A look at community-powered VPN Penguin Proxy

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 28, 2018
Updated • Dec 28, 2018

Penguin Proxy is a community-powered VPN solution for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, as well as several web browsers, that is free currently.

The service is in beta at the time and the company behind the service plans to charge users a yearly fee for usage once it leaves beta. Whether a free but limited version remains is unclear.

One core difference between Penguin Proxy and commercial VPN solutions such as NordVPN or Private Internet Access, or the free Tor option, is that Penguin Proxy utilizes the bandwidth of connected users and that of its own server network for connectivity purposes.

The default bandwidth contribution per day is set to a limit of 500 MB; users of Penguin Proxy can reduce that to 100 MB or increase it to 2 GB or unlimited. Users who contributed more get faster speeds out of the service according to the service's FAQ.

Penguin Proxy is simple to use; just download the application to the local system and run it. The Windows version displays a simple connection dialog on start.

It features a country or region selector, and displays part of the IP address of the VPN server/fulfiller. Penguin Proxy supports a handful of regions only: USA, United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, or China.

A click on the preferences icon displays connection related settings. Users find options to load the proxy on startup, disable the built-in ad-blocking functionality, or enable proxy connections on HTTPS connections only.

Options to add exceptions, reverse the exceptions (to whitelist), enable the use of random IPs on every connect, and to limit bandwidth that is contributed to other users of Penguin Proxy are provided as well.

Penguin Proxy works as expected; users can download and install desktop programs or browser extensions if they prefer to limit functionality to individual browsers.

The connection speed depends on a number of factors. It was not as good compared to non-VPN connection speeds or connections using other VPN services.

Is Penguin Proxy secure and private?

The company behind Penguin Proxy promises that it will never include advertisement in Penguin Proxy or sell user data.

Anonymous logs are kept for 2 weeks during beta phase for debugging purposes but will be disabled "as Penguin Proxy becomes more mature".

Connections are encrypted but they may be forwarded through other users of the service; these devices, at the very least, know the originating IP and the target IP address of the request.

Penguin Proxy INC., the company that operates the proxy service, states in the FAQ that users of its service should handle the connection as it if would be a public Wi-Fi Hotspot connection; in other words: not very secure by default. Tor is recommended by the company for connections that require the highest security.

Should you use Penguin Proxy?

Penguin Proxy may be attractive to users because it is free to use. The free nature of the service has some disadvantages; you pay with your IP address and bandwidth, and that may lead to a number of issues such as misuse that most users may want to avoid.

Paid VPN service subscriptions start at next to nothing, e.g. a lifetime subscription starts at about $15 on Ghacks Deals. Nord VPN or Private Internet Access subscriptions are available for $3 or $2 per month for a 2-year subscription plan.

There is also some uncertainty when it comes to Penguin Proxy. While the company states that connections are encrypted, it is unclear how secure the encryption is. Additional details about the connection process, encryption, and data that may go through other user devices would be welcome to shed some light.

Lastly, it is unclear what is going to happen when the service exits beta. Will it become paid only? Will users still have to contribute bandwidth even if they provide other users of the service with bandwidth?

Now You: Have you tried Penguin Proxy?

A look at community-powered VPN Penguin Proxy
Article Name
A look at community-powered VPN Penguin Proxy
Penguin Proxy is a community-powered VPN solution for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, as well as several web browsers, that is free currently.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

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