Thunder VPN Review: Is it safe?
There are hundreds of free VPNs available on the Google Play Store. Thunder VPN is one of them, and the service is quite popular. But is it secure? Can it be trusted with your data? This Thunder VPN review takes a closer look at both the free and premium versions of the VPN.
Pros & Cons
- Free plan
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unblocks BBC iPlayer
- Split Tunneling
- Keeps logs
- Poor security
- Small server network
- Slow speeds
- Only available for Android
- False advertising
Freedome is a VPN service from F-Secure, a company that has been in the security industry for over 30 years. The VPN service was established to complement F-Secure’s other security products, such as F-Secure Safe and F-Secure ID Protection.
Here’s a quick overview of Freedome VPN:
- Works with Netflix & BBC iPlayer
- Protects against tracking
- Blocks malicious sites
- Keeps some logs
- Small server network
- Based in Finland
Thunder VPN is a popular free VPN service that boasts 10M+ downloads and a 4.8 rating from 803k reviews on the Google Play Store. The VPN is meant for Android users, and it also has a VIP service for paying users.
Here’s a highlight of the VPN service:
- Free & premium service
- Servers in 16 countries
- Slow speeds
- Poor privacy and security standards
- No company background
This Thunder VPN review will take you through everything you need to know about the VPN. The review will analyze both the free and premium service, and by the end, you’ll be in a position to decide whether Thunder VPN is worth a try.
Table of Contents
A VPN is more than just privacy and security. Top VPNs like ExpressVPN provide advanced capabilities and services such as a Smart DNS service to enhance everyday internet use. Others allow uses to unblock any streaming service and even circumvent government censorships. So, what can Thunder VPN do?
Streaming: Does Thunder VPN work with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and other services?
Most free VPNs don’t work with Netflix, and Thunder VPN is no exception. The free service is banned by almost all streaming services, except for BBC iPlayer.
The Thunder VPN pro version is much better in that its IP addresses have not been blacklisted by most sites, which can be attributed to the VPN's low number of VIP users. But despite this, the VPN is still not a good streaming option. When connected to the US servers, we could access Netflix, but the titles were limited to mostly Netflix originals. You won’t be able to access any country-specific titles when connected to Thunder VPN. The only service that we could access without issues was BBC iPlayer.
If streaming is a priority for you, we suggest that you look at the best VPNs for streaming.
Does Thunder VPN support torrenting?
Thunder VPN doesn’t block P2P and BitTorrent traffic. However, we highly suggest that you don’t use it for torrenting. In its terms of service, the VPN states that it can terminate your account for “Uploading, downloading, posting, reproducing, or distribution of any content protected by copyright, or any other proprietary right, without first having obtained permission of the owner of the proprietary content.”
Further, “you may be held responsible for any and all damages incurred by Thunder VPN, including any amounts charged by any outside entity due to said violation(s), including without limitation attorney’s fees and costs.”
Staying within copyright laws is a fine line that torrent fans walk on every day, so you may need to have a look at the best torrenting VPNs.
Does Thunder VPN work in China?
No, Thunder VPN does not work in China or any country that blocks VPNs. This is because the VPN isn’t equipped with obfuscation capabilities that can help it avoid traffic filtering. If you stay in or plan to travel to a country with high censorship levels, you can check out the best VPNs for China.
There are many factors to consider when deciding if a VPN is safe to use, but the short answer is a resounding, No! Below is our analysis of the VPN's privacy and security.
On the Google Play Store, Thunder VPN is listed under a developer known as Signal Labs, a company that also runs a similar service known as Secure VPN. And to avoid confusion, Signal Labs is not in any way associated with the secure messaging app, Signal.
The company does not have a website, and it only uses a throwaway Gmail email address. This raises many questions in terms of the company's legitimacy (and even existence).
Since the website doesn't give any registration address, we looked up the domain details and found it to be registered in Arkansas, USA. IF the company is also registered in the US, it means that government institutions can force the VPN to provide any data they have about you at any time. This means that US-based VPNs need not keep any data that can be used to identify you. So, what type of data does Thunder VPN collect?
Well, just about everything.
“We are committed to your privacy and do not collect or log traffic data or browsing activity from individual users connected to our VPN.”
However, this is just a misleading statement that is meant to throw off users that don’t read between the lines. Just a paragraph later, the VPN states that:
“In addition, when you use our app, we may collect the following information: IP address, Internet service provider, OS version, language of the device, app identifier, app version, independent device identifier, ad identifier, device manufacturer and model, email address, the time zone and the network state (WiFi and so on), times when connected to our service, choice of server location, and the total amount of data transferred per day, etc.”
This means that Thunder VPN collects pretty much everything about you. The above data is enough to identify who you are and what activities you carried out at a particular time.
As if that’s not enough, the VPN even goes ahead to conclude the paragraph with “etc.” This is an ambiguous statement that creates loopholes for the collection of personal information, and it's simply not acceptable for a service that is meant to provide privacy.
When you use Thunder VPN, you’ll basically be transferring your data from your ISP to the hands of a mysterious company. If privacy is a priority for you, we suggest you go for NordVPN. The service is registered in an offshore country and has been publicly audited to verify its zero-logs claim.
As part of our Thunder VPN review, we carried out several tests to check whether the app leaks IP addresses, DNS addresses, or Web RTC information.
Our expectations were low, but we were pleasantly surprised to see that Thunder VPN doesn’t leak any user information. We verified this by connecting to most of the available servers and conducting tests using multiple tools.
A VPN’s security is a crucial consideration when choosing a VPN as it determines whether your data can be intercepted or decrypted. The most recommended security standard for VPNs is AES-256 for data encryption with OpenVPN as the protocol.
However, Thunder VPN comes nowhere near the recommended security levels as it uses SSL as the only protocol. This is an outdated protocol developed in 1995, and it isn't recommended for VPNs. Actually, both SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0 were deprecated by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in 2011 and 2015, respectively.
Apart from encryption, the VPN doesn’t provide any security features such as a kill switch or double encryption.
Overall, Thunder VPN is not a secure VPN in terms of both privacy and security. If you want to transfer sensitive data, you may need to look further.
Here’s what Thunder VPN has to offer.
Split tunneling is a useful feature that lets users determine which apps use the VPN and which connect to the internet using the ISP network. The flexibility lets you access local services while connected to a server outside the country or access geo-restricted services on one app without affecting the rest.
Thunder VPN does well to provide a split tunneling feature. The feature is labeled "Apps using VPN," and you can access it from the main menu button. Once you open it, you can toggle off apps that shouldn't go through the VPN.
If you often connect to a VPN server, you can set the app to connect when it's opened. This option is available under settings, and when it's turned on, the app will connect to the fastest server depending on your location. You can also set the VPN to stay connected in the background.
Although this is not really a feature when talking about premium VPNs, it is for free VPNs. The Thunder VPN apk does well to not limit the amount of bandwidth that you can use. This is quite a contrast to some free VPNs that only allow about 500 MBs a day or 2 GB a month.
Thunder VPN has an undefined number of servers spread across 17 locations in 16 countries. These servers are found in North America, Europe, and Asia, with the only other location being Australia.
On the app, the servers are listed in two categories:
- Fastest servers
The free VPN plan allows users to access servers in Singapore, Germany, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, US East, US West, and Canada. This is quite commendable as most free VPNs restrict users to a single auto-selected location. All Thunder VPN servers allow unlimited bandwidth and server switches.
Thunder VPN states that the service is “free forever.” This means that you can just head to the Google Play Store, install the VPN, and enjoy the service without going to your wallet. The free service allows you to use all the features, with the only restriction being in the servers. Free servers are usually capped in speeds, and when you add this to the number of free users, you’ll be sacrificing your speeds.
Thunder VPN provides a premium (labeled VIP) service to remove the restrictions and increase speed. Here's an overview of the subscription plans:
- Weekly plan: Costs $5.99 a week
- Monthly plan: Costs $9.99 a month
- Annual Plan: Costs $4.99 a month, billed $59.99 every 12 months
The weekly plan is only suitable for users who don’t plan to use the VPN for more than a week as it can end up being quite costly. The monthly plan is priced on the higher end of mid-range VPNs, while the annual plan offers a 50% discount on the monthly plan.
Overall, Thunder VPN is highly-priced considering the features it offers. Further, the pricing doesn’t seem to consider that you can only use your subscription on a single device. Almost every other VPN allows users to secure up to 5 devices simultaneously.
Supported payment methods
Since Thunder VPN is only available for Android devices, the only payment method you can use is Google Pay. This means that you need to have a credit/ debit card connected to the Google account you are using on the Google Play Store. If not, you can load your Google Play account using a gift card.
Does Thunder VPN have a free trial?
No, Thunder VPN doesn’t have a free trial. The VPN used to offer a 3-day free trial to allow users to test the premium service, but this offer is no longer available on the app.
Does Thunder VPN have a money-back guarantee?
No, Thunder VPN does not have a money-back guarantee.
The Thunder VPN website is quite vague as it doesn’t provide any reasonable information about the VPN. The only information available is false advertisement claims such as “No log or track user data” and “world wide servers.” The little information on the main page is full of typographical and grammar errors, and most of the information in the Play Store listing is copied from other free VPNs.
You need to download the Thunder VPN apk from Play Store to get started. The app will then give you an option to subscribe to either the weekly, monthly, or annual plan. You can also decide to use the VPN for free.
Note that Thunder VPN doesn’t require you or even allow you to create an account. This means that if you make a subscription, you won’t be able to use it on another device. You will also not be able to switch between plans.
Which devices & platforms does Thunder VPN support?
Thunder VPN is only available for Android devices, and you can't install it on any other platform. There's a Chrome extension known as Thunder Proxy, but it is not related to Thunder VPN or the developer.
Ease of use
The Thunder VPN app design features baby Thor (god of Thunder), who then flies with his hammer when you click the connection button.
After installation, you can connect to a server with just a single button. The Auto Select option will choose the best server depending on your location.
To switch your server, click the lightning button on the top right corner. This will give you a server list grouped into “free” and “fastest servers.” Free users can connect to any of the available free servers.
If you have a subscription, you’ll get access to all the VIP servers. The app will automatically connect to the server you click then display the location on the top right side.
To customize the VPN, open the hamburger menu on the top left-hand side. You'll see the option "Apps Using VPN," which will allow you to select that you don't want to tunnel through the VPN.
Further down, there’s a Settings button that allows you to:
- Connect when Thunder VPN starts
- Send a notification when there’s a new version
- Allow notifications from the app
- Stay connected in the background
Once everything is set to your liking, you can then connect to the VPN.
Overall, Thunder VPN is well designed, and it works as expected. The only issue is that the free version is quite annoying in that it brings an ad before and after connection. Some of the ads also have minimum time limits, so you’ll need to have some patience. Further, both the Thunder VPN pro and free version keep pestering you every now and then to leave a rating.
According to users, one of the biggest drawbacks of the Thunder VPN free plan is its terrible speeds. We wanted to give you first-hand information, so we conducted several tests using both the free servers and premium servers. Our tests were carried out using a stable 50 Mbps connection.
When using the free servers, we got an average of 5 Mbps regardless of the location and its proximity. The upload speed was quite a contrast at 28 Mbps.
The premium servers performed much better, averaging 38 Mbps and 25 Mbps for nearby and distant servers, respectively. Upload speeds were also quite good, averaging 30 Mbps.
Overall, Thunder VPN is one of the slowest free VPNs. The free servers seem to be capped to make people upgrade to the faster servers, which means that Thunder free VPN is only suitable for light browsing. The premium version is much better as it allows users to stream comfortably, but it’s still one of the fastest VPNs.
Thunder VPN provides little to no support. The VPN doesn't provide any customer support on the website, so don’t expect live chat support, a ticketing system, or even FAQs and troubleshooting guides.
The only way to contact the developers is through an unprofessional email address, [email protected]. When we sent them an email asking for more information about the VPN, we didn’t receive any response.
Is Thunder VPN any good?
How do I download Thunder VPN for PC?
Thunder VPN is only available for Android devices. The VPN also doesn’t support manual configuration, so the only way to run it on a PC is through an Android emulator.
Is there a Thunder VPN Chrome extension?
No, Thunder VPN doesn’t have a chrome extension. Any extensions you find on the Chrome store are not related to the VPN.
What is the Thunder VPN country of registration?
The Thunder VPN website doesn’t provide any details regarding its parent company or the country of registration. However, the domain registration details suggest that the VPN is registered in the US.
Thunder VPN comes out as a below-average VPN service. The free VPN is frustratingly slow, and you can't use it for anything other than browsing. You may be able to change your IP address and access a different region, but that's pretty much it.
The premium version is much better as it is faster, but the network is still minimal, and the VPN can’t unblock Netflix US. Further, you can’t use it for anything serious as the service keeps logs and its encryption standards are very low. The pricing is also very high for a single device. If you are looking for a free VPN, we suggest that you look at our hand-selected list of the best free VPNs.