Improved Logging Policy but Dubious Links to China
Logging Policy & Jurisdiction
Turbo VPN collects minimal data about your VPN connection including whether the connection was successful and where you're connecting to. We believe that this isn't enough to identify you. While registered in Singapore, it's owned by a Chinese national and has strong, worrying links to the Chinese government.
Turbo collects the following details about your VPN connection:
- Whether the connection was successful
- The VPN location you connected to
- Your country
- Your Internet Service Provider
This is not the worst logging policy we’ve reviewed and you can’t be identified from this. However, Turbo claims that it doesn’t store timestamps of VPN connections, but it must log some if it knows when a connection is successful.
Turbo VPN also logs the aggregate amount of data transferred – this is fine and can’t be used to identify you.
Worrying links to China
Turbo VPN is developed by a firm called Innovative Connecting. It has released 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. Singapore is a nation of intrusive surveillance, government snooping, and has links with the Five Eyes — a US-led intelligence sharing network.
Additionally, our independent research shows Turbo VPN’s strong links with Mainland China.
The director of Innovative Connecting is a Chinese national and entrepreneur by the name of Danian Chen, who is also the CEO of LinkSure — the company behind ‘WiFi Master Key.’
Once described by Forbes as “one of the most influential young leaders in China,” Danian Chen is listed only in corporate filings and has no public association with the company.
It’s worth noting that Turbo previously had one of the worst logging policies we’ve seen. While its current policy is a step in the right direction, we have no way of verifying if Turbo VPN follows it in practice.
Mediocre & Very Inconsistent VPN Speeds
Speed & Reliability
Turbo VPN may be just fast enough for everyday use when you connect to a nearby server. But if you don't live in one of the seven countries it has a server in, then it's too slow to stream in HD and torrenting files will take way too long.
Turbo VPN recorded mediocre results in our speed tests. Download speeds were below-par connecting to a nearby server, but dropped massively connecting to international server locations.
Overall, Turbo VPN’s speeds may be acceptable for casual use, but they are far too inconsistent for more regular use of the service.
Below are the results of our speed tests:
Local Speed Test results before using Turbo VPN:
- Download Speed: 47Mbps
- Upload Speed: 45Mbps
- Ping: 2ms
Local Speed Test results with Turbo VPN:
Download speed loss when Turbo VPN is running: 36%
These speeds are poor, even for a free VPN. If you are fortunate enough to live near one of Turbo VPN’s free servers, though, it should still be fast enough that you can do some light browsing without noticing too much slowdown.
Turbo VPN fared much worse connecting to further-away server locations. Below are the results of our long-distance speed tests:
- USA: 16Mpbs (download) & 31Mbps (upload)
- Germany: 28Mbps (download) & 40Mbps (upload)
- Singapore: 0.49Mpbs (download) & 33Mbps (upload)
The VPN recorded some outright dreadful speeds, particularly when connecting as far as Singapore. We recorded a 97% speed loss, which is one of the worst we’ve ever seen.
It’s also the case that Turbo VPN is, unfortunately, wildly inconsistent. This is an issue 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 major throttling of our speeds.
Very Small Server Network
Frustratingly, Turbo VPN's available servers vary depending on what platform you use it on. If you are on iOS or macOS then you can only connect to a nearby server. If you are on Windows you get a choice of UK or US servers. If you are on Android you can connect to five different countries across North America, Europe, and Asia.
Turbo VPN takes an approach to servers that we’ve never seen before. The list of available VPN servers changes depending on what platform or device you are using, as well as what protocol you’re using. Here’s how it breaks down:
- Canada (Toronto)
- India (Doddaballapura)
- Netherlands (Amsterdam)
- UK (London)
- US (San Francisco)
- UK (London, Manchester, Bexley)
- US (New York, Chicago, Portland, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Hialeah, Nashville, Miami, Commerce, Denver, San Jose)
- Fastest nearby server only
- Fastest nearby server only
This is a needlessly confusing way of doing things, and we can’t see any reason for doing so. Your options are clearly better if you’re an Android user, although the selection for Windows has its potential uses.
Turbo VPN is a Bad Choice for Streaming
It works with BBC iPlayer, but that's it. Turbo VPN's limited servers mean that you can only attempt to watch a handful of regional services and libraries. It failed with all of them, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max.
Turbo VPN is a bad VPN for streaming. There are far better streaming VPNs available.
On both of its US servers, the VPN failed to access Netflix. The VPN also doesn’t work with Prime Video, HBO Max, or Disney+.
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, though. However, the BBC has heavily cracked down on VPN traffic, so it’s likely Turbo VPN’s only UK server will stop working soon.
Turbo VPN Can't Be Used to Torrent
Turbo VPN cannot be used for torrenting. In our tests it was incapable of downloading a file while connected. Turbo VPN will also ban your account if you attempt to bypass this.
You can’t use Turbo VPN for torrenting because the service’s VPN servers block P2P traffic.
Regardless, even if Turbo VPN did work with torrenting, we would still not advise to use it. The logging policy is simply not good enough to entrust the service with your private download details.
TurboVPN Is Useless Against Censorship
This VPN will not work in China. It doesn't have the resources or technology available to bypass the toughest censor on the planet. It may work in slightly more relaxed countries (like Iran or UAE), but reviews are mixed.
Turbo VPN makes it quite clear that the app won’t work in China. It claims this is for ‘policy’ reasons.
Even if it were willing to let you use the VPN in China, it lacks the technologies to effectively beat the Great Firewall.
You may have some luck using Turbo VPN in other censored countries with less effective internet blocks. We don’t recommend doing so, though. You shouldn’t put yourself at risk by using this bad VPN in countries which frown upon VPN usage.
Free software for all major platforms
Platforms & Devices
The basic, free version of Turbo VPN has apps available for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. They all vary slightly in terms of servers and features on offer, but they all look very similar. They’re extremely simple, with a severe lack of important features.
Previously a mobile-only VPN, Turbo VPN is now available on Windows and macOS, in addition to Android and iOS.
Turbo VPN does something which we’ve never seen from a VPN before: it offers a totally different list of servers depending on what platform you’re using.
The Android application gives you access to the largest server list, plus extra settings like split tunneling (only available on the Android app).
On iOS, macOS, and Windows there are no extra features or settings whatsoever.
On iOS and macOS, you can’t choose a server, either, instead being stuck with a ‘fastest’ option (Germany, in our case, which is odd given we’re located in the UK).
All the apps are very simple, and look almost identical from platform to platform.
Unsafe VPN with weak encryption, DNS leaks, and malware
Security & Features
Turbo VPN is of the most unsafe and insecure VPNs we've ever reviewed. It leaks DNS requests and has potential malware embedded within its install files. We strongly, strongly advise you choose a different VPN.
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.
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.
There are multiple VPN protocols listed within the app (although they vary depending on what device you’re using). OpenVPN seems to be the default across all operating systems.
Of the protocols on offer, there are three we’ve never heard of before: SSR, ISSR, and Trojan. Given how Turbo VPN performs in every other regard, we would not trust a bespoke protocol to properly encrypt your data.
The ability to choose protocols is reserved for the premium version on Windows and macOS.
In another undesirable first for Turbo VPN, we have never before seen a VPN which paywalls its kill switch.
We consider a kill switch to be the most basic, fundamental privacy feature for a VPN. It tells you everything you need to know about Turbo VPN’s priorities that it withholds the kills switch for paying users.
Simple, but Very Limited Apps
Ease of Use
Turbo VPN has so few features that it ends up being incredibly easy to use as a result. All of its apps look identical. That's good for consistency, but it means that the desktop versions are poorly optimized. Beginners will be happy, but even intermediate users will be left wanting more.
How to Install & Set Up Turbo VPN
All four of Turbo VPN’s apps (Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android) are simple to use.
This is largely due to the near-total lack of advanced features. You can choose a server, you can connect, and that’s about it.
Turbo VPN started life as a mobile-only VPN, and that much is obvious in the design of its desktop apps. They look identical to the mobile versions, which is lazy and unintuitive to use with a mouse and keyboard.
The main issue with Turbo VPN’s apps, though, are the constant advertising popups.
They’re disruptive enough on mobile, but on desktop they’re a huge nuisance – opening a new browser window full of ads every time you connect or change servers.
Surprisingly Robust Customer Service
Customer support was surprisingly responsive and helpful. While Turbo VPN's online resources are extremely basic, the round-the-clock live support impressed us with quick and polite responses.
Turbo VPN has recently performed a complete overhaul of its customer support. Where it was once almost non-existent, it’s now actually on a level equal to some of the most popular VPNs.
The biggest contributor to this is its 24/7 live chat. This is accessed from a chat window on the support page. It first runs your query by a chatbot that attempts to find an answer from its minimal FAQs section. However, if you don’t get what you need there you can be instantly forwarded to a live support agent.
The agent responded extremely quickly, and was actually helpful in addressing the issue we had, too.
Email support has been improved, too. You now fill out a simple online form and will be emailed a response in the coming hours.
Avoid Using Turbo VPN
The Bottom Line
We do not recommend Turbo VPN under any circumstances. It’s unreliable, insecure, and dangerous.
The VPN service doesn’t let you torrent on its free servers, and it doesn’t work with content platforms like Netflix or HBO Max.
Though you may be able to stream BBC iPlayer, it’s not worth the trade-off in terms of privacy, security, and performance. We advise using a secure free VPN, instead.
EXPERT TIP: Surfshark is a top VPN that offers a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee.
The VPN allows fast torrenting and streaming across its 3,200 servers. Try Surfshark for free for 30 days.
Additional research by David Hughes
Alternatives to Turbo VPN
Surfshark is a premium VPN but it comes at a budget price of $2.30 a month. It's a good streaming VPN with fast speeds and several configurable settings TurboVPN can only dream of. Read Surfshark review