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PrivateVPN Review

By Simon Migliano | Updated July 29, 2019

This score is calculated using our 10-step testing process.

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Ranked #5 out of 74 VPNs

PrivateVPN screenshot

Read PrivateVPN user reviews

PrivateVPN doesn’t shy away from talking itself up on its website. It makes a whole bunch of bold claims, such as it being the “fastest growing VPN worldwide”.

PrivateVPN also promises to “unlock anything, protect everything” – that’s just what we like to see from a VPN service, but can it possibly deliver on such strong claims?

We put PrivateVPN to the test hoping to answer that question, plus:

  • Does PrivateVPN work with Netflix?
  • Where is PrivateVPN located?
  • Does PrivateVPN work in China?
  • What is Stealth VPN?
  • And, of course, is PrivateVPN any good?

Our unbiased and in-depth review will explain all, but if you’re in a rush you can find our key takeaways just below.

Overview

PrivateVPN Pros & Cons

  1. Consistently fast speeds
  2. No logging & no IP, DNS & WebRTC leaks
  3. Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
  4. Torrenting/P2P allowed on all VPN servers
  5. Choose from VPN servers in 59 countries
  6. User-friendly apps for PC, Mac, iOS, & Android
  1. Small number of individual VPN servers
  2. No browser VPN extensions
  3. No native app for Linux
  4. Live chat not always available

PrivateVPN Key Summary

Top Download Speed86Mbps
Logging PolicyNo Logs
IP, DNS or WebRTC LeaksNo
JurisdictionSweden (EU Member)
Servers150+
IP Addresses7,000+
Countries59
US NetflixYes
TorrentingUnlimited
Works in ChinaYes
SupportLive Chat
Cheapest Price$2.88/mo over 15 Months
Official WebsitePrivateVPN.com

PrivateVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market, there’s no doubt about it. It’s fast, safe and tantalizingly cheap – but it’s not without its flaws. Read on to find out just what to look out for.

About & Logging Policy

Who is PrivateVPN?

PrivateVPN was founded in 2009 and is owned by Privat Kommunikation AB, which operates under the jurisdiction of Sweden, making it subject to EU data retention laws and intelligence-sharing agreements.

However, PrivateVPN’s zero-logs policy means that even if it was asked to comply with any type of investigation, it doesn’t have any information about its VPN subscribers to give to the authorities, so there’s nothing for users to worry about.

Logging Policy

A VPN can’t truly be private unless it has a top-notch, robust logging policy. PrivateVPN claims that it “doesn’t collect or log any traffic or use of its service.”

That’s great – unfortunately, that one quote is also the full extent of it. We’d like the privacy policy to explicitly say that it doesn’t log DNS requests, connection timestamps, or IP addresses, but thankfully a support agent confirmed that PrivateVPN doesn’t collect this data.

Ultimately, we trust PrivateVPN to keep you safe, and you should too, but ideally we look for a little more information and clarification in a privacy policy, just for peace of mind.

Speed & Reliability

Very fast speeds across the server network

PrivateVPN provides consistently fast speeds across its VPN server network. Reliably quick uploads and downloads are ideal for both secure torrenting and buffer-free streaming.

Connecting to a same-country server (UK to UK), PrivateVPN only slowed our internet connection down by about 7%.

PrivateVPN is one of the fastest VPNs available – if speed is what you want then it’s a serious contender.

Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server.

Before using PrivateVPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    92.94

  2. UploadMbps

    97.54

  3. Pingms

    3

When connected to PrivateVPN:

  1. DownloadMbps

    86.7

  2. UploadMbps

    88.94

  3. Pingms

    5

Download speed without PrivateVPN: 92.94Mbps

Download speed with PrivateVPN: 86.70Mbps

Our download speed loss when PrivateVPN is running: 7%

Ping times are low (great for gamers) and upload speeds are high (great for torrenters).

Even across international connections, such as the UK to the US, PrivateVPN is pretty speedy – you’ll be able to do pretty much anything online without breaking a sweat.

Take a look at the average download and upload speeds we recorded connecting out from the UK to PrivateVPN’s servers:

  • USA: 63Mbps (download) & 25Mbps (upload)
  • Germany: 86Mbps (download) & 56Mbps (upload)
  • Singapore: 32Mbps (download) & 15Mbps (upload)
  • Australia: 18Mbps (download) & 13Mbps (upload)

Server Locations

Just 150 VPN servers cover 59 countries

Globe with a blue flag59Countries
Image of a city landscape75Cities
Image of a pink marker7,000+IP Addresses

PrivateVPN’s array of locations (59 countries) and VPN servers is nowhere near the highest we’ve seen, but it’s not as poor as it may first look.

Screenshot of PrivateVPN's beta server list

PrivateVPN offers more than 7,000 individual IP addresses so, despite maintaining just the 150 or so VPN servers, you shouldn’t have to worry about facing congestion or slowdown.

Those 150 VPN servers also do a pretty good job of providing worldwide coverage. There are servers in popular locations like the US, Canada, Australia, and loads of countries in Western Europe, but PrivateVPN also provides plenty of choice in South America and Asia-Pacific.

Those in South and Central America can connect to VPN servers in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Panama.

While Asia has VPN servers in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, India, Japan, South Korea,  Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates.

Disappointingly, Africa is covered by South Africa alone.

PrivateVPN provides city-level choice in eight countries, which is great for experiencing the best speeds:

  • Australia (2)
  • Canada (2)
  • India (2)
  • Italy (2)
  • Sweden (3)
  • the UK (2)
  • Ukraine (2)
  • the US (9)

PrivateVPN uses a mix of physical servers and virtual servers. It owns some of its servers and leases others. While this isn’t ideal, PrivateVPN ensures that those leased servers are not keeping user logs by setting them up themselves and monitoring the servers remotely.

Streaming & Torrenting

Works reliably with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more

PrivateVPN is one of the absolute best VPN services for streaming.

It makes streaming easy by organizing its locations list into servers optimized for streaming video content on Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

You can access 19 different Netflix libraries with PrivateVPN (the highest number we’ve seen so far), which are: US, UK, Canada, France, Japan, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and South Korea.

PrivateVPN also has dedicated VPN servers for 18 other streaming channels including:

  • Amazon Prime
  • ESPN
  • HBO
  • Hulu
  • Sky

Torrenting

PrivateVPN is a great VPN for torrenting, with P2P allowed on all servers, but there are special servers in 17 countries optimized for that purpose too. You can find these servers under ‘Dedicated IP/Torrent’ within the ‘By Service’ servers list.

PrivateVPN is one of the safest choices for torrenting due to its no-logs policy, host of security features, and fast uploads and downloads.

PrivateVPN is ideal for Kodi, too.

Bypassing Censorship

Works reliably in China thanks to Stealth VPN protocol

PrivateVPN is a good VPN for China.

Its advanced privacy tools and Stealth VPN protocol, which hides the fact you’re using a VPN, meaning that PrivateVPN is one of our most reliable VPN choices for China – or for bypassing censorship in any other country, for that matter.

Thanks to the Stealth VPN feature, you can use PrivateVPN in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey too. With plenty of servers in Asia, speeds should remain fast.

PrivateVPN also provides Tor over VPN if you’re looking for an extra layer of security.

Platforms & Devices

Simple custom VPN apps for the main platforms

Apps

Windows LogoWindows
Mac LogoMac
iOS LogoiOS
Android LogoAndroid
Linux LogoLinux
Router LogoRouter

PrivateVPN has custom VPN apps for the most popular platforms, including:

For any other platforms, like Linux, there are plenty of manual setup guides online to help you through it.

You can connect up to six devices at the same time, which makes PrivateVPN a good choice for those who want to protect not only their devices but their family’s too.

Games Consoles & Streaming Devices

AppleTV LogoAppleTV
Amazon Fire TV LogoAmazon Fire TV
Chromecast LogoChromecast
Nintendo LogoNintendo
PlayStation LogoPlayStation
Roku LogoRoku
Xbox LogoXbox

On top of custom apps for the four most popular platforms, PrivateVPN provides solutions for smart TVs too.

PrivateVPN is one of very few providers to offer a dedicated VPN app for the Amazon Fire TV Stick, meaning all you have to do is download the app from the store and you’re ready to go.

In order to protect games consoles or any other streaming device, you’ll need to connect them to a configured router or another device running the PrivateVPN app, such as a laptop or smartphone.

Browser Extensions

Unlike the majority of our other top-ranking VPNs, PrivateVPN has no browser extensions. This means that there are no add-ons for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, or Safari.

ExpressVPN, for example, provides full-featured VPN extensions for the most popular web browsers. VPN browsers tend to come with added WebRTC leak protection, but thankfully we didn’t experience any leaks during our PrivateVPN tests.

Encryption & Security

Very secure VPN with plenty of configurable options

Protocol

IKEv2/IPSec

L2TP/IPSec

OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)

PPTP

Encryption

AES-256

Security

DNS Leak Blocking

First-party DNS

IPV6 Leak Blocking

Supports TCP Port 443

VPN Kill Switch

Advanced features

SOCKS

TOR via VPN Server

Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.

It’s not just a name – PrivateVPN really is a truly secure and safe VPN, with lots of advanced features in place to make sure your data and browsing habits are kept as private as possible.

Screenshot of PrivateVPN Settings Menu in App

PrivateVPN provides near-uncrackable AES-256 encryption, the OpenVPN protocol – our personal favorite, and DNS servers operated by PrivateVPN so that your traffic doesn’t take any unexpected diversions.

You can choose to connect using other VPN protocols (PPTP and L2TP) but we don’t recommend them as they don’t provide the same level of security. In fact, PPTP is unsafe to use.

PrivateVPN has a VPN kill switch for Windows to keep you safe if your connection drops, but it’s missing for MacOS and mobile devices, which is disappointing.

Our thorough VPN testing detected no DNS or IPv6 leaks, and you can also use Tor over VPN or TCP Port 443 for even greater security.

Screenshot of leak test results for PrivateVPN

PrivateVPN browserleaks.com test results while connected to a US server. We test from the UK.

Ease of Use

Simple setup and user-friendly custom apps

How to Install & Set Up PrivateVPN

Downloading and installing PrivateVPN is incredibly easy and takes only a matter of minutes. There are step-by-step installation guides for loads of popular devices on the website if you need help.

PrivateVPN’s minimalist VPN apps do a great job of keeping things simple while simultaneously showcasing its more advanced features.

The desktop and mobile PrivateVPN apps are very similar in appearance, and everything is clearly labeled and accessible – although mobile users should beware that the Android and iOS versions are missing the kill switch.

PrivateVPN’s apps don’t provide integrated support, either, so newbies or those looking for assistance will need to head online for help.

Customer Support

Useful online resources but live chat is inconsistent

Live chat SupportYes
Online ResourcesYes

PrivateVPN does have a live chat help feature on its website, but it’s not available 24/7, which is less than ideal.

The chat box is either red or green depending on whether or not it’s available – there doesn’t seem to be any way to predict exactly when that will or won’t be. When it’s unavailable PrivateVPN brings up an online form instead.

Email replies to the online form are fairly quick, and the support agents are very knowledgable and friendly.

Even if the live chat isn’t active when you need it, PrivateVPN’s online resources and FAQs should be able to see you through most issues.

Pricing & Deals

Cheap VPN, especially on 15-month plan

PrivateVPN Coupon

PrivateVPN Pricing Plan

PrivateVPN is affordable with a sizable 73% saving available when taking out a 15-month plan. $2.88 per month for the duration is an extremely enticing price for a service the quality of PrivateVPN.

There are also shorter plans available, but these work out to be more expensive on a monthly basis.

PrivateVPN accepts a fairly limited number of payment methods, but there is an option to pay in cryptocurrency for a higher level of privacy:

  • Major credit and debit cards
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin

PrivateVPN offers a seven-day free trial completely risk-free. You don’t need to provide any payment details, just an email address, and you’ll have full access to the service for a week.

There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee for all users, and the only conditional is that you use less than 100GB of data in the period.

You will need to provide a reason for asking for your money back, but all refunds are processed within five business days of them being requested if you have second thoughts.

The Bottom Line

Do We Recommend PrivateVPN?

PrivateVPN may be small, but its an easy VPN to recommend.

PrivateVPN is fast, secure, reliable, and so cheap that it’s almost impossible to ignore.

Alternatives to PrivateVPN

NordVPN Logo

NordVPN

It's still cheap, but scores just a little bit higher: NordVPN is an obvious recommendation for anyone considering PrivateVPN. NordVPN's live chat and mobile apps set it apart. Read NordVPN review

CyberGhost Logo

CyberGhost

PrivateVPN's total server count pales in comparison to CyberGhost's - if you want a wider range of options then CyberGhost is an affordable, reliable option. Read CyberGhost review

About the Author


  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon leads our investigations into VPN safety and internet freedom research. His work has been featured on the BBC, CNet, Wired and The Financial Times. Read full bio

Top10VPN

You’ve read our expert review - read on for reviews from real users.

User Reviews for PrivateVPN

1,733 reviews

We value your opinion, whether it’s positive or negative. Please leave a helpful and informative review, and don't disclose personal information or use abusive language. All user reviews are moderated to ensure they meet our posting guidelines.

Already use PrivateVPN? Tell us what you think.

When a review is marked "Verified Customer" it means we've verified that the reviewer has had a genuine experience with the company.

Best Positive Review
 100% 

Awesome VPN

Verified Customer

Great price, great product ,works as advertised, best vpn i have used to date.Fast,simple to use, works well with us netflix and bbc iplayer.Did i say fast?

Best Critical Review
 60% 

Hit or miss

Verified Customer

Sometimes its fast and sometimes it's really slow depending on time in the day. During peak hours you are forced to switch servers because your connection slows down when lots of people are signed on.

Showing 10 out of 1,731 reviews
  1.  20% 

    Beware, no refund

    I cancelled (no AppleTV app, no Safari plug in) and requested refund. Customer support: All subscriptions are non-recurring, rest assured you will not be billed automatically at the end of the subscription period. I ask: What happened with the 30 day risk free trial? Wrote to the manager. Manager: You've been refunded now! It will take 5 - 10 business days before you see the money in your bank account. No money ever reached me. This will not bankrupt me, but if I cannot trust them with the money, can I trust them with guarding my privacy?

  2.  20% 

    Privatevpn speed

    Privatevpn is bad choice. Speed of Brasil server is let's say so slow, unuselles. For me will be first and last time to pay to this provider. Regards.

  3.  100% 

    An awesome contribution to my life!

    Verified Customer

    As a South African, PrivateVPN, is a major boon in my life. We are subjected to phenomenaly high costs concerning communications, but having PrivateVPN I have had the privilege of being able to communicate with my children in various parts of the world. Thank you for this awesome product in my life.

  4.  100% 

    Trustworthy and Supportive

    Verified Customer

    Excellent support when needed. Everything was so smooth when working in China. Perfect to fulfill my needs when working abroad.

  5.  100% 

    Adorable VPN

    Verified Customer

    I like to use 4chan very much but since they put regional blocking if get hard to use until I got VPNs, some better than other and for now PrivateVPN is been the best, the prize for the three months pack is very comfortable and since I can buy by paypal is a advantage for people who don´t had a deb card. I recommend for everyone who had similar problems with regional blocking.

  6.  100% 

    Perfect

    Verified Customer

    It didnt work at my university wifi from my mac and I asked for a refund.Before giving it to me an awesome guy asked me to try something with teamviewer. He managed to unlock the vpn with some very advanced techniques from terminal and etc and the speed was very fast (except for the ping which is normal since im “in another country “)

  7.  100% 

    Super VPN

    Verified Customer

    Super speed and not expensive ! This is a good job the team PrivateVPN, I can see Netflix US in Belgium !

  8.  100% 

    Great service

    Verified Customer

    Been with PrivateVPN for some time now with great connections around the world, but recently lost connection with the online server list so my IP address became visible.(a problem on my PC not PrivateVPN).Contacted the help desk and with great help from Kevin got the problem sorted and now back up and running.A truly great service which I would recommend to everyone.Well done Kevin your help,patience and knowledge are much appreciated.

  9.  100% 

    Superb service!

    Verified Customer

    I have been enjoying for few days PrivateVPN after searching for some VPN services. So far I only can say good things about that. Speed, reliability, unbeatable price and a great tech service. I had some problems try to get it working on my MiBox 3 and I contacted the tech support with the issue, Manish, the agent assigned to my ticket was so helpful and very kind and solved my problem. Now I can enjoy the service in my Android Box too.

  10.  100% 

    So happy!!

    Verified Customer

    My girlfriend is in Abu Dhabi where internet restrictions are quite stringent. So we could not do video call at all. Once i signed up with privateVPN, now we could videocall each other anytime we want to. Connecting to servers are very fast. I never experienced any disconnections so far. And as an additional benefit, no more geo-restricted contents in Netflix. Very happy indeed!