We tested SuperVPN in October 2019 and found it was unsafe to use. Thankfully, Google has now removed it from the Google Play Store. If you have this VPN installed on your phone we recommend you uninstall it immediately.
SuperVPN Free VPN Clientwas one of the most popular VPNs on Android, with over 50 million downloads between its release in March 2014 and April 2020.
In April 2020 Google removed SuperVPN Free VPN Client from the Android store due to significant evidence that it was unsafe for users.
On the Google Play Store it had fairly positive reviews, and a legitimate-looking publisher: at first glance it looked like a free VPN you could trust.
But if you dug a little further, things started to get worrying.
There was no SuperSoftTech, the app’s ‘developer’ on the Google Play Store, registered in Singapore, where the developer claimed to be located. It didn’t have a website, either.
Despite a huge number of reviews on the Google Play Store, there was also almost no talk of the app elsewhere online.
To try and find the truth behind this VPN, we put SuperVPN Free VPN Client through our rigorous test process, asking:
- How fast is SuperVPN Free VPN Client?
- Will this VPN unblock Netflix and BBC iPlayer?
- Who is behind SuperVPN Free VPN Client?
- Can this VPN be trusted?
- Is it safe to use SuperVPN Free VPN Client?
SuperVPN Free VPN Client was one one of the VPNs featured in our free app investigation – and the results are concerning.
You can see our full, original review of SuperVPN below:
SuperVPN Free VPN Client Pros & Cons
SuperVPN Free VPN Client Key Summary
|Logging Policy||Intrusive Logging|
|IP Addresses||Not disclosed|
|Works in China||No|
|Official Website||Google Play Store|
Those are the headlines, but there’s plenty more to learn about SuperVPN Free VPN Client in the rest of our review…
Who is SuperVPN Free VPN Client?
About & Logging
SuperVPN FreeVPN Client is one of many free VPNs which look too good to be true – it isn’t even the only SuperVPN on the Google Play Store.
From this point on we’re going to refer to SuperVPN FreeVPN Client as just SuperVPN to keep things simple – but be sure not to confuse it for any of those alternatives.
For an app that has over 50 million downloads, there is a concerning lack of information available about SuperSoftTech – the supposed developer of SuperVPN.
A Google search for the support email, firstname.lastname@example.org, reveals the actual developer to be a man named Jinrong Zheng, who is also responsible for LinkVPN on iOS.
Some more exploring reveals multiple addresses for Zheng, including one in Beijing, China.
This is a very shady setup, and it means we have no real idea which jurisdiction SuperVPN is operating out of and which governments or companies could be trawling through your data.
The most important section is the following:
Not monitoring traffic is really the most basic standard you should expect from a VPN – it’s a good start, but won’t earn SuperVPN any additional points.
Monitoring IPs against a blacklist isn’t standard practice or a standard part of VPN logging policies, though. It comes across more as an excuse for keeping a record of your IP than a necessary procedure.
Perhaps in an attempt to appear legitimate, the policy refers to the Data Protection Act 1998, an outdated UK law which was replaced in 2018.
Another concerning detail is a reference to where SuperVPN stores user data:
This is the kind of thing which sets off alarm bells around our office; what data does SuperVPN collect? And why is it storing that data in the privacy-unfriendly US and UK?
You don’t need an email address or an account to use SuperVPN, so it is hard to imagine any amount of information about users being necessary to run the service.
Even more worrying, when you first install SuperVPN it asks for permission to access your phone and your stored files and media.
Even with the best encryption, when you use a VPN you entrust your provider with your personal information and data. It is really important that you can trust your VPN, and SuperVPN has done absolutely nothing to earn our trust.
SuperVPN could excel in all our other criteria (it doesn’t) and we would still not recommend it.
Super fast Android app
Speed & Reliability
There’s no denying it – SuperVPN performs very well in our speed tests, especially for a free VPN.
Because SuperVPN is only available on Android, these tests have been carried out on mobile and are not directly comparable to the bulk of our standard 100Mbps tests. The app still performs very well, though.
Local Speed Test Results
Before using SuperVPN Free VPN Client:
When connected to SuperVPN Free VPN Client:
Download speed without SuperVPN: 45.7Mbps
Download speed with SuperVPN: 38.3Mbps
Our download speed loss when SuperVPN is running: 16%
We’ve also tested SuperVPN’s global connection speeds (from our office in the UK), here’s an idea of what you can expect:
- USA: 38.1Mbps (download) & 45.4Mbps (upload)
- Germany: 33.2Mbps (download) & 40.4Mbps (upload)
- Singapore: 6.2Mbps (download) & 9.5Mbps (upload)
Over long distance connections download speeds drop significantly. The two asian server locations – Japan and Singapore – achieved 5.8Mbps and 6.2Mbps respectively. Upload speeds remained strong, though, up in the high 30s for both.
Basic coverage, no transparency
The number of locations on offer in the free version of the app has recently expanded: you now have the choice of France, the USA, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Singapore, and Japan (Hong Kong is reserved for the ‘VIP’ version of the app).
There is no disclosed number of IP addresses or servers, so you might find speed throttling at peak times. With so many users SuperVPN must have a large global infrastructure but, like much of the organizational side of this app, there is no information available about it.
Access to iPlayer, not much else
Streaming & Torrenting
We were surprised to find that SuperVPN does work to unlock BBC iPlayer on its UK server, but we had less luck with Netflix, which doesn’t work on any server.
Speeds are fast enough for HD streaming, too, which is rare for a free app. We don’t think you should download SuperVPN, but if you were to do so it would make a half-decent VPN for streaming.
The iOS VPN app from SuperVPN’s developer, LinkVPN, has a strict no P2P rule, so we wouldn’t be surprised if torrenters find themselves blocked from SuperVPN, too.
No obfuscation tools so unlikely to work in countries with heavy censorship
We’ve seen some reviews on the Google Play Store which claim SuperVPN works in China, but these are highly doubtful as there is no obfuscation technology in place.
We’ve seen lots of complaints that the app doesn’t work in Iran, too.
If you’re travelling to or living in a high-censorship country, we recommend you use PrivateVPN instead.
Platforms & Devices
SuperVPN is Android only. If you want a VPN for any other system you will need to look elsewhere.
Because SuperVPN is Android only, you won’t be able to find it on any games consoles or as a browser extension. You also won’t be able to install it on a router.
Untrustworthy practices are a red flag even if the connection is secure
Encryption & Security
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
Neither the SuperVPN app nor its Google Play Store listing ever mention what form of encryption or VPN protocol are being used – which is a big concern.
With some back-end investigation we have identified that the app uses a version of the open-source strongSwan VPN client and the IKEv2 protocol.
Running strongSwan has clearly served SuperVPN well. It passed our IP and DNS leak tests with flying colours, and we can confirm it is properly encrypted – although we can’t be certain which kind of encryption is in use – so we can confirm that SuperVPN is not just a proxy masquerading as a VPN.
But even with a secure tunnel, your VPN potentially has access to all your data – so you are only secure if you can trust your VPN provider. The flipside to the open-source power of strongSwan is that it has been easy for SuperVPN to add in some additional APKs, essentially turning the app into adware.
They aren’t just annoying – the integrated Google ads represent a privacy vulnerability and undermine one of the key purposes of a VPN, by giving the tech giant an insight into your activity.
There is another, even more worrying area of vulnerability: the unnecessary permissions which SuperVPN has permission to access.
As we have previously mentioned, it is possible to refuse some of the worst of these permissions and still use the app, but being asked for them exposes the possibility that SuperVPN is gathering data from users which goes far beyond what is necessary.
The full list of permissions the app has access to is particularly disturbing. They include:
- Precise location (GPS and network-based)
- The ability to read, modify or delete files on USB storage
- Permission to view WiFi connections
- Permission to read phone status and identity
- Permission to change network connectivity
- The ability to prevent your device from sleeping
Whether or not you accept the requests for access to your phone and media, when you use the app you are giving SuperVPN access to pretty much everything on your phone, including personal information, your location, and your interests.
If you can stomach all this, a nice bonus is the ‘Smart Proxy’ feature – a fully functional split tunnel so you can keep some apps inside and others outside the VPN.
Little to get wrong, but adverts are frustrating
Ease of Use
How to Install & Set Up SuperVPN Free VPN Client
It may not be much of an achievement to make a VPN with almost no features and just eight locations easy to use, but SuperVPN is intuitive nonetheless.
That said, the ads definitely hurt the experience and pop up at frustrating moments, increasing (most likely deliberately) the chance of accidental taps.
There are also some odd and misleading design choices scattered across the app.
The “VPN is ready: Continue” screen shows upon launch even when the VPN is active, which can be frustrating. The app won’t let you select a new location until you have navigated past this page and disconnected, either.
There is also a confusing pop-up which appears every time you start the app, asking you to disable battery optimization so that the app can run in the background. This happens regardless of the settings on your phone and gives you directions which are not universal to all Android devices.
There is also a ‘VIP’ upgrade available, which gets you access to an additional Hong Kong server. In order to upgrade the app requires you to associate your Google Play Store account with your VPN account: yet another privacy red flag.
Even if we didn’t think giving SuperSoftTech this data was a bad idea, the upgraded version isn’t very good value for what you would receive.
If you are looking for a budget VPN check out our best cheap VPNs.
|No support available||Yes|
Don’t expect much customer support from SuperVPN.
There is a Gmail account on its Google Play Store listing, but we received no response when we emailed it.
Within the app itself there is an FAQ, which gives some basic troubleshooting guidance, but it’s nowhere near comprehensive enough to make up for the lack of actual customer service.
Do We Recommend SuperVPN Free VPN Client?
The Bottom Line
As its full name states, SuperVPN Free VPN Client is free, but at what cost?
You are potentially paying for this VPN twice, first by watching adverts and second with your data.
If you use SuperVPN your data is in more danger than if you use no VPN at all. It’s fast, but so are other VPNs – free and paid alike – which don’t jeopardize your data.
Alternatives to SuperVPN Free VPN Client
The free VPNs which are worth your time are few and far between. Windscribe Free is an exception, offering a great service without dubious logging practices - albeit limited to 10GB a month and lacking some of the features of its premium version. Read Windscribe review
If you are willing to spend just a little each month you can get a lot from a value provider like Surfshark. This trustworthy provider offers fast speeds on all your devices (not just your Android handset) and works consistently with streaming services like Netflix and iPlayer. Read Surfshark review
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