Need VPN software that won’t cost a dime? Here’s a reminder on how to get a free VPN. We’ll discuss the practical application of method 2, since others are usually either inferior or come with time limits. For example, VPNs with a free trial are only valid for 1 to 7 days. Premium VPNs usually offer a 30 to 45-day money-back guarantee, but you still need to pay upfront and often give out your credit card details. Also, some VPN providers add stipulations in tiny font, making a refund either harder or impossible. For those reasons, here’s a list of the best free VPN software.
What to look for in a free VPN?
When you are employing a free VPN, it is better to be prudent, as free VPNs are known to cause problems. Thus, one should look for the following parameters in a VPN, especially if it is free:
First, users need to ensure whether the VPN logs data or not. Thus, they should look at the vendor’s logging policy. The logging policy dictates what data a VPN retains and records. If the VPN logs your PII such as your IP address, then you run the risk of exposing your real location. If the VPN logs your online activities, such as the websites you visit, then it can cause you trouble.
The best VPNs employ a zero-logging policy that claims to hold no data. But then again, you can’t blindly believe the vendor’s claim. Hence, you have to look for a third-party or independent audit or real-world events that could prove the VPN’s claim. Lastly, you should also consider the country where the VPN operates. If the country favors anti-privacy laws, then it can be risky to trust such a service.
The next parameter is the security of free VPNs. Ensure that your VPN has strong encryption, such as the AES 256 cipher. Also, ensure the VPN client offers multiple VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN and WireGuard. As for the features, you have to get the basics, like a kill switch, leak protection, and a decent VPN network.
A VPN is only as good as its connection speed. No matter what features are offered, a slow VPN is no good to anyone. VPN speed is affected by factors such as bandwidth and latency. Hence, a provider that has more VPN servers, distributed somewhat equally around the globe, will be much faster. A free VPN won’t have a strong network. Typically, such VPNs only offer a dozen servers. Thus, you have to be careful regarding your choice.
Free VPNs offer a limited experience. They not only limit the number of servers a user can connect to, but they also restrict the user’s data cap. Most reputable vendors offer 10 GB of monthly VPN data. After that, the VPN won’t work.
Lastly, you should also note the profit model of the free VPN. As you must have heard, free things cost the most. Thus, free VPNs often earn revenue by selling user data. Some even engage in the practice of adware. If the VPN clearly specifies how it supports its free subscription, as ProtonVPN does, then you can consider it. Otherwise, you should stay away from any VPNs that appear shady.
ProtonVPN is a Swiss VPN provider with a strict zero-log policy. It promises VPN software on the house that comes with no speed or data limits, doesn’t show any ads, and uses 256-bit AES encryption. However, you can only hide your IP with a VPN on 1 device and 3 different servers. Upgrading to a Pro plan down the road allows you to get access to 1250+ in 55 countries. You can also connect up to 10 devices simultaneously, and enjoy safe P2P transfer on all servers. Users also gain the ability to bypass VPN blocks on various websites and use the Tor over VPN for maximum security.
If you read our review of Hotspot Shield VPN, you would have seen they dominate VPN speed tests, making them one of the best VPN services on the market. They do so by using Catapult Hydra, a proprietary security protocol. Additionally, if you pick their Basic plan, you get 1 VPN connection per user account, and the ability to connect to a United States VPN server for free. Sadly, your speed is limited to up to 2 Mbps, you might encounter ads occasionally, and you can only use 500 MB of data daily. Even though that doesn’t sound appealing, it’s better than the options below. Plus, the offer comes from a reputable VPN provider.
In our Windscribe review, we mentioned that you can get 10 GB of free VPN data usage right off the bat. This limit can easily be expanded by up to 5 GB if you ask their 24/7 Customer Service nicely or contact them on social media. Unfortunately, you’ll be delegated to usually crowded servers in 10 countries. Regardless, we consider it to be among the best free VPNs for Windows. This is primarily because they offer unlimited VPN connections on one account, military-grade encryption, and support up-to-date security protocols. Oh, and Windscribe works in China and can bypass Netflix US VPN block.
Reading our Hide.me review makes it clear it’s among the best VPN software that’s free of charge because they don’t ask for a credit card nor show ads. By signing up, you get access to 5 free VPN servers and can use up to 10 GB of data before the speed drops to 3 Mbps. Also, your Internet traffic remains encrypted, the no-logging policy remains in place, and you’re still entitled to 24/7 Customer Service. Additionally, you have access to the same security protocols as in the Paid Plan – OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, Softether VPN, and SSTP.
ZoogVPN is a VPN provider not many people have heard of. That will, hopefully, change soon, because they allow up to 10 GB of free VPN data monthly on 1 device and 3 VPN locations. Furthermore, they store no logs, provide 128-bit encryption, and have limited torrenting support. When it comes to paid plans they offer 256-bit encryption, support for torrenting on all servers, kill switch, over 1000 IP addresses in 50 locations, and even unlimited simultaneous VPN connections. You can also unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and Hulu, and pay with Bitcoin.
We just love Betternet VPN, and not only because they offer a VPN for Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS for nothing. The VPN provider also offers this without registration – not even e-mail, which couldn’t be better for user privacy. After you download and run the VPN software, you immediately gain the advantage of military-grade encryption. And, although it supports torrenting on all servers, the 500 MB daily cap is the main obstacle here. It also works for one device only, is limited to United States servers only, and can display ads occasionally. Additionally, you don’t get access to 24/7 email support unless you upgrade.
Kaspersky has been around for decades when it comes to anti-virus software. Well, they’ve decided to add Secure Connection VPN to their roster and had a pretty good start. They offer free apps for Android, Mac, iOS, and Windows, but the location is selected automatically. Moreover, you can have limitless devices connected to the VPN simultaneously, but can only use 200 MB of free data per day. If you register or sign in to a Kaspersky account, the daily data allowance rises to 300 MB.
Speedify is a lesser-known VPN provider that provides paid plans for individuals, families, and teams. Luckily, they also offer a Starter Plan. With it, you’ll get 2GB of free data monthly on one device. Choice of servers will be limited, but you’ll get access to military-grade encryption and Streaming Mode, which detects, prioritizes, and protects real-time traffic – VoIP, conferences, gaming, live streams, etc. Users also gain Channel Bonding, which combines multiple connections (Wi-Fi, tether on Android/iOS, Ethernet, and 2G/3G/4G) to drastically boost VPN performance.
Avira Phantom VPN comes from a reputable company based in Germany. They promise not to store any logs nor share your data with service providers. Avira also utilizes end-to-end encryption from the moment you connect, allowing P2P transfer and streaming. Furthermore, gratis VPN software is available for Windows, iOS, Mac, and Android. They only landed the last place because you’re limited to 500 MB monthly, and get neither kill switch nor Customer Support.