ProtonVPN Review

Top security and great free version
Last updated: May 26, 2022
Proton VPN is super-secure and has a great free version. Its privacy credentials have been audited through multiple avenues, while its performance is excellent.
Minimum Price:
$4.99 / month
Apps available:
windows macos ios android linux androidtv
Works with:
Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.

ProtonVPN is a highly regarded VPN brand from the same CERN scientists who gave us ProtonMail. It has received widespread acclaim for its content protection measures and independently-audited privacy policy.

ProtonVPN has set out to offer the world a VPN that is secure, not funded through malicious means, and not limited in terms of bandwidth or amount of data transferred.

I decided to see if ProtonVPN does live up to these aspirations. I’ll look at plenty of essential questions about ProtonVPN in this review. Is ProtonVPN safe to use? Is it trustworthy? Is it good for torrenting and streaming?

In my ProtonVPN review, I’ll answer these questions to help you determine if this is a solid choice for your VPN needs.


Rank #11 out of 231 providers
Countries 63+
Servers 1700+
Netflix Yes
Torrenting Yes
Support Email, knowledge base
Logs Independently-audited no-logs policy
Price From $4.99/month
Free version or trial Yes

ProtonVPN video review

Not into reading the whole article? We have a video review of ProtonVPN right here! There’s also an in-depth comparison with its rival in the best free VPN category – Atlas VPN.

ProtonVPN vs Atlas VPN | the ultimate free VPN battle
ProtonVPN review: Good enough in 2020? FREE or Premium? +LIVE SHOWCASE

Is ProtonVPN safe?

ProtonVPN is very committed to robust online security and privacy. Security-wise, it’s incredibly safe and is a surefire choice for protecting your digital assets. From hiding your IP address and ensuring your anonymity online, to torrenting safely and avoiding online censorship, this VPN service is pretty much as good as it gets.

Encryption and tunneling protocols

ProtonVPN uses AES-256 encryption, which is considered the gold standard of cryptography techniques. Used by both cybersecurity experts, banks, and even world militaries, AES-256 is practically unbreakable.

As far as tunneling protocols go, ProtonVPN offers the following:

  • WireGuard
  • OpenVPN TCP
  • OpenVPN UDP
  • IKEv2/IPsec

That’s quite a good range of protocol options, knowing that many VPNs still haven’t implemented the next-gen WireGuard. It offers unparalleled speed and extra security. All in all, it’s always good to have such time-proven alternatives like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec.

Does ProtonVPN have a kill switch?

ProtonVPN offers a powerful kill switch. If your VPN connection drops for some reason – the program will stop all traffic and prevent your IP address from leaking.

ProtonVPN kill switch

I tested the ProtonVPN kill switch on their Windows app, and the results didn’t disappoint – it worked reliably whenever I got disconnected from ProtonVPN, including some unorthodox scenarios.

To activate this feature, simply go to the Settings on your ProtonVPN app.

Split tunneling

ProtonVPN also offers a split tunneling feature. Again, you’ll find it in the Settings.

ProtonVPN split tunneling feature

With this feature, you can choose which apps and IPs to exclude from using a VPN tunnel. Alternatively, you can include certain apps to go through the VPN tunnel.

Secure Core and Tor over VPN

Secure Core is one of the most praised features that ProtonVPN offers.

ProtonVPN secure core

Put simply, with this feature, your traffic would be first routed through the Secure Core servers, and only then go to the VPN server.  Secure core servers are located in privacy-friendly Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden. What Secure Core adds is this extra layer of security.

Naturally, you might worry about how this feature would affect the speeds. Of course, going through two servers means experiencing some slow down. However, even with Secure Core enabled, I found the speeds satisfying enough.

Meanwhile, Tor over VPN is a feature that combines the anonymity given by the Tor network and a VPN. With Tor support already built-in, your traffic could be routed through the Tor network, enabling you to access the dark web.

One thing to mention is that you’re entitled to use both of these features once you subscribe to Plus or Visionary plans. They won’t work with the Free or Basic plans.

Does ProtonVPN leak?

ProtonVPN offers DNS leak protection on the client-side as well as a private DNS network. This should ensure the prevention of most DNS leak situations.

There have been reports that ProtonVPN is susceptible to the notorious WebRTC leak. However, at the moment, my tests show that this is not the case.

ProtonVPN leak test

The situation with IPv6 leaks is less clear, but any allegations about ProtonVPN’s IPv6 leaks lack substantiation. In the worst case, it’s possible to simply turn off IPv6.

All in all, I can reliably say that ProtonVPN is a leak-free VPN service.

Minimal logs and privacy-friendly location: Switzerland

ProtonVPN is based in privacy-friendly Switzerland. Apart from being strict on privacy in general, Switzerland has no data retention laws and is not part of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. This means that jurisdiction-wise, ProtonVPN is based in one of the best countries on the planet.

The service logs your email address, support tickets, and payment details, such as your name and the last four digits of your credit card, as well as a timestamp. However, they state that it gets “overwritten each time you successfully log in” and you can ask the staff to erase it. While there are several elements logged, the company has had no issues regarding the sharing of those data bits.

According to the ProtonVPN Privacy Policy:

Each time a user connects to the Service, we only monitor the timestamp of the last successful login attempt. This gets overwritten each time you successfully log in. This timestamp does not contain any identifying information, such as your IP address or your location; it only contains the time and date of the login.

This is far less than many other VPN providers collect and shouldn’t be of much concern.

Therefore, even though ProtonVPN has a “no-logs” claim on their website, which changes to “no activity logs” after scrolling down a bit, it does the minimum required logging after all. Thankfully, various third-party audits have confirmed that users have nothing to worry about while using this provider.

Open-source and audited

At the beginning of 2020, ProtonVPN announced that their apps are now open-source and audited. It was an anticipated step, given the fact that the company is well known for its dedication to providing a safe and secure browsing experience.

At the same time, ProtonVPN decided to focus more on third-party audits. Hence, ProtonVPN signed a contract with the leading security firm SEC Consult to conduct the audits.

In April 2022, ProtonVPN went through an independent no-logs policy audit by Securitum. This well-established security auditing company ensured that the hardware side of ProtonVPN is just as reliable as the software. Now there’s no doubt in my mind that this VPN service is ideal for privacy enthusiasts.

How fast is ProtonVPN?

Our base connection speed at the time of the test was 193 Mbps download and 196 Mbps upload with the IKEv2/IPSec protocol. Looking at the table you can tell that ProtonVPN speeds are quite fast thanks to their bare-metal server network, modern tunneling protocols, and unique technologies for improving connectivity.

Average download speed
148 Mbps
German server138 Mbps
US server149 Mbps
UK Server152 Mbps
Australian server151 Mbps
Germany server11 Mbps
US server112 Mbps
UK server15 Mbps
Australian server80 Mbps

Of course, the speed is not determined by the number of servers only. For example, Plus plan subscribers can use 10 Gbps servers, which can really make the difference if your internet connection is fast.

As mentioned, you can use the Secure Core feature, but bear in mind that with it on, you’ll be sacrificing the speeds to some extent.

Also, make sure that you have VPN Accelerator enabled to take advantage of the unique technological solutions that ProtonVPN has implemented to improve connectivity.

VPN Accelerator

Recently, ProtonVPN released a unique feature called VPN Accelerator that improves connection speeds across all devices, regardless of what tunneling protocol you’re using. Best of all, it’s available for premium and free users alike. It’s enabled by default once you update your app.

Apparently, VPN Accelerator should improve connection speeds by up to 400%. This feature works best when connecting to servers located further away. Meanwhile, connecting to nearby locations will yield less noticeable improvements.

Through research and development, ProtonVPN developed a stack of performance-improving technologies that deal with various inefficiencies and limitations when using a VPN. For starters, many VPN protocols do not take advantage of multithreading. VPN Accelerator is meant to address this issue in a variety of ways.

Of course, that’s just one piece of the puzzle. To find out more about VPN Accelerator, visit the ProtonVPN blog where they announced the feature.

Does ProtonVPN support my device?

Yes, it probably does. As far as its multiplatform availability goes, ProtonVPN is available on the most popular desktop and mobile operating systems, including:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Android TV
  • Chromebook

There are also tutorials on installing it on AsusWRT, DD-WRT, Tomato, and Vilfo routers.

While the number of apps and supported devices is still quite small, it’s only a matter of time until ProtonVPN adds more. After all, this VPN was created with security – and not popularity – in mind.

The number of devices per account depends on the pricing plan. The free version gives you just one, while the priciest Visionary plan allows for up to 10 simultaneous connections.

ProtonVPN for Windows, macOS, and Linux

The desktop apps are easy to navigate – they have a huge map and are not cluttered at all. Every option has useful explanations.

protonvpn macos how to use

On the primary screen of the ProtonVPN Windows app, you’ll see a map, which you can zoom into and out of using the bar at the top right. Hovering on the little triangles will reveal what country the VPN server is based in. If you then hover over the country name, it will change into a Connect button.

On the top left, you should notice a Quick connect button, which will connect you to a server nearest to your location. Below there is a Search tab and an expandable list of countries with ProtonVPN servers.

Special servers are marked with different icons. Two opposing arrows mean a P2P server, and the onion means Tor over VPN. “P” is for the Plus servers available to Plus and Visionary plan owners.

If you turn Secure Core on, all your traffic will go through ProtonVPN’s hyper-secure servers in Switzerland, Sweden, or Iceland. This will also slow your connection down considerably.

The hamburger menu has several choices, but I’ll only discuss the most critical settings.

protonvpn macos how to use

  • Auto Connect. You can enable or disable it and choose how the auto-connect feature behaves – whether it always connects to the Fastest server, Random server, or follows the parameters of one of the Profiles.
  • Quick Connect. Choose how the “Quick Connect” button behaves (similar to Auto Connect).
  • Default Protocol. For OpenVPN, you can choose Either UDP or TCP – a great choice to have, especially if you don’t have the most stable connection (in which case you might want to try TCP). This can be confusing for anyone who has read about OpenVPN and can’t find it on the list. The security protocol is OpenVPN – you’re just choosing the kind of OpenVPN.
  • VPN Kill Switch. This is an important feature, which is “Off” by default. We recommend turning it “On.”
  • DNS Leak Protection. There is absolutely no reason why this should be switched off.

There isn’t much room to get lost in the ProtonVPN client – the tool feels spacious but uncluttered. It’s very functional but lightweight.

Unlike most VPN providers out there, the ProtonVPN offers a Mac client that is just as secure as the Windows app. Many VPN services strip certain security features from their macOS apps, which is not the case with ProtonVPN. Both Secure Core and Tor over VPN are present in the ProtonVPN macOS client as well.

On the other hand, the ProtonVPN Linux app is more of a command-line tool that has no GUI and WireGuard, unlike Windows and Mac apps. That’s relatively common across the VPN industry, with most VPN services offering GUI-less apps for Linux users.

ProtonVPN on mobile: Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad)

The mobile versions of ProtonVPN have a bit fewer functions and use the WireGuard and IKEv2 protocols.

ProtonVPN on mobile device

For Android, you can use OpenVPN by installing it manually. As usual, ProtonVPN Android and Mac versions do not have a real kill switch, just the Always-on-VPN function, which should be enough for most users.

The ProtonVPN Android app doesn’t feature a kill switch, so you’ll have to the default Android OS kill switch or download one from a third-party, which is barely an inconvenience.

You can get the ProtonVPN Android app for your phone or Chromebook on Google Play or via direct download as an APK package file from

Also, quite recently ProtonVPN announced that their Android app is now available on F-Droid.

F-Droid is the biggest free and open-source Android APKs repository. On this platform, you can download apps without providing your personal information. One thing worth mentioning is that the ProtonVPN Android app is still on Google Play, as well.

As for the ProtonVPN iOS app, it is practically identical to the Android version and is available on the App Store.

Other platforms for ProtonVPN

You can install ProtonVPN on Android TV. Once you set it up, you’ll be able to watch all supported streaming channels (more on that in the next chapter). The app, available on Google Play Store, also includes DNS and IP leak protection.

Chromebook users can also install the Android version of ProtonVPN. This can be done either via Google Play Store or by downloading the .apk from the provider’s website. The Chromebook app will unblock content and secure your public wifi connections.

ProtonVPN also offers set up tutorials for on AsusWRT, DD-WRT, Tomato, and Vilfo routers. This means that with a bit of work, you can protect your whole home network. That leaves the other nine connections (if you own a premium subscription) for protection on the go.

Does ProtonVPN work for Netflix and other streaming platforms?

ProtonVPN unblocks Netflix on specific US servers marked with “P,” which are available with the Plus and Visionary plans on the desktop ProtonVPN versions. According to the ProtonVPN support, however, they give no guarantees it will work all the time. That’s why I’ve decided to try it out and check the speeds.

ProtonVPN unblocks Netflix

The speeds were good enough for Ultra HD (4K). Although the initial loading of the show takes longer than usual, skipping and streaming is seamless.

ProtonVPN also supports Hulu. Just like with Netflix, you’ll need a Plus or Visionary plan to access Plus servers marked with “P.” Just like with Netflix, there’s no guarantee it will always work. And if it does, it’s either Windows, Mac, or Linux because Plus servers don’t support mobile devices.

Does ProtonVPN support torrenting?

Yes, ProtonVPN supports torrenting, but not on all servers and only for paid users. It also clearly states being against copyright infringement.

The remarkable security credentials make ProtonVPN a natural choice for torrent users. Unfortunately, P2P traffic is optimized only on selected servers in the Netherlands, Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore, and Sweden.

This means that users outside of Europe or Asia should not expect good speeds because of the distance to the nearest P2P-friendly server. However, the recently added port forwarding feature should help with the issue at least to some extent.

Learn more about ProtonVPN and torrenting in our dedicated article.

ProtonVPN email support, knowledgebase, and subreddit

The content on ProtonVPN’s website is useful. Although the self-help material is not abundant, it’s well-written and covers the most essential topics. If you have a question not covered by any of the articles on the site – fill out a support ticket, and you’ll eventually receive an informative answer. The only problem: it might not come quickly if you’re a Free user!

ProtonVPN Support

ProtonVPN also has their subreddit on Reddit, which is a transparent and efficient way of dealing with various questions because the employees answer most of the questions within 24 hours.

24/7 live chat support is not available yet.

Pricing: is ProtonVPN worth your money?

Below you can find more information about ProtonVPN regular plans.

ProtonVPN offers three pricing plans – you can choose to pay monthly, annually, and bi-annually. There are no differences between them apart from the price.

  • The 1-month plan costs $9.99/month
  • The 1-year plan costs $5.99/month and a total of $71.88
  • The 2-year plan costs $4.99/month and a total of $119.76


Proton VPN plan prices

You can pay by credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, and cash. Please note that Bitcoin and cash payments are accepted from existing users only. Thus, you’ll need to create a free account first before buying. The paid options are excellent for security-first users who don’t need good speed and are fine with only US Netflix.

ProtonVPN’s Free version is one of the top free VPN deals I’ve seen so far. The no-logs policy protects subscriber anonymity, and they get access to 3 locations (US, Netherlands, and Japan) with 100+ servers.

Proton VPN premium and free comparison


On top of that, every paid plan has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Should you get ProtonVPN?

ProtonVPN is suitable for security-first users who also want to stream Netflix or download some torrents safely. It is a hugely ambitious project, led by the CERN employees, and already one of the best choices for those who want a solid free VPN.

With the addition of the WireGuard protocol in 2021, this provider made another step towards becoming one of the top VPNs overall. It will be interesting to see what ProtonVPN is planning for 2022.


Is ProtonVPN any good?

ProtonVPN makes it to our Top 15 VPN providers list – that’s a very good result. Besides, it’s one of the best free VPNs in 2022.

Is ProtonVPN free safe?

It is. In fact, ProtonVPN offers one of the best free plans on the market today. When downloading the free app you’ll be sure that your online activities are well protected. Moreover, the speeds you get are great – both for general browsing and for content streaming online.

Can you trust ProtonVPN?

Taking into account the security features that ProtonVPN has, it’s one of the most reliable providers on the market today. With military-grade encryption, a foolproof kill switch, split tunneling feature you can rest knowing that your security needs are met.


  • Amazing security credentials
  • Great free version
  • Very user-friendly
  • Unblocks Netflix and Hulu
  • Apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • Accepts Bitcoin and cash


  • Few P2P servers
  • Not good in China
 8.5 / 10
Total score
$4.99 / month
Minimum Price
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Jerry

    Interferes with the functionality of my windows 11 system; slows down computer significantly.

    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hey, Jerry. That doesn’t sound very good. Are you using the free or premium version of ProtonVPN? And have you tried contacting customer support?

  2. Richard

    Thank you for the very useful information. I am leaving ExpressVPN and evaluating my company’s options.

    Do you have any recent comments or suggestions?

  3. Albert Roicou

    Thanks for the review, as I made my decision here. I was planning to get the Visionary plan, but, now i see, that Plus plan meets all of me needs. You saved me some money.

  4. Dannn

    As a free vpn, Proton is great. Probably one of the best out there when it comes to the free version. But for the paid one, it is a little slow for my taste and lacks a few features I can easily find with the better vpns.

  5. Esther Rhobi

    When I first came across ProtonVPN, I was in doubt whether to giving it a try or not, after a moment of contemplation I decided to test the free trial. I was impressed on ProtonVPN high-quality services they offer. After which, I purchased the visionary plan to use it for multiple tasks such as anonymously browsing the web, watching Hulu, Netflix, TV, and other restricted streamers outside my country.
    ProtonVPN is affordable, super-secure, works perfectly both for my Linux laptop and android phone. However, it is a bit slow and needs little patience when streaming
    I would recommend ProtonVPN services to those who use public and other unsecured WiFi connections. It was worth giving a trial as it has never disappointed me.

  6. Lucas Moronge

    I’m a Journalist, and I travel a lot around the world, I’m always in search of world latest news and information to air and write about. Before I learned about ProtonVPN, it was an uphill task for me to work in countries that restrict its citizen from accessing the internet outside its territory. About two years ago, a friend referred me to ProtonVPN, and I took a step to subscribe to their free trial version. Guess what! The experience was terrific! It is such amazing they deliver as promised. I have been to China, Russia, Iraq, Turkey, and the ProtonVPN worked great. It offers end to end VPN solution whether you are using Linux, Mac, or Window PC.
    Sometimes I have experienced difficulty in connecting ProtonVPN to the Netflix, but then I got instant help upon contacting ProtonVPN live chat support.

  7. Miles

    Other VPN services I’ve used have been slow, risky or connected to questionable parent companies. ProtonVPN is great because it offers a fast, secure connection that I don’t have to feel guilty or concerned about using. ProtonVPN pricing is fair, affordable and the various subscription packages offer service plans to fit any budget. Definitely one of my top picks.

  8. Eden Ingram

    Proton VPN says on their website that with the free version they “don’t serve ads or secretly sell your browsing history.” They explain that the free version is subsidized by ProtonVPN paid users, which makes sense to me. I plan to try them out to see if the speed with the free version is sufficient for me to browse the internet. Thanks for the step-by-step instructions for installing ProtonVPN

  9. Ron

    Proton VPN is ok as a paid option and it shines as a free one. Their free version is probably the best there is. The security is far above anything else that’s free. The speed is… so and so but that’s to be expected. Netflix doesn’t always work on the paid version.

  10. Mason Chalifour

    ProtonVPN has a really nice user interface, no logs, and their security is top of the line. I think their Visionary plan at $24 a month is pretty steep. The Plus plan at $8 per month is a much better deal. The only difference I see is that ProtonMail Visionary is included. I know the email service is based in Switzerland and is hyper secure, but that price just seems excessive.

    1. Kevin Marlowe

      Yes, it certainly only makes sense if you want to have a Protonmail account (which, by the way, is a great thing to have for some).

  11. theomytho

    The best thing I like about ProtonVPN is the Free version they have. Even though the free version falls a bit short on speed, it delivers as much data to the nonpaying customers as they would want. If you are not happy with the free version, you can then choose to go for the 7 day trial which is equal to ProtonVPN Plus subscription plan.

  12. Phillip

    Great! Let me start with the free version first.

    1. Kevin Marlowe

      Hi Phillip,

      Thanks for the comment! How are you liking it so far?

Table of Contents:
Get ProtonVPN
Thanks for your opinion!
Your comment will be checked for spam and approved as soon as possible.
ProtonVPN review
8.5 / 10
Apps available:
windows macos ios android linux androidtv
Get ProtonVPN