Key Takeaways: PrivadoVPN
- PrivadoVPN has improved some of its features since our last review.
- Its most outstanding features are its generous free plan and streaming performance.
- While PrivadoVPN has made some major changes, it still performs badly in areas like its speed, customer support, and user friendliness.
Since our last PrivadoVPN review, some things have changed about the service. The VPN now performs well with streaming and has included more features. However, it still fails to meet expectations in some areas.
While PrivadoVPN showed potential from the start – considering it’s a relatively new VPN, established in 2019 – and has maintained this momentum, it still needs to buck up if it wants to be rated as one of the best free VPN services.
In our latest PrivadoVPN review, we explore the ways this VPN provider has changed, and whether it is now worth recommending. Read on to learn what we found from our latest look at the VPN app.
07/31/2022 Facts checked
Reevaluated and rewrote this review on PrivadoVPN.
Updated the article to reflect ExpressVPN’s recent increase of 5 simultaneous connections to 8.
Yes, it offers one of the most generous free plans, running at 10GB per month.
PrivadoVPN is a legitimate VPN service based in Switzerland that meets the standard for a safe and secure VPN. It doesn’t log your data, and has never been caught in any controversies in regard to leaking customer data. It also comes with a kill switch, split tunneling and strong VPN protocols.
PrivadoVPN offers P2P servers optimized for torrenting.
Yes, PrivadoVPN unblocks Netflix and other streaming services. You can access Netflix U.S., but you may encounter some issues when trying to stream in HD quality.
PrivadoVPN Review: Alternatives
Average speedDownload Speed92 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency5 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Bitcoin, PaymentWall
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency6 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Google Pay, AmazonPay, ACH Transfer, Cash
- : 6
Average speedDownload Speed80 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency39 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, bitcoin, Amazon Pay
- : 7
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency3 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card, Amazon, Paygarden, Apple Pay, Google Pay
- : Unlimited
Average speedDownload Speed94 MbpsUpload Speed9 MbpsLatency2 ms
- : PayPal, Credit card
- : Unlimited
PrivadoVPN: Strengths & Weaknesses
- No-logs policy
- Unlocks major streaming apps
- Generous free plan
- 10 device connections
- Only secure VPN protocols
- Strong privacy laws
- Functional kill switch
- No ad or malware blocker
- Lacks advanced features
- Weak customer support
- Overcrowded phone UI
For a relatively new VPN (launched in 2019), PrivadoVPN has almost all the features we like to see in a VPN service. It offers few proprietary features, but it comes with the complete package to ensure security and streaming.
For starters, there’s a kill switch. This security tool prevents your data from leaking outside the VPN’s encryption tunnel by cutting you off from the internet if there is an unexpected connection loss.
PrivadoVPN also has split tunneling – what it calls “saferoute” – which lets you exclude some applications from using the VPN to improve performance. This can be very helpful to gamers, who often prioritize speed and may decide to exclude games from accessing the VPN, but use the VPN while torrenting movies.
PrivadoVPN doesn’t have any unique features you won’t find in other VPN services. It also lacks multihop servers, which route connections through two servers for an extra layer of encryption and anonymity. There are also no malware and antivirus blockers.
The VPN service has native apps for Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, iOS, AndroidTV, Amazon Fire TV, and routers. It allows up to 10 simultaneous connections on its paid plans, but only one connection on its free plan.
While 10 connections is on the higher end for VPNs (for example, NordVPN offers six connections and ExpressVPN offers eight), there are some VPNs that offer more or unlimited connections, like Surfshark (read our Surfshark review). However, if you need more connections, you can download PrivadoVPN to your router and cover all your home devices that way, too.
PrivadoVPN also has an APK. In this context, an APK is a file format that contains the code, data and instructions required to install Android applications, and it is usually available on app stores other than the Google Play Store.
In short, PrivadoVPN checks most of the right boxes, but still lacks some advanced features. Since our last review, it has added split tunneling (Saferoute), but that’s about it.
PrivadoVPN Features Overview
|Payment methods||PayPal, Credit card, Coinbase, SEPA, Discover|
|Supports split tunneling|
|Free trial available|
|Worldwide server amount||300+ servers in 44 countries|
|Desktop OSes||Windows, MacOS, Linux|
|Mobile OSes||Android, iOS|
|Can be installed on routers|
|Can access Netflix US|
|Can access BBC iPlayer|
|Can access Hulu|
|Can access Amazon Prime Video|
|VPN protocols available||OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard|
|Enabled at device startup|
|Passed DNS leak test|
|Malware/ad blocker included|
Off the bat, PrivadoVPN offers a free plan, and while the paid plan prices are not the best, cheap VPN options, they are still far from the worst — VyprVPN charges two dollars more on its monthly plan (read our VyprVPN review).
PrivadoVPN accepts payments through any of the standard payment methods: card, Paypal, and Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
PrivadoVPN Free VPN Service
PrivadoVPN provides three tiers of service. The first is its free plan that doesn’t cost a dime, but is restricted in some features.
PrivadoVPN’s free plan comes with unlimited data, but there’s a catch. The first 10GB of data come with unlimited speeds, but once you’re over the limit, your speeds will slow down significantly. You can still connect to the servers and encrypt your connection, but the speeds won’t be enough for anything more than some light browsing.
The free version allows only one VPN connection and restricts access to servers in nine countries out of the 45 total country server options.
Let’s compare the free plan to the two best free VPN options: Windscribe and ProtonVPN. Windscribe offers 10GB of free data per month with unlimited simultaneous connections and 10 server country locations (read our Windscribe review).
Meanwhile, ProtonVPN offers unlimited data on its free plan for one connection with access to three server country locations (read our ProtonVPN review).
Overall, PrivadoVPN’s free plan is a good option for users who don’t need to use a lot of data each month or who want to test the service out before committing to a paid plan.
PrivadoVPN Paid Plans
The two paid plans are monthly ($7.99 per month) and annual ($4.99 per month, billed $59.88 annually), which both offer the full collection of features and servers.
Considering PrivadoVPN is a middle-tier VPN with not many features, you can get an overall cheaper option with a top-tier VPN like Private Internet Access, running at $2.19 per month for a three-year plan.
When you subscribe to the service, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee, which allows you to test out all the VPN features to see if it’s right for you. You can also try out the free plan to get a feel for the VPN service.
- Unlimited GB
Ease of Use
To use PrivadoVPN, all you have to do is sign up with details like your username, email and password. Once you do that, you’ll be directed to where you can download the app on the website.
You can then choose the app version compatible with your device; PrivadoVPN supports Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Fire TV, Android TV, Linux and routers. The download and installation processes should take you only a few minutes.
Both desktop and mobile apps are attractive, and it’s clear much thought was given to the design. However, the layout in the mobile app is quite cramped. We’ll talk more about that in the “mobile app” section.
PrivadoVPN Desktop App
PrivadoVPN has an intuitive desktop app. Once you sign up, there’s a big, bold “connect” button waiting for you. PrivadoVPN can automatically choose the best server location for you. You can also click to change this to a different server, which will lead you to a list of all available servers.
PrivadoVPN lets you sort these VPN servers by latency (low-to-high and high-to-low) and alphabetical order (A-Z and Z-A). There’s also a “favorite” list, which is useful for finding your preferred servers whenever you log in.
However, the app doesn’t have “recommended” or “recent” server lists, which would make the process a whole lot easier, rather than scrolling. On the left-hand corner, you’ll find a docking feature, you can click to dock the app to your taskbar or undock it.
You’ll also find the settings tab. This will lead you to PrivadoVPN’s basic and advanced features, like the kill switch, split tunneling and auto connect. In short, the PrivadoVPN desktop app UI is colorful and easy to navigate, but omits a few convenient features here and there.
Privado VPN Mobile Apps
Although the PrivadoVPN mobile app has a similar UI design, it looks more cramped. There’s hardly any room in the server list, and all the server locations are crammed together. This makes it hard to see what your options are.
You can also sort servers by latency and name on the mobile app. However, the “favorite,” “recent” and “recommended” lists are not available.
The mobile app has all the core VPN features that are also available on the Windows app, in spite of these issues. There’s a kill switch, split tunneling and auto connect. It also has the same protocols: WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2.
User experience on the PrivadoVPN mobile apps needs some work. In that regard, things haven’t changed much since our last review.
PrivadoVPN does not slow down your browsing speed much when you connect to a server close to home, but it shows worse results on faraway servers. We carried out the tests using speedtest.net with WireGuard as our protocol from our location in Portland, Oregon in the United States.
Download speeds dropped to about 80% when we connected to a server in the United States, one of the closest server options to our location. However, speeds never dropped below about 40% no matter what continent we were on, indicating that PrivadoVPN may be a good choice for international streaming.
The VPN’s upload speeds all stayed over 90% of the unprotected upload speeds. Latency more than quadrupled even close to home, meaning this might not be the best VPN for gaming.
PrivadoVPN has some of the best VPN security features, and hardly falls short in any area. All the features are available on both its free and paid plans, except the SOCKS5 proxy.
A SOCKS5 proxy works like a VPN, but without the encryption. It hides your real IP address and allows you to access the internet using a different address. Many VPN providers include it because it is faster at spoofing your location.
However, a proxy does not encrypt your data like a VPN — so your internet service provider can still intercept and read your data — so it’s best left for times when you’re more particular about speed and less about privacy.
As we mentioned earlier, PrivadoVPN uses AES-256 encryption, which is practically impossible to crack or brute-force. We also tested for DNS leaks as well as IP and WebRTC leaks, and we found none.
On top of that, PrivadoVPN uses only the best encryption protocols. These include the OpenVPN protocol, IKEv2 and WireGuard. OpenVPN is known for security, IKEv2 for speed and mobile use.
On the other hand, WireGuard is a more recent VPN protocol that has the right balance of speed and security. It’s also stronger than the other two other VPN protocols.
Another previously mentioned feature is a kill switch, which works well, but can be overkill. Although it does a fantastic job of protecting you by disconnecting you from the internet whenever there’s a connection loss, it also does the same when you voluntarily disconnect from the VPN server. The service doesn’t offer any ad or malware blocker.
Overall, PrivadoVPN has excellent security features. It earns points for having the best encryption protocols, and including a stellar VPN protocol like WireGuard.
PrivadoVPN has a no-logs policy. This means that the service does not collect any of your personal data, like your IP address, websites you visit or what you download. That said, PrivadoVPN has not yet undergone an audit to provide extra reassurance.
Information PrivadoVPN Collects
PrivadoVPN sticks to its no-logging policy, but it still collects customer data, which it uses to improve the quality of service it offers and communication with users. This data is often aggregated and can’t be traced to the online identity of users.
The service collects sign up details, such as your email address and username, payment information and information users share when reporting issues or making requests through customer support.
It also collects your payment information, though not your credit card details. This information is vital in its collaboration with third-party payment processors, located in the EU and Switzerland, that make payments seamless.
We wondered why it had to bring this up, since it had earlier stated that it doesn’t log users’ personal data. It is important for the VPN service to come straight out on what kind of data it collects that would warrant a user to request for the data to be deleted.
Other Privacy Details
PrivadoVPN is a VPN created and owned by Privado Networks AG. The VPN company is located in Switzerland, one of the most privacy-friendly countries in the world.
PrivadoVPN also complies fully with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law, which defines the data privacy rights of individuals residing within the EU. Lastly, PrivadoVPN has never been involved in any scandals in regards to exposing the personal data of users.
Even some top-ranked VPNs fall short in streaming performance, but luckily PrivadoVPN did quite well. We were able to access geo-blocked content on all streaming sites we tested, including BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, MAX, ESPN and Amazon Prime Video.
However, it didn’t perform so well when we tried streaming in HD. It still meets the streaming requirements of most VPN users, if all you want to do is bypass geo-restrictions and are not so worried about picture quality.
PrivadoVPN’s streaming performance puts it in the top streaming VPNs like ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Surfshark. This is impressive for a relatively new free VPN, especially considering that the VPN failed to connect to many popular streaming services in our last review.
With about 300 servers in 44 countries and 56 server locations, PrivadoVPN has a small server network. It’s also worth noting that its free plan offers VPN servers in only nine countries.
When it comes to servers, less can mean “more” because the VPN providers with a smaller server coverage may be able to give better attention to their servers.
On the other hand, a large VPN server network is often better for performance due to less congestion and consistent speeds. Wider server coverage comes in handy for unblocking streaming content and accessing servers near you for better speeds.
PrivadoVPN does not have any virtual servers. Physical servers are faster than virtual servers, except on rare occasions where the virtual server is closer to the user. PrivadoVPN also provides P2P servers.
VPN Server Network Coverage
PrivadoVPN has its highest concentration of servers in Europe, followed by Asia. It manages to reach underserved regions like Africa, South America and the Middle East, but has servers in just one location in each of these regions.
It also reaches countries with oppressive VPN laws like China and Russia, which could be a concern from a privacy standpoint if oppressive governments are monitoring their server data.
Considering how new PrivadoVPN is, it is impressive to see servers in these locations at all, but it will be nice to see it reach more regions in them.
Customer support is one area where PrivadoVPN performs poorly. Its live chat feature pops up on some days and disappears on some others. As a result, we had to rely on ticket support to make our inquiries. We got a response from a customer representative about two hours later, saying that they would look through the issue we inquired about, but we didn’t hear from them again.
The knowledgebase, which could have made up for these shortcomings, is pretty underwhelming.
While it has set up guides for different devices, it’s not comprehensive enough. It also doesn’t have any troubleshooting guides, which are really important, especially since the live chat and ticket support have proved to be unreliable.
There is also no phone support or community forum. Unlike some of its competitors like StrongVPN, PrivadoVPN has a lot of work to do on its customer support.
The Verdict: PrivadoVPN Review
PrivadoVPN has made some improvements since our last review, but it still has some gaps to fill. The customer service is poor, its server options are small, and its pricing isn’t all that impressive.
On the bright side, PrivadoVPN unblocks all streaming platforms and its free plan comes with a generous offering of 10GB of data per month. In short, it beats many popular VPNs in some areas, but underperforms in as many others. It’s worth recommending, but still has some ground to cover if it wants to be a top VPN service.
Have you used the PrivadoVPN app before? Are we missing any features that have been added since our last review? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thanks for reading.