PrivateVPN, or Privat Kommunikation Sverige AB, is based in Sweden. It may not be the best place for privacy, but it’s far from worst either. After all, during ten years of service PrivateVPN has never been mentioned in any scandalous stories, so jurisdiction shouldn’t be of much concern to most users.
Speaking of users, this VPN has only 44,000 of them. Compared to such stars like NordVPN, which boasts over 12 million, or ABBA, PrivateVPN looks like an indie-VPN provider. But in this review, I’ll try to show that there’s no reason why the Swedes couldn’t have many more satisfied customers.
To be precise, I’ll be checking whether PrivateVPN is safe to use and fast enough. I’ll also try to answer if this provider unblocks Netflix and allows torrenting on its servers. And let’s not forget the most important question – are PrivateVPN prices not too high compared to the competition?
If you also want to learn more, continue reading this PrivateVPN review.
- Based in: Sweden
- Servers and locations: 100+ servers in 60+ countries
- Logs: minimal data collection
- Encryption and protocols: main protocols OpenVPN and IKEv2, military-grade encryption (AES-256)
- Netflix: Yes
- Torrenting: Yes, P2P allowed on all servers
- Apps: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
- Support: 24/7 live chat
- Price: from $3.82/month
- Free version or trial: Yes, 7-day free trial
- Website: privatevpn.com
Security and privacy
There are over 1,000 VPNs available on the market today; so, it’s only logical that you ask yourself the question: is PrivateVPN safe to use?
Let’s see what it has to offer on the security front:
- Military-grade AES-256 encryption
- Good protocol variety (OpenVPN with UDP/TCP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP)
- IPv6 and DNS leak protection
- Built-in kill switch (on by default)
- Stealth mode
As you can see, PrivateVPN takes excellent care of your online security and privacy.
You may also use PrivateVPN in China. Not long ago, the app added a “Stealth mode,” which disguises VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic and stops the Great Firewall from detecting it. However, if you’re going on a trip to China, best make sure you have downloaded the app in advance.
When asked about what they would do if the government were to force them to monitor users or provide personally identifiable data, a representative said that PrivateVPN would rather move to a more privacy-friendly country. Now that’s what we call “taking one for the team.”
PrivateVPN is indeed as secure, private, and safe to use as it can get.
This service is safe to use for accessing geo-blocked websites, streaming, torrenting, gaming, and whatever else you may need a VPN for. Except, perhaps, scenarios worthy of a James Bond flick.
Does PrivateVPN log your data?
Although it’s based in Sweden (a member of the Fourteen Eyes surveillance alliance), PrivateVPN has a strict no-logs policy.
This may mean no connection logs and no usage logs, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. We wanted to know for sure. So we asked the support team to clear up this “no logs” question for us. Here’s the good news we got:
“We don’t retain or log any identifiers namely IP addresses, timestamps of any sort of connections on our VPN or authentication servers, data used, the speed of connection at all. Period. So, basically even when ordered to actively investigate a user we are limited to the number of active logins which is just a numerical value. That being said, we have not received a court order to date.”
Does it leak?
When we talk about leaks, we mean DNS, IP, and WebRTC leaks in general. These can happen when your VPN drops a connection with a server, when you’re using a real-time communication app via browsers, and so on. Since such leaks could mean a severe privacy breach, you need to make sure your VPN is free from these.
No leaks whatsoever.
Fortunately, PrivateVPN is equipped with decent IPv6 and DNS leak protection as well as a kill switch. You can configure these in the Connection Guard menu of your client. Our tests also indicate no WebRTC leaks.
Previously, PrivateVPN replaced all its Google DNS servers with their own servers, which means an extra layer of security against prying eyes.
Speed and performance
This is yet another VPN claiming “lightning speed”; this phrase just never seems to wear out. We can undoubtedly state this: “lightning speeds” is pushing it a little.
Before running our VPN speed tests from Europe, our download speed base (without a VPN connection) was around 310 Mbps.
With that in mind, the speeds are relatively decent. Remember to always take VPN speed tests with a grain of salt – they can fluctuate even if you test from the same country but use different hardware and ISP.
Here’s what we found while testing this VPN:
New York, US
- Download: 81 Mbps (74% drop-off)
- Upload: 41 Mbps
London, United Kingdom
- Download: 80 Mbps (74% drop-off)
- Upload: 103 Mbps
- Download: 47 Mbps (85% drop-off)
- Upload: 2 Mbps
Depending on your connection, these speeds could be enough for all your needs. We have found that this VPN can seamlessly stream HD and 4K videos from Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Kodi. Also, good news for hardcore gamers and online casino fans: you can enjoy great online gaming with this VPN.
We’re impressed because PrivateVPN has relatively good speeds despite its small server fleet. Normally, you couldn’t dream of such performance with 100 servers in 60 countries.
Their recipe for success with performance is that they purchase internet capacity directly from the IP transit provider, skipping intermediaries (i.e., hosting companies). This allows for higher speeds and less latency. Mystery solved!
Ease of use and multi-platform support
PrivateVPN supports the following platforms:
- Routers (with L2TP, PPTP, or OpenVPN client)
This is an excellent spectrum of compatibility.
The installation process is very simple. In a few basic steps, you can have your VPN app up and running.
Keep in mind that this VPN is very sensitive.
If you already have another VPN installed, you may need to remove it along with its TAP-Windows adapter. Otherwise, you may experience serious technical difficulties and clashes when using PrivateVPN.
The main Windows and macOS apps look quite similar to the mobile apps, though the desktop versions have more features.
All in all, PrivateVPN clients are straightforward and intuitive. Keep in mind that the different platforms may provide you with a bit different level of security though.
The PrivateVPN macOS version has everything that its Windows counterpart does. The only minor issue is the kill switch – according to PrivateVPN, it’s still in beta version, being thoroughly tested.
Unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
Despite its humble server fleet, PrivateVPN can generally provide you with excellent speeds for streaming HD and 4K (UHD) quality videos or other media. The great news is that all the dedicated streaming servers deliver as promised. Be it Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sony Live, Hotstar, and Sky, you should be satisfied using PrivateVPN.
For our PrivateVPN review, we ran extensive Netflix tests. We managed to access and stream all Netflix catalogs with dedicated PrivateVPN servers. This includes the US, UK, Canada, Japan, Italy, Germany, Peru, and more.
Let’s see now some of our fast.com speed test results as proof of performance.
Netflix US – United States
Netflix UK – United Kingdom
Netflix JP – Japan
Overall, PrivateVPN has proved to be one of the best streamers so far.
This VPN also provides users with information about blocked servers and which ones can be used instead.
Read more: PrivateVPN for Netfllix
P2P and torrenting
You can securely use PrivateVPN for torrenting or any other P2P file sharing.
The company recommends the servers located in Sweden for this particular usage. According to our PrivateVPN review, you should have no issues whatsoever with streaming, downloading, and uploading large files. The speeds this VPN provides are more than enough for your seamless experience.
The same is true for the overall security and privacy you get with this service.
While we can confirm that PrivateVPN has live chat support, it’s also one that may not be that “live” all the time.
Even a very simple question may take you long minutes to be answered, if not hours.
It can get frustrating if you need an answer right away and have to wait for hours to get the live chat support window up and running. When it’s offline, this live chat support is more like submitting a support ticket. But, all in all, we can say that this VPN does all it can for a relatively good customer support.
Another option for you to get information about PrivateVPN, its installation, or its use, is to select the Support menu from the main menu at the top of the page. Here you have 3 options:
- Getting Started: learn how to install the VPN apps
- FAQ: a rather basic knowledge base about PrivateVPN
- Contact Us: you can send a message to the support team, which may take hours till you get a reply
Compared to the other features, this is indeed one to work on if PrivateVPN wants to please all customers.
It seems that it’s not only NordVPN that increased its prices recently. When updating this PrivateVPN review, we saw that they also added a few cents here and there.
These prices are still some of the cheapest on the market today.
Here’s what the PrivateVPN prices look right now:
- 1-month plan: $7.67/month
- 3-month plan: $4.88/month
- 13-month plan: $3.82/month
If we consider the versatility, the speed, and the level of privacy you get, this sounds like a pretty good deal. But there’s no need to take our word for it because PrivateVPN will give you a 7-day free trial – you just have to ask their Support.
There’s also a 100% 30-day money-back guarantee, which supposedly gets processed within 5 business days. To be eligible for this refund, you need to provide your reason for terminating your account.
If you do end up purchasing PrivateVPN, rejoice, because you can pay for it with regular payment methods (credit/debit cards and PayPal) and Bitcoin as well. The latter option is for those looking for the highest possible level of anonymity.
To conclude our PrivateVPN review, we can tell you this:
For quite a generous price, you get reliable and solid online security and privacy, relatively fast speeds, a VPN for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Kodi, and torrenting. If you’re a traveler, a gamer, a torrenter, or just someone who needs to spoof their IP address, PrivateVPN could be an excellent choice.
Nonetheless, if you’re not yet convinced and would like to read further reviews or comparisons, you’re more than welcome to hang around our website and find your favorite VPN.
How about learning from other VPN users?
Do you have any related questions? Have you ever tried to use PrivateVPN before? What are your impressions?
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