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PrivateVPN Review

Rank #6
Ryan Glenn portrait
Ryan Glenn | VPN Expert
Updated November 1, 2020

PrivateVPN claims to be the fastest-growing VPN worldwide, currently, they have 45k+ customers. Does this fast-growing VPN have what it takes to provide top-notch security and privacy? How well can it hold up to the competition? I ran an abundance of tests to see how well it really performs. In this deep dive review, we will answer those questions from security, geoblocking, speed, streaming, and more.

What's in this Review?

Highlights
Pros and Cons
Privacy
Security
Server Locations
Streaming & Torrenting
Speed
Censorship
Ease of use
Pricing
Verdict

Highlights

Server Size
150+: 7,000+ IP Addresses

Server Locations
60 Countries

VPN protocol and Encryption
OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP; AES-256 bit Encryption

App Compatibility
Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Fire TV

Router Compatibility
Yes, installing the VPN on a compatible router is recommended to secure all devices without the need for downloading an app on each device or worrying about simultaneous device limitations. This is great for gaming consoles, smart TVs, and streaming devices.

Streaming
Unblocks popular streaming platforms including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and more

Logging Policy
Strict Zero Logging Policy

Support
Live chat support

Pros
  • Strong security (256-bit AES)
  • Strict zero log policy
  • Optimized server locations including Asia and South America
  • Excellent streaming option for Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • Available on a range of platforms
  • Torrenting P2P availability on servers
  • Try it free for 30 days
Cons
  • Smaller number of servers
  • VPN kill switch only for Windows
  • No split tunneling feature
  • Live customer support not 24 hours
  • Based in Sweden part of the 14 Eyes

Privacy

PrivateVPN is headquartered in the jurisdiction of Sweden. This means they are subject to the 14 Eyes surveillance alliances. Typically this is not great but VPNs can offset this issue if they have a strict-zero logs policy or can back it up with privacy audits. Luckily PrivateVPN has a strict no-logs policy.

PrivateVPN does not track any activity or log any personal information, this means that if they were asked to comply with any type of investigation it does not have any information about its VPN subscribers to give to the authorities so there is nothing for users to be concerned about.

PrivateVPN Privacy

PrivacyVPN has clarified their logging policy from the past to ensure their customers understand what they collect.

Here is what they collects:
  • Diagnostic information to improve product
  • Payment
  • email for account
  • Cookies
Here is what they do not collect:
  • IP addresses
  • Browsing history
  • Connections timestamps
  • DNS queries

PrivateVPN does not collect any data that would personally identify any user nor does it log any activity. This is excellent for a VPN service and as close to a no logs policy as possible. As of now, there are no audits conducted on their privacy policy like some of the top VPNs. We like to see PrivateVPN conduct privacy audits as this would go a long way to garner trust.

Security and Encryption

How secure is PrivateVPN?

PrivateVPN uses AES 256-bitencryption algorithm to hide your data. It’s the same encryption standard adopted by the U.S. government and used by security experts worldwide to protect classified information.

With our VPNs you’re protected by military-grade 2048-bit encryption, the most secure, rapid connection of its kind. This means you can stream HD video, surf the web and download content at lightning speeds, often faster than non-VPN connections.

AES-256, which has a key length of 256 bits, supports the largest bit size and is practically unbreakable by brute force based on current computing power, making it the strongest encryption standard.

256-bit keys means 2^256 or 1.1 x 10^77 possible combinations. That’s 115,​792,​089,​237,​316,​195,​423,​570,​985,​008,​687,​907,​853,​269,​984,​665,​640,​560,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000 combinations! A brute-force attack on a 256-bit keyspace is simply infeasible, even if all the world’s most powerful supercomputers ran for as long as the universe has existed so far, billions and billions of times over.
Protocols

PrivateVPN offers a variety of protocols penVPN OpenVPN(TCP/UDP), IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP

OpenVPN is your first choice. OpenVPN permits various kinds of authentication methods and utilizes a secure SSL/TLS protocol for key exchange. OpenVPN provides faster access speeds than L2TP, but it is not supported on all devices.
Kill VPN

One of the features PrivateVPN offers is a kill switch. The kill sitch is an advanced security measure, which prevents your data from leaking to the web.

If your VPN connection is ever interrupted, the kill switch will immediately stop traffic from entering or leaving your device. By halting all online activity, the kill switch keeps your personal information from being exposed to your internet service provider (ISP) or other prying eyes.
The kill switch means you never have to worry about a failed connection compromising your security and privacy.

The kill switch is available for Windows but missing for MacOS and mobile devices which is disapointing

Server Locations

PrivateVPN offers servers in 60 countries with good worldwide covereage. Coverage includes South America and Asia where other VPNs may lack in this area. Also, coverage in popular locations include Western Europe, Canada, US, Australia, and more. Even though ProvateVPN only has 150 servers they also have 7,000 individual IP Addresses so you never have to worry about congestion.

PrivateVPN server interface

Streaming

PrivateVPN does a great job of bypassing geoblocks. I tested many of their server locations and all had no problem acessing Netflix, one of the toughest geoblocking services. In fact they unblock one of the most Netflix libraries among all our VPN tests making it one of the best VPNs for Netflix.

Here are all the Neflix libraries(21 in total):

  • Sweden
  • US
  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Norway
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Switzerland
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Australia
  • Argentina
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • Canada

PrivateVPN also has optimized servers for BBC iPlayer making it a great option

Other streaming platforms that I had no problem with:

  • Sky
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • HBO
  • Hulu
  • ESPN
  • Kodi

And many more...

PrivateVPN server interface streaming
Torrenting

PrivateVPN is great for torrenting, they are not shy of making bold statements of being the best VPN for torrenting. They offer unlimited P2P file sharing and P2P availability on all their servers but they also have dedicated P2P-optimized servers in 17 countries. If you are a windows user make sure to enable the kill switch for extra security. See our top picks for torrenting

PrivateVPN offers port forwarding. The port forwarding feature redirects incoming connections to bypass any NAT firewall. This allows you to increase the number of torrenting peers you can communicate with which often improve your P2P download speeds.

Speed test results

PrivateVPN has fast local speeds, plenty enough for 4K streaming. We conducted a speed test, first by testing local speeds from New York and secondly international speeds. We tested 4 international server locations which are UK, Australia, Japan, and Canada.

We capped our speeds at 100 Mbps to compare VPN results and then by calculating a % loss between our baseline and resulting speeds to understand how much the VPN affected our speeds. The starting baseline speed with no VPN for upload is 94.38 Mbps and download is 85.74 Mbps.

One thing to note when I selected a server furthest away from my location the speed slightly decreases. The longer your traffic travels the slower your speeds will be, however, the best VPNs will mitigate the effects and ideally, you won't even notice the difference at all.

Server Location Download Upload Ping
US - New York 76.74 Mbps (18.69% loss) 54.25 Mbps (36.73% loss) 63 ms
UK - London 68.74 Mbps (27.17% loss) 38.14 Mbps (55.52% loss) 77 ms
AU - Sydney 18.18 Mbps (80.74% loss) 8.92 Mbps (89.6% loss) 417 ms
JP - Tokyo 48.79 Mbps (48.3% loss) 19.58 Mbps (77.16% loss) 209 ms
CA - Toronto 70.89 Mbps (24.89% loss) 52.85 Mbps (38.36% loss) 19 ms

Geoblocking, How well does it fare in China?

Finding a VPN in China is difficult, China has tough restrictions and government surveillance. Some VPN's are not powerful enough to bypass these restrictions and are blocked from accessing VPN sites and apps.

Fortunately, PrivateVPN bypasses China's censorship with ease this is due to privacy tools and Stealth VPN protocol making it an excellent VPN option to bypass censored countries.

Ease of Use and Support

PrivateVPN makes it very simple and easy to use for all platforms including device specific apps. Installation is very simple and you can get started in quickly with instuctions guide. It is very easy to use their interface as it is similar look and feel between desktop and mobile.

Browser extensions

Unfortunately, PrivateVPN does not have a browser extension at the moment.

They provide FAQs, getting started guides, and troubleshooting in their support section.

Customer Support

PrivateVPN has live chat support but it is not 24/7. I tested how responsive the live chat and there were able to address my question within 10 minutes. You can also submit a message as they have a ticketing system.

Pricing

PrivateVPN's pricing is straight forward, they offer three different plans. Each plan includes all of the features and functionality they offer so there is no upselling. They are budget-friendly and offer great prices but remember the longer your subscription the lower your overall savings will be. Also, they are dedicated to providing a superior VPN experience to its customers making it a value.

Friendly payment methods including anonymity
  • Credit/Debit card
  • Paypal
  • Bitcoin

Verdict

8.3
Privacy & Security
Speed & Reliability
Streaming & Torrenting
Advanced Features
Usability & Support

There is a lot to like about PrivateVPN, despite their small server size PrivateVPN strategically places its servers in excellent locations while offering a ton of IP addresses to enhance server performance. Server speed, reliability, and optimization certainly stands strong which is one of several reasons why we reccommend PrivateVPN.

Bottom Line

PrivateVPN offers military grade security while offering some of the best streaming for Neflix and BBC iPlayer. Private VPN is fast and reliable allowing the VPN to grow its customer base quickly. PrivateVPN is moving up our list for best VPNs.
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