ProtonVPN Review by our expert

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Rating ?
4.3 / 5.0
Features 4.5 / 5.0
Ease of Use 4.4 / 5.0
Pricing 3.0 / 5.0
Reliability & Support 4.5 / 5.0

You may have heard of Proton Technologies before. They are the creators of ProtonMail, which is currently the biggest encrypted email service. Now, they’ve turned their attention to VPNs — but does ProtonVPN have the potential to be as ground-breaking as their previous project? ...

Jan 20, 2018
ProtonVPN User Reviews
3.9
Robert Franklin
Jan 13, 2018
  •  2
Worked great - for the extent of the trial offer

Worked absolutely well until the trial offer (WHICH I DIDN'T ASK FOR) expired. Thereafter, every time I tried to log on, a nagware popup notification (which I ALSO didn't ask for) appeared over the proton vpn interface, informing me that the *unwanted & not requested* trial version had expired & I'd only have access to the free server. Upon dismissing this nagware popup (which CANNOT be dragged away from the vpn interface for access to it), I was able to confirm my suspicion that I was in fact not yet connected. Even more irritatingly, my username & password had been dropped from their respective fields on the user interface. I reentered them & clicked the connect button only to have the exact same thing happen again. I tried rebooting my computer to fix the problem & received my first - EVER error notice from Bit Defender notice (meaning that Proton doesn't play well with Spybot S&D, at least on my machine). Tried Proton again upon boot up, same sequence of events. Tried uninstalling & reinstalling a fresh download of Proton. No fix there either. I'm CERTAINLY not dumping off Spybot in order to fix this. Now using betternet, which I don't trust at all, but at least it actually *works*... for now, anyway. As to a rating - 2 stars because it worked well for several days until their own trial promotion with its attendant nagware broke it. God, how I wish windscribe would increase their freebie bandwidth cap by just a sliver...


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Robert Charlefer
Jan 11, 2018
  •  5
Great free subscription service

I'm using the free option and I must say that I'm surprised by the quality of their connection (fast, clean and without any leaks) Proton is a very trustworthy and respectable team, I like their vpn as I like protonmail . They do a lot for privacy , thanks a lot to them.


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    Slave Nation
    Jan 20, 2018
    Is the free version really just a proxy?

    It worked well during the trial then when it became free some websites began rejecting my browser sending me messages that I was using a proxy or VPN and to turn them off. Netflix was one and GodLikeProductions was another.


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Jan 4, 2018
  •  5
Love it

I've used it after two months of them offering it, and I'm completely happy with it. I use this for security over speed. Just create an email with using only a username and password and you can use their VPN with the same login. They offer a free trial of there best service.


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Compare ProtonVPN with the top alternative VPNs
Features Description
Number of Server Locations (countries) 14
Number of servers 112
Does VPN keep logs No
Includes Kill Switch Yes
Devices per license 1
How to use ProtonVPN 4.4 / 5.0

There’s nothing out of the ordinary here — installing and setting up ProtonVPN is a breeze, at least on Windows.

After downloading the client, it takes but a couple of minutes before everything is ready. You don’t need to configure anything manually.

Overall, the black-and-green interface looks cool, but more importantly, it’s practical. You won’t find any confusing elements:


A huge bonus is the ability to select your IP of choice from within the client, as opposed to copying addresses from your browser and other chores of the sort.

Things are a bit different on mobile — for instance, clients are still in development, which means you’ll need to run third-party software to use ProtonVPN on your smartphone. But it's still rather simple to set up and use. 

Download

Watch the short video review and tutorial below of ProtonVPN
Pricing 3.0 / 5.0
Free
$0.00/month
Plus
$8.00/month
Visionary
$24.00/month

ProtonVPN has four tier-based plans:

Basic — Access to 11 VPN server locations on up to 2 devices, high-speed connections.

Plus — Access to 11 VPN server locations on up to 5 devices, highest speed. Also includes exclusive Plus servers, Tor functionality, and ProtonVPN’s very own Secure Core technology.

Visionary — Has all Plus features on up to 10 devices. This package includes ProtonMail Visionary as well.

ProtonVPN doesn’t offer a trial per se. They compensate with a free version, but it comes without any features and access is limited to 3 server locations on 1 device, in addition to slower speed and no P2P support.

Subscribing to the service is the only way to try out the full roster of features. You can choose between a monthly or yearly subscription, with the latter being 20% cheaper.

Payment options for ProtonVPN include credit cards and PayPal. Although Bitcoin isn’t listed, there is a workaround to paying via ProtonMail. The company has also mentioned that they’re working on adding a full-fledged payment option for Bitcoin in the future.

Reliability & Support 4.5 / 5.0

ProtonVPN doesn’t really stand out with its customer support — while competent, answers take rather long.

There is no live chat, which is uncharacteristic for an up-and-coming VPN.

Moreover, emails tend to lag behind tickets, as acknowledged by ProtonVPN’s customer support. The reason for that is emails aren’t monitored intensively.

While waiting, you can check out their updated knowledge base, which is just a fancier way of saying “FAQ section”. It’s constantly updated and you can even enter keywords to find the solution to your problem — assuming it’s been written down.

Despite the lengthy response times, ProtonVPN redeems itself with clear instructions and evident expertise.

The Bottom Line
Ariel Hochstadt
(Ex-Google, International tech speaker)
An excellent choice for desktop, but lots of room for improvement on mobile.

Outstanding encryption, Secure Core re-routing, and a strict zero-logs policy allow ProtonVPN to ensure pristine Internet security not only with words, but actions as well. Desktop (and particularly Windows) users looking for an advanced VPN with multiple privacy features, in addition to high-speed servers and Tor support, should definitely take a closer look.

For mobile-focused users, however, there are a few caveats. Presently, there is no official mobile client for ProtonVPN, meaning a lot of tinkering and inevitable use of third-party software to get things running. As a result of that, many aspects of this VPN suffer, to the point where overall quality on mobile takes a major hit.

The good news is that mobile apps are in the works. Until then, many may take their search for a mobile VPN elsewhere.

4.3 / 5.0
Detailed expert review of ProtonVPN
Ariel Hochstadt
(Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

You may have heard of Proton Technologies before. They are the creators of ProtonMail, which is currently the biggest encrypted email service. Now, they’ve turned their attention to VPNs — but does ProtonVPN have the potential to be as ground-breaking as their previous project?

Given the previous reputation, we expected ProtonVPN to stand out when it came to privacy and security. And stand out it did. From the basics to the unique features, this VPN spares no expense in keeping you safe on the Internet.

ProtonVPN works with two variations of OpenVPN. No other protocol is supported — the reason Proton gives is OpenVPN offers little to no room to be compromised. While other protocols may be faster and cheaper to maintain, ProtonVPN chooses to forego these options in favor of better security.

Encryption is, in a word, impeccable — AES-256 for network traffic, 2048-bit RSA for key exchange, and HMAC with SHA256 for message authentication offer a solid backbone.

That’s not all: ProtonVPN has developed its own re-routing tech, called Secure Core. What it does is weave your traffic through several servers before it goes on its way out of Proton’s network. These servers are in locations with strong privacy laws, which makes it impossible for hackers monitoring exit traffic to unveil the user’s actual IP address.

Features like Secure Core make ProtonVPN a great choice for those who often find themselves on the Internet in easily compromisable settings. Other great aspects include kill-switch functionality and the strict no-logs policy — ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, which puts it outside both EU and US legislation, and allows it to guarantee users full privacy.

ProtonVPN’s top-shelf protection isn’t limited to the virtual space, either. All of its critical infrastructures is located underground in a former army fallout shelter in Switzerland. Not only does it sound awesome, it shows the big steps taken to ensure hardware security and excellent uptime.

There is a lot more to this VPN’s attention to privacy, but we believe this is enough to show their dedication to the cause. What about the other important aspects?

Content unblocking is one of them, and ProtonVPN performs well — even tougher nuts like Netflix and Hulu can be cracked, but there’s trouble with BBC’s iPlayer.

As for the actual streaming experience, we found zero issues with connection and buffering. It was even better with the Plus servers, but you’ll have to break the bank and get the higher-tier packages for those.

Overall, there are no significant drops in speed, even on the OpenVPN protocol. But that’s for desktop — on mobile, it’s an entirely different story. Although the connection is stable, it’s by no means fast. The main culprit is the software, or the lack of one.

Indeed, there is no dedicated ProtonVPN app as of now. You’ll have to resort to third-party software, and configuration is wonky and convoluted, to put it mildly.

Ease of use is just one of the areas that suffer here — the other one, unfortunately, is speed. Prepare to wait minutes for heavier pages to load on mobile, and if you aren’t into slideshows, avoid watching streams.

All of this may come as a surprise, considering ProtonVPN’s list of supported platforms. The provider isn’t in the wrong — you can use the VPN on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and routers — but, in reality, the only fully-developed client is the Windows one. Keep that in mind if you aren’t a Microsoft fan.

Customer support is another area where ProtonVPN can make progress. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t disappointed by the lack of live chat, and response time on the two available means of contact can certainly be improved.

The average for a return to your question is at 12+ hours, and in one case it took customer support 3 days to get back to us. Apart from the huge wait, everything was handled professionally — we wanted to test the money-back guarantee, and we were given clear, straightforward instructions on how to do it.

In regards to that, we are happy to say that ProtonVPN is a provider that doesn’t try to pull shady tricks on customers wishing for their money back. In our experience, we were refunded immediately after the process was over.

The first step is to switch your account to Free, followed by contacting support with a refund request. You have 60 days to do that, which is twice the period most VPNs are willing to offer. Everything is handled on the spot, and you may even get your money back in the same day if you’re lucky enough to quickly hear back from customer support.

To sum up, ProtonVPN can be a solid contender for the best privacy-oriented VPN on the market, but it still feels like an unfinished product. It offers a host of functionality wrapped a smooth, good-looking interface, but this kind of polished experience isn’t currently available on any other platform than Windows.

On the upside, Proton has acknowledged their shortcomings to the community, and they’re working on solutions (developing an app for Android, introducing easier Bitcoin payment, etc.). Once these updates are live, we believe there will be nothing but bright days ahead for ProtonVPN. As of now, it remains a work in progress with huge potential to be a leading VPN in the near future.

  • Extensive focus on privacy
  • 112 servers across 14 countries
  • Uses Secure Core technology developed by ProtonVPN
  • No data logs kept
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Supports up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Get started with ProtonVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 0
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 1
VPN Plans: www.protonvpn.com
Ariel Hochstadt
(Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

  • Extensive focus on privacy
  • 112 servers across 14 countries
  • Uses Secure Core technology developed by ProtonVPN
  • No data logs kept
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Supports up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Get started with ProtonVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 0
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 1
VPN Plans: www.protonvpn.com
Ariel Hochstadt
(Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

  • Extensive focus on privacy
  • 112 servers across 14 countries
  • Uses Secure Core technology developed by ProtonVPN
  • No data logs kept
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Supports up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Get started with ProtonVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 0
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 1
VPN Plans: www.protonvpn.com
Ariel Hochstadt
(Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

  • Extensive focus on privacy
  • 112 servers across 14 countries
  • Uses Secure Core technology developed by ProtonVPN
  • No data logs kept
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Supports up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Get started with ProtonVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 0
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 1
VPN Plans: www.protonvpn.com
Ariel Hochstadt
(Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

  • Extensive focus on privacy
  • 112 servers across 14 countries
  • Uses Secure Core technology developed by ProtonVPN
  • No data logs kept
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Supports up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Get started with ProtonVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 0
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 1
VPN Plans: www.protonvpn.com
Ariel Hochstadt
(Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

  • Extensive focus on privacy
  • 112 servers across 14 countries
  • Uses Secure Core technology developed by ProtonVPN
  • No data logs kept
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Supports up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Get started with ProtonVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 0
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 1
VPN Plans: www.protonvpn.com
Ariel Hochstadt
(Ex-Google, International tech speaker)

The review for this sub category of VPNs is not available yet for this VPN Provider. If you feel they provide a good solution, please add your review as a user, and we'll follow with a detailed expert review

  • Extensive focus on privacy
  • 112 servers across 14 countries
  • Uses Secure Core technology developed by ProtonVPN
  • No data logs kept
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Supports up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Get started with ProtonVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days): 0
Mobile app:
Devices per license: 1
VPN Plans: www.protonvpn.com