Best Free VPN

Best Free VPN

There’s been a remarkable proliferation of VPN usage in 2020 with more persons having to work, study, and stay entertained from home. With more persons 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.

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.

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
Hotspot Shield 500MB per day 1 No NoYes
Speedify 2GB per month 50 No No No
VPNBookUnlimited 6 Sometimes YesNo
Betternet VPN500MB per day1 No No No
ZoogVPN2GB per month3 No YesYes
OperaVPNUnlimited3 No Isn’t secure enoughNo

Best Free VPN

1. 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

    $2.25/month - 3-year subscriptions

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  • 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.

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.

2. 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

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  • Top Speed

    59.77Mbps

  • Servers

    54 Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

Arguably the best free VPN service on the market, ProtonVPN is free of any data and bandwidth limitations. Considering most free VPNs have data limitations, this is essentially an unlimited free VPN. This enabled us browse, stream and torrent for as long as we wanted on our free VPN for PC.

The VPN does have its limitations. The free plan only gives you access to three servers in US, Japan, and Netherlands. With every free user connected to these three servers, they easily get overloaded, and connections could slow down when that happens. However, using the VPN outside of peak hours is mostly smooth.

Interestingly, ProtonVPN successfully bypasses censorship and unblocks most social media platforms. When server load is down, we found it easy to unblock Netflix and stream on the servers. But this wasn’t always the case. Unfortunately, P2P file sharing isn’t supported on any of the free servers.

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.

3. 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

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  • 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. A 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.

Interestingly, you can use a single Windscribe account on as many devices as you please. You don’t have to sign up either, but that would limit you to just 2GB of data each month. And, while we couldn’t get it to work with Netflix, its support for anonymous torrenting was really pleasing.

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.

4. 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%

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  • Top Speed

    81Mbps

  • Servers

    35 Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

A trusty free VPN, Hide.me is well known within the VPN space. This reliable free VPN service comes with a 10GB data cap of free data monthly and supports torrenting. Once setup, users will be able to connect to one server each in Germany, Canada, and Netherlands, and two in the US.

Built for online anonymity, Hide.me adopts robust security features to maintain your online privacy. This includes an AES 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, a strict no-logs policy , and leak protection. There’s also support for multiple VPN protocols, allowing you choose the best for your needs. All of these add to the security of the VPN.

Hide.me does well getting around content filters and geoblocks on websites. It also supports P2P file sharing and torrenting on its free servers. However, if you’re in need of a free VPN for Netflix, you’d have to look elsewhere. The VPN neither unblocks Netflix, BBC iPlayer, nor any other streaming service.

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.

The benefits associated with the free version of Hide.me include fairly fast connections for browsing, torrenting support, and a lifetime of free VPN service (which means there is no trial period). However, you’d have to live with the limited data and server count available to you. Certainly not bad!

5. 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

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  • 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.

6. 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%

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  • 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 2020.

7. 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

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  • 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.

8. OperaVPN

  • Unlimited bandwidth and data
  • Built-in ad and malware blocker
  • Requires no registration
  • Apps are easy to use for Windows, iOS, MacOS, and Android
  • Only offers protection on Opera browser
  • Doesn’t unblock streaming services
  • Security isn’t as robust as others on the list
  • Best Price

    It’s free

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  • Top Speed
  • Servers

    Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

OperaVPN is a completely free VPN built into your Opera browser. Essentially a free VPN website, this browser uses a proxy to anonymize your online connection and protect your traffic within the VPN. It, however, wouldn’t be protecting any of your traffic from other browsers or apps.

The OperaVPN is designed strictly for your Opera browser. This isn’t a VPN you’d be employing to protect your activities on your email or banking apps. To stay protected, every activity needs to go through the browser.

The VPN employs fairly robust encryption, in addition to a built-in anti-malware protector and ad blocker. The VPN is thus able to hide your online identity, while keeping your device protected.

Users will be able to connect to three locations – Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Do not expect, though, to successfully unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or any other streaming service.

9. ZoogVPN

  • Allows P2P and torrenting on free servers
  • 2GB data limit per month
  • 3 server locations
  • Limited server locations
  • Only one connection allowed at a time
  • Speed caps on free servers
  • Best Price

    $1.87 for 2 Year plan

    Save 86%

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  • Top Speed
  • Servers

    26 Countries

  • Available on

The Bottom Line

A completely free VPN service, ZoogVPN provides users with complete online security. Despite being a little player in the big leagues, this VPN service comes fitted with a robust security architecture.

For starters, ZoogVPN uses the standard AES-256 encryption. This is paired on the free version of the VPN with encryption protocols like IKEv2 or OpenVPN, known for their security and speed. A kill switch is also implemented to protect your internet connection in the event of a VPN connection drop.

For starters, ZoogVPN uses the standard AES-256 encryption. This is paired on the free version of the VPN with encryption protocols like IKEv2 or OpenVPN, known for their security and speed. A kill switch is also implemented to protect your internet connection in the event of a VPN connection drop.

As with most on the lower end of our free VPN scale, ZoogVPN doesn’t successfully unblock streaming services on any of its 3 servers. It also limits free users to only one simultaneous connection at a time, which may be very limiting.

However, it does support torrenting. And, with servers located in the US, Netherlands, and UK, it is a solid free VPN for website unblocking.

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%

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  • 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.

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 VPNs get 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 VPNs to Avoid

Although we’ve spent most of this article discussing the best free VPNs on the market, there are a multitude of them out there that you need to avoid at all costs. These include VPNs notorious for logging and using your data, compromising your security, or selling your bandwidth.

While we certainly cannot list out all of the VPNs in this category, we’ve identified popular free VPNs in this category that you must avoid. Some of them are highlighted below:

Free VPN Reason to avoid
Hola Free VPNFar from a VPN service, Hola is a peer-to-peer proxy network that exploits the IP addresses of free users. This means someone else could easily use your IP to commit a crime, and get you in trouble.
Psiphon Pro Logs your personal and browsing data, shares same with partner companies, and allows them track you so they can deliver targeted ads.
SuperVPN Logs your data and has been found to download malware onto devices.
VPN Proxy Master Not only does this VPN collect and store logs, it transmits same to China. It’s also riddled with popup ads, and says little about its encryption systems.
AnonyTun Shares data with advertisers who are allowed to build profiles and track users using cookies.
CrossVPN Installs a virus onto your PC at the same time as it installs the VPN app. A major security risk!
OkVPNInstalls adware on your device, making ads appear on other apps.
Secure VPNA white label product, Secure VPN tracks everything from your IP to device info, internet service provider, location, websites visited, and more. It’s part of a network of VPNs including Flash VPN, Fast VPN, UFO VPN, Rabbit VPN, and Super VPN.
EasyVPNRiddled with ads and installs adware that displays ads on other apps.
HoxxVPNEssentially a proxy with zero encryption. It logs data and sells same to third parties.

Of course, there are many more dangerous free VPNs out there. Many VPNs which parade as free VPNs on Google Play Store are indeed dangerous. This includes many thousands of VPNs indicted in our research.

It’s pertinent, therefore, that you always do your due diligence to confirm the security of any free VPN before use. Read up about the VPN through its own documentation, and confirm the information from trusted third-party sources. Your safety may just be on the line.

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 by clicking here.

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 2020. Some of the pricing plans on offer are truly affordable.

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