Private Tunnel VPN Review
The story of Private Tunnel starts with James Yohan and Francis Dinha, the founders of OpenVPN Technologies Inc. They achieved massive success with their award-winning OpenVPN project in 2002 and launched their company to enrich its further development.
Is My Privacy Protected with Private Tunnel?
While Private Tunnel doesn’t claim to keep any activity logs, some connection logs do get saved. Private Tunnel claims only to use these for monitoring performance and maintenance. Private Tunnel also states: “We respect your privacy. We are not interested in what you do on the internet.” While this is a nice touch, I’d like to see an entirely log-free service before recommending Private Tunnel as a completely secure VPN.
What information do we collect?
We collect information from you when you register on our website, place an order, respond to a survey or fill out a form.
When ordering or registering on our website, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address, phone number or credit card information. You may, however, visit our website anonymously.
What do we use your information for?
Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways:
To improve our website: (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you)
To improve customer service: (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs)
To process transactions: your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested.
To send periodic emails: the email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order.
Note: if at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.
How do we protect your information?
We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order.
We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential.
After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.
A cookie is a piece of data that a website can send to your browser, which may then be stored on your computer as a tag that identifies your computer. While cookies are often only used to measure website usage and effectiveness and to allow for ease of navigation or use and, as such, are not associated with any personal information, they are also used at times to personalize a known visitor’s experience to a website by being associated with profile information or user preferences.
You can set your browser in most instances to notify you before you receive a cookie, giving you the chance to decide whether to accept it or not. You can also generally set your browser to turn off cookies. Since cookies allow you to take advantage of some of our website’s features, we recommend that you leave them turned on. If you block or otherwise reject our cookies, you will not be able to use any website services that require you to sign in.
Do we disclose any information to outside parties?
We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential.
We may also release your information when we believe that release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our website policies, or protect ours or other’s rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.
California Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance
Because we value your privacy we have taken the necessary precautions to be in compliance with the California Online Privacy Protection Act. We therefore will not distribute your personal information to outside parties without your consent.
How Much is Private Tunnel? Is There a Free Trial?
Private Tunnel takes a slightly different approach than most VPN providers when it comes to pricing. In addition to a free trial with 2 GBs of data, Private Tunnel has two data capped plans and one annual, unlimited data plan.
This pricing format should be attractive for those who simply need a fixed amount of data without a monthly subscription. 10 or 20 GBs should be plenty to stream a few sports events or movies or to use while traveling. The annual unlimited package with ten connections at 29.99 a year (only 2.49 a month!) is a great option for households or groups of friends.
As I mentioned already, Private Tunnel offers a free 2 GB trial to see if the service is right for you. If you do end up making a purchase, Private Tunnel has a variation of full and pro-rata money-back guarantees.
Private Tunnel accepts all the usual payment types, including bank transfer, PayPal, credit cards. I was also happy to see that Bitcoin as an option (through Stripe), as this can increase the level of anonymity.
Private Tunnel Speed Test
The speed was a little bit slower than I expected, on a slightly more positive note, none of the Private Tunnel servers I tested showed any DNS or IP leaks.
How is Customer Service at Private Tunnel?
The second major issue I had with Private Tunnel was the absence of options when it comes to customer support. Email support coupled with a relatively small FAQ is disappointing. Business hours for Private Tunnel are Monday-Friday, 9-5(PST).
To get a better idea of just how quickly Private Tunnel responds to emails, I sent them an email with a few questions regarding file sharing. I sent the email at 4 AM PST and got a proper response just a few hours later.
Private Tunnel is also active on Facebook and Twitter, with both profiles being used to post helpful information and communicate with customers.
Private Tunnel’s headquarters are in the US, which is a huge black mark! Everyone should already know about terrible US data retention laws and shady governmental institutions. If you are on the lookout for a VPN that prioritizes complete privacy, Private Tunnel isn’t going to be a safe bet.
As I mentioned earlier, Private Tunnel is the commercial child of OpenVPN Technologies, the company responsible for the OpenVPN protocol. This (theoretically) should give consumers plenty of reason for optimism, as OpenVPN is the most secure VPN protocol out there.
Private Tunnel has 12 locations available in 9 countries, including places such as Germany, US, UK, and Hong Kong. The measly amount of servers is somewhat underwhelming when compared to ExpressVPN (136+ locations) or HideMyAss (300+ locations).
At the time of writing this Private Tunnel review, both Netflix and BBC iPlayer cannot be accessed using Private Tunnel. If you are looking to unblock these streaming services, check out these (working) recommendations for Netflix and iPlayer.
Private Tunnel is generous when it comes to connecting with multiple devices. Signing up to the fixed data plans allow you to connect an unlimited number of devices to the service at the same time. The annual plan with unlimited bandwidth allows up to 10 simultaneous connections, which should be more than enough for an entire household (or group of friends).
Is Private Tunnel Safe?
As far as encryption goes, Private Tunnel protects your data transmissions with 128-bit AES-GCM encryption. GCM (Galois/Counter Mode) is a proven security model that mostly avoids excessive speed restrictions without compromising safety.
Private Tunnel doesn’t explicitly forbid P2P activity, but it does comply with DMCA notices and actively terminates accounts which take part in copyright infringement.
Private Tunnel is a unique service due to being heavily affiliated with the OpenVPN protocol. As a result, I was curious to see the details behind Private Tunnel, and how it would compare to other VPNs. While the OpenVPN mark is there, being based in the US means anyone looking for a truly anonymous experience is better served searching elsewhere. Toss in some questionable server test results and Private Tunnel is a VPN you should probably avoid.