While there are plenty of them available, most free VPNs are either not safe, slow, or both. But are there any free VPN services that can protect you and offer at least decent speed? It turns out there are.
If don’t want to pay for a reliable VPN, you don’t have to. There are more than a few free VPN services worth trying in 2021.
We’ve tested dozens of free services and came up with this shortlist of eight free VPNs. All of them provide military-grade encryption, secure tunneling protocols, and adequate performance. Some even allow torrenting or streaming, but only a couple have unlimited bandwidth. Naturally, they came on top.
For those who are not up for reading the whole article, we can already tell that the top-rated free VPN is AtlasVPN. It has no data limits, supports torrenting, and offers good security. Sure, it’s not very fast and allows only one device, but the above-mentioned pros easily outweigh these cons.
Top 5 Free VPNs for 2021 shortlist:
|#||PROVIDER||CATEGORY SCORECATEGORY SCORE|
The best free VPN
The safest free VPN service
Generous in features and bandwidth
Good for privacy, bad for streaming
10 GB/month and good speeds
The best free VPNs in 2021 overview:
1. Atlas VPN – the best free VPN for P2P
Email, tickets, FAQ
- Military-grade encryption
- Automatic public wifi protection
- Easy-to-use apps
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Allows torrenting
- Limited number of locations
- Speed cap
- Doesn't unblock Netflix
Atlas VPN is the free VPN solution that offers what no other does – unlimited bandwidth and P2P support. It moved up to the #1 spot as soon as it added desktop apps, leaving ProtonVPN behind.
This free and lightweight tool will make your connection safe with AES-256 encryption and IKEv2 tunneling protocol. It also protects you on public hotspots, where you’re most likely to use a portable device like a tablet or smartphone.
Even if safety isn’t your primary concern, you could still make use of Atlas VPN. Most importantly, it allows torrenting and is safe enough to protect your P2P traffic. Atlas VPN offers three locations for its free plan users – the US, Japan, and Australia.
While the free Atlas VPN version won’t unblock Netflix, the same can be said about most services. And those that do always have a strict bandwidth limit, which beats the purpose. The connection will be slower, but once again, you should expect that from all free VPNs.
For $1.39/month, you can get the best speeds, unblock Netflix, and access all 500+ servers in 17+ countries. Finally, premium users are eligible for 24/7 email support and unlimited devices.
For a deeper investigation of Atlas VPN, read our Atlas VPN review.
2. ProtonVPN – the safest free VPN
Email, knowledge base
- Great security
- User-friendly apps
- Unlimited bandwidth
- One device allowed
- Torrenting not allowed
- Doesn't unblock Netflix
ProtonVPN’s free version has solid security fundamentals: military-grade encryption, OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunneling protocols, and a reliable kill switch. However, the more advanced security features like Secure Core multi-hop and Tor over VPN are left behind the paywall. But even without them, ProtonVPN has no match in terms of security.
Unlike most free VPNs on this list, this service has no bandwidth limit. Sadly, it won’t let you torrent, which puts it in the #2 spot. With that said, European users might prefer ProtonVPN over Atlas VPN because the former has a server in the Netherlands, with the US and Japan being other two locations.
Overall, it’s still a decent choice for any VPN user who doesn’t download or stream but uses enough traffic to exceed any monthly limit. You can download the free version on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Unfortunately, you can use ProtonVPN on one device at a time.
For $3.29/month, you get the full list of 1000+ servers in 50+ countries plus Netflix, Hulu, and torrenting.
For a deeper investigation of ProtonVPN, read our ProtonVPN review.
3. Windscribe VPN – 10 GB/month and great features
WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2
- Excellent security
- Allows P2P
- Unlimited devices
- 10+ countries
- Might unblock Netflix
- Based in a Five Eyes country
- Average speeds
- Limited bandwidth (10 GB/month)
Although Windscribe VPN is based in Canada, a Five Eyes country, it comes with a strict no-logs policy. It’s also the only VPN on this list that might unblock Netflix. What’s more, the free version has a full set of Windscribe’s security and privacy features.
These include a kill switch, ad blocking, secure hotspot (turns your phone into a wifi hotspot), multi-hop, STunnel (Stealth mode), DNS/IPv6/WebRTC leak protection, and timezone spoofing. This is almost unprecedented for a free VPN.
The Windscribe app is extremely well-designed and easy to use. You can download dedicated clients for major platforms plus Amazon Fire TV and Kodi. And now comes the best part – Windscribe has no device limit.
Free Windscribe allows torrenting and even has a SOCKS5 proxy. The biggest issue, though, is the 10 GB/month limit. While you can add an extra 5 GB by tweeting about your VPN choice, you will still want more bandwidth.
For $1.00/month, you will see the bandwidth limit lifted off, in addition to access to 480+ servers in 60+ countries. But most importantly, you will be able to stream Netflix US, UK, Canada, and Japan.
For a deeper investigation of Windscribe VPN, read our Windscribe VPN review.
4. Hide Me VPN – good speeds but 10 GB/month only
WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN, SoftEther
- Strong security features
- No-logs policy
- Decent speeds
- Torrenting allowed
- Access to only three VPN servers
- Can’t unblock Netflix
- One device per account
- Limited bandwidth (10 GB/month)
Located in Malaysia, a country with no data retention laws, Hide.me VPN has a true no-logs policy. This VPN comes with military-grade encryption and top-notch protocols in WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2.
Hide.me VPN is easy to use. There are clients for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick. You can also set it up on Linux and routers. However, free service allows one simultaneous connection only.
Fast speeds, SOCKS5 proxy, and split tunneling make Hide.me VPN a good choice for P2P. Unfortunately, the 10 GB/month limit won’t let you enjoy torrenting to its fullest. As one would expect, this service doesn’t unblock Netflix.
Should you upgrade to a premium plan for $4.99/month, you will get 1800 servers in 72 countries, static IP, and port forwarding. Sadly, premium users don’t get any privileges in customer support.
For a deeper investigation of Hide Me VPN, read our Hide Me VPN review.
5. ZoogVPN – 10 GB/month and good speeds
24/7 live chat
- Kill switch
- Obfuscation (Stealth VPN)
- Allows P2P
- 128-bit encryption
- No Netflix
- One device
- Three countries
- 10 GB/month data limit
Greece-based ZoogVPN isn’t among the most popular providers. However, its free version is definitely worth giving a try.
You’ll get 10 GB/month and pretty good speeds. Unfortunately, that comes with a price – the free version uses 128-bit encryption. On the bright side, ZoogVPN has a kill switch, OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, no-logs, and obfuscation (ZoogVPN Shadowing).
Supported devices include Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Fire TV & Fire Stick, and Android TV. The free version allows only one device at a time, though.
ZoogVPN offers servers in the Netherlands, the UK, and the US. Torrenting is possible only on the former, and unblocking Netflix is unavailable at all.
$1.87/month will give you 26 countries, military-grade encryption, Netflix plus other streaming platforms, and unlimited devices. You should also be prepared for slower speeds due to the 256-bit encryption.
For a deeper investigation of ZoogVPN, read our ZoogVPN review.
6. Hotspot Shield – one country, one device
24/7 live chat
- Military-grade encryption
- Kill switch
- Allows torrenting
- One device & one location
- 500 MB/day data limit
- No Netflix
- Extensive logging
- Speed cap at 2 Mbps
Hotspot Shield is a well-known VPN and has a popular free version. However, some serious drawbacks put it outside of our Top 5 list, even though its 500 MB/day allowance is way more generous than that of TunnelBear’s.
This service is based in the US, a Five Eyes country. But most importantly, Hotspot Shield’s free version is logging and sharing your personal data with third-parties. If that wasn’t enough, mobile users will also see ads.
Hotspot Shield has apps for major platforms but allows only one device per account. Contrary to most free VPNs, it also comes with a 2 Mbps hard cap. And since you’re allowed just one location in the US, the speeds might be even lower for connections from other continents.
This free version won’t give you Netflix, but at least it allows torrenting. On the other hand, one would be hard-pressed to find something below 500 MB to download.
For $7.99/month you get 5 devices and the full list of 3200+ servers in 90. Hotspot Shield premium also unlocks Netflix and other streaming platforms and has a 24/7 live chat.
For a deeper investigation of Hotspot Shield, read our Hotspot Shield review.
7. Speedify – 2 GB/month without account
- Good speeds
- Allows torrenting
- Servers in 30+ countries
- No sign-up
- Doesn't unblock Netflix
- Weak encryption
- 2 GB/month only
- Premium doesn't add much
Finding Speedify on any “best VPN” list would be surprising, to say the least. But when it comes to the free versions, we can recommend this service without thinking twice.
This service separates itself from the pack by not requiring to sign up. This, however, means that your IP is stored along with bandwidth usage, which has a 2 GB/month limit.
From the security standpoint, you get AES 128-bit or ChaCha20 encryption and a kill switch. The only tunneling protocol available is OpenVPN, although you can disguise your traffic as HTTPS.
Speedify is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. You get one device and more than 30 countries to choose from. You can even select cities – there are a dozen available in the US.
This free version allows torrenting – there’s an option to connect to an automatically-selected P2P-friendly server. Thanks to the less secure 128-bit encryption, download speeds are pretty good, so it’s easy to reach the bandwidth limit without noticing.
For $2.99/month Speedify gives you full server list, five devices, military-grade encryption, and unlimited bandwidth.
For a deeper investigation of Speedify, read our Speedify review.
8. TunnelBear – big server list and smallest data cap
- Military-grade encryption
- Kill switch
- Relatively big server list (25+ countries)
- Very low bandwidth cap (500 MB/month)
- Doesn’t unblock Netflix
- Doesn’t allow torrenting
- Logs more than minimum
TunnelBear VPN is on most free VPN lists, but its extremely low 500 MB/month bandwidth cap makes it just a poor teaser for the paid version. What’s more, this VPN is logging more than a minimum. That doesn’t look good knowing that it’s registered in Canada, a Five Eyes surveillance alliance member.
With that said, the free version of TunnelBear VPN offers almost everything you’ll find in its premium version. You get strong encryption, OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunneling protocols, obfuscation (GhostBear), and a kill switch.
The TunnelBear apps are also very user-friendly, with plenty of tongue-in-cheek design decisions. There are apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android plus browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
As if the debilitating bandwidth limit wasn’t enough, the free TunnelBear version also doesn’t allow torrenting and doesn’t unblock Netflix. That’s why we can recommend it only to those that will benefit from the full list of 25+ countries.
For $3.33/month you will get unlimited bandwidth, 5 simultaneous devices, and priority support (no live chat). Is that worth the price, given that neither streaming nor torrenting will be possible? Well, you be the judge.
For a deeper investigation of TunnelBear, read our TunnelBear review.
How did we rank best free VPNs
Below you will find our best free VPN services compared using three main ranking criteria:
- Data limit
- Server locations
|Data limit||Server locations||Torrenting|
|Atlas VPN||No||3 countries||Yes|
|Windscribe VPN||10 GB/month||10+ countries||Yes|
|Hide.me VPN||10 GB/month||5 countries||Yes|
|ZoogVPN||10 GB/month||3 countries||Yes|
|Hotspot Shield||500 MB/day||1 country||Yes|
|Speedify||2 GB/month||30+ countries||Yes|
|TunnelBear||500 MB/month||25+ countries||No|
However, there are more important factors that impacted our list of top free VPNs in 2021. Let’s take a closer look at all of them.
The most important ranking criteria is the data limit. It effectively decides what you can do with that VPN – browse some news sites with encrypted traffic and hidden IP or torrent safely to your heart’s content. At the moment, only two services provide unlimited bandwidth. Unsurprisingly, they take the top spots.
The majority of free VPNs will give you only a few countries to choose from. This means that the nearest server can be on another continent, impacting performance. That’s also a problem if you need an IP of a less popular location.
Torrenting & P2P
Torrenting is also very important for a free VPN. After all, most users get one to be able to protect their P2P activities. Luckily, most services allow torrenting, but few combine it with unlimited bandwidth.
It’s hard to judge by this criteria because only Windscribe unblocks Netflix from time to time. This is a big advantage, but the bandwidth limit reduces its value greatly. Otherwise, we would have Windscribe VPN right at the top of our list.
A free VPN will almost always be slower than a premium one, especially if it’s the same service we’re talking about. Most free VPNs won’t give you the best possible speeds because of their poor infrastructure. It’s also not uncommon to offer only a few servers that get overcrowded easily.
Not all free VPNs offer military-grade encryption. While some don’t have a problem sacrificing security over speed, we’d recommend choosing a 128-bit cipher only if you really have nothing to lose.
You should also make sure there’s WireGuard, OpenVPN, or IKEv2 protocol along with the kill switch. Without the latter, you’ll be exposed in case of a VPN failure, which happens quite often with free versions.
Some providers collect and sell your data to third parties. Luckily, there still are free VPNs with no-logs policies. In the best-case scenario, you should also choose a service in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction and has a good reputation.
Last but not least is customer support. It would be naive to wish for a 24/7 live chat, but some providers take hours to reply by mail while others take days. Finally, there’s a huge difference in knowledgebase quality that ranges from a short FAQ to a well-structured support page with tutorials and troubleshooting guides.
Are free VPNs really free?
Even though we hate repeating this adage over and over again, it still holds: if something is for free, it means you’re the product. Therefore, you will be paying for a “free VPN” in different ways and sometimes all at once.
One of them is ads, and it can be really annoying. You may see them all the time in your VPN client, but sometimes they pop-up whenever you press Connect button. In some cases, you will have to wait before you can choose another server. Other providers like to open a browser page with a gambling site first.
Not seeing ads in your free VPN is not always a good sign. This usually means that the service is collecting your data, which is later sold to third-parties. For example, Hotspot Shield has a strict no-logs policy, but it applies to premium accounts only.
In a best-case scenario, the provider has a paid version and uses severely limited free VPN to lure users. This usually means having one device per account, few servers to choose from, slower speeds, and no customer support.
And what about the worst-case scenario? Here you will download malware posing as a free VPN that will infect your device. This way, it may become a bot used for hacker attacks or a tool for mining cryptocurrencies. Other options include stealing your passwords and other personal data.
To avoid any of the above-mentioned possibilities, we strongly recommend choosing a free VPN from the list above and NOT using any of the VPNs below.
Free VPNs to avoid at all costs
While you can reliably use all the best free VPNs listed above, we strongly recommend you stay well away from the rest.
Here are the worst free VPNs that you should avoid at all costs.
1. Hola VPN
This Israel-based VPN service is built on a volunteer-powered P2P network. If you join, you practically have to share your IP address and bandwidth with other free and premium users. You should also know that Hola VPN collects data about you and your traffic, such as your IP address, which is the easiest way to trace you to your physical location.
2. VPN Gate
This Japanese free VPN keeps an extensive log about you and your online activity. What’s more, VPN Gate is also a free service built on volunteers where all individual peers can spy on your traffic and log whatever information they want. Even if these logs are supposed to be deleted every two weeks, does it sound like a great online privacy tool?
3. Betternet VPN
This piece of … logs your connections, creates tracking libraries for third-party advertising, and since there’s no kill switch, chances are it may leak DNS and your IP address as well. In other words, if you use Betternet VPN for sensitive internet traffic, you could risk being exposed or loose sensetive data.
Psiphon doesn’t specify what kind of encryption it uses. But it’s clear that it offers an outdated L2TP/IPSec protocol and poor speeds. If that wasn’t enough, this Canada-based (Five Eyes) provider is logging your data and sharing it with advertising companies. Avoid at all costs.
5. Hoxx VPN
Clearly, this should’ve been named Hoxx VPN because it’s more of a proxy, accentuating browser extensions. Located in the US (Five Eyes), this service logs extensively, cooperates with the government and other third parties. While its free version is pretty fast and has no bandwidth limit, you still shouldn’t pay for that with your privacy.
6. Tuxler VPN
This pathetic US-based service doesn’t state what kind of encryption it uses and doesn’t have a kill switch. It clearly states that your data is logged and shared with advertisers, so torrenting is not an option with Tuxler VPN. Also, be prepared for ads and slow speeds.
Free Android VPNs to avoid
We’ve discussed some of the worst free VPNs for desktop, but there are plenty of dangerous “VPNs” for Android that you should avoid. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Easy VPN
- Hat VPN
- Private Pipe VPN
- Archie VPN
- One Click
- Fast Secure Payment
These Android VPN services may contain malware like Trojans, adware, riskware, and spyware, but that is only a part of the security risks you may face. These VPNs usually have vague privacy policies and may keep connection and usage logs as well, including your true IP address and the list of websites you visit.
When using free VPNs, it won’t be long till you start to really notice their drawbacks. These inevitable handicaps will probably make you want to try a premium VPN service sooner or later.
Luckily, most providers offer a chance to try their products risk-free. Usually, that comes in the form of a money-back guarantee though some VPNs still offer free trials. This way, you get access to the full server list, unlimited bandwidth, safe torrenting, and streaming options.
Here are some of the best VPNs with free trials:
- PrivateVPN – 7-day free trial, 30-day money-back guarantee
- ProtonVPN – 7-day free trial, 30-day money-back guarantee
- Surfshark – 7-day free trial, 30-day money-back guarantee
- Ivacy VPN – 1-day plus 7 days for $0.99, 30-day money-back guarantee
- TorGuard – 7-day free trial
- PureVPN – 7-day trial for $0.99, 31-day money-back guarantee
As you can see, you’ll have plenty of time to reconsider and get a quick refund in case you change your mind. You can find more risk-free offers on our Best VPN with a free trial page.
Best free VPN for Netflix in 2021
Contrary to what some outdated VPN articles say, no free VPN unblocks Netflix. While it was still possible with a couple of services back in 2020, this is no longer the case. Your best option is to use a free trial or a money-back guarantee of the best VPN for Netflix.
Free VPN vs Paid VPN
Comparing free and paid VPNs is not easy because it often comes down to the user’s preferences. Some don’t watch Netflix and couldn’t care less about which VPN is best for torrenting. But for others being able to do these two activities is a make or break question when choosing a VPN.
Therefore, we’d thought it would be best to present the pros and cons of free and paid VPNs and let you decide for yourself.
When is free VPN a good option?
Choosing a free VPN is a good idea if you want:
- Security. Best free VPNs have military-grade encryption and the latest tunneling protocols that will make sure your data is safe from hackers, ISPs, and governments.
- Privacy. A free VPN is enough to hide your IP address and location. Is it reliable enough to not log it and not sell it to third-parties? Only time can tell.
- Safe torrenting. This works well only if your VPN doesn’t have a bandwidth limit. And even then, the speeds might be too slow because of overpopulated servers.
When premium (paid) VPN is a better option?
Using a paid VPN is a good idea if you want:
- Speed. The majority of free VPNs are plainly slow or slower than their premium version. That’s often because only a few servers are available that get overcrowded easily. Our in-house speed test shows how fast paid VPNs can really be.
- Torrenting. While most free VPNs allow P2P, the speeds will be average at best. Besides, they often lack port forwarding and SOCKS5 proxy. Other providers either limit your monthly traffic or don’t allow P2P at all.
- Streaming. Of all free VPNs, virtually none unblock Netflix, not to mention other streaming services. Some do that to push users to go premium, while others have but a few servers that are easily blocked.
- Customer service. Most free VPNs will take their time to answer your questions. Therefore, you can forget live chat, not to mention a 24/7 one. So if a problem occurs, it means you’re probably on your own.
- No logging and no ads. Most free VPNs log extensively and sell your data to third parties. Even if they don’t, you get to see annoying ads all the time. Only a few don’t fall under any of those two categories, and the price of that usually are severe limitations, like the number of GBs per month.
- Best privacy and security. If you want to buy a VPN anonymously and create an anonymous account, there’s no way other than to go for some of the safest providers. They will be registered in privacy-friendly jurisdictions, have their no-logs policies court-proven or independently-audited, offer physical servers and features such as multi-hop and Tor over VPN.
Is paid VPN always the better option? Yes, unless you don’t spend much time online and need only basic protection or your budget is too low.
Best free VPN by device
Most of the best free VPNs support all major platforms. In fact, some even let you install the client on Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, or Kodi. Below are our recommendations based on the device or OS.
Best free VPN for Windows
Since Windows tends to have many security and privacy issues, we recommend using ProtonVPN, which is safer than Atlas VPN. At the same time, its clients are user-friendly and easy to install. Of course, if P2P protection is a must for you, you’ll have to choose another top free provider for Windows.
Best free VPN for Mac
This time, we’re going with Atlas VPN as the best free VPN for Mac. It’s secure enough and also faster than ProtonVPN. However, if you’re based in Europe, the speeds might be slower because the closest server will be in the US. Make sure to check other best free VPNs for Mac as well.
Best free VPN for Android
Choosing the best free VPN for Android is not an easy task because Google Play Store is full of shady or downright dangerous apps. Assuming that you won’t be torrenting with your smartphone, the best option is Proton VPN. It’s more secure than any service on this list.
Best free VPN for iOS
For everyone in North America, Asia Pacific, or Japan, Atlas VPN is the top choice for iOS. However, users in Europe should probably choose ProtonVPN, which has a server in the Netherlands. This way, you’ll get better speeds and top-notch security.
Best free VPN for Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick
Windsribe is the best free VPN for Amazon Fire devices. Not only does it have a dedicated app, but it also might unblock Netflix for you. Windscribe also has no simultaneous connections limit, so you’ll be able to use it on your desktop and mobile devices as well. There are also other free VPNs for Amazon Fire devices.
Best free VPN for Android TV
Android TV owners should choose ZoogVPN as their free service. No other VPN on this list supports Android TV. Unfortunately, this provider doesn’t unblock Netflix, so its use will probably be limited.
Cheapest VPN services
Some free VPN users are hesitant to go premium because they think that will be a serious investment. However, the opposite is true. There are plenty of cheap VPNs that are good or even great.
For less than a couple of dollars per month, you can get unlimited bandwidth, P2P support, unblocked streaming platforms, and much more. Check out our list of cheapest VPNs in 2021.
Bottom line: which free VPN is the best?
As of now, Atlas VPN is the best free VPN available. It doesn’t limit your bandwidth, allows torrenting, and provides good speeds. Most importantly, it’s secure enough, thanks to its military-grade encryption and IKEv2 tunneling protocol.
However, if you’re looking for the best security and privacy, ProtonVPN should be your choice. Unlike Atlas VPN, it has a server in Europe, which should offer better performance and lower latency for those nearby.
Finally, if your top priority is unblocking Netflix, Windscribe is your best and only free VPN choice. Sadly, its bandwidth limit won’t let you binge on your favorite TV shows, even when streaming in SD.
So as you can see, the answer depends on your preferences. However, should you venture beyond this best free VPN list, don’t forget to consider the following criteria:
- Business model. Most free VPNs are logging and selling your data. If they show ads, it’s less likely they’re selling your information as well. The best option is when a reputable VPN creates a limited free version to promote paid service. But even then, it might be logging extensively.
- Reputation. Many popular free services like Hola VPN have a poor reputation. Make sure you check if it hasn’t been caught in some scandals and what the users have to say about it.
- Security credentials. Anything below AES 256-bit encryption is risky, and tunneling protocols like L2TP/IPSec or PPTP shouldn’t be used anymore.
What do you think about our list of best free VPNs? Is there any service that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments section below!
Which free VPN is the best?
The best free VPN is Atlas VPN. It has unlimited bandwidth, good speeds, and P2P support.
Is there a completely free VPN?
All VPNs on this list are completely free. However, some of them show ads or log your traffic in an attempt to get the most out of you.
Is free VPN safe?
Most free VPNs are not safe. Our list provides you with the best free options from reputable VPN providers. All of them are safe to use and have no known vulnerabilities.
How to try a paid VPN for free?
Trying paid VPNs for free is easy – most of them have either a free trial or a money-back guarantee. Check out our list of top VPNs with a free trial in 2021.
Do free VPNs unblock Netflix?
No, they don’t. The only exception is Windscribe, which might unblock Netflix in some countries. Even then, you’d have to deal with the 10 GB/month bandwidth limit.