- Speed: The speeds on the client are fast and consistent. It is not the fastest VPN service available, but the users can expect satisfactory internet speeds across all the servers on the network
- Platform Support: The client supports a wide range of platforms. It is highly probable that you will get an app or configuration files for your device.
- No Kill-Switch: The client comes without the internet kill switch, which is a standard feature on the client these days. It keeps the user’s data safe incase the VPN connection drops.
- US Jurisdiction: The company is based in the USA. The USA is one of the 5 Eyes countries, and local laws are not very supportive of individual privacy.
Private Tunnel comes from the makers of the
As of now, this is one of the USPs of the product. Everybody knows that OpenVPN protocol is the most preferred protocol of the VPN users and they except similar greatness from Private Tunnel.
|Platforms||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Alexa|
|Connections||Multiple Device allowed|
|Payment Options||Credit Card, Debit Card, PayPal, Bank Transfer|
|Support Options||Email Support, Live chat, Ticket Support|
|Pricing From||$ 6/mo|
|Guarantee||No Refund After 7 Day Trial Period|
|Free Trial||7 Day Free trial|
It is not easy to
reach the podium when it comes to VPN services. The
service needs to be the best blend of safety, security, and support.
Home Screen At Different Stage
The company is
based in the USA, and it is not a good start. We know
that the USA is one of the 14 Eyes countries and there are strong surveillance systems in the country.
This review will not be affected by the
fact that the product shares its heritage with OpenVPN protocol. The product
will get no special treatment, and we will test it under the same parameters
used for the other VPN services.
We will have a close look at the security
measures employed by the service provider, and speed will also be one of the major factors which will help us rate the
We will also keep
an eye out for any added features that the product
wants to offer.
A VPN service redirects the user’s traffic
through its servers. The traffic reaches
the destination through these servers and
hence makes it tough to trace the traffic
all the way back to the user.
This whole process takes lesser time if the
server is in the vicinity of the user. Prominent VPN service providers have a
lot of servers located around the globe to ensure that most of the places have
a VPN server nearby.
Thus, the importance of the location and
the number of servers in a VPN service cannot be
Private Tunnel has more than 50 servers at
23 locations in 12 countries. If we exclude the servers in Japan and Hong Kong,
then all the server locations are in North America and Europe.
They don’t have much for the African and
the Middle Eastern users. The users living in Asia should not expect great
services as they may have to deal with high traffic density on the servers
The number of servers, as well as the
number of server locations, are not impressive by any standards. A lot of the
VPN services provide a superior server network to the users.
Fewer servers can always lead to higher
traffic density on the servers, which will then lead to slower speeds and poor
The service provider has not provided any
dedicated servers for streaming or P2P file sharing. The user may have to rely
on luck to find the best server suited to his/her needs in the first try.
There is no automatic server selection
option present on the client as well. Having a smart connect options automates
the process of finding the optimal server for a specific location.
But on Private Tunnel, users don’t get this
privilege, and they need to search and
then manually connect to the fastest server for their location.
The service seems to be primarily focused on the American and the European regions. It may also be a case
that if you are in one of these regions, you may not come across any issues
because of the servers.
However, they need to come up with a lot
more server locations if the service wants to cater to global citizens.
Addition of dedicated servers should also
be one of the future upgrades in the service.
Let us first
address the elephant in the room. OpenVPN Inc. is based in California, USA.
The United States of America is one of the 5-Eyes countries. We all know
5-countries share all intelligence data between them and have robust surveillance systems in place to monitor
the activities of the citizens.
NSA, which is a government intelligence
agency of the United States, has been known to collect the personal data of the
people of America, and the agency was spying on its own citizens.
The local laws don’t facilitate the privacy
of the users, and the organizations and companies can never be sure if they are
being monitored or not.
Even if the users trust the intent of
OpenVPN Inc., the possibility of government interference or monitoring can
never be ruled out.
The provider claims that they a follow a
no-logs policy. But how often have we seen companies making such claims, and
yet there was data logging of some sort.
The truth is that 100% no-logging is
impossible, but the companies can always a minimal data logging policy, which
can help them to safekeep the user’s privacy.
Let us have a look at the data which
OpenVPN Inc. collects and contemplate if any of the data logging could have been eliminated.
The service provider does not log any of
the user’s activity while he/she is using the VPN tunnel. This information
includes data such as websites visited and browsing activity.
But there is a lot of other data which they
collect. The collected data includes the user’s personal
IP address, IP addresses of the VPN servers used, connection start and stop
time, and the volume of data used.
also means that if someone is regularly using this VPN service, then some of the user’s personal
data will always be present in the data logs.
The IP address is enough to expose the
location of the user. We believe that this sort of data collection can be avoided. The service provider needs to
realize that if this data gets breached, it will jeopardize the privacy of the
Along with all this unnecessary data collection, there is some usual and necessary data
collection as well. The service will store your email address along with some
of the transaction details.
The user should also know that there are
cookies involved when one visits the official website of the service.
Connection Time Analysis
Connection time analysis gives information about the swiftness of the client.
The Private Tunnel client is not studded with a lot of features, so the
client is expected to be a bit faster with the remaining options.
We were not disappointed at all when we did
the connection time analysis for the client. The client took an average of a mere 4.44 seconds to establish a connection
with the network.
Not only the connection times were very low,
the client performed consistently
throughout the test. This is the most
precise performance in the connection time analysis that we have ever seen.
Speed Test Analysis For Different Servers – During Our Review
OpenVPN protocol is the best combination of
speed and security that any protocol can
offer. The protocol is not the fastest
one, and there are faster protocols available if speed is the only
Private Tunnel also seems to be going on
the same path as OpenVPN protocol. The VPN service is not the fastest one, and
there are faster VPNs available.
The fastest speed we obtained on the client
was 73% of the original speed.
Keeping in mind that the service has gone
with 128-bit encryption instead of 256-bit to provide higher speeds, the
service provider seems to have missed the trick.
The speed obtained on the fastest server is
satisfactory but not the best. The speeds
on the far away located servers was also
not very exciting.
We recorded 50%, 60%, and 32% of the
original speeds on the Swedish, UK, and US servers respectively.
The service provider needs to come up with ways to offer higher speeds to the users or else there
are quite a few service providers which provide
greater speeds with stronger encryptions for the same protocol.
The service provider does not cap the
bandwidth or internet speeds for the user, but this might not be of much use to
the customers if the speed output of the client remains the same.
There is no denying of the fact that
Private Tunnel gets a lot of the benefit from the reputation of the OpenVPN
People think that the VPN service will also
be safe and fast just like the OpenVPN protocol provided by the company.
But this myth needs to be laid at rest, and people need to realize that the protocol
and the VPN service are different entities. It does not matter if both are the
products of a single organization.
It should not be a surprise to the users
that the client supports only OpenVPN protocol. We also never expected the
makers of OpenVPN protocol to provide any other protocol
in their VPN service. Not after the protocol has such an excellent reputation.
Protocol Options in the UI
The protocol can be used with both TCP and UDP ports. If the user feels difficulty
in making a choice, he/she can go for the ‘adaptive’ option and let the client
choose the protocol.
Along with the OpenVPN protocol, the
service offers some proxies as well. These are HTTPS, OBFS, and OBFS-Hybrid
The users can make use of these proxies
when their only intention is to circumvent the geo restrictions, and data encryption is not a concern at all.
However, addition of a few more protocols
will make the product even better. OpenVPN is among the safest and fastest protocols available, but more options always
make the product a lot more desirable.
Private Tunnel encrypts the user’s data
with 128-bit encryption. We were a bit surprised to find out this fact.
This is not the highest-grade encryption available, and most of the VPN
services come with 256-bit encryption these days.
But it does not mean that 128-bit
encryption isn’t safe enough. It is still very tough to decrypt it without any
The service provider claimed that most the breaching
efforts are focused on the loop holes and
other shortcomings instead of trying to break the algorithm. It makes the
service faster without compromising with the security.
It is tough to counter the claims of the
service provider, but they need to include 256-bit encryption as an option an
let the users choose between the speed and security. Many VPN services allow users to change the encryption level, and the
users seem happy with the controls in their hand.
The product lacks heavily if we talk about additional security features. The client
does not support IPv6. With all the mainstream VPN services providing IPv6
support, Private Tunnel also needs to step up.
There is DNS leak protection on the
service, but they use Google Public DNS servers. They don’t have their own DNS servers, and involvement of a third
party is never desirable in such services.
The client has no internet kill switch as
Now, we don’t remember the last time we
came across a VPN service without the internet kill switch. Kill switch has
become a norm in VPN services. It automatically stops the internet traffic if
the VPN server connection drops.
This prevents the user’s personal
data from getting on the internet without the safety of a VPN.
The service needs to strengthen the
security features on the product. The current system in place is not enough,
and they need to make it as safe as the OpenVPN protocol.
User Interface and Experience
Private Tunnel is not one of those VPN
services which are studded with features. In fact, there seems to be a dearth of features on this service.
The user interface is nothing but the
translation of the product. You cannot expect much from the user interface as
there is nothing much in the product to showcase.
No added security features, no multiple
protocols, no multi VPN, no kill switch, and absence of a lot of other things
is not the recipe for an exciting user
Once you are
connected to the VPN network, the client displays the username, the
server location, and the IP address of the connected server.
The three options that
the user has read ‘About,’ ‘Settings,’ and ‘Logout.’
The names are self-explanatory but let us discuss them a bit more.
The settings window provides the user with
three options. The user can opt for ‘Auto Start,’ choose ‘Protocol,’ and set
the ‘Connection Timeout.’
Apart from these three things, the user has
nothing except the servers to change.
The server list is neither lengthy nor interesting. There is no auto-connect option
for the starters. The user needs to find the optimal server for his/her
Server sorting and dedicated servers are
also missing. Dedicated servers help the users to find the best servers for
their choice of work, but Private Tunnel provides no such feature.
The user interface can see improvements
only when the product improves. The service provider will have to throw in some
additional features in the product to enhance the user experience.
Platforms and Devices
The client provides support for all the
major platforms such as Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and routers.
The website displays the download icons for
the first four platforms only. You can directly download the app for one of
For the other platforms, the user needs to
find and download the configuration files from the official website.
The platform support covers a lot of the
devices, and it is highly probable that the user may find the client support on
his/her device as well.
The service provider can, however, make it easier for the users to get
the app or configuration files for their device. They should dedicate a section
of the website from where the users can download the necessary files and apps.
Currently, it is difficult for the users to
find configuration files for their devices which run on the lesser known
The service allows three devices to be simultaneously connected from one account.
Most of the VPN service providers allow five simultaneous connections from one account
and Private Tunnel also needs to do the same or better to stay relevant for a more extended period.
The customer support acts as a channel
between the service and the customers. It helps the customer to know more about
the service and vice versa.
Satisfactory customer service can make the customer stick with the service for longer periods whereas a poor customer service
will repel the customers away.
Private Tunnel promises a 24/7 live chat
support for the client.
We had a few queries, and we contacted the live
chat support. The response was quick but
not helpful at all. The live support assistant was not able to answers simple
questions such as one about IPv6 support.
We were told
that they couldn’t answer our questions
and we need to e-mail the questions to
Since we had no other option, we mailed
them our questions. This time the response was relevant, but not quick enough.
We had to wait for a whole day to know a
trivial detail about the product. We think the live chat support should be
competent enough to answer such questions.
The support page on the website has a lot
of content, but then it misses the discussion
about relevant topics. We can again take the example of IPv6 support for this
If there were
a discussion about this on the support page, then we would have been spared
from the lengthy process of mailing and then waiting for a reply.
The service provider needs to provide more
information to the live support agents and make the support page a lot more
Reviewing this product was like getting
back in time.
The specifications of the product are from
five years ago. One protocol, few servers, and 128-bit encryption are not the
attributes of a modern-day product.
We had high expectations from the product as
it comes from the makers of OpenVPN protocol. Sadly, the product was not even
close to fulfilling our expectations.
The service needs improvement on every
front. Only satisfactory section was the speed. The service is not lightening
fast, but it provides high-speed internet
to the users.
The service had nothing much to do to
promote themselves as the majority of the
people who know VPNs also know about
OpenVPN protocol. The service provider needs to take advantage of this userbase,
but that will happen only of the product is competent enough.