VPN, once a secret of the savviest internet users, has now become a necessity for anyone who spends any time at all online. And it’s safe to say that includes everyone. You might need a VPN simply because your favorite show is not on Netflix in your country, and that is completely valid. However, VPN is also important because it protects your privacy and your data, and that is not an easy task in 2021.
But before we get into the details of ProtonVPN, it might be useful to go over the basics of VPN. Before you commit yourself to paying for a service, it’s always good to make sure you know exactly what it does.
VPN, or a virtual private network, provides you with online privacy and protects your data. It does so by creating a private network out of your public internet connection. Basically, VPN hides your IP address, which makes everything you do online untraceable. Furthermore, it can mask your IP address so that it appears that you are using the internet from another country.
In more technical terms, VPN uses encryption to distort data that is sent over WiFi, making it unreadable. That means no one can track your online activity, as its traces are essentially “ruined.” Protecting your data is especially important if you are using a public WiFi network since it prevents anyone from lurking around what you do online.
VPN also protects you from your internet provider, as they can access your entire browsing history. When you have a VPN, they aren’t able to do that. That is because all your web activity will be connected to a VPN server and not your address, and the server could be thousands of miles away. Now that we’ve got that covered, here is our ProtonVPN review with all the information you might need.
The Guide To ProtonVPN
The founding members of Proton Technologies, Proton VPN’s parent company, met at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Their motivation for creating ProtonVPN was to protect the activists and journalists around the world from censorship. Fighting for a good cause might not be on your list of priorities when it comes to searching for a VPN provider, but it’s certainly a nice addition to support a company with integrity.
Since it was founded, ProtonVPN has grown to more than 1,200 servers in 55 countries. When it comes to VPN, the more servers it has the better, as that increases your chances of finding one in your proximity. Server proximity is important for your internet speed. Naturally, the closer you are to a server, the faster your internet will be.
ProtonVPN Subscription Plans
Sometimes VPN companies use complicated tiered pricing schemes in order to hide the real cost of their service. Fortunately, that is not the case with ProtonVPN. They do have a tiered subscription system, but their free version is already pretty good and the others are just upgrades. ProtonVPN has four different subscription types:
The Free subscription tier includes three VPN server locations — Japan, Netherlands, and the US. The internet speed for this tier is medium, which should cover the basic online activities, although it might be too slow for games or Netflix.
It allows only one device to be connected at a time, and you are required to create an account with ProtonVPN to access it. Most importantly, ProtonVPN does not limit the amount of data you can use, even in the free subscription plan.
With the Basic and Plus subscription tiers, you get access to servers in all 55 countries available, as well as an increased number of possible connections. The internet speed is also significantly higher.
Visionary subscription plan includes all the features of the Basic and Plus tiers, with the addition of access to ProtonMail, their encrypted email service that protects your data.
You can pay for all three paid services either monthly or yearly. If you decide to go for a yearly subscription, there is a discount. For the Basic subscription, the price is €4 a month or €36 a year (approx. $5 and $42). If you would like the additional features of the Plus plan, it’s €8 a month while the yearly price is €72 (approx. $9 and $85). Finally, their all-inclusive Visionary package is a bit pricey — €24 a month and as much as €216 a year (approx. $28 and 256$).
However, we should note that this is incredibly affordable for such a high-quality service ProtonVPN provides. And it’s still cheaper than some other big companies while the service is just as good. Also, we like that ProtonVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee. So, if you don’t like it, you can get a refund for the number of remaining days of your subscription.
ProtonVPN Server Locations
As we mentioned, ProtonVPN has servers in 55 countries, which is a good number. After all, the average number of available servers in other VPN companies is 51, so ProtonVPN is a bit above average. In comparison, NordVPN has servers in 62 countries, while ExpressVPN outdoes them both in this regard, with an impressive number of 94 countries covered.
However, ProtonVPN is constantly trying to improve its global presence, so they’ll likely expand even more. Plus, they have recently introduced servers in Africa, which is often neglected by VPN providers.
ProtonVPN also organizes server polls on their website, so customers can vote for locations they would like to have added. Cyprus was the most popular country in last year’s poll, so now there’s a server there. It’s great when a company actually takes user feedback into account!
ProtonVPN Review: Speed And Performance
If you’re new to VPN, you might not know that having one affects your internet speed. Generally, using VPN will reduce your upload and download speed while increasing latency. But this will happen no matter which VPN company you choose, so all you can do is explore your options.
With ProtonVPN, the speed will depend on the subscription plan you signed up for. Of course, Plus is the fastest one (and Visionary is just Plus with ProtonMail, so it’s the same). Basic is somewhat slower but quite close to Plus, and Free subscription, naturally, has the slowest speed.
ProtonVPN scores pretty well on the speed tests when we consider the strict protocols they are using. However, it all depends on what you need a VPN for. If you want to unlock some content that’s not available in your country, be it on Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon, you are going to need ProtonVPN’s Plus plan. Likewise, if you are using a VPN while playing games, Basic and Free will not be enough.
Overall, ProtonVPN could be better in this regard when it comes to Basic and Free plans. On the other hand, Plus has performed great on every platform we tested for this ProtonVPN review.
Privacy And Security
Privacy and security are the most important features of a VPN service. After all, the reason you are getting a VPN in the first place is that you want to protect your personal information. And when it comes to privacy, ProtonVPN is probably the best there is.
ProtonVPN’s headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. That information is important because Switzerland is famous for having strong privacy laws, making it an ideal location for a VPN company. Swiss law does not oblige VPNs to store user data logs, which enables ProtonVPN to implement a strict no data-logging policy. So even if authorities requested to see data, they wouldn’t be able to hand it over as they don’t store your traffic. Until recently, they stored the timestamps of your last login, but that is no longer the case.
The only things they record now are your email, bug reports, and payment information. However, all of this data is deleted once you delete your account. Therefore, if you are looking for complete anonymity and privacy, ProtonVPN provides you with just that.
When preparing this ProtonVPN review, we noticed that customer support is the only part of the service where ProtonVPN underperforms compared to other VPN providers. The problem is not in the service itself but its availability.
While you can contact customer support via email and get a helpful response, it usually takes 1–2 days for them to get back to you. Generally, VPN providers have a live chat on their website where you can ask questions and get a response within hours, if not immediately. From what we can say about ProtonVPN, it seems likely that they will hear their customers and upgrade this feature as well. But for now, keep in mind that, should you need help with VPN, you’ll have to wait a little bit.
ProtonVPN Review: Final Thoughts
All things considered, ProtonVPN is a strong contender on the VPN market. They deliver on the features they promise, and that’s really all we can ask for. The biggest upside for us in this ProtonVPN review is its unlimited Free plan. There aren’t many VPN companies out there who offer decent free protection, so ProtonVPN deserves praise for making this service more accessible.
As for more advanced features, you can get them for a price that’s within the average VPN cost. We especially like the Plus subscription plan and recommend you go with that one if you want a VPN for gaming or watching shows.
Altogether, our ProtonVPN review is a positive one, although there’s still room for improvement. Nevertheless, ProtonVPN provides good service for an affordable price. For these reasons, we recommend you give it a try.