Ultimate Proton VPN review 2023: Budget-friendly, but is it up to the task?

Ruheni Mathenge Last updated: March 30, 2023 Read time: 16 minutes Disclosure
Facts checked by Ali Qamar

Proton VPN has garnered massive popularity due to its association with ProtonMail. It is growing steadily but is it enough for your needs?

When you visit most VPN websites, you’ll see assertions that they are privacy experts. However, there isn’t much to back up the claims. Proton VPN stands out because it has a good record of keeping its users safe. The parent company also operates ProtonMail, the world’s leading end-to-end encrypted email service.

Since its inception in 2016, Proton VPN has grown significantly. It started with a few servers but has now expanded its network to over 60 countries. The VPN has apps for all devices with solid-rock security, excellent privacy features, an intuitive interface, and super-fast speeds. Although it has a free plan, the downsides include a pricey long-term plan and a lack of live chat support on weekends.

So, is Proton VPN the best VPN service for your needs? In this review, we will look at everything the service has to offer.

Short on time? Here are our key findings on Proton VPN

  • Vital security feature – It uses advanced security features to safeguard your data and maintain your privacy. We didn’t experience any DNS or IP leaks during testing.
  • Can bypass restrictions – You can efficiently unblock Netflix’s geo-blocks alongside other streaming sites without any issues.
  • Incredible speeds – The speed remained consistent on most servers, and it is enough for intensive tasks like torrenting, HD streaming, gaming, etc.
  • Intuitive interface – The app is aesthetically designed and easy to use. You can navigate the app, connect to servers and turn on the features effortlessly.

Proton VPN pros and cons

What we liked

  • Strict zero-logs policy: Does not retain identifiable logs and even issues an annual transparency report to back the claims.
  • Uninterrupted streaming: With no IP blacklisting and speeds of up to 72Mbps, you will have a smooth streaming experience on any site.
  • Limitless P2P sharing: It has special P2P servers and unlimited bandwidth, so you can torrent as much as you want buffer-free.
  • Free plan: The VPN offers a free plan, although it is limited to only one server that’s in the UK. Unlike paid, the plan has three server locations, medium speed, and doesn’t allow P2P.

What we didn’t like

  • Unreliable customer support: You can only contact the support through email and tickets. It does not have a 24/7 live chat for free users. Paid users get access to live chat but only on weekdays 9-5 pm CET.
  • Decent-sized network: The server selection and locations are small compared to its rivals like Surfshark.

The background information

ProtonVPN review

Proton VPN and Proton Mail were conceptualized when the founding team met at CERN, where the web was born. The idea for ProtonMail was to enable people to send and receive mail securely and privately over the web.

On the other hand, the Proton VPN project protected journalists and activists using ProtonMail. It has grown exponentially to over 2700 servers in 67 countries with a long and indisputable track record. More servers are better; you will likely get a server closer to your location. Usually, proximity to a server impacts your connection speeds.

Proton Technologies AG, the company behind Proton VPN, is based in Geneva, Switzerland. The country has a reputation for being privacy-friendly. Switzerland is not a member of the 14-Eye countries, but it sometimes cooperates with partner countries to share intelligence information. The good news is that it does not compel companies to retain users’ data. That is why Proton VPN observes a strict no-logs policy. 

Proton VPN issues a transparency report to disclose any request for user information by a third party (such as the government) on its website. The most recent one was in 2019 when the company received a request from the Swiss authorities. Since it does not keep any logs, there was no information to hand over. This is one of the few VPNs you can trust with your data.

Proton VPN’s main features at a glance

Encryption  AES 256-bit encryption 
Number of servers  2700+
Countries with servers 67
Logging policy  Strict no-logs 
Simultaneous connections  10 
Money-back guarantee  30 days 
Leak protection  DNS/IPv6 Kill switch 

How fast is Proton VPN?

When using a VPN to safeguard your privacy, you must accept that your speeds will reduce slightly. This is because of the encryption process and routing of your traffic through remote servers. However, note that many factors can affect your speed, such as your ISP, time of the day, server distance, etc.