Everyone wants their privacy protected via a secure connection when they’re browsing online. But maybe you just don’t want to have to pay for this privilege.
While you might think your internet service provider is responsible for providing you with a secure connection and protecting your identity, they’re not required to offer this at all. It’s up to you to protect your devices from hackers, viruses, and other online threats. With the costs of your internet bill, antivirus software, and other web services, the dollars begin to add up.
Fortunately, there are free VPNs available that provide you with anonymity and protection when you’re online. Not all of them work the same way though. Some keep logs of your activity, and others throttle your speeds when you connect to servers. Before you start downloading a free VPN, make sure we’ve given them the seal of approval first.
The Best Free VPN Services in 2021
- PrivadoVPN (Best Free VPN Overall)
- Hide.me (Best Free VPN for iPhone/Android)
- ProtonVPN (Best Free VPN for Windows/Mac)
- Tunnelbear (Best Free VPN for Chrome)
- Psiphon (Best Free VPN Against Censorship)
Choosing the best free VPN isn’t easy. Instead of downloading the first one you come across, you should determine what devices you want to protect. Do you need a service that provides security and anonymity on all of your equipment, or do you only need it on your phone? Once you’re clear on your requirements, you can check out these free VPN products that we have determined are the best.
Let’s have a look!
Detailed Overview of the Best Free VPNs
|+ Free with no ads or speed limits||– Email-only support|
|+ No-logs policy|
|+ Streaming service support|
|+ P2P support|
Spanish for private, this zero-log VPN is relatively new, however, has already proven to be the best free VPN on the market today.
Private and secure
The free version of the service comes with many of the same features as the paid options. You’ll get 256-bit encryption which is currently the top-of-the-line security. It supports OpenVPN (UDP) and Open VPN (TCP) too. It even comes with IKEv2 IPsec, which is considered one of the fastest protocols around.
In addition to these features, you’ll get DNS and IP leak protection, secure encryption protocols, a kill switch, and a no-log policy. The paid version of the product gets you unlimited data and advanced SOCKS5 features for torrenting, but you’ll still be able to download large files with the free version if you need to. You can also securely access services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer from countries around the world. In fact, this is one of the only free VPNs that support both streaming and P2P traffic.
Supports both streaming and torrenting
You’ll get a very generous 10 GB a month with no ads, unlimited speeds, and zero logs to use on whatever you want too. This is plenty of data to download large torrents and stream HD movies. You could also use it while gaming if you prefer other players not to know where you’re from. Considering most other free VPN services provide data limits in megabytes, this is one of the best offerings around.
Privado also uses physical servers instead of virtual ones. The main benefit of this is that it’s not exposed to the typical exploits, meaning the network is unaffected. Physical servers also don’t experience the same type of slowdowns from overcrowding due to multiple instances installed on the same virtual one.
However, it means you’ll want to choose a server that’s relatively close to your actual location. Despite PrivadoVPN having hundreds of servers across 45 countries, those close to your place of residence will generally provide the best speeds.
Suitable for most devices
Despite this minor issue, Privado VPN will work on almost every device in your home. You don’t need to sit through any ads to utilize their free offering. All you have to do is select your country, your server, and enjoy yourself.
With its no-logs policy, excellent security features, and peer-to-peer transfer settings, Privado is the best free VPN service for all your needs. Free VPN apps are also available for Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Fire TV. If you want to connect your router and secure all devices connected to your local network, step-by-step guides are available for quick setup.
|+ No-logs policy||– Only three servers|
|+ AES-256 encryption||– No P2P access on the free version|
|+ Unlimited access|
|+ Intuitive design|
Developed by highly experienced scientists, engineers, and developers from CERN and MIT, ProtonVPN ensures that no matter what type of phone you keep in your pocket that it’s going to be protected.
The first thing you’ll notice when you open the app is that it feels intuitive. It doesn’t feel like you’ve logged into your browser via an application. The interface is uncluttered and will make you feel like a security expert regardless of your experience with VPNs.
Don’t let its simplicity fool you though. In the background is AES-256 level encryption as well as IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN protocols. You’ll also find an always-on kill switch. The second your connection drops, all network traffic is blocked until its re-established.
No data limit
One of the best features of ProtonVPN is that there is no data limit. The only catch is that it’s at a slower speed compared to their paid options, and you only get access to three servers. However, you can still watch videos, download files, and browse the web safely and securely without any fear of getting hacked.
Unfortunately, the free VPN offering doesn’t allow you to access peer-to-peer sites. While this shouldn’t be a problem if you’re using an iPhone or Android device, if you try to visit one of these sites, ProtonVPN will automatically log you out.
Best suitable for mobile devices
Besides this minor flaw, compared to other freemium style services available on iPhone and Android, ProtonVPN is still one of the best free VPNs. It’s also one of the safest on the market. With excellent security and privacy protocols, leak-free connections, and a no-logging policy, you’re getting superior anonymity and protection without having to access your Apple or Google Pay balance.
|+ No-logs policy||– 2GB data transfer limit|
|+ AES-256 encryption||– Only one simultaneous connection|
|+ Excellent high speeds||– Only five worldwide locations|
|+ Kill switch|
When you visit the Hide Me website, you’ll notice that they claim they are the world’s fastest VPN, which is precisely what you want when browsing the web on your Windows or Mac device. Fortunately, this is still the case when you’re utilizing the free version of their software.
The only downside is that this speed can eat through your data limit quickly though. The free edition of Hide Me only comes with a 2 GB data transfer. So we don’t recommend streaming the Lord of the Rings trilogy in high definition. Otherwise, you won’t make it to the end of the first film before reaching your limit.
You’re also restricted when it comes to choices for servers. Hide Me’s free VPN offering only provides you with five worldwide locations and one simultaneous connection. You will receive the best encryption methods around on those servers though. It includes AES 256-bit and 8192-bit keys. It also supports protocols like PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SoftEther, SSTP, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. The company even got audited by the cybersecurity company Defence Code and passed with flying colors.
Hide Me includes a strict no-logging policy and doesn’t store any of your data either. They even capitalize the words never in their terms and conditions. The only exceptions to the rule are when you’re on their website, signup using your email address, send through a support ticket, and engage in a live chat conversation.
Works with Netflix
You can use Hide Me to protect yourself while on your Windows or Mac device to watch Netflix shows in another country or access torrents. You’ll just need to keep an eye on your usage, so you don’t hit the 2GB limit.
You’re better off utilizing ProtonVPN for protection while you’re out and about and accessing public Wi-Fi. Their free VPN will allow you to check your emails, do your internet banking, and access sensitive information without fear of any unauthorized access to your details.
Superb network speeds
With incredible speeds and top-of-the-line security, you can feel assured your Windows or Mac device is protected no matter what you’re doing online. Just be sure to keep on your download limit, so you don’t use it all in one session.
|+ AES-256 encryption||– 500 MB data limit|
|+ No-logs policy||– Located in a five eyes country|
|+ Highly-rated on Chrome Store||– Doesn’t work with Netflix|
|+ Kill switch|
What should you do if you only want a free VPN for your browser? After all, that’s where you likely do most of your online activity. Fortunately, the Canadian-owned TunnelBear can help keep you protected and anonymous while you’re playing around on the net with a nifty Chrome extension.
Located in five eyes country
The extension, much like all of TunnelBear’s offerings, uses AES-256 for data encryption and SHA 256 for authentication. You have a number of protocols available too. You can use OpenVPN, IKEv2, and SSTP. All are considered the top of the line when it comes to keeping you safe while you’re online.
One of the main downsides though is you’ll only have 500 MB of data a month to use with your free version of TunnelBear. Provided that you steer clear of YouTube or Vimeo, then you should be fine. The free VPN is better if you need access to geo-blocked websites or access content while connected to a public Wi-Fi network.
The free TunnelBear VPN also comes with a no-logging policy, kill switch, and dynamic IP addresses. The no-logging policy is particularly important to note, considering this free VPN originates from the home of the maple leaf.
Canada is a five-eyes country, which means that TunnelBear is legally obligated to hand over any data when requested to do so. Thankfully, the no-logging policy means that there is nothing to pass on to the authorities if they’re ever asked.
Great for Google Chrome
The browser extension for Chrome is highly rated by the community due to its speed to connect to a server and its simplicity. Many users commented they utilize TunnelBear to access websites that are geo-blocked or censored in the country they reside in.
That doesn’t mean it works with Netflix libraries in other countries or BBC iPlayer though. In fact, these services will detect you’re using a VPN and will stop you from watching your movie or show. But with the 500 MB limit, you wouldn’t want to waste it on the opening credits to your favorite film.
Suitable for beginners
If you only need a free VPN to access blocked websites, then TunnelBear comes highly recommended. You’ll get superior security and an easy-to-use interface that doesn’t take up much hard drive space.
|+ 1000+ servers||– Keeps logs|
|+ Kill switch||– Outdated security protocols|
|+ Works with torrents||– Sells data to third-parties|
|+ No download limit|
If fighting against censorship is more important to you than security features, then Psiphon is for you. The company’s sole purpose is to provide you with the means to access legal online content freely without any intervention. However, this freedom comes at a cost, even if it’s not from your hip pocket.
Not the most secure VPN
Where do we start? It uses outdated protocols despite having AES-256 encryption. Psiphon has chosen to use L2TP/IPsec, which might look like a lot of random letters and numbers. It is considered secure by many IT specialists and doesn’t have any security flaws. But it’s not the fastest protocol around. The double encapsulation is a slow process, which means your bandwidth will get throttled.
It doesn’t protect your DNS information either. This means that while you’re browsing the internet, your ISP and anyone else who is snooping on your activity will be able to determine your identity and gain access to your private information. This is the opposite of what a VPN is supposed to do.
The most concerning though is that Psiphon will log your data. It states in its terms and conditions that it collects IP addresses with timestamps. The company is also located within a Five Eyes region, meaning that if someone requests your browsing history, Psiphon will hand it over, no questions asked.
It’s also worth noting that if you send an email to the company, then not only will they collect your information, but so will Amazon. It’s clear that Psiphon survives on advertising revenue and by selling their data with third parties.
Decent network speeds
As a VPN, it works fine. The speeds are pretty good for a free VPN, and it does come with a kill switch. It also features access to over 1000 servers across 21 countries, which is impressive for a free VPN. There’s no data limit either, and it can be used to download torrent files. Just keep in the back of your mind that your information is being collected when you’re completing any online activity.
Great for bypassing geo-restrictions
Psiphon is towards the bottom of our list for a variety of reasons, including the logging policy, outdated protocols, and DNS leaks. However, it also serves a purpose despite its flaws.
It delivers what it says it will and allow you to access legal online content freely. Provided you only need a free VPN to access legally blocked websites, then Psiphon will work just fine.
What to consider when using a free VPN?
You need to think about more than the price tag when choosing the best free VPN for your needs. Often they can be very risky to use and throttle your bandwidth. However, if you keep an eye out for these features, then you’ll uncover a bargain.
Number of servers
Variety is the spice of life, and the same goes for free VPNs. You’re going to want to choose a service that allows you to connect to servers or countries around the world. The more, the merrier, especially if you plan on using your free VPN to access Netflix catalogs in another location.
One of the main reasons people use a free VPN service is to remain anonymous and protect their personal information. Make sure the company you choose to go with utilizes the most up-to-date encryption protocols. Look for AES 256-bit, PPTP, SoftEther, SSTP, and OpenVPN. This will give you peace of mind knowing your data and details are well protected.
Not only do you need to protect your personal information from unauthorized parties, but you also need to ensure your free VPN service isn’t collecting it either. Take a browse through the terms and conditions to ensure that your browsing history or sensitive details are not getting stored on the servers at the head office. In order to provide a free service and remain in business, some providers will sell your information to advertisers. If any red flags pop up while you’re investigating the free VPN provider, get in touch with their customer support to get confirmation.
One of the downsides of free VPNs is that they often come with a monthly limit you can use. This can range from gigabytes to megabytes. There are a few that are unlimited, but there might be a catch. You’re best to determine what you plan to use your VPN for and then work out if the data limit is enough.
If you’re using free VPNs to browse safely, then you might not need to concern yourself with the network speeds. However, if you want to stream high-definition videos or download torrent files, then you’re going to want a service that can deliver. Many free VPNs will throttle the bandwidth compared to their paid options, so make sure to do your research before you activate your service.
How did we determine the best free VPNs?
Did you know there are over 50 VPN services on the market today? That’s a lot of research to do to find out which one is the best free VPN for you. However, it doesn’t have to sit all on your shoulders. We complete extensive and thorough reviews of every product.
We don’t get any unique downloads from providers either. We use the products that are available for the general public to download and put it through its paces to ensure it’s going to meet your expectations. Here are some examples of what we look for when choosing the best free VPNs.
Next, we’ll perform some DNS leak tests to ensure the free VPN hides all details. We run it through four main tools: IPx, IPLeak.Net, BrowserLeaks.com, and Perfect-Privacy DNS Leak Test.
We run multiple speed tests when trialing a free VPN using Speed Test by Ookla. After establishing a baseline result, we’ll start connecting to numerous servers in countries around the world. Then we’ll take note of download and upload speeds and compare them to the baseline result.
Running a free VPN shouldn’t require you to earn an IT degree. While we know our way around VPN products, we grade based on simplicity. The easier it is to connect to a server of your choice, the better. This experience should be identical no matter what device you’re installing your VPN on. For example, it should be just as seamless on an iPhone as it is on a laptop.
Not only do we test the free VPN, but we also see how the customer support team handles inquiries. The software can be unpredictable at times, and one day you might need to get in touch with the company to sort out your issue. Some won’t respond at all to your query, while others have live chat support, so you’re not going back and forth with emails.
Choosing the best free VPN for your needs
They say nothing in life is free. But this isn’t true when it comes to VPNs.
There are free VPN services that offer state-of-the-art security, no-logging policies and are free from DNS leaks. You may not get access to all of the servers around the world or unlimited data, but you’ll be able to do many of the same activities as you can with a paid VPN service, including browsing the internet safely.
You don’t need to spend all night reading the terms and conditions or comparing features between companies to find the best free VPN for your needs. VPN Testing has thoroughly examined all of the best free VPN services by testing their speeds, security features, and customer service teams. Head over to one of the suitable VPNs or read more from our reviews and get the best free VPN for your device today.
The best all-around free VPN is Privado. It features excellent speeds, a no-logging policy, and allows you to download torrents as well as stream Netflix in other countries. It also comes with a 10 GB monthly limit, which is particularly generous compared to other free providers. Privado also works seamlessly across multiple devices, including your modem. The interface is very user-friendly, so anyone can operate it and feel secure that their sensitive information is protected while they browse online.Other great VPN services are ProtonVPN, Hide.me, Tunnelbear and Psiphon.
The companies providing free VPNs often have paid options as well. The free option is a way for people to try before buying or for those who don’t use the internet regularly enough to justify a subscription cost.
Some other providers make their money by selling your information to third parties. They track the country you connect to and the websites you visit so advertisers can sell you targeted products and services. It’s one of the reasons we recommend reading through the terms and conditions to ensure the free VPN you choose has a no-logging policy.
Provided that you choose a free VPN that offers excellent security protocols and doesn’t track your activity, then having a VPN is better than not having one. Connecting to a VPN hides your browsing history from your internet service providers, stops hackers from accessing your information, and protects you from other online vulnerabilities.
If you do online shopping, download torrents, or just want access to TV shows on another country’s Netflix, then a free VPN can help you achieve this and more. You will just need to be more vigilant with your research on the provider compared to the best VPNs (incl. paid services) overall.