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VPNs to Avoid

Callum Tennent
By Callum TennentUpdated
Blue Triangle Warning Sign

At it’s our intention to review every VPN that matters. Popularity and reputation aren’t always good things, though, and sometimes some of the most downloaded products on the market are also some of the worst.

Of the dozens of VPNs we’ve reviewed, we’ve taken the five absolute worst and put them on this page. When you pick your next VPN be sure to avoid the providers below.

The Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN Service

  1. Strong privacy features
  2. Transparent and privacy-focused logging policies
  3. Fast and reliable speeds
  4. Works to unlock Netflix
  5. Well-designed and easy to use apps
  6. High quality customer support

Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs

Read More Information on the Worst 5 VPN Services

Ranked One of the Worst VPNs

Works with


Available on

  1. Mac
  2. Ios
  3. Android
  1. User-friendly apps on a variety of devices
  1. Unreliable download speeds
  2. No information on encryption or protocol
  3. Company has links to China
  4. Blocked by Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  5. No response from customer support
The Bottom Line

There’s not much to say here that isn’t already heavily implied by its atrocious overall score – bad news for its 10 million+ users.

It has no information on what encryption it uses, it freely admits it will pass your data on to China, and it was found to be recently infected with malware.

Even if it produced excellent speeds, which it doesn’t, these red flags are serious enough that you should go nowhere near it.

Ranked One of the Worst VPNs

Works with


Available on

  1. Android
  1. Easy to use
  2. Claims to use OpenVPN
  1. Terrifying privacy policy
  2. Useless customer support
  3. No torrenting, no streaming
  4. No customizable settings or extra features
  5. Inconsistent speeds
The Bottom Line

There are very few positives we can say of Snap VPN. The big one – its alleged use of the OpenVPN protocol – is just that: alleged.

Its privacy policy is dreadful, it’s based in censorship and snoop-happy Singapore, and it can’t even be relied upon to perform consistently.

We have reason to believe it is created by the same company responsible for another provider in this round-up – VPN Proxy Master.

Ranked One of the Worst VPNs

Works with


Available on

  1. Ios
  2. Android
  1. Easy to set up
  2. Unblocks BBC iPlayer
  1. Untrustworthy privacy policy
  2. Minimal security and encryption
  3. Unreliable speeds
  4. No access to Netflix
  5. Based in the privacy-unfriendly US
The Bottom Line

Free VPN might not be as bad as the other VPNs in our roundup but that doesn’t mean it’s good by any means.

Its privacy policy admits to sharing your personal data with a host of advertising agencies and it produced pretty underwhelming speed results.

While you can access BBC iPlayer, there are far, far better and safer choices for doing so.

Ranked One of the Worst VPNs

Works with


Available on

  1. Ios
  2. Android
  1. Claims to use our preferred protocol, OpenVPN
  2. Easy setup on Android and iOS devices
  1. Intrusive logging policy and annoying pop-up ads
  2. No extra privacy features
  3. Customer support is non-existent
  4. Admits to sharing user data with China
  5. Hugely varied performance
The Bottom Line

Yet another shady mobile VPN incorporated in Singapore with a hugely deficient privacy policy.

Like many free apps it also bombards you with obnoxious pop-up ads and its speeds are wildly inconsistent.

We also have reason to believe it is created by the same company responsible for another VPN on this page – VPN Proxy Master.

Ranked One of the Worst VPNs

Works with

BBC iPlayer

Available on

  1. Android
  1. No data caps
  2. Works with BBC iPlayer
  1. Privacy policy is contradictory
  2. Unreliable local speeds
  3. Limited to Android devices
  4. No transparency about encryption and security
The Bottom Line

Thunder VPN may not be the absolute worst VPN around, but it comes close. It’s a bad and potentially unsafe choice of free VPN.

The privacy policy would be laughable if it wasn’t so troubling; Thunder VPN claims to be zero-logs but in the next breath explains that it may collect your IP address, ISP, device ID, and a host other personal details when you use the app.

The lack of transparency surrounding the Thunder VPN’s encryption and protocol type is another cause for concern, leading us to believe that it absolutely doesn’t provide the level of security necessary to protect your online privacy.

How We Picked the VPNs to Avoid in 2019

We hold VPNs to the absolute highest of standards – after all, you’re putting your privacy, confidentiality, and personal data in their hands. Some ace our tests, some struggle, and there are some that are a million miles away from where they need to be. These are the VPNs that feature on this page.

We place especial importance on provider privacy and logging policies, which is where these VPNs tend to fail the hardest. In some instances they won’t even provide a privacy policy at all, which means you have no idea what’s happening to your personal information once you connect.

We recently conducted an original, in-depth investigation on a number of popular free VPNs. Our findings revealed that a huge proportion of them had questionable links to China, as well as extremely disconcerting privacy policies. A number of the VPNs on this page feature – you can read the report here.

Do I Have to Pay for a VPN?

You may well be thinking to yourself that you have to pay money to get a reliable VPN. The results we found when reviewing the providers in this round-up were depressing, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good free options out there.

Even the very best free options will still have drawbacks, though. From a reduced number of servers to a restrictive data cap, you can’t expect a flawless experience from a free VPN.

If you’re interested in trying one out, though, perhaps as a tentative first step into the world of VPNs, then be sure to check out our guide: the Best Free VPN for 2019.

How to Spot a Bad VPN: 4 Tips

Your VPN provider of choice should always proudly and prominently offer up a robust, comprehensive and transparent privacy policy. Only a company with something to hide would not happily explain to you what it does with your data and the lengths it goes to to protect you.

The very worst providers we’ve tested barely have any privacy policy at all. If a VPN’s privacy policy doesn’t look right to you then it probably isn’t – pick another instead.

The very best VPNs we test offer multiple standards of encryption, enabling you to tailor your experience for the level of security you require and the tasks you want to use a VPN for.

On the other hand, the worst VPNs don’t just fail to provide a choice – they often won’t even make it clear what protocol it is it’s using. We’ve even reviewed some that don’t actually encrypt your traffic.

If a product markets itself as a VPN but doesn’t properly protect you then it isn’t really a VPN at all.

While it’s practically unheard of for a paid-for provider to limit your monthly bandwidth, it’s commonplace in the world of free VPNs.

The very best will offer you a generous allowance or, even better, won’t restrict you at all. But the very worst will impose a limit so restrictive that there’s little point in using it at all.

When a Full-HD Netflix stream will use roughly 1GB per hour, it’s unlikely a monthly 1GB data cap will do you much good.

It can be easy to take reliability for granted. When you pay for a top-notch VPN you never have to wonder whether or not you’ll get the speeds you expect, the server you want or the unblocking that you need.

Some VPNs may appear capable at first, but will then be unable to replicate that level of performance. Rollercoaster speeds dipping up and down at random plus unreliable, hit-and-miss access to your favorite apps and services are common traits of a poor VPN.