Firefox is easily one of the safest web browsers available today, but browser security isn’t everything. As such, it’s integral for every Firefox user to equip themselves with a virtual private network (VPN) to keep their data safe.
Using a Firefox browser extension vastly reduces the hassle of navigating your VPN app, and reduces data consumption by leaving apps other than your browser out of the VPN tunnel.
We would ordinarily recommend paid VPN providers, but if you’re set on using a free VPN, then this is the list for you.
How we picked the best free VPN for Firefox
- VPN security: will it keep your data private and secure?
- Performance: are there bandwidth, speed, or session limits?
- Entertainment: can it get around geo-restrictions?
- Reliability against firewalls and censorship: does it work in regions where internet freedom is relatively limited?
- Ease of use and customer support: is the software aimed at beginners or experts?
1. Hide Me VPN
Small but powerful
- Pros: great security features, decent speeds, kill switch, barely any logs
- Cons: 2GB monthly bandwidth limit; only 5 servers in free version
- VPNpro rating: 7.0
Not so long ago, Hide Me would have been ineligible for inclusion in this list of best free VPN services for Firefox – until September 2018, they didn’t have an extension for Firefox at all.
Hide Me is not nominally a free VPN provider; rather, it’s a premium VPN service that merely offers a “freemium” subscription package. Freemium plans are usually advertisements for the paid product, and thus limitations are imposed on the free package.
This is certainly the case with the free version of Hide Me, but it is less extreme than in other cases. It’s worth pointing these restrictions out, of course: the full version of Hide Me provides access to 160 servers, while the free version offers only 5; paying for Hide Me gets you unlimited bandwidth, but the freemium package has a 2GB monthly bandwidth cap.
These restrictions aren’t bad in the grand scheme of things, especially when you consider that Hide Me has a number of very valuable features. These include AES-256-bit encryption, a range of great protocols (including SSTP, which is great for users in China), and a reliable kill switch to keep you protected at all times.
So long as you don’t need it for more than 2GB per month, Hide Me is a great free VPN for Firefox that will never leak your information.
2. Hotspot Shield
The world’s most popular VPN
- Pros: very fast, decent security features
- VPNpro rating: 7.6/10
According to the VPN provider’s official website, as many as 650 million people use Hotspot Shield. They can’t all be wrong… can they?
Clearly, the biggest reason for Hotspot Shield’s fame is its free version. Another reason is that it comes with excellent browser add-ons—including one for Firefox, which is why we’ve included it here—and it’s good for bypassing Netflix’s troublesome geo-restrictions.
Alas, Hotspot Shield is not great for your privacy. When Hotspot Shield is running, the company actively logs various information that isn’t limited to the websites you visit.
Where Hotspot Shield wins is performance. This is a huge draw for many people, so much so that it could be fairly easy to overlook some of the negatives.
As long as you’re not relying on it for hardcore security, Hotspot Shield may be the best free VPN for Firefox.
A fun and trustworthy VPN
- Pros: great security features, double encryption, kill switch
- Cons: 500MB monthly bandwidth cap
- VPNpro rating: 7.2/10
As with Hide Me, TunnelBear is a paid VPN that offers a freemium plan. Unlike the aforementioned VPN, TunnelBear has a data transfer cap of just 500MB, which means it’s only really good for browsing. You can increase the limit by tweeting praise about the service (more details are available on the website).
While the data limit is disappointing, TunnelBear is otherwise a great free VPN for Firefox. It offers security features that are second-to-none: AES-256-bit encryption as well as a whole host of cryptographic protocols, a double encryption feature, a kill switch to protect your personal information in the event of server connection loss, and so on.
The only other real issue worth mentioning is that TunnelBear is a company registered in Canada, a member state of the 14 Eyes alliance (in fact, it’s part of the original 5). This is a privacy concern, albeit one that the company has been able to minimize through their impeccable reputation.
There are a few flaws, then, but that’s the compromise with any free VPN service. TunnelBear just so happens to be one of the best of its kind, and its easy-to-use browser extensions make it a great free VPN for Firefox.
A fast-growing German product
- Pros: decent security features, good for Netflix
- VPNpro rating: 6.8/10
Security conscious users will be thrilled to know that ZenMate uses the coveted, unbreakable AES-256-bit cipher and provides support for the OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols. This makes ZenMate a perfect browser extension for Firefox to secure your connection while using public WiFi.
However, it does seem to shoot itself in the foot with its poor connection speeds. Public WiFi, as you’ll surely know, is usually pretty sluggish, so it doesn’t help that ZenMate runs the risk of slowing down that connection even further.
Even for home usage, these connection speeds are annoying because it means you will not always get Netflix in the quality you desire. Admittedly, though, free VPN providers often fail at both speed and security. Sometimes, excellence in just one of those areas will have to do.
ZenMate is not a good choice for the privacy-conscious. It logs your IP address (though not your usage) and openly confesses that it will share it with the authorities if necessary.
As is painfully apparent when surveying the vast swathes of free VPN providers clogging up the market, there are usually some compromises to be made, and Zenmate is no different. In addition to the privacy issues, the free version of ZenMate also has a 2 MB/s connection speed limit.
Nevertheless, Zenmate remains one of the best free VPNs for Firefox in terms of basic functionality and for that we have to give it credit.
5. Windscribe VPN
A Canadian VPN with a solid set of features
- Cons: 10GB bandwidth allowance, allegedly still works as a crypto miner
- VPNpro rating: 8.4/10
Windscribe’s security features rank among the best on the market today. It’s a premium VPN provider with a freemium package, however, the free version is very generous – 10 GB of data monthly and most features.
These include advanced tools such as double hop, AES-256-bit encryption, a stealth protocol, and port forwarding. Most of these functions can be manually toggled in order to customize your Windscribe user experience.
So the security is great, the privacy is flawless, the bandwidth cap is something you can live with… where’s the catch?
There almost isn’t one. However, at one point the free version of Windscribe doubled as a crypto miner, and there were rumors about the practice continuing despite an official announcement to the contrary. We doubt that’s true, but the practice was suspect to begin with and doesn’t add prestige to the product.