ProtonVPN Review

The VPN industry has been moving forward rapidly in recent years. With so many new services that have great offerings, it sometimes becomes hard to keep up. Needless to say, it’s even harder to find the right virtual private network service to utilize as your daily go-to.

What is ProtonVPN in the first place? It is a VPN provider that's a sister product to the famed ProtonMail secure email service. Many say that it’s an excellent solution for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and remaining safe while you’re browsing the internet.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at ProtonVPN. In addition, we shall also discuss everything relevant to the provider. That way, you’ll not be left with any questions and will properly be able to decide if it’s the right VPN service for you.

So before we start, here’s what we believe are the major pros and cons of ProtonVPN:

ProsCons
Superb security capabilitiesDoesn’t work in China
Works in ChinaSpeed could use some improvement
Unblocks most streaming platformsLacks live chat support
Has a decently-sized server network
Has user-friendly applications

Features

Here is a table laying out all the specifications of ProtonVPN:

logo protonvpn
Logging Policy No Logging
Jurisdiction Switzerland
EncryptionAES-256
RSA 4096-bit Key Exchange
SHA-384 Hash Authentication
Protocols OpenVPN UDP
OpenVPN TCP
IPSec/IKEv2
Ad and malware blockersYes
Kill switchYes
Leak TestsNo Leaks Found
Speed TestsSlow
Torrenting & P2PYes (Optimized P2P-Enabled)
StreamingNetflix
Amazon Prime
BBC iPlayer
Firestick
Roku (Via Router)
Kodi
Apple TV (Via Router)
Android TV
GamingWindows
Android
iOS
Xbox One / Xbox Series S & X (Via Router)
PS4 / PS5 (Via Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via Router)
CompatibilityWindows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chromebook OS
Chrome
Firefox
Tor
Selected Routers
Simultaneous Connections1 (Free-Tier Subscription)
2 (Basic Subscription)
10 (Plus/Visionary Subscriptions)
Servers1444
ChinaNo
Split TunnelingYes
Additional FeaturesSecure Core Servers
VPN Accelerator
PricesBasic Subscription
$4.00/Month
$48.00/Year

Plus Subscription
$5.99/Month
$71.88/Year

Visionary Subscription
$24.00/Month
$288.99/Year
Our Rating4.5
Websiteprotonvpn.com

Privacy & Security

The two most important things that any VPN must provide are privacy and security. A service that doesn’t adequately protect you is totally not worth getting. Therefore, we should begin our ProtonVPN review with a closer look into ProtonVPN’s security capabilities.

Where is ProtonVPN Based & Who Owns It?

ProtonVPN is the sister service of ProtonMail. Both of which are owned and operated by Proton Technologies AG – a Swiss tech company. As you might’ve already guessed, the headquarters of ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland. This is great news because that country is an excellent place to operate a VPN from. Why so? Because it has very lenient copyright and privacy laws.

ProtonVPN has been met with critical acclaim ever since its release. Experts have praised its security capabilities. Of course, this is expected given that the provider is a sister service of ProtonMail, which is arguably the most well-known secure email service.

Encryption & Protocols Used

Like many of its rivals in the industry, ProtonVPN uses AES-256 military-grade encryption. Aside from that, it also employs SHA-456 hash authentication and an RSA 4096-bit key exchange. In addition, the VPN service utilizes perfect forward secrecy to further enhance the encryption of its subscribers.

When it comes to protocols, ProtonVPN doesn’t have much to offer yet. It only allows its users to toggle OpenVPN (UDP & TCP) and IPSec/L2TP. 

To date, no plans to adopt other protocols have been announced. That means you’ll not be able to use WireGuard – the world’s newest, fastest, and safest VPN protocol. If anything, this is not a dealbreaker by any means. After all, many services also still haven’t taken on WireGuard yet.

ProtonVPN Leak Test

ProtonVPN claims to provide its subscribers with complete leak protection. For me to determine if the provider was legitimate, I ran a couple of tests using IPLeak.net. Before we review the results, below is a screenshot of my original Philippine IP address for reference:

IP Leak Test – No VPN

Next up, here are the results after I moved to ProtonVPN’s server in Singapore:

IP Leak Test – ProtonVPN Singapore

This is how things changed following my move to the United States server of ProtonVPN:

IP Leak Test – ProtonVPN Washington

As seen above, both of ProtonVPN’s servers were able to mask my real IP address. Even after repeating my tests, the results were the same. Due to that, I can say with confidence that ProtonVPN’s server network does not leak when it is being utilized.

Does ProtonVPN Keep Logs?

Nope. ProtonVPN doesn’t keep your personal logging information.

Given its strong stance on privacy, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that ProtonVPN maintains a very strict zero-logging policy. In fact, to enforce this, the provider has transitioned to a server network that’s 100% RAM-based. Besides that, it has regularly subjected itself to third-party audits. Last but not least, the service provider frequently releases internal security reports.

Does ProtonVPN Have A Kill Switch?

Yes. ProtonVPN maintains an automatic kill switch on all of its applications.

The provider’s kill switch is even a bit different from other VPN kill switches. How come? It has a feature called Always-on VPN, which basically reestablishes your device’s connection to ProtonVPN’s server after it gets compromised. If you ask me, it’s very convenient.

Now for those who don’t know, a kill switch is an essential VPN security feature. 

With it, you will be able to protect yourself from unwanted exposure. To put it simply, the feature works by cutting your device’s connection to the web when its connection to your VPN’s server becomes compromised in any manner.

Does ProtonVPN Have an Ad and Malware Blocker?

Yes. ProtonVPN has an ad & malware blocker called Netshield.

From my experience with it, I’d have to say that it’s a decent ad & malware blocker. I found it to be especially proficient at getting rid of banner and pop-up ads. That said, there’s currently no way to use Netshield without being connected to ProtonVPN’s servers. Moreover, you should also know that it’s only available on the VPN’s apps for Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS.

Is ProtonVPN Safe?

Yes. It’s guaranteed that you’ll be safe when you’re using ProtonVPN.

The provider is very steadfast in maintaining its no-logs policy. Besides having a RAM-based network, it also has itself regularly audited by independent parties. If anything, this is very impressive because few VPNs make the same effort to become transparent to users.

Also, ProtonVPN utilizes AES-256 military-grade encryption, which is the best type of encryption that’s currently available. While it doesn’t support WireGuard, it does have decent protocol support, especially for a VPN service provider that was released just this year.

Speed Test

ProtonVPN has been criticized for the speed capabilities of its servers. While some locations are decent performers, others are said to significantly hamper base connection speeds.

Now for those who are curious, ProtonVPN does impose a bandwidth cap on its users. Hence, if you wish to experience the fastest speeds that it can deliver, then you should opt for a Plus or Visionary subscription plan. Of course, if you’re only planning to do casual browsing, then the provider’s Basic and free-tier subscription plans will definitely suffice.

To properly know how fast ProtonVPN’s servers are, I conducted some speed tests. Before anything else though, here are base connection speeds for reference:

Speed Test – No VPN

Below is how my connection changed after I moved to the SG server of ProtonVPN:

Speed Test – ProtonVPN Singapore

And here’s what happened after my change to ProtonVPN’s US server:

Speed Test – ProtonVPN US

It’s clear that ProtonVPN’s servers did have a negative impact on my connection speeds. They caused my ping to rise significantly, which is rather sad to know. 

On the bright side, they were almost able to maintain my base downloading and uploading speeds. In fact, the VPN’s Singapore server even managed to improve my downloading.

How Fast is ProtonVPN?

ProtonVPN isn’t a fast VPN.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should belittle it. After all, the provider was fast enough to allow me to surf the internet quite smoothly. 

Every one of the websites that I visited and the videos that I watched loaded up quite smoothly. Only when I engaged in more bandwidth-heavy tasks did the provider’s burden on my base connections speeds become noticeable.

Torrenting & P2P

ProtonVPN claims that it’s a good VPN for torrenting. Sadly though, it only has P2P servers in 12 countries and doesn’t support port-forwarding. These factors alone put the VPN at a grave disadvantage versus competitors that support port-forwarding and have 100% P2P networks.

Of course, it would be wrong to judge ProtonVPN based on specs alone. To properly determine if the provider is good for torrenting, it was only right that I performed tests. Before we review the results, here’s what showed up on IPLeak.net when I wasn’t connected to any server:

Torrenting Leak Test – No VPN

As you can see, IPLeak was successfully able to intercept my IP address.

Let’s now see how the results changed after I ran the test again following my connection to the server of ProtonVPN in Singapore:

Torrenting Leak Test – ProtonVPN Singapore

Now, this is how the VPN provider’s P2P-enabled servers in the US did:

Torrenting Leak Test – ProtonVPN US

I was pleased to see that ProtonVPN can indeed hide my IP address when I partook in torrent downloading sessions. This is great news because on paper, the provider doesn’t seem to be capable of keeping my identity hidden from cybercriminals, ISPs, and government monitors.

Is ProtonVPN Good for Torrenting?

Yes and no. Although ProtonVPN can facilitate leak-free torrent downloading sessions, it isn’t the best option for those looking to torrent regularly. That’s because it lacks port-forwarding support and doesn’t have many P2P servers that you can choose from. On top of that, its servers aren’t the fastest meaning that using them, you shall be downloading for longer.

Streaming

For many, VPNs aren’t security tools. Rather, they are a means to gain access to the otherwise unavailable content on streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu. With that in mind, I needed to test out the streaming capabilities of ProtonVPN. 

After all, its ability to get around geo-restrictions and facilitate seamless watch sessions is very important to many.

Like many of its rivals, ProtonVPN prides itself on being a capable VPN solution for streaming online content. However, many people claim that it’s not that good of an option. To know the truth behind all the rumors flying around, I conducted a couple of tests.

Does ProtonVPN Work with Netflix?

Yes. My tests have revealed that ProtonVPN works well alongside Netflix. Below is a screenshot of how the VPN provider’s United States server did when I attempted to watch Spotlight – a move that’s exclusively (as of writing) available on the US library of Netflix:

Netflix US – ProtonVPN

Of course, it was essential for me to find out if ProtonVPN’s other servers were good for getting around Netflix’s geoblocks. Here’s how things went about after I tried to watch Deadpool while connected to the provider’s server in the United Kingdom:

Netflix UK – ProtonVPN

As you can see, ProtonVPN’s UK server also allowed me to watch the movie that I wanted to. In fact, it did so flawlessly without causing any issues with buffering or quality drops. With that said, getting into Netflix and navigating to the movie that I wanted to did take time.

Does ProtonVPN Work with Amazon Prime?

Amazon Prime Video is another online video streaming service that’s incredibly popular. In fact, it is my primary go-to if I’m tired of the content shown on Netflix. Due to that, it was only natural for me to test how well ProtonVPN worked alongside it.

One of my favorite movies (The Avengers) just happens to be on Amazon Prime Video’s library in the United States. Knowing that, I had to connect to ProtonVPN’s US server and try to watch the movie. Below is a screenshot of my test’s outcome:

Amazon Prime Video US – ProtonVPN

The result of my ProtonVPN with Amazon Prime Video test was great. To my surprise, even with a slowed-down internet connection, I was able to stream the movie in full HD. Furthermore, no instance of buffering or sudden quality drops ever happened, which was great. Hence, I can confidently say that ProtonVPN works incredibly well alongside Amazon Prime Video.

Does ProtonVPN Work on Firestick?

Yes. Although ProtonVPN doesn’t have a native Amazon Fire TV Stick app, it can be sideloaded onto the device. The reason why is because the streaming device runs on a modified version of Android. Therefore, the APKs of Android applications can be installed on it without any issues.

To know how well ProtonVPN worked with Firestick, I watched a YouTube video that’s regionally locked. Below is a screenshot of how things turned out:

Amazon Firestick – ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN performed very well when I used it on my Amazon Firestick. That being said, I still wouldn’t recommend the provider as a go-to for the streaming device. After all, it lacks a dedicated app for it, which means that it isn’t optimized and could be unsafe.

Is ProtonVPN Good For Streaming?

Yes. All my tests reveal that ProtonVPN is without a doubt good for streaming. 

Despite it having rather sluggish servers, the service doesn’t fail at letting me have seamless streaming sessions that are free of buffering, lengthy loading times, and sudden quality drops. More importantly, it also doesn’t fail at circumventing the geo-restrictions of popular streaming platforms.

Gaming

Gaming Test - ProtonVPN

I’m a very avid gamer on mobile, consoles, and desktops. As a result, it was very important for me to know if ProtonVPN could meet all my gaming needs. To do this, I paired to its server in Singapore and Hong Kong and played a couple of deathmatch rounds of Call of Duty Mobile.

To my surprise, ProtonVPN once again didn’t disappoint me. It successfully got around Call of Duty Mobile’s geo-restrictions and allowed me to play with the people from the countries that I connected to. Also while playing, I only encountered frame drops and lagging a few instances.

Because of my superb experience with the provider, I have to conclude that it’s a viable option for gamers. It’s certain that by choosing it, you’ll not end up becoming disappointed.

Compatibility

Wide compatibility is something that’s very important for any VPN provider to have. After all, the availability of a service dictates how many customers can use it. Luckily, the developers of ProtonVPN are aware of this. They’ve made their VPN work alongside many devices.


I should also note though that ProtonVPN still isn’t a one size fits all VPN solution. 

Because it is still quite new, the people behind it haven’t been able to develop apps for every mainstream operating and browser extension. That said, it’s sure that more ProtonVPN apps will be released over time. Thus, all you need to do is wait if it’s not available on your device.

Operating Systems

ProtonVPN has applications for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Chromebook, and Android. On top of that, its app for Android can also be easily installed on select smart TVs. 

With that out of the way, you should know that ProtonVPN isn't the same for all the devices that it works with. Please do refer to the table below to know the features that ProtonVPN has and does not have per operating system:

VPN ProtocolsSplit TunnelingKill Switch
WindowsOpenVPN UDP & TCPYesYes
LinuxOpenVPN UDPYesYes
iOSIPSec/IKEv2 & OpenVPN UDPNoYes
AndroidIPSec/IKEv2 & OpenVPN UDPYesYes
macOSIPSec/IKEv2 & OpenVPN UDPNoYes
Chromebook OSIPSec/IKEv2 & OpenVPN UDPYesYes

Browsers

Sad to say, ProtonVPN doesn’t have any browser extensions yet. However, it can be used with the Tor Browser. Unfortunately, when that’s done, you shall have to contend with extremely sluggish internet connection speeds that can render you very frustrated.

Routers

ProtonVPN can be installed on a select array of routers. Doing this comes with many advantages. Here’s a list of all of them:

  • No more need to set up ProtonVPN by the device
  • Safeguards devices that don’t support ProtonVPN
  • Conveniently secures all your web traffic
  • Safeguards your entire household

Sad to say, setting up ProtonVPN can be very tricky, especially for those who aren’t tech-savvy. Of course, if you’re determined to get the job done, you can always contact the provider’s customer service and ask for help.

Simultaneous Connections

The number of simultaneous connections that ProtonVPN supports depends on the type of plan that you avail of. For a better understanding, please refer to the table below:

Subscription PlanNumber of Simultaneous Connections
Free1
Basic2
Plus10
Visionary10

As seen above, the more expensive Plus and Visionary plans both allow for 10 simultaneous device connections. Hence, if you’ve got a large household or small business that needs protection, then we suggest that you opt for either of the two subscription plans.

Servers

ProtonVPN Servers

ProtonVPN has a very extensive server network. According to its website, it currently maintains 1444 servers in 61 countries across the globe. To add to that, every one of these servers is RAM-based. That means that they can’t be used to gather, collect, or store your logs.

It’s a good thing that ProtonVPN has the large network that it has. That’s because a large server network is better equipped at maintaining your anonymity. Hence, a VPN provider with a larger global precedence is arguably one that’s superior to a VPN that only has a small network.

China

Does ProtonVPN Work in China?

No. The Chinese government has made an active effort in recent years to ban ProtonVPN. 

Because of that, our many testers in the country have never found success with bypassing the Great Firewall using the VPN service. As such, it’s not a viable option for those looking to get around China’s online censorship measures that are very draconian in nature.

Interface & Usability

ProtonVPN has very impressive user-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing apps. In addition, these applications are easy to download, install, and configure to your liking. In fact, you can even set up profiles so that every user of your account will have the opportunity to personalize their VPN.

ProtonVPN Interface

Apart from the option to create profiles, another thing that I really liked about ProtonVPN’s apps is that they let you pick a server in multiple ways. You can pick a location using a map. Now if geography is not your forte, then you can simply choose a server from a list or search for it.

In summary, I’d have to say that ProtonVPN has some of the best applications of any VPN. You are sure to appreciate them and learn how to use them in absolutely no time. The same could also be said for any individual who isn't well-versed with VPNs or tech in general.

Does ProtonVPN Have Split Tunneling?

Yes. ProtonVPN has split tunneling on all but the Apple devices that it’s compatible with. Thus, if you’re a Linux, Windows, or Android user, you’ll most definitely be able to utilize the feature.

Now for those unaware, split tunneling is a VPN feature that’s centered on convenience. It lets you provide your legitimate information to certain websites while you’re connected to your provider. You’ll find it handy in particular when you’re tapping into online services.

Additional Features

Here are some of the exclusive features that ProtonVPN has:

Secure Core Servers: ProtonVPN has a unique technology called Secure Core Servers. To put it simply, it makes the provider better at protecting you versus network-based attacks. Because of it, you’ll be able to better defend yourself from hackers and other types of cybercriminals.

VPN Accelerator: VPN accelerator is an assortment of technologies that work together to make PureVPN’s servers faster. With its help, you’ll be able to browse seamlessly, play online games without interruption, and download torrents quickly.

All in all, I’d have to say that PureVPN’s extra features are great. However, the provider does not offer as many exclusive features as its competitors. If anything, this puts it at a grave disadvantage to its rivals that have much more to offer to their subscribers.

Customer Support

Below is a table that details all of ProtonVPN’s customer service offerings:

ProtonVPN 
Live ChatNo
Email SupportYes
Phone SupportNo
Ticket SupportYes
Video Tutorials No
Online Knowledge BaseYes
Average Response Time4 Hours

Sadly, the developers of ProtonVPN still haven’t implemented chat support. Hence, there still is no way for you to communicate with the provider directly in real-time. To get in touch, you shall need to send an email and then wait for an average of four hours for a response.

On the bright side, ProtonVPN’s representatives are very detailed when they answer your inquiries. Furthermore, they’re cordial, which is a big bonus for the VPN’s public relations.

Price

Want to buy ProtonVPN? Here’s a table that simplifies its pricing schemes:

ProtonVPN 
Subscription Lengths1 Month
$4.00/Month (Basic Subscription)
$5.99/Month (Plus Subscription)
$24.00/Month (Visionary Subscription)
1 Year
$48.00/Year (Basic Subscription)
$71.88/Year (Plus Subscription)
$288.99/Year (Visionary Subscription)
Highest Price Per Month$24.88
Lowest Price Per Month$4.00
One Year Price$48.00 (Basic Subscription)
$71.88 (Plus Subscription)
$288.99 (Visionary Subscription)
Special OfferSave 50% on a two-year Plus plan

As you can see, ProtonVPN’s prices drastically differ per type of subscription. 

If you ask me, the best option for the provider is its Plus subscription. That is because it grants you access to all of its premium features while also being priced very competitively. By picking it, you’ll definitely be getting everything that you need with a VPN service.

Payment Options

Here are the payment options that ProtonVPN supports:

  • Credit card
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin
  • Cash

To pay with cash, you’ll need an existing ProtonVPN account. After setting up that free account, contact the VPN provider’s customer service and then arrange a cash payment. Because the provider doesn’t have live chat support, you may do this by sending an email.

Refund Policy & Money-Back Guarantee

ProtonVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee policy. As such, you may contact the provider within 30 days following your purchase and be entitled to a complete refund. The reasons for this refund won’t matter. In fact, you won’t even need to give one to get your money back.

Deals, Coupon Code & Free Trial

ProtonVPN doesn’t have a free trial because it already has a free-tier subscription plan.

All of the coupon code promotions of ProtonVPN are temporary. Hence, if you wish to get the biggest discount for the VPN service provider, then I recommend that you check our guide on how to do so. It will tell you everything you need to know plus everything else that’s relevant to the topic.

Verdict

Is ProtonVPN worth it?

Yes. ProtonVPN is worth it. While the provider isn’t that fast, it’s secure and adept at facilitating seamless streaming and torrenting sessions. On top of that, it suffices for all your gaming needs, which is great because few VPN providers are actually good for gaming.

I’d also like to mention that ProtonVPN has a complete set of applications. Furthermore, these apps are incredibly easy to use, which is great for those who aren’t tech-savvy.

To conclude, I’d have to say that ProtonVPN is a great VPN. However, it has a lot of room for improvement, which is normal for any service that was established within the last 5 years.

About the author 

Erwin Caniba

Erwin, our Chief Editor, has an established career in digital marketing. Since 2012, he’s always used a VPN. As such, it came to his mind to share his experience with every VPN that he’s used. And so, VPN Thrive was born.