5 Best Free VPN Services (Verified and Tested in 2023)
While most providers claim to offer free unlimited VPN services, there is a catch that all users should be aware of. These free VPN software solutions usually come with only basic security features and can even block you from some streaming services.
That is precisely why experts Florian Berg from VPNWelt recommend purchasing a VPN subscription plan.
Moreover, completely 100 % free VPN options also have much slower loading times and overall connection speed. In this article, we will go in-depth about our top VPN picks and decide what is the best free VPN app.
What Makes Free VPNs Problematic?
Honestly, there is not one but multiple problems with VPN free online.
You are unsafe with them
There is a huge lack of dependable encryption and security protocols even in the best VPN free – let alone the mediocre ones. The main purpose of having a VPN is to double up the traffic security, and free VPNs lack big time on this front. Even the premium free VPNs will offer only 256-bit encryption.
Your Privacy is at Stake
It’s hard to believe what free VPNs claim about no-log, as we have already witnessed cases wherein free VPNs have sold their customers’ information to advertisers or marketing agencies.
But that’s not all.
They also display ads, which is super annoying for the end-user. Some may keep full track of end-users’ data to fulfill DMCA requirements.
There are Endless Compatibility Troubles
Developing a distinct solution/app for every device type is a highly skilled and resource-intensive job. With no paid subscriptions, free VPN service providers fail to offer all-inclusive device compatibility.
Even if you go with a reliable VPN service, the best you get at the name of device compatibility is iOS and Android mobile apps. Rest devices will have to make peace with unprotected internet connections with free VPN apps.
Other Major Problems with Free VPNs
- The funding by any paid VPN for their promotion.
- No extensive server networks.
- The lack of robust customer support is another major miss.
How to Choose a VPN Wisely
If you are buying a VPN or selecting the best free VPN for the first time, there are certain specific things you should look out for in each of the VPN services.
- Know your purpose for buying a VPN: Is it for streaming movies, for households, or for allowing multiple connections? Understanding the key aim behind using the VPN will help one pick the best of that category. For instance, if you need a VPN to unblock geo-restricted content of streaming services, then picking up a VPN with streaming-optimized servers is indeed the best choice to make.
- List the common qualities and features of a VPN: While a good free VPN offers a plethora of features, there are a few crucial ones that should be present in the picked VPN for sure. These features include no logs, encryption, DNS leak prevention, bandwidth, torrenting, split tunneling, and others. The presence of these features will prove the utility of a VPN in harder times.
- Check the devices: Find out with which VPN your device is compatible and if it provides a money-back guarantee or not. A VPN with compatibility with multiple devices brings the best ROI, as you can use it on all your devices. No separate investments are required. At least the chosen VPN should have support for Windows, iOS, and Android mobile phones, Mac OS, and routers. Those that can offer great data privacy and security on devices like gaming consoles, Kali, Linux, and Smart TVs are the advanced ones and are good choices. But they’ll be a bit pocket-heavy.
- Find the number of servers and countries the VPN service covers. The higher the number of these two, the better coverage and extensive choices in IP addresses you experience. You’ll have a long list of IP addresses to choose from.
- Check the free as well as the paid version of each of the selected VPNs. If you’re going for the paid version, which is a good choice, make sure there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, as it is an easy way to have peace of mind while investing money in VPNs.
Here you can find the VPNs we have tried and compared ourselves to make it much easier for you to pick a trustworthy VPN service.
What Are the Best Free VPN Services?
These are our top free VPN picks:
#1 – Express VPN – Best Free VPN Ever
It is the undisputed top choice among free VPNs among our experts.
Though the most expensive of all VPNs, Express VPN is a trusted leader that is accessible from all the devices you choose to use it on like Windows (VPN for Windows), Android, Mac, iOS (VPN for iPhone), Linux (VPN for Linux), Routers, Kindle Fire, Chromebook, Nook, consoles, smart TVs, and the like. The cherry on the cake is the detailed tech tutorials on using all these solutions. This way, a VPN rookie can also enjoy improved online security with Express VPN.
Though not the genuinely best free VPN for Android, Express VPN does provide a plethora of exclusive advantages to its users.
Trial and Encryption
To start with, it is absolutely free to use for 30 days with unlimited data usage and a money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with its service.
This impressive VPN solution boasts military-grade, 256-bit AES encryption, which is the current industry standard. It is known for its reliable speed and connection, making it the best free VPN ever for streaming and gaming.
It’s no less than a boon for streaming lovers as it offers streaming-optimized global servers. Streaming is possible on all of its servers. As soon as you connect, it will display the list of high-speed streaming-friendly servers.
No free option has this facility. Pick what you like, unblock the geo-restrictions, and stream whatever you want.
Best at Streaming and surpassing geo-restrictions
Its streaming abilities are so perfect that Iris regrets not buying earlier.
Using a VPN is essential no matter what you’re doing. And, for all intents and purposes, ExpressVPN is a great choice.
“Going online doesn’t have to mean being exposed. Whether you’re shopping online or connecting to public Wi-Fi, keep your personal information more private and secure. Get #ExpressVPN”, says Buck Sexton, co-host of the ClayandBuck show.
Unlike many other VPNs, ExpressVPN also works in China, which is known for censorship issues. We’re sure that once you try this option, then you’ll be hardly displeased as many trusted partners come together to serve you. It brings the industry’s most notable value at the best prices.
Good for Crypto Trading
Over the years, cryptocurrency usage has increased, and ExpressVPN is now everyone’s choice for safe crypto-trading as it keeps information secured and protected.
Not only does a Virtual Private Network secure your devices, but it also routes your IP address all over making it extremely difficult to trace back to you.
— BlockTake (@TheBlockTake) March 11, 2022
+ 256-bit encryption to prevent any intrusion from attackers
+ Even supports torrenting and split tunneling
+Powerful ad blocker, 100% browser privacy, full access to multiple security protocols, and wide operating system compatibility
+ Free from DNS leak and WebRTC leak
+ More than 3000 servers in 160 locations, including a VPN for China
By all means, ExpressVPN is a highly advanced and inventory VPN service. Whether you need to unblock restricted content or download torrents, everything is possible. However, it could be pocket-pinching for a few. You can save a huge amount with its long-term subscription. All in all, it’s a great tool for improved security.
Rating by Our Experts
#2 – Windscribe – Free VPN Software With Tons of Features And Facilities
Windscribe is another secure VPN service provider that is free to an extent. If your needs fall within its free version, this could be truly the best free VPN for Mac. That’s what makes it second on our list.
Free Plan’s Scope
It provides 10 GB of free data monthly with 10 server locations in its free version. You can also win additional data with referrals. This free IP blocker is a great choice for all users that require reasonable amounts of free data per month.
It is easily compatible with all standard devices, smartphones, and desktops. It uses the strongest encryption and enables no IP identification. All the other features of Windscribe are accessible to its free and paid users.
Even though there are no subscription issues, if paid users face any, there is a highly responsive tech team to fix them.
Its customer support is so apt that the CEO itself resolves the tickets.
Ad-Blocking and Basic Security
What makes this solution particularly great is the fact that it comes with an ad and malware blocker.
On Reddit, a Windscribe developer explained that:
“Our browser extension uses uBlock under the hood. All blocking is done client-side, by the extension.” That shows how responsive the ad blocker is.
While the Flimits and security features are more than enough to test their free VPN services, if you like what you see, you can always purchase a subscription and enjoy all the advanced features at once. Instantly, you’ll experience great security for all your online activities.
Alenor, a Windscribe user, shares the experience…
In the past few days, the work of several vpn has greatly disappointed me. I decided to switch to Windscribe and so far I’m happy with everything. Good speed and stability. #windscribe
— Alenor (@Alenor84082934) April 22, 2022
+ Has ad and malware blocker
+Firewall feature for desktops that protects data from all types of leaks
+ Port forwarding and split tunneling
– Restricts data access to 10 countries only in its free version</spa
Windscribe may not be as good as ExpressVPN. But this VPN won’t disappoint you at all. The flexibility of the plans gives you the freedom to choose the best. With amazing streaming and torrenting capabilities, you’ll get the best ROI. As you get free 10GB, you can’t resist it. Try it out today.
Rating by Our Experts
#3 – Hotspot Shield – Free IP Blocker Offering Unmatched Assistance
With military-grade encryption, an easy interface, fewer pop-ups, Wi-Fi protection, P2P support, and 500 MB of free data every day, Hotspot Shield keeps you safe online. For the given reasons, it has won third place in our list.
Free Plan’s Scope
Is Hotspot Shield free VPN actually a thing? Well, to an extent. It does have a free version for Windows and provides a 45-day money-back guarantee. Its free version is supported by ads and provides 500 MB of free data daily, and only provides access to US virtual locations.
If that seems just a handful of offerings, which actually it is, upgrade the free edition to the price-powered version at a nominal cost.
Its paid version is full of advanced features. Hotspot Shield has more than 3200 servers in around 70+ countries. Its premium version comes with a 7-day free trial too.
Speed and Performance (Good for Streaming/Gaming)
Okay, so another interesting fact about Hotspot Shield is the fact that it is the fastest VPN available. The researchers at Ookla’s speedtest.net have tested various VPN options and concluded that Hotspot Shield VPN is the fastest.
This makes it awesome for streaming movies and videos, as well as for gaming. Since speed and network reliability are the most common issues associated with using VPNs, Hotspot Shield will ensure that there are no connection breaks.
These are the words of a Twitter user.
thank you for providing a great service. Your VPN just made my day today. 👏👏👏 @HotspotShield#vpn #Tanzania #Zanzibar #TanzaniaDecides2020 #TanzaniaElections2020 #HotspotShield pic.twitter.com/z8jCgiS5Wd
— Gzo (@Gzo88421709) October 30, 2020
To improve its security, HotSpot Shield joined hands with Pango in 2019. Pango is an utterly security-committed company, which is also a partner with Aura.
In the words of Aura CEO, Hari Ravichandran, the goal of this partnership was:
“…build the best all-in-one digital protection platform for consumers. With the scale achieved through these transactions, we continue our journey to build and expand our integrated security platform. Our vision is fueled by our commitment to make digital security simple, user-friendly, and accessible to everyone.”
+ Provides unlimited bandwidth, browsing, and live tech support
+ Military-grade risk-free security
+ Compatible with iOS, Windows, Chrome, Android, and this free VPN Chrome is also simple to install on macOS.
–No streaming is allowed with the free version
After joining hands with Pango, the security offerings of Hotspot Shield have improved greatly, and this VPN is now bringing the best to the table. The free version, even though with limited capabilities, is a great way to test its real-time utility. It’s worth your money and time.
Rating by Our Experts
#4 – TunnelBear – Good Free VPN For Rookie Users
TunnelBear is the best free secure VPN, to begin with. A single click starts its free version download and can be used as efficiently.
Free Plan’s Scope
Allowing you to browse securely in 23 countries, TunnelBear has a free version that is 100 percent free VPN and provides 500 MB of data every month. It is effortless to get started with TunnelBear. Using the VPN for the first time?
Though it provides 500 MB of data, the free version allows access to all the countries along with all its features.
In 2018, McAfee acquired TunnelBear, and its CEO had no qualms to admit that the company was impressed with TunelBear’s market reach.
CEO Christopher Young says:
“TunnelBear has built an engaging and profitable direct-to-consumer brand. We’re confident this acquisition will serve both our end users and partners by embedding its best-in-class, hardened network into our Safe Connect product. This investment is strategic for McAfee’s consumer business as it further showcases our commitment to helping keep our customers’ online data and browsing private and more secure at a time when the threat landscape is growing in volume, speed, and complexity.”
Known for its Security
We have said it before. TunnelBear also uses the strongest military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, making it a very reliable solution for all user needs. It is a good free VPN option because it doesn’t require a subscription fee to use it.
However, its paid counterpart does offer an unlimited data plan, which is more suitable for downloads and streaming.
Speaking of security features, there is an ad blocker, multiple security protocols, and browsing history privacy. So, it’s a try-worthy choice. Of course, it also follows a strict no-log policy, meaning that the app doesn’t collect any data on you. It takes its security awareness and seriousness a level ahead with annual audits.
The VPN aims to offer leak-free internet connections to its users. This is what VigilantBear, an in-built kill switch, is at your service. The paid users are endowed with a 30-day money-back guarantee without compromising on high speeds and extra protection.
This is the post from @shesaboutdone
— mother’s patty pr (@shesaboutdone) July 20, 2018
Access to Unsurpassable Locations
As far as its geo-unblocking capabilities are concerned, it’s great and is backed by many veterans like AccessNow.
+ Uses AES 256-bit robust encryption for secure surfing
+ Ghostbear makes you less detectable in countries where the VPN is blocked.
+ No logging independently audited and trusted
+ Safe to use
– 500 MB of data per month is too low to enjoy fast streaming
TunnelBear is far better than any other free VPN and understands its responsibility to protect user privacy and data. Its simple interface and advanced features make it an ideal choice for new VPN users. However, if you’re an advanced VPN user and are looking for a tough VPN for speedy streaming and torrent download, it might not work.
Rating by Our Experts
#5 – ProtonVPN – 100% Free VPN; Amazing Security Features
This Swiss VPN service, unlike other VPNs, also provides a free version with a tasty twist. It is, you only get access to servers of only three countries, namely Japan, the Netherlands, and the US. ProtonVPN is a genuinely free VPN for users; these three countries have restricted use. Unless you don’t reside in those countries, you can enjoy a secure internet with no data limit with this option.
Free Plan’s Scope
The good thing about ProtonVPN is it provides ad-free unlimited open data in its free version, while another VPN provides only 500 MB to 1 GB data in its free version with ads.
ProtonVPN features secure encryption of AES 256-bit, forward secrecy, robust protocols, a no-log policy, DNS leak prevention, a built-in Kill Switch, and an always-on VPN. However, users have reported that the ProtonVPN free version does come with some speed and connection issues. Luckily, this won’t be an issue unless you want to download files or stream movies and videos.
Ease of Use
It is incredibly easy to create a ProtonVPN account because they don’t require users to leave any personal information. Recently, this VPN adopted the WireGuard protocol, that’s one of the best protocols available presently.
“This allows you to enjoy faster speeds, instant secure connections, better performance, and much-needed battery life for your devices,” an official of ProtonVPN says.
With simple one-account login, verification email, and password, you’re all set to use this VPN. If you want to dip your toes into VPN without compromising user privacy, go with ProtonVPN. Other than the first tier, which is the free edition, there are two other paid subscriptions as well.
As we all know, security audits matter a lot. Very recently, on the 21st of February 2022, ProtonVPN passed the security audit by Swiss auditing firm Securitum.
“The purpose of this report is not to describe technical mechanism and software configuration to achieve No-Logs policy, but to confirm that it (ProtonVPN’s technology stack) was manually audited, searching for all possible No-Logs policy critical points,” Securitum said in its report.
This report certainly firmed out faith in the authenticity of its no-log policy.
One thing that is impressive about ProtonVPN is its additions toward perfection. It keeps on improving. After WireGuard, it also added a Quick Connect feature for a seamless connection.
#ProtonVPN has added a new search feature to quickly connect to the best server in a given country or city or to access directly a specific server.”
+ Asks for no private information to obtain ProtonVPN account
+ Seamless high-speed streaming
+ Protected by strict Swiss privacy laws
+ Compatible with nearly all devices
– Access to only three servers in the free version
With the professionally designed app and WireGuard protocol, ProtonVPN deserves your trust. Despite being an open-source tool, it has gone through independent audits, which is a rare thing. Speed can be an issue for some. But, at such an affordable cost and a free plan, it’s manageable. You can’t afford to miss it.
Rating by Our Experts
Free VPNs to FULLY Avoid
Only a few top free VPNs are reliable. Otherwise, most are insecure. We are enlisting a few VPNs that you should never use – no matter what. Here it is:
- Hola is a classic example of a dangerous free VPN download. It is famous for selling customers’ data to third parties for a few bucks.
- SuperVPN keeps track of data.
- Psiphon Pro lets third parties track your internet usage.
- TouchVPN is another free VPN that is a headache as it adds different kinds of trackers to the user’s browser. AnonyTun and Betternet sell user data to advertisers too.
With such poor-quality VPNs, one only invites troubles that were away from you initially. VPNWelt ensures that using no VPN is better than using a free VPN of such degraded quality.
Free VPN Options with no Data Usage Related Restrictions
Having unlimited data certainly brings a feel-good factor and is necessary for streaming lovers. Well, we could only think of ProtonVPN here. The free version of ProtonVPN is a great way to enjoy unlimited browsing, torrenting, and streaming without spending a single penny.
The bothersome single issue with it is that one might be able to experience slow speed with the free ProtonVPN, but it does the job perfectly.
The VPN free trial of ProtonVPN is what one might need to perform activities like streaming, torrenting (VPN for torrenting), gaming (VPN for gaming), and various other activities without being worried about running down the data limit.
You can watch your favorite shows or download whichever content you want with ProtonVPN. However, don’t forget that only three of its servers are working for its free version. Hence, it can be too tough to get through this.
Free VPN Options That Have no Speed Caps
We have said it before and will say it one more time – the only way to have an impressive browsing experience with the least possible expenses is to go for the free trial of a premium VPN service.
With free VPN trials of TunnelBear, Windscribe, and ExpressVPN, one can enjoy great speed without spending a single penny. We know that a certain speed dip is inevitable while using a VPN tool, as traffic has to pass from an encrypted tunnel. However, these three have managed to optimize their speed in such a way that not much speed decline is not experienced. It’s because there are sizable numbers of servers at your service with these two options.
TunnelBear doesn’t restrict server access in the free trial. All of its servers are available for use.
ExpressVPN offers free unlimited VPN for Windows with great speed. It makes a secure internet connection to each end-user at blazing speed.
Free VPN Options That Work for All Your Devices
How cumbersome it sounds to have a free VPN for Windows, VPN for phone, and VPN for router separately, isn’t it?
Most of the leading VPNs offer compatibility with leading devices like Windows or Mac PC, Android and iOS mobile phones, Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and routers. To make any VPN work on a Windows or Mac device or to use a free VPN for iPhone, there are three ways:
The last option is rarely available, especially for the VPN free trials. But the first two options are offered by most of all the VPN options mentioned in this post, alongside the Nord VPN free. ExpressVPN, with its 30-days trial and almost all of its features available for those who test it. The service stands out of the crowd when it comes to browser compatibility, as it works seamlessly on Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. It offers a dedicated Chrome extension, apps for both Android and iOS operating systems, and support for rare devices like routers, Kali, gaming consoles, and Smart TVs.
Looking for a longer free trial but with limited features? You can go for HotSpot Shield. This option works wonderfully on all types of Android devices and other operating systems. With this premium VPN for free, you will have a money-back guarantee for 45 days. If it doesn’t meet your expectations, you’ll be provided a full refund at zero hassle.
Choices are many, and you only need one VPN to enjoy a better and more secure internet connection after all.
In addition, the trial should be offered without asking for credit card details. This way, you remain on the safe side if the wrong choice is made.
Once you have chosen the right service, visit the official website of the premium VPN, go to the “Plans” page, select the right plan, and provide the basic details like user email and password. The free VPN trial will be activated soon.
The Final Word
In the world of vulnerabilities, it’s utter foolishness to have an online presence without the protection of a VPN tool. With this one tool, things become safe and sound, provided you have made the right choice. The market is flooded with options, you can’t afford to make a wrong choice as your data security and privacy remains in the hands of the VPN.
All the five options mentioned in the list are deserving as we have closely accessed their performance. Give them a try, as they all have a free trial and subscription. The money-back guarantee is the cheery on the cake. You don’t have anything to lose. Good luck!
- How We Test VPN Performance
- VPN for Dummies: An Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
- VPN user statistics: What should you know about VPNs in 2023
When it comes to free VPN for Netflix, they usually can unblock streaming services like Netflix.
However, some free online VPN options might cause your Netflix to crash due to the recent Netflix VPN ban. Don’t worry, though, as all our top picks that are listed above will allow you to stream content on Netflix.