March 10, 2019

ProtonVPN Review

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ProtonVPN comes from the creators of ProtonMail, the world's largest encrypted email network. It has a free (limited) version, but there's also a paid service with better features and speed.

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PROTONVPN PROS AND CONS

PROS:

  • Advanced security features (Secure Core, kill switch, Tor over VPN)
  • Has experience in online security (ProtonMail)
  • Servers located in a Swiss bunker 1,000 meters underground
  • 7-day free trial and 30-day money back guarantee
  • Has a free, limited VPN service
  • OpenVPN protocol and IKEv2 for Android and iOS apps.

CONS:

  • Only 33 countries with 396 servers
  • No live chat support

WHAT IS PROTONVPN AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

ProtonVPN is a VPN service which secures your online connection. To put it simply, it hides your identity online and encrypts your data. That's how it protects your privacy.

To use ProtonVPN, go to their website and register an account. Then download the app for your operating system, install, and load the program.

If done correctly, you should be able to choose a server to connect to. Simple click on the country, and you're automatically connected.

You can also use their "Quick Connect" button to connect to the closest server for the best performance. Once you're done, simply minimize the app and use the web like how you would normally.

10 REASONS WHY WE LIKE PROTONVPN

  1. They have a good track record in online privacy and security.

    The founders of ProtonVPN started out with ProtonMail, the world's largest encrypted email service. Since then, they've:

    While all these may be to promote their e-mail service, it does show that they care about online security. If you want a company that genuinely wants to protect your privacy, ProtonVPN has proven itself.

  2. You want a secure e-mail service as well.

    For those who want more, ProtonVPN also has a subscription package that includes the premium version of ProtonMail.

    The "Visionary" package includes ProtonMail Visionary, which gives you additional features such as:

    • 5 user e-mail accounts
    • Sending limit: unlimited
    • Labels limit: unlimited
    • Storage: 20 GB
    • Custom domains: 10
    • Additional addresses: 50

    If you're also thinking of getting a secure e-mail service, you can bundle it together with ProtonVPN.

  3. You want a service with advanced security features.

    Aside from their standard VPN service, ProtonVPN also has other features to help secure your connection. These include:

    • Secure Core: Secures your connection by routing your traffic through multiple servers before leaving their network. Even if someone tracks an exit server, they won't be able to match a browsing activity to your IP address.

    • Forward Secrecy: Your encrypted traffic can't be decrypted, even if an encryption key gets compromised. For every new connection, ProtonVPN generates a new encryption key. That way, the same key is never used for more than onesession.

    • Tor over VPN: The Tor browser is a tool designed to keep you anonymous without encrypting your information. Coupled with a VPN, you can further secure your connection, making it harder for anyone to spy on you.

    If you're an advanced user and want better security, these features might appeal to you.

    Did you know?
    In 2017, nearly 17 million people in the US were victims of identity theft. This amounted to losses worth nearly $17 billion!

  4. You want a VPN service with a good privacy policy.

    ProtonVPN has a decent privacy policy. According to their website, they only store a single timestamp of your account's most recent login. When you log in to a new session, the last timestamp is overwritten.

    ProtonVPN is also based in Switzerland, which has strong privacy laws and is outside the US and EU jurisdiction.

    However, bear in mind that Switzerland does have surveillance laws. It requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecom operators to keep logs of their users.

    In response, ProtonMail has stated that this law doesn't apply to them, but it's hard to tell for sure.

  5. You want a free VPN service.

    ProtonVPN offers a free, limited version of their service. There's only three countries (US, Netherlands and Japan), and you can connect only one device. Your speed is throttled too.

    Still, there's no data cap, so if you just want a basic VPN service in the short term, ProtonVPN's free service is a good choice.

  6. You'd like to test a service before subscribing.

    If you're the type who needs to try a service first, you're in luck. ProtonVPN has a 7-day free trial of their ProtonVPN Plus subscription.

    Also, you don't need to cancel your subscription before the trial period is up. Once the trial is over, your account automatically changes back to the free version. You can continue using their service without setting reminders to cancel.

    Here's a list of other VPN services that offer a free trial:

    • NordVPN (7 days)
    • VyprVPN (3 days)
    • SaferVPN (1 day)

  7. You'd like a VPN service with a money back guarantee.

    ProtonVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee. If you don't like their service, just request a refund within 30 days.

    Take note, however: they don't refund the full amount. They offer a partial refund for the remaining days on your subscription. We think it's fair, considering that they also offer a 7-day free trial.

    You can also request a refund after 30 days, but the refund is up to their discretion.

  8. You want to be able to use P2P file sharing.

    ProtonVPN allows P2P file sharing. You'll have unlimited bandwidth to download as many files as you want.

    On the app, you can find servers which have been optimized for P2P. On their site, they also have a guide on how to use ProtonVPN with BitTorrent. This shows that they're a P2P-friendly company.

  9. You want a VPN service you can install on your router.

    You can install ProtonVPN on DD-WRT, AsusWRT, and Tomato routers. They offer a detailed guide on how to do this on their site, complete with pictures. You can check it out here.

    Installing ProtonVPN directly on your router will give you round-the-clock protection on all your devices. You won't need to worry about the number of devices or turning the VPN service on or off.

  10. You want a customizable VPN subscription.

    Most VPN services offer the same service for a set price. The only way to get a discount is by choosing a longer subscription plan. This might be inconvenient if you don't want to commit.

    ProtonVPN however, allows you to choose the features you want. There's a yearly plan with all the features for full price (Plus), or you can pick a limited version (Basic) for less.

    If you don't need all the security features in their full service, go for the Basic plan. It'll save you more in the long run.

3 REASONS TO CONSIDER OTHER VPN PROVIDERS

  1. ProtonVPN has fewer servers.

    ProtonVPN has 396 servers in 33 countries, which isn't many. For comparison, ExpressVPN has 2,000+ servers in over 90 countries.

    If you want more server locations and speed, it's better to go with another provider instead.

    Why are more servers important for a VPN service?

    Having more servers in more locations is always better. First, you're able to choose where you want to connect to. This is great when trying to bypass geo-restrictions.

    Also, having more servers speeds up your connection. You can choose a nearby server, which is less likely to be congested. This makes for faster connection speeds.

  2. You don't want to open a ticket for customer service.

    ProtonVPN doesn't have live chat support. If there's a problem, you're going to have to open a ticket on their site or reach out to them on social media.

    That's not to say they aren't responsive. Their customer service actively responds to inquiries. However, it'll never be as fast as live chat. If you need immediate attention, it's better to choose a service with live chat support.

  3. You want a variety of security protocols.

    ProtonVPN uses only OpenVPN. Now usually, that's a good thing. OpenVPN is a strong security protocol and is the industry standard. Anyone who can use it, should use it.

    The problem is, not everyone can.

    Many older devices, and even less expensive new ones like some Chromebooks, don't offer OpenVPN support just yet.

    Instead, you'll have to connect through a different protocol like L2TP or PPTP. These options aren't as secure, and you shouldn't use them if you can help it. Still, any protection is better than none. In this case, customers using these devices won't be able to use ProtonVPN.

OTHER VPN PROVIDERS TO CONSIDER

ExpressVPN: If you prefer quality over price, ExpressVPN is the better choice. In terms of server count alone, it beats ProtonVPN by a huge margin.
Additionally, ExpressVPN also works with all security protocols, and they have live chat support.

We compare ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN below:

Private Internet Access (PIA): PIA is based in the US and is one of the cheapest VPN services around. It also has more servers in more countries compared to ProtonVPN (3,000+ servers in 33 countries). However, ProtonVPN has a lower upfront cost compared to PIA.

AnchorFree's Hotspot Shield: AnchorFree's Hotspot Shield has a free VPN service for phones and tablets. However, this service comes with ads. Also, those using the free service only have access to the US servers and a 500MB data limit per day. Some content and services are also blocked.

The paid version, Elite VPN, allows you to connect to servers in 24 locations. You'll get unlimited data and can link up to five devices to one account. If you'd like to try it, they offer a 7-day trial period.

Check out our full reviews on these other VPN providers.

BOTTOM LINE

ProtonVPN may not be the best VPN service out there, but it has a few nice perks. We like the additional security features, and it's useful for advanced users. We also like that you can choose fewer features for a discounted price.

Still, ProtonVPN isn't the best. The average Plus monthly plan costs about as much as NordVPN's. However, NordVPN has more servers and better features.

On the other hand, if you're looking for an absolute bargain, PIA offers the cheapest service.

Overall, ProtonVPN is just an okay VPN service. Go for it if you want ProtonMail, but otherwise you'll get more for your money with other providers.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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