Paladin VPN Review: Is It Truly Free and Safe?

A free VPN service that comes with hidden strings attached.

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paladin vpn review

Update: The FBI shut down Paladin VPN on May 29, 2024, for its alleged involvement in cybercrime-related activities. We recommend existing customers migrate to other reliable VPN providers. We’ll keep this article as a reference for anyone who needs any information.

This Paladin VPN review will address your curiosity about this service. As you’re aware, it’s truly free with no upsells, but with questionable privacy.

Founded in 2014, it’s owned by Bulgarian data and proxy service provider, Ledger Media Ltd. It strives to offer online privacy and security without charging users a dime.

The vendor depends on donations and third-party partners to keep its VPN afloat. But how does it stack up regarding security, performance, and reliability?

Let’s find out. 

Paladin VPN pros and cons

Paladin VPN is a basic service that simply does what it’s designed to do – offer online anonymity. While some features are amazing, the vendor stands no chance against premium providers.

Below is a quick overview of this vendor. 

Pros ❎

Here’s what makes Paladin VPN stand out:

  • Free of charge
  • Wide network coverage
  • Novice-friendly VPN app
  • Wide device compatibility
  • Strict no-logs policy
  • Split tunneling capabilities
  • Quick server connection
  • Unlimited devices

Now, let’s check out the downsides. 

Cons ❌

Paladin lacks vital features commonly found in other VPN services. But this isn’t a surprise, considering the vendor doesn’t charge users. 

  • Subpar speeds
  • Limited connection protocols
  • No kill switch
  • Basic app features
  • No ad blocking
  • No app for Linux
  • Questionable privacy

Let’s examine the Paladin VPN features up close. 

Features summary

Paladin VPN doesn’t offer much, but it’s good enough for cash-strapped users. Below is what makes it a worthy day-to-day privacy-friendly security solution.  

  • Encryption: AES 256-bit
  • Server network: Over 50 regions
  • Connection protocols: In-house solution
  • Connection limits: Unlimited
  • No-logs policy: Yes, strict
  • VPN split tunneling: Available
  • Server speed test: Available
  • Bandwidth limit: Unlimited
  • Compatible devices: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and web browser extensions.
  • Works with: Netflix, Sling TV, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming services.

All of the above features come for free. This enables you to use the service without attracting unwanted costs. 

Plans & prices

Paladin VPN doesn’t have any premium plans at the time of writing. The vendor promises to offer its service entirely for free. 

What I like about it is that you don’t need to register to use it. All you have to do is download, install, and run the app.

Another thing worth appreciating is there are no bandwidth limits. This comes in handy for browsing and enjoying worry-free streaming.

Is Paladin VPN safe? Questionable privacy

You might be wondering whether or not Paladin VPN is safe. Given that the service is free, there might be some trade-offs, right?

At first, I thought there were no strings attached. But the devil is always in the details.

Here’s why: 


Paladin VPN provides its VPN service for free while promising enhanced privacy. The company also promises to keep user information private, away from prying eyes.

Sadly, the vendor is registered in Bulgaria, a close United States ally. These countries are well-known for sharing information for national security purposes.

Accordingly, ensure you avoid using the service to engage in heinous activities. Or else, you risk having your data handed over to the authorities. 

But that’s not all:

While it depends on donations, Paladin VPN also relies on the support of third-party partners. They allegedly use your device as a gateway to the internet.

paladin vpn uses your device as a proxy gateway

Such a practice is common when using residential proxy services. This helps individuals and organizations gather information on the web at scale.

Accordingly, when Paladin VPN is active, your device becomes part of a proxy network. It can come with the risk of exposing you to privacy violations.

Security and encryption

Paladin VPN secures connections using AES 256-bit encryption. This is a technology that banks and the military use to safeguard communications. 

It scrambles your traffic, making it unreadable to anyone who manages to snoop on you. Some of the possible culprits include your internet service provider (ISP) and intruders. 

The service also employs an in-house protocol like ExpressVPN’s Ligthway and NordVPN’s Nordlynx. Such an approach further enhances confidence for secure web browsing. 

However, the service doesn’t have a built-in kill switch. This exposes you to potential data leaks whenever the VPN malfunctions. 

Another thing is the service hasn’t undergone independent security audits. Additionally, its provision to report any vulnerabilities seems broken on the company’s website.

No-logging policy

Paladin VPN refrains itself from gathering any data about your browsing activities. These include but are not limited to websites you visit, DNS queries, connection timestamps, connection logs, etc. 

However, the company records diagnostic information to help with troubleshooting issues. This enables it to fix challenges you may encounter when using the service with speed.

disable collection of trouble shooting data

The data excludes any personally identifiable information. Even better, you can disable this function from the app’s settings.

Still, Paladin VPN doesn’t have an independently vetted no-logs policy.  It usually serves as the gold standard for top vendors on the market.  

IP/DNS leak protection

An IP is an address that serves as your online identity. This helps online platforms know about your location, vital for customizing services. 

On the other hand, a domain name system (DNS) enables your device to find web resources. ISPs and web-based trackers normally use it to log your activities. 

solid ip dns leak protection on paladin vpn

The good thing is, tests show Paladin VPN offers a solid IP/DNS leak protection. This shields your identity and web browsing footprints from accidental exposure.

Split tunneling

A split tunnel allows some apps to bypass the VPN for direct internet access. This way, you can unblock geo-restricted services while enjoying access to local content. 

Almost all VPNs on the market have this feature hidden under settings. However, Paladin VPN provides easy access directly from the app’s connection window.

split tunneling on paladin vpn

You can add an app or drag it to the split tunneling window. Moreover, it takes a single click to enable and disable this functionality. 

Is Paladin VPN fast? 

When it comes to performance, Paladin VPN fails to impress. It wasn’t what I expected from a service with servers in 50+ regions. 

Allow me to explain. 

I conducted multiple tests by targeting random locations. For reference, I’m on a 20Mbps broadband plan.

my internet speeds without vpn

On average, Palado VPN gave me about 75% slower speeds than my connection’s speak speeds. The poor performance was consistent across all benchmarked regions. 

The ping was equally terrible, averaging 370ms. Check out the rest of the details below:

  • Chicago, United States
paladin vpn united states speeds
  •    Montreal, Canada
montreal canada speed test
  • London, United Kingdom
london uk speed test
  • Sofia, Bulgaria
sofia bulgaria speed test
  • Tokyo, Japan
tokyo japan speed test

From the above results, web browsing shouldn’t be a problem. But expect buffering when engaging in activities like streaming and online gaming.

Can I watch Netflix with Paladin VPN?

Paladin VPN works with most streaming services, including Netflix. I was able to unlock the platform’s vast library, including region-restricted content. 

netflix working with paladin vpn

Watching content in standard quality works well. However, buffering will be the norm if you prefer high and ultra-high-definition content. 

Other supported streaming services it works with include:

  • Netflix
  • Sling TV
  • Hulu
  • BBC iPlayer
  • Peacock TV
  • UFC

Unfortunately, the service can’t get past some streaming services’ anti-VPN systems. These include the likes of Paramount+, Disney+, and HBO Max. 

Ease of use and device compatibility

Paladin VPN is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS devices, and popular web browsers. It offers a novice-friendly app that’s intuitive and easy to use.

paladin vpn server speed test

One thing I like about it is the connection speed test. You can use it to check for servers with the best response time.   

Sadly, other features like ad blocking, anti-phishing, and malware protection are missing. An app for Linux device users is also not available. 

Apart from that, Paladin VPN’s network coverage information on its website is misleading. Almost all the mentioned countries in the Middle East and Africa are missing on the app.

Of course, the service is free and you and I shouldn’t be demanding. But any company offering security and privacy solutions should prioritize honesty. 

Paladin VPN review – Verdict

Paladin VPN is a fairly good service that offers decent browsing speeds. It provides incredible security and reliable connectivity at all times. 

However, the privacy of the service is questionable. Despite having a no-logs policy, it uses your device as part of a proxy network. 

But that’s expected of any free service out there. As that saying goes, if you’re not paying, you’re the product. 

As you’ve seen on this Paladin VPN review, its also lacking in terms of features. While it can’t stand a chance against the big dogs, it’s worth it for budget-conscious users.

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