Choosing a good VPN service is not a problem. Choosing a good free VPN service is quite a challenge. We can’t say there are no free VPN services at all – of course there some. The trouble is that with the majority of them you’ll have a very frustrating experience. They either fail to work from the very beginning, or turn out to be intolerably slow or don’t ensure the due level of privacy. Whatever the case, all of them are totally unusable. But don’t be upset because in this article we are going to tell you about top free VPNs that do their work really well. That said, you need to keep in mind that all of them have certain limitations:
- limited bandwidth;
- limited capabilities;
- forced ads.
That is why if you are planning to use VPN on a regular basis, it’s highly recommended to upgrade to the premium version. But for an occasional visiting of restricted sites or censorship bypassing, free VPNs are quite the thing. Pick one of the 100% tried and tested solutions we’ve reviewed here for you.
Insider Tip: How to Use a Premium VPN Service for Free
- The speediest VPN ever;
- Hassle-free access to torrents and streaming sites;
- Zero-log policy;
- Own servers in more than 90 countries;
- Ultimate security and privacy level.
- Monthly plan comes at a steep price
You must be aware of the fact that ExpressVPN is considered the best of the best in the world: it’s the service that has become a runaway hit. But what on earth is it doing in the list of best free VPN services? Of course, it is a paid service, but there is a little trick that will let you use this premium vpn service for free.
ExpressVPN has a no-questions-asked 30-days money-back guarantee, which means that you can use it for absolutely no money for a month! If you are planning a business trip to a region with severe censorship or need one-time access to a torrent or streaming service, you won’t find a better solution.
Top Free VPNs of 2019: Get What You Need Gratis
If you are looking for free VPN service for regular use, then free trials and MBG are not for you. What you really need is a completely free VPN that can guarantee an acceptable performance and decent privacy. Fortunately, there are some decent services suitable for executing most tasks. We’ve tested dozens of free VPNs and selected top-6 services for you to use in 2019.
- 1000 servers in 23 countries.
- Compatible with multiple platforms.
- Strong encryption used.
- Entry-level feature set.
- Only 500 Mb per month for free.
TunnelBear, like many other VPN services, offers both a free and a paid version. Its free iteration provides up to 500 Mb of traffic monthly. It is not much, so you can forget about torrents and unlimited streaming. But it will perfectly do for a safe using of public Wi-Fi networks, occasional visiting of geo-restricted platforms, secure browsing and other basic tasks where content uploading or downloading is not required.
TunnelBear claims to keep no user logs, which sounds encouraging. In both free and a paid version, you can take advantage of 22 servers scattered around the world. The provider doesn’t set speed restrictions but because of the limited number of servers and a high load on them, the connection speed is average.
In terms of security, TunnelBear complies with generally accepted standards: it uses AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN security protocol. Unlike many VPNs that offer free packages, it doesn’t force you to watch ads but it will offer to upgrade to the premium version and expand your possibilities.
With the paid version, one gets not only unlimited bandwidth but also a possibility of connecting up to 5 devices simultaneously. The basic price is $9.99 but you can save 58% if you opt for an annual pack – it will cost you just $4.17 per month.
- One of the best free VPN services for streaming.
- 10 GB of traffic monthly.
- Cross-platform compatibility.
- No logs collected and stored.
- Unlocks the Chinese Great Firewall.
- A limited number of servers.
If you are in search of a VPN for accessing streaming platforms, such as Kodi or Netflix, Windscribe is the one that is worthy of a closer look. Its main advantage against other providers is an impressive bandwidth of 10 GB per month at a good speed. Yes, it is not unlimited like premium paid options but, at least, it can ensure a good volume of traffic.
Windscribe is one of the few providers that effectively cope with the Chinese governmental censorship system known as the Great Firewall. The good news is that you can expand the free monthly bandwidth by inviting your friends to download this VPN. On the minus side, the number of servers in the free version is limited to 10 and the speed is inconsistent.
Windscribe is a trusted provider that cares of its users’ privacy. It keeps minimal user logs, including time of connection and time of the session. Needless to say, it uses strong encryption and offers OpenVPN protocol by default.
Upgrading to the paid tier of Windsribe, one will enjoy unlimited VPN traffic and take advantage of additional features, including an ad- and malware blocker. The number of servers will increase to 55. It will cost you $9 if you pay monthly and $4.08 per month if you pay annually.
- Unlimited monthly traffic.
- Cross-platform compatibility.
- Strong encryption.
- No user logs collected.
- Very easy to use.
- A limited number of servers.
- No P2P support.
The distinctive feature of ProtonVPN is unlimited monthly bandwidth. It literally means that one can use it as much as necessary without any restrictions. Add a no-logging policy and multi-platform compatibility, and you’ll get the best free VPN service. But on closer inspection, it turns out that the free version of ProtonVPN has at least 3 serious restrictions.
Firstly, only three server locations are available. Secondly, P2P protocol is not supported, which means that it is not for torrenting. Thirdly, the speed is inconsistent, especially in peak hours. All these problems are resolved by upgrading to the paid version.
In the paid version, together with unlimited traffic, you get an access to over 300 provider’s servers, a full-fledged P2P support, lightning-fast connection and download speed, and a range of extra features that vary depending on the pricing plan you choose (Basic, Plus, or Visionary). The monthly fee is $4, $8, or $24 respectively.
Both free and paid versions of ProtonVPN provides a decent level of privacy protection. The service fully meets modern security standards by using the strongest AES-256 encryption and several protocols, including OpenVPN.
- No speed limits.
- 2 GB of free traffic per month.
- Support of multiple security protocols.
- Advanced encryption.
- Works well on Mac computers.
- Only 3 server locations.
- Not for torrenting and streaming.
Not all of the free VPNs are compatible with Apple products. Hide.Me is oriented to Mac users, though it can also be used on Windows and Android devices. Despite certain limitations (2 Gb per month and only 3 server locations), it is a reliable service with a no-logging policy and the support of the strongest encryption standards.
The free version will hardly do for torrenting or streaming because of the limited bandwidth, but it is great for the safe browsing in public networks and unlocking access to some restricted websites. The provider itself doesn’t set any special speed limits but don’t expect too much from the free version, as the load on the available servers is substantial.
Everything changes if you decide to upgrade. The paid tier of Hide.me opens an access to 55 server locations instead of 3. Also, it allows several connections under the framework of one license and unlimited monthly bandwidth. Connection speed will also be higher, though it is not advertised anywhere. The monthly fee is $9.95 or $4.95 per month depending on the plan you choose – a monthly or a yearly one.
- It is the fastest free VPN.
- 500 Mb of traffic daily.
- Excellent mobile apps.
- A free browser extension with an ad-blocker.
- P2P support.
- Speed is sometimes inconsistent.
Not all free VPN services work equally great on PCs and on mobile devices. Hotspot Shield offers brilliant software for the users of two popular mobile operating systems – Android and iOS, as well as an absolutely free extension for Google Chrome browser.
Its competitive advantages are numerous. Thus, its free version offers up to 500 Mb of traffic per day, which is really impressive. Also, it is one of the fastest free VPNs in the world, and P2P support makes it possible to use it for virtually unlimited torrenting. Finally, it offers state-of-the-art mobile applications – intuitive and pleasant to use. Note that via the free apps you may connect only to US servers, while the browser extension opens access to servers located in 14 countries.
Hotspot Shield boasts strong encryption and supports modern security protocols. But it has a drawback in the form of pop-up advertisement that you are forced to watch every time you connect to the service. The number of servers in the free version is limited (the particular figure is not disclosed).
The paid tier offers expanded possibilities: an unlimited access to 2500 servers, including dedicated P2P servers, unlimited bandwidth, and no advertisement. That said, its basic plan is quite expensive – $12.95 per month. The maximum discount is available to those buying a bi-annual plan at the price of just $2.99 per month.
- It is, probably, one of the simplest free VPN services.
- Reliable and secure.
- The monthly bandwidth is 500 Mb, but you can expand it by inviting friends.
- It is compatible with different platforms.
- Bandwidth and capabilities are limited.
Do you need the simplest VPN free service ever? Then the free version of SurfEasy is worthy of trying. It is a reliable trustworthy VPN service offering a free version with 500 Mb of traffic per month available. If you are not planning to download content from torrents or fulfill other resource-demanding tasks, this can be enough for hassle-free safe browsing.
Just like the above-mentioned providers, the service supports OpenVPN protocol and uses modern methods of encryption. Along with zero-log policy, it all makes it an attractive option for those users who crave for privacy. But one should not expect lightning-fast speed or brilliant performance from the free edition of SurfEasy. It suits for basic tasks only.
If you need something more powerful and versatile but don’t want to overpay, consider paid plans of SurfEasy – they are relatively inexpensive and provide enough flexibility. Currently, the offer two pricing plans – Total ($3.99) and Ultra ($6.49). Both of them include unlimited bandwidth and allow 5 connections simultaneously while Ultra offers 12 extra server locations and secure torrenting.
What is VPN and Why You Need it
A virtual private network referred to as a VPN is a small secure network that is created inside the global Internet network. A VPN provider sets a connection between the user’s computer and the remote server via a closed encrypted channel. Because all the data is encrypted, the Internet services provider can’t track the user’s route. Using VPN helps to resolve several tasks.
- Any VPN makes you invisible. Neither your ISP nor special services see what you really do on the Internet. They only see that you connect to the VPN, and then you literally disappear. Your IP address is changed, and you continue browsing the web as an anonymous nameless user.
- A VPN service helps you to bypass censorship and restrictions set by the authorities. For example, you can visit the sites blocked by the government – online casinos, dating sites, platforms containing politically sensitive materials, and many others.
- With the help of VPN, you can access foreign sites that are normally unavailable in your region.
- VPN is the main tool for safe and hassle-free torrenting and streaming. But if you opt for a free option, choose the service with the maximum bandwidth offered. Otherwise, you won’t be able to download torrents and stream content.
Many VPN clients offer a range of additional features, such as firewall and antivirus protection, a password manager, and other tools providing the maximum safety and online freedom. As you see, VPN is an effective tool that helps to resolve many crucial issues. But it’s important to choose the right software that would meet your requirements in the best way.
How to Choose the Best Free VPN: a Buyer’s Guide
As of today, many VPN companies offer free plans. But before you make a choice, consider the strong and the weak points of the VPN, and try to find the answers to several essential questions.
Is it a completely free VPN for PC or will it demand to upgrade to the paid version in the future?
Some VPN services are free only for some days, after which they stop working. Another frequent scenario is a situation when a free version is severely restricted in terms of capabilities. Theoretically, you can use it for free, but in fact, you are forced to pay some dollars for a full-featured version because you just can’t do anything serious due to the low speed or a cutdown feature set.
What bandwidth do you get for free?
Most free VPNs restrict the volume of traffic provided per day or per month. While some providers offer generous 10 GB, others restrict the size of free traffic by 500 Mb per month, which is nothing for active Internet users. This can be enough for checking e-mails and, maybe, using social media, no more.
For executing more resource-demanding tasks, you’ll have to upgrade. That said, some free VPN services offer unlimited bandwidth but they either force you to watch ads or the speed is allocated by residual principle.
What is the provider’s logging policy?
You want to feel secure whenever you use a VPN service, no matter whether it is free or paid. Some providers tend to keep some user logs. Though they usually claim that this information is for internal use only, you can’t check it. There are recorded cases when intelligence services received logs of certain users and even seized these users. That is why it’s highly recommended to choose VPNs that don’t collect any logs at all.
Do you need to provide any personal data to start using the free VPN service?
Usually, when downloading a free VPN, one is requested to sign up. Make sure that the provider doesn’t force its users to insert any personal or financial data, such as the number of his or her payment card, or verified electronic wallet, or a telephone number. Even paid services today allow staying anonymous by accepting Bitcoins. Top free VPN providers require nothing but an e-mail, which can be fake.
What is the best free VPN software?
After considering all these aspects, you may realize that the number of reliable VPNs that are free is not as impressive as it could seem initially. The best free VPNs are be reliable, have a clear logging policy and provide enough bandwidth to cover your needs. To make a final choice, check how many simultaneous connections are allowed and what operating systems are supported. It will help you make the right choice.
If you are looking for a VPN service for a desktop computer or a laptop, you are definitely not going to experience any difficulties. The vast majority of the existing free VPNs are compatible with computers running Windows OS. VPNs for PC usually come in the form of downloadable applications that are stored on the hard drive and installed like any other programs.
The good thing about these apps is that they protect the entire system. You can use any browser, messenger or other web-connected app and stay protected. WindScribe and ProtonVPN would be a good choice for Windows users.
Android is a flexible operating system that is perfectly compatible with products developed by third-party software providers. But not all VPN services are equally great for it. The best Android VPNs are the ones that offer full-featured easy to use applications for this OS and reliably protect the whole system. The best options are Hotspot Shield, Hide.Me, and SurfEasy. Not only are they totally free, but also very effective and perfectly optimized for mobile devices.
Unlike Android devices, Apple products are quite demanding when it comes to third-party apps. Not all types of VPNs will work on Mac computers. However, there are some good options. One of them is Hide.Me VPN that is focused on Mac users. It is fast, secure, and flexible. That said it is easily integrated with OS X, providing the highest level of your online privacy and freedom.
Downloading a VPN app for the ultimate protection of the whole system is effective but not always convenient. If for some reason you can’t or don’t want to download anything, there is an alternative solution for you. Use VPN in the form of browser extensions.
As of today, many VPN providers have solutions for Google Chrome and Mozilla; some of them (for example, SurfEasy) also offer extensions for the Opera browser. Keep in mind that all browser extensions work only within one browser; they don’t protect the whole system.
The Bottom Line
VPN is an easy and secure way to add some privacy to your online life. But with so many VPN providers available it is not always easy to make the right choice.
All the VPNs included in our ranking are trusted and reliable services that you can safely use for your online privacy protection. Of course, they are not totally flawless: their capabilities are limited, and some of them have annoying features, such as pop-up ads. But all of them are quite usable, and if you are ready to live with certain restrictions, nothing should stop you from using these services. None of the VPNs enlisted collects or trades personal data and none of them tracks your activities.
Still, at some point, you may realize that you need more possibilities. In this case, the best approach is to opt for one ofthe reliable paid VPNs. Most of them offer sufficient discounts on their annual and bi-annual plans. Thus, right now you can buy brilliant NordVPN at the price of just $2.99 per month if you choose its three-year package.