Are Free VPN Any Good
Of course they are! That should be obvious answer. We all love getting a good service free of charge. Who would not? The only problem there is to find one. In theory it should not be an issue. In app stores and in Google you will find quite a lot of services advertised as free of charge & risk free VPN. But is it really the truth? The best known indication that things might not be what they seem is the story regarding Hola. In short, it tempted people with free VPN. Service that, for free would anonymise their traffic, hide IP address, unblock access to sites in different countries. However, users were not told, that at the same time their bandwidth was offered to almost anyone. Users had no control over who and how is using their internet connection. So again, is free VPN OK? We think no free vpn services are risky. Here is why we think so.
Worth Considering: Free Trial With A Premium VPN For 30 Days
Free VPNs generally come with certain limitations. Premium paid VPNs, on the other hand, are more secure and offer more options, such as unlimited data, unlimited speeds, proper customer support, and access to streaming services from all over the world.
If you want to try a premium service for free, theres a strong up-and-comer we wholeheartedly recommend: Surfshark. For only $2.49 per month, you get all the advantages of a premium VPN. The free trial comes in the form of a 30-day money-back guarantee. Within those first 30 days, you can get your money back without any problems.
If you want to know how you can use the Surfshark money-back guarantee to your advantage, you can check out this Surfshark free trial guide. Or find out more about trial periods with all the biggest VPN providers.
If a free VPN is really what you are looking for, there are a few reliable options. You might run into data limits or speed caps, but the free VPN providers in the list below are generally recommendable and are completely free.
You dont have to provide your payment information or make use of a money-back guarantee. Free really is free with these VPN providers.
Will A Free VPN Keep Me Safe On Public Networks
Like a paid VPN, a free one should keep you safe when using public networks in places like restaurants, hotels, and airports.
The problem with public networks is that they arent very secure. Its relatively easy for someone with the right equipment to capture the packets of data that go from your device to the router, allowing them to see exactly what youre doing online. If the website youre visiting is using a protocol called Hypertext Transfer Protocol , the hacker can see your login details if you sign in as well as everything else you do on a website.
To protect your data, using a VPN on public networks is a great idea.
For that reason, using a VPN on public networks is a great idea, since the service encrypts your data so that the hacker cant see your online activities. You can read more about this in our How easy is it to capture data on public free Wi-Fi? article written by the professor himself, Gary Sims.
However, its worth mentioning that hackers cant see what you do online when visiting websites with encrypted connections . A VPN may not be required in this case, but youll always have to check whether a website is secure or not. If the connection is secure, youll see a green padlock in the address bar of your browser. Most popular websites do offer encrypted connections these days, but not all of them.
Is Using A Free VPN Risky
Well, it all depends on which free VPN you choose. While there are a number of decent ones, they’re vastly outnumbered by dubious Android apps with no background, no privacy policies, and no accountability should your data be compromised.
For some, a good free VPN will be all you need. But, beyond any risks to your data, it’s important to understand that every free VPN comes with limitations. Almost all impose some sort of data limit, speed caps, and restrict you to servers in either 1 or just a few countries.
If you want the best service possible, we’d recommend signing up to a paid provider. Our top-rated VPN is ExpressVPN, but if you’re looking to save some money we’d recommend Surfshark. For less than $2.50 a month you’ll have unlimited data and simultaneous connections, as well as in-depth features not available with free VPNs.
If you’re dead-set on testing out a free VPN, though, below we’ve rounded up the best five which manage to avoid compromising usability too much, and are worth a look.
- The best VPN deals can bag you a bargain on a fully functioning service
Reasons to avoid
We’ve tested a whole bunch of free services, and our ProtonVPN review found that none overall can match the Swiss provider’s seriously impressive feature list and performance.
First up, what sets ProtonVPN apart from the pack is the fact it delivers unlimited data this is the only free VPN you really can set and forget without worrying about how much data you’re using.
Reasons to avoid
Can You Use Nordvpn For Free
You can get NordVPN with free trial, thanks to our robust money-back guarantee. You can get a full refund for any NordVPN plan within 30 days of purchase, no matter the reason this means you can try out the worlds fastest VPN with no risk to your wallet!
- Duration of trial: 7 30 days
- Number of servers in original plan: 5,200+
- Number of servers in trial plan: 5,200+
- Data cap: Unlimited
- Renewal period after trial: Monthly/1-year/2-years/3-years
- Renewal price after trial: $3.49 $11.95 per month depending on renewal duration.
- Devices supported: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS.
- Best for: Apple TV, Torrenting, Netflix
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Hotspot Shield Key Features
Hotspot Shield’s free plan allows just one connection, but you can choose whether this is on your Mac, iOS, Android, or Windows device, and there’s also a Chrome extension that runs pretty smoothly as well. The data plan is limited, allowing only 500MB per day, but if you’re not willing to commit to a subscription, it really isn’t a bad option. Key features include:
- Malware protection
- AES-256 bit encryption
- Obfuscation protocol
- 24/7 live chat & email support
Hotspot Shield is similar to paid services like Private Internet Access because it provides malware protection, which is a big plus when it comes to judging this provider, as does the fact it has a killswitch. Hotspot Shield is really good at unblocking streaming services that are bound by geo-restrictions. Its main selling point, however, is speed it’s genuinely one of the best around when it comes to getting your webpages loaded up without a hitch.
As free VPN apps go, Hotspot Shield has a decent amount of features and pretty good customer support too. There’s also a premium, paid version if you’d like to upgrade and do away with things like limits on data usage.
Protonvpn Compared To Other Free VPNs
Below is a table comparing Private Internet Access to two alternative free VPN services, Windscribe and TunnelBear.
As you can see, ProtonVPN Free is one of the best free VPNs on the market. Although its streaming and torrenting performance is poor, its the only safe free VPN with unlimited monthly bandwidth.
Additional research by Luke Williams
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Is A VPN Really Worth It
In tech circles we spend a lot of money, but there are some decisions that are easy and a few that are hard. We know that a smartphone is an essential nowadays, so paying up to $100 a month or more for the latest model isn’t something we generally anguish over.
We invest in high-speed internet, powerful laptops, high-end earbuds, voice-controlled speakers, mirrorless cameras, glowing keyboards, VR headsets… The tech elite will always want the fastest and most functional option possible, so that’s why when it comes to getting the best VPN , its almost a no-brainer if you care about privacy, security, and anonymity.
Unlike some of those other products, the cost of a VPN is rarely astronomical, even if you choose the premium commercial options and add all of the perks . The overhead to using a VPN isn’t that significant either , and the truth is that a VPN provides a layer of encryption for all your internet traffic that’s worth the cost and trouble.
- Make your money go further with the best cheap VPN
- Looking specifically to stream? See the best Netflix VPN
- Need a provider for Apple? Check out the best Mac VPN
Free VPN Server Locations
Most free VPNs grant you access to a small sample of servers compared to their paid subscription. The exception being TunnelBear, which gives you access to their entire global network of servers.
|Betternet allows advertisers, among other third parties, to track user data.|
|AnonyTun||AnonyTun allows advertisers to place cookies and build user profiles.|
These arent the only unsafe free VPN providers out there. Many VPNs in the App Store and on Google Play dont have clear policies regarding data processing and privacy.
If you encounter such a VPN yourself, always be careful. Dont assume youll be able to browse the internet anonymously with these VPNs. Feel free to let us know in the comments about other VPNs to avoid and help us further protect our visitors.
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Bombarding You With Ads
A popular strategy to monetize free services is to display ads in the app. Every time a user clicks on the ad, the service provider gets its share. If you have millions of users, this can be enough to sustain a business.
However, being constantly bombarded with ads can be annoying and sometimes its not easy to close them. Worse still, some ads might be malicious and can infect your device with malware.
Is There A 100% Free VPN
Free VPNs without Data Limits
Nevertheless, theres at least one free VPN without data limits: ProtonVPN. The free version of this VPN can be quite slow at times because all its free users are spread out over just three servers. When these servers get too crowded, your speed will go down. Is there a free VPN? Paid VPN vs. Free VPNs
Very few VPNs offer a truly free option. Instead, many companies offer time-limited trials or money-back guarantees. The VPNs listed in the table above, however, offer totally free subscription levels. Tunnelbear VPN is a noteworthy exception, allowing free users to access all its servers.
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Server Seizure & Openvpn Vulnerability
On 24th June 2021, the Ukrainian authorities seized two of Windscribes OpenVPN servers as part of an ongoing investigation. But these servers were running an outdated configuration, and contained an unencrypted OpenVPN server configuration and key.
In the unlikely situation that the Ukrainian authorities also had control over a users network, and that user was running a legacy DNS resolver an using a manual configuration, rather than an official Windscribe app, this could have allowed the authorities to decrypt and monitor OpenVPN traffic.
As far as is currently known, no user was monitored in this way. However, the vulnerability in question was identified several years ago, and the outdated configuration should not have been on any of Windscribes servers.
The provider has stated that: Although we have encrypted servers in high-sensitivity regions, the servers in question were running a legacy stack and were not encrypted.
This incident occurred as a result of Windscribes negligence, and while there is not any evidence the breach was used to harm users, it reflects poorly on the service. As a result, we have reduced the providers Encryption & Security score.
Windscribe has taken measures to repair the vulnerability, primarily by updating its OpenVPN certificate authority to match industry best-practice.
Does Protonvpn Support Torrenting
Yes, ProtonVPN supports torrenting, but not on all servers and only for paid users. It also clearly states being against copyright infringement.
The remarkable security credentials make ProtonVPN a natural choice for torrent users. Unfortunately, P2P traffic is optimized only on selected servers in the Netherlands, Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore, and Sweden. This means that users outside of Europe or Asia should not expect good speeds because of the distance to the nearest P2P-friendly server.
Learn more about ProtonVPN and torrenting in our dedicated article.
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Who Are Free VPNs Best For
Even the best free VPN services are only good for occasional use, such as when traveling or in a café. They simply don’t provide enough data usage or speed for 24/7 home VPN connections. If you want to encrypt all your home internet traffic, all the time, you should pay for one of the best VPN services our top pick is ExpressVPN.
If a VPN service is based in the USA, it will be subject to search warrants presented by US law-enforcement agencies. Also, all free VPN services log user connections, no matter what the service claims.
Many of the services we review here are based in Canada, Switzerland or Germany, which have stronger privacy laws, but one of the Canadian services, TunnelBear, was recently bought by a US company and will have to honor US warrants and subpoenas under a new US law.
Can You Trust Protonvpn
Taking into account the security features that ProtonVPN has, its one of the most reliable providers on the market today. With military-grade encryption, a foolproof kill switch, split tunneling feature you can rest knowing that your security needs are met.
- Apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android
- 10 simultaneous connections
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The Benefits Of Using A Free VPN
Of course, free VPNs are a handy tool to access blocked pages on the internet and watch geo-restricted content, and good ones will have security features that will genuinely enhance your privacy beyond what you have with no VPN at all. However, performing data-intensive tasks is something they have a higher chance of struggling with than paid services, and it’s unlikely they will have as wide of a range of server locations as a paid provider.
Tunnelbear Simple And Fun
TunnelBear is great for beginners with its intuitive interface and fun design the Windows app has animated bears all of the place. Its free plan includes access to all servers in 45+ countries and all of the features that are in its premium plans. However, you only get very limited 500 MB/month data cap and 1 connection.
TunnelBears security is up to par with other premium VPNs. It has built-in WebRTC and IPv6 leak protection, an obfuscation feature called GhostBear, split-tunneling , and supports torrenting and streaming but with only 500 MB of data per month, its not enough to stream for more than 5-10 minutes in HD.
However, TunnelBears speeds while browsing were good, and I enjoyed fast speeds when downloading torrents on uTorrent as well though the 500 MB/month limit really restricted how much I could download on the free plan. You can get an extra 1 GB of data if you tweet about TunnelBear, but its still nowhere near as good as ProtonVPNs unlimited data, or even Windscribe and hide.mes 10 GB/month allowance.
TunnelBears prices start at a reasonable CA$4.22 / month. Its paid plan is exactly the same as the free plan, except that it includes unlimited data and lets you connect 5 simultaneous devices.
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VPNs Can Often Fail At Unblocking Content
Many consumers turn to VPNs as way to access online content that they may be unable to access in certain regions of the world. A prime example? Netflix content.
If you live in the United States, for instance, you might not be able to access the same Netflix movies or TV series that you could get on Netflix in the United Kingdom. If you first log onto the Internet through a VPN provider with an IP address based in the United Kingdom, you might be able to access that blocked Netflix programming.
The problem? Free VPNs often cant unblock Netflix content. You may want to consider the more formidable resources of a premium service that may allow you to access such content. Keep in mind, its important to consider regional laws and the terms of your service agreement with the content provider.
Best Free VPN For Pc And Mac
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:
- Manually configure the VPN on Windows and Mac devices.
- Use a VPN through browser extensions.
Some VPNs dont offer apps and are only available as browser extensions. While such VPNs are great for browsing, but they only encrypt internet traffic running through your browser only. Therefore, anything you do outside remains unencrypted.
We suggest using VPNs that offer dedicated apps for your systems. You can either download the app from the App Store, or from the official website of the provider.
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How Did We Determine Our Top Six List
First of all, it was important that there were no direct or hidden subscription costs. VPNs with free trials but that automatically turn into a paid subscription were not included in our list.
Additionally, we felt it was crucial that the VPNs we test dont sell customer information to third parties.
When comparing various free VPN services, we also looked at encryption, data limits, speed caps, the number of simultaneous connections that are allowed, and the server locations.