Proton Technologies is a Swiss company that specializes in providing ultra-private/secure services. The company first came to notice for its secure email service known as ProtonMail which was released publicly as a beta in May 2014. ProtonVPN followed three years later and in January 2020 it went open source to allow for independent audits, becoming the first VPN service to do so.
Switzerland is renowned for its strict privacy laws and is commonly regarded as one of the safest countries in the world, if not the safest. In this article, we’ll be looking at Proton’s Free VPN service.
NOTE: Click on any image in the article to view full size
Proton Free VPN Features
Note: Prices are in US dollars for annual plans and are discounted further if you sign up for two years:
- What you get: Unlimited data, One VPN connection, Servers in three countries, Medium speed
- What you don’t get: No P2P (torrent) support, No support for accessing blocked content, No Secure Core, No streaming service support
NOTE: I believe the Secure Core feature is when outgoing traffic is routed through multiple servers.
As you can see from the above screenshot, the free version is pretty basic but, nonetheless, it will definitely keep all your internet traffic private and secure. Not many free plans, if any, support unlimited data, which is a huge plus but probably not quite so critical minus support for streaming and torrenting. Even the Basic plan is quite limited, with the Plus plan finally offering the full VPN experience.
Proton Free VPN In Action
Before downloading and installing ProtonVPN Free you need to create an account– this is standard operating procedure for all VPN services. After creating your new Proton account you will be sent a unique verification code which you then input into a dialogue box on the Proton site and you are good to go. Installation on my Windows 10 machine was quick and painless with zero issues.
Proton Free VPN Speed Test
You can either connect via a Quick Connect button or choose your own server from the list of free servers. I was surprised to see five free servers based in the US– other free server locations are in Japan and the Netherlands. I was even more surprised to discover that the speed when connecting from Australia through a server in Los Angeles was pretty darn good.
When you consider how far away I am from the US server the result is quite remarkable. I’d imagine that users in the US would not notice a lot of difference at all. I found the connection to be stable and switching between servers is quick and simple. I also tested ProtonVPN Free for leaks through ipleak.net and was pleased to find no leaks, especially no DNS leaks.
NOTE: ProtonVPN Free does include a Kill Switch to ensure you are not exposed if the connection drops out, but it is not on by default. Click the little icon on the right, under Countries, to enable the Kill Switch:
Proton Free VPN Support
I shot the Proton support team an email asking a pretty dumb question, just to test the response, and received a very helpful and comprehensive reply in super quick time– most unusual for a free service. Let’s face it, that’s even unusual for a premium service. Again, a resounding pass.
With its no-logs policy backed up by Swiss privacy laws, unlimited data, and remarkable speed (considering), Proton Free VPN has to be among the best free options available, if not the best. Was I impressed? You bet your sweet bippy I was. If you’re looking for a free VPN to maintain your privacy while surfing the web, I don’t believe you could do better than Proton’s Free VPN.
Special Mention: Atlas Free VPN
When I first began researching for this article I had in mind to compare Proton Free VPN with Atlas Free VPN (which has also garnered a number of favorable reviews). However, on testing Atlas Free VPN through ipleak.net, I discovered that the DNS address was leaking like a sieve– my local DNS server addresses available for all to see. I could find no setting to rectify that situation so I would definitely NOT recommend Atlas Free VPN.