- ProtonVPN Free – unlimited data, 3 countries, no ads
- TunnelBear – 500mb free
- Betternet – no data limits, 10 countries, ads
- Hotspot Shield – 500mb per day, 1 country, ads
- Windscribe – 10gb per month, 10 countries, no ads
- Opera VPN – unlimited data, 3 locations, no ads
The Best Free VPN
This free VPN review will cover some of the best and safest free options available.
Most of the best VPNs require a monthly fee to use, but some offer protection for free. These free plans can have some limitations, but you can still use them to gain privacy and security online, especially for important things.
The Danger of most Free VPNs
Whenever you hear the word free on the internet, your spidey-sense should start to tingle. There is very seldom a free lunch, and many free services online find ways to make money from their service. Free VPNs are no different.
There have been news reports of free VPN services that track your data and sell it to third parties. They do precisely the opposite of what a VPN is supposed to do. You want to make sure your data isn’t being used against you, and some free VPNs take all of it and give it to any third parties they want. So it’s best to do your research before you install a free VPN from the web, Google Play or App Store.
There are safe, free VPNs, but you have to make sure you are using the right ones. Customer reviews are useful to get an overview of a VPN, but sometimes users don’t know what’s happening on the back end. There are even customer reviews done by the company so they can’t always be trusted.
Pros & Cons of Free VPNs
The top free VPN can offer you a lot of useful features that can help keep you safer online and enhance your privacy. Even with all of their outstanding features and options, there are some disadvantages to truly free VPNs.
- They Are Free
- They Protect Your Data
- Privacy Protection
- Gain Access to Out of Region Media
- Avoid Third-Party Restrictions
- Data and Bandwidth Restrictions
- Limited Services
- Number of Server locations
What Makes a Good Free VPN
When looking for a VPN, you have to know what features, benefits, and restrictions to expect. Good free VPN for you will depend on what you want to do with it.
Are you on vacation and need a VPN for one day to watch your favorite team play an important game? If so, you will want a service that offers a lot of data in a day. Do you need to send a very private message? Privacy is more important for that activity. Your specific needs will often dictate what VPN is the best.
You may have to pick and choose features with a free VPN. There are some key features you will want to consider before you download and use a VPN.
Security & Privacy
One of the top reasons to get a VPN is added security and privacy. You will need to look at the VPN and make sure that it has the features that keep you safe on the internet. These features will include what protocols the VPN uses, what encryptions, and if the company logs all your movement.
Most free services have some kind of log to know how much data you are using. The logs mean that they have some information on you. You will need to find out how much they store and how tied together it is.
Some VPNs log data and time but don’t log sites and apps used. Others log all that information but keep them stored separately, so they can’t put it all together. Others log it all together and know everything about your internet use on a VPN.
User Data Safety
Everything you do online can be tracked. A VPN could work exactly like an IPS if they are not honest. They can collect and sell your data to third parties who may want to do something with that information. This sold data can be as limited as targeted ads, or it can be as dangerous as identity theft.
Also, you want to ensure that the company does an excellent job securing the data you do give them. This data includes your name, email, or login information for their VPN. Companies that lost that information easily would not be helpful.
First and foremost, the best free VPN has to be safe. Good VPNs don’t track your data or your website and app usage. More importantly, they don’t sell any information about you. VPN companies should help you protect your data, not give it away or lose it.
Data and Bandwidth Limits
Almost all the free VPNs limit your data and bandwidth use. These limits can be very hard for anyone who wants to use a free VPN to stream location restricted media. If you will be somewhere for a long time and want to gain access to your home shows, free services will be hard to use.
You want to make sure that your free VPN gives you enough data and bandwidth to do what you need to do. For the most part, the more bandwidth and data, the better. You may be willing to give up some data for added features like security and locations, depending on what you are doing.
Number of Servers and Locations
Being able to access more places can be very helpful for a VPN. More servers will help increase connection speeds and make it easier for you to log on to the VPN, even during peak business hours.
If you want to stream specific shows, make sure that your free VPN will allow you to use servers in the places you want to access media. If you can’t get on a server from that location, you won’t be able to use media from those regions.
Many free VPNs pay for their service with ads. It makes a lot of sense, but these ads can be annoying at best. If they are targeted ads, it shows that the VPN is collecting some data from you. It may not be a huge problem, but it can be a violation.
Some companies have free VPN, no ads. These are the ones that are going to be least likely to gather any of your data. They also don’t interrupt your internet usage with ads every ten minutes, which can become very obnoxious.
Best Free VPNs
Here is a list of the best free VPN services you can use. There will be information about what they do best, what they do worst, and what you can expect when you are using them. It will also list their limitations and restrictions so you can find the free service that will work best for you. Free VPN ratings depend on what you need them to do.
ProtonVPN believes that online privacy is a right of every person. To help make sure that everyone can gain this right, they offer a very comprehensive 100% free VPN plan. ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland and uses Swiss laws. These are some of the most privacy-friendly laws out there.
With ProtonVPN Free, you gain access to servers in three different countries, Netherlands, America, and Japan. The system is entirely no log, and it can achieve this because there are no data or speed restrictions. ProtonVPN is the best free VPN with unlimited data. You can connect one device at a time, but there are no ads with this service. It works for macOS, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux.
The free plan doesn’t work with torrenting, and it has been blocked by some of the more aggressive streaming services. ProtonVPN states you can’t stream, but many users find that they can. Overall it is a safe and reliable service that works great, especially for free.
Hotspot Shield is a VPN that is based out of the USA. The privacy laws in the USA are fair but not as comprehensive as some other countries. The free VPN offers users only one location for servers in the US.
The service limits your connection speed to 2 Mbps, and you have a 500 MB daily data limit. This restriction gives you almost 15 GBs a month. These limits are not the worst, but they are also not the highest speed or data. When using the free VPN, you gain access to military-grade encryption and the Hydra protocol, one of the fastest VPN protocols to use.
Hotspot Shield does have ads with its free service. It is also not fully log-less because it has to track how much data you use in a day. Some users also complain that the ads seem to be targeted, which raises the question of how private the service is.
If you want to stream or participate in P2P, the data restrictions on Hotspot Shield VPN will limit that, but this VPN could help you out for security or getting around third party restrictions. It works on macOS, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux.
Windscribe is a VPN service located in Canada. Canada has decent privacy laws, but they are not as good as other, more privacy-friendly countries. The service gives you 10 locations to connect to servers. These are in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Romania, and The UK.
Windscribe limits users to 10 GB of data a month. Windscribe does keep some logs about times logged in and data used, but they don’t tie this to your web activity. The free VPN allows streaming and P2P use, but with only 10 GB a month to use, these features are relatively limited.
For a free VPN, Windscribe offers a lot of cool features and benefits. They have good encryption, decent speeds, and they don’t use ads to pay for the service. It is a good option, but users will have to watch out for data restrictions. Windscribe works with macOS, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux.
Tunnelbear is a Canadian VPN and offers privacy laws from that location. Canada has ok privacy laws, but they are not the best. Tunnelbear doesn’t mention limits on where you can log on to the free plan so you may gain access to all 26 of Tunnelbear’s countries.
The biggest limitation of a free Tunnelbear service is that you only get 500 MBs of free secure use a month. This data is extremely limited. The restriction makes it almost useless for streaming and P2P programs. On the bright side, the free service doesn’t have ads. Tunnelbear has apps for macOS, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux.
Tunnelbear’s encryption is good and you can use this to do secure browsing and messaging. Logs are kept so that they can track your data use for the limit. Overall the free system is just too limited for extensive use. It can be used for some browsing or some email, but not much more.
HideMe is a free VPN whose headquarters are in Malaysia. Malaysia has some of the best privacy laws available. These laws mean that HideMe is one of the more private options for free VPNs. They have to keep some logs on the free service because users are limited to 10 GB a month.
Using the free service, you can access five different locations. You can logon in Germany, Canada, The Netherlands, and the East and West coast US. The free service does support streaming or P2P programs, but they are limited. What you do get with the free option are encryption and privacy.
HideMe is a good option for people who want to keep their information private. It is well regarded for its extra security and privacy. It is not the best option for streaming and torrenting, but its data limit is not overly restrictive. It works on macOS, iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry, and Linux.
Opera offers a free VPN with unlimited data built right into their web browser. The company operates out of Norway, which has solid privacy laws. The free VPN offers unlimited data, so you don’t have to worry about how much you are browsing.
This service is easy to use, and it is built right into the browser if you use Opera, so you don’t have to download or install anything else. It is easy to activate and can help protect your information right away. Opera works on macOS, iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux.
Opera VPN offers you five locations to choose from when logging on. These locations are The US, Germany, Canada, Singapore, and The Netherlands. The speed can get really slow, especially during peak hours.
One of the most significant drawbacks of this VPN is that it only works on the browser. So if you access the web with Opera, you are covered. If, however, you use an app or other service, your data and information are not protected. This limitation can cause problems, especially if you often use apps to do things online.
Free Trials & Money Back Guarantees
Many VPNs offer free trials and money-back guarantees. Free trials don’t take any money from you at the point of sign up, and you are charged after that time. Free trials can last anywhere from a week to a whole month. Money-back guarantees charge you at the point of sale, but you can get all your money back if you are unhappy in that time frame. The time frame can start at seven days and go up from there.
If the VPN offers a free trial, there are two kinds, a free VPN no credit card option, where you can download the VPN and use it for a specific time. If you want to continue to use it at the end of the trial, you have to give your full billing info, including your credit card.
The other kind requires you to enter all your info, including your credit card, and you will have to cancel the service after the free trial. If you want to continue, your card will be charged, and you will be able to use the service.
How to Use One of the Best VPNs for Free
All of the genuinely free VPN options are covered above, but if you are interested in trying the best VPN free, you can do that. If you are new to VPNs or not exactly sure how they work, you may want to experience the speed, convenience, and usefulness of a top option to see if VPNs are what you need.
NordVPN offers you a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can use NordVPN for 30 days to see if it provides the features, benefits, and services you need. Using this guarantee is also a great option if you are going on a vacation and just need a VPN for a few weeks to access specific networks, media, or avoid third-party restrictions that month.
You will gain access to all of NordVPN’s features. These features include using multiple devices, access to all 59 countries with 5455 servers, and streaming at very fast speeds. There are many extra security features for you on this VPN. The double protection servers allow you extra privacy for essential data.
NordVPN is excellent for torrenting and P2P programs. They offer specialized servers that are designed specifically for P2P. You’ll be able to download what you want without issue.
To use the service, you have to set up your account and pay upfront. To set up an account you will have to enter your payment information, and the money will be taken out of your account initially. Before the end of the 30 days, you have to cancel the service. Then NordVPN will return your money without a problem.
NordVPN has a no question asked system on this 30-day money-back guarantee. They are confident in their product, and they hope that most users will be so pleased they don’t need their money back. This option makes it safe and easy to try out the service and see if it is something you may want to keep after that.
Free VPNs for Streaming Services
If you are planning on streaming region-restricted content, free VPNs may not be the best option. Many of the services have data, and speed limits that make streaming hard, if not downright impossible. Some free services won’t let you stream at all. Often streaming on VPNs is unreliable at best.
Even VPNs with unlimited data tend to be poor options for streaming. This is partially caused by the fact that many of the streaming services try to stop VPNs from accessing content. Paid VPNs work hard to keep up with these blocks and avoid them, but free ones are slower to respond to this. You can quickly find yourself blocked from Netflix or Amazon Prime on a free VPN.
If You Would Like to Upgrade Your Free VPN
If you are not finding a free VPN that fits all your criteria, or you found one that worked well, but now you want to gain even more features and benefits, you might want to upgrade to a premium service. There are many options out there for premium VPNs, and you want to find the right one.
If you are looking for a VPN with a mixture of all the best features, great price, and locations for servers, Surfshark is the VPN for you.
Surfshark VPN is located in the British Virgin Island. They are one of the best locations for privacy. They offer users one of the safest and versatile VPNs, and they do this at a very affordable rate that makes Surfshark one of the best premium VPNs you can get.
They have strict no-log rules that help keep you private. They can hide your IP, and they can camouflage your internet to avoid your ISP. It offers great encryption and state of the art protocols that can help keep you safe online. Surfshark passed an independent audit, so you know its privacy and safety claims are legitimate.
You can multihop your networks, adding even more protection to your internet use. Surfshark helps protect you from malware, and it can block apps entirely for a less annoying online experience. You can also create a whitelist of websites that allows you to share your IP information. This whitelist is very useful for bank sites that will block you if they can’t see your IP.
You can get all this protection and all these extra features for only $2.21 a month, which is a very good price for a VPN.
When you are trying to use free VPNs, you have to be very careful. In an attempt to save 10 dollars a month, you may lose much more. Some free options steal data, spy on you, and infest your system with malware.
However, if you use the right options, you can gain a ton of security and features for nothing. Some of the better ones give you unlimited data, decent speeds, and most of all, privacy.
If you want to stream media, free VPNs are going to offer you limited successes at best. Some work ok with streaming, but often you won’t be able to stream in full quality, and it will be glitchy and unreliable.
A free VPN can help you keep your information and data safe from third parties. They can allow you to bypass network restrictions, and they can encrypt your data to make it safe. They are a great way to create a more secure internet, and if you like them, you can upgrade to more useful premium options.
Do you have one or two quick questions? No problem, this FAQ offers quick answers. If you want more information, every one of these questions is answered in more depth above in the best free VPN review.