Latest VPN tests reveal one big improver and a familiar name at #1

ProtonVPN app running on a laptop
(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

It's time. They're here. We've explored apps, tested speeds, inspected kill switches, questioned support teams and streamed more US Netflix content than ever before, but that's it. Our massive six-monthly VPN update is complete, and the results are in.

There's good news for ExpressVPN, which has once again topped our charts. The provider hasn't just kept the same high ratings for speed, unblocking, apps and support that we saw last time... it's actually added major new features that you won't see anywhere else. 

How many VPNs do you know that have not only developed their own speedy VPN protocol, for instance, but have also open-sourced it? Exactly.

But the big mover this time is ProtonVPN, which leaps into our top five with easily the best VPN improvements we saw from the services on test.

How ProtonVPN did it

We like to see VPN providers that keep busy and are always enhancing their service. But while some companies try to impress us with frills like a new Dark Mode, ProtonVPN understands exactly how to get the most bang for its buck.

ProtonVPN didn't have WireGuard support in our last review, for example, but it's now available across the range. Good move - but that's only the start.

ProtonVPN isn't just relying on WireGuard to ramp up speeds. It's also developed a custom set of performance-boosting technologies, which it calls VPN Accelerator. And this isn't just another marketing trick: our tests suggest it really, really works. 

ProtonVPN's OpenVPN speeds hit 400-460Mbps, for instance, twice as fast as most providers. And WireGuard speeds of 720-740Mbps puts the service right up there with the top competition.

Homepage for ProtonVPN VPN Accelerator

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

ProtonVPN also has added live chat support. We tried it out, and were hugely impressed. An agent appeared in seconds, listened carefully, asked intelligent questions, gave sensible advice and pointed us to helpful web resources. He even converted our chat into a support ticket, so we could carry on the chat later if his suggestions didn't work.

And there's more. ProtonVPN's Plus plan now supports 10 simultaneous devices, up from five. That's before we get onto its great results in other areas of the review, where ProtonVPN's Netflix unblocking abilities earns it an appearance in our streaming VPN charts.

Room for improvement

ProtonVPN isn't perfect, of course, and it doesn't outperform the competition in every area. The apps are feature-packed, but can be a little more complicated to use. Proton's support site articles aren't always newbie-friendly, either, and although the apps are audited, there isn't a full a no-logging audit, yet.

Oh, and don't expect to appear in our cheap VPN countdown any time soon.

We're not complaining, though - ProtonVPN deserves major credit for the big improvements it's made over the past six months, and we've no doubt it'll make even more very soon - t's already promising that the nw customer support service will be made 24/7. In the meantime, if you've tried the service before and it didn't quite work out, it might be worth checking out again: ProtonVPN has come a very long way over the past couple of years.

Mike Williams
Lead security reviewer

Mike is a lead security reviewer at Future, where he stress-tests VPNs, antivirus and more to find out which services are sure to keep you safe, and which are best avoided. Mike began his career as a lead software developer in the engineering world, where his creations were used by big-name companies from Rolls Royce to British Nuclear Fuels and British Aerospace. The early PC viruses caught Mike's attention, and he developed an interest in analyzing malware, and learning the low-level technical details of how Windows and network security work under the hood.