PrivadoVPN: Is It The Best Free VPN?

In addition to the large and well-known VPN services such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, there are numerous small providers that stand out either by offering a free VPN or by focusing on specific areas.

One of them is PrivadoVPN, a very young company based in Switzerland that was founded in 2019. The Swiss are known to be very privacy conscious, which is because Switzerland has no obligation to store user data. Therefore, this relatively new – and above all free VPN offer made us very curious.

PrivadoVPN states that it has a particular focus on privacy and security and wants to be the safest free VPN on the market. But how can that work? In order to be able to offer a high degree of security, the operators have to invest money accordingly.

Of course, PrivadoVPN does not work for free. The free version is limited by a maximum of 10 GB per month and access to only 12 servers. However, this may be sufficient for some users. The unlimited tariffs are not necessarily on the cheap side then.

But let’s take a closer look at PrivadoVPN Free and then decide whether it’s the Best Free VPN or not and whether a paid version might be worth it.

VPNWelt experts have tested PrivadoVPN: Here is our verdict

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In our review of the free version of PrivadoVPN, we put the following areas through their paces:

Let’s dive into the VPN test! For those in a hurry, we have created a small overview of what you can expect from PrivadoVPN for free and which functions you get with the paid version.

Quick Overview

 

PrivadoVPN Free

PrivadoVPN Paid

Speed

51.7Mbps

51.7Mbps

Logs

Wireguard

OpenVPN UDP

TCP

IKEV2

SOCKS5

Wireguard

OpenVPN UDP

TCP

IKEV2

SOCKS5

Encryption

AES 256 bit

AES 256 bit

Server Locations

12

62

Data

10GB per month

Unlimited

Log Policy

No Log

No Log

Kill Switch

Yes, only on desktop

Yes, only on desktop

Platform

Windows

Android

macOS

iOS

Fire TV

AndroidTV

Linux

Windows

Android

macOS

iOS

Fire TV

AndroidTV

Linux

Torrenting

Yes

Yes

Unblock Netflix US

Yes

Yes

Unlock Prime Video

Yes

Yes

Unlock Hulu

No

No

Unblock BBC iPlayer

No

No

HD4k support

Yes

Yes

Costs

Free

From $4.99 with a 30-day money-back guarantee

Below you will find the individual test criteria in detail.

1. Security and Privacy

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Since PrivadoVPN is primarily focused on security, we took a very close look at this.

Kill Switch

A kill switch prevents you from surfing the Internet unprotected without your knowledge if the connection to the VPN server is lost. You can activate and deactivate it in the desktop version in the settings under General and configure the behavior of the app when booting (autostart) and when starting (autoconnect).

A major downside, however, is that the Kill Switch isn’t available on mobile. This means that you are unprotected should the connection to the server be lost.

Logging Policy

PrivadoVPN follows a strict zero-log policy. On the website, you will find a very clear statement:

“We do not collect or store the content of what you view, browse, communicate or do over the Privado VPN connections.

  • We encrypt all data over the PrivadoVPN connections.
  • We ensure that we never record browsing history, traffic destination, data content, IP addresses, or DNS queries associated with a PrivadoVPN connection.
  • We are unable to link activity originating from an IP address from our VPN servers to activity by a user of PrivadoVPN.
  • We will never sell your data to third parties.”

This means your data will not be tracked or stored: neither the pages you have visited nor other information about your surfing behavior. When you compare this policy to other providers, it is actually very good and exactly what you look for in a good VPN.

However, if you take a closer look at the privacy policy, you will find that there are quite a few things that are saved. These are:

  • E-mail address 
  • Payment Information
  • App analytics
  • Mobile identifiers

The app analytics bothers us a bit, but when you compare it to other providers, it’s still a lot less. What exactly is meant by “mobile indicators” has yet to be figured out. But most likely, it is about the hardware and software, hopefully not about the location!

Encryption

PrivadoVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption and SHA256 hash authentication. We could not find out any more detailed information on this. We tested the free service for IP or DNS leaks and couldn’t find any.

Protocols

PrivadoVPN supports the following protocols:

  • OpenVPN (UDP): By far the strongest combination of speed and security. Works on almost any network.
  • OpenVPN (TCP): Slightly slower than OpenVPN (UDP), but more secure and works on almost all networks.
  • IKEv2/IPsec: Faster than the OpenVPN protocols, but may not work on some networks.
  • Wireguard
  • SOCKS5

Of these options, OpenVPN (UDP) is the safest choice. This protocol has never been hacked.

By default, PrivadoVPN chooses the fastest protocol. If you prefer a specific VPN protocol, you can select that protocol in the Settings menu under the Protocol tab.

2. Speed

First of all: PrivadoVPN is impressive, especially with the free version when it comes to speed. The speeds are sufficient for most people but, compared to other VPN providers, it is slower.

We tried different locations, times of day, downloads, and other activities and got an average speed of 51.4 Mbps. With a VPN connection, however, it is always important that you choose the servers that are closest to your location. For example, if you want to watch Netflix in the US, you should choose a server location on the East coast. If you only want to protect yourself with an encrypted connection while you surf, select a neighboring country.

When trying to unblock Netflix in the US with PrivadoVPN (which works, by the way), we were able to record a speed of 37 Mbit/s, which is enough for smooth streaming. In servers in Europe, i.e. near locations, we were able to record an average of 104 Mbit/s. And that’s anything but bad.

Another point is which protocol you use. The OpenVPN UDP protocol is faster than TCP. IKEv2 (IPsec) is even faster than OpenVPN. However, since OpenVPN tends to be the default for most VPNs, we used it in testing.

The tests with WireGuard were a little slower on average. Thus, in this way, we have achieved an eventual average value.

3. Streaming

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Many VPN users mainly use the service to watch TV series and films from abroad that cannot be accessed in Germany. There is some good news here, but also some bad news.

As for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, unlocking country restrictions worked flawlessly. The only country we checked that could not be unblocked was the UK.

Bypassing the country blocks for Amazon Prime Video worked well, even in Great Britain.

On the downside, PrivadoVPN failed to unblock Hulu, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer. But if you look at history during the past three years that PrivadoVPN has been around, it already has more accessibility than it started with. Who knows, maybe it will be possible in the future.

4. Torrenting

As far as torrenting goes, PrivadoVPN is excellent. Our P2P tests all ran without problems, achieved good speeds, and there were no disconnections.

What is particularly nice for torrent fans is that PrivadoVPN offers a SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting. However, this is only in the paid version, and is not free with PrivadoVPN. While a VPN protects all your network traffic, the SOCKS5 proxy will only let traffic from the application with the proxy configuration through.

The upside is that the proxy is very likely to be faster than the VPN since it doesn’t encrypt your traffic. However, it will change your IP address to that of the proxy server. But you also have the option of using both at the same time. So you can either only use the VPN, only the SOCKS5 proxy server, or both. Hardly anyone else offers that.

5. Server Locations

When comparing server locations to other VPN providers, the number sounds very small. However, it must be said that these locations are PrivadoVPN’s own servers.

If a VPN service offers hundreds or even thousands of servers, it’s safe to assume that some – if not all – of them are not under their control. So, this is a positive aspect, and you can expect these to be very secure and well-maintained servers.

In the paid version, you have access to servers in 47 countries and 62 cities. With the free version, you can access servers in 12 cities. That doesn’t sound like much, but at least there’s a server in the US that lets you watch Netflix US for free. That’s something!

Another point worth noting is that PrivadoVPN claims they pride themselves on only using physical servers located in the country they represent. This is in contrast to virtual servers, which can be located anywhere in the world and simply provide you with an IP address of that country. Although virtual servers have their advantages, such as easier maintenance and better scaling, there are advantages if the VPN server you are connected to is actually in the country it claims to be.

You can also let the software decide which server is best for you. It will then select the fastest one for you in the country you want to connect to. This is very convenient.

PrivadoVPN has servers in the following countries:

America: Argentina, Brazil, Canada (Canada VPN), Mexico, and the United States.

Europe: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Czech Republic, Ukraine (Ukraine VPN), Hungary, and Great Britain.

Asia: Australia (Australia VPN), Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan.

Middle East and Africa: Israel, Turkey (Turkey VPN), and South Africa.

6. Ease of Use

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The PrivadoVPN website is very clear and well laid out. The same applies to the operation of desktop apps and mobile apps. What makes this provider very user-friendly, in our opinion, is not only the clear structure of the apps but also that they are available for the following platforms:

  • Windows
  • Android
  • macOS
  • iOS
  • Fire TV
  • AndroidTV
  • Linux

The PrivadoVPN app is well structured. The main options are displayed on the app’s main dashboard, allowing for quick and intuitive access.

Once you open the dashboard, you will see a large round button with a key. This is the “on” button. The button is red when you’re not connected to the VPN. When you’re connected, the button turns green. All are quite easy to handle. As already mentioned, we would like to have a kill switch for the mobile apps, but unfortunately, it is missing.

PrivadoVPN also offers split tunneling. Split tunneling is a feature that allows you to run just a few apps over the VPN, such as your web browser, while sending the rest normally via your ISP (Browser Proxy Settings Guide [Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge & Opera). This can be very handy. 

7. Customer Support

There is a support page on the PrivadoVPN website with answers to many frequently asked questions. If your question is not listed there, you can always contact customer service via email. We tested customer service and received an expert response to our questions in under an hour.

Unfortunately, however, PrivadoVPN does not have a live chat feature. That would definitely make customer service even better. However, the answer by e-mail is always fast.

Pros and Cons of PrivadoVPN

privadovpn logo

So, let’s summarize the pros and cons of PrivadoVPN here:

Advantages

  • Large selection of apps
  • Good speeds
  • Kill switch
  • Good privacy and logging policies
  • Physical servers
  • Decent streaming performance
  • Secure VPN protocols

Disadvantages

  • No live chat customer support
  • Kill Switch only available in desktop apps
  • High prices for the paid version

Our ratings for PrivadoVPN in the Best Free VPN category: 4/5 stars

Try PrivadoVPN here >

Conclusion

Our focus when evaluating PrivadoVPN was the free version of the Swiss provider. And we have to say that despite the disadvantages, it is the Best Free VPN on the market. It’s secure, has a lot of privacy features, and although it might not be the fastest, it’s good enough for most things. And with 10 GB a month for free, you can do a lot. However, when it comes to the paid version, it’s just not good enough for the high price it’s asking. Then you’re better off with NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or other premium VPNs.

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