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PrivateVPN Review 2021: Cheap & Secure

7.8
8th out of 376 VPNs

Published on: October 12, 2021

If you could pick a name to describe a trustworthy VPN, PrivateVPN is a pretty good one.

When you are looking for a dependable VPN to use for streaming, torrenting, gaming, or just online protection, good privacy features are of the utmost importance. Private VPN definitely delivers in this arena with its top security and encryption, no-logs policy, and Stealth VPN mode for use in heavily censored countries.

Since there are countless VPNs on the market, all claiming to be the best at what they do, let’s take a closer look at PrivateVPN to find out if it’s worth the attention.

Keep on reading our PrivateVPN review as we look at the important stand-out features of PrivateVPN, and learn if this VPN service has any downsides that are important to keep in mind when making your VPN choice.

What We Analyzed in PrivateVPN:

When analyzing and evaluating a virtual private network, there are some important features to take into consideration before deciding if the VPN can adequately support your online activity.

Here are the criteria we kept in mind when researching PrivateVPN for this review:

☑️ Speed: Is PrivateVPN fast enough to access your streaming and browsing without annoying buffering and lag? Subscribing to a service only to find out that it does not successfully give you the quality access that you need in order to do any tasks you set out to do online makes the service worthless to many.
☑️ Privacy and Security: Is your VPN keeping your online information and IP address private and protected and out of reach of hackers and prying eyes? Is there top-notch data encryption? What about a kill switch to kill the Internet in case your VPN connection cuts out suddenly? Does this VPN service keep any logs of users’ activity that could be potentially harmful to the user?
☑️ Streaming: If you are using a virtual private network to access geo-restricted streaming sites — like Netflix, Hulu, or BBC iPlayer — it is important to make sure this VPN is strong enough to get through these sites’ geo-blocks consistently to deliver buffer-free streaming.
☑️ Torrenting: Torrenting is something that could put you in danger if the virtual private network you choose does not give you a secure connection. To ensure that PrivateVPN is a good torrenting VPN, we checked to make sure that your actual IP address was hidden online — safe from hackers and third parties, and that it supports torrenting.
☑️ Servers: Does your service offer server locations in a wide range of countries throughout the world, ensuring a speedy local connection from anywhere? Are these server locations in the countries you are trying to access? (For example, if you want to be able to watch Hulu, you will need to make sure there are plenty of servers in the US.)
☑️ Ease of Use: Is your VPN compatible with Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android? More importantly, is it easy to use if you are a VPN novice? Is there a way to access live-chat customer support if users have any questions that need to be answered immediately?
☑️ Price: What is the cost per month? Does this service provide good value for your money? Is there a refund policy? Is there a free trial available?

Keep on reading to learn more about these important PrivateVPN features, and to determine whether this service might be a good fit for you.

Speed:

Compared to its competitors, PrivateVPN has a smaller-sized network of servers, which, in and of itself, could cause issues with connection speeds. If a VPN provider has too few servers, there can be crowding on the servers they do have, slowing your traffic.

Despite its smaller size, PrivateVPN is growing and seems to be able to maintain its fast speeds and consistently dependable connections.

Why are speeds so important? Well, if you are using a virtual private network to unblock geo-restricted streaming content or for gaming or torrenting, your connection speeds will determine whether you can browse, torrent, and watch your shows without annoying delays, buffering, and lag.

For this PrivateVPN review, we put this VPN’s speed to the test. We did a review taking into consideration our baseline download speed, upload speed, and ping. Then, we re-tested our speeds after connecting to PrivateVPN local and long-distance servers.

Our baseline speeds in New York before connecting to a server were:

☑️ Download Speed: 69.54 Mbps
☑️ Upload Speed: 7.43 Mbps
☑️ ping: 39 ms

When we connected to a VPN server in Chicago, these were our new speeds:

☑️ Download Speed: 33.91 Mbps
☑️ Upload Speed: 5.95 Mbps
☑️ Ping: 61 ms

Unfortunately, after trying out a few servers, we realized that there was no way to quickly use PrivateVPN to find the fastest server. The second US server we tried actually gave us better speeds:

☑️ Download Speed: 59.54 Mbps
☑️ Upload Speed: 6.58 Mbps
☑️ Ping: 46 ms

Even when connecting to a long-distance server in Europe, the speeds were still plenty fast for adequate streaming without buffering, which is impressive given that this is on the smaller end of VPNs.

Server Network:

While we found that there are a lot of inconsistencies on the PrivateVPN site concerning server size, the most up-to-date review of the number of servers shows that this service now has over 200 servers in 63 countries around the world. In the realm of top VPNs, PrivateVPN is definitely on the smaller end as far as the number of servers, but, in practice, PrivateVPN works at unblocking most of the popular geo-blocked streaming sites and delivers consistently good speeds, so this server size is plenty adequate.

Privacy & Security:

Is PrivateVPN safe

All in all, after extensive review, I can honestly say that PrivateVPN is safe to use. If you are looking for your IP addresses to be concealed online from your ISP, authorities, or prying eyes, PrivateVPN succeeds in doing this with its military-grade encryption and privacy features.

PrivateVPN also offers DNS leak protection and IPv6 leak protection, as well as the ever-important kill switch (Connection Guard) to make sure that your privacy is not compromised if your VPN connection drops suddenly. When we did our own review to test for leaks, we were happy to use that there were none found.

The one downside we found in terms of privacy and security is that the PrivateVPN kill switch is only for Windows, which is a bummer.

Encryption

One of the first and most important things to note in any virtual private network review is its encryption standards. If a VPN these days is not using the top level of encryption, you should simply move on to the next provider option.

PrivateVPN offers users 2,048-bit Encryption With AES-256, which is the highest level of encryption, good enough for the military. With this level of encryption, if any hackers or third-party threats are able to get their hands on your data, it will all be encrypted and completely indecipherable.

Does PrivateVPN have an ad-blocker?

There is no built-in adblocker with PrivateVPN. If you want to use an adblocker with this service, you will need to use another app or an ad-blocking extension.

Logging policy

PrivateVPN has a strict zero-logs policy. This company is, however, headquartered in Sweden, which is in the 14 Eyes Alliance. The 14 Eyes Alliance is a group of 14 countries that have agreed to share intelligence amongtheir partnering countries.

Based on our review of their Privacy Policy, PrivateVPN makes it clear that it “does not collect or log any traffic for use of the Service.”

PrivateVPN logging policy

Because of its strict no-logs policy and top security features, we trust this service when it claims to have a zero-logging policy, which means that there should never be any logs to share with authorities if any are ever requested from it as a member of this Alliance.

Streaming:

Streaming is one of the most popular reasons to use a VPN. People very commonly use VPN services to unblock their favorite streaming service, like Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, or various Netflix libraries.

When writing this review for PrivateVPN, we put its streaming capabilities to the test — both in terms of ability to unblock streaming services, and the ability to stream shows with good quality and with limited buffering.

Upon review, we found that PrivateVPN was able to successfully unblock US Netflix, Hulu, ABC, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney Plus.

A really cool asset that we found unique and helpful in the PrivateVPN apps is the fact that is recommends servers that work well with particular streaming services, like Neflix, ABC, and Hulu. When you scroll through the server list, you will see certain servers labeled with these popular streaming site names, which will save you the trial and error of testing which one unblocks Netflix best, and which unblocks Hulu best.

Torrenting:

Any time you are torrenting online, there is a chance of accidentally sharing or downloading illegal or copyrighted files online, which could land you in jail or with a heavy fine if you are not protected.

PrivateVPN is a great option for those who are looking to use a VPN for torrenting. PrivateVPN has unlimited bandwidth, supports P2P sharing, and also offers port-forwarding.

And, although PrivateVPN is located in a 14-Eyes country, its strict no-logs policy reassures us that it is not keeping any user data to hand over if it was ever requested by the authorities.

*VPN Brains does not condone any illegal activity online, such as copyright infringement or downloading any illegal content.

Does PrivateVPN Work in China:

Much of the time, when we write a VPN review, the answer to this question is a simple “no.”

The Great Firewall of China is infamous for blocking VPN providers from functioning on Chinese soil. The Chinese government, authorities, and Internet Service Providers work hard to block any IP addresses coming from known VPNs, and they even go so far as to block any VPN services from even being visible on users’ devices in China.

Surprisingly, based on our recent review, PrivateVPN is one of the few VPN providers that is actually able to get past the Great Firewall of China.

PrivateVPN uses its Stealth VPN mode to access the web in China. Using this mode, it will appear to the Chinese ISP, government, and authorities that any PrivateVPN user is simply browsing the web locally — not using a VPN in China. Because only the best VPN services are able to get past Chinese restrictions, PrivateVPN has earned some serious street cred!

Cross-Device Compatibility:

The PrivateVPN service is compatible with both desktop and mobile apps across platforms, like Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. If you want to use your VPN with other connections, you can also install PrivateVPN on Linux, routers, and Kodi.

The drawback that we mentioned above is that PrivateVPN’s kill switch is only available on its Windows app. So, if you happen to be using another device, like an iPhone, this kill switch will not be available.

You can use PrivateVPN with 6 devices simultaneously on a single user account, which is a pretty nice asset for families who all want to use their VPN connection at once.

User-friendliness:

Based on our extensive review, PrivateVPN is both easy to use and easy to install. This VPN service has a user-friendly interface and remote help available for any issues that may arise.

Beginners can easily navigate the app with the default security and privacy settings, and advanced users can customize advanced configurations, like choosing which protocols they prefer using.

If there is ever any trouble using the PrivateVPN app, there are a couple of different ways to get in touch with customer service for support. Customer service can be reached via live chat or via email, and there are plenty of tutorials and FAQs on the website to show you how to do things, like installing your VPN on a range of devices.

My biggest complaint was web maintenance. There are a lot of inconsistencies on the PrivateVPN site, including bits of information that contradict each other. The site moderators need to make sure that their site is being updated regularly with only the most up-to-date information so as not to confuse or mislead consumers.

Pricing:

There are 3 separate pricing options to choose from when deciding on a PrivateVPN subscription plan. Here are the options available:

You can pay for a subscription using credit cards, PayPal, or, if you’d like the most secure method of payment — Bitcoin.

PrivateVPN pricing plans

In line with the comment above about the need for PrivateVPN to update its website — We are not sure why it is so hard to find, but there does seem to be a 7-day free-trial associated with PrivateVPN. When we tried to access the free trial on the site, this is the error message that we got:

Still, per our research, it seems that you can get access to this 7-day free trial if you reach out to PrivateVPN customer support via email.

Support:

PrivateVPN offers live-chat customer support, but it is not available 24/7 like many other VPN services offer.

You are also able to contact a customer support representative through email or through filling out the form on the PrivateVPN website.

If you access the PrivateVPN website, you can find lots of answers to common questions in their FAQ section, or click on the “Getting Started” section for tutorials on how to connect your VPN to your device.

PrivateVPN Getting Started section

Conclusion

So, after our PrivateVPN review, we can honestly conclude that if you are looking for a private VPN that will give you a secure Internet connection, this one is a great option. With PrivateVPN’s AES 256-bit encryption, kill switch, no-logging policy, and Stealth VPN mode for use in heavily censored countries, this private VPN really is all it’s cracked up to be.

The downsides: while PrivateVPN does have live-chat support, it does not offer its live-chat 24/7, which is a step behind many of its top competitors. Also, while PrivateVPN does have a kill switch, it is only available on the Windows app, so you are less protected if your secure connection cuts out on any other platform. In terms of the number of servers, PrivateVPN is also a step behind the top VPNs on the market, only offering 200 servers compared to ExpressVPN‘s 3,000 servers, and NordVPN‘s 5,400 servers. Still, this small server size does not seem to affect the PrivateVP video-streaming capabilities or its speeds.

Another potential downside is that this VPN provider is based in Sweden, which is in the 14 Eyes Alliance. This may startle some VPN users who are worried about their data falling into the hands of the authorities, but because of PrivateVPN’s strict no-logs policy, the chances of any breaches in user privacy are very slim.

This VPN provider is, per our extensive review, a private VPN that prides itself on its ease of use, high-speed servers, and private service. You can subscribe to a 2-year PrivateVPN plan for only $2.50 per month today, and get a money-back guarantee 30 days from the day you subscribe, so you really have nothing to lose.

PrivateVPN Assets:

☑️ 30-day money-back guarantee
☑️ Live-chat customer support
☑️ Easy to use on platforms like Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
☑️ Unblocks Netflix and other popular streaming services
☑️ Stealth VPN mode
☑️ Top security and privacy features
☑️ IP and DNS leak protection
☑️ 6 simultaneous connections
☑️ 7-day Free trial

Thank you for reading our PrivateVPN review.

VPN service
Features
Best price
Score
Best Overall
  • Super fast.
  • Reliable & ultra-secure.
  • Great for HD/4K streaming.
  • Chrome, Firefox & Edge extensions.
  • 24/7 live chat support.
  • Outstanding!
$12.95
$6.67 /mo
Save 49%
Best Value
  • Fast speeds.
  • Strong privacy & security.
  • Uninterrupted streaming.
  • Ad-blocker included.
  • Chrome & Firefox extensions.
  • 24/7 live chat support.
$11.95
$3.71 /mo
Save 68%
Best Budget
  • Fast VPN streamlined for beginners.
  • Strong encryption & privacy features.
  • Chrome & Firefox extensions.
  • 24/7 live chat support.
$12.95
$2.21 /mo
Save 83%
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