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The Best Free VPN Services in 2018

Best Free VPN ServicesA Free VPN is a great option for protecting your privacy, encrypting your data, and changing your geolocation.

Unfortunately, there’s a reason free VPNs don’t cost any money — you usually pay with something else!

In this article, we’ll let you know everything you need to know about downloading a free VPN, the pros and cons, and of course, the best free VPN services on the market today.


Free vs Paid VPN

Free vs Paid VPNAs the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

On the whole, a free VPN is very much like a paid VPN service. It differs in the fact, that as the name might imply, it’s completely free.

Unfortunately, these are usually restricted in one way or another. There are unlimited free VPN services but these can be dangerous.

There are three different restrictions – speed, data limits and location. Some might even combine multiple restrictions. Therefore, you’ll be limited to how much, and how practically you can use the VPN.

Even worse, a free VPN could sell your data. This has happened!

There is good news though! With a paid VPN such as ExpressVPN, you can try it for free. All you need to do is cancel within 30-days and they guarantee that you’ll get your money back without any problems! So if you’re looking to just test a VPN, or use it for a short time, then give ExpressVPN a shot.


Best Free VPNs

Here’s what you came for, the best free VPN services available online today. We’ve highlighted the best use for each one so you can decide which one suits your needs best.

1. Windscribe

BestVPN.com Score 9.1 out of 10
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Editor's Choice

Windscribe has always been one of our favorite free VPNs. Compared to other free services, Windscribe gives you more – 10GB data allowance per month! This is pretty amazing because Windscribe is actually trying to encourage people to buy its premium service. What’s more, this VPN has strong encryption and keeps zero logs – making it fantastic for privacy. With unlimited simultaneous connections permitted, this VPN is truly outstanding.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 51
  • Average Speed 150 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections N/A
  • Jurisdiction Canada

Likes

  • Lots of payment options
  • Strong encryption options
  • Software for all popular platforms
  • Excellent Chrome extension
  • Free VPN option

Dislikes

  • No live chat support
  • Based in Canada

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 600
Countries 51
Bare metal or virtual servers Bare metal
Router Support
Routers Supported DD-WRT, Tomato, Asus, Netgear
Allows torrenting
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN

Privacy

Jurisdiction Canada
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Self-hosted analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 150
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 150
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Free basic account
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 3

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

2. ProtonVPN

BestVPN.com Score 9 out of 10
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ProtonVPN is a superb 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. On the downside, it throttles 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. ProtonVPN is a superb VPN that many people may find useful for unblocking censored news.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 16
  • Average Speed 53.67 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Switzerland

Likes

  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Secure Core (double VPN) network is fast and… secure!
  • P2P torrenting permitted on selected severs
  • DNS leak protection and kill switch
  • Accepts payment in Bitcoin and cash

Dislikes

  • Swiss data retention laws
  • Netflix and BBC iPlayer blocked

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 140
Countries 16
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers Bare metal
Router Support
Routers Supported DD-WRT, AsusWRT, AsusWRT-Merlin, OpenWRT, Tomato, pfSense, Sabai
Allows torrenting
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN
Other protocols -

Privacy

Jurisdiction Switzerland
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics (on non-sensitive pages)

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 101.96
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 53.67
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 7 days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 30

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

3. TunnelBear

BestVPN.com Score 8.5 out of 10
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TunnelBear VPN is a free service that constantly impresses people. This VPN is super-secure and even opened up its software to a third-party analysis last year. The outcome? Security researchers found the VPN to be secure and reliable. It also keeps no logs. Unfortunately, The service is restricted to just 500MB per month. Despite this, it is brilliant for locations with severe censorship and where privacy is essential. It is perfect for securely unblocking news.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 23
  • Average Speed 43.09 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Canada

Likes

  • Good encryption
  • Minimal connection logs
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Reasonable speeds
  • VigilantBear Kill Switch

Dislikes

  • Email support only
  • No money back guarantee

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 1000
Countries 23
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers Bare metal
Router Support
Routers Supported -
Allows torrenting
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN
Other protocols -

Privacy

Jurisdiction Canada
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? n/a

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 96.72
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 43.09
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 7 days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

4. hide.Me

BestVPN.com Score 8.2 out of 10
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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 2GB per month of free use at up to 80Mbps. When reviewing hide.me, we found the lack of server locations means it isn’t good for unblocking content from all over the world. If you need US or UK servers, please look elsewhere. On the plus side, this VPN has a strong privacy policy and provides robust encryption to keep your data secure.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 34
  • Average Speed 10 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction Malaysia

Likes

  • Static IP (optional)
  • Good cross-platform support
  • No logs
  • Apps for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS
  • Kill switch (but will not work if the app crashes)

Dislikes

  • Netflix and BBC iPlayer blocked
  • IP leak detected

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 150
Countries 34
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers Bare metal
Router Support
Routers Supported Asus WRT DD-WRT, OpenWRT pfSense Tomato, LibreELEC ("Kodi"), OpenELEC ("Kodi")
Allows torrenting
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN
Other protocols SoftEther

Privacy

Jurisdiction Malaysia
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 10
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 10
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
IPv6 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
IPv6 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial No
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee
Money back guarantee length 14

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer

5. Hotspot Shield

BestVPN.com Score 7.2 out of 10
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Hotspot Shield is an awesome free VPN that has helped millions of people in their time of need. It was the most used VPN during the Turkey coup and the Arab Spring. Users get free access not only to the VPN but also a Chrome extension. The free service permits connections to the US only, but the extension permits connections to 14 countries (but not the US). The result is that Hotspot Shield users can unblock content in 15 countries for free! What’s more, Hotspot Shield’s free plan lets people have 500MB of download use per day. That is a massive usage allowance considering it is free.

VPN Stats

  • Server Locations 27
  • Average Speed 22.66 Mbit/s
  • Simultaneous Connections 5
  • Jurisdiction USA

Likes

  • Fast speeds
  • App for windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android
  • Browser extensions for Chrome and firefox
  • Seven-day free trial
  • 45 day money back guarantee

Dislikes

  • Based in the US
  • Some invasive policies even on elite

Features

Port forwarding
Total servers 300
Countries 27
Simultaneous connections 5
Bare metal or virtual servers A combination
Router Support
Routers Supported -
Port selection

Supported platforms

Windows
MacOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows Phone

Protocols offered

PPTP
L2TP/IPsec
SSTP
IKEv2
OpenVPN
Other protocols Hydra and Hexa (proprietary technology)

Privacy

Jurisdiction USA
Logs Traffic
Logs Connections
Logs Timestamps
Logs Bandwidth
Logs IP Address
Logs Aggregated or Anonymized Data
Website tracking? Google Analytics

Performance

BestVPN.com SpeedTest (max/burst) 22.66
BestVPN.com SpeedTest (average) 22.66
Data limits
Bandwidth limits
IPv4 leak detected?
WebRTC leak detected?

Payment

Visa/MasterCard
Amex
Cryptocurrency

Security

Kill Switch
Obfuscation (stealth)
Self-hosted/Proxied DNS Yes
IPv4 leak protection
WebRTC leak protection

Support

Free trial Yes - 7 days
24-hour support
Live chat support
Money-back Guarantee

Unblocks:

Netflix
iPlayer


What is a VPN?

What is a VPNA VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a service that encrypts your internet connection and allows you to appear in a different location.

If you already know about the benefits that a VPN can provide, then jump to the following headings to find out more about free VPNs – their pros and cons.

If you’re new to the VPN scene, then keep reading. You should also bookmark our VPNs for Beginners Guide for a later date as it contains a ton of information.

Unblock Content

With a VPN you are able to unlock content that wouldn’t be available to you. Since you can connect to a server in a different country, internet restrictions become non-existent.

For example, if your government is blocking Facebook, Twitter, or anything else, by using a VPN you’ll be able to access it without a problem.

Furthermore, you’ll also be able to watch services that are only available in other countries. For example, you can watch Hulu and Netflix US. These are just two of the many services you can gain access to with a VPN.

Check out our best Netflix VPN services.

Protect Yourself

A VPN connection is encrypted. This means that your internet activities stay private.

Therefore, if you’re looking to hide your online activities (be it torrenting or anything else), a VPN will help you out. Whether you’re looking to hide from your government, national agencies, or hackers, a VPN will let you hide.


Free VPN Restrictions in Detail

Free VPN RestrictionsHere are the service restrictions in detail.

A speed restricted VPN will, as the name suggests, have limited speeds. If you’re using it for day-to-day internet activities then usually it will be fine. However, don’t dream about using it for streaming or torrenting.

A data-limited VPN will give you full access to all server locations and full speed but you will only have a limited amount of data to use. Traditionally between 500MB and 10GB is provided. These VPNs are useful for streaming one or two episodes, and a few uses per month.

A location limited VPN will provide you with one or two locations you can connect to. These are great for day-to-day use, however, the locations are only useful for limited applications. So don’t think you can watch unlimited US Netflix or torrent on a Dutch server. Generally speaking, these will also have a speed or data restriction as well.


Dangers of Free VPNs

Dangers of Free VPNsThe biggest dangers of free VPNs is how they make their money!

There are a lot of free VPNs out there that make their money by selling your data! This makes the use of a VPN completely useless as you won’t be private or secure. These VPNs will also have no issues giving your data to governments – even some paid VPNs have done this!

The most prominent example of this is Hola. Hola used to be the most popular free VPN on the market. That wasuntil it was discovered that it was selling users bandwidth to premium members through their alternate service (Luminati). Thereby you could get sued because someone else was doing illegal activities using your IP and connection details!

If that doesn’t scare you, then we don’t know what will!


What Devices are They Available On?

Device AvailabilityAs with all VPN services, free VPNs are available for all of your devices. This includes PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.

If a VPN is only available for one of your devices, e.g. your iPhone, then you should be worried. Any decent VPN that’s generating revenue, should have the funds (and brains) to develop applications for all operating systems.

If you do find a great free VPN that is available on only one operating system, then let us know. A VPN that only works on one OS is a huge red flag in our books.


Free VPN for Torrenting

Free VPN TorrentingWe would absolutely advise against using a free VPN for torrenting!

In most cases it will be possible; however, with a data limited VPN you’ll hardly be able to download anything. With a speed limited VPN, you’ll never finish downloading anything. Lastly, with a location-limited VPN, you might not be protected!

Furthermore, if you’re a free user, VPN companies have no good reason to protect your identity should the government or legal teams come asking for your information.

Disclaimer: BestVPN.com and its team does not condone any illegal torrenting. Any illegal torrenting you carry out shall be at your own risk.

For more information about torrenting with a VPN, take a look at our best VPN for torrenting guide.


Conclusion

Hopefully, we’ve given you all the information you need to make your mind up about free VPNs.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t use one, just be wary of how you use it, and which one!

If you’ve got any feedback on these, then let us know in the comments.

Written by: Ray Walsh

Ray Walsh is one of BestVPN's resident VPN experts. Ray is currently ranked #1 VPN authority in the world by agilience.com. During his time at BestVPN.com Ray has reviewed some of the world's foremost VPNs. Ray is an advocate for digital privacy, with vast experience writing about the political and social aspects of infosec, cybersec, and data privacy. Find him @newsglug on Twitter.

137 Comments

  1. rudra singh
    on November 15, 2018
    Reply

    jio i am used Hotspot Shield very nice vpn

  2. Louis Coleman
    on August 9, 2018
    Reply

    Great one! I've been using free vpn (VPN Free) for almost a year now and I'm really satisfied with everything. Though there are limitations, still its cool.It is the best VPN for me.

  3. Manuel
    on August 8, 2018
    Reply

    I'm here for Windscribe! The best for me by far, especially with their Netflix feature. That is a major plus!!

  4. Sarba
    on July 31, 2018
    Reply

    One of the best VPN's i've used to date. Faster than many others and updates and maintenance seems to be steady which shows the developers are looking after their product.

    1. Sarba replied to Sarba
      on July 31, 2018
      Reply

      Sorry, I'm talking about Windscribe :)

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