ProtonVPN Free: Ranked #50 out of 99 VPNs that we tested
Speed & Reliability
Fast, especially for a free VPN
Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server.
Before using ProtonVPN Free:
When connected to ProtonVPN Free:
Download speed without ProtonVPN Free: 96Mbps
Download speed with ProtonVPN Free: 69Mbps
Our download speed loss when ProtonVPN Free is running: 28%
Ignore when ProtonVPN says on its website that free users will only benefit from ‘low’ speeds – Proton VPN Free is very fast for a free VPN.
ProtonVPN’s free servers produced pretty good speeds internationally as well as locally reaching 41Mbps to the US (from the UK).
While ProtonVPN’s speeds are ideal for streaming and torrenting, these services aren’t supported on the free apps.
Limited to three VPN server locations
The free version of ProtonVPN only allows you to access three different VPN server locations – Japan, the Netherlands, and the US.
While this may not be a problem for users nearby to the free VPN servers, those elsewhere in the world will naturally experience slower speeds when using ProtonVPN Free.
It’s not possible to drill down to city-level VPN servers, but if you upgrade to a premium ProtonVPN subscription you’ll be treated to seven US cities and a total of 29 countries worldwide.
Streaming & Torrenting
Bad choice for streaming and torrenting fans
As it’s not possible to connect to a VPN server in the UK, you won’t be able to watch BBC iPlayer, and Netflix compatibility is limited to paying users.
ProtonVPN doesn’t support torrenting (P2P) on any of its free VPN servers – this is a feature reserved exclusively for paid subscribers.
Doesn't work in China
ProtonVPN Free is no good for bypassing censorship in countries that block VPNs, least of all in China.
Not only does ProtonVPN Free operate exclusively on OpenVPN, the protocol that’s easiest for the Great Firewall’s censors to detect and block, free users also don’t have access to the Secure Core servers. Secure Core is designed to provide an additional layer of obfuscation by routing traffic through multiple VPN servers.
Platforms & Devices
Custom VPN apps for main platforms & works with routers
Since the ProtonVPN Free plan only allows you to use the VPN service on one device at a time, installing it at router level could be a huge advantage if you wish to protect multiple devices, including streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV Stick and games consoles.
You can find the full list of compatible models on the support section of ProtonVPN’s website.
Games Consoles & Streaming Devices
ProtonVPN doesn’t provide browser extensions for free or paid users. If you’re looking for a free VPN with browser extensions, check out Windscribe.
Encryption & Security
Free version offers same robust security as premium VPN
DNS Leak Blocking
IPV6 Leak Blocking
VPN Kill Switch
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
Users of ProtonVPN Free benefit from exactly the same level of security as its premium VPN subscribers.
The VPN kill switch feature is absolutely essential, as it prevents your true IP address from being exposed in case of an unexpected connection drop.
ProtonVPN Free also protects you against DNS and IPv6 leaks, as confirmed by our independent leak tests.
Unfortunately, there are a handful of features that are limited to paid users, such as ProtonVPN’s Secure Core servers or servers optimized for use with Tor. Nevertheless, it’s by far the most secure (and safe) free provider we’ve seen.
Almost zero-logs & based in safe jurisdiction
The only thing ProtonVPN Free collects is the timestamp of your last successful login attempt, and this gets overwritten each time you successfully connect to the VPN.
This information is used to protect user accounts from password brute force attacks, and also to determine that nobody else is using your account.
ProtonVPN’s logs doesn’t contain any identifying information, such as your true IP address or physical location, meaning nothing you do while connected to ProtonVPN Free can be linked back to you.
ProtonVPN, a subsidiary of Proton Technologies AG, is based in Geneva, Switzerland, meaning its users are protected by some of the world’s strongest privacy and data protection laws.
Ease of Use
Easy setup & intuitive custom apps
How to Install & Set Up ProtonVPN Free
ProtonVPN’s free apps are exactly as easy to use as its premium apps, with fewer server locations the only noticeable difference.
Unlike many free VPNs, which come with restrictive data caps, ProtonVPN gives free users unlimited bandwidth.
The VPN app’s main screen displays your new server location and IP address, along with some useful stats such as the server load and estimated upload and download speeds.
The VPN server locations are usually arranged alphabetically, but ProtonVPN has helpfully pushed the three free countries to the top of the list and the premium servers are grayed out.
We’re not used to seeing any sort of configurable options from free VPNs, so it made a refreshing change to be able to configure the VPN kill switch feature, DNS leak protection and toggle between UDP and TCP protocols.
Contextual information can be found next to most of these settings, which will be particularly helpful for VPN newbies.
Plenty of online resources & intermittent live chat support
|Live chat Support|
ProtonVPN Free’s customer support is far better than that offered by most of our other free providers.
There’s an online support center that will cover basic VPN queries and troubleshooting issues, and there are also step-by-step installation guides for all supported devices, including those that need to be manually configured.
ProtonVPN has a live chat feature but it’s unclear at what times of the day this is available, as sometimes the chat icon is there, but other times it’s inaccessible.
When we were able to get in touch with someone, we received timely, detailed responses that were able to help us solve all of our problems.
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Great VPN for those who put security first
I've been using ProtonVPN for almost a year now. It's super easy to use and they are adding news servers which increase speed. I wish they had live support but other than that, great service. Btw, this product was built by the same team who built ProtonMail. You can't go wrong with Mr. Robot!