IMPORTANT NOTICE: No VPN is truly “free“. While you may not have to pay for the subscription, these VPN companies need to make their money from somewhere. Most of the time, they will take your data, and sell it to the highest bidder (advertisers, law enforcement, even governments).
ExpressVPN allows you to pay a super low subscription fee, with all the peace of mind that comes with a no-log, completely anonymous VPN service.
In This Article:
Best Free VPNs Quick View
- Windscribe – A generous free plan with excellent features.
- Proton VPN – Top-notch security features that go above and beyond protecting your online activity.
- TunnelBear – Uprunning free VPN
- Hotspot Shield – Limited free version available
- HideMan – Limited but great for mobile
- Hide.Me – No logs free VPN client
Top Picks for Best VPN Free Trial with No Credit Card Needed
This VPN has software for platforms like Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, as well as extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, with beta versions for Linux. Windscribe allows users 2GB of VPN-protected data, with users able to amp that up to 10GB per month by providing their email address.
The free plan includes servers in countries like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, and Romania. In general, there are servers in over 60 countries in 110 cities all over the globe.
There is no logging of your connections, timestamps, browsing history or IP addresses. In terms of security, Windscribe uses AES-256 cipher with SHA512 auth and a 4096-bit RSA key, and generate OpenVPN, IKEv2 and SOCKS configs for all your devices.
Windscribe is a great service that provides a generous amount of bandwidth each month for people who might work on online from public places.
Return Policy: “In case you are not satisfied with the commercial Service, once you have subscribed you have the right to obtain a full reimbursement, given that your request a within 3 commercial days from the subscription payment.”
For more information on Windscribe features, read our extensive Windscribe review.
#2 Proton VPN
ProtonVPN has a freemium service that offers users three location connections including the United States, Japan, and the Netherlands. The best thing about the free ProtonVPN plan is that it comes with absolutely no bandwidth restrictions. The speeds are slower than the paid options and you can only secure one device, but the fact that there are no bandwidth restrictions means that you can use ProtonVPN whenever and however much you want.
You can upgrade to one of the paid plans and enjoy Secure Core, one of ProtonVPN’s biggest selling points.
“ProtonVPN’s Secure Core architecture gives our secure VPN service the unique ability to defend against network-based attacks. Secure Core protects your connection by routing your traffic through multiple servers before leaving our network. This means an advanced adversary who can monitor the network traffic at the exit server will not be able to discover the true IP address of ProtonVPN users, nor match browsing activity to that IP.
Secure core servers are located in hardened data centers in Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden, protected by strong privacy laws, and operated on our own dedicated networks.”
Return Policy: “You may cancel your account with a refund for any unused portion of the service period within 30 days of the initial purchase. Refunds or credits beyond the 30 days window will be considered, but at the sole discretion of the Service. The Company is only obligated to refund in the original currency of payment and refunds will be processed within 30 days of the request”.
In order to activate the free VPN account, follow these instructions:
For more information on ProtonVPN features, read our extensive ProtonVPN review.
If you are new to the world of VPNs, TunnelBear provides a great free VPN service which includes a user-friendly interface complete with animated grizzly bears. This Toronto-based service has hundreds of servers around the world, and while many VPNs will limit their free servers to just a few, TunnelBear allows users to use many of them and enjoy excellent speeds.
The great thing about TunnelBear is that it will not collect the following data:
- “IP addresses visiting our website
- IP addresses upon service connection
- DNS Queries while connected
- Any information about the applications, services or websites our users use while connected to our Service”
OpenVPN and IPSec/IKEv2 provide 256-bit AES protection, though the IPSec protocol offers still-respectable 128-bit AES encryption.
The free services are limited to just 500MB of data each month, but you can always post a tweet about them on Twitter and you will be provided with an extra 1GB. Again, not mind-blowing, but it’s better than nothing.
Return Policy: “Many issues can contribute to sub-optimal performance (ISP, location, censorship, settings, etc.). The TunnelBear team goes to exceptional lengths to satisfy users who experience sub-optimal performance or the occasional outage. However, TunnelBear does not offer financial reimbursement due to these issues.”
In other words, they don’t offer refunds.
For more information on TunnelBear VPN features, read our extensive TunnelBear review.
Hotspot Shield made our best free VPNs list as it offers a reliable connection complete with military-grade encryption and doesn’t come with any DNS leaks.
This VPN service provider has more than 650 million users around the globe with servers in more than 55 countries. Hotspot Shield works with Netflix and allows users 500MB of free data per day, meaning you get 15GB free a month.
- Email address
- Unique mobile ID
- Hardware model
- Email address
- Real IP address (this is deleted after each session)
- Operating system version
- Network information
- MAC address
- Wireless carrier
- Your city-level location
- Unique advertising ID
While Hotspot Shield claims you are not identifiable by the information that is collected, this is still a little too much in our opinion. While Hotspot Shield has more than 3,200 servers around the world, free users are only able to connect to US servers.
Users should note that they will be blocked by a Premium Payment Wall if you attempt to access streaming content with your VPN enabled.
Due to an interface update, users had difficulties to activate the free VPN option. After downloading the free VPN client, press the back arrow on the upper left side of the screen that will pop. This action will take you straight to the free VPN interface.
Return Policy: “Customers can request a refund within 30 days from the purchase date.”
For more information on Hotspot Shield VPN features, read our extensive Hotspot Shield review.
This is another VPN that has a reliable free VPN, however, there are some restrictions that come with the free plan. The first is that you cannot choose your server location, rather it gets allocated to you, and your speed might drop during peak times. Hideman offers four sessions that last up to an hour per week, and there is also a little logging that we’re not too happy about.
“Protecting personally identifiable information about clients is an important part of our business. We share and disclose such information only as described below. The company sends personally identifiable information about you to other companies or people:
When we have your consent to share the information;
When we need to share your information with third parties, such as banks and credit card processors, to provide the product or service you have requested;
When it is appropriate to comply with law;
When it is necessary to enforce or apply the terms and conditions of our license agreement;
When it is necessary to protect the rights, property, or safety of the company, our users, or others, which may include the exchange of information with other organizations for fraud protection and/or risk reduction.”
If you are patient enough to work with the restrictions that HideMan has, you might want to consider this your next free VPN option.
Return Policy: “The company will return the client’s funds within 21 business days but no more than 30 calendar days.”
For more information on Hideman VPN features, read our extensive Hideman review.
This VPN service offers users 2GB of free data per month with server locations restricted to five countries such as the Netherlands, Canada, the United States East and West as well as Singapore. Premium users are allowed access to more than 60 server locations around the world.
The free plan is only available on one device, but if you transfer to the paid plan you can connect as many as 10 devices at the same time. The great thing about Hide.Me is that the performance will not suffer just because you’re using a free VPN. There is 99.9% uptime and absolutely no ads.
Here is what Hide.Me said about storing user data,
“In order to make a quick buck, other free VPNs sell your data. hide.me is audited by independent security analysts certifying that our system can’t store user data. So when we can’t store your data, how could we sell it?”
One of the best things about this VPN free trial, no credit card information is required.
Return Policy: “There is no minimum contract term or notice period, you may cancel it at any time. Just contact our support and give them a short notice that you want to cancel your account.”
For more information on Hide.me features, read our extensive Hide.me review.
Why ExpressVPN Is a Smarter Choice Than a “Free” VPN
ExpressVPN is technically a paid VPN, however, you can use the service for thirty days completely free by taking advantage of ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee. While with many VPNs this will come with some sort of catch, ExpressVPN will refund your cash without any questions asked.
This is in our opinion the best premium VPN service currently available on the market. It comes with more than 3,000 servers all across the globe in 160 locations. ExpressVPN has jurisdiction in the British Virgin Islands which is a place that doesn’t have any data retention laws, meaning your online movements always remain private.
“We do not collect logs of your activity, including no logging of browsing history, traffic destination, data content, or DNS queries. We also never store connection logs, meaning no logs of your IP address, your outgoing VPN IP address, connection timestamp, or session duration.”
If you’re afraid of having your online security breached with your free VPN, you don’t have to stress with ExpressVPN. This is because you have an array of protocols on offer, including military-grade encryption, OpenVPN, DNS leak blocking, five-party DNS, IPV6 leak blocking, webRTC leak blocking, as well as a Network Lock. The latter will stop all of your online activity should your VPN connection drop.
You can use ExpressVPN on all major platforms including Windows, Mac, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Amazon Kindle Fire, and this is one of the few VPN services that have no issues getting around Netflix regional restrictions.
ExpressVPN allows for five simultaneous connections as well as providing users with round the clock customer assistance. All you need to do to get help is head over to the ExpressVPN website and use the online chat platform. It is available 24/7 throughout the whole year. If you can’t chat, you can submit a ticket or send an email and someone will get back to you shortly.
Lastly, ExpressVPN has an uptime guarantee of 99.9% which means it’s really fast. In fact, ExpressVPN has a worldwide reputation of being the fastest VPN on the market. If you want a free VPN, you won’t go wrong by testing out ExpressVPN for thirty days. Be warned though, once you use ExpressVPN, you probably won’t ever go back.
Returns Policy: “You may cancel your account with a full refund within 30 days of your initial purchase (“Money Back Guarantee”). Refunds are generally processed within seven (7) days, and are made to the original form of payment used for purchase. All refunds are sent in USD and therefore the refund amount could differ from the amount originally paid in local currency or bitcoin.”
What is a Free VPN
Free VPN services are generally subpar when compared to premium providers, or they’re posited as a ‘trial’ version of the service.
Most aim to retain their customer base by getting them to upgrade to the full-fat version, but a free version is still better than browsing without one. On the other hand, lots of free users also help to give a company legitimacy; especially if they’re dropping down five-star reviews like it’s going out of fashion. Offering a solid free service is a great way to get some positive attention, and the market is fairly crowded.
If you’re strapped for cash, or you’re just unsure whether a VPN will be right for you, it’s a great way to see what they have to offer without committing to a contract.
What are the Drawbacks of a Completely Free VPN
As we’ve mentioned, free doesn’t always mean ‘free’. Given the sensitive nature of your personal information, it’s tough to trust any company that is willing to waive a charge. The best free secure VPN will keep your information safe, without outrageous limitations to their speeds and features. Essentially, trust is the most important aspect, and you could end up being burned if you go with a dodgy provider.
Then there are issues in terms of speed and server locations. A free provider will always struggle to match a paid alternative when it comes to either, which can have a major impact in terms of buffering or general lag. Overall, a free VPN is better than none at all, yet it’ll never match up to a premium service.
Take it as a rule of thumb, when comparing a free VPN vs paid VPN, forever, the paid version would be faster, safer and more reliable.
If you are a heavy user and in need for a fast and unlimited VPN service, you should check out our best VPN service ranking.
Free VS. Paid VPN
If VPNs are available for free, why would anyone pay for them?
There are two major downfalls with a free VPNs, that might not be worth the few dollars a month you’d be saving by opting out of a paid subscription.
Although these free VPNs aren’t taking payment directly from their users, they need to make their money somehow. This is why, oftentimes, these providers take your internet data and sell it to the highest bidder.
It’s important to understand why this is a dangerous catch.
Firstly, these free VPN providers can sell all of your data (search history, online purchases, frequently visited websites, etc.) to advertising companies who will mercilessly target you if they think you might be interested in their product. It’s not just coincidence that you seem to get shown ads for things you are genuinely interested in/have searched for recently. While this might be a nice way to make the purchase you’ve been looking for, most likely you will become very annoyed very quickly.
Even more frightening though, if you happen to be located in a country with very strict internet censorship laws, this can put you in danger of having your internet activity discovered by the authorities, and could land you in some serious trouble.
Additionally, because of the low quality of service, their VPN connection often drops out, exposing your true identity in an instant.
Not Enough Servers
Free VPN providers typically do the bare minimum for their users, because they are not being compensated for their services. This often means that they have a minimal amount of servers available, so all of their users have to share the same few.
This makes for super-slow connection speeds, so be prepared to view streamed content with pixelation and constant buffering. Not to mention the annoyingly long wait time, just to load a page.
Because of these reasons, we strongly recommend that you go with a paid VPN service.
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN providers on the market today. With its super-fast speed, mobile accessibility, an easy to use app, and access in censorship-heavy countries, you’ll find all you need in a VPN, without payment too much.
For more information on ExpressVPN’s features, read our extensive ExpressVPN review.
Free VPN Benefits
A free VPN will be able to protect you in a range of different situations like we’ve discussed above, while some use adverts as a revenue stream instead of limiting their service.
At the very least, a decent VPN will ensure information about your online movements will be safe behind their encryption protocols, and you’ll be able to access geo-restricted content.
Best of all, they’re free! It might not be the most powerful version of the software, and it won’t come with the full range of features, but it’s a decent alternative if you can’t (or won’t) pay.
While your security is definitely more compromised while using a completely free VPN, you can still use it for accessing all sorts of geo-blocked sites and services. You can watch all of your shows on Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and more.
Different Applications Used with a Free VPN
Free VPN for Kodi
When it comes to streaming on Kodi, many free VPNs will fall short, mostly because they are in some way restricted, usually in terms of bandwidth. This is why the best free VPN for Kodi has to be ExpressVPN. Although it has a 30-day restriction, at least you will be able to access Kodi without any trouble for a whole month. For more best free VPNs for Kodi, check out our list here.
Free VPN for Mac
If you want to keep your online movements protected while using your Mac, you can always go with ProtonVPN as there is no bandwidth restrictions. You will not be able to stream your favorite shows as your speed is limited, but you can check your emails and perform simple tasks securely.
Free VPN for iPhone
Windscribe is great for your iPhone or iOS devices when looking at free VPNs. It cannot compete with ExpressVPN, so if you’re looking to keep your iPhone secure and access Netflix from your device, you will want to make use of the 30-day money-back guarantee.
Free VPN for Torrenting
Again, when it comes to torrenting, you will need to use a VPN service that comes without bandwidth restrictions as well as fast speeds. ExpressVPN is the best option for this.
Free VPN for Firestick
ExpressVPN comes with a 99.9% uptime guarantee as well as constant customer service support. If you have any issues installing ExpressVPN on your Firestick you can contact the team which will help you out, night or day.
Using a free VPN has many benefits, one of which is not spending a dime on protecting your online activities. On the other hand, using a free VPN often comes with restrictions including server locations, bandwidth restrictions as well as drops in speed.
If you’re looking for a reliable free VPN you should always go with a premium service that also offers a free service. This will usually ensure that your data is not shared with third parties and your privacy remains protected.