Last update: 01.18.2019.
Thunder VPN is a newcomer Android VPN proxy that will not leave a mark in history as the most secure VPN solution. Read our Thunder VPN review now to find out what’s so funny about this service.
First off, we find Thunder VPN a bit shady. We know very little about it, its features, its developers. Simply, there’s not much information anywhere. The official VPN website is ridiculously short-spoken. It’s one of the simplest VPN sites we’ve ever seen. What we know about its developers is that the company is called Signal Lab.
Would you believe that when clicking on the developer’s link at the bottom, a Gmail address appears? Seriously? Okay, so here’s what our research for this Thunder VPN review has shown:
Signal Laboratories, Inc. (SigLabs) is an engineering organization. It focuses on research and development. Its workers are former SpaceX and Google employees. They seem to be based out of California, which would mean they fall under US jurisdiction.
The company website doesn’t even mention Thunder VPN or its twin, Secure VPN. So much for transparency.
The company website doesn’t even mention Thunder VPN or its twin, Secure VPN.
Thunder VPN has a very small server fleet with 9 server locations in 8 countries. Some of the servers don’t even seem to physically be where they claim they are.
Yet, this Android VPN tool can boast of having 5+ million downloads from the Google Play store. Although, interestingly enough, the same number is indicated for Secure VPN – makes you wonder.
The main reason for the popularity of this VPN must be that it’s free.
On the positive side, we must mention that this VPN can actually access BBC iPlayer. However, it fails to stream Netflix.
This service is rather slow and annoys you with all kinds of third-party advertisements, but at the same time, the Thunder VPN Android app is straightforward and intuitive.
The main reason for the popularity of this VPN must be that it’s free. Thunder VPN might be a good choice for browsing restricted content or streaming BBC iPlayer. But, if you’re a journalist, activist, or privacy-conscious user, you don’t want to use a free VPN service.
Let us invite you for a quick trip through our Thunder VPN review to uncover what this new Android privacy tool has to offer.
Security & Privacy: Is Thunder VPN safe to use?
If you want to use a VPN service to stay anonymous online, this is the first question to ask. Because, if a VPN app is not safe to use, your privacy could be breached. While this may not be a big deal for some, for others, it could be downright life-threatening.
So, is Thunder VPN safe to use? Well, let’s dig in.
“We are committed to your privacy and do not collect or log traffic data or browsing activity from individual users connected to our VPN.”
But never be satisfied with what you hear, i.e., “no logging” claims. Read on to learn more.
“When you register on the Site you will be asked to provide certain personal information, including your billing and e-mail address and payment information.”
Then, the legal document informs you that “you may access and change your personal information by logging into the Site.” Once again, there’s no way to log in anywhere on the website, or rather, webpage.
But this is not all. It gets worse, much worse. Do you remember that they state that no traffic logs are collected? So how about this list of sensitive data they “may collect” when you use the app:
- IP address
- Internet Service Provider
- OS version
- language of the device
- app identifier
- app version
- independent device identifier
- ad identifier
- device manufacturer and model
- email address
- the time zone
- the network state
- times when connected to the VPN service
- choice of server location
- the total amount of data transferred per day
This isn’t really what you’d expect from a VPN. This feels more like when you’re not using a VPN to protect your privacy. And it couldn’t be any other way because the app shows personalized third-party adds.
To top it all off, here comes the tranquilizer:
“We analyze this information generically and keep the data secure.”
Now you can sleep tight. They just promised you that they’ll keep all your sensitive logged data secure. “So please feel safe,” as the app convincingly puts it. But is Thunder VPN safe to use after all this? You must be joking.
We also need to mention the spelling mistakes, missing spaces, and other typos on the webpage, in the app, and in the Terms of Service as well. We wouldn’t put our privacy in Thunder VPN’s care. Then again, not all VPN users want air-tight security and anonymity on the digital highway.
Here’s what else our Thunder VPN review has found.
Another grey area. This is all you will learn on the website:
As you can see, this list is not full of security and privacy features. Instead, there are a number of typos and some broken grammar.
The only source of information about the security features is the FAQ. Of course, you won’t find it on the website. You need to access it via the Android app. From this FAQ we have learned that Thunder VPN uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), an outdated protocol, for establishing an encrypted link between you and your destination.
Since there’s no kill switch, our Thunder VPN review team wasn’t surprised to find DNS leaks.
Since there’s no kill switch, our Thunder VPN review team wasn’t surprised to find DNS leaks. Again, this is something we’d like to avoid.
But even if Thunder VPN seems to have terrible security and privacy, you can still try to use it to access geo-restricted sites or stream videos. However, only do so if you’re not concerned about your anonymity.
Thunder VPN Speed
On the positive side, we were impressed with the fast connection times. In 2-3 seconds you can basically connect to any of the 9 servers. That’s pretty good.
On the negative side though, we must tell you that our VPN speed tests weren’t that impressive. Before launching Thunder, we had these baseline speeds:
Then, we connected to most of the servers to see if one would break the pattern of almost identical low speeds. Here’s what we found.
These are terrible speeds; well, at least, the download speeds are. Interestingly the upload speeds were relatively good. Still, you can stream videos from YouTube, BBC iPlayer, and other media centers. You may not get full HD quality since it requires around 5Mbps download speed. But on a mobile, you may enjoy 720p too.
Apparently, the 5+ million free users can easily overload those 9 servers. But this is usually not the only reason for such speeds.
How to download and install it
It’s very easy to download and install Thunder VPN. First, you can do so via the website. In this case, click the Download or Google Play button to reroute to the Google Play store. Or, you may directly visit the store via your Android device, and search for Thunder VPN to install it.
How to use Thunder VPN
After you launch the Android app for the first time, you have to accept the Terms of Service.
Then, you need to okay the Connection request. Tap OK.
Well, this request reveals that Thunder VPN will “monitor network traffic,” which is not what we read in the policy. But you have to tap OK to move on anyway.
Finally, you get to the Home screen. All you need to do is tap the Connect button to connect to the fastest server for your location.
If, however, you want to choose any of the 9 server locations, tap the Thunder icon in the upper right corner.
We do like the idea that you need a single tap to change your location. No need for disconnecting separately. Unfortunately, not all of these 9 locations will provide you with the correct IP. We discovered that while being connected to the Netherlands server, our IP leak test showed a French IP somehow.
The same was true for the Japan server, which results in a Beijing, China IP instead.
Although this Thunder VPN review celebrates the simplicity of this Android app, the experience can quickly turn sour. Why? Due to the flow of annoying third-party ads after launch, connection, and disconnection mainly.
You need to be cautious where you tap if you don’t want to load questionable websites or accidentally install potentially useless apps.
Thunder VPN menu
To access the Menu, tap the 3-bar icon in the upper left corner.
We’d like to highlight three menu options here.
Apps Using VPN
In this menu, you can toggle whether to use Thunder VPN with a specific app or not.
Clearly, this option gives you access to the FAQ, which is pretty poor, to say the least.
Nevertheless, this is the only knowledge base or support material to find for Thunder VPN.
Well, what would you expect after all of the above? To be frank, this is probably the worst-equipped VPN we’ve reviewed so far. But see for yourself.
Yep, that’s all.
In summary, our Thunder VPN reviewers found this Android app very user-friendly and intuitive. However, customizing security features is surely not its forte. For beginner users, it may be all fine (if they don’t care about privacy). But more serious VPN users should look elsewhere (and we recommend to check our Best VPN services page).
Thunder VPN for Netflix
You may know how rigorously Netflix cracks down on VPN users. Or, at least, you must’ve heard about geo-restrictions as a result of copyright deals.
The truth is, many VPN providers have left this battlefield – even big names. So it’s no surprise that you can’t stream any Netflix catalog with Thunder VPN. Here’s what you’ll see if you try:
On a more positive note though, we must express our surprise that this VPN can stream BBC iPlayer. That definitely deserves a pat on the back. Well, at least something’s good, right?
Although the download speeds are very low, we also managed to stream YouTube videos on 720p.
If you’re looking for a proper VPN for Netflix, find our best VPN for Netflix picks here.
Thunder VPN for Torrenting
Although it’s supposed to work with BitTorrent, this Thunder VPN review can’t confirm that it does. Truth be told, even if it miraculously worked with a torrent client, would you really want to seed or leech torrent files with such privacy? Thunder VPN has all your personal information that can identify you and your physical location. And, there’s the thing with logging… do the math.
If you want an anonymous VPN for torrenting, why not check out our best VPN for torrenting list?
Thunder VPN in China?
With the kind of security and anonymity this VPN has, we wouldn’t dare to risk using it anywhere really, least of all China. But, if you’re a resident or traveler beyond the Great Firewall of China, you may want to read about our Best VPN for China picks.
Live chat support
Our Thunder VPN review was not able to find any type of customer support whatsoever.
Our Thunder VPN review was not able to find any type of customer support whatsoever. It’s not that there’s no live chat support on the official website, but there’s no related FAQ page or Help page either.
As we mentioned before, the only FAQs you can read are in the Thunder VPN Android app. Those few questions won’t get you too far though. So, that’s a big downside as you could easily have technical issues when using a VPN. No wonder why market leaders like ExpressVPN and NordVPN have top-class live chat support.
Thunder VPN Pricing
This is going to be short. Since this Android VPN proxy app is “free forever,” there are no pricing plans. Of course, you’re “paying” by watching all those third-party ads.
Since this Android VPN proxy app is “free forever,” there are no pricing plans.
And nevertheless, the Terms of Service does talk about registrations, accounts, and payment details. This is still a mystery for us. We’ll update this Thunder VPN review when we find out more.
Conclusion of our Thunder VPN review
In the conclusion of our Thunder VPN review, we must say that we’re still not fans of free VPN software and this tool is a good example why. It’s not just about the annoying and disruptive third-party ads. The level of online security and privacy Thunder VPN offers is ridiculous in 2019. We simply can’t trust this newcomer to take care of our anonymity. And you should think twice too.
Horrible download speeds seasoned with the ability to stream BBC iPlayer. That’s how we could describe this Android VPN proxy. The client itself is as simple as it can get. Maybe too much so, when it comes to tweaking settings.
If you have nothing to lose and want to access geo-blocked content, by all means, try Thunder VPN. Otherwise, forget it and get a proper premium VPN for the best possible protection.