Private Tunnel Review 2020
|Price||$3/month ($36 on its Yearly Plan)|
|Servers||22 Servers in 12 countries|
|Logs||Keeps Logs for 14 Days|
|Works in China||No|
|Compatibility||Windows, Android, Apple, FireTV|
Private Tunnel VPN appears secure on the surface but this credible-looking service has some serious privacy and service-related flaws that make it unworthy of being considered as a VPN service.
It makes impetuous claims about security, safety, and anonymity and ultimately fails to deliver on any of these claims, including unblocking Netflix, supporting torrents, or simply not logging your private data.
A yearly subscription will cost you $3/month, but you will not get your money worth even in this seemingly cheap deal because of its repeated claims that do not match its actual performance.
This is quite surprising because it’s run by the same people who developed the widely accepted OpenVPN protocol, the strongest and safest tunneling protocol out there.
- Jurisdiction: Where is Private Tunnel Based?
- Security: Can Private Tunnel Keep Me Safe Online?
- Leaks: Does Private Tunnel Leak Your IP, DNS & WebRTC?
- Servers: How Many Servers Does Private Tunnel Have?
- Streaming: Can I Unblock Netflix US and Other VoDs?
- Speed: How Fast are Private Tunnel Servers?
- Compatibility: Can I Use Private Tunnel on All My Devices?
- Pricing: How Much Does Private Tunnel Cost Exactly?
- Trustworthiness: Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit & Customer Support
Jurisdiction: Where is Private Tunnel Based?
Private Tunnel VPN is based in Pleasanton, California, USA, a country that is a founding member of the Five Eyes Alliance. This is perhaps the worst place for a VPN to be located considering the data retention l and mass surveillance laws.
The country is obligated to share intelligence with other alliances, act as a deterrent for users who want to leverage strong anonymity and privacy with the VPN. Users will also find themselves subjected to numerous state and federal laws that allow complete access to digital activities.
While most VPNs operating out of the US may claim otherwise, all US-based companies are required by law to keep a log on all its users’ online activities. I would be hesitant signing up with a VPN in such a jurisdiction, as your data could land into the hands of authorities.
Security: Can Private Tunnel Keep Me Safe Online?
No, there is far too much information that this service clearly lies about and hides from its users. Additionally, it makes claims that are misleading to the users in terms of security and anonymity. Users can (and should) easily opt for better choices!
An Undependable Logging Policy
Private Tunnel admits to keeping connection logs, but denies keeping any information related to users’ usage logs. As per the service’s own Terms of Service, “logs files stored on our servers are used only for the evaluation of our servers’ performance”.
Encryption & Protocols
I’m quite surprised about how the service has not been sued for false advertisement by one of their users yet. The service continuously claims to be using “the world’s most advanced encryption standard”.
However, it evidently does not as instead of the AES-256-bit, it is using the AES-128-bit. While this particular form of encryption is not bad at all, it isn’t the best one available on the market by any means. As far as protocols go, the service uses OpenVPN which I would say is good enough.
I wanted to be certain about the fact that the service does not have any hidden viruses or any other malicious files on its downloadable clients. I carried out a virus test and had the following result:
Leaks: Does Private Tunnel Leak Your IP, DNS & WebRTC?
In order to judge whether this service properly protects my IP, DNS, and WebRTC, I carried out a leak test using ipleaks.net. I connected to an Italian server and gladly my IP address was displayed as Italian, even though I wasn’t in Italy.
Similarly, my DNS info was not exposed at all and WebRTC was safe and did not leave my actual address exposed at all. As a result, you can feel assured that despite the logging issues, you do stay secure technically due to the lack of IP, DNS, WebRTC leaks.
Servers: How Many Servers Does Private Tunnel Have?
Private Tunnel has a meager 22 servers in just 12 countries. While there have been providers that have similarly low numbers of servers, most of these services make up for these in terms of access to China or a dedicated service to unblock Netflix.
Private Tunnel does none of these and actually comes across as highly dangerous in this regard as half of these (11 servers) are based out of the US, something users should steer far away from. Not to mention, low server count also contributes to server overcrowding.
Does Private Tunnel Support P2P?
While the service does provide support for torrents, it is not able to provide a seamless experience at all. Half of the Private Tunnel’s servers are based out of the United States, with the service admitting that these servers are not P2P sharing-friendly
Users will not only face issues related to speed, and connectivity but issues of legal repercussions are also a realistic threat owing to Private Tunnel’s lax servers when it comes to torrents.
Does Private Tunnel Work in China?
Private Tunnel lacks the obfuscated servers necessary to unblock some of the notorious firewalls. Hence, this service is unable to properly unblock China. China’s ruthless crackdown on internet freedom and particular VPNs has regular made headlines across the world.
It has become increasingly difficult for users inside and outside China to gain access to a free internet as well as geo-restricted local Chinese content. If you’re one of these users then, unfortunately, you’ll have to continue searching for another VPN.
Streaming: Can I Unblock Netflix US and Other VoDs?
While the service makes tall claims about its unblocking capabilities, I was thoroughly disappointed when I faced the dreadful black error screen when trying to connect to Netflix via Private Tunnel.
Speed: How Fast are Private Tunnel Servers?
Private Tunnel has a limited 22 servers in 13 countries, but to see exactly how fast are these servers, I decided to put the service through a speed test on a 100 Mbps connection and analyze the variations that occur in its speed across different servers.
Compatibility: Can I Use Private Tunnel on All My Devices?
Users will be able to use Private Tunnel on a number of different platforms such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and all Smart Amazon devices like Fire TV. The service is also available for use on routers such as Vyatta, DD-WRT, pfSense, Tomato as well as OpenWrt.
Private Tunneling provides complete support for all major operating systems. You can download the right client for your system by going over the “downloads” tab on the provider’s website.
Pricing: How Much Does Private Tunnel Cost Exactly?
This was another aspect of this service that left me underwhelmed. While most service offer far more flexible plans, Private Tunnel restricts users to two main plans.
- Monthly ($6 per month)
- Yearly ($3 per month/ $36 per year)
Users may feel a bit stifled by an apparent lack of payment plan options compared to other notable VPN services. However, the service does offer a 7-day free trial that should alleviate some of these concerns.
Annoying, unlike other VPNs that allow users to look at the refund policy right at the payment page, Private Tunneling makes you sign up for an account.
I had to dig deeper than I should have to find out Private Tunnel’s exact refund policy. Rather than being transparent about it, the service only mentions it in an official article.
Bizarrely, users can only ask for a refund during the initial 7-day trial period. It offers some leeway for the yearly subscription holders, giving them 60 days to avail a refund.
To top things off, iOS users get no refunds at all while the service also states that it won’t delete their billing info from their servers even if they cancel their subscription.
All-in-all, their refund policy is the most confusing one I’ve come across while reviewing hundreds of VPN providers.
Users can make payments to the service via their VISA/Mastercard debit and credit cards. Additionally, users can also pay via Apple gift cards. Even though the service supports PayPal, I find its lack of Bitcoin support disturbing.
Not only do cryptocurrencies help users stay anonymous, it protects their digital financial transactions. Private Tunnel does not inspire a whole lot of confidence about its commitment to anonymity by its lack of flexible payment plans and support for cryptocurrencies.
Trustworthiness: Trustpilot Ratings, Reddit & Customer Support
Aside from my own opinions about the service, I wanted to see what do other users of this service have to see about it. The service doesn’t appear to have a Trustpilot, so I headed over to see what does the Reddit community as well as its own customer support can tell me.
To say that users were disappointed would be a gross understatement. Redditorss lamented how they had seen the service end its support for torrents and P2P sharing without any due advanced warning.
Similarly, the users also complained of the service shifting its ToS when the entire reason they signed up for the service was because of their support for torrents. Most Redditors had no qualms about shifting services as they felt Private Tunnel had nothing more compelling to offer them anymore.
Private Tunnel does not invest much in its customer support. This becomes clearly evident once users go to the website. There is a distinct lack of a 24/7 live chat function.
If users have a question, they need to open up an account first, even if they don’t plan to buy the service. The service does offer a news and blogs section, helping users stay up to date with the most important cyber security information.
However, I doubt if most users come to Private Tunnel’s website for news. Additionally, Private Tunnel appears to be extremely dodgy in terms of important information like logs policy or their refund policy.
Coming up with alternatives to this service was surprisingly a lot easier than I had anticipated. I’ve rarely ever come across a VPN service that is so destitute in terms of security and safety for users online.
There are so many better providers that users can opt for. In such a case, PureVPN would be a wise choice because of its affordable rates, multiple Chinese servers, and other features that users will undoubtedly find useful.
Do I Recommend Private Tunnel?
This is by far one of the most unimpressive VPN services that I have ever used. When you dig deep into the provider, you find that it keeps logs, offers a lesser level of encryption as compared to industry norms, is based on a Five Eyes country and offers below par speeds.
If you are looking for an alternative service, you can opt for Surfshark, a powerful VPN service with Netflix unblocking, safe jurisdiction, 1000+ servers, zero-logging policy and more. Surfshark also costs less than Private Tunnel VPN at just $1.99/month on its 2 Year deal.