Updated · Oct 09, 2022
Best for: Everyday use
Launched in 2019, PrivadoVPN has only been around for a short while. The virtual private network provider is run by a team of “security experts and passionate programmers” who are zealous about free and open internet.
The company is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland. That’s a huge plus in my book. Switzerland is widely regarded as the most privacy-friendly country in the world. Ironically and as expected for a Swiss-based company, there are no additional details regarding company ownership.
PrivadoVPN’s vision is a truly open internet with digital protection for all users. To achieve this, the vendor offers a range of privacy and security features including a kill switch, a strict no-logs policy, and SOCKS5 proxy servers for efficient P2P sharing and streaming. There’s also a free version, so you’re not restricted by pricing.
The free version requires no payment or personal information (only an email needed) and provides 10GB of access every month with unlimited speeds, no logging, and no ads. To top it all, it supports both streaming and P2P traffic.
The PrivadoVPN reviews from users I’ve seen are polarizing, with both lots of praise and criticism. So I tested the service using a variety of metrics to see just how well PrivadoVPN backs up its claims.
Let’s get right into it.
PrivadoVPN offers a number of essential VPN features.
From time to time, your VPN connection will drop suddenly. When this happens, your traffic is left exposed and can be detected, snooped on, and/or intercepted.
To prevent this, some VPN providers offer a feature called kill switch. It immediately disconnects your device from the internet until a stable connection is reestablished. This ensures that your privacy is left intact.
PrivadoVPN for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android apps comes with a functional kill switch. By default, the feature is disabled, but can easily be toggled on or off.
With most of the negative user-generated PrivadoVPN reviews revolving around the connection dropping frequently, this is a good feature to have.
10 Simultaneous Connections
Users get up to 10 simultaneous connections on multiple devices. That means that PrivadoVPN can provide online privacy for several of your gadgets with spots left to share with friends and family members. All on one subscription.
The industry average for premium VPN providers is approximately 5 device connections, so PrivadoVPN excels in this area. Still, there are services, like Surfshark and IPVanish, that are ahead of the curve, offering unlimited device connections.
PrivadoVPN premium users are not restricted in terms of bandwidth. With no data cap to worry about, the VPN is ideal for binge-watching episodes of your favorite TV shows in high-definition video quality or downloading large files.
It’s also an excellent option for evading speed throttling by internet service providers.
PrivadoVPN is a versatile privacy provider that supports a range of devices and platforms. They include:
- Fire TV
- Android TV
Linux and router setups require manual configuration. For those, there are dedicated setup guides on PrivadoVPN’s website.
On the downside, the VPN service does not offer any browser extension at this time.
PrivadoVPN Advanced Features
PrivadoVPN is not exactly loaded with advanced features like double VPN or obfuscated servers. However, there are a couple of extras that will provide greater data protection.
SOCKS5 Proxy Servers
For torrenters, PrivadoVPN offers a feature that can come in very handy. SOCKS5 is a type of proxy that protects your IP address while you torrent, skipping the encryption and decryption functions of the VPN.
This automatically translates to faster speeds for downloading and sharing.
At the same time, a cloak of anonymity ensures that your IP address is not detected while you torrent; an essential balance between performance and privacy.
With that said, the faster speeds achieved through using SOCKS5 proxy servers and the associated go-around of encryption can put your data at risk. Without that layer of protection, your IP address may be masked, but you can still be a victim of malware and data theft.
SOCKS5 proxy operates on the application level rather than the system level. This means that traffic coming from a specific application, such as a game, can use this protocol for a lagless experience. The other privacy-sensitive apps that you are using can go through the encrypted VPN tunnel.
PrivadoVPN Mac and Windows users can find setup tutorials for this feature on the company’s website.
With the help of this feature, you can automatically connect to your preferred server every time the app launches.
Currently, there are three connectivity options available. You can connect directly to a server in a recommended country, choose the previously selected server or go with a randomly selected server.
PrivadoVPN Servers and Locations
PrivadoVPN offers more than 200 servers spread across 45+ countries. While this is not exactly a huge network of servers — vendors like CyberGhost and Private Internet Access have several times more — it is impressive for such a new VPN provider.
What’s even more impressive is that the company owns all of the data centers and infrastructure it operates. This means that there is a higher guarantee of security, with the provider able to respond to any issues at a much quicker rate.
In addition, PrivadoVPN only runs physical servers. While virtual servers are not an issue with highly rated VPN providers, they can pose a problem when operated by less reputable companies.
There is a decent geographical spread of the servers offered, with options available in Europe, the Americas, and Australia.
Speed is one of the most essential factors to consider when choosing a new VPN service. Because of the encryption they provide, VPNs impact connection speeds. The extent to which this happens depends on the provider.
Using the Speedtest by Ookla tool, I set out to discover how PrivadoVPN performs.
First I tested my ISP’s performance to establish a base connection speed.
Then I connected to a PrivadoVPN server located in Manchester, England.
As expected, the result showed a slowdown in speed. Still, it was not too significant.
Next, I connected to a Washington DC, USA server, located further away:
And then I connected to an even more distant server in Australia:
Overall, PrivadoVPN is not the fastest VPN on the market, as it so boldly claims. For example, ExpressVPN is much faster. Still, its performance is decent, all things considered.
The speed of the server located in Australia took a pretty massive drop. But then again, that server is located halfway around the world from me.
PrivadoVPN Privacy and Jurisdiction
PrivadoVPN has its headquarters in Switzerland. This means that users are protected by some of the most consumer-friendly privacy laws in the world. Switzerland is not part of the Fourteen Eyes alliance, and so it is not under any agreement to share user data with any other country. In fact, any requests for your data have to be reported to you.
But just to be sure, PrivadoVPN has a zero traffic logs policy. It also utilizes end-to-end encryption with built-in leak protection and a kill switch.
Still, because there hasn’t been one so far, I would like to see PrivadoVPN submit to an independent audit of its network infrastructure.
An independent audit, like those undertaken by NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark, investigates a VPN’s servers. A more comprehensive one covers the source code, client/browser extension, and configurations. Audit results reassure customers of a provider’s privacy and security claims.
PrivadoVPN Security and Protocols
PrivadoVPN comes with OpenVPN, WireGuard and IKEv2 tunneling protocols on both its free and paid plans. It supports both OpenVPN UDP and TCP, with the former offering faster speeds while the latter edges ahead in terms of security.
I would have preferred to see more variety here, but OpenVPN is an optimal choice for most users.
Additionally, the VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect the data of its users. This military-grade encryption is the highest standard in the industry currently and is strong enough to secure your traffic from brute-force attacks.
No doubt PrivadoVPN takes data security seriously with its available protocols.
PrivadoVPN Leak Test Results
There’s no point using a VPN to ensure privacy if it leaks your IP address and DNS queries. With IPLeak, I tested PrivadoVPN to see how well it handles potential leaks.
And it passed convincingly:
Based on the result of the test, PrivadoVPN had no problem shielding my IP address. I was connected to a UK server, and sure enough, the IP address detected checked out. There was also no issue of any DNS query leaks.
PrivadoVPN and Streaming Services
I got some excellent results testing PrivadoVPN’s ability to unblock geo-restricted streaming platforms.
According to the vendor, PrivadoVPN can unlock most of the major services like:
- Prime Video
- BBC iPlayer
- HBO Max
- Paramount+ and many others.
Considering even the best VPN services sometimes struggle with one or two streaming platforms, I had to confirm that for myself.
Impressively, PrivadoVPN backed up its boasts.
Connected to a variety of servers, I set out to see if I could access blocked Netflix content. It was a piece of cake — PrivadoVPN easily unblocked Netflix US, Canada, and the UK.
I got similar results for Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. A couple of PrivadoVPN user reviews mentioned an issue bypassing the geo-restriction set up by Disney+. However, I had no such experience.
Conclusively, I rank PrivadoVPN high up on the list of the best VPNs for accessing geo-restricted streaming content.
How Good Is PrivadoVPN for Torrenting?
PrivadoVPN allows P2P activities on all of its servers, which means it is an excellent option for torrenters.
But there’s more.
Remember the SOCKS5 proxy servers I discussed earlier? 49 of those are available to provide fast speeds for downloads and sharing while shielding the IP addresses of users.
The presence of a kill switch is the icing on the cake. Any drops in connection will not lead to your data being exposed while using a torrent site.
Can PrivadoVPN Bypass Geoblocks?
Say you’re taking a trip to China, Iraq, Russia, or another country that restricts internet use. You’ll need a VPN service that can evade those geoblocks to let you visit and use regulated websites.
PrivadoVPN is not a great option for bypassing geoblocks set by unfriendly governments. It is largely ineffective against the Great Firewall, for instance, as it has no servers in China. Also, the service has no advanced features like obfuscated servers.
Ease of Use
As highlighted earlier in the review, PrivadoVPN is a multi-platform service that supports Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and other devices. In order to verify user-friendliness, I conducted my tests using both Windows and Android apps.
Generally, I found PrivadoVPN to be very easy to use.
The design may not be the most simple or elegant I have seen, but it works. Plus, it is highly intuitive. Both desktop and mobile apps look similar.
After installation, you are shown a how-to-use tutorial when you launch the client. This explains the features and provides instructions on how to navigate it, flattening the learning curve for newbies.
Like many other smaller providers, the app is available in the system tray after installation. Unless you choose to “undock” it, you cannot move it around, and clicking anywhere outside the app immediately closes it.
The kill switch toggle button lies on the home screen. This shows PrivadoVPN has novices in mind — otherwise, it would be easy enough to forget to switch the feature on. There is a one-click button that immediately connects to the optimal or preferred server as soon as you launch.
Under Preferences, you are presented with a variety of tweaking options. For example, you can switch protocols. I particularly found the additional information attached to each protocol useful.
Despite these user-friendly options, it would also be convenient to be able to save your favorite servers for future use.
PrivadoVPN for Mac and iOS devices are set up similarly.
You can contact PrivadoVPN’s customer support through email, ticketing, and live chat. The channels are conveniently available around the clock.
While perusing the user reviews on the Google Play Store, I noticed that representatives replied to all the comments, whether positive or negative. This is a plus, as it shows the company takes support very seriously.
So I was not surprised that I received a response shortly after I sent a ticket. Not only was the response prompt, but it was also useful and specific to my request.
Furthermore, PrivadoVPN offers robust resources that cover a range of potential inquiries. There is a FAQs page and a blog with knowledge guides, news, how-to tutorials, and service updates.
PrivadoVPN offers both free and premium subscription plans.
The PrivadoVPN free plan is a limited version of the service, with just 10 GB data allocation per month and access to only 12 servers. Additionally, it cannot be connected to multiple devices at the same time. However, this free VPN supports both streaming and torrenting.
The premium plans offer a more robust experience and have no restrictions. They are available as both monthly and annual subscriptions.
1 Month - $7.99/month
12 Months - $4.99/month
You can pay through a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover) or PayPal.
If you decide to hop on the annual option, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee that allows you to try out the service risk-free.
PrivadoVPN is certainly one to keep an eye on. While relatively new to the industry, it is already showing promise, and its free VPN option is worth a try.
PrivadoVPN shines in terms of streaming, unlocking the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. Torrenters will also enjoy this VPN for its decent speeds and SOCKS5 proxy servers.
But it’s not all shiny.
There are a few drawbacks to take note of. For example, its limited network of servers, the lack of protocol options, as well as the lack of an option to pay with cryptocurrency.
Still, the results of this PrivadoVPN review have the pros outweighing the cons, and PrivadoVPN looks set to muscle its way up the rankings.
Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.
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