Discover top free VPN options and find the best choice for your needs.
A VPN, meaning a virtual private network, is an excellent and often necessary choice for being safe online, amid rising internet security concerns. But can you receive complete anonymity and the best features without breaking the bank, or paying for a subscription to one at all?
A free VPN might sound tempting to those unwilling to fork out $100 or more a year for online security, but they cannot match the safety and features offered by paid services, and this is because it costs money to run a safe, fast, and world-class VPN. That said, a free VPN can be useful if you do not have too many requirements and only want to try out the service before making a commitment. It will not offer ExpressVPN speed or Surfshark unlimited simultaneous connections or NordVPN reliability, but will come in handy when you want a quick and easy fix.
|Best for all-around quality |
|Best for privacy|
|Best for streaming|
ProtonVPN ticks all the right boxes as the best free VPN. It offers unlimited data, so you no longer have to worry about the bandwidth you consume. It has custom DNS and split tunneling for added protection, several servers in various locations for convenient streaming, as well as outstanding security and privacy. You can stream movies and TV shows on YouTube as well as Netflix, though you may have to make some compromises with the speed and quality.
The free version of ProtonVPN does not have the best speed, especially during peak hours, and the quality of streaming is not the greatest either. You cannot access geo-restricted titles on Netflix, and since paying customers get more priority, don't be surprised by the lack of peer-to-peer or core support and the ability to connect only one device at a time.
Not all free VPNs can be trusted to offer top-notch security, but Tunnelbear's free version is an option you can rely on for maximum privacy. The McAfee-owned company undergoes routine audits, keeps no logs, and seeks no more than an email address for sign-up. There are over 1,000 servers across 20 locations, and the user-friendly interface makes the VPN easy to navigate for both beginners and pros. If you do not have stream video or music and only require a VPN for quick tasks like checking your bank statement or sending emails, Tunnelbear's free version should be high on your list.
With a bandwidth of only 500MB, you can stream little to no media, so Tunnelbear Free is certainly not for watching Netflix or other streaming services. There also are no peer-to-peer support or custom DNS options.
If downloading titles from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming sites is your key requirement, then you can count Windscribe as a top free VPN choice. Aside from excellent, leak-proof security, Windscribe free also offers up to 10GB of bandwidth and over 10 servers across North America, Asia, and Europe. As a bonus, you also get a firewall, an ad-blocker, and zero-log service when you sign up for free. The perks only get better when you upgrade.
Windscribe does not offer live support, so if anything needs an immediate fix, you could be left hanging. The interface can also often seem cluttered, which would make it difficult to find specific settings.
True to its name, Speedify uses a turbo-boosting system to ensure that speeds remain at the maximum, without compromising on security. Free users also get access to over 1,000 servers in 50 countries, up to 400Mbps of download speed, and strong encryption that protects your data from leaks. Speedify also offers a mobile app, so if you want the best free VPN for Android, this could be worth a try.
Speedify has a data limit of 10GB per month, which can be eaten up too quickly depending on how much you stream. The company is also based in the US and has to follow the privacy laws that are currently in place.
While most other free VPNs offer a monthly data limit, Hotspot Shield has a daily limit of 500MB, generous for a free service. You get access to only the US server and can connect up to five devices simultaneously. The speed is also decent, enough to remain safe and anonymous online for minor functions. Hotspot Shield also has a Chrome extension.
Hotspot Shield Free is openly ad-supported, and the company also logs certain pieces of information — from the amount of data you consume to the operating system you use. If you don't mind putting up with these compromises, Hotspot Shield could be a decent free VPN.
More often than not, free VPNs come with a catch, especially if they don't have a paying customer base. You might sacrifice reliability and security, potentially by watching unwanted advertisements or unknowingly having your data sold to third parties. The best free VPN is most likely always a free trial of a premium service that typically comes with a monthly cost afterward. If you're interested in the best VPNs that require a paid subscription, take a look at our comparison across the top services.
If you still have your heart set on a VPN free online service, ProtonVPN Free seems to be the standout in overall quality and security, even though its average speed isn't necessarily impressive. If speed is your primary requirement, we recommend Speedify, which is one of the fastest free VPNs today and comes with secure encryption and multi-device support.