Is ExpressVPN the Best VPN of 2023? Full review
Is ExpressVPN the Best VPN of 2023? Full review This is a complete and detailed review of ExpressVPN. Before we
We review VPNs and other products independently. However, if you buy with our links, we may earn a small commission to run tests and services.
In today’s digital age, online privacy and security have become more crucial than ever. With increasing cyber threats, data breaches, and government surveillance, it’s essential to protect your online activities and safeguard your personal information. One effective way to achieve this is by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). In this article, we will review Private VPN, a popular VPN provider known for its robust security features, impressive server network, and user-friendly interface.
A VPN works by encrypting your internet traffic and routing it through secure servers, making it difficult for third parties to track or intercept your data. This not only enables you to get over geographic restrictions and access banned content, but it also aids in maintaining your online anonymity. Users looking to improve their online security and privacy while taking advantage of the advantages of unblocking geo-restricted content can take advantage of Private VPN’s comprehensive solution.
PrivateVPN, established in 2009, is a Sweden-based VPN service provider emphasizing on user privacy and security. Being in the industry for so many years with no grey spots on reputation is an achievement. Over the years, it has built a solid reputation for offering a wide range of advanced features, excellent performance, and reliable customer support.
|Number of Servers||1800+|
|Data Limit||No limit (Unlimited)|
|Logging policy||Confusing No-Logs Policy|
|Streaming compatibility||Netflix, HULU, BBC iPlayer|
|Netflix Libraries||USA and UK|
|Money-back||45 days Guarantee|
The VPN claims to be a completely no-logs VPN service. This ensures that no user activity or connection data is recorded or stored on their servers. This includes the VPN not collecting and storing any logs of your activity, such as browsing history, traffic destination, connection time stamps, DNS queries, IP addresses (neither allocated IP nor connected IP), data content, or bandwidth. This is exactly what we expect from a no-logs VPN.
This raises a question: what if the authorities issue a subpoena within the jurisdiction? This policy clarifies that even if the company were to receive a request from authorities, they would have no information to share regarding their users’ online activities.
The only data PrivateVPN collects from users is the email address used during the registration process and minimal payment information for billing purposes. This limited data collection helps maintain user anonymity and ensures that the service remains as privacy-focused as possible.
The VPN provider does not store the payment information, but it stores your transaction number to keep track of the transaction proof in case of refunds. You can eliminate this by paying with the Bitcoin option. This will make the payment completely anonymous, however, the VPN then, will not allow refunds.
Read the best no logs VPNs list here.
No Independent audits
The VPN service has not undergone a third-party audit yet. This is strange, as even many newer VPNs have already been audited by third parties. Though third-party audits do not guarantee anything, it is still one of the biggest satisfaction users can rely on before trusting a VPN service with their privacy.
Though there are claims, various articles on how the VPN has refused the authorities and could not provide them with any information. However, these are not in any public records and hence, we cannot guarantee it. However, it can be true due to the VPN being so old, it surely would have received requests from authorities and the VPN could not provide it.
PrivateVPN boasts a network of 200+ servers spread across 63 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, UAE, Australia, and several European countries. While the number of servers is not in any way comparable to the industry leaders, the VPN’s server network is diverse and present in most of the regions. With servers strategically placed across the globe, users can enjoy reliable connections and optimized performance, no matter where they are located.
It seems like the VPN did not focus on expanding its server network under its previous ownership. Even many new VPNs offer more servers than Private VPNs, though the server quality of PrivateVPN is far better.
Having a well-distributed server network not only provides users with more options for spoofing their location but also enables them to bypass geo-restrictions and access content that might otherwise be unavailable. This is particularly beneficial for users who wish to access streaming services, social media platforms, or news websites that may be blocked in certain regions.
Besides its diverse server network, PrivateVPN ensures its servers are optimized for various purposes, such as streaming, P2P file sharing, and bypassing strict censorship measures. PrivateVPN has P2P-friendly servers with SOCKS5 availability on all the servers.
|Europe||37 Countries||40 Locations|
|North America||2 Countries (USA, Canada)||15 Locations (USA 12, Canada 15)|
|Asia||11 Countries||12 Locations|
|South America||8 Countries||8 Locations|
|Oceania||2 Countries||5 Locations|
|Africa||2 Countries||2 Locations|
PrivateVPN has servers in South America and Africa, too. While there are only 2 servers in Africa, the VPN has a strong network in South America covering 8 countries. Top VPN providers mostly ignored these regions, but PrivateVPN created their server base here too.
The VPN also uses virtual servers in its network; however, it is completely transparent about it. Virtual servers are the servers located somewhere else and these are machine-based servers instead of bare-metal physical servers. Using virtual servers is not wrong, but companies should be transparent about them. Private VPN has not mentioned the use of virtual servers on their website, however, their executives are open about it.
PrivateVPN may have a comparatively smaller server network, but the VPN service owns its popular servers.
Self-owned servers are one of the best things a VPN can do, as these servers are more secure. The VPN maintains these servers themselves, guaranteeing the privacy users deserve. All the servers not on this list are rented.
The one thing that the VPN still does offer is diskless servers or RAM-only servers. The VPN does claims to not store any logs or information, but it would still be a relief as sometimes outsiders may hijack a server, creating a threat to the user’s privacy.
After a heavy investigation, our team found out the VPN owns the following of its servers:
|USA - NYC||Canada - Toronto||Switzerland|
|Denmark||UK - London|
PrivateVPN is based in Sweden, which is not considered a privacy-friendly country as it is a part of the 14 Eyes. It is an alliance formed by the USA and includes all the countries in it to share intelligence in the name of security. This means the government keeps trying to find ways to exploit its citizen’s privacy.
Although Sweden is a member of the 14 Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, the company’s stringent no-logging policy ensures that there is no user activity data to share with any government agencies. This jurisdiction offers users an added layer of privacy and protection while using the service.
Sweden is also a part of the EU, which means websites need GDPR consent from websites. Sweden also has a Personal Data Act, which protects the user’s privacy.
PrivateVPN was previously owned and operated by Privat Kommunikation Sverige AB, a Swedish company focused on providing secure and private internet access to its customers. Recently, in 2022, Miss Group Holdings Ltd acquired PrivateVPN as their first VPN acquisition. The company is growing its web company subsidiaries, and the VPN was its fourth acquisition overall.
Miss Group Holdings Ltd has never been accused of any type of privacy or any other violations. The company is also not acquiring multiple VPNs with an oligopolistic approach like other big VPN providers. This is a great sign for the users.
PrivateVPN is one of the best streaming VPNs in the market. In our tests, PrivateVPN effortlessly unblocked most streaming platforms. It even unblocked multiple International libraries on these platforms.
Netflix: Private VPN is great alternative to ExpressVPN for its ability to unblock Netflix libraries from multiple countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Sweden. Users can easily connect to a server in their desired region to access a wide range of movies and TV shows exclusive to that area. Though, the VPN specializes in Europe and American restrictions and thus is not reliable with Asian libraries like Japan.
Disney+: Private VPN also enables users to access Disney+ from any location, allowing them to enjoy the extensive content library that the platform offers, regardless of geographical restrictions.
BBC iPlayer: For users interested in British television and radio content, Private VPN offers reliable access to BBC iPlayer. By connecting to a UK-based server, users can stream their favorite shows and live broadcasts without any hassle. In our tests, we were easily conneting to BBC iPlayer, however, we did had to try several times before getting in.
Amazon Prime Video: Private VPN fails to unblocks Amazon Prime Video, and thus you cannot connect to the International libraries from Prime. Prime detects PrivateVPN and locks us out through our IP.
IPTV: For those who use Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services, Private VPN ensures a seamless streaming experience by offering servers optimized for IPTV access. This allows users to enjoy their favorite channels without any buffering or lag.
Note: Streaming through any VPN can be a bit unreliable, always experiment with different servers to find the best possible server.
PrivateVPN understands the importance of robust security measures and offers a variety of protocols, including WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP.
WireGuard was the latest addition to PrivateVPN’s arsenal. WireGuard is the latest and the fastest protocol currently trending and thus PrivateVPN too started offering it. OpenVPN, on the other hand, is widely regarded as one of the most secure and reliable protocols, while IKEv2 is known for its efficiency, especially in iOS devices. However, when it comes to speed, WireGuard is miles ahead.
Encryption in a VPN is extremely important as a weak encryption can be easily hacked and decrypted, while a strong encryption is basically full-proof of these attacks. In terms of encryption, PrivateVPN employs the industry-standard AES-256 encryption, which is considered one of the most secure encryption methods available. For WireGuard, the VPN uses ChaCha20 encryption, which is not secure but also efficient.
Moreover, PrivateVPN offers additional security features like perfect forward secrecy, which generates a new encryption key for each session, making it even more difficult for potential attackers to intercept and decrypt your data. This security guarantees the safety of our connection, as even the fastest computers cannot decrypt these connections in a million years.
PrivateVPN is known for its excellent speeds and reliable performance. VPNs secure our internet connection, but this security comes at a price of slower speed. Though this does not mean we need to sacrifice fast connections completely, this just means choosing fast and efficient VPNs. The service offers a diverse network of servers that are optimized for various purposes, including streaming, torrenting, and gaming. This optimization ensures that users can enjoy fast and stable connections for their specific needs.
In general, PrivateVPN delivers impressive speeds that are more than sufficient for the smooth streaming of high-definition content without any buffering, seamless gaming with lower pings, and quick file downloads. While the service may experience occasional fluctuations in speed depending on the server location and time of day, these instances are minimal and do not detract from the overall performance.
During our tests, we found PrivateVPN to be one of the fastest VPNs tested, especially in the nearby servers. When we tested the speed from New York, the Internet speed was only reduced by 19% and came out to 159MBps. We connected to several other servers in the US and UK, and the speed was excellent.
However, when we connected to the far-located Australian server, the speed has a significant hit. We received a speed of 108 MBps on the Australian server. One big reason for this could maybe the high load the servers were facing, as there are only fewer servers in Oceania.
Overall, I would say PrivateVPN is definitely a great VPN in terms of speed and performance. The VPN can be used for any purpose without the fear of slower speeds that many other VPNs offer.
Furthermore, PrivateVPN also offers a quick-connect feature that enables users to automatically connect to the fastest server available, saving you the time to look for a server. The service’s unlimited bandwidth ensures that users do not experience any throttling or restrictions on their connection speed, no matter how much data they consume. Private VPN can help in eliminating ISP throttling too.
If you are looking for fast VPNs, here is the list of the fastest VPNs of 2023!
Note – Privacy is a matter of personal opinion and you can also watch for other options until you are completely satisfied.
PrivateVPN is a torrent-friendly service, offering dedicated servers optimized for P2P file sharing. This ensures that users can safely and efficiently engage in torrenting activities without compromising their privacy or experiencing slow download speeds. While testing torrenting on PrivateVPN, we received a great speed of 9.4MiB/s, which can be said an excellent speed.
The VPN offers dedicated IP servers for torrents with all ports open, including Port OpenVPN-TAP-UDP, OpenVPN-TUN-UDP/TCP, Socks5 Proxy, and HTTP Proxy. The only ones not included are hosting (80), FTP (21), and SMTP Port 25. This makes PrivateVPN one of the best choices for torrenting.
PrivateVPN also supports port forwarding, which is essential for optimizing torrent download speeds and maintaining a stable connection with peers. Users can easily enable this feature within the VPN app settings. The SOCKS 5 proxy is one of the best proxies for spoofing locations without slowing down the speeds.
Torrenting can always be risky. Thus, PrivateVPN’s kill switch feature can prove to be a valuable tool, as it automatically cuts off internet access if the VPN connection is lost. This prevents accidental exposure of the user’s IP address and other sensitive information during torrenting activities.
Private VPN offers a range of advanced features that cater to the diverse needs of its users, enhancing their overall online experience. Some of the notable advanced features include:
Private VPN’s Stealth VPN feature is designed to bypass VPN blocking measures employed by certain networks, governments, or organizations. It disguises VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic, allowing users to access VPN services even in countries with strict internet censorship, such as China, Iran, and the UAE.
Another use of stealth mode is to protect our data from intruders. The attackers are always watching the Internet and from billions of requests per second; they are always attracted to encrypted or hidden transfers, as they might sound valuable. Stealth mode protection can protect you from these attackers.
IPv6 is the latest version of the Internet Protocol, but not all VPNs provide full support for it. Private VPN offers IPv6 Leak Protection to ensure that users’ IPv6 addresses are not inadvertently exposed while connected to the VPN, thus maintaining their privacy and security.
Private VPN supports port forwarding, a feature that allows users to redirect incoming connections to specific devices or applications. This is particularly useful for torrenting, online gaming, or accessing a home server remotely.
As mentioned, PrivateVPN is one of the best VPNs for Torrenting and the best P2P VPN in this category. With SOCKS 5 proxy, PrivateVPN’s torrenting capabilities are even more enhanced.
The kill switch is an essential security feature that automatically blocks all internet traffic if the VPN connection is unexpectedly interrupted. This can happen due to numerous reasons. This ensures that users’ real IP addresses and online activities remain hidden and protected, even in the event of a temporary VPN disconnection.
PrivateVPN supports various VPN protocols, including WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, and L2TP/IPSec. This enables users to choose the most suitable protocol based on their specific requirements, such as speed (WireGuard), security (OpenVPN), or device compatibility. For the best results, let PrivateVPN choose the best protocol for you.
PrivateVPN allows up to 10 simultaneous connections, enabling users to secure multiple devices with a single subscription. So, you won’t need multiple connections for your friends and family, you can just share your account and safeguard the Internet of your loved ones too at this affordable price.
PrivateVPN offers extensive compatibility across various platforms and devices, ensuring that users can access its services in their preferred devices. The VPN also offers user-friendly applications for most devices and operating systems. Here is a breakdown of Private VPN’s compatibility with different operating systems:
Private VPN provides a user-friendly and feature-rich application for Windows users. The app is compatible with Windows 7, 8,10, and 11 and offers an intuitive interface, making it easy for users to configure settings, select servers, and connect to the VPN. I did notice the app is a little too simple. It feels like it misses special features and customization.
For macOS users, Private VPN offers a dedicated application compatible with macOS versions 10.12 (Sierra) and later. The app features a simple interface and provides seamless access to the VPN’s extensive server network and advanced security features.
Private VPN’s Android app is available on the Google Play Store and is compatible with Android devices running version 5.0 (Lollipop) or later. The app is designed with a user-friendly interface and offers a wide range of features, including server selection, protocol options, and a kill switch.
For iOS users, Private VPN provides a dedicated app compatible with devices running iOS 10 or later. The app can be downloaded from the App Store and offers a smooth user experience, with easy access to server selection, security settings, and other essential features.
Other devices and platforms: In addition to the major platforms, Private VPN also supports other devices such as Linux, routers, and streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV Stick and KODI. Setup guides and tutorials are available on the Private VPN website to help users configure the service on their preferred devices.
PrivateVPN offers various plans to cater to different user preferences, including a monthly plan priced at $9.90, which is relatively expensive and not recommended for long-term use. For those seeking more extended commitments, the quarterly plan is a better choice, priced at $6.00 per month and billed $17.99 every three months. This option provides a moderate discount over the monthly plan.
The best value, however, is the three-year plan, which costs $2.00 per month and is billed at $72.00 for the first three years, offering substantial savings compared to shorter-term options. It is an ideal choice for users who trust PrivateVPN’s service and features and want long-term savings.
All the plans including the monthly plan offers a 30-day money back guarantee in case you are not satisfied by the service.
Note: For anonymity, you can also pay with Bitcoins, however, in this case there would be no 30-days refund.
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Yes, PrivateVPN is known for its ability to unblock popular streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and more. Their dedicated streaming servers ensure a smooth and buffer-free streaming experience.
PrivateVPN supports torrenting and P2P file sharing on its servers. The VPN offers strong encryption and a strict no-logs policy, ensuring that your torrenting activities remain private and secure.
PrivateVPN delivers impressive speeds, making it suitable for streaming, gaming, and other bandwidth-intensive activities. However, the speed may vary depending on factors such as server location, your internet connection, and network congestion.
Yes, PrivateVPN allows users to connect up to six devices simultaneously with a single subscription. This ensures that you can secure multiple devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers, with a single account.
PrivateVPN offers dedicated apps for various platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. The VPN also provides manual setup guides for other devices such as Linux, routers, and more, ensuring widespread compatibility.
PrivateVPN offers robust security features, including AES 256-bit encryption, a variety of VPN protocols (OpenVPN, L2TP, IKEv2, and PPTP), a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. These features work together to provide a secure and private browsing experience.
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