Last update: 09.06.2018
Promoting itself as a “pro” solution to online security worries, proXPN delivers on simplicity and ease of use but fails in some other crucial areas.
Marketing itself as “the easiest to use” VPN around, proXPN starts out confident right out of the traps. Keeping things simple with just free and premium plans for users to choose from, this VPN certainly makes it easy to download and purchase. But what else does the proXPN VPN bring to the table?
As we’ll see during this proXPN VPN review, this VPN offers a bit more than just the bare minimum – it has some neat features, even for free users. But there’s nothing particularly special about what proXPN has to offer. At its root, this is just a conventional VPN with specs that are superseded by plenty of high-end alternatives.
Is proXPN safe to use?
The first thing security-conscious VPN users will notice when they look for a proXPN download is that the VPN supports three security protocols: OpenVPN, IPSec, and PPTP. That’s good news from a security perspective. Some free VPNs restrict themselves to PPTP, which is generally seen as outdated. The inclusion of an OpenVPN option means that you can enjoy a much higher standard of protection.
Encryption is a possible weak spot though, with proXPN offering up to 2048-bit encoding. That might be secure enough for everyday users, but it was left behind long ago by more solid alternatives. Moreover, the use of a 512-bit BF-CBC is below industry standards.
At the same time, there are some issues regarding logging to think about. In the terms and conditions, we noticed that proXPN keeps information about every session. While they state that this doesn’t include the ability to see which sites people visit or what they type, the very fact that proXPN keeps these logs is worrying, even if they are routinely purged every couple of weeks.
Furthermore, the company behind this VPN is registered in the USA – a prime 5-eyes country and an overall bad place to own a VPN service.
It’s also worth noting that security features differ between the free and premium proXPN packages. For instance, if you pay extra, proXPN supplies a kind of kill switch via its “VPN Guard” tool, which shuts down whatever website you are visiting if the VPN connection drops.
So, we found that there wasn’t a clear answer to the question ‘is proXPN safe?’ It’s certainly not the best, and certainly not the worst.
Speed & Performance
Speed is an area where proXPN really try to sell themselves. According to their website, Premium users benefit from unlimited bandwidth, whereas Free users aren’t so lucky and can only enjoy 300kbps, which we weren’t delighted by.
But as any VPN veteran will tell you, every provider makes big claims about speed to entice users to sign up. So the question for this review is simple: do proXPN’s claims stack up?
Again, the picture is mixed here. We connected from the USA and found local servers did deliver some impressive speeds. But when we switched to more distant servers (even in the continental US), speeds dipped by 25% or more in some cases. This variability could be really annoying when streaming videos or downloading larger files.
Another thing that irritated us was the fact that proXPN isn’t keen on advertising how many servers they operate. That’s probably because the choice is limited to 19 cities. They do stretch from London and Chicago to Tokyo and Hong Kong, but the lack of transparency is revealing. Other services offer much more choice than proXPN VPN.
So, in terms of speed, don’t expect miracles when you use your proXPN login – just a middle of the road, decent VPN connection.
How to download proXPN
Getting hold of a proXPN download is extremely easy. In fact, it might be too easy for our tastes. All you need to do is head to the proXPN website and click the “download” button in the top right-hand corner. This doesn’t take you to a download page, but starts an automatic .exe download, which is not something we generally like to see.
It’s also strange because proXPN offer their services across multiple platforms. Options include Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android phones. We didn’t try all of them and the automatic download corresponded to our OS. Still, for security reasons, we tend to prefer manually choosing downloads.
How to install it
When the download is done and the installer is engaged, the process of getting proXPN up and running won’t take too long. The first thing users need to do is create a proXPN account. This is dealt with by the client and the procedure is a little bit different from other VPNs.
As you sign up for proXPN, you’ll need to provide a mobile phone number. proXPN then sends a confirmation text to this device, which lets you complete the sign-up procedure. Requesting this kind of personal information isn’t normally the way a VPN protects privacy, so it raised an instant red flag with us. And this comes on top of the need to supply an email address, doubling the amount of data users hand over before they even start using proXPN.
After that, finishing the installation is simple. Just type your login details into the box and press “login.” Noone needs a degree in computer science to get on board.
Is proXPN easy to use?
But what about actually using the proXPN VPN? Well, things are pretty straight-forward on this front as well. Free users only have one accessible server, so there’s no need to filter different options or set custom settings for different locations. If you have upgraded to Premium, using the client is still a breeze. The main system screen lets you choose servers with ease, and you can also switch between OpenVPN, PPTP, and IPSec via a drop-down menu. Not all VPNs make moving between protocols that easy. Just be warned that easy doesn’t mean you should do it – PPTP and IPSec are not the most secure protocols.
As we noted earlier, the Premium version comes with a kill switch should you lose your VPN connection (you can turn this on or off as you wish), and it also features a diagnostic tool to detect problems and report any issues to the proXPN support team. That’s another interesting addition which makes the proXPN client a little more powerful than regular options.
However, although we didn’t personally have any problems, we are aware that some people run into reliability issues with proXPN. Sometimes, people are forced to reinstall the client multiple times before they can even use their proXPN login, so be aware of this – it’s not perfect.
Apps and Extensions
proXPN offers versions of its client for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS phones, but that’s as far as their efforts to supply apps and extensions have gone. They haven’t created special extensions for browsers or a router app.
Using proXPN for Netflix
Whether you can use the proXPN VPN for Netflix is surely a matter of importance for many readers of this review, so how does it fare?
Unfortunately, not very well. Over the past couple of years, Netflix has boosted their security systems, implementing formidable blocking measures to counter VPNs and proxies. In response, the leading VPNs have worked hard to find ways around these defenses.
proXPN hasn’t joined this elite crowd of VPN providers. So if you are hunting for a VPN to fuel your Netflix addiction (or to use any other entertainment streaming service), using proXPN isn’t the best option.
Is proXPN good for Torrenting?
But what about torrenting? P2P downloads are an area where smaller VPNs can really shine because even elite services sometimes fail with torrenting, usually citing legal concerns.
Despite failing when it comes to Netflix, it turns out that proXPN is actually a decent option for torrenters. Premium users benefit from unlimited bandwidth and proXPN says that they are totally fine with torrenting via their VPN. We tested their word and found that there weren’t many problems. Torrents worked almost as quickly as they would without a VPN.
However, don’t expect a free lunch here. Those choosing the free proXPN version won’t have any luck with BitTorrent or uTorrent. It’s only available for Premium users at the moment.
Does proXPN work in China?
On their front page, proXPN makes some bold claims about defeating governments which are “censoring information in an attempt to keep you in the dark.”
That sounds great for Chinese users. We couldn’t test the premium service directly, but according to a contact in China, they have had some luck with proXPN. Whether the encryption is enough ultimately depends on what you’re doing. We wouldn’t recommend it for sensitive political activities.
If, on the other hand, you just want a VPN that provides the freedom to see what would otherwise be hidden, it’s worth giving proXPN a try.
When it comes to supporting users, proXPN is actually pretty solid, if a little less cutting edge than some other services. Most glaringly, they don’t provide live chat on their support site, which can often be the easiest way to resolve basic issues.
Then again, their other support options are absolutely fine. The Support Center provides a wealth of information that’s relatively easy to sift through. It might look clunky, but it does the job, particularly for more in-depth technical queries.
Don’t be too off-put by the “tickets” system. The response times were fairly quick, and it’s easy to follow extended interactions with support staff.
Finally, if you scroll to the bottom of the proXPN front page, you’ll find a range of contact options. Not all VPNs provide this, and we were happy to see a direct email, snail mail, and Twitter account. However, this impression was blunted a bit when we checked the Twitter account only to find that it hadn’t been updated in 2 years. So don’t rely on it for quick responses.
As we discussed earlier in this proXPN VPN review, there are two pricing options. The free proXPN package comes with the client, one server location, a speed limit of 300kbps, IP anonymization and OpenVPN (as well as the basic VPN shield).
Premium accounts go for $6.25 per month, which is pretty expensive for a stripped-down no-frills VPN, especially if you’re looking for a long-term subscription.
Another thing worth noticing here is that free packages aren’t available for iOS or Android users, which is a strange way to promote a VPN.
Conclusion of the proXPN review
Simple and easy to use and with a perfectly functional free package, proXPN VPN seems to get a lot right. However, when you scratch beneath the surface, problems appear. Support is mixed, speeds aren’t amazing, security is patchy, and Netflix isn’t anywhere to be seen.
If you’re into torrenting, it might be a good option, and the same applies for people who want a basic free VPN. But for higher-end users, proXPN doesn’t quite cut it.