PrivateVPN review
PrivateVPN
9.1 / 10
Apps available:
windows macos ios android
PrivateVPN Review
9.1/10
Top VPN for streaming

PrivateVPN Review

9.1/10 Outstanding
Top VPN for streaming
Last update: April 7, 2020
4
Out of 215
VPN providers
Things we like:
  • Good security
  • Mostly privacy-friendly
  • Decent global coverage
  • Fast speeds
  • Apps for main platforms
  • Very cheap
Things we don't like:
  • Support could be more responsive
Minimum Price:
$1.89 / month
Apps available:
windows macos ios android
Works with:
linux kodi router
PrivateVPN Review:
4
Out of 215
VPN providers
Things we like:
  • Good security
  • Mostly privacy-friendly
  • Decent global coverage
  • Fast speeds
  • Apps for main platforms
  • Very cheap
Things we don't like:
  • Support could be more responsive

Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.

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 about 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.

Overview

location
Company location: Sweden
website
Website: privatevpn.com
countries
Number of locations: 60+ countries
servers
Number of servers: 150+
netflix
Netflix: Yes
torrenting
Torrenting: Yes
encryption
Encryption: AES-256
protocols
Protocols: OpenVPN and IKEv2
support
Support: Live chat
logs
Logs: Minimal data collection
price
Price: From $1.89/month
free_trial
Free version or trial: Yes, 7-day free trial

Security and privacy features

With over 1,000 VPNs on the market, it’s only logical to ask yourself if PrivateVPN safe to use. And the answer is a positive one – this provider has a clean history and plenty of security and privacy features, at least in its Windows and Android versions.

Encryption and tunneling protocols

PrivateVPN uses military-grade encryption, which is virtually unbreakable. And should someone try a brute force attack, getting the right combination will take at least a couple of billions of years.

This service uses a variety of protocols (the selection differs across platforms):

  • OpenVPN (UDP and TCP)
  • IKEv2 (iOS, manual config on Windows)
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • PPTP

Some users might miss IKEv2, available only on iOS or Windows (if manually configured), but with OpenVPN available on all apps, security and speed shouldn’t be of concern. And while you can still use the less safe L2TP/IPsec in case OpenVPN doesn’t work, I recommend staying clear from the outdated PPTP protocol – it has serious vulnerabilities.

All in all, PrivateVPN encryption and tunneling protocols are great, guaranteeing high-level security.

Kill switch

Kill switch is one of the most important features of any premium VPN. Unfortunately, PrivateVPN offers it only on the Windows app. That’s not a big deal to Android users who have an “Always-on VPN” feature, but macOS and iOS people will be at risk.

PrivateVPN kill switch is turned off by default, so in the left menu, you should find Connection Guard and click the Kill Switch button to make it turn from red to green.

PrivateVPN Windows App Connection Guard settings page

Not having or not using a kill switch means that in case of a VPN failure, your IP address will be revealed to the website ar service that you were using. What’s more, your ISP will see what website or service you were using.

No identity leaks

PrivateVPN doesn’t have any IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks. In fact, these services have a built-in IPv6 and DNS leak protection, which you can toggle from the above mentioned Connection Guard settings page of your app.

PrivateVPN leak test results

As you can see from one of my tests, PrivateVPN doesn’t have any leaks. I connected to their server in Manchester, UK and got assigned 185.206.227.180 IP. The image above shows that neither my location nor my IP address hasn’t changed – I was still being protected.

Previously, PrivateVPN replaced all its Google DNS servers with their own servers, which means an extra layer of security against prying eyes.

Sweden is a not so privacy-friendly jurisdiction

While PrivateVPN is registered in Sweden, which is not the most privacy-friendly country, it shouldn’ scare off the majority of users either.

First of all, Sweden is part of the Fourteen Eyes intelligence alliance, which means it can share your personal information with the US or any other member country. However, if you’re not a political activist or a journalist writing on sensitive topics, the chances of you attracting intelligence-level attention are slim.

Secondly, Swedish ISPs must log user information, such as the websites visited for six months, this becomes impossible if you use a VPN. Thirdly, while Sweden has tough anti-piracy laws, ISPs again can do nothing about it if you’ve been using PrivateVPN.

As you can see, PrivateVPN’s jurisdiction won’t have much of an impact on you, especially if you’ll be using the kill switch to prevent your personal data from leaking.

No-logs policy

PrivateVPN has a strict no-logs policy. This is what’s stated in its Privacy Policy: “PrivateVPN does not collect or log any traffic or use of its service.”

This may mean no connection logs and no usage logs, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. I wanted to know for sure. So I asked the support team to clear up this “no logs” question for us. Here’s the good news I 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.”

Sounds bulletproof.

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 I call “taking one for the team.”

Other technical features

Here are some security features that PrivateVPN has to offer:

  • Stealth VPN (disguise VPN traffic and bypass DPI)
  • Port forwarding (at least one open for torrenting)
  • Application guard (close chosen apps on disconnect)

As you can see, PrivateVPN takes excellent care of your online security and privacy.

Stealth VPN also enables you to use PrivateVPN in China. It 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.

Anonymous purchase

PrivateVPN allows for purchasing anonymously. The only information you need to provide when signing up for this VPN service is a valid email address and a password. Combine that with an option to pay using bitcoin, and you get a chance to purchase PrivateVPN anonymously.

Finally, since PrivateVPN collects no logs save for the number of active logins, you can be pretty sure about staying incognito as long as you want to.

Speed: from good to great

PrivateVPN has improved its speeds significantly over the past few months. Not only these results are among the industry’s best, but they are also pretty consistent across the globe. Normally, you couldn’t dream of such a performance with 150+ servers in 60+ countries.

Their recipe for success is purchasing internet capacity from the IP transit provider, skipping hosting companies and other intermediaries. This allows PrivateVPN to offer higher speeds and less latency. Mystery solved!

I ran my speed test from Europe, checking download, upload, and latency numbers without a VPN first:

  • Download: 282 Mbps
  • Upload: 256 Mbps
  • Latency: 3 ms

PrivateVPN UK server speed test results

PrivateVPN UK server speed test results

  • Download: 213 Mbps (27% drop-off)
  • Upload: 220 Mbps (14% drop-off)
  • Latency: 41 ms

PrivateVPN US server speed test results

PrivateVPN US server speed test results

  • Download: 176 Mbps (38% drop-off)
  • Upload: 221 Mbps (14% drop-off)
  • Latency: 116 ms

PrivateVPN Australian server speed test results

PrivateVPN Australia server speed test results

  • Download: 29 Mbps (90% drop-off)
  • Upload: 82 Mbps (78% drop-off)
  • Latency: 310 ms

Depending on your connection, PrivateVPN speeds should be enough for all your needs. I’ve found that this VPN can seamlessly stream HD and 4K videos from Netflix and other platforms. Also, good news for hardcore gamers and online casino fans: you can enjoy great online gaming with this VPN unless you’re connecting to a remote server in another part of the world.

Does PrivateVPN support my device?

Probably yes. PrivateVPN has apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Unfortunately, no browser extensions are available at the moment.

PrivateVPN subscription lets you connect six devices at a time. This means that one account should be easily enough for one household.

All apps are easy to install and use, but there’s a major difference between the desktop and mobile versions. The latter two look nice and have a design similar to PrivateVPN’s website. However, the former ones burn your eyes with an ugly combo of ocean blue shades and design that probably was left for the devs to create during unpaid overtime.

PrivateVPN desktop apps: Windows and macOS

PrivateVPN apps for Windows and macOS share similar design but different feature packages.

While both offer AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN protocol, and Stealth VPN, the macOS version doesn’t have a kill switch, Application Guard, and DNS leak protection. This means that Private VPN for Mac is less secure when compared to the Windows app.

PrivateVPN for Windows main menu

The main menu is similar to those of many VPNs – you have the Connect button, a list of available servers, and another button for settings. I recommend tweaking those first as the default configuration is not optimal security-wise.

PrivateVPN server list ordered by service

What I really liked about the Windows version is the server list, which has a separate tab for specialized torrenting and streaming services. Sadly, the macOS app simply lists them all alphabetically.

PrivateVPN mobile apps: Android and iOS (iPhone & iPad)

PrivateVPN apps for Android and iOS have a nice design that resembles their website. Both have Stealth VPN, and both lack a kill switch. Luckily for them, Android users can turn on the native “Always-on VPN” setting.

PrivateVPN for Android main menu

Upon looking deeper, more important differences pop up. For starters, the Android app offers only OpenVPN protocol, when iOS has a bonus of IKEv2 and IPSec. On the other hand, PrivateVPN for iOS doesn’t have IPv6 leak protection and doesn’t show the server’s latency. The latter can be a nuisance when you want to choose the fastest one.

Netflix and other streaming platforms

PrivateVPN unblocks Netflix not only in the US, but in the UK, Australia, and other countries too. Despite its humble server fleet, this service provides you with excellent speeds for streaming HD and 4K (UHD) quality videos or other media.

I tried several different servers and everything worked just fine. I also tested the speeds from Europe using Netflix’s own Fast.com service ant got impressive results in all countries but Australia.

Netflix US – United States

PrivateVPN for Netflix UK speed

This VPN is great not only for Netflix. Most of 20+ PrivateVPN’s dedicated streaming servers, including those for Amazon Prime, Disney+ or BBC iPlayer deliver as promised.

Overall, it would be hard to find a VPN that’s better for streaming than PrivateVPN.

Read more: PrivateVPN for Netfllix

Does PrivateVPN support torrenting?

Yes, PrivateVPN supports torrenting or any other P2P file sharing.

The company recommends the servers located in Sweden for this particular usage. 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.

What PrivateVPN could benefit from is the split tunneling feature that would allow you to choose which apps should be protected.

When it comes to security, I can only recommend using the Windows version because other apps lack a kill switch. On the bright side, PrivateVPN is a no-logs service, so you can be sure that there’s nothing about your activities on their servers.

Support: live chat, email, FAQ, guides

PrivateVPN offers more than a few support options, which include:

  • Live chat
  • Email
  • FAQ
  • Configuration guides
  • TeamViewer

PrivateVPN support options listed on their website

While I confirm that PrivateVPN has live chat support, it’s also one that’s definitely not 24/7. Even a very simple question may take you long minutes to be answered, if not hours. When the live chat is offline, it turns into a form for submitting a support ticket.

Other than that, you can check out the FAQ for some basic knowledge about PrivateVPN. Also, you can learn how to configure this service on different platforms, such as routers. I really liked that PrivateVPN is willing to help novice users do the configuration using TeamViewer, a popular remote assistance software.

All in all, I can say that this VPN does all it can for relatively good customer support.

Pricing: is PrivateVPN cheap or very cheap?

PrivateVPN is a very cheap premium service. These are its prices:

  • 1-month plan: $7.12/month
  • 3-month plan: $4.20/month or $12.60
  • 12-month plan + 12 months extra: $1.89/month or $45.36

PrivateVPN pricing plans

All plans offer the same features, including military-grade encryption, OpenVPN protocol, a kill switch, etc. and allow six simultaneous connections. Payment options include credit cards, PayPal, and Bitcoin.

This sounds like a pretty good deal. But there’s no need to take my word for it because PrivateVPN will give you a 7-day free trial – you just need to create an account.

There’s also a 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.

Should you get PrivateVPN?

By purchasing PrivateVPN for a very generous price, you get solid online security and privacy, fast speeds, access to multiple streaming channels, and torrenting.

However, if you’re thinking about a long-term deal, be aware that PrivateVPN’s live chat is not 24/7 and only the Windows and Android apps have the most of advertised features.

I also recommend to take your time and choose the 7-day free trial first. A week of usage should give you a pretty good idea of whether you want to spend money on this product.

However, before you rush to invest your money in PrivateVPN, you may also want to check out other low-priced top-notch services, like Surfshark or VyprVPN.

Good

  • Good security
  • Mostly privacy-friendly
  • Decent global coverage
  • Fast speeds
  • Apps for main platforms
  • Very cheap
  • Excellent for Netflix
  • Good for torrenting
  • 7-day free trial

Bad

  • Support could be more responsive
  • macOS and iOS apps have less features
 9.1 / 10
Total score
$1.89 / month
Minimum Price

8 comments
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  1. E MILLER

    Do any vpns cover “maps” with privacy ?


  2. Juhat

    I have been using PrivateVPN for a couple of years and have now prolonged it for a couple of more years thanks to one of the regular (time limited) offers of reduced price they have. The time just got added to my subscription.
    I am connected to the VPN 24/7 and have never experienced any downtime, only once or twice have I noticed speed drops on Swedish server (I live in Sweden) on my 300/100Mbit fiber. But then I just switched to another city here in Sweden. So that has never been a problem.
    No problem watching US Netflix (even though I visit Netflix less and less nowadays since it seldom offers anything better in the US) or Brittish iPlayer and ITV which are my favorites. I have used it abroad in different countries (Great Britain, South Africa, France, Finland, Aruba, Philippines for example) and it worked great everytime.
    I use it on Windows, Android and iPhone/iPad but mainly on Linux.
    Only negative thing I have to say about PrivateVPN is that they, like majority of VPN providers, doesnt offer GUI in Linux. Not that it is especially hard to configure it through network-manager (Linux Mint) they have an easy tutorial how to do that, but it would be much easier with a dedicated app also in Linux.

    I also have Surfshark VPN and can confirm that if you install both apps in Windows there will be problems as mentioned in the article. But I solve that by using the Firefox extension Surfshark offers (and get multihop feature with two different VPNs 🙂 )
    So, i recommend it of course.


  3. Sam Ramos

    It’s an all-rounder; I’ve read so many positive reviews about PrivateVPN and now this one. I was looking for a VPN with zero logs and here it is. Definitely giving it a try!


  4. elvner

    This VPN sounds like a great deal and I wonder why I haven’t heard about them at all. I mean, zilch. I didn’t even know they existed until I found this page. I guess they aren’t really focusing on marketing themselves – which they should – and focus on improve their services – which is always nice.


  5. Toli Leiros

    A full 30-day money back guarantee is awesome. There are not a lot of VPN providers who give a full 30-day money back guarantee. A price of $3.82 is decent for a VPN provider. I think another reason for a slightly lower rating is their lax chat support service.


  6. C A Klausen

    PrivateVPNs current special offer of a 69% discount which amounts to $3.32 per month for 13 months sounds like a pretty good deal. Combined with their 30-day money back guarantee, I don’t think you could go wrong. I also like that it allows you to connect to 6 devices at once.


  7. drstrangefan09

    I like this one a lot. I’ve been looking into a few of them and this seems to fit my needs. All the issues you list for it really aren’t issues for me (I won’t be going to China anytime soon!) so I’m glad to see that my research and needs line up with your review. Thank you so much for this one!


  8. Rick Ulllman

    Ugh I need a good VPN for a Mac, do you have anything to recommend? I liked PrivateVPN (I had read many good comments online) but it seems like it won’t do for a Mac. What a shame.


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4
Out of 215
VPN providers
Things we like:
  • Good security
  • Mostly privacy-friendly
  • Decent global coverage
  • Fast speeds
  • Apps for main platforms
  • Very cheap
Things we don't like:
  • Support could be more responsive
Pricing plans:
24 months
Save 83%
$1.89 / month
3 months
Save 61%
$4.20 / month
1 month
Save 35%
$7.12 / month
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