If there’s an industry that never seems to stop growing, it’s the VPN industry. New providers are debuting all the time with powerful tools that aim to take down the biggest opponents, who in turn have to constantly update their own software so that they won’t lose any clients to this new, innovative opposition. This is, of course, good for consumers as it allows for a diverse and competitive market, but at the same time it often makes it really hard to choose between two VPN services.
ProtonVPN and AirVPN are entered this intense competition at two completely different times, but nowadays they are easily comparable given the size of their VPN networks or the efforts they both put into security, the range of supported devices and more. Aiming at the same target audience, which of them has the strongest reasons to earn your subscription?
|Countries||US, UK, AU, CN, DE, CA, FR, ES||US, UK, AU, HK, DE, CA, FR, ES|
|# Connected Devices||10||3|
|Extra Services||P2P and TOR support||TOR support|
|1 Month Plan||$5/mo||$8.11/mo|
|3 Months Plan||n/a||$5.79/mo ($17.37)|
|6 Months Plan||n/a||$5.79/mo ($34.75)|
|1 Year Plan||8/mo ($96)||$5.21/mo ($62.54)|
|Free Trial||7 days||3 days|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 days||3 days|
It’s likely that ProtonVPN rings a bell since it was launched in 2017 by the same company behind ProtonMail, the well-known encrypted email service that so many rely on for safe communication. The VPN was created with the same noble goal of being a secure program first and foremost, which explains why the protocols available are only those that are proven to be completely safe, OpenVPN for instance. Likewise, AES-256 encryption is used on all connections – alongside other industry high-level standards – while protection aspects such as the DNS leak prevention work as they should, too.
This commitment to security is visible in the VPN network as well. There are more than 260 servers in almost 25 countries, some of which are prepared solely for P2P and torrents. Others are part of the service’s “Secure Core”, which is essentially a feature that acts as a double VPN and redirects traffic through multiple servers. ProtonVPN is also compatible with several computer and mobile operating systems – including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android – and there are different plans to choose from, too, which can be only bought for either a monthly or an annual period. The best option costs $96 per year, but it’s possible to test the program first by using a seven-day free trial.
Developed by activists, ‘hacktivists’, and others that care about online security and privacy, AirVPN was born in Italy in 2010. Sadly, the program has suffered from slow development but it still deserves to be more appreciated by the VPN community. Though the performance of its connections are really good and consistent, the VPN network only has a couple of hundred servers on 19 countries, which is a rather limited number that puts AirVPN undeservedly on a lower level of competition.
Fortunately, there are many other great aspects to mention, such as the support for multiple devices and operating systems. Likewise, security is obviously a high priority with IPv4/IPv6 and DNS leak protection being only some of the features that work flawlessly to ensure AirVPN’s connections are reliably secure. Any level of experience with such a service will feel comfortable with the desktop client, while P2P and TOR fans will also be happy with the program itself thanks to an intuitive desktop app with a great level of customization.
When it comes to paying for the service, there are several plans to choose from and the only difference between them is the length of subscription period. The cheapest is an unusual three-day plan – which can also be used for free – but the best option is the annual one that costs a total of $62.54.
ProtonVPN and AirVPN both aim to be in the higher tiers of the market but, for now, their programs limit them to comfortable mid-table places. The two are very similar in a handful of ways, which curiously works to the benefit and detriment of them both. To explain, it’s surely positive that such a great importance has been given to security with many features that work remarkably well that are at the same time easy to use by any kind of customer. In the case of ProtonVPN, the highlights are the Secure Core servers and the decision to only use reliable protocols, while AirVPN excels with its trustworthy IPv4/IPv6 and DNS leak prevention as well as in many other areas.
But there are downsides to both programs as well. While ProtonVPN certainly looks modern, the severely limited server network is just way too much of a drawback even in spite of its sweet discounts and the week-long free trial. AirVPN’s network is even more limited, and though at least the pricing is more appealing, the free trial lasts for only three days.
Nonetheless, both programs deserve to be given a chance, but before doing so it’s perhaps worthwhile to read our full reviews to find out all the finite details that differentiate them.
Best VPN Services of 2020
|Editor's Choice 2020|