The 4 Best Free VPN Services in 2019

Everybody wants the best, right? But is there any free VPN service that can serve you best and be a worthy opponent against a paid VPN? You certainly hope so. A better free VPN can usually be used, without major risks, to spoof your IP address to access geo-restricted web content or stay secure while using your banking app on a public WiFi hotspot.

However, if you want airtight online security and privacy, fast connections, and live support, most free VPNs may bleed out before you could shout, “Where’s my anonymity?!” But there’s still hope. Meet the best services we picked for you.

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Top 4 free VPNs

Our top 4 Free VPN service picks are basically the best ones we can recommend right now based on our main criteria: security and usability. However, please note that they’re in no way without caveats or drawbacks.

Here’s a short sneak peek at the 4 best free VPNs for 2019:

#1. ProtonVPN.com

#2. Windscribe.com

#3. TunnelBear.com

#4. HotspotShield.com

Number 1 Free VPN

ProtonVPN

 8/10

ProtonVPN is the only VPN service that has both a good free version, and a good paid version.

Unlike all other providers on this list, ProtonVPN Free doesn’t limit how much you can download, how quickly, or how often you can switch servers. Instead, you’ll just have fewer servers to choose from and fewer features to use. And they are nice features, so you wouldn’t be a fool to pay for them. The Secure Core multi-hop feature, reliable kill switch, and Tor over VPN make ProtonVPN extremely secure – such high-level security credentials are an extreme rarity among VPN services, not to mention free VPN providers.

Moreover, ProtonVPN’s torrenting policy doesn’t discriminate against P2P traffic, which, combined with better than average speeds (for a free VPN) makes it an excellent choice for any VPN user.

free vpn provider_ProtonVPN

You get these for free:

  • Unlimited data and bandwidth
  • Some of the best encryption
  • User friendly app for Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS
  • Torrenting
  • A kill switch
  • Decent speeds

You don't get these for free:

  • All servers
  • Secure Core and Tor over VPN
  • The best performance
  • More than 1 device
Number 2 Free VPN

Windscribe VPN

 8.4/10

Although this VPN service is based in a Five Eyes country, Canada, which also has mandatory data retention laws, this provider has a strict no-logs policy with a transparent Privacy Policy. Windscribe VPN may be good for browsing or streaming geo-restricted content safely as well as to provide extra layers of security when accessing sensitive content (social networks or banking) via unsecured wifi hotspots. Overall, it’s no slouch when it comes to security and privacy, both free and paid versions included.

Moreover, the Windscribe app is extremely well-designed and easy to use. This makes it a perfect choice for beginners and casual VPN users alike.

While Windscribe’s somewhat average speeds might not be top of the line and your connection may occasionally drop, the privacy that Windscribe provides (for free!) certainly more than makes up for these possible drawbacks.

free vpn provider_Windscribe VPN

You get these for free:

  • 10GB data per month on 13 servers; you can earn extra free data by tweeting and referring this VPN to friends
  • Good level of privacy: Ad Blocker, Anti-social, STunnel (Stealth mode), DNS/IPv6/WebRTC leak protection, Double Hop, and Timezone Spoofing
  • Average speeds and occasional connection drops
  • User-friendly and easy-to-use clients

You don't get these for free:

  • Dedicated servers to access Netflix US or Netflix UK, but you may get lucky with other free servers
  • Servers in 50+ countries and 100+ cities
  • A bit faster speeds
Number 3 Free VPN

TunnelBear

 7.2/10

TunnelBear VPN is usually the top choice for most reviewers; however, we can’t turn a blind eye on the extremely low 500MB monthly bandwidth cap. The free version is indeed a teaser for you to go for the paid version ASAP.

With that said, TunnelBear VPN offers good security features, including strong encryption, industry-standard tunneling protocols, obfuscation, and a kill switch, to make your anonymous web surfing quite a safe endeavor. The TunnelBear apps are also very user-friendly, with a few tongue-in-cheek design decisions thrown in to make using them a joy, especially when connecting to servers in faraway countries.

We recommend it for beginner VPN users to read and watch geo-blocked web content, to secure the internet traffic when using public wifi, or to simply spoof their physical location by changing their IP address.

free vpn provider_TunnelBear

You get these for free:

  • 500MB monthly bandwidth cap; tweet about the company for 1GB extra
  • Double encryption (GhostBear for obfuscation)
  • Kill Switch (VigilantBear)
  • OpenVPN, IKEv2, and IPSec protocols
  • Genuine and easy-to-use clients
  • Bearable speeds
  • Unblocking geo-blocked websites (excluding Netflix and other media streaming services)

You don't get these for free:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • The Australia server
  • The gamble to be able to unblock and watch Netflix US or other media streaming services (may or may not work anyway)
Number 4 Free VPN

Hotspot Shield

 7.6/10

With more a than 600 million-strong user base, Hotspot Shield VPN comes off as the most popular of all free VPN services. With these kinds of numbers, it might look like Hotspot Shield might be a barely functioning service. However, numbers can be deceiving.

Despite the huge user loads, this VPN may very well be the world’s fastest free VPN. To be frank, it is certainly faster than our first top 2 picks. However, due to the constantly increasing numbers of free users, the Hotspot Shield servers may one day get overloaded and thus become slower.

Because of its somewhat questionable data practices, we don’t consider the free version of Hotspot Shield to be the best free VPN service available, at least if you’re concerned about your online privacy. Yet, you can still enjoy some basic IP address spoofing, geo-unblocking to read and watch geo-restricted content within your data limit.

free vpn provider_Hotspot Shield

You get these for free:

  • 500MB daily bandwidth cap
  • Limited number of servers (some of which are virtual servers!)
  • Military-grade encryption
  • Automatic public WiFi protection
  • Third-party ads while browsing
  • VPN for one device only
  • Easy-to-use VPN app
  • Fast connection times
  • Relatively fast VPN servers

You don't get these for free:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • 2,500+ servers worldwide
  • 24/7 live tech support
  • Watching HD TV shows and films from Netflix or other media streaming services (mainly due to the data limit)

Don't like being limited?

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Benefits of free VPNs

There’s an obvious difference in the quality of service when you go for a free VPN instead of a paid one. With that said, you may still find free services useful for certain activities when you may not need maximum security, privacy, or lightning speeds. You can mainly use a better service for:

 

Unblocking websites - free vpn solution

Unblocking websites

to access geo-restricted content

Securing public WiFis - free vpn solution

Securing public WiFis

not to leak sensitive data

Gaming & Torrenting - free vpn solution

Gaming & Torrenting

if speed and latency allow

Hiding your IP - free vpn solution

Hiding your IP

to fake your geolocation

This doesn’t mean that with one single free VPN you’ll be able to enjoy all of these features, although our top 4 picks should essentially cover them. Nevertheless, there may be other free services that are more suitable for a specific usage or platform while they fail at others. Find the best free VPN for your needs below.

If anonymity is crucial for you because you’re a political activist, a hacker, or you simply don’t want your ISP (Internet Service Provider), hackers, cybercriminals, or the government to spy on you or hold you accountable for your internet traffic, check out top VPN services we have found on the market

Free VPN vs. paid VPN

Before watching this rather unequal box match in real-time, let us travel forward into the future and tell you that – spoiler alert! – the paid VPN will win this match over and over again. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that you cannot or should not use a free VPN service. But, it pays to know what you get when you don’t pay for a service.

From data caps to sluggish speeds to disconnections to simultaneous device usage limitations, paid VPNs are simply (and obviously) better. That said, let’s take a bird’s eye view on the differences of free VPNs vs. paid VPNs in the comparison table below.

Free VPN

Anonymity and securitynoyes *
Military-grade encryptionyesyes
GEO-unblockingyesyes
Public WiFi protectionyesyes
Unlimited datanoyes
Fast speedsnoyes
24/7 live chat supportnoyes
No bandwidth sharingno *yes
No third-party adsno *yes
No data loggingnoyes *
No malware includedno *yes
* It doesn’t relate to all VPNs in the category.
Fact 1

Bandwidth limitations and sharing

Most free services offer you limited bandwidth, sometimes as extreme as 500MB per month, as well as a limited number of servers, some of which could be virtual ones, too. This may also mean slower speeds.

Therefore, you may not be able to watch HD videos without buffering or annoying lags. Your online activity could be limited to reading geo-blocked content or accessing your social media and bank accounts without the risk of being hacked.  But, you may also get lucky and find servers that would work for you just fine even for larger file downloads or watching videos.

Sharing your bandwidth and IP address can lead to incrimination.

Some free VPN services like Hola VPN and VPN Gate also use your bandwidth for their services as well as your IP address to spoof other users’ IP. This practice may have serious consequences since your IP address might be used for illegal activities and it would be almost impossible for you to prove yourself innocent.

Paid VPN services, however, provide you with unlimited bandwidth on multiple devices and possibly better speeds, too.

Fact 2

Annoying third-party advertisements

Some VPN providers choose to display their own or third-party advertisements to be able to keep their services free. However, this may also mean data sharing with third parties to show you customized ads instead of generic ones. This, of course, raises the question of privacy and anonymity. So, if your main goal for using a VPN is to be anonymous online, you should think twice before using a free service.

If you agree on being bombarded by third-party ads, your personal information may be sold to online marketers, which again, is not the kind of privacy you may want from your VPN provider.

Paid VPN apps have no annoying third-party advertising and they won’t sell you out (unless they have personally identifiable log data and they are forced by law). But, you may get their own promotional emails from time to time about updates or other services.

Fact 3

Data logging, monitoring, and selling

One of the worst things about free VPN services is that they may keep connection or even usage logs as well as other personal data. While this could already mean security and privacy risks, it gets worse: Your personal data, including your browsing history, might be sold to third parties or shared with the government when forced.

You are never really anonymous with a free VPN.

You need to be very cautious about these logging practices and read the Privacy Policy before signing up for any free or paid VPN service.

Fact 4

IP address leaks

Unfortunately, a lot of free VPN services can leak IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, if they don’t have proper leak protection as well as a kill switch. This means that your physical location can easily be identified and used against you if this information lands in the wrong hands.

Some of the best free VPNs offer leak protection.

In all fairness, sometimes even premium VPN services may have IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks. If your online privacy is important to you, make sure you choose a VPN service that doesn’t leak.

Fact 5

Free VPNs may contain malware

It’s possible to install free VPNs that contain malware infections. As a matter of fact, according to a study, more than a third of free Android VPNs contain some kind of malware. These infections can be used to send targeted third-party ads onto your screen, hijack your browser, steal your account logins and other sensitive information, or encrypt your data to extort money from you in return for the decryption.

Beware of malware coming with free VPNs!

Fact 6

Lack of support

To serve the needs of millions of free users, you must have a lot of money to burn. If a VPN service has no paid version, it is quite likely that there will be no or very slow and useless technical support. But, then again, what can you expect when you don’t pay for a service, right? You can’t really complain since you are using a very expensive network and features for free.

A paid VPN account usually comes with 24/7/365 live support.

On the other hand, if you are a paid customer, you can access 24/7/365 live chat support, send support tickets, and resolve your technical issues in no time. You need to do your research right because not all paid VPN services have exceptional customer service.

The best free VPN alternatives

It’s possible that your need for security and privacy is not satisfied by our best free VPN choices. But here’s a chill pill for you: We have solutions in the “as good as free” category.

First off, you can choose any top-notch Premium VPN service that has a generous and “no questions asked” type of 30-day (or 7-day) money-back guarantee like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, which would be our top picks.

You need to pay for the service up front, but you can get your money back after you test your chosen VPN and find it unsatisfactory. Make sure, that you read the refund policy carefully – some providers may have limitations on how much bandwidth you can use to be still eligible for a refund.

Then, you can also use a privacy-friendly browser like the TOR browser. What’s more, if your chosen VPN supports TOR, you can have the best possible protection by using them together for an extra layer of security.

Although not completely for free, but for the price of a Starbucks coffee you can actually get the best possible online security and privacy combined with premium features. We won’t give up until you find the best and most cost-effective way to protect yourself and your online activities. This is your right and this is our mission, too; nothing less.

So, here’s our top 5 best VPN choices based on price and value. The order doesn’t reflect the overall quality.

VPN Service Provider, Rating & Pricing

Ivacy VPN

Price from: $1.33

Ivacy VPN is a service with a great potential due to its good level of online privacy. Although not flawless, this VPN has temptingly low prices to make up for its issues.

 8.7/10

NordVPN

Price from: $3.49

Top-notch security, an absurd number of servers all over the world, great features and speed – all these factors make NordVPN a global VPN leader.With such a great reputation behind it, I decided to test NordVPN to see if it is really a ...

 9.5/10

CyberGhost

Price from: $2.75

CyberGhost is a Romanian VPN provider you’ll see on most Top 10 VPN lists around the web. While I previously praised it for its great potential, I now decided to revisit and test CyberGhost to see if all that potential finally materialized ...

 9.1/10

PrivateVPN

Price from: $3.82

PrivateVPN takes its no logs policy seriously. This VPN offers a good level of privacy and versatility for a good price.

 8.5/10

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12 comments
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  1. Doreka

    What free VPN works with Netflix? Is there such a thing because I’ve searched for a bit and I can’t find anything like that. I don’t know, maybe I can find those or that vpn that does this.


    1. Roberto95

      What free VPN works with Netflix? Answer: none. Why? Because it’s not easy to bypass their trackers and a lot of people want to have access to better libraries like the US one or the UK one. Plus are free VPN safe? I don’t think so and I wouldn’t risk it when I can pay for much better service.

      If you want to unlock Netflix anywhere you need a paid vpn like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, etc. Don’t waste anymore time on this and just pay a few bucks and get a good VPN that can unblock Netflix and make sure to ask them if this is possible before you order. Some paid VPNs still can’t unlock Netflix so make sure you get what you want. If you really want a great deal, you’ll need to go for a 2 or even 3 year plan with either Surfshark or NordVPN. Anyone of these will do fine.


  2. AgoraR

    If I use windscribe does it mean I will have free unlimited vpn for windows? Windscribe seems too good for a free option so I am a bit skeptical but that doesn’t mean I won’t give it a try. I hope it goes well but I have nothing to lose since it’s free. I want to use the best free vpn for pc so if this is it then I want to use it. I may also try ProtonVPN since that is considered the second best free option on this site.


  3. Franco91

    Is there a browser with built in vpn? I’ve tried Opera vpn but wasn’t really happy with it. I don’t want to try any free option out there. Just want to know if there’s a decent browser that has a vpn built in.


  4. Sammy

    If you’re looking for a free vpn for pc, then try out Proton VPN. It’s just great. Probably the best free vpn for windows 10 out there. Been using it for a long time and I’m very happy I can browse safely. It’s not good for torrenting but I don’t use that so I don’t mind. If you just need to stay safer online then this is a great, free option. Now, are free vpn safe? Well, this one is. Most free options are not.


  5. Janine P

    I’m a huge fan of ProtonVPN (I use it with Protonmail as well). I feel they offer a great 100% free unlimited VPN software that’s very powerful and simple to use.


  6. Darius

    I thought ProtonVPN was the best free option but you’ve gave a better rating to Windscribe. Been using Proton for a few months now on windows 10 and it works great. The software is easy to install, I found a very good vpn server that works very well with my location and I get good speeds so I am happy but if Windscribe is better I must test it.


  7. Mark

    Very nice, thank you for compiling the great details. I was exactly looking for a best free vpn for android. Actually I want to use vpn for free on my mobile device because I do not use desktop computer a lot. I will give a try to your listed vpn services.


  8. Saleh

    That’s what I liked most about ProtonVPN software; it is the only VPN server that has both a good free version as well as a good paid one. These top 4 free VPN service picks are really the best VPN’s right now based on security as well as usability. Very nice to read this post!


  9. Mandy Robinson

    I have been wondering about getting a Free VPN List. I need one that is desktop safe for sure, though. I am really enjoying all of the help that this site has given me. I was so overwhelmed trying to do it on my own. Now I think I can figure it out.


  10. Pearson

    You show all of these VPNs on a mobile phone but do they also work on a desktop computer? I only have a stationary desktop and no laptop and I have no use for a VPN on my phone at all. If they are desktop-accessible I’m thinking the TunnelBear would be the best fit for me due to the great VPN client.


    1. Ethan Payne Author

      Yes, Pearson, all services on this best free VPN List work on desktop devices – you can safely download any of these apps and spoof your IP address by connecting to a VPN server. They’re all safe, secure, and – best of all – free.

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