Perfect Privacy Review – Maximum Security VPN Service
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- Thoroughly testing all of Perfect Privacy’s features
- Testing various VPN servers around the world for speed and reliability
- Examining and testing Perfect Privacy’s VPN apps
- Comparing Perfect Privacy to other reputable VPN providers
Perfect Privacy overviewPerfect Privacy has built a name for itself as an authority in the VPN market. They were the first VPN to offer self-configurable multi-hop VPN chains with the OpenVPN protocol. In 2017, they released a feature called Neurorouting, which dynamically routes traffic across multiple hops in the VPN network, corresponding to the location of the site you are visiting (see my explanation here). In 2016 Perfect Privacy was among the first VPNs to ofter a customizable filter to block advertisements, trackers, and even malware, phishing, and social media domains. This feature is called the TrackStop filter and it goes above and beyond other VPN ad blockers. Once again, various VPNs have followed Perfect Privacy’s lead with this feature as well. The Perfect Privacy team is on the cutting edge of privacy technology. They have been continuously developing their no logs VPN service since 2008 and are one of the most established providers in the industry. They have earned high praise from the tech community with an excellent reputation. While Perfect Privacy is arguably the best VPN for privacy and security, it also comes with a few drawbacks. Here are the Pros and Cons, before we jump into the test results.
- Multi-hop VPN chains, up to 4 servers (self-configurable)
- Zero logs with an unlimited number of connections
- Dedicated bare-metal servers with full IPv6 support
- Full obfuscation support (Stealth VPN)
- Customizable firewall and port-forwarding options
- TrackStop filter (blocks domains for advertising, tracking, malware, Facebook, Google, and more)
- Higher price
- Does not work with some streaming sites (such as Netflix)
Perfect Privacy price and refund policyWhen you examine the pricing options, it is clear that Perfect Privacy is on the higher end of the scale. In 2019, Perfect Privacy dropped their prices slightly and began accepting payment in US dollars. The cheapest plan is for the two-year subscription at $8.95 per month. This is indeed more expensive than other top-rated VPN services, such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN. In terms of price, Perfect Privacy does offer some unique advantages over most other VPN providers:
- Unlimited – Your subscription gives you an unlimited number of connections and unlimited bandwidth – whereas most VPN services limit the connections (devices) to between three and six. This allows you to protect every single device in your house with only one subscription.
- TrackStop – Included in your VPN subscription is a powerful and customizable filter to block domains for ads, tracking, malware, phishing sites, and even Google and social media domains (Facebook). The TrackStop filter blocks thousands of harmful domains at the VPN server level, which is much more efficient and secure than ad-blocking through browser add-ons like uBlock Origin.
- Multi-hop + NeuroRouting – With Perfect Privacy you can create a multi-hop cascade of VPN servers (up to 4), to give you more privacy and security. Additionally, Perfect Privacy has released the NeuroRouting feature. This feature is activated server-side and dynamically routes all traffic across numerous hops in the VPN network (discussed further below and also explained in this article). NeuroRouting is very similar to the Tor network and is not offered by any other VPN service.
Company information and jurisdictionUnlike all the new VPNs flooding onto the market in the past few years, Perfect Privacy has been offering premium privacy solutions since 2008. It is based in Switzerland and is one of the few VPNs with a verified no logs policy. According to their website, the parent company is Vectura Datamanagement Limited Company, based in Zug, Switzerland. As we have discussed before, Switzerland is an excellent privacy-friendly jurisdiction. Privacy is guaranteed under the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act (DPA) and the Swiss Federal Data Protection Ordinance (DPO). This legal framework offers further protection for Perfect Privacy customers and their data. They also claim the “Technical Implementation” part of the company is based in Panama under the name “Webinvest International SA.” This is also good because Panama is a solid choice for privacy and is not a close partner with any surveillance alliances. This legal/corporate setup, plus a strong zero logs policy, is a solid combination for protecting customer privacy and data.
Platforms and applicationsThe unlimited number of connections, plus support for all different devices and platforms, allows you to use your VPN subscription with everything (no restrictions or limitations). Perfect Privacy supports all devices and platforms. You can find detailed step-by-step installation guides in the Perfect Privacy members area. With every platform, you will be given different setup options, allowing you the freedom to use the VPN in the best way to suit your needs. Custom applications – Perfect Privacy offers custom applications for:
- Linux (full GUI app, Ubuntu distros)
- Mac OS
- Windows – OpenVPN GUI, Viscosity, and native IPSec/IKEv2
- Mac OS – Tunnelblick and native IPSec/IKEv2
- Linux – OpenVPN on Linux Terminal
- Android – OpenVPN Connect app and native IPSec/L2TP
- iOS – OpenVPN Connect app and native IPSec/IKEv2
Ad Blocker on a Router with a VPN (Perfect Privacy)
Perfect Privacy featuresPerfect Privacy basically offers two different kinds of features. I will refer to these as server-side features and application features. Server-side features – These are the features that are activated server-side and will be enabled whenever you access the VPN network with any device and using any encryption protocol. The three main server-side features are TrackStop (which currently includes seven different filters) NeuroRouting, and port forwarding. You can access all server-side features from the member dashboard here. We will cover TrackStop and NeuroRouting in detail below. Application features – Perfect Privacy also offers many different features and settings that are controlled from within the application. We will discuss these in the Windows, Mac OS, and Android sections further below.
TrackStop filterOne major advantage of Perfect Privacy is the built-in advertisement, tracking, and malware blocker, which is called TrackStop. Using a VPN with an ad blocker is a smart choice due to the growing dangers of malicious ads and tracking. Ads can now affect many devices, even if you don’t click anything:
- Tracking – Think of every ad as a digital surveillance camera. These ads are quietly recording your browsing history, keystrokes, and page views, and then sending this data off to third parties. Advertisement domains are building up vast amounts of information on your activities to target you with specific ads based on your profile and history.
- Malware – Online ads, which are usually fed in through third-party domains, are an increasingly common attack vector for delivering malware. For example, malware hidden in the pixels of an image can infect your device in seconds when a website loads (this is even happening to major websites, including the New York Times and BBC).
- Data – Ads are also a huge drain on your data and CPU – slowing down your device and burning up your data. This is especially true since many ads now include video and/or sound.
- Tracking and Advertisement filter: block over 30,000 tracking and ad domains
- Fraud filter: block over 45,000 known malware domains and 20,000 phishing domains
- Facebook filter: block Facebook domains and their data trackers
- Google filter: block Google domains (over 400 different domains)
- Social Media filter: block all large social media domains
- Parental filter: block pornographic, gambling, and violent websites and ads that are not suitable for children
- Fake news filter: this filter blocks a list of websites and is published on GitHub (which anyone can contribute to).
Multi-hop VPN CascadesOne unique feature of Perfect Privacy is the “multi-hop cascade” option. You can use this feature directly within the VPN Manager app on Windows and Mac OS. This feature allows you to create custom VPN cascades utilizing up to four servers. Each consecutive hop re-encrypts your traffic and assigns a new IP address before exiting to the regular internet. While there are other VPNs that offer multi-hop VPN cascades, these are usually limited to only two servers (double-hop). ZorroVPN also offers up to four hops, but only by creating a custom OpenVPN configurations and then importing the config file into your VPN client. Perfect Privacy is the only VPN on the market with the technology that allows you to dynamically create custom VPN cascades directly through the VPN client, adding or removing up to four different servers. I’ve also found performance can still be quite good when creating a chain of nearby servers (speed tests below). Why use a multi-hop VPN cascade? Even if a VPN service doesn’t keep logs and works hard to protect user privacy, VPN servers can still be monitored (logged) for incoming/outgoing traffic by external authorities, third parties, or perhaps even the datacenter itself. This is explained further in the multi-hop VPN guide. A VPN cascade gives you multiple layers of encrypted protection against these adversaries. To enable the multi-hop feature with Perfect Privacy, simply select the cascading option within Settings and then choose how many “hops” you want to have (up to 4). From there, you can begin selecting the different VPN cascade servers from the main window, one at a time. The order of the cascade will be shown by the numbers on the far left (1-4). You can also modify the encrypted VPN server chain without dropping your connection – simply add or remove servers. Frankfurt >> Copenhagen >> Calais >> Malmo These advanced privacy features are slightly more complex to use, but they offer a very high level of security and online anonymity for those wanting it.
NeuroRoutingWhat is Perfect Privacy’s NeuroRouting feature? NeuroRouting is basically a dynamic, simultaneous, server-side, multi-hop VPN configuration. This feature enables you to utilize the entire VPN server network to route all traffic dynamically. Since the concept may seem a bit complex, we’ll break it down more:
- Dynamic – Your internet traffic is dynamically routed across multiple hops in the VPN server network to take the most secure route. The routing path is based on TensorFlow, an open source software for machine learning. Your data remains secured and encrypted in the network as long as possible before exiting onto the regular internet. Being based on TensorFlow, the network continually learns the best and most secure route for a given website/server.
- Simultaneous – Each website/server you access will take a unique path. Accessing multiple different websites will give you numerous, unique multi-hop configurations and different IP addresses at the same time. Each different IP address you broadcast to a website will correspond with the last hop in the server chain for a given URL.
- Server-side – This feature is activated server-side, meaning whenever you access the VPN network, regardless of the device or app you’re using, NeuroRouting will be active (unless you disable it from the member dashboard). This also means it will work on any device – from routers to Mac OS and Android. Finally, NeuroRouting works with OpenVPN (any configuration) as well as IPSec/IKEv2 (a built-in VPN protocol for Mac OS, Windows, and iOS).
Perfect Privacy WindowsAlthough the appearance feels a bit dated, the Perfect Privacy Windows client is very powerful and full of features. To optimize speed and connect to the closest server, you can run a real-time ping test and then rank order the servers by the fastest ping. Real-time bandwidth for every server is also displayed right in the application. Here is a screenshot of the Windows client where I’m connected to the Basel, Switzerland server: Note: As you can see in the screenshot above, there is lots of available bandwidth. (You can see the real-time bandwidth available on Perfect Privacy servers here.) From the Settings tab you can also configure different startup options and features. You can configure the client to start with Windows and connect to a designated server.
Kill switchThe Perfect Privacy Windows client offers advanced leak protection features (kill switch). In the image below, you can see that the Windows client gives you three levels for both the firewall and DNS leak protection: Most VPNs offer a level 1 or level 2 kill switch. Perfect Privacy gives you the highest protection with a level 3 kill switch, which will permanently block all non-VPN traffic whether the VPN is active or not. In essence, the software makes a change to the Windows firewall, to only allow traffic through the VPN. I tested the kill switch extensively with the Windows client. Indeed, it did block all regular (non-VPN) traffic, even when the VPN client was closed. The kill switch worked perfectly in testing.
Stealth VPN (obfuscation)Perfect Privacy has added a powerful lineup of obfuscation features, which they refer to as Stealth VPN. Obfuscation conceals your VPN traffic, which is necessary with restricted networks or any location that does not allow (or discourages) VPN use. This is a must-have feature in countries such as China or with various work or school networks that do not allow VPNs. The Perfect Privacy Windows client offers three different obfuscation options: Stealth VPN masks packets to look like normal HTTPS traffic, thereby concealing your use of a VPN while also defeating restrictions and deep packet inspection (DPI). This is a useful feature any time you want to conceal your VPN use or break through restricted networks (China, schools, work networks, etc.). Note: Even though Perfect Privacy is not featured in the best VPN for China guide, it’s still a solid choice if you are in mainland China where VPNs are blocked.
Perfect Privacy Mac OSThere are basically three different options for using Perfect Privacy with Mac OS:
- IPSec/IKEv2 – This is the native (built-in) Mac OS VPN configuration that offers a simple, stable, leak-proof setup.
- Third-party VPN clients – These include Tunnelblick and Viscosity. The main drawback with third-party clients is that they do not offer any kill switch.
- Mac OS client – The Mac OS VPN client has been released and it performed well in testing. It offers all client features, including multi-hop functionality, obfuscation, and advanced leak protection settings.
Perfect Privacy AndroidThere are three different ways to use Perfect Privacy with Android devices:
- Built-in IPSec VPN configuration (always-on, leak-proof setup that establishes a VPN connection whenever you have internet connectivity)
- Third-party OpenVPN apps
- Perfect Privacy Android client (based on the Strongswan VPN client)
Perfect Privacy LinuxPerfect Privacy has a nice Linux GUI client that works with Ubuntu. I tested it out on Ubuntu 18.04 and it worked well. The Perfect Privacy Linux client does not offer all the features you get with the Windows and Mac OS clients, such as multi-hop functionality and built-in obfuscation features. Nonetheless, their websites states:
Please note that the VPN Manager for Linux is still under development and more features will be available in the future.If you want a cascaded (multi-hop) connection, there are detailed instructions for how to do this in the member’s area. Same goes for setting up obfuscation on Linux. The Linux client does offer startup options and it also shows real-time bandwidth stats. Overall it’s a great option for anyone wanting a GUI Linux client, although it’s limited to Ubuntu distributions.
Perfect Privacy serversWhen you examine the Perfect Privacy server page, you can see that the network is somewhat smaller compared to other VPNs. Currently Perfect Privacy offers servers in 26 different countries. Server Quality – Perfect Privacy uses only dedicated (bare-metal) servers, instead of cheap virtual servers that are often logged by the datacenter (server host). Many VPN services maintain huge networks of virtual servers (VPS), which is much cheaper than using dedicated, physical servers. While their network is somewhat smaller, Perfect Privacy’s dedicated premium servers offer some important advantages:
- More security – Rented virtual servers may be getting logged by the datacenter (host), even if the VPN is claiming to be a “no logs” service.
- More speed – You can usually get better speeds and better bandwidth on dedicated bare-metal servers.
- More reliability – Better bandwidth also means more reliability across the network (fewer dropped connections).
- High bandwidth/speed (Gigabit channels)
- Full IPv6 support (you get both an IPv4 and IPv6 address)
- Excellent users-per-server ratio
- Good server selection in 26countries
- All servers operating in RAM disk mode (absolutely no saved data or logs)
- Network consists entirely of dedicated bare-metal server (no virtual servers)
- Highest level of network security
Perfect Privacy SpeedFor this review I tested out Perfect Privacy speeds on a 160 Mbps connection using the Linux GUI client with 256-bit OpenVPN. (My physical testing location was in Europe.) Overall the speeds were great when I tested servers with the Linux client. Here’s a nearby server in Denmark: 141 Mbps And a server in Sweden: 125 Mbps And a server in London, UK: 133 Mbps In addition to nearby servers in Europe, I also tested a handful of VPN servers in the US and Canada. Once again, speeds were great. Here’s a Perfect Privacy VPN server in Miami: 131 Mbps And a VPN server in New York: 117 Mbps Here was a VPN server in Montreal, Canada, also providing good speeds: 106 Mbps Overall speeds with Perfect Privacy were very good on all the servers I tested with the Linux client. One strange note, however, is that speeds with the Windows and Mac OS clients weren’t as good as with Linux, even though the same encryption and VPN protocol were being used, with the same servers being tested. I’m still not exactly sure why this was the case. Nonetheless, feedback from Windows and Mac OS users I’ve seen has generally been positive, so this may have just been a temporary bug on my end.
Speeds with NeuroRouting or Multi-hopIf you are using the NeuroRouting or Multi-Hop features, you should expect some tradeoff with speeds. Because you are adding latency and extra encrypted hops to your connection, the speeds will be slower than if you are using a nearby single VPN server. Therefore if download speed is your top priority (torrenting), then you should not use NeuroRouting or the multi-hop features. Conclusion on speeds: Overall, Perfect Privacy is a good choice if you want a fast, secure, and reliable VPN.
Zero logs, zero restrictionsWhen it comes to customer privacy and logs, Perfect Privacy is tough to beat. They keep absolutely no logs and do not enforce any restrictions whatsoever, in terms of bandwidth or number of connections. They clearly state their logging policy on their website:
No logging of any user specific data or activity. No data is kept. We do not monitor, review, log or store your communication/connection data. On none of our servers are any logs which would enable a de-anonymization.On the ‘no logs’ page, Perfect Privacy further clarifies:
Perfect Privacy built its infrastructure on this philosophy: All our services are running within strongly encrypted RAM disks so that it is technically impossible for data to be stored on hard drives. That also means that no data can be recovered if the power is disconnected. Nobody can force us to log your data. If that were the case, we would rather discontinue Perfect Privacy than to record your data and compromise your privacy.Additionally, Perfect Privacy’s no logs policies were verified in a real-world case when their servers were seized in Rotterdam. As they explained here, no customer data was affected or compromised (due to no logs and secure RAM disk server implementation).
Privacy and security test resultsI ran the Perfect Privacy VPN clients through a number of VPN tests and checks to examine:
- IP address leaks (both IPv4 and IPv6)
- DNS leaks
- Kill switch protection
- Features (do the privacy and security features work as advertised)
Note that Perfect Privacy is based in Switzerland we are not subject to US-based laws. Furthermore all Perfect Privacy employees are located in countries where there are no laws that would prevent us from disclosing any kind of incident with full transparency. This warrant canary is purely in the interest of transparency and accountability.This is another reason why jurisdiction is important when choosing a VPN service.
SupportPerfect Privacy offers different channels for support. One drawback with Perfect Privacy support is that there is no live chat option. However, in my experience I’ve found the email support to be fast and professional. There is also a user forum, which you can access from their website. The most active part of the forum is in German. Tip: If you have an issue, I would recommend emailing the support department directly rather than posting a question in the forums (for a faster response).
Is it worth the high price?Perfect Privacy is geared mostly to those who are seeking a high level of security and online anonymity. Given all the advancements in surveillance technology over the years, many people are looking for more advanced privacy solutions, above and beyond a basic VPN provider. Perfect Privacy delivers in the areas of advanced security and anonymity with multi-hop VPN chains, NeuroRouting, TrackStop, and obfuscation features. That being said, it may not be the best choice for everyone. Some people want a basic VPN for streaming Netflix and other services. (See the best VPNs for Netflix guide for other options.) If cost is your primary concern, you can find cheaper solutions with VPN.ac ($3.75 per month) and NordVPN ($3.71 per month). Although, these alternatives won’t offer the advanced features that Perfect Privacy gives you. There’s no getting around the fact that Perfect Privacy is an expensive VPN service (and they don’t offer any discounts). Nonetheless, Perfect Privacy offers the following justification for their above-average prices on their FAQ page: Perfect Privacy understands itself as a premium VPN provider and in particular provides the following core features:
- All services are running on dedicated root-servers
- Servers with up to 1000Mbps bandwidth
- Protocols: OpenVPN, IPsec, PPTP, SSH2, HTTP- and SOCKS5-proxies on all servers
- 50+ servers distributed worldwide
- No bandwidth limitations
- Cascading possible / Multi-Hop VPN
- Full support included
- Unlimited connections
- Comfortable user interfaces/clients for many operating systems
- Additional advanced features: TrackStop, NeuroRouting, Stealth VPN
Perfect Privacy review conclusionAfter testing numerous VPN services over the past few years, Perfect Privacy remains the top VPN for privacy and security. Since I first tried their service in 2016, I have been personally using it every day with computers and mobile devices. The server-side features of TrackStop and NeuroRouting provide maximum protection for all devices – whether you’re using an Android mobile with the IPSec/L2TP configuration, Mac OS with IKEv2, Windows, or Linux. Their latest addition with the NeuroRouting feature once again illustrates that Perfect Privacy remains on the cutting edge of privacy and security technology, far ahead of other VPNs. With mass surveillance and tracking technologies continuing to advance throughout the world, it’s important to use a VPN that evolves and remains at the forefront of these developments. All subscription plans come with a 7 day money-back guarantee.
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