While it may not have the largest network of server locations, ProtonVPN offers both free and paid subscription plans. The provider offers the highest level of advanced security features and ensures secure data encryption.
ProtonVPN provides access to an extensive range of sophisticated features including DNS leak protection, WebRTC leak protection, Secure Core Network, and a strict no-logs policy to make sure your online activity is extremely safe. The Swiss-based provider utilizes advanced IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols for safe browsing. It also boasts the industry-standard AES-256 bit encryption.
The company is committed to constantly evolving and improving its service. It has recently expanded its network of connections, and now offers a decent number of 1,061 servers in 54 countries.
ProtonVPN is a first-class security provider that has a lot to offer VPN users.
No log policy
Free version available
No dedicated IPs
Limited features on free plan
Very few payment methods
Price Starting At: 4 $ / monthly48 $ / annually
For New Users: 7 days free trial + 30-day money-back guarantee
Unlimited BandwidthKill SwitchSplit TunnelingZero Data LoggingFree Version / TrialMobile AppBrowser ExtentionNetflix ApprovedFirestick Compatible
Diners Club International
The Swiss-based company has an extensive history of providing security, as it also runs ProtonMail, an encrypted email provider. This security experience backs up ProtonVPN's claim to be an expert in the industry.
The provider's Swiss location gives it the upper hand in security from the beginning. Switzerland has extremely strict privacy laws and exists outside of the U.S and European jurisdiction. It also isn't a member of the surveillance network, "14 Eyes."
ProtonVPN uses industry-standard OpenVPN UDP/TCP and IKEv2 protocols. ProtonVPN also owns and manages its own servers, which are connected to its own network, giving the provider significant control over its service.
The benefits of ProtonVPN's control over its servers are reflected in its Secure Core technology which re-routes internet data through multiple connections before it exits the network. This ensures that even the highest level cybercriminals cannot access or monitor individual user data. Its servers are stored in secure locations, meaning that only ProtonVPN can access them, which is reassuring to users.
While the typical customer may not require such a high level of online protection, there is also a range of more common security features. ProtonVPN offers WebRTC and DNS leak protection, 4096 bit RSA key exchange, as well as a kill switch. The kill switch will protect your data in the event that your network or server connection is lost.
ProtonVPN operates on a strict no-logging policy, which is clearly and transparently stated on its website. The provider is committed to its promise to protect user data and does not monitor or record user activity or data, and is thus unable to forward this data to third parties. The company is also based in Switzerland, which is outside of the 14-eyes surveillance alliance.
Session-logs are also extremely minimal. ProtonVPN simply records a timestamp of your previous login, however, this is overwritten each time you log in. The only information required to sign up is an email address, however, the email address can be whatever you choose. ProtonVPN recommends utilizing their encrypted mail service if you would rather stay completely anonymous when signing up.
To sign up for the free version, no payment details are required. For all of the other paid subscription plans, you can choose to pay anonymously with Bitcoin. If you opt to use PayPal or a credit card, your payment will be processed by a third-party, and ProtonVPN will be unable to access or see your details.
Its apps are audited by the independent security experts, SEC Consult. They are all also open-source, providing a significant level of transparency that is not often seen among other providers. The results of the audit were positive and only found 11 minor issues.
Regarding the physical security of its servers, ProtonVPN states that access to its technology and hardware is limited. Thus, a breach of a single server would not affect the rest. Despite this, other VPN companies have taken this a step further, and have chosen to run their servers in RAM which is considered to be more secure.
ProtonVPN is committed to remaining true to its privacy and security goals. Its transparent privacy policies and technological practices ensure your identity and personal data remains securely protected.
ProtonVPN has a network of 1061 servers in 54 countries, most of which are in North America and Europe. However, it also has server locations in Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, and South Korea.
ProtonVPN is P2P friendly, offers protection for up to 10 simultaneous devices, and provides integrated Tor support for access to Onion sites. Its apps are compatible with Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. The apps are now also available in French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, and Brazilian Portuguese.
The Smart Protocol feature ensures you will stay connected to the VPN even if your access to one protocol is blocked. The automatic option will connect you to another suitable protocol, keeping you protected. OpenVPN is chosen by default, however, you can also choose to select your preferred protocol manually.
ProtonVPN is easy to use and simple to download and install. Upon installation, the ProtonVPN client opens to reveal a user-friendly server map, allowing you to choose your preferred server. The client also gives you the option to create different profiles for different uses, such as streaming or for business work. Profiles can be easily created and selected whenever you need them.
The VPN server also includes a kill-switch, which will continue to protect your data even if you lose the connection. In the case that your connection fails, the kill-switch will automatically cease the transfer of data so that no unencrypted files can be intercepted or stolen. The client also offers an "Always-on" feature that automatically connects you to a new server if your device becomes disconnected.
ProtonVPN provides four subscription plans each offering a higher level of protection and more advanced features. The ProtonVPN Plus subscription tier offers a complete range of features and provides a simultaneous connection for up to 10 devices, the use of all of its servers as well as access to the ProtonVPN Secure Core Network. It also features the option to choose Tor instead of a VPN server for additional security or for torrenting purposes.
The ProtonVPN Basic plan provides support for up to 2 devices simultaneously, as well as the option to utilize servers in each of the ProtonVPN locations. However, its Basic plan does not provide access to ProtonVPNs premium servers, cannot unblock access to Netflix, does not re-route internet traffic data through more than one server, and supports just 2 devices.
ProtonVPN offers a limited 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans, however, you will only receive a refund for the remaining unused subscription period. Thus, if you sign up for the ProtonVPN 1-month plan and request a refund after 2 weeks, you will only get a refund for half of your subscription fee.
However, if you cannot afford any of the paid plans, ProtonVPN does offer a free version which gives users the chance to try out its offering for an unlimited period. The free plan includes basic features such as DNS-leak protection and high-standard VPN protocols (many other free VPNs operate on lower standard protocols).
The ProtonVPN free version does have limits including support for just 1 device, restricted connection speeds, and access to servers in just 3 countries (Japan, Netherlands, and United States). Despite the limits, the free version is great and importantly does not have a bandwidth limit, meaning you can browse or stream as much as you want. Unlike ProtonVPN, most other free VPN services come with a meager data usage limit, making them suitable for only the simplest internet tasks.
It does not matter how many additional features a VPN offers if the price doesn’t suit your budget, so we considered all of the subscription plans as part of this ProtonVPN review. ProtonVPN operates a tier subscription system that includes four different plans: ProtonVPN Free, ProtonVPN Basic, ProtonVPN Plus, and ProtonVPN Visionary.
ProtonVPN Free Plan: ProtonVPN’s free offering gives users access to one VPN connection on a single device, use of three server locations (the United States Japan, and the Netherlands), and a limited medium connection speed (its higher speeds are reserved for paying customers).
The ProtonVPN free version does not include advanced features such as P2P or BitTorrent support, access to the ProtonVPN secure core servers, use of the ProtonVPN Tor server, or the ability to unlock blocked content.
It does offer a lot more than most other free VPN plans. However, it is important to note as part of this review that it is significantly limited compared to the paid versions and is likely not adequate for users who require fast connection speeds and sophisticated features.
ProtonVPN Basic Plan: ProtonVPN’s basic plan is slightly less limited than the free version. It offers access to two simultaneous connections and servers in 50 countries. Unlike the free option, ProtonVPN Basic utilizes high-speed connections. It also includes ProtonVPN’s no-log policy, P2P/BitTorrent support, and is free from ads.
This plan is still somewhat limited and does not include Proton’s SecureCore VPN servers, Tor server, or access to restricted content.
ProtonVPN Basic Plan: $4 a month or $48 a year (save $12)
ProtonVPN Plus Plan: We recommend ProtonVPNs Plus for the most cost-effective plan. With Plus you will gain a higher speed connection, simultaneous connections for up to 5 devices, and access to servers in 50 countries. This option features P2P file sharing/BitTorrent support, SecureCore VPN servers, Tor server, and access to restricted content.
While it may not be the cheapest VPN plan available, it is a relatively good deal considering the number of advanced features.
ProtonVPN Plus Plan: $8 a month or $96 a year (save $96)
ProtonVPN Visionary Plan: This plan comes in at an eye-watering $24 a month, making it one of the most expensive VPN plans on the market. This version will give you access to all of the features of Plus with the addition of ProtonMail, Proton’s encrypted mail provider. Users can also connect up to 10 devices on this plan.
While these additional features may not be necessary for everyone, it may be a good choice for journalists or activists who require extra protection.
ProtonVPN Visionary Plan $24 a month or $288 a year (save $72)
Each of the ProtonVPN paid subscription plans come with a limited 30-day money-back guarantee.
Is ProtonVPN Trustworthy?
The VPN market is known to host untrustworthy and even dangerous providers, so it is understandable to wonder whether ProtonVPN can be trusted. As part of our review, we considered whether ProtonVPN is completely safe and trustworthy.
When looking for a VPN, it can easily become overwhelming to have to sort through endless amounts of information including fake reviews. However, there are a few factors that make ProtonVPN more trustworthy than many of its competitors which are important to consider as part of our ProtonVPN review.
Proton has an extensive track record in the security industry, as it is also behind the popular encrypted mail provider, ProtonMail. Their mail service works to protect activists and journalists worldwide. The Swiss-based provider is committed to providing user privacy and anonymity. Users choose Proton because they want to keep their identity and personal information safe online.
The company decided to launch ProtonVPN to create a service that was free of malware and adware. Many VPN companies make a profit by selling user data to third parties, rendering them a threat to the users that they claim to protect. So, it is important to choose a VPN provider that you know you can trust.
ProtonVPN does not sell users’ data to third parties, nor do they profit from malware or adware. Their profits come only from user subscriptions. Thus, their main incentive is to build trust and keep their customers satisfied.
It is also important to point out during this review that the company’s strict no-logs policy is evidenced by independent audits. It is proven that Proton has a good history when it comes to protecting, rather than misusing customer information. So, you can trust that Proton will not sell your data to third parties for profit.
However, it is important to note as part of this review that ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland and the government may ask for data for anti-terrorist purposes. Also, U.S. intelligence agencies are also at work in the country, and it appears that the company may be forced to hand over data should it be requested. The only data that is stored by Proton is session timestamps, so the company would only be able to offer this information.
The company is also largely more transparent than most of its competitors. Their company base, headquarters address, statutes, and directors are all available on the public record which can be freely checked at the Swiss commercial register. The names of their team leaders, office locations, law enforcement data, and funding sources are also publicly available.
ProtonVPN is committed to its transparent code. Thus, all of its VPN apps are open-source on Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. Its apps have also been audited by an independent company, further adding to the level of transparency. Audits help Proton to identify and resolve any potential issues or weaknesses in their products.
Thus, it is clear that ProtonVPN provides a higher level of privacy protection compared to many of its competitors.
Is ProtonVPN Free Safe?
When it comes to VPNs there may be weaknesses in protocols that can cause data leakages. Even the most sophisticated protocols such as OpenVPN are not completely immune to such issues. ProtonVPN’s apps are open-source, meaning that their protocols can be freely checked for issues or defects. This makes sure that privacy issues are identified and solved relatively quickly.
ProtonVPN offers an extensive range of high-quality privacy features to ensure your personal information and identity are kept safe online. Your IP address is hidden from hackers and your ISP through encryption, and it is further protected by integrated DNS leak-protection.
With ProtonVPN, your identity and data are securely protected with advanced, industry-standard AES-256 encryption, as well as 4096-bit RSA key exchange. The VPN also offers a split tunneling feature on Android and Windows. Split tunneling works by sending your internet data through two encrypted tunnels.
Also, the VPN’s Perfect Forward Secrecy addition secures every connection by creating a new encryption key every time your device connects to a different server. Thus, even if one encryption key was decrypted or compromised, all of your personal data from past connections would remain secure and safe.
Proton uses secure OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec protocols. While it does not support such an extensive range of protocols as some of its competitors, the ones that it does use are extremely safe.
Additionally, ProtonVPN’s unique Secure Core servers automatically send your data through multiple server locations in a range of privacy-friendly locations, such as Switzerland, Sweden, and Iceland, before it reaches its end connection. This feature offers an extra layer of protection for your personal data.
That ProtonVPN owns its Secure Core servers is a significant security advantage. In most cases, VPN servers are located in places that cannot be accessed by the provider itself. Thus, they are at risk of being interfered with. Proton’s own servers are kept in a former military base in Switzerland, ensuring that they remain secure.
The client also includes a kill-switch feature which ensures that your IP address will not be leaked should your connection fail. As soon as your server connection is lost, the kill-switch will activate and lock the network, suspending any transfer of unencrypted data. Without a kill switch, if you were to lose your connection while downloading a file, your ISP would be able to see your activity and the data you were downloading.
Does ProtonVPN Log User Data?
It is important to point out as part of this review that ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, which an extremely privacy-friendly country. The company has a strong commitment to delivering complete privacy and anonymity to its users. Their no-logs policy is clear and transparent and is reinforced by Swiss law.
Unlike many other countries, Switzerland does not demand that data related to user internet activity is stored. Therefore, no information regarding your internet connection, browsing sessions, IP location, or activity is tracked or stored by ProtonVPN. Thus, because no user data is stored, ProtonVPN has no private or personal data to pass on to third parties or the authorities.
The only data that is stored by ProtonVPN is the email address and payment details that you used when you signed up, support queries, issue reports, as well as your payment information. However, this data is encrypted and locally stored on Proton’s secure servers, and when you delete your account, all of this data will be deleted.
When carrying out research for this review, we noticed that for complete anonymity when signing up to the VPN, Proton recommends utilizing their encrypted mail provider. When signing up for the free option, no payment details are required. For the other plans, you can choose to pay anonymously with Bitcoin. If you decide to pay with PayPal or your credit card, your details will be processed by a third party and Proton will not have access to your billing information.
If you require a further commitment to anonymity and privacy, consider using ProtonVPN’s Tor option instead of a VPN. This will give you access to the Tor network without it being necessary to download and install the Tor browser. Tor provides extra server connections between your actual IP address and your final server, keeping your internet activity completely hidden.
ProtonVPN appears to be one of the safest providers available. The company specializes in internet privacy, meaning that you can trust the VPNs commitment to user privacy and safety.
Is ProtonVPN Better than NordVPN?
ProtonVPN and NordVPN are typically considered to be two of the best VPN providers, but how do you choose the right one for you?
Upload/ Download Speed
Neither NordVPN nor ProtonVPN provides the option to choose a protocol in order to optimize speeds. However, according to a speed test, NordVPN offers significantly higher internet speed than ProtonVPN, making it the better choice for streaming content in high definition and without buffering.
As part of the upload/download speed test results that we carried out for this ProtonVPN review, we noticed that ProtonVPN was shown to reduce internet speeds by up to 42%, which is a lot more compared to a reduction of just 19% with NordVPN. Additionally, NordVPN’s server connections are generally considered to be more consistent and reliable.
If you are looking for a provider for streaming purposes, a provider with a higher download speed will be preferable, so that you can watch your favorite streaming sites such as Netflix in high definition.
NordVPN is known for its extensive range of servers and has more than most other VPNs on the market. So, it is expected that ProtonVPN has a much smaller range of servers.
ProtonVPN has expanded its range of servers in recent years and now offers 1,077 in 54 countries around the world. Its servers are successful at unblocking streaming websites such as the United States and United Kingdom Netflix libraries, unlike many competitors which struggle to unblock such sites.
NordVPN is successful at unblocking streaming sites around the world and offers extremely reliable connections for streaming.
It is a good idea to choose a service that has a range of servers in lots of locations. This means that no particular server becomes overwhelmed or congested because of a high number of users.
Both providers offer helpful guides on their websites. However, unlike NordVPN, ProtonVPN does not offer live chat support. Thus, the only way you can find an answer to your queries is through the troubleshooting guide on their website, or via their email service.
Therefore, NordVPN offers superior customer service through its instant live-chat support 24/7 as you can contact them at any time in case an issue arises.
Ease of use
Setting up an account with NordVPN is quick and easy. After signing up you can log in and simply connect to a server by selecting one from the main map. Nord offers a range of options to customize your experience. You can choose to activate different features to suit your needs. Despite the range of advanced features, the app remains user-friendly even for beginner VPN users.
ProtonVPN’s account set up is just as easy. Their apps are beautifully designed and easy to use. The client opens to reveal a server location map, enabling you to easily connect to your chosen server.
Proton usefully offers the option of creating various profiles with settings, servers, and features to suit different needs. These profiles will allow you to quickly connect to a particular server depending on your desired task, whether it be streaming or office work. The profiles will be saved for you to use again and again.
ProtonVPN offers a limited free plan which is surprisingly good for a free version. The plan comes with access to all of Proton’s basic security features such as its no-log policy and kill-switch. However, it is limited to just 1 simultaneous connection and access to only 3 servers.
Proton’s paid plans are available from just $4 per month and include access to 5 simultaneous connections. There is only a limited 30-day money-back guarantee, however, you do have the option of testing the service with the free plan.
NordVPN’s most cost-effective plan will come in at just $2.99 per month, making it one of the cheapest high-quality VPN subscriptions available.
One of the main purposes of installing VPN services is for the security and privacy that they offer us. Both NordVPN and ProtonVPN have transparent no-log policies and good track records when it comes to protecting user privacy.
Is ProtonVPN Good for Tor?
The Tor network is integrated into the ProtonVPN system. The Tor security feature is only available to paying ProtonVPN customers and is not part of the free option.
Tor is a free, worldwide network that enables users to browse the dark web privately and anonymously. However, it is important to remain cautious if you decide to do so. No matter what privacy tools you utilize, there is no way to remain completely secure on the internet. Even advanced Tor servers are not 100% immune to cyber-threats.
However, Tor through ProtonVPN is a good option if you require high levels of security. Connecting to Tor over VPN with ProtonVPN is easy. Simply choose a Tor VPN server which are available in specific countries and your data will be rerouted through the Tor service.
To select Tor instead of VPN all you need to do is select a Tor server on your chosen device. Open the ProtonVPN website client and search the location list until you find a server that supports Tor (this is indicated with an onion symbol). Select the chosen country and click to connect. Once the connection is made, you are ready to browse via Tor.
You can also connect to the Tor server via the ProtonVPN app, in the same way, that you would connect to any other VPN server.
Using a Tor server instead of a VPN will reroute your internet data and traffic through the Tor network. If you want to gain access to hidden content such as onion sites via your normal browser, you will probably need to reconfigure it.
ProtonVPN Tor sources connect to the Tor network by making unique routes each time you begin a new VPN session. Thus, all of your personal data remains hidden and secure.
Is ProtonVPN Compatible with All of My Devices?
Depending on the subscription plan you choose, the number of simultaneous device connections will vary. ProtonVPN’s free plan will give you access to just one connection on a single device. However, if you are looking for online security on more devices, ProtonVPN’s Basic tier offers 2 device connections, the Plus plan allows protection for 5 devices, while the Visionary plan grants 10 simultaneous connections. We considered the provider’s compatibility with a range of devices as part of our ProtonVPN review.
ProtonVPN is compatible with Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Linux operating systems. However, the VPN service does not include the option to connect to a smartTV or gaming console, restricting your options when it comes to online protection while gaming and streaming.
Proton’s mobile and desktop clients are well-designed and simple to use. Despite that the company’s main focus is privacy and advanced technologies, the VPN has a range of useful features and is extremely user friendly.
The desktop client opens to reveal a slim window, reflective of their mobile app. There is a clear connection button, ensuring you can start browsing safely with a single click. The app also shows a list of servers, allowing you to change your VPN location easily. There is a simple switch to view the Secure Core servers. A small arrow at the top of the screen reveals Proton’s server map.
The app also enables you to set Profiles for specific tasks. Two default profiles are already available, for connections to the fastest server as well as a random server. You can create profiles for various needs by choosing a location, a specific server location, or even a secure core server. Your new profile can be named and marked with a color.
The VPN is available on most browsers including Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. However, it is not compatible with the older browser, Internet Explorer.
ProtonVPN is quick and simple to download and install. Once the client is downloaded, most of the settings will already be optimized, thus you can begin to browse safely almost immediately. Upon installation, Proton offers a user guide, which is great for beginner users.
Proton’s apps and clients are now available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, and Portuguese, ensuring more users can use the service in their native languages.
Is ProtonVPN Good for Streaming?
Although ProtonVPN’s main priority is to provide the highest levels of security and privacy, many users opt for a VPN that will unblock streaming websites such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer. So, how does ProtonVPN fair when it comes to unblocking these sites?
Accessing geo-blocked content through a VPN works by masking your IP address. Many users change their apparent location by using a VPN in order to access Netflix libraries in different countries.
ProtonVPN is generally successful at unblocking sites including YouTube, Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and even the more troublesome BBC iPlayer. When testing Proton as part of our review, we noticed that it may be necessary to try a number of servers before you find one that grants you access to your desired site.
However, ProtonVPN does not offer the same VPN download speed that other services such as NordVPN. Thus, you may encounter some occasional buffering and be unable to stream in high definition with Proton. This unblocking feature is only available with Proton’s Plus plan. Streaming is not possible with free or basic Proton plans.
It is also important to note in this review that Netflix and other sites are constantly enhancing their VPN blocking technologies, meaning that some VPN servers are blocked by the sites. In response, VPN services need to constantly improve their own technology, so a server that gives you access to Netflix on a given day, may not work on another occasion.
Does ProtonVPN Have Good Customer Support?
It is useful to note as part of this review, that the provider, unfortunately, does not offer live chat support. Many other VPN providers offer 24/7 live chat support, where you will get a response to a query in a matter of minutes.
The lack of a live chat on Proton’s website means that you may have to wait a number of days before you receive an email response.
However, there is a generous support section on ProtonVPN’s website which contains a wealth of information regarding common issues and frequently asked questions. The request form option also enables you to directly contact their customer service team but it is likely to take a few days.
While it is disappointing that there is no instant response option, ProtonVPN’s customer service is still relatively good. The information section of their website is constantly updated to ensure relevancy, and their customer support team is relatively fast at replying to email queries.
What is ProtonMail?
Swiss-based company Proton Technologies AG is also behind the popular email provider ProtonMail. It is a secure email service that uses PGP standard encryption.
Their secure email provider was launched prior to its VPN in 2014. It offered an encrypted, end-to-end service that protects user’s emails and data. The service was initially started to protect activists’ and journalists’ data and anonymity from ISPs and hackers when working on confidential projects.
Proton’s mail service is committed to the same level of privacy as ProtonVPN. The mail service is free from ads and malware and does not sell user data to third parties for profit.
The encrypted email service is offered on a tiered subscription basis, similar to its VPN. The free plan offers a limited service with a restriction on storage and the number of emails that can be sent by the user each day. With the highest level plan, ProtonMail Visionary users can send an unlimited number of emails and make use of 20GB of storage.
The web client reflects the simple interface of Proton’s VPN service, ensuring ease of use. There are also apps that are compatible with Android and iOS devices that are also extremely user-friendly.
If you need the highest levels of security, ProtonVPN and ProtonMail can give you the online anonymity and security that you require.
Hi, I'm Cliff. You can find me in Cleveland, Ohio with my wife and kids.
I love cybersecurity! I've been writing about it for a decade now and have always loved the space. My favorite articles to write are how-to guides that... Read more about the author