Could it really be possible that the best free VPN is the best VPN choice for you? It sure can! By now you've likely heard the phrase Virtual Private Network or VPN, but you may not have already signed up and started using one. A VPN can add an extra layer of security to your phone, tablet, PC, and even gaming console. They've become increasingly popular over the past few years, and for good reason.
Best Free VPNs Ranked
- 1. Hotspot Shield: Offers 500MB of data per day
- 2. ProtonVPN: No monthly data limits
- 3. TunnelBear: Only 500MB of data for whole month
- 4. Windscribe: Start with 10GB per month and earn more for free
- 5. Hide.me: Upgraded from 2GB per month to 10GB now
- 6. Speedify: 2GB for first month, 1GB each month after
The best way to protect your data while you are out and about (and even when at home) is by using a VPN. With this, your data is routed through an extra server that makes it impossible for someone to spy on or intercept. There are lots of service options ranging in price from free to a couple bucks per month.
Currently, the best free VPN service is Hotspot Shield Free for a few different reasons. First off, even with it being a free VPN you can still use it on up to five devices at the same time, so you don't need to unprotect your phone to protect your PC. Additionally, the data allotment is more generous than some of the others, and it's quite easy to use.
Stepping up to a paid VPN, like ExpressVPN may be something worth considering as well. It offers a reliable connection, amazing customer support, fast speeds, and much more. It's our favorite overall VPN and the one that we definitely think is worth the money.
We've already broken down the various differences between free VPNs vs. paid VPNs, and now we're back with some information about all the best free ones to sign up for. There are lots of great options, with our top pick being Hotspot Shield followed closely by ProtonVPN. There are a few differences between each service, so let's break the best free VPN services down now.
1. Hotspot Shield VPN: Free plan available with tons of features
Bottom line: Hotspot Shield VPN offers 500MB of data to use per day and has one of the best-designed apps of the bunch. This is an option you won't want to sleep on.
Data limit: 500MB per day | Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS | Servers available: 1 | 24/7 live chat support: No
- Over 2,500 servers
- Generous data allotment
- App is very easy to use
- Still need to enter credit card data for free plan
Hotspot Shield is one of the few VPN companies that is offering both a free and paid version of its service, and it's our top pick for best free VPN. You'd think that since the company offers a compelling paid option that the free one would be way worse than it actually is. Instead, Hotspot Shield VPN offers free customers up to 500MB of data usage per day, the ability to connect five devices simultaneously, a one-click connection, and more.
With the daily limits, you max out at about 15GB total for the month, and that's one of the more generous allotments from a free provider. Of course, stepping up to the Elite version eliminates that restriction. On the free plan you are also limited to locations that the company selects for you, and there are ads to deal with. This isn't a huge problem in most situations, though.
Whether it's your first time setting up a VPN or you are a seasoned pro, you'll enjoy the ease of use here. Hotspot Shield offers an easy way to get protected with its one-click connection, and the software on both desktop and mobile is something you'll find easy to navigate.
You'll notice that the Hotspot Shield site doesn't have a way to sign up for the free plan and continue using it each month. Instead, you need to sign up for the free 7-day trial of the Elite plan, then you can continue on with just the free option. Unfortunately, this does mean that you have to enter your credit card information and such, though there is no obligation to continue with a paid account after the trial period.
If you want to get started with a VPN, we highly recommend Hotspot Shield, so give it a shot today.
2. ProtonVPN: The most security-focused VPN provider
Bottom line: From the makers of ProtonMail comes another security-focused VPN that has a lot of attractive selling points.
Data limit: Unlimited | Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS | Servers available: 3 | 24/7 live chat support: No
|Plan Length||Monthly Cost||Discount||Total Price|
|Monthly||Free||NA||Free at ProtonVPN|
|1 Month||$10||0%||$10 at ProtonVPN|
|12 Months||$8||20%||$96 at ProtonVPN|
|24 Months||$6.63||34%||$159 at ProtonVPN|
- Based in Switzerland
- No data limit
- Only need an email address to get started
- Free customers are deprioritized during busy times
Key feature: There is no data limit each month, which means that you can keep all of your web traffic from a single device secure for free.
ProtonVPN comes from the same folks that are behind ProtonMail which offers secure encrypted email. The company is based out of Switzerland and puts a security focus on everything it does. Where it stands out in the free VPN space is that there is actually no data limit each month, so you can use as much data while connected to the VPN as you desire, but there are a few other trade-offs that come along with it.
You can only be connected to a single device at a time, and there are only three locations available to be connected to. In addition, ProtonVPN deprioritizes free users, which means that you will notice slower speeds in comparison to what paid customers are receiving from the service. There is no P2P support either.
ProtonVPN does have a strict no logging policy, and you need nothing more than just an email address to get started with it. There are no ads on the website or any of the clients.
If you find that the speeds during peak times are just a little too slow for you, it may be worth considering an upgrade, but for most the free package will do just fine.
3. TunnelBear VPN: One of the easiest VPN services to use
Data limit: 500MB per month | Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS | Servers available: 20+ | 24/7 live chat support: Yes
|Plan Options||Total Price|
|Free||Free at TunnelBear|
|Unlimited||From $3.33/mo at TunnelBear|
|Teams||$5.75 per user/mo at TunnelBear|
- Apps are user friendly
- Only 500mb of data per month for free
Like Hotspot Shield, TunnelBear offers both a free and paid tier, though this offering is much more restrictive. Where you get 500mb per day on Hotspot Shield, with TunnelBear you are limited to just 500mb for the whole month, which is quite a small amount of data. With how big web pages are getting, and auto-playing ads, etc. it's very easy to burn through that in just a single day.
Of course, if you are looking for more data allowance, you can upgrade to the paid option. This will give you more data and increases the number of countries available to connect to. Right now, you can sign up for TunnelBear's paid offerings for just $4.99 per month using our link, which is a massive 58% savings.
- Number of servers: 1,000
- Server Locations: 20+
- Maximum Supported Devices: 5
- IP Addresses: N/A
4. Windscribe VPN: Free plan comes with option to earn extra bandwidth
Bottom line: You can actually earn more free data each month by promoting the service on Twitter and referring your friends. There are a lot of key features available here and the pricing is pretty affordable each month.
Data limit: 10GB per month | Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS | Servers available: 10 | 24/7 live chat support: No
|Plan Length||Monthly Cost||Discount||Total Price|
|Monthly||Free||NA||Free at Windscribe|
|Monthly||$9||0%||$9 at Windscribe|
|Yearly||$4.08||23$||$49 at Windscribe|
- Generous 10GB data allotment
- Can earn more data from completing simple tasks
- Session data is erased 3 minutes after disconnecting
- Has built-in ad blocker and firewall
- App is not as simple as some others
Windscribe is one of the newer players in the VPN space, and the company has received a lot of attention lately. The base free package is 10GB per month. We've seen Windscribe run offers that bump the base package up to 20GB per month, and there are other ways to score free data each month as well. Sending a tweet about the provider earns you an extra 5GB of data to use, and when you invite a friend to sign up you get an extra GB each time.
Just because it's free doesn't mean there are a lot of sacrifices. Windscribe doesn't store connection logs, IP stamps, nor a record of the sites you visited. For the time you're connected to a server, it does retain your username, but once you end the session, that data is erased within just three minutes.
If you refer someone who ends up signing up for a paid plan, Windscribe will upgrade yours to an unlimited plan as well, which is a great bonus. Did we mention there's also a built-in ad blocker and firewall?
What are you waiting for? Go ahead and give Windscribe a try now!
5. Hide.me: Absolutely no logs or ads to be found here
Bottom line: Hide.me offers almost all the features you'd expect to find in a paid VPN but without any of the monthly cost. You get 10GB of data each month, and the company has 24/7 support in case you experience an issue.
Data limit: 10GB per month | Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS | Servers available: 5 | 24/7 live chat support: Yes
|Plan Length||Monthly Cost||Discount||Total Price|
|Monthly||Free||NA||Free at Hide.me|
|1 Month||$12.95||0%||$12.95 at Hide.me|
|12 Months||$8.32||36%||$99.95 at Hide.me|
|26 Months||$4.99||61%||$129.95 at Hide.me|
- No logs of any sorts
- Even the free version is ad-free
- Free plan can only access 5 server locations
With Hide.me you get 10GB of data per month on the free plan, which is five times what the company was recently offering! You can only connect one device at a time with the free plan, and there are only three server options available (Netherlands, Singapore, and Canada). This may make it a little less useful, depending on what your needs from a VPN are.
The company promises it does not keep logs of its users, nor does it show ads. It's a great way to get started with a VPN to see if it's the right fit for you, but may not be the best option for those data-gobbling folks who want to keep connecting to random servers around the world. You can now access servers in five locations (up from 3) with the free plan.
6. Speedify: The best free VPN for going fast
Bottom Line: It's right in the name. Speed is the big focus here and the company uses some interesting technology to help keep it fast (and secure).
Data limit: 2GB per month | Works on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS | Servers available: 50+ | 24/7 live chat support: No
|Plan Length||Monthly Cost||Discount||Total Price|
|Monthly||Free||NA||Free at Speedify|
|1 Month||$9.99||0%||$9.99 at Speedify|
|12 Months||$5.99||40%||$71.88 at Speedify|
|24 Months||$3.99||60%||$95.76 at Speedify|
|36 Months||$2.99||70%||$107.64 at Speedify|
- One of the fastest VPN services
- Lots of server locations avcailable to free users
- After first month you only get 1GB of data for free
You like it when things go fast, right? Well so does Speedify, and that's what the company's main goal is (in addition to adding security to your connections). Speedify claims that by using all of the available internet connections, including Ethernet and a tethered mobile connection it can offer faster "turbocharged" speeds.
With the free plan you get access to all of Speedify's 50+ server locations, which is the same as what the paid plan offers. Unfortunately, free users only get 5GB of data per month for the first month, and then 1GB a month after that. It's definitely worth checking Speedify out if you are concerned about how fast your data is on VPN, though do make note of the trade-offs to get you that extra speed.
Depending on how much data you use on a daily or monthly basis, a free VPN may not be the way to go for you. Some premium VPN options are available for only a few bucks per month, so maybe you should consider giving up that next cup of coffee from Starbucks and securing your online life instead. For paid options, we highly recommend ExpressVPN. It offers fantastic customer support, an easy-to-use interface, unlimited data, and fast speeds. You also get a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there's no risk involved with trying it out for yourself now. It's a great combination of everything, and using our exclusive discount you can save on an annual plan and get an extra three months free.
You can also check out these fantastic VPN deals to help you save some cash on the premium services and we also rounded up the best cheap VPN services. If you don't want to pay, don't worry. Here are the best free VPN services in 2020.
What should you consider before signing up for a free VPN?
There's always a cost associated with products these days. Nothing in life is really free, so you need to understand a few things before you just start using any free VPN that you stumble across. As VPNs continue to grow in popularity, we will continue to see more and more providers show up in the space.
Not all of these are created equal, and when the main idea behind something is to add security to what you're doing online, you'll want to know you are actually protected. Most people don't sit down and read all the fine print, which is where you can find lots of exceptions and where things may not be quite what they originally appeared to be.
We've put together a list of a few things to consider when researching a new VPN. We've considered all of these when crafting the list above, and continue to think about them as we look at new options. Here are some things to think of when looking at options not included in our best free VPN list.
- What information is required to sign up? Some VPN providers want you to create an account that includes personal information like your name, email, and a password, while others will let you use the service without any information. As you'd imagine, the less information required, the better. It helps you stay annonymous to the service, and that's important.
- What is the business model? You'd be surprised at how much money it costs to maintain servers around the world, employ developers and customer support staff, and other general expenses. The money has to come from somewhere, and if you are using a free service, where is it coming from? Some of the companies offer very limited free plans in an attempt to convert the people to its paid offerings, while other companies will include ads in the apps or sell off user data to recover some of the profits. You don't want your data sold, so be sure to check into this before just signing up for a service.
- What sacrifice do you make by using the free plan? As mentioned above, on most of the plans there are large sacrifices when you opt to go with the free option. Some have insanely low data allotments available each month to free users while others will deprioritize the speeds of non-paying customers during peak times. For some, these sacrifices are well worth it, and for others it's a breaking point.
- Does the service log any data? Many VPNs say that they have a no-logging policy, but you'll want to read the terms to really understand what that means. It's important to ensure that the End User License Agreement (EULA) says that everything from each of your sessions is erased after it is disconnected. You don't want any remnants of it hanging around, because that's almost as bad as not being protected in the first place.
Beyond these key points, you'll also want to look into how many servers are available, and where they are located. If you're main focus is to be able to spoof your location to unlock geo-restricted content, it's critical to know where the servers are.
When should you upgrade from a free VPN to a paid VPN?
There's no line in the sand that you cross to know that you need to upgrade. This is something you'll want to consider when you become frustrated with the limitations of your current free plan, or when you see the benefit of a feature from the paid plan. Often times, the paid plans can be had for just a few dollars a month, so it may be worth just trying it out for a few months to see if it offers a better experience for you or not.
Be sure to check out all the best VPN deals now so you don't overpay!
What can I use a free VPN to do?
With a free VPN you can do most of the same things that you can accomplish with a paid one. Some of the key features include "spoofing" your location to appear like you are somewhere else, securing your web traffic, and more. These are useful for when connecting to an unsecured network or trying to access geo-restricted content easily.
Some of the services may limit the number of connections available and others will offer fewer server locations, but a free VPN is a great way to get a taste of what it can accomplish before you upgrade to a paid option.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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