Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh

May 3, 2018

A free VPN is a versatile service that lets you unblock websites from all over the world. A reliable free VPN also provides security and privacy from your ISP, hackers, governments, schools and workplaces through encryption. By allowing people to route their activity through a different country, VPNs let users bypass local censorship and website restrictions and access geo-restricted content.

Best Free VPN: Side-by-Side Comparison

If you are looking for a full-featured, unrestricted VPN service, we recommend you test ExpressVPN.  It has a 30-day money-back guarantee, which will let you compare our recommended free VPNs against a full premium service.

When it comes to VPNs for free, you must take care! There are hundreds of free VPN downloads on the market, and most are horrible. This can lead to your privacy being compromised or your data being sold to the highest bidder. A reliable VPN must have a watertight privacy policy and solid encryption.

Our experts have tested over 150 services in the last 5 years looking for the best VPNS. The providers listed below are secure and will permit you to unblock content without putting yourself at risk.

What are the Best Free VPN services?

10.0/10.0

ExpressVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Special Offer: 49% off today!
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • No Logs
  • P2P: Yes
  • Super fast for streaming
  • Free for a month
  • Software for all platform
CONS:
  • Not much

Although it isn't completely free, many people who are looking for a free service do decide to test ExpressVPN using the 30-day money back guarantee. A full premium VPN like ExpressVPN (one of the very best VPNs in the world, if not the best) is much much better than a regular free VPN. This is because it is not limited or restricted in any way.

During the 30-day money back period you get full use of ExpressVPN's 94 servers. You also get the highest levels of OpenVPN encryption available on the market. Speeds are incredible, so you will be able to stream in HD or do gaming... your options are endless. Express is also zero logs so your privacy is assured. At then end of the day this VPN is free for a month, and it will give you a taster of what a premium VPN service is like - it blows all the other free services out of the water.

Finally, you need not worry at all - ExpressVPN ALWAYS honors its money back guarantee with no questions asked.

Get our favorite VPN today!

Visit ExpressVPN »Connect up to three devices!

10.0/10.0

ProtonVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Fast connections
  • Excellent encryption for privacy
  • Lots of features
  • No logs
CONS:
  • Fewer server locations

ProtonVPN is a superb free VPN service provided by the developers of Proton mail. It is a secure VPN provider that lets people use the service on an unlimited basis. This makes it perfect for privately surfing the web on a daily basis. So what is the catch?

As is always the case with reliable VPNs, ProtonVPN does want to sell people a subscription to the full premium service. For this reason, it does throttle free-users bandwidth. This means that the free ProtonVPN service will not provide the speeds necessary for doing data intensive tasks such as streaming in HD.

Unthrottled, ProtonVPN can provide speeds of up to 104 Mbits per second. However, when it gets throttled we have heard reports of it slowing to 8 Mbits per second and perhaps even slower!

ProtonVPN is a superb free VPN that many people may find useful for unblocking censored news.

9.4/10.0

Windscribe Homepage
PROS:
  • Strong encryption
  • Great privacy policy
  • Easy to use
  • Perfect for beginners
  • High transparency
CONS:
  • Limited support options
  • Usage capped

Windscribe has always been one of our favorite free VPNs. Compared to other trusted free VPN services, Windscribe gives you a bit more! This is awesome because Windscribe is still actually trying to encourage people to buy its premium service.

Windscribe lets people use the free VPN without throttling for 10 Gb per month. Users get access to 11 servers (50 on the premium version). This is a really amazing deal because it is a much larger (unthrottled) allowance than you get on other trusted free VPNs. Speeds average at around 30 Mbits per second, which is great for streaming in HD. What's more, this VPN has strong encryption and keeps zero logs, making it fantastic for privacy. With unlimited simultaneous connections permitted, this free VPN is truly superb.

9.0/10.0

TunnelBear Homepage
PROS:
  • Simple setup, incredibly user friendly
  • Excellent encryption
  • Can connect up to 5 devices
  • 500MB of free data every month
CONS:
  • No peer-to-peer (P2P)
  • Few advanced settings
  • Usage capped

TunnelBear VPN is a free service that constantly impresses people. This VPN is super secure and even opened up its software to third-party analysis this year! The outcome? Security researchers found the VPN to be secure and reliable. It also keeps no logs. The service is restricted to just 500 Mb per month. Despite this, it is brilliant for locations with severe censorship and where privacy is essential. It is perfect for securely unblocking news, for example.

TunnelBear has plenty of free VPN server locations to choose from, located in 20 countries. Free users can utilize all available servers apart from Australia. This makes it great for unblocking a whole range of websites and services. Having said that, because of the data limit it will be difficult to do much streaming with this VPN service. An excellent VPN provider, and one of the most secure services you will find for free! Finally, this VPN provides fast download speeds of around 25 Mbits per second (average) and 118 Mbits per sond (max).

8.2/10.0

hide.Me Homepage
PROS:
  • Strong encryption
  • Servers in 3 countries
  • Zero logs
  • Superb privacy policy
  • Highly experienced customer care
CONS:
  • Doesn't unblock Netflix US

This awesome Malaysian VPN provider has an excellent free service. Although users are limited to just three server locations (Singapore, the Netherlands, and Canada), users get a whopping 2 Gb per month of free use with this VPN company. That's a very reasonable allowance, and because of the fast speeds (up to 80 Mbits per second) that this VPN provides, we think this is an excellent choice for people who want a VPN service for free.

When reviewing Hide.Me, sadly, we found the lack of server locations means that it isn't as good for unblocking content from all over the world. If you need US or UK servers, or those in other locations, please look elsewhere. On the plus side, this VPN has a strong privacy policy and provides robust encryption to keep your data secure. It is also available on all popular platforms. As such, this VPN is ideal for protecting your privacy both at home and on public WiFi. With one of the best data caps we've seen, we definitely recommend this service!

7.8/10.0

ZoogVPN Homepage
PROS:
  • Excellent for streaming
  • Fast service
  • Free service
  • Useful servers
  • Strong encryption
CONS:
  • Logging practices unclear

ZoogVPN is an excellent service that is both secure and free. Free users get to use 3 servers located in New York, London, Amsterdam. That is a nice spread of servers that will certainly come in handy for geo-spoofing reasons. It isn;t a lot but for free it is very useful.

Free users get 2Gb of download usage per month, which is better than with many free VPNs. Sadly, however, the firm will impose bandwidth limits at times when servers are too highly subscribed. This means that although it does provide speeds of up to 62.6 Mbits per second, as a free user it may get a bit slower at times.

However it is generally a fast service that is great for streaming for free. Well worth a test run!

VPN Free | FAQs

Below we take a look at some of the common questions and misconceptions about free VPNs.

What is a free VPN?

Simply put, a VPN is a service that creates a private, secure network over a public one (the internet). There are two benefits to this. First, when you connect through a VPN, all your traffic is routed through a secure tunnel. This encrypts all of your data, making it impossible for your ISP, the government and hackers to monitor your activity.

Second, a VPN allows you to unlock restricted content. Some websites and services are blocked by ISPs on behalf of the government. Other services like video streaming sites are geo-restricted for use in specific countries due to licensing restrictions. A free VPN can overcome these restrictions by providing you with an IP address in a different region. For all intents and purposes, you appear to be in a different country.

A free VPN is simply a VPN that does not charge a fee. However, a VPN costs a lot of money to run, which is why free VPNs are often highly questionable. Many free services collect user data and sell it to advertizers, which is why we generally urge you to stay away from them.

These recommended services have all been tested and reviewed to ensure they are the real deal with a watertight privacy policy and the ability to unblock websites. 

If you’re new to the world of VPNs and would like to know more, we recommend checking out our Beginner’s Guide to VPNs for all the information you need in one handy place.

Are free VPNs safe?

Unblocking content in countries where it is illegal could get you into trouble. That is why it is vital that you don’t use a non-trusted VPN that is bad for privacy. To be honest, your best bet is to use a cheap VPN service instead of a free service. These will provide better privacy and unblocking capabilities. With that said, there are a few free VPNs are safe to use. 

The VPNs in this article can be used for unblocking and for privacy. This is because they provide a limited free service as an introductory offer. This is called a “loss leader”, and it is there to advertise the full premium service. This lets people get some free use of a VPN – without having to compromise on privacy.

Warning: Any free VPN provider that doesn’t have usage or bandwidth limits or isn’t trying to entice you into buying a premium product is most likely trying to rip you off or make money from your data. Don’t get conned. If it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

The only free services that provide good privacy are ones that do have limits and they are only there to advertise their premium service to consumers… end of story.

If privacy is a concern for you, our best advice is to check out our Ultimate Privacy Guide and pick a premium VPN service.

Free vs. paid VPNs

Providing fast VPN servers all over the world is not easy or cheap. That is why you are so unlikely to get a fast and free VPN server. Luckily, some trusted VPNs do want people to try out their service. This is why they have a limited free service or a money back guarantee.

A VPN with a money back guarantee lets you have full unlimited access to the VPN for a certain period of time. Within that time frame, you can ask for a full refund.

Most the VPNs in this article, on the other hand, only let people use the service for a certain amount of time. After that, it cuts out, and you have to wait until the next month to use it again. This lets you get a taster of the full unadulterated VPN service but does mean that the VPN will probably cut out in the middle of streaming content.

Others, like ProtonVPN, throttle bandwidth which means that although you can use it all the time, it won’t let you do data-intensive tasks like streaming.

At the end of the day, the difference between a paid VPN and a free service is night and day. For just a few dollars a month you can get unlimited, unthrottled VPN use – so if you want to use a VPN a lot, you really will need to get a subscription.

If a free VPN is unlikely to meet your needs, why not try a free trial VPN instead? It’s FREE and you get a taste of a premium VPN service for a limited time!

Free VPN for Windows PC or Mac

If you are looking for the best free VPN for Windows, you have come to the right place. The services in this article all have free VPN software for PCs – both Windows and Mac. For more VPNs for Mac Windows see the guides below:

Free VPN for Android or iOS

If you need limited use of a reliable VPN on a smartphone or tablet, then the VPNs in this article are perfect. If you are looking for a VPN for Android or a VPN for iPhone you will be happy to know that all of the VPNs in our list have VPN apps for both devices.

A Free VPN for Netflix?

Netflix fights hard to block VPNs. In fact, many premium VPNs don’t unblock Netflix US anymore. For this reason, you will not be able to find a free VPN for Netflix. If you want to unblock Netflix with a VPN, your best bet will be to get a cheap VPN that can provide access to the streaming site. To find the best service, please compare the best VPN for Netflix and the best cheap VPN.

A Free VPN for Torrenting?

When it comes to downloading via P2P, you are going to need both fast, unthrottled connection speeds, and unlimited usage allowance. For this reason, a free VPN just isn’t going to do the job. Take a look at our VPN for torrenting guide if you want to protect yourself while downloading.

A free VPNs for US/Canada

If you are in the US or Canada and need to use a free service, any of the VPNs in this article are perfect for you! However, please remember that in Canada ISPs are forced to perform mandatory data retention for the government. In the US, things are even worse, because ISPs are permitted to store consumer logs and sell them to third parties.

For this reason, it really is better to consider a full premium VPN service in both those countries. That way you can protect your data from snooping all of the time.

For more information take a look at our VPNs for Canada or VPNs for USA guides.

Conclusion

In this article, we have explained everything you need to know about using a free VPN. These free services permit people to use the VPN at no cost, without compromising on security or privacy. Of course, it does mean that the VPN has usage limits or bandwidth limits in place. 

Depending on what you want to use your VPN for, some of the free services in this guide will be more suitable than others – so please read the summaries to understand which service is best for you.

Remember, the majority of free VPNs make a profit by retaining web browsing data and selling it to third parties and advertisers. It is even possible that some will sell data to governments – which could put you in serious danger. 

Here at BestVPN.com, we completely understand that not everybody has money to burn on a VPN. That is why we do want to help people to find a reliable free VPN. However, we urge you to remember that when it comes to a VPN, free is not always better. 

If you require a top-of-the-range VPN that provides privacy and unblocking all day every day, your best option is to pay for a VPN.

Finally, remember that all these services are free – so you should try them all and see which one works best for you!