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ProtonVPN Review

Rob Mardisalu

Rob Mardisalu

In this review, I’ll test out their service and see how it performs vs. other free VPN providers. In short, it’s not that bad at all.

ProtonVPN comes from the same CERN Scientist and Harvard Physics PhD brains behind ProtonMail, the world’s largest encrypted email network.

So they’ve already created a free-to-paid, encrypted internet privacy service in one space. Surely they can do it in the VPN space, too?

That’s what we’re here to find out. Over the past few months, we’ve been comprehensively testing their OpenVPN protocol, encryption connection standards, speed, security, pricing, and more.

And you’ll hear about the good, bad, and ugly in this ProtonVPN review.

ProtonVPN review

ProtonVPN Overview

OVERALL RANK: #19 out of 78 VPNs
USABILITY: Very Easy, Supports All Devices
LOG FILES: No Logging Policy
LOCATIONS: 32 countries, 345+ servers
SUPPORT: Ticket system, Decent response times
TORRENTING: Limited Torrenting 
NETFLIX: Yes 1/5
ENCRYPTION/PROTOCOL: AES 256,  OpenVPN only protocol offered 
COST: Free or $4/mo (basic plan)


ProtonVPN Pros +

ProtonVPN was founded on the back of security experts. So you know the protocol and encryption standards will be top-notch. They also don’t disappoint in a few other key areas, like customer service and a rock-solid connection.

Take a look.

1. Exceptional Security & Privacy Standards

ProtonVPN comes equipped with OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) and IKEv2 as its protocol, with the super-secure AES-256 encryption.

This is bank-grade, state-of-the-art encryption standards.

Put it this way:

If you are going to suffer a hack, it won’t be because they broke through this encryption. Because it’s never been done.

Instead, most hackers will cut their losses and go after other methods of breaking in, like guessing your password reminders.

2. Strict No-Logging Policy

We’ve analyzed 118 VPN logging policies over the past few years.

This is often boring, painstaking work.

But it’s important.

protonvpn no logging
Image from: https://protonvpn.com/support/no-logs-vpn/

Because pouring through this many terms and privacy policies has taught us where VPNs like to bury their privacy bodies.

For example, we’ve found that 7% of VPNs commonly log your connections data. And more than 30% of VPNs have suspicious (not straightforward) logging policy. These ones often use vague, technical jargon or legal terms to allow for ‘gray’ areas that might come back to haunt you.

Now, ProtonVPN has a solid reputation based on their past work.

But we’ve also confirmed that when they say “no logging,” you can actually trust it.

3. Decent Customer Support

Ticket-based support systems usually make us cringe.

That’s because we’ve all experienced the ~several day delay between each email, which requires a week long back-and-forth process to answer even the simplest of questions.

That initial thought flashed through my head when I laid eyes on Proton’s support options.

Reluctantly, I filled out the form with a few simple questions and hit “Send.”

However, a reply hit my inbox within around 24 hours.

And to my surprise, it wasn’t just a straight link to a knowledge base article on their site, either.

Proton customer support email

It wasn’t breathtaking or anything. But it didn’t need to be.

It just needed to be relatively fast and direct. And that’s what it was.

A pretty good experience all around.

4. Leak-Free Connection

DNS and Web-RTC leaks can accidentally expose your true IP address. These are typically caused by connection conflicts that open a teeny, tiny hole for your data to seep through.

Sounds minor. But it isn’t.

It allows your ISP, governments, and even two-bit hackers to spot you from a mile (or more) away. So it completely undermines your use of a VPN.

All without you even realizing it.

ProtonVPN’s connection came out leak free in every test we ran. Check it out.

protonvpn perfect-privacy.com dns leaktest protonvpn perfect-privacy.com check-ip leak test protonvpn iploak.net leak test

No WebRTC leaks either:

protonvpn browserleaks.com webrtc

But that’s not all.

We also ran their install files through VirusTotal.com and found them to be completely free of malicious software.

ProtonVPN virustotal score

5. One Netflix Server Worked (Out of Five)

ProtonVPN says on their site that Netflix will work on “certain servers.”

The trick, I guess, is figuring out which ones.

A lot of VPNs make that bold claim, but very few of them can actually back it up. What’s more, the VPNs that are successful in unblocking Netflix may not maintain that achievement for very long. That’s because Netflix is constantly trying to stop VPNs in their tracks, blocking access to its geo-locked content.

All Netflix content is unique to the area in which it is accessed. Netflix has certain deals in place with content providers to bring different shows and movies to different areas of the globe. If you were in the United States, your Netflix list would look very different from someone trying to watch in The Netherlands.

To stop the unwanted flow of its restricted content, Netflix unleashed a powerful VPN detection and blocking system upon the internet. It swept through the VPN world like a tidal wave, knocking scores of platforms off of the world’s largest streaming service. However, despite this purge, there are a number of VPNs that still have some success in unblocking Netflix’s attempts to keep them out.

When we first reviewed ProtonVPN, we tested five servers. They were in the UK, Canada, The Netherlands, and two servers in the US. At the time, we found that only one out of the five worked, and it was the server in The Netherlands. We tested this out again in August 2019, and once more, one out of five servers connected to the Netflix service. However, it was a different server.

The UK server, once a recipient of the dreaded Netflix black screen of doom, worked perfectly when I logged in. The Netherlands server, once our only beacon of hope in the war against Netflix bans, was sadly not working when we tested it out this time.

ProtonVPN gets listed under Pros for having one success. But practically speaking, just keep in mind that your options might be kinda limited here.

6. Easy to Install and Use

When you’re choosing a VPN provider, the last thing you want is to open up some overly complicated system that you have to be a computer scientist in order to understand. That’s why the best VPNs are the simplest ones. While ProtonVPN might not look super user friendly at first, looks can be deceiving. Despite a longer than average download time, ProtonVPN proved to be a simple to install system, that had a great ease of use once you get accustomed to its very busy dashboard.

After signing up for ProtonVPN, you’re taken to the client dashboard. From there, you’ll be able to download the platform of your choice.

Download Screen for ProtonVPN

After selecting the Windows download, I was still taken to yet another download page to actually select the Windows client and start the installation. This didn’t take up a lot of time but it was still strange that I had to select which program to download only to be taken to another page where I once again had to select which program to download.

Download Page for ProtonVPN

Once that was over, the ProtonVPN software began to download. Typically VPN software takes between 10 and 30 seconds to download on my computer. This one took quite a bit longer, and I found myself waiting for nearly two minutes. Again, this is not the end of the world, and once that was downloaded the installation went through almost instantly.

Download Client for ProtonVPN

The sign in screen was plain and simple, which is always good when using a VPN. You want to be able to efficiently sign in without having to navigate through various options. Enter your username and password, and you’ll be connected. You can also set up your VPN client to remember your login information (not recommended on a shared computer) or to start up automatically with Windows. 

ProtonVPN Sign in Screen

When you login for the first time, ProtonVPN takes an extra step that I haven’t seen many VPNs do before. It offers you a tour of its interface. This is particularly helpful, since as you’ll see momentarily, it can be a little intimidating when you see if for the first time.

ProtonVPN Welcome Screen

The tour walks you through a few of the key features of ProtonVPN.

One of them is the ability to create profiles, allowing you to save your settings in order to go back to them whenever you want. This is great for users who want to go right to their favorite Netflix server or one that was particularly fast. Once you’re connected to a server, there will be a green link in the upper left that says “Set as Profile.” Click on that and you can hold onto any of the servers that you enjoy without having to sift through the list to find them again.

ProtonVPN Tour

It also talks about the ProtonVPN Secure Core, which lets you add additional levels of security onto your browsing session. It should be noted that this service is only available to subscribers who purchase ProtonVPN’s Plus or Visionary plans.

ProtonVPN Tour 2

Once all of that was over I clicked on “Quick Connect” in the upper lefthand corner and was instantly connected to the fastest server they had.

ProtonVPN Client

While this interface might look like a NORAD computer screen, it’s actually a lot more simple than it appears. Everything you need is on the lefthand side. That includes the button to connect and disconnect, the server list, saved profiles, and the ability to activate Secure Core.

Another fun feature is the fact that the flag of the country you choose appears in the upper left. The map, which takes up the majority of this massive interface, mostly exists to show you where on the globe your signal is traveling to. It also monitors some of your other information like speed, volume, and the length of your session. This is important information that a lot of VPNs leave out.

Switching servers was a breeze. You find the server country you want from the list on the left, click on it, and you’ll automatically be connected to the best server in that region. You can also expand the list country by country to select specific servers.

All in all, despite the longer than average setup time, this is a VPN that is easy to use and effective.

ProtonVPN Cons –

ProtonVPN gets high marks for their attention to security detail. However, there are still a few drawbacks we uncovered.

Let’s take a look at each of them in-depth.

1. They are Located in Switzerland

Switzerland has a history of being a ‘neutral’ country. One that protects the privacy of its citizens and doesn’t like to get involved in domestic conflicts.

And all of that is true.

Swiss laws do protect privacy. Generally speaking.

The issue, though, is that Switzerland is also a cooperating member of the extended Eyes security alliance.

This is a worldwide agreement that essentially helps government agencies to spy on each others citizens in the name of “worldwide safety.”

I don’t mean that in a conspiracy-theorist way. This has already been happening for decades.

So a Swiss-based location means you’re mostly good. Your privacy is mostly safe.

The good news is that ProtonVPN doesn’t keep a lot of their customer data on file. But just keep in the back of their mind that their government might force them to cooperate.

2. Server Speeds are Too Slow for the Price  

Speed is the great equaliser.

All else being similar — pricing, features, security protocols, etc. — you’re going to go with the fastest option.

Because speed makes all things possible (streaming, torrent downloads, or just a dozen tabs up while you’re bouncing around between browsing sessions).

Unfortunately, ProtonVPN’s combined speed score only put them at 48th out of 78 VPN companies.

Here’s how we come up with that data:

  1. We use SpeedTest.net to get a reading of our benchmark, non-VPN internet connection. We got 97 Mbps download and 53 Mbps upload at the time of this review.
  2. Then, we connect to a few different ProtonVPN servers. We try to select random ones around the world to get a fair, unbiased view.
  3. Finally, we calculate the differences and come up with a combined score that gets ranked against all of the other reviews we’ve previously done.

Sound good? Check out each server test in detail now.

U.S. Servers (East & West)

ProtonVPN’s U.S. servers started extremely slow. The download speed, especially, would make most torrenting activities slow to a crawl.

  • Ping: 190 ms
  • Download: 24.6 Mbps (75% slower)
  • Upload: 36.4 Mbps (31% slower)

EU Servers (Switzerland)

The EU servers, on the other hand, didn’t disappoint. This probably also had something to do with our closer proximity to this servers. Even something as simple as physical distance between you and the connected server can impact performance. But credit where credits due.

  • Ping: 66ms
  • Download: 54.46 Mbps (44% slower)
  • Upload: 37.86 Mbps (29% slower)

Asia Servers (Hong Kong)

We thought the U.S. server speeds were bad. Until we saw the Asian ones out of Hong Kong. 85% slower across the board.

  • Ping: 317 ms
  • Download: 16 Mbps (84% slower)
  • Upload: 6.4 Mbps (88% slower)

UK Servers

And last but not least, a UK server feel somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, it wasn’t on the ‘good’ side of the middle.

  • Ping: 46ms
  • Download: 52 Mbps (46% slower)
  • Upload: 47 Mbps (11% slower)

These results were disappointing across the board. Consistent, yes. But consistently slow is not good.

Companies like ExpressVPN, PIA, and Trust.Zone all offer better speed (at only a fraction of the price).

3. Limited Device Compatibility

ProtonVPN windows app

The best VPNs we’ve reviewed all provide pre-built apps for every device imaginable.

This way, all you have to do is point and click. No technical experience required. No manual labor needed.

ProtonVPN provides pre-built apps for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android devices.

Unfortunately, that’s all they provide.

Any users of TOR will find that this VPN is sadly incompatible with it.

The last time I reviewed ProtonVPN, they did not have a native app for iOS clients. Now (February 2019), they now have a native iOS app.

But even worse, it means there’s no pre-built option for smart TVs or gaming consoles.

While there was no support for routers the last time I reviewed ProtonVPN, they now support installing their VPN on DD-WRT, AsusWRT, and Tomato routers.

They’ve got 345 servers in 32 countries, which could be a problem for people who look into VPNs for torrenting.

The silver lining? ProtonVPN’s paid plans provide up to ten simultaneous connections — this is on the higher end from what we’ve seen.

4. Limited Torrenting Available

Unfortunatley, ProtonVPN doesn’t allow unlimited torrenting.

It’s not allowed at all on free plans.

The reasoning is that “P2P would increase the load on our servers due to torrenting and this would put more pressure on us, ultimately not allowing us to subsidise the free accounts from the paid ones.”

That’s understandable.

It is allowed on paid ones, but only on certain servers. Again, the reasoning is that they channel P2P traffic through neutral “safe countries.”

However, they also take this moment to bring up Swiss law: “File sharing is only permitted for personal, non-commercial use.”

So yes, they allow it. But there are several restrictions which might make it impractical for you.

5. Limited Protocols (OpenVPN Only)

This last one is on the border.

ProtonVPN only offers the OpenVPN protocol.

Technically speaking, this is a GREAT thing. It’s the state-of-the-art industry standard. Almost everyone, everywhere should use ONLY use OpenVPN.

So why is this showing up under the Cons section?

Because not everyone has the choice of only using this protocol option.

Many older devices, or even some less expensive new ones like some Chromebooks, don’t offer OpenVPN support just yet.

Instead, you’ll have to connect through a different (albeit, less-desirable) protocol like L2TP or PPTP.

These other options aren’t nearly as secure. And in most cases you wouldn’t want to use them.

But that’s just the thing:

You don’t always have that choice. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

And for that reason, ProtonVPN might not work for large cross-section of potential customers.

ProtonVPN Pricing, Cost & Payment Methods

ProtonVPN pricing

ProtonVPN has four plans to choose from, with optional discounts for paying annually.

So the prices below INCLUDE the annual ~20% discount.

Free: $0/month

Yes, Proton has a free VPN. But yes, it’s also pretty bare bones.

The service comes with only three server locations: The Netherlands, USA, and Japan.

It doesn’t come with any extra features.

But it does help you unlock a free seven-day trial of their paid plans. So that might be a good way to dip your toe into ProtonVPN’s waters without spending a single cent.

Basic: $4/month (we bought this)

Proton’s Basic plan is a marginal upgrade on the free one to be honest. You do get access to all countries, but not Plus, Secure, or Tor servers. Your speed access is “high” but not the “highest.”

Plus, you only can connect two simultaneous devices.

So kinda a bummer to be honest. Skip over this option.

Plus: $8/month

Proton’s Plus plan increases your connection limitation up to five devices. Speed is the “highest,” and you get access to Plus, Secure Core, and Tor servers.

This is probably the only plan you should go with to be honest.

The fourth plan, Visionary, is kinda the same as the Plus, but with a cross-sell for their ProtonMail offering. So that’s also a decent option at $24/month (paid annual) if you were already considering both encrypted options.

Otherwise, you can pay for all of these plans with either credit card or PayPal. Nothing else (cash, bitcoin, etc.) from what we’ve seen.

ProtonVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, you only get a prorated amount of the “unused portion.” In other words, if you use it for 10 days, you’ll get a refund for 20 days worth.

That’s not a great refund policy compared to others, like CyberGhost, which offers a full “no questions asked” money-back guarantee.

Refunds in the original currency or payment method you used will be given, too.

You’ll have to send an email to [email protected] to get your prorated share.

Do I Recommend ProtonVPN?

No, we don’t.

ProtonVPN features an awesome connection with the highest security considerations. Their customer service was good and Netflix even worked on one server.

Unfortunately, it’s a few other areas that let it down in the end.

A Switzerland home base is generally a good thing for privacy. But they are cooperative with other aggressive government agencies around the world.

Honestly, the server speeds were not good. Device options are limited.

And the pricing, even with a 20% annual discount, is still on the high end for what you’re getting in return.

There are just so many better options available, with the same connection strength, faster performance, and more devices, for far less.

Browse best premium VPNs here.

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    32 user reviews for ProtonVPN

    Ykcir 9/10 September 30, 2020

    Damn good for a free VPN

    Heck it blocks my ISP (AT&T) from snooping, no logs, no leaks, unlimited data, and it's FREE! It's not the fastest VPN but considering all the security addons and all the about:config privacy options I use in Firefox 81, the speeds are generally okay.......and did I mention that it's FREE? I don't care about Netflix and no way on earth would I trust torrents so that's not an issue with me. They also added a few more server locations so you can use about 13 different locations...not bad for a free VPN.

    Cestral 1/10 June 18, 2020


    AVOID! Proton VPN is plagued by micro-disconnects and slow speeds. Trying to use torrents while surfing the web is also a pain because it'll constantly fail to open websites and play streams etc. Trying to play online games with this VPN on is also useless because you will suffer from random disconnects. I don't have these issues with other VPNs that I've tried.

    john 1/10 March 27, 2020

    Doesn't work properly

    Doesn't try to connect to another server after connection fails. Kill switch doesn't work.

    Kofo 1/10 February 20, 2020


    After my VPN expired my service shut down. My card was removed. When I joined back they wanted to charge me for time I did not use.

    Soter 10/10 February 8, 2020

    Fast, decent and safe

    The review of ''

    '' is untrue, weird and aims at something sly.

    I've been using PROTONVPN for a long time now and nothing negative I don't see from what you write.

    It's fast, reliable, safe and never betrays you.

    Two things are happening. Or you are blind or you make custom-made reviews.

    I don't mind if you don't post my comment because I have recorded it and it shows your quality and credibility.

    Dave 2/10 February 2, 2020

    Incredibly disappointing

    I'm a huge fan of what Proton stands for, and wanted to love their VPN service. We pay for 300 Mbps down/up, and I was willing to sacrifice as much as 1/3 of that speed (200 Mbps down/up) to install ProtonVPN on my router. What I ended up with was 6 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up. That's a 98% loss in download speed the second I clicked "Activate." I guess their version of privacy is slowing you down to dial-up-era speeds so that you avoid using the Internet...? But it really is easy to install... [rolls eyes]

    Anne Miller 10/10 January 3, 2020


    Proton, 'ΠΡΩΤΟΝ' means 1st and as far as I am concerned this vpn SHOULD had been number one amongst other over rated vpn's. In their free plan they offer unlimited browsing in 3 countries, no malware, the speed is great, they never log user activity and have no tracking ads. Also I like the fact that these people are based in Switzerland, which has the strongest privacy protections in the world. (if that wasn't true then why do so many people trust the Swiss banks?) I apologise but I don't at all agree with your negative comments. I will NEVER search for another VPN because this with no doubt is an A+.

    Camille 9/10 December 2, 2019

    Flawless Functionality and We Know Who Started The Company

    I have been using this VPN on a Mac for a couple weeks and it has been working flawlessly on the free version. I have not noticed a slow down in browsing speeds. One of the strengths of this VPN is that we know who is behind it. They have a track record in privacy and cutting-edge encryption. Other VPN companies (Surfshark) have come out of nowhere and we do not know who they are. This is a very important point that is not addressed in most reviews. We know for a fact that the US government has run all sorts of bogus agencies and companies so why not a VPN company? Money wouldn't be a problem and imagine all that data getting funneled to government data banks. So I think that the fact we know who ProtonVPN is should be a very, very strong selling point.

    Anonymous comment 10/10 September 22, 2019

    Pretty good if you are looking for a free VPN

    This is a pretty good free VPN that doesn't log you, inject ads (as far as ProtonVPN says and my experience proves it) or limit your bandwidth. The speeds are pretty good for just browsing the web in public wifi or hotels. I also tested it out in a game and the ping was alright. I would recommend ProtonVPN but when you get the chance it would be good to upgrade.

    J I g 3/10 June 20, 2019


    Traveling using hotel WiFi. VPN takes minutes to log on to any server. This exposes even the best security. It seems that the vpn connection is dropped over and over again. Online iCloud backup takes days and never completes. There needs to be a speed list so one can pick a fast server. They need to list how many times they give to government requests. I may not renew when year expires because just too slow with no way to find faster server. Too difficult, too slow and takes too long to turn on VPN.

    AnonymousUser 9/10 March 24, 2019

    The Pros Outweigh the Cons

    I’d like to preface by saying that this article was a well done, in-depth description without making anything more complicated than it needed to be. Personally, I’m a bit more privacy-minded than the average concerned citizen. In the case of ProtonVPN in 2019, the pros of the service dramatically outweigh the cons when compared to the alternatives, such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN. I believe it’s also important to point out that only four of the current twenty user reviews (as of writing this) were written after May 12th, 2018, and none of those four in 2019. Since this article was published, I think ProtonVPN has improved their technical capabilities (at least in the U.S.) quite a bit. It’s an easy front-runner for me.

    Michael Laudahn 7/10 March 23, 2019

    'Free' account from 'Switzerland'

    Proton has a 'free' account type? No it doesn't. What you get when you opt for that is a 1-week free trial. After that, you're expected to become a paying member. And they may have a swiss address, but they're american that it hurts. That is, europeans who still know why we are different, and why we don't want to be made into americanised economy robots.

    Ray 8/10 December 23, 2018


    The one issue I had was the Plus version wasn't any faster than the basic version. The speeds itself weren't as bad as you claim (US West), but slower than what I currently use - NordVPN. So I decided to try the PLUS (highest) plan (for 2 hours). Same as basic and more expensive than Nord. Makes no sense to change. I really wanted it to work because their security is second to none.

    Hans 10/10 December 17, 2018

    No bad experience so far: only plus on ProtonVPN Plus

    I do not recognize all elements of this review. I went for the recent Black Friday sale on ProtonVPN Plus. No regrets so far. Super fast (100 down/150 up on secure core NL server), very stable, lots of servers to choose from, iOS app available and working, works on my router (ASUS RT-AC68U with Merlin) and streaming servers *all* work (Netflix, Videoland, Dutch TV). Tried streaming on US, FR and LU ProtonVPN servers, all worked. One improvement point would be that the router config needs a bit of "fiddling" in order to get it to work (see https://www.reddit.com/r/ProtonVPN/comments/8yulxh/how_to_asus_wrtmerlin_protonvpn_country_ovpn/ for instructions).

    Me 9/10 November 22, 2018

    It Works and Sets up Easily

    I never give out 100% either. 🙂 I set up Protonmail, which was seamless and trusted. I added ProtonVPN because of the clarity and simplicity it offered. The negatives listed above don't affect me because I'm only on 15MPS at the ISP anyway and don't stream anything except Youtube sometimes. I suspect your review is obsolete because I saw improvements in features and options not mentioned in your review. At the root of it, or works easily and simply and I trust it.

    Jonathon Klein 3/10 October 12, 2018

    Failing Kill Switch Leaks like a Collinder

    Lot of good features negated by a non-functioning kill switch.

    A kill switch is supposed to permanently disconnect you from all non-vpn traffic when enabled. Nord VPN's kill switch won't let anything through until you manually disable the kill switch (very nice, correct implementation).

    Proton vpn's kill switch only works while actively connecting to a vpn. If the program crashes or you disconnect from a vpn server, the kill switch is auto-disabled.

    Even worse, if you switch from a free VPN server to Secure Core server, the kill switch will also temporarily be disabled thanks to the same flawed implementation, leaking your real ip address.

    How Leaktastic!!! Avoid until fixed.

    Graham Martin 1/10 May 12, 2018

    This is RUBBISH

    Downloaded the free version to see if it was any good.

    It took over my computer and stopped programs such as Skype and Mozilla Firefox from working. It changed all my passwords to god knows what. The best thing I done was remove it off my computer. BUT, it still comes up as working when I start my computer. It’s like a bad dream , keeps coming back to piss me off. WORST VPN known to man.

    Eli 9/10 April 28, 2018


    I said 90, but on a scale of 1-10 I never give out a 10, so...

    We use a corporate VPN to hurl huge amounts of data around, and when traversing 3,000+ miles latency issues definitely affect speed across the public Internet. ProtonVPN is better.

    For general web use ProtonVPN appears to be quite usable. I do not include streaming audio and/or video in that evaluation, however.

    When watching a video otherwise blocked by country….ProtonVPN has been adequate.

    IMO, the security and privacy issues are paramount. News events and OSINT/SOCMINT are desired and usable.

    Entertainment….well, maybe someday.

    Pete 1/10 April 10, 2018

    No VPN and no refund!

    The 6 day free trial was great … fast speeds and no disconnects. HOWEVER when the trial was up I paid for the Plus upgrade and was shocked with the extremely slow speeds (less than 5 Mpbs) and multiple disconnects. Sent them a cancellation email as per their terms and conditions and they blocked my VPN service and refused to refund my money. Over a month later and my credit card company had to do a charge-back to recover my funds.

    Z 9/10 March 27, 2018


    Yes, they aren’t easily usable, or have great support. I’ll freely admit they’re not the greatest.

    But I find the review here to be excessively tough on them; especially considering that they actually *deliver* on their claims of security. Even the claims of low speeds are quite hyperbolic. For example they criticise the speeds while listing them.

    US – These speeds actually aren’t that terrible. While they’re not industry leading or fastest by any stretch, they are functional speeds.

    Asia – These speeds are also not as bad as they’re made out to be, but I’ll admit they’re not that great.

    I feel the method of speed measurements are also lacking. They failed to purchase a plus Plan and test; therefore I feel like speed discussion is weak. Furthermore they didn’t exactly use the most reputable way of measuring speed. Ookla’s speedtest.net is known for offering their “services” to US ISPs. Furthermore Speedtest.net allows ISPs to self host test servers; drastically reducing the reliability of the test, and allowing ISPs to effectively cheat on their speed tests by being able to use QOS to prioritize testing servers. Multiple measurements aren’t needed. I could accept speedtest.net results if it were paired with other results (like from Ooniprobe or othet lesser known speed test sites which ISPs have less ability and motivation to cheat on.

    In my personal experience, Speedtest.net results have never accurately reflected my true performance. This article is lacking in both proper quantitative and qualitative measurements for speed.

    Chris Wall 9/10 March 7, 2018


    I think it’s worth pointing out what seem to be some flaws in the review.

    1. I’m sure the author is being hyperbolic about VPN requiring a network degree (more below)
    2. Fast and secure do not always go hand in hand. Free is usually off the table for either of those.
    3. It’s faster than TOR and…
    4. When have a vendor I can trust, I can relax.
    5. My use cases do not include torrenting files.

    As with any solution you need to weigh your needs/wants and prioritize them. Personally, based on research, ProtonVPN is taking a solid ethic and doubling down on making sure they are transparent, don’t log, and are innovating **but not for innovation’s sake**.

    Now, as someone who doesn’t have a networking degree (what a weird benchmark to set in a review), I can say that the documentation and support have been obscure but straightforward enough. For transparency, I had a CCNA that lapsed a decade ago, and was a UNIX engineer by trade. That said, Linux sucked until the kernel hit 2.x. The openness of the project helped adoption and robustness. I think that’s where ProtonVPN is headed as well.

    Alex Sung 10/10 February 25, 2018

    Best privacy vpn with average speed

    I am paid protonvpn suscription for 2 years using Professional plan. After using for the past 2 months with secure core, although the speed are not impressive but I am confident with their setup after been using vpn services with PIA, Torguard, Airvpn, VPN.ac & few more vpn service providor for more than a decade.

    The downside is that they restricted to port used and encryption used are not using 4096 bit RSA keys size, stating the duration of Diffie-Hellman key exchange DHE key duration & HMAC SHA256 to compensate for speed instead of maximum security.

    Overall, if you are privacy paranoia then this is best vpn for you over connection speed & price.

    Sully 8/10 February 21, 2018

    Linux friendly, great speed/ease of use.

    I’m using the free service and have had no issues. I have not experienced any serious speed issues, and have not seen any of the connectivity issues reported below. I am using linux, which is very well supported due to the openvpn protocol. It was so easy setting this up on my machine that I honestly wonder about the competency of this reviewer and of the readers whose comments below. I have not used the windows app, but openvpn is a cinch to get setup on my machine. Protonvpn gives you everything necessary to easily get everything working in minutes. The instructions are provided with absolute clarity.

    I am grateful that this service exists, and while it may not be the best VPN out there, it is certainly very high up in my recommended list of VPN providers. If you want to have the worlds best speeds use something else. If you want some of the best available security minded IT engineers in the world encrypting your traffic, choose ProtonVPN.

    Jonathan 2/10 January 11, 2018

    Slow and steady does not win the race.

    I’m a paid Protonmail user and they did offer a deal on adding VPN service at a discount because I was a subscriber. Took them up on the offer and I’ve regretted it in almost every way. It is painfully slow. As a paid user you can choose from the fastest connections but even they are way too slow. It’s a dilemma; You pay for 60Mbps internet connectivity, and suddenly it is slowed down to about 3Mbps. One could argue that is the price of being secure.

    Customer Service is excellent for email related problems. Not so good assistance for VPN.

    I was in the middle tier. Not the free plan but not the fastest. Perhaps it would be better if Proton offered free service and paid service rather than Tier 1 and Tier 2 plans. I couldn’t help but feel that even as a paid user I was still being throttled.

    Pros: Good interface. Simple to install and use.

    Cons: Slow, sometimes unusably slow. Dismissive customer service. Two levels of paid service means you had better go for the top tier; otherwise, you may find yourself crawling along, even with a high-speed connection.

    John 4/10 January 8, 2018

    Not as good as I expected

    I purchased the basic plan (billed $48 for 12 months of service) after initially taking advantage of their free plan. Initially I was very happy, speeds (on the free plan) were not too great but I understood free was limited, and expected speeds to improve with a paid plan. Their selection of locations was very comprehensive, and they had for many locations multiple servers to choose from (some allowing p2p, some not). So after a week of testing the service out I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a subscription, to ensure that at least my computer and phone had VPN. And that’s where the problems started. While the phone app worked fine, the computer app which was working fine for the trial week started misbehaving. Basically any attempt to login would hang at “assigning IP”, meaning the VPN was not usable. I tried to use their support through the website and it was a nightmare, It took multiple days (not tries, days) to even submit a support request for my problem (keep in mind, everything was functioning fine until I paid for a subscription). The support provided was completely generic, and after a week of back and forth going through what felt like an infinite loop of repeating the same process, I gave up, cancelled my subscription and sought a different VPN provider. To be absolutely fair, the part of the service that worked for me (the iphone app) was fine, good speeds, good response times from both North American and EU servers (which is what I mostly used). But unfortunately having service for half of what I wanted was not acceptable for me.

    hector lagos 9/10 January 5, 2018


    Got the FREE subscription and I must say that I’m surprised by the quality of their software. Connection is rather good, no disco at all, no leaks, clean IPs, browsing is easy and flawless.

    And most of all Proton is TRUSTABLE! I like their ethics…

    Robert 1/10 December 29, 2017

    Horrible Customer Service

    They have the WORST customer service I have ever seen. I’ve been using the free service for the past few weeks, randomly I keep getting disconnected with a message claiming that I have been disconnected because I am using P2P when I’m NOT.

    It seems to happen whenever their server starts to get busy. I don’t even use the service but for about 20 minutes a day so it’s not like I was on there all day or something.

    I contacted customer service, told them THREE TIMES that I only have 1 P2P app on my computer and it IS NOT RUNNING when I am using the VPN. I know they don’t allow p2p and I am not freaking stupid.

    I even gave them a screenshot of my task manager showing unequivocally there were NO P2P applications running ON THE SAME SCREEN with the error message and they sent me back the same canned message claiming I have p2p running AGAIN.

    OH, and every reply from them took 3 days and came from a different person. No one ever actually tried to look into my problem AT ALL. The ONLY thing they did was blame me for the problem OVER AND OVER.

    The service was painfully slow even when they were working. I usually got something like 4 Meg download speed even when the servers were showing less than 10% activity according to the software.


    Julie Richards (PhD Computer Science) 9/10 November 12, 2017

    Disagree with the review

    After testing ProtonVPN paid account, I completely disagree with the “thebestvpn” review of this service. I have run several tests on the security of this service and I am impressed, ProtonVPN stood up to all tests using a multitude of tools on Kali Linux; dns leak, IP leak, data leaks, man in middle and all attempts to break the VPN tunnel from the Intranet and Internet sides all failed. I tried several ways to triangulate the original source and again was unsuccessful. In reference to cost, you get what you pay for and this level of security is worth every penny. Ease of use, it’s easy nothing much else to say.

    The only thing that is needed is support for other platforms and this is coming, I was reliably informed by ProtonVPN after email conversations.

    I don’t agree with your review.

    Rick 9/10 November 9, 2017

    New ProtonVPN User via pfsense

    I wanted to try ProtonVPN as I have had their free email for quite some time now and I am a fan of their devotion and commitment to privacy and security.

    We use all Linux in our home and run our network through a pfsense router made from an old Dell Optiplex GX620. Using a “Matya’s Blog” article, I managed to get the ProtonVPN setup easily such that all of our traffic is now protected. I can’t comment on support or client-side applications as I do not use these, but as far as speeds I get around ~30mbps connecting through a SecureCore server here in the U.S. on my 50mbps connection. No DNS leaks, no issues with content streaming, and our regular sites we visit work as expected.

    So far so good, and being that this is new from Proton, I expect much more coming from them ?

    rw 8/10 October 2, 2017

    using proton

    Finding proton a bit difficult to understand, vis-a-vis connection speeds. Still in the “7-day” premium trial period, comparing proton to cyberghost. I get the same, or nearly the same, speed test results with cyberghost free as with the proton trial period. Cyberghost claims paid subscriptions have faster speeds, but I cannot test that without making a non-refundable payment.

    It will be interesting to see how proton speeds compare once the trial period ends. On a second note, I do like proton’s display of server loading. I don’t know if the data is reliable, but i have noticed speed differences between low and high use server sites.

    Mark 10/10 September 22, 2017

    ProtonVPN is developing great

    I am using ProtonMail on Mac which I agree is a painful process. But as they state on their social media channels, the BETA for Android and Mac for https://protonvpn.com/ are undergoing as we speak.

    I think it’s smart that they launched the product even if unfinished and they can develop the other apps according to their users needs. I love Proton products and I trust them. I’d vouch the new apps will kick a lot of as* in the industry.

    Doug 3/10 September 13, 2017

    Lacks usability

    I’m always eager to try out new (free) VPNs and I decided to go with them. Unfortunately, I’m running on mac and I had to go through a painful set of instructions which led me to nowhere.

    Although I think I’m computer savvy, protonVPN is definitely not the best pick for someone using other than Windows.