Don’t waste your time on Thunder VPN it simply isn’t safe. Aside from the lack of industry-standard protocols, it’s frightening the sheer amount of data that this VPN collects for claiming it’s no-logs. Worse yet, over 600,000 people have downloaded the service on Google Play alone despite it’s questionable logs policy.
Plus, Thunder VPN can’t even unblock Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+, the only video service I could access was YouTube. While the service was easy to install and navigate, I couldn’t find any other real pros to using Thunder VPN.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings:
- Download speeds are too slow for streaming. Download speeds dropped by more than 80% for most of my tests, with all servers being too slow to stream content in HD. See full speed tests here.
- Uses older encryption protocol and lacks basic security features. Thunder VPN uses SSL encryption, which isn’t as secure as industry-standard OpenVPN or even older protocols like IPSec. Get more information on security here.
- Poor connections and ads between server switching. Basically anytime you navigate from one place to another, you get an ad. That includes server switches. Plus, I couldn’t even access some of the servers because the connections were so poor.
- Doesn’t unblock most streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. Not a VPN for people who love streaming. See more here.
Thunder VPN Features: Updated in March 2021
|Number of countries with servers||8|
|Number of servers||17|
|Does VPN keep logs?||Yes|
|Does VPN include a kill switch?||No|
|Number of devices per license||1|
Thunder VPN couldn’t bypass geoblocks for Netflix, Hulu, or Disney. I was able to access YouTube. I’m sure the speeds are part of the issue and the lack of strong security is another. In many cases I couldn’t even get the network to connect.
If streaming and affordability are big on your list of must-haves while using a VPN, check out our best free VPNs for streaming to get the speeds and security features to help you bypass pesky blocks.
Thunder VPN’s speeds are consistent but not in a good way. Each server I tested had consistently poor download speeds, but the upload speeds were oddly better the further I got from my true location. This VPN is too slow to stream in even SD uninterrupted, that means you can expect disconnects, lag, and freezing while viewing YouTube videos, and forget about gaming altogether.
As you can see my base speeds are excellent for both download and upload, and the ping-back was fast. Ping is basically a techie term for testing latency, it’s the amount of time it takes for data to travel from your device to any server and back. The longer it takes the more chance for lag, buffering, and connection failures.
Streaming content uninterrupted, even in SD, requires at least 3 Mbps download speed. The following information includes Netflix’s recommended minimum download speeds for streaming content: SD: 3 Mbps, HD: 5 Mbps, and 4K: 25 Mbps. This means even if you could manage to connect to a streaming service, you wouldn’t even be able to stream buffer-free in SD.
As you can see from my test results, the drop for download speed was ridiculous, over 95% for each server I tested. While some upload speeds increased from one server to the next, nothing came close to my original speeds. That’s not to say a drop in speeds isn’t to be expected when using a VPN, just that this much of a drop is unacceptable.
There’s no kill switch, firewall, ad blocker, or even industry-standard security protocol on Thunder VPN.
A kill switch is a common feature for most premium VPNs, it automatically severs your connection from the internet if the VPN server fails. While ThunderVPN does offer split-tunneling, which allows you to choose certain safe apps to run outside the VPN, the kill switch would be a nice additional security feature. Just a heads up Thunder VPN calls it’s split-tunneling feature Apps Using VPN, you can find it on the interfaces Main Menu.
SSL encryption protocol is the only protocol offered by Thunder VPN. SSL protocol isn’t bad, it’s just outdated when it comes to VPN use. IPSec is even preferred over SSL because it’s more efficient than SSL which is commonly used for browsers. Since Thunder VPN does offer extensions for Chrome, I can see them offering SSL but it will need to upgrade before it is good enough to even compete with most free VPNs.
I wasn’t surprised by the lack of an ad-blocker or firewall, due to the sheer amount of ads ThunderVPN uses in its free version. Firewalls and ad blockers are meant to prevent pop-ups and other ads, malware, hackers, and potentially harmful software from gaining access to your devices. That wouldn’t be useful to a VPN that makes its living off of ads.
I was expecting disappointment going into the DNS/IP leak test but I was pleasantly surprised. The test didn’t detect any leaks! The server and DNS addresses both showed the Paris server I was connected to. That means my ISP or anyone else paying attention won’t be able to figure out my true location or track any of my activity while connected to Thunder VPN.
Here are just a few different types of data Thunder VPN collects, though it insists the information is never of a personally identifiable nature.
- IP address
- Billing address
- Connection times
- User network state
- Amount of data used
Your ISP, billing address, and IP address are pretty personal bits of information. Each one could allow them to track you in one way or another, to discover your exact or relevant location.
Torrenting — Not Safe for Torrenting
Thunder VPN’s encryption protocol is secure for browsers but not the best protocol for an app, plus there’s no kill switch. It discourages torrenting and has a list of unacceptable uses, that means if you accidentally download something you shouldn’t you could end up in trouble.
Two main areas of the terms of service (directly quoted below) apply to torrenting specifically:
- 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. (Terms of Service, Usage Policy, ThunderVPN, %%currrentyear%%)
- Violations of this Usage Policy may result in termination of your account, without any refund of amounts previously paid for the Service. Additionally, 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. (Terms of Service, Usage Policy, ThunderVPN, %%currrentyear%%)
My first issue with this is that doesn’t leave any room for error. It is possible to unknowingly download copyrighted content, especially for individuals that aren’t internet savy. They see a FREE sign and assume it’s free, having no idea that it’s copyrighted or trademarked.
The second issue is how do they know what you’re downloading? If ThunderVPN truly is a no-logs VPN, they shouldn’t know where you are online or what you’re doing. If they can track you for downloading something you shouldn’t, they don’t have a no-logs policy.
For these reasons I can’t recommend Thunder VPN for torrenting.
Does Thunder VPN Work in China? — No
Although Thunder VPN has servers in Hong Kong, I was unable to connect to any of them.