With growing cyber threats, the demand for VPNs has skyrocketed. Despite offering less security, limited server selection, and bandwidth, free VPNs are hugely popular. It is exactly why there are literally thousands of supposed best free VPNs online.
But when there’s an endless pool of reliable and sketchy VPNs, how do you decide which one to pick.
I have tested over 100+ VPNs, both free and paid, over the years. In this article, I will mention 10 really free VPNs that are secure and trustworthy. I’ll also try and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each of the free VPN apps that I’m going to discuss today.
If you don’t want to be bothered by the limitations or privacy risks of free VPNs, I would suggest getting ExpressVPN which offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. You’ll be able to test out all of its features, such as unlimited bandwidth, 3,000+ servers, military-grade security features, and much more. Another cool thing about this VPN is that ExpressVPN also offers a 3-months free subscription if you go for its 12-months plan.
Let’s take a look at why free VPNs are discouraged;
This is why paid VPNs are always the best option. Paid VPNs don’t collect user logs and offer top-notch security features that won’t compromise your privacy. You’ll also get access to unlimited bandwidth, which is perfect for endless streaming and torrenting.
- 3,000+ Servers in 94 Countries
- Hard disk free infrastructure (RAM only)
- 256-bit Military-Grade Encryption
- Excellent unblocking capability for Netflix, Hulu & more
- 5 Multi Logins
- Zero-knowledge DNS
Quick Overview: List of Best Free VPNs for 2021
Before we get on with our list of the best completely free VPN services, I just wanted to mention that these VPN free trials are better than totally free VPNs. You get better service without limitations, thousands of servers, and significantly better performance to unblock streaming service and download torrents.
Anyways, now that I’ve cleared that up, here’s a brief overview of the top 100% free VPNs:
- Windscribe VPN — Best Free VPN with 10 GB of free data every month.
- ProtonVPN — Absolutely Free VPN with unlimited bandwidth.
- Hotspot Shield — Powerful Free VPN with best P2P compatibility.
- TunnelBear — Reliable Free VPN with no logs and a large server network.
- Hide.Me — Secure Free VPN with 10 GB of free monthly data.
- Speedify — Fastest Free VPN provider with lightning-fast servers.
- OperaVPN — Built-in Free VPN that comes with the Opera browser.
- Betternet — Anonymous Free VPN that requires no registration.
- VPNBook — Unlimited Free VPN with limitless bandwidth.
- Zenmate – Encrypted Free VPN with 2 MB speed limit.
10 Best Free VPN Services for 2021
Here are is the list of my top ten favorite free VPN service providers for 2021:
1. Windscribe VPN – Best Free VPN with 10 GB/month
Windscribe is absolutely the best free VPN service with no hidden charges or shady schemes. The services offer 10 server locations in the free version.
To receive the 10 GB of bandwidth, you will have to register with an email address. Otherwise, you will only receive 2 GB of monthly bandwidth. You can also receive 5 GB extra bandwidth by just tweeting about Windscribe.
The provider offers many of the security features of the paid version, including the Internet Kill Switch, ad blocker, and even multi-hop, allowing you to connect through more than one VPN server. Windscribe also offers protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks. Even though its headquarter is based in Canada, the provider offers military-grade AES-256-Bit encryption and a zero-log policy for utmost security and privacy.
It does support torrenting for free and also keeps no logs. Windscribe is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows & Mac as well. If you’re a mac user, here are some more free VPN apps for mac. There are also extensions for Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and MS Edge.
The software has a user-friendly interface with customer support options, including live chat and setup guides. Single-click connect makes it super easy to get started. All the major streaming services are accessible with this provider. In fact, Windscribe is also among the best free VPNs for Netflix.
For more information, see this Windscribe VPN review.
- 10 GB of free data
- AES-256 encryption
- No-logs policy
- Allows torrenting
- Customer support for free users
- Based in Canada (Five Eyes)
- Some apps lack features
- Free users don’t get WireGuard
- No unlimited bandwidth
2. ProtonVPN – Popular Free VPN with unlimited bandwidth
ProtonVPN is the popular free VPN with unlimited bandwidth and data. Its power lies in complete security, offering you military-grade encryption and the safety of the OpenVPN protocol. Also, free users can only connect to three countries (Japan, the US, and the Netherlands), while any premium members can unlock 1,000+ servers in 54 countries.
Another great thing about ProtonVPN is that it’s based in Switzerland, which does not belong to the 14-Eyes Alliance. As this free VPN has no obligations to store user data, it keeps no activity logs. It is also a great companion for watching geo-restricted content such as YouTube, Spotify, ESPN+, CW, NBC, and Hulu.
Most of ProtonVPN’s features are saved for paid users. Only those who subscribe to premium subscriptions get to enjoy P2P file sharing, NetShield, Secure Core VPN, Tor over VPN, and the possibility to access geo-blocked streaming services.
If you create a free ProtonVPN account, you can only use it on one device at a time. It offers apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. As for security features, ProtonVPN offers Internet Kill Switch, split-tunneling features, and it follows a strict no-logging policy.
If you run into any obstacles while using the app, you can fill in the support form or explore the self-help section of ProtonVPN. Unfortunately, there’s no live chat even for paid users.
You can learn more about this service in our ProtonVPN review.
- Unlimited bandwidth and data
- Military-grade encryption
- 7-day premium trial
- Based in Switzerland (outside 14-Eyes)
- DNS leak prevention
- No Netflix for free users
- Free servers don’t support torrenting
- No live chat option
- Only one device allowed
3. Hotspot Shield – Free VPN for torrenting with P2P compatibility
Hotspot Shield is the best powerful free VPN with the best P2P compatibilities at the moment. It has 3,200 servers in 82 countries; the free version only gives you access to the US virtual location. Only just one server can still help you escape government censorship and bypass content filters at school or work so you can access your favorite websites and social media apps from anywhere.
It has a no-logs policy, and it’s also a good fit for torrenting. The VPN service’s app is compatible with most operating systems and devices. In fact, it has one of the best android apps, in my opinion. Here are some more free VPN apps for android that you can check out.
The sleek and easy-to-use app interface makes it easy to get started on macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS devices. Also, military-grade encryption protects your internet activity from all sorts of outside threats and prying eyes.
The only drawback of this VPN service is that its free version only allows you to connect to U.S servers. Moreover, it only allows 500MB of data per day which is not enough for avid streamers. Although Hotspot Shield’s headquarters are located in the US, it still supports a zero-log policy for its users and protects against all sorts of IP and DNS leaks.
For more information, check out the Hotspot Shield review.
- 3,200 servers in 82 countries for premium users
- Military-grade encryption
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Supports Netflix and torrenting
- 500 MB of bandwidth per day
- Only allows US connection
- Headquarter in the US
4. TunnelBear – Reliable Free VPN with a large server network
TunnelBear is one of the most reliable free VPN services with the largest server network. It offers over 20 server locations, more than what most other providers offer for free. Furthermore, it offers additional security and functionality with VigilantBear (Internet Kill Switch) and GhostBear (for dealing with connection problems). The premium subscription will offer you a server network of 41 countries.
It is probably the only free VPN provider that has been audited independently. Like other providers in this list, it also uses AES 256-bit encryption and guarantees no data logging. Although its headquarter is located in Canada, a part of Five Eye Alliance, it has proved to be quite a secure and reliable service for protecting online identity and privacy.
This VPN can unblock most geo-restricted websites and bypass pesky content filters without a hassle on your devices such as Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. You might suffer a bit on the speed side, but there’s no disputing that it’s straightforward to use and does offer solid security.
The most disappointing fact about TunnelBear is that it only offers a 500 MB per month limit. If your VPN usage requirements are met, then this limit is workable. Still, if your purpose includes streaming, torrenting and P2P download, then you might want to consider subscribing to a premium VPN provider.
You can learn more about this service in our TunnelBear review.
- Allows torrenting
- 20 server locations for free users
- Military-grade encryption
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Internet Kill Switch and no leaks
- Unreliable customer support
- Headquarter in Canada
- 500 MB per month
5. Hide.Me – Free VPN with 10 GB free monthly data
Hide.Me is a secure free VPN with 10 GB of free monthly data. The free version comes with 4 server locations, including the US. However, with the premium version, you’d get 72 locations and 1,800 servers, as well as the possibility to unblock streaming services.
It comes equipped with advanced features such as a firewall (Stealth Guard), Internet Kill Switch, and split tunnelling. Along with additional features that include 24/7 customer support and ad-free browsing.
Moreover, it is one of the most secure free VPN in the industry. Hide.Me offers advanced protocols such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, SoftEther, and SSTP totally for free. Hide.me headquarter is based in Malaysia, and the service fully supports a zero-log policy for complete anonymity and privacy.
It supports torrenting but doesn’t have the unblocking strength to work with streaming apps like Netflix, iPlayer, etc. Finally, the provider uses strong AES-256 encryption to help you stay safe and secure. It can be easily configured on Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, or Linux. You can also set up hide.me VPN on your Amazon Fire TV and a selection of routers.
However, you can use the free servers to circumvent content filtering at your workplace or school and bypass tough government censorship. Plus, Hide.me is a perfect companion for P2P and supports torrenting for both free and paid users. However, you are limited to the amount of file-sharing you can do with the 10 GB data cap.
You can learn more about this service in our Hide.Me review.
- Based in Malaysia (outside 14 Eyes)
- Free 10GB a month
- No-logs policy
- Supports P2P/File-sharing
- AES-256 encryption
- Single connection on free account
- No unlimited bandwidth
- Only four countries to choose from
6. Speedify – Free VPN provider with Fast Servers
Speedify is not your average VPN service. It comes with a unique Channel bonding technology that uses different VPN protocols to simultaneously improve connection speed over multiple internet connections.
Speedify offers 2 GB of free data per month, which is enough for casual usage but not ideal for torrenting or streaming content over Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video.
As for security, Speedify uses the latest ChaCha and AES-based encryption, Packet loss & error correction, Automatic failover, and more. In addition to that, Speedify follows a strict no-log VPN policy.
While it is currently compatible with all the major platforms such as macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, and Linux, it encourages you to upgrade to a premium account. However, the provider is committed to keeping the free version ad-free. This is great for your security because it means that Speedify doesn’t have to share any of your information with third-party advertisers.
The only downside of Speedify is that it offers 2 GB of monthly data. While 2 GB monthly data is enough for web surfing and social media access, it is nowhere enough for streaming or torrenting. In addition to that, the free version can only be used on one device.
You can learn more about this service in our Speedify review.
- Military-grade encryption
- No-log policy
- Automatic failover, Packet loss, and error correction
- Supports P2P/File-sharing
- 2 GB of bandwidth per month
- Headquarter is located in the US
7. OperaVPN – Built-in Free VPN for Opera browser.
OperaVPN is the name of the built-in VPN that is available in the Opera browser. It masks your IP address while you are browsing different sites and restricted content. To use this VPN, you will have to enable the VPN in the browser settings. Think of it as a browser extension that will secure your internet activity while surfing the net.
In addition to its free VPN service, it also features a built-in ad blocker and malware protection. While using any public Wi-Fi network, this VPN is essential for hiding your online identity and keeping you anonymous. You can choose from only three virtual locations: America, Europe, and Asia.
Opera offers encryption through HHTPS/SSL, which is not a recommended encryption level offered by the VPN industry. Opera‘s official website does not provide clear information regarding encryption and protocols. Although their encryption level is not up to the standard, it was still enough to pass different IP and DNS leaks that I conducted with it.
While OperaVPN is good for casual usage, it offers only three server locations, making it quite hard to unblock streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more. As it operates as a browser extension, your emails and banking apps aren’t protected with this VPN.
The OperaVPN is currently only available on macOS, Windows, Android, and Linux operating systems. You can download the Opera browser on iOS, but it doesn’t come with an OperaVPN.
You can learn more about this service in our OperaVPN review.
- Unlimited bandwidth allotted
- Adblocker, malware protection
- Built-in VPN service
- No subscription or registration required
- Blocks cookies
- Only 3 locations available
- Unreliable for streaming services
8. Betternet – Free VPN that requires No Registration
Betternet is an anonymous free VPN that requires no registration. It is a pretty cool free VPN service. However, it’s not my first choice. It offers 500 MB of data which is not enough to stream HD content or download large torrent files.
But if we talk about security features, Betternet offers 256-bit encryption, fast speeds, perfect forward secrecy, and a few more features. Betternet is pretty decent in performance with popular operating systems such as macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS. But with its free subscription, you can only connect a single device at any given moment, which is very annoying.
Betternet keeps some logs. It also displays quite a bit of advertisement, which I find quite annoying. Also, it only offers 500 MB of data and doesn’t allow you to do streaming on its free account. Its headquarters is located in the US, which is not ideal for online security and privacy. Surprisingly, it is an IP and DNS leak-proof VPN.
It does offer IPSec and OpenVPN protocol with AES 256-bit encryption and AES 128-bit AES-CBC encryption. With a single available location on the free account (The US), you can not access geo-restricted websites of other regions or countries. It also doesn’t offer any Internet Kill Switch feature, which is quite a common feature these days.
You can learn more about this service in our Betternet review.
- 5 simultaneous connection
- No registration required
- P2P/File-sharing supported
- Limited customer support
- Lack of security
- Single server for free subscribers
9. VPNBook – Free VPN with Unlimited bandwidth
The coolest thing about VPNBook is that it offers you unlimited bandwidth. Despite being truly free, VPNBook offers AES 256-bit encryption and multiple security protocols, including PPTP and OpenVPN. VPNBook headquarter is located in Switzerland, which is a safe country in terms of security and privacy. That means no one can ask VPNBook to hand over your connection logs to them.
If we talk about servers, VPNBook offers servers in the US, the UK, France, Canada, Germany, and Poland. One thing I like about VPNBook is that it keeps no activity logs whatsoever. VPNBook also works great with torrenting, as per my testing. Also, this service proved to be safe and secure on all the IP and DNS leak testing that it went through.
The company operates out of privacy-friendly Switzerland and keeps logs to some extent, such as your IP and connection timestamps, for up to a week. It is compatible with operating systems such as Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux.
VPNBook offers no dedicated apps. You can only use it if you configure it manually on your phone or computer. In addition to that, VPNBook displays quite a few ads and claims to unblock Netflix and Hulu, but I couldn’t access either of them when I tested it.
You can learn more about this service in our VPNBook review.
- AES-256-Bit encryption
- OpenVPN protocol support
- Compatible with multiple operating systems
- Supports torrenting
- Headquarter in Switzerland
- Does store connection logs
- Weak unblocking capabilities
10. Zenmate – Encrypted Free VPN with 2 MB speed limit
As security features, ZenMate offers strong 256-bit AES encryption along with industry-standard VPN protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec. However, these protocols are more than enough for any user. I still wish they would have offered more.
Its paid subscription comes with 3,000+ servers in 79+ countries and offers support for all the major operating systems. There’s no free version of the application that you can try before subscribing to a premium plan. Also, the free plan only allows a speed of 2 MB, which can barely let you watch a Netflix show in HD quality.
Its headquarter is also located in Germany, which is a part of the 14-eyes alliance. Therefore, it wouldn’t be my first recommendation to trust your online security and privacy.
You can learn more about this service in our Zenmate Review.
- A large number of servers
- Built-in Kill Switch
- Supports P2P
- Unblocks streaming services
- Questionable privacy and logging
- Limited customer support
- Headquarter in Germany
Methodology: How We Tested Free VPNs
I have personally tested aI have personally tested all of the free VPNs that I’ve mentioned in this blog. I used a couple of tools such as speedtest.net and ipleak.org to determine how good or bad these VPN services are.
Free VPNs that you should avoid and Why?
While researching, I found a couple of untrustworthy free VPNs that you should absolutely avoid. For privacy reasons, I strongly suggest avoiding the following dangerous VPNs:
Although the VPN service providers that I’ve discussed earlier are totally safe to use, there are some shady free VPNs out there that are known to either:
- Use your computing resources to power their server network
- Keep excessive logs
- Share your browsing data to facilitate targeted ads
- Inject malware into your system
- Offer no privacy whatsoever
Recommended Free VPNs For Different Purposes
As I mentioned earlier, free VPNs are only good for a few purposes. For instance, you’ll have to use one VPN for torrenting while some other VPN for general unblocking. After extensively testing so many free VPN providers, I have sorted out different free VPNs for different purposes below.
- Best Free VPNs for First-time Users — I would recommend trying TunnelBear.
- Best Free VPNs for Privacy & Security — If you want a secure free VPN, you should get ProtonVPN.
- Best Free VPNs with Unlimited Data — I recommend ProtonVPN.
- Best Free VPNs with Faster Speed — I would suggest trying Speedify.
Questions to ponder on before choosing a Free VPN?
While the idea of a free VPN is very tempting, we recommend that you at least ask yourself the below five-question before you download and use any free VPN.
What will be the repercussion?
Every business is conducted to make a profit. If free VPNs are not charging you a single penny, you must profit off something else. Most of the free VPN provides are known for selling user data and private information to different third-parties organizations for revenue.
How does it protect my PC?
Although most providers offer a desktop application that encrypts your data while surfing the web, your device can still be identified by different tracking tools enabled by most websites. A few free VPN providers, including WIndscribe, will protect you from these tracking tools by integrating the equivalent of a super ad-blocker.
What do I lose with a free VPN?
When you are using a free VPN, you’d expect it to have some corners cut. Most of them place bandwidth restrictions on the accounts, while others offer very few locations and features such as ad-blocking, P2P, and firewall support.
Does your free VPN log anything?
This is probably the most important question out of the five. The provider mustn’t log anything about you or your connection to lead anyone back to you someday. You can usually check that in the terms and conditions page or the end-user license agreement, commonly known as EULA.
Can I register with the service anonymously?
Having a provider that can register you to the service without an email address and accept cryptocurrency payment methods is not too much to ask. In terms of privacy and security, these are pretty much the basics you can expect online.
Major issues with Free VPNs
While free VPNs are super tempting to use, you should never look over the obvious privacy concerns. For example, free VPN providers make money by harvesting and selling your data to third-party advertisers. Also, with most free VPNs, you’ll get limited bandwidth to consume and a few server locations to choose from.
Truth be told, there are a lot of good reasons why free services aren’t recommended. Consider the following:
- Data retention, sharing, and selling — Free VPNs resort to shady practices like selling your data to third parties to make money.
- Malware, invasive permissions, & security problems — Research found that more than 30% of the free VPN apps tracked users through malware.
- Speed and bandwidth limits — Free VPNs implement bandwidth caps to throttle your internet connection speeds.
- Weak unblocking capabilities — Due to small server networks, free VPNs are unable to access geo-blocked websites.
- Unavailability of advanced features — Advanced features such as multi-hopping, obfuscation, etc., are almost always unavailable in free versions of VPN apps.
Overall, free VPNs are not ideal for streaming content in HD or sharing large files. For that, paid VPNs such as ExpressVPN are a much better option.
Does Free VPN worth your Money?
To be honest, there isn’t any straightforward answer to this question. Ultimately it depends on your purpose for using a free VPN. If you are looking for something that can offer you a tiny bit of encryption when using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection, it will trick you.
But if your main purpose is to have a streaming VPN say, or want to use it while downloading terabytes of torrent files, a free VPN just isn’t going to do the trick.
Most of them assign a data and bandwidth limit to your accounts that are nowhere sufficient for carrying out high-bandwidth tasks such as torrenting, streaming, and gaming. At the same time, most don’t have the easy access support or server range required to make those activities easy with a virtual private network.
Server Locations Offered By Free VPN Providers
Unlike paid VPNs, free VPN providers only let you use a few server locations. For instance, other than TunnelBear and Speedify, all other VPNs discussed in this blog offer few server locations. Check out this table below to get an idea of what I mean:
|VPN Providers||Server Locations|
|ProtonVPN||US, Netherlands, Japan|
|Windscribe||US, UK, Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany, France, Switzerland, Norway, Romania|
|Hotspot Shield||The US only|
|Tunnelbear||20 server locations including US and UK|
|Hide.me||US, Netherlands, Germany, and Canada|
|Speedify||North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania|
|OperaVPN||Americas, Europe, and Asia|
|Betternet||The US only|
|VPNBook||US, UK, France, Canada, Germany, and Poland|
People Opinion about free VPNs
So we decided to see what people think about free VPNs and headed to Quora for some answers. Below are some answers to different questions people asked about free VPNs on Quora.
Here, we see Quora user “Oral Knox” in response to a question, sharing his personal opinion about free VPNs. The user says that they would pass on any free VPN because it will be slow or sell your personal information or online activity logs to some third party organization.
In response to another question of the same nature, Quora user “Daniel Janiak” confirms that it is not a wise decision to use a free VPN. He further adds that free VPN providers will profit from your personal details and information.
FAQs Regarding Free VPNs
Now that you know which free VPNs you can use, let’s check out some frequently asked questions regarding free VPNs.
Is there a free VPN with unlimited data?
ProtonVPN offers unlimited data bandwidth along with lots of decent features, and that’s why it’s one of the top free VPNs in 2021. It offers the perfect combination of speed and privacy without charging a single penny. Still, it can never match the qualities of a world-class premium provider like ExpressVPN.
How to get a free VPN?
Getting a free VPN is quite easy. Although you can search for a free VPN on Google yourself, I suggest you go for the VPNs I’ve tested and recommended in this blog post. You can directly install their application and register to start using their services.
Can VPN steal your data?
Yes, some free VPNs can steal your data. There are plenty of sketchy free VPNs online that make money by harvesting and selling your personal data without your consent to different third-parties organizations.
Will a free VPN keep me safe on public networks?
Yes. Similar to premium VPNs, free VPNs also keep you safe on public networks found in locations like airports, universities & libraries, etc. However, not all free VPNs are secure; that is why you should only use one of the secure free VPNs mentioned above.
Which free VPN is compatible with smartphones?
There are thousands of free VPN apps compatible with Android and iOS smartphones. Among all the options, I recommend Windscribe as the best free mobile VPN, but it has a 10GB/month data limit. The best option among free VPN apps with no data limits is ProtonVPN, but its performance is not as good as Windscribe on smartphones.
Can I install a free VPN on all my devices?
Yes, since most free VPNs are cross-platform compatible, you’ll be able to install any VPN app on all of your devices. However, if you wish to use a VPN app on multiple devices simultaneously, I recommend going with ExpressVPN, which offers five simultaneous connections per account.
Will a free VPN hide my activity from my ISP?
A free VPN will keep you secure from the prying eyes of the ISP by keeping your online activities hidden and anonymous. However, you have to make sure that the VPN you’re using doesn’t keep logs.
Are free VPNs Legal for use?
Yes, it’s completely legal to use a free VPN in most countries. While the VPN technology isn’t illegal itself, few activities carried withVPNe help can be considered illegal. Also, few countries such as Russia, Seria, and China have banned VPNs, and using a VPN can be considered illegal by the law.
What is the Best Free VPN That I Recommend?
Since all of the totally free VPNs I’ve discussed in this blog lack some feature or the other, I can only recommend using a premium VPN provider like ExpressVPN, which comes with all the features a free VPN can never offer.
To give it to you straight, most free VPN services have bandwidth limitations, show you loads of ads, or sell your data to third parties. If the risks associated with free VPN apps are too much for you to tolerate, you can always go for premium options that offer 30-day money-back guarantees.
You can purchase ExpressVPN, try out all of its premium features, and if you’re not satisfied, you can claim a full refund within the 30-day refund period.