ProtonVPN Review 2021: Best free VPN in the market

ProtonVPN

10 USD
9.1

Speed

9.7/10

Privacy

9.8/10

Features

9.3/10

Customer Support

9.4/10

Price

7.3/10

Positive

  • Swiss service with excellent transparency
  • TOR connection is possible but only in higher tariffs
  • Free rate permanently available

Negative

  • Relatively high price if you don't already use ProtonMail
  • Only OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocol

ProtonVPN offers real good transparency

ProtonVPN Review

ProtonVPN is a (at least part) Swiss Provider. And Swiss products usually stand for quite good quality. We tested the VPN to check if the provider can fulfill this quality promise. In the following ProtonVPN review, we will answer that question. And also show you the strengths and weaknesses of Proton in a transparent way.

Brief introduction

For our readers who want to know the most important aspects at a glance, we made a small summary. In it, you can see the most recommended applications. The provider is especially useful for anonymous communication.

Product descriptionProtonVPN
Recommended applicationsAmazon Video Germanyavoiding dissuasionsavoiding geo-blockingdata safetyfilesharing torrentmaximum anonymityprotection of hackers virusessafe communicationStreaming (Urheberr.)TOR (.onion) accessVPN-Router (ASUS)

Our conclusion

ProtonVPN is a high quality service. Besides, the service is available only in English. But there are many things that ProtonVPN does right: The integration of TOR is undoubtedly a very good feature and the service can also be used safely and well on Routers.

You can also use ProtonVPN free. With the free tariff, you have no data limit. Accordingly, for many occasional users, it also represents a real alternative to a paid service. All in all, our Proton VPN test shows that we are dealing with a professional and technically well-solved service.

Company

ProtonVPN is in reality not a purely Swiss company. Its roots also lead to the USA and Lithuania, where the majority of the company’s team is based.

The fact that the service always pretends to be a thoroughly Swiss company is more part of the brand strategy that ProtonMail also pursues. Switzerland is supposed to stand for security. But it is often forgotten that the Swiss are also polite and diplomatic people. Nevertheless the CEO and one of the founders of ProtonMail and ProtonVPN, Jason Stockman, attracted attention with his pro-USA political statements in many current conflicts and even on data protection issues.

Operating locationBelize
Billing locationBelize
Local laws influence on clients protection
Operation and billing are separated
Servers location49
no log files
Own DNS server
Virtual server
Dedicated server
RAM-disk Server
Hardware's owner
Owner of IP-address

Pricing and payment options

ProtonVPN offers 4 different tariffs, which differ in the extent of the offered services – e. g. number of simultaneous connections, number of available servers, additional functions such as SecureStreaming, Tor connection, etc. Among the tariffs, there is also an excellent possibility to use ProtonVPN free of charge (of course with some restrictions regarding the server, data limit, etc.).

ProtonVPN FREE

ProtonVPN is also the most popular free VPN service from our tests. Many of our readers are looking for a VPN that they can use for free, which is not an easy task. ProtonVPN free offers 3 different locations and unlimited use on all available apps and applications. In the long run, this is a secure alternative to many dubious free VPN offers.

Advantages of ProtonVPN free:

  • No costs at all
  • You can use all apps
  • No data limitation
  • Three locations to choose from
  • No time limits

Disadvantages:

  • No large selection of locations.
  • Available servers are shared with many other users, which makes them slower than usual.
  • Routers and other external devices cannot be used.
Prices / Tarifs
Free using
Tariff (1 Month )15 USD
Tariff (2 Months )25 USD (per month 12.5 USD)
Tariff (3 Months )36 USD (per month 12 USD)
Tariff (12 Months )120 USD (per month 10 USD)
Number of connections per accountunlimited
Test optionsMoney back guarantee

ProtonVPN Apps

ProtonVPN initially only offered its application for Windows. All other devices could only be used by free OpenVPN software using the OVPN files (configuration files). Meanwhile, the provider also offers software for macOS, iOS, Android and Linux – which of course makes the life of the users easier.

New: ProtonVPN supports OpenVPN on iOS (July 2020)

ProtonVPN OpenVPN Apple fans will be happy: The ProtonVPN iOS App is now more flexible, more reliable and also even better equipped against surveillance & Co. Among other things, the app now also supports the OpenVPN protocol to protect users from censorship. In addition, OpenVPN often provides better performance and stability in certain networks – just try it out if ProtonVPN is slow or locked.

New too: Smart Protocol function on Android

ProtonVPN smart protocol Not only Apple users can be happy, since July 2020 ProtonVPN has something new in store for Android users as well: With the ProtonVPN Smart Protocol blocking can be better circumvented and the stability of the connection is optimized. How to do that? The smart function automatically selects the most suitable protocol when you connect to ProtonVPN. This way you can better avoid censorship or blockages.

ProtonVPN on F-Droid instead of Google

ProtonVPN fdroid You don’t want to create a Google Account or use Google Play – but you want to use ProtonVPN on Android? The provider now fulfills this wish to all users who want to protect their privacy (and as we know, Google is not exactly known for its efforts to protect the privacy of its users …) You can now download ProtonVPN from F-Droid. 

 

Available protocolsMulti-Hop-VPNOpenVPN (TCP)OpenVPN (UDP)
Own appsAndroidApple iOSDD-WRTLinuxMac OS Xother OS/integrationTomatoWindows
KillSwitch function
Interface languageEnglishRussian
ProtonVPN on Mac
ProtonVPN on Mac

Tested Speed

ProtonVPN with the free servers is not special, but that’s no surprise. So ambitious VPN users will understand this and usually book a premium tariff. With ProtonVPN, many locations with really good speeds can be selected. The service convinced with a low utilization and very good test results in the last 12 months constantly.

Max. speed tested
Download
0
Kbps
Jitter
0
Ms
Ping
0
Ms
Upload
0
Kbps
Germany | 02.01.2021

Privacy

ProtonVPN tries to act with maximum transparency. The company also publishes transparency reports on requests for information and answers inquiries directly on its Website. In general, the company does not pass on any data in response to requests and has so far successfully defended itself against copyright lawsuits by the US entertainment industry, which demanded data from Switzerland.

However, pay attention, when choosing a server, as Proton also uses rented servers. These are subject to the legislation of the respective location and the server hosts. If required by law, these hosts will most likely pass on the data of the users.

As far as log files are concerned, Proton VPN only collects the time stamp of the last login. This is overwritten every time a user logs in successfully. This Proton timestamp contains no identifying information such as IP address or location; it only shows the time and date of logon.

ProtonVPN data is secured via 256-bit encryption with AES standard. Thus, they correspond to the general standard for OpenVPN data transmission. Our ProtonVPN test also showed that OpenVPN was implemented clean and secure from authentication to data transfer.

Anonymity in internet
Altered virtual location
Protection from requests for information
General monitoring protection
Targeted monitoring protection
no log files
Obfuscation (masking)

Streaming availability

Proton VPN is suitable at least in the paid tariffs quite well for streaming and it is also secure. However, the service is not designed to enable premium content from Germany. It simply lacks SmartDNS and other adjustments. Therefore ProtonVPN is blocked by most German-language premium portals.

Even in the overview of the most popular TV & streaming portals you can quickly see that the service does practically nothing to make them usable abroad. So if you decide to use ProtonVPN, you won’t be able to avoid the geographical blocks abroad!

These are not possible with ProtonVPN:

  • ProtonVPN – Amazon Prime Video (EN) does not work.
  • ProtonVPN – DAZN (DE) does not work.
  • ProtonVPN – Sky (EN) does not work.
  • ProtonVPN – Netflix (Only works via USA location and then with English content)
Streaming TV and video content
Use on the home router
Use with KODI
SmartDNS
FireTV App
Avoid warnings
Supported streaming platformsNetflixzattooWaipuARDZDFBRN24MDRrbbWDRArte3SatPro7Sat1Kabel1ORFSRFServus TV

Safety with Download/Torrenting

During filesharing, you also share all your identity information with others. Therefore, security is especially important to avoid unpleasant consequences. Anonymity and no risk of warnings is the real domain of ProtonVPN. The service offers not only fast servers, but also secures your identity very well even when using Torrent. Downloaders appreciate ProtonVPN for its security against warnings. So you can rely on ProtonVPN. Torrenting and also all kinds of streaming with ProtonVPN are really fast and safe to use.

Warning-free surfing and downloading from the Internet is the real profession of ProtonVPN.

Download and Torrent
Torrent usage allowed
Own Torrent Server
Avoid warnings
Port forwarding
ProtonVPN Killswitch
ProtonVPN Killswitch

Support of VPN Routers at home

By using OpenVPN, ProtonVPN can also be used directly on many routers. Even if the service does not offer load balancing, it still runs stable. But OpenVPN is a resource guzzler and makes data connections slower than necessary, so for excessive router use other alternatives may be more suitable.

The limitations of “OpenVPN” alone and the individual servers that are not fail-safe unfortunately do not make Proton VPN the best provider for the VPN home router.

Using with VPN-Client Router
Using with Routers
Load Balancing
Fail-safe operation
Own router application
Compatible withDD-WRTTomato

Online Gaming (Support for Online Gamers)

You love to gamble and play Online Games? But you are often annoyed because of too long pings? Proton could help you. But you have to connect your game consoles manually as the provider doesn’t offer own apps.

Online gaming
Low latency
Use on game consoles
DDoS protection

ProtonVPN for Travellers

When travelling, the weaknesses of the less adaptable protocols that are used become apparent. Therefore ProtonVPN does not help if you are in a country that has active barriers against VPN users. There you simply cannot use the service. The same occurs in some hotel networks etc. Therefore in the area for traveling users the service is not our first choice. Unfortunately, ProtonVPN also is not an ideal travel companion when it comes to accessing domestic TV & video content. For this use-case, we would, for example, recommend Surfshark VPN to you.

VPN for travelling and in foreign countries
Using in restrictive networks (China, hotels)
Obfuscation (masking)
Protection in unsafe WiFi-networks
Shadowsocks or SOCKS5

Support

ProtonVPN’s customer service is only available in English, which will certainly not please some of the users, but the service has chosen Switzerland as the company location for legal reasons only, the people behind it are mostly based in Lithuania (Vilnius). In the customer area of the website everything is structured in a clear and simple way and even without perfect English knowledge there are hardly any open questions. With an online translation program you will easily find details or more complex settings and be able to implement them.

Customer service
Interface languageEnglishRussian
Customer serviceLive-ChatQ&A Website
Customer service languageEnglishRussian

Special Options and features

ProtonVPN offers a lot of great additional functions, but many of them only in the higher-priced tariffs. For example, the TOR (Onion) integration is very good and useful. This is because you can use the Onion Network (TOR) directly via a Proton VPN server. This brings some advantages. Also, it helps to avoid a dangerous leak in the TOR network, which currently only a few international authorities can use.

Proton VPN also offers another very good special option, the so-called “SecureCore”. This means that data that runs between the providers’ servers also runs via their VPN connections. The users who connect to server B are connected to server A before and the encrypted connection to Server B is used. This is technically ok, because individual connections on the Internet can no longer be tracked, as these are always routed via existing VPN data connections. However, our ProtonVPN test shows that those servers you can use for this feature are very limited.

Special functions
Always On Server
Dedicated Server
Firewall
IP changing
IPv4
IPv6 (new)
KillSwitch
Load Balancing
Malware filter
Multi Hop VPN
NeuroRouting
No logfiles
Obfuscation (Mask)
Own DNS
Own Hardware
Own IP adresses
Own Torrent Server
Port forwarding
RAM-Disc (k.HDD)
Shared IP
Smart DNS
Static IP
Tracking Blocker
Virtual servers
VPN with TOR

ProtonVPN FAQ

Is ProtonVPN free?

ProtonVPN can also be used free of charge and on a permanent basis in a limited number of selected locations. However, the Premium rates are much faster to use.

Am I safe from warnings with ProtonVPN?

Yes, users of ProtonVPN will not have to worry about receiving warnings.

Why is a Swiss VPN service more secure?

Basically, Switzerland has strict data protection rules that already provide a certain degree of data security, but it is even more important that the IP address of an Internet user, according to the Swiss constitution, is also part of his personal data and therefore may not be disclosed. This means that users of a Swiss service enjoy a very, very high level of protection against access to their data even by public authorities.

Attention: We didn’t evaluate the e-mail service “ProtonMail” here, in many cases a combination of VPN + mail service will result in more attractive prices.

ProtonMail


Erstellt am: 11/26/2019

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