Proton VPN is the product of Proton Technologies, the same company behind ProtonMail. However, the company was under fire when ProtonMail gave authorities the French activist’s IP address. This event also makes people question the credibility of Proton VPN; and whether its claims of providing robust online protection to users are valid. The recent introduction of the anti-censorship protocol and log audit report makes Proton VPN rank as one of the best VPN providers.
The VPN provider has been the preferred choice because of its impressive range of features, super-fast speeds, and the highest level of security and privacy. To know more about Proton VPN features, consider the table below:
Security and Privacy
- AES-256 bit CBC encryption
- Blowfish- 128-bit CBC mode
- SHA-512 authentication key
- AES-128-bit CBC encryption
- The United States of America.
- Follows a no-log policy but keeps limited information
- Kill switch
- Split tunneling
- Anonymous proxy
- Stealth VPN
- Business VPN
- Private Email Provider
- Dedicated IP address
Streaming and Torrenting
List of Compatible Streaming Platforms
- Amazon Prime
- HBO Max
- BBC iPlayer
- But unreliable for streaming.
List of Torrenting Features
- Split tunneling Only on Android
- SOCKS5 proxy
- Torrent IP leak protection
No. of Servers
- 3000+ servers in 50 countries
- Anonymous VPN: $9.99/m for the standard plan and $12.99/m for pro plan
- Anonymous Email: $3.58/m
- Business VPN: $32.99/m
- Website resources
- Submit Ticket
- Live chat support
Proton VPN makes big claims about its services but are all these claims valid? To dig out more about the VPN’s claims, keep reading this Proton VPN review and get answers to all your questions.
Security and Privacy
A VPN ensures maximum user privacy and security by using robust encryption protocols, operating from a secure jurisdiction, and having a strict no-logs policy. Therefore, looking into these aspects of a VPN provider is crucial to gauge its security.
What Encryption does Proton VPN use
Proton VPN uses modern encryption to boost your online security. The VPN uses the industry’s highest AES-256 bit encryption or ChaCha20 to encrypt your internet traffic. In addition, it uses an RSA-2048 handshake for establishing connections and an SHA-384 hash key for authentication.
The VPN provider also uses the Diffie-Hellman key exchange for generating session keys. It enables the server and the client to agree on a key without communicating.
Proton VPN makes it impossible for any snooping eye to intercept your data traffic and learn about your online activities with such high encryption.
Where is Proton VPN located?
Proton VPN belongs to a safe jurisdiction that isn’t a global alliance member state. The VPN provider has its headquarters in the privacy-heaven jurisdiction of Switzerland. The country is not bound by any formal agreement to collect and share users’ browsing data with international agencies.
Moreover, Switzerland respects users’ privacy and has robust privacy laws that don’t require VPN providers to retain your data. Also, the data retention laws introduced by BUPF do not apply to Proton VPN and Proton Technologies because they are not major telecommunication operators.
Thus, you can trust Proton VPN and use it without worrying about your activities getting recorded.
Does Proton VPN Keep logs?
But, the VPN provider does collect a minimal amount of information, such as:
- Email address
- Support requests
- Payment information
The company collects this information for account creation and makes its service better. Since this information can’t expose your identity and activities, worry is unnecessary. In April 2022, Proton VPN conducted an independent audit to double-check its no-log policy and found that they were honest with its claims.
The VPN provider also issues an annual transparency report to make people believe their stance on being a no-log VPN is true. The report highlights how users’ data is untraceable. For instance 2019, the Swiss court approved a foreign country’s request to provide users’ logs. But the company didn’t give any data because they don’t store data on their servers.
Moreover, the VPN has undergone an audit of its apps. The Proton VPN apps are open-sourced, and the code is available for review on GitHub. The entire audit process was built in partnership with Mozilla, and for this job, the company hired a third-party audit firm SEC Consult.
The audit report highlights the issues and flaws found in each app. The report further revealed that the macOS app was the most secure and found no bugs. The iOS app had problems using the hardcoded credentials and other data in the memory, while the Windows app discovered issues related to jailbreaking. The least insecure app was Android, as it had logout issues.
But, these problems were soon fixed, and now all apps are safe to use. As a whole, Proton VPN is a genuinely private VPN that neither logs nor shares your data, and even its apps are free from any vulnerability.
Which Tunneling protocols does Proton VPN support
Proton VPN uses secure tunneling protocols that protect your internet connection like:
WireGuard is a lightweight and open-source protocol much faster than traditional VPN protocols. It utilizes the ChaCha20 encryption cipher that protects your VPN connection and boosts online security. In addition, it enables perfect forward secrecy, ensuring new keys are generated every session. You can use this protocol on all platforms except for Linux.
Besides this, the VPN also deploys the OpenVPN protocol and allows UDP or TCP transmission protocols. OpenVPN uses the OpenSSL library to encrypt the data traffic and is implemented with perfect forward secrecy. The protocol is compatible with all major operating systems and devices.
Similarly, Proton VPN also uses the IKEv2 protocol that uses a range of cryptographic algorithms like AES, Blowfish, and Camellia and thus is fast, secure, and reliable. The perfect forward secrecy is automatically implemented since it uses the Diffie-Hellman process to exchange keys. The Android, iOS, and MacOS apps can use the IKEv2 protocol to establish an encrypted VPN tunnel to keep your connection and activities private.
Depending on your preferences and activities, you can choose the protocol of your choice.
How good is Proton VPN at bypassing censorship?
Proton VPN is among the best VPN providers that circumvent censorship and helps you to browse the web safely. Using the recently introduced anti-censorship protocol ”Stealth mode”, you can easily defeat censorship and access any website, service, or app, also by switching to the OpenVPN protocol. It uses the same port as HTTPS, secures all the sensitive data, and makes it impossible for anyone to know about your activities.
Proton VPN also launched an advanced alternative routing technology feature in 2020. It bypasses censorship and allows users to access any website or service blocked by the government and ISP. The VPN also uses a Smart Protocol, another impressive anti-censorship feature that automatically connects you with Proton VPN when someone tries to block your access. Because of advanced anti-censorship features, you can even use Proton VPN in countries that follow extremely high censorship, like China, Russia, and UAE. But these features are available on Windows, Android, iOS, and MacOS devices.
The best thing about Proton VPN is that it even allows you to bypass censorship in the free version. The free version of Proton VPN will enable you to access blocked content like social media, news sites, and YouTube, regardless of location.
Extra privacy and security features
Proton VPN offers a range of privacy and security-focused features. However, accessing those features depends on the VPN subscription plan. The VPN provider also offers a free version, but you can’t access any advanced features.
Selecting Proton VPN Plus and the visionary plan allows you to benefit from the following features:
Pop-ups and ads irritate the most while browsing the web. Proton VPN is among the few reliable VPN providers that offer an ad blocker feature that ensures a smooth user experience. It uses the DNS filtering method to block privacy-invading ads and allows you to browse the web without interruption. Besides this, it prevents your device from unnecessary loading and improves your page loading and overall browsing speed. You can even block trackers, cookies, and malware and enjoy an anonymous browsing experience. However, this feature is only available on Windows, Linux, and MacOS devices.
Full Disk Encryption
The VPN uses full disk encryption to secure its servers from man-in-the-middle attacks. This feature is rolled out on the Russian servers, but soon it will upgrade to other servers. The disk encryption feature won’t change your overall experience, and you can still benefit from all other features.
Tor Over VPN
Tor is an excellent anonymity tool, but it is also a fact that it comes with a plethora of security and privacy risks, and experts suggest using it with a VPN. Another impressive feature Proton VPN offers is its built-in Tor browser support. The VPN provider has Tor servers in various countries that safely connect you to the Tor network. Also, you can access the hidden onion sites by connecting to the Tor servers without compromising your security. As a whole, it is a great feature that offers a convenient way to access the Onion sites.
Perfect forward secrecy
Proton VPN uses a perfect forward secrecy feature that ensures your browsing history remains secure even if the encryption keys are compromised. Each time when you connect to Proton VPN, it generates a new encryption key to keep your VPN connection secure.
Proton VPN offers a built-in kill switch or the Always-on VPN feature. It blocks the VPN traffic when you lose the connection, and later, when the connection resorts, it establishes the connection with the VPN server. This way, it protects the IP address and DNS queries from exposure and ensures a private browsing experience. Using a kill switch feature is of great value whether you’re streaming, torrenting, or wants to enjoy an anonymous browsing experience. You can use the Proton VPN kill switch feature on all significant supported devices like Android, Apple, and Windows.
Another impressive feature that Proton VPN offers is the split tunneling feature. With this feature, you can control how to use your data. It allows you to route some connections via the VPN tunnel while excluding others. This feature proves helpful during torrenting as it improves the downloading speed. However, this feature is only available on Android and Windows devices.
Proton VPN introduced a stealth mode feature which is the anti-censorship protocol. It avoids detection and enables users to defeat censorship. With this feature, all your connections and activities are untrackable. This fantastic feature allows you to surf the web from restrictive regimes completely free. In addition, you can use this feature to access blocked websites and services. By navigating into the settings, you can turn on this feature, but at the moment, this feature is only available on Android, iOS, and MacOS devices.
Besides this, Proton VPN also uses the Smart protocol and alternate routing technology that have functions as anti-censorship features and are available on all supported devices. As a whole, Proton VPN ensures a private and secure web browsing experience with all these features.
Streaming and Torrenting
Streaming and torrenting without a VPN might cause you to experience frequent buffering and connection lags. It’s all because your ISP is throttling your connection for using much bandwidth. Also, because of geographical restrictions, you might be unable to unlock the websites for downloading and watching the blocked streaming content. Another area where Proton VPN remains on top is streaming and torrenting. The VPN provider consistently has fast connection speeds and features that ensure a fantastic streaming and downloading experience.
Compatible streaming platforms
If you’re looking for a reliable VPN for streaming, then Proton VPN won’t disappoint you. Though the VPN doesn’t offer dedicated streaming servers or a SmartDNS feature, still it’s an excellent option to use. Proton VPN’s vast server network, fast connection speeds, anti-censorship feature, and ability to work on all major streaming platforms make it the best option.
The VPN provider works on several streaming platforms:
- Amazon Prime
- Disney Plus
- HBO Max
- ESPN Plus
Proton VPN’s fast speed lets you watch your favorite streaming content in HD and 4k without buffering. The VPN gives off exceptional results on Netflix. Unblock major Netflix libraries like the US, Australia, and Canada. By default, the VPN allows you to access the US Netflix catalog. Whenever accessing Netflix with Proton VPN, connect to plus servers (labeled as P). It’s because they help in bypassing the Netflix block.
However, you can enjoy a seamless streaming experience only if you subscribe to a plus and visionary plan. Proton VPN’s basic plan does allow streaming but with a limited server network, so choose wisely.
Is Proton VPN suitable for Torrenting?
Proton VPN is the perfect choice for torrenting because it supports P2P file sharing and works well with the BitTorrent client. However, the VPN doesn’t support downloading and sharing any copyrighted content.
The VPN offers unlimited bandwidth and 140 optimized servers, denoted by a two-arrow icon for P2P file sharing. You can enjoy a fast torrent downloading experience by connecting to the servers. In addition, it comes with an impressive VPN accelerator feature that increases speed even if you’re not connected to a P2P server.
Moreover, the VPN provider belongs to a safe jurisdiction and follows a strict no-log policy; your data will be shared with anyone. You can also connect to the secure core servers in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden to route your traffic behind two layers of encryption and enjoy greater online security during torrenting.
Proton VPN also uses a kill switch and split tunneling feature that boosts your online security while torrenting. Besides this, the VPN provider protects you from DNS and torrent IP leaks and keeps your torrent activities private.
Overall, Proton VPN is among the best VPNs for torrenting. However, remember that the VPN allows unlimited torrenting in essential, plus, and visionary plans. If you’re using the free version, you won’t be eligible for downloading torrents.
How Fast Is Proton VPN
Proton VPN’s speed has improved significantly from the past. Previously, it offered average speeds, but now the speeds are super-fast; hence, the VPN is often rated among the fastest VPN providers. The VPN provides blazing-fast speeds on local and remote servers while streaming, torrenting, and browsing with little lagging.
When you tap to choose a server, it informs how much load a server can bear. The servers labeled with a green icon are best to select, while the ones labeled with yellow and red have more users connected and might not fit your preferred activities.
Furthermore, Proton VPN’s fast connection speed is also because of the WireGuard protocol and unique features like VPN accelerators. It is an impressive feature that increases your speed drastically when connecting to remote servers. It creates multiple simultaneous connections to overcome hurdles that might slow your speed.
Since Proton VPN offers limited server access in different subscription plans, you can enjoy the blazing-fast connection in Plus and Visionary plans. Also, don’t forget to enable the VPN accelerator feature by navigating the connection tab. However, you get average speeds if you use the accessible version of Proton VPN.
In addition, Proton VPN also offers an impressive quick connect feature that allows you to connect to the fastest available server. As a whole, Proton VPN gives remarkable speeds, and it comes with a couple of features that boost and guarantee the fastest connections.
Proton VPN offers dedicated apps that have a simple and intuitive user interface. The apps are well-designed and offer various customization options. For instance, you can create custom connection profiles and configure the background color, server, and protocols according to your wish.
The number of servers Proton VPN provides
Proton VPN is also among those VPN providers that offer a vast server network. The VPN comprises more than 1900 servers in 67 countries, and they are updating their servers constantly. They have servers on almost every continent and ensure global connectivity. However, because of India’s data retention laws, Proton VPN shut down its servers in India.
The Proton VPN servers are of the following types:
- 1603 Plus servers in 67 countries
- 100 secure core servers in 67 countries
- 127 free servers in three countries
The Plus servers are the ones available in the Plus and visionary plans. They offer numerous benefits to the users, like streaming, downloading, and safe access to the Tor network. Also, they provide an ad-blocker feature and the highest speed, up to 10Gbps. In contrast, secure core servers add an extra security layer while browsing the web. They protect your connection by routing traffic via multiple servers before leaving the network. These servers are owned and operated by Proton VPN and are located in the privacy-friendly jurisdiction of Iceland or Switzerland.
Meanwhile, primary servers support P2P file sharing but don’t come with any other advanced features offered by the Plus servers. The VPN offers 24 free servers in three locations, i.e., Japan, the Netherlands, and the US. They provide medium browsing speed but do not provide any advanced features.
How good is Proton VPN customer support
Like every other VPN, Proton VPN has an effective customer support team to assist the users. However, Proton VPN’s customer support options are pretty limited. The VPN lacks the most impressive 24/7 live chat option that gives responsive and timely answers. You can contact the customer support team via email, but the replies are not instantaneous, and you might have to wait a few hours or even days.
Besides this, Proton VPN has a resourceful online website. You can find guidelines, FAQs, blogs, news, and troubleshooting that are useful to the users.
What devices is it compatible with
Proton VPN is compatible with multiple devices and platforms. You can install and download the VPN within a few minutes on the following devices:
- Gaming consoles (Xbox, PS4, and PS5)
- Streaming devices (Android TV)
The VPN offers dedicated apps for these platforms, which are easy to use and ensures the best user experience. The Proton VPN Android and Windows apps are the best in terms of functionality. It’s easy to use and ensures the best user experience.
Proton VPN ranked as the top-rated VPN provider in 2022, and there’s no doubt about this. The VPN provider maintains maximum online security using robust encryption and VPN protocols. It’s also a private and reliable VPN provider that belongs to a privacy-heaven jurisdiction and doesn’t log users’ data. Also, all its apps are open-sourced and audited, making it a preferred choice for users.
Besides this, the VPN provider offers outstanding speed and performs exceptionally well on Netflix. You can even torrent and download large files within a few minutes. Proton VPN offers various subscription plans, including the free version. You can choose the plan according to your preference and budget.
Proton VPN is best in all areas, and you must consider using it.
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About the Author
Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.More from Rebecca James
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