VPN stands for ‘virtual private network’ and is a piece of software that helps to make you more anonymous online, encrypts your internet use, and lets you effectively trick your laptop or mobile device into thinking it’s in another location.
The most important things to pay attention to when choosing the right free VPN, are the level of security it offers, whether its limitations are a deal-breaker for you, the level of privacy and the existence of the no-logging policy, as well as what kind of information do you have to give up to get access to it.
To make the task of deciding easier for you, we have assembled a list of the best free VPN options on the market in this article, you will learn more about free VPN services, how they work, and why you should be careful. Moreover, we’ll recommend five excellent free VPN services you can start using right away.
1. Proton VPN
ProtonVPN is a superb service, brought to you by the same developers behind the popular secure email service, ProtonMail. ProtonVPN is highly secure and is the only service on the list that is a truly free and unlimited VPN. The privacy offered by ProtonVPN, even in its free version, is impressive, and the strict no-logs policy guarantees no sensitive information is kept on its servers. The best part? You only need your email address to sign up. You won’t see any pesky ads often present in other free VPNs, either.
On the other hand, ProtonVPN is a useful service ideal for avoiding censorship and accessing restricted content. Free users get access to servers in the Netherlands, Japan, and the USA. Well worth installing if you don’t mind having a slower free VPN.
Hotspot Shield is a great free VPN that also offers a Chrome extension. Users have access to servers in 15 countries and a 500MB data cap per day.
The free app permits connections to the US only, and the extension permits connections to 14 countries (but not the US). So when combining the app with the browser extension, then Hotspot Shield users can unblock content in 15 countries for free! What’s more, Hotspot Shield’s free plan lets people have 500MB of download use per day. That is a massive usage allowance considering it is completely free.
TunnelBear is a VPN platform that stands out with its original design and a good sense of humor, as well as the free plan that comes with a choice of more than 20 servers.
That said, it’s quite restrictive in its monthly traffic which gives free users only 500MB to use for the entire month. This means you’ll have to be very prudent with how you use it or you’ll run out before you know it. So no streaming, torrenting, or other downloads except for some really light browsing. However, you can increase this limit to 1GB by tweeting about TunnelBear.
Even as restrictive as it is in the monthly data traffic, TunnelBear is an ideal free VPN for those who want a little privacy for some of their online habits, like online banking, shopping, or other security-sensitive operations.
Windscribe is a strong free VPN that has apps for all the major platforms, an excellent choice of 25 servers in 11 countries, as well as a generous 10GB monthly cap on its free data traffic. You’ll even receive notifications via email every time your monthly traffic allowance is renewed.
The available locations are well spread and include the UK, Germany, Canada, Hong Kong, and the US, which should be enough for most (free) users.
To get your hands on this handy VPN service, you don’t even need to leave your email address – just create a username and password and you’re all set! Regardless, we recommend putting in an email address, just in case you forget your password. Additionally, it’s useful to know when your spent bandwidth is renewed.
As usual, the privacy levels are high, accompanied by a serious no-logging policy. The platform also includes a built-in ad blocker and firewall, for added protection.
Hide.me’s free VPN option will give you 10GB of data traffic per month, which is quite enough if you’re not keen on heavy streaming (the provider supports US Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming services) or torrenting, although the servers are P2P-friendly. Just like with Windscribe, this limit is more than enough for anonymous surfing, messaging, occasional file share, and so on.
There are only 5 available server locations (including in Canada and the US), so those with location-specific requirements may find this limitation unsatisfactory (unless their requirements fit the specific available locations). Still, strong privacy, security, and no-logging policy are all there, so you won’t have to worry about any of your private data leaking into the wrong hands.
Speeds provided by Hide.me are excellent and the clients are well designed and intuitive, but even if you run into any trouble, the provider offers 24/7 tech support for everyone, free users included.
Signing up is easy, just enter your email address, click the link in your confirmation message, and register with your username and password.