PrivateVPN: Ranked #5 out of 98 VPNs that we tested
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.
Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi
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.
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:
When connected to PrivateVPN:
Download speed without PrivateVPN: 92.94Mbps
Download speed with PrivateVPN: 86.70Mbps
Our download speed loss when PrivateVPN is running: 7%
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)
Just 150 VPN servers cover 59 countries
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.
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 VPNs for streaming.
PrivateVPN also has dedicated VPN servers for 18 other streaming channels including:
- Amazon Prime
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
DNS Leak Blocking
IPV6 Leak Blocking
Supports TCP Port 443
VPN Kill Switch
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.
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.
Strict zero-logging policy mitigates EU jurisdiction
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.”
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.
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.
Useful online resources but live chat is inconsistent
|Live chat Support|
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
Super cheap VPN, especially on 15-month plan
Get 73% off with PrivateVPN's 15-month plan
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.
US$7.12/moBilled $10.95 for the first month
US$4.20/moBilled $12.60 for the first 3 months
US$2.88/moBilled $43.20 for the first 15 months
All plans have 30-day money-back guarantee
Payment & Refund Options
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
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.
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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?
Hit or miss
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.
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?
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.
An awesome contribution to my life!Verified Purchase
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.