Today we will review Private Tunnel, an OpenVPN-based VPN client and network. The following VPN is a commercial attempt at making a VPN service that relies on the brand value of OpenVPN, a leading VPN protocol. However, the makers fail to carry out their grand vision evenly, as it is explicit in the following write-up. Although the vendor has stopped admitting new users, it is still operational and provides service to existing customers.
Disclaimer — The following article is subjective. For better understanding, users can always visit the official website of Private Tunnel.
Overview of Private Tunnel VPN
The US-based service suffers from constant slow speeds, unreliable connectivity, intrusive logging policies, failing security, compromised customer support, and almost no advanced features. Even additional services like streaming or torrenting are a chore with this VPN. Although it has a selling point, its cheap subscription plans, far better alternatives are available. The VPN comes from the makers of OpenVPN. Thus, it didn’t fail to gain traction when it got launched back in 2011. However, newer and better alternatives have emerged over time. The users also know that.
The VPN has a small network of 50 or so VPN servers in 12 countries. That’s what we are roughly guessing, as the official website has no such information. Also, the website fails to mention the truth behind its intrusive logging policy, which coupled with the undesirable jurisdiction, can land users in jeopardy. Hence, the first and overall impression of the VPN is quite poor. Although before sounding the death knell, we will first explore the features a bit more and post our final thoughts further down the line.
Private Tunnel specs
|Key Specifications||Private Tunnel VPN|
|VPN connection speed||Up to 52 Mbps|
|IP and DNS leaks||None|
|VPN server locations||12|
|Customer Service||Live chat, Email|
|Cheapest price||$3 monthly on an annual plan|
|Free trial||7 Days|
Features of Private Tunnel
Now, we’ve come to the various perks of Private Tunnel VPN:
Data Privacy, logging policy, and jurisdiction
As we mentioned, OpenVPN Inc owns Private Tunnel. It is the same company responsible for the world’s leading open-source VPN protocol. However, the commercial product is lacking in privacy. Although it claims to adhere to a strict no-logs policy, the truth is quite the opposite, as the service logs the following data for at least 14 to 30 days. Furthermore, the collected data is PII (Personally Identifiable Information) and hence a potential threat to users. The VPN logs include:
- The originating IP address of a connection
- The chosen VPN server and its IP address
- Relevant timestamps
- Amount of bandwidth
Security and advanced features
Although the VPN uses the market standard encryption and protocols, it still lacks data security. The VPN kill switch is absent from the service, and the VPN doesn’t operate an exclusive DNS server, which is a flaw. However, there are no leaks. There are also proxy servers available such as HTTP Proxy and OBFS (Obfuscate) proxy. But the choice between UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is enough for a user. There are no additional security features such as split tunneling, and port forwarding, i.e., it’s a basic VPN.
VPN connectivity and speed
Due to its limited network, the VPN is arguably at the slower spectrum. The local speed suffers from an average of 50% speed reduction, while the VPN speed falls much further on international connections.
VPN servers, locations, and spread
While we couldn’t find the exact number, as the official website doesn’t have relevant information, the VPN is suspected to own around 50 servers that span 12 countries. It is a restrictive network that further limits the VPN service. The VPN doesn’t present any servers outside North America, Europe, and Asia.
Obfuscation, streaming, and VPN blocks
The service fails to bypass VPN blocks, a fact mentioned on the website. Since the VPN lacks advanced features, there is no decent obfuscation. Hence, the VPN will fail to work in highly censored regions. These regions include China, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Turkmenistan. Similarly, the VPN fails to bypass geo-blocks, and stream popular content. That is all due to its limited network. Fortunately, the VPN has never claimed to do so.
Torrenting, i.e., P2P traffic
The service is not friendly to P2P (peer-to-peer) traffic. Even with limited servers, it blocks P2P on each one. Although, even if it allowed torrenting, we would not recommend using the service due to its slow speed and intrusive logging policy. The lack of a kill switch also plays a role in our recommendation.
Private Tunnel’s VPN customer service is one of the worst we have seen. Although the service offers a live chat, it is redundant and generally lacking. Most of the time, users were provided incorrect or conflicting information. The online materials are there, but we can’t blindly trust them. However, the email support was decent.
Private Tunnel VPN platform support
The VPN supports popular platforms such as Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. Users can also install it manually on routers and Linux. The same applies to streaming devices and other IoT (Internet of Things) gadgets, though the unblocking isn’t there.
Pricing and subscription plans for Private Tunnel
Although the service is unavailable for new users, existing ones can select from a monthly or annual subscription. One good thing about the VPN is its price:
- The monthly rate of $6 is one of the cheapest we have seen.
- If you go for the annual plan, you will have to shell out around $3 per month, a direct 50% discount.
Sadly, there is no money-back guarantee. However, to offset that, the VPN provides a trial period of seven (7) days.
- Cheap pricing
- OpenVPN protocol
- Owned by OpenVPN
- No data leaks
- 7-day free trial
- Solid email Customer Support
- Intrusive logging policy
- Poor VPN unblocking and obfuscation
- Lacking in security
- No kill switch
- No advanced features
- Frustrating live chat Customer Service
- No streaming or torrenting
- Slow speed
- Small network
- No money-return guarantee
We cannot find it in our hearts to recommend Private Tunnel to anyone after our review. The good thing is it no longer accepts new users. Although, existing ones should also try to change the provider if possible. The VPN is lacking in almost every department. The VPN collects user data, fails to offer advanced features, has no other services to offer, and the network is also not enough for proper VPN use.
Private Tunnel VPN Review
Private Tunnel is an OpenVPN-based service based in the United States, by the makers of the protocol. Though it’s user-friendly, cheap, and straightforward to use, it has no advanced features. It brings an intrusive log policy, a small network, poor obfuscation, streaming, VPN block bypassing, and torrenting support. We don’t recommend using it.