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PrivadoVPN Review

While it’s definitely far from being one of the top players in the VPN industry, this Switzerland-based VPN service makes some brave promises. However, as this PrivadoVPN review reveals, you might be better off with another VPN provider.

Andrej Hadji-Vasilev
By Andrej Hadji-Vasilev (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2021-11-29T04:24:44+00:00 Facts checked by Eugenie Tiu

PrivadoVPN has yet to show up on our list of fastest VPN services, or our list of best VPN services, and there’s a reason for that — it is a relatively new VPN service. Even so, it makes some rather bold claims that it’s the “fastest and most private VPN service” in the world. Naturally, we decided to put those claims to the test in our PrivadoVPN review. 

Key Takeaways:

  • PrivadoVPN is a newcomer to the VPN industry that aims to give you a free and open internet. 
  • Its feature set is rather bare bones, lacking split tunneling and multi-hop servers, and the VPN fails to impress not only in the speed department, but also with regard to user-friendliness. 
  • While we wouldn’t recommend it as your go-to VPN solution, PrivadoVPN does show potential. 

PrivadoVPN is a service that’s based in Switzerland, and comes with a 10GB-per-month free plan, as well as support for multiple encryption protocols and unlimited bandwidth. It does have its downsides, though, so read on to see how PrivadoVPN did in our tests.

  • Most VPN providers’ networks, including the PrivadoVPN network, have strong protection solutions to keep user data private.

  • Yes, PrivadoVPN is a new player in the VPN industry, but it is a legitimate provider that shows a lot of promise.

  • Yes, it does have a free plan. However, PrivadoVPN’s free version has a 10GB data limit and only 12 VPN server locations to connect to, and it doesn’t offer the SOCKS5 protocol that’s available on the paid plans.

  • Yes, PrivadoVPN uses multiple trusted VPN protocols, such as the OpenVPN protocol and the WireGuard protocol, to ensure your data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

PrivadoVPN Review: Alternatives

  1. 1
    • : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, regional payment systems, WebMoney
    • : 5
    • :
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  2. 2
    • : Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, UnionPay, Crypto Currencies, PayPal (via Paddle)
    • : 6
    • :
    • :
    • :
    • :
  3. 3
    • : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin
    • : 7
    • :
    • :
    • :
    • :
  4. 4
    • : PayPal, Credit card
    • : 10
    • :
    • :
    • :
    • :
  5. 5
    • : PayPal, Credit card, UnionPay, Alipay
    • : 8
    • :
    • :
    • :
    • :

PrivadoVPN: Strengths & Weaknesses

Pros:

  • Affordable paid plans
  • Free plan with 10GB of data
  • Extensive compatibility
  • DNS & IP leak protection
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Located in Switzerland
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons:

  • Desktop & mobile apps have issues
  • No split tunneling 
  • Speeds aren’t impressive
  • Connecting to a server takes ages
  • No phone support

Features

50 % – Poor

When it comes to the features, PrivadoVPN only gives you the essentials, particularly compared to a service like ExpressVPN (read our ExpressVPN review).

Most importantly, you get a kill switch that will disable your internet connection if you get disconnected from the VPN server. This is a must-have feature for VPNs.

privadovpn settings
There aren’t too many features to play with, but PrivadoVPN explains all of them well in the settings menu.

You can also set up PrivadoVPN to start up with your operating system, and it can automatically connect to the recommended location, the last selected location or a random VPN server. 

Finally, you can set your VPN protocol (more on that in the “security” segment), but that’s to be expected of a VPN nowadays. PrivadoVPN offers a SOCKS5 proxy, but there’s really no reason to use it because you’re already running a VPN, which is much better than a proxy. 

Unfortunately, that’s all you get with PrivadoVPN. A few bog standard features and not much else. No split tunneling, no malware protection, no specialized servers. This makes it hard to give this VPN anything higher than a below-average score.

PrivadoVPN Features Overview

General
Payment methodsPayPal, Credit card
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections 10
Supports split tunneling
Unlimited bandwidth10GB on Free plan
Free trial available
Refund period
Worldwide server amountNearly 300 servers in 44 countries
Desktop OSesWindows, MacOS, Linux
Mobile OSesAndroid, iOS
Browser extensions
Can be installed on routers
Streaming
Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video
Security
Encryption types256-AES, ChaCha20
VPN protocols availableOpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included
Support
Live Chat24/7
Email support24/7
Phone support
User forum
Knowledgebase

Pricing

65 % – Decent

Prices are not particularly impressive. The free PrivadoVPN account comes with a 10GB data limit, only allows you to access 12 server locations and you don’t get the SOCKS5 proxy. Using the PrivadoVPN app without paying a dime is likely a good choice for many.

 

privadov pricing
The comparison sheet is a nice way to see what you’re missing out on when you go for the free plan.

Switching over to the paid plan, you can either pay $7.99 monthly, or $59.88 yearly ($4.99 per month) for unlimited data and access to all servers. 

Unfortunately, there are VPN services that offer more features and better performance at a fraction of that price — Surfshark’s two-year plan will cost you the same amount as PrivadoVPN’s yearly plan, and it’s a better VPN overall (read our Surfshark review). 

User-Friendliness

50 % – Poor

The PrivadoVPN desktop and mobile apps are rather simple, and the desktop app gives you a tour when you first start it up. However, both had issues when we tried using them and had us dumbfounded until we figured out what exactly was going on. 

privadovpn tour
When you first start the desktop app, it will give you a short tour that explains the basics. 

Desktop App

The desktop app is docked to your taskbar, but there is a toggle in the settings to undock it. You get a large button to connect or disconnect, a location with a map next to it, and at the bottom is the kill switch toggle. The preferences menu (which you can access by clicking the menu button in the top-left corner) is neatly organized, and lets you configure PrivadoVPN as you see fit.

privadovpn map
If you want to change the location, the marked area is exactly where you’ll need to click. 

Mobile App

The mobile app is identical for Android and iOS, and comes with one huge “connect” button at the top, information about your IP address and the list of servers at the bottom. 

In order to connect or disconnect, though, you don’t really have to click exactly on the button. Clicking anywhere around it has the same effect, and you’ll be connected to the server you’ve picked. It’s the same issue when you need to disconnect, too. 

privadovpn ios
The highlighted area in the mobile app acts as a connect/disconnect button, even if you click outside the actual button.

Speed

70 % – Decent

PrivadoVPN didn’t particularly impress us during the speed tests. However, the latency was consistently low when we connected to VPN servers that are on the same continent. 

Our testing methodology included a baseline test from our location in North Macedonia to establish the unprotected internet connection speed. Then we tried a VPN connection to three server locations that were close by, and three others that were farther away. The results of the test are below. 

VPN Connection Download & Upload Speed Test Results

LocationPing
ms
Download
Mbps
Upload
Mbps
Unprotected10135.5109.4
Belgrade, Serbia
21
132
46.7
Athens, Greece
67.8
36.4
39
Sofia, Bulgaria
86.2
24.8
40
Frankfurt, Germany
40
123.8
51
Berlin, Germany
49
97
39.8
New York, USA
129
62.6
12.3
Tokyo, Japan
284
53.2
13.1
Average
97
75.69
34.56

The speed test results for servers physically located close to us were wildly inconsistent. Sofia is nearest to us, yet we got better results tunneling to Belgrade in terms of both speed and latency. 

Additionally, when we tested the Frankfurt server location, the linked IP address was from Amsterdam, which could be indicative of a virtual server. For this reason we tested a second location in Germany: Berlin.

As you would expect, the latency got progressively worse the farther we went. However, the speeds continued to vacillate regardless of the location, with nearby Athens performing worse than Berlin (which is four times farther), and it had a similar download speed to New York. 

Security

85 % – Very Good

PrivadoVPN gives you the choice between several secure encryption protocols. Depending on which one you go for, you will either get AES-256 or ChaCha20 encryption, and we found no IP and DNS leaks. 

privadovpn protocols
You can choose your protocol of choice from the “preferences” menu.

The first option is IKEv2, which is remarkably fast and uses AES-256 encryption to keep your internet connection private. If you want to go for a slower but more secure VPN protocol, you can choose OpenVPN. This free protocol is open source, which means its code is constantly scanned for any potential vulnerabilities, and they’re immediately patched if needed. 

You also have WireGuard, which at the time of writing, comes with a “preview” label in the PrivadoVPN settings. It’s an open-source project that balances speed and security, with a lean codebase consisting of fewer than 10,000 lines of code, and ChaCha20 encryption to keep your connection private. The last option is “automatic,” which lets PrivadoVPN choose the best protocol for you.

If you opt for the Premium plan, you can also make use of the SOCKS5 proxy protocol, which is used for P2P clients. It changes your IP address, but doesn’t tunnel all your activity through an encryption tunnel; this results in a fast, but not too secure connection.

Privacy

80 % – Good

From a privacy standpoint, PrivadoVPN gets points for being located in Switzerland. The country has some of the best privacy laws when it comes to protecting user data. 

Furthermore, PrivadoVPN is a zero-log VPN that stores absolutely no user information in its data centers. This is very neatly laid out in its privacy policy. They do, however, collect your email address and username which is required to create your account, as well as third-party payment processors located in Switzerland and the EU for payment. 

Your data will only be used for PrivadoVPN to communicate with you, and you can opt out of any marketing content. They do state that if the Swiss authorities demand such a thing, they would disclose your email address and username, but any foreign authority will need to first get authorization by Swiss law enforcement. 

Streaming Performance

65 % – Decent

PrivadoVPN’s streaming performance wasn’t particularly impressive. The VPN failed to connect to some of the popular streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu. 

We did get through to other streaming services like BBC iPlayer in the United Kingdom, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max, but there are certainly better VPN providers for the purpose, such as the ones on our list of best VPNs for streaming.

Server Locations

60 % – Fair

With 57 server locations in 44 countries, PrivadoVPN trails quite a bit behind popular competitors. True, they boast “hundreds of PrivadoVPN servers,” but more affordable competitors like CyberGhost (read our CyberGhost review) have thousands. We do like the fact that, unlike other VPN providers, PrivadoVPN doesn’t use virtual servers managed by third parties. 

privadovpn server locations
The list of server locations doesn’t specify how many servers they have, and that’s because they don’t have nearly as many as the competition.

PrivadoVPN Network Spread

The server spread is average, especially when you consider that PrivadoVPN has zero servers in Africa. There are 10 in Asia, 27 in Europe, three in North America, two in South America and two in Oceania. We would’ve liked to see more locations in both North and South America, but considering PrivadoVPN is a new service, they will probably add them down the line.

Customer Support

95 % – Excellent

Customer support options include a live chat feature and a ticket support system, both of which work great. There is also a knowledgebase full of setup guides that explain almost every aspect of using PrivadoVPN. As part of our PrivadoVPN review, we tried asking their customer support a few questions, and we got prompt replies each time that pointed us in the right direction. 

privadovpn cs
While the answers were clearly copied from an answer sheet of sorts, they did point us in the right direction. 

The Verdict

All things considered, we can conclude our PrivadoVPN review by saying that the service shows potential, but is still rather immature. The VPN network doesn’t have many servers compared to the competition, speeds are inconsistent and the PrivadoVPN apps are flawed at best. 

On a positive note, it does a solid job of keeping your online activity private, and even the free plan has a generous monthly data allowance. It’s a competitor to watch in the industry of free VPNs, and one that covers security features rather nicely. 

We would hold off on recommending it in its current state, but it’s a VPN that shows a lot of potential for the future. Have you tried the PrivadoVPN network yet? What was your experience? Let us know how you like it in the comments, and as always, thank you for reading! 

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