ProtonVPN Review: Secure & Reliable VPN
You no longer need to spend hours browsing through multiple websites to find the information you need. With Several.com, you can get comprehensive and easily digestible information quickly. Our preferred VPN service is ProtonVPN, which you may already be familiar with, especially if you have used their previous product, ProtonMail. The company offers a free private email service and a reliable VPN, which is constantly expanding its global reach. They have over 1,059 servers in 54 countries across the world.
More About ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN is a cybersecurity company based in Switzerland. In 2014, they released their first product, "ProtonMail," with the aim of providing internet users with decent privacy, especially those at risk, such as journalists and activists. The application quickly gained popularity and is now available worldwide.
ProtonMail ensures that your emails, data, and accounts are safe and unreachable from intruders and third parties. Another amazing feature of ProtonMail is that its code is open source, making it available for everyone to use for free.
ProtonMail takes privacy seriously and uses end-to-end encryption to ensure that no information is left behind for third parties. When creating an email account, personal information is not required, and anonymous email accounts can be linked to it.
ProtonVPN Launches VPN
In 2017, three years after the launch of the company ProtonMail, the team developed ProtonVPN. After a year of development and four months of testing, ProtonVPN was released to the public. ProtonVPN aims to provide online freedom without any limitations to your online activity. It allows you to access any content that would otherwise be restricted by online walls.
ProtonVPN has a strict no-logs policy, meaning they do not save any data on their servers. They also offer a free version of VPN that is limited to one device and connects to servers in the US, Netherlands, and Japan. If you need to protect more than one device, you can upgrade to a paid subscription that offers over 1,059 servers in 54 countries worldwide. With a paid subscription, you can protect up to 10 devices at the same time.
This section checks how ProtonVPN fares against its competitors regarding speed tests, number of servers, geographic distribution, and their fastest available protocol.
1. Speed tests
ProtonVPN's servers guarantee a minimum bandwidth of 1 Gbps, with many servers utilizing high-speed 10 Gbps connections. Despite this, users may still wonder about the actual speed of the VPN. However, ProtonVPN's speed tests have been proven to be consistently fast in various locations. While using ProtonVPN's Secure Core may slightly decrease the speed, it shouldn't be a significant inconvenience.
2. Number of servers and geographic distribution
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) that has a wide range of servers and well-distributed locations is more likely to provide faster and more efficient streaming and be better at bypassing geo-restrictions. Having more servers means there will be less traffic on each individual server, and users will be able to connect faster.
3. Fastest available protocol
There are different types of protocols available for internet connectivity, each with its own unique features. When it comes to privacy, OpenVPN and WireGuard are highly recommended and considered safe for use. However, if speed is a priority, the PPTP protocol may be a good option, although it is less secure than other protocols. Ultimately, the choice of protocol depends on your personal needs and priorities.
ProtonVPN Security & Privacy
ProtonVPN promises to provide security at both the hardware and software levels. Let's find out what it offers to maintain high privacy and security:
1. Encryption and protocols
Your online traffic is encrypted using AES-256 encryption, with a 4096-bit RSA key change and HMAC with SHA384 for message authentication. This ensures that your online activities cannot be accessed or seen by any third party, providing a great sense of comfort and security.
ProtonVPN is very careful in choosing the encryption cipher suites to ensure that your encrypted traffic cannot be collected and decrypted by a third party. The encryption key is changed with each new connection, so it is never used for more than one session.
In 2020, ProtonVPN introduced a new feature called "Full-Disk Encryption," which prevents attacks from high-risk countries, including those from governments and agencies. Such attacks include man-in-the-middle attacks (MITM), which allow the attacker to intercept and use all messages, conversations, online activity, web browsing, and other information. Full-disk encryption secures server certificates and all other configurations and software stored on the server, making it impossible for attackers to access any data even if they manage to reach the server.
ProtonVPN only uses protocols known to be fully secure, like IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN, for secure tunneling. This ensures your traffic always goes through a secure tunnel, providing the best possible protection.
|Platform||All platforms (default for macOS and iOS)||All platforms|
|Security||IPsec encryption||AES encryption (most secure)|
|Firewall||UDP ports 500 and 4500, and ESP IP Protocol 50||Uses 443 port (hard to block)|
|Speed||Generally fast (faster than OpenVPN)||Slowest of the three (around 400,000 lines of code)|
2. ProtonVPN logs policy
ProtonVPN operates under Swiss law, which does not require any specific logging of its users. Moreover, under Swiss law, VPN providers are obliged to refrain from saving any connection logs, no matter what the circumstances may be. This no-log policy applies to all users, including those who are using the free version of ProtonVPN. This is definitely good news for all the users concerned about their privacy and security while using VPN services.
3. ProtonVPN kill switch
If you ever lose connection to your VPN server while using ProtonVPN, you don't need to worry about any data leaks. The kill switch feature will automatically stop your internet connection to prevent any potential leaks. Additionally, ProtonVPN will find another VPN server for you automatically and re-establish a connection quickly with the Always-On-VPN feature.
4. ProtonVPN RAM-based servers
A RAM-based server means that the data, instead of being saved to SSD drives, is saved on RAMs. This is advantageous to security because RAMs are wiped clean every time the servers reboot.
5. Based country
ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, which is outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance. This adds as a plus point to security since VPN companies based inside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance are considered a possible security threat, as these countries are known to spy on their citizens and share information internally.
6. Warrant Canary
A warrant canary is an indirect method to warn customers of governmental attempts to subpoena, where the presence of the warrant on the company's official website means the local government hasn't tried anything yet. In the event the warrant canary is removed from the company's page, it means they were asked.
7. Secure Core VPN
It protects your connection from the attacks that target the VPN server. It is a kind of attack that classic VPNs can't avoid, especially in countries with highly restrictive internet regulations, like China, Iran, and Russia, or countries with broad surveillance power, like the USA and UK. Secure Core VPN passes your traffic through the Secure Core VPN first, then the Secure Core VPN passes the user's traffic in multiple servers, making it difficult to unveil both the actual IP address and the locations of ProtonVPN users.
Secure Core is available on Plus and Visionary plans only on Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and Linux.
It beefs up your device by blocking ads, trackers, and malware. How does it work exactly?
The DNS server is responsible for all domain requests for every resource. When you enable NetShield on your device, the DNS server checks these domains and eliminates them if they match the databases of domains with ads, malware, or trackers. As a result, it speeds up your device and keeps it protected from cyber-attacks.
If you change your NetShield settings, you need to disconnect and reconnect to the VPN server to notice any changes.
9. Security at the Hardware Level
ProtonVPN Secure Core servers are 1000 meters below the surface in a former Swiss army fallout shelter. Servers in Iceland also reside in a former military base. By doing so, ProtonVPN makes sure that not only your information but also the servers are secured at the hardware level.
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ProtonVPN in Practice
In terms of the application of VPNs in the real world, we dive further into how ProtonVPN fares against the rest in the following categories:
ProtonVPN allows you to enjoy smooth streaming on platforms like the US and UK Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO GO., and Disney+.
ProtonVPN allows P2P BitTorrent on three servers for the free VPN and on all servers for other premium plans. The servers are both secure and fast, which guarantees smooth torrenting and file sharing.
ProtonVPN supports gaming with P2P networks and fast servers. It is secure and fast, with a great ability to unblock limitations on games you wish to play. However, don't expect much for the free VPN provided by ProtonVPN. To enjoy a fast gaming experience that has zero lags, you will need to subscribe to the premium plans.
4. Tor over VPN
You can route your traffic into the Tor anonymity network, which provides access to dark websites through the Onion network with a single click.
5. ProtonVPN dedicated IP
When using a VPN, you mostly want a dynamic IP (an IP that changes whenever you reconnect to a server). In certain situations, this is not the case. A dedicated server is recommended in the following situations:
- Business security.
- Secure online payment.
- Avoid getting blacklisted.
- Avoid CAPTCHAs.
6. Geo-censorship bypass (obfuscation)
ProtonVPN provides detailed guides on how to unblock most streaming services and unblock a good amount of content in many locations worldwide. However, ProtonVPN made things clear on the website about which plans can let you access these services and turned to be limited to Visionary Plan and Plus Plan users only.
7. Split tunneling
Split tunneling is a feature provided by many VPNs and is considered important by many to stratify the use of VPN on your device.
Extensions & Compatibility
ProtonVPN is compatible with:
ProtonVPN is available as an extension on:
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Edge
Windscribe User Experience
1. Supported Languages
Windscribe supports the following languages:
2. Customer Support
Pricing & Payments
ProtonVPN offers various options in terms of both duration and features. A free VPN version is available, too. Let's compare the subscriptions in the table below:
|Plans||Free VPN||Basic Plan||Plus Plan||Visionary Plan|
$4 per month
$10 per month
$30 per month
$4 per month
Charging $48 yearly (Save $12)
$8 per month
Charging $96 yearly (Save $24)
$24 per month
Charging $288 yearly (Save $72)
Charging $79 every 2 years (Save $41)
Charging $159 every 2 years (Save $81)
Charging $479 every 2 years (Save $241)
|Number of devices||1 VPN connection||2 VPN connections||5 VPN connections||10 VPN connections|
|P2P BitTorrent support||Servers in 3 countries||Servers in 54 countries||Servers in 54 countries||Servers in 54 countries|
|Speed||Medium Speed||High Speed||High Speed||High Speed|
|Tor over VPN||N/A||N/A||Included||Included|
|Access blocked content||N/A||N/A||Included||Included|
|Secure Core VPN||N/A||N/A||Included||Included|
|ProtonMail visionary account||N/A||N/A||N/A||Included|
If you're not satisfied with the service, you can get your money back within the first 30 days of purchase due to their 30-day money-back guarantee.
Launching ProtonMail in 2014 was a turning point in the world of privacy, and the company has thrived since then with new technologies. Three years later, ProtonVPN supported their first accomplishment and ensured that individuals' privacy was protected by ProtonVPN.
We can't agree more on how trustworthy their services are, especially with their restless efforts and work to make a difference, mentioning here the "Full-Desk Encryption" that was added to the long list of features in 2020.