The primary reason to add a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, to your phone is to protect your data when searching the internet. However, with so many VPN services available, how do you pick one for your devices? Read this Private Tunnel Review to find out if the service is right for your needs.
The Lowdown on Private Tunnel
Private Tunnel is a VPN service that helps secure your devices whenever you’re using a public Wi-Fi hotspot or accessing other remote networks. OpenVPN Technologies, the company that conceived the OpenVPN protocol, owns the service. The main criticism many VPN reviewers have about this service is that it’s based in the United States.
Laws in the US allow government or business entities to sue to get information from your computer. So, the service may record or log information from their servers and give it to the government or another entity without you knowing about it.
Also, they only have 22 servers in 12 countries, which is among the fewest number of servers of all the available VPNs. The small number of servers can limit users' ability to protect their data when traveling to Asia, Australia, or Africa. Not being able to protect their computers or smartphones adequately leaves people susceptible to having their devices hacked and identities or money stolen.
Private Tunnel supports devices using Windows, Mac. iOS 6.1 and newer, and Android 4.1 and higher, along with Amazon devices. The app for smartphones, tablets, and other devices are available through Google Play and the iTunes App store. For Windows systems, the app is available for download on their website.
There is some inaccurate information about the number of devices the VPN connects to an account. While some reviews say Private Tunnel allows an unlimited number of devices to use an account, they only let three devices connect to their service. Any more than three requires paying an additional fee.
The way most VPNs keep their clients’ information private is to secure it by encrypting the data as it goes through its servers before it gets to the web. They also encrypt the IP address, which allows clients to search online anonymously. Private Tunnel uses AES encryption to help keep your data away from prying eyes.
Unfortunately, the service does not have a kill switch, so if a connection drops, then your work could be vulnerable to an attack. When connections drop, the client usually isn’t aware of it, so they cannot take other precautions to secure their data. In public Wi-Fi hotspots with sporadic service, this could leave a laptop or smartphone accessible to hackers and others spying on your devices.
Customer Service Availability
If customers need support to set up the VPN or if they have other questions, customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are available via email, customers can send a ticket through the website, or live chat is available.
Having live chat agents gives their service an advantage over other VPNs that don’t offer the feature since it means waiting less time to get help with a problem. The company is also active on Facebook and Twitter, so customers can read their posts to get information to resolve systemwide issues or they can communicate with other customers who may be having the same problems.
What Makes Private Tunnel Unique?
When comparing their service with other VPNs, the feature that makes Private Tunnel unique is their live chat feature for customer service. Although other services have a live chat, the number that does are surprisingly low. Many of the smaller VPNs offer customer service inquiries only through email or a support ticket. These methods often take a couple of days from which to get a response.
Being able to use live chat means you can talk to a real person about the issues you’re having, and you don’t need to for days to get answers. Also, you don’t need to depend on online troubleshooting guides or wade through technical manuals to find the information you need to resolve a problem.
Some VPNs have their customers submit or requests for help through email or by submitting tickets. Instead of talking to someone who could guide you on the spot, you often need to wait for several days before hearing back from customer service, and it could take several emails to resolve an issue.
Is It Worth the Cost?
Private Tunnel VPN offers two plans, a month-to-month, and yearly plan. The charge of the month-to-month plan is $6. This plan gives customers the flexibility to connect more than three devices to it, and it offers unlimited data usage.
Their yearly plan only costs $35 per year, which breaks down to approximately $2.92 per month. The cost savings is for the annual plan just slightly more than 50 percent. Along with the price savings, the plan doesn't have limits on the amount of data usage, and it connects a total of three devices to an account.
If you want to add another device to the account, there is a charge of $35 a year per each additional device. Both plans offer a seven-day free trial when a customer subscribes to the service, and there is no cost for signing up for the service. Private Tunnel offers cryptocurrency as an alternative method of payment aside from credit or debit cards.
Several reviews take note of the location for Private Tunnel, which is in Pleasanton, California, which is problematic for people who want to maintain their anonymity. When compelled by law enforcement, the VPN will turn over any information they have on you.
Also, they hand over aggregate information to other parties for advertising and marketing purposes. If you don’t want your information being sold to other companies to sell you stuff, then this VPN may not be the right one for you.
Although the service doesn’t track the sites that you visit, they track of your connection through the service and the amount of bandwidth usage. Although authorities can request this information, the VPN usually erases it after two weeks.
The US is also part of the 14 Eyes Alliance, which is an espionage group that shares its information with other member countries. Some of the members of the alliance include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
Some Content Is Not Available
Even though you may log into a US server, you don't necessarily have access to all the content that you want. For instance, streaming movies or TV shows on NetFlix can be difficult as many of the Private Tunnel servers block content from this online entertainment site.
Also, if you want to torrent using a VPN, then this service is not going to make you happy. Torrenting is a way of sharing files that may contain materials that have copyrights. Torrent files may include TV shows, movies, music, and text files that people may want to share with others. Although some VPNs allow torrenting, Private Tunnel does not.
Although many reviewers pick out the many drawbacks of this VPN service, they are also quick to point out the positive attributes of it too. For instance, it supports devices that most other VPNs don’t, such as:
Also, the plans are reasonably priced and have unlimited data. They also offer a seven-day free trial with which to start the service. Overall, perceptions of this VPN are mixed, with many reviewers giving it average ratings.
How Does Private Tunnel Stack Up
Although the owners of Private Tunnel is OpenVPN Technologies, this doesn’t mean that the VPN is the best in the business. In fact, it has a lot of shortcomings compared to other VPN services. This service only has a total of 22 servers in 12 countries compared to many VPNs offering thousands of servers in 30, 50, or 60 countries.
Having access to hundreds of servers in dozens of countries allows travelers to get connected to servers in their home countries to access social media or other content or those at home can access content in many places around the world that they may never visit.
This service is one of the few that doesn’t have a “No Log” policy because they are based in the US. America is part of an alliance with 13 other countries that share data from VPNs amongst intelligence agencies. Although you may not be concerned about information agencies sharing your information, it could make your personal and financial information more vulnerable to theft.
Although the US servers maintain good speed, many of the servers in other countries lose speed when customers log onto them. Slow servers can be frustrating because it can cause buffering if you’re trying to view content from streaming services or YouTube. It can also slow down the response times on your computer, which can prolong any project you’re doing online.
However, one advantage Private Tunnel has is the ability to get help via Live Chat. Not even some of the larger VPNs offer live chat support, which can make getting solutions to any problems that you’re having with the service faster.
Cutting to the Chase
After examining the features of Private Tunnel VPN and comparing them to other services, we gave it an overall rating of 3.15. This service doesn’t have everything offered by other VPNs of its size, but it isn't terrible either. It seems to be right in the middle of all the available VPNs.
Even though it has a fraction of the servers and are in fewer countries, the cost is about half of what other VPNs charge for their monthly rates. Also, at $35 for a one-year subscription, the yearly price is less expensive as well.
However, it's difficult to overlook the lack of a kill switch, the blocking of popular services like Netflix, and getting sporadic YouTube service on its servers, especially those that are in the US. If you're doing nothing more than using your smartphone or laptop at internet cafes and want to protect your privacy, then this service may be all that you need.
For people who take care of their bills, banking, credit card payments, and are active on social media, then Private Tunnel may not provide enough protection when they are in public looking up information on their devices. The lack of a kill switch can leave them vulnerable to hacking.
Also, lacking the ability to torrent can interfere with someone sharing important files with work colleagues and others. Torrenting isn't just for pirating copywritten content, but it's for sharing text files as well. The inability to share information with others on important projects could mean delays in completing important projects.
The service does have a few positive aspects, such as being able to work on devices that other VPNs don’t and their pricing. However, these attributes are not significant enough to overlook its many drawbacks.
How to Select a VPN
Before examining all the available VPNs, determine if you need one and why you need it. In some cases, the firewall or router solutions in place may be all you need to keep your data secure. For instance, if you want to secure a home network, then you probably don't need a VPN. Their purpose is to ensure access to remote networks, not a network within your house.
Even if it is only occasionally, if you browse on your phone in a restaurant or work online on a laptop in your hotel room, you should use a VPN. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are usually not secure, or the router may be running firmware that is out of date. Someone could track your activity without you being aware of it when you’re in a public place if you don’t have protection in place.
Do You Want to Explore Content Worldwide?
If you’re curious about content that you don’t have access to in another country, such as their streaming video services, music, or social media, then you’ll want a VPN because it allows you to log onto servers in other countries. The ability to geo-shift is also helpful when traveling internationally and you want to keep up with news and other content in the United States.
Number and Location of Servers
Another consideration for a VPN is the number of servers the company has online and their locations. If your goal is to keep up with streaming services like Netflix or YouTube, then a VPN with most of its servers in Russia won't be useful to you. You should find a service with server locations that you'll need, such as the US, Canada, or Australia.
Does the VPN Fit Your Budget?
VPNs have many price points, and the best services are not always the ones with higher subscription rates. Although the longer you subscribe to the service, the more money you can save, can you pay upfront for a one- or two-year commitment? Also, find out what type of payments the service accepts.
Some VPNs allow their users to pay with cryptocurrencies, retail gift cards, and PayPal along with credit or debit cards. Being able to pay with a gift card from a major retailer is an excellent way to maintain your anonymity.
These are only four of the decisions you need to make before choosing the appropriate VPN for your needs. This Private Tunnel review will provide you with the information you need about the VPN, so you can determine if it is the right one to use.
If you need a VPN service to protect your data when working in public places, this Private Tunnel review reveals that it may not provide the protection you want to keep your data away from hackers, the government, and businesses who want to market their wares to you.