PrivateVPN is the upcoming contender on our list of VPN services that need to be put to work and reviewed by our team since its name caught our attention. Not that its name is redundant (the ‘P’ in ‘VPN’ already stands for ‘Private’) or anything, we were just impressed that the team behind this project really emphasized the most important aspect of their product: privacy.
We’re about to show you a bunch of data regarding the company that supports PrivateVPN, take their product on a test drive, talk about its main features and keep you posted with our findings. As usual, tests will be done with widely-accessible tools so that you can replicate them and even discuss your results with us.
Yes, this may be what you can call a “long read”, but don’t even fret, because we’ve got you covered. Instead of soldiering through the whole review, which might be holding sections that might not pique your interest that much, you can jump straight to the parts that interest you most. How? Why, by using this nifty table of content, of course!
- Behind the curtains
- 14 Eyes Alliance
- The situation in Sweden
- PrivateVPN’s reaction
- Terms of Service analysis
- PrivateVPN – a few words first
- Security protocols they use
- Quick rundown on protocols
- Supports several devices
- Creating an account
- Quite difficult to find
- Checking the installer for malware
- Setting up PrivateVPN on your device
- First-time users
- Simple vs Advanced
- Complex settings for seasoned users
- Two proprietary sections
- Finally, the server list
- Using PrivateVPN with Netflix
- Torrenting with PrivateVPN
- Customer support experience
- Some alternatives
- Time for some tests
- Promising security results
- Now for the speed tests
- Free trial
- Multiple subscription plans
- Referring a friend
Behind the curtains
Not much can be discussed about the people who made PrivateVPN possible and are currently supporting this project since the information on their website is pretty rudimentary. However, experience taught us that this is not necessarily a bad sign since these companies usually protect some of their info in order to be able to secure yours against the prying eyes of law-enforcement agencies or Government institutions, you get the picture.
The company’s birth took place in Stockholm, Sweden, in the year of 2009. The company’s full name is Privat Kommunikation Sverige AB. Right on top of their homepage, you’ll be prompted with a “ZERO Data Logging Policy” note that promotes PrivateVPN as a product that doesn’t log their users’ online activity:
Our Swedish privacy laws mean there’s NO traffic logs kept to be seized by governments.
Unlike many other VPN providers, even WE don’t know what you’re doing online.
14 Eyes Alliance
As you may or may not know, Sweden is part of an alliance called the 14 Eyes, which includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, and Spain.
To keep things short, this alliance represents various international surveillance agencies from these countries mentioned above that work together in order to collect various mass-surveillance data and share it with one another. Long story short, they act as one global surveillance agency that aims to know everything about your online activity.
The situation in Sweden
As you may or may not be aware of, there’s been a constant struggle in Sweden over the past few years regarding data retention laws. In other words, many attempts have been made to pass laws that enforce data retention rules for ISPs and VPN services, so that their users can be monitored in a more convenient fashion.
However, this battle has been going on and off for several years, as the laws have been deemed as privacy infringements, legislations were declared illegal or invalid and some chose to ignore ECJ’s decision. Sweden’s government claimed that Sweden’s law is written better than the EU directive and, combined with the fact that the directive hasn’t been successfully implemented in other states, they had the leverage to ignore the ECJ decision from 2014.
Finally, ten EU countries either refused to implement data retention directives or did implement them but the applicable legislation was overturned in the respective country’s constitutional court. (Take a look at this Link)
According to the team behind the PrivateVPN, currently, in Sweden, there are even ISPs who refuse to collect data from their customers and won the right to protect their customers’ privacy in court. That’s good news.
Well, it’s important to mention that these data retention laws that have been creeping around weren’t only for ISPs. The supporters of this directive attempted to tighten the noose around VPN providers in such a fashion that it’d be impossible for them to refuse to cooperate with law enforcement agencies or even the government whenever the need arose.
However, PrivateVPN did their homework, kept their cool about the whole situation and, even more, they were entirely transparent with their users by posting updates regarding the directives and how the law can affect their users. Here’s hoping they will maintain this level of transparency if things suddenly go downhill at some point.
Terms of Service analysis
As you’ve grown accustomed to (if you’ve been reading our reviews, that is), here’s the section where we’re going to discuss some important stuff, although you might not realize it because you’re probably one of the many PC users who just skip every time they see the terms “policy,” “conditions,” “license” and “agreement” flashing on their screen.
We get it, we’re just as tired of reading through what seems like an unending stream of information that lets us know what we can and what we can’t do and what is the company behind the product we’re using responsible for, as well as things that they’re not accountable for. It may be boring, but it’s good that you’re aware of these things.
So we thought about putting it down in a more accessible manner: by going through the whole document, extracting its essence and bringing it back to you here, on FindYourVPN.com. Let’s begin.
- Unlike many other similar services, just accessing the website isn’t enough to be bound by PrivateVPN’s terms and conditions. However, you need to register on the website in order to agree with the terms;
- There’s some clarification available where you can better understand what a VPN is and how it can help you hide your online identity by scrambling your traffic, so even if it (the traffic) gets “bugged,” the person who intercepts it can’t make much out of it;
- The pricing section lets you know that you must pay a price in advance so you can receive a period of 30, 90 or 365 days worth of PrivateVPN service;
- In order to access the service, you must register for an account on the PrivateVPN website, which implies that you must provide a valid email address;
- After you provide the website with a valid email address, you’ll be sent a confirmation email message at said address that will contain the login information to the website;
- You must download the PrivateVPN client on your computer and install it, after which you will pay the price for the requested service. Once PrivateVPN has received the payment confirmation, you can start using the service;
- As PrivateVPN clearly states in the agreement, the payment must always be made in advance through either PayPal or Stripe;
- The agreement begins when you pay the fee and gain access to the service and expires at the end of the period that you paid for;
- In case you’re thinking about receiving a refund, you have 14 days to act on it, but only if you didn’t start using the service yet;
- If you’re a new customer who just registered a new account on the PrivateVPN website, you can have your money back in the first 30 days of your purchase if you’re not satisfied with the purchase or regret it;
- You must specify the reason(s) why you want to receive a refund from PrivateVPN and also you need to have been used less than 100 GBs worth of traffic during the 30-day timeframe;
- You are not allowed to use the service in improper ways or use it to harm others, such as third parties, other users, or vendors;
- You are solely responsible for the way you’re using the service;
- You are responsible for making sure that the way that you’re using the service is in accordance with applicable Swedish law;
- If you violate any of the obligations above, PrivateVPN reserves the right to suspend your account on the spot without any refund obligations;
- PrivateVPN claims that immediate action in the form of troubleshooting will be taken in case the service experience outages and other disruptions;
- If you find yourself unable to use the service during an outage or other disruptions, you become entitled to an extension of the current agreement with a “reasonable number of days” that will be determined by PrivateVPN;
- You can’t claim any other compensation than the one mentioned above for the situation mentioned above;
- If there’s any disruption, outage or other events that would make the service unusable caused by your Internet, hardware or software, PrivateVPN will not be held responsible for it;
- PrivateVPN is not liable for any inconvenience, harm or loss that might arise as a direct or indirect consequence of outages or other disruptions in the service;
- PrivateVPN claims that it doesn’t have access to any other information about you other than the details that you willingly provided during registration (i.e. your email address, your username, and your password);
- You must understand that the content of the agreement can be changed at any time and you become bound by the modifications once you’ve been informed of the modifications via email;
Pretty standard stuff, pretty easy to read. Nothing shady here, so let’s move on to the next section, which will tell you more about your privacy while using PrivateVPN.
The data that PrivateVPN collects:
- Your email address;
- A password;
Notice that the data requirements are kept to a minimum. Your email address becomes your username. Payments are made via Payson, PayPal or Stripe. PrivateVPN does not collect or log traffic or service usage and no activities are being tracked outside of the website. Simply visiting the website doesn’t require you to hand over identifiable information.
How PrivateVPN uses your data:
- To create your account;
- To identify and communicate with you for customer support;
- To verify your identity when you log in to the PrivateVPN website;
- To verify your identity when you are using the PrivateVPN service;
- To complete your order;
- To keep internal records;
- To improve the PrivateVPN website;
- To send promotional emails for services that might be of interest to you;
- To understand how visitors use the website and services through usage analysis;
PrivateVPN claims it doesn’t share personal information with any third parties for marketing usage;
- Usage of the PrivateVPN requires that you agree with the usage of cookies;
- Session cookies are used to uniquely identify you while you’re logged in to your PrivateVPN account on the website;
- Persistent cookies will remain on your computer even after you’ve closed your browser or turned your computer off;
- You can disable cookies from your browser’s settings section, but doing so might make the website and some of its features not fully functional;
- PrivateVPN claims that their website’s protection is in line with the industry standard;
- The security measures are used to protect your personal info from theft, loss or misuse;
- PrivateVPN states that they can’t guarantee 100% protection but that they’re doing their best to keep your data safe;
PrivateVPN – a few words first
As you probably figured out for yourselves, PrivateVPN is a VPN service that, by its very nature, can help you maintain an anonymous connection to the Internet and keep your whole online activity to yourself as much as you possibly can and away from prying eyes of third-party companies, institutions or even malevolent computer users.
Of course, VPNs come with additional functionality. That means that not only can PrivateVPN hide your online identity and keep it safe, but it can also unlock a wide variety of web contents that would be otherwise unavailable to you.
More so, speed shouldn’t be an issue, since this service provides you with more than 80 server locations in 59 countries so that you can benefit from its capabilities regardless of your current location: home or abroad.
Generally, there’s no limitation, so it’s possible to connect from anywhere you like, but you can encounter restrictions in some countries, such as China, making it possible to connect exclusively through L2TP VPN, since their firewalls block access to PrivateVPN’s services.
Security protocols they use
Like every pizza parlor in your city, all VPN providers brag about their “highest speed” and “most efficient, air-tight connections.” However, while pizza is subjected to each individual’s taste, online security isn’t, so it shouldn’t be taken easily.
As stated on their website, PrivateVPN makes use of “military-grade AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) 256-bit encryption code with 2048-bit DH key.” This makes sure that your connection’s chances of getting compromised are kept to a minimum. Furthermore, the PrivateVPN team claims that these means of securing your Internet connection won’t even slow down your connection or interrupt it. Impressive.
Quick rundown on protocols
If you’re a seasoned VPN user, you probably know all about these codes and combinations, AES, 256, and so on, or you at least heard about them at least once before. But novices users who are interested in this kind of stuff are about to receive clarification.
The AES-256 encryption code means that in order for anyone to break into your data, they would need to try an outstanding amount of distinct combinations (2 to the 256th power). This level of security is also used by the U.S. Government and its military as well, so you can probably paint a picture of how exactly strong it is.
Supports several devices
PrivateVPN embraced a wide variety of devices and optimized their services so that they can be run from Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Linux devices, as well as routers, proxy, Kodi and OpenVPN. So no matter what device you like spending your time on browsing, PrivateVPN most likely has got you covered.
If you’re having trouble configuring your device to run PrivateVPN or if you’re a novice computer user who would rather skip messing with advanced configuration settings or complicated steps by trial and error, you can access an installation guide on their website.
As for the maximum number of connections from multiple devices, the amount is 6. You can connect to and use PrivateVPN simultaneously, on the same account, from six different devices, which is not a small number.
Creating an account
It goes without saying that if you’re planning on using PrivateVPN, you’ll be needing an account to accomplish that. Don’t act all surprised now. If you’d have read the Terms of Service section (as you should have), you would have known that by now.
It’s not a big deal, either, since PrivateVPN claims not to be needing a lot of personal information about you, except your email address and a password, but the latter can’t be considered “personally-identifiable”, so it’s really just the email address that should fall into this category.
However, we’re not going to abandon you on this, as we’re planning on giving you the full rundown on how to create a PrivateVPN account. Well, not exactly a rundown, but a step-by-step guide instead. Sounds good? So all you have to do to create a PrivateVPN account is:
- Go to PrivateVPN;
- Click the large “Get PrivateVPN” button;
- Select a plan from the designated menu, depending on your needs (you can save 65% on PrivateVPN);
- Type your email address in the appropriate field;
- Type a password in the dedicated field;
- Choose your preferred method of payment;
- Provide the required payment information;
- Hit the payment button;
That’s it! As you probably figured out all by yourself, you’re not only the proud owner of a recently-created PrivateVPN account, but you also have a subscription plan to go with it. Nice and easy, right?
Quite difficult to find
Although the installation process itself is quite simplistic, actually finding the setup package on PrivateVPN’s website can be a bit tricky, even for full members with a paid subscription.
The homepage greets you with a large, red, tempting “Get PrivateVPN” button, so, naturally, you’d assume that once you’re logged in and click this button, the download would start. But instead, you’re transferred to the price list, where you can see the available plans and get PrivateVPN at 65% off.
After we explored their website for a while, we stumbled on the download page in the “View our Software” section, under the “Why PrivateVPN?” category. Finally! However, just scrolling to the bottom of the website and clicking the “Download” hyperlink also does the trick.
Checking the installer for malware
Now you didn’t imagine that we’d let you skip straight to installing the service on your computer in a hasty manner, right? We still have some check-ups to perform before we get to the setting up part of the review.
Just kidding, we’re only here to check for malware components, and as I know many of you don’t use an antivirus solution, we’re just going to take the installer executable, upload it on the VirusTotal website and wait for the results.
Uploading on VirusTotal beats checking files with a single antivirus solution anyway since it comes with several antivirus engines, so that the chances that some malware code escapes our magnifying glass are pretty slim: next to none.
As you can see from our results page and also the screenshot that we’ve attached below, the PrivateVPN Windows installer triggered absolutely no alert during our VirusTotal scan. Time to move on to the next step, which is…
Setting up PrivateVPN on your device
First thing’s first, we had to deploy this VPN service app on our computer, which is a Windows 10 laptop. For the sake of accuracy and not over-complicating things, all our reviews and tests refer to Windows 10 devices, since we believe it’s the most widely-used type of device when talking about VPN.
As you can see for yourself, installing this application on our computer proved to be a painless operation that was done in a timely manner. All we had to do was follow the on-screen instructions provided by the integrated wizard interface and it was done in no time. The version we installed was 2.3.0.
If you’re among the ones who run PrivateVPN for the first time on their computers, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to notice that the main window is not complicated, but actually simple enough to be used by virtually anyone who has basic experience with operating computers.
Aside from logging into your account (which you have to do in order to make use of this app’s capabilities), choosing a favorite server from the list and hitting the “Connect” button, there’s not much that needs to be done.
However, if you’re the curious type that likes to tamper with settings and take advantage of all this service has got to offer, PrivateVPN has something in store for you, too.
Simple vs Advanced
As stated above, PrivateVPN comes in two flavors, depending on whether you like getting your hands dirty or not. All you have to do is hit the “Advanced” button to switch to the more comprehensive interface, or click the “Simple” button in the main window if you somehow ended in a window with more than just a bunch of options (we’re talking about the Advanced section of the app, of course).
In the “Simple” version, you can browse a list of servers, connect to the one you chose, view your connection status, check the version of the app, view the number of days remaining on your subscription, log out of the service, access live support and toggle the advanced view.
Here’s where things get pretty: the advanced view of the app is no more complicated than, say, shutting down your computer or accessing the “Control Panel.” However, the options here are more numerous and allow you to perform complex, in-depth operations that affect the app’s overall usability.
Complex settings for seasoned users
Let’s begin with the main window, which gets divided into four different sections that you can navigate through by simply clicking the tabs on the left side of the screen. You can access the dashboard, the “Settings” category, the “Connection Guard” as well as the “Stealth VPN” sections from here.
Let’s explain each one. The dashboard is where you view the connection status, choose your location, view the connection time, it’s pretty much the same thing like the main window in “Simple” view, only that this Advanced mode lets you choose the connection type you prefer as well as the encryption mode. Connection types include OpenVPN (TUN + UDP + 1194), OpenVPN (TUN + UDP + 443), OpenVPN (TAP + UDP), PPTP and L2TP, while the encryption modes menu lets you choose from AES-128-CBC, AES-256-CBC, AES-128-GCM and AES-256-GCM.
Moving on to the “Settings” category (which is pretty self-explanatory), where I assume most of you tinkerers generally spend most of your time, tweaking and making the service more to your taste. I believe you won’t be too excited when you see that only a bunch of options can be customized, and they’re not risky at all (such as ones that make the service unusable after messing around with them). Although advanced users might be slightly disappointed, the fact that these “Advanced” settings can be understood and configured even by novices grants PrivateVPN a ton of bonus points.
I almost forgot; the settings that you CAN change in this section are toggling the app to be launched on system startup, connect automatically on startup, reconnect automatically on connection failure, enable Windows notifications, choose the language, open the “Logs” folder and install or repair the Windows TAP adapter (which automatically disconnects you from the VPN server if selected).
Two proprietary sections
The following categories have specific names, so we dedicated an entire subtitle to them. The “Connection Guard” doesn’t actually bring anything new to the table, but it provides you with some features that can improve your connection even more by stapling additional layers of protection on top of it. Here you can activate the IPv6 Leak Protection, the DNS Leak Protection, the Kill Switch that prevents reconnecting to the Internet whenever there’s a connection failure, as well as the Application Guard, which automatically terminates user-defined processes when you disconnect from the VPN server. Pretty cool!
Last, but not least, the “Stealth VPN” section is actually a simple feature that can be enabled or disabled to your liking in a quick and easy manner. This feature attempts to bypass VPN blocks and DPI firewalls, but, as you might notice in the feature’s main screen, enabling this function might slow down your network.
Finally, the server list
As we always do, here’s the much-expected list of servers that PrivateVPN offers you. Notice that aside from the server’s location, you can also view its address, which can come in really handy if you need to connect manually.
|Country||Server address||Port OpenVPN-TAP-UDP||OpenVPN-TUN-UDP/TCP||Socks5 Proxy||HTTP Proxy|
|Argentina – Buenos Aires(Virtual)||ar-bue.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Australia – Melbourne||au-mel.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Australia – Sydney 1||au-syd.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Australia – Sydney 2||au-syd2.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Austria – Wien||at-wie.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Belgium – Brussels||be-bru.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Brazil – Sao Paulo||br-sao.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Bulgaria – Sofia||bg-sof.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Canada – Montreal||ca-mon.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Canada – Toronto 1||ca-tor.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Canada – Toronto 2||ca-tor2.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Canada – Vancouver||ca-van.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Chile – Santiago(Virtual)||cl-san.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Colombia – Bogotá(Virtual)||co-bog.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Costa Rica – San Jose||cr-san.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Croatia – Zagreb||hr-zag.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Cyprus – Nicosia||cy-nic.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Czech Republic – Prague||cz-pra.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Denmark – Copenhagen||dk-cop.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Finland – Espoo||fi-esp.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|France – Gravelines||fr-gra.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|France – Paris 1||fr-par.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|France – Paris 2(Virtual)||fr-par2.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|France – Paris 3||fr-par3.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Germany – Frankfurt 1||de-fra.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Germany – Frankfurt 2||de-fra2.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Germany – Nuremberg||de-nur.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Greece – Athens||gr-ath.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Hungary – Budapest||hu-bud.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Iceland – Reykjavik||is-rey.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|India – Bangalore(Virtual)||in-ban.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|India – Chennai||in-che.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Indonesia – Jakarta||id-jak.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Ireland – Dublin||ie-dub.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Isle of Man – Ballasalla||im-bal.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Israel – Tel Aviv||il-tel.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Italy – Arezzo(Virtual)||it-are.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Italy – Milan 1||it-mil.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Italy – Milan 2||it-mil2.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Japan – Tokyo 1||jp-tok.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Japan – Tokyo 2(Virtual)||jp-tok2.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Latvia – Riga||lv-rig.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Lithuania – Siauliai||lt-sia.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Luxembourg – Steinsel||lu-ste.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur||my-kua.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Malta – Qormi||mt-qor.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Mexico – Mexico City||mx-mex.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Moldova – Chisinau||md-chi.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Netherlands – Amsterdam 1||nl-ams.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Netherlands – Amsterdam 2||nl-ams2.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Netherlands – Amsterdam 3||nl-ams3.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|New Zealand – Auckland||nz-auc.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Norway – Oslo||no-osl.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Panama – Panama City(Virtual)||pa-pan.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Peru – Lima(Virtual)||pe-lim.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Philippines – Manila(Virtual)||ph-man.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Poland – Torun||pl-tor.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Portugal – Lisbon||pt-lis.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Romania – Bukarest||ro-buk.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Russia – Krasnoyarsk||ru-kra.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Russia – Moscow||ru-mos.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Russia – St. Petersburg||ru-pet.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Serbia – Belgrade||rs-bel.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Slovakia – Bratislava||sk-bra.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|South Africa – Johannesburg||za-joh.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|South Korea – Seoul||kr-seo.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Spain – Madrid||es-mad.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Sweden – Gothenburg||se-got.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Sweden – Kista||se-kis.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Sweden – Stockholm||se-sto.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Switzerland – Zürich 1||ch-zur.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Switzerland – Zürich 2||ch-zur2.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Taiwan – Taipei||tw-tai.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Thailand – Bangkok||th-ban.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Turkey – Istanbul||tr-ist.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|United Kingdom – London 1||uk-lon.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|United Kingdom – London 2||uk-lon2.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|United Kingdom – London 3||uk-lon3.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|United Kingdom – London 5||uk-lon5.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|United Kingdom – London 6||uk-lon6.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|United Kingdom – London 7||uk-lon7.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|United Kingdom – Manchester||uk-man.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Ukraine – Kiev||ua-kie.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Ukraine – Nikolaev||ua-nik.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|United Arab Emirates – Dubai||ae-dub.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – Atlanta||us-atl.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – Buffalo||us-buf.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – Chicago 1||us-chi.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – Chicago 2||us-chi2.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – Dallas||us-dal.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – Las Vegas||us-las.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – Los Angeles||us-los.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – Miami||us-mia.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – New Jersey||us-jer.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – New York 1||us-nyc.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – New York 2||us-nyc2.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – New York 4||us-nyc4.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|USA – Phoenix||us-pho.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
|Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City||vn-hoc.pvdata.host||21000||1194/443||1080||8080|
Using PrivateVPN with Netflix
As stated at the beginning of the article, aside from letting you fly under the radar on the Internet, the VPN also plays a major role in unlocking online content for you that is otherwise not available.
Take one of the most popular services, for example, Netflix, which still has a ton of content for the non-US user, but some important shows are exclusively available for US Netflix users (Futurama, 30 Rock, The Walking Dead and many more).
A few years ago, Netflix stated that they will remove Netflix access to overseas VPN users, which they did for a while (and still do, mind you), but nowadays, Netflix has widened its range of countries that can benefit from its services. While this is good news for Netflix fans, some important content is still unavailable for certain regions.
PrivateVPN claims that you can unlock the contents you long for by simply selecting a US-based location from the list of servers, and Netflix will think that you are on US territory, therefore won’t cut your access. Furthermore, even though the risk that your account can be compromised still exists, PrivateVPN claims that their “military-grade encryption has NEVER been compromised since we launched in 2008″ and “In short, yes, your account is safe”.
We have also tested to check if there are no interruptions during our time on Netflix, while we were connected to PrivateVPN servers. There were no interruptions or drops in streaming quality whatsoever.
Torrenting with PrivateVPN
Another important aspect is that of torrenting. If you’ve made it this far, you probably know a thing or two about torrenting, and how online anonymity is crucial whenever you’re using this P2P file sharing service (or any other P2P file-sharing services, to be honest).
Some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have this habit of spying on almost everything you do online, especially when it comes to file-sharing or other kinds of activity that might be even considered sketchy. However, people you torrent from or engage in P2P file-sharing with can also see your real IP and unwillingly reveal sensitive data about you.
PrivateVPN lets you mask your real IP address whenever you’re torrenting so that you can protect yourself from users who might want more from you than just “leech” from you and hide your activity from nosy ISPs. Thus, you’ll be able to dodge blackmailing or interception, while still engaging in P2P file-sharing in a safe environment.
Although torrenting is more often than not used for sharing illegal content, it doesn’t mean that by providing you with a safe environment for torrenting, PrivateVPN endorses this kind of behavior. And neither do we.
Customer support experience
At the time we wrote this review, we couldn’t for the lives of us locate any form of live chat on the PrivateVPN website. Clicking the chat bubble at the bottom of the screen brought us to a form where an email, name, and message could be typed (every field is mandatory), while using the “Live Support” button/hyperlink from the app’s main window lead us to a dead-end: a page with a large red button which read “Offline – Contact Us.”
However, times changed, since nowadays PrivateVPN offers you full-fledged live chat support, along with efficient operators, who make their best effort to deliver prompt, helpful and friendly responses to your inquiries.
Although receiving an instant reply to your queries from the live chat service might sound more appealing, the email support system is not to be ignored or underestimated. We’ve tried contacting the team and received a reply in 2-3 hours, which, honestly, is not bad at all.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to receive real-time assistance or one with a bit of delay, but would prefer to solve things on your own, you can rely on the knowledge base on the website. Just reach to the support section on the website and use the “Getting Started” or “FAQ” sections.
The “Getting Started” category will provide you with enough information to configure and run the service on several devices and in various ways, depending on your needs. For instance, reaching the “Windows” category lets you choose from “Windows 10,” “Windows 8.1,” “Windows 7” and “Windows XP” operating systems, each of which providing you with subdivisions such as “IKEv2,” “L2TP,” “PPTP” and “PrivateVPN APP,” the last of which is the recommended choice.
If you still didn’t find what you were looking for, check the “FAQ” sections, which encompasses a bunch of information sorted in various categories, such as “General,” data regarding “PrivateVPN,” “Subscriptions” but also “Issues” that you might encounter on the road.
Time for some tests
We’ve covered just about everything that we could in terms of how to use the program and whether it’s easy enough to use, but now, as usual, it’s time to stress-test it and see if it cracks. I mean running our standard set of tests and bringing the results back to you.
We’re still using the same services that we’ve described in this article to determine whether PrivateVPN has any chinks in its armor or is completely air-tight and checking speed values for our connections will be done, as usual, with Netflix’s fast.com service.
It goes without saying that, when talking about VPN providers, privacy comes first and speed doesn’t really matter if the service you chose can’t give you a security level that’s as close to 100% as possible. That’s why we always prioritize security/leak tests over speed ones and we can’t stress this enough that if you’re looking for a fast VPN and don’t care about privacy too much, then you probably shouldn’t be using a VPN service in the first place.
Promising security results
Well, the tests results are back and they look promising.
So, that’s it. No leaks, no major data reveal, everything is tidy, whatever needs to be spoofed has been successfully hidden. From that point of view, we can agree that PrivateVPN doesn’t disappoint.
Now for the speed tests
Once we’ve passed the security checkpoint, we can sigh relieved knowing that this VPN service won’t let anything out while you’re using it and start giving our undivided attention to speed, the next best thing that PrivateVPN claims to be offering to its users.
We’ve performed a series of tests by choosing a bunch of random servers from random locations (we chose one server from each continent and ran our speed tests on each and every single one of our lucky contenders) and the results are as follows:
|Location||Internet Speed||Latency||Upload Speed||Downloaded||Uploaded|
|U.S.A.||24 Mbps||125 ms||159 ms||77 Mbps||90 MB||270 MB|
|Germany||84 Mbps||47 ms||114 ms||120 Mbps||70 MB||490 MB|
|Brazil||21 Mbps||225 ms||236 ms||49 Mbps||50 MB||240 MB|
|Hong Kong||27 Mbps||252 ms||281 ms||18 Mbps||40 MB||80 MB|
|South Africa||23 Mbps||218 ms||242 ms||23 Mbps||50 MB||100 MB|
|Australia||33 Mbps||314 ms||316 ms||81 Mbps||80 MB||330 MB|
The results were definitely surprising (in a good way), since the speed values were higher than we expected, as a matter of fact, they’re among the highest values we’ve encountered so far. More so, areas who usually have lower speeds had surprisingly high values, which scores PrivateVPN some bonus points for focusing on high-quality services even in areas with underdeveloped Internet infrastructures.
It is worth mentioning that if you experience difficulties with your current connection, you can always toggle the “Advanced” view and change the connection type or choose another server for the location you want (if available). More so, some locations also offer dedicated Netflix servers, so you should keep your eyes peeled for them if you’re interested.
The results of our speed tests can be also viewed in the screenshots posted below:
Now that security and speed testing procedures are out of the way, we can start talking about money. Although not in a traditional manner, PrivateVPN does offer you a 7-day trial version that can help you decide whether this service is adequate for your needs or not.
However, it’s not one of those trials where you simply download a client that expires after a while. You have to contact them to receive a “gift code” and your trial period starts after you register your account, as stated here:
To test PrivateVPN risk-free for 7 days, email us at [email protected] to receive a gift code. Your trial time starts as soon as you register your account.
While it’s a bit inconvenient that activating the trial doesn’t happen instantly, it’s still a generous gesture from PrivateVPN, considering that other services, more expensive ones, offer no trial.
Multiple subscription plans
PrivateVPN offers you several subscription plans that you can apply for, depending on your needs. On the main page of the plans you can notice there are three main offers, each one of them also backed by a generous discount. These are:
|Plan type||1 Month||3 Months|
|Features||6 simultaneous connections
Ultra fast servers in 60 countries
Supports all OS platforms
Best-in-class security & encryption
Unlimited bandwidth & server switches
30-Days Risk Free. Not satisfied? Get your money back
You should also be aware of the fact that this VPN provider also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. So if you’re not satisfied with the product during the first 30 days after your subscription plan starts, you can ask for a refund.
Referring a friend
If you’re a social person and know for a fact that some of your peers would be glad to have such a service in their lives, you might want to consider referring them, which can earn you some rewards.
The system works like this: you refer your buddies, they register an account and the moment they make a payment, your account receives some points that you can redeem for free days of using PrivateVPN.
Furthermore, when your friends purchase additional plans or add to their existing ones, your account is also rewarded with points, as follows: 1 month plan purchases grant you 100 points, 3 month plans are worth 250 points, while the biggest bounty of 1000 points can be yours if your buddies purchase 1-year plans.
Security looks good from our point of view, as we’ve run various tests against several scenarios and the outcome was nothing short of great. More so, we were pleasantly surprised to see that speed-wise, PrivateVPN scored very high by boasting high connection speed values, even in areas that are not exactly popular for their great Internet connections.
You can run their product on 6 devices at the same time (support for various device types), can request a 7-day trial by contacting them directly and even get a refund if you’re not convinced that this is a fit choice for your needs during a 30-day period.
Do we recommend PrivateVPN? Yes.
+ Offers 7-day trial; (3.5)
+ 30-day money-back guarantee; (5)
+ Not too pricey; (4)
+ Good security; (4.5)
+ High overall speed; (4.5)
– Sweden is a member of 14 Eyes Alliance; (2)
– Live customer support not always available; (2.5)
– Fewer servers than other competitors; (4)
– Non-user-friendly download option; (3)
– No extensions are available. (3)
PrivateVPN gets a 3.6/5 rating.