PrivateVPN Review (2022): Secure VPN, Perfect for Streaming!
PrivateVPN is a user-friendly virtual private network provider from the Swedish company Privat Kommunikation Sverige AB. Established in 2009, this VPN is designed to unblock geo-restricted content and enable users to access the internet anonymously. PrivateVPN has a no logging policy, unlimited bandwidth, and provides the “highest level of encryption.”
In July 2022, the international web hosting company Miss Group officially acquired PrivateVPN.
With the change of ownership, is PrivateVPN still safe? How does its performance compare to other VPNs? We put PrivateVPN to the test, assessing its speed, security, user-friendliness, and more.
Read our full PrivateVPN review below for all the details.
PrivateVPN: A Short Review
|Unblocks the U.S. Netflix library and works with many other streaming services||Live chat support is not always available|
|No logs||Small server network compared to competitors|
|Decent speeds||Doesn’t come with some advanced features like the WireGuard protocol and split-tunneling|
|Supports torrents||No browser extension|
|Offers dedicated IP addresses|
PrivateVPN is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux devices, as well as smart TVs and routers. This VPN supports up to 10 simultaneous connections.
PrivateVPN subscriptions start at just a couple of dollars per month if you opt for a two-year subscription. And, if you’re on the fence, you can take advantage of the PrivateVPN free trial with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The most impressive thing about PrivateVPN is that it can unblock most streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and HBO. Also, PrivateVPN’s dedicated IP servers bolster your security, and its port forwarding supports safe torrenting.
There’s a kill switch on the PrivateVPN Windows, macOS, and Android apps, plus built-in leak protection. Also, it provides decent speeds regardless of the server you connect to. Overall, PrivateVPN ticks all the boxes to be a great VPN service — it’s safe, reliable, and affordable.
Its relatively small server network and difficult-to-reach live chat support are the only downsides. Check out our detailed PrivateVPN review below for more information about this VPN service.
- Torrenting allowed
- Works with Netflix
- Zero logs
- Credit card
Speed – How Fast Is PrivateVPN?
Speed is essential for streaming, downloading, gaming, and other online activities. We tested PrivateVPN’s speed extensively and settled on a score of 7/10 for the following reasons:
- The speed test results showed consistent speeds across most servers except some distant ones.
- We found its speeds pretty stable for most online activities.
PrivateVPN Speed test results
We used Ookla’s trusted speed test tool to check PrivateVPN’s speeds on servers across the world. We conducted the tests from our office in the Netherlands.
First, we checked our connection speed without a VPN. Then we connected to different PrivateVPN servers and tested our connection speed. The results are summarized in the table below.
|Server||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)||Ping (MS)|
|US (New York)||14.26||90.22||132|
|US (Los Angeles)||55.83||89.96||162|
As you can see from the table, we got the best speeds from the servers closest to our location, namely Germany and the Netherlands. The ping was pretty low on these connections, and the difference in download and upload speeds was negligible.
However, with some distant servers, such as Canada and Brazil, the download speed dropped significantly, which could cause delays with routine online activities. The upload speeds remained pretty consistent across most servers.
Speed during daily use
We used PrivateVPN while browsing websites, streaming online videos, playing online games, and downloading. With all these activities, we didn’t notice any difference in speed and had no problems with loading times.
Downloading torrents also worked well. We could download a 2 GB file in 10 minutes. Overall, we were satisfied with PrivateVPN speeds and did not encounter any issues when performing routine online activities.
Security – How Safe Is PrivateVPN?
PrivateVPN has a lot to offer in terms of privacy and security. It scores 7.5/10 in this area due to the following:
- It uses 256-bit encryption and multiple protocols, including OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, and IKEv2.
- It does not keep logs.
- It offers a kill switch on its Windows, macOS, and Android apps.
- You only need an email address and password to create an account — no identifiable information.
Is PrivateVPN safe?
PrivateVPN uses the industry-standard AES-256 encryption with 2048-bit keys. This is the “highest level of encryption,” the company explains on its website.
PrivateVPN supports the following protocols:
- OpenVPN (UDP/TCP)
We recommend using the OpenVPN protocol as it provides the best security. It offers a balance between safety and decent speeds. Unfortunately, PrivateVPN does not currently support the WireGuard protocol. However, competitors like Surfshark do.
To learn more about VPN protocols, look at our in-depth explanation of the different VPN protocols.
Logging and privacy
PrivateVPN lives up to its name and does not keep logs. This is especially important because the provider is located in Sweden, a country that’s part of the 14 Eyes alliance. Because PrivateVPN does not log any data, you can rest assured that your personal information won’t be passed on to governments or other surveillance organizations.
PrivateVPN has a kill switch on its Windows, macOS, and Android apps. This is a vital security feature that automatically cuts your internet connection if the VPN connection drops. This prevents sensitive information like your IP address or location from “leaking.”
The kill switch on PrivateVPN is not enabled by default. You can turn it on in the Connection Guard tab of the settings menu.
To test the effectiveness of PrivateVPN’s kill switch, we performed IP leak tests while manually disconnecting the VPN. The kill switch worked flawlessly, and our IP address did not leak.
Further, PrivateVPN comes with IPv6 and DNS leak protection. To verify that these features work, we tested PrivateVPN using ipleak.net. PrivateVPN did not leak our actual IP address at any point, keeping our identity protected and anonymous.
PrivateVPN also passed our DNS leak test without any issues. PrivateVPN operates its DNS servers to resolve all your DNS requests, eliminating any risk of leaks from third-party servers and data handlers.
However, PrivateVPN lacks WebRTC leak protection. A WebRTC leak is a vulnerability that can occur on web browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, Brave, and more. It can expose your real IP address despite the VPN connection.
The best VPNs like Surfshark and NordVPN have in-app WebRTC leak protection, while other providers, like CyberGhost and Private Internet Access (PIA), offer browser extensions that disable WebRTC. PrivateVPN doesn’t have browser extensions, so you’ll need to use a third-party service (like uBlock Origin) to prevent WebRTC leaks.
What information does PrivateVPN need?
To create an account with PrivateVPN, you only need an email address and a password. If you don’t want to share this information with the provider, you can use an anonymous or temporary email address.
PrivateVPN allows you to purchase a subscription using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. This means you don’t have to share any personal financial data.
Usability – How User-Friendly Is PrivateVPN?
PrivateVPN scores pretty well on user-friendliness. We gave it a score of 8/10 based on the following observations:
- The website is well laid out, with clear instructions on how to download and install the app on different devices.
- Both the website and app are easy to navigate and use, even for beginners.
- It’s one of the most affordable VPN services and has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- PrivateVPN’s customer service representatives are helpful, although live chat is not always reachable.
PrivateVPN website and installation process
PrivateVPN’s website is well laid out. You can find any information you’re seeking easily, thanks to the menu bar. The site is available in four languages: English, German, French, and Swedish.
There’s a call-to-action button labeled Get PrivateVPN. When you click this, you are directed to the pricing page to select a subscription plan. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a refund if you don’t like the service after trying it.
Follow the instructions below to install PrivateVPN on your device:
- Select the plan you want to sign up for on the Pricing page.
- Enter your email address and password to create a PrivateVPN account.
- Select a payment method, enter your details, and click Pay Now.
- Once your payment is complete, you will be directed to the download page. You will also receive an email with a link to the download page. Select your device and click the purple button to download the installer.
- Open the downloaded file and follow the on-screen instructions to install the app on your device.
- Once installed, open the PrivateVPN app and sign in with the email and password you provided during the signup process.
PrivateVPN’s appearance and ease-of-use
We tested PrivateVPN on macOS, and the app is well-designed and easy to use. The home screen has a button you can click to activate the VPN connection.
Underneath that is the option to change the server you’re connected to. When you click Change, a window pops up listing all the server locations. There’s also a separate tab for Dedicated IP servers. You can click the star icon next to a server to add it to your Favorites.
Also, on the home screen, there’s a button labeled Advanced View. When you click on this, it expands the window to reveal other settings.
Pricing and payment methods
PrivateVPN offers three subscription plans, but each subscription gives you the same features. If you choose a subscription that runs for longer, you get a discount.
Here’s a summary of the PrivateVPN pricing options:
- $9.90 per month
- $6.00 per month for three months
- $2.00 per month for 12 months
As you can see, the two-year plan is the best option and makes PrivateVPN one of the cheapest VPNs you can opt for. PrivateVPN has a limited offer where subscribers get to pay $2 monthly for three years.
There is currently no free trial per se, but you can take advantage of PrivateVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee to test the VPN. If you aren’t satisfied with the service, you can cancel your subscription anytime within 30 days and get a full refund.
PrivateVPN accepts various payment methods, including credit cards (i.e., Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club), PayPal, Google Pay, and Bitcoin.
PrivateVPN provides assistance to customers via live chat and email. It took us several attempts, but we managed to get in touch with its customer service team via live chat.
When we tried to open the live chat, we received a message saying it was offline. Eventually, however, we managed to make contact. Once connected, we received an immediate response from an employee, and they addressed our queries adequately.
It is also possible to fill out a contact form. We asked a question via the contact form and received a detailed response within the day. The customer service rep provided a clear answer to our question.
In addition, there’s an FAQ section on the website where you can find answers to many questions. Overall, PrivateVPN’s customer support is satisfactory.
Note: PrivateVPN’s customer service is only available in English.
Server Network – Can PrivateVPN Unblock the Internet?
PrivateVPN has a relatively small server network compared to other VPN providers, such as Surfshark and NordVPN. We give it a score of 7.5/10 based on the following factors:
- PrivateVPN currently has over 200 servers spread across 63 countries.
- PrivateVPN’s servers can unblock many streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO.
- It supports torrenting.
- It offers dedicated IP addresses in many countries.
Number of servers and locations
PrivateVPN has 200+ servers in over 63 countries, which is sufficient to serve the needs of an average VPN user. Its servers are located all over the world and work well to bypass geo-blocks.
However, PrivateVPN’s server network pales compared to the thousands of servers offered by top-tier VPN providers, such as CyberGhost and NordVPN. Nonetheless, its relatively small server network is well distributed so that no matter where you are in the world, you can connect to a server that’s fairly close.
Here’s a summary of PrivateVPN’s server locations:
- Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Kingdom.
- Asia & Australia: Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan. New Zealand, Phillippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
- The Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and United States.
- Africa & Middle East: Israel, Nigeria, South Africa, and UAE.
PrivateVPN and streaming (Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, BBC iPlayer)
|Platform||Can PrivateVPN unblock it?|
You can use PrivateVPN to access Netflix and other major streaming services such as DisneyPlus, BBC iPlayer, HBO, and more without any issues. This makes it an excellent choice for unblocking geo-restricted content.
Is PrivateVPN safe for torrenting?
PrivateVPN supports torrenting on all its servers and offers top-notch security with port forwarding. So, if you’re wondering whether PrivateVPN is safe for torrenting, the answer is yes. It ensures you stay anonymous while downloading files and works seamlessly with major torrent clients like BitTorrent and uTorrent.
The download speed is pretty good unless you connect to distant servers. This makes it comparable to the best VPNs for torrenting.
Dedicated IP address
PrivateVPN offers dynamic, dedicated IP addresses. A dedicated IP address means you are the only person using that IP address.
However, PrivateVPN dedicated IP servers are dynamic, so they will likely change with each session. Static IP addresses stay the same from one session to the next. PrivateVPN does not offer static dedicated IP addresses.
PrivateVPN offers an obfuscation feature called Stealth VPN that you can use to hide your VPN traffic from your internet service provider (ISP) and other third parties.
This is incredibly helpful when bypassing internet blocks in highly censored countries like China, Iran, and Indonesia. It can also help you access streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
When you connect to a VPN without obfuscation, your ISP detects that you’re using a VPN, although it may not know what you’re doing online. With obfuscation, your VPN traffic is hidden and appears to be regular traffic. This prevents ISPs or governments from detecting that you’re using a VPN, which helps bypass internet restrictions and VPN blocks.
However, the downside is that Stealth VPN slows down your internet speed because it adds another layer of encryption to your traffic. This may cause some lag on streaming sites, or it may take longer for files to download. In our tests with PrivateVPN’s Stealth VPN, it took an extra few seconds to load videos, but there was no buffering once the videos started playing.
Overall, PrivateVPN’s Stealth VPN feature is a great obfuscation tool that allows you to escape VPN blocks, prevent your ISP from knowing you’re using a VPN, and circumvent censorship.
Our Experience With PrivateVPN
PrivateVPN is an excellent VPN provider thanks to its attractive blend of security and speed at a very affordable price. It stays true to its name and has a strict no-logs policy to protect your privacy.
It also uses military-grade encryption and secure VPN protocols so that you don’t have to worry about other parties tracking you online. PrivateVPN is well-suited to help you stay anonymous on the internet and allows you to access your favorite content from around the world on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and more.
This VPN provider would score higher if it had a more extensive server network and offered extra features such as split-tunneling, the WireGuard VPN protocol, and a built-in ad blocker. It would also be nice if the PrivateVPN apps and customer support were available in other languages besides English.
PrivateVPN still scores very well in terms of security, speed, and usability. It offers almost everything you need, from dedicated IP servers to DNS leak protection and port forwarding. Its Stealth VPN obfuscation technology is great for countries where there’s a lot of censorship, such as China and Iran.
Wondering how PrivateVPN compares to other VPN providers? Check out our article on the top 5 VPNs of 2022. If price is your main concern, our article on the best cheap VPNs contains some great alternatives.
Got a question we didn’t answer in our PrivateVPN review? Check out our FAQ below. Click on a question to see the answer.
Yes, PrivateVPN offers a stable, fast, and secure VPN connection for streaming, browsing, and downloading. It does not keep logs and has a good set of features such as the ability to unblock Netflix, support for torrenting, and more. It’s also one of the most affordable VPN providers.
Yes, PrivateVPN is quite safe, with zero logs and strong encryption. You can use it to browse the net anonymously and bypass geo-blocks. Read our PrivateVPN review to learn more about the security features of this VPN.
Yes, PrivateVPN can unblock Netflix and other popular streaming services such as Hulu and HBO. It has optimized streaming servers that offer a seamless experience.
Yes, PrivateVPN is a safe and affordable VPN for torrenting. It works seamlessly with the most popular torrent clients. It includes port forwarding and vital security features like a kill switch and strong encryption. Also, it does not keep any logs to protect your privacy.
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