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.

Top 4 Free VPNs

If you understand the risks of your unprotected virtual life and want to try out a free VPN, you should be aware that there’s always a price to pay: Bandwidth and server limitations, slower speeds, or a lower level of anonymity and security.

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. But, please note that they are in no way without mistakes or drawbacks.

ProtonVPN

Limitations: server locations and some features

ProtonVPN for free ProtonVPN is the only tool 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 VPN feature and Tor over VPN make Proton extremely secure!

You get these for free:

  • Unlimited data and bandwidth
  • 3 countries to choose from
  • 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

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Windscribe VPN

Limitations: data and server locations

WindscribeVPN for freeAlthough 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.

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

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TunnelBear VPN

Limitations: data and server locations

TunnelBear VPN for freeTunnelBear VPN is usually the top choice for most reviewers; however, we can’t turn a blind eye to the extreme 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 obfuscation and a kill switch to make your anonymous web surfing quite safe. We recommend it for beginner VPN users to read and watch geo-blocked web content, to secure the internet traffic when using public WiFis, or to simply spoof the physical location.

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)

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Hotspot Shield VPN

Limitations: data and server locations

Hotspot Shield VPN for freeWith its 600+ million users, Hotspot Shield VPN comes off as the most popular of all free services; however, numbers can be deceiving. This VPN claims to be “the world’s fastest, free VPN” and, to be frank, it is certainly faster than the first top 2 picks. However, due to the huge number of free users, the servers may get overloaded and thus become slower. Because of its invasive data practices, we don’t consider Hotspot Shield to be the best choice if you are concerned about your online security and privacy. Yet, you can still enjoy some basic IP address spoofing, geo-unblocking to read and watch geo-restricted content within your data limit.

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)

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How You Can Apply 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: to access geo-restricted content
  • Securing public WiFis: not to leak sensitive data
  • Gaming & Torrenting: if speed and latency allow
  • 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.

Free VPN for Kodi

Free VPN for Torrenting

Free VPN for Android

Free VPN for Windows

Free VPN for Mac

Free VPN for Netflix

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.

Free VPN Paid VPN
Anonymity and security + *
Military-grade encryption + +
Geo-unblocking + +
Public WiFi protection + +
Unlimited data +
All available servers +
Fast speeds +
24/7 live support +
No bandwidth sharing  * +
No third-party ads  * +
No data logging + *
No malware included  * +

* 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.

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 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.

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, steal your account logins and other sensitive information, or encrypt your data to extort money from you in return for the decryption.

 

  • 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.

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.

Online FREEdom from $1.99

Premium security and online freedom have their price tags. However, there are paid VPN services for practically next to nothing. Or, is your privacy not worth a mug of Starbucks coffee? Let us show you some free or very cheap alternatives so that you won’t stay unsecured in the virtual world even if your budget is low.

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, though, that you read the refund policy very 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.

Ivacy VPN - alternative to free vpnIvacy VPN $1.99/mo (2-year plan)

NordVPN - alternative to free vpnNordVPN $2.75/mo (3-year plan)

CyberGhost - alternative to free vpnCyberGhost $2.75/mo (1-year plan)

PrivateVPN - alternative to free vpnPrivateVPN $2.88/mo (15-month plan)

PIA VPN - alternative to free vpnPrivate Internet Access $2.91/mo (2-year plan)

 


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