ProtonVPN is a virtual private network (VPN) service offered by Proton Technologies AG, a Swiss-based company founded by scientists who met at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). As a VPN service, ProtonVPN allows users to route their internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel, hiding their IP address and location for enhanced privacy and security online.
In addition to strong encryption protocols, ProtonVPN highlights privacy protection under Swiss privacy laws as one of its key selling points. For pricing, ProtonVPN offers both a free version with limitations as well as three paid subscription plans ranging from $4.99 per month to $9.99 per month, with discounts for annual and biennial commitments.
ProtonVPN Pricing Plans
ProtonVPN offers a free version of its VPN service with limited features. The free version only provides access to VPN servers in 3 countries – the United States, Japan, and the Netherlands. This allows basic privacy protection when browsing the web but with slower speeds due to the limited server options.
The free version also limits users to one device connection at a time. However, for users looking for a basic VPN at no cost, ProtonVPN’s free plan offers a decent solution with no payment information required during sign up. It remains completely free indefinitely with no data caps or limitations on bandwidth.
In addition to the free basic version, ProtonVPN offers three pricing tiers for its paid plans – the basic plan at $4.99 per month, the plus plan at $8.99 per month, and the visionary plan costing $19.99 per month when paid monthly. However, longer 1-year and 2-year plans offer up to 50% discounts, making them much more cost effective.
The paid plans can be purchased with credit card, PayPal, or through cryptocurrency payments. Prices are quoted in USD, CHF, and EUR so customers can pay in their preferred currency based on their location. Some key features of the paid plans include:
- Access to over 1,700 VPN servers in 65+ countries
- Unlimited bandwidth and speeds
- Simultaneous connections on up to 10 devices
- Secure Core servers for enhanced privacy
- Tor over VPN
- Proton Mail and Proton Drive services
Features and Price Comparison
The prices and features differ across ProtonVPN’s four pricing plans. Let’s compare them in detail:
The free version, as highlighted earlier, is limited to only 3 countries with just one device connection allowed. This makes it unsuitable for any serious privacy protection for extensive browsing.
The basic paid plan costs $4.99 per month if paying monthly, but drops to just $3.99 per month on 1-year plans and $2.95 per month on 2-year plans. This allows access to servers in 43 countries with 2 simultaneous connections and standard VPN features.
Stepping up to the Plus plan for $8.99 per month (or equivalent longer term discount) adds more countries, max speeds, and connections. There are servers in 63 countries with speeds up to 1 Gbps and allowance for 5 simultaneous connections.
Finally, the Visionary plan extends this to;over 1,700 servers in 65+ countries, fastest speeds, and 10 simultaneous connections across devices for power users and large families. At $9.99 per month discounted to $5.99 on 2-year plans, this offers good value compared to alternatives.
So in a nutshell, while short term monthly plans could appear expensive at first glance, the biggest savings come from committing to the longer 12-month or 24-month plans. Over a 2-year duration, the effective subscription costs drop by 50-75% making ProtonVPN competitive on pricing for the privacy conscious consumers.
Aside from just VPN access, ProtonVPN also provides additional services for enhanced privacy as part of its paid plans. These include:
Proton Mail – This is an encrypted email service with built-in anti-phishing and extra security. Access to Proton Mail email accounts depends on the VPN plan chosen.
Proton Calendar (beta) – Also available with specific paid VPN plans, this calendar service ensures private scheduling.
Proton Drive – This is an end-to-end encrypted cloud storage system to securely access files online. Up to 1 TB storage is available on higher-tier plans.
So subscribers to ProtonVPN not only enjoy private browsing but also gain access to full suite of privacy-focused tools for communication, scheduling appointments, and storage. However, they come at an additional cost on top standard VPN pricing.
ProtonVPN Review and Analysis
To recap briefly, ProtonVPN is a VPN service focused on online privacy and security. All internet traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel so users can access geo-restricted content, hide IP addresses to prevent tracking, and securely use public Wi-Fi when traveling or working remotely.
Some standout features include Swiss-based privacy protection, use of Secure Core servers, advanced encryption protocols (IKEv2/IPSec), unlimited bandwidth, and connection speeds up to 10Gbps based on plan. Tor over VPN and malware blocking are also bundled for extra security.
With apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Linux, ProtonVPN covers every major desktop and mobile platform to protect devices across the board for individuals and families.
Performance and Speed
In third-party speed tests and performance reviews, ProtonVPN generally scores very well compared to other big-name VPN services like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark etc. While exact speeds vary by server locations chosen, network conditions etc, most users can expect fast enough speeds for streaming HD video and lag-free gaming.
ProtonVPN has invested heavily in upgrading its infrastructure with 100 Gigabit servers and 10 Gigabit connections in key locations. This pays off with fast multi-platform performance consistently. Actual speeds do depend on the plan tier chosen but premium plans do deliver near true broadband speeds for the vast majority of everyday browsing.
Payment Options and Refund Policy
Subscribing to ProtonVPN starts with choosing one of the four pricing plans highlighted earlier. Payments can be made via credit cards (Visa, MasterCard supported), PayPal, or even Bitcoin for those who prefer to maximize privacy with crypto transactions.
Multi-year plans offer the best value but customers can request a refund within 30 days if unsatisfied. Yearly or 2-year plan refunds are pro-rated for the unused duration. So that serves as a risk-free trial period for longer subscriptions. Auto-renewals can also be disabled after the initial purchase.
Value for Money
When analyzing ProtonVPN’s pricing, it becomes clear that the longer 12-month and 24-month subscriptions deliver the most bang for buck. Effectively just $2.95 or $3.99 per month on 2-year plans, the service offers strong encryption, great speeds, and extras like Mail/Calendar/Drive bundled in.
The free version has obvious limitations while short 1-month plans could appear relatively expensive at first glance. It seems ProtonVPN uses this pricing model intentionally to nudge users towards annual bundles. And on those multi-year plans, ProtonVPN becomes very affordable while still delivering premium privacy and performance.
So ultimately, ProtonVPN’s paid plans offer tremendous value bundled with extras at costs comparable or often cheaper than rivals on an apples-to-apples basis. The free version is just a nice bonus for basic additional privacy.
In summary, ProtonVPN offers a free basic VPN plan with limited countries and speeds but no financial cost. For advanced privacy protection, its paid plans come in four tiers catering to different budgets and use cases:
- Basic – $4.99 per month ($47.88 per year or $143.40 for 2 years)
- Plus – $8.99 per month ($95.88 per year or $215.76 for 2 years)
- Visionary – $9.99 per month ($159.00 per year or $479.52 for 2 years)
The best savings of 50% or more come from the 2-year subscriptions. Considering the quality of service and addition of Proton Mail, Calendar, and Drive, ProtonVPN offers good value at the higher plan tiers for the privacy conscious. The free version also allows casual users to test it risk-free. Ultimately the exact plan would depend on individual user priorities around budget, features, and commitment term.