PrivadoVPN Review

PrivadoVPN Review header image showing PrivadoVPN on different devices
PrivadoVPN

PrivadoVPN logo

Name: PrivadoVPN

Offer price: 4.99

Currency: $

Operating System: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android

Application Category: SoftwareApplication

Author: Hans Wagner

Overall
4.2









  • Price









  • Service









  • Apps









  • Speed









  • Policy









Summary

.

Pros

  • Zero-logs policy.
  • Fast VPN connection speeds.
  • Reliable network.
  • Unblocks most streaming services
  • High level of encryption.
  • Free service plan.

Cons

  • Unaudited no-log policy.
  • No browser extensions.

PrivadoVPN is best known as a free VPN service, but it also offers a paid-for service now as well. That is why we have tested PrivadoVPN to see how it compares to more established and better-known VPN rivals.

In this PrivadoVPN review, I will bring together the findings of these tests, which were carried out by our experienced team of VPN experts.

We have looked at every aspect of the Privado VPN service and in this review, we will tell you everything that you need to know about this VPN as well as concluding whether it is worth your time and money.

We look at the improved VPN protocols, which see WireGuard added to PrivadoVPN, offering faster and more secure connections. We will also look at security features like split tunneling and DNS leak protection, as well as the kill switch.

Interestingly, these are on offer in both the paid-for and free version of PrivadoVPN.

Our research team has looked at the VPN server locations you can connect to, how well PrivadoVPN can unblock popular streaming services, and also its prices. I will let you into a secret. It performs well on all these fronts.

There are a few areas it does have issues, not least with privacy and its no logs claims. But we will come to that.

So, sit back and strap in for the only PrivadoVPN review that you need to read from our team of experts with over 10 years of VPN experience.

1. Video Review

If you’re pushed for time check out our round-up video review of PrivadoVPN.

If you’ve got a little more time on your hands it’s worth scrolling down after watching for our full in-depth analysis.

2. Service

Speeds

Download speed

As usual, we wanted to begin with some simple speed tests to ensure that PrivadoVPN won’t significantly impact downloads for most users.

Pleasantly, we found their internet traffic speeds to be very good.

After several weeks of testing speeds across a range of VPN servers, we couldn’t find any major issues while browsing the web or when streaming high-quality video. We also tested the service while playing online games and had no problems with lag.

We tested their service by downloading a large file and monitoring the average overall speed. We also ran speed tests using Google’s speed test too.

This was done on a typical UK residential connection, so pretty much the same type as you will be using.

Our speed without VPN was: 346 Mbps.

These were the speed averages that we experienced attached to the following countries, in no particular order:

  • UK – 235.7 Mbps
  • France – 235.3 Mbps
  • Netherlands – 260.7 Mbps
  • Switzerland – 235.2 Mbps
  • Sweden – 207.6 Mbps
  • New York, US – 148.9 Mbps
  • Australia – 26.5 Mbps

While not the fastest, these are genuinely impressive speeds, even stacked up against larger, more established VPNs. When comparing their speeds to ExpressVPN and NordVPN they hold their own.

I did use a significantly faster internet connection this time around but found when comparing the overall speed impact to when I tested them last year it to be much the same.

So, if you want to connect to PrivadoVPN servers for streaming or gaming, we are confident the connection speeds offered by PrivadoVPN across their VPN server network are more than sufficient.

If you have a slower internet connection, you’ll likely notice slower connection speeds. But that will be down to your ISP, not PrivadoVPN.

Upload speeds were also remarkably consistent, and our overall conclusion on PrivadoVPN speeds is that they are hugely impressive, especially for such a young VPN.

Logging

One of the prominent features of PrivadoVPN is that it claims to be a zero-log provider. This strict no logs policy is mentioned several times on their website, fine print, emails, and social media channels.

They also have a privacy policy that goes into more detail about what information they keep. According to that, they only keep information required to maintain accounts or troubleshoot specific issues.

This is not perfect, but it’s largely the same as what every other provider retains.

Details they log include your email address used when creating your account, payment information (they state they do not collect or store your credit card number), occasional bug reports, anonymous aggregated usage over their network, and bandwidth usage for free plans, which are limited in the amount of allotted monthly bandwidth.

On the other hand, PrivadoVPN’s privacy policy also states that they do not keep any user activity logs, browsing history, IP address origin or assignment, data type, or data content.

It is down to individual users to decide if they want to take PrivadoVPN at their word on this.

In comparison to industry leaders like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, to date, there has been no independent third party audit of PrivadoVPN’s logging policy, which many other VPNs have done. So users do have to take this provider on trust.

Our expert view is that if online privacy is your priority, there are better options out there than PrivadoVPN.

Simultaneous Connections

The number of simultaneous connections you can get with PrivadoVPN depends on whether you are planning to pay for their service or not.

With the PrivadoVPN free account, you will get just one simultaneous connection. The PrivadoVPN free deal is very limited and we felt just one connection is extremely low and useless if, like us, you use your smartphone and laptop at the same time.

At the other end of the scale, if you sign up for any of PrivadoVPN’s paid-for deals, you get unlimited simultaneous connections.

That means you can protect all your devices and use them at the same time. I found this extremely useful when using my phone while watching a film on my smart TV and working on my laptop while my partner and kids do the same thing, and we are all protected.

Unlimited connections are rapidly becoming what VPN users expect, and PrivadoVPN users get that already, as long as they sign up for a paid-for deal.

Jurisdiction

PrivadoVPN is based in Switzerland, like Proton VPN, and is under their jurisdiction, which has some of the world’s strongest consumer privacy laws. This puts them outside of the control of ‘5-eyes,’ ‘9-eyes,’ ’14-eyes,’ and similar intelligence-sharing agreements.

Combined with the complete lack of Swiss logging requirements and PrivadoVPN’s zero-logging policy, this is probably as safe as you can expect your personal data to be.

If PrivadoVPN coupled this with a full audit and stop collecting so much user information, then they could have some of the strongest privacy provisions in the industry. But it’s our view is that they are not there yet.

Customer Support

As of right now, PrivadoVPN mostly offers email support to customers, both free and paid.

They do have some live chat support but it isn’t 24/7.

We will say that customer service is 24/7 and, in our experience, they responded pretty quickly to questions that we sent about speed and performance.

The answers were clearly informed and we didn’t feel like details were ignored in favour of sending stock responses. Even highly technical questions were answered in less than 24 hours with sufficient detail.

If they weren’t immediately aware of the answer, they took the time to reach out and let us know they were investigating to provide a useful solution.

While live customer service is preferred to email, we will say that the quality of support was superb. Live chat from some providers is often pre-prepared statements, so decent email help is better than poor live help.

Which is better, PrivadoVPN or ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN currently remains our best overall VPN provider, with a score of 4.8 out of 5.

PrivadoVPN has a long way to go to reach parity, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good service for some.

As PrivadoVPN builds its infrastructure, customer support, and features, there is scope for them to improve.

One way that PrivadoVPN is superior to many services, however, is that they own the data centres and fibre in Amsterdam, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Frankfurt. Ownership of these locations should make it easier to respond to issues and allows them more operational oversight.

For the moment, they are high in the mid-tier of VPN providers, which is a solid place to be.

The inclusion of a free plan makes it ideal for people who don’t use a lot of monthly data and simply want to protect their connections, as well as unblock streaming services on occasion.

Their paid plans also have quality offerings and service levels that make PrivadoVPN suitable for heavy VPN users. We would like to see that independent audit to enhance their privacy offerings though.

3. Server Locations

Server locations

PrivadoVPN, as of the time of this publication, has 200+ servers located in 48 countries and 65 cities around the world.

We were impressed by the geographic spread of PrivadoVPN’s servers and found most of our global testers had a nearby server they could access with ease.

They purchase IP addresses directly from ISPs which some other services don’t, and we were pleased to see none of the locations being virtual locations which are often used by other providers to boost numbers.

We found this to be the case with PrivateInternetAccess so when comparing, PrivadoVPN definitely comes out on top in this area.

Considering that most VPN users will only get their VPN connected to a handful of server locations at most, it is far more important that they be available for those who want them and that they have enough IP addresses to serve all of their customers.

This appears to be the case with PrivadoVPN, and while it is a small server network when compared to the likes of ExpressVPN, put up against comparable VPN services, it looks very good.

PrivadoVPN server list

They do not offer dedicated servers for free account users, but if you are using the free plan, you still get access to twelve local servers, which is more than most free VPNs offer,

Does PrivadoVPN use Virtual Servers?

No, they do not. We have checked several times, and the answer remains the same.

If anything, they are very firm about their commitment to using physical servers exclusively, to the point of purchasing data centres and fibre lines.

Can you use PrivadoVPN in China?

Our tests in China proved inconclusive.

While on one Chinese network, our researchers in the country experienced fantastic download and upload speeds, another using the same network struggled to connect, and when we did, speeds were unusable.

It’s positive to see on certain networks PrivadoVPN’s slower speeds outperformed every other provider. But we were unsure if this was intentional or just beginner’s good luck and the fact that PrivadoVPN is lesser known than the competition.

PrivadoVPN China speeds

Speeds surpassed many competitors when working.

The best results were seen using the default IKEv2, with less favourable results when using OpenVPN. Using an Android device performed better, while our Windows tests resulted in difficulties connecting.

If you want to use a VPN in China, there are better and more reliable options than PrivadoVPN.

4. Security and Safety

Protocols & Encryption

Protocols and encryption

Currently, PrivadoVPN offers WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols with all plans, both free and premium.

Their OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols both make use of the AES-256-CBC cipher, which is reliable and safe for most users. They also use SHA-256 authentication, which is the industry standard and has no known vulnerabilities or breaches.

We were delighted that WireGuard has been added since we last tested PrivadoVPN. This is the future of VPN protocols and offers the fastest and most secure connections ideal for streaming, gaming, and everyday use.

When comparing to other leading providers this brings them up in line with them.

Has PrivadoVPN suffered any security incidents?

No, they have not as far as we can see. They are still relatively small, so there have been very few opportunities for any major incidents.

We will continue to monitor for new information, but as of right now, we haven’t heard anything.

Is PrivadoVPN safe for Torrenting?

Yes, they are. In fact, they have made it easier for their paid users to secure P2P transfers by offering free access to a SOCKS5 proxy.

This is different from the normal virtual private network service in a few key ways.

First of all, this proxy is set up at the application level rather than the system level, meaning that only data coming to and from a specific application, like a P2P client, utilises the service. Secondly, it does not encrypt data nor transfer it through an encrypted tunnel.

However, what it does do is mask the user’s IP.

The lack of encryption and decryption means that connections are noticeably faster while using the SOCKS5 proxy. This is recommended by PrivadoVPN to P2P users who want to get the fastest possible speeds but still maintain a level of anonymity.

This proxy is a great addition to the PrivadoVPN features, but we want to stress that it is not encrypted, so shouldn’t be used for everyday use.

5. Apps

Apps

Mobile Apps

Currently, PrivadoVPN offers mobile apps for both the Android and iOS operating systems that are available on their respective app stores.

The app looks largely the same across both platforms and has the same features, so that made it a lot easier to evaluate when we tested both.

PrivadoVPN app on an Android device.

PrivadoVPN worked well on my Google Pixel 8 Pro.

I like that the design is highly intuitive, and the main app screen includes a one-click connection/disconnection button.

There is also the useful addition of a dropdown menu that tells you what server you’re connected to and allows you to choose from the available ones, access to the message centre and settings menu, and what your current IP address is.

Privado Android app main screen and country selection list.

The Android app sports a clean and easy to understand interface.

This covers most of what we would want to do while using a VPN.

Inside the settings screen, you can choose your VPN protocol and set the app to automatically start when your device does, automatically connect when active, and auto connect to either the best server or the last one you were on. You can also access tools like DNS leak protection and split tunneling too.

I like how the app has developed over time and now includes more features than it previously did.

Settings menus of the PrivadoVPN Android app.

PrivadoVPN have added a lot of features to their Android app.

But these apps were clearly designed and built with a lot of care. They are simple to install and use, and our expert testers were very impressed.

For free users, the good news is that these apps are all available to them as well.

Desktop Apps

The PrivadoVPN desktop apps, available for Windows and Mac OS, are almost identical to the mobile versions. They have the same features like split tunneling and DNS leak protection, and provide the same information in the same places.

PrivadoVPN on a Windows desktop

PrivadoVPN took up little space on my 28″ monitor.

Not all providers offer such a seamless transition from one device to another, although it’s more common among the higher-rated providers.

It’s nice to have access to usage maps and tables, data breakdowns, or other features sometimes offered on Windows and Mac apps. I found switching between WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols is easy too, which isn’t always the case.

PrivadoVPN Windows app

The Windows version of PrivadoVPN.

I also really appreciated that the kill switch is so prominent as when using it reminded me to turn it on or off as needed.

Thankfully the app is no longer pinned to the notification area and there’s a setting available that will allow you to release it to move anywhere on the desktop. This was a huge negative for me last time so I’m relieved they’ve listened to feedback here.

I dislike that there is no minimise button on the app which would send it to the taskbar, for this you’ll need to just click on another desktop application.

Alternatively click the ‘X’ which sends it to the notification area, however in my mind the ‘X’ should really be for closing the app completely.

PrivadoVPN app settings

PrivadoVPN’s Windows app has plenty of settings available.

Overall, I am impressed by the PrivadoVPN desktop apps and we feel they will work well for experienced and novice users alike.

Other Apps

Privado VPN currently only offers one other app, and that is for the Amazon Firestick device, although the Android app does state it works with Android TVs.

PrivadoVPN Fire TV app connection screen

The PrivadoVPN Fire TV app is easy to navigate.

This is a great addition over the past year and means users can use their Firestick device to access streaming platforms and other online content safely.

PrivadoVPN Fire TV app server selection screen

Choosing a server is simple using the Fire TV remote.

We would like to see more native apps being added, but our team definitely feel PrivadoVPN is moving in the right direction.

Does PrivadoVPN offer browser extensions?

No, they do not. PrivadoVPN is following a trend of trying to make browser extensions superfluous by having well-designed, resource-lite apps. So far, they have succeeded in doing so.

If a browser extension is essential to you, consider services like ExpressVPN or NordVPN, both of which have them available.

Does PrivadoVPN offer an ad-blocker?

No. PrivadoVPN does not come with a built-in ad-blocker.

We expect that they will eventually since it has become something of an industry standard for VPN services, but at the moment, that doesn’t seem to be what they are focused on.

Both NordVPN and Surfshark are well-reviewed VPNs with built-in ad blockers if that is something you are concerned about.

Otherwise, there are no conflicts between PrivadoVPN and any third-party ad blockers we could find.

Why you should enable the Kill Switch

It is impossible to have a VPN that you will never experience connection interruption, and PrivadoVPN is no different in that regard.

A Kill Switch is there to prevent you from sending unsecured data in the case your VPN connection drops by shutting down all communication while you are not connected to the network.

This way, you don’t have to worry about IP and DNS leaks, nor that your real IP address will become compromised.

Kill Switches are a must for users who value security and want to continue to maintain their privacy. Our expert team recommend that the following users especially engage their VPN Kill Switch at all times:

  • People using a VPN to protect themselves from online censorship
  • People using a VPN to protect themselves from online surveillance
  • Anyone else who needs to increase their anonymity online
  • Torrent users
  • Anyone using sensitive documents or materials

There were absolutely no IP or DNS leaks that we found during our tests of PrivadoVPN. DNS leak protection is included as well, so users can run this DNS leak protection to check themselves if they want.

How to enable the Kill Switch Feature in PrivadoVPN

The Kill Switch feature is not enabled by default in any of the PrivadoVPN apps, though their tutorial does draw attention to it and why it’s helpful.

If you want to enjoy the extra security benefits of a Kill Switch and keep yourself protected if your VPN connection drops out, we recommend you simply activate the toggle on the main page marked “Kill Switch,” That’s it. This applies to all of their apps.

6. Streaming

Streaming

Does PrivadoVPN work with Netflix?

Yes, PrivadoVPN works with Netflix.

PrivadoVPN in use with Netflix

PrivadoVPN worked well with Netfli.

We tested the service with Netflix, not only confirming that we could connect, but also that we were able to access geo-restricted content in a given region. We could on every server we tried, and I have personally enjoyed content from the US and both the UK and Asia.

While PrivadoVPN doesn’t unblock every region of Netflix, it worked well with the main one, the United States and connecting to most locations will auto-connect to the US service.

Does PrivadoVPN work with BBC iPlayer?

Yes. We were able to access BBC iPlayer while using PrivadoVPN in a number of different locations, even outside of the UK.

I found this very useful to stream Match of the Day in several locations around the world.

Does it work with Amazon Prime?

Yes. We tested this around the world had no issues connecting to Amazon Prime Video on every server that we tried. We could stream easily and enjoy great shows and movies with ease.

PrivadoVPN also was able to unblock different Prime regions, just like with Netflix.

Prime can be hit and miss with all providers, and your mileage may vary depending on the device you’re using and your internet speed. Our team found that with PrivadoVPN, Amazon Prime Video works best with the desktop and laptop apps.

Other services

Another service that PrivadoVPN advertises as streaming through their network is Hotstar, a provider which focuses on film, TV, and sport in India. Our tests showed no issues using this service with PrivadoVPN.

Our tests found that PrivadoVPN also works with the other major streaming services, including HBO Max, Android TV, and Disney Plus.

7. Prices and Plans

Prices and Plans

Lastly, our VPN review took a look at the price.

PrivadoVPN has two tiers of service and three plans. The first tier is entirely free but restricts the number of available servers, only has the Windows and Android apps, and allots users 10GB of data every month.

This won’t work for many people, but after comparing other available options, this is one of the best free VPN offers around.

The PrivadoVPN free service is also safer and more secure than many other free VPNs too because it comes from a well established provider in a secure jurisdiction.

The second, paid tier, comes in three versions: 1 month, 12 months, and 24 months.

The only difference between them is the price.

  • 1 Month: £7.99 per month
  • 12 Months: £4.99 per month
  • 24 months: £1.99 per month

These premium plans both come with unlimited data, unlimited simultaneous connections, access to the full list of PrivadoVPNs servers, apps for all supported platforms, and the ability to use their SOCKS5 proxy.

All plans, including free, include unlimited speed and bandwidth, and the same 24/7 customer support.

Accepted payment methods include credit card and Paypal. We were also very impressed with the wide variety of cryptocurrencies that are accepted. You can also pay on Mint and SoFort.

You will only be asked for payment information if you sign up for a paid subscription. Free subscriptions require only a verified email address to sign up.

There is a 30-day money-back guarantee offered to all subscribers, too, which gives you a month to try before you buy.

How does PrivadoVPN’s price compare?

PrivadoVPN’s 1 Month subscription is cheaper than leading VPN provider ExpressVPN (£7.99 vs ExpressVPN’s £10.58) by a significant margin. But neither is especially cheap when compared to the longer deals.

Their yearly package is cheaper than many but by no means the cheapest. However, the two-year deal does offer exceptional value for money.

Does PrivadoVPN offer a free trial?

There is not a free trial of PrivadoVPN, but by signing up for their free plan, you can get an accurate idea of how well the service works for you and can upgrade to either the 1-month or 12-months plans later.

8. Verdict

Verdict

PrivadoVPN is relatively new to the market and offers both a free and paid-for VPN service.

We have been testing both versions for several months now and comparing PrivadoVPN to other VPN providers.

There is much to like. PrivadoVPN’s connection speeds are fast and consistent, making them ideal for streaming your favourite shows and even for online gaming. Both download and upload speed was impressive.

On security, our team liked that PrivadoVPN supports WireGuard now, which was not the case last time we tested. Encryption was good, and extra details like RAM-only servers also impressed our team.

With PrivadoVPN you get unlimited simultaneous connections, unlimited data, and a secure VPN connection.

The Privado VPN server network is impressive, too, among the newish VPN providers. There are VPN servers spread across the world, and finding nearby servers was easy for our global research team. If you want to hide your actual location and get a new IP Address, PrivadoVPN does deliver.

The main downside to PrivadoVPN is the no-logs policy claim. This remains unverified, which means the no logs policy has to be taken on promise. PrivadoVPN also retains far too much user data, and our team were united in saying that this needs to be addressed before we can be confident about the privacy provisions on offer here.

Lastly, we looked at price. PrivadoVPN offers excellent value for money with its paid-for plans. Prices are low and there is now a 30-day money back guarantee too. In comparison to other providers their 1-month package is cheap but their 1-year deal is mid-range.

And, of course, there is the free plan. We don’t usually recommend free VPNs, and there are limitations to the free plan offered by PrivadoVPN. But it is secure, has a decent data limit, allows you to access 12 of PrivadoVPN’s servers, and enjoys many other benefits.

As free services go, the free version of PrivadoVPN is up there with Proton VPN as the best free VPNs out there. And our team agree that this is massively to their credit.

In our final verdict PrivadoVPN does well for internet security, speed, and streaming quality. On privacy, it could do better and we would like to see more features added too.

But our experts agree that PrivadoVPN is a very good VPN, and it continues to move in the right direction.

Ready to give Privado a try?

Free trial available

Author: Christopher Seward

Having used the internet since 1994, Christopher launched one of the very first VPN comparison websites in 2013. An expert in the field his reviews, testing and knowledge have helped thousands of users get the correct VPN for their needs.

Comments

  1. Marco

    HI, I’m a Privado user and from my country I wasn’t able to connect to UK prime video.

    • Christopher Seward

      Hi Marco,

      It’s possible it has been blocked since our review was last updated.

      What device are you trying to watch on and have you reached out to Privado to see if they have a solution?

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