Thunder VPN Review 2020 - Useless for Anything But Browsing

Kristin Hassel | Cybersecurity Researcher
Published on 23rd October 2020

Despite using a cute baby Thor as a mascot, I doubt the Norse God of Thunder would approve of this VPN. Don’t waste your time on Thunder VPN, the only thing it’s good for is basic web browsing. You can’t stream video, you can’t torrent, and it doesn’t even use standard VPN protocols.

While it was quick to install and the user interface was easy to navigate, this free VPN is worse than most. Thunder VPN can’t unblock Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+, the only video service I could access was YouTube.

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Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings:

  • Download speeds are too slow for streaming.
  • Uses older encryption protocol and lacks basic security features.
  • Poor connections and ads between server switching.
  • Doesn’t unblock most streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.

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Speeds — Significant Loss of Download Speed Across the Board

Thunder VPN’s speeds are consistent but not in a good way. Each server I tested had consistently poor download and ping speeds, but the upload speeds were oddly better the further I got from my true location. To begin I tested my speeds before connecting to Thunder VPN.

Speeds before connecting to Thunder VPN

Speeds before connecting to a Thunder VPN server.

  • Download: 54.6 Mbps
  • Upload: 76.2 Mbps
  • Ping: 5 ms

As you can see my speeds are excellent for both download and upload, and the ping-back was fast. Next, I connected to the closest US server, which was supposed to be in Niagra Falls, NY. Instead, despite the US flag marker, I was connected to Niagra Falls, Canada. Not a great start.

Speed test performed on a Thunder VPN server in Canada.

Speed test on a Thunder VPN server in Ontario, Canada.

  • Download: 1.90 Mbps
  • Upload: 17.6 Mbps
  • Ping: 52 ms

Speeds for the Ontario server were disappointing, download speeds dropped by 96.5% and the ping was over eight-times as long.  Upload speeds also suffered, taking a 77% hit.

A drop in speed isn’t unusual when you use a VPN, especially the farther your destination server is from your true location. Still, these drop levels are unacceptable.  I’m two states from NY and even closer to Ontario, so it didn’t make sense that speeds would suffer so drastically.

Next, I tested speeds for a French server.

Speed test on a Thunder VPN server in France.

Speeds for a Thunder VPN server in Paris, France.

  • Download: 1.94 Mbps
  • Upload: 37.9 Mbps
  • Ping: 108 ms

Again, the decrease in upload speeds was epic at 96% and the ping only got worse. The download speed was actually much better and was 46.5% faster than the Canadian server, despite being much farther away. The speed results for the German server I tested were just as disappointing.

Speed test performed on a Thunder VPN German Server

Speed test on a Thunder VPN server in Germany.

  • Download: 1.96 Mbps
  • Upload: 40.6 Mbps
  • Ping: 120 ms

The fourth server I tested was in Hong Kong and I couldn’t even connect, I faced timeout after timeout.

Hong Kong server failure

Baby Thor cries when the connection fails.

I felt the baby Thor’s pain, I wanted to cry when I saw the speed drop from my server to Thunder VPN’s servers. According to the VIP features list, the 9 fastest servers are on the paid plan. I took advantage of the free trial to find out but it didn’t produce more impressive speeds.

To be fair, my download speeds were fairly fast to begin with. Still, streaming content uninterrupted, even in SD, requires at least 3 Mbps. The following information includes Netflix’s recommended minimum download speeds for streaming content:

  • SD: 3 Mbps
  • HD: 5 Mbps
  • 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. I did find the speeds were good enough for watching YouTube videos without freezing.

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Can Thunder VPN Unblock Netflix? — No

Thunder VPN couldn’t bypass geoblocks for Netflix, Hulu, or Disney. I was able to access YouTube.

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.

Security — Older Protocols and No Extras

There’s no kill switch, firewall, ad blocker, or even industry-standard security protocol on Thunder VPN. 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.

One impressive offering from Thunder VPN is split tunneling. The VPN calls it Apps Using VPN, you can find it on the interfaces Main Menu.

Main menu

Thunder VPN’s split tunneling feature Apps Using VPN

Once you click on Apps Using VPN, it displays a list of all of the apps on your Android device. By default, all off your apps are protected by the VPN. If you want to run only specific apps through the VPN, you can uncheck them all at once and then select the apps you want. You can also just deselect a few that you don’t want to run through the VPN. Overall the process is very straightforward.

Split tunneling feature

Select which apps use the VPN by toggling the button on/off .

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.

IP/DNS Leak Test The leak test only showed my DNS and IP address in France.

Even though it didn’t leak my IP or DNS address, I can’t recommend this VPN for much more then basic internet browsing. The security protocol isn’t as secure as IPSec, IKEv2, or OpenVPN and there’s no firewall, kill switch, or ad- or malware protection.

Most free VPN’s are missing one or all of these features, but the worst part is that none of these features are available on the VIP version either.

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Privacy — False No Logs Policy

Every VPN collects some form of unidentifiable data from users, usually to help them make improvements to the services they offer. VPNs with true no-logs policies will never collect your ISP, IP address, location, or any other personally identifiable information. Unfortunately, Thunder VPN’s privacy policy doesn’t exactly reflect its no-logs statement.

Thunder VPN privacy policy

Thunder VPN ‘s privacy policy.

The policy mentions sending data to third parties more than I’d expect in a VPN with a no-logs policy.  Aside from billing address, email, connection times, and the amount of data you use, it goes on to further mention it may collect IP address, ISP, and user network state. Though it insists the information is never of a personally identifiable nature.

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. For these reasons I can’t recommend Thunder VPN for torrenting.

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Does Thunder VPN Work in China? — No

Although Thunder VPN has servers in Hong Kong, I was unable to connect to any of them. If you need to access China try one of our best VPNs for China, it even includes 3 free options.

Features Details
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

Ease of Use

7.0

The interface is clean and I have to admit the baby Thor is amusing, but it doesn’t change the fact that Thunder VPN is extremely shy on important security features. Still, the service is easy to navigate.

To connect to a server you can click on Auto Select. You can also wait for the VPN to connect for the first time, as it will automatically connect you to the fastest server available.

Successful connection Thunder VPN

A smiling Thor means the VPN is connected.

To choose a different server, click on the flag in the upper right hand corner and choose a different location from the server list.

Free servers

A list of Thunder VPN servers available on the free version.

The servers on the list all have signal bars to the right, as you can see Germany and Hong Kong have poor signals. While I was able to connect to the German server, I couldn’t connect to Hong Kong on the VIP or free plans. The signal icons are useful for detecting whether or not a server is worth trying to connect to, I found less than three bars and I was disconnected right away or couldn’t connect at all.

Thunder VPN allows unlimited server switching on both free and VIP, but the server selection is extremely limited. There are only 17 servers total, 8 of which are accessible on the free plan. Be prepared, you’ll have to watch an ad every time you switch servers on the free version.

Settings

Thunder VPN Settings

From the Settings page, you can turn on Auto Connect to start Thunder VPN up the moment you turn on your device.  One nice feature is being able to turn off general notifications.

Simultaneous Device Connections

Since you don’t need to register the free version, you can technically use it on any Android device you have. The paid version of Thunder VPN can only be registered on one device.

Device Compatibility – Strictly for Android

Thunder VPN’s app is an Android only app, the only way to run it on Mac, Windows, or any other operating system is using an Android emulator.

Set Up & Installation – Quick & Simple

Installing the app on an Android device is fast and simple, just download Thunder VPN on your mobile device and follow the instructions. In total it takes about 3 minutes to set up and depending on which server you choose, around one minute or less to connect.

Compare Thunder VPN with the top alternative VPNs

Pricing

1.0
Annually
$4.99 /month
Weekly
$5.99 /month
Monthly
$9.99 /month

Thunder VPN offers an unlimited free VPN, as well as a paid weekly, monthly, and yearly VIP plan. VIP gets you access to all 17 servers in 8 countries, and removes all ads.

The prices are a bit expensive for the weekly plan, if you really want to pay for a service there are plenty of premium VPN's for less than $9.99/mo. That's the same price as a weekly subscription to Thunder VPN. Not only that, premium VPNs are going to offer you more security features and streaming opportunities than a free VPN.

Still want to try Thunder VPN? Test out it's VIP service for 3-days using its free trial.

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Reliability & Support

1.9

Thunder VPN offers limited customer support, the app has a FAQ section but it wasn’t very useful. The answers are extremely short and don’t give any real, actionable advice. Since I had problems connecting to the Hong Kong server I checked the FAQ for the VPN failing to connect, it simply asked me to continue to try to connect to the server or connect to another server.

FAQs

Thunder VPN’s FAQ section needs a bit of work.

The answers are very basic, and none of the FAQ’s explains how to contact the company if you have issues with the service. If you click on More questions, you’re led to a form that allows you to email Thunder VPN’s customer support center.

Thunder VPN doesn’t have a live chat or contact number, which is disappointing because I still haven’t heard back from them, and wanted to know if the yearly plan allowed for multiple simultaneous connections, or if it was one device only regardless of your plan.  That was over 48 hours ago.

The Bottom Line

The free version is only good for browsing and the paid version isn’t worth the price.

The free version would work for basic browsing but due to the lack of security features, you may put yourself at risk accessing social media sites, bank accounts, or shopping online.

If you want a free VPN that can keep you safe from hackers and malware, plus get you access to your favorite streaming services, check out our best free VPN’s.

Money Back Guarantee (Days) : 0
Mobile app :
Number of devices per license : 1

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