A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help protect users from hackers and tracking by encrypting data before it transmits over a network. For those that frequently use unsecured networks similar to what you would find at many coffee shops and hotels, a VPN can add a layer of security and allow you to access your personal information anywhere in the world safely.
In this Private Tunnel review, we’ll discuss how Private Tunnel VPN works, the advantages, and disadvantages to using it, and how it measures up to the competition. There are many different VPN services available, and finding one with the right features can help make your internet browsing safer without sacrificing your user experience.
About Private Tunnel
An initial Private Tunnel review shows that this company has a headquarters near Silicon Valley which is outside of Pleasanton, California. The CTO of this company is none other than James Yonan who was the original creator of OpenVPN. OpenVPN is a well-known VPN service that was released in 2001 and has reached over 50 million downloads to date.
The Private Tunnel website has the slogan “Connecting Your World Securely” on the home page, and there is a free VPN trial available. The site also provides links where users can learn more about VPN features, general cybersecurity, and how having a virtual presence can benefit them.
What is Private Tunnel?
Private Tunnel VPN is a VPN service that is part of a bigger suite of software to help secure user data in a reliable and user-friendly way. The VPN software provided by Private Tunnel hides a user’s true IP address and instead assigns them a different one so they can browse the internet privately.
This software also encrypts user data and creates secure connections to WIFI. An additional feature that isn’t standard with all VPN software is that Private Tunnel also works to detect malware and viruses before they can infect your device.
The Private Tunnel website says they “prevent more than one million cyber-attacks per day” and the interface is easy for those who are new to using a VPN. The additional protection from malware and viruses also allows users to download items from the internet with greater confidence than if their device only had traditional VPN software.
When this VPN software was released there were high expectations from the community about how it would perform and measure up to the competition. With this software, you can access networks from around the globe and even access websites that are restricted in your region.
The ability to access sites regardless of their physical location can help users bypass restrictions put in place by governments or ISPs easily. Users can also connect to any open network or WIFI connection with confidence as this VPN software can make those connections more secure.
How Private Tunnel Works
Private Tunnel VPN is software that you download from the Private Tunnel website and install on your device. Once the software is installed, you can open the program and start using the VPN immediately to browse the internet more safely.
As a user browses the internet, they are also protected from malware and viruses so they can access media files that may or may not come from a known source. Private Tunnel hides a user’s real IP address that is unique to their device and replaces it with a server IP so that no one can know who or where the user is.
This level of anonymity can help protect users from having their data and browsing behavior tracked without their consent. This kind of tracking is commonplace with many ISPs and other companies such as advertisers. These companies essentially log the activity of every user they possibly can, and some entities sell that data to another party for a profit.
Advantages to Using Private Tunnel
The creators of Private Tunnel VPN have some experience when it comes to making quality VPN software available that is both cost effective and easy to use. There are several advantages to using this software, and some of these features help this software set themselves apart from the competition.
Private Tunnel uses a lower bit encryption at 128-bit AES, but they do this strategically so that users can enjoy faster VPN speeds. Some VPN companies will only boast about using the highest level of encryption that they can, but their services may also be slower than Private Tunnel.
The creators of Private Tunnel understand that users want to be able to use their internet connection without a noticeable decrease in speed that would hinder their ability to enjoy their internet browsing.
Speed tests conducted by experts in both the United States and Europe demonstrated the ability of this software to maintain high speeds while still encrypting data. Users may even have a choice of what servers they use at any given time without having to sacrifice connection speeds.
No Malware, DNS Leaks, or Major Security Issues
It will surprise no one that Private Tunnel uses their own protocol from their parent software OpenVPN. Private Tunnel is also cleverly based on a TLS protocol that is the same as the one used by HTTPS.
The one action that sets this software apart is that each time it initiates it creates a new TLS instance or session so users can enjoy the same level of security and not have to worry about additional vulnerabilities.
It may seem odd to some that Private Tunnel only uses 128-bit encryption, but this level of encryption is still very secure despite being lower than most other VPN options. The creators of Private Tunnel insist that this level of encryption is sufficient and that hackers opt for pursuing the processing method of the encrypted data.
This software also offers built-in malware scanning, and there haven’t been any DNS leaks as is common with poor quality VPN software. One excellent example is that up to 70% of Chrome extensions that offer a VPN service will leak a users’ DNS and potentially expose them to online threats.
A Simple User Interface
The interface used by Private Tunnel VPN is clean with a solid colored background and a limited number of options on each page. This software is compatible with a number of different devices, but the process of logging on is a conventional username and password style screen.
Once signed in, users can click on a giant “Connect” button which clearly shows that they are connected when it changes to “Disconnect.” Once logged in users can choose from a few different servers, select a protocol, and decide if they want the software to auto-start in the future.
This software supports several different devices and operating systems including Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, and Amazon. To get this app for mobile devices, you can access them using Google Play or the Apple Store.
Since this software supports Amazon devices, it’s also suitable for Kindle Fire devices and may even protect Smart TVs that use a Firestick. Users can also use Private Tunnel VPN on their Linux device, but you’ll need to have a deeper understanding of how this software works with that particular operating system in order to get it functioning correctly.
For Linux devices, you can use the command-line window and a config file from the Private Tunnel website since there isn’t a specific app. Private Tunnel is also usable on routers, although the list is somewhat limited to the following:
At this time there isn’t support for gaming consoles or Smart TVs that aren’t connected to Amazon’s offerings. Users are also probably unable to use a Tor Browser so using a double layer of privacy protection using that method is probably not workable.
Private Tunnel VPN offers a wide range of customer support options to suit the needs of all of its customers. A customer can contact this company using the conventional methods of 24/7 Email or Live Chat, but they can also send in tickets, explore the online knowledge base and visit the online FAQ section.
At this time Private Tunnel doesn’t have any phone support, and users will only receive responses to their email tickets during the business hours between 9 am and 5 pm PST. However, the customer service team is known to reply quickly to emails, with friendly and helpful responses.
Drawbacks to Private Tunnel
A Private Tunnel review would be incomplete if we didn’t mention the areas of the software that could stand some improvement. This VPN software was created by talented individuals with ample experience in their field; there are a number of items that may be a problem for some users.
Some of these issues are merely unfortunate characteristics of the software, but others may be deal-breakers for users who are serious about privacy.
Logging of Usage
Private Tunnel doesn’t log information about the individual sites that their users visit, or the content that they may download from online sources. Unfortunately, this service does record the amount of time you spend on their VPN and the bandwidth that you use during that time.
The worst thing that Private Tunnel does is give aggregate information to third parties for the purposes of “marketing, advertising, or other uses” which could really mean “for anything.” This phrasing means that these third parties won’t have individual user information, but Private Tunnel themselves may send you marketing materials or a newsletter.
The company is also very public about discouraging using their VPN for any illegal activities, and even though they don’t track specific users, they do track other data that may be somewhat identifiable in the right hands.
Based in the United States
Since Private Tunnel is owned by the US-based company OpenVPN, they are technically under the jurisdiction of the United States and bound to the laws of that country.
While this lends the company some legitimacy, it also means that they are required to comply when the US government requests information about users or anything else regarding the company.
The company producing information that they have based on specific requests made by law enforcement under United States law also means that this information may be shared with officials in other countries who are political allies.
No Torrenting or Netflix
In 2016 Netflix began blocking traffic to its site that came from known VPN servers, and this action meant that many users were unable to use the site without first disabling their VPN software.
Some VPNs will work with Netflix and users can view content that would generally be unavailable in their country, but Private Tunnel has yet to work based on several real-world tests performed by users.
Users also can’t use this VPN software if they want to access other sites like Hulu as many streaming services begin to block VPN servers. Other sites have even started to block VPN servers including other big players such as BBC iPlayer.
Torrenting is also blocked on many of the Private Tunnel servers as it is commonly associated with illegal downloading and the company firmly discourages unlawful activity using their software. P2P traffic is generally not allowed on most of the Private Tunnel servers despite the fact that not all P2P traffic is illegal.
Some P2P connections may end up working, but the company warns users that they will most likely have issues using these connections and connectivity may be inconsistent.
No Kill Switch
There isn’t a kill switch in the Private Tunnel software which means that if there is a drop-off in internet connectivity, those few seconds could result in user data being exposed and potentially left unprotected. During this drop-off in internet connectivity, a user’s device IP could be revealed, and their location deciphered.
Other VPN services will have a kill switch built into their software which can detect a drop-off in connectivity and immediately kills the connection so that user information is not transmitted over the network unencrypted.
Private Tunnel doesn’t have nearly as many servers as other VPN servers, and at only 50 options in 12 countries, users may not have access to as many servers as they would like. If Private Tunnel servers get overloaded, there will inevitably be some slowdowns in the connection speeds that users see.
Other VPN services have far more than 50 VPN services, and their number of servers is almost always over a hundred with some numbering closer to several hundred at least. Since Private Tunnel is one of the more popular VPN services being used, users should anticipate those servers getting crowded relatively regularly.
Trials and Deals
Private Tunnel offers a seven day trial period where you can test out their VPN software for free to see how it works and whether or not it is suitable for your needs. While a 7-day trial period is relatively standard, some services offer their customers 30 days to decide.
Private Tunnel offers two main plans with lengths of one month and one year. The monthly plan is $6 and provides unlimited data. Users can also add three more devices to their plan for another $6 per month.
The yearly plan costs $35 annually and also offers unlimited data with the option to add devices for $35 each. By paying for the year-long plan Private Tunnel says that customers can save $37 for each device each year.
Private Tunnel VPN offers super-fast connection speeds and slightly less encryption. The encryption provided by this software is less robust than other options, but it’s still more than sufficient for regular use and far better than devices using no software at all.
Limited servers may end up being what slows down user connection speeds, and the inability to access streaming services is a disappointment.
For the price that a customer would pay for Private Tunnel, they could get a VPN that allows access to Netflix and other streaming services that also uses the industry standard 256-bit encryption. Other VPN services also have far more servers for their users to access which can ensure that connection speeds remain optimal.
Another problem with using Private Tunnel is that they are under US jurisdiction which means that user data is potentially at risk, and the company itself may send aggregate data to advertisers that could in turn spam users.
Although Private Tunnel supports many devices, it doesn’t explicitly support Linux, and the ability to use it on the Firestick remains in question. It’s still questionable whether this software will work adequately on routers, and the potential for user troubleshooting is high.
Lastly, Private Tunnel has no kill switch which is one of the more significant threats to user information, and the inability to link to any P2P connections borders on unacceptable. Understandably, Private Tunnel is concerned about their users engaging in illegal activity when using P2P connections, however not all P2P activity is automatically unlawful.