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PrivadoVPN Review: Disrupting the Market?

PrivadoVPN Review: Disrupting the Market?

Rating:

5/10

?

  • 1 – Absolutely hot rubbish
  • 2 – Black lukewarm rubbish
  • 3 – Severely deficient design
  • 4 – Some advantages, many disadvantages
  • 5 – Acceptably imperfect
  • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great, but not best-in-class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price:
$ 4.99 + / month

PrivadoVPN

PrivadoVPN is a relatively new player in the VPN market. It is a versatile solution that offers security, privacy and the ability to stream everything from anywhere. In this PrivadoVPN review, we will put these claims to the test.

Here’s what we like

  • Generous free plan
  • Great for Netflix
  • Easy to use

And what we do not do

  • Unreliable speeds
  • Not many features
  • Small interface

The short version is that PrivadoVPN can do much of what it claims, but never as well as you want – except to get through to Netflix, which it does quite well. Although there is a lot to like here, most of the providers in our summary of the best VPNs do a better job, and I have a feeling that PrivadoVPN’s main feature will be the generous free plan, which gives you 10 GB of bandwidth per month.

Note: We tested PrivadoVPN on a virtual machine running Windows. It also offers installations for Mac and Linux, as well as Android, iPhone, iPad, routers and smart TVs.

PrivadoVPN free and paid plans

Compared to other reliable free VPNs – not that there are many of them, mind you – 10 GB of data is generous. Only Windscribe offers so much. All you have to do to access the free plan is sign up with your email address and you can choose from 12 servers worldwide, which is pretty good.

If I were forced to choose, I would probably choose Windscribe, since it has a longer and better track record. But there are no rules that say you can not use both. Having two VPNs on the same system is usually not a problem.

Pricing plans for PrivadoVPN

When it comes to paid plans, PrivadoVPN is in the middle of the package at just under $ 60 per year. For this money, it gives you above average 10 simultaneous connections and servers in 58 cities around the world. That number of servers is a bit on the low side, but it is spread well all over the globe, so you should be fine.

It’s hard to tell if PrivadoVPN is worth $ 60 a year; on the one hand, it is a good deal cheaper than ExpressVPN, which costs $ 100 per year. On the other hand, you can register with Surfshark or NordVPN for their promotional prices and pay less than half for the corresponding benefit. Maybe if PrivadoVPN added some more features or improved those it has, it could be a solid competitor. As it stands, the free plan is the best.

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What can PrivadoVPN do?

For $ 60 a year, you get a VPN that mostly gets the basics right, but that has some issues. The biggest of these is the speeds, which I discuss in detail below, as well as the less than good interface. However, it has one ace up its sleeve, namely Netflix.

PrivadoVPN and Netflix

PrivadoVPN’s by far the biggest strength is how good it is for accessing Netflix, with the US servers doing a particularly good job. I tried three and they all worked. As in my Surfshark review, this is surprising as smaller services usually had major issues getting through, but apparently that is no longer the case, at least for now.

British servers also did a good job, although I had a few more issues there, with one in three not working. However, BBC iPlayer was available, so that makes up for it.

All in all, if you like your streaming, PrivadoVPN seems like a good choice, as long as you can tolerate some speed issues.

PrivadoVPN’s other features

Before I get to that, I should probably point out that Netflix connectivity is pretty much that when it comes to PrivadoVPN’s premium features. Unlike many competitors, which throw functionality at you, or even overhyper meaningless features (like dual VPN). PrivadoVPN has just … nothing. No shared tunneling, no special servers. What you see is what you get.

Although I do not mind this type of bare-bones approach, it works best if a service handles the basics well. PrivadoVPN manages this in most cases, but there is one obvious problem I have to deal with: the speeds.

Internet speeds: They are everywhere

Testing the speeds of any VPN is at best an inaccurate science: time of day, distance, type of server, there are many different factors that can affect what kind of measurements you get. However, it is extremely rare to find a service like PrivadoVPN where speeds fluctuate so much.

In general, I like to connect to four places in the world from my location in Cyprus. I try to keep them more or less the same for every VPN I test: Israel, UK, New York City and Japan. I then run each test three times, taking the best of these three. If I feel there is something strange about the reading, I repeat the process an hour later. I would usually also switch VPN to OpenVPN-TCP protocol, if it is not already in use.

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As for PrivadoVPN, the test results fluctuated so much that I had to run them three times, and I have no idea how to put them into a table. For example, I tested the speed of the connection from Cyprus to New York City, and I got measurements ranging from the insanely good to the really poor.

My basic download speed on an unprotected connection was about 50 Mbps. The first time I tested the NYC server, I got an insanely good reading of 42Mbps. Second time, 25 Mbps. The third was around 40 Mbps left. Other US servers made it much worse, which is weird, so I tried an hour later. Then I got much worse speeds, around the 20 Mbps mark.

This process was repeated with all the other servers I tried, worldwide. The only server that was always more or less the same was the one in Japan, which overall was terrible at about 5 Mbps.

It is extremely rare that a VPN is so erratic, and as a result I can not recommend PrivadoVPN because of the speeds, since it just swings too much. Subscribers owe some form of stability, especially if they are going to torrent files or use the VPN for streaming.

User interface: Copying ExpressVPN’s homework

When it comes to ease of use, PrivadoVPN is good. It’s clearly taken a leaf out of ExpressVPN’s book with a recent update, offering a simple interface that is essentially just two buttons: a main button to turn it on and one to select a location. That’s pretty nice.

PrivadoVPN main screen

There is very little that can go wrong here, which makes it perfect for people who do not need all the bells and whistles that some VPNs offer (look at you, NordVPN.

Overall, PrivadoVPN gets the job done. Like Surfshark and NordVPN, killswitch is off by default (seriously, why do so many VPNs do this?), But unlike them, the button to turn it on is right there on the main screen. It’s a nice solution.

Speaking of settings, PrivadoVPN is pretty straightforward here, offering some extremely bare-bones options. Although I like simplicity, if you like tampering with your VPNs, you will not get too many kicks out of PrivadoVPN.

PrivadoVPN settings screen

That said, the fact that there is so little that can go wrong with PrivadoVPN’s interface can recommend it to users who want something they can turn on and not think about. The result is that the user interface is not revolutionary. Then again, this does not have to be the case.

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Security and privacy: The bases are covered

When it comes to security and privacy, PrivadoVPN seems to be fine. There are no reports of serious breaches, and the company appears to be taking privacy quite seriously. However, I do not want to go too far on the company’s claims about how being located in Switzerland protects you. Swiss authorities are more than happy to cooperate with law enforcement worldwide.

When it comes to security, I discovered no problems. I ran security tests on several connections and nothing out of the ordinary showed up, except that some UK servers showed up as in France. This happens sometimes, it’s usually not a big deal, but it may mean that PrivadoVPN uses virtual servers for some places.

However, there is a strike against the service: like Surfshark, PrivadoVPN uses IKEv2 as the VPN protocol by default, which I’m not a big fan of. Although it is extremely fast, there are some security issues with it. As such, I recommend that you manually switch to OpenVPN in the settings menu.

PrivadoVPN protocols

Should you use PrivadoVPN?

It is very difficult to summarize PrivadoVPN in one word, or even one sentence. Some things it handles very well, others not so much, and other things are simply tough. Although it is far from a bad VPN, it is not really a good one either. While I would not say you should stay away from it, I would not recommend it either.

The thing is, there are too many competitors out there who can do what they do, but who have an edge over it. Surfshark is cheaper, NordVPN has more servers, ExpressVPN is faster, Mullvad is more private … the list goes on. By all means, give PrivadoVPN a try, but don’t be surprised if you end up using the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Rating:
5/10

Price:
$ 4.99 + / month

Here’s what we like

  • Generous free plan
  • Great for Netflix
  • Easy to use

And what we do not do

  • Unreliable speeds
  • Not many features
  • Small interface

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