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PrivadoVPN review: Paid plans tested

Verified by Amy Reeves

PrivadoVPN is a relative newcomer to the VPN industry, having been founded in 2019. Since then, it has steadily grown its user base and gained admirable customer reviews. It’s headquartered in Switzerland, and benefits from some of the best data privacy protection laws in the world. 

PrivadoVPN offers a free VPN and a paid plan, with the latter offering 330 servers in 48 different countries. Users also benefit from the highest level of encryption, AES-256, and the provider follows a strict no-log policy.

60-second review

Rating: ★★★½

PrivadoVPN has two plans available – free and paid – with the paid plan offering 330 servers in 48 countries and 63 different cities. Paid users will have an unlimited amount of data to use and can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously. Its free plan limits users to one connection, 12 servers located in 10 countries, and just 10GB of data per month. 

PrivadoVPN is headquartered in Switzerland, which benefits from some of the best data privacy laws in the world, and is not part of an intelligence-sharing alliance. The provider also offers a no-logs policy, but this is yet to be independently audited. The service provides access to security and privacy features such as a kill switch, AES-256 encryption and split tunnelling. 

How we research and rate VPNs

100+
Hours performance testing
500+
Customer reviews read
100+
Hours of research
25
Competitors compared
4
VPN experts consulted

Our researchers are dedicated to bringing you the most accurate and up-to-date information so you can make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing a VPN. We will only recommend a VPN after hours of testing, extensive head-to-head feature comparisons, and after taking into account verified customer feedback and reviews, and the opinions of industry experts.

Our PrivadoVPN review score was determined by the following categories:

  • Privacy and performance (30 per cent)
  • Features and functionality (30 per cent)
  • Reputation and credibility (25 per cent)
  • Plans and pricing/value (10 per cent)
  • Customer experience (5 per cent)

We researched and tested a total of 25 elements within these categories, including:

  • Number and location of servers
  • Streaming service accessibility
  • Security features such as AES-256
  • Performance (upload and download speeds, latency)
  • Value for money, guarantees and customer service
  • Independent server-site security audits

All of our VPN articles are verified by our in-house team of fact-checkers, so you can be assured that our content is as accurate and current as possible. Find out more about how we review VPNs here.

PrivadoVPN overview

  • Lowest price: £1.99 ($2.57) per month for a 12-month subscription
  • Free version: Yes
  • Maximum number of connected devices: 10
  • Number of servers: 330
  • Encryption: AES-256
  • VPN protocols: IKEv2, OpenVPN and Wireguard
  • No-logs policy: Yes
  • Audited: No
  • Headquarters: Switzerland

Pros

AES-256 encryption Headquartered in Switzerland Reasonably priced

Cons

Not independently audited No split tunnelling for iOS and MacOS devices

How does PrivadoVPN compare?

PrivadoVPN has only been in business for four years, which is far less than most other providers we’ve reviewed. With that being said, in its short time in business, it has managed to incorporate privacy features such as a kill switch and split tunnelling into its paid plan. The provider offers connections for up to 10 devices, which is the average according to our extensive VPN research, and an unlimited amount of data for its paid plan. PrivadoVPN’s free version offers connection to just one device, with 12 servers in just 10 locations. 

It offers 330 servers in 48 countries, which isn’t nearly as many as its top competitors, such as ExpressVPN and Surfshark, but the price of its subscription is more cost-effective.

Product Price Free Version Number of servers Maximum number of devices Netflix BBC iPlayer Disney+ Amazon HBO Max Audit
PrivadoVPN From £1.99/m Yes 330 10 No
ExpressVPN From £5.25/m No 3,000+ 5 Yes
NordVPN From £2.79/m No 5,500+ 6 Yes
Surfshark From £1.78/m No 3,200+ Unlimited Yes
CyberGhost From £1.92/m No 9,773 7 Yes
Some prices exclusive of VAT or local taxes. Prices correct as of 25/7/2023
Best alternative to
NordVPN is one of the most trusted VPN providers in the world, offering top-notch encryption, incredible speeds, and extra features to make all your online activities more secure.
4.5
Excellent Trustpilot rating
24/7 customer support
AES-256 encryption
VIEW PLANS At NordVPN

How much does PrivadoVPN cost?

PrivadoVPN offers two different types of plans: free and paid. Subscriptions can be paid monthly, yearly or every two years – with the latter working out the most cost-effective when broken down per month.

The provider also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving users the option to try the service before choosing whether to commit to a lengthy subscription.  

Subscription term Price
Monthly £10.99 ($14.17) / month
12 months £2.50 ($3.22) / month (£30/$38.66 up front)
24 months £1.99 ($2.57) / month (£47.76/$61.57 up front)

Payment options

PrivadoVPN offers just three ways to pay for its subscription, which is less than some of its competitors we have reviewed. However, it does have the option to pay via cryptocurrency – a secure digital currency that’s encrypted for maximum security.  

Ways to pay for PrivadoVPN :

  • Credit card
  • PayPal
  • Cryptocurrency
Compare our top recommended providers
Best Overall
Get up to 67% off
Best Value
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Best All-rounder
3 months free on the 12 month plan
Best for Gaming
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PrivadoVPN features

Every VPN provider offers different features in their plans, but it’s important to understand what these features are and how they can benefit you as a user. It goes without saying that all VPN providers seek to prioritise privacy and security, and with this comes a whole plethora of features that seek to do just that. 

With that being said, PrivadoVPN offers the highest level of encryption – AES-256 – as well as three different protocols and a strict no-logs policy, whereby the user’s data should be protected and never stored. The provider is also headquartered in a country with strong data protection laws and offers privacy features such as a kill switch and split tunnelling. 

Server count and countries

PrivadoVPN offers a free and paid subscription, with the paid plan offering access to 330 servers located in 48 countries and 63 cities worldwide with unlimited data. The free subscription allows users to access 12 servers in 10 locations with only 10GB of data per month. 

PrivadoVPN’s paid subscription provides servers in various locations worldwide, including some regions with repressive internet restrictions, such as Turkey. Some servers are also located in Hong Kong and Ukraine, where privacy is not necessarily restricted but internet traffic may be monitored by governments. 

As well as not offering a large number of servers in comparison to some of its competitors, PrivadoVPN doesn’t offer many regional servers. For example, in the UK, there are only two server locations – London and Manchester – whereas other providers offer five or more servers per country. This could affect connection speeds, but PrivadoVPN’s recommended server location feature should connect you to the fastest server available. However, this only really works if you don’t mind which location you connect to, and are not trying to connect to a specific one for browsing or streaming.

No-log policy and headquarters

PrivadoVPN benefits from multiple layers of privacy, the first being headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, which has strong consumer privacy laws. Switzerland is also not a part of any intelligence-sharing alliances, such as Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes. 

Secondly, the provider claims to adhere to a strict no-log policy. Even if data was requested by a court of law, the provider says it doesn’t store its users’ information, meaning there should be nothing to hand over. 

PrivadoVPN’s specific policy states no IP addresses, browsing history, web sessions, or sensitive data are stored. However, the provider has not invited independent third parties to audit its policies or verify its no-log claim, so you would need to take the company’s word for it. 

Kill switch

There’s one feature VPN providers often offer that ensures users’ privacy at all times – a kill switch, which helps to keep your network secure.

There are times when internet connections are not secure, and this can cause connectivity problems when connected to a VPN server. If your connection is suddenly interrupted, this would expose your real IP address, along with other sensitive information. PrivadoVPN’s kill switch protects its users by stopping all internet traffic until your connection to an encrypted VPN tunnel is re-established or you turn the kill switch off. 

Split tunnelling

PrivadoVPN offers a split tunnelling feature, but this is currently only available for its VPN for Android, Windows and its VPN app for Firestick – iOS and MacOS are still being configured, with no release date set, according to the company. 

Split tunnelling is a handy tool for VPN users, especially if you’d like to use the service for various reasons at any one given time. Split tunnelling lets you decide which apps or traffic you’d like to run through the encrypted VPN tunnel, and which ones to run outside of it. 

Split tunnelling can also have positive effects on your internet speed. Using a VPN can slow down internet speed, as more bandwidth is required, but choosing to route some apps or traffic through the tunnel frees up some of that bandwidth but still keeps your chosen sensitive data secure.

Encryption and privacy

PrivadoVPN provides the most popular VPN protocols available – WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2. All data transmitted through its servers is encrypted by AES-256 – a cipher used by governments that has yet to be cracked. This level of encryption ensures users’ data is protected and their IP address is kept hidden. 

Different users require a VPN for varying reasons, so the provider says it doesn’t offer  a one-protocol-fits-all scenario. OpenVPN is the strongest but also the slowest because it checks every byte that is transmitted, but it remains one of the most popular protocols for security reasons. IKEv2 and WireGuard are much quicker protocols, with the latter balancing speed and security. 

Another layer of privacy PrivadoVPN provides is access to its SOCKS5 proxy – though this is only available for paid plans. This allows users to route their traffic through an additional server location, which further protects the origin of your connection. Using the SOCKS5 proxy means you can set your download client to tour data through the chosen server while concealing your IP address and maintaining a fast connection speed. 

PrivadoVPN performance test results

Connecting to a VPN server requires a significant amount of bandwidth, and this in turn affects your internet speed. Although a VPN hides users’ IP addresses as well as other sensitive data and protects their online identity, this can slow your connection. However, how much a particular service will affect your internet speed varies from provider to provider. The best way to figure out how much PrivadoVPN affects your speed is to put it to the test. 

There are three main components to consider when testing internet speed, with or without a VPN; these include download speed, upload speed and latency (ping).

  • Download speed: Refers to the rate at which digital data is transferred from the internet to your device.
  • Upload speed: The rate that data is transferred from your device to the internet.
  • Latency (ping): The time it takes for a set of data to be transmitted to a server on the internet and back to your device again.
Speed test result without Privado VPN activated. This is our base line. The numbers along the bottom of the image are the ping (latency) in milliseconds and the amount of data downloaded (green) and uploaded (purple) during the test, measured in megabytes.
Download speed (Mbps) Upload speed (Mbps) Latency (ping) Percentage of base download speed Percentage of base upload speed
No VPN 72.37 18.56 13ms
UK to UK 69.08 17.27 31ms 95% 93%
UK to US 65.55 16.82 82ms 91% 90%
UK to Aus 30.75 16.63 276ms 42% 89%

Overall, our researchers found that PrivadoVPN returned mixed results depending on which server we connected to. Notably, connecting to Australia had the lowest performance, but there is only one server location available in that country, which inevitably will affect connection speeds if a large number of people are trying to use the same server. 

Unsurprisingly, the UK server performed the best overall out of all the speed tests we ran. The download speed dropped just 5 per cent and the upload speed 7 per cent – both of which are considered a good level when compared to the non-VPN speeds. The latency did drop off quite considerably from 13ms (non-VPN) to 31ms, which could affect video playback and is more of a drop than some of PrivadoVPN’s competitors. We also believe this may be down to the fact that there are only two UK servers, which is far fewer than most other providers we’ve reviewed. 

Connecting to one of 12 US servers proved that having multiple servers in one country allows for decent internet speeds. Both the download and upload speeds recorded were of good quality – only dipping by 9 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively. To put this in perspective, these speed levels are comparable to top VPN providers such as ExpressVPN and Surfshark, according to our speed test results. The latency, however, did drop off to 82ms, but this is also comparable to the latency of other top-performing providers we’ve reviewed. 

The poor connection to the Australian server was not surprising, the main reason being there was only one server available at the time of writing. The download speed was only 42 per cent as fast, while our upload speed was 89 per cent as quick as the non-VPN connection. The latency was 276ms, which was much slower than all other server connections. It’s worth noting this is one of the worst-performing Australian servers we’ve ever tested. 

WebRTC leak test

Web Real-Time Communication or WebRTC is an open-source project providing web browsers and mobile applications with real-time communication. WebRTC is a great tool for voice, text and video communications and it stops video lag. However, it has the potential to leak your IP address, which is where using a VPN comes in. 

We tested PrivadoVPN to see if our IP address was truly protected. When our researcher was not connected to one of its servers, we found our IP address was leaked. When connected to the VPN, the test showed our IP address was safe and there were no potential leaks.

Breaches and audits

Any company that handles sensitive data and claims to store none of it should seek to build trust with its customers. Many VPN providers will do this by seeking independent audits from a professional services firm to verify their privacy and security practices. Such audits will verify no-log policies among other notable points within the provider’s privacy policy. 

With that being said, PrivadoVPN’s no-log policy is yet to be audited, although the provider says it does plan to do this in the future. This means users only have the company’s word for whether it stores their data. It should also be noted that Privado has only been in business for four years, and most of its competitors who have been audited did not provide reports immediately. 

However, the Swiss-based service does benefit from strong consumer protection laws and is not part of any international surveillance agreements. 

Compatibility and apps

PrivadoVPN has apps that work on the following computers and devices:

  • Computers: Windows, Chrome, MacOS and Linux
  • Mobile devices: Android and iOS 
  • TV systems: Fire TV and Android TV

Desktop app

We found the PrivadoVPN desktop app to be an aesthetically pleasing purple colour. As well as its polished design, the app had a feature that allowed us to choose how the app would appear on our screen – docked or window style. We preferred docked, as this meant when clicking on the PrivadoVPN icon, it would appear in front of our open web browser so we could seamlessly change settings when required. 

We found the desktop app to be user-friendly for both frequent VPN users and beginners. Once logged in, you can see which server you’re connected to, and below this is the option to select which server you’d like to connect to. There is also an option to add any server to your favourites, which will all then be stored under the favourites tab for easy access. 

Within the settings, we found all of the privacy features mentioned on its website, including changing protocols, auto connect and the kill switch. Another feature we liked about this app is the ability to order the servers according to their latency, which means you’ll be able to find one that will give you the lowest video lag at any given time. 

Mobile app

Much like PrivadoVPN’s desktop app, the colour scheme for the mobile VPN app is also purple, and once logged in you’ll be met with a screen showing your IP address and options to connect to one of the provider’s servers. 

To find all of the server locations, you’ll need to pull the bottom of the screen upwards, which wasn’t obvious to our researchers, leaving them puzzled for a few moments. Nevertheless, the server options page is well laid out and again, like the desktop app, servers’ average latency is shown, which should help you decide which one will be best for you.

As previously mentioned, split tunnelling isn’t available with the VPN for iPhone – which is the mobile device we tested this service on – but Android users do benefit from this feature. This is a downside, but only if it’s a feature you think you will use frequently. 

We found it easy to switch protocols on the mobile app, but if you’re not interested in manually selecting one, you can allow the service to automatically choose the best one. 

Overall, our researchers found the mobile app to be user-friendly but quite basic. Some other providers will give you options to create user profiles, but the only option for customising PrivadoVPN is to save your favourite server.  

Router compatibility

As well as installing PrivadoVPN on your computer or mobile devices, it can also be installed directly on your router – but only if your router is compatible. The advantage of installing your VPN straight onto your router is that all of your devices connected to your home network will be protected at all times as long as they are connected to your wifi. This minimises forgetting to connect to your VPN provider every time you turn on your device. 

PrivadoVPN has manual set-up guides available for Asus and DD-WRT routers, though the latter may require you to seek professional support since the set-up is quite technical. It should also be noted it is unlikely the router provided by your internet provider will be suitable for VPN configuration, so you should check which ones are compatible before considering purchasing an alternative router. 

Customer support

Customer support is an area where PrivadoVPN does well – despite having a small team, the provider has an option for a 24/7 live chat. 

There are two channels of communication – a support form and a 24/7 live chat. The live chat service is where you’ll want to submit urgent queries. We found this service to be useful and we were able to speak to a human after submitting some details. 

The support form can be filled out quickly, and you’re advised to provide as much detail as possible, with options to add screenshots, operating system and a category. This ticket-based form provides 24/7 support, but it’s nowhere near as quick as the live chat service, in our experience. 

If your query is non-specific and doesn’t require problem-solving, you can utilise the provider’s knowledge base and installation guides. These modes of support can help with setting up  features as well as installing the VPN service on any of the available apps.  

What do customers say?

PrivadoVPN is still a newcomer compared to its competitors, but in its short time in business, it has managed to impress customers. The provider receives excellent reviews on Trustpilot, Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The company has been applauded for its user-friendly apps, affordable subscription price and retaining similar speeds to a non-VPN connection. 

  • Trustpilot: Four out of five (1,929 reviews)
  • Apple App Store: 3.6 out of five (21 reviews) 
  • Google Play Store: Four out of five (4,000 reviews)

“[This is a] good product, and more importantly for me, [it] works with Kaspersky. [I] downloaded the app, tried the leak test, and all [was] good; [I] tried the speed test, with around a 5 per cent drop in speed, and all [was] good. [I] tried sites that I am geo-location banned from, and all [was] good. [I] downloaded a couple of (legal) torrents, and all [was] good. The [one] negative is that they will not provide a better discount.”

“Simple to understand and easy to use. I really don’t need a VPN for [anything] other than peer-to-peer sharing and browsing online. This VPN service is very affordable and I got the yearly discounted price. I’ve only had it a few days and I’m pretty impressed. Thanks a bunch, PrivadoVPN!”

“I normally use this to have access to articles in the US mainland. I didn’t have issues, everything was straightforward, from installing to server connection. Nothing complex!”

  • Troy Leslie, via Apple App Store

“Used the Android app on a Chromebook and it’s worked fine so far. The only minor negative is that the interface is so simple that it took me a little while to figure out how to specify the server I wanted. But once set up, repeat connections are no effort. First VPN app I’ve used, so can’t compare, but see no reason to look elsewhere currently.”

  • David B, via Google Play Store

Independent Advisor’s verdict

PrivadoVPN offers free and paid plans, with its paid plan giving users access to 330 servers in 48 countries and 83 cities. Compared with some of its top competitors, it doesn’t match up in this area. 

Its apps are easy to use and they offer a good level of security, including a kill switch and split tunnelling – but the latter is not currently available on MacOS and iOS. Its customer reviews are excellent, and it seems to have gained the trust of its users in just a few short years since being launched in 2019. 

The provider offers a no-log policy, which claims to not log users’ IP addresses as well as other sensitive information. However, the policy is yet to be independently audited. On the contrary, PrivadoVPN is headquartered in Switzerland, which offers some of the best data privacy laws in the world. 

Overall, our researchers found the provider offers a user-friendly app that is simple to navigate, and its privacy features are good – but there are no extra features. If you’re looking for a simple VPN that’s no-frills, PrivadoVPN may suit you just fine. For those looking for premium features, we suggest looking elsewhere.  

★★★½

Score breakdown

Reputation ★★★
Privacy ★★★
Performance and features ★★★★
Plans and pricing value ★★½
Customer experience ★★★★★
Round up of today’s best VPN deals
NordVPN 2 year £2.49 /Month
£2.49 /Month
Surfshark 24 month £1.79 /Month
£1.79 /Month
ExpressVPN 12 month £6.77 /Month
£6.77 /Month
CyberGhost 2 year £1.78 /Month
£1.78 /Month
Proton 2 year £4.27 /Month
£4.27 /Month
PIA 2 year £1.57 /Month
£1.57 /Month
Atlas 2 year £1.34 /Month
£1.34 /Month
PrivadoVPN 2 year £1.99 /Month
£1.99 /Month
Windscribe 12 month £4.53 /Month
£4.53 /Month
IPVanish 2 year £3.58 /Month
£3.58 /Month

The data in this review is reported from a neutral stance and should be used for informational purposes only. We review VPN services from the perspective of:

  • The quality of the product based on the security it affords the user
  • User experience of the application(s)
  • Level and quality of customer service

Independent Advisor does not endorse the streaming of content from regions other than where the subscription is held, nor does it endorse the downloading or consumption of illegally pirated content.

rachel

Rachel Sadler

Home Tech Writer

Rachel is a seasoned writer who has been producing online and print content for seven years. 

As a home tech expert for Independent Advisor, Rachel researches and writes buying guides and reviews, helping consumers navigate the realms of broadband and home security gadgets. She also covers home tech for The Federation of Master Builders, where she reviews and tests home security devices. 

She started as a news and lifestyle journalist in Hong Kong reporting on island-wide news stories, food and drink and the city’s events. She’s written for editorial platforms Sassy Hong Kong, Localiiz and Bay Media. While in Hong Kong she attended PR events, interviewed local talent and project-managed photoshoots. 

Rachel holds a BA in English Language and Creative Writing and is committed to simplifying tech jargon and producing unbiased reviews.

amy

Amy Reeves

Editor

Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.