Last update: 10.09.2018

Overview

Like most Swedish products, this one looks tame and reserved. Don’t be fooled, though! It offers some great features at a low cost. Read our PrivateVPN review to learn more.

It is the opinion of this PrivateVPN review that its privacy practices, its range of protocols, speeds, platform support, and pricing should earn it a place on every best VPN ranking.

The company behind this extraordinary VPN service, Privat Kommunikation Sverige AB, is based in Sweden. It may not be the best place for privacy if we consider online monitoring and data retention laws. However, PrivateVPN has a strict no logs policy and keeps no records of either your internet traffic or connections.

This provider is indeed under some pressure from authorities. But the good news is that there’s no user data to share. Privat Kommunikation seems to take the protection of its customers quite seriously. Your internet security and privacy are provided by the best available protocols, IPv6 leak protection, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch – most of what’s needed.

Although the 80+ servers in 57 countries leave a lot to be desired, this doesn’t seem to affect the overall connection speeds. You can download custom PrivateVPN clients for all major platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and more) and connect up to 6 devices with one license. It is also possible to earn points you can use for free days of service using their referral scheme. If you recruit your friends (or enemies), you will get points after they have purchased a plan.

Although they have recently increased the prices, PrivateVPN are still quite generous for the quality of service they provide. And, you also have a full 30-day money-back guarantee, shielding you from buyer’s remorse. 

In summary, PrivateVPN is a secure VPN for most people, especially if your goals are streaming geo-blocked media from Netflix and BBC iPlayer, torrenting, gaming, and circumventing censorship.

Read our full PrivateVPN review to learn more.

Security & Privacy: Is PrivateVPN safe to use?

There are over 400 VPNs available on the market today; so, it is only logical that you ask yourself the question: Is PrivateVPN safe to use?

Gmail privacy issue may affect PrivateVPN

As you may have recently heard, Gmail has some ‘interesting’ ideas on the topic of keeping your email messages private and secure. A WSJ report suggests that Gmail allows some third-party app developers to read your emails. We have found that many VPN service providers use Gmail, which could mean that sensitive information may leak from your account.

Unfortunately, PrivateVPN is one of these Gmail-using VPN services, and that’s worrisome. On the other hand, it’s not the end of the world. Learn more about this Gmail privacy issue and its relation to VPN providers by reading our full report.

Could we have some privacy over here?

Although this provider is based in Sweden (a member of the Fourteen Eyes global surveillance alliance), PrivateVPN has a strict no logs policy. This is what they state in their 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 have to. So for this PrivateVPN review, we wanted to know for sure. Thus, we asked the support team to clear up this no log 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.”

Sounds good.

The only information you need to provide when signing up for this VPN service is a valid email address and a password. With that said, their site does use more cookies then we consider ideal.

The Privacy Policy is quite transparent about how the company may use your email address:

“We might use your e-mail address to send you promotional or marketing information about products or services related to our service.”

PrivateVPN is indeed as secure, private, and safe to use as it can get.

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.”

The variety of VPN protocols (OpenVPN with UDP/TCP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP), the IPv6 and DNS leak protection as well as the built-in kill switch (on by default) take excellent care of your online security and privacy.

You may also use PrivateVPN in China; however, you can only connect through L2TP because the Great Firewall of China blocks OpenVPN and PPTP. It is possible that from certain geo-restricted countries you can’t even visit the official PrivateVPN website. So, make sure you are using the right protocol to access such blocked content. If you need any information about this and how to set up your device, you can visit the website, where you will find all kinds of guides and support materials, including videos.

Our PrivateVPN review has found that this service is safe to use for accessing geo-blocked websites, streaming Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Kodi, torrenting, gaming, and whatever else you may need a VPN for. Except, perhaps, scenarios worthy of a James Bond flick

Speed: Small fleet with great performance

PrivateVPN is yet another VPN claiming “lightning speed”; this phrase just never seems to wear out. With that said, we are astonished because they almost live up to their claims – all with a small fleet of 80+ servers in 57 countries. Some major VPN market players can’t do such download and upload speeds with ten times more servers.

But hold on a second; did we just say 80+ servers? Some may be surprised because when we first wrote our PrivateVPN review, they had 100+ servers. That is a significant drop, considering the overall size of this network. The move is also strange because most competitors work hard to expand, adding hundreds of servers every month.

So, what’s the secret behind PrivateVPN’s “lightning speed”? According to this company, they purchase internet capacity directly from the IP transit provider, skipping intermediaries (hosting companies), which allows for higher speeds and less latency. Mystery solved!

This 80+ server fleet may look relatively small when compared to major competitors like ExpressVPN (2,000+) or NordVPN (5,100+), but it is still way more operational and versatile than a lot of other services on the market. Our PrivateVPN review can undoubtedly state this: on the day that we ran the speed tests, there weren’t too many VPNs that could match this one. Of course, “lightning speeds” is pushing it a little, to be honest.

Here is what we found while testing this VPN:

New York, US:

PrivateVPN speed in New York

London, United Kingdom:

PrivateVPN speed in UK

Tokyo, Japan:

PrivateVPN speed in Tokyo

In general, we usually got download speeds of around 30 to 40 Mbps; however, for Asian servers, our results were mostly below 5Mbps. We also need to mention that our speed base without a VPN connection was around 45Mbps. With that in mind, the speeds are relatively decent. Since speed tests are far from fact, always take them with a grain of salt.

We have found that this VPN can seamlessly stream HD 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.

How to download and install it

We went through the whole process for this PrivateVPN review – simple as rain! First of all, you can open the ‘Why PrivateVPN?’ menu on the official website and select the ‘View Our Software’ option. If you do so, you can choose from all the supported platforms and download your desired client at the click of a button.

You can use PrivateVPN for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, routers (with L2TP, PPTP, or OpenVPN client), and Kodi as well. This is an excellent spectrum of platforms, but it gets even better: you can use as many as 6 devices with a single plan.

Another way for you to download the chosen client is to scroll down the page and select your platform in the PrivateVPN section (VPN for Windows, VPN for iPhone, or VPN for Kodi).

The installation is very simple:

How to download and install PrivateVPN

In a few basic steps, you can have your VPN app up and running. However, if you were to run into some technical difficulties, you are also offered remote control installation for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux using TeamViewer. This is pleasantly unusual. Definitely a plus for PrivateVPN, which they really need when it comes to their somewhat sluggish customer support. But, more on that later.

Please keep in mind that this VPN is very sensitive; if you already have another VPN installed, you may need to remove along with its TAP-Windows adapter. Otherwise, you may experience serious technical difficulties when using PrivateVPN.

PrivateVPN free trial

Here comes the good news: You can try out this pretty good VPN for free. There is a 7-day free trial available for download. However, you can’t just download it from the website. You need to contact the support team first and ask for a download link. Yep, that’s all – we tried for this PrivateVPN review and got it quite quickly! Once you get the reply, all you need to do is follow the link and get redirected to a registration page.

Once you confirm your account registration, you can download the desired client and use it for 7 days without limitations.

How to use PrivateVPN

Before you can enjoy an exceptional level of online security and privacy with your PrivateVPN client, you need to create an account and use the credentials to log in.

The main Windows and Mac OS apps look quite similar to the mobile apps, though the desktop versions have more features. The front screen of the app displays your chosen (or default) VPN server location, including the city. Providing this information is something many competitors fail to do (only showing you the country), so our PrivateVPN review will count this as a benefit.

How to use PrivateVPN

You can connect to the default server by simply clicking the ‘Connect’ button. But, you can also choose to select the desired location or dedicated streaming server by clicking the location button. If you select a location, you still need to press the Connect button to establish the connection. The connection times are relatively low – usually a few seconds.

PrivateVPN server

Below the server location, you can see the IP address of your virtual location, a ‘Disconnect’ button, and an ‘Advanced’ button in the bottom right corner. In other words, if you merely want to change your spoofed location, you can do these basic operations from this screen.

If you crave for more, you can click the ‘Advanced’ button, but don’t expect a myriad of advanced settings waiting for you to tweak away. Still, you have just enough to play around and set up a customized protection scheme.

There are 4 main menus to choose from when you enter the Advanced mode of the Windows client:

PrivateVPN interface

The PrivateVPN Mac OS version does not have the Stealth VPN menu and it also lacks a few security features, like DNS leak protection and the kill switch (consider us disappointed).

On the Dashboard screen, you can see the basic information for your current connection (if connected), such as the IP address and the server location. Below, you can use the drop-down boxes to sellect your preferred location and connection type, or you can click the ‘Disconnect from VPN’ button to abort your connection.

On the Settings screen, you have the opportunity to tinker with the following features and parameters:

privatevpn settings

The ‘Connection Guard’ screen lets you switch all the security goodies on, including the IPv6 leak protection, DNS leak protection, and the kill switch — if your chosen client happens to have all these, that is.

PrivateVPN for Netflix

Although this service doesn’t have hundreds of servers around the globe, its current fleet can generally still provide you with perfect speeds for streaming HD quality videos or other media.

Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video are some of the major media streaming sites that cast restrictions on certain world regions. This is where a secure and relatively fast VPN service like PrivateVPN comes in handy.

For our PrivateVPN review, we ran extensive Netflix tests. Not only can you bypass the Netflix detection in all major regions, including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Japan, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, you can also enjoy HD quality streaming most of the time, as proven by our tests:

New York:

PrivateVPN for Netflix - speed in new york

 

London:

PrivateVPN for Netflix - speed in London

 

Sydney:

PrivateVPN for Netflix - speed in Sydney

For your information, the dedicated UK – BBC server seems to fail to fool BBC iPlayer; however, the UK – Streaming Services server can stream both Netflix UK and BBC iPlayer seamlessly. So, if you can’t connect to a dedicated server and watch your favorite shows for some reason, it is always advisable to try other servers in the same country.

We only had quality issues with Netflix Japan because our download speed was somewhere around 3Mbps at best, which is the recommended for SD quality. However, speeds are always relative, so you may get better results based on your physical location and hardware configuration.

Though you can use PrivateVPN for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video, we must add right away that these streaming sites or platforms are waging a war against VPN users. Therefore, no one can know when VPN servers may get blacklisted and blocked.

Nevertheless, PrivateVPN makes sure that its services remain seamless, and provides users with information about blocked servers and which ones can be used instead. If you want to know more about how to use PrivateVPN for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or Kodi, we advise you to check out the Unblock Netflix, Unblock BBC iPlayer, or VPN for Kodi links at the bottom of the official website.

PrivateVPN for Torrenting

Yes, sir! Another big plus: 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.

Live chat support

While we can confirm that PrivateVPN has live chat support, it is also one that may not be “live” all the time. While trying it a few times for this PrivateVPN review, we found their working hours to be more of a 22/7 instead of 24/7. Of course, this was a bit of an exaggeration, but you may really experience sluggish and robotic answers.

The live chat support window also confirms this as it even suggests that you can “submit messages while waiting.” Sounds a bit sinister.

Even a very simple question may take you minutes to find the answer to; so, this is how live it is.

Some users reported issues on weekends and at late hours as well. It can get frustrating if you need an answer right away and have to wait hours to get the live chat support window up and running.

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

You can start chatting with a member of the support team if you click the designated icon in the bottom right corner of your browser page. However, you can only do so when this icon is green – sometimes waiting can take a couple of hours. When the chat isn’t live, you can send a message (like submitting a support ticket), instead. This also means you may have to wait up to 24 hours for your answer.

In all fairness, all our queries regarding technical questions and issues were answered quickly – never took more than a few hours.

Another option for you if you want 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 to please all customers.

Finally, we also need to mention here that this VPN has a proper social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube) where they keep users updated.

Apps and extensions

PrivateVPN has good coverage of the main platforms and then some. It works on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, routers (with L2TP, PPTP, or OpenVPN client), and Kodi as well.

Where are the browser extensions?

This VPN doesn’t have extensions for any of the major browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

However, we contacted the live chat support about this and were kindly informed that we can ‘proxify’ our browsers and got a link to an instruction page.

Despite this small drawback, our PrivateVPN review still considers this service as one of the best VPNs for security, torrenting, gaming, and unblocking geo-restricted websites.

So, let’s see how much all this is going to cost you if you want this VPN installed to protect you online.

Pricing

It seems that it is not only NordVPN that increased its prices recently. While updating this PrivateVPN review, we saw that they also added a few cents here and there while at the same time decreasing their server fleet.

With that said, these prices are still one of the cheapest on the market today.

Here’s what the PrivateVPN prices look right now:

  • 1-month plan: $7.67 per month
  • 3-month plan: $5.25 per month
  • 13-month plan: $3.88 per 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 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. While this all seems fair and clear, there have been reports about people not getting their money back or needing several rounds of demanding until they finally got it. Yet another area to get stronger at.

We do have a word of caution when it comes to subscribing for the long term. The fact that PrivateVPN have both scaled down their server list and increased the prices tells us the business may have seen better days. Take that under advisement.

If you do end up purchasing PrivateVPN, rejoice, because you can pay for it both using regular payment methods (credit/debit cards and PayPal), but also Bitcoin.

However, before you rush to invest your money in this service, you may want to check out the reviews of other top-notch VPN services, like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, or VyprVPN, as well as comparisons. 

PrivateVPN according to Reddit

We can’t say that their presence on Reddit is as solid as it is on social media, but you can find a few threads and comments about PrivateVPN. These are, of course, mostly about technical or other issues, and mainly come from months or years ago. 

Since most premium VPN services keep growing and improving, it may not be useful to rake over the ashes of the past. In other words, if the claims or problems are no longer relevant, why bother, right?

…We asked, before raking through the ashes. Reddit seems to show a more vulnerable face of PrivateVPN. The comments speak about their questionable money-back guarantee, slower speeds, issues with using Netflix – doesn’t reflect the good-value VPN you may have got to know from our review. Still, we ask you to cut it some slack and let bygones be bygones.

Conclusion of our PrivateVPN review: The beginning of a beautiful friendship?

To conclude our PrivateVPN review, we can tell you this:

For quite a generous price (which includes all three plans) you get reliable and solid online security and privacy, relatively fast speeds, a VPN for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Kodi, and torrenting. If you are a traveler, a gamer, a torrenter, or just someone who needs to spoof his or her IP address to appear like you’re somewhere else – PrivateVPN could be an excellent choice for you.

Nonetheless, if you’re not yet convinced and would like to read further reviews or comparisons (like our battle of the Titans, ExpressVPN vs NordVPN), you are 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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