No matter where you are in the world, using a VPN on your mobile device is a good idea. Nowadays, there are many free VPNs listed on the Google Play Store. As you may have guessed, FlashVPN is one of them. This free VPN app has been downloaded more than 5 million times and seems to be focused on the Android operating system. According to the stats, it also has more than 99k reviews with a star rating of 4.4 stars. There is no premium version of this service and it’s supported entirely by advertisements. The important question is if the product works as well as people claim and is it worth it to use. In this review, we will run it through several tests to see if it is worthy of the praise it gets.
About the Company
There is no information that we have been able to find out about the company, outside of the name of FlashSoftware. However, this VPN does bear a striking resemblance to several others we have reviewed lately. In fact, it is quite possible that the same company operates more than one app. There is no website that we have found, nor is there a central location that we have found for the service. That makes us very wary because we can’t tell which privacy laws the VPN follows.
Like we said earlier, you are not charged by FlashVPN. Unlike other options, this app does not offer any way to add features or upgrade. We are usually wary of free, advertising-based products. That can definitely suggest that you become the product. If you are hesitant as well, we would recommend Private Internet Access as an alternative. For just $2.50 a month, you can enjoy secure VPN access on all your devices. They are a trusted and transparent company that has been around for many years.
FlashVPN has very little in the way of features. Everything seems to be straightforward, and there are not many settings you can change. One thing you can change, however, is the server location. As you see in the image here, your choices are Germany, United States, England, France, and auto. Also in the image to the right, you see that FlashVPN requires you to grant permission to several items on your phone. As a point of reference, there are very few paid services that require that many permissions. There is no reason to ask for all of those permissions if the service is only going to protect the user’s privacy.
The app requires access to the following info on your Android device:
- Photos / Media / Files
- Wi-Fi connection information
- Device ID & call information
Ask yourself why any privacy app would need access to your photos, media files, and call information. That just doesn’t make any sense. We suggest you stay far away from apps that require too much access.
A big fact you always want to take a look at is the speed of a VPN service. In our speed test, we used the USA server (since there are only 4 options). In this case, our normal speed was 46.1 Mbps. When we tested our speed with FlashVPN, we got a rate of 21.7 Mbps. That is approximately a 53% reduction in speed. With a paid service, you can typically expect up to a 25% loss. That is another reason to be wary of this one.
VPN companies have made it extremely easy to download and use their products. FlashVPN is no different. Since there is not much to the app, connecting to this VPN is easy to do.
- Find FlashVPN in the Google Play Store and click Install.
- Accept the permissions and say Allow to the VPN connection.
- When loaded, click on the Continue button.
- From that point, you will find the Server Locations section that we showed earlier by clicking on the vertical column of 3 dots in the upper right-hand corner.
Benefits of Using a VPN
In recent times, mobile traffic is beginning to overtake desktop traffic. Because of that, using WiFi is crucial instead of using a standard data plan. Because of the levels of saturation in the world, more and more businesses are offering free WiFi to their customers. While it is great for both parties, you can bet that cybercriminals love that as well. When you connect to one of the 4 locations listed above, you create a secure and encrypted connection. When you do, you greatly reduce the risk of criminals stealing your sensitive data. Then again you also have to trust the company behind the VPN. Given the permissions required to use the app we would warn against it.
If you want to get around geo-blocks, using a VPN is a must. That is because businesses, governments, and even media companies stop users from viewing restricted content inside and outside of the targeted area. When you connect to a FlashVPN, you will make the establishment believe you are in one of the 4 locations they offer. Simply connect to a server and you can start browsing or viewing the content you want to access. If you are still having blocking issues, you will want to make sure WebRTC is disabled in your browser. That is harder if you are using different browsers on Android. You may want to use Firefox and download a WebRTC blocking extension to allow it to work correctly. Otherwise, whatever you are trying to unblock will still see your original IP address. That defeats the purpose of using a VPN to begin with.
Does FlashVPN Leak?
One issue that many of the free VPN services have is DNS leaks. If your service is leaking, that is a big problem. Because VPNs work by masking the IP address, leaks can reveal your true IP address. In testing FlashVPN for this flaw, we’ll use the standard test from www.dnsleaktest.com. As you see in the image below, FlashVPN has some leaks. These leaks defeat the purpose of using a VPN in the first place.
Should I use FlashVPN?
The answer to this question depends on what you are trying to do. If you want to try to get around geo-restrictions, FlashVPN may do the job. Of course, as we mentioned earlier, FlashVPN is slower than other services. That said, if you have DNS leaks or the blocking software sees your true location, you may have some issues. The service allows only one connection so it is not a solution if you have multiple devices. You also want to keep in mind that FlashVPN does not allow P2P/file sharing. For those that want to protect their privacy, you’ll want to use a paid service instead. That way, you can make sure it does not leak.
Final Thoughts on FlashVPN
To conclude this review, FlashVPN is very popular and has more than 5 million downloads. We found several issues with the service including DNS leaks, mediocre speeds, lack of server locations, and a general lack of transparency. Not to mention the level of access the app requires on your Android device. Do you really want to share your photos and call information to use a VPN? It may work ok if you are trying to get around geo-blocks but not much else. Those issues stop us from suggesting FlashVPN as an option to use. Take a look at our best VPNs for Android list for some much better options.