Last update: 07.12.2018

Overview

When you hire a private bodyguard, who otherwise answers to the government, and he steps in between you and the law to catch a bullet for you.

PrivateVPN should be among the best VPNs on every VPN ranking lists because of its privacy practices, the range of protocols, speeds, platform support, and pricing. The company behind this impressive VPN service, Privat Kommunikation Sverige AB, is based in Sweden, which is not really the best place for privacy if we consider online monitoring and data retention laws.

However, PrivateVPN has strict no logs policy and keeps no records of your internet traffic or connections. They are indeed under some pressure from the authorities but keep rejecting them by not being able to share any user data. This VPN company 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.

This VPN provider has proven to be worthy for our praise although the 100+ servers in 56 countries still leave a lot to be desired. Interestingly, this relatively small fleet of servers doesn’t seem to affect the overall speeds of this service. Even though, it may have been different in the past.

You can find clients for all major platforms and connect up to 6 devices with one license. It is also possible to earn points for free days of service with a referral scheme. If you recruit your friends or anyone, you would get these points after they purchase a plan.

The pricing of PrivateVPN is quite generous for the quality service they provide. And, you also have a full 30-day money-back guarantee to give you the necessary security of not making the wrong investment.

In summary, PrivateVPN is a safe VPN for most people who want to use it for streaming geo-blocked media from Netflix and BBC iPlayer, torrenting, gaming, and circumventing censorship.

Please read our full PrivateVPN review to see the bigger picture more clearly.

Contents

Security & Privacy: Is PrivateVPN safe to use?
Speed: Small fleet with great potentials
How to download and install it
How to use PrivateVPN
PrivateVPN for Netflix
PrivateVPN for Torrenting
Live chat support
Apps and extensions
Pricing: Falling prices, rising quality
PrivateVPN by Reddit
Bottom line: The beginning of a beautiful friendship?

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 for me to use?

Gmail privacy issue may affect PrivateVPN

As you may have already heard, Gmail has interesting ideas about keeping your email messages private and secure. A WSJ report suggests that Gmail allows certain 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.

Learn more about this worrisome Gmail privacy issue and its relation to VPN providers by reading our full report.

How about some more privacy?

Although this provider is based in Sweden, a Fourteen Eyes country, which means it’s a member of the global surveillance team, PrivateVPN has 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 not be perfectly clear, but to us, it means no connection logs and no usage logs, either. To test customer support, we did ask PrivateVPN to clear 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 like you are safe with this provider?

The only information you need to provide before using this VPN service (apart from the cookies the website uses for its own customization purposes) is a valid email address and a password. This is how you can create your account.

The privacy policy is quite transparent about how your email address may be used by the company:

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

Still, 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 “catching a bullet for you.”

The variety of VPN protocols (OpenVPN with UDP/TCP, IKEv2, IPSec, L2TP, 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 OpenVPN and PPTP are blocked by the Great Firewall of China. It is possible that from certain geo-restricted countries you can’t even visit the official website of this VPN service. So, make sure you are using the right protocol to access such blocked content. If you need any information about this and how to setup your device, you can visit the website, where you will find all kinds of guides and support material, 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 to surf the net from a virtual location.

Speed: Small fleet with great potentials

PrivateVPN is another one of those claiming “lightning speed”; this phrase just never seems to wear out. That said, we are actually astonished because this VPN service almost lives up to its claims with a small fleet of 100+ servers in 56 countries. Some other major players in the VPN market can’t do similar download and upload speeds with ten times more servers.

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

It’s also important to mention that this 100+ server fleet may look relatively small when compared to major competitors like ExpressVPN (2000+) and NordVPN (4430+), but it’s been growing like mushrooms in the past months. So, whatever you may have read about this VPN a year ago may not be true anymore.

Our PrivateVPN review can certainly state this: The smaller number of servers can be misleading because it doesn’t seem to affect the speeds of this VPN service. What’s more, at times, you may even experience faster speeds than without a VPN. How is this possible? While your ISP (Internet Service Provider) uses throttling to limit a certain type of internet traffic, PrivateVPN never restricts your traffic. Of course, “lightning speeds” are a bit farfetched, to be honest.

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.

Obviously, if you are a traveler, you also wouldn’t have to worry about lags or connection drops, either, to access censored or blocked websites.

How to download and install it

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 a great 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 a chosen client is to scroll down the page and in the PrivateVPN section, select the link of your platform, such as VPN for Windows, VPN for iPhone, or VPN for Kodi.

The installation is very simple. 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 quite unique, to be frank. Definitely a great plus for PrivateVPN, which they really need when it comes to their somewhat sluggish customer support. But, more on that later.

How to use PrivateVPN

Before you could enjoy a great level of online security and privacy with your PrivateVPN client, you need to create an account and use it to log in.

The main Windows and Mac OS apps look quite similar to the mobile apps, though the former ones have more features. Basically, the app window displays your chosen or default VPN server country location as well as the city where the server is supposed to be. This is what many competitors fail to do and only show you the country, which may not always be sufficient information for you.

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, you can do all the basic operations from this screen if you simply want to change your spoofed location.

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 3 main menus to choose from when you enter the Advanced mode:

  • Dashboard
  • Settings
  • Connection Guard

On the Dashboard screen, you can see the basic information of your current connection (if there’s any), such as the IP address and the server location at the top. Below, you can select your preferred location from a drop-down box, the desired connection type from another drop-down box, or click the Disconnect from VPN button to abort your connection.

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

  • Start client on system startup
  • Connect automatically on startup
  • Reconnect automatically on connection failure
  • Windows notifications
  • Language
  • Windows TAP adapter (Install/Repair)
  • Log files (to open and see)

The Connection Guard screen lets you switch all the security goodies on, including the IPv6 leak protection, DNS leak protection, and the kill switch.

PrivateVPN for Netflix

Although this service doesn’t have hundreds or thousands of servers around the globe, its constantly growing fleet can 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, which cast restrictions on certain regions or locations of the world. This is where a secure and relatively fast VPN service like PrivateVPN comes in handy.

Fortunately, you can use PrivateVPN for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video as well. However, we must add right away that these streaming sites or platforms wage a war against VPN users trying to hack their way in and watch geo-restricted TV shows and movies. Therefore, no one can know until when you can continue to watch the full catalog of your favorite Netflix US shows; 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 other ones to use 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 you want. The company recommends the servers located in Sweden for this particular usage. According to our 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 that “live” all the time; more like a 22/7 instead of 24/7, and it is always those two hours that you try to contact them. Of course, this was a bit of an exaggeration, but you may really experience sluggish and automatic answers.

The live chat support window also confirms this as it even suggests that you can “submit messages while waiting.” Sounds a bit sinister. Nevertheless, 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 with weekends and late hours as well. It can get really frustrating when you want 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 a 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. (You may have to wait a couple of hours sometimes to see that.) If it turns up red, somehow you cannot reach the live chat support. Instead, you can send a message, which is like submitting a support ticket. This also means you may have to wait up to 24 hours for your answer.

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 basically 3 options:

  • Getting Started: learn about the installation of 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 long hours till you get a reply

Compared to the other features, this is certainly one to work on to please all customers. We were a bit disappointed because, after such a good start, the support experience was like a slap in the face.

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

Apps and extensions

PrivateVPN has a good coverage of the main platforms and a bit more, as we’ve already established that in our review. PrivateVPN works on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, routers (with L2TP, PPTP, or OpenVPN client), and Kodi as well.

Where are the browser extensions? Well, this VPN doesn’t have extensions for any of the major browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. However, when writing this review, we contacted the live chat support about this (it seemed to work after some time) and we were kindly informed that we can proxify our browsers, and we were also provided with a how-to-do link to follow.

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 and to protect you online.

Pricing: Falling prices, rising quality

It seems that PrivateVPN does everything to get a bigger bite from the VPN cake. They constantly expand the VPN server fleet, they keep improving their customer support (still a lot to work on this), and their pricing also looks pretty dynamic. And, by “dynamic” we mean that the prices keep falling. Here’s what the PrivateVPN prices look right now:

  • 1-month plan: $7.12 per month
  • 3-month plan: $4.50 per month
  • 15-month plan (3 months extra): $2.88 per month

All this, with a 100% 30-day money-back guarantee, which is supposed to be processed within 5 business days. To be eligible for this refund, you also need to provide your reason for terminating your account.

While this money-back guarantee appears to be all fair and clear, there have been reports about people not getting their money back or it taking a couple of rounds until they finally got it. Yet another area to get stronger at.

Good news for anonymity fans that apart from the usual payment methods (credit and debit cards, PayPal) this VPN also offers Bitcoin as an alternative.

If you consider the value, the anonymity, the security, the privacy, and the speed you get for such pricing, well, PrivateVPN seems like a great deal.

However, before you rush to invest your money into this service, you may want to check out some other top-notch VPN reviews like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, or VyprVPN as well as comparisons for a more solid base for your decision.

PrivateVPN by Reddit

We can’t say that its presence on Reddit is as solid as in the social media, but you can find a couple of threads and comments about PrivateVPN. These are, of course, mostly 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 enough to rake over the ashes of the past. In other words, if certain claims or problems don’t relate anymore, why bother, right?

In any case, Reddit seems to show a more vulnerable face of PrivateVPN with a questionable money-back guarantee, slower speeds, issues with using it with Netflix; not really the good value VPN you may have got to know from our review. Still, we ask you to cut it some slack and let the bygones be bygones. Or, you can try it out yourself and see how it works.

Bottom line: The beginning of a beautiful friendship?

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

For a very generous price, including all three plans, you get reliable and solid online security and privacy, relatively fast speeds, a VPN for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Kodi, and torrenting as well. Either you are a traveler, a gamer, a torrenter using Bittorent or uTorrent, or anyone who needs to spoof his or her IP address to appear in a virtual location, PrivateVPN could be a great choice for you.

Nonetheless, if you’re not yet convinced – although, our goal is not to convince you at all – and would like to read further reviews or comparisons like ExpressVPN vs NordVPN, you are more than welcome to hang around our website and find your best VPN.

How about learning from other VPN users?

Do you have any related questions? Have you ever tried to use PrivateVPN or any other VPN apps before? What are your impressions?

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