Beginners on the journey to online privacy may find free VPN services attractive since they don’t require credit card details, only an email address to get started. However, it’s crucial to grasp the true nature of VPNs and how they sustain themselves financially. Reliable VPNs encrypt internet traffic to keep it hidden from ISPs and can change your virtual location by routing traffic through their servers worldwide.
Despite being free, these services come with costs that users should understand, as choosing the wrong provider can potentially cause more harm than good.
The best free VPNs are typically limited versions of paid services, offering restricted features and potential data limitations. Nevertheless, these providers can be trusted to be safe and secure. If your intention is to use a VPN for streaming or constant privacy protection, it is advisable to choose one of the top paid providers. However, occasional users might find one of the high-quality free VPNs mentioned below sufficient for their needs.
Worth Considering: 30-Day Free Trial of a Premium VPN
Due to all the risks and disadvantages of using free VPNs, we strongly advise you to opt for a premium VPN service. Amongst all the ones present in the industry, the one we highly recommend is ExpressVPN. While it offers a paid subscription, it also comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee for users to test out all the premium features of this VPN for 30 days. You can also try this best VPN for free through its week-long free trial on mobile devices.
During this period, you can access geo-restricted content, torrent, and play geo-blocked games from anywhere in the world using its fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth. You can read our ExpressVPN Review to learn more about this VPN service.
- 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
Are Free VPNs Safe?
No, free VPNs are not safe, generally speaking. This is because they often lack the resources to invest in robust infrastructure and additional safety features. Moreover, some free VPNs may compromise your digital security by collecting and selling your data or bombarding you with ads. It is those free VPNs you need to stay clear of.
Some free VPNs hijack your browser and redirect you to malicious sites without asking for your permission. This is why they are highly discouraged by most privacy-conscious users.
Following are a few factors that explain why free VPNs can be a risk to your security:
- Free VPNs are NOT safe: According to a study by CSIRO, more than 75% of free VPNs have at least one third-party tracker in their software. These trackers collect a lot of information that is shared with third-party advertisers. Moreover, thousands of free VPNs on iOS and Android stores have unacceptable privacy policies and are known to share data with authorities.
- Aggressive advertising: This is another tactic used by free VPN services to make money. However, free services go beyond annoying pop-ups and banner ads, as most free providers sneak trackers in ads. These trackers can stay on your browser and track your every move.
- High chance of catching malware: According to another research, 38% of free Android VPNs contain malware – despite the security and privacy features they claim to offer. What’s more concerning is that these VPNs account for millions of downloads on Google Play Store.
- Lack of advanced features: If you’re opting for a free VPN, then just know that it won’t offer a variety of features. Even with the best VPN for free, you won’t get split tunneling or obfuscated servers, and the DNS leak protection feature may not be as efficient as a paid VPN.
- Data collection: Collecting users’ browsing data and selling it to third parties is common when it comes to free VPNs. There are also various privacy breaches associated with free VPNs.
This is why paid secure 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. If you ask us, then we’d recommend ExpressVPN without any hesitation.
The Best Free VPN Services [In-Depth Analysis]
After testing 150+ free VPNs on various factors like data allowance, speed, server access, and security, we bring you the top 7 free VPNs in 2023 that are safe to use. Here is a detailed analysis of these free providers:
1. Windscribe – Best Free VPN for Security
Windscribe is the best free VPN for security and the overall absolute best free VPN service with no hidden charges or shady schemes. That’s because of multiple servers, powerful features, and user-friendly apps.
Windscribe Key Metrics:
|App design||The app is fairly easy to use and navigate, but it lacks the level of refinement seen in its competitors.||3/5|
|Privacy and security||The use of open-source apps provides a high level of confidence and trust.||4/5|
|Ease of use||Setting up and using the app is relatively simple and straightforward.||4/5|
|Performance||The app’s performance is slightly behind the competition, but it is still reasonably fast.||3/5|
|Unblocking||The app impressively allows access to UK Netflix and iPlayer.||4/5|
|Support||The lack of live chat support makes resolving issues quickly challenging, but email support is comprehensive.||3/5|
To start, its free version offers 10 GB of data per month. To receive the 10 GB of data, you must register with an email address. Otherwise, you will only receive 2 GB of monthly bandwidth. Additionally, you can also receive 5 GB extra bandwidth on this best VPN for free by just tweeting about Windscribe. Now that’s cool, right?
As for servers, Windscribe offers servers in 10 locations on its free version. These servers can be used for multiple activities, including browsing, streaming, and torrenting. According to our tests, almost all the major streaming services are accessible with this provider, including ITV, Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon Prime. That means you can watch your favorite shows using the best VPN for free with ease.
In fact, Windscribe is also among the best free VPNs for Netflix. Moreover, it supports torrenting on its free servers and keeps no logs of user activities, making the Windscribe torrenting combo absolutely great!
Regarding speeds, Windscribe is faster than all the VPNs on our list. When we tested Windscribe’s speeds on our 100 Mbps connection, we got a download speed of 65.21 Mbps and an upload speed of 34.75 Mbps.
The provider offers many security features on its free version, including the Internet Kill Switch, Ad-blocker, and even MultiHop, 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 also features a “Stealth protocol” that obfuscates your VPN traffic and makes it look like normal HTTPS traffic.
This cool feature allows the VPN to work in countries with high internet restrictions, like China. So if you want to use your social media in China safely, you can use this Facebook VPN proxy online for free. To test it, we Googled “What is my IP address?” which showed that this provider was successful in hiding our real IP address.
Even on a free plan, the VPN offers unlimited simultaneous connections to users. Its compatibility with mobile devices makes it the best free VPN for Android and iOS. Moreover, Windscribe works great with FireStick, which means Windscribe also turns out be the best free VPN for firestick, Moreover, it is also compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux as well and is a good option to use as a free VPN for Smart TV.
In case you face any difficulties, you can always talk to Windscribe’s live chatbot ‘Garry‘ or submit a request. For more information, check out our Windscribe VPN review.
- High-quality browser VPN extension for Chrome.
- Browser extension with adware and malware blocking
- One Windscribe account can be used on unlimited devices for free.
- 10 free server locations
- 10 GB free data per month
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Unblocks US Netflix
- Offers a Stealth protocol
- Not the fastest VPN
- Based in Canada (member of the 5 eyes)
- No unlimited bandwidth (10 GB monthly limit)
- Doesn’t offer WireGuard on the free plan
2. Proton VPN – Free VPN with Unlimited Bandwidth
Proton VPN is the most popular free VPN with unlimited bandwidth. This is amazing as most free VPNs offer 500 MB to 10 GB of data at max. With the benefit of unlimited data, you can download and stream as much as you want.
ProtonVPN Key Metrics
|App design||The recent facelift of the app has transformed its aesthetic from The Matrix to Cyberpunk 2077.||4/5|
|Privacy and security||The app is built on open-source technology and boasts powerful encryption.||5/5|
|Ease of use||The app’s functionality is robust, but it might be slightly challenging for newcomers.||3/5|
|Performance||This is the fastest free VPN we have tested.||4/5|
|Unblocking||While it provides access to Deutsche Welle exceeding most free VPNs, it doesn’t match PrivadoVPN.||4/5|
|Support||The app offers abundant detailed guides, and the support agents are helpful.||5/5|
Is Proton VPN legit? Yes, it is. All Proton VPN free users can connect to servers in three countries (Japan, the US, and the Netherlands). While testing, it did not work with Netflix, but we could unblock other platforms like YouTube, Spotify, and a few local websites. Moreover, please note that these servers are not P2P-friendly, so you cannot download torrents on Proton VPN’s free version.
In our Proton VPN speed test, the VPN was quite speedy. On our connection of 100 Mbps, the VPN delivered a download speed of 65.12 Mbps and an upload speed of 59.32 Mbps.
ProtonVPN’s power lies in complete security, offering you military-grade 256-bit encryption, split tunneling, and OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols. Use this best VPN for free and get an automatic kill switch that keeps you protected at all times. If you want to use social media in a place with high censorship, you can use this Facebook VPN proxy online for free. Therefore you can count it as a good free VPN for Facebook.
A great thing about Proton VPN is that it’s based in Switzerland, which does not belong to the 14-Eyes Alliance. This means that the VPN doesn’t collect any logs. We Googled “What is my IP address?” which showed that this provider was successful in hiding our real IP address.
Is Proton VPN legit? Yes it is but unfortunately, most of ProtonVPN’s features are saved for paid users. Only those who subscribe to premium subscriptions can 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 simultaneously. However, its service is great for all. It is a Free VPN for PC and offers apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. Thanks to its user-friendly iOS app, you can call it the best free VPN for iPhone/iPad. It is also a good option to use as a free VPN for Smart TV.
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 support, even for paid users.
You can learn more about this service in our Proton VPN review.
- Provides truly unlimited data for free
- Linux compatible
- Fully Open source
- AES 256-bit encryption
- OpenVPN protocol offered
- Free VPN for PC with Powerful Desktop apps
- Fast speeds
- Does not allow torrenting on free servers
- Unblocking ability is erratic on free servers
- One simultaneous connection supported
- ProtonVPN Free trial only offers servers in 3 locations
3. Hotspot Shield – Decent free VPN with Unlimited Data
Hotspot Shield is a decent free VPN with unlimited data. It is at the same time, one of the best free VPNs for torrenting because it offers a distinct feature called Catapult Hydra protocol that is designed to offer fast-speed connections on P2P networks and perform various other activities.
Hotspot Shield Key Metrics
|App design||The design is simple and moderately attractive.||4/5|
|Privacy and security||The lack of a kill switch makes it unreliable for enhanced security.||2/5|
|Ease of use||Getting started is relatively easy, but dealing with ads can be bothersome.||3/5|
|Performance||Connection speeds are average, falling in the middle range.||3/5|
|Unblocking||It doesn’t offer anything noteworthy in terms of unblocking capabilities.||2/5|
|Support||Lack of live chat or email support means no direct contact with support staff for advice.||2/5|
Moreover, it only allows 500 MB of data per day which is more than what a regular free VPN offers. How? Well, if you multiply 500 MB of data per day by an entire month, you’re getting 15 GB of data per month. That’s more than what even Windscribe offers to you.
The only drawback of this VPN service is that its free version only allows you to connect to US servers. In addition, it is not a good option for streaming as it does not work with popular services like Hulu, HBO, Disney+, and more. However, as per our tests, it did unblock Netflix US after multiple tries.
Still, it is a good option to use for unblocking social media. If you want to stay connected without government surveillance, use this Facebook VPN proxy online for free
When it comes to speeds, Hotspot Shield can be called average. During testing, it delivered a download speed of 45.63 Mbps and an upload speed of 39.56 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection. It was more than enough to download torrent files. However, we did run out of daily data very quickly.
Hotspot Shield is safe to use as it offers 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and multiple security protocols. With its DNS leak protection, it makes sure no one can see your online activities, including your ISP. We Googled “What is my IP address?” which showed that this provider was successful in hiding our real IP address.
Moreover, although Hotspot Shield’s headquarters are located in the US, it still supports a zero-log policy for its users. But, upon further investigation, we found out the Hotspot Shield does log some user data like timestamps, the device you are using, and bandwidth consumed. However, none of this data can be used to identify you online.
The VPN service’s app is compatible with most operating systems and devices. The sleek and easy-to-use app interface makes it easy to get started on macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS devices. It is also a good free VPN for Smart TV. Moreover, you only get 1 device connection, so you can connect just a single device simultaneously to the VPN.
Another downside is that the free version of Hotspot Shield is supported by ads. Even during testing, we encountered a lot of ads while browsing. If you want to use Hotspot Shield, we recommend getting an ad-blocker so you don’t experience constant pop-up ads.
For more information, check out the Hotspot Shield review.
- Fast Connections
- Daily Free Data
- Catapult Hydra protocol offered
- Supports P2P connections
- DNS leak protection
- Only US servers on the free plan
- Unreliable for streaming
- Low amount of data
- Ads and Popups
4. PrivadoVPN – The best free VPN available
PrivadoVPN is one of the best free VPN services available that cater well to beginners. It offers easy-to-use apps with a simple yet intuitive design. The app allows unlimited device connections simultaneously, enabling users to stream content securely and anonymously on public Wi-Fi.
PrivadoVPN Key Metrics
|App design||The app design is smart and simple, with an appealing layout on both desktop and mobile.||5/5|
|Privacy and security||The service offers industry-standard encryption and essential features like a kill switch. However, the absence of an audit is a minor drawback.||4/5|
|Ease of use||The apps are well-organized, making it perfect for VPN newcomers, yet easily accessible for experienced users to customize settings.||5/5|
|Performance||It performs faster than many free VPNs, although slightly behind paid providers.||4/5|
|Unblocking||The unblocking power of this service is simply unrivaled among free VPNs.||5/5|
|Support||The support agents are capable, but the website lacks detailed articles.||4/5|
Similar to other free VPN services, PrivadoVPN has a data limit. It provides 10GB of data per month at full speed, after which the speed is restricted to a slower ‘emergency server.’
Although PrivadoVPN Free falls slightly short when compared to paid providers, it outperforms other free VPNs. It excels at unblocking streaming sites, including Netflix and BBC iPlayer, while maintaining essential privacy features. It works well in unblocking services from other services an interactive free VPN for Italy
PrivadoVPN offers server locations in 10 countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and France. In terms of speeds, PrivadoVPN performs impressively. It appeared to be faster than many other free VPNs. During our PrivadoVPN speed test, we got a decent download speed of 86.50 Mbps and an upload speed of 57.87 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
PrivadoVPN prioritizes privacy and security, offering AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN, and WireGuard protocols. It ensures no data logging and includes features like Internet Kill Switch. We Googled “What is my IP address?” which showed that this provider was successful in hiding our real IP address.
PrivadoVPN allows 5 simultaneous connections and supports various platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. It is also a good option to use as a free VPN for Smart TV. You can call it one of the best free VPN for Mac.
One area where PrivadoVPN has limitations is the number of servers and data limit. It offers 10GB of data per month, which might be restricted to a slower speed if exceeded. However, for general tasks and browsing, it serves well.
Overall, PrivadoVPN Free is a powerful and reliable option, especially for those seeking free access to Netflix and other streaming sites. It is definitely worth trying out for day-to-day privacy usage and seamless performance.
You can learn more about this service in our PrivadoVPN review.
- Unlimited data with 10GB at full speed
- Easily Unblocks Netflix
- Boasts impressive connection speeds.
- Many privacy features
- Unlimted data but with only 10 GB at fast speeds
- Mobile apps needs significant improvement
5. Hide.Me – Flexible and powerful free VPN
Hide.Me is one of the most secure free VPN services that offer 256-bit encryption along with additional features for privacy and security.
Hide Me Key Metrics
|App design||The app design is useful and user-friendly, but it lacks any kind of flair.||3/5|
|Privacy and security||It offers numerous extras, and there are no concerns found regarding privacy and security.||5/5|
|Ease of use||The app’s added complexity might be daunting for new users.||3/5|
|Performance||The performance is poor when compared to the speed of the competition.||2/5|
|Unblocking||It performs at a pretty average level with no surprises in unblocking capabilities.||3/5|
|Support||The support service has great agents and a comprehensive support site.||5/5|
It offers 10 GB of free monthly data, which is enough to perform multiple data-intensive activities for about 4-5 hours straight. As for servers, Hide.Me provide access to 5 server locations. These servers are located in Canada, the US (East and West), Germany, and the Netherlands.
While these servers don’t work with popular streaming platforms, Hide.Me does support torrenting on its free servers. With its P2P support, you can connect to any server location and enjoy file-sharing for a limited time. When we tried unblocking streaming platforms with this VPN, we could only access Netflix Netherlands. However, we get blocked by the streaming platform within seconds.
When tested for speeds, Hide.Me turned out to be fast. On our connection of 100 Mbps, the VPN delivered a download speed of 57.16 Mbps and an upload speed of 48.91 Mbps.
This VPN has advanced features such as a Stealth Guard that offers an additional security layer, an Internet Kill Switch for keeping your online activities secure and split tunneling for using your local IP and VPN IP together. We Googled “What is my IP address?” which showed that this provider was successful in hiding our real IP address.
Its headquarters is in Malaysia, and the service fully supports a zero-log policy for complete anonymity and privacy. Moreover, Hide.Me offers advanced protocols such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, SoftEther, and SSTP for free.
It can be easily configured on Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, or Linux. Moreover, Hide.Me also offers free router configuration files so you can even connect devices that don’t have native support for VPNs, which makes it a great free VPN for Smart TV, gaming consoles, and more.
There are easy-to-follow setup guides available on Hide.Me’s official website, along with 24/7 live chat support. It is fast, as we got a response in less than 20 seconds.
You can learn more about this service in our Hide.Me review.
- Great for torrenting
- Many personal configuration options available
- 10 GB data per month
- OpenVPN, IKEv2, SoftEther protocols offered
- 24/7 live chat support
- Not very user friendly
- Speeds can fluctuate
- Doesn’t work with American Netflix
- Offers one multi-login
- No Wireguard
6. Atlas VPN – Free VPN with Fast Speeds
Atlas VPN is one of the fastest free VPN services on this list. When tested, these speeds were enough for fast browsing, streaming Netflix, and downloading torrent files.
AtlasVPN Key Metrics
|App design||The app design is serviceable, but it is not the best.||3/5|
|Privacy and security||It offers good encryption and a kill switch, but there are no other notable features.||3/5|
|Ease of use||Getting started is pretty simple, although the apps may feel slightly clunky.||3/5|
|Performance||The connection speeds are impressive.||4/5|
|Unblocking||The unblocking capability for Disney+ is excellent, especially considering it’s free.||4/5|
|Support||Although live chat is missing, the website support is good.||3/5|
In addition, this VPN offers unlimited bandwidth to its users, as most premium VPNs do. This no-data limit benefit makes it the perfect choice for web surfing and accessing social media sites, as well as streaming or torrenting.
However, there’s a catch – you only get servers in 3 locations with this VPN, available in the Netherlands and the United States (Los Angeles and New York). Due to this, overcrowded servers may be a challenge. Unfortunately, it does not work with Netflix and other popular sites like Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.
When it comes to speeds, the VPN is super-fast. In our speed test of Atlas VPN on our 100 Mbps connection, we got a download speed of 59.17 Mbps and an upload speed of 46.82 Mbps.
The VPN is known to keep you absolutely secure on the internet. With it, you get a DNS leak protection feature and a kill switch. It even offers robust protocols, like the latest WireGuard and IKEv2, on its free plan. We Googled “What is my IP address?” which showed that this provider was successful in hiding our real IP address.
It is based in the US, which might concern some users considering America’s data retention policies. But note that Atlas VPN follows a strict no-log VPN policy. This is great for your security because it means that Atlas VPN doesn’t have to share any of your information with third-party advertisers.
Since Atlas VPN offers unlimited simultaneous connections, it is currently compatible with all the major platforms, is a good free VPN for Smart TV, and works with macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and more.
- Easily unblocks Disney+
- Mac Compatible Free VPN
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Super-fast speeds
- Lacks advanced features
- Limited available server network for free
7. Betternet – Reliable Free VPN for Users
Betternet is one of the most anonymous free VPN services that requires no registration. It offers 500 MB/day of data which is not enough to stream HD content or download large torrent files. With this much data, you can only stream for about 1-2 hours.
Betternet Key Metrics
|App design||The app design is definitely not the best and could use improvement||2/5|
|Privacy and security||Offers AES 256-bit security and OpenVPN, so not bad||4/5|
|Ease of use||Apps are not the best to look and feel slightly out of date.||3/5|
|Performance||The connection speeds are quite average||3/5|
|Unblocking||The unblocking capability for nearly all websites is quite poor.||2/5|
|Support||No live customer support on free version||1/5|
With a single available location on the free account (the US), you can’t access geo-restricted websites of other regions or countries. Moreover, it does not work with popular American streaming sites as well, such as Netflix US, Hulu, HBO Max, etc.
When it comes to speeds, Betternet was quite average. In our speed test of Betternet, the VPN delivered a download speed of 42.12 Mbps and an upload speed of 30.15 Mbps on a 100 Mbps connection.
But if we talk about security features, Betternet offers split tunneling so you can enjoy your actual IP and a VPN-enabled connection together. It also offers IPSec and OpenVPN protocol with both AES 256-bit encryption and AES 128-bit AES-CBC encryption.
Betternet is a safe VPN and keeps your IP address secure through its DNS leak protection feature and offers a Catapult Hydra, just like Hotspot Shield, for faster connections. However, please note that it lacks an Internet Kill Switch feature, which is quite a common feature in VPNs nowadays.
Betternet also keeps some logs. Its headquarters are located in Canada, which is not ideal for online security and privacy as it is a member of the 14 Eyes alliance. Moreover, it also displays quite a bit of advertisement, which we found quite annoying.
It is pretty decent in performance across popular operating systems such as macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS. But with its free subscription, you can only connect to a single device at any given moment, which is very annoying.
Also, on its free version, you cannot access customer support either. While Betternet Reddit reviews present a mixed picture, it is still a viable free VPN.
You can learn more about this service in our Betternet review.
- 500 MB of data each day
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Keeps logs
- Doesn’t unblock Netflix, Hulu, etc.
- Offers 1 server only
- No kill switch feature
Side-by-Side Comparison of the Best Free VPN in 2023
Here is a quick comparison of the top free VPNs in 2023:
|Review Summary||fast, reliable, safe, unlimited free data||fast, safe with 10GB free data and 10 locations||Excellent speeds and great unblocking ability||average VPN but easy to use||many features but slow at times||fast connections with good security||Aside from offering good security, very forgettable|
|Overall free rating||4.5/5||4/5||3.7/5||3/5||3/5||2.9/5||2/5|
|Data Usage Limit||Unlimited||10GB/month||10GB/month||500MB/day||10GB/month||2GB/day on mobile but 10GB/month on desktop||500MB/day|
|Local Download Speed||65.12 Mbps||65.21 Mbps||86.5 Mbps||45.63 Mbps||57.16 Mbps||59.17 Mbps||42.12 Mbps|
|Logging Policy||Does not log user activity||Does not log user activity||Does not log user activity||Does not log user activity||Does not log user activity||Does not log user activity||Logs some user activity|
|Compatibility||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire Stick, Kodi, etc.||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
Testing Methodology: How we Tested the Best Free VPN Services in 2023
1. Privacy & Logging Policy:
When choosing a free VPN, it’s essential to consider the privacy and logging policy it follows. A trustworthy VPN should prioritize user privacy by refraining from tracking or storing any personally identifiable information, such as real IP addresses or browsing habits. The credibility of this policy can be further reinforced through expert audits or real events, like server seizures or court cases. Additionally, opting for a VPN company registered in a privacy-focused country with no data retention laws ensures an extra layer of protection. The combination of a secure jurisdiction and a verified no-logs policy offers peace of mind for users seeking maximum privacy and anonymity online.
The free VPN service should offer reasonably fast and consistent speeds across its servers, ensuring smooth connections to both nearby and faraway locations. With a reasonably-sized server network, users can enjoy acceptable speeds regardless of their location, as the servers are spread across a diverse range of countries worldwide. This ensures a seamless browsing experience and efficient performance for users connecting from various regions.
3. Security & Technical Features:
Under this category, the VPN service should have robust security measures, including strong encryption utilizing the AES-256 cipher and the adoption of secure VPN protocols like OpenVPN or WireGuard. A vital feature is the VPN kill switch, which ensures your IP address remains concealed in case of unexpected connection interruptions. Moreover, users can rest assured of no IP or DNS leaks across all applications, providing an additional layer of protection to safeguard sensitive information and maintain online anonymity.
Many of the VPNs discussed in this guide, including Windscribe, are compatible with popular streaming sites such as YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and others. However, it’s essential to manage expectations, as most free VPNs may not fully bypass geo-restrictions.
5. Ease of Use:
A user-friendly VPN service should be compatible with various devices and operating systems, offering straightforward installation and usage. Native applications for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices should be available, and connecting to a VPN server should be quick and effortless. While some top-tier VPNs provide additional features like apps for Fire TV, Linux interface, and .apk installation files for Android, most free VPNs lack these advanced options.
6. Server Locations:
We assess each VPN’s server network, considering the total number of servers, their global distribution, and specialized options like P2P, streaming, or Tor-optimized servers. The best free vpn downloads offer larger networks, faster speeds and better unblocking capabilities. Free VPNs usually have limited server options, but some offer 10 or more global locations.
Torrenting safely and anonymously requires a reliable VPN. Our assessment begins by examining each VPN’s P2P file sharing policy, as some may restrict torrenting for free users. We verify the presence of P2P-optimized servers, AES-256 encryption, and the functionality of the VPN kill switch.
To ensure your true torrent IP address remains secure within the torrent swarm, we conduct IP and DNS leak tests. Additionally, we conduct a series of P2P performance tests, specifically recording the VPN’s average torrenting bitrate. It’s important to note that a VPN’s streaming speed doesn’t necessarily guarantee fast P2P file-sharing speeds.
8. Bypassing Censorship:
Overcoming internet blocks in high-censorship countries poses a significant challenge for VPNs, regardless of their price. Not all VPNs have the capability to navigate strict web filters effectively. Developing robust obfuscation technology and tools requires a considerable level of dedication and investment.
To accurately assess a VPN’s performance in highly-censored regions, we conduct tests by renting a remote-access server in China. This enables us to replicate the experience of an internet user in China attempting to bypass internet blocks. We install a VPN on the server and regularly check its ability to unblock popular websites known to be blocked, such as YouTube, Instagram, or Wikipedia.
9. Customer Support:
The quality of a VPN service’s customer support can significantly impact the overall experience. Those with 24/7 live chat support and comprehensive online guides tend to excel in serving their users.
While many free VPNs may not offer 24/7 live chat due to financial constraints, we consider email support and helpful online troubleshooting guides and FAQs as essential minimums for a free VPN.
Free VPNs Without Data Limits
Proton VPN and Hide.me stand out as the top free VPN services offering unlimited data. If you consider a premium service, ExpressVPN with a 30-day money-back guarantee is the best free VPN download worth trying.
For a generous free option, Windscribe offers 10GB of data. The best free VPNs with unlimited data are distinguished by Proton VPN’s user-friendly interface and hide.me’s access to most features on the paid plan. Additionally, ExpressVPN boasts excellent speed and security along with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For most part, reliable free VPN services come with data limits since maintaining VPN servers and connections cost money. However, bandwidth limitations permit users to get to know their VPN service without it costing the VPN much.
However, the speeds of these VPN can be slow as they offer very limited free server locations. Even though no data limit may be extremely attractive, traffic overload on these servers would slow down your speeds and ruin your experience.
A major disadvantage of data limits is that they keep you from enjoying a complete movie and TV show, as you might hit the monthly limit in a few hours. So, even if speed isn’t the problem, your experience is very short-lived.
Free VPNs Without Speed Caps
ProtonVPN is a free VPN without speed caps that provide unrestricted access to VPN servers in the United States, Netherlands, and Japan. Their free plan adheres to a strict no-logs policy, abiding by Swiss data privacy laws. Moreover, Proton VPN doesn’t impose any bandwidth, duration, or speed limits on its free users.
Since most free VPNs use data limits, they don’t require speed caps. This way, the speeds of these VPNs are great. A few free VPNs do not set speed caps because their speeds are already slow due to traffic overload. However, the best free VPN downloads like Windscribe offer a decent number of servers, thereby delivering reliable speeds.
Free VPN Apps for Your Devices
Most free VPNs offer apps for various devices and operating systems. The best free VPN downloads work on your computer, smartphone, laptop, tablet, and even Smart TV. Some VPNs also offer configuration files for systems like Linux, where you have to manually configure the VPN as there are no apps.
Best Free VPN for Mobile
VPNs on smartphones are becoming widely popular because they not only help secure devices but also allow users to safely access public Wi-Fi during traveling and more. With the best free VPN for iPhone and Android devices, you can have peace of mind while using unsecured Wi-Fi.
However, not all free VPNs have apps for Android and iOS devices, and most contain trackers. But, the free VPNs mentioned above offer dedicated apps for iOS and Android smartphones available both on App Stores and their official websites.
Best Free VPN for PC and Mac Users
Most free VPNs offer dedicated apps for Windows and Mac devices. If you are using a Windows PC or MacBook, there are three ways to use a VPN:
- Download a dedicated Free VPN for PC app on your system.
- Manually configure the VPN on Windows and Mac devices.
- Use a VPN through browser extensions.
Some VPNs don’t offer apps and are only available as browser extensions. While such best PC VPNs are great for browsing, they only encrypt internet traffic running through your browser. Therefore, anything you do outside remains unencrypted.
We suggest using the best VPN for Windows PC and Mac that offer dedicated apps for your systems. You can either download the app from the App Store or the official website of the provider.
Best Free VPN for Tablets (iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, & more)
Apart from smartphones, VPNs also have apps for tablets running on iOS and Android software. It is just as easy to install a VPN on your tablet as on your phone. Most people use a VPN on their tablet to access restricted content like Netflix, HBO, and more.
As with smartphones, all free VPNs mentioned above have iOS and Android apps for different brands of tablets that you can easily download from App Stores.
FAQs – Best Free VPN Services
Now that you know which free VPNs you can use securely, let’s check out some frequently asked questions regarding the best free VPN services.
What are the best free VPNs of 2023?
The best free VPNs of 2023 are:
- Hotspot Shield – Decent free VPN with Unlimited Data.
- PrivadoVPN – The Best Free VPN available.
- Atlas VPN – Best Free VPN for Privacy.
- Betternet – Reliable free VPN.
- Windscribe VPN – Best Free VPN for Security.
Is there a completely free VPN?
Yes, there is a completely free VPN called Proton VPN. It provides unlimited and safe browsing without any data caps, making it a 100% free VPN option. You also get some reliable security features and servers in 3 countries with this VPN.
However, please note that you won’t be able to unblock any geo-restricted streaming service or download torrent files.
How to get a premium VPN for Free?
You can get a premium VPN for free by signing up for a week-long ExpressVPN free trial on your mobile device. Many top providers offer risk-free trials, allowing you to test their services without any cost. Our guide to the best VPN free trials will help you find the perfect option for your needs. ExpressVPN, our top recommendation, is the best VPN with a money-back guarantee that offers a 30-day trial period.
While you do have to pay upfront for these trials, you can claim a full refund online hassle-free if you decide it’s not the right fit for you.
Can I watch Netflix with a free VPN?
Yes, you can watch Netflix with a free VPN like ProtonVPN. It is one of the few 100% free VPNs that is compatible with Netflix. However, we advise against using it for regular streaming or general purposes.
While it is better than many other free VPNs, it still may not provide the best overall experience. Use free VPNs that consistently works With Netflix: Privado, Windscribe and Hotspot shield.
So, We suggest you opt for ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee and enjoy accessing 11+ Netflix libraries with unlimited bandwidth and fast speeds free for 30 days straight!
Can free VPNs bypass geographic restrictions?
Yes, free VPNs can technically bypass geographic restrictions. However, due to their limited server networks, your options for bypassing restrictions are significantly restricted. That being said, most free VPNs cannot unblock popular streaming services like Netflix and others.
What are the limitations of free VPNs?
The limitations of free VPNs include restricted bandwidth, slower speeds, and fewer server locations. Some free VPNs may also log your activity and sell your data to third parties, posing a risk to your privacy and security.
When might a free VPN not be a good choice?
A free VPN might not be a good choice if you prioritize speed, security, and unlimited bandwidth. Despite their cost-effectiveness, free VPNs often impose limitations on speed, data usage, server access, and device connections, making them less suitable for unblocking streaming sites.
What is the best free VPN for torrenting?
Windscribe is the best free VPN for torrenting. This is one of the only VPNs supporting P2P connections and offering optimized servers for it.
What’s the fastest free VPN?
Windscribe is the fastest free VPN service as it offers 10 server locations to choose from. This way, the possibility of server overload is low, and you get reliable speeds on the connection.
Should I use a free VPN with Tor?
Yes, using a free VPN with Tor is a good way to enhance your security. The VPN adds an extra layer of protection in case the Tor network faces any compromise and conceals your use of Tor.
This prevents nodes from potentially exposing your data and reconstructing your browsing history. While a VPN is not necessary to use Tor, it significantly improves your privacy by encrypting your entire traffic and hiding it from your ISP.
It is safer to use Tor with a VPN, but not all free VPNs offer specific Tor features in their services. This is why it’s highly recommended to get a premium VPN like ExpressVPN for Tor.
Do free VPNs work in China?
Yes, some free VPNs can work in China to access restricted content and apps on various devices like Android, iPhone, and Windows. However, not all VPNs are compatible, so you’ll need to find a reliable free VPN that specifically works in China and supports multiple devices for the best experience.
This is why we highly recommend the best VPN for China, like ExpressVPN, for staying secure and unblocking Netflix easily.
We have discussed the 7 best free VPN services in 2023, with Windscribe taking the lead as it offers 10 GB/month bandwidth, works with Netflix, and is compatible with major platforms.
However, all of the totally free VPNs we’ve discussed in this blog lack some features or the other. Most of them have bandwidth limitations, display loads of ads, or sell your data to third parties.
So, if the risks associated with the free VPNs are too much for you to tolerate, you can always go for a premium option like ExpressVPN which also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to try the VPN risk-free for a whole month.
We hope you liked our best free VPN 2023 guide. Cheers!