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Take a look at ProtonVPN's pricing, privacy, and contracts
Proton Technologies is no stranger to the world of security and privacy. Their other major offering, ProtonMail, is the most popular encrypted email service on the planet. Given that background, it was no surprise when the Swiss company released their VPN service — ProtonVPN — in 2014. But does ProtonVPN have everything you need to browse the web with speed, security, and privacy?
Before we can talk about everything ProtonVPN has to offer, let’s have a quick refresher on why you should have a VPN. The internet is not, in most cases, a particularly secure or private place. Your ISP, corporate advertisers, and potentially even nefarious computer hackers are tracking you everywhere you go on the web. If you don’t want prying eyes seeing your personal browsing habits and gaining access to your secure data, then you need a trustworthy VPN to protect you.
Cord cutters have one additional reason for wanting a VPN: We like to access geo-restricted streaming content. By changing your apparent browsing location, VPNs give you a chance to view content from all around the world. But streaming providers are getting better at blocking this access, so only the best VPNs are consistently able to provide this functionality.
ProtonVPN offers a free tier and three paid tiers of service (Basic, Plus, Visionary), with each successive tier offering more simultaneous devices (up to 10), additional security features, and faster connections. The free tier gives you access to servers in 3 countries: Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States. All of the paid tiers have access to servers in 54 countries, but only the Plus and Visionary tiers provide access to the full list of 1,000+ servers. All the tiers provide unlimited bandwidth, and even their free tier has no data limits, a huge break from the limited-data free tiers offered by TunnelBear, Windscribe, and other competitors.
ProtonVPN’s security starts with two excellent VPN protocols — IKEv2 and OpenVPN — one or both of which are available on all their apps. With most of their apps, you’ll also get access to a kill switch and DNS leak protection to ensure that your private data doesn’t leak outside the VPN connection even if your connection gets interrupted.
ProtonVPN also tosses in a few extra security and privacy features, including blockers for malware, ads, and various types of trackers. Their “Secure Core” servers offer an extra layer of security when you need it, albeit at the expense of some speed. They also offer Tor over VPN on select servers, allowing you to route all of your VPN traffic through the Tor network for extra privacy.
ProtonVPN includes a split tunneling feature on their Windows and Android apps. Split tunneling lets you selectively run some applications through your VPN while others continue to use your standard internet connection. If you want to access sites or services that block VPNs, split tunneling allows you to do that without losing the VPN protection for your entire computer.
ProtonVPN has apps for all the following devices. Notably absent from this list are most streaming devices (like Apple TV, Fire TV, and Roku), Smart TVs, and video game systems (like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One). Also missing from the list are Wi-Fi routers — there is a way to use ProtonVPN’s service with some routers, but it is a process that only advanced users should attempt.
Monthly plans start at $5 per month for the Basic plan (for up to two devices at once). For $10 per month, the Plus plan allows you to use up to five devices at a time and introduces higher-speed connections, Secure Core VPN, and Tor over VPN. Finally, for $30 per month, the Visionary plan lets you use ten simultaneous devices and provides access to a paid ProtonMail account.
Like most VPNs, ProtonVPN’s pricing favors long-term commitment. Committing to a longer plan can get you an equivalent monthly rate of only a few bucks. Just keep in mind that long-term plans are paid up-front, not by the month.
The best deals for ProtonVPN, as with most VPNs, are available if you pay for at least a year in advance. All of their plans offer a 20% discount if you pay for a year in advance or a 33% discount if you pay for two years in advance. With the two-year advance pay discount, that means you can drop the equivalent monthly rate to $3.29 for Basic, $6.63 for Plus, and $19.96 for Visionary.
Occasionally, ProtonVPN will offer additional discounts, most of which will still require you to purchase at least a 1-year plan. Currently, the above prices are the best available. Check back often, though, as we’ll update this section when better deals arise.
When you sign up for the free ProtonVPN tier and download the app, you’ll be presented with the option to start a 7-day free trial of the Plus plan. There’s no need to enter your credit card information: Just click the button, and you’ll get to try out everything that paid users of ProtonVPN experience.
Should you decide to purchase a paid ProtonVPN plan, they also have a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, it is pro-rated, meaning that you’ll only get a refund for any used portion of your plan. If you purchased a monthly plan and you request a refund halfway through the month, you’ll get half of your money back.
As with most VPN providers, ProtonVPN has no requirements for contracts. If you purchase an annual or multi-year plan, however, remember that you have paid in advance for your service. If you decide to cancel after the money-back guarantee period, you are unlikely to get a refund.
ProtonVPN is incredibly easy to cancel. All you have to do is go to the Dashboard tab of your account page and click Cancel subscription. After answering a quick question telling them why, your account will be canceled. If you want to completely delete your account, including all user data, they also give you an easy way to do that — just go to the Account tab on the account page and click Delete your account.
Those are the cold hold facts about ProtonVPN. If you want a more opinionated take, check out our hands-on review, where we tell you how ProtonVPN looks and feels to a user of their VPN. If you want to find a different VPN instead, our best VPNs of 2020 list has some amazing options, or you can type VPN in the search bar at the top of the page to find even more options.