There are few countries where government surveillance upon citizens is as wide-ranging as in the US. Over the past few years, eye-opening disclosures of NSA’s role in wiretapping ordinary people’s phones and monitoring internet traffic without going through the necessary legal procedures have revealed just how neglected our right to privacy has become on American soil.
Since we can’t leave anything to governments these days, the protection of our privacy is something we need to take into our own hands. The easiest way to do that is to use a free USA VPN. A good VPN for the United States goes a long way to protect citizen’s online security. It helps mask your real IP address and prevents snooping by internet service providers (ISPs) and government agencies.
While a free VPN sure does offer some encryption and privacy, it will surely fail against US government surveillance. Only with a premium Top VPN provider such as ExpressVPN that has state-of-the-art security and privacy tools along with a zero-log user policy, you hold a chance against government and ISP surveillance in the US.
Best Free VPNs for USA – In-Depth Analysis [October 2021 Update]
The following free VPN services are all legitimate and trustworthy for use within the USA. However, most of these have some limitations in the free version. If you want a VPN with all advanced features unlocked for maximum privacy, see this article on premium USA VPNs.
1. Windscribe – Best Free VPN for USA (10 GB/ mo data)
Windscribe is the best free VPN for US with servers available in America for users who want to get a US IP address for free. Windscribe offers 10 server locations overall on its free version. These servers offer reliable speeds and support P2P.
Windscribe offers 10 GB of data per month. This might seem small at first but compared to most other free providers on the list, it is actually pretty generous. You can also get an additional 5 GB if you tweet about Windscribe on Twitter.
It has dedicated apps for various devices and operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. You can also use Winscribe as an Ubuntu-free VPN client. Another great feature of the Windscribe free version is that you can connect unlimited devices simultaneously. So, you can use Windscribe VPN free on multiple devices.
Unfortunately, Windscribe does not work with most popular streaming sites like US Netflix. During testing, we could unblock BBC iPlayer on our third attempt. It is a reliable choice for browsing and social media.
Windscribe is one of the few free VPNs that are safe to use because it doesn’t keep any user logs. For extra security, it also offers a kill switch feature in case of any connectivity issues. It also offers a ‘Stealth‘ protocol that obfuscates your VPN traffic, disguising it as normal internet traffic.
For more information, read our Windscribe review.
2. ProtonVPN – Free Unlimited VPN for US
ProtonVPN is one of the few completely free VPNs that offer unlimited bandwidth with no additional costs. It only has 3 servers in the free version – the Netherlands, Japan, and the US. You can get a US IP address with its US server.
For privacy protection and good connection stability, ProtonVPN is a remarkably powerful VPN that you can easily use to get a US IP. It is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. However, you can only connect one device at a time.
You can unblock streaming services with ProtonVPN, but its speeds are extremely slow rendering it useless when it comes to streaming. During testing, we got slow speeds of 28 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection (more than 70% speed drop) and lags were noticeable.
In terms of security, ProtonVPN has excellent features, including DNS leak protection and a kill switch. There is also a built-in adblocker along with 256-bit encryption.
ProtonVPN does not keep any user logs; it only collects timestamps of your last log-in. Overall, it is an amazing free VPN, but the only downside is that it has a tiny server network in its free version.
Learn more about this service in our ProtonVPN review.
3. Hide.Me – Popular Free VPN for USA
Hide.Me is a popular VPN for USA as it uses AES-256 encryption and has a good logging policy to guarantee users their right to privacy online. The free version has 4 server locations which include Singapore, Canada, Netherlands, and the US. It has 2 servers in the US – one on East Coast and one on the West Coast.
Hide.Me also offers a free US proxy service that you can run directly from its website. It is a good VPN for maximizing your privacy to ward off government surveillance in the US, but the 10GB/month limit can run out too fast. Previously they only offered a 2GB data limit on its free version, which was increased to 10 GB per month.
This free VPN does offer the best speeds among the providers on this list. We got a speed of 56 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection. Unfortunately, Hide.Me does not work with most geo-restricted streaming services, as during testing we could only unblock Netflix Canada on our second attempt.
It does support P2P traffic and offers 24/7 live chat support in case you need assistance.
If you want to know more about this VPN, check out our Hide.Me review.
4. TunnelBear – User-friendly Free VPN for USA
TunnelBear is a Canadian VPN service that is quite popular owing to its user-friendly interface and easy-to-use apps. The app has the cutest design with an animated bear burrowing its way through the map.
TunnelBear offers 23+ server locations, including the US. What’s best about this free VPN is that both premium and free users get the same amount of servers.
It is another safe free VPN for the US. Americans who need stronger privacy from cybercriminals will find a reliable service in TunnelBear. It is not extremely fast, but VPN speeds are more than enough for daily use. Unfortunately, the 500MB per month bandwidth is too little for streaming and other data-intensive tasks.
During testing, we could not unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or Hulu with TunnelBear. It did unblock HBO, but we had to try a couple of times.
It offers all the security features like a premium VPN, including a kill switch (Vigilant Bear), obfuscation (Ghost Bear), and DNS/IP leak protection. It also offers desktop and mobile apps for various platforms like Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, and there are browser extensions as well.
To learn more, read our TunnelBear VPN review.
5. Browsec – Reliable Free US VPN
Browsec offers 4 VPN servers for free, US, UK, Singapore, and the Netherlands. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have any dedicated VPN apps for desktop. It only offers a browser extension for desktops. The extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Microsoft Edge. Browsec does offer mobile apps for its users.
The best thing about this VPN is that it has no bandwidth restrictions, but it does offer slow speeds as compared to other providers on the list. So, if you are thinking about streaming with Browsec, you might want to look for another free VPN as with Browsec, you will be experiencing noticeable buffering.
Speaking of streaming, Browsec can unblock Netflix US, and it also works with HBO Max. However, we could not unblock any other platforms such as Hulu or Disney+.
It uses AES-256-bit encryption in both mobile app and browser extensions. Despite these security features, it does not support torrenting on any of its servers. Browsec also logs some user data, this includes “some information from your web browser additional/or client software.” This Russia-based VPN says that it does not release information to third parties, “unless it is required by the legal law enforcement requests.”
The best thing is you can install the free version of Browsec on as many devices as you want. For the browser extension, you don’t even need to sign in.
For more information, read our Browsec VPN review.
How we tested these Free VPNs?
During testing these free VPNs for the US, my major interest was security because most free services don’t usually offer standard security. We had to ensure that every free VPN provider on our list is secure for the users and offers a satisfactory level of encryption and security features. We also checked their log policy to confirm that they do not store any user information.
We also took into account the bandwidth and speed limitations. Some free VPNs mentioned on the list offer unlimited bandwidth (ProtonVPN, Browsec), and most of them offer 10 GB of free data per month. It’s not a lot of data and can run out pretty quickly if you stream. Usually, the bandwidth and speed offered by these free VPNs are inversely proportional.
Why are Free VPNs discouraged in the US?
You’ll find below a few reasons that should be enough to convince you why using a free VPN in the US is a bad idea.
- Almost all of the free VPN providers offer limited bandwidth on their accounts. This limited bandwidth can barely allow you to watch a couple of videos on YouTube.
- It is also a well-known fact that many free VPN providers are caught selling their user’s personal data and internet activity to different third-party organizations.
- Most of these VPN providers offer few servers across the globe. They are hardly between 3-5 servers which is not enough to judge the worth of a provider.
- As the number of servers is few and the number of users connecting to those servers is high, you are bound to experience slow speed.
Some benefits of Premium VPNs:
Free VPNs can never be better than premium VPNs. Let’s check out why:
- Huge server network with servers in many major countries.
- Unlimited bandwidth for streaming, torrenting, and gaming purposes.
- Automatic load-balancing on each server for a better online experience.
- AES-256 encryption and no-log policy for complete security and privacy.
- Money-back guarantee and compatibility with all major platforms.
3 Reasons Why You Need a VPN in the US
There are several reasons why VPNs are getting more important to have within the US with time. Most importantly, US citizens should use VPNs for the 3 following reasons:
- State-sponsored surveillance: The NSA has been involved in mass surveillance of US citizens in the past. The Snowden disclosures further proved just how widespread NSA’s surveillance operations are in the US. VPN services, especially those based outside the US, can effectively protect users from government surveillance. Therefore, US citizens should use the internet through the protection of VPNs.
- Safety over public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi networks are usually insecure and lack even basic password protection to enable mass access. However, this paves the way for hackers and malicious users to breach the data of unsuspecting users. VPNs make your connection significantly more secure and your communications tightly encrypted, preventing anyone from the outside from getting a sniff of it.
- Safe torrenting: The US has strict anti-piracy laws, and anyone found guilty can be fined up to $150,000 per file and even put in jail for five years in the worst-case scenario. VPN unblock banned torrent websites and ensures that you can download files with your identity anonymized and kept private from third parties.
Disclaimer: We do not encourage nor condone the use of VPNs for any illegal activity, including copyright infringement.
VPN Services Based in the US
There are a lot of VPNs out there that are based in the US. The United States is not an ideal jurisdiction for a VPN headquartered due to privacy issues. The US is an active member of the 5 Eyes Alliance meaning; it requires VPN services based in the US to log user data and provide it to the authorities if needed. This goes against the user’s right to online privacy.
Here are some of the top US-based VPNs, and you can check out our detailed review of each VPN:
Yes, using a VPN is perfectly legal in the US. There are currently no laws restricting the use of VPNs in the US. You can use a VPN in the US to protect your online privacy and access international content. However, using a VPN to do illegal activities in the US might land you in a lawsuit or a penalty from your ISP. These activities include downloading copyrighted material, including music, movies, and applications.
There are several completely free VPNs for the USA, including Windscribe, ProtonVPN, TunnelBear, Browsec, and Hide.Me.
To get a free US IP address, you need to connect to a free VPN service that offers servers within the US. You can get a US IP address with Windscribe VPN’s free trial. Follow the steps below:
- Subscribe to Windscribe VPN.
- Download and install the VPN app on your device.
- Launch the app on your device and enter login credentials.
- Connect to a US server to get an American IP address for free.
Windscribe and Browsec are free VPN that works with US Netflix, but not consistently. If you are looking for a VPN to access US Netflix, we recommend using ExpressVPN as it unblocks US Netflix within seconds, along with other streaming sites like Hulu, Disney+ and more.
There is a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free and cancel to get a refund.
The privacy situation in the USA is worsening with time. It is essential for any US citizen who wants their privacy intact and safe from government agencies to use a free VPN for the USA and instant digital protection.
Our top recommendation for the USA is ExpressVPN. Its 30-day money-back guarantee works as the best solution for users that need all the advanced features of a full-fledged VPN. It also offers a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free for 30 days and cancel to get a full refund.