Free VPNs for Windows are a dime a dozen. But the real question is, how many of these are reliable?
Unfortunately, many free services are extremely limited in functionality and those that do have all of their features available for free are almost always shady providers that might prove to be malicious for you.
Obviously, I will stay away from all providers that might end up bringing you more harm than good. However, among those are safe but limited in functionalities, I will mention only the best free VPNs for Windows in terms of overall quality.
Best Free VPNs for Windows 10 for 2020
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:
Surfshark is the top free VPN for Windows. Though not exactly free, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for Windows users. You can use this as a free trial for 30 days and claim a refund if you’re not satisfied. Surfshark deserves special mention in this list because it is an entirely trustworthy VPN provider that can bypass geo-restrictions anywhere in the world while also guaranteeing user privacy.
It has 1,040+ servers in 60+ locations in its network which offer consistently fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth. Surfshark supports p2p activities on multiple servers and also unblocks US Netflix if you want to gain access to the complete content library.
For security, it offers a number of excellent features on the Windows app which include WhiteLister, CleanWeb, MultiHop, and Camouflage Mode. Using these features will maximize your online privacy and keep you safe from trackers and snoopers spying on your online.
You can avail this VPN for $1.99/mo . If you keep in mind the 30-day refund period, Surfshark may be considered the best free VPN for Windows.
For more information, see this Surfshark review.
- Fast servers
- Zero-logging policy
- Unlimited bandwidth
- No free trial
Windscribe is an excellent free VPN app for Windows. It is Canada-based VPN service that offers 10 different server locations to enable access to geo-restricted websites on your Windows system. It uses strong AES 256 bit encryption and a privacy-affirming logging policy to ensure your privacy remains safe.
It has a light-weight but appealing app for Windows and provides good enough speeds. The only disappointment is the 10 GB/month limit, which is still pretty good compared to what other providers offer. Windscribe does not, however, work with Netflix. 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.
See this Windscribe VPN review for more details.
- Supports OpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP, and L2TP/IPSec
- 10 distinct server locations
- Good usability
- Speeds less than ideal
ProtonVPN is a great choice as a free Windows VPN. It has features of the most well-designed apps for Windows and is one of the few reliable provider that offer unlimited bandwidth for free.
In addition, the VPN delivers impressive speeds 90% of the time and uses AES 256 for encryption. However, it only offers 3 servers in the free plan: Netherlands, Japan, and the US. You cannot unblock US Netflix with ProtonVPN unless you upgrade to the Plus service (which is a paid subscription).
You can learn more about this service in our ProtonVPN review.
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Strong encryption
- Fast speeds
- Only 3 servers available in the free version
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. Hide.Me is not known to unblock US Netflix at the time of this writing.
You can learn more about this VPN in our Hide.Me review.
- Good security features
- Great functionality
- No-logging policy
- 2GB/month bandwidth limit is too low
TunnelBear is another free VPN available for Windows. It hosts 20+ server locations for free. The service has a good logging policy that guarantees user privacy. Although it is pretty good for digital security and privacy for Windows users, it imposes a 500 MB/month limit which is pretty low.
Therefore, you should only use this VPN if you need better privacy and have minimal VPN usage requirements.
For more information, see this TunnelBear review.
- Offers 20+ server locations
- Decent security
- 500MB/month bandwidth limit
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 a lot of appeal, 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 as well as 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 that are 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 have a proven record boosting users’ privacy on the web.
Why Free VPNs Are Risky
Over the years, there have been many cases about VPN services compromising your privacy rather than protecting it. For instance, the popular free VPN, Hola, which is available for Windows as well as 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 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 provider might sell your data to third-parties in order 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 10 that is completely safe, you might as well quit looking.
Nonetheless, there are still some VPNs that are safe and available for free, with the caveat that they offer limited features. Since I would always prefer a service that is safe 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 in below articles:
How to Improve your Privacy on Windows 10?
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 that you want.
- Now from “General” tab, you can select which apps you want to allow access to camera, messages, calendar etc.
- You can also turn of Cortana’s data collection from Speech, ink, & typing tab and clicking “Stop getting to know me”.
- To turn off data-gathering for the purpose of 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.
What is the best free VPN for Windows?
Some of the best free VPNs for Windows are:
Is there a free VPN for Windows?
There are many free VPN services for Windows but many free apps are shady and actually install malware in your system or sell your private information for money. Still, there are some safe and trustworthy VPNs for Windows available for free such as:Windscribe, ProtonVPN, TunnelBear, and Hide.Me.
The VPN services described above are all fairly competent tools when it comes to 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 VPNs for a longer term, you can consider other options such as ProtonVPN an Windscribe to unblock websites on the internet and maintain your pivacy.