Free VPN for Windows in 2021

Ethan Payne
Ethan Payne | Writer
Last updated: March 5, 2021
Free VPN for Windows

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Everyone likes free stuff, right? Who wouldn’t accept a free massage or use free software? However, when it comes to Virtual Private Networking (VPN) services, we advise you to tread carefully because it is a dangerous field full of landmines. Nevertheless, here we present our Free VPN for Windows list.

But that’s exactly why we are here: to help you find your way out of this maze of VPN protocols and features so that you can go with the best free Windows VPN for your privacy or geo-unblocking needs. “The best is good enough” could be our slogan, because we would never settle for less.

Top 3 Free VPNs for Windows

It’s not that easy to rank free VPNs. If we were to change criteria a bit, we could end up with a different ranking. Even services not mentioned before may show up in the Top 3 list. As for now, we are quite certain about the first two positions, though.

However, the bronze medalist free VPN for Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 could be replaced by a few other choices. So, here’s what you can protect yourself with on the virtual highway if you don’t want to spend money on a premium VPN just yet.

1. Atlas VPN

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
Number of servers
Number of servers:
Email, tickets, FAQ
  • Free
  • Good security
  • 24/7 email support
  • Unblocks Netflix US
  • Allows torrenting
  • Few countries
  • Apps lack features

Atlas VPN is our top choice as a free VPN for Windows users. It has no bandwidth limit, allows torrenting, and has pretty good speeds for a free VPN.

From a security standpoint, your traffic will be encrypted with military-grade encryption. Atlas VPN offers just one tunneling protocol, IKEv2, but its combination of speed and safety should satisfy most users. It also has a network kill switch, which is a great feature if security is your priority.

The free version of Atlas VPN offers three locations – the US (Los Angeles and New York) and the Netherlands. That means that both Europeans and Americans get nearby servers to choose from.

The free version of Atlas VPN does not unblock extra content for Netflix, but that is to be expected from all free VPN providers. However, the premium version works in this regard.

For a deeper investigation of Atlas VPN, read our Atlas VPN review.

2. ProtonVPN

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
Number of servers
Number of servers:
Email, knowledge base
  • Amazing security credentials
  • Has a great Free version
  • Very user-friendly
  • Plus version will get you into Netflix and Hulu
  • Apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android
  • 7-day free trial (Plus plan)
  • Mediocre speeds
  • Not good in China

Our second choice is Switzerland based and well known ProtonVPN.  This service is famous for its great level of protection, thanks to its security and privacy features. Those include military-grade encryption, modern tunneling protocols, and a kill switch, among others.

Of course, it’s not all a bed of roses. You can only connect to three countries (USA, Japan, Netherlands) for free, and torrenting is not possible unless you switch to premium. As mentioned before, such limitations are the price you pay for a free VPN service. Still, we believe that ProtonVPN is an excellent alternative and is definitely worth a try.

For a deeper investigation of ProtonVPN, read our ProtonVPN review.

3. Windscribe VPN

Number of countries covered
Number of countries covered:
Number of servers
Number of servers:
Email, knowledgebase
  • No identifying logs
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Very fast speeds
  • Great free version
  • Works with Netflix & P2P
  • Ad and malware blocking
  • No live chat support
  • Complicated refund policy

Windscribe comes with good security and privacy features. These are actually the same you’ll find in the full version. Its only drawback is that’s based in a Five Eyes country, Canada.

However, you need to know that Windscribe takes its no logs policy seriously. You always need to read the Privacy Policy carefully to see what exactly is logged about you and your traffic, and how such logs are handled.

Windscribe VPN limits your monthly data, so you can only use 10 GB/month. It certainly cannot be compared to ProtonVPN’s or Atlas VPN’s unlimited bandwidth, but is still enough for everyday needs like IP spoofing and browsing.

For a deeper investigation of Windscribe VPN, read our Windscribe VPN review.

How we selected these free VPNs for Windows

Having in mind that there are plenty of low-quality free Windows VPNs, it took us quite some time to filter those that aren’t worth your time. What we have is a short but solid list of best free VPNs for Windows. And here are the criteria we used to determine which services qualify:

  1. Free version for Windows. While this one is obvious, there are VPNs that offer a free version but only for mobile devices. If you’re not paying enough attention, you may end up providing your payment details and getting a free trial instead.
  2. Compatibility. While most users have Windows 10 installed, some still use Windows 8.1 and even Windows 7. Therefore we checked if best free Windows VPNs are compatible with all versions.
  3. Security and privacy. These two are the most important features of any VPN for PC. It simply must have military-grade encryption, safest tunneling protocols, no-logs, and a kill switch. The company behind should also have a solid reputation, avoiding hacks, leaks, and cooperation with law enforcement.
  4. Speed. Your connection will be slower with a VPN because the encryption takes its toll on speed no matter what you do. Still, some free VPNs offer better speed even if it’s limited to make you want to buy the premium version. While speed highly depends on your ISP, location, and device, streaming in HD should be possible with all three recommended VPNs.
  5. Traffic. Only a couple of reputable free VPNs for Windows provide you with no bandwidth limit. Most will let you download from 500 MB to 10 GB per month. That means you probably won’t spend much time streaming Netflix or downloading torrents, but you can’t have it all and pay nothing at the same time.
  6. Streaming and torrenting. While streaming with a free Windows VPN is extremely rare, most likely you will be able to download torrents. Of course, expect to have a data cap. All three recommended VPNs are capable of protecting you while your torrenting, but the speeds will depend mostly on your baseline internet connection.

Completely free VPN for Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10

Let us remind you that a free service always comes with compromises. The level of security, features, number of servers, speed, or versatility will probably be affected. In general, it is quite unlikely that you can use a free Windows VPN for torrenting, Netflix, Hulu as well as any activity that would require maximum anonymity.

Free VPN for Windows 8, 8.1 and 10

It costs a lot of money to maintain a VPN network. So, how on earth could it be free? Well, the provider has to make just enough bucks somehow to keep the service running, right? Or, did you think that VPNs and charity walk hand in hand? Let us burst this pink bubble right here, right now.

Explore best paid options on our Best VPN for Windows list.

Whether it’s a completely free VPN  for Windows or a paid one, “it’s all about the money”. Sorry, Jessie J, your Price Tag ain’t gonna resonate with the VPN market.

This is exactly why you should never use a completely free VPN because it will either show you annoying third-party ads (tracking cookie alert!) and videos or sell the personal data it logs about you and your online traffic, not to mention the lower quality of service you may get.

What’s even worse, hackers, cybercriminals, and governments can create their own free VPN services to lure unsuspecting computer users into a trap of full surveillance. You’d better avoid all the shady ones if you plan to protect your privacy.

It’s much safer to use a free premium, or as it’s also known, a freemium service, which is a limited version of a paid VPN. Of course, it will have a slower speed or data cap, but you’ll get the best possible level of online privacy.

We kept two main criteria in our mind while making this Free VPN for Windows list. Those are your online security and VPN’s usability.

There’s no difference between the VPNs for Windows 10 down to Windows 7. Therefore, you can use the Windows client you download for any OS version. Well, definitely not Windows XP, though, which is not even supported by Microsoft anymore. If you want to be safe in your virtual world, you’d better keep all your programs, including your OS, up-to-date anyway.

6 ways to use a free VPN

We aren’t big fans of “free” when it’s in one sentence with “VPNs.” That’s because online security and privacy are of utmost importance to us. The same goes for good download and upload speeds without any interruptions, such as connection drops.

There are 6 ways to use a free VPN. If you’re lucky, our Top 3 picks for Windows will qualify for them all.

You can successfully use a decent, high-quality free service to:

  1. Fake your IP address, i.e., location
  2. Avoid the spying of your ISP, cybercriminals, and governments
  3. Protect your personal data
  4. Make using a public wifi hotspot safe
  5. Stay anonymous on the virtual highway
  6. Access geo-blocked web content

But before you rush to install and use a free app for Windows 10, 8.1, 8, or 7, you may want to consider why it may not be a good idea in the long run.

Why Free VPNs aren’t such a good idea

There’s nothing wrong or shameful about trying a paid VPN service for free. This way, you get to experience its true speeds, connection times, level of security and privacy, general usability, and versatility. By all means, try a premium service for free or use a money-back guarantee that most top-notch VPNs offer. This way, you’ll make sure you choose the best and most cost-effective service for your needs.

Nonetheless, there are obvious drawbacks to using an average free VPN. Those include:

  • Slow or useless speeds
  • Third-party advertisements
  • Possible malware included
  • Logging and selling data to third parties
  • Lack of features and customizability
  • Possible IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks
  • No support for P2P file sharing (torrenting)
  • No support for streaming Netflix and other platforms

With that said, we also cannot claim that the hundreds of millions of free users are making a huge mistake by exposing themselves to cybercriminals, hackers, ISPs, and government while believing they’re protected. It all boils down to why you want a free Windows VPN. When you have the answer, make sure your needs match your choice.

Alternatives to free Windows VPNs

Chances are that after reading our article, you’re leaning from a free VPN for PC towards a full premium service. And the good news is that you have at least two options that won’t cost a penny. So what are these alternatives to free Windows VPNs?

The first and best one is free trial. Not many premium VPNs still offer this, and some may even ask you to enter payment details first. However, there are still such providers like Private VPN generous enough to let you try their service for a whole week. Here you can find the best VPNs with a free trial.

The second option is called a money-back guarantee. Virtually every premium VPN offers this, meaning you can try even the best ones like our #1 NordVPN risk-free. The length of money-back guarantees varies from 3 to 45 days, so make sure you cancel the subscription while you’re still eligible.

Free Windows VPN FAQ

What is the best free VPN for Windows?

The best free VPN for PC and Windows is AtlasVPN. You can read about it above.

Is there a completely free VPN?

This question is almost philosophical, inviting us to ask if there’s such thing, in general, that’s completely free? Hard-pressed to answer, we would say that there’s no such thing as a completely free VPN. If you’re not paying with money, you’re paying with your personal data or ability to click on ads. Finally, the ultimate price for using a free VPN is its limitations, which may include speed, traffic, streaming, and torrenting.

How do I get a free VPN on Windows 10?

You can get a free VPN for PC and Windows 10 by following these three super-easy steps:

  1. Choose a VPN that you like from our list above
  2. Click the red button to visit its website and download the app
  3. Install the client and start using your free Windows VPN

If you have trouble installing your free Windows VPN, I suggest reading the FAQ on the provider’s website or contacting customer support. Most likely they will be able to solve the issue in a timely manner.

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  1. Joe

    Free option may be attractive to some but they aren’t to me. I like to have a reliable vpn working for me, one where I can phone in if I need assistance. Anything that’s free is something you’ll have to pay for eventually (whether it’s time, stress, etc). Nothing is actually free.

  2. Sony

    Whether it’s Windows 8, 7 or 10 it just isn’t a smart thing to be relying on free vpn. It’s 2019 and the prices for good vpns have gone down considerably so it’s a no brainer to not get one. NordVPN or Surfshark are just 2 great options that cost a few dollars.

  3. Mariano

    I will be a VPN client after this article, preferably ProtonVPN. To me, it seems like the best free option for my windows 8.1. Though TunnelBear looks like a good option with its ease of use. Proton wins with their quality

  4. jane90

    I have been using free VPN for both my desktop and laptop for quite some time but after reading why it is not a good idea to install the apps for windows, I might invest in a paid plan to be safe

    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne Author

      Hi, Jane! If you’re looking for software that’s not only good for spoofing your IP but is also safe to use, paying for a VPN subscription is certainly the better option. After all, premium VPNs are definitely faster and more secure. That said, if occasional IP spoofing is all you need, the 3 VPNs on this list can be enough for that simple job, at least.

  5. eliot.bro

    For some reason it’s not mentioned here, but Surfshark also supports Windows, been using it myself. It’s good for smart DNS which is the reason I got it in the first place. It’s more than easy to install it:

  6. Ruud Van Janse

    Proton VPN is a great choice as a free option because it is secure, has decent speeds (not great), and the privacy level is better than a lot of the paid VPNs (not even kidding about this). Proton is, I think, in a league of its own when it comes to free VPN. The software is easy to use, it installs fast on PC, works well, does what it’s supposed to and best of all, it’s free. I know there are downsides to Proton like the fact that you can only use 3 servers with 1 device for free. Or that torrenting is not possible without the dedicated server (as in paid option) but this is still a great option if you want to pay $0. Their paid plans are ok but nothing to write home about because they have some powerful competition in VPNs like ExpressVPN, NordVPN or Astrill VPN.

    As a free service, Windscribe is also very interesting but TunnelBear is not as good if you ask me. It’s not bad, mind you, but their data cap is just way too low.

    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne Author

      Hi Ruud, Proton VPN is indeed the best free VPN you can find: it’s safe, secure, and relatively fast (for a free VPN). While its functionality is limited compared to the paid version, ProtonVPN also gives you unlimited data, which is a rarity among free versions of premium VPNs. Overall, as far as free software is concerned, ProtonVPN is pretty much a must-have on any Windows desktop in 2019.

  7. wrasslemaniastyle

    ProtonVPN is a great choice! I put it on my little sister’s new laptop next week. Parents won’t get her an actual VPN (I’ve had trouble explaining to them what it actually is, they just don’t get it) so that’s the next best thing! I haven’t tried Windscribe, though, so I’ll have to try that out sometime.

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