PrivateVPN – A Fast and Secure VPN Ideal for Streaming
Whether you are a student, a professional, a streamer, a gamer, or an ordinary citizen wanting to secure your privacy and protect your data from prying eyes, PrivateVPN and its array of features will have your back. While beginners benefit from the app’s simple user interface and ease of use, advanced users have a myriad of sophisticated security features to keep them busy. From AES 256-bit encryption and various OpenVPN protocols to a High-Quality Network for speed and P2P-friendly servers, PrivateVPN offers excellent usability at affordable prices.
IPVanish Pros&Cons | Check Positive and Negative Sides
- Military-grade AES 256-bit encryption
- Unblocks Netflix and other streaming sites
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 10 simultaneous connections
- A small server network
PrivateVPN Features Table Summary
|Number of devices with one license
|Number of countries
|Number of servers
|2048-bit with AES-256
|Live chat, FAQs, guides, and email support
PrivateVPN: Use Cases
The minimalist and cleverly designed user interface of the PrivateVPN apps not only gives them a sleek appearance but also makes them much easier to navigate than competing VPN apps like Private Internet Access or NordVPN. PrivateVPN’s Windows app boasts one of the best VPN UIs I have reviewed to date. Unlike most of its nearest competitors, PrivateVPN purchases its internet capacity directly from the IP transit provider to cut off intermediaries like hosting companies. By coupling its internet capacity with its High-Quality Network (HQN) servers, PrivateVPN ensures users experience consistent speeds on all its servers.
Torrenting and high-quality streaming are arguably where PrivateVPN shines the most. PrivateVPN lets you stream the latest shows from around the world in HD without any buffering or account flagging thanks to its dedicated servers. I unlocked geo-restricted content on multiple sites, including Amazon Video, Hulu, Netflix, and BBC iPlayer. I was able to easily unblock Netflix USA on three different US servers and accessed BBC iPlayer via the UK servers without error messages or service disruptions. In addition to P2P servers, port forwarding is another excellent PrivateVPN feature that makes torrenting easy. Unlimited bandwidth, no ISP speed throttling, and a vigilant kill-switch make PrivateVPN one of the best, if not the best, VPN services for torrenting, video streaming, and gaming.
Setting up PrivateVPN on Amazon Fire TV/Fire Stick
PrivateVPN In-Depth Features Overview
Headquartered in Sweden, PrivateVPN is located in a country that is part of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance. Furthermore, Sweden is known to enforce data retention laws which may be a deal breaker for some users. Despite PrivateVPN’s strict no-logs policy and its promise to never log user data, the company’s location within a 14 Eyes Alliance member country raises concerns about the company’s no-logs policy.
An essential component of any decent VPN app, the kill switch is a precautionary tool that disconnects your device from the VPN server and closes all internet access if the VPN connection drops. During tests, the kill switch instantly blocked my internet access and prevented any data leaks by activating when the VPN connection dropped.
With apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, PrivateVPN lets you simultaneously connect up to 10 devices with one license. Most top VPN companies do not offer 10 or more simultaneous connections. ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer up to 5 and 6 simultaneous connections, respectively.
Private VPN has over 200 servers spread across more than 60 countries globally. While close competitors like ExpressVPN and NordVPN boast of wider server coverage, PrivateVPN offers consistent speeds on different servers, unlike its close competitors.
Torrenting on PrivateVPN servers is safe and smooth thanks to the company’s robust security protocols and unrestricted bandwidth. The company offers dedicated torrenting servers that support P2P file sharing. While torrenting with PrivateVPN was an enjoyable and worry-free experience, the only issue that I could point out is its limited number of dedicated servers for torrenting.
Unblocking geo-restricted content on sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer was easy thanks to PrivateVPN’s Stealth VPN. Stealth VPN not only hides your internet traffic from your ISP and local government but also bypasses censors and geo-restrictions. Video streaming on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube was smooth and without buffering issues. However, PrivateVPN did struggle to access certain Netflix libraries which may be due to Netflix’s attempts to block VPNs.
All PrivateVPN servers are secured via the military-grade AES 256-bit code along with a 2048-bit DH key to protect users’ data from the prying eyes of ISPs, surveillance systems, cybercriminals, and other pesky third parties. Security protocols include OpenVPN with UDP/TCP, OpenVPN over TCP, L2TP, IPSec, PPTP, and IKEv2. The default protocol on the PrivateVPN Windows app is OpenVPN, which allows different kinds of authentication methods.
PrivateVPN: Server Speed Tests
PrivateVPN may not be the fastest VPN service I have tested till now but most of its servers were fast enough for smooth downloads and buffer-free streaming. I used speedtest.net to test the download and upload speeds of PrivateVPN servers.
Without a VPN connection, the download and upload speeds of my internet connection were 24.89 Mbps and 14.23 Mbps respectively. The latency was uncharacteristically high at 33 ms.
On connecting to PrivateVPN’s Amsterdam server, the download and upload speeds decreased to 20.11 Mbps and 12 Mbps, respectively. While the latency jumped to 132 ms, the download speed on the Amsterdam server was still decent and I had no issues browsing, streaming, or playing games. There were no lags, buffering, or frame drops while connected to the Amsterdam server.
The download speed on the London server decreased to 18.52 Mbps and latency increased to 192 ms. A sharp increase in latency is expected considering the distance between my device and the server. Once again, the drop in download speed was barely noticeable while browsing the internet or streaming videos online. Streaming BBC iPlayer on the UK server was an absolute joy as PrivateVPN not only unblocked geo-restricted content but also ensured I can enjoy said content without buffering.
The download and upload speeds on the US server decreased further to 16.09 Mbps and 5.34 Mbps, respectively. The latency dropped to 23 ms which was even lower than the latency I recorded without a VPN connection.
To check the speed on remote servers, I connected to a PrivateVPN server in Australia. The download speed decreased by as much as 60% to 9.69 Mbps while the upload speed was a decent 8.70 Mbps.
Users’ feedback & ratings
PrivateVPN: General Feedback & Ratings
Users on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter unequivocally praised the ease of use and functionality of PrivateVPN apps. Long-time PrivateVPN users on Reddit claimed they were satisfied with the advanced features and overall performance of the app. Gamers and streamers also gave favorable reviews thanks to PrivateVPN’s commitment to providing uncensored streaming and an optimal gaming experience.
Consumer review websites such as SiteJabber and Trustpilot provide authentic user reviews of products or businesses. Thus, I checked out several user reviews of PrivateVPN on such sites to understand the VPN’s impact on the online experience of real users.
On Trustpilot, PrivateVPN had more than 1700 user reviews with over 90% of the reviews rating the VPN as excellent. PrivateVPN earned a rare TrustScore of 4.9/5 on the site thanks to its reliable performance, security features, and prompt customer support. While most user reviews waxed eloquent about the company’s customer service, some reviews mentioned the more functional aspects of PrivateVPN like its security protocols, advanced features, and overall usability.
Complaints on social media and review sites were hard to come by and the few that I did come across were limited to issues regarding either customer support or the company’s refund policy. The company seems to be doing a good job of handling user complaints with its executives promptly responding to such grievances online.
PrivateVPN: Google Trends
Google Trends is an analytical tool from Google that graphically represents the interest in top search queries over a specific period and within a particular region. I used Google Trends to understand and estimate the relative popularity of specific search terms like “PrivateVPN” and “PrivateVPN review” compared to “TorGuard VPN” to see how it fared against one of its nearest competitors.
Interest in “PrivateVPN” was high but fairly uneven throughout last year with the highest search volume recorded in mid-August 2022. The interest in the search term sharply rose at the beginning of 2022 only to descend into a state of lull from January to February. Currently, the graph predicts a gradual decrease in interest after a turbulent period of rise and fall through the past few months.
On comparing “PrivateVPN” with “TorGuard VPN” using Google Trends, I found that the average interest in the former was slightly higher than that in the latter. I found it interesting that the two graphs were almost similar with overlapping patterns during certain months. Over the past 12 months, the interest in both keywords was inconsistent. The inconsistent rise and fall in interest over the past 12 months can be attributed to several incidents, including elections in several major countries, economic crises, and a global pandemic.
DNS leak tests
PrivateVPN: DNS Leak Tests
Despite lacking the advanced WireGuard protocol, PrivateVPN offers IPv6 and DNS leak protection through OpenVPN protocols and other security features. However, the DNS leak protection may be limited to the Widows PrivateVPN app for the moment. The macOS and mobile apps do not have configurable DNS leak protection at the time of writing this review.
When connecting to the PrivateVPN Windows app via OpenVPN, the default protocol, I found no instance of IP or DNS leaks during several rounds of leak tests on DNSleaktest.com and ipleak.net. However, Express VPN’s DNS leak test page and the above DNS leak test sites showed DNS leaks when I connected to the VPN app via L2TP and PPTP protocols. PrivateVPN operates its own DNS servers that resolve your DNS requests instead of third parties. Though I did not encounter DNS leaks on the default OpenVPN protocol which most users are likely to use, a Smart DNS feature will be most welcome.
Should You Buy It?
PrivateVPN offers fast and secure VPN apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. With advanced encryptions and modern security protocols, PrivateVPN offers reliable security at an affordable price. PrivateVPN allows 10 simultaneous connections, offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, and boasts one of the best customer support services in the industry. Overall, PrivateVPN is a decent VPN service with just enough advanced features to secure your daily shenanigans.
- Affordable prices
- Works in China
- No WireGuard protocol