The Private Tunnel story begins with James Yohan and Francis Dinha, the founders of OpenVPN Technologies, who achieved great success with their award-winning OpenVPN project in 2002 and founded their company to enrich its further development.
Private Tunnel sees itself as an Internet privacy initiative, not just another VPN provider. The proven team behind it has built improved software and a network with cutting-edge technology and unique features.
Private Tunnel is designed to provide users with optimized security, safe communication services and reliable connections. The service has been thoroughly tested and the full results are presented in this dedicated Private Tunnel review.
Features and Usability
As expected, the service supports only the OpenVPN protocol. We recommend using this protocol whenever possible, but it is worth mentioning if you are using a system that requires an alternative VPN protocol, such as PPTP or IPSec.
Both OpenVPN Technologies and Private Tunnel are based in the US, which doesn’t have a good record when it comes to privacy laws, but there are no mandatory data retention laws either.
Note: That US law enforcement can require providers to retain all records, and Private Tunnel is not a provider that locks logs. However, it is very transparent about this, clarifying that “log files stored on our servers are only used to monitor server performance, identify software bugs, detect potential security vulnerabilities, and identify abusive users.”
The Windows client has a clean and simple user interface that makes it easy to select an endpoint from a drop-down list on the main screen and displays the IP address, connection status and geographic location of the endpoint when connected.
Additional settings allow you to set the VPN to connect automatically when Windows starts, and to change the timeout before Private Tunnel attempts to reconnect. Unlike some competitors, there is no option to completely block all Internet traffic when a VPN connection is interrupted.
The client is available for the most popular mobile platforms, including Amazon Kindle and Fire TV, and detailed instructions are provided for configuring other systems, including routers and Linux PCs.
Private tunnels are very slow, even when connecting to a VPN server in the same country as you.
Download speeds dropped by about 50% on our short-haul connection and by almost 90% from the UK to the US.
|Connections||Ping||Download Speed||Upload Speed|
When we connected to a server nearby, upload speeds were much faster than download speeds, but that alone doesn’t make Private Tunnel a good torrent solution.
While Private Tunnel is fast enough for basic browsing needs, it’s not fast enough for more demanding activities like gaming or 4K streaming.
|Time Period||1 Month||12 Months|
Private Tunnel takes a slightly different approach than most VPN providers. In addition to a free trial with 2 GB of data, Private Tunnel offers two plans with data limits and a one-year plan with unlimited data.
This pricing may appeal to users who only need a fixed amount of data without a monthly subscription. 10 or 20 GB can be enough to stream some sports events or movies or to use while traveling. Unlimited annual plan with 10 connections for $29.99 per year (only $2.49 per month!) Perfect for families or groups of friends.
As mentioned earlier, Private Tunnel offers a free 2GB trial to see if the service is for you. If you do decide to purchase, Private Tunnel offers a full and pro-rated money-back guarantee.
Private Tunnel accepts all standard payment methods, including bank transfer, PayPal, and credit cards. I was also pleased to see that Bitcoin is listed as an option (via Stripe), as this increases the level of anonymity.
Private Tunnel VPN was able to unblock Netflix on some servers. We had no luck, but the server in Atlanta, Georgia allowed us to access Netflix’s US library. The last time we tried it, it couldn’t beat Netflix at all, but now it does. That’s fine, but it’s still very unstable, which means you’ll have to try multiple US servers before you find one that works for you
However, it can’t handle the increasingly difficult BBC iPlayer, so users will probably have no luck with Hulu, HBO, etc. Therefore, we recommend sticking with a more stable VPN and unblocking Netflix.
Privacy and Records
As you might expect, the company says it “doesn’t log user traffic or the content of communications.” There is no packet inspection, speed limiting or traffic throttling. Private Tunnel does have some session logging, as the company explains here.
“Each time a user connects to our Private Tunnel service, we store the following data for 14-30 days: the user’s source IP address, the Private Tunnel IP address used by the user, the time the connection was started and stopped, and the total number of bytes used.”
This data is apparently kept to “resolve billing issues, troubleshoot problems, evaluate the provision of the service, resolve issues with terms of service and AUPs, and prevent criminal activity through the service.”
Private Tunnel offers a wide range of support
- 24/7 email
- Live chat support
- 24/7 support assistance
- FAQ section
There is no phone support yet. And email tickets are only answered during normal Pacific hours (9:00-17:00). I sent them an email just to test, and they only responded in less than two hours. Not bad!
By the way, chat support is also fast, friendly and knowledgeable.
Pros and Cons
- Seven days money back guarantee
- Seven days free chat support
- Good speed on synthetic tests
- Multiple protocols
- Live chat support
- Connection logging
- Possible usage protocols
- Basic software
- No Netflix, no BBC iPlayer
- Limited server locations
- Does not accept bitcoin
- Designed for advanced users
- No shutdown switch
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a private tunnel VPN any good?
It’s not recommended. If you want to access Netflix, you can quickly connect and stream with Private Tunnel. However, the service does not unblock other streaming services, blocks torrenting and P2P sharing, and can slow down your connection. This means that you are limited in what you can do. The worst part is that it can log your IP address and share it with the US government in case of a court order.
If you’re looking for a better alternative, check out these proven VPNs that unblock the most popular streaming services and allow P2P sharing and torrenting. Most importantly, know that your data is safe with high-quality encryption.
How do I get free access to Private Tunnel VPN?
Unlike most VPNs, you can actually try Private Tunnel with the 7-day free trial without paying – I tested it myself. Since you don’t have to pay for the first 7 days after signing up, you can use the features without contacting customer service for a refund or canceling your account.
To take advantage of the free trial, all you have to do is visit the Private Tunnel website and sign up for one of the packages. The website will ask you for your email address and payment method, but you won’t be charged until you’ve used the service for more than 7 days.
Is my data safe with Private Tunnel VPN?
Your data is not as secure through Private Tunnel as the name suggests. While your connection is secure, your data, including your IP address, must be logged as the VPN operates under the Five Eyes Data Sharing Consortium. Upon request, your data may be shared with third parties, such as law enforcement agencies.
Do private tunnels work in China?
Private tunnels are not reliable in China. The provider publicly claims that its VPNs do not work in countries that have restrictions and strict regulations on VPN traffic, including China.
The specifications of the product are five years old. A single protocol, few servers and 128-bit encryption are not features of the current product.
We had high expectations for this product, as it comes from the makers of the OpenVPN protocol. Unfortunately, the product did not meet our expectations.
The service needs improvement in all areas. The only satisfactory part is the speed. The service is not lightning fast, but it provides users with fast Internet.
The service doesn’t get much publicity because most people who are familiar with VPNs are also familiar with the OpenVPN protocol. Providers need to capitalize on this user base, but that will only happen if the product has enough capacity.