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VPNs are an essential privacy tool, and very few people can afford to be without them these days. We are being tracked all over the internet, and we need something to help block those trackers. Unfortunately, a VPN can also be expensive, and some people are in a chicken-and-egg situation, unable to afford it but unable to be without it. Here are the best 100% free VPNs available.
The 6 best commercial VPN services that are also 100% free are below, read on to see the full list.
- Most commercial VPN services offer some kind of free option.
- Some free options are mostly trials.
- The ones that offer a full free service are usually limited in some way.
- For essential day-to-day use, a free VPN is more than sufficient for most users.
Table of Contents
- Key Takeaways
- Where To Get The Best 100% Free VPNs
- Related Questions
Where To Get The Best 100% Free VPNs
Most commercial VPN service providers offer some kind of free plan. Big names like ExpressVPN offer their complete VPN plans for free, but only for a limited time. We will not look at those options since they are not truly 100% free.
We will now look at the best VPN options where you won’t have to pay any money, ever, to use the service. Obviously, a commercial VPN has to make money, so there is always a catch, and entirely free VPNs have limited capabilities somewhere. But understanding these limits will help you decide which VPN will do what you want it to do.
Proton has become one of the biggest names in security and privacy. Starting with ProtonMail before moving on to the VPN service, and lately, the beta of its cloud storage platform, Proton is a veritable force to be reckoned with.
ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, a country known for its neutrality principles and strict privacy laws. All the wealthiest people in the world trust Switzerland with their fortunes, and there is a good reason for this. ProtonVPN is based in Switzerland, so Proton will not share your information with anyone.
The amount of trust that ProtonVPN has found in the marketplace is well-deserved. ProtonVPN has a strict no-logging policy that’s been proven to be worth its weight in gold. Even if one of Proton’s servers were stolen, no usable information would be found on it. Proton’s encryption is also of the highest standard, using AES 256-bit encryption across the board for all connections.
ProtonVPN has a completely free plan. There’s no trial involved; you simply sign up and, apart from the occasional email telling you what you’re missing out on by not paying, nobody will ever force you to pay a cent.
Of course, there are some caveats. Proton would like to make money, and as such, the free VPN is seen as an entry point to its more advanced VPN offerings. This means that you suffer some limitations by using the free ProtonVPN option.
First, you are limited to under 200 servers from only three countries: the United States, Japan, and the Netherlands. You are also limited to one connection, which means that you can install the free VPN on your computer, for example, but not on your phone. For that, you would have to create an additional free account.
Speeds are also limited on the free plan. You are limited to what Proton labels “Medium” speed, which is never really explained in much detail but, according to users, isn’t too bad for general web surfing. You can’t download torrents or stream Netflix on the free VPN option, though, partly because of the speed limit and because these are data-intensive services.
On the plus side, ProtonVPN is one of the only VPNs to offer you an unlimited data plan completely free of charge. This means that your VPN won’t just stop working one day because you’ve run out of data.
Overall, ProtonVPN deserves to be in the number one position among the best 100% free VPNs. You get world-class service and justifiable limitations from one of the most significant security- and privacy service providers in the world, all for the low-low price of “free.”
PrivadoVPN is one of the lesser-known names in the VPN industry, but its service is by no means sub-standard. In fact, PrivadoVPN matches ProtonVPN in many ways, though its free offering differs a bit.
PrivadoVPN is also based in Switzerland, which obviously means top-notch privacy laws and protection. There are premium VPN offerings at very affordable prices, but the PrivadoVPN Free option is exceptionally powerful on its own for general VPN use.
The free plan doesn’t have unlimited data. You are limited to 10GB of VPN data per month, which is plenty if you’re not planning to download torrents or stream Netflix. Speaking of streaming services and torrents, you cannot do either over PrivadoVPN’s Free plan, but you have full online audio and video support.
PrivadoVPN claims not to throttle its VPN speeds for free users, and users confirm this, stating that the speeds of its free plan match those of the paid plans. This is relatively uncommon in the VPN market. There are also servers in 12 different cities that you can choose from, giving you some flexibility in your choice of connection.
You can link your PrivadoVPN Free account to multiple devices, but only one device is allowed to connect to the VPN at a time. For general web surfing and sending a few emails, PrivadoVPN is a brilliant VPN option to go for and definitely one of the best free VPNs out there.
TunnelBear lacks many of the standard features that other VPNs offer, but it makes up for it in different ways. The company is based in Canada and owned by McAfee, one of the world’s leading names in cybersecurity, and it’s always comforting to know that such a reputable name is behind a VPN.
Though Canada isn’t the world’s strictest country regarding privacy laws, TunnelBear makes up for that by having its security and privacy systems independently audited regularly. This ensures that TunnelBear will respect and protect your information and identity by any means possible.
TunnelBear’s Free plan is clearly created for testing purposes. The TunnelBear website itself says so by referring to it as the “testing and limited use” plan. However, it is still very usable as long as you don’t need a VPN for heavy-duty online purposes like downloading or streaming. The free plan has limited speeds, only a few options to connect to, and it’s capped at 500MB of data per month.
One of the impressive things about TunnelBear is its ease of use. There’s no technical jargon or complicated configuration involved. You simply launch the app and connect. This makes TunnelBear ideal for less tech-savvy users.
The limitations are too restrictive for many people, but for someone who simply wants a no-frills VPN to occasionally use when they feel their privacy might be at risk, TunnelBear is one of the easiest free VPNs to sign up for and use.
A VPN name that’s been making waves lately is Hide.me. It is not widely regarded as one of the best VPNs in general. Its free option is definitely one of the better options out there, and Hide.me’s unique approach to privacy and security is a breath of fresh air that other VPNs can definitely learn from.
Hide.me has only two plans – a free plan and one premium option. This means that its free option has some functionality that is typically included with other VPNs’ premium plans. It offers an entirely free offering with complete privacy and no logging (guaranteed, according to Hide.me). Since Hide.me is located in Malaysia (a country with strict privacy laws), it can live up to this rule.
The free Hide.me subscription includes 10GB of data per month, which is excellent. You are only limited to 5 international locations and one connection at a time, but there is no limit on your speed or the services you can use (yes, even streaming and torrenting) as long as you stay within your 10GB data cap.
Hide.me makes some bold statements on its website, stating that internet privacy is a fundamental human right and should be available for free. This is refreshing, to say the least. Since the company is still reasonably young, only time will tell how much this statement is actually worth, but apart from the fact that there are no independent audits, they seem to hold to their word.
Hide.me’s interface isn’t quite as simple as that of some of the other VPNs. This could intimidate inexperienced users. However, Hide.me is a reliable, fast, and excellent VPN for general web browsing and email.
Windscribe is one of the biggest names in the VPN industry, with a well-deserved reputation for excellence. Though the Windscribe network is not necessarily the fastest or most versatile, numerous other factors make up for it by adding functionality, especially on the free plan.
Windscribe starts off as a free app that you don’t even have to sign up for, unlike other VPN services. This entry-level free plan includes all Windscribe functionality and the same no-tracking, no-logging, and ad blocking features that you get with the Pro version. However, it only allows you up to 2GB of data per month.
But that’s not where the free plan stops. If you go the extra mile by adding and confirming your email address, you will immediately upgrade to 10GB of monthly data. You can then increase this even more by promoting Windscribe. For example, tweeting a particular message will give you an additional 5GB on top of the 10GB you already had; and that’s not once-off but monthly.
You can get even more data by referring friends or by participating in Windscribe’s Reddit and Discord discussions, where there are often promotions for more free data.
One common complaint about Windscribe that often pops up is that their customer support leaves much to be desired. There are no 24-hour or live chat support options, not even on the premium plans. Email support is all that you have, for the most part, and sometimes they can take a long time to respond.
Despite that, Windscribe’s capability to essentially increase your free plan to almost the equivalent of the paid plans is what sets it apart from the other free VPNs, and it’s well worth looking into!
ZoogVPN is another relatively unknown name in the VPN industry. Greece, where ZoogVPN is based, is not a country mainly known for its strict privacy laws (though it’s definitely not the worst, either). Still, ZoogVPN has a strict no-logging policy and only gathers aggregated total browsing data amounts. That means no personal data is available for ZoogVPN to share or leak.
ZoogVPN’s free offering includes 10GB of bandwidth per month and uses only 128-bit encryption, whereas its premium packages all offer 256-bit. There are also other limitations on the free plan, like the fact that you only have 3 locations to choose from and can only connect from one device at a time. Some types of content are also blocked, but it’s unclear precisely what content this is.
However, P2P services like torrents are allowed in limited quantities. There is also no support for video streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ on the free plan. Having said all that, ZoogVPN is a simple VPN that is easy to set up and use, and if you want to upgrade to premium, its prices are some of the lowest on the market.
ZoogVPN is not the best free VPN option on this list (and it’s difficult to say which is since it depends on your requirements). Still, it is an excellent option for anyone who just needs occasional VPN access to remain private for light online activities.
As a rule, it’s never a good idea to trust any free VPN completely. VPN providers are commercial companies that are out to make a profit. Furthermore, setting up and maintaining a VPN server network requires startup capital and cash flow. Staff must be employed and paid salaries. All of this costs money, and a company that offers its services for free must make that money elsewhere.
There are legitimate ways for them to still make money, which we will look at next. But there is a darker side: some VPNs will log and sell their free users’ information to the highest bidder, whether that is a commercial business, an advertising agency, or a government.
The VPNs on this list all claim to offer the same no-logging and privacy protection features that they give to their paid subscribers, to their free users too. But the validity of these statements, for the most part, remains to be seen, and we can never be 100% sure until a leak happens, which so far hasn’t happened with any one of these free VPNs.
Free VPNs hope that you will like their service, want more, and subscribe to their paid plans. So offering the free VPN service is like a marketing expense to them, making the free plan something like a “permanent trial,” like what TunnelBear does.
Other free VPNs are ad-supported. While browsing the web through your free VPN, an ad will occasionally pop up. These are often unobtrusive and not really much of a frustration for most people.
This will depend on what you want to use the free VPN for. Do you wish to avoid some ads and ad trackers? Or are you trying to access or share information that could potentially be harmful or dangerous to yourself or someone else?
In the first scenario, it doesn’t matter too much if your personal data is leaked, and any VPN is better than not having a VPN at all. However, if there is sensitive data involved, like in the case of whistleblowers, a free VPN is not recommended. You should definitely opt for the most powerful VPN solution you can find if you are ever in that kind of situation.