Proton VPN Review 2022: This Swiss-Based VPN Provider Delivers Top-Notch Security

Proton AG, the Swiss-based web privateness firm behind Proton Mail and different merchandise like Proton Calendar and Proton Drive launched Proton VPN in 2017. In a couple of quick years, Proton VPN has shortly developed a fame for being a VPN with a robust dedication to privateness, safety and transparency.

Proton VPN is a wonderful alternative for techie VPN customers who like to examine the supply code of the apps they use, in addition to for anybody whose location or occupation requires an additional layer of safety from their VPN. It options open-source apps, full-disk encryption, Safe Core servers and Tor over VPN. However Proton can be a strong alternative for informal VPN customers who solely want normal privateness on public Wi-Fi or simply wish to unblock streaming content material on-line. Speeds are quick, and the VPN’s apps are intuitive and straightforward to make use of throughout platforms no matter whether or not you are a VPN professional or newbie.

We’re impressed with Proton VPN’s easy, clear strategy, particularly in distinction to the final environment of secrecy and shiftiness within the VPN {industry}. Proton VPN’s largely limitless free plan can be remarkably spectacular. For those who’re in want of a well-rounded VPN service that places its cash the place its mouth is, check out Proton VPN.


  • Extremely clear
  • Open-source
  • Safe
  • Limitless free plan

Do not Like

  • No stay chat help
  • Break up tunneling solely out there on Android and Home windows
  • Occasional pace dips

Learn extra: How We Check VPNs

Pace: Third-fastest VPN we have examined

  • 17% pace loss in autumn 2022 checks
  • Variety of servers: 1,891
  • Variety of nations: 67

Proton VPN’s general pace stays spectacular, dropping solely 17% of its pace in our newest spherical of checks. Granted, that represents a decline from our summer season 2020 checks, the place we registered a mere 9% pace loss. However you possibly can sometimes anticipate to lose about 50% of your common web pace if you hook up with a VPN, so after we measured a 17% pace loss this time round, we have been nonetheless happy with the outcomes. 

Proton VPN’s speeds now rank third amongst our picks for finest VPN, behind NordVPN’s 13% pace loss and simply forward of Surfshark’s 19% pace loss.

We examined Proton VPN’s speeds over the course of three days from Ohio to the supplier’s VPN servers in New York, the UK, Australia, France, Germany and Singapore whereas related by way of the OpenVPN protocol. Our common web speeds averaged 366.25 megabits per second in the course of the check, whereas the common general speeds we measured by Proton VPN’s servers got here out to 303.71Mbps.

Speeds have been principally in step with what we anticipated primarily based on the bodily distance between our bodily location and people of the servers we examined. Nevertheless, we did on uncommon events expertise a couple of surprising and important dips in speeds on sure servers in Europe and Singapore — even on servers displaying a light-weight load. Speeds have been in any other case pretty constant throughout the board.

As anticipated, the quickest speeds from the US have been to Proton VPN’s servers in New York, the place we averaged 332.72Mbps. European servers registered only a bit slower at 320.12Mbps, whereas speeds to the UK averaged 307.78Mbps. Speeds midway all over the world to Australia and Singapore have been the slowest — however averaged an admirable 302.62Mbps and 255.25Mbps, respectively, regardless of the space our information needed to journey.

What we did not anticipate was the spectacular pace from Proton VPN’s free servers. The supplier says that its free servers supply “medium” VPN speeds, however we calculated solely a 7.64% pace loss after we examined Proton VPN’s free servers — near 10 share factors quicker than with the paid servers. These outcomes are distinctive for any VPN, not to mention a free VPN service, even when the pattern dimension was smaller with servers in solely three nations to check speeds on. 

We registered speeds of as much as 360Mbps to the Netherlands, 349Mbps to Japan and 345Mbps to New York utilizing free servers with masses starting from 55% to 96%. That is loads of pace for just about something you’d wish to accomplish on-line, which is exceptionally laborious to seek out with free VPNs.

Learn extra: How one can Pace Up Your VPN Connection

Value: Not the most affordable VPN, however pricing is easy and free tier is legit

  • $72 per yr or $10 monthly
  • Cost choices: Credit score/debit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, financial institution switch, money
  • Cash-back assure: 30 days
  • Limitless free plan

Proton VPN’s pricing is easy and unambiguous at a time when it seems like you should mud off your previous TI-85 graphing calculator from highschool simply to make sense of most VPNs’ complicated pricing schemes. Proton VPN avoids tough introductory costs that later spike in dramatic vogue and two-year plans that later morph into annual plans whereas the worth stays the identical.

Certain, your $72 upfront value for Proton VPN’s yearly plan is costlier than the $48 you will pay on your first yr with IPVanish. However over time, you will most likely be happier paying $72 yearly for Proton VPN quite than $90 for every further yr you spend with IPVanish. NordVPN and ExpressVPN go for $100 a yr after their respective introductory subscription durations. Out of our prime 5 VPN picks, solely Surfshark is cheaper per yr than Proton VPN, at $60 yearly. Nevertheless, Proton VPN’s month-to-month plan is the most affordable of the bunch at $10 monthly. We do not suggest committing to a VPN supplier for longer than a yr at a time given the perpetually shifting nature of the VPN {industry}.

With Proton VPN’s paid service, you will have entry to greater than 1,800 servers in 66 nations and as much as 10 simultaneous connections. We have been capable of entry content material on Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video by the paid servers.

Proton VPN apps can be found on MacOS, Home windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Chromebook and Android TV units. Settings are properly laid out and simply accessible within the app, however for those who’re on the lookout for cut up tunneling, be aware that the characteristic is just out there on the Home windows and Android apps. Proton says it is engaged on implementing cut up tunneling for different platforms, however didn’t specify a timeframe for that implementation. Although many VPNs as of late supply browser extensions along with their devoted VPN apps, Proton VPN doesn’t but supply any presently. The corporate advised us that browser extensions have been considered and can hopefully be out there in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later.

And whereas many of the prime VPNs within the {industry} supply stay chat buyer help, Proton VPN doesn’t. To get in contact with Proton VPN help, you will must submit a help ticket by way of e mail or tweet it at @ProtonVPN. We submitted a help ticket and acquired a response in lower than 24 hours. The web site features a fairly complete assist middle with troubleshooting ideas, setup tutorials and documentation associated to normal VPN points. Proton VPN’s weblog additionally contains quite a lot of useful details about the corporate and the {industry} usually.

You possibly can pay on your Proton VPN subscription utilizing a credit score or debit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, financial institution switch or money (US {dollars}, euros or Swiss francs). And if for any motive you are not happy together with your buy, Proton VPN does supply a 30-day money-back assure. 

Are you able to get Proton VPN without cost?

For those who do not wish to pay to make use of Proton VPN, you do not have to. That is as a result of Proton VPN affords a free plan that is truly good. Most free VPNs are virtually ineffective as a result of they sometimes put heavy restrictions on issues like pace, server availability, information allowance and options. In addition they usually present weak encryption, promote your information, serve advertisements and may even include malware. Proton VPN’s free plan is safe and it does not throttle speeds or put limits on utilization, which is an enormous motive why it is maybe the one actually viable free VPN out there.

Whereas Proton VPN’s free plan is not set as much as unblock streaming companies and does not embody premium options like its malware and advert blocker, Tor over VPN performance, Safe Core servers or P2P help, it does offer you what you should shield your privateness on-line. The free plan affords a single connection at a time to over 100 quick servers in three nations (US, Japan and the Netherlands) and the power to attach by its stealth VPN protocol. 

Sure, there are a couple of limitations with Proton VPN’s free plan, however we discovered that it carried out exceptionally nicely general in our checks — we have been even capable of entry US Netflix whereas related to the free servers. So for those who’re an off-the-cuff VPN consumer who’s not into torrenting, solely wants one connection at a time and does not want the superior options or entry to greater than three nations or streaming companies aside from Netflix, you will most likely be simply superb with Proton VPN’s free plan. 

Safety and privateness: Glorious options for VPN customers in want of heightened privateness

  • Jurisdiction: Switzerland
  • Encryption: AES 256-bit with OpenVPN and IKEv2, ChaCha20 with WireGuard
  • Safe Core servers
  • Open-source and clear

With many gamers within the VPN {industry} working in obscurity, ruled by byzantine company buildings, it is good to see Proton VPN placing such a heavy emphasis on transparency. For one, its VPN software program is absolutely open-source, which means its supply code is publicly out there on-line for anybody to scrutinize. If analyzing code is not your factor, Proton VPN routinely publicizes impartial exterior safety and no-logs audits as nicely, so you possibly can see what skilled cybersecurity researchers should say concerning the software program. 

Proton VPN’s most up-to-date safety audit was accomplished in September 2021 by Securitum, a safety consulting agency primarily based in Krakow, Poland, which recognized “no vital safety points.” The newest no-logs audit was accomplished by Securitum in March. 

“Because of the audit, it was confirmed that Proton VPN affords excessive privateness with its No-Logs strategy, and the audit didn’t detect any points that might make a unfavourable impact on the consumer’s privateness,” Securitum mentioned in its no-logs audit report. 

Nevertheless, Securitum famous in its report that Proton VPN inspects community site visitors on its free VPN servers with the intention to block BitTorrent site visitors, as it could hinder efficiency without cost customers. If BitTorrent site visitors is detected, the connection is routinely dropped. However Securitum mentioned that this does not have an effect on consumer privateness as a result of the method is completed blindly, with out logging any info associated to the dropped connection or which consumer the BitTorrent site visitors was originating from.

“The entire mechanism is working absolutely domestically on the particular Proton VPN server serving the connection, with out notifying any central database,” Securitum mentioned. “There isn’t any deep site visitors inspection of such connections, simply the kind of site visitors is detected.”

No-logs audits are vital for VPN firms to bear as a option to stay clear with the general public, however a VPN firm’s no-logs claims are nearly unattainable to confirm with 100% certainty. Common no-logs audits and precise courtroom instances — just like the 2019 courtroom case Proton VPN mentions in its Transparency Report — the place no-logs claims are challenged in a authorized setting can supply efficient testimony in favor of a VPN firm’s declare that it does not accumulate logs of customers’ exercise.

As CNET’s different prime VPN picks do, Proton VPN employs industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption on OpenVPN and IKEv2 connections. WireGuard connections are secured utilizing the ChaCha20 encryption cipher, which is mostly quicker whereas providing comparable safety. The VPN’s Safe Core servers supply further safety as they route your site visitors by hardened servers owned by Proton VPN previous to routing it additional by exit servers at your chosen location. Proton VPN’s Safe Core servers are bodily protected with biometric safety and positioned in Switzerland, Iceland (on a former navy base) and Sweden (in an underground information middle). 

Proton VPN additionally affords normal VPN safety features like a kill change, DNS leak safety and obfuscation, together with Tor over VPN and an advert/malware blocker. The kill change labored as anticipated and we detected no leaks throughout our checks of each the free and paid tiers. Proton VPN tells CNET that every one safety requirements like encryption, leak safety and obfuscation are the identical with the free plan as they’re with paid subscriptions. Nevertheless, free customers do not have entry to the Safe Core servers, Tor over VPN or the ad-blocker characteristic. The free tier is a good way to dip your toes in, however you will must improve to Proton’s paid tier if you are going to interact in any on-line exercise that is privacy-critical

In 2020, Proton VPN disclosed a vulnerability in Apple’s iOS, which claims that iOS units fail to encrypt all site visitors and leak information outdoors the VPN tunnel even when a VPN connection is engaged on the machine. Years later, researchers reported that the difficulty nonetheless persists in later variations of iOS. It’s a vulnerability that impacts VPN apps on iOS units usually and isn’t restricted to Proton VPN. Till Apple points an official repair for the vulnerability, Proton VPN recommends turning airplane mode on after which off once more after connecting to a VPN server to successfully kill current connections and reopen them inside the VPN tunnel. 

Proton VPN’s Swiss jurisdiction is mostly thought to be a secure jurisdiction for a VPN to reside in. Switzerland is just not a part of the 14-eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, and although the nation does have obligatory information retention legal guidelines, these legal guidelines apply to giant web service suppliers and telecommunications firms. Proton VPN is not sure by Swiss information retention legal guidelines and is in any other case not obligated to retailer logs of consumer exercise.

In 2021, Proton Mail — an encrypted e mail service developed by the parents behind Proton VPN — discovered itself the topic of criticism after TechCrunch reported that the corporate disclosed a consumer’s IP tackle and machine ID quantity to Swiss authorities. The disclosure was a part of an investigation involving a French local weather activist who was a part of a bunch protesting in opposition to gentrification in Paris that revealed info on police investigations and authorized instances in opposition to people within the group. The protesters have been utilizing a Proton Mail tackle to speak.

Whereas Proton says it fights authorized requests at any time when doable, the corporate mentioned it was obligated to cooperate with the legally binding order from Swiss authorities and that it wasn’t doable for the corporate to enchantment the request. However since Proton Mail emails are encrypted, the corporate was unable to offer info on the precise contents of the emails despatched by these utilizing the account to speak. After the information broke, Proton Mail eliminated wording on its web site that said “by default, we don’t hold any IP logs which could be linked to your nameless e mail account.” 

Proton Mail additionally up to date its privateness coverage after the incident.

“We are going to solely disclose the restricted consumer information we possess if we’re legally obligated to take action by a binding request coming from the competent Swiss authorities,” Proton Mail’s Privateness Coverage now reads. “We might adjust to electronically delivered notices solely when they’re delivered in full compliance with the necessities of Swiss legislation.” 

Nevertheless, underneath Swiss legislation, Proton Mail and Proton VPN are handled otherwise, a Proton spokesperson advised CNET by way of e mail. Whereas Proton Mail should adjust to legitimate courtroom orders from Swiss authorities, Proton VPN is not sure by the identical obligations.

“Swiss legislation doesn’t present the authorized foundation to order Proton VPN to retain consumer information or exercise information,” the spokesperson mentioned. “We thus can’t be compelled to retain IP addresses of a VPN account.”

Proton VPN’s privateness coverage states that the corporate would nonetheless be obligated to reveal the restricted consumer information it could possess to Swiss authorities if compelled by legislation “for the needs of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of prison offenses or the execution of prison penalties, together with the safeguarding in opposition to and the prevention of threats to public safety.” 

Person information Proton VPN collects features a consumer’s username, e mail tackle, billing information and information customers share with the corporate by way of help requests or bug stories, in keeping with the Privateness Coverage. If Proton VPN does not log consumer exercise, site visitors, IP tackle, location or session size, there would not be a lot at hand over to authorities regarding what any specific consumer was doing whereas related to Proton VPN’s servers.

Due to its dedication to transparency and its breadth of fantastic privateness and safety features, we suggest Proton VPN as a first-rate VPN for customers with essential privateness wants like journalists, dissidents, legal professionals, medical doctors and activists. Due to its stealth protocol and Safe Core servers, it is also a worthy possibility for individuals in areas the place VPNs are restricted. One caveat right here is that Proton VPN has had points working for customers in China, however the firm is engaged on options.

“Mainland China has very subtle and efficient censorship techniques, and we won’t assure Proton VPN works there,” a Proton spokesperson advised CNET. “However we’re investing closely in creating anti-censorship capabilities that may permit us to bypass makes an attempt to dam VPNs.”

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