Proton VPN Free vs. Premium: Which Plan Is Best For You?

VPNs provide a secure way to send internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel. This keeps browsing data safe, even over public or untrusted internet connections. As a Swiss VPN provider, Proton VPN adheres to high privacy standards.

Proton VPN Free vs. Premium: Which Plan Is Best For You?

VPNs provide a secure way to send internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel. This keeps browsing data safe, even over public or untrusted internet connections. As a Swiss VPN provider, Proton VPN adheres to high privacy standards. As such, it does not log user activity or share data with third parties. Its anonymous VPN service keeps browsing histories private and enables internet usage without surveillance.

Given its trustworthy security reputation, you may be wondering how the free version measures up. In some cases, free VPNs lack the security features offered in paid plans. In the case of Proton VPN, we compare the free version to its premium version known as Proton VPN Plus.

Proton VPN Free vs. Proton VPN Plus: Comparison

Features Free Proton VPN Plus
($6.49 per month for one year)
Number of servers and countries 86 servers in 3 countries 3,000 servers in 65 countries
Kill switch Yes Yes
# of simultaneous connections 1 10
Malware and ad blocker No Yes
Streaming and torrenting No Yes
Unlimited data Yes Yes
Speed Medium Fast

For a more in-depth analysis, read our full review of Proton VPN.

Feature comparison: Proton VPN Free vs. Proton VPN Plus

Number of servers

Figure A

Proton VPN servers.
Proton VPN servers. Image: Proton

Proton VPN Free provides free access to 86 servers from the U.S., Netherlands and Japan. This may be enough for many users. But those with more rigorous requirements for speed, latency and availability may need the stronger network of Proton VPN Plus. That network offers access to 3,000+ servers in 70+ countries.

Kill switch

Figure B

Proton VPN kill switch.
Proton VPN kill switch. Image: Luis Millares

Both versions of Proton VPN come with a kill switch. It acts as a last line of defense. If the user experiences an outage or some other disruption and the VPN connection fails, the kill switch automatically stops a machine from reconnecting to the internet without the VPN’s protection. This is a good way to prevent unwanted sharing of data.

Simultaneous connections

The free version limits a user to only one connection at a time. Those opting for Proton VPN Plus can open up to 10 simultaneous connections. One may well be enough for many users, but those with more sophisticated needs will need the premium version.

Malware and ad blocker

Malware and adware are common problems in the modern internet. Proton VPN Plus provides both functions courtesy of the NetShield ad blocker which uses DNS filtering to safeguard users against malware and website trackers. The free version does not include those features.

Streaming and torrenting

Streaming has become commonplace as a way to instantly view content. Torrenting, however, requires the entire file to be downloaded before anything can be viewed. But, it is fast and often used to share videos, music and images. Proton VPN Plus supports both streaming and torrenting whereas the free version does not.

Unlimited data

Both versions have no restrictions when it comes to the quantity of data that can be shared over the VPN.


The free version of Proton VPN is reasonably fast. The company characterizes its rate of speed as medium whereas the speed of Proton VPN Plus is rated as fast. Accelerator features are said to be able to increase VPN data transfer rates by as much as 400%

Proton VPN Free pros and cons

Pros of Proton VPN Free

  • Unlimited data over one connection.
  • Kill switch prevents unwanted transmission of data due to an outage.
  • Good set of privacy and security features built in.

Cons of Proton VPN Free

  • Only provides one VPN connection at a time.
  • Lacks malware/ad blocking.
  • Limited number of servers and countries plus lower speed may not offer sufficient performance for some users.

Proton VPN Plus pros and cons

Pros of Proton VPN Plus

  • Up to 10 simultaneous connections.
  • Faster speeds and far greater number of servers and countries available.
  • Advanced features include malware/ad blocking, streaming and torrenting.

Cons of Proton VPN Plus

  • At around $6 per month per user, Proton VPN is more expensive than many competitive offerings.
  • Proton VPN Plus may be overkill for those who don’t require a high degree of privacy of data or don’t deal in sensitive information on a regular basis.


This assessment of Proton VPN Free and Proton VPN Plus is based on expert evaluation of these tools as well as user reviews. For more information, read our full review of Proton VPN.

Should your organization use Proton VPN Free or Proton VPN Premium?

Proton VPN is designed for those demanding the highest standards in privacy, security and confidentiality. Developed in accordance with strict Swiss laws for privacy, either version can be counted on to keep your data secure and to prevent unwanted outsiders listening in or intercepting any content. That said, the free version has definite limitations. It may be fine for a user who makes occasional VPN transmissions that need to be kept private and that don’t require the highest levels of performance.

Proton VPN Plus is the best option when more than one VPN connection is likely to be needed and when a user needs great performance across the globe. As such, the premium version’s ability to access 3,000+ servers in 70+ countries (compared to 86 servers in only three nations) as well as its higher overall performance, speed accelerators, torrenting and streaming capabilities and malware/ad blocking, make it a better choice for demanding VPN users.

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