ProtonVPN review: a feature-packed all-rounder

ProtonVPN has gone from strength-to-strength as a secure, feature-packed VPN with the option of its generous unlimited data free plan.

ProtonVPN
(Image credit: ProtonVPN)
T3 Verdict

ProtonVPN is a powerful VPN with great security that offers an unlimited data free plan, with Netflix unblocking on the paid tier.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Unlimited data free plan

  • +

    Unblocks Netflix, iPlayer, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video

  • +

    Fast performance

  • +

    Advanced features

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Above average prices

  • -

    Support sites are a touch complex

Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

In recent times, ProtonVPN has increasingly become a contender for the best VPN around. That's in part thanks to its generous free plan and its excellent performance across both its interface, features, security, and speed. A rare and powerful combination, we detail at a glance and in full why ProtonVPN is one of our favorite VPNs to recommend.

One minute ProtonVPN review

ProtonVPN ticks our boxes both as one of the best free VPN - and especially its premium iteration. One of the most generous and competent free options out there, ProtonVPN gives its users unlimited data, access to 147 of its 1,700+ servers across three countries, and medium speeds. Upgrade and the benefits just continue. 

While you'll need to stretch for its Plus plan for streaming unblocking, it's worth it when you consider ProtonVPN is one of the top performers for unblocking streaming services. It makes easy work of accessing Netflix around the world, BBC iPlayer, Prime Vide, and Disney Plus. Throw into the mix its fantastic performance across both WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols - it may not be the fastest, but it still soars above average.

We are also huge fans of its mobile apps. They come as feature-packed as their desktop counterparts with a boatload of features including P2P friendly servers for torrenting, its own adblocker (Netshield), kill switch and always-on technologies, and more.

Of its 1,700+ servers you'll also find its Secure Core servers, which reroute your traffic through the likes of Sweden, Iceland and other privacy-friendly countries before traveling to your desired destination. This adds that additional layer of security, alongside encryption and its other features.

Able to support up to 10 devices at once, ProtonVPN certainly shouldn't be missed off of your list of VPNs to consider.

The stats:

  • Servers: 1,700+
  • Locations: 63 countries
  • Devices: 10 simultaneous connections
  • Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Android TV, and Chromebook
  • Protocols: WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2
  • Top features: Free, unlimited data, kill switch, always-on, Netshield ad-blocker, Secure Core, VPN Accelerator

ProtonVPN review: How much does ProtonVPN cost? Is there a free trial?

With ProtonVPN you have the option of both its free and more premium plans, the latter of which allows you to benefit from the full service with maximum speeds and unblocking capabilities. In terms of its paid-for subscriptions, you can choose between Basic, Plus, or Visionary. You can then choose between paying a monthly, annual, or two-year rate

A great stepping stone into the world of VPN, we recommend its pricier Plus plan to enjoy top speeds, all 10 connections, streaming service unblocking, and its full network of servers. This costs $8 annually or the reduced rate of $6.63 a month (opens in new tab) for two years.

From the competition, at the lower end you've got Surfshark at $2.49/AU$3.19 a month for its two-year plan, or Private Internet Access, currently $2.19 for two years. That said, ProtonVPN's Plus plan is more affordable than ExpressVPN, which only gives you the option of 12-months at most for $6.67 a month.

Like its competition, ProtonVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee, allowing you to see if the service is for you, with the ability to cancel before the period is up and receive a full refund if Proton isn't for you.

Does ProtonVPN work on Netflix? What other streaming services can it unblock?

ProtonVPN is one of the current best streaming VPN services about. The catch? You'll need to cash out for its Plus plan to reap the benefits. Once you've taken the plunge, though, ProtonVPN has increasingly become one of the the most reliable VPNs for circumventing each platforms anti-VPN infrastructure. 

In terms of Netflix - one of the hardest nuts to crack - in our most recent round of testing, ProtonVPN could get Netflix exclusives in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, which is more than many can do. NordVPN and Surfshark are currently the only providers that outperform it, also unblocking Netflix in Japan.

ProtonVPN also ticks off BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, and Disney Plus without issue, making it a trusty VPN to have in your back pocket if you're looking to access your favorite platforms while overseas or at school or the office where it may also be blocked.

ProtonVPN review: What features can you expect and how do they boost security?

ProtonVPN comes from the company behind the famously secure ProtonMail. As such it runs all of its own end-to-end encrypted servers. Most servers are in Europe and North America with others in the likes of Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea and beyond. All that means lots of access no matter where you find yourself, physically or digitally, worldwide, spreading across a total of 63 countries.

ProtonVPN interface

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)
(opens in new tab)

ProtonVPN features a secure kill switch which is further backed by DNS leak protection, keeping you super safe. That security extends to P2P torrenting too and there is even built-in Tor support for accessing Onion websites securely. 

Split tunnelling is another addition which lets you route varying websites through different server locations. The native apps for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS all work well with lots of features, which are audited and continually being updated.

NetShield is a DNS-based web filter which will help to protect you and your device from malware. It'll even stop ad tracking to help keep you anonymous online.

ProtonVPN review of speed and overall performance

To test the speed and performance of ProtonVPN we used both US and UK locations on a 1Gbps connection and checked performance against benchingmarking services, including SpeedTest, SpeedOf.me, nPerf and other sites. Each one is done with at least five times at morning and evening times.

ProtonVPN has really improved a lot in the last year, and one of the areas in which it has is its performance. This time around, both Proton's OpenVPN and WireGuard speeds were very promising, scoring averages of 440Mbps when we tested its OpenVPN protocol, leading the way, sitting behind only Hide.me (450Mbps) and Mullvad (480-490Mbps).

WireGuard results proved even faster, though the lower side of its range have dipped a touch from our last round of testing. Still, 360-670Mbps peaks see its highs leap above average and ahead of much of its competition, including ExpressVPN peaking at 630Mbps.

Client set-up and available support from ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN interface on iOS

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

The client selection is decent and setup for each one is simple, as you'd expect to install any app on a mobile or software on a computer. Sign up, download and you can pay by card or by using Bitcoin, PayPal and even cash if you're going for the paid tiers.

Once in your account dashboard, which is a web-based portal, you can setup the OpenVPN or get links to download various other clients. Installation takes under a minute to download and get running, it couldn't be easier. 

The desktop clients use large maps as the VPN menu screen, if you want. This is easily resized to suit and is super clear with zooming in and out as well as scanning about done easily. Or go for a server menu style display with a list that lets you pick based on location. This is handy for P2P as it shows which will support that and those that won't. 

There's also a useful indicator load for each server, shown in color with green being low and red being high. It all makes browsing for the ideal server a very easy and quick process. That said, you can just quick auto connect at a click if you prefer.

ProtonVPN devices

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)
(opens in new tab)

ProtonVPN has, in more recent times, introduced live chat, which we've found to be incredibly helpful. While not yet 24/7, we can't imagine it'll be long before it is. That's alongside its support site filled with guides, and the ability to also send an email or raise a support ticket.

Admittedly its support site can feel a bit daunting. For those in the know, its guides are detailed and range across topics. However, for some they may be a touch complex. It's also fair to say it could do with a bit more organization for a more intuitive and easy-to-navigate experience.

ProtonVPN review: Our final verdict

ProtonVPN has gone from strength-to-strength, making it a T3 favorite. Its free option is a great stepping stone into the world of VPN, and offers a secure and reliable experience with the support of its premium infrastructure. Boasting incredible apps, performance, features, and unblocking capabilities, there's very little that holds us back from saying it's one of the best.


Read more about VPN:

Luke is a former freelance writer for T3 with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others Luke wrote about health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. In his free time, Luke used to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.

With contributions from