PrivateVPN by Trunkspace review: Needs work, but we like the promise not to log user activity
Trunkspace Hosting is an interesting company. It offers virtual private server (VPS) and website hosting, music bots for the Discord chat service, and even game servers for titles such as Minecraft, CS:GO, and Team Fortress 2.
The company also has its own VPN service dubbed PrivateVPN—not to be confused with PrivateVPN.com. It’s a very straightforward and simple service that promises not to track your actions online, and delivers connectivity options for 48 different countries.
Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.
Trunkspace PrivateVPN: Security, software, servers, and speed
Trunkspace uses the same interface on Windows and Mac for its service. It’s a single panel that lists all the various locations available in the 48 countries Trunkspace supports. Select the country location you want and click the Connect/Disconnect button. As PrivateVPN connects, the banner towards the top of the window changes from red (no VPN connection), yellow (connection in process), to green (connected).
Click the “hamburger” menu icon in the upper left corner to access the app’s settings. There’s a Stealth VPN option to help users get around firewalls that block VPN connections, and the Mac app has a special Switch Driver option for compatibility with older Macs.
Under Advanced Config, there’s an Internet kill switch option called Disable Internet on disconnect. Finally, Trunkspace offers a Routing section that sends traffic from only specified domains over the VPN, such as email, for example.
Overall, the app is fine. It’s simple enough to use and understand, but if there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s that the app itself doesn’t sit on the Dock. Instead, there’s a nondescript circular icon in the status menu area at the top right. This is not particularly uncommon for VPNs on Mac, but I believe the status icon should be unique and recognizable so that you understand what you’re looking at.
As for speeds, taking a look at the average speeds across five locations (USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and Japan) during three different testing periods, Trunkspace retained 19.56 percent of my baseline bandwidth speeds overall. Few of the speeds I experienced were particularly bad, and most should be serviceable. But overall they weren’t as high as we’ve seen with other VPN services.
Trunkspace’s PrivateVPN uses OpenVPN as its protocol. It also uses the following for encryption and authentication:
- Data encryption: AES-128-GCM (Default) / AES-256-GCM / DES-CBC (for backward compatibility with older routers)
- Data authentication: SHA1 for HMAC authentication
- Handshake: TLSv1.2 ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384, 2048 bit RSA
Trunkspace currently charges $50 per year, or you can get a six-month commitment for $31.50, or pay month-to-month at $6.50 per month. As for the yearly charge, that’s middle of the road for a VPN service. TunnelBear charges $60 per year, Mullvad is around $70, and Private Internet Access is just $40. For context, one of our favorite Mac VPNs, NordVPN, currently costs $84 a year but has a number of extra features such as double-hop connections and a guarantee to work with Netflix that arguably justify the greater cost.
Trunkspace PrivateVPN is available as download directly from the company’s site. The company says it does plan to add its app to the Mac App Store in the future.
Trunkspace is a perfectly respectable VPN service. The application itself isn’t hard to use, but doesn’t offer much in the way of added features. The no-logging promise is a good option for privacy, though during sign-up Trunkspace asks for your name, address, and phone number, which is not great if you’re trying to remain as anonymous as possible.
For the average person not trying to hide their tracks but wanting to remain private Trunkspace’s PrivateVPN should be fine, but you can find more feature-rich alternatives, and VPNs with faster speeds.
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.