5 Completely Free VPNs

article by James M. author
While nothing in life is free, the benefits of using a VPN far outweigh browsing the internet with no protection. It’s especially important in 2018, as an increasing number of data breaches continue to affect everyone, from solo users to massive corporations.
In this article

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the best ways to stay safe while you’re online, it also allows you to unblock some geo-restricted sites.

After you sign up with a provider, the VPN connects to their servers, encrypting the data sent to and from your device. It means that your ISP will no longer be able to see what you’re up to, while it’s useful for unlocking geo-restricted content like US Netflix or various sports.

They can also be used to bypass blocks put in place by changing the location of your IP address, which doubles as a security feature. (The websites you visit won’t be able to see your IP, although they will sometimes be able to tell that the user has a VPN.)

Overall, they’re great to use for an added layer of anonymity and security, although they won’t protect you if you download a suspicious file directly to your device.

If you wish to extend your knowledge beyond the basics, we strongly advise you to read our full VPN guide.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Not Secure

Although these free VPNs aren’t taking payment directly from their users, they need to make their money somehow. This is why, often times, these providers take your internet data and sell it to the highest bidder (this could be advertisers, law enforcement, even the government).

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.

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.

The Best Free VPNs

We’ve prepared a list with six of the best free VPNs that are available for download. Pricing wasn’t the only criteria that were considered, as we looked at overall speeds and features to find the best free VPN offers.

#1 Hotspot Shield – The Best Free Version of a Premium VPN

HotSpotShield_210x100_bgHotspot Shield is the free version of the popular Hotspot Shield Premium VPN. You don’t need to input any information to download and begin using their app. Although the service is totally free, you will stumble upon ads only on the Android app. Other platforms are ads free. This is a major advantage, due to security aspects. Same as on the Premium version, Hotspot Shield committed to a zero log policy. They even confirmed their zero log policy by a 3rd party independent test.

Additional Free Features: It’s one of the best free VPNs for torrenting and accessing international content. Of course, they’d prefer it if you upgrade to the Elite version, which has better connection speeds and no adverts.

If you choose to upgrade, this is the pricing:

One Month: $12.99

12 Months Subscription: $5.99 monthly

24 Months Subscription: $2.99 monthly

Return Policy: Customers can request a refund within 30 days from the purchase date.”

Try Now Hotspot Shield VPN – Completly Free – No Credit Card Needed

For more information on Hotspot Shield VPN features, read our extensive Hotspot Shield review.

Hotspot Shield Free VPN

#2 Windscribe – A Generous Free Plan

Windscribe_210x100_bWindscribe is a tiered VPN provider with a great free plan. It’s available on unlimited devices, with 11 server locations to choose from. You’ll be able to access their firewall and ad blocking features, and they give an allowance of 10GB of data that renews each month. Windscribe is for sure the best free VPN option

Additional free features: It’s a liberal lump of free data, and they get rid of your information straight away thanks to their strict logging policy. It’s a trustworthy, great service that is well worth trying out. (You can also use the 10GB allowance for P2P sharing.

If you choose to upgrade, this is the pricing:

One Month: $9.00 monthly

12 months: $4.08 monthly

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.”

Try Now Windscribe VPN – Completly Free – No Credit Card Needed

For more information on Windscribe features, read our extensive Windscribe review.

Windscribe Free VPN

#3 HideMan – Limited but Great for Mobile

HideMan VPNThe second provider on our list is HideMan. Every user is eligible for four hours of free access per week, and the London-based VPN is banking on the restrictions being enough to persuade you to switch to their paid service. If you just want a free VPN for light use, it’s arguably the best free VPN for Android or iPhone.

Additional Free Features: You’re always going to be tempted if you run out of time, but their paid services are worth a try if the trial is working out well for you.

If you choose to upgrade, this is the pricing:

Mobile:

One Month: $2.90 monthly

12 months: $2.07 monthly

All Devices:

One Month: $9.00 monthly

12 months: $5.75 monthly

Return Policy: “The company will return the client’s funds within 21 business days but no more than 30 calendar days.”

Try Now Hideman VPN – Completly Free – No Credit Card Needed

For more information on Hideman VPN features, read our extensive Hideman review.

Hidemen Free VPN

#4 Hide.Me – No Logs Free VPN Client

hidemeAnother top free VPN, Hide.Me is well worth testing out if you’re in need of a service in the long term. The free version is limited to three server locations, (Canada, Netherlands, and Singapore) with one simultaneous connection, which is basic, but still usable. The strict ‘no logs’ user policy ensures your personal information won’t be stored.

Additional Free Features: It’s more than a glorified advert for their premium services, although they must hope you’ll sign up for more server locations and unlimited bandwidth after seeing the quality of their VPN.

If you choose to upgrade, this is the pricing:

Hide.me Plus: $4.99 monthly

Hide.me Premium: $9.99 monthly

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.”

Try Now Hide.me VPN – Completly Free – No Credit Card Needed

For more information on Hide.me features, read our extensive Hide.me review.

Hideme Free VPN

#5 TunnelBear – Very Light Free VPN

TunnelBear VPNTunnelBear offer a completely free version of their VPN, with a number of caps and limitations in place. Free users are limited to 500MB data per month, which is renewed on the same day each month. The cap means that it won’t be helpful for power users, but it’s still viable if you’re a light VPN user.

Additional Free Features: It’s a free VPN that you can use forever, and you can’t say fairer than that. They also have a strict logging policy which means your information will be secure.

If you choose to upgrade, this is the pricing:

One Month: $9.99 monthly

12 months: $4.99 monthly

 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.

Try Now Tunnelbear VPN – Completly Free – No Credit Card Needed

For more information on Tunnelbear VPN features, read our extensive Tunnelbear review.

TunnleBear Free VPN

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 are 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.

If you are a heavy user and in need for a fast and unlimited VPN service, you check our best VPN service ranking.

21 comments
Ronald Frey says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Great shares, and I think you can find more free VPNs on,
https://phreesite.com/top-10-free-vpn-sites-unblock-websites-now/

Mickel says:

I will recommend you ivacy lite. It is free and provides unlimited data, unlike other free VPNs.

Bestonlinereviews VPN Team says:

Hi Mickel,

Thanks for the hint.

We would love to look into this service and review it.

Bakko says:

thank you, this is the only one free forever and not free for 1 month. But i wish for PC, not for Cellphone.

Big Ramifications says:

I am full-on into downloading porn.

Allan M says:

Thanks for putting this together. For someone like me who just wants to stay private when on the web these are helpful.

Hanna says:

Honestly, I’ve tried a bunch of free options and there is just no comparison with the additional power for a paid version. Not sure why this page is even a thing.

Julian R. says:

The free version of Windscribe is ok, but I definitely noticed the increase in quality when I upgraded.

Adam T. says:

What kinds of connection speeds can I expect?

Tina Ellis says:

Hi. I’m thinking of installing HideMan on mobile but I’m a bit worried that it’s in the UK. Surely the data laws mean that it’s no completely safe?

Liz says:

Hi. I’m trying to update my Windscribe to the paid service but I can’t find how? any ideas?

Resa Breeze says:

I’ve always used the free Cyberghost option and never had any problems. Obviously you can’t access Netflix, etc. but it’s fine for security. Never heard of Windscribe before but will definitely be trying it out! Thanks for sharing (most free VPN posts just try and get you to use trial periods)

Arthur Cowell says:

this is just not true!! Free VPNs are liable to connection drops, which leaves you data completely visible. In my opinion, you’re more likely to take online risks if you think you have VPN protection. So, if you use a service that drops out and you’re torrenting, for example, then you’ve basically been caught red-handed. DO NOT TRUST FREE VPNS

Elizabeth says:

These seem better than the free proxies, at least. Limited services seem easier to trust.

Jaime says:

Never trust anything free, that’s my motto.

Taylor says:

It seems from this article that the only way to get true VPN protection is to pay for it.

Liza says:

Do you mean Tunnelbear has a “no logs” policy? I thought logging was bad with VPNs? The article is unclear.

Cal says:

I use Hideman and it’s pretty good overall. Started using them because of the cheap mobile upgrade option. Never used the free version as the upgrade was so cheap. It’s solid on public Wi-Fi.

Stephen says:

I’m probably wasting my time by asking, but do any of these free VPNs support torrenting? I know that there are probably going to be download / speed limits, but for what I usually like to leech, it will work as long as I can torrent. Any suggestions?

Oliver says:

If you’re determined to use a free VPN, Hotspot Shield is going to be your best choice. While ad-driven, it still has decent speed. I have been able to torrent over it but speeds on full versions are obviously better. However, in a pinch, it isn’t bad.

Jorge says:

Out of this list, Hotspot shield is the best. I’ve had good results with them. DON’T USE TUNNELBEAR! It is very limit and super slow compared to others. Their service must like to hibernate a lot. Yes, I have dad jokes, but still – use one of the other services.

Anastasiy Matey says:

These options are seriously limited, but at least they’re honest about it