TurboVPN is a free VPN service available on iOS and Android. The VPN collects connection data and supports itself through invasive third-party advertising. Our tests detected DNS leaks, unsafe functions and malware in the app. Though its connection speeds are average and it works to unblock BBC iPlayer, TurboVPN is not worth the risk to your privacy and security.
Turbo VPN is very proud of how many people have downloaded its VPN — a staggering 300 million — but does its popularity equate to quality?
We answer that question alongside a bunch of others that users like you want honest answers to, like:
- Does Turbo VPN keep logs?
- Will Turbo VPN work with Netflix?
- Is it a safe VPN?
- Who owns Turbo VPN?
Stay with us to find out all there is to know in our independent Turbo VPN review.
First, let’s start with its summary pros and cons:
Turbo VPN Pros & Cons
Turbo VPN Key Summary
|Data Cap||Fair Usage Policy|
|Speed||45Mbps London to London|
|Logging Policy||Intrusive Logging|
|IP Addresses||Not disclosed|
|Works in China||No|
|Support||Email & Online Resource Only|
Who is Turbo VPN?
About & Logging
Turbo VPN is developed by a firm called Innovative Connecting which, on its suspiciously barren website, describes itself as an “internet start-up.”
It has developed a number of other basic, free VPNs, including VPN Proxy Master, Snap Master VPN, Solo VPN Pro and VPN Proxy Master Lite.
It’s incorporated at 38 Beach Road #29-11 South Beach Tower, Singapore, which is a nation of intrusive surveillance, government snooping, and has a reported partnership with the Five Eyes — a US-led intelligence sharing network.
It’s not just Western powers, though – our independent research also shows Turbo VPN has strong links with Mainland China, and is quite ready to transfer data to the authorities there, too.
Described by Forbes as “one of the most influential young leaders in China,” he is listed only in corporate filings and has no public association with the company.
Turbo VPN states clearly that it is willing to hand over your personal information to legal authorities ‘if ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction’.
It’s clear that customer privacy is not a priority for Turbo VPN.
When we first reviewed Turbo VPN, it had one of the worst privacy policies that we’ve seen.
It’s confusing, poorly written, but it at least lists the amount of data it collects. Turbo VPN may not collect your ISP or IP address, but it does collect this:
- Whether a VPN connection is successful
- VPN location you are connecting to
- Country you are connecting from
- Your ISP
- Size of data transferred
- Usage statistics
- Analytics data
The fact that it then calls itself a “no-logs” VPN goes to show the extent to which the term is so freely and wrongly used.
Turbo VPN uses this justification:
“The minimal information allows us to provide efficient technical support to you.”
We know you can run a great VPN with far less information collected.
More than that, all this data is readily available for the Chinese Communist Party, plus whatever private interests and third-parties it’s also sharing it with.
Luckily, we are here to call it out and clearly warn you: avoid Turbo VPN.
Average speeds locally, but very inconsistent
Speed & Reliability
For a VPN that calls itself Turbo, you’d hope that it offers some hare-like speeds.
Here’s what we got:
Local Speed Test Results
Before using Turbo VPN:
When connected to Turbo VPN:
Download speed without Turbo VPN: 47 Mbps
Download speed with Turbo VPN: 30 Mbps
Our download speed loss when Turbo VPN is running: 36%
These speeds are hit-and-miss, if slightly mediocre.
How about other locations?
We put all the VPN apps through our rigorous speed testing process to determine the average speeds for multiple locations across the globe. These are the average speeds you can expect:
- USA: 16Mpbs (download) & 31Mbps (upload)
- Germany: 28Mbps (download) & 40Mbps (upload)
- Singapore: 0.49Mpbs (download) & 33Mbps (upload)
While it picked up some average speeds locally, Turbo VPN also picked up some outright bad speeds, particularly when connecting as far as Singapore. We recorded a 97% speed loss when using Turbo VPN.
It’s also the case that Turbo VPN is, unfortunately, wildly consistent.
This is an issue that has been backed up by many user reviews.
Turbo VPN claims to not put any caps on bandwidth or data usage, but it does operate a ‘fair usage’ policy.
If our experience is anything to go by, running a few speed tests seems to surpass what it considers to be fair, resulting in a steep drop in performance.
Very small server network
Turbo VPN has a very small server network.
Turbo VPN claims to have 10,000+ servers both on its website and in an email with us.
That’s very unlikely. Even if it was true, it’s reserved for premium users.
For the free users out there, you get a choice of seven countries. These are:
Only the US has a city-level choice – New York and San Francisco on each coast.
This is by no means the coast-to-coast coverage offered by many top-tier providers, but being able to select East or West Coast depending on your true location goes some way to improving performance.
The Asia-Pacific is represented by India and Singapore only, and users in South America and Africa will be disappointed to find no servers whatsoever.
If you’ll mainly be connecting from these regions, you’re better off choosing another provider that has a larger, more diverse server list, like TunnelBear Free.
Works with BBC iPlayer
Streaming & Torrenting
Turbo VPN is a bad choice for streaming.
On both of its US servers we failed to access Netflix.
Some users have claimed to be able to access the site, but only through premium VIP servers, leaving free users high and dry.
To our surprise, it did unblock BBC iPlayer.
How long this will last, we can’t say, but it’s a positive for now.
The BBC has cracked down on VPN providers, so it’s likely that Turbo VPN’s only UK server will fall victim to this soon.
We really couldn’t recommend Turbo VPN for torrenting or P2P activity due to its serious lack of privacy features and intrusive logging policy.
Turbo VPN also states clearly in its FAQs that users should not access BitTorrent while connected or their account may be blocked.
Useless against censorship
Turbo VPN makes it quite clear that the app can’t be used in China. This is for ‘policy’ reasons.
The country has cracked down on VPN providers, rendering most VPNs useless when used to connect out from the country.
Mobile VPN Only
Platforms & Devices
Turbo VPN is available on Android and iOS devices.
There are, however, no manual workarounds for any other platforms.
If you want Turbo VPN on any other device, you have to find another VPN service.
It’s also available with Turbo VPN Premium, which removes ads, has a ‘faster connection’, and links up to 5 devices. You can sign-up for a 7-day free trial.
Encryption & Security
Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more.
It’s not likely that you’ll find a VPN quite as unsafe as Turbo VPN.
As part of our free VPN investigation, we detected unsafe functions, DNS leaks and virus/malware on the app.
Turbo VPN also uses third-party advertising platforms to obtain sensitive information “for personalized advertising purpose [sic].”
This goes against everything a VPN is supposed to do and what it represents.
On the positive side, it claims to offer OpenVPN as its default protocol, which is our preferred choice.
But you can’t see this from the app itself, so we can’t guarantee it is speaking the truth here.
They confirmed it in an email, but also told us they use IPSec. Considering that you cannot change your protocol, we can’t say which you’re using on any given server.
Other than that, there’s nothing else to speak of in terms of Turbo VPN’s security and encryption methods.
There’s not even a kill switch — an essential privacy feature that blocks internet traffic should the VPN connection drop.
Your personal data is not secure, with Turbo VPN not even maintaining its own DNS servers, which means that your web traffic is routed through third-party servers even when you’re connected to the VPN.
Nice and intuitive
Ease of Use
How to Install & Set Up Turbo VPN
Turbo VPN is super-easy to install and very simple to use.
It’s a smooth, modern-looking app with a pleasing hare-theme design.
The animation is fun, but don’t be distracted; remember that this is a potentially compromising app.
There are plenty of ads to bother you, but that’s often the sole source of funding for a free VPN.
Turbo VPN’s personalization options in the settings menu are limited solely to choosing whether or not the app connects on startup.
There’s nothing wrong with the design and usability of Turbo VPN—it’s all very intuitive—but that hardly makes up for its gaping privacy and security flaws.
Don’t expect many answers
Turbo VPN claims ‘seamless’ 24/7 customer service, but our experience was far from that.
We sent an email to the address provided on the Google Play Store, but got no response.
The website was no use either — it includes some very generic information about being the ‘fastest’, ‘easiest’ and ‘most stable’ VPN on the market, but lacks any technical information to back that up.
It also doesn’t provide any setup guides or troubleshooting tips.
The app does include an FAQs page but it’s very basic and won’t solve the majority of issues.
If you have a question or issue with the app, don’t expect many answers.
Do We Recommend Turbo VPN?
The Bottom Line
Turbo VPN claims that “Geeks are recommending” it.
Well, not these geeks.
It’s just too unsafe and unreliable. While you get access to BBC iPlayer on your mobile device, it’s hardly worth the trade-off in privacy.
We recommend another VPN (almost any other VPN, in fact), but especially these:
Alternatives to Turbo VPN