Top 8 REALLY Free VPNs for Europe in 2021
You want to access censored and geo-restricted content in Europe, but you don’t want to pay a fortune for a premium VPN. I understand, and that’s why I put together a list of the top free VPNs for Europe.
No “free VPN” is ever really 100% free. Most limit your bandwidth and data. Some have even been caught downloading malware to users’ devices and recording their browsing activity.
That’s why I strongly recommend a premium option like ExpressVPN. You can unblock most popular streaming services from Europe, including Netflix US. ExpressVPN offers the possibility to test it out for yourself risk-free. If you don’t feel it’s right for you, you can get a full refund within the 30-day money-back guarantee period.
Most free VPNs threaten your security, but there are a few that are safe to use. I tested 33+ free VPNs to find you the eight best services for Europe.
Best Free VPNs for Europe – Quick Guide
- ExpressVPN – Unlimited data, fast speeds and servers in 90 countries. You can try it out risk-free (it’s backed by a 30 day money-back guarantee).
- TunnelBear: High-speed servers in 22+ countries, advanced security features, and 500MB of free data every month. Plenty to keep track of your emails and update social media, but it’s not good for streaming.
- PrivateVPN: Secure VPN with 256-bit encryption, IPv6 leak protection, and the ability to unblock Netflix US. Test out its features for free with a 7-day trial.
- OperaVPN: Free in-browser VPN with unlimited data and bandwidth, but you can only use it with the Opera browser.
- VPNBook: Unlimited data and bandwidth, but it requires a manual OpenVPN setup.
What’s the Catch With for Free VPNs
Free VPNs can cost you more than a premium VPN subscription.
The vendors on my list are safe to use, but most free VPNs don’t provide the same security features. Read on to learn about the risks of using a free VPN.
It’s expensive to develop, build, and maintain a secure VPN, so free services usually cut corners on security features. Many free VPNs pay for operation costs by selling your data to third parties for advertising purposes.
Some free VPNs have been caught downloading malicious software to users’ devices to gather information about browsing habits.
Privacy policies are hit and miss with free services. Trustworthy free VPNs like the ones on this list offer detailed information about the types of data they collect. Others I found twist the words in their privacy policies to trick you into unknowingly handing over your personal information.
If you value your privacy, a premium vendor is the best option. Only well-established, secure VPNs give you the anonymity and security you need.
Free VPNs operate fewer servers, and most don’t have servers in Europe at all. Connecting to a server outside your country will slow your connection down and block your access to some local content.
Most free servers limit your bandwidth, speed, and data, too.
Premium VPNs operate global server networks, and most have multiple European servers. They don’t limit your speed or data, either.
Most free VPNs only offer apps for laptops and desktops. They aren’t usually compatible with phones, tablets, or routers. They often limit you to one active connection per account, too. So, if you have multiple devices, you may need to download several different free VPNs to protect them all.
Premium services like ExpressVPN offer apps for all popular operating systems, including routers and smart TVs. They also allow multiple simultaneous connections so that you can protect all of your devices with one account.
The Best for Free VPNs for Europe (Updated 2021)
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Lighting-fast streaming speeds without buffering
- 3,000 servers in 90 countries
- DNS leak protection to keep your data secure when connecting to public WiFi
- Unlimited bandwidth to stream your favorite shows
- MediaStreamer to connect devices that normally don’t support VPNs
- 5 simultaneous connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, HBO Max, Vudu, Hulu, and more
- Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Chrome, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
ExpressVPN is a premium vendor but it’s backed by a money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free and claim a refund within 30 days if you’re not happy with it.
Military-grade encryption, a no-logs policy, and DNS leak protection keep your browsing habits private and data safe. ExpressVPN also uses industry-standard OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec protocols.
ExpressVPN operates 3,000 in 90 countries, including 60 server locations in Europe.
Because ExpressVPN refreshes its IP addresses regularly, it can bypass geoblocks to access most streaming services.
The MediaStreamer feature allows you to connect any WiFi-enabled device to a VPN, even devices not typically supported by VPNs. I set up the MediaStreamer on my router and connected to a US server to give it a test on my SmartTV. It only took me 3 minutes to unlock Netflix.
There are specialty P2P servers. You can configure ExpressVPN to work with Onion over VPN for Tor in the app.
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is well outside of the 14-Eyes’ range. Not that it matters, though, because ExpressVPN means business when it says it doesn’t keep any logs.
You can secure up to 5 of your devices at once with just one ExpressVPN account. This is a budget-friendly option if you have a large family or a collection of different devices in your home. There is even an app for smart TVs.
For total anonymity, you can use Bitcoin to pay for your ExpressVPN subscription through BitPay. PayPal is available, but I noticed that you can only use it in certain regions.
If you’ve tested ExpressVPN and have decided it’s time to upgrade, you can check out our exclusive coupons to save some money on your subscription. Or, learn more about its features in our in-depth ExpressVPN review.
- 500MB of free data per month
- Advanced security features
- Unlimited bandwidth
- P2P support
- Separate, free adblocker extension available
- Works with: HBO GO, Kodi, and YouTube
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, Linux, ChromeOS, iOS, Blackberry, Raspberry PI, Android, Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Roku, Nvidia Shield, and Kodi
TunnelBear provides you with 500MB of free data per month. That’s enough to stream for 30 minutes and catch up with friends regularly on social media, but you can’t watch movies or torrent large files.
TunnelBear uses 256-bit military-grade encryption. It keeps a strict no-logs policy and conducts an annual independent audit to identify possible weaknesses so that you have the protection you can trust.
You can choose from three security modes in the well-designed app. Its GhostBear mode makes VPN traffic look like regular traffic so that you can bypass deep packet inspection (DPI) undetected. That means you can use TunnelBear to bypass censorship in restrictive areas like Russia and China.
Vigilant Mode is TunnelBear’s version of a kill switch. It stops unprotected data leaving your network if your VPN connection drops. The Always On mode connects you to the VPN the instant you start your device, so you’re never without protection. It also offers a separate ad blocker free called TunnelBear Blocker.
TunnelBear doesn’t limit your speed, so your connection is always lightning-fast.
It unblocks a few streaming services, including HBO GO and YouTube, but not Netflix or Hulu.
Having trouble finding information? No worries. TunnelBear has a useful and adorable FAQ section. When you enter your question, the bear above the search box types right along with you. Sure, I gave it points for cute animation, but it was the thorough answers that impressed me.
- 7-day free trial
- Bypasses geoblocks and censorship
- AES 2048-bit encryption
- Unlimited bandwidth and speed
- Works with: Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, HBO GO, and Kodi
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows 10 Phone, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Playstation, Xbox, Routers, Samsung TV, Apple TV, Android Smart TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, and Smart TVs
PrivateVPN’s 7-day free trial gives you a full security suite with unlimited speed and bandwidth. You have access to 150 servers in 60 countries, which is great if you frequently travel because there is always a server nearby.
PrivateVPN uses 256-bit encryption and several secure protocols, including OpenVPN, L2TP, IKEv2/IPSec, and PPTP, to prevent data breaches and unauthorized device access. There’s also IPv6 leak protection to protect you from software security flaws that could leak your IP and location.
The Connection Guard feature acts as an enhanced kill switch that you can customize to stop specific programs and apps if your VPN connection drops. It is a great failsafe for torrenting, online banking, and messaging apps. Unfortunately, it can’t bypass the Great Wall of China.
You can use PrivateVPN to unblock Netflix, YouTube, and BBC iPlayer. Because you can connect up to 6 devices at the same time, you can protect your entire household with just one account. It supports P2P connections, too.
I experienced fast connections with PrivateVPN, even when I connected to servers in other countries. Its Burst feature offers speeds of up to 139.62 Mbps. For context, you only need 25 Mbps to stream Netflix in Ultra HD. PrivateVPN is fast.
If you have any technical issues, you can speak directly to PrivateVPN’s developers through the customer service portal. Or, you can find troubleshooting manuals and a detailed FAQ section on the website. Its Getting Started page gives you easy-to-follow instructions for installing and using PrivateVPN on your device.
PrivateVPN is headquartered in Sweden, which is part of the 14-Eyes Alliance. You don’t need to worry, though, because PrivateVPN’s strict no-logs policy means that it has no information to surrender even if an allied country subpoenas it.
Interested in trying PrivateVPN? Discover more about its security features in our in-depth review.
- Unlimited data and bandwidth
- Available in Opera, OperaGX, Opera Mini
- Network analysis tool
- Ad blocker
- Public wi-fi protection
- Works with: YouTube and Kodi
- Compatible with: Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android
Opera VPN gives you unlimited data and bandwidth, but it’s only available as an Opera browser extension. It doesn’t protect any of the data you send from apps outside of your browser.
It operates servers in Asia, North and South America, and Europe. This limited selection makes it nearly impossible to use Opera VPN to bypass geoblocks because you can’t connect to a server in a specific location. It can’t unblock Netflix, Hulu, or BBC iPlayer.
It uses 256-bit encryption and offers public WiFi protection. Opera VPN uses the HTTPS proxy method instead of OpenVPN. It can’t mask itself as regular traffic, so it’s more likely to be detected and blocked by DPI. You can’t use it to bypass censorship in China.
It doesn’t log your browsing activity or original network address, so your location and activity can’t be traced. Still, it records anonymous use statistics, crash reports, and some device information like your operating system and platform.
The browser itself has an Automatic Update feature that checks for and installs updates as soon as they’re released. This way, you always have the latest security patches and features.
Opera VPN is compatible with Opera’s ad and tracker blocker, which you can customize to allow pop-ups from specific sites. This is useful for online gaming and some free streaming sites that won’t let you watch without ads.
It doesn’t offer any customer support, but there are user forums that can answer basic questions.Discover more about Opera VPN’s features in my colleague’s detailed review.
- Easily bypass censorship and geoblocking
- AES 256-bit encryption
- Unlimited data and bandwidth
- No-logs policy
- Works with: Netflix US, YouTube, and most social media sites
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS OSX, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox
VPNBook offers unlimited bandwidth and data. Its European servers are primarily located in Romania and are protected by its privacy-friendly laws. VPNBook has fast connection speeds and a multilingual interface. You can choose from French, Spanish, English, Russian, Chinese, and more.
Your data is encrypted using AES 256-bit encryption. You can also opt for 128-bit encryption. Both methods are powerful enough to keep your data safe from thieves and hackers. Its Cloud-based IP content delivery network (CDN) routes your traffic through the fastest server, which increases its overall performance.
VPNBook doesn’t have apps, so you need to configure it manually using OpenVPN or a PPTP client.
PPTP is compatible with most operating systems, but VPNBook recommends using the open-source OpenVPN client because it’s harder for websites and surveillance agencies to detect and block. There are installation guides for both PPTP and OpenVPN with step-by-step instructions.
VPNBook operates servers in the US, Canada, Germany, Romania, and the UK. It doesn’t block any ports, and you can use it to bypass geoblocks and censorship. Its Romanian servers allow P2P activity.
I was able to unblock Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and social media sites during my test.
VPNBook doesn’t limit your connection speed, even if you are using a data-intensive program. You get consistently fast upload and download speeds across all its servers.You can read our thorough review to learn more about VPNBook’s features.
- 10GB of free data per month
- Access to 180 servers
- WebRTC/DNS/IPv6 protection
- Works with: Kodi, HBO GO, and YouTube
- Compatible with: Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Opera, Chrome, Firefox, Routers, Amazon Fire TV, and Nvidia Shield
You can get 10GB free data per month from Windscribe. There’s also an opportunity to earn up to 5GB more per month if you tweet about the service. 10GB is enough to stream SD videos for 10 hours or browse for over 150 hours.
There are only ten free server locations. Because so many users connect to so few servers, the network experiences congestion during peak times. This slows your connection significantly.
You can unblock YouTube and Kodi add-ons from other regions, but Windscribe’s free servers can’t access Netflix or Hulu. You’ll need to upgrade to a premium account to unblock streaming services.
You can use Windscribe’s Stealth Mode to bypass censorship and geoblocks. It also has a built-in firewall that prevents hackers from gaining access to your device and personal information.You can learn more about Windscribe’s free service in our detailed review.
- Unlimited free data and bandwidth
- P2P support
- AES 256-bit encryption
- DNS leak protection and a kill switch
- Works with: Netflix, Hulu, Kodi, and YouTube
- Compatible with: macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome, and Firefox
ProtonVPN also supports perfect forward secrecy, which provides a new temporary encryption key for each browsing session. Even if a hacker compromises a previous session, they won’t be able to view any other sessions before or after it.
ProtonVPN can unblock popular services like Hulu and Netflix. It also supports P2P activity and features Tor over VPN. During my test, it was fast enough to stream without buffering. You can connect to three servers, but only one of them is in Europe.
Unlike most free VPNs, ProtonVPN isn’t ad-supported, so it doesn’t bombard you with disruptive banner ads or pop-ups.Learn more about the pros and cons of choosing ProtonVPN in our full review.
- 2GB of free data per month
- Automatic kill switch and IP leak protection
- 256-bit encryption
- Split tunneling
- Works with: Netflix, HBO GO, Hulu, Spotify, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Firefox, Chrome, Routers, Android Smart TV, and Amazon Fire TV
hide.me offers 2GB of free data per month. That’s enough data to check your email, social media, and bank accounts regularly. You can even watch a few short YouTube videos.
It provides IP leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and 256-bit encryption.
You can use its split-tunneling feature to customize which data you send through your VPN, and which goes through your local IP address. This makes it easy for you to access local services and websites, while still protecting some of your traffic. It also helps you save data because you aren’t using it on apps that don’t need to be protected.
hide.me doesn’t throttle your connection speed, which makes it an excellent choice for torrenting. You can also use it to access popular streaming services like Netflix US and HBO Go. But, because you only have access to five server locations, there may not always be a server where you need one.Read more about hide.me’s security and privacy features in our expert review.
? Why is it so difficult to find a free VPN that works in Europe?
Free VPNs operate limited server networks. They tend to focus their efforts in regions like the US and the UK so that they can market themselves as able to unblock Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Very few free VPNs operate servers in Europe.
The farther your data has to travel to your VPN server, the slower your connection will be. Most free VPNs already limit your speed and bandwidth. So, if you’re in Europe and you need to connect to a server in the US or the UK, your internet will be too slow to use.
Premium VPNs operate thousands of servers all across the world, including European locations. This makes it easier to find a VPN that’s fast enough to use.
? Does a VPN impact speed?
It’s normal for a VPN to decrease your connection speed a little bit. It takes extra time for your data to be encryption and then travel to the VPN server. If you use a premium VPN, you won’t notice this speed loss.
Free VPNs often throttle your connection speed to encourage you to upgrade to a premium account.
? Do free VPN providers keep logs?
I tested the free VPNs on this list to make sure that they don’t log your data.
Still, most other free VPNs collect personally identifiable information, including your original IP address and browsing activity.
Most free VPNs are extremely limited. They restrict your data, speed, and security features.
That’s why I recommend using a premium VPN. They offer the best security features and high-speed connections. Plus, you can use them to unblock streaming sites like Netflix US. Most premium vendors also offer money-back guarantees and free trials, so there’s no need to risk your connection speed and security with a free VPN.
The Best Premium VPNs for Europe 2021 are…
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