVPN review!

Overview

First, things first – VPN stands for “Virtual Private Network” and outlines the opportunity to build a protected network connection when using public and personal networks, i.e. the internet.

VPNs encrypt your internet traffic and conceal your online identity.

This makes it more difficult for other people to track your activities online and steal data – gone are the days of criminals breaking into secured buildings like Tom Cruise, now they do it in the comfort of their own home while eating pop tarts. 

Enter ProtonVPN.

ProtonVPN is a VPN service operated out of Switzerland in a former military bunker 1,000 meters below the Alps, yes the very same country that brought you the swiss army knife, Velcro and Heidi. 

This review will unpack unique features and limitations of Protons VPN, if any, while identifying if ProtonVPN is the all in one multipurpose tool for your needs, something the Swiss seem to have down to a tee. 

When on the market for a VPN, the biggest drawcards are performance, security and cost, with a myriad of options available today, from free to paid plans.

It’s hard to work out the right choice, so let’s dive right in. 

ProtonVPN is a VPN service operated out of Switzerland by Proton Technologies AG, the company behind the highly acclaimed email service, ProtonMail. 

ProtonVPN holds privacy in high regard; this should be your first point of interest when shopping around for a VPN, hence the “Private” in VPN.

Because they are based in Switzerland, just like a Swiss bank account, ProtonVPN benefits from solid legal protection by some of the world’s strongest privacy laws and remains outside of US and EU jurisdiction.

Further to this, your connection is routed through multiple servers before leaving their own dedicated and internally operated network, meaning that no one will be able to discover your true IP address or match browsing activity to that IP.

Not even Liam Neeson’s and his unique set of skills could find you.

In addition to this foundation, ProtonVPN provides you with NetShield, a DNS filtering feature, Forward Secrecy, a single-use encryption key using the highest strength AES-256, key exchange encryption to protect your internet connection and you from malware, website trackers from following you.

Cracking this encryption would be like a colour blind person trying to solve a rubrics cube – highly improbable. 

The next thing when looking at a VPN is performance, and ProtonVPN does it better than most.

Their VPN Accelerator uses a unique proprietary technology that can increase your VPN speeds by over 400%, did someone say Usain Bolt?

This is achieved by overcoming the constraints of your computer (the CPU) that affects how the VPNs rules and code is usually processed, and this only gets better depending on the plan option you select.

With over 1300 servers in 61 countries, you can have up to 10 Gb of bandwidth; this is dependant on your current internet service providers speeds, of course. 

So besides having complete anonymity with an online search, ProtonVPN provides you with secure streaming and provides access to your favourite websites and content no matter where you are. 

Furthermore, you can route all your traffic through the Tor Anonymity Network and easily access Onion sites thanks to their one-click Tor integration, all without shedding a tear.

If you are unsure what this all means, maybe it better to stay clear of the dark web. 

Key Features

  • Secure servers are located in data centres across Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden.
  • Data is protected by strong privacy laws.
  • NetShield DNS filtering feature protects you from malware, website trackers and blocks ads.
  • The highest strength Encryption; AES-256, with key exchange through a 4096-bit RSA, and HMAC.
  • Your traffic is encrypted and cannot be captured or decrypted later as each connection uses a new encryption key with Perfect Forward Secrecy technology. 
  • In house DNS Protection to ensure that leaks from DNS queries cannot expose your browsing activity.
  • Fast 10 Gbps server network combined with the unique VPN Accelerator technologies can improve speeds by over 400%. 
  • Advanced networks and algorithms are utilized to provide exceptional performance and connection stability.
  • ProtonVPN is available on all devices; PCs, Macs, smartphones, and even routers and has native apps. for WindowsmacOSLinuxChromebookAndroidAndroid TV and iOS/iPadOS.
  • Unblocks a wide selection of popular online media services, providing access to streaming content from anywhere in the world.
  • OpenVPN uses IKEv2, and WireGuard protocols.
  • Strict no-log policy and does not track, collect or share your private data, while all ProtonVPN servers are protected with full disk encryption. 
  • If you lose connection with the VPN server, the Kill Switch blocks all network traffic, while Always-on automatically re-establishes a secure connection.
  • Support for Tor anonymity networks and access to dark websites.

Pros of ProtonVPN

  • User friendly. 
  • Mutipi platform. 
  • Values the privacy of its customers. 
  • Has its HQ in Switzerland.
  • Strong encryption & protocols.
  • No leaks, No logs.
  • Secure core servers.
  • Acceptable speeds.
  • Present in 41 countries.
  • Supports Tor browser & P2P.

Cons of ProtonVPN

  • They do not offer 24/7 customer support.
  • Only email support is available, with no chat support available.
  • Limited Asia region servers.
  • Can be challenging to configure on routers.
  • The servers on Free and Basic Plans can sometimes be slow.
  • You only get access to all servers and features at the highest pay level.

ProtonVPN Plans & Pricing

No personal identifying information is required to obtain a ProtonVPN account.

You can sign up with an anonymous ProtonMail email account or anonymous VPN without disclosing your identity.

There are four plans available, from Free to their visionary plan.

It’s essential to select the plan that fits your needs, as each plan increases with additional features you may or may not require.

The good news is that ProtonVPNs Free version is possibly one of the most secure base options available. 

Payment methods at ProtonVPN

No personal identifying information is required to obtain a ProtonVPN account.

You can sign up with an anonymous ProtonMail email account or anonymous VPN without disclosing your identity.

ProtonVPN accepts all major credit cards, and payment can be made in EUR, USD or CHF.

If you are looking for enhanced anonymity – Bitcoin is your friend.

ProtonVPN specifically emphasize on the privacy and security aspects here too, and provide you with the option to pay with direct Bitcoin payments for ProtonVPN.

It’s important to note to access this method of payment, you first need to signup for a Free ProtonVPN, and then you can upgrade from the secure Free ProtonVPN dashboard to a Premium plan using Bitcoin.

If you are an existing Premium account holder, you can contact ProtonVPN support directly to amend your payment method.

Finally, just a note when paying with Bitcoin, it may take up to 36 hours for the Bitcoin payment to be processed.

ProtonVPN server selection and security

ProtonVPN has gone to extreme lengths to protect their secure core servers to ensure their security with 1400+ servers in 61 countries.

For instance, some are located in a high-security data centre outside of Zurich, requiring biometric access.

Their Iceland infrastructure resides in a secure former military base, and the servers in Sweden are located in an underground data centre and so on.

They also control and ship their own equipment to these locations, ensuring that the servers are secure at the hardware level.

ProtonVPN encryption & protocols

As you already gather, ProtonVPN respects your privacy, and only use VPN protocols that are known to be secure – OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard and does not have any servers that support PPTP and L2TP/IPSec, even though they are less costly to operate.

With no personal identifiable data stored, all servers protected all with full disk encryption and all other configurations and software stored on an exit server.

Attackers would not be able to access any data stored if it ever existed.

That’s like purchasing that 200m diving watch, and you don’t dive, or even swim for that matter.

ProtonVPN kill switch

‘The kill switch’ sounds ominous, but essentially, it terminates your connection to the internet if your connection via the ProtonVPN server is interrupted.

This is a built-in feature and works alongside ProtonVPN Always-on technology.

So in the event that you lose connection with the VPN server, the ‘Kill Switch’ blocks all network traffic, while Always-on automatically re-establishes a connection to a secure server, thus preventing your IP address from being exposed and compromising your security.

ProtonVPN’s No-Logs policy

When you use a traditional VPN service, it is very likely that they can see all of your browsing activity on the internet.

Under Swiss law, ProtonVPN is obligated not to save any user connection logs and can not be forced to perform targeted logging on specific users.

This ensures that your browsing history remains private under all circumstances.

ProtonVPN device support

Compatability is near-universal with ProtonVPN and works with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android and IOS, and there are installation tutorials for routers as well.

Each app is easy to navigate and provides session information and graphs if you are into that kind of thing. 

Streaming with ProtonVPN

Your content selection across streaming services can be severely limited depending on which country you are currently visiting or living in.

ProtonVPN lets travellers access geo-blocked content that is available in any country as part of your streaming service license.

ProtonVPN, like most VPNs, only guarantee streaming for their paid Plus and Visionary users.

If you are a ProtonVPN user on a Free or Basic plan, you will need to upgrade your subscription to stream video.

What’s great is they have created guides to help you unblock all the major streaming platforms using ProtonVPN available under their; Support Center / Access Content.

Customer support at ProtonVPN

The only place where ProtonVPN comes short is customer support.

That’s not to say that is poor in any regard, but compared to other VPN providers ProtonVPN falls a little short.

There is no 24/7 chat service, but they do have a FAQ knowledge base available and email ticketing support, with a 24h turnaround time.  

This could easily leave you feeling a little frustrated. 

However, with a solid package like this, functioning much like a high-end swiss watch, we doubt you will be spending much time chatting to support. 

Conclusion – ProtonVPN is a solid application!

With all analogies, metaphors and jargon aside.

If it’s privacy, security or just streaming your favourite show, ProtonVPN is one of the best options available on the market, with options to suit any budget.

There are more features that you can shake a stick at, with even more advanced features available for those of you that are more security focused, such as the multi-hop connections.

The largest drawback is that you have to upgrade to the most expensive plans to be able to really get the full potential out of ProtonVPN, but it’s well worth the extra cost.