Online privacy is a right, so you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Our top seven free VPNs guarantee secure, anonymous browsing, free of charge. There are no hidden costs – download your free VPN and get online.
Usually, the choice between getting a free product or buying one is obvious. Why pay for something you can get for free? It’s not so clear-cut when it comes to VPNs, though. After all, there’s no such thing as a free lunch: you always end up paying somehow. With free VPNs, you could pay with crawling speeds, annoying ads, dangerous malware, or even having your data stolen.
The Obvious Trick Free VPNs Use
VPN providers use a straightforward trick: they downgrade their free version to push you into paying for the full one. After all, when you’re tired of buffering, limited servers, and no Netflix, you’re more likely to pay for a fully-functional service.
The better free VPNs give a service that’s almost as good – so excellent, in fact, that you probably won’t want to upgrade. Using the free VPNs we recommend, you’ll:
- Be able to access geo-blocked content (this means content that’s blocked based on your location)
- Have lightning-fast connection speeds
- Know that your data isn’t being logged
What’s the Catch with Free VPNs?
Most free VPNs have limitations. These may include a limited choice of servers, slow connections, or capped data usage. More than 65% of the free VPNs we tested won’t let you stream or torrent, and some have deliberately slow connection speeds. While you may not pay anything, you’ll probably have a frustrating experience.
Free VPNs make it seem like you’re getting a product for free. In reality, however, you could be the product. Many users reported to us that free VPN services stole their personal information and sold it to third parties.
This raises another issue. Even a free VPN should help you stay anonymous online – but only a safe one actually will. Unfortunately, many free VPNs pose severe risks to your security.
Your information can only be sold if it’s stored. Many free services don’t have a no-logs policy, meaning they can track your data and put your privacy at risk. Free services are also notorious for spam, ads, and malware.
What We Discovered About Free VPNs
We tested hundreds of free VPN offers, and some seemed a little too good to be true. This raised our suspicions, so we investigated the more unrealistic providers.
Shockingly, we discovered that many free VPNs are owned by China – the same Chinese government that imposes the world’s strictest censorship laws! In their privacy policies, some even specified that user data would be logged and could be shared. This is, frankly, shocking. To protect your privacy, stay away from any VPN owned by China.
There’s one more fundamental reason to be careful of free VPNs. Businesses know that customers like our lives to be comfortable. They assume that if you like their limited free service, you’ll upgrade to their paid VPN later.
The problem? The best free VPN doesn’t necessarily mean the best-paid VPN. It certainly doesn’t mean the best value for money. Many free providers offer expensive plans with standard features, while other services don’t have a free trial but offer cheaper plans with better features. Sticking with your now-familiar provider could mean you end up paying more for less, and settling for a second-rate service instead of a top VPN.
1. ExpressVPN – Most Expensive VPN for Free
ExpressVPN isn’t usually free. It’s actually one of the most expensive VPNs available, as it’s packed with some of the most advanced features. So why are we listing it here with our top-rated free VPNs?
ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked. We actually tested it, and it really is that easy! This means you can test one of the best VPNs for free for a month, and it’s totally risk-free.
This is ideal if you only need a VPN for a short time. If you’re traveling to China or Russia for less than a month, ExpressVPN’s free trial will let you bypass online censorship. You’ll be able to access your emails, socials, and streaming as normal.
It’s also a great way to enjoy unlimited streaming and outstanding security without committing to an expensive plan. After all, if you want to understand why people love VPNs without paying, you shouldn’t use a slow, spammy, free program. Instead, try a great service like ExpressVPN or NordVPN for free. If you love it as much as these real users did, keep it – and if not, cancelling your trial is easy.
ExpressVPN works on these devices:
- Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and some routers.
Benefits of NordVPN:
- Consistently unblocks Netflix so you never miss an episode
- Has more than 2000 servers in 148+ locations across 90 countries
- Guarantees lightning-fast connection speeds
- Offers advanced security protocols, military-grade encryption, and has a kill switch
- Ensures complete and total privacy as its host country is not part of the Five-Eyes Alliance
- Will protect your privacy and give you unrestricted internet access in China and Russia
No credit card required, fast speeds, data limited to 500 MB/day
Hotspot Shield is our readers’ top choice for a free VPN. The free version offers lightning-fast speeds as well as military-grade encryption, guaranteeing quick, secure browsing.
Hotspot Shield is compatible with every operating system, has a no-logs policy, and offers dedicated tech support. You’ll be able to access geo-restricted content from anywhere, using any device.
The free version gives you just 500 MB of data every day. While this isn’t enough for streaming Netflix or torrenting, it’s definitely enough for secure browsing on the go.
You can add just one device to your free Hotspot Shield account, and access a very limited number of servers. The free version is supported by ads, so you’ll see plenty of them!
Hotspot Shield is available on these devices:
- Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Chrome
Free Version Pros
- Fast connection speeds ensure lag-free browsing
- No-logs policy means your search history is safe
- Military-grade encryption protects your internet activity
Free Version Cons
- No streaming means you’ll miss your favorite shows
- Data is capped at 500 MB/day (this is the equivalent of a couple of YouTube videos)
- Lots of ads mean lots of interruptions
Powerful security, free for life, small 500 MB/month bandwidth
If you’re new to VPNs, TunnelBear’s free version is a great way to get started. Our readers love its user-friendly interface which comes complete with animated grizzly bears. You can connect to servers in 22+ countries, and enjoy decent connection speeds.
TunnelBear take security and anonymity very seriously. The VPN is independently audited, uses AES 256-bit encryption, and guarantees no data logging. This means your data will never be stored and your identity will always stay private.
A free TunnelBear account gives you just 500 MB of data every month (but you can tweet them for an extra 1 GB). This VPN doesn’t work with Netflix or other streaming sites so it won’t help you access geo-blocked video content.
TunnelBear is available on these devices:
- Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
Free Version Pros
- Good connection speeds guarantee buffer-free browsing
- No logging and powerful encryption ensure you’re always protected
- Ad-free service ensures minimal interruption
Free Version Cons
- No streaming means no TV or music on the go
- Data is limited to just 500 MB/month
- Small server network compared to other VPN providers
Generous 10 GB data limit, supports torrents, always free
Windscribe’s generous data allowance makes it one of our top free VPNs. Free account users get 10 GB of data every month, and can get an extra 5 GB by tweeting the company. You can also “win” an extra 1 GB of free data every month by referring friends.
Windscribe supports torrenting across most servers.
Windscribe offers a desktop app and browser extension. The program has a user-friendly interface, with a choice of customer support options including live chat and setup guides.
As well as limiting your data, a free Windscribe account restricts you to servers in just 10/50 countries. Check out what users think about Windscribe.
Windscribe is available on these devices:
- macOS, iPhone, Windows, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox
Free Version Pros
- Supports torrenting for unlimited access to your favorite entertainment
Free Version Cons
- Data limited to 10 GB/month (more generous than most free plans)
- Reduced server network compared to full version
- VPN stores some information while connected
2 GB data cap, supports torrenting
Hide.me offers a stripped back, reliable free service. You’ll get 2 GB of free data every month, all the benefit’s of hide.me’s security protocols, and a choice of five countries to connect through. Only one of these servers is in Europe.
Unfortunately, hide.me won’t give you access to Netflix. However, it supports torrenting,making it a popular choice with users.
Hide.me really believes that free is free, so they don’t penalize free account users. You’ll have 24/7 access to technical support and ad-free browsing. hide.me has a no-log policy, strong encryption, and multiple protocols, ensuring your safety and privacy.
hide.me is available on these devices:
- Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Windows Phone, Amazon Fire OS, and can be installed on a router
Free Version Pros
- Good connection speeds for quick loading and browsing
- No-log policy ensures your privacy is maintained
- Lifetime free service guarantee means you’ll never have to pay