Private WiFi VPN Review

Pros:


  • Limited trial version: – This VPN comes
    with a 7-day trial version for free users
    to ponder upon. This trial version does provide the
    same features and functionality like a paid version.
  • Inbuilt support system: It has features
    like an inbuilt support system which
    helps the user to contact or troubleshoot
    errors fast and save the trouble of
    submitting tickets for small issues.
  • Simple UI: – The VPN provides basic details like full usage statistics, packets
    sent/received on the usage screen in the menu
    option. A novice user can also use this VPN without any hassle.
  • Inbuilt Ad Blocking: – This VPN has inbuilt ad blocking system which
    helps in removing malicious and annoying advertisement, giving you a good browsing experience.
  • Security: – The VPN uses high-end encryption methods to safeguard the
    data exchange between the servers. They provide data compression methods to
    minimize the bandwidth load making servers run smoothly.

Cons:

  • Privacy: The VPN comes under the jurisdiction of the USA, one of the 5-eye nations which can hinder complete anonymity of the service.
  • Logs: It stores only connect/disconnect
    logs and usage details which are small but can definitely
    help to breach the privacy of the user.
  • Speed: When it comes to speed, be it connection
    speed or bandwidth speed, this VPN highly
    disappoints the user. In this era of fast internet being a priority of major
    masses, connection speeds of 17 seconds and around 90% bandwidth reduction is
    way too slow.
  • Additional UI features: Even though it
    has simple UI, essential things like
    choosing server locations, bandwidth usage, packets sent/received are supposed
    to be displayed on the main dashboard rather than separate pull-down
    menu.
  • No DNS leak protection: The VPN has no
    option for DNS leak protection or IPv6 protection.
  • Features: This VPN lacks in many
    features like browser extension, protocol change, tethering option, etc.
  • No Router support: The VPN cannot be used for multiple router configurations.
  • Customer support: Decent customer
    support with the only way to contact them
    via tickets.

Overview

Main screen once connected

Private WiFi is the chief product of
Private Communications Corporation, founded by Kent Lawson in 2010. The company headquarter is located in New York City, USA.

It was founded on the idea that public networks
are highly insecure and leak multiple user data, which is needed to be
protected by not only having a secure
connection on such networks but also
hiding the traffic data.

Boasting about its high security, Private WiFi not only enables to
secure the non-secured public Wi-Fi networks but also provide with VPN to access
online content with full anonymity.

Equipped with primary feature like encryption, ad block, data
compression this VPN may help your
temporary needs. This VPN does lack in many additional features to enhance the
user experience and usability on multiple accounts.

In this review, we
are going to check various aspects of this VPN service
and verify whether its performance is up to the task or it’s just another
average product in town.

Servers

Server options in the UI

Private WiFi has servers spread across 13 countries
with 30 individual servers spread across them.

They use proximity and server load algorithm which
determines the best location to connect by checking the nearest place off to a server
as well as the current traffic load on that server.

Since these servers are used only for VPN traffics,
they offer more reliability in connection and speed, which can be hampered by
usage of multiple functions on a single server.

The primary
locations of the servers are the USA
and Europe with many of the servers located in the
US itself. This shows a limited
reach of the VPN servers and also increases the load
on these servers.

Some servers farther away from the central server have shown a drastic decrease in speed which needs to be sorted out to provide users from
other continents to have a seamless
experience.

The company comes under the jurisdiction of 5 eyes nation (USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand). This may cause some of the user data to be accessed by government and snooping agencies.

Privacy Policy

Being
headquartered in the USA, one of the
5-eye nations, not much can be expected
if they will not hand over the user data for monitoring when summoned for the same.

They do not
store any personal data logs like IP address, website visited, etc. but keep logs of connection attempts and total bandwidth
usage.

As they have
mentioned, they do require a subpoena and take the user permission to hand over the account information.

Being members of
the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Digital Due Process Coalition, they
limit government interference in
accessing user info.

However, storing
logs of connection time and bandwidth
usage can help the government in finding out your browsing pattern, and they can use it at their advantage, be it
for legal purposes or for snooping.

Hence the
privacy policy is neither too open nor too secured and can be accessed by
agencies at their get-go.

Connection Time Analysis

Trial No.Time to establish a connection
Avg. Time (seconds)17.11
121.51
215.89
316.93
414.19
516.49
616.23
715.57
821.53
915.06
1017.7

Connection time refers to the “average time the client side takes to connect to the server side successfully.” For most VPNs, this time is supposed to be low being an average of 3 seconds considered to be fast and beyond 8 seconds taken as a slow connection.

A higher
connection time leads to bad user
experience. A good VPN must always prioritize in reducing the connection time to
help users facilitate from their services quickly.

To measure the
connection time for this VPN, we initially used the automatic choice of the
server which is decided by the proximity
of their server location to your place. Later on, we switched for various top choices for most users to determine the
connection speeds.

The connection
time to the closest location, in our case, was averaged to 17.11 seconds. This shows how slow the VPN is when it comes to
both connection time and bandwidth speed. Such a slow connection time cannot be expected for either free or paid version of
service.

For other places,
from furthest location to midranges, the
connection time averaged to around same as above. This eventually shows that all their servers have similar mediocre
technology even for paying customers.

Any VPN taking
this long for connection itself shows the
terrible quality of their servers, which
if not improved will suck away their paying customers. Even free users will
choose other option with way better speed than this VPN.

Bandwidth Speed Test

Speed test for various server options

A good VPN will offer not only good security to its users but also makes sure that usage speed is not decreased in exchange for too much protection.

Bandwidth speed test provides us with information
on how much data is capped/reduced by the
server side which may decrease the usage speed compared to a deactivated VPN.

Most good VPNs
have speed capped to around 5% to max 20% for both free or paid users. This
artificial cap helps not only to reduce heavy load on some servers but also to prohibit
malicious abuse by users.

Even though
located in places with good server accessibility, to our surprise the speed reduction
was high on free as well as pro version.

With server at
our closest proximity, we got a 90.4% reduction in download speed and 85.6%
reduction in upload speed.

However, the
bandwidth tests depend on users’ service providers, but in this case, we have an excellent
internet connection to make sure there are no errors from our side.

Even servers in
top locations like New York, London, Sweden also had capped the speed as above
which is very bad for users since it virtually restricts their daily usage
habits.

The bandwidth
speed in New York was reduced by 91.1% in
download speed whereas places like Sweden and London had around 95% speed reduction
in our test results.

Other servers
not only had much-reduced speed than above
but also got timeout error many times which clearly shows poor capacity and
performance of these servers. This means
that they urgently need to optimize their servers to give users a hassle-free
experience in using their services.

Thus, High end daily
internet habits like watching online videos, Netflix, gaming activities get a huge setback and are virtually impossible
with such bandwidth.

Security

Private Wi-Fi uses 128-bit SSL encryption.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a common security technology to form an encrypted
link between a server and a client—which is usually a web server and a browser;
or a mail server and a mail client. These security features are generally hard to crack.

This security encryption is also provided on the current network
connection which prevents hackers from snooping on data exchange between public
Wi-Fi and your system.

They use a four-prong
approach for connecting and securing the data sent to the servers.

The first step is enabling protection via
encryption services like AES-256bits keys. Then the user side security is
detected to check if further protection is needed. Once this is done, the user side is contained via an encrypted tunnel. After that, the recovery part includes re-enabling the connection in case of lost connection from the user side
or the encrypted tunnel.

On open networks in public places like a cafeteria, gym, stations, etc. the security
threat heightens drastically since all of them are vulnerable to third-party attacks like snooping, MITM
attacks, IP poisoning, etc.

This VPN does secure such public networks
and help against such third part attacks.

Important security features which enhance
the usage of VPN like kill switch, IPV6 protection, DNS leak are absent from
this VPN.

They boast about these security features,
but many products are available in the market
which provide better security without
connection issues.

So, if you are much concerned about really tight
security and only want to unblock locked contents, without any concern for
speed, you can rely on this VPN.

User Interface and Experience

Secure and encrypted

Private Wi-Fi has the most basic user interface which allows a simple
one click-based functions.

The main screen displays the connection
status along with a connect/disconnect
button and a Menu tab at the top.

Under the Menu tab come options such as activate, settings, usage, account, help, about and quit.

Menu options

Settings include options to load the service
at startup, block ads and turning data compression off to limit CPU usage. The
advanced tab under settings allows the user to select the server location based on his
choice.

There is also account section which
displays basic account details mentioned
at the time of registration like email ID, platform, number of the device, etc.

Another useful option in this menu is help section which opens a separate window
giving many options like troubleshooting, privacy policy, connection guide,
etc.

Overall the UI is very plain and simple but
lacks a more visual interface that can display
the location connected via map, bandwidth data, connection time, etc. They also
need to display the change location menu
on the main dashboard itself rather than
putting it under the settings menu.

Platforms and Devices

Platforms available

The VPN has limited support across few platform
and devices.

For
laptop and PC devices, it has support for Windows and MacOS.

For Mobile and Tablets,
it is available for iPhone, iPad with IOS 9 or higher and Android devices with
AOS 5 or higher.

The following
protocols are avalaible for various device:

  • PC/Mac
    is OpenVPN.
  • iOS/Android
    is IPSEC/IKEv2.
  • Legacy
    clients L2TP over IPSEC.

It has no support for a router and hence cannot be used across multiple platforms like consoles, Smart TVs, etc.

There is no browser extension available, so a user
may need to turn the protection separately even if they only need it for daily
surfing tasks.

Apart from that,
the VPN needs to extend its reach on Linux and its derivatives. The number of devices a single account can use
on a trial version is five which is good. The premium plans include
various schemes for different users based on their requirements of usage and
device connectivity.

Help and Customer Support

Customer support

The customer support is only available via
ticket registration on their website. There is no option for live chat support
or remote monitoring help.

The customer support although limited to only one form is good
enough to resolve your issues in one or two working days. In our case, we received the support for our product
in a single day. They also resolved the
issues for us.

The software itself has some basic troubleshooting measure available in the
help section in the main menu. This help
section contains multiple topics ranging
from quick start guide, FAQs, privacy tips.

The quick start guide helps new users to
learn to use the software. Apart from
that, the FAQs section is divided into
various parts like general, technical, privacy, purchase and license issues and
troubleshooting.

However, they also offer a privacy section
in help menu which guides users in following various steps like maintaining
online anonymity on social media, browsing, perks of using a VPN, etc.

They also provide a connectivity test in
the software to check for any connectivity issue from the client side.

Another option for support is feedback
which is only email based.

All in all, the help section has enough information
to educate a novice person in online anonymity and threats. However, more
efforts are needed to be placed on customer support section by providing features
like chat support, live feedback, remote testing, etc.

Conclusion

There is nothing noteworthy to be pointed
out about this VPN. This application is only
made for casual users who can use it for temporary anonymity.

The issues with connection speed and
bandwidth are way too high to be ignored,
and any paid user will eventually feel
his money being wasted.

There are
numerous better options available in the market
such as ExpressVPN at similar pricings which render way more satisfactory
performance and excellent services for
your money.

Therefore, if you are a pro user who cares
for your anonymity, want good speed for your usage and are looking for more
user interface and features, this VPN is not for you. Casual user can try it, but the
only thing they’ll get is wasted time.

The primary
area which needs to be covered properly
by them is an increase in server capacity and performance along with less
reduction on speed and faster connection time.

The customer support section also needs
various overhauls to enhance paying
customers’ user experience.

Kim Martin Administrator
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