Yoga VPN Review 2019
Yoga VPN has managed to amass over 5 million users in its short time of joining the privacy tools marketplace. It is a free VPN service that is touted as the “best” by many users on the Google Play Store, but my analysis reveals quite a dark side about the VPN.
Their apps are not safe at all and use nefarious practices for earning money, which includes selling your data to third-party services and utilizing an ad-based model (which again puts your information at further risk of logging from unsafe services).
For more information about Yoga VPN, read this all-inclusive review containing critiques about its security, transparency, pricing, servers, performance, compatibility, and support.
The first and most alarming fact about Yoga VPN is that nobody knows where the provider has its headquarters. They have no official website available, only a Facebook page that is ambiguous to the core. For the most part, the service has an inactive presence online.
Yet, it gets quite a huge number of sign-ups, earning a 4.7 rating on Google Play Store and 4.8 starts on iTunes (out of which most reviews look phony). Digging a little deeper into the provider, I came across interesting research conducted by ZDNet.
It states that about 60% of top free mobile apps on the Apple and Google Play Store are from developers based in China or with Chinese ownership. 17 out of the 30 apps analyzed (appearing on both stores) had formal links to China, which is quite alarming to say the least.
If you look at the listing above, you will notice Yoga VPN is among the included names. My only advice is that you should run away from the service as fast as possible. The Chinese Government is renowned for its laws about data retention and Mass Surveillance.
We do not collect Personal Information that identifies you or another person, such as your first name and last name, physical addresses, email addresses, telephone, fax, SSN, information stored within your device.
As you can see, the first state they do not record any personal information, but then go on stating “We may collect your information when you communicate with us or you give us”.
There are no details on what information is stored/recorded, which gives us another reason to tell you: do not trust this free VPN fraud. It may work smooth, but is shady to the core!
IP/WebRTC/DNS Leak Testing
I connected to many different servers and the results I received were quite similar to the screenshots you see below with the Germany IP address.
Yes, the VPN does manage to hide my IPv4 address and WebRTC, but the alarming part is the identification of over 70+ DNS server addresses.
Any website receiving so many DNS requests from various locations will blacklist you from visiting. Not to mention, the DNS shows two different locations.
One being Germany and the other Netherlands, which makes sense considering the ping times for this server was below the 8.000ms ratio for both locations.
This again confirms my theory that the provider does not have its own servers, but in fact purchases them from a US-based firm called Linode.
The uncertainty of Yoga VPN is such that it has two different developers for both their iTunes and Google Play Store, both of which have two separate VPN apps.
As such, it is impossible to determine who exactly operates Yoga VPN, but I have still approached both developers to gain more information about the provider.
I am still awaiting a response from them, along with answers to some invasive questions I asked their support team at yogavpn.feedback[@]gmail.com
- Where is your company headquarters? Could we get an address?
- Do you publish Transparency Reports/Warrant Canaries?
- If yes, how often? A link to a URL or PDF file would be helpful!
- Have your claims been audited by an independent third-party security firm?
- Why have you not been audited yet? Any reasons?
- Could we get some info on the owners behind the company?
- Do you guys have any investors and is the information available publically for users?
- Who are the Board of Directors of your company?
If you have gone through any of its app pages on either the Play Store or the iTunes store, you must know by now that it is a free VPN, so why a pricing review then?
Well, Yoga VPN is definitely free, but you do need “Points” for unblocking specific features. These points are divided into three different Tiers for activating complete listing of servers.
This is the first I am seeing such a system. To get points, you have several options. The first is to Watch a video, which will give you anywhere between 10 to 1000 points.
The second is to check-in, which gives you +200 to 1000 points. The third is to invite more friends, giving you over 9000 points and the fourth to enter a code, which again gives you 4000 points.
Yoga VPN says that it offers 500 “Proxy Servers” in 30 different regions. To access these servers, you need to get points using the methods mentioned above.
Depending on the points you have, you can gain access to servers on three different levels. Tier 1 only offers you five servers in five different countries.
Tier 2 ups that to 15 total servers, which adds some regional choices for users too (such as East Coast US and West Coast US).
Tier 3 further increases the listing to 30 distinct servers, with names that include specific city locations (such as France – Paris or US – Miami).
These 3 levels of servers along with the points you need to unblock them on a daily basis are mentioned below. Bear in mind these amounts keep varying.
- Basic: 500 Points/Day
- More Stable: 1800 Points/Day
- Worldwide & Stablest: 5000 Points/Day
The provider does not outline what kind of encryption or protocol it uses or it offers. Without these two features, there cannot be a VPN in the first place.
Even the lousiest of VPNs mention these two things, but Yoga VPN is silent about them. It does say that it encrypts your data but there is nothing further following that.
If I talk about speed specifically, the provider is worse than any free service tested before. This could be owed to its large user-base and lack of servers availability.
Nobody would like wasting time watching ads or clicking stuff to get points in order to access the tier 3 servers offered from the provider.
Everyone knows that ads themselves log data about users and that in itself is a risky proposition when you choose to download and install Yoga VPN.
The VPN tests conducted via the Oakla Speedtest Tool on multiple servers delivering an average download speed of 15Mbps and upload of 10Mbps on my 4G network!
Virtual Location Testing
To give users a better idea about the deceiving service that is Yoga VPN, I conducted a test on their servers. This was to judge whether or not the providers’ servers are based in the location advertised.
I connected to a server in Germany, which gave me the IP address: 188.8.131.52. I posted this address into the CA App Synthetic Monitor ping test.
The tool pings the server to over 90 locations around the world. As you can see, the round-trip-time is quite high for other locations, but in Germany – Frankfurt, the ms is as low as 1.080 ms.
However, when I checked the location Netherlands – Amsterdam, it was touching the same 8.000+ ms, just like the Germany – Berlin server, indicating server routing. So I performed a traceroute.
If you see the results above, you can see the ping times are quite short when conducting a traceroute from Frankfurt, but I received similar results on Netherlands – Amsterdam again.
After digging further and copying the end-point IP address into the Hurricane Electric BGP Toolkit, I discovered that their servers are actually purchased from https://www.linode.com
This gives all of us a clear picture that Yoga VPN cannot be trusted. They have traces in China and then servers purchased from US, a member of the Five Eyes Jurisdiction. Not safe one bit!
P2P/Torrenting and Netflix
Yoga VPN does not allow Torrenting and neither does it say that you can unblock any major streaming site through it, which is all right since free services do not have the resources to offer these functionalities.
My research into its servers further explains why they do not support torrenting or unblocking of VoDs like Netflix. The VPN is not equipped enough and suffers from DNS leakages!
YogaVPN does not offer a lot of compatibilities. It supports only two platforms: iOS and Android, created by third-party developers, LANPIPER PTE.LTD (on iTunes) and Sarah Hawken (on Google Play Store).
Does this mean there is no Yoga VPN for Windows or Yoga on Firestick? Unfortunately, since the provider does not even have an official website, it is foolish to expect multi-platform support.
I am sure users can find plenty of choices with way better device compatibility. If running the VPN is still very important, you can load the Yoga VPN apk file via Bluestacks on Mac or Windows.
The Bluestacks App Player is an Android emulator that sets up the Google Play Store on your Gmail account for a phony device provided by the software to load/install .apk files!
Since Yoga VPN does not have an official website, there are not many options available for receiving support. The closest thing to any online presence Yoga VPN has is a Facebook page.
Sadly though, the provider has been incredibly inactive. Going through the posts, I can only see Yoga VPN being active back in 2017 with minimal activity in 2018 and 2019.
I still decided to message them on Facebook and ask them whether or not they have any plans of creating an official website for their product.
I received a auto-generated response, which urged me to contact inside the app or via email. I have done both, but still, have not received a reply.
Is Yoga banned in Russia?
I would have loved that the provider answers themselves but unfortunately, their support sucks. What I can tell you currently about the situation in Russia is that things are not good!
The Government, similar to that of China, wants greater control of the digital world. It only supports accredited VPN services that agree to share logs with agencies.
As such, all providers not cooperating with the country are going to suffer from a permanent ban on VPN apps for both: iTunes and Google Play Store, including Yoga VPN.
Would I recommend Yoga VPN?
Hmm. No precise information about jurisdiction, DNS leak issues, usage of virtual locations, no official website, lack of high-performing servers, and a tricky points systems, you get the gist, right?
The provider is probably among the worse in the free segment, and a high-user base does not change the fact that the VPN is highly ambiguous in all its practices, delivering poor security and performance.
My advice would be to run the opposite direction as fast as you can and not trust Yoga VPN until they choose to be more transparent to their customers and prospects.