What is a VPN?

VPN stands for virtual private network and refers to a suite of technologies designed to protect your privacy when using the internet.

What does a VPN do?

A VPN protects your online privacy by hiding your real IP address so you can browse privately, avoid being tracked across the internet, and stop your browsing data from being sold to advertisers.

With Proton VPN, you can also bypass censorship and access websites that might be blocked in your country.

How does a VPN work?

When you use a VPN, it essentially replaces your internet service provider and handles routing your internet connection. Here's how.


A VPN connection links your device to a VPN server run by a VPN provider, like Proton VPN.


The connection between your device and the VPN server is encrypted, preventing your internet service provider from seeing the contents of your data as it travels between the two.


The VPN server sits between your internet service provider and the internet, blocking your ISP from seeing your online activity and preventing the websites you visit from seeing your real IP address.


When connected to a VPN server in another country, you can bypass local censorship and effectively “spoof” your geographic location.

What is a VPN used for?

Think of Proton VPN as the Swiss army knife of internet tools. If you choose us, you have a...

VPN for privacy

  • Prevent your internet service provider and websites from seeing your browsing history
  • Block ads, trackers, and malicious scripts with our DNS filtering feature
  • Protect your online activity with strict Swiss privacy laws

VPN for streaming

  • Access geoblocked TV shows while traveling
  • Stream in 4K without buffering, slowdowns, or throttling
  • Connect up to 10 devices or browsers (via our browser extension) at the same time

VPN for gaming

Unblock geo-restricted games

Connect to the same servers as your teammates

Use unlimited bandwidth

VPN for file sharing

  • Hide your real IP address from peers while using BitTorrent
  • Connect quickly and download files securely with high-speed P2P servers
  • Access torrenting sites that may be blocked by your internet service provider

VPN for security

  • Hide your real IP address, preventing websites, government agencies, and internet service providers from tracking you online
  • Keep your browsing totally private with our no-logs policy
  • Secure your account with two-factor authentication and a new encryption key for each session

Why use a VPN?

VPN benefits

Secure your internet connection

A VPN provides privacy while surfing the net: from your internet service provider, your government, and the websites you visit.

Millions of people worldwide use VPN services as an invaluable tool to defeat censorship and access the open internet. It also protects you from “free” WiFi providers.

Keep your data private

Proton VPN is a community-driven VPN service that places the privacy of our users first and foremost.

We keep no logs, and what little data we do store is protected by Swiss data protection laws. All of our apps are open source and independently audited, and we support journalists and activists in the struggle for a free and open internet.

Unblock content worldwide

Proton VPN has thousands of secure VPN servers all around the world, including several free VPN servers.

This ensures there is always a high-bandwidth server nearby no matter where you are connecting from, providing a low-latency VPN connection for browsing, streaming, and bypassing censorship.

Is a VPN worth it?

What should you consider when choosing a VPN?

The most important thing to evaluate when choosing a VPN provider is whether it is trustworthy. This is crucial, as your VPN provider handles your internet connection, meaning it can see the browsing history you’re trying to keep private.

Here are some questions you should ask:

  • Does the VPN have a strict no-logs policy?
  • Is the VPN based in a country with strong privacy laws?
  • Is the VPN open source and independently audited?

Once you’re sure you can trust your VPN provider, you can consider other features based on what you need the VPN for, such as advanced security features, support for streaming, or ad blocking.

How do you decide which VPN service is right for you?

Our free and paid plans both offer the same level of privacy protection — they don’t log your online activity and are protected by strict Swiss privacy laws.

However, we recommend subscribing to our paid plan if you’d like access to premium features such as:

  • Country selection
  • Secure streaming
  • Secure P2P
  • NetShield Ad-blocker - can also block trackers and malware
  • Secure Core
  • And much more

Proton’s mission is to provide private and secure internet access to all. That’s why we’ll always offer a free plan that has no data or speed limits, no ads, and no catches. This is only possible thanks to the support of our paying users.

Free vs. Paid

To help you decide if our free plan or one of our paid plans is right for you, click the button below to find out additional information and compare plans.

With our 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try our premium Plus plan risk-free.

Learn more about VPNs

Does a VPN protect you from hackers?

5 reasons to use a VPN for streaming

What is a VPN kill switch and when should you use one?