ProtonVPN Review

Our Take: ProtonVPN is a popular VPN for users of all kinds. With advanced security measures, extensive user features, support for streaming and torrenting, and a no-log policy, there’s a lot to love about ProtonVPN. While server access may not be as comprehensive as the competition and premium plans can be costly, users who value protection and functionality primarily will find that ProtonVPN checks every box.

VPNs are critical tools for web users of all kinds, providing security and flexibility while online. Popular for recreational gaming, streaming, and browsing as well as for protecting business transactions, millions of people worldwide rely on VPNs on a daily basis.

The market is full of VPNs, from low-cost bare bones products to comprehensive resources. ProtonVPN is one of the most trusted names available, boasting a no-frills product with affordable pricing, a solid user experience, ProtonMail access, and one of the best free models available. While not the fanciest client, ProtonVPN is a top choice for personal and business use alike.

Pros & Cons of ProtonVPN

What We Like and What We Don’t
Pros Cons
  • Flexible and affordable plans, including an excellent free product available
  • Strong emphasis on security
  • ProtonMail access
  • Multihop VPN capabilities
  • Fewer server locations than some of the competition
  • Best features accessible at only the highest payment tiers
  • Low speeds on lower-tier plans, including substantial bottlenecking on the free model

Key Features of ProtonVPN

When evaluating VPNs, understanding the strengths and limitations of the key features is important. We looked at the most important ProtonVPN features — security and privacy, server coverage, performance, and price — to help users find their perfect fit.

Security and Privacy

VPNs are, first and foremost, security tools. As a way to mask online identity and prevent against things like man-in-the-middle attacks, a good VPN needs to be sufficiently secure.

This is an area in which ProtonVPN excels. Security is a primary focus of the company, and users who prioritize protection will love what this product has to offer. ProtonVPN makes use of OpenVPN UDP/TCP on Windows devices and IKEv2 on Android, iOS, and Windows applications. In addition, uses are protected by built-in DNS leak protection. ProtonVPN also routes traffic through friendly companies, like Switzerland and Sweden, before arriving at a final server location.

From an encryption perspective, ProtonVPN uses AES-256 encryption, a 4096-bit RSA key exchange, and a unique Perfect Forward Secrecy that generates a new key with every log-on. This means that even if a key is compromised, data from previous sessions can’t be accessed. As industry best practices, users can feel secure that their data is in good hands.

Server Coverage

Server coverage is a major priority for VPN users. A diverse range of available servers can enhance both security and functionality, increasing usage opportunities. Many VPN users choose VPNs specifically for regional access to do things like access streaming websites or gaming sites with geographical blocks.

Security is a primary priority for ProtonVPN and while the VPN is serviceable in other areas, things like servers are secondary to state-of-the-art protections. The average number of server locations across VPNs is 52, which is somewhat close to the 44 offered by ProtonVPN. This includes servers in locations across Africa and Europe, as well as in countries with repressive internet policies, like Russia and China. However, 44 server locations isn’t in the league of industry leaders, which often top out over 90.

For VPN users who do not require a significant number of servers, 44 may be just fine. This is especially true for those who want access to specific locations, like the USA, for premium streaming sites and don’t care much about alternatives.

Performance

Servers and security are very important when choosing a VPN, but performance and available features can be the determining factor between two similar products.

ProtonVPN’s interface is sleek and easy to use, even for newbies to VPNs. The app provides a visible button to connect or disconnect so there’s no confusion. Users can easily choose from an array of different servers or expand the map feature, which provides locations as well as real-time analysis of network traffic. The app also provides insight into the load a server is experiencing and server strengths, like streaming, file sharing, and Tor.

Users have the option to build out profiles for different purposes with the option to connect to specific servers or randomize server access. This allows users to designate particular servers as favorites, though this way to save servers is a little more complex than the competition.

Device compatibility is quite flexible using ProtonVPN. Users can access the product on Windows PCs, Android, iOS, and Mac OS. The company provides instructions for use on Linux-based operating systems, but installation is a little more complex. One account can support use over up to five devices for Basic and Plus plans and 10 for the visionary plan.

Price

VPNs are available at a large range of price points, from free versions to costly enterprise models. When budget matters, users should know what kind of pricing to expect when signing up for service.

ProtonVPN offers three service tiers: Free, Basic, Plus, and Visionary. The free model is completely free to use, but services are somewhat limited to three countries and use on one device. The Basic plan remedies this, expanding access to all countries with P2P options and fast speeds. The Plus plan, the company’s most popular, also allows for use of the premium plus servers, Tor servers, and secure streaming. Visionary, the highest tier plan, expands access to 10 devices, and includes ProtonMail access.

ProtonVPN tiers provide plenty of variety across numerous price points, ensuring users can find the right service for their web use and personal budget.

ProtonVPN Plans & Pricing
Free Limited free use
Basic $4 per month
Plus $8 per month
Visionary $24 per month

ProtonVPN Overview

ProtonVPN Overview
Free Trial Seven-day free trial
Customer Support Customers can file online tickets or send emails
Platform/Browser Compatibility Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Opera
Server Coverage 698 servers in 44 countries
Number of Devices Five for basic and plus, 10 for visionary
No-log Policy ProtonVPN has a no-log policy
Torrenting Yes
Streaming Services Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, Youtube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, Showtime
Security Encryption 256-bit AES
Kill Switch Yes
Website Learn more at ProtonVPN

What Customers Are Saying

ProtonVPN is a favorite with fans. Says one reviewer, “I would definitely recommend ProtonVPN. It’s hard to find a free VPN that doesn’t compromise your privacy and it gives you unlimited bandwidth, but their Free version hits the spot. I also like their privacy policy and how transparent they are, but let’s see if you’ll like ProtonVPN as much as I do.”

Another reviewer echoes these sentiments, stating “ProtonVPN has staked its reputation as a privacy-focused company, which is a refreshing change after seeing so many other VPNs emphasize speed and video streaming. It also has a remarkably good-looking client, which is not something every VPN can claim. All that, coupled with the company’s focus on technological excellence, is a powerful combination.”