It’s no surprise that free VPN downloads have become so popular. Installing a VPN gives your Windows PC, Mac, Android device or iPhone an extra layer of security. And the extra functionality that their URL-shifting nature gives – watching sports and TV in other countries, getting around geo-blocked websites, anonymous torrenting – means that there’s little surprise free VPNs are so highly sought after.
On this page, you’ll find our pick of the best free Virtual Private Networking options available to download today. We’ve tested and retested dozens of them and assessed their ability to keep your online activity safe and anonymous without you having to spend a cent. That goes whether you’re looking for the best free VPN for Android, iPhone, Mac or your Windows PC.
But (there’s always one) is it really possible to get a good and completely free VPN that does the job you need? The answer is… sort of. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a free VPN for casual use you will find something that meets your needs – just so long as you are happy with the limitations that free VPNs usually come with.
Free VPN Servers:
Some VPN providers advertise connections to free VPN servers. With some VPN providers, this is to differentiate between the number of servers available on the premium (paid) plans and the free plan. Some VPN providers that offer a free plan restrict access to free users to only a smaller selection of free servers. For all intents and purposes, however, a VPN with free servers is exactly the same as a “free VPN”
The Benefits Of Free VPNs:
A free VPN is a useful tool for people who need access to online information or websites that are blocked. When governments block websites – including social media platforms, or Voice Over IP (VoIP) messengers such as Skype – a VPN will help you to:
- Access blocked news websites
- Enhanced security when using public Wi-Fi
- Most free VPNs offer multi-platform support including Android and iOS
- Access websites from foreign countries (bypass geo-restrictions)
- Access apps that are blocked on your local app stores (such as the Google Play store)
- Watch YouTube videos or other streaming videos that are blocked in your region
When you travel overseas for business or pleasure, a VPN will let you access websites from back home and allow you to:
- Use online banking services that are restricted to your home country
- Log into online services that are only available in your home country
- Watch regionally restricted online TV channels while you are on vacation
A VPN provides online security at home and on public WiFi. No matter whether you are on vacation or using the internet in a local coffee shop, a VPN:
- Protect your login and passwords
- Stop cybercriminals stealing your credit card details
- Connect to any WiFi, at any time, without worrying about ‘evil twin’ hotspots
- Protect against KRACK vulnerability
- Finally, a reliable free VPN will stop your ISP and the government, from keeping tabs on what you do online. It can also hide your IP address from online marketing firms and websites that attempt to track you.
1.) Hotspot Shield:
Hotspot Shield is the free version of the popular Hotspot Shield Premium VPN. You don’t need to input any information to download and begin using their app. Although the service is totally free, you will stumble upon ads only on the Android app. Other platforms are ads free. This is a major advantage, due to security aspects. Same as on the Premium version, Hotspot Shield committed to a zero log policy. They even confirmed their zero log policy by a 3rd party independent test.
Your VPN protocol is what tunnels your signal around the world. It’s how you get from Point A to Point B. There are many different VPN tunneling protocols in use today, some far better than others. For Mac users, ZenMate uses IPSec and IKEv2 protocols. This is a stable and secure protocol that performs well. It’s one of the fastest protocols out there and it’s super easy to set up, so, awesome. It does have limited platform support, though, and may be vulnerable to firewalls. Windows users have access to IPSec and IKEv2 as well, with the added option of L2TP/IPSec. ZenMate Ultimate, their premium plan, is compatible with OpenVPN software. Through this system, users can “upgrade” ZenMate’s service to the infinitely preferable OpenVPN tunneling protocol. OpenVPN open sourced system is maintained by the entire cybersecurity community and is widely considered the industry standard for safety. For encryption, ZenMate’s protocols support AES, which is used by fortune 500 companies and the federal government alike. It’s powerful and secure.
More flexible than most with no data limitations, ProtonVPN’s free gives you the benefit of top-class internet security but at the cost of speed. With all free traffic merging through a limited number of servers, ProtonVPN is nonetheless perfect for those wanting to quickly check their emails or post to Facebook on a public Wi-Fi network. The sluggish speeds don’t make it a viable option for a paid service, but its military-grade encryption levels make it ideal for a spot of anonymous browsing or online banking, even in the busiest of airports.
Windscribe is a relative newcomer to the free VPN scene, but its generous data allowance and commitment to protecting your privacy make it the best around if you need more data than the 500MB free tier with TunnelBear. You get 10GB bandwidth per month as standard and can choose from eight remote server locations with the Windscribe VPN free. You only need to create a username and password to sign up (an email address is optional, but might prove handy if you forget your password).
ProtonVPN is a sister company to the ProtonMail encrypted-email service. You get unlimited data, but the speeds can be a lot slower compared to the (rather expensive) paid plans. Downloads took four times as long as they did without the VPN switched on, but even then, ProtonVPN was far from the worst among the nine free services we tested. You’ll also be limited to VPN connections in only three countries, as opposed to the paid complement of 25, and you won’t have access to ProtonVPN’s “Secure Core” of super-hardened servers.
To summarize, there are some good free VPNs available. However, even the safest free services are not risk-free. The best free services cannot measure up to the best-paid ones. A premium service offers increased security and protection, as well as streaming and torrenting support. And unlike most free VPNs that limit your data, premium VPNs also offer you unlimited data. You’ll also be able to access more servers in more countries and enjoy faster connection speeds.