PrivateVPN was founded in 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden.
The full company name is Privat Kommunikation Sverige AB, and the company was originally named privatvpn.se. Till date, we’ve reviewed another 2 Sweden based VPN providers – FrootVPN and Mullvad (those weren’t good enough, though).
I was excited to take a look at PrivateVPN because the name of this VPN provider itself implies that it’s stacked with some excellent privacy and security features.
I was interested to put these claims to the test and see just how private PrivateVPN really is. I also wanted to see if they sacrifice performance and speeds in the name of privacy.
In this review of PrivateVPN, I’ll be answering those questions (and more) while outlining the pros and cons of this VPN service.
Ultimately, I’ll be letting you know whether I recommend them as a good VPN choice.
But before we dive into that, let’s find out more about the company behind PrivateVPN.
Background Info on PrivateVPN
When I first went to the PrivateVPN website, I noticed that they were using a shield with a lock in the middle as their company logo.
This fits in with their name really well. I also immediately noticed how easy their homepage was to navigate.
This made me wonder if their services were just as easy to use.
Here’s what the homepage of PrivateVPN looks like:
It’s bright and vibrant. Plus, at the time of my website visit, PrivateVPN was offering a 25% discount on all of their plans.
Not too shabby of a first impression, in my opinion.
Here’s what PrivateVPN has to say about themselves on their site.
Right off the bat, I really like that this provider offers every feature across all of their plans.
But this statement doesn’t tell me how private or secure they are.
Better yet – are their speeds up to par with other competitors?
I’ll be laying out the results of my own speed test on PrivateVPN servers in the pros and cons section.
Before we go over that, let’s take a look at the conversation surrounding PrivateVPN across the internet.
Overall, I didn’t find a ton of negativity about the company online, and most reviews of their services seem to be fairly positive.
One thing I noticed is just how much the company communicates with its customers on social media:
They tweet out when they add new server locations, apps, and installation guides.
And their users seem to love them. Literally.
Just look at what this Twitter user had to say about their service:
These tweets are from July, but notice how the user said that PrivateVPN’s servers work with Netflix?
I will be putting that claim to the test later on.
One Twitter user named R.Q. Mehdi seemed to want some additional features in the platform so that he could view ping and connection speeds for each server on the PrivateVPN app.
It looks like the company hasn’t gotten back with him yet…or at least not publicly.
Since PrivateVPN is located in Sweden, there are bound to be some legal limits on just how private they can actually be with user’s information.
In fact, the Swedish government has been tightening down on data retention laws in the country, hoping to make it mandatory for VPN providers to keep logs on users.
According to Privacy News Online, Sweden wants to introduce VPN surveillance and mandate that their internet is built around optimizing governmental surveillance.
This is potentially bad news for any VPN provider. However, the company has been pretty up front with its customers about the legal changes so far.
Before we talk about pricing and speeds for PrivateVPN, let’s go over their features.
PrivateVPN Compatibility and Features
PrivateVPN boasts about its speeds, protocols, and security before anything else on their “features” page.
They also appear to have apps for different devices that are made with those specific operating systems in mind.
I like that they offer unlimited bandwidth, speed, server switches, and more across all plans.
They also offer a referral program and free setup guides for each device to assist users with installation.
The VPN service supports the following devices and operating systems:
PrivateVPN works simultaneously on up to six devices. That’s a pretty nice perk compared to some providers that only provide two or three.
I’ll break down pricing below so that you know exactly how each plan works.
You can connect PrivateVPN to the following kinds of routers:
- ASUS RT models
This VPN provides 100 servers 55 countries. They have servers in most major cities worldwide, however, the total is on the lower end of all the companies I’ve reviewed so far.
For a VPN provider that was founded in 2009, I expected to find more available servers and countries.
PrivateVPN offers a complete list of servers on their site:
The company offers a kill switch for their Windows VPN app, but they claim that a kill switch feature for their Mac VPN app will be out soon.
Kill switches are a huge deal when it comes to privacy and security.
They can sense when your internet connection is about to be disconnected, and they terminate your current browsing session to keep your data and browsing history safe.
I really wish that PrivateVPN offered this extra protection across every app. But at least they’re working on it, and hopefully, it will be out soon. Some VPN providers don’t offer a kill switch at all.
Private VPN also offers IPv6 and DNS leak protection.
Now, let’s go over how much this VPN is going to actually cost you.
PrivateVPN Pricing Options
One of the best things about PrivateVPN is that they offer a 30-day money back guarantee.
This is huge, especially if you commit to the service and find that there’s something you just don’t like about it that’s a dealbreaker for you.
PrivateVPN offers a one-month, three-month, and one year package.
Here’s how they are broken down:
The one-month package is $8.21 per month.
This comes out to be $98.52 per year.
The three-month package is $5.63 per month.
This comes out to $67.56 per year.
The one year package is $4.15 per month.
This comes out to only $49.80 per year, so it’s the best value out of all the plans. The company was also offering a 13th month free with this plan.
The company was offering a 25% discount at the time I looked at plans and pricing. So these rates may not last long.
Here’s how the company’s pricing plans are broken down on their site:
Payment methods include credit card, PayPal, and BitCoin.
I would recommend trying out PrivateVPN for a month and then changing your plan to a yearly one if you find that you like the service.
PrivateVPN is also one of the more affordable VPNs out there. Especially when you consider all the features you’ll have access to with each of their plans.
If you don’t like something about the platform, you can always get a refund within 30 days of your purchase, too.
Now that you know all about the features and pricing of PrivateVPN, let’s discuss the pros and cons.
Pros of PrivateVPN
PrivateVPN has some wonderful features. I was really pleased with the overall security of their servers.
First, I’ll tell you what the company is doing right before we switch our attention to where they can improve.
1. It’s safe and secure
PrivateVPN doesn’t have a ton of features to offer.
However, you can rest assured that their security is rock-solid. Here’s a quick look.
Is it Well Encrypted?
According to their FAQ page,
It’s bank-grade, so you can definitely trust your data to this kind of encryption.
Is Torrenting Allowed?
Torrenting is allowed with PrivateVPN.
That means you’re free to connect with others to move large files like movies, music, or software and use a VPN to protect your security as well as your privacy.
2. PrivateVPN is easy to use and install
PrivateVPN has an installation guide for you, no matter the device or computer you’re looking to install it on.
You can even find installation guides right from the home page.
Once you’ve downloaded PrivateVPN, here’s what the platform will look like.
Just enter your email and password to get started.
Here’s what PrivateVPN looks like once you’ve logged in. Notice the “Not Connected” graphic at the bottom of the page.
Just pick a server from the list and hit connect.
Once you’re connected, you’ll receive a notification.
Just hit “Disconnect” to end your connection, or choose another server from the list.
However, if you want to see more advanced options, click the “Advanced” button in the bottom right-hand corner.
There, you can find a user dashboard:
A settings page:
And connection guard options.
Overall, I’d give it a 7/10 for usability.
I like that the advanced features are there if you need them, but they aren’t automatically added to the normal interface.
3. Convenient customer support
PrivateVPN has ticketing and live chat options for customers.
To contact them, just click on the text bubble on the bottom right-hand corner of their home page, or click the “Live Support” button in the top left-hand corner of the PrivateVPN app.
When I tried to access PrivateVPN’s live feature, no representatives were online.
All you have to do is enter in your name, email, and message to submit a ticket.
Once you hit send, you should see this notification.
I wish that live chat was available 24/7, but the ticketing option was relatively easy to use.
PrivateVPN doesn’t go above and beyond when it comes to customer service, but they definitely met my expectations and regular industry standards.
Plus, they have a great FAQ page where you might be able to find an answer to your question.
In fact, I found the answer to my question about P2P downloads there. (They’re allowed, but PrivateVPN recommends using Sweden servers.)
4. Inexpensive long-term pricing
PrivateVPN’s pricing is relatively cheap and easy to understand.
The yearly plan is only $4.15 per month, too. And you can access as many as six devices at the same time.
There was a 25% off sale on all their plans when I visited the site, but even without the discount, their prices are reasonable.
Plus, every feature is available with each kind of plan. So you can try out the monthly plan to test them out, before switching to the long-term one to lock-in the big savings.
Cons of PrivateVPN
There are tons of great things about PrivateVPN.
Their encryption is amazing, it’s easy to use, and they even offer installation guides to customers.
But there are also a few things that aren’t so great about their service.
Here’s what I wish I could change about PrivateVPN.
1. Questionable logging policy
PrivateVPN claims to keep absolutely no logs of your data.
That’s great, right?!
However, they do collect your IP address and cookies.
They even claim that sites may not load correctly on their servers if you disable cookies.
“Third parties might analyze our site data. In this case, however, we only give them non-identifiable information. This is to improve our site or marketing and only for internal use.”
This sketchy logging policy means that PrivateVPN isn’t so private after all. I wish they were more transparent about their terms of service.
2. Does not work with Netflix (for me)
I tried to access Netflix using PrivateVPN on a server out of Manchester.
As soon as I signed in, I saw a few British show titles.
However, like nearly every VPN I try these days, Netflix knew I was using a VPN.
Netflix is getting really good at blocking VPN providers, which has been a big hurdle for all VPN companies in 2017.
No matter the server I selected, Netflix wouldn’t play any titles when I was connected to PrivateVPN’s service.
Just because Netflix didn’t work with PrivateVPN for me doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t work for every user, though, so you may have to try this out for yourself.
If you need a VPN that works 100% with Netflix, take a look at this article – 5 Best VPNs for Netflix.
3. Inconsistent server speeds
Every VPN provider talks about its server speeds like they’re the fastest in the world.
But you can’t just take them at face value. The only way to know for sure is to test and verify for yourself.
So that’s exactly what I did.
I tested PrivateVPN connection speeds across different servers across the world.
I ran speed tests on PrivateVPN’s US, Netherlands, and Hong Kong servers to see how they compare to competitors.
Here are my results:
- Ping: 139 ms
- Download: 4.70 Mbps
- Upload: 7.63 Mbps
- Ping: 50 ms
- Download: 19.83 Mbps
- Upload: 23.07 Mbps
Hong Kong Server
- Ping: 245 ms
- Download: 4.63 Mbps
- Upload: 5.73 Mbps
Some of those speeds looked great, right?
However, the last Hong Kong one was awful. So the performance results are really hit-or-miss, to be honest.
PrivateVPN Review Conclusion – Do I Recommend it?
No, I don’t.
If you’re looking for a VPN that’s easy to use and has strong encryption features, PrivateVPN is a great choice.
They offer leak protection, too, and a kill-switch if you’re using Windows.
You can use as many as six devices simultaneously without having to pay more for the service, and every plan comes with the same feature.
Plus, the company offers a 30-day money back guarantee. Torrenting is also allowed with PrivateVPN.
Customer service is satisfactory, and the company has a fully equipped FAQ page to give users resources to find answers to questions on their own time.
However, I would love to see some more server options with Private VPN. 100 is a really low number, especially for a VPN that’s been around since 2009.
I also wish that the company was more transparent about their logging policy, which is bound to be a bit more strict than companies in other countries due to Swedish laws.
And I would have loved to find that PrivateVPN worked with Netflix, but fewer and fewer VPNs are as Netflix cracks down on them.
Last but not least, the server speeds were unfortunately too inconsistent to recommend it.
If you need a VPN with low costs, stacked features, and high-quality security, think about PrivateVPN. Otherwise, try a better all-around option like ExpressVPN or VyprVPN that are both ranked in top 5 VPNs.
P.S. Have you used PrivateVPN? If so, consider leaving a review below :). Thanks.