With growing attacks from hackers and digital policing from government agencies, privacy and confidentiality have become major concerns nowadays. Whether it is to enjoy some of the shows and movies blocked in your region or hide your footprints while browsing the internet, VPN (or a Virtual Private Network) is the preferred solution that many techies are banking upon.
While the highest rated VPN services have to be paid for before you can use them, there is a score of VPN services which are either completely free to use, or offer the basic VPN features for free with an option to pay if you would like to utilize better features, get higher speeds, and other additional benefits. So, if you’re looking for some great VPN services to check out, here are the 10 best free VPN services you can use.
Some of the VPN services mentioned below works well services like Netflix and Spotify as well. Spotify and Netflix don’t like VPNs, and while we’ve not heard of anyone getting banned from using VPNs on the service, use them at your own risk.
Hide.me works by hiding your IP and encrypting your data with protocols like IKEv2 and OpenVPN. The service operates on a freemium model too and your monthly allocation of data is limited to 2GB – sadly with no extension periods. However, you can invite your friends and get rewarded every time someone uses your referral link to get a paid subscription to Hide.me.
Since it operates from Malaysia, Hide.me has no legal obligation to store users data and share it with the government, unlike VPNs working out of certain other countries. Further, the company has a strict zero-logging policy. Besides using the VPN, you can also add custom DNS settings to avoid your IP being cached into regional servers and to slightly improve the speed of your network connection.
In the free version of Hide.me, you can use four servers based in four different locations i.e. Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the USA. Lastly, it supports a multitude of different desktop and mobile operating systems – even BlackBerry – as well as router and TV/home theater interfaces.
Hide.me also prides itself on its no-ads policy, even on its free version. Along with that, there’s also a Split Tunneling feature in the VPN service, which lets you enable VPN for some apps and services, and use other apps without VPN. This can come in handy if you’re using services like Netflix which block VPNs or if you need low pings for your online games, while securing the rest of your browsing with VPN. It’s a pretty cool feature.
- 256-bit encryption
- No legal binding to log or share user data with authorities
- Split tunneling feature
- Supports Wi-Fi routers and TV streaming devices
- No ads
- Limited data
- No Netflix support
- No browser extensions
Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry, certain Wi-Fi routers, and Set-top boxes
Windscribe is among the most affordable VPNs, and for this reason, one of the most preferred VPNs out there. It is also one of the most generous VPN providers, offering up to 10GB data to free users, which can be further increased if you tweet about the service. That should drive more people to use VPN extensively and get familiar with the protocol. The company strictly follows the principle of not logging user data and supports common encryption protocols IKEv2 based on AES-256.
Windscibe’s desktop applications come built-in with a firewall application which prevents any leakage of data out of the data tunnel secured by the VPN and each of the worldwide servers is configured as a DNS server, resulting in absolute IP-related privacy. Out of the 45 locations, one can use up to 13 servers with the free account. You can, in fact, stream Netflix content from other countries but it is only supported on certain servers, so you might have to struggle with the customer support, which is mainly automated and run by bots.
Besides the very-easy-to-use UI, Windscribe also has among the widest support for major desktop and mobile operating systems as well as for popular TV sticks and Wi-Fi routers. You also get extensions for popular web browsers which will ensure complete stealth throughout your web journey.
Windscribe also comes with some impressive features that can help you remain anonymous on the internet. There’s a Double Hop feature that lets you route your internet traffic through any two servers on the Windscribe VPN network for additional anonymity. Along with that, there’s a feature called ‘Split Personality’ that you can enable to randomly change the user agent of your browser to reduce chances of fingerprinting.
- 256-bit encryption
- Firewall for virus protection
- 10GB data in the free account
- Double Hop feature to route traffic through two VPN servers for added security
- Browser extensions
- Sketchy Netflix support
- Customer support mostly run by bots
Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Wi-Fi routers, and streaming sticks
ProtonVPN is served by the same company that offers the famous Proton Mail. While there’s a bunch of paid plans which ProtonVPN has to offer, you can browse with the free version without any limitations or capping on the amount of data. You will, however, be limited to a single device per email ID at a time and will be able to access only three locations of the total 30 servers ProtonVPN offers to its paid users. These three locations free to access are Japan, the Netherlands, and the U.S. While ProtonVPN uses some of the Cold War era underground bunkers for its servers, the country is neutral when it comes to privacy and does not absolutely support or oppose interception of users’ private data.
Further, it is useful if you just want to watch some exclusive content or access a store that might not be available in your country. I really like the simple interface of the desktop app which can be used without any prior knowledge about the working of VPNs. The ProtonVPN client is available for Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, as well as a command line interface which you can use with Linux, making it a versatile platform among the best free VPN services we’ve compiled in this list.
ProtonVPN also comes with some pretty impressive additional features that make it one of the best options to go with. The company uses strong, 256-bit AES encryption to ensure a secure connection. Moreover, the company is based out of Switzerland, and is protected by some of the strongest privacy laws in the world so they can’t be forced to spy on your browsing habits. There’s also DNS Leak Prevention features which ensures that your internet browsing is protected at the DNS level; the company doesn’t use any third party DNS providers.
ProtonVPN also supports one of the most ‘in-demand’ features in a VPN service — a Kill Switch. This basically means that with Proton VPN, if you accidentally lose connection to your VPN server, the service will immediately block all your network connections to prevent your real IP address from being accidentally leaked because of the disconnection.
If you choose to upgrade to a paid plan in future, you can also make use of the Secure Core feature which routes your network traffic through multiple servers within the ProtonVPN network to ensure that even if an attacker manages to monitor your traffic at the exit server, they won’t be able to find your true IP address, or match any browsing activity to your IP address. Plus, there’s support for the Tor protocol for added anonymity if that’s what you want.
- Unlimited data
- Easy to use
- No logging policy
- 256-bit encryption
- Tor support
- DNS Leak Prevention
- Strong national laws protect the company from being forced to spy on its users
- Single device per free account
- Secure Core limited to paid plans
Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
“Browse the internet securely, anonymously, and unrestricted” is e-VPN’s tagline and all of these attributes stay true to both – its free and paid versions. Foremost, e-VPN offers unlimited browsing to free users and even has a smart feature called “Stealth Mode” to bypass any blockages made to prevent VPN services. The service is claimed to unblock almost all geo-restricted publications, YouTube videos, or content on services like Netflix.
Besides hiding your online activity, e-VPN also blocks seemingly harmful websites or downloads. While there is no limitation on the quantity of data processed through the free version of e-VPN, the download and upload speeds have been limited to 5Mbps and 1Mbps respectively. Further, free users can only choose among the Netherlands, the US, and the UK as their preferred faux locations, which means privacy might be avante-garde.
Besides desktop and mobile operating systems, e-VPN is available on GLi’s VPN Router and Amazon Fire Stick TV.
- Unlimited data
- Military-grade encryption
- Stealth Mode to bypass VPN blockers
- Unblocks Netflix and other geo-restricted content
- Speed throttling in free version
- Limited locations
Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV, certian routers and streaming devices
HotspotShield is another freemium VPN service which classifies as one of the best free VPN services due to its anti-censorship stance. The VPN service was popularized during a series of social protests such as the Arab Spring and the military coup in Turkey in 2016.
Under the free plan, users get 750MB of data allowance per day but there’s no way to check the daily available data. Moreover, browsing is limited to the USA. This might irk some privacy enthusiasts as laws in the country compel companies to share their data with the national security agencies such as NSA. But to make up for this shortcoming, HotspotShield can be used on up to five devices simultaneouslyand even the free users enjoy the military-grade encryption over their data usage.
HotspotShield should serve you well if you’re looking to use it for some casual browsing or voice your opinions against any country or regime that the USA does not have good diplomatic relations with. Those concerned about their privacy might want to stay away as HotspotShield has been funded by corporates like Goldmann Sachs, and there are concerns about user data being used for advertising – although there is no noted instance so far. The service is available on popular operating systems and has an extension for Chrome.
- Military-grade encryption
- Up to 5 devices in free account
- Anti-censorship stance
- Concerns about data-sharing with NSA and advertisers
- Browser extension limited to Chrome
- No Linux support
Availability: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome
VPN services ensure that you can access the internet just as it was originally intended to be – unrestricted and without any scrutiny from the authorities. In this article, we’ve tried to include what we think are the best free VPN services available to users.