Best Free VPN

Are you looking for a reliable free VPN service?

I'll be honest, free VPNs aren't my favourite. Every free VPN usually has a lot of issues.

But if you really need a service that costs nothing, we've rounded up the only six you need to know about if you don't want to stump up any cash.

However, if you don't have the resources to pay for one, then it's critical you choose one that's as secure as possible.

As you may know, even the best free VPNs are usually not recommended. They lack in several areas, and they tend to have significant privacy and security flaws, but more on that later.

However, as with all VPNs – not all of them are the same, and some can occasionally be suitable for short use.

One thing that free VPN shares with paid VPNs is the difficulty when it comes to choosing the right one, which is why we will help you out by listing the best free VPN out there.

So if you're interested to know which you should be considering, keep scrolling down.

Top 6 VPN services that cost nothing

1. PrivadoVPN

PrivadoVPN website

Pros
  • 10GB of free data
  • No speed restrictions
  • No ads
  • No logging
  • Servers in 8 countries
  • Apps for all devices
Cons
  • Only 1 concurrent device

PrivadoVPN is our top choice for the best free VPN. It has quite a few benefits that allowed it to score so high.

First things first, it is 100% free VPN option, and one of the fastest and most decent free VPN services. Most free VPNs have a monthly data limit, and in this regard, PrivadoVPN is no different.

But, unlike some that offer only 500MB per month, this one lets you use up to 10GB of free data at high speeds on a monthly basis, which makes it one of the fastest free VPN providers.

On top of that, PrivadoVPN doesn't keep logs, and since it is a free VPN, there is no need for payment, or any personal information that you usually need to provide to premium virtual private network.

Another thing that makes this provider one of the best free VPN services is the fact that it also doesn't feature any ads, which is uncommon for a free VPN.

Meanwhile, it offers great security, and it supports all major operating systems, such as Windows, Android, Mac, iOS and they've recently released an Amazon Fire TV app.

It even supports P2P traffic, and it has 24/7 customer support, just in case you ever have any questions or problems. As you may know, most other free VPNs do not have customer support, which is another reason why this service stands out.

Through PrivadoVPN, you can get access to 12 server locations, so you can enjoy quite a decent coverage, given that it is a completely free VPN service.

2. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN Website

Pros
  • Free limited service
  • 3 server locations
  • Backed by reputable company
  • No log policy
Cons
  • Only 1 concurrent device
  • Restricted speeds

The next on our list is ProtonVPN – a Swiss-based free service whose free plan is generally considered to be one of the best that you could use.

While they're known to be reliable, their free service comes in quite a limited form, so it's a trade-off.

ProtonVPN offers a free version with free servers because it understands that not everyone can afford a VPN. But, for them to continue providing a good service, they have to put monthly data limits, as well as other limits on what you can do with their free version.

If you opt for a paid for service, such limits will be removed, and you can enjoy the paid version to the fullest, including no data limit, live chat support, fast data traffic, a 30-day money-back guarantee, multiple server locations, and more.

This is why its free version only allows you to connect to three different server locations, and use it only on one device at one time, with medium speeds, at that.

Even so, ProtonVPN free version offers decent security to free users, although the premium versions do a much better job.

It has three premium plans which unlock additional features – Basic ($4 per month), Plus ($8 per month), and Visionary ($24 per month). However, all of these are charged yearly, so keep that in mind.

3. Riseup.net

Riseup website

Pros
  • Completely free
  • Apps for popular devices
  • No IP Address logs
Cons
  • Difficult for beginners
  • Not good for streaming

Next, we have Riseup.net – an advanced free VPN provider that is recommended by security professionals.

Riseup believes that it is essential for free users to use a VPN and protect themselves. It's why they offer a VPN app for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android, entirely for free.

Riseup ensures anonymity and secure connections for free VPN users, and while it does keep some logs – those do not contain IP addresses of users, nor browsing information, installed plugins, DNS requests, and alike.

However, there are other limitations, such as data limit, that free users should keep in mind, primarily the fact that Riseup may be difficult for beginners to handle, as it is aimed more at advanced users.

If you're technically capable, give them a whirl, but if you're a beginner, you may need a little more hand-holding from your provider.

However, the fact remains that it doesn't offer a premium service, although they do accept donations. Donating around $60 per year helps the team, but keep in mind that it is not a requirement, only a sign of appreciation by those who can afford it and are willing to donate.

4. Windscribe

Windscribe website

Pros
  • 10GB bandwidth per month
  • 11 server locations
  • Apps for most devices
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Recent security issue

In the fourth spot, we have Windscribe, another VPN that offers a free version, as well as a premium one.

Windscribe provides a comprehensive set of features, including secure encryption, security protocols, a vast network of server locations that spans throughout 60 countries and 110 cities, an ad-block, and more.

Its apps are user-friendly, and you can install them on Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, Linux, as well as in Opera, Chrome, and Firefox as browser extensions.

The free tier does come with some limitations, however, including only 10GB of bandwidth per month, slower servers, and only 11 server locations available, out of 110 in total.

To access all of these locations, you will need a premium version of the VPN, where you can choose a yearly plan for $49 per year ($4 per month), or a monthly plan which costs $9 per month. You can also build your own plan and pay $1 per location.

Windscribe recently suffering a security incident on their Ukrainian server which you may want to consider before using.

5. Cloudflare WARP

Cloudflare WARP website

Pros
  • Backed by large org
  • Secures your connection
Cons
  • Doesn't hide your IP
  • Slower speeds

Then, there is Cloudflare WARP, which is a relatively new service, although you should think carefully before using it. Although it is technically a ‘VPN', it does not disguise your IP address.

In other words, every site or service you access will see who you are. Additionally, this makes this VPN pretty much useless when it comes to unblocking restricted and censored content.

Even so, it does feature strong encryption, as its primary goal is to ensure that your data will be secure while in transit. Your ISP or public Wi-Fi connection won't be able to spy on you, and data sniffing will be a thing of the past, thanks to it.

Now, WARP is free, but reports suggest it can be hit and miss. It also features no bandwidth caps. However, if you pay for a premium version, which costs around $5 per month, you can achieve greater speeds.

6. Tunnelbear

Tunnelbear website

Pros
  • Free service
  • Owned by McAfee
Cons
  • Very small data limit
  • Based in Canada

Finally, we have Tunnelbear – a VPN service that is all about security, and, of course, bears.

Its free version provides decent enough protection and ensures online privacy, as well as access to global content. However, it comes at a different kind of price, which is a significant bandwidth cap.

If you choose to use Tunnelbear, there's a 500MB data limit per month. That is, as you will agree, bear-ly enough to do anything (see what I did there? – Tunnelbear would be proud!).

In other words, its more of a free trial only suitable for testing out the VPN and seeing if it fits your needs.

On the other hand, there is a premium version, which you can pay on a monthly ($9.99) or yearly ($59.88 per year, or $4.99 per month) basis.

With it, you get unlimited data, five simultaneous connections, priority customer service, access to servers in 22 countries, and more.

How we selected our top choices

When we set out to select the best free VPN out of all free VPN services out there, we had to ensure that they can not only satisfy the need of users, but also be as safe for use as possible.

To ensure this, we had a set of requirements that our top-ranking free VPN services had to meet, including:

1. Useful data limit

One problem with free VPN providers is that they don't offer unlimited data.

Unlimited data is typically only encountered with a premium service, while even the best free VPN services have some sort of a cap – a limit. This is an issue, since most things people like doing online require a lot of data, such as streaming, playing online games, and alike.

Learn More

A low-data user is classed as someone who utilises 2-5GB, much more than what most free services offer (Source: USwitch).

Now, most free VPNs don't have an unlimited data allowance. In fact, most of them offer very little data, which makes it impossible to do any of these data-consuming activities.

According to USwitch, the following activities use approximately this amount of data:

  • One hour of Netflix – 644MB
  • 2-hour High definition movie – 4.2GB
  • 1 hour of gaming – 43MB
  • Download the trailer of a movie – 60 – 100MB
  • Browsing 60 web pages – 140MB

So, we wanted to find services that at least offer a reasonable amount of data per month.

2. Apps for your devices

Next, we looked into free VPN apps.

Now, most free providers don't have dedicated apps just waiting for you to download them, install them, and be on your way. Instead, they require you to set them up manually, which is a problem for many people, as it requires a level of tech-savviness that they simply do not have.

To go around this issue, we have selected the best free VPN providers that feature apps for different devices and systems.

That way, you won't have to struggle and set up VPNs on your own.

3. A premium service

One thing that we noticed over the years is that the best free VPN providers are the ones that come with premium services alongside the free plan.

Essentially, premium services usually come with fewer limitations and different premium features, you can access more VPN servers and server locations, you don't have a data limit, there is faster connection speed, you can unlock Netflix, and more.

This is why users who can afford it will usually go for a premium plan.

Those who can't, however, can go for the free VPN offering, but since the service is receiving money from its paying users, it doesn't have to resort to selling free users' data, nor bombard them with ads, and their security remains on point.

4. Backed by a large organization

Another thing we wanted to see is that free services are backed by large companies. Most dodgy free VPNs are run by companies that nobody has ever heard of, with only a Gmail email address as proof that they even exist.

This is a major red flag, as anyone could be behind those supposed companies.

Instead, we sought out reputable services that are backed by well-known, reputable companies. Since reputation is everything to a legitimate firm, no company would ever risk backing a fake, malicious VPN.

So, if firms do support free VPNs, you can rest assured that your internet traffic will be truly safe, and this should be the only free VPN that you should consider using. The virtual private networks sector is filled with scams, so don't allow them to trick you – be careful who you work with.

5. Good download/Streaming speeds

As we said previously, data limit is important, but the speed of your internet connection is crucial, as well.

Basically, if you want to stream videos, play online games, download content, and alike, then you need your free VPN to be as fast as possible.

Most free VPNs are slow because they have only a few servers and a lot of users, so their servers tend to get overcrowded. This is why we were looking for the best free VPNs with high speeds that could have a chance of satisfying their users' needs, and offering best free VPN downloads.

6. No leaks

Since they don't get money from their users, free VPNs usually lacked the more advanced technology, such as leak prevention tech.

There are many kinds of leaks, such as DNS and WebRTC, among others.

In order to recommend you the best free VPN services, we were not only looking for VPNs that claim to have leak protections as part of their free service, but we also tested them to confirm it.

With that said, you can be sure that your VPN connection will be secure and immune to leaks.

Negatives of VPNs that cost nothing

If you were wondering why everyone is constantly saying that free VPNs are a bad idea, there are a few reasons.

1. Limitations

As we have seen in these examples, free VPNs often come with limitations and drawbacks, such as bandwidth, a limited number of free VPN servers, inability to unblock geo-restricted content, poor VPN software and more.

While they may be suitable for some uses, the majority of your needs won't be covered.

2. Malware

While all six providers listed above are reputable. Unfortunately, the ‘free' VPN market is not as honest.

There have been many free VPNs that were discovered to be incapable of protecting users from malware, at best, or that they were malicious themselves, at worst.

Computer bug on screen

Some examples include OkVPN, EasyVPN, SuperVPN, CrossVPN, Betternet, and more.

3. Advertising

Services that offer free VPNs often need to find an alternative way to make money, since their profits do not come from you, as their user.

This is why they usually inject ads, which slow your system, eat up your data, and annoy you all the time.

4. Privacy dangers

Finally, we have privacy risks, which is quite an obvious downside. After all, these VPNs often have unknown owners, who might turn out to be anyone from Chinese hackers to sketchy data-hungry firms.

Security alert

They can access all of your data traffic, record it, sell it to advertisers (or whoever pays the most), and more.

5. Logging

Data logging is a big problem in the VPN industry, as user data needs to be protected. After all, this is one of the main reasons why people look for a secure VPN in the first place, to have their personal data protected.

Now, many free VPNs claim that they don't log your data, and that your data traffic is entirely protected. However, then they go on ahead and log it anyway, only to sell it to third parties and get some money.

There have been many examples of free services logging user online activity and selling their private data. Sometimes, this data gets exposed, and users of numerous VPN providers get endangered.

How to get a Free VPN?

If you wish to try out a free VPN, you are free to do so at any time.

Of course, we recommend going for the best free VPN right away, and the providers mentioned above can certainly be considered as such.

To make things easier, we will guide you through the entire process. For our example, we will use PrivadoVPN, but you are free to use any provider you want.

  1. Start by going to PrivadoVPN's website.
  2. Enter your email on its landing page and click the orange ‘Get Started‘ button.
  3. Select a free plan, and create a free account.
  4. Verify your email address, and you will be given a username and a password by the service.
  5. Download PrivadoVPN app for Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, or FireTV.
  6. Install the app, launch it, and log in.
  7. Find a list of servers, connect to one of the available ones, and that's it.

PrivadoVPN Android app

At this point, you are using a free VPN and can do whatever you want. Just remember that you only have 10GB per month, so use them wisely.

Is using a free VPN bad?

No, you can use free VPNs without worrying about doing something illegal, or damaging anyone's business.

Many VPNs that offer premium service offer much better options that attracts paying customers.

These can include unlimited data, highly secure internet connection, access to streaming services, a 30-day money-back guarantee, hundreds, or even thousands of servers in many different server locations, custom DNS servers, live chat support, and sometimes even unlimited simultaneous connections, and more.

Free VPNs often offer only a fraction of all of these and other features, but they are free, and they are needed for those who can't afford to pay. Just remember to be careful when choosing one, as free VPNs can be dangerous, as mentioned before.

Is there a completely free VPN?

Unfortunately, no. At least, not in a sense of being free, unlimited, with no restrictions and dangers.

Despite the name, there is something called a free VPN worth, and you will paying it with data if you are not careful.

The best free VPNs are often limited, and those that are not are likely dangerous and malicious. So, while completely free VPNs have limits on the time you can spend using them or, more commonly, on data that you can spend, they are your best bet to access the open internet.

They might have limitations, but at least you will be paying with neither money nor data, which is the best deal you can hope for.

Free VPNs to avoid

As mentioned, there are several VPNs that you would do well to stay away from.

We have already mentioned some examples, such as OkVPN and SuperVPN. Betternet and EasyVPN, but there are many others out there.

sFly Network Booster is another example, as well as:

  • CrossVPN
  • Archie VPN
  • HatVPN
  • Fast Secure Payment
  • One-Click VPN
  • TurboVPN

New ones are continually being discovered, so do proper research about a VPN service before choosing it and trusting it with your data.

Is a paid VPN more secure?

The answer is simply – yes.

While you should be careful with paid VPNs also, many of them are very well-known and respected services. Many have been audited which has confirmed their legitimacy and that features such as their no-log policy are correct.

Paid VPNs offer much larger server networks, often offering hundreds or even thousands of servers across the world.

Padlock in a circle

They allow you to connect multiple devices at once, they use the strongest encryption and security protocols, and they can unblock streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more.

As mentioned, a lot of what a VPN can do or what it has to offer depends on the VPN in question, as not all of them are the same.

When you're paying for a VPN, you're paying for them to provide that service. When you use a free VPN that company needs to make money via other means.

Which free VPNs work with Netflix, Spotify & iPlayer?

Unfortunately, the answer is – pretty much none.

These VPNs are slow and filled with users, which is why it is easy for services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and others to identify which IP addresses belongs to a VPN.

As they are always on the hunt for VPN IPs, they can block them, and no one can access them again.

In other words, if you wish to watch overseas Netflix or unblock similar services – you are pretty much limited to using a premium VPN.

And, as mentioned, free VPNs are slow, so even if you could access these services, you would likely be plagued by buffering, making it difficult to watch anything.

Recommended paid VPNs

So, if you have decided to use a paid VPN after all, we can recommend 3 top choices.

  1. ExpressVPNOur #1 Recommendation
  2. NordVPN
  3. CyberGhost

They have plenty of advantages, such as a massive network of servers that feature thousands of servers in over 60 countries in the case of NordVPN, and over 90 countries in case of CyberGhost and ExpressVPN.

Security in a circle

They also feature stronger security features, including 256-bit encryption and proven audited no-log policies.

Besides, they are super fast, and prices stretch to just a few dollars. In case you change your mind, you can also get a full refund within 30 – 45 days.

Summary

If you really must use a free VPN, then the six above are our top picks.

They're some of the most reputable and reliable services – but don't forget they often come with significant limitations.

In the end, while free VPNs are attractive because you don't have to pay for them, they are also not nearly as good as what you might expect.

They are limited, and sometimes even dangerous.

But, apart from posing a security risk, they are also often slow, and in most cases, they can't unblock geo-restricted content.

So if you're going to choose a free VPN, ensure it's one of the six above. Most others aren't reputable and could put your privacy and device at serious risk.

In all honesty though, check out our Best VPN Guide and for just a few dollars or pounds you can get a much better service.

 

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Author: Ali Raza

Ali is a journalist with a keen interest in VPN usage. He is an expert in the field and has been covering VPN related topics for VPNCompare and numerous well-respected publications for many years.

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