ProtonVPN native app or manual IKEv2 set up

ProtonVPN native app or manual IKEv2 set up

ProtonVPN native client app or use manually IKEv2 set up? Here are my stories on how I have experience with both of them. Which one you should use: ProtonVPN native app or manual IKEv2 set up?

Native app

Let’s start with the native app. That is, the app I can download, install and run on my Mac and Android phone. 

Then, I can sign in with my ProtonVPN account and just choose the option to connect:

  • Quick connect.
  • Random connect.
  • Or choose the server to connect manually among Japan, US, and Netherlands server

Things are so easy when I use the native app. Everything went smoothly until I decide to upgrade to the Basic plan.

Connection somehow is slowing down to the point it annoys me. It even feels slower than it was when I still used the Free plan.

Not sure what’s going on and this what leads me to search another way to connect into the ProtonVPN server: manual IKEv2 set up on my Mac.

Manual IKEv2 set up

In the beginning, it works much better with the Basic plan credential I have. 

But over days, the problem comes again: it’s slowing down to the point I can’t use it anymore.

Once I downgraded back to Free tier, I keep using this manual IKEv2 set up on my MacOS Mojave.

It works nicely for months until yesterday. I keep getting an error about:

  • Authentication failed.
  • The VPN server did not respond.

Usually, I wait for several minutes before I tried to connect again, and it works most of the time.

But lately, the problem keeps raising. 

Because I don’t have more time to tinker with the setup, I switched back to the native app for Mac.

And then, everything works smoothly again.


And here are the comparison of both sides. If you don’t have time to tinker, most likely the native app is the best way to go.

But if you do have time and you don’t like an additional VPN app on your Mac, manual IKEv2 set up maybe better for you.

ProtonVPN native app

  • Easy to setup
  • Need to install additional app on your Mac.
  • Have nice UI
  • Easily to switch among server
  • There’s option to start and connect to VPN right away after your Mac starts.
  • Consume more resources on your device

ProtonVPN manual IKEv2

  • Difficult to set up
  • No need to install anything
  • No UI
  • Hard to switch among server. Need to change it manually.
  • No option to start and connect to VPN. You need to connect it manually.
  • Less resources to consume because it’s a native VPN app.


Personally, I left both set up on my Mac so that when one is having a trouble I can switch to another one.

Because, as I observed so far, both of those ways to connect to their VPN server are not always free from problems.

There is also another way using OpenVPN. However, I haven’t explored this way since it also required me to install additional app.

With such requirement, I prefer to install the ProtonVPN official native app.

No more on Android phone

I gave up on using it for my Android phone. It’s just a cheap phone so running the VPN app there keeps causing the phone’s temperature to rise.

And it raised to the point where it worries me.

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