PrivadoVPN is a young yet high-rated zero-log VPN service that offers a lightweight, and reasonably robust solution. They deliver fantastic speeds, thanks to WireGuard, and a very decent free plan without speed limits, though their paid plans come in at a similar price point to several of the older VPN brands on the market. Learn more.
PrivadoVPN is developed and run by Privado Networks AG, a company under Swiss jurisdiction. It’s a young VPN service that got a slightly unique start. In early 2019, PrivadoVPN started with Windows and Android, plus as an enterprise-level solution. By the end of that year, it went direct-to-consumer, offering service to users worldwide.
Since then, they’ve expanded services remarkably and can protect almost all devices on various platforms with apps available for Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Fire TV Stick, and Android TV. While their server network is relatively modest, the service shows impressive traits that make it formidable in this highly contested market.
Pros of PrivadoVPN
Cons of PrivadoVPN
Nothing sinks a VPN service faster than mediocre speeds. It’s one of the prerequisites of any good VPN, since even the most secure VPN that cripples your web activities isn’t helpful. Thankfully, PrivadoVPN offers the WireGuard protocol, resulting in excellent performance.
I tested PrivadoVPN extensively – multiple times and from various locations around the world (see section below). Don’t mistake these speed test results as “typical.” Many VPN service providers can’t match them, even when offering similar protocols. In addition, PrivadoVPN manages to keep up to the best even with a limited number of servers available.
WireGuard is a massive factor that helps PrivadoVPN achieve these speed results. It’s an extremely lightweight protocol that, surprisingly, not all VPN service providers have yet adopted. It completely fits the lightweight application PrivadoVPN offers.
While many people tend to discuss security and privacy where a VPN is concerned, I find that speed is an equally important factor. The most private and secure VPN in the world isn’t going to be useful unless it can offer speeds that, at the least, won’t destroy your browsing experience.
Before testing any VPN, I first demonstrate a “baseline” result. The ISP-advertised performance for my data connection is 500Mbps download and upload. Typically, I’m able to get this to run at full speed. We can take the following regional speed test in a better perspective with that established.
The reason for this is because of latency. Distance from a server increases response time. That increased time will impact how quickly you can access data from that location. As you connect to VPN servers further away, the latency will increase and impact the user experience.
North America is the furthest distance from my physical location. Because of that, it’s understandable that the PING (indicating latency) is high. Despite that, PrivadoVPN can sustain decent download and upload speeds.
My speed test to a server in Germany is a fantastic example of how a VPN can sometimes improve your Internet speed. While not often, infrastructure providers will occasionally shape traffic, throttling your speeds. In cases like this, using a VPN will be highly advantageous.
Because it’s only fair to include a diverse range of locations, South America is typically one of the locations I include. The speeds in South Africa are terrible in general, with fixed broadband averaging around 30Mbps. Sadly, it’s mainly due to the infrastructure, and few VPN service providers can overcome this.
Singapore’s internet backbone is one of the finest in Asia. Couple that with its proximity to my location, and you can see the full potential of PrivadoVPN. With PrivadoVPN enabled and connected to their Singapore server, I could not tell that a VPN was on.
Australia is likewise relatively close to my physical location. Again, this showcases Privado’s potential. While ping does creep up slightly, it’s perfectly normal. Doubtless, most regional server sites will demonstrate this same capability for Privado.
Good news – PrivadoVPN includes most industry-standard security and privacy features in its service. The company owns and operates its infrastructure. That is an excellent assurance of privacy and security. To give you a better understanding, here are some highlights;
Data sometimes leaks due to insufficiencies in specific communication protocols. With PrivadoVPN, that risk goes out the window. You can be sure that your data is secure within the VPN tunnel. As long as the connection is active, of course.
Most of my VPN use is limited to Windows and Android, but PrivadoVPN offers access on almost all devices. The list includes macOS, iOS, FireTV, AndroidTV, Roku, and many more. More impressively, they’ve managed to prevent their app from being an intrusive resource hog.
Many applications today consume as much RAM and CPU time as available. Luckily, the PrivadoVPN app footprint is tiny. You can run it on almost any device with no problems. This feature is one of the things that impressed me the most, given how well PrivadoVPN performs.
PrivadoVPN chooses to address market needs with a freemium model. That means they offer a free plan that’s somewhat limited to start. That free plan allows you to access a handful of servers (albeit in popular locations like US and Europe), and you get 10GB of data per month with no speed limits.
It’s sufficient to take the service for a trial but not enough for practical use. One or two high-res movies will likely kill your entire monthly bandwidth allocation.
On the other hand, having this free tier can be taken as a bonus for lightweight users. If you only need limited use of a VPN, PrivadoVPN is an awesome choice. The alternative is to sign up for a free trial on another commercial VPN, which isn’t a great idea since this’ll likely only work once or twice before you get banned. And you certainly don’t want to sign up for any old “100% free” VPN that you find online from an unknown brand – since some of the dodgier free VPNs might misuse your data for their benefit.
Why take that risk when you can just get 10GB a month free from PrivadoVPN instead?
|Specifications||Free Plan||12-Month Plan||1-Month Plan|
|Data transfer||10 GB||Yes||Yes|
The paid plan removes the data cap and allows you full access to all their servers. That plan will set you back $7.99/mo, which is reasonable and also comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee. Most monthly subscriptions for excellent VPN brands clock in at over $10/mo.
For a better price, you can choose their annual subscription. That drops the monthly rate to $4.99/mo. It’s here that I have some misgivings. Privado’s price is on-par with industry leaders if taken as a yearly subscription. However, it’s a shame to see they don’t drop this rate with longer subscriptions – some VPN brands offer two, three, or even five-year subscriptions at discounted rates. We hope it’s something they might consider in future.
For now, PrivadoVPN sports generally positive feedback from its users. I’m not going to say the masses love it, but things are pretty good from what I see. In most cases, the ones complaining are generally the freeloaders who want to pay nothing.
One of the most challenging things to get past for any new brand is customer acceptance. PrivadoVPN gains some initial support, which is even more complicated since it’s in the privacy and security business.
Compared to many industry behemoths, PrivadoVPN may come across as relatively sparse. It offers an unknown number of servers spread across 45 countries. Yet two things play in its favor. The first is that the brand is relatively new and has time to expand, as many others have.
The second is more important. PrivadoVPN owns and operates the IP backbone and server infrastructure their servers use. Not all VPN companies do that since it costs astronomical sums to establish and maintain.
In this manner, you can be even more confident that PrivadoVPN takes your privacy and security seriously. They control not just the data flow but also every line it runs along. Quite impressive.
Aside from secure VPN servers, PrivadoVPN offers customers the option to use SOCKS5 proxy servers. While less secure than VPN servers, SOCKS5 proxy servers allow for better speeds – something you may need when carrying out high-bandwidth activities like file downloads on P2P.
You may have come across information saying that SOCKS5 proxy use is terrible. In most cases, that would be correct. However, the difference with PrivadoVPN is that you know their SOCKS5 proxy servers are reliable and they won’t steal then sell your data. In cases like this, it’s somewhat acceptable to consider a SOCKS5 proxy server.
While you won’t get data encryption on SOCKS5, the server will still help mask your IP address. That should be sufficient for most P2P activities. Unless you’re downloading stuff you seriously don’t want people to know.
If you think SOCKS5 isn’t necessary with a VPN that boasts “fast P2P speeds,” that isn’t often likely. Regardless of how excellent a VPN service is, data encryption makes a massive dent in file transfer speeds and often overwhelms most VPN connections.
Because of this dual capability, I highly recommend heavy P2P users give much closer consideration to PrivadoVPN.
You can have your cake and eat it. Simply use PrivadoVPN servers while routing P2P traffic through their proxy servers.
Another great feature is that PrivadoVPN allows you to run ten instances to their servers simultaneously. That means you can protect your smartphone, Android TV, PC, laptop, and more at the same time. Few VPN brands are this generous since they fear customer abuse through account sharing.
At the same time, PrivadoVPN doesn’t limit the number of devices it recognizes per account. While rare, some VPNs will limit this, so if you run out of devices in your account, you need to clear existing “authorized” ones from your control panel.
Those thinking of installing the VPN on a router for blanket coverage should note that most routers don’t handle encryption well. Your VPN speeds are likely to drop drastically. Use the native apps for each device. It’ll save you lots of frustration.
Being only in the market for a short while isn’t a good thing for VPN services. They need the “time in the game” factor to assure customers of their quality and integrity. You could say that it’s unknown at the moment how many of PrivadoVPN’s claims are accurate.
Unfortunately, not the shiniest bling of marketing can bypass this factor. What’s more, Privado’s gone all-out with their prices and matched industry standards. That makes it an even harder pill to swallow for a new service provider.
Continuing about the minimalistic experience, PrivadoVPN offers a “no-frills” service. That means you get what comes standard with VPN services – good speed, security, and privacy. Nothing additional comes into play. For example, some VPN service providers add ad-blocking, anti-malware, dark web monitoring, and more.
At first, I was conflicted about whether this was an advantage or disadvantage for PrivadoVPN customers. Yet I recall the price that PrivadoVPN is charging. What’s Privado’s unique selling point if you can get more features and similar performance elsewhere?
Unless, of course, minimalistic is what you want. I can see a niche area where those with lightweight devices will need such streamlined services, but that’s a small crowd.
One of the top reasons many of us use a VPN for streaming is to access geo-blocked content. Netflix, for example, keeps all the goodies for those within the Americas. Doing this with PrivadoVPN isn’t that feasible.
Don’t get me wrong – I could connect to one of their US servers and load my Netflix account with no problems. However, trying to stream a movie is another thing altogether. I watched the red loading wheel spinning for ages to no result. One possible reason is my distance from the US, which causes sky-high latency.
Yet I can’t excuse PrivadoVPN for this since I’ve streamed Netflix US content with many other VPN service providers. It was a disappointment. Switching to a server closer to my location solved the issue – albeit without access to Earth’s most extensive Netflix media library.
Using PrivadoVPN gave me a slightly chaotic feeling as the user experience goes. There are many things I love about it, including smooth connections, easy installation, and ease of use. Yet they could improve in some areas.
After the app installation, the first thing that struck me was how tiny it is, and not in a good way. I still have no understanding why they decided such a small footprint would be helpful to consumers. Honestly, it’s difficult to see.
PrivadoVPN offers customers a decent range of support channels like many good service providers. For them, this includes live chat, a standard ticket system, and access to a knowledge base. Unfortunately, I tested two of these channels with poor results.
The knowledgebase offers a handful of articles that covers basic stuff. The information is rudimentary at best and self-promotional at worst. Most content is in bullet form and unlikely to help if you’ve got a real problem.
Customer support via live chat is equally unimpressive. I got in touch with a support agent within a minute, which is excellent. However, after explaining my issue, the agent immediately copied and pasted a canned response asking for information that would not likely impact the issue.
Overall, customer support was a disappointment from a brand with such a great product.
I highly recommend you give PrivadoVPN a try. You can use the free plan as a trial run to see how things go. There’s no harm done at all. Then, hopefully, one of their many excellent qualities will encourage you to move on to a paid subscription.
PrivadoVPN’s speed is obviously in big part thanks to the WireGuard protocol. Yet it’s done a fantastic job keeping the application footprint to a minimum while providing a minimalist design. While prices could be better, this is one service that I can appreciate for its quality.