PrivateVPN is a name we’ve heard before, but this new service from Trunkspace Hosting is not to be confused with Sweden-based PrivateVPN.com. Trunkspace’s PrivateVPN is a very basic affair that allows you to get online with servers in 48 countries.
Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.
Features and services
The Trunkspace VPN on Windows offers a single-pane interface listing all of the supported country connections. You typically have at least two choices per country. To connect to a specific server, you select it and click the Connect/Disconnect button to the right of the country name.
A bar at the top of the window turns red when you aren’t connected, yellow when it is establishing a connection, and green when the connection is active.
Under Settings, which is accessed via the “hamburger” menu icon in the upper-left corner, there are a few added options. The Stealth VPN checkbox helps obfuscate traffic in order to bypass network firewalls blocking VPN connections.
Under Advanced Config on the settings page there’s an option to Disable Internet on disconnect, which stops all internet access when your VPN connection drops. Finally, under Routing you can specify that only certain domains will go through the VPN. This is useful if you only want to protect a connection to corporate email, for example, while keeping your casual browsing outside of the VPN. The routing feature isn’t particularly difficult to use but is more of a power user feature.
What’s odd about this application is that Trunkspace chose not to have it sitting in the taskbar. Instead, to reveal it you have to open the system tray, and then click on the icon there to bring the application to the foreground. I asked Trunkspace CEO Atif Khan about the taskbar-less approach, and he said many Trunkspace customers prefer it this way.
“From our experience and research, VPN is typically ‘set and forget.’ Many of our early customers complained when it was in the taskbar, because it’s not like Microsoft Word, an email client, or a web browser where you are interacting with it all the time.”
Trunkspace’s performance was alright in some instances, but overall it wasn’t as high as we’ve seen with other services. Based on our testing, Trunkspace PrivateVPN was able to maintain an average of 19.26 percent of the base speed. That’s really low considering that the top performers we’ve tested reach as high as 50 percent, and middle-of-the-pack performance is around 30 percent.
That’s not to say some of Trunkspace’s speeds weren’t fast. In fact, most scores were in the double digits but just not high enough to earn a better result. As usual, however, your experience may vary depending on your ISP, router, and devices.
Privacy, anonymity, and trust
Trunkspace is officially based in Montreal. Its business address is a UPS Store in the city, but that’s not unheard of for a small company with employees that work remotely. Trunkspace’s CEO is, as mentioned earlier, Atif Khan, and the CTO is Jessica Chan.
To sign up for Trunkspace PrivateVPN the checkout page for more information than many other services require, including your name, email, street address, and phone number regardless of your payment method. Trunkspace accepts payments via PayPal, credit card, bank transfer, gift cards, and a variety of crypto currencies. If you are paying by PayPal, for example, you do not have to supply your home address, but a casual visitor has no way of knowing that. So while you don’t have to supply this information for certain kinds of payments, I doubt very much whether users would be able to tell the difference.
Trunkspace is a no-nonsense VPN. It doesn’t have any extra features that some VPNs offer, and its speeds are serviceable but not outstanding. It recently dropped its price to be better in line with the type of service it’s offering, which makes it a good deal.
Trunkspace PrivateVPN is also off to a good start with its revamped privacy policies. I would like to see the company make it clearer what personal information it requires by having the form change dynamically depending on which payment option you choose. Still, Trunkspace PrivateVPN is a good service with a solid no logs policy.
Editor’s note: Because online services are often iterative, gaining new features and performance improvements over time, this review is subject to change in order to accurately reflect the current state of the service. Any changes to text or our final review verdict will be noted at the top of this article.
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Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn't like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he's not covering the news he's working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.
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