The demand for VPN services is higher than ever, and as such, it has inspired many new companies to emerge and offer their services. This is hardly surprising considering the constant cyber attacks, data leakages, online censorship, geo-restrictions, and government surveillance.
In a lot of countries, only a fraction of the internet is accessible due to censorship, which is against the entire point of the world-wide-web. That’s why VPNs are such necessary tools, and why there are so many of them around. But how can you determine which is the best provider? By expolring its features and services.
Since most people don’t know how to assess these services, we are going to do it instead. This time, we’ll be looking at ProtonVPN.
- ProtonVPN Free: ProtonVPN believes that privacy and security are fundamental human rights. Therefore, the company provides a free version. The service features no ads, and it doesn’t record browsing history or keep logs. It is simply there for everyone who needs it. However, it is limited in several aspects, including the ability to only connect a single device and access to 3 countries.
- Free trial: For the first seven days of service, ProtonVPN will let you use its app for free.
- Kill Switch: A useful tool that disables your internet connection if the VPN app malfunctions. This prevents exposure and privacy breach.
- Automatic connection to last used server: The app will automatically connect you to the last server you used during your previous session.
- Supports up to ten devices: You can connect up to 10 different devices using a single account, which is a great way to protect the entire family.
- P2P support: The company allows P2P traffic, including torrenting, so you can safely share files online.
- Switzerland-based: ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland — home to some of the world’s strongest privacy laws. The country is out of EU and US jurisdiction, and is not a member of the “14 Eyes” surveillance network, meaning that it will not spy on you or retain your data.
- Zero logs: ProtonVPN keeps no logs regarding your online activity, which prevents them from selling it for profit, or giving them to the authorities. The company sees its users’ security and privacy as the utmost priority.
- Tor support: The service also integrates with the Tor anonymity network, meaning that you can reroute all of your traffic through the Tor network and even access Onion sites. This will significantly reduce your speed, but it will make you even more safe on the web.
- Encryption: The company uses AES-256 encryption to protect your traffic, which is the strongest protocol on the market. Key exchange is done with 4096-bit RSA, and HMAC with SHA384 is used for message authentication.
- Security protocols: The brand offers advanced security protocols, including IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN. None of their servers feature lesser-quality protocols, even though they are cheaper to operate.
- Server network: ProtonVPN’s server network is not the biggest one, featuring only 387 servers. But it covers 32 different countries, which allows you to connect to almost every continent.
- Customer support: ProtonVPN does not offer a live chat feature. The only way to contact customer support is via email or a support ticket. Response time is usually within 24 hours, and after testing the service, we can confirm that the answers are helpful and informative.
ProtonVPN is very user-friendly. The app is easy to navigate, especially after it gives you a tour of its features. The interface itself is very attractive and sleek.
The screen displays a number of options on the left side of the app, as well as a large connect button. Below it is a server network, which will show you all the available servers and their location.
The majority of the interface is a map of the world. It uses a dark but appealing color, with servers clearly marked across the globe.
ProtonVPN has dedicated applications for a large number of systems, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Linux. The number of simultaneous devices that you could connect using a single account depends on the payment plan you choose.
As mentioned, the free version only allows you to connect a single device. However, You can connect up to 10 devices with the paid plans.
Privacy and security
Privacy and security are probably the most important features that users look for when choosing a VPN. If the service does not offer top-notch qualities, it could be a deal-breaker.
With that in mind, we can confirm that ProtonVPN’s privacy and security standards are beyond exceptional.
Let’s start with the fact that the company is based in Switzerland, a country famous for its confidentiality and privacy laws.
Next, the company does not keep any logs or share user data with any third party. It only stores the info you provided upon signing up, which includes your email, username, and password. ProtonVPN keeps nothing else, even if you opt to use the free version of their app.
Furthermore, the service uses OpenVPN security protocol, as well as AES-256 encryption, both of which are the strongest options in their respective fields. In other words, you can rest assured knowing that your data is safe from everyone, including the company itself.
Additional security measures include a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and Secure Core.
As I mentioned earlier, the company currently offers 387 servers, located in 32 countries around the world. That includes:
- Americas: Canada, the US, and Brazil
- Europe: Austria, Belgium, Iceland, Switzerland, The UK, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, and Russia
- Africa, Asia, Pacific: South Africa, Israel, India, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand
ProtonVPN supports a number of different devices, including laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Any Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, or Linux device can use the app and enjoy full protection.
Unfortunately, ProtonVPN currently does not provide apps for other devices like Smart TVs, gaming consoles, routers, and such. However, tech-savvy users can manually configure and install it on any device.
Installation and setup
Installing and setting up ProtonVPN is extremely easy and straightforward. All that you need to do is:
- Go to ProtonVPN website
- Choose a plan
- Create an account
- Download and install the app on your device via the provided links
- Log in
- Choose a server and connect
There are no additional complications, and you can complete the entire process within two minutes.
Pricing and payment options
ProtonVPN is among the rare premium VPNs that provide a free version of its services. Furthermore, it comes with no strings attached, although it is limiting compared to the paid premium versions. However, it still provides a top level of protection and privacy, even though you can only use it on a single device and access three countries.
In addition to the free version, ProtonVPN also provides three premium plans, all of which include a 7-day free trial period and a 30-day refund policy. The payment plans are as follows:
- Free plan
- Basic plan: $4 per month, or a yearly fee of $48 (save $12)
- Plus plan: $8 per month, or a yearly fee of $96 (save $24)
- Visionary plan: $24 per month, or a yearly fee of $288 (save $72)
Each package has its own set of features, and only the last one has all of them unlocked.
You can pay for any of the plans via credit card or PayPal, and the service accepts payments in EUR, USD, and CHF.
Help and support
When it comes to help and support, most VPNs offer a live chat feature to help their customers instantly in case there is a problem. ProtonVPN, unfortunately, does not have this option. Instead, you can contact the service via email or support ticket, to which they will respond within 24 hours.
While the lack of a live chat is unfortunate, the company’s support team is actually pretty good when it comes to solving problems, and their responses are very informative and helpful. All in all, even though you won’t get an immediate answer, customer service employees will still solve your problems.
- Decent-sized network
- Support for P2P
- Customer service is helpful
- Exceptional security
- Multiple payment plans
- Easy to use and install
- Attractive interface
- Offers free version
- Zero logs
- Tor support
- Supports all the most popular OSs
- 7-day free trial
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Premium plans are charged yearly
- Does not have live chat
- Not all plans unlock all features
- Does not accept cryptocurrencies
Other VPN Providers
If you’re still not too sure about ProtonVPN, the list below features some of the highest-ranked brands in the industry:
In conclusion, ProtonVPN is an excellent VPN service that will definitely allow you to browse the internet safely and anonymously. It is far from nosy jurisdictions, and provides a free, albeit limited, version.
The service also has decent customer support that users can contact via email and support tickets. It also features numerous security features. Its server network is not among the biggest ones in the industry, but it is still pretty vast, and you will likely be able to unblock any restricted content.
All in all, it is a great VPN service that provides plenty of options, as well as one of the best security attributes in the industry.
The large demand for VPN services has contributed to the rise of brands in recent years. Today, we have examined ProtonVPN and explored its strengths and weaknesses. However, it’s up to you to decide if it’s right for you.