Editor’s note: It has come to our attention that some of those involved in founding and running Perfect Privacy were, in 2012, involved in legal proceedings in Germany and Austria in connection with alleged involvement in far-right political groups and spreading Neo-Nazi propaganda. Some of these individuals received prison sentences as a result, but it is not clear to what level they were involved in Perfect Privacy itself, and neither is it clear what the current status or political affiliation of Perfect Privacy’s leadership may be. When questioned on the topic (Google Translate), Robert M. from Perfect Privacy stated only that “Perfect Privacy has never had a rightist background and has always been politically neutral”.
Perfect Privacy Review Summary
Appropriately given the name, Perfect Privacy is a heavily privacy-focused VPN provider with a strong set of features and unusually good speeds to go along with its higher-end pricing.
Pricing & Plans
Previously known as one of the pricier VPNs on the market, Perfect Privacy has recently knocked down their prices to be more in line with the average. The cheapest way to pay for the service is to buy 24 months at once, in which case it works out to about €8.95 per month, or around $9.75. The price increases the shorter the subscription time, with the most expensive clocking in at €13.49 (or $14.70) per month for a monthly plan.
Sadly, there is neither a free trial nor a money-back guarantee for new users.
Although Perfect Privacy offer a range of payment options, there is no way to pay directly by credit card – instead, buyers must use an intermediary service such as PayPal or WebMoney. This reflects the service’s commitment to not collecting more user data than is absolutely necessary, and is further expressed in the unusual option to pay by cash using regular mail as well as by bitcoin.
Perfect Privacy describes itself as “an initiative of private and independent individuals from different parts of the globe, dedicated to protect your privacy and anonymity online”, and has offices in New Zealand and Latvia. The VPN service grants access to 40 servers in 25 countries across the globe, with Europe the most heavily represented but a decent smattering of servers on other continents too.
Perfect Privacy allow not only unlimited simultaneous connections per account, but also include the option to ‘cascade’ or chain up to four VPN connections at once. This is a pretty cool feature which piles up multiple layers of security, though of course connection speed suffers as a result.
Perfect Privacy also recently announced a number of new features to its service, such as protection for not only IP and DNS leaks but also other security problems such as Portfail, Wrongway, and MSLeak. The majority of its servers now also support IPv6. This means that all users can have IPv6 connectivity – even if their ISP doesn’t support it!
That’s not all, either, as Perfect Privacy has more updates on the way. Among them: Beta versions of their VPN Manager for OS X, Linux, and Android, as well as the possibility to filter out unwanted Advertising, Phishing, and Malware domains directly on Perfect Privacy servers.
Users can connect to Perfect Privacy’s VPN via OpenVPN or IPSec, and there’s a great breakdown of the two options available on their website. OpenVPN uses AES-256 encryption, and according to support, IPSec uses AES-256 “most of the time” (though they state it depends on device, operating system and performance). SSH2 tunnels are also available on an application-by-application basis.
Perfect Privacy keep only non-personalised server bandwidth logs: they don’t keep track of user IPs, connections or even their server logins.
Perfect Privacy’s website is not as slick or easy to navigate as some VPN providers’ out there, but it provides a lot of useful information in an easy to assimilate way. It’s great to see technical information and advice about VPN protocols easily accessible under the ‘Info’ tab, and the server status page listing the current load and utilisation of every single server is a nice touch.
There’s a page dedicated to helping users see their externally visible IP address and check for DNS leaks, and a blog providing news on service updates as well as occasional pieces on pertinent security vulnerabilities. There are also detailed info pages for every server location offered.
Perfect Privacy offers user support via email, on their forum, or using TeamViewer (which includes the option for remote desktop support). Unfortunately none of these options are 24/7/365, though we did find email support response times to be fast. We also got a quick (if not overly friendly) response to our query about TeamViewer support hours offering to start a session there and then.
The forum is a really nice addition to the website and offers the chance of peer support and discussion as well as attention from Perfect Privacy staff, and though we did find it to be somewhat sparsely populated it wasn’t the total graveyard that some VPN forums are.
Signing up for Perfect Privacy’s service is very easy, requiring only an email address – which the website assures users can be “throw-away” if they like – and a username/password. No other information is requested or required. Once registered, users can proceed to payment options for beginning or extending a subscription; as this relies entirely on third-party payment providers, no further user information is collected by Perfect Privacy at this stage either.
The Windows VPN client
Perfect Privacy offers a wide range of choices for how to access their VPN service, including configuration files for use with the vanilla OpenVPN client or Viscosity (if you already own a copy), as well as their own “VPN Manager” frontend for OpenVPN.
Where the VPN Manager excels is in sheer functionality. Pretty much anything you might want a VPN client to do, the Manager can do. As well as the usual options for what protocol to use and some helpful information about your account, there are options to start the program (and a VPN connection) with Windows, to use TCP instead of UDP (helpful for use with public WiFi hotspots which often block UDP), and – brilliantly – a slew of settings to protect against any traffic ‘escaping’ the VPN tunnel. The option to block all traffic that’s not routed via the VPN can be applied only when a VPN is connected, only when the program is running, or at all times. And even better, there’s a similar raft of options to prevent DNS leaks and even manually specify DNS servers.
Most fun of all is the option to allow VPN cascading, or chaining together multiple VPN connections in sequence like the heroes of your favourite hacker movies. If you ever wanted to have spy agencies track you down one country at a time while edging ever closer to your real location, this could be the VPN client for you – so long as four countries is a long enough chain to give you enough time to exchange snappy one-liners with your antagonist.
The main screen is also pleasingly verbose, displaying a list of server locations with live server status (load, ping, total bandwidth) as well as your current IP address and location.
The downside to all these powerful options is that the client is not nearly so friendly-looking or intuitive as many other offerings, but given that the option is provided to use the very easy-to-use and uncomplicated vanilla OpenVPN client or an existing copy of Viscosity, we didn’t find this to be a concern.
Performance (Speed, DNS and IP Test)
Performance while connected to the VPN is excellent, and we experienced only negligible drops in speed over IPSec tunnels. The AES-256 OpenVPN connections suffered slightly higher drops, but were still operating at more than 90% of our unencrypted bandwidth. Peer-to-peer speeds were similarly fantastic and we even managed to get 10Mbps downstreamwhile using the ‘cascade’ feature to route through four countries at once – more than sufficient to, for example, watch streaming HD movies.
OpenVPN, UK server.
IPSec, UK server.
DNS and IP checks were all fine, which isn’t surprising given the VPN Manager client’s built-in protection. Perfect Privacy utilise their own DNS servers, a further feather in their cap for anyone really concerned about privacy.
Although the excellent VPN Manager frontend is only available on Windows and Ubuntu-based Linux distros, Mac users can use the Tunnelblick client with the provided configuration files. iOS users are limited to config files if they already have the OpenVPN Connect app, and setup guides for using L2TP/IPSec and PPTP (though the latter is not recommended by Perfect Privacy owing to its well-known flaws). Android users can likewise find config files for OpenVPN Connect, as well as setup guides for IPSec and PPTP.
Other/ Free Services
In addition to the OpenVPN and IPSec VPN service, Perfect Privacy also offer Squid HTTPS and SOCKS5 proxies, as well as SSH2 tunnels which can be used for security specific applications. Perfect Privacy supply their own Tunnel Manager to handle all of the above, as well as giving links to PuTTY and Bitvise for anyone who’d prefer to use a third party solution. As with their OpenVPN and IPSec connections, their SSH2 service uses strong AES-256 encryption.
Also, through Perfect Privacy’s website, any customers so inclined can purchase a pre-configured router for use with the Perfect Privacy VPN service.
Perfect Privacy Review Conclusion
Great Windows/Linux client with loads of functionality
Technical information easy to find and well-explained
Well-illustrated setup guides for multiple platforms
Remote Desktop support via TeamViewer
Excellent level of anonymity and user data protection
We weren’t so sure about
Website could be easier to navigate
Support not as accessible as some providers
Prices higher than average
Perfect Privacy is a very strong VPN provider with great speeds, a very powerful and user-focused client, and a commendable commitment to user privacy and anonymity. While they’re not the most user-friendly provider – with no free trial, no money-back guarantee and not the most accessible support options – they do provide an excellent quality of service. Anyone willing to pay the premium price for that quality would do well to check it out.