PrivateVPN Review (2020) – Secure VPN, Perfect for Streaming!
PrivateVPN is a Swedish VPN provider. The VPN is owned by Privat Kommunikation Sverige AB. The company was founded in 2009 and as the name suggests, PrivateVPN is very committed to security and privacy. The Swedish VPN provider does not keep logs, uses strong encryption and provides stable connections around the world.
In this review we look at PrivateVPN’s speed, security, privacy, ease of use, its various features and the server network.
- Simultaneous connections: 6
- Operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
- Protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP, IPsec, PPTP, IKEv2
- Log policy: No logs
- Servers: 150+ servers in 60 countries
- Price: From $3.82 per month
- Money-back guarantee: 30 days
Speed – How Fast is PrivateVPN?
It’s very nice when a VPN is fast. A fast VPN is especially desirable during streaming, downloading and gaming. We have therefore extensively tested PrivateVPN’s speed. Below you will find the results from a number of speed tests and we share our experiences with PrivateVPN’s speeds during several online activities. However, please note that speed test results depend on your location, your internet service provider (ISP) and the time you ran the tests. The speed test results only give an indication of the speeds you are likely to encounter.
PrivateVPN speed test results
Below you will find the speed test results for our internet connection with various PrivateVPN servers. These speed tests were carried out from the Netherlands. First, to get our baseline speed, we tested our internet speed without a VPN.
Speed results without VPN (speedtest.net)
Above are the speedtest.net results for our internet connection without the use of a VPN. We use this baseline data to compare all other results.
Speed results with a Dutch PrivateVPN server (speedtest.net)
These are the results when we were connected to a Dutch VPN server. We could only choose from one Dutch server. As you can see, the ping response time is only slightly up, but the download speed has decreased significantly. Nevertheless, the results are still good. The VPN doesn’t seem to affect upload speeds.
Speed results with the fastest US PrivateVPNserver (speedtest.net)
Above you will see the speedtest.net test results from when we were connected to a VPN server in the United States. It is useful to connect to an American server if, for example, you want to access the more extensive range of TV series and movies available on the American Netflix. The ping response time increased greatly, which could cause problems while gaming. Compared to the baseline speed and the decreased speed results obtained with the Dutch server, the download speeds obtained while connected to the US server decreased even further. The distance between the server and our location is the logical reason for this decrease.
Speed during everyday use
We used PrivateVPN while browsing websites, streaming online videos, playing online games and downloading. With all these online activities, we didn’t notice any difference in speed and had no problems with loading times.
Downloading torrents was also possible. We were able to download a 2GB file in 10 minutes.
Conclusions on PrivateVPN’s speed
- PrivateVPN has good speeds
- During everyday internet use, there is little difference in speed
- If you are using a nearby server, online gaming and downloading with PrivateVPN is not a problem
Security – How Secure is PrivateVPN?
Security and the way a VPN provider handles your privacy are very important aspects of a VPN. PrivateVPN has a lot to offer in terms of privacy and security. The provider supplies great security tools to protect users’ privacy.
PrivateVPN uses 256-bit encryption. This form of data protection meets the highest encryption standards that are also used by the military and government agencies.
PrivateVPN supports the following protocols:
- OpenVPN (UDP/TCP)
We recommend using the OpenVPN protocol as it provides the best security. Furthermore, it offers a great balance between online safety and decent internet speeds. It’s great to see that PrivateVPN offers this protocol. It indicates that the VPN provider ascribes great importance to security.
Want to know more about VPN protocols? Take a look at our VPN protocols comparison.
Logging policy and privacy
PrivateVPN states that they do not keep logs. Since the VPN provider follows Swedish privacy laws, this means that no logs are kept that could be seized by the government.
We need to make mention here of the country where PrivateVPN is located. Sweden is part of the 14 Eyes countries, a coalition of countries whose aim is to gather and share information amongst themselves. It is fairly easy for these fourteen countries to share sensitive information with each other. However, because PrivateVPN does not log any data, the provider cannot pass on information to governments.
PrivateVPN has an automatic kill switch. This keeps users safe if the connection is suddenly lost and prevents your data from being exposed. If your connection suddenly drops, your internet traffic will be stopped until the VPN connection is restored.
Unfortunately, the kill switch is only available for Windows. Therefore, keep in mind that PrivateVPN does not offer a kill switch for other operating systems.
What information does PrivateVPN need?
To create an account with PrivateVPN, you only need an email address and password. If you don’t want to share this information with the provider, you could choose to use an anonymous email address.
It is possible to pay for your subscription in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. This makes PrivateVPN an anonymous VPN.
Conclusions on PrivateVPN’s security
- PrivateVPN has excellent security protocols (i.e. OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), PPTP, L2TP/IPsec and IKEv2)
- This provider uses strong 256-bit encryption
- You only need an email address and password to create an account
How does PrivateVPN score on user-friendliness? In our opinion, very well. Read more about PrivateVPN’s installation process, website, appearance and payment options below.
PrivateVPN’s website has a striking purple color. The home page is fairly clear and is available in several languages. In addition to English, the website is also available in German, French and Swedish.
Your IP address is shown in the top left-hand corner of the screen. PrivateVPN displays this information to show that your personal information is not protected and that it is therefore advisable to use a VPN.
You can find more information about PrivateVPN on their website. Information is clearly grouped in the website’s top menu bar. For example, here you can find information about how a VPN works. In addition, there is also a tab labelled “Why PrivateVPN?”. This tab provides information about the company, the servers and the software. Here you will also find several reasons why you should choose PrivateVPN. Finally, there’s a tab with pricing information and a tab labelled “Support” to help you get started with the VPN. On this tab you will also find an FAQ section with frequently asked questions.
In the top right-hand corner of the screen you can log into the website using the “My account” link. You will then see several tabs at the top of the screen labelled; “control panel”, “installation guide” and “settings”.
The account page is very clear. You can see your account history under “control panel”. Under “installation guide” you will find information about the VPN’s installation process. Under the “Settings” tab, you can change your password. The website works very intuitively and is self-explanatory.
Installing PrivateVPN is very fast. The software is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and IOS and is easy to download.
You can connect up to six different devices at once.
When you log into the website with your account, you can open the “installation guide” page. This page shows you how to get started with the VPN. In addition to an extensive video, a step-by-step guide is also provided.
PrivateVPN’s installation process is as follows:
- Select a subscription from the PrivateVPN website
- Download and install PrivateVPN
- Login with your account details
- Choose the desired VPN server and location
- Turn on PrivateVPN and then you are protected
Do you prefer the VPN on your smartphone or tablet? Download the official app from the App or Play Store.
PrivateVPN’s appearance and user-friendliness
PrivateVPN’s software is visually appealing and uncluttered. You can turn the VPN on or off with the button in the middle of the screen. You can then see at a glance whether the VPN is running, how long you have been connected and to which server you’re connected (in which country).
PrivateVPN’s interface offers two options: a “Simple view” and an “Advanced view”. By default, users are presented with the simple view. This view is perfect for novice VPN users. Do you want more options and a more advanced interface? Click on “Advanced view”. In this view you can see the available protocols and select the preferred protocol. Other options you will find here include IPv6, DNS leak protection and the kill switch. The advanced interface is a lot less clear than the simple view and uses many technical terms. We therefore do not recommend the advanced view for novice VPN users.
Connecting to a server is very simple. You can choose a server from a list of countries. The server list is sorted in alphabetical order by country, but it is also possible to sort the servers according to their proximity to you.
Several countries have multiple servers. In these countries it is even possible to connect to a specific server. Furthermore, each server’s ping response time is provided, thus supplying you with a good estimate of the server’s speed.
In addition to the “All Servers” tab, there is also a “Streamed Services” tab. Here, PrivateVPN indicates which servers are suitable for accessing specific streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Disney Plus.
PrivateVPN also includes a separate tab with a list of dedicated IP servers. These servers provide dynamic dedicated IP addresses. These are unique IP addresses, but they change. In other words, you are the only one with the IP address, but you may not get the same IP address for the next session. This likely makes these IP addresses quite suitable for getting access to streaming content, but not so much for logging in to online banking environments, social media, your mailbox, etc.
Finally, under “Help” you can consult the FAQ section for answers to frequently asked questions or you can access live support.
Prices and payment options
PrivateVPN offers a choice of three subscriptions of different lengths, but each subscription has the same features. If you choose a subscription that runs for longer, you get a discount.
Below you will find an overview of the various subscriptions on offer.
The 1-month subscription is ideal for trialing PrivateVPN and costs $8.10 per month. If you opt for a 3-month subscription, you only pay $5.03 per month. You get a discount on the 13-month subscription. For this longer-term subscription, you only pay $3.82 per month. This is a considerable saving compared to the monthly subscription.
Although it is not very clearly stated on the website, we read in the FAQs that it is also possible to try PrivateVPN for free. However, this is only possible if you send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will then receive a code with which you can test the VPN for seven days.
PrivateVPN accepts a variety of payment methods including several credit cards (i.e. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Discover and Diners Club), PayPal and Bitcoin. Unfortunately, it is not possible to pay with iDeal.
All subscriptions come with a 30-day moneyback guarantee.
You can contact customer service in several ways. PrivateVPN states that it provides help to customers via live chat, email and remote desktop using TeamViewer. After several attempts, we managed to get in touch with customer service via live chat. When we tried to open the live chat, we often received a message stating it was offline. Eventually, however, we managed to make contact. Once connected, we received an immediate response from an employee, and we were well helped.
It is also possible to fill out a contact form. We asked a question via the contact form and we received a detailed response within the day. We received a clear answer to our question.
In addition, there is an FAQ section on the website where you may find answers to many of your questions. Customer service is only available in English.
Conclusions on PrivateVPN’s user-friendliness
- PrivateVPN’s website is very clear
- Installing PrivateVPN is quick and simple
- Customer service works quickly and well, although live chat is not always reachable
- The software is easy to use
- PrivateVPN’s prices are very reasonable
PrivateVPN Server Network
PrivateVPN’s server network is fairly extensive. although compared to premium VPN providers such as ExpressVPN, relatively small. With over 150 servers in over 60 countries, the average VPN user is likely to be very satisfied with the VPN’s server network. These servers are located all over the world and help you bypass geo-blocks.
However, compared to the thousands of servers available with other VPN providers, such as CyberGhost and NordVPN, the number of PrivateVPN servers available is disappointing. When many users are active at the same time, PrivateVPN’s servers can become overcrowded. This becomes evident by a sharp drop in your connection’s speed.
The fact that PrivateVPN has special premium servers for streaming videos in HD is a definite plus. Below you can read more about the servers, the servers’ locations and their features.
Number of servers and locations
PrivateVPN has more than 150 servers in 60 countries. However, the VPN provider indicates that it is still growing its network. Look at PrivateVPN’s website for the latest on its network.
Dedicated IP addresses
PrivateVPN offers dynamic dedicated IP addresses and provides the ability to connect to different servers. A dedicated IP address means that you are the only person using that IP address. However, since it is a dynamic IP address, it is likely to change for each session. Static IP addresses stay the same from one session to the next. PrivateVPN does not offer static dedicated IP addresses.
Conclusions on server network and locations
- PrivateVPN currently has more than 150 servers spread out over 60 countries
- PrivateVPN has many different server types for various streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and HBO
- Dedicated IP address are available for various countries
A VPN is mainly used to surf the internet anonymously and securely. In addition, a VPN gives you a lot of internet freedom and various online options. For example, with some VPNs you can watch foreign Netflix. A VPN can also ensure that you can download torrents more securely.
PrivateVPN and Netflix
PrivateVPN is very suitable for watching the American or UK version of Netflix, or HBO Max from overseas. PrivateVPN has servers specially designed for Netflix. We connected to an American server recommended for Netflix and were presented with the extensive range of titles available on American Netflix.
PrivateVPN and torrents
PritvateVPN does not keep user logs. This makes it a torrent friendly VPN provider. Furthermore, downloading torrents is very quick and simple.
Conclusions on PrivateVPN’s Features
- With PrivateVPN it is possible to watch the American Netflix.
- With PrivateVPN, downloading torrents is quick and secure.
Conclusions – Our Experience with PrivateVPN
|American Netflix works||Live chat not always reachable|
|No logs||Smaller server network compared to competitors|
|Strong encryption||Kill switch only available for Windows|
|Simple, unified user interface||Customer service only available in English|
|Has a kill switch||Not possible to pay with iDeal|
|Can connect up to six devices with the same license|
|Has dedicated IP addresses|
|Has dedicated VPN servers for streaming|
We are very pleased with PrivateVPN. In terms of security, which is one of the most important aspects of a VPN, this VPN provider scores very well. PrivateVPN does not keep logs and uses strong encryption. Consequently, you do not have to worry whether other parties are able to track what you do online.
With this VPN you can not only remain anonymous on the internet, but you can also use various streaming services, such as Netflix. PrivateVPN’s price is also competitive and you can install and use the VPN on six devices simultaneously.
This VPN provider would score higher if the server network was larger and if the software and customer service were also available in languages other than English. However, these are minor points. PrivateVPN scores very well on the important aspects such as security, ease of use and speed. In our opinion, in general PrivateVPN is an excellent choice.
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