If you were asked to choose the greatest players in the VPN industry, you might find names like ExpressVPN, NordVPN or Surfshark.
However, data shared exclusively with TechRadar Pro paints an entirely different picture. According to the app intelligence firm, 42matters, in regards to the most popular Android VPN services, these renowned providers cannot be found.
In February, an app called VPN Master was the most popular VPN service on the Google Play Store, downloaded by more than 7 million people during the month. In second place, Speed VPN Pro with 6.7 million downloads, followed by Free VPN Tomato with 6.2 million.
A common theme quickly emerges: All the most popular VPN apps are free. Of the 15 most downloaded Android VPNs in the past month, none are a paid service.
Are Free VPNs Too Good To Be True?
Even if Free VPN offer a quick (and obviously inexpensive) way to hide your browsing activity from your ISP, there are a number of downsides to be aware of. After all, there is no such thing as free dinner.
Unlike premium services, free VPNs typically only offer a limited number of servers in a small selection of locations, and the apps themselves are rarely feature rich. Download speeds are also likely to be much slower, which means that streaming geo-restricted VOD content (one of the main reasons people look for a VPN) may be irrelevant from the get-go.
Perhaps the most important consideration, however, is data privacy. While many free VPNs have extensive no-logging policies, you can’t be sure the provider is delivering on their promises unless a third-party audit has taken place.
Without independent confirmation, the company operating the free VPN service could collect all kinds of information, including websites visited, connection timestamps, bandwidth usage, and even the original IP address.
For anyone using a VPN to bypass government-imposed internet censorship, the potential that this type of information could be held by the provider should be a serious concern.
In July 2020, for example, it was discovered that seven separate Hong Kong-based VPN services had been user data collection, despite all claiming to collect no user logs. More than a terabyte of this data was exposed online through an unprotected database.
Ultimately, running a VPN service doesn’t come cheap, so the for-profit company that operates your free VPN service is likely to make money with you in some way. another.
Top 10 Most Popular Android VPNs
The numbers below represent the number of downloads of each VPN app through the Google Play Store in February 2021.
- VPN Master – 7.0 million
- Speed VPN Pro – 6.7 million
- Free Tomato VPN – 6.2 million
- Turbo VPN – 4.4 million
- Lion VPN – 3.6 million
- NetCapsule VPN – 3.5 million
- FreeVPN SecVPN – 3.3 million
- Booster Master – 2.9 million
- Free VPN Key – 2.9 million
- Turbo VPN Lite – 2.8 million
- Here is our list of the best proxy services available.