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ProtonVPN Review & Test 2021 - Good Overall, But Some Drawbacks

Author Image Katie Kasunic
Katie Kasunic | Technology Researcher
Updated on 9th April 2021

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.

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

Its biggest strengths include an attractive and user-friendly interface, robust security, and a strict no-logs policy. Downsides include unimpressive speeds, a lack of live chat support, and fairly pricey long-term subscriptions.

Check out these great deals on ProtonVPN subscriptions in May 2021, and save up to 84%!

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

  • ProtonVPN can unblock Netflix. I was able to access Netflix US without any issues, as well as several other popular streaming sites. See my full test results.
  • Speeds and server availability are just okay. I wasn’t unimpressed or impressed by the speeds, although all the servers I tested were fast enough to stream in HD. Find out if I was able to reach UltraHD speeds.
  • Strong security features. ProtonVPN didn’t leak my IP address or DNS requests and it has advanced security features to keep your data and privacy safe. Discover more about security features.
  • The app is well designed and easy to use. I was able to easily navigate the app, turn on features, and connect to servers quickly. Learn more here.

Start Streaming with ProtonVPN Today!

ProtonVPN Features Updated 2021

Number of countries with servers 54
Number of servers 1250
Does VPN keep logs? No
Does VPN include a kill switch? Yes
Number of devices per license 10

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.

It’s 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. There are plenty of vendors that offer hassle-free streaming. Try out our #1 recommended vendor, ExpressVPN.

Server Network and Speeds

ProtonVPN has a medium-sized server network of 1,250 servers in 54 countries. We tested server speeds in multiple locations to find out if this VPN’s speeds are as fast as it claims.

Our download speed before connecting to ProtonVPN was 64 Mbps:

Screenshot of Proton VPN speed test on a US server

We used the VPN’s Fast Connection feature to connect to a nearby server in the US. Unfortunately, our download speed was extremely slow for a location that was supposed to provide our fastest connection:

Screenshot of a ProtonVPN speed test on a US server

On the Server Selection list, ProtonVPN shows how much traffic there is on each server, which is useful for finding fast servers.

For our next test, we manually selected a server on the US West Coast that showed low traffic. Our download speeds were significantly better this time:

Screenshot of a ProtonVPN speed test on a Salt Lake City server

Our speeds in Germany were functional, but not great, at under 20 Mbps:

Screenshot of a ProtonVPN speed test on a Denmark server

Our speeds in other parts of Europe, including the UK, were similar. Surprisingly, we also got similar speeds all the way across the world in Hong Kong:

Screenshot of a ProtonVPN speed test on an Asian server

Overall, ProtonVPN’s speeds were nothing special. They certainly weren’t as fast as some top competitors.

On the upside, its network speeds were perfectly functional and reliable for most online activity in many different locations around the world.

Is ProtonVPN Good for Torrenting?

ProtonVPN is a good choice for torrenting. The provider allows P2P file sharing on all servers and keeps your torrenting activity private with a strict no-logs policy.

There are several articles related to torrenting on ProtonVPN’s website, including a guide to using BitTorrent with ProtonVPN.

Security – Is ProtonVPN Safe?

ProtonVPN is packed with robust security features to protect your connection. Your IP address is masked and kept safe with built-in DNS leak protection.

We did not detect any DNS leaks during our tests. Here’s our result from a DNS leak website while connected to a ProtonVPN server in Hong Kong:

Screenshot of Proton VPN's DNS leak test

ProtonVPN kept my information private.

As you can see, our real location in the US was not leaked.

Encryption

ProtonVPN protects your data with secure AES-256 encryption and a 4096-bit RSA key exchange. If you’re not sure what that means, rest assured that it’s a very secure algorithm.

In addition, the Perfect Forward Secrecy feature protects all connections by generating a unique new encryption key each time you connect to a server.

This means that even if your encryption key were somehow compromised, all of your data from previous connections would be completely safe.

In terms of protocols, ProtonVPN supports OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec connections. This isn’t the longest list of protocols we’ve seen, but the ones that are supported are very secure.

An additional security feature, Secure Core, automatically routes your traffic among several different servers in privacy-friendly countries—including Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden—before reaching your final destination. This provides a strong extra layer of protection.

Does ProtonVPN Keep Logs?

Located in privacy-friendly Switzerland, ProtonVPN has a strong focus on delivering total anonymity to users. The privacy policy is very transparent and straightforward.

ProtonVPN follows a strict no-logging policy that is backed up by Swiss law, which doesn’t require retention of any information about your connection, session bandwidth, IP address, or online activity.

Because ProtonVPN doesn’t keep any user logs, it can’t be forced to hand over identifying information to any third parties.

If you’re looking for an even stronger guarantee of anonymity, you can take advantage of the Tor over VPN service, which will direct your traffic through the Tor network without you having to download the Tor browser.

Does ProtonVPN Have an Ad Blocker?

ProtonVPN does not offer an ad blocker as part of its service.

Does ProtonVPN Work in China?

ProtonVPN can be a good choice if you are looking to bypass China’s tough censorship. There are multiple server locations near China, including Hong Kong, that get decent speeds.

However, some server locations may be blocked. To avoid trial and error, you can email the support team to request a list of recommended servers for use in China.

Ease of Use

9.0

ProtonVPN is extremely user-friendly. The download and installation process is fast and straightforward, and there are native apps available for all major platforms.

When you first open the ProtonVPN app, you’ll be able to view a helpful tour of the features. The interface is sleek and attractive. There’s also a button that automatically connects you to the fastest available server.

One of the best things you can do with the app is save connection profiles that have different settings. This makes it easy to use ProtonVPN for a variety of purposes without having to manually change your settings each time.

Is ProtonVPN Compatible with My Device?

ProtonVPN offers good device compatibility, with user-friendly native apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. All apps are open source and have undergone an independent audit, and you can use OpenVPN in the beta version of iOS. You can also find detailed manual configuration guides for Linux, and its newly improved Linux command line is the beta stage of testing.

ProtonVPN recently released an app for ChromeOS as well, it’s available for any Chromebook that supports Android apps.

The number of simultaneous devices supported depends on your subscription tier. Free plans allow only one device, Basic plans allow two simultaneous devices, Plus plans allow five simultaneous devices, and Visionary plans allow 10 simultaneous devices.

ProtonVPN Customer Service

Our biggest concern with ProtonVPN’s customer service is the lack of live chat support. When you run into a problem with your VPN service, you don’t want to have to wait a whole day to resolve the issue.

Unfortunately, the only way to contact ProtonVPN’s customer service team is via email or a support ticket.

When we submitted a question to the support team, it took about 24 hours to get a response, which is pretty typical for email support.

However, we were pleased with the quality of the response. We found ProtonVPN’s customer service to be friendly, thorough, and helpful.

You can also find the answer to most common questions on the website, which has a helpful knowledge base and installation guides.

User Experience

ProtonVPN scores major points with its user-friendly app interface. The app is easy to navigate and designed in an intuitive way.

The first time you open the app, you are given a brief tour with pop-up tips that walk you through all of the app’s important features.

Screenshot of the ProtonVPN user interface

ProtonVPN’s apps are user-friendly.

The app displays available server locations on the left, with your current connection status on the top of the screen.

There’s also a clear map on the right that marks countries that have ProtonVPN servers with a triangle. A solid green triangle appears on your current server country, making it easy to see your current status and where you’re connected.

There are three easy ways to connect to the VPN:

  1. Select a country from the list. When you hover over a specific country, a Connect button will appear. Screenshot of connecting to a VPNYou can also click the arrow to the right of each country to select from a list of individual server locations.
  2. Use the map. When you hover over a triangle on the map, a Connect button will appear.
  3. Use the Profiles tab. This is where you will find the option to connect to the fastest available server.

You can also click Create Profile to create convenient personalized configurations that you can come back to whenever you want.

Screenshot of the ProtonVPN profile interface

This is an excellent feature that makes ProtonVPN incredibly easy to use even when you’re in a hurry.

For each profile, you can choose a specific country or individual server to connect to. You can also add special features for different activities, including Secure Core, P2P, and Tor over VPN.

Additional advanced settings are easy to access through the Options menu.

One thing to be aware of is that the automatic kill switch is disabled by default, so you should switch it on before connecting if you want to take advantage of the feature.

Overall, we were very impressed with ProtonVPN’s app and have no complaints. It delivers an excellent user experience.

Compare ProtonVPN with the top alternative VPNs

Pricing

4.0
Basic
$4.00 /month
Plus
$8.00 /month
Visionary
$24.00 /month

ProtonVPN offers a free plan and three paid plans: Basic, Plus, and Visionary.

The free plan gives you access to servers in just three countries, connection to only one device, and slower connection speeds. All of the paid plans give you access to ProtonVPN’s high-speed servers in all server locations.

All of ProtonVPN’s paid packages provide high-speed connections. The Plus and Visionary subscriptions include access to Secure Core servers, access to Tor servers, P2P support, and secure streaming.

The Visionary plan also includes a ProtonMail subscription.

The Basic plan is very reasonably priced, while the Visionary plan is on the pricey side.

All plans are available in both monthly and annual subscriptions, with small discounts offered on annual subscriptions.

If you’re interested in ProtonVPN, we recommend taking some time to consider what your main purposes are with the VPN. This can help you decide which plan will give you the best value.

A quick sidebar: ProtonMail is still one of our favorite fully encrypted email services. However, many VPNs offer a greater server reach at a lower price. For instance, check out a global provider like CyberGhost, it has over 6,800 in 90 countries.

Here is an overview of the different features offered with each tier:

Screenshot of ProtonVPN's Plans and features

ProtonVPN’s features will depend on the plan you choose.

If security and anonymity are important to you, the Plus plan will likely provide you with the best value for your money.

The paid plans differ in the number of simultaneous connections you can have, and the Plus and Visionary plans include more advanced security features than the Basic.

When you sign up for the free service, you get a 7-day trial of ProtonVPN Plus. You can also take advantage of the 30-day, money-back guarantee offered on all paid subscriptions.

ProtonVPN accepts multiple payment methods, including major credit cards, PayPal, and anonymous cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Reliability & Support

7.0

The good news is that we found ProtonVPN to be highly reliable and did not run into any issues during testing. The bad news is that we think ProtonVPN has room for improvement when it comes to customer support.

Unlike many of its competitors, ProtonVPN does not offer live chat support. The only way to get in contact with the support team is via email or a support ticket.

After submitting a question, you may have to wait around 24 hours for a response. On the other hand, the response that we received from the support team was informative and helpful.

The ProtonVPN website also has a comprehensive, regularly updated knowledge base that can answer many common questions and concerns.

The Bottom Line

A super-private VPN with an attractive interface, but unimpressive speeds and no live chat support.

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.

Plus, all the geo-unblocking technology in the world is no good if your streaming session is slow. If you’re after speedy streaming, check out one of these vendors instead.

  • 1,250 servers in over 54 countries
  • State-of-the-art encryption
  • Privacy-focused and keeps no logs
  • Offers free VPN, one month refund, and accepts Bitcoin
  • Slick clients for
  • Get started with ProtonVPN now
Money Back Guarantee (Days) : 30
Mobile app :
Number of devices per license : 10
VPN Plans: www.protonvpn.com

Watch the short video review and tutorial below of ProtonVPN

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ProtonVPN User Reviews

8.8
Based on 315 reviews in 17 languages
Alex
Proton is a poor, mediocre and deficient VPN - 4
Alex -
Mar 27, 2021

Proton has some pros like reliability and stability and some essential cons like mediocre speed, the absence of WireGuard, and the imbalance between Tap and Tun Adapters. Proton is a poor, mediocre, and deficient VPN.

Chris
You discover things you did not expect. - 2
Chris -
Feb 11, 2021

As you search, you discover things you did not expect. Being a Protonvpn Plus user with an annual subscription(ID: ... 8386), I never expected the application to leak. And for the sake of truth, here it is. * DNS server leak-185.159.157.11 Switzerland (ProtonVPN AG). * Your IP is blacklisted-Your IP was found in the following blacklists: Spamhaus. I submitted two requests and a bug report through the application in Proton support but never received a response. I will not comment on the application and I will have to wait patiently for my subscription to expire in 10 months or maybe buy another more reliable VPN application. For my part, I can not inspire conscience and dignity in anyone in Proton. All I can say is that I am sorry they got to that point. I do not expect any answer, but let the readers of Vpnmentor read my review carefully and with knowledge. I'm sure they will realize a lot of things.

Alex
Лучший из лучших - 10
Alex

Нравится подход компании к скорости и безопасности, пользуюсь уже 2 года, очень доволен. Пользуюсь пакетом Basic собираюсь переходить на Plus так как привлекает Secure Core VPN. Также использую protonmail.

Check the top 3 alternative VPNs

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