Free VPNs for Windows are a dime a dozen. But where there’s variety, there naturally arises the question of quality. Unfortunately, 100% free VPNs are extremely limited in functionality, and those that do have all their features intact often engage in data harvesting practices.
As such, this problem is prevalent for users of all devices. Users have to decide between allowing their privacy to be sold by these providers in exchange for free VPN access or settle for half-baked free VPN apps that don’t even work as they’re supposed to.
But in this pile of fraud and substandard solutions, there are very few standout providers offering the best free VPN for Windows that are completely legitimate and effective, in a limited way, for various purposes.
In a hurry? Here’s a quick overview of the best free VPN for Windows 10 and older OS:
|Free VPN app||Speed Cap||Data Transfer Limit||Number of Free Server Locations|
|Hotspot Shield||Yes||500MB/day||US only|
Best Free VPNs for Windows for 2021
The following VPNs are all capable free services, albeit with some limitations. If you need full-fledged VPNs with all their features unblocked, see this article on paid Windows VPNs.
Let’s now focus on the best free VPN apps for Windows:
1. ProtonVPN – Top Free VPN for Windows
ProtonVPN is among the top 5 free VPN for Windows 10. It is a great choice as a free Windows VPN, primarily because it is a few reliable providers that offer unlimited data for free.
The Windows app of ProtonVPN is easy to use and offers an appealing interface design. It is indefinitely free, meaning you can use it for as long as you want without your free license ever expiring. There are three server locations in the free plan: the US, Japan, and the Netherlands.
ProtonVPN offers strong security and decent privacy. The provider keeps no logs of privacy-sensitive information of the user and implements AES-256 to encrypt user encryption. It also offers OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP protocols to users.
The best thing about this VPN is that it’s not subjected to any advertisements.
ProtonVPN is the top free VPN for PC for these features and benefits. So, if you’re looking for a free unlimited VPN for PC, then ProtonVPN is the one for you.
While these servers are good for unblocking websites hosted in the server’s locations, these are largely ineffective in bypassing restrictions on web services that actively filter VPN traffic such as Netflix, Hulu, etc.
Nor can you access torrents with any of ProtonVPN’s free servers. You’re going to need a paid subscription for that. So, as far as activities like torrenting and streaming are concerned, ProtonVPN, like most other free providers, won’t be much good to Windows users.
You can learn more about this service in our ProtonVPN review.
2. Windscribe – Feature-Rich Free VPN for PC
Windscribe is an excellent free VPN for Windows based in Canada that is easy to use. The provider offers 10 different server locations, which is higher than free VPN providers typically provide. It offers great connectivity, and it’s super-simple to establish a VPN connection with any server of your choice.
The Windows app of Windscribe uses OpenVPN with 256-bit encryption and a privacy-affirming logging policy to ensure your privacy remains safe. Since Windows is not a very privacy-friendly operating system, you can at least protect some of what you can while connected to Windscribe during your online sessions.
In fact, it also offers a feature known as R.O.B.E.R.T, which works as a configurable ad/malicious website blocker, among other uses.
You can access R.O.B.E.R.T. through your user control panel on the main Windscribe website. Any change you make to R.O.B.E.R.T will automatically reflect on Windscribe’s Windows app that you’re using.
Windscribe offers a lightweight but appealing app for Windows and provides good enough speeds. Not to forget, this VPN is also an amazing Ubuntu free VPN as well as Windows VPN.
The only disappointment is the 10 GB/monthly data limit, which is still pretty good compared to what other providers offer.
Windscribe’s free version does not allow you to access geo-restricted sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. You will have to get the premium version if you want to enjoy change your region on Netflix with Windscribe and access all shows/movies.
It also logs data so most users might not be happy with that situation.
See this Windscribe VPN review for more details.
3. Hotspot Shield – 100% Free Windows VPN
Hotspot Shield is one of the most widely used free VPN services. Unlike most other providers, Hotspot Shield enforces a daily data transfer limit.
There’s a 500MB/day limit, which is decent enough for a free VPN. This limit is renewed every day, so you can continue using it afresh by tomorrow if you run out of data one day.
The Windows app features a sleek design of black and blue and is an overall user-friendly VPN for PC. Users can only connect to US servers in the free version, though the premium subscription offers more than 3,200 servers in 70+ countries.
Hotspot Shield also publishes an annual transparency report, which is rare for a free VPN. In terms of speed, it offers decent performance but not outstanding, as is typically expected for free providers.
You can unblock some US-based websites and services with Hotspot Shield, but the free version is not very reliable for accessing websites that limit VPN traffic, such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc.
Overall, Hotspot Shield is a decent choice for Windows users with low data usage requirements.
See this Hotspot Shield review for more details.
4. Hide.Me – Secure Free VPN for Windows 10
Hide.Me is another decent provider available for free download for Windows 7, 8, and 10. It guarantees zero-logging of user data and provides AES-256 encryption.
The provider offers 5 server locations, including Singapore, Canada, Netherlands, US East, and US West.
While this VPN offers a single device in its free version, the VPN displays no ads throughout the experience. This is one of the best things about this VPN.
This VPN provider also offers 24/7 customer support to users in case they have any queries. We tested their customer service and were immediately replied to.
You can always use its kill switch in case you want complete protection.
Hide.Me is not known to unblock US Netflix at the time of this writing. Due to its limited free server locations, Hide.Me makes it almost impossible to unblock any streaming services and watching them without any load times.
It also offers a single simultaneous connection on one account. This means you cannot use your free account anywhere except your Windows at one time.
You can learn more about this VPN in our Hide.Me review.
5. TunnelBear – Speedy Free VPN for Windows with 500mb/month
TunnelBear is another free VPN available for Windows. It hosts 23 server locations for free that can be easily accessed in the Windows app featuring a cute bear burrowing around different locations. If you didn’t know, this VPN is owned by one of the biggest security giants, McAfee.
The service has a good logging policy that guarantees user privacy.
Tunnelbear is also known to offer a TCP Override setting for its Windows app. This allows Tunnelbear to provide users with a more stable connection using the slower TCP protocol to improve user performance.
Although it is pretty good for digital security and privacy for Windows users, it imposes a 500 MB/month limit, which is very low.
With limited bandwidth, this VPN might offer you a standard definition to binge on something, that too in a data limit.
Therefore, you should only use this VPN if you need better privacy and have minimal VPN usage requirements, like when you go outside and need some protection on your public wifi.
This VPN also offers no live chat as customer support to users.
For more information, see this TunnelBear review.
Free VPN Server Locations
Free VPNs usually offer a small selection of servers as compared to their full subscription. Some providers offer only a handful, while others like Windscribe and TunnelBear offer more.
Let’s look at the servers that these totally free VPNs for Windows offer to users:
|VPN Provider||Server Locations|
|ProtonVPN||US, Japan, Netherlands|
|Windscribe||US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Romania, Hong Kong, Netherlands|
|Hide.Me||US East, US West, Netherlands, Germany, Canada|
|TunnelBear||US, UK, Germany, Canada, Italy, Australia, India, Japan, France, Spain, and more|
How to choose the Best Free VPNs for Windows?
To make sure you get a good and well-performing free VPN for Windows, here are a few essential things to bear in mind:
No logging policy
Since the primary purpose of a VPN is to guard users’ privacy, it is important to how much user data they collect. Some VPN services have a highly secure logging policy like Surfshark and Windscribe. However, some free providers like Hola VPN and Betternet collect more information than they should relating to users.
Compatibility & apps
Nowadays, anything less than a dedicated GUI-based app is unacceptable for a VPN. The free VPN for PC described above all have well-designed free Windows apps that you can install very easily through the Play Store.
Free providers often impose bandwidth restrictions. That can’t be helped. However, what you can ensure is to choose a VPN that offers a reasonable amount of internet bandwidth, such as those mentioned above.
Some VPNs can slow down your connection speed, preventing you from surfing the web smoothly. The list of VPNs above isn’t the fastest in the industry, but you can still get decent enough speeds considering they are free.
Do I Need a Free VPN service for Windows?
To get a free VPN or not, that is the question.
There’s no denying that free services carry many appeals, especially with so many online threats lurking around the web. A tool capable of protecting our privacy and security from these threats free of charge would be a godsend.
What’s more, the need for VPN services is also strongly felt when you encounter Geo-restrictions on websites, especially streaming services. With so many enticing streaming platforms surfacing on the web, such as Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, etc., there’s nothing more frustrating than being denied access simply because you happen to live in a different country.
As such, the need for VPN services for Windows and other platforms is only increasing with time. The tragic reality is that, although the demand for free VPNs is high, there aren’t many competent providers available for free. In fact, these VPNs may pose a risk to your security.
This is why if you’re unwilling to compromise on your online privacy, the safest bet is to use a paid VPN service for Windows, which has a proven record of boosting users’ privacy on the web.
Here’s why some free VPNs are risky
Over the years, there have been many VPN service cases compromising your privacy rather than protecting it. For instance, the popular free VPN, Hola, which is available for Windows and other platforms, was found involved in selling your bandwidth to execute a botnet attack.
Similar instances of malicious VPN apps (most of which are free) have caused grave concerns about the security of many of these tools with a free tag.
Even if you manage to find a VPN that won’t infect your PC with malware, you still have to deal with the fact that these VPN providers might sell your data to third parties to make a profit. Since they must finance their operations somehow, they resort to these tactics in the absence of paying customers.
Thus, if you are looking for a free unlimited VPN for Windows XP or newer versions that are completely safe, you might as well quit looking.
Nonetheless, some VPNs are still safe and available for free, with the caveat that they offer limited features. Since I would always prefer a safe service but has a limited set of features over one that is insecure but full of fancy features, I’m going to discuss only the reliable ones that you can use on your Windows system.
Free VPNs for Other Devices and Platforms
If you’re not a Windows user, you can find recommended VPNs for other platforms and operating systems below articles:
How to Improve your Privacy on Windows?
There are three major functionalities (on the surface, at least) in Windows that use your personal data: general apps, Cortana, and personalize ads.
Here is how you can prevent these from compromising your privacy.
- Open Privacy from Settings. A series of 13 selection screens will appear one by one, allowing you to turn off any you want.
- From the “General” tab, you can select which apps you want to access the camera, messages, calendar, etc.
- You can also turn off Cortana’s data collection from the Speech, ink, & typing tab and clicking “Stop getting to know me.”
- To turn off data-gathering for ads, you must visit https://choice.microsoft.com/en-gb/opt-out. From there, turn off “Personalized ads in this browser” and “Personalized ads wherever I use my Microsoft account.”
While these changes can improve your privacy on Windows, it is still very much possible that the operating system collects user data from other sources that might not even be controllable for the user.
To enhance your privacy further, there is nothing within the Windows environment itself that can help you. Instead, you will require some outside assistance in the form of tools like VPNs.
😀 Is setting up a free VPN on Windows difficult?
No. Setting up a free VPN on your Windows is very easy since most VPN services offer a dedicated free VPN software for Windows. Moreover, the providers also offer guides and tutorials that are very easy and simple to follow.
🤗 Are free VPNs for Windows safe?
Most of the free VPN services aren’t safe because there’s no guarantee for your privacy, and they also sell user data to third party companies. Fortunately, the ones I have listed above are the best free VPN for Windows and the safest as well.
🤗 How do free VPNs earn money?
Most free VPN companies earn by displaying ads on their apps. Some also collect and log user data and sell it to third party companies for monetary returns. But the VPNs I have listed above are 100% safe to use.
😀 Can users use a Windows VPN on multiple devices?
If the VPN you are using supports multi-logins, you can definitely use your Windows VPN on other devices.
😄Are there any limitations of a free VPN?
Free VPNs come with their own cons. With a free VPN, there is a possibility of your data being monitored and you being tracked over the internet. Free VPNs also tend to decrease your internet speed and may display frequent ads.
🤗 Does Windows 10 come with a VPN?
Windows 10 does indeed come with built-in VPN functionality, but it will only work as a basic, no-frills VPN. It is also quite difficult to set up if you’re not tech-savvy.
😄 Are free VPNs safe to use on any of the devices I own?
Free VPNs are compatible with many devices but probably not too safe themselves. Free VPNs often store your data and sell it to third parties. If you’re willing to take this risk or the risk of having malware on your device, then go for it.
😀 Can I watch Netflix with a free VPN?
Unfortunately, no free VPNs work with Netflix. Your only reliable option is to get a paid VPN that is known to unblock Netflix’s anti-VPN technology.
The VPN services described above are all fairly competent tools for elevating your privacy on Windows systems. Surfshark’s trial version is the top free VPN for Windows if you’re looking for a tool to use free of cost for a whole month.
However, if you want to download a free VPN for your PC for a longer-term, you can consider other options such as ProtonVPN (free unlimited VPN for Windows 10) and Windscribe to unblock websites on the internet and maintain your privacy.
See Also: Best VPN Apps for Windows Phones
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