Review of the ProtonVPN free plan

I have mentioned in the past that I had some problems connecting to ProtonVPN, and that I had some problems with its Linux application. But luckily enough, those problems meet an end, and they weren’t Proton team’s fault, but mine. Here’s how I solved them and got «the» free VPN.

In this post you will find my personal thoughts on Proton VPN (and the use of VPNs in general), that’s why only non-technical information will be presented. Also, a short discussion on why I use a VPN, and when you shouldn’t, is included. If you don’t know what a VPN is and what is it used for, you can check this explanation. Let’s get to it.

A VPN? Duh!

There are only a few situations when you really need to use a VPN. But marketing campaigns designed to sell mainstream VPN subscriptions have promised a lot of things they cannot provide, and have hidden under the carpet the fact that choosing a VPN service is a serious decision.

Personally,

  • I would love to visit sites without them knowing it is specifically me the visitor. Compliments to achieve that in this, and this other posts.
  • I would love that nobody could see which sites I am visiting.
  • I would love to securely connect in public Wi-Fi.

And that’s exactly why you basically need a VPN for… so I use it. Which one? Well from the title you already know it’s Proton VPN, and it’s its free plan for the moment.

There are a few VPN providers I would trust… and yes, at the end it all comes down to trust. Of course they are Open Source, audited, etc., but to a certain degree you need to trust them with your traffic. In my specific case I know my Internet Service Provider snoops on my connections, and limits my access to sites such as SciHub and the like 😉, so I prefer to trust a VPN than certainly knowing my ISP is recording every single DNS request my computer does. IVPN, and Proton are my two picked services, but you can find more, and more details on them, at Privacy Guides and at Techlore.

If you would like to know how I use the VPN, then check out this section of the post I wrote on Privacy a while ago. If you want to know about privacy, then read the whole post, I think it’s a good start. Of course, don’t get too geeky, we always have to make sacrifices, and going too hardcore on the privacy road won’t be a comfortable travel for most of us.

My honest review of Proton VPN

Is the free plan really free?

Short answer: Yes, it is.

There is this saying that «If you are not paying for the product, then you are the product». That’s certainly not true in all cases, and this is, as sever others, a nice exception.

When you register to Proton, you get all their products, not only the VPN, for free. Of course they come with limitations, and then you pay for those advanced features you come to need down the way, but in my very minimalist use-case, the free plan has been enough so far.

The issues I had

As I told in the beginning, I had some issues connecting and installing the app. To install the app I found the definitive solution, but you will probably never find such issues. And to connect without the connection dropping, you need to have only one connection at the time. That’s it.

The free plan only allows 1 VPN connection. So when you try to have two or more, it drops again and again. You need to just have one.

I contacted their support several times, but because of the limited tracking used in their apps and services, they seemed to be unable to detect the problem. I was using at the time the VPN to connect from my phone and from my PC. So the “only one connection” issue came to my mind, and after logging out from the phone, the connection stabilized. It’s being like that for the past three months.

Overall experience

  • Connection speed 10/10. Noting to complain about, even works for streaming without issues.
  • App 10/10. A much needed retouching for the Linux app was given, and it’s really nice what we have now.
  • Servers 10/10. For the free plan you get three locations: Netherlands, Japan, and United States. For me it’s more than enough.

Compared with other services

I have used in the past IVPN, and I had no complaints about it. Furthermore, I think you can’t go wrong with Mullvad neither. However, they are both paid, and for my use-case, the free plan of Proton is more than enough.

There are a lot of resources you may find out there listing the VPNs and their capabilities. I like the table presented in Techlore.tech.

Installation and account creation

While writing this post I got the idea to asked them to become a partner, and I got accepted. So, if you would like to create an account in Proton VPN, or any other of their services, and support my work, consider registering from the following link: ProtonVPN. Feel free to go by yourself to their site is you don’t want to contribute to this project.

They have native applications for Linux, PC, Mac, Android, iOS, etc., which can be found in this page.

ProtonVPN logo

Heads up

  • My opinions on their services were not influenced for the introduction of the affiliate link. I truly think they provide great services, which I use every single day, including the ONLY free VPN I would use.
  • If you have already some of these privacy related measures I have discussed all along this post implemented, than you may not be able to go to the links I provided here to subscribe to Proton, as they are affiliate marketing links and will likely be blocked by many services, like Portmaster and NextDNS for example. In case you want to persevere in your support, temporarily disable them.
A picture of myself in the Ocean

Welcome! 👋

My name is Yaidel, and this is my personal website.

The intention here was always to write stories and share a bit of photography, books, design, among other things. But intentions not always become reality. In any case, there is already a lot written here.

You may then come across somethig interesting from time to time. If so, do not hesitate to shoot me an email to let me know.

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There is only one truth, but how to find it? Even when it is found, many do not want to accept it, and others fight to hide it. What is true, and what is not?

That's why everything is relative, but not really. Rather, each person lives their own reality. Because the truth is too complex to understand.

As we experiment we select what (we think) works. We create points of view. They are everything we are and everything we have. They are the fireflies we use to look into a black hole.

Here are mine!