ProtonVPN review

  • on October 19, 2021

All VPN providers claim to be experts in privacy, but there’s not usually much evidence to back that up. Swiss-based ProtonVPN is different though, because the company has a track record in security – it’s also behind ProtonMail, the popular end-to-end encrypted email service.

ProtonVPN’s network now offers 1,700+ servers across 63 countries (up from 61 in our last review). Most servers are in Europe and North America, but there are also locations in Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea and more.

ProtonVPN owns and manages its own servers, too, and they’re connected to the internet using the company’s own network. Apart from giving ProtonVPN great control over how the service is set up and managed, it’s clear this isn’t some shell company making profits from reselling other people’s kit: there are real resources and expertise here.

  • Want to try ProtonVPN? Check out the website here

You can see benefits of that control in ProtonVPN’s Secure Core, a smart technology which routes traffic through multiple servers before it leaves the network (meaning that even high-tech snoopers monitoring an exit server won’t be able to trace individual users).

Most customers don’t really need that level of protection, but ProtonVPN has plenty more to offer. The service is P2P-friendly, supports up to 10 simultaneous connections, has a kill switch, DNS leak protection and built-in Tor support for accessing Onion sites. A versatile split tunneling system allows you to route specific app or destination IP traffic outside of the VPN, and WireGuard support aims to get you the best possible performance.

Elsewhere, the DNS-based NetShield web filter blocks malware, ads and trackers.  There are now native apps for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS to enable using ProtonVPN on almost anything. Oh, and they’re open source and audited, too.

ProtonVPN pricing

The ProtonVPN Plus plan delivers all the features we’ve described above, covers 10 devices, and can be yours for $10 billed monthly, $8 on the annual plan, or $6.63 over two years. That’s above average, and you can get capable VPNs for much less (Private Internet Access is just $3.33 a month on its annual plan, Atlas VPN charges just $1.99 a month over three years).

The company has some cheaper options. The Basic plan doesn’t give you access to the premium servers, won’t stream Netflix, can’t route traffic through multiple servers, and only supports two devices, but it’s just $4 a month on an annual subscription, $3.29 over two years. That’s better, but some of the competition give you an unrestricted service for a very similar amount (and occasionally less).

ProtonVPN will take payment via card, PayPal, Bitcoin, even cash if you’re looking for extreme anonymity.

Any payments are (sort of) protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee. The potential catch here is that you’ll only get a refund for any unused subscription time. If you sign up for a month and ask for a refund after 15 days, for instance, the company only returns 50% of your subscription fee.

While that sounds a little mean, ProtonVPN has a great defense; it already gives users an unlimited amount of time to sample its service with a free plan.

This has some significant limits. It covers just one device, supports ‘medium speeds’ only, and gives you access to 23 servers in just three countries (US, Netherlands, Japan).

But the crucial advantage is it has no paltry data limits: you can use ProtonVPN Free as much as you like. That’s a big deal, and makes ProtonVPN interesting all on its own.

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