SpeedVPN free VPN proxy delivers on its name, beating many other free Android VPNs on the speed front, while offering a simple interface for entry-level users. However, fundamental failings in key areas render these strengths irrelevant in the bigger picture.
Developed by GoSpeed Software and available only via Google Play, SpeedVPN has a dynamic name and keeps things simple – too simple in many ways.
While this VPN is very easy to download and get up and running, and it’s totally free to use, it lacks many security features that smartphone security tools should possess. It may be quick, but without effective encryption and leak protection, speed means nothing.
As our SpeedVPN review will show, this is another Android contender that flirts with success, but ultimately doesn’t offer what privacy-aware users require.
Security and privacy
When assessing a VPN, privacy and security are the most important factors. After all, the only reason to slow down your web connection with a VPN is to benefit from anonymity and protection from malicious activity. So it’s a logical starting point for this review.
Straight away, SpeedVPN offers the following vague claims about its security features:
- To “protect your privacy” and “prevent tracking”
Actually, that’s all the VPN provides on its Google Play listing – virtually no information about what type of encryption it uses (if any), which protocols it employs, how it guarantees DNS leak protection, whether there’s a kill switch, and the inclusion of add-ons like double VPN or malware scanning. That’s a pretty unimpressive start for a smartphone security tool.
We’d like to give SpeedVPN the benefit of the doubt. After all, it’s totally free and attracts plenty of compliments from user reviews.
But from a security perspective, we need much more information before giving VPNs credit, and there’s simply not enough to work with here. The safest assumption to make is that SpeedVPN lives up to its longer name Speed VPN Free Proxy, and provides a proxy service, not a full-blown VPN. And that would rule out encryption and leak protection.
Does SpeedVPN keep logs?
Short answer: yes.
The situation is very similar when it comes to logging. SpeedVPN’s Google Play listing mentions that it “prevents tracking,” but says nothing at all about data collection and logging by the VPN itself. With free providers, it’s only sensible to assume that the creators are harvesting client data for financial purposes, at least until proven otherwise. SpeedVPN doesn’t bother to inform users at all, which is a major sin in the VPN world.
Check out Best VPN no logs list
Speed and performance
Connection speed is an area where you’d expect a company called SpeedVPN to perform well. And that’s basically true.
In our speed test for this SpeedVPN review, browsing speeds were excellent, and there wasn’t a noticeable impact on the quality of streams, both from YouTube and Daily Motion. The download speed held up fine, and we could multitask with streams in the background without any slowdown.
Now, that sounds like a solid win for SpeedVPN, and it could be. But equally, you wouldn’t expect big slowdowns if a VPN wasn’t encrypting any data. The speeds we found were suspiciously fast, as if SpeedVPNwas doing nothing to protect our browsing.
Server coverage isn’t great with SpeedVPN, but there is at least a small amount of choice. Users can log onto a grand total of 3 servers in Canada, the United States, and France. That means you may be able to access geo-restricted European content, but it’s not much use for Indian or Chinese users, and it’s unlikely to suit travelers who need smartphone security.
Ease of use and multiplatform support
Ease of use is another area where SpeedVPN scores well. To start with, it’s available solely for Android phones. There’s no iPhone version, and no service for PC or Mac users. We’re only talking about smartphone applications here. Desktop users can look elsewhere.
Having got that out of the way, when you download the client from Google Play, the process is extremely easy and very quick. Just press the “Install” button to download the VPN onto your OS, and it should be added to your apps without any problems.
Beware of permissions, though. SpeedVPN will ask for access to your media libraries (for some reason), along with details about any calls you make or take when the VPN is active. That’s quite a lot of data to provide.
Anyhow, when you’ve clicked through, you’ll be able to run the VPN and the interface shouldn’t cause any confusion. There’s a standard “Connect” button and a hefty banner ad underneath. When you’re connected, you can switch servers fairly easily. It’s all pretty well-designed and easy for newbies to handle.
Unblocking Netflix and other streaming platforms
The lack of information and poor security documented above could be partially forgiven if SpeedVPN performs well in the Netflix unblocking field. However, we didn’t get our hopes up. Very few free Android VPNs can defeat Netflix’s geo-blocking strategies, let alone Hulu or the BBC iPlayer.
Streaming speeds were fine with YouTube, and we did have some luck unblocking UK soccer content that would normally be off-limits. So that was promising. However, Netflix didn’t play ball. We had zero luck posing as a French user to see what Netflix had to offer in Paris. If you’re looking for a free VPN to access a hard-to-find TV show, this probably isn’t it.
You might want to check out this Best VPNs for Netflix list.
P2P and torrenting
Secure torrenting is another feature that is rarely associated with free VPNs, and we weren’t surprised by SpeedVPN’s performance here.
To be fair to the VPN, it doesn’t promise users a stellar P2P connection, and using streaming sites isn’t really a possibility. Moreover, there’s no kill switch, which is something anyone starting torrent downloads would automatically look for. And the general doubts about SpeedVPN’s security mean that you should look to other providers to shield your torrenting activity.
Online censorship in China and elsewhere
SpeedVPN claims to be able to “unblock geographically restricted websites.” If true, that would represent a useful tool to use against official censorship. And it works to an extent. We found that some geo-restrictions could be beaten by the proxy feature, but that’s unlikely to have any impact in countries like China.
Beating the Great Firewall requires cutting edge encryption and leak protection, and the ability to become invisible to Deep Packet Inspection. None of that is possible with SpeedVPN, which almost certainly leaves Chinese users wide open to online surveillance. So it’s definitely not the information liberation tool we’ve been waiting for.
Strong customer support is always a bonus with free VPNs, but it’s extremely rare. Most of the time, these providers just dump their clients on Google Play and let the downloads accumulate.
And that’s exactly what we find with SpeedVPN. There’s no customer support, at all. Users actually have no way of knowing who is behind the software (aside from the developer GoSpeed, which seems to have no footprint on the web). So if you have any questions about security or performance, there’s no-one to call. There’s no phone support, no live chat, no email – nothing but a few lines on a Google Play listing.
SpeedVPN is a free Android VPN/proxy (it’s impossible to tell which). So there’s no requirement to hand over credit card information, which eliminates one data sharing risk. It doesn’t take the form of a free trial, so users don’t need to worry about being auto-enrolled onto paid subscriptions, and you won’t have to wrestle with the dreaded refund policy.
So that’s all good. But it’s not enough to rescue the VPN from its other failings.
SpeedVPN delivers on its name, offering rapid connection speeds and an easy to use, lightweight Android client. It’s simple to install, and completely free. That’s the end of the plus points.