Looking for a way to obtain a VPN service for free? We don’t blame you. The need to stay safe, anonymous, and unblock a website or online service is always present. However, these benefits often require you to purchase a monthly subscription to a premium VPN provider. This is not always an option. The reasons can be many – you might be short on cash, underage, not willing to commit to one provider. It is also possible that your needs are not big enough to justify such a yearly or bi-yearly plan to save money. Luckily, there are other ways. Here’s how to get a free VPN.
Dangers of a free VPN
We must give you a warning, and tell you of the potential dangers and drawbacks of a free VPN.
- The VPN speed might be significantly reduced
- You don’t have a lot of servers to choose from
- Some key security features might be absent. This includes encryption, split tunneling, unlimited bandwidth, availability on multiple platforms, etc.
- They don’t always promise to keep no logs of your activity and identity
- Some providers were caught selling your private information to third parties
- You might see ads while browsing, which also increases the risk of adware and malware
- Your device might be used as an exit node for other users
- It might be impossible to unblock streaming services because they can recognize you are using a VPN
How to get a free VPN
1. Use a free browser extension
We already explained how to add a VPN in Chrome using a free extension such as ZenMate VPN. Additionally, this extension is available for Opera and Mozilla Firefox. Also, other browsers and their respective app stores have different extensions you can try out. To summarize what we mentioned above – the number of servers, speed, and security will be severely impacted. For that reason, we recommend installing a community-powered extension such as Hola VPN for Chrome.
2. Get a free VPN software
We already made a list of the top 5 free VPN services. Feel free to pick the one that fits your needs. Unfortunately, you will probably have to use more than one. This is primarily due to bandwidth limitations that range from 500 MB to 10 GB per month.
3. Sign up for a free trial
In all honesty, this is your best bet. The majority of premium VPN providers often offer a 7-day free trial of their products. These are usually packed with a full array of features, including thousands of servers across the globe, blazing-fast connection, and 256-bit encryption.
Sadly, your free trial won’t be linked to the e-mail address you use, but the device itself, so you can’t keep abusing the system indefinitely. For informational purposes, we will mention there are ways to hide your MAC address and trick the provider into giving you a free trial forever. However, this is not something we would ever suggest you do, no matter how desperate.
4. Use a premium VPN for a limited time
Did we mention almost all VPNs have a 30 to 60 days money-back guarantee policy? This is a bit of a douchebag move, we must admit. But, you can choose the cheapest plan (often 3-year or 5-year), and pay the same amount as you would pay a cup of coffee.
Then, before the money-back period is about to expire, you can ask for a full refund. Although this was designed as a way to let people test a VPN, or use it short-term while traveling or unblocking Netflix for a single season of a TV show, it’s possible to abuse their good intentions for your gain.
What to avoid in a Free VPN?
While free VPNs might seem alluring, most can be a well-laid trap. Hence, it is paramount that one understands what to avoid in a free VPN. Given below are a few examples:
VPNs with limited features
Typical free VPNs come with limited features. Since they offer services for free, they had to cut costs and make a profit elsewhere, generally, from ads, or some VPNs solely rely on the fact that a free plan might lead to a paid subscription. However, one should avoid subpar VPNs that lack even the basic features as they simply defy the purpose of the tech in the first place.
You should not go for a VPN that doesn’t advertise its protocols and encryption practices. Furthermore, you should also avoid those providers who are shifty regarding the logging policy.
Lots of Ads
While we understand the need for ads with a free VPN provider, it does become unbearable if there is a constant supply. However, what one should note is not the rate of ads but the overall business structure of the provider, as some can use adware as a tool to steal your data and profit from it. If these ads are a link to malicious or suspicious websites, then you should stop using that particular VPN provider.
You may check how to block ads with ExpressVPN.
VPNs with Leaks
Finally, we have VPNs that leak important information. This phenomenon is akin to wearing a life jacket with holes. Why rely on a VPN that leaks information only because it’s free? VPNs cost because they have the necessary tech to ensure your online safety. Even if you do want a free VPN, make sure it is from a respected provider, and do not use a service that is notorious for leaks.