Best Free VPN

Best Free VPN with no Speed Limits

There’s been a remarkable proliferation of VPN usage in 2021 with more people having to work, study, and stay entertained from home. With more people concerned about the privacy and security of their actions from home, this is hardly a surprise.

But selecting a VPN is tough with so many of them in the market today. Selecting a free VPN? That’s even tougher. While a free VPN could easily provide basic services such as security on a public network, there are levels to what can be achieved with one.

With a free VPN service, there’s also the risk of getting a VPN that uses your personal data for profit, or simply just leaks out this data. This is hardly surprising considering the cost of setting up and running a VPN service. But this risk can be avoided through careful selection.

Don't have much time for a long read? Here Are the Best Free VPNs we have tested and approved of as at November 2021

ExpressVPN

It's top-tier security features keeps you safe, plus lightning-fast speeds for streaming and torrenting ( it also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee).

CyberGhost

Cyber Ghost's Robust security features and dedication to servers for streaming and P2P transfers makes it a needed VPN

ProtonVPN

It has Unlimited data and a no-logs policy to keep you protected, but you can only connect to a few server locations.

Avira Phantom VPN

It doesn't come with a kill switch, however it is a user-friendly app that would protect all your devices since you get unlimited simultaneous connections.

Hide.me

Fast speeds to browse the web, but you only get 500MB of data per day (that’s only enough to watch YouTube for 30 minutes).

Surf Shark VPN

Surf Shark is a cheap VPN. If you want a world-class VPN but can't afford to splash out, Surf Shark is a great option.

Nord VPN

Probably the most famous VPN on the scene. Plus, you'll be covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Windscribe

Great for streaming and torrenting.

PrivadoVPN

PrivadoVPN has a FireStick App so you can use this VPN on different smart TVs as well. Finally, it works with Netflix, which is uncommon (and therefore a huge plus) for a free VPN service.

VPN PROVIDER DATA LIMITSERVER LOCATIONSUNBLOCKS NETFLIXTORRENTING SUPPORTSPEED CAP?
CyberGhostNone 90 Yes YesNo
ProtonVPN None 3 Sometimes NoNo
Windscribe 10GB per month (up to 15GB when certain conditions are met) 11 No YesNo
Hide.me 10GB per month 4 No YesNo

To save you reviewing every free VPN service out there, we’ve tested them ourselves using a strict check list. While we weren’t able to find any of them without limitations, we did find some really good ones that give you a healthy chunk of the benefits of a paid VPN at no cost

Best Free VPN with no Speed Limits

1. Express VPN

  • Unlimited data and superfast speeds to stream and browse the web without interruptions
  • Strict zero-logs policy, military-grade 256-bit encryption, and an automatic kill switch to safeguard your privacy
  • 3,000 servers in 90 countries that give you access to geo-blocked sites around the globe
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
  • More expensive than other VPN services
  • Fires Stick TV can be improved
  • Best Price

    £6.54/month - 12 months plan

    Save 35%

    See all plans
  • Top Speed
  • Servers

    160 Countries Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is a highly trusted VPN provider that offers top-tier security features to keep you safe online. It has military-grade 256-bit encryption, which scrambles your data so well that it would take billions of years to crack. It also comes with an automatic kill switch (called Network Lock) that protects you even if the VPN unexpectedly disconnects.

In contrast to most free VPNs, It has an extensive server network with 3,000 servers in 90 countries (and they’re all P2P-friendly). It also works in countries with strict censorship (like Turkey, the UAE, and Iran) and can bypass the Great Firewall of China. (If you plan to use a VPN in one of these countries, we encourage you to be careful and check the local laws first).

ExpressVPN also allows you to connect up to 5 devices simultaneously. This gives you the freedom to stream on your phone as you work on your computer while your other family members or friends surf the web safely on their own devices.

  • Unlimited data and superfast speeds to stream and browse the web without interruptions
  • Strict zero-logs policy, military-grade 256-bit encryption, and an automatic kill switch to safeguard your privacy
  • 3,000 servers in 90 countries that give you access to geo-blocked sites around the globe
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more

ExpressVPN’s latest deal in 2021 Get 3 months completely free on your annual subscription with this current offer! It’s not for certain when this deal will end so it’s best to check the deals page to see if it’s still available.

2. CyberGhost

  • Over 6,000 servers spread over 90 countries
  • Dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming
  • Fast average VPN speeds
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Ad, malware, and tracking blocker
  • Unlocks streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • User-friendly apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV & Firestick, Xbox, PlayStation, and even for routers
  • Does not allow torrenting on servers in the US and Australia
  • Does not work in China
  • Best Price

    $2.24/month - 3 year + 3 months

    Save 82%

    See all plans
  • Top Speed

    54Mbps

  • Servers

    90 Countries Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

Although CyberGhost once had a free VPN service, it no longer does. CyberGhost’s 1-day free VPN trial is also disappointing. However, it boasts the biggest money-back guarantee period in the VPN space. With CyberGhost’s 45-day money-back guarantee, you can enjoy its premium offerings for a month and half at no risk (and no cost).

CyberGhost reports a customer base that’s over 30 million strong. A solid VPN for the privacy and security conscious, its level of adoption is hardly surprising. The VPN is based in Romania which is a privacy haven outside of the 5-Eye Alliance.

CyberGhost users are always convinced their personal data and online activities won’t be getting out. In addition to a strict no-logs policy, the VPN protects your data using a military-grade AES256-bit encryption, DNS/IP leak protection, a kill switch, and an ad blocker to keep out trackers, malware and ads.

With over 6,000 servers in 90 countries around the world, CyberGhost is ideal for streaming. It successfully unblocks hundreds of streaming services, and has a “For Streaming” section with dedicated streaming servers. There are also dedicated servers for torrenting.

Interestingly, CyberGhost also boasts a super-fast connection speed that ensures streaming, gaming or torrenting on its servers isn’t a hassle. 24/7 live chat support is available should you have problems or questions, and its plans cover as many as 7 simultaneous devices.

  • Over 6,000 servers spread over 90 countries
  • Dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming
  • Fast average VPN speeds
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Ad, malware, and tracking blocker
  • Unlocks streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer
  • User-friendly apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV & Firestick, Xbox, PlayStation, and even for routers

With over 45 days available for you to make up your mind, CyberGhost gives you plenty of time to test out its premium package as a free VPN for PC, Android, Mac, Linux, Windows, etc. Should you elect against retaining their services, you can collect your refund before the improvised free VPN trial period is over.

3. ProtonVPN

  • Decent VPN speeds outside of peak hours
  • Strong no-logs policy
  • User-friendly free VPN for PC, iOS, Mac and Android
  • Unlocks Netflix
  • Unlimited bandwidth on free VPN service
  • No live chat customer service feature
  • Torrenting isn’t allowed on the free plan
  • Does not bypass internet censorship in countries like China
  • Best Price

    Basic plan - €4.00/month

    Save €12

    See all plans
  • Top Speed

    59.77Mbps

  • Servers

    54 Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

The free version of this service has servers in three locations, spread nicely around the world: in the US, Japan and the Netherlands. There are clients for Windows and Mac, of course, as well as apps for Android and iPhone

It would be remiss of us not to begin with that headline selling point, though. ProtonVPN doesn’t impose any data restrictions. In other words, you’re free to use as much data as you want every month - that's really rare for a free VPN provider, as you'll discover below with the others on this guide.

There are, naturally enough, limitations for the free plan to incentivize upgrading to a paid-for offering. We think the most notable is the fact that free users get a lower priority when it comes to speed compared to paying subscribers. There’s no P2P support either and speeds may drop at peak times when lots of users are around and paying folks get priority. And Proton makes it very clear that you'll need to upgrade to its Plus tier if you want to use your VPN for streaming.

Security-wise, ProtonVPN is very solid. It boasts a powerful AES 256-bit encryption plus an auto kill switch. This is in addition to features like split tunneling support and DNS leak protection. Based in Switzerland , the VPN is outside of the 5/14/9-Eyes Alliance region. That said, the VPN does have a strict no-logs policy, with only a timestamp of activities stored while on the VPN.

ProtonVPN does have an interface that’s easy on the eye and intuitive to use. It offers support for multiple platforms which is a plus. However, free users are limited to only one device at a time. Users can also enjoy the full range of the premium version at no cost using a 7-day free VPN trial period.

4. Avira Phantom VPN

  • Upto 500mb data per month and fast speeds to browse the web without annoying lag
  • Minimal logging policy and AES 256-bit encryption to protect your privacy
  • 1 server location
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: Only local sites (the free plan only connects to local servers)
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
  • Best Price

    Free

    Download for Free

    See all plans
  • Top Speed
  • Servers

    1 Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

Avira Phantom VPN lets you browse safely and securely over any WiFi network. No one can track you, analyze what you do, or extract information from your online activity all your information will be completely safe.

The free version of Avira Phantom VPN lets you consume 500 MB of traffic. If you want to browse longer, you'll have to create a user account and buy one of the available plans.

In the Avira Phantom VPN setup options, you can choose in which country you want to use to mirror your connection. Pick from dozens of different countries and bypass regional restrictions with incredible ease. Another interesting option is the smart monitor, which offers VPN activation each time you connect to an unsafe network.

Even though you can only connect to a server using the “Nearest Location” feature, this free VPN is still a great option if you just want to protect your online privacy. I’d recommend it for casual safe browsing or to protect yourself when using public WiFi networks.

Even better, it offers a 7-day free trial of the premium version when you download it on your smartphone.

  • Upto 500mb data per month and fast speeds to browse the web without annoying lag
  • Minimal logging policy and AES 256-bit encryption to protect your privacy
  • 1 server location
  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • Can unblock: Only local sites (the free plan only connects to local servers)
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
  • It’s also a safe and secure VPN (although it doesn’t work in countries that restrict VPN use, like China). It supports IKEv2 and OpenVPN (which is the most secure protocol available). And with 256-bit encryption, your online data is well hidden.

5. Hide.me

  • Fast VPN speeds
  • Allows P2P and torrenting on free servers
  • 10GB data limit per month
  • No speed throttling
  • Apps are easy to use for Windows, iOS, MacOS, and Android
  • Unreliable in China
  • Doesn’t unblock Netflix on free plan
  • Only one simultaneous connection allowed
  • Best Price

    £4.61/month - 2 yrs plan

    Save 61%

    See all plans
  • Top Speed

    81Mbps

  • Servers

    35 Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

This is a capable VPN, and while not the highest scorer in some of our technical tests, it offers above average speeds and some of the best expert-level options we've seen anywhere. Give it a try.

We discovered that Hide.me doesn't just make vague promises about its unlocking abilities. Its Unblock page lists the many sites it supports, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, ShowTime and more./p>

  • Fast VPN speeds
  • Allows P2P and torrenting on free servers
  • 10GB data limit per month
  • No speed throttling
  • Apps are easy to use for Windows, iOS, MacOS, and Android

However, the free version of the VPN offers just five VPN servers, and limits data usage to 10GB per month. This equates to about 10 hours of streaming.Our tests revealed both versions of Hide.me are reasonably fast, offer strong security, and reliable customer support.

With Hide.me, free means free. The free VPN trial lasts for as long as you need it to, with no time limits and only restrictions to your bandwidth. You have unlimited and unrestricted technical support all day long and you can browse with no ads popping up on your screen.

If you’re searching for a free VPN for your PC, Apple devices, Linux, Chrome, Amazon Fire OS, or Windows phone that does well to preserve your privacy, Hide.me makes for an excellent option. It can also be easily installed on a router, making it a very versatile free VPN service. in the US.

6. Surfshark VPN

  • No IP/DNS leaks
  • Advanced security and encryption features
  • Fast and responsive live chat service
  • Allows torrenting and P2P activity
  • Some servers are slower than expected
  • Best Price

    £1.49/month - 24 months plan

    Save 84%

    See all plans
  • Top Speed
  • Servers

    61 Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

Surfshark has almost everything you can expect from a great VPN app. It is incredibly easy to use, has a simple selection of servers, and a Whitelister feature that allows you conveniently exclude certain websites from the VPN connection.

Surfshark has a small global server coverage, with just over 1,000 servers in 61 countries. Still, while it wouldn’t compete with the server range or speed of ExpressVPN and NordVPN, it is still an excellent option for budget buyers.

One of the biggest pluses for Surf Shark users is its pocket-friendly pricing. The 2-year subscription plan costs only $1.99 per month. This makes it an exceptional choice as one of the best VPN for android.

  • No IP/DNS leaks
  • Advanced security and encryption features
  • Fast and responsive live chat service
  • Allows torrenting and P2P activity

Surfshark VPN's subscription costs $12.95 per month, compared to an average price of $9.96 per month among the services we've tested.

7. NordVPN

  • A fast VPN app that's stable with fast VPN speeds
  • Allows torrenting on many servers
  • Works great with Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services
  • User-friendly apps for IOS, Mac, Android and PC
  • Strong logging policy and no IP, WebRTC, and DNS leaks
  • Massive server networks: over 5,700 servers running in 60 countries
  • Alternative VPN protocols require manual configuration
  • There are no obfuscated servers for iOS
  • Best Price

    £2.86/month - 2 yrs plan

    90.51

    See all plans
  • Top Speed

    90.51Mbps

  • Servers

    90+ Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

NordVPN is an excellent choice for Android VPN app users, and particularly stands out for its amazing feedback from users on Google Play. With NordVPN, you are just a click away from setting up your network to a region of choice as it has a global coverage which consists of over 5,200 servers spread across 60 countries. This comprehensive coverage makes for lightning fast VPN speeds, which allows users easily carry out data intensive activities like streaming.

The no questions asked 30-day money back guarantee is also another interesting aspect of using NordVPN. So, if you do not like the Android app after checking it out, all you need to do is cancel the subscription and request a refund.

  • A fast VPN app that's stable with fast VPN speeds
  • Allows torrenting on many servers
  • Works great with Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services
  • User-friendly apps for IOS, Mac, Android and PC
  • Strong logging policy and no IP, WebRTC, and DNS leaks
  • Massive server networks: over 5,700 servers running in 60 countries

Another excellent addition is the ultra-secure Double VPN which is designed to route your traffic through two VPN tunnels instead of one. Though this feature may make for slower speeds, it gives you the confidence to go on your online journey without the fear of being spied on. Overall, this VPN app represents good value for money as it offers complete privacy as well as gives you access to geo-restricted content.

8. Windscribe

  • Very safe and secure: no leaks, no viruses
  • Allows torrenting on most servers
  • Supports multiple devices across popular operating systems
  • Fast same-country speeds
  • Up to 15GB free bandwidth
  • Unreliable internet speeds
  • Barely works in China
  • Based in Canada
  • Best Price

    $4.08/month - 12 month plan

    $4.08/month

    See all plans
  • Top Speed

    63.6Mbps

  • Servers

    22 Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

Windscribe’s most impeccable feature is its free data allowance of 10GB of data per month, plus an extra 5GB when you tweet the company. You also get a 1GB bonus when you refer your friends to Windscribe. For a freemium, this is more than enough for regular usage through the month.

But it isn’t just the excessive flow of free data that makes Windscribe one of the best free VPNs. A user-friendly app, Windscribe is built with the highest level of security protection. 256-bit encryption is supported by an active kill switch, and a solid no-logs policy. Free users are also free to take advantage of Windscribe’s proprietary R.O.B.E.R.T. feature which blocks out ads and malware .

Windscirbe’s free version does have its limitations, though. Besides the limited data and bandwidth, users will be restricted to just servers in only 10 of the available 50 countries on the app. However, with these including servers in France, Germany, UK, US, Hong Kong, etc., chances are you’d be just fine.

Other impressive features of the VPN include a support for torrenting on a number of its free servers, and features like port forwarding and split tunneling. Users will have access to a range of customer support options such as setup guides and live chat.

  • Very safe and secure: no leaks, no viruses
  • Allows torrenting on most servers
  • Supports multiple devices across popular operating systems
  • Fast same-country speeds
  • Up to 15GB free bandwidth

Overall, this is a solid free VPN for website unblocking and general online protection. It gives you the feel of a premium VPN at no cost. Of course, should you like it enough, you can switch from the lifetime free VPN trial period into a premium plan with more support and allowances.

9. Privado VPN

  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Downloading torrents is possible
  • Works with U.S. Netflix
  • No logs
  • Strong encryption
  • Kill switch
  • Easy to install
  • Good free option
  • Best Price

    $4.99/mo

    Save 38%

    See all plans
  • Top Speed
  • Servers

    47 Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

We particularly liked PrivadoVPN’s free version. Compared to other free VPN providers, PrivadoVPN offers a lot of options. Their free version has 10 gigabyte of data a month and allows access to 12 servers. However, the paid version gives you access to over 200 servers in 47 countries.

Users of the free option get access to servers that are also included in the main server network for paying customers. This means everyone gets the same level of security and speed. Its features includes

  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Downloading torrents is possible
  • Works with U.S. Netflix
  • No logs
  • Strong encryption
  • Kill switch
  • Easy to install
  • Good free option
  • For a new VPN, they function extremely well.

10. Betternet VPN

  • 500MB data per day
  • Rugged security and anti-malware protection
  • Registration not required
  • Apps are easy to use for Windows, iOS, MacOS, and Android
  • Doesn’t work with streaming platforms
  • Slow connection speeds
  • No automatic kill switch
  • Uses ads
  • Best Price

    $7.99/mo for 12 month

    Save 38%

    See all plans
  • Top Speed
  • Servers

    Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

Like Hotspot Shield, Betternet VPN limits users to 500MB of data per day. This is already too little for streaming on the VPN, but the VPN goes even further to bar streaming on its free VPN plan. With streaming out of the way, though, the VPN still makes it into our list for its security measures.

If you’re in need of a free VPN provider with a focus on cost-free online security while on public networks, Betternet should serve. Once criticized for the plethora of third-party tracking software on its app, Betternet has gone on to make changes and improvements in keeping with modern standards.

The VPN protects your personal data using an AES-256 encryption combined with the Catapult Hydra protocol. With protection against DNS leaks also in place, as well as perfect forward secrecy, security is quite solid. Unfortunately, there’s no automatic kill switch to prevent data leak when there’s a drop in VPN connection.

Betternet VPN allows free users access to only its US server. This means that the servers are almost always crowded and speeds, slow. However, connecting outside of peak hours could give you decent speeds.

Betternet may protect you while on unsecured public networks, but we’d hardly recommend it for complete anonymity. It is based in the United States, collects some user information, and does employ ads as part of its revenue stream – which is concerning.

11. VPNBook

  • Unlimited VPN data
  • Runs over the secure OpenVPN protocol
  • 6 server locations
  • Secure AES-256 protection
  • Works with Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android, etc.
  • Requires manual configuration for every device
  • Supported by ads
  • No kill switch
  • Best Price

    $0/mo

    Save 100%

    See all plans
  • Top Speed
  • Servers

    7 Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

Yet another option for individuals interested in their online privacy, VPNBook is a totally free VPN that is funded strictly by ads. Once setup, the VPN allows users access to all of its servers at no cost, enabling users get away from spying eyes regardless of their location.

VPNBook uses a secure AES-256 encryption in combination with either a PPTP or OpenVPN connection. Based out of Romania, a privacy-friendly country, it’s under no obligation to collect any logs, and it doesn’t. It does keep certain connection logs (not activity logs), but these are not personally identifiable, and are only kept for a week. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a kill switch.

The VPN has servers in US, UK, Germany, France, Canada, and Poland – which is fairly expansive for a small VPN. Unfortunately, it only ever unblocks Netflix US, and even hardly does so consistently. Other streaming platforms like Hulu and BBC iPlayer were much tougher for its unblocking capacity.

An interesting thing to note about VPNBook is its lack of dedicated VPN apps. This means you can’t simply install a software on your target device and get going. Instead, the VPN provides manual configuration files, as well as step-by-step guides to make setting up the VPN on any device easy.

Overall, there are certainly a few concerns with a VPN whose entire model is based on ad revenue. However, VPNBook keeps everything to the basics, employing easily accessible tech to make things work. As a result, it secures your connections bypasses censorship, supports torrenting,, and has an active support system, despite spending no resources to build native apps.

12. Speedify

  • Unique speed boosting technology
  • Allows access to every server on the free plan
  • 2GB data limit per month
  • Solid privacy measures
  • Doesn’t unblock Netflix
  • Best Price

    3-year plan only $2.99/mo

    Save 70%

    See all plans
  • Top Speed
  • Servers

    50+ Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

With most VPNs focusing on online privacy and security, Speedify decided instead to focus on speed of connections. But this doesn’t mean there was any compromise to security or privacy on the VPN. Rather, there was an extra focus to ensure connections are super-fast.

To that end, Speedify combines all available internet connections to improve performance with its Channel Bonding technology. This means a combination of mobile data, ethernet, and/Wi-Fi where available. If there’s only one possible internet source available, Speedify claims its turbocharging technology still helps speed things up.

Interestingly, Speedify keeps access to all of its servers open even to those on its free plan. This means you can connect to any of its 50+ servers across the world with your free plan. Unfortunately, this has to be done within the limitations of a 2GB monthly data allowance.

Despite the data limitation on this VPN provider, there’s still enough to cover basic operations such as regular internet surfing and email checking. Clearly, though, this isn’t a VPN for streaming. Besides its data limitations which make streaming stressful, it also struggles unsuccessfully to unblock Netflix and other streaming platforms.

That said, Speedify is a reliably fast VPN that secures your internet connection with impressive technologies, provides content filtering for websites around the world, and delivers impressive speeds. This is enough to get it on our list of the best free VPNs for 2021.

13. Hotspot Shield

  • 500MB data limit per day, 15GB per month
  • Unblocks Spotify and YouTube
  • Easy to use interface
  • Solid protection
  • Only one free server
  • Very limited data allowance
  • Best Price

    Premium plan - $7.99/month

    Save 38%

    See all plans
  • Top Speed

    90.63Mbps

  • Servers

    101 Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

A really reliable VPN, Hotspot Shield combines military-grade encryption with DNS leak protection and steady connections to give you an enjoyable free VPN service.

Hotspot Shield is one of the more popular free VPN options out there, and that’s not surprising. Despite limiting free users to just 500MB per day (about 15GB per month), the VPN does enough to keep persons coming back. While this is certainly generous, its daily limitation means you can’t consider streaming or heavy downloads on the VPN.

Hotspot Shield wins many plaudits for its friendly to use nature, whether it is the desktop or mobile version. This seamless usage is very much appealing. However, aesthetics isn’t traded for solidity, with the VPN recognized by many as an ideal free VPN for those simply seeking online protection.

Unfortunately, Hotspot Shield grants you access to only one server in the US on the free version. It’s for this reason it hasn’t ranked higher on our list. Interestingly, though, this is enough to get past government censorship in certain countries, as well as content filters at work or school.

To truly enjoy Hotspot Shield and all it offers, you’d need to engage the premium plan. While this may be inaccessible for you due to the cost, you also have the option of a 7-day free VPN trial on Hotspot Shield. This is enough time to test out the 3,200 servers in its network to see if its worth your money.

Review Methodology: How we ranked the best free VPNs

Ranking the best free VPNs is perhaps a more difficult task than ranking premium VPNs. The reason is simple, there’s a lot of poorly put together free VPNs in the market. These VPNs run well into the hundreds, making the review process complicated.

We eliminated some due to a lack of detailed information by the developers. Some others were eliminated for lacking the kind of solid features we desire in a VPN. That said, we began testing individual VPNs.

Each recommendation on the final list of free VPNs is based on a series of real-life testing and analysis, involving the following factors:

  • Security: Your chosen VPN should offer you complete online protection. As a bonus, it should be able to block out trackers, as well as adware and malware. Our tests involved checking for possible DNS or IP leaks on the VPN. We also tested for WebRTC leaks. All of these tests determine if those behind a website can still see your original IP address despite your VPN.
  • Privacy: If your VPN company does keep logs of your activity, you’re only taking your data from your ISP and handing it over to them for free. Check with the end-user license agreement and privacy policy to ensure they keep absolutely no logs of your activities. Be sure to keep an eye out for the company’s legal obligations to government. VPNs based in countries which are a part of the Five-, Nine-, or Fourteen-Eyes surveillance alliance are generally riskier.
  • Speed: We ran speed tests on our router before connecting to the VPN, and then ran another after. This allowed us compare our upload and download speed before connecting to the VPN, with the speed after connecting giving us an idea how fast the VPNs were. We were particularly interested in the percentage drop-off after connecting. However, we also took the VPN for a spin on different websites to get a real feel of the speed.
  • Tradeoff: Free stuff can hardly be as good as that which you pay for. For most free VPNs, this means a limit on bandwidth and server locations, streaming limitations, prevention of P2P file sharing and torrenting, or even security limitations. For ranking, we weighed the limitations of each VPN against its benefits. Of course, VPNs with security vulnerabilities didn’t make it into our list at all.
  • Business model: How does the VPN provider make back their investment? If they have a paid version which they hope to rope you into, that’s their model. If they don’t, do they make use of ads instead? On the other hand, do they sell off your personal data to the highest bidder? Be sure to do your homework.
  • Other features: There are multiple features that help improve the performance of a modern VPN. This is particularly true in the security department. Split tunneling helps you filter particular applications out of your VPN connection. Kill switches protect you in the event of a connection drop. And so on… We gave extra credit to VPNs with these extra features for the extra layer of security added.

Free VPN vs Paid VPN

Over the years, multiple studies have been conducted to understand the limitations and potential pitfalls of free VPNs. When conducting our own studies on free VPNs, we found that many of them available on the Play Store don’t protect your data as well as they should.

Perhaps the most obvious problem with free VPNs are the limitations they impose on your ability to use their service. Although these free VPNs do not put you at risk, they put a limit to what you can do on your VPN connection.

Most free VPNsget you to pay for their service by urging you to upgrade to their premium plans in order to get over the limitations. Interestingly, it’s also been discovered that some free VPNs go so far as to compromise devices, or even sell user data for profit.

On the other hand, paid VPN services charge a fee for your usage of their infrastructure. With this revenue base, they’re generally better able to not only maintain but improve their service, while making a healthy profit in the process.

On the other hand, paid VPN services charge a fee for your usage of their infrastructure. With this revenue base, they’re generally better able to not only maintain but improve their service, while making a healthy profit in the process.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that premium VPNs are generally faster than freemiums. They also tend to have more server locations, deliver more robust security, allow multiple simultaneous connections, and better unblock geo-blocked streaming services. This is why we always recommend CyberGhost VPN.

Free VPNs Paid VPNs
Pros
Online security at no cost Unlimited data and bandwidth
Registration may not be required Numerous servers in most countries
Payment information not needed Built-in ad blockers
May allow cost-free anonymous torrenting High level encryption systems and protocols
Torrenting and streaming support
IP and DNS leak protection
Strong privacy policies
24/7 customer support
Cons
Limited bandwidth and data May be too expensive for your budget
Slow connection speeds due to overcrowded servers Requires ongoing financial commitment
Poor customer support Registration and payment information required
Most lack IP/DNS protection, leaving you exposed
Ads may litter the app or may be infused into websites you visit
Possible sale of personal data for profit
Limited security options, with many proxies posing as actual VPNs
Poor customer support

Free VPN FAQs

Totally depends. If you need a free VPN to unblock website content, or protect you as you surf the internet, check your mail, and visit your banking apps, you should have no troubles finding one. A free VPN will also serve if you’re looking to protect your device while on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.

However, if you’re need of a VPN for streaming or downloading heavy torrent files, a free VPN may not suffice. Data and bandwidth limitations are sure to pose a huge problem, as will speed limitations due to throttling or overcrowding of servers.

In the end, you’d have to weigh your reasons for wanting a VPN and see if a free one could serve. Otherwise, you could pursue cheaper options like Surfshark that give you all of the protection and unblocking capacity of a premium VPN at much lower price points.

Every VPN provider makes a sizeable investment that needs to be repaid. For many VPNs with premium plans, this investment is repaid through purchase of premium plans. Premium users thus pay for the services you enjoy, even as you’re encouraged to step up.

Others, mostly those without premium plans, are financed through ads (Hotspot Shield using ads on their free VPN despite having a premium plan). However, we are only comfortable with those who show these ads on their apps, without injecting adware into browsers and websites unrelated to their service.

The biggest DANGER lies with those who sell your personal data to marketing agencies for profit. Then there’s the curious case of Hola VPN which was found to sell your bandwidth and IP address to paying customers.

Most of the recommended VPNs here adopt the premium/freemium models. A handful of them display ads on their apps. And, NONE of them sell your data. Should you opt for any VPN outside of this list, be sure to do your due diligence.

The free VPNs discussed on this list are indeed FREE. They charge you nothing, looking instead for revenue from customers who switch to paid versions. Some also earn from ads. However, a lot of free VPNs out there are out to harm you in order for them to earn. You always want to ensure you aren’t paying more for your VPN choice by refusing to pay for a subscription plan.

The free VPNs we mentioned above have been tested extensively and found to be safe. A lot of free VPNs aren’t safe, though. In fact, our recent tests revealed that not only do a good number of free VPNs adopt poor security and encryption protocols, a lot of them directly compromise your security.

Poor encryption methods leading to data leaks are a major problem, but our biggest grouse lies with free VPNs that store logs, employ poor data protection practices, or are packed with advertisements, spam, or malware.

Others go so far as to monetize user data by selling them to third parties. While most buyers are ad agencies, some are more cryptic about what they do, and what role this data plays in their business.

There have been too many shocking examples that highlight the vulnerabilities of free VPNs. Still, the case of Hola VPN was surprising. A fairly popular VPN service, the VPN turned its free users into a botnet. Premium users could feed off the bandwidth of free users, or directly purchase a botnet for denial-of-service attacks.

So, before downloading and using any free VPN, be sure to confirm its safety. On the other hand, you could stay on top of our updated list of free VPNs.

Our recommended VPN for UK remains CyberGhost VPN. It is also our best free VPN trial for UK. Although this VPN isn’t technically free, it’s 45-day money-back guarantee period double as a VPN free trial period. You can cancel at any time within this period and get your full refund without any hassles.

For a completely free VPN for UK, though, we recommend Windscribe with its robust security, decent speed, and 10GB monthly data allowance.

Our recommended free VPN for torrenting is Windscribe. Not only does this VPN support torrenting on most of its free servers, its security infrastructure is solid. It doesn’t leak IP addresses or DNS has a kill switch, and boasts a strict no-logs policy.

Unfortunately, Windscribe is hamstrung by its 10GB per month data cap. This means you won’t be able to download so much before you run out of bandwidth. This is the bane of most free VPNs, and is the reason why we don’t recommend free VPNs for torrenting.

ProtonVPN seemed to address this issue with its unlimited data allowance. Unfortunately, the VPN explicitly forbids the running of P2P traffic on its free servers, making it a no-go for torrenters. Ultimately, if you’re serious about torrenting, you’d have to consider premium VPNs.

Our overall recommendation for torrenting is CyberGhost, due to its speed, privacy, and security. Its long-term pricing plan is also impressively cheap. However, you can always go for cheaper options like Surfshark or PrivateVPN<.

Some of the free VPNs on this list can indeed unblock streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu. Others couldn’t get past these tough restrictions. And yet others were not consistently successful during tests. To consistently get past these high-end geo-blocking and VPN detection technologies, you’d have to plunge for a paid VPN.

You can learn more about our recommended VPNs for Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+.

Certainly, the free VPNs we recommend provide an extra layer of security and can be used with Tor browser. However, most of them can be frustratingly slow. Considering Tor already slows down your connection speed by hopping through multiple relays, this could make for an agonizing process.

When using a VPN with Tor, you’d need a top-level VPN that doesn’t limit your speed, bandwidth or data. You’d also need to connect to a super-fast local server to ensure connections are less tumultuous.

Yes. The free VPNs listed above are available for a wide number of devices. This means you can get a free VPN download for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS in most cases. Some are expansive enough to have native VPN clients for Linux, routers, and even gaming consoles.

Unfortunately, there are only a handful of VPNs that work in China. Even then, many of them aren’t secure enough to keep up with the detection technologies of China, and remain on the safe side of its censorship laws.

In truth, even a good dose of paid VPNs struggle to get past the Great Chinese Firewall. However, those who do employ the right obfuscation technologies to keep your connection hidden and secure. This is why we generally plunge for premium VPNs like NordVPN when considering work in China.

Some free VPNs are notorious for profiting on their service by selling out user data to interested third parties. Although these VPNs do not charge you for their service, they receive their income from you by selling your data.

Thankfully, not every VPN does this. For instance, free VPNs like Windscribe, ProtonVPN, and every other free VPN on this list provide reliable and secure services at absolutely no cost.

Yes. Free VPNs are legal to use in most countries. However, there are countries where VPNs are generally under ban. Censorship laws may also limit what it is you’re allowed to view – even under a VPN. Should you choose to use a VPN in these locations, be sure to employ VPNs with strong obfuscation technologies to keep you undetected.

Thankfully, tourists are mostly exempt from these laws, and using a VPN – free or paid – as a tourist carry no consequences.

Conclusion

Free VPNs come with a few challenges. The cost of running a VPN service means that returns are needed. Some free VPN service providers find alternate ways to make these returns at your expense. However, we’ve been able to carefully identify free VPNs that could serve just fine for basic use.

But every form of free VPN we’ve seen has some limitations. This could be in the form of data, bandwidth, speed, or even time limitations. Clearly, then, it isn’t easy to pick one free VPN over another, which is why our top recommendation is CyberGhost and its pseudo free VPN trial.

Of course, there are free VPNs not listed here that show some promise. We’d sure be updating our list should we find more deserving candidates. If you do want something more, though, you can check out our options for the best VPNs of 2021. Some of the pricing plans on offer are truly affordable.