Turbo VPN is a free client for Android and iOS that goes against everything the VPN industry stands for. Aside from using OpenVPN (our preferred protocol) to encrypt traffic, we definitely can’t recommend it in any way as a privacy tool. Speeds were initially fast on local connections, but after just an hour of using the app, we experienced a dramatic decrease in downloads. The apps are simple to use, but have no configurable options whatsoever and annoying pop-up ads are a regular occurrence.
Turbo VPN offers no extra privacy features – not even a kill switch – and has one of the most intrusive logging policies we’ve come across. Despite branding itself as a ‘no-log network’, the list of data it then admits to collecting is unacceptable and extremely concerning. It even confesses to sending users’ personal information to mainland China. Customer support is non-existent and the website lacks even basic information about the service. It’s also worth noting that Turbo VPN is unofficially part of a network of similarly awful free VPNs, including VPN Proxy Master and Snap VPN, which you can read more about here.
Speed & Reliability
Turbo VPN initially impressed us with quick speeds on local connections, but after only an hour of using the service downloads dropped dramatically, which seems to be an issue corroborated 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 seem to surpass what they consider to be fair, resulting in a steep drop in performance. Connecting internationally was disappointing from the offset and high latency across the network will be off-putting for gamers.
Downloads on local connections started out fairly quick, peaking at around 57Mbps in the Netherlands and Germany, but almost halved an hour later. We also found the UK server to be much slower than the rest of Europe, which is odd considering we test from London: it barely reached 20Mbps in our first test and then dropped to a paltry 5Mbps after. Connecting out to the US East Coast was very unreliable, coming in at 51Mbps during our first tests and then at just 10Mbps later. If you want to connect to more distant servers you can expect awful speeds of less than 1Mbps, which will bring almost all online activities to a halt.
Gamers will want to look elsewhere as we found latency to be very laggy, coming in at 18ms even on same-country connections. To give you an idea of what you can get from better apps, some of our top-tier providers offer super fast ping times of under 1ms.
We were impressed with Turbo VPN’s quick connection time of only 10 seconds, but the lack of a kill switch means that even during this short time your IP address could be exposed. Performance was fairly consistent throughout our testing but, as stated above, some users have not found this to be the case when using the app for longer periods of time.
Overall Turbo VPN isn’t as fast as it claims to be, but it is decent on local connections – at least for the first hour of use, after which downloads take a big hit. Gamers and torrenters won’t get much out of it, and if you’re hoping to connect internationally you’ll be bitterly disappointed with performance. All in all, these mediocre speeds just aren’t worth putting your sensitive personal data at risk.
To read about our speed testing methodologies, please read How We Review VPNs.
Turbo VPN has a very small server network of just seven countries. While these cover popular locations, such as the UK, US and Singapore, it’s very limiting for users in Africa, Asia, and South America.
Turbo VPN hasn’t published any information surrounding the total number of individual servers and IP addresses it maintains, which leads us to believe that there aren’t many, meaning that you’re likely to experience congestion at peak times.
You can’t drill down to city-level servers in any country other than the US, which has a choice of two – New York and San Francisco. 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.
Asia-Pacific is covered 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 out from these regions you’d be better off with another provider, such as HideMyAss! that offers over 190+ server countries.
Platforms & Devices
Turbo VPN offers custom apps for Android and iOS devices, but there are no manual workarounds for any other platforms. This means that if you want to protect your desktop computer or any other devices you’d have to find another provider to cover those needs. We’d suggest opting for one VPN to protect all your devices instead, particularly one that can be installed at router level if you want to encrypt traffic on a games console or streaming device. ExpressVPN, for example, offers simple solutions for almost all popular devices.
Streaming & Torrenting
Turbo VPN is a bad choice for streaming fans, particularly those who want to watch Netflix, as we found access to the popular service blocked on both US servers. Some users have claimed to be able to access the site, but only through premium VIP servers, leaving free users high and dry.
At the time of testing, we could access BBC iPlayer through the UK server, but we’re not sure how long this will last. The BBC has recently cracked down on VPN providers, so it’s likely that Turbo VPN’s only UK server will fall victim to this soon.
We wouldn’t recommend Turbo VPN for torrenting or P2P activity due to a lack of privacy features and an intrusive logging policy. Turbo VPN also states in its FAQs that users should not access BitTorrent while connected or their account may be blocked.
Encryption & Security
Turbo VPN claims to use OpenVPN to encrypt internet traffic, which is our preferred VPN protocol as it offers the best balance between performance and privacy. However, considering you can’t see which protocol is used within the app, we can’t guarantee that they are telling the truth.
However, that’s the extent of Turbo VPN’s privacy offering, with no security extras to speak of. There’s not even a kill switch, an essential privacy feature that blocks internet traffic should the VPN connection drop. The fact that this feature is missing means that your IP address and online activities could potentially be exposed to your ISP or other third parties. This is made worse by the fact that SuperVPN doesn’t even maintain its own DNS servers, meaning that your web traffic is routed through third-party servers even when you’re connected to the VPN. Your personal data is not secure with Turbo VPN, so look at other providers offering a range of security extras to ensure the highest levels of privacy.
- OpenVPN (TCP/UDP)
Turbo VPN makes it very clear that the apps can’t be used in China for ‘policy’ reasons. The country has recently cracked down on VPN providers, rendering many VPNs useless when used to connect out from that country. However some providers, such as VyprVPN, offer obfuscation tools to disguise the fact you’re using a VPN, enabling you to bypass the Great Firewall and access restricted content.
Like the majority of providers, Turbo VPN claims to not log any of your online activities, but goes on to state that “any browsing information or other similar information relating to your online activities . . . is cleared after your VPN ‘session’ is closed”, suggesting that it can actually see what you’re doing while connected. What’s more, it states that once you sign up it will ‘collect the statistic [sic] about users’ behavior and location’, which is a very concerning invasion of privacy, especially considering Turbo VPN confesses to transferring users’ personal data to mainland China.
So what does Turbo VPN log? The list seems to be never ending:
- Browser type
- Device type
- Device identifier
- Operating system
- Your ISP
- Original IP address
- Timestamps (including sessions start/stop times)
This list ends with ‘etc., etc.’, which is almost comical until you realise that it justifies Turbo VPN logging almost anything it pleases. Even worse, by downloading the app you give it permission to access, modify, and delete all your photos, media, and files.
After all of this, Turbo VPN tries to reassure its users that it doesn’t share your IP address, browsing history, or any other personal information with advertisers, but we’re not convinced. Your personal data is not secure with this app, period.
Turbo VPN is incorporated in Singapore, which is a nation of intrusive surveillance, government snooping, and a reported partnership with the Five Eyes, a US-led intelligence-sharing network. Our recent research also suggests links with mainland China, which is a huge concern for user privacy.
What’s even worse is that Turbo VPN 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 just not a priority for Turbo VPN.
Ease of Use
Turbo VPN’s modern-looking apps are simple to use, and the hare-theme aesthetic is amusing, but don’t let the pretty animation distract you from the fact this is a potentially dangerous app.
You can find the server list by clicking on the symbol in the top right, either a globe or a flag depending on whether or not you’re already connected. Annoyingly, this brings up a list of the premium locations (‘Faster Servers’) each time, but you can click on the ‘Free’ tab to see the servers available to you. When connected, the country flag in the top right indicates which server you’re connected to.
You can find the settings behind the burger menu (three horizontal lines) in the top left, but this is limited to choosing whether or not the app connects on startup. All in all, the apps are easy to use and visually pleasing, but we still wouldn’t recommend them to anyone due to our overarching privacy concerns.
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, only to receive radio silence. 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 and fails to provide setup guides or troubleshooting tips.
The app does include an FAQs page but it’s extremely basic and won’t solve the majority of issues. We were also disappointed to read some very misleading information surrounding the logging policy, claiming that it doesn’t ‘collect, log, store, share any data log belonging to users’, which we know is absolutely not case. In summary, if you have a question or issue with the app, don’t expect any answers.
The Bottom Line
- Claims to use our preferred protocol, OpenVPN
- Easy setup on Android and iOS devices
- Intrusive logging policy and annoying pop-up ads
- No extra privacy features
- Customer support is non-existent
- Admits to sharing user data with China
- Hugely varied performance
We wouldn’t recommend Turbo VPN to anyone. From the unacceptable invasion of user privacy to the unrelenting pop-up ads, it’s just not worth the storage space on your device. Local speeds were initially fast, but after an hour of use downloads dropped considerably. High latency across the server network isn’t ideal for gamers and torrenting isn’t permitted on any servers. You can currently access BBC iPlayer, but forget about watching shows on Netflix as it’s completely blocked on the free servers.
Turbo VPN claims to use the OpenVPN protocol, which is the only thing it does right in terms of privacy. Aside from that, there are no security features to speak of, not even the essential VPN kill switch, meaning your IP address could be exposed at any moment without you realizing. The logging policy is shockingly intrusive, collecting vast amounts of personal data that are willingly handed over to legal authorities and undisclosed bodies within mainland China, a huge cause for concern.
Simple custom apps are available for Android and iOS, but you can’t install it on any other devices. Incessant pop-up ads fill your screen every time you try to do something within the app. There is no customer support and the information on the website is far too minimal to be of any help. Overall, Turbo VPN is a potentially dangerous app that deceives customers by branding itself as ‘no-logs’. Avoid at all costs.