Interns are increasingly using virtual Private Networks to protect their online activities and ensure their privacy. However, it is now difficult to clearly see the solutions proposed by the many competitors in the market. We’ll present our review on ProtonVPN, detailing all the points we’ve analyzed to help you choose.
What is ProtonVPN? How do I install it?
ProtonVPN is a company that specializes in online security, starting with creating its own encrypted email system. The logical next step was to create a VPN to protect all of its consumers’ online activities.
Today, the company is positioning itself as a premium in a market that tends to push prices down. With these very high prices, do we really have optimal security? This is what we will see in the rest of this review on ProtonVPN.
To summarize the various points we will address in this test, here is a summary of the supplier’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Premium quality
- Optimal security
- Number of services and features (Plus offer)
- The simplicity of installation and use
- Application ergonomics
- Works with Netflix
- Free VPN, perfect for getting a first idea of the app
- Prices too high
- Server network
- It does not circumvent censorship, especially in China
- Customer support
How do I install the app?
We begin our review of ProtonVPN with an update on how easy it is to install the application. This will go very fast for this supplier because we have not encountered any difficulties installing and take control of the solution.
We’ve personally done the test on Mac and iOS, but you’ll have much the same experience if you’re on Windows or Android.
If you ever run into difficulties, it is possible to look in the detailed guides for more information about the procedure.
How do I use VPN?
The use of a proton VPN is very similar to what can be found in other suppliers. Here’s the interface you’ll be able to access once you’ve taken your subscription and download/install it.
When you tap a fast connection, it automatically connects you to a server near you.
It is up to you to choose a server in another country.
Simplicity is the order of the day with this supplier, and it’s a great starting point for our review of ProtonVPN. Even if you’re not an expert in the field, you’ll normally be able to install and use the software easily!
For VPN providers, speed is the nerve of war. Because this tool is primarily used to protect your devices and your data, it must also allow you to have online activities in good conditions. Having to make a trade-off between download speed and security? No, thank you. It’s up to companies to adapt.
That’s why we conducted speed tests to carry out this review on ProtonVPN. This allows us to ensure that you won’t have any difficulty downloading your content or streaming videos in HD.
Speed without VPN
This first capture corresponds to our naked connection, i.e. without any protection via a connection to the provider’s server.
Our base speed was 12ms for the PING, 189.17Mb/s for download speed and 171.20Mb/s for the upload.
As you can see, the connection is a pretty good basic. This is convenient because it will allow us to highlight the potential slowdowns due to VPN quickly.
Warning: all VPNs will cause a definite slowdown in your connection quality. In a sense, this is pretty obvious since you’re going to connect to a server even further away from your actual location. Delays are inevitably added because of this situation. On the other hand, we are looking at whether these latencies are less or if they have a real impact on your business.
The speed with a server in France
To begin with, we chose a server in France. What for? Because if you want to limit the drop in speed, you will have to choose the server of the provider closest to your actual location. That’s what we did here.
In terms of speeds, there is a significant decrease in the connection. But it’s perfectly normal, especially since we started from very high.
With 115 downloads and 97 in load, that’s more than enough for anything you want to do online, even if you are a fan of downloading torrents, for example.
The speed with a server in the United States
This time we chose a server located in the United States. We do the test with this destination, on the one hand, because it is far so significantly representative, and secondly, because they are very popular servers by users (for Netflix, unlocking content etc.).
Once again, the speeds are exciting. We have the same kind of numbers as we have seen among market leaders, ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
So this is excellent news: if you decide to make your own opinion on ProtonVPN and try the experiment, there is very little chance of you being disappointed in speeds, as they will allow you to make the most of your connection.
However, we must warn you that the speeds are not the same depending on the offers. If you choose the cheapest offer, your connection quality will be slightly lower. It’s a shame, but good to know!
ProtonVPN streaming test
Many users go on the internet to stream content. But far fewer of them are aware of the benefits of using a VPN for this activity.
On the one hand, at the legal level, because streamer is risky. If you get caught by HADOPI, the penalties can be heavy. Using a Virtual Private Network allows you to be anonymous and protect yourself from possible legal reprisals: no one can trace it back to you.
On the other hand, did you know that a VPN allows you to multiply the online content you will have access to? Whether it’s Netflix’s national catalogues (including the very popular Netflix US), foreign TV channels, sports specialty channels, etc. You’ll be able to unlock all the content you want by playing on your location.
But your supplier still needs to be able to provide you with adequate performance. If we saw in the previous paragraph of this review on ProtonVPN that the provider offered high-quality speeds, it also knows that it allows without any problem to unlock Netflix and foreign channels (which unfortunately is not the case).
Exclusive content and previews are yours!
If there is one thing the supplier relies on to differentiate itself from the competition, it is safety. This is partly why the price is higher than its competitors, as it has selected the best protocols and developed innovative solutions to ensure the protection of its users.
Without waiting, here’s our opinion on the safety of ProtonVPN.
With ProtonVPN, no doubt: you’ll have the best security possible. This is one of the company’s promises, which has invested a lot in quality servers, protocols and encryptions.
To support our speech, we tested the VPN in question and here are the catches we made:
Here is our actual IP address, i.e. without any associated VPN protection. Our location is obvious to all and in no way protects us.
Here we have chosen a server in Germany, and you can see for yourself that once logged in, there is no mention of our actual IP address or location.
So this is excellent news from this review on ProtonVPN: you are perfectly safe and protected once your VPN connection is established.
It should also be noted that the supplier is engaged in a fight against leaks of DNS requests. Today, they are very efficient in the field: you will see on catches where there are no leaks to report (and we have done many tests on different servers). The use of an encrypted tunnel allows the provider to ensure that no login information is communicated.
Of course, you’ll find the Kill Switch feature; otherwise, our opinion on ProtonVPN could not be so positive.
All subscriptions have this key feature, which automatically blocks your entire internet connection if your VPN connection is temporarily interrupted, even for a concise period of time. So you can be sure that your actual login data will never leak. Your IP address will always be protected.
The good news is that no logs are being kept. So you can be sure that no login information or browsing history can be found about you, as they are not registered.
This applies to all subscriptions and not just the most expensive version!
In terms of VPN protocols, be aware that the provider has selected only the best: IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN. So you can be sure that the most robust protocols are used to take advantage of your data.
Secure Core is the name given to the architecture used to protect your connection further. If you’ve ever heard of multi-VPN solutions from other competitors, be aware that this is a close feature, though improved.
The location of servers is also important. Be aware that secure core’s protection servers are all located in Switzerland, Iceland and Sweden, which are very safe countries and very strict in terms of privacy. So you can be assured that they are well guarded.
Does circumventing censorship work?
We often have questions from Internet users who have planned a trip to China and want to find a VPN to circumvent censorship and unblock blocked sites.
Although China is not the only country affected by this restriction on the Internet, it is often cited as an example because censorship is particularly effective.
Unfortunately, our opinion on ProtonVPN on this subject is more than mixed since a subscription to this provider will not allow you to access your favourite platforms.
In a sense, this makes sense because the server network is minimal (see next part), which makes it easier for Chinese authorities to locate and block servers. But still, we can demand better from Proton, especially when we see the prices charged.
The network of countries and servers
Many Internet users do not consider the network of servers and their number when choosing their software. However, this is very important because it is what will determine:
The number of countries you will be able to unlock, and therefore the number of content you will be able to access, and the censorships that you will be able to circumvent.
Server saturation to be expected: if, for example, there are only a few servers in the U.S., you can be sure that the performance will not really be there in the long run.
To carry out this review on ProtonVPN, we inquired about the provider’s server network.
Unfortunately, it isn’t enjoyable, as you’re only going to have access to 749 servers in 46 countries. This is very much below what other competitors offer… But once again, it’s the premium side of the provider that’s responsible: you’re only going to have high-quality servers with optimal security, so necessarily, the development of the network is slower than for other companies.
It’s a shame because this review on ProtonVPN could have been really optimal on all points without this problem.
ProtonVPN customer support test
A quick update on the quality of customer support offered by the supplier.
To do this review on ProtonVPN, we looked in detail at what elements of help and assistance you will be able to benefit from.
On the one hand, be aware that the FAQ part is complete, with very detailed explanations for each question listed. You also have installation and setup guides for different operating systems.
Besides, you will also be able to interact with experts, available to answer all your questions. We tested: the response time is quite fast, and the explanations are pretty clear because they ask a lot of questions to understand your problem’s real substance.
Beware, however: the support is currently only available in English. So you’re not going to have a person to advise you in French. Also, no online chat is available, unlike other providers like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost or NordVPN.
Offers and pricing
Here are the prices charged in 2021 for a one-year commitment. Note that the monthly prices are slightly higher, and it is also possible to commit for 2 years to take advantage of even more attractive prices.
It’s quite amazing to see a provider splitting its offer based on associated services and not just on the length of the subscription. You’re always going to get a discount if you commit to the long term, but the price difference is mostly in terms of the features you want to access.
Big disappointment when we see that the speeds are limited for the cheapest offers (even if they remain very interesting) and that, unfortunately, the specialized servers are reserved for the overall offer Plus.
Few providers offer a free version of their VPN. This is the case of Proton, which gives you access to 3 countries but limiting its speed. It is currently the best free VPN, in our opinion.
If you want the best security on the market with a premium VPN, we can only advise you to make your own opinion on ProtonVPN. This can be first by testing the app’s grip with the free version and then turning to a subscription over the longest time if you’ve been seduced to take advantage of larger discounts.
Functionality is also a strong axis of vendor differentiation. What will be offered to you when you buy a VPN? That’s what we’ll see at the end of this review on ProtonVPN.
The number of simultaneous connections
The number of simultaneous connections depends on the offer you choose. For basic, you can connect 2 devices simultaneously, while you can install the VPN on 5 devices if you choose the Plus subscription.
Compared to competitors, this is quite small, especially for the Basic offer, including more devices.
You may well know that our opinion on ProtonVPN might not be as good if the software was not compatible with the different operating systems. Whether you’re on Windows, Mac, Android or iOS, you’ll find the right app to install on your device. The VPN is even available on Linux.
This feature is not directly related to VPN, but may be of interest to many, hence our point on ProtonMail in this review. ProtonVPN also offers a messaging service for people who want to protect their personal data as much as possible.
To do this, the provider relies on its experience in the field: the e-mail service is fully encrypted, guaranteeing optimal security. The Visionary offer includes this email subscription: don’t hesitate to take advantage of it.
Therefore, our opinion on ProtonVPN is mixed simply because the provider does not address most VPN users. It is a premium product of high quality, which will perfectly match people who do not want to compromise their privacy and are willing to put the price.
For those who would prefer a more attractive value for money, we advise you to turn more to solutions like ExpressVPN or NordVPN, which to date are really the market leaders without lowering in quality in terms of security.