In this post, I have rounded up the best free VPN services and apps out there.
We’ve tested and retested dozens of them and assessed their ability to keep your online activity safe and anonymous without you having to spend a cent.
Everybody likes a freebie, so it makes sense that free VPNs have become so popular over the last few years.
If your only need for a VPN is to keep you encrypted when using public Wi-Fi and streaming a little overseas television, then You are on the right page
On this page, you’ll find our pick of the best free VPN options available to download today.
It’s gonna be a jolly-good fun trip, dear reader.
So…just relax and scroll all the way down to the very last word.
The question here will be -‘Is it really possible to get a good and completely free VPN that does the job you need?’ The answer is….sort of.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a free VPN for casual use you will find something that meets your needs just so long as you are happy with the limitations that free VPNs usually come with.
Here is what we will be covering.
- Free VPN services – are they safe?
- 7 best free VPN services
- How to set up a free VPN
- How free VPN works
- VPN and Privacy
- Hidden Truth about a Free VPN
1. Free VPN services – are they safe?
It’s natural that we love free stuff. However, any free service has a hidden monetizing angle, and free VPN services are no different. Since running a VPN has costs.
But not all free VPN services are risky to use. A few are operated by reputable companies.
Though they can’t match the service offered by paid VPNs, using a free VPN service is better than using none however, you should remember to take the following into consideration:
Ask yourself why you need the VPN service. If you’re looking to unblock websites, then, a free VPN service is okay, but if you’re concerned about your security and privacy, you’d better upgrade to their paid service or subscribe to a high quality paid VPN service.
7 best free VPN services
Hotspot Shield Free VPN-The best free VPN you can get right now
Number of servers: 3,200+ | Server locations: 70+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
Hotspot Shield’s Key Features
- 500 MB of free data every 24 hour period, which means 15 GB per month
- Simple, user-friendly interface makes it easy to get started
- Military-grade encryption protects your internet activity
- Stable connections ensure lag-free browsing
- Works with: YouTube and Spotify
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome
- Set up can be difficult
Hotspot Shield has 3,200+ servers in 70+ countries, the free version only gives you access to the US virtual location.
Hotspot Shield Free VPN is the best free VPN for many reasons such as it offers reliable connections and military-grade encryption.
My tests didn’t reveal any DNS leaks, which means it effectively masks your IP address to protect your privacy online.
Hotspot Shield has a no-logs policy to protect your anonymity, and offers dedicated tech support. It also offers P2P support for both free and premium users.
It has the ability to use up to five devices on the service at once with a daily data serving of 500MB, aka 15GB per month.
Once installed, Hotspot Shield Free VPN is really simple to use and just works, exactly what you want with a free service and that applies to desktop and mobile app use.
The only downsides are that you’ll have ads, are limited to automatic server location selections and need to go through a seven-day free trial of the premium version which requires your credit-card details, though it won’t be charged.
And because the parent company is based in the U.S., it can’t turn away the FBI if it comes a-knockin’, although a 2017 transparency report says the company had never given law enforcement anything. Also, you can’t use the free version for streaming.
That said, Hotspot Shield can also help you escape government censorship and bypass content filters at school or work so you can access your favorite websites and social media apps from anywhere.
If you’re new to the world of Virtual Private Networks or are just perfectly content that a free VPN is enough for your purposes, then downloading and installing Hotspot Shield without charge is really easy to do.
Want to try Hotspot Shield Free? You can download it here
TunnelBear – incredibly simple to use
Number of servers: 1,000 | Server locations: 20+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
TunnelBear’s Key Features.
- 500 MB of free data every month
- Servers in 22+ countries
- No-logging guaranteed
- Works with: YouTube, Spotify
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
- Totally user-friendly
- Excellent security guarantees
The company behind TunnelBear is none other than security software giant McAfee, meaning you get a whole lot of development behind this service without paying a penny.
TunnelBear is independently audited, uses AES 256-bit encryption, and guarantees no data logging.
This means your data will never be stored and your identity will always stay private.
This VPN can unblock most geo-restricted websites and bypass pesky content filters without a hassle, but it doesn’t work with Netflix or other streaming services.
There are free and paid-for subscriptions to choose from. The only restriction with the free plan is that you are limited to 500MB of traffic each month.
This isn’t a huge amount, This is enough to stream for about 30 minutes, but you won’t be able to download large files or watch any movies.
Hence, you won’t be able to use TunnelBear all of the time without paying, but it’s great for those times when you feel like you need a little extra protection and want to go down the VPN free route.
If you’re new to VPNs, TunnelBear’s free version is a great way to get started. It has a user-friendly interface that comes complete with animated grizzly bears.
Unlike most free VPNs that limit you to a handful of servers, TunnelBear allows free users to connect to many countries and enjoy decent connection speeds.
Windscribe -Generous on data and secure too
Number of servers: 400+ | Server locations: 110+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: Unlimited
Windscribe’s Key Features
- 10 GB of free data every month
- Access blocked content in 10 countries
- Robust encryption, malware protection, and ad blocking
- Torrenting support
- Works with: Netflix, Hulu, HBO
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Firefox, Chrome, Linux
- Excellent privacy
- Limited servers
Windscribe is a relative newcomer to the free VPN scene, but its generous data allowance and commitment to protecting your privacy make it the best around if you need more data than the 500MB free tier with TunnelBear.
Windscribe doesn’t store connection logs, IP stamps, or visited sites; when you’re actively connected to a server it stores your username, the VPN server you’re connected to and the amount of data transferred, but this is erased within three minutes of the session ending.
Windscribe’s generous data allowance makes it one of my top free VPNs. It offers a whopping 10GB per month of free VPN use if you provide your email address when signing up, and perhaps an extra 5GB if you tweet about it. (Otherwise, you’re limited to 2GB per month.)
You can even invite a friend to join and get another free 1G and if that friend signs up for the Pro subscription you get unlimited data and access to 47 servers all for free.
The free services also includes access to a choice of eight server locations, a built-in ad blocker and firewall, no-logs storage for security, and the option to use just a username and password to sign-up.
Discretion is a keyword for Windscribe.
Its downside is that a free Windscribe account restricts you to servers in only the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, and Switzerland. A limited selection of servers means you can’t use Windscribe to unblock content from outside these regions.
Speedify- Top Gun’ of free VPNs, satisfying your need for speed.
Number of servers: 200+ | Server locations: 50+ | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 1
Speedify’s Key Features
- 2 GB of free data every month
- 200+ servers in 50+ locations worldwide
- Fast and reliable connections with Channel Bonding technology
- ChaCha encryption cipher combines security and speed
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux
- Software has few low-level controls
- No joy with Netflix
- US company
This is a U.S.-based company, meaning it’s subject to federal search warrants, so be warned. As its name suggests, Speedify was designed using VPN protocols that improve your connection speed.
Its Channel Bonding technology routes your traffic over two separate internet connections at once.
This increases your connection speed slightly, but it also uses twice as much WiFi and cellular data.
The free plan boasts full access to those servers (just as with the subscription options), the only restriction of the free offering being that you’re limited in the amount of data you can download.
Free users get 5GB of data each month, but that drops to 1GB during subsequent months.
That’s not a huge allowance, and certainly not as much as some other rivals you’ll see elsewhere on this page, but it’s more than some, and still enough for covering some basic surfing and email duties.
And this VPN provider is definitely worth a look on the performance front, as it passed all my DNS leak detection tests.
This means it effectively masks your IP address to protect your privacy and help you access censored and geo-restricted content online.
Your online activity stays safe and anonymous with Speedify’s unique ChaCha encryption cipher and strict no-logs policy.
Speedify’s Amsterdam server is optimized for BitTorrent and P2P activity. 2 GB of free data per month is plenty if you want secure VPN protection while you quickly check your email or update your FB feed, but it isn’t enough for streaming or torrenting.
Like most free VPNs, Speedify encourages you to upgrade to a premium account.
However, the vendor is committed to keeping the free version ad-free. This is great for your security because it means that Speedify doesn’t have to share any of your information with third-party advertisers or Google ads.
ProtonVPN – The best data offering out there for a free VPN
Number of servers: 628 | Server locations: 44 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
ProtonVPN’s Key Features
- Unlimited free data
- No-log policy and Swiss privacy laws to protect your anonymity
- Robust encryption and an automatic kill switch
- Works with: YouTube, Spotify, Kodi
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux
- Single device limit
- Minimal server locations
ProtonVPN features an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and multi-platform compatibility. The Quick Connect feature connects you to the fastest nearby server.
The VPN also offers strong security, including powerful AES encryption and an automatic kill switch. Other features include DNS leak protection and split tunneling support.
The limitations, which may prompt you to upgrade, are access to just one device at a time, no P2P support, only three locations and lower speed prioritisation compared to paid users.
On the plus side, there’s no logging in, making it very private, and there aren’t even ads you have to put up with.
This works on a wide range of platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
The company is based in Switzerland, outside the jurisdiction of the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance, which is great for privacy.
ProtonVPN offers a limited free version of its strong premium service. So, if you want a free VPN and don’t want to be limited on data, then ProtonVPN’s free VPN is perfect for you.
The unlimited data allowance makes this ideal for watching sports and shows that are geo-blocked.
However, Its servers are often overloaded and your connection speed could be slow.
You will need to upgrade to a paid plan to stream or torrent with ProtonVPN, but you can still use the free virtual locations to bypass censorship and access geo-blocked social media platforms and messaging apps.
Hide.me-You’re on a hiding to something with this privacy-conscious VPN
Number of servers: 1,500+ | Server locations: 60 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 5
hide.me’s Key Features
- 2 GB of free data per month
- Free servers in 5 countries
- Strong encryption and multiple available protocols
- No adverts or speed throttling
- Limited to one device
- Only three locations
- Good connection speeds for quick loading and browsing
- Works with: Hulu, iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome Firefox, Amazon Fire TV, routers.
Hide.me offers both paid and free VPN providers, with the latter giving you 2GB of data per month to play with plus all the benefits of hide.me’s user-friendly dedicated apps and tough security.
This VPN’s strong AES encryption, automatic kill switch, and strict no-log policy will make sure your browsing remains both private and secure.
There are limits too: you can only connect a maximum of one device, and are limited to three server locations (Singapore, Canada, and Netherlands) rather than the 30 locations paying subscribers get.
On the plus side, however, this provider won’t throttle the connection speed of free users, and Hide.me further promises that it keeps no logs and stores no user data, so won’t pass on any data to third-parties in order to try and make a profit (simply because it doesn’t have any data to pass on). There are no adverts here, either.
Other features include IP leak protection and support for split tunneling. You’ll also have 24/7 access to technical support and ad-free browsing.
You can use this VPN to get around content filters at your workplace or school, and even bypass tough government censorship.
Unfortunately, hide.me won’t give you access to Netflix. However, it supports torrenting for both free and paid users.
PrivateTunnel- A free VPN that’ll keep your data and identity safe on any PC or mobile device
Number of servers: 50 | Server locations: 23 | IP addresses: N/A | Maximum devices supported: 3
Features of Private Tunnel
- Wide range of clients
- Simple to use
- Limited choice of locations
- Inconsistent performance at times
Like some of the other free VPN providers featured in this roundup, PrivateTunnel is available for a number of platforms – specifically Windows PC, Mac, Android and iOS.
Another characteristic shared with many of its contemporaries is the existence of a limited, free package in addition to paid-for subscriptions.
Well, sort of. Rather than offering a traditional monthly subscription package, you are instead provided with 200MB of non-expiring data to use as you want.
When this runs out, you can purchase more data in bundles of 20GB or 100GB.
If you feel that you’d like to use PrivateTunnel all the time, you can opt for a $30 per year package which gives you unlimited data to see the 200MB as something of a taster session to see if you like everything.
As a VPN, PrivateTunnel works fairly well, although connections can be a little temperamental at times.
It’s all very easy to use, so there’s little reason not to take it for a test drive.
The best of these services are good for only occasional use, such as when traveling or in a café.
They simply don’t provide enough data usage or speed for 24/7 home VPN connections.
If you want to encrypt all your home internet traffic, all the time, you should pay for one of the best VPN services.
3. How to set up a free VPN
- Go to the website of your desired VPN and click through
- Subscribe and download the VPN client for your particular platform
- Install the VPN on your device
- Run the app and select your preferred protocol
- Choose the server location that you would like to connect from
- Done! You just spoofed your location.
4. How free VPNs work
Free VPN services encrypt your data while it’s in transit, creating a virtual tunnel through the internet that separates your data packets from the bazillions around them until they reach the service’s exit nodes many miles away from where you are.
Not only is the data encrypted, as it would be during a normal secure web session, but the routing information about the sender and intended recipient is hidden as well.
Today, the most popular VPN protocols are OpenVPN and various implementations of Internet Protocol Security (IPsec), which include IPsec by itself or in combination with Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) or Internet Key Exchange versions 1 and 2 (IKEv1 and IKEv2).
Some VPN protocols, including OpenVPN, use the Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) protocols, which are also the standards to encrypt non-VPN connections between your web browser and secure websites (those that begin with HTTPS).
A VPN’s scrambling and unscrambling of your data can sometimes slow internet traffic to a crawl.
The best free VPN service providers have fast servers connected to huge data pipes to minimize this performance decline.
They also have thousands of servers located in scores of countries.
5. VPN and Privacy
If a VPN service is based in the United States, it will be subject to search warrants presented by U.S. law-enforcement agencies.
All free VPN services log user connections, no matter what the service claims.
Many of the services we review here are based in Canada, Switzerland or Germany, which have stronger privacy laws.
But one of the Canadian services, TunnelBear, was recently bought by a U.S. company and will have to honor U.S. warrants and subpoenas under a new U.S. law.
6. Hidden Truth about a Free VPN
It’s important to note, however, that a completely free VPN service often comes with a hidden price.
If it isn’t getting money from you, then it’s getting funds from someone else sometimes by selling your browsing history, borrowing your bandwidth or injecting ads into the sites you visit.
That’s why we generally recommend paying to upgrade to the best VPNs services that have full plans without any hidden costs and, crucially, no limits on use especially when you can pay as little as $3 a month and upgrade to a much better service.
This brings us to the end of this post. I hope you enjoyed reading it….
…. It’s your turn to give me feedback…
What do you think about these VPNs for free?
Do you think they are awesome? Or
……maybe you have a question.
Either way, let me know in the comment section right away.