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VPNs to Avoid

Callum Tennent
By Callum TennentUpdated

At Top10VPN.com 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.

5 VPNs to Avoid
  1. VPN Proxy Master
  2. Yoga VPN
  3. Snap VPN
  4. Turbo VPN
  5. Hola Free VPN
Read on for our detailed analysis of each VPN.
VPN Proxy Master

The worst VPN we've ever tested

Best price
$0.00 per month
Special deal
N/A
Money-back guarantee
0 Days
Customer Support
Email
No. of Server Locations
7 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
Unlimited
Pros
  1. User-friendly apps on a variety of devices
Cons
  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
Bottom Line

There’s not much to say here that isn’t already heavily implied by its atrocious overall score: this is the worst VPN we’ve ever tested.

It has no information on what sort of encryption technology it uses, it freely admits it will pass your data on to China, and it was even found to be recently infected with malware – bad news for its 10 million+ users.

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


Read our full VPN Proxy Master review

2
Yoga VPN

A Chinese-tied free mobile VPN with an atrocious privacy policy and speeds to match.

Best price
$0.00 per month
Special deal
N/A
Money-back guarantee
0 Days
Customer Support
Email
No. of Server Locations
19 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
1
Pros
  1. Easy to use
  2. Surprisingly robust list of locations
  3. Quick to connect
Cons
  1. No idea how it protects your privacy
  2. Keeps full usage logs
  3. Based in China
  4. No support
  5. Slow downloads with no P2P allowed
Bottom Line

On the surface it looks like a passable VPN, but the deeper you dive the more you realize is amiss with Yoga VPN. This is a dangerously insecure app with an extremely concerning privacy policy.

There’s no official website, it proclaims that it will fork over your data to any authority that asks for it, and our own investigating revealed that it’s based in Hong Kong with worrying ties to China.

The surprisingly broad list of available servers is partly locked behind an indecipherable in-app currency system, and its one tangible claim on security measures – IP leak protection – is a lie.


Read our full Yoga VPN review

3
Snap VPN

Erratic performance and dubious origins ensure this is one Android VPN to stay clear of.

Best price
$0.00 per month
Special deal
N/A
Money-back guarantee
0 Days
Customer Support
Email
No. of Server Locations
8 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
1
Pros
  1. Easy to use
  2. Claims to use OpenVPN
Cons
  1. Terrifying privacy policy
  2. Useless customer support
  3. No torrenting, no streaming
  4. No customizable settings or extra features
  5. Inconsistent speeds
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. We really have no way of telling if it actually does use it.

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.

What’s more, we have reason to believe it is created by the same company responsible for two other providers in this round-up – VPN Proxy Master and Turbo VPN.


Read our full Snap VPN review

4
Turbo VPN

Yet another mysterious China-linked VPN with no tangible encryption.

Best price
$0.00 per month
Special deal
N/A
Money-back guarantee
0 Days
Customer Support
Email
No. of Server Locations
7 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
1
Pros
  1. Claims to use our preferred protocol, OpenVPN
  2. Easy setup on Android and iOS devices
Cons
  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
Bottom Line

Yet another shady mobile VPN incorporated in Singapore with a hugely deficient privacy policy, Turbo VPN has more red flags than the Chinese government building it likely funnels all of your data to.

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 two other VPNs on this page – Snap VPN and VPN Proxy Master.


Read our full Turbo VPN review

5
Hola Free VPN

A wildly popular desktop VPN that is, in fact, not really a VPN at all.

Best price
$0.00 per month
Special deal
N/A
Money-back guarantee
0 Days
Customer Support
Email
No. of Server Locations
195 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
Unlimited
Pros
  1. Simple, easy-to-use apps
  2. Excellent local speeds
  3. Connect to any country worldwide
Cons
  1. Doesn’t use encryption or VPN protocol
  2. Monitor and log all your online activity
  3. Company history of abusing user data
  4. Doesn’t work with Netflix or torrenting
  5. Non-existent customer support
Bottom Line

While the rest of this round-up is compiled of dreadful VPNs, Hola isn’t actually a VPN at all. At best it’s a proxy, allowing you to mask your location and appear from anywhere else in the world. Your traffic and data, however, remain totally unencrypted.

That’s not even the worst of it, though. Hola doesn’t actually operate any servers, instead using its tens of millions of users as exit nodes. When you connect through it you’re actually using another user’s IP and bandwidth. In 2015 the creators of Hola founded a second company and begun selling access to that user bandwidth.

We could never in good conscience recommend anyone download this program.


Read our full Hola Free VPN review

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

  • Watch out for sparse privacy policies

    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.

  • Be sure it has proper methods of encryption

    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.

  • Watch out for restrictive data caps

    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.

  • Does it perform reliably?

    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.