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PrivateVPN Review: Does It Keeps Your Activities Private?

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PrivateVPN review
Provides strong encryption
Uses secure tunneling protocols
Access Netflix, BBC, Hulu
Fast & secure Torrenting
Unlimited simultaneous connections
Adblocker Included
Fastest servers list

30 Days Refund Policy

PrivateVPN is a relatively new VPN provider in the market that has been in function since 2013. The VPN provider claims to offer the highest level of security and a reliable internet connection from anywhere without any interruption. Also, the VPN provides impressive discounts on extended subscription plans to get it at a reasonable price. 

However, the PrivateVPN belongs to Sweden, a member country of the 14-eyes alliance. Moreover, the VPN hasn’t undergone an independent log-audit process or updated its privacy policy in two years. All this makes the users think that either PrivateVPN isn’t capable of keeping their activities and identity private on the web. This PrivateVPN review will take a deeper look into various aspects of the VPN provider. But before concluding, first, have a quick overview of the VPN provider:

Security and Privacy:

Encryption
  • AES-256 bit GCM encryption
  • AES-128 bit GCM encryption
  • AES-256 bit CBC encryption
  • AEs-128 bit CBC encryption
  • 2048 bit RSA key,
Jurisdiction
  • Sweden
Log Policy

It follows a shady no-log policy but do keeps minimum information

Security Features

Streaming and Torrenting

List of Compatible Streaming Platforms 
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Disney Plus
  • DAZN
  • Hulu
  • HBO Max
List of Torrenting Features
  • Torrent IP leak protection

User-friendliness 

No. of Servers 
  • 200+ servers in 65 countries
Pricing
  • $8.99/m on a monthly plan
  • $2/m on 36 months plan
  • $6/m on three months plan
Customer Support 
  • Email
  • Live chat support
  • Online resources
Compatible Devices 
  • Android
  • iOS
  • MacOS
  • Linux
  • Windows
  • Routers

A quick overview might not be enough to know about the credibility of the PrivateVPN. But, a detailed PrivateVPN review might reveal a lot more about it. 

Security and Privacy

A VPN’s essential function is to provide maximum digital security and protection, and hence, a VPN is liable to use strong encryption standards, ciphers, and tunneling protocols. Also, the service provider should belong to a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and doesn’t follow a shady logging policy. Therefore, looking into these aspects is crucial while assessing the VPN for its privacy and security standards. 

– What Type Of Encryption does privateVPN Use?

PrivateVPN keeps your actual IP address, internet activity, and personal communication private. No prying eyes, including the ISPs, surveillance agencies, and hackers, can’t monitor and spy on your online communication or intercept them to access your sensitive data. 

The VPN provider uses the industry’s highest encryption standards to safeguard your data from privacy invaders. It uses four encryption standards:

  • AES-128 GCM encryption. 
  • AES- 256-bit GCM encryption. 
  • AES-128 CBC encryption. 
  • AES-256 CBC encryption.
  • 2048-bit RSA handshake.

128 and 256 are different encryption key lengths. It is better to use an extended encryption length because then the hackers or privacy abusers won’t be able to guess and crack the encryption. Similarly, the GCM and CBC are slightly different in terms of safety. They both scramble the data but in a different manner. GCM jumbles the data randomly while CBC depends on the previous data block while encrypting the data. Thus, GCM is more secure to use than CBC.

You can customize the encryption level according to your preferences. Overall, the encryption used by PrivateVPN is enough to keep your data traffic private and secure and allows you to browse the web without any fear of getting caught. 

– Jurisdiction of privateVPN

PrivateVPN is owned by a private company that belongs from Sweden. Unlike the VPN’s name, its jurisdiction is not private for users’ privacy. Sweden is a leading member of the 14-eyes surveillance alliance and thus, shares users’ data with international surveillance agencies. Also, the country might impose mandatory data retention laws on the users under which the ISPs can monitor and record your data logs for a particular time. 
However, in Sweden, the VPN service providers are not considered a part of the electronic communication networks or electronic communication services. This makes PrivateVPN exempt from Sweden’s intrusive laws meaning any anti-data logging laws won’t apply to the users. Thus, you can use the VPN without worrying about your data getting logged because it won’t.

– Logging Policy – Does privateVPN keep your data private?

PrivateVPN claims to respect its users’ online privacy and keeps all the activities private and out of the reach of the prying eyes. According to its privacy policy, the VPN provider stated that they follow a strict no-log policy and doesn’t record unnecessary or sensitive data like: 

  • IP address
  • Bandwidth
  • Browsing history
  • Connection time
  • DNS queries
  • Data content
  • Traffic destination

The VPN service does collect your email address and username while you register for an account. The collected data is used for account creation and to recognize and communicate with you for customer support. 

However, PrivateVPN’s logging policy is not a genuinely no-log because a line in the privacy policy states that:

PrivateVPN logs

The statement is enough to damage the trust between the user and the service provider. Moreover, the VPN has not performed any third-party audits, so more transparency is required to satisfy users to trust the service.

– Which Tunneling Protocols Does it offer?

PrivateVPN uses a combination of conventional and outdated tunneling protocols.The VPN provider uses the following protocols to keep your connection safe:

  • OpenVPN
  • IKEv2
  • L2TP
  • PPTP 

You can automatically select the VPN protocol that fits best into your needs when using the VPN app. But, if you’re not using the app, you can manually choose the protocols. 

The OpenVPN protocol is the most secure among all other protocols PrivateVPN support. It utilizes the TLS/SSL for data encryption and key exchange. Also, it allows you to choose between the UDP and TCP ports; you can enjoy more security with the TCP port and fast speed while connecting to the UDP port. 

PrivateVPN also deploys the IKEv2 protocol that’s combined with the IPSec protocol. It enables your device to seamlessly switch between the cellular and Wi-Fi networks without affecting the internet connection. The VPN protocol uses a secure cryptographic algorithm like blowfish and AES, keeping your connection safe and protected. 

Moreover, PrivateVPN also supports L2TP and PPTP protocols, but they aren’t recommended. OpenVPN provides better security than the L2TP protocol, so avoid it. Similarly, the PPTP is outdated and has significant security flaws, so do not consider using it. 
The top-rated VPN providers have implemented the WireGuard protocol that offers stable connection speed and robust security and ensures the best user experience. It has a smaller code base that guarantees a fast speed and uses advanced ciphers that provide maximum online protection. PrivateVPN doesn’t support the latest advanced WireGuard protocol, which disappoints the users. The VPN should introduce the WireGuard protocol to compete with other VPN providers like NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

– bypassing Censorship- can privateVPN ensure online freedom?

Many VPN providers claim to work in regions under strict restrictions or follow heavy internet censorship. But in reality, they failed to bypass the censorship filters. Luckily, PrivateVPN is among the few reliable VPN providers that help circumvent internet censorship and enable you to access the free internet world. 

The VPN provider has an impressive stealth VPN feature that allows you to bypass VPN blocks in highly restrictive countries like China, Russia, Turkey, and UAE. This feature, when enabled, disguises your VPN traffic as normal HTTPS traffic. Since the HTTPS traffic is commonly associated with banks and online shopping websites VPN block firewalls don’t filter it.  
Moreover, you can also use the OpenVPN protocol that uses the HTTPS ports and easily defeats censorship. But you need to have the VPN downloaded before using it in a censored country.

Past History of privateVPN- does it have things to hide?

PrivateVPN comes with a transparent track record. No previous track records or news named the VPN provider for violating users’ privacy by sharing data with the ISPs or surveillance agencies. Moreover, no events were reported where the hackers broke into the PrivateVPN servers to access users’ sensitive data. 
Therefore, it is a reliable VPN provider, but the company should hire someone to audit their apps and logging policy to gain more audience trust.

Any Extra Privacy and Security Features by Surfshark VPN?

A VPN’s reputation is also because of the features it offers. The more features a VPN provides, the more fantastic service it guarantees. Moreover, these extra features add more benefits to your overall user experience and increase your online security and privacy. 

PrivateVPN, unlike other popular VPN providers like ProtonVPN and VyprVPN, offers limited features, and here’s a summary of those features:

Kill Switch

A VPN kill switch is an impressive safety feature that stops your internet connection when your VPN connection drops or malfunctions due to any reason. By disconnecting you from the web, the kill switch protects your actual identity and the IP address from getting exposed to privacy abusers. It’s a handy feature that enhances your anonymity level and allows you to safely stream the blocked content and download torrents. 

PrivateVPN’s kill switch feature is known as the Connection Guard. It isn’t enabled by default, and you have to navigate to the setting to turn it on. However, the PrivateVPN kill switch feature is only available on the Windows platform. 

Port Forwarding

Port forwarding is another advanced feature that PrivateVPN has on its list. It allows remote devices and servers on the internet to access the devices within your local area network. Moreover, it redirects the incoming and outgoing traffic via specific ports, allowing quicker data transfer. There are a few advantages of using the port forwarding feature; for example, it increases the browsing speed, and hence it is a great option to use while downloading torrents and playing online games. 

Unlike the kill switch feature, the port forwarding feature is enabled automatically. When you connect to a server, you’re assigned a random port number and can’t disable it.

Stealth Mode

A stealth VPN is a fantastic feature that allows users to hide their online traffic and bypass imposed censorship. PrivateVPN, like Surfshark VPN, offers the stealth mode that makes your VPN traffic look like the normal HTTPS traffic and helps in getting around restrictions. 

As a result, you can browse the web freely in countries like China and access blocked websites and services. Also, you can watch the blocked streaming content on any popular service and download torrents safely from anywhere. You can use this feature on all PrivateVPN-supported devices. 
Besides this, PrivateVPN also protects from IP, DNS, and IPv6 leaks and boosts your online security. However, the VPN doesn’t provide some essential features like split tunneling and Smart DNS play. The presence of limited features is another reason people might not prefer to use this VPN provider.

Streaming and Torrenting

Another important reason for using a VPN is to enjoy free streaming and torrenting. Both the activities come with a great range of issues, from ISP throttling to IP blocklisting and privacy issues. The best way to avoid these issues and have seamless streaming, and torrenting experience is by using a VPN compatible with streaming and downloading, such as the PrivateVPN. 

– Compatible Streaming Platforms

PrivateVPN is among the best VPN for streaming geo-blocked content. With PrivateVPN, you can enjoy unlimited streaming on all servers and access your favorite streaming content from the following platforms:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • BBC iPlayer
  • DAZN
  • Disney Plus
  • HBO Max
  • Hulu

The VPN service provider unblocks 21 Netflix regional libraries and hence is the best VPN for bypassing the Netflix ban. You can access the American, UK, and even Korean Netflix content library with PrivateVPN and enjoy streaming content in HD and 4K quality. You can also unblock various sporting sites and watch your favorite sporting events like NFL, UFC, and NHL. The speeds are also stable and cause minimum buffering when connected to the OpenVPN protocol. 

PrivateVPN’s stealth mode enables you to access the blocked streaming content from various streaming platforms. It disguises your traffic as the regular HTTPS traffic and easily circumvents the geo-blocks. It also prevents your IP address from getting blocked by the streaming platform and ensures a seamless streaming platform. 

– Is privateVPN Good For Torrenting?

PrivateVPN is another good option for downloading torrents, but it’s not certainly the best one. The VPN allows unrestricted torrenting and P2P-file sharing on all servers in Sweden. Moreover, it also allows port forwarding across all servers, which further boosts your downloading experience. 

The VPN uses strong AES-256 GCM encryption and protects from IP and DNS leaks, ensuring that your torrent-related activities remain secured and private.

Furthermore, the availability of a kill switch feature boosts the security level during torrenting. However, the absence of the split tunneling feature is disappointing, and it might affect the overall downloading speed compared with other VPN providers. 

– How Fast Is privateVPN?

PrivateVPN offers decent and stable internet speed across all the servers. You can experience the fastest speed when connected to the nearest servers, while establishing a connection with remote servers often results in connection lags. Although PrivateVPN is not among the fastest VPN, its speed is enough to continue your streaming and downloading activities. 
PrivateVPN speed is not much impressive because it supports limited tunneling protocols. You can enjoy maximum speed when connected to the OpenVPN (UDP) protocol. IKEv2 also offers reliable connection speed on mobile devices. The VPN provider should consider introducing the WireGuard protocol to ensure that users get out of the maximum speeds.

User-Friendliness 

Besides security, privacy, streaming, and torrenting abilities, the VPN provider must offer a hassle-free user experience. For this purpose, the VPN provider should come with dedicated apps for all supported platforms and devices. The apps should have a simple and clean interface and be easy to use and download. 

– The Number of Servers privateVPN offers.  

PrivateVPN comes with a minimal server network consisting of 200+ servers in 63 locations. You can find PrivateVPN servers in major countries like the UAE, the USA, and the UK. By connecting to these servers, you can enjoy maximum online protection while at home or traveling from country to country. 
The VPN provider should add more servers to reduce server load, improve speed, and improve streaming and downloading servers. Also, there’s no information on the web regarding any specialty server except that the VPN supports P2P activities on Sweden servers.

– How Good is privateVPN Customer Support?

PrivateVPN provides various options to connect with the customer support team and resolve your issues. You can fill out the contact form and hope to receive a reply via email. But, if you want a quick and instant reply, you can use the 24/7 live chat option. Click on the round green bubble at the bottom right side of the screen. You might find chat agents knowledgeable and quick enough to solve your issue. 

It will ask for your name, email address, and message. If your query is a bit technical and the chat agents cannot satisfy you, it will automatically change into email support. The website also offers a support section, FAQs, blogs, guides, and news. You can also take help from the written material. However, the information is not much impressive and needs to be updated. 

– What Devices Is Surfshark VPN Compatible With?

Like other top-tier VPN providers, PrivateVPN offers excellent multiple-device compatibility features. You can install and download the VPN on all popular operating systems and devices like:

  • Android
  • iOS
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • Routers
  • Windows

All the apps are simple and easy to use and won’t cause you any trouble. And if you experience any issues, you can contact the customer support team or take help from the setup guides available on PrivateVPN’s website. 

A disappointing thing about PrivateVPN’s compatibility is that you can’t install it on streaming devices and gaming consoles. The VPN provider lacks the Smart DNS option that allows you to connect to a device that doesn’t support VPN. The absence of the Smart DNS feature will limit your streaming experience

FAQs

How many simultaneous connections does PrivateVPN offer?

PrivateVPN offers ten simultaneous device connections with a single subscription account. You can connect to up to ten multiple devices but do remember that more devices can impact your overall connection speed. Thus, it’s better that you limit your connections to up to five or six devices at a time. 

Does PrivateVPN offer a free trial?

PrivateVPN does offer a free trial period to test the VPN’s service and features without paying. The VPN provider allows a 7-days risk-free trial period, but to avail, you have to send an email, and upon receiving a gift code, you can start the trial period. 

Does PrivateVPN work in China? 

PrivateVPN offers an amazing stealth mode that helps in bypassing censorship. With this feature, your VPN traffic appears like regular web traffic. It becomes easier to get around the censorship filters used by ISPs and government agencies to track and block your activities. This makes it easier for people to use PrivateVPN in China and other oppressive states. 

Does PrivateVPN unblock Netflix

PrivateVPN is a great option to consider for accessing the blocked streaming content on Netflix. The VPN uses the stealth mode that enables unblocking 21 regional Netflix libraries and ensures a seamless streaming experience. Moreover, the VPN uses a kill switch feature and protects from IP leak protection that allows bypassing the Netflix ban. 

Is PrivateVPN secure to use? 

PrivateVPN provides the utmost level of security to the users. It utilizes the four encryption standards you can customize, the 2048 RSA key, and the OpenVPN protocol to safeguard your data from snooping eyes. Moreover, the VPN provider uses a kill switch feature and protects from VPN leaks to further enhance your online security. 

Does PrivateVPN offer a refund policy?

If you are not satisfied with PrivateVPN’s service after buying the premium package, you can get your money back. It offers a risk-free 30-days money-back guarantee offer, so if you want to cancel your subscription during the initial 30 days, then go ahead. By contacting the customer support team, you can ask for a full refund, and the amount will be processed within five business days starting from the confirmation date. 

How much does PrivateVPN cost?

PrivateVPN is an affordable VPN provider with various subscription packages, and the prices are budget-friendly. Here’s an insight into the pricing plan of PrivateVPN:

$8.99/m on a monthly plan
$2/m on 36 months plan
$6/m on three months plan

You can select any plan depending on your needs, but it’s better to opt for an extended subscription. The VPN provider accepts payment via PayPal, bitcoins, and Stripe, but if you pay through the conventional card method, you can’t buy PrivateVPN.

Final Verdict 

From this PrivateVPN review, it’s concluded that the VPN provides pretty mediocre performance and service to the users. The VPN uses a top-notch level of encryption to keep your data safe from privacy invaders, but several areas need improvement. While the VPN provider promises a zero-logging policy, it needs to undergo a third-party log audit to prove its stance on users’ privacy. Also, the company should update its privacy and remove the clauses that create doubts and makes users suspicious of handing over their digital privacy. 

Moreover, PrivateVPN needs to introduce the WireGuard protocol and extra privacy and security-boosting features. Undoubtedly, PrivateVPN is a good option for streaming geo-blocked content, hiding your online identity, and keeping your data and activities secure, and it doesn’t cost much in price. 

In a nutshell, you can consider using PrivateVPN for short-term use, but to become a fully-featured VPN provider, it should work on its weak areas. Or else you can look at some other options available. 

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