Snap VPN is marketed as a “completely free,” “unlimited,” and “super-fast” VPN service for Android devices.
It also boasts about its high levels of privacy and security on the Google Play Store.
We’ve heard those promises before, but we want to see how much truth is behind them. We thoroughly tested out Snap VPN to find the answers to these questions:
- Is Snap VPN as safe as it says it is?
- How fast is it?
- Can you really “unlock any apps or websites?”
- Does Snap VPN support P2P activity & torrenting?
- Who is behind Snap VPN?
That’s not all we’ll answer in our comprehensive Snap VPN review – we’ll also touch upon the premium version of the VPN service, the level of customer support it provides, and how easy it is to use.
First, let’s take a look at Snap VPN’s pros and cons:
Snap VPN Pros & Cons
Snap VPN Key Summary
|Top Download Speed||1Mbps|
|Logging Policy||Some User Logs|
|IP, DNS or WebRTC Leaks||No|
|Jurisdiction||Singapore (Links to Five-Eyes)|
|IP Addresses||Not disclosed|
|Works in China||No|
|Support||Email Support Only|
|Official Website||Google Play Store|
We’ll cover all the pros and cons in much more detail later in the review, but let’s start with the most important bits: who’s behind Snap VPN and how much data does it collect about its users?
About & Logging Policy
Who is Snap VPN?
Snap VPN is owned by a company called Lemon Clove PTE. Limited, which also operates VPN Robot.
A quick look at Lemon Clove’s website, which is comprised of a single scrollable page, doesn’t tell you much about the company – it doesn’t even mention Snap VPN.
All the website reveals is that Lemon Clove is “an internet start-up whose focus is on network tools development and promotion” with over 5 million users in 137 countries.
There’s no address, but the website’s copyright footer and contact email address suggest that the company was founded in 2018.
It says that Lemon Clove is incorporated in Singapore.
However, there is evidence that Singapore collaborates with the Five Eyes international intelligence sharing alliance.
It gets worse, though.
Our independent research into free VPNs has revealed that Snap VPN has links to mainland China, an obvious thumbs down for privacy.
What does that mean for users of Snap VPN?
We’ll have to look at the logging policy to find out.
Not a good start – every modern website should be using secure HTTPS.
- Logs of your activity
- Your IP address
- Your outgoing VPN IP address
- VPN connection timestamps or session duration
It goes on to say: “Even when compelled, we cannot provide data that we do not possess.”
So what does Snap VPN log in order to maintain its service and for troubleshooting purposes?
- Whether a VPN connection is successful on a particular day (but not specific timings)
- Which VPN location a user has connected to (but not the assigned IP address)
- From which country a user has connected
- The user’s ISP
- The total sum of data transferred per user – if users are found to be consuming an amount of data that far exceeds that of the average user, Snap VPN will seek to understand why the users is consuming so much.
Upon opening the app users are assigned a unique identifier to determine “the level of service” a user has signed up for.
It claims that this information is used so that the support team can efficiently find out and eliminate technical issues, but it doesn’t sit well with us.
What about the in-app ads?
According to Snap VPN, it doesn’t share personal information or any usage with the advertisers without your prior consent.
However, the advertisers themselves may “set and access their own cookies, pixel tags, and similar technologies on [Snap VPN’s] services.”
While the logs outlined above aren’t considered personally identifiable in and of themselves, together they do build up a profile of each user and they aren’t deleted on a regular basis.
Our free Android app investigation also revealed that Snap VPN has some unsafe functions that can ‘get your last known location’ and ‘execute system command.’
There are far safer and more private free VPNs available, such as Windscribe.
Speed & Reliability
Speeds throttled after minutes of use
Snap VPN produced some pretty impressive speeds during our initial tests. That was until we used each server for more than a few minutes.
We make a point to conduct a few speed tests on each server to account for small fluctuations in our own network speeds.
The results were pretty definitive.
The first couple of tests show promising download speeds but on the third or fourth tries they plummeted to below 1Mbps.
This happened with every single server location – a sure sign of throttling.
We’ve seen this happen with a handful of other free VPNs and it’s used as a way to push users into buying the premium product.
Snap VPN tempts users to upgrade by showing a list of ‘faster’ servers only available to paying customers.
Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server.
Before using Snap VPN:
When connected to Snap VPN:
When we emailed Snap VPN about these speeds, the answer was – you guessed it – to upgrade.
You’ll feel the effects of Snap VPN’s throttling whether you’re streaming, torrenting, gaming, or simply browsing the internet.
Our upload speeds stayed fairly steady, but it’s entirely possible that Snap VPN would also throttle those for users attempting upload-intensive activities.
Aside from the pitiful speeds, it sometimes took a really long time to connect to a server, and on occasion connections failed altogether.
Very limited number of server locations
Snap VPN – like most free VPNs – doesn’t have much to offer in the way of server locations.
You can choose from just six countries:
That leaves users in South America and Africa with no nearby servers, further affecting Snap VPN’s poor performance.
You can’t select individual cities or states within the US, either, so those wanting to access geo-specific content can’t.
There are more locations available to premium subscribers, including the UK, Russia, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea, but this isn’t a patch on our top-tier VPN services like ExpressVPN, which has servers in 94 countries.
Streaming & Torrenting
No good for streaming Netflix & torrenting prohibited
Do you want access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more?
Well, Snap VPN isn’t going to help you there.
There are no free VPN servers in the UK, so that rules out watching BBC iPlayer, which requires a UK IP address.
Those already in the UK can connect to a British server by connecting to the ‘fastest server,’ but that’s no good for those located outside of the UK.
As for Netflix access, it’s a premium-only feature.
If you try to watch Netflix using Snap VPN’s free UK server you’ll be disappointed to see Netflix’s annoying proxy error message.
It’s not worth upgrading to Snap VPN’s premium subscription to watch your favorite shows, though.
For far safer and more reliable VPN services take a look at the following guides we’ve put together:
All of these recommendations come at a cost, but unfortunately free VPNs rarely work with popular streaming services as evading the constant VPN blocks is time-consuming and costly.
Snap VPN is pretty clear about its torrenting policy on its Google Play Store profile:
“Please don’t download BitTorrent and any P2P. Otherwise, you will be blocked!”
Aside from the obvious fact that Snap VPN doesn’t support torrenting, it’s pretty worrying that it can say with such certainty that you will be blocked if you do torrent.
That suggests that there is an element of logging involved to identify P2P users. While Snap VPN’s logging policy does admit to logging the amount of data transferred per user, that alone shouldn’t be enough to identify whether a user is torrenting or not.
However, the customer support team assured us that Snap VPN does “not store or record any user’s private information.”
Perhaps Snap VPN’s statement demonstrating its intolerance for P2P activity is merely an empty threat, but we don’t believe it’s worth the risk.
If you want to protect P2P traffic safely you should read the following guides:
These VPNs come with privacy-friendly logging policies and VPN kill switches to further protect your personal data.
Doesn’t work in China
Much like its stance on P2P activities, Snap VPN is very clear about its effectiveness in China:
“For policy reason [sic], this service is not available in Mainland of China. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.”
Snap VPN, like most free VPN services (and even most paid ones, too), doesn’t come with the necessary tools for overcoming China’s Great Firewall.
If you need a VPN for China, take a look at the top recommendations here.
Due to its very small server network and lack of obfuscation tools, we don’t recommend Snap VPN for any other high-censorship country either.
But as a general rule, if a VPN works in China it’ll work in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other censored nations, too.
Platforms & Devices
Like many free VPNs, Snap VPN is an Android-only VPN, which means it won’t work on any other devices.
If you need a free VPN for other devices, check out these top recommendations:
- Best Free VPN for Windows
- Best Free VPN for Mac
- Best Free VPN for iOS
- Best Free VPN for Amazon Fire TV
There are no browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and the like, either.
Encryption & Security
Uses OpenVPN & strong encryption, but lacks VPN kill switch
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
Snap VPN isn’t the most secure VPN, even if it does use OpenVPN, our preferred VPN protocol.
There’s a choice between Protocol A and Protocol B, but no information on what those actually are.
Snap VPN’s customer support told us that the protocols help to “better adapt to users’ mobile devices and different network environment [sic]” but they “cannot reveal any more information [about the protocols]” without “management approval.”
We need to see more transparency regarding this.
Nevertheless, OpenVPN is an open-source VPN protocol which offers a great balance between privacy and performance.
There is no information given about Snap VPN’s encryption, but after a few emails back and forth to customer support we now know that it uses AES-128 and AES-256, the latter of which is considered “unbreakable.”
Our leak tests came back fine – so that’s no IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks. So, that’s another positive for Snap VPN.
As you can see from the leak test results, Snap VPN currently uses Google DNS, which is considered to be secure.
We prefer VPN providers to have their own DNS servers, but a customer support reply to one user suggests that this is in the pipeline:
One of the most disappointing parts of Snap VPN’s offering is the lack of a VPN kill switch.
That means that if the VPN connection drops suddenly for whatever reason your personal data will be left exposed.
We hope that Snap VPN includes this essential feature in the near future.
Ease of Use
Simple to use because it has very few features
How to Install & Set Up Snap VPN
It’s no surprise that Snap VPN is really easy to download and use – there are no settings to fiddle with.
It requires a simple download from the Google Play Store to set up and then it’s just a matter of selecting the (free) VPN server location from the list and tapping ‘Go’ on the main screen.
If anything, Snap VPN is far too simple.
It’s pretty sparse, with a lot of blank space and little information about your VPN connection.
There’s also a bunch of intrusive ads to deal with, too, but that tends to come with the territory of free VPNs.
It may be easy to use, but Snap VPN doesn’t provide a very pleasant user experience.
Customer support needs significant improvement
Snap VPN doesn’t have a website, so all information about the app is within the Google Play Store listing.
There’s no FAQs, no set up tutorials, nothing.
There is a customer support email but replies can take a long time to come through.
When we initially receive a response, instead of answering our queries we were prompted to upgrade to a premium plan.
Snap VPN even went so far as to tell us it won’t “disclose any information” about the VPN service until we “fairly” evaluated the product.
The last email also came from “Master VPN Customer Service Department,” which is particularly confusing.
However, after pushing for a response to our questions, Snap VPN eventually answered them.
We expect more professionalism from a VPN service, free or not.
The Bottom Line
Do We Recommend Snap VPN?
Not at the moment. While Snap VPN’s logging policy has recently improved, its zero-tolerance for torrenting and questionable background have made us unable to completely trust it.
If that weren’t bad enough, Snap VPN’s active speed throttling, lack of VPN kill switch, and inability to work with popular streaming services will probably be enough to put you off.
Alternatives to Snap VPN
Like Snap VPN, ProtonVPN provides unlimited free VPN data, so you can protect as much data as you’d like. Unlike Snap VPN, it doesn’t throttle your speeds. ProtonVPN is also very safe and secure. Read ProtonVPN Free review
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