PrivadoVPN Free review

User-friendly and great for streaming – PrivadoVPN Free is a real contender

PrivadoVPN Free on a range of devices
(Image: © Privado VPN)

Tom's Guide Verdict

PrivadoVPN Free is one of the best free services on the market, offering a generous amount of data, simple software, and surprising competence when it comes to streaming. Its apps are a little underpowered and it lacks an independent audit, but it's otherwise a very compelling choice.

Pros

  • +

    Unblocks streaming services

  • +

    Decent monthly data limit

  • +

    P2P support

  • +

    Easy to get started

Cons

  • -

    Supports only one connection

  • -

    Apps aren't as robust of the competition

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PrivadoVPN is a Swiss-based provider that’s relatively new on the scene – but don’t let that fool you. Its free VPN offering is up there with some of the best, and despite a few small issues and limitations, we reckon it’s well worth taking a look at.

With P2P-friendly servers in nine different countries including France, Mexico, and the US, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to relocating yourself. What’s more, PrivadoVPN Free also lets you unblock TV streaming services including Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime, a feature generally reserved for the very best VPN providers’ premium programs.

PrivadoVPN Free gives you 10GB of secured access to the internet each month. This is enough to watch 20 hours of television or spend 120 hours browsing or working online. When you do hit your monthly maximum, PrivadoVPN doesn’t cut you off entirely – but you will be restricted to a single Dutch server at much slower speeds.

Other important features present that are often omitted from other free services include a kill switch and split tunneling, while WireGuard and OpenVPN protocol support makes your information impossible to trace or unscramble should it somehow be intercepted.

PrivadoVPN homepage

(Image credit: PrivadoVPN)
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PrivadoVPN Free on paper

Number of servers: 9
Platforms supported:
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS,
Simultaneous connections: 1
Split tunneling:
Yes
Kill switch: Yes
Supported protocols:
OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard
Country of registration:
Switzerland
Support:
 email, knowledgebase

PrivadoVPN Free: Privacy and logging

As part of its privacy package, PrivadoVPN Free provides an automatic kill switch that quickly severs your internet connection if any leaks or compromises are detected. You can manually trigger this, too, if something doesn’t look or feel right. We put this VPN service through rigorous tests, including privacy tests, and we didn’t see any indication of our information being tracked, logged, or compromised.

We also used every trick we know to detect any DNS leaks and we purposely triggered the kill switch. PrivadoVPN was impressively secure and quick to protect our privacy no matter what we threw at it. Oh, and we did these tests on a variety of devices, so you can be sure you are secure whether you’re connecting with a desktop PC or your smartphone.

However, Privado hasn't yet subjected itself to independent logging or security audits like some other companies. Because of this, we can’t rely on other independent findings of how secure PrivadoVPN Free is. 

Being based in Switzerland means your personal information and internet browsing history will be strictly confidential and won’t be saved, or shared, in any way with other companies, government agencies, or law enforcement – but we’d still like to see a third party audit put our minds at ease. As part of its privacy policy, PrivadoVPN asserts itself as zero-logging, but again, while we have no reason to doubt it, this hasn’t been proven.

Illustration of a man on a computer with a strike through an eye to symbolise privacy of online documents

(Image credit: PrivadoVPN)
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PrivadoVPN Free: Windows and Mac apps

PrivadoVPN Free's apps don't really stand out in any one area, though it’s easy for beginners to use. Both the Windows and Mac platforms are easy to understand, and the default settings are enough for you to start using it right away. 

There aren’t a lot of protocol options, but there is split tunneling available for Windows users. This lets you tunnel specific data through the VPN while leaving other data alone. This helps your connection stay fast and strong, and also limits your data use, so you’re less likely to hit your monthly limit too quickly. For example, you might choose to only have your torrenting client go through the VPN, while your regular browsing is left alone.

All available servers are listed at the top of the list, so you don’t have to go looking for those that you can connect to. It takes just a couple of seconds to connect to a VPN server and you’re off with excellent coverage.

PrivadoVPN Free: Mobile apps

The mobile apps of PrivadoVPN Free have the same general look as the desktop versions. They are simply laid out and easy to work through, although the dashboard doesn’t offer as many links and features as the desktop apps. 

We found that smartphone apps perform quicker with faster connections. The apps were also very reliable when it came to shielding our online identities and internet histories, and didn’t drop connections even though we tried many ways to get them to do so.

The Android app also has split tunneling capabilities, but iOS and Mac don’t, so you’ll work through your data limits quicker with these devices.

PrivadoVPN interface on Android, iOS, macOS, Windows

(Image credit: PrivadoVPN)
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PrivadoVPN: Connection speed

When testing PrivadoVPN’s connection speeds we were rather impressed. We were able to connect to several servers with an impressive 350Mbps. This is just a fraction slower than our top-rated free service Proton VPN, but it’s still very impressive considering that many free options don’t deliver these kinds of speeds unless you’re a paying customer.

The other big advantage of using PrivadoVPN is its ability to unblock several streaming services, another feature many free services don’t provide. We easily connected to and watched shows on Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney Plus, and iPlayer using PrivadoVPN. Even with a monthly allowance, you can watch a good amount of television or movies with 10GB of data.

Setting up PrivadoVPN isn’t difficult at all. However, we did reach out to its customer support to see how well they could help out in a pinch. Though there aren’t live chat or telephone services available, PrivadoVPN does have an email service with a decent response time. We got an answer that was very thorough, easy to understand, and helpful within a couple of hours of submitting our question.

PrivadoVPN Free: Final verdict

PrivadoVPN Free is a great choice (opens in new tab) for unblocking streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus, but it also offers excellent privacy protection and fast connection speeds. While power users will no doubt find the apps a little underpowered, and heavy streamers will blast through the 10GB data cap, its plentiful servers and P2P support make PrivadoVPN Free a very attractive option. 

Nicole Johnston
Commissioning Editor

Nicole is a commissioning editor for Tom's Guide covering everything VPN. With over 17 years of research and writing experience, and 10 years of testing and reviewing internet security solutions, Nicole knows how to dive deep to get the information consumers need to make better buying decisions. She is also a mom to 10 children, and personally uses many of the products she reviews to ensure the safety of her own family.