In A Nutshell
Perfect Privacy offers a feature-rich, reliable VPN for those who need privacy — albeit at a somewhat higher price than many of its competitors. While it lacks solid support for platforms other than Windows and Ubuntu Linux, it offers many advanced features, as well as solid performance, on the platforms where it does work.
Perfect Privacy’s most notable features include:
- 36 servers located in 23 countries (so the website says; when we used it there were actually 27 servers to choose from, each in a different country)
- “Cascading,” which lets users route their traffic through different VPN servers in multiple countries using a single connection
- Support for both OpenVPN and IPsec protocols
- Protection against DNS leak
The service also provides all of the basic features you expect from any VPN, including end-to-end data encryption.
The company emphatically vows not to store logs of users’ data. Instead, according to its website, it stores log files temporarily on RAM disks. There, it is erased forever whenever the storage server shuts down. Perfect Privacy touts this strategy as a defense against attempts to force it to reveal users’ data.
The only information Perfect Privacy asks of users is an email address during the sign-up process. Once sign up is complete the email address is no longer necessary. A temporary address is therefore sufficient for using the service.
The company promises bandwidth of up to “1000 mbps.” This is somewhat confusing terminology but the company presumably means data transfer speeds of 1000 megabits, which is equivalent to 125 megabytes per second. Speeds of 1000 megabytes per second would require an unlikely 8-gigabit connection.
Either way, Perfect Privacy‘s service is plenty fast. Real-world download speeds ranged from between about 25 to 65 megabytes per second (that’s 200 to 520 megabits, for those keeping track at home). Upload speeds were more variable, ranging from 16 to 70 megabytes per second. These speeds should satisfy anyone used to the bandwidth of a standard residential Internet connection.
Perfect Privacy also stands out for providing a feature that helps users maximize their bandwidth. On Windows, the Perfect Privacy app displays bandwidth statistics about each server before users select the one(s) they want to use. That lets them choose servers that offer the best speeds at a given moment.
At times, a few of the servers on the list when we ran the app reported speeds of as much as 3000 mbps, exceeding Perfect Privacy’s 1000 mbps promise.
On Windows and on Ubuntu Linux, Perfect Privacy provides a very rich and easy user experience. Rather than requiring users to use a generic VPN client to connect, it provides a custom application with an intuitive interface that lets users configure VPN cascading, set up port forwarding and more.
On other platforms the user experience is less sophisticated; see the following sections for details.
The biggest weak point in this VPN service is lack of real support for platforms other than Windows and Ubuntu. The service’s website says it supports Linux, Android and Mac/iOS, but the official setup instructions for non-Windows platforms currently only deal with Linux.
It appears that the service previously supported Android and iOS. Setup instructions for these platforms using generic OpenVPN software are still available on the company’s site here and here. However, the links to them have been removed from the service’s how-to section.
Users on the Internet report mild success configuring Perfect Privacy for Android after the official support seems to have broken. This approach, however, uses a generic OpenVPN client for Android and won’t provide access to the advanced management features of the Perfect Privacy Windows app.
As for Linux, Perfect Privacy provides manual installation instructions that should work on any distribution that supports the NetworkManager app and its associated OpenVPN plugin. On the Ubuntu Linux 14.04 system we used for testing, these instructions failed; it was unclear whether the problem was due to a bug in that version of Ubuntu or a problem with Perfect Privacy’s instructions.
However, Perfect Privacy provides another way to connect from Ubuntu Linux by installing a simple package. (This method should also work for any Linux distribution that supports the apt installer, such as Debian.) That worked on Ubuntu 14.04 (though we needed to install the package “python-blinker” manually first) by following the official instructions.
Once installed, the Ubuntu app provides the same advanced configuration options as the Windows one. The connection on Ubuntu worked well after the app was installed.
(Apparently, installing Perfect Privacy using the package on Ubuntu is the only way to get the custom app; the generic Linux instructions use a standard OpenVPN client that lets you connect to the Perfect Privacy servers but doesn’t provide extra functionality like custom port forwarding.)
Perfect Privacy is available in a variety of plans. Prices vary depending on how long you sign up for. The cheapest plan is 10.41 euros, or about 11 dollars, per month.