Almost all free VPNs come with a catch. Some may offer extremely limited resources to try to encourage you to move on to their paid plans. The most dangerous, however, are those who make you believe you’re getting something for nothing.
Still, decent free VPN services do exist and still cost you nothing. The thing about this is that they typically limit your services. If you want more, you’ll have to upgrade. If you can live with those limitations then let’s look at some of the best free VPN provider offerings.
ProtonVPN seems to be the best free VPN due to its no data limitation and strong security features. Hailing from Switzerland, it has an enticing combination of user-friendly applications and top-notch encryption.
The free version has no data or speed limits but you only get access to servers in three locations. This severely restricts some benefits while still protecting you like a VPN should. It works on Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and even certain routers.
If you’re a fan of Netflix, you may find using free ProtonVPN cumbersome and frustrating as Netflix is not guaranteed to always work due to the limited number of free VPN servers. ProtonVPN is definitely an excellent choice especially with its strictly no logging policy and more importantly – no Ads at all.
Acquired by McAfee, this is another good option for a free VPN. The user interface is simple, clear and easy to use. Security and encryption are top notch and it has no speed caps. The awesome thing about TunnelBear is that its free version allows you to access all of its available global servers.
Everything worked fine when tested against several online streaming services, including BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Hulu with TunnelBear. Unfortunately, Netflix didn’t seem to work. The biggest disadvantage is the 500MB data limit/month. This is not enough for most everyday use.
TunnelBear is available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS, but you can only use an account on a single device at a time. If you’re not a frequent VPN user, TunnelBear could be a decent choice for you.
Being one of the more upright free VPNs, Windscribe deploys high security measures and benefits from the fact that no safety or privacy incidents have been reported so far. User-friendly and easy to install, Windscribe works on all major operating systems – Android, Mac, and Windows.
For free users, Windscribe provides 10 servers in different countries around the world. The servers are very fast and efficient plus you can connect with as many devices as you want. Free accounts get 10GB of data per month.
Interestingly, Windscribe allows torrenting on the free plan. On the downside, it could not work with Netflix. With a built-in ad blocker and firewall, Windscribe is a serious free VPN contender.
Hide.me is another notable name on the free VPN landscape. The gratis account gives you access to five server locations instead of the 50+ available to those on the paid plan. It is a zero-logs VPN with no Ads.
You also get access to 24/7 customer support and 2GB data per month. Free users can also download torrents although with 2GB of data, that isn’t a very realistic thing to do. Do also note that free accounts can only handle single-device connections.
This provider will not throttle the connection speed of free users. Unfortunately, Netflix could not work with the free version of Hide.me but they do support a variety of platforms including Windows, iOS, Mac OS, and Android.
5. Hotspot Shield Free
Some experts believe that Hotspot Shield Free is one of the better-known free VPN options. It gives free users around 15GB of data per month, which is pretty generous. If you’re a stickler for security, this should be right up your alley as it claims to offer military-grade encryption.
This is especially useful especially if you do a lot of banking and shopping online. Many have praised its user-friendly interface which makes it simple to use be it on desktop or mobile. The disadvantage of the free version is that you’re limited to one US-based location only and you’ll have to put up with Ads if you’re on Android.
As the name suggests, Speedify, not only provides you with security and encryption but focuses on ensuring your internet connection remains as speedy as possible. This is achieved through using all available internet connections to get the optimum performance.
That may sound strange but it’s true. Speedify can actually allow you to combine an Ethernet connection with a tethered mobile connection. Even if you only connect one way, they claim to speed things up via a turbocharging technology.
Free users have full access to their servers but are limited to 2GB of data per month. This is quite little but can help cover some basic surfing and email duties. If you are an avid streamer, this free option would not sit well with you.
Warning: Free VPNs are Not Safe
In general, you would be correct if you’re wary of some ‘free’ products and services – especially security and privacy products like VPNs. Sometimes the price you pay isn’t readily apparent. The reason why is simply that VPNs are expensive services to run.
From the cost of development to hardware and infrastructure, it can cost a lot to run a VPN service. This cost has to be recouped somehow and typically, it’s by selling ads. The problem is that ads often contain tracking information – going against the principles of privacy.
The most dangerous are the free VPNs that sell your data. This is the worst kind of situation to be in and while you’re depending on it to protect your privacy, it’s actually doing the reverse.
Even with these restrictions or risks that Free VPN service providers may pose, they can be useful in some situations. Of course, not the ones that actually risk your data.
On the whole, free VPNs are great when you need to use them occasionally. For example, if you need to quickly access a blocked website once in a while – just use a free VPN. Heavier activities like streaming movies or lots of downloading won’t typically sit well on free VPN services.
Just as with paid VPN plans, free VPN services don’t come in ‘one size fits all’. At least you can be relatively sure that the free providers we’ve recommended here won’t be stealing and selling your data.