6 Best (REALLY FREE) VPNs for India That Still Work in 2021

Free VPNs for India

Many friends have asked me how to find a good free VPN for India. The biggest mistake others make when recommending a free VPN for India is that they don’t understand that there’s a big difference between people living in India vs. outside of India.

After trying to decipher all the legalese of supposedly “free” VPN services, I did my own research. Out of the 89 free VPNs I tested, I found only 6 that work well in India to access local and global content from anywhere. Only 1 was really good for both users in and outside of India.

Granted, no “free VPN” is really free; they all have limitations. Most find alternative ways to make money, like selling your browsing habits to third parties. Even the safest free VPNs limit security features and data allowances, so you are forced to upgrade to a paid plan to use the VPN properly. That’s why I started testing the most popular ones.

I recommend using NordVPN because it has fast servers in India and can unblock both local streaming sites like Hotstar and global favorites like Netflix US. NordVPN doesn’t limit your bandwidth or time, and you get the full working VPN for free (although only for 30 days).

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Short on Time? Here Are the Best Free VPNs for India

  1. NordVPN — #1 VPN for unlimited data and bandwidth on 30+ servers in India (Mumbai and Chennai) and the only free service that consistently unblocks Netflix.
  2. Hotspot Shield — Unrestricted access to the internet, but you can’t unblock streaming sites with the free plan, and Indian servers are not available.
  3. TunnelBear — You can choose an Indian server, but it limits you to 500MB per month, which is not enough for a good streaming experience.
  4. Windscribe — Access servers in 10 countries, but you have to upgrade to the Pro or Custom plan to unblock streaming services.
  5. ProtonVPN — Unlimited data, but you can only access 3 server locations, none of which are in India or even close by, making them slow.
  6. hide.me — No speed throttling, and you can unblock streaming sites (inconsistently), but limited to 5 countries, none of which are in India.

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6 Best Free VPNs — Full Analysis (Updated 2021)

To watch international content inside India or Indian content from anywhere, you need a VPN to hide your location. However, most free VPNs don’t offer servers in India or access to global websites like Netflix or BBC. So, I created a list of the best free VPNs to safely and securely browse the internet as long as you don’t mind a few shortcomings.

1. NordVPN — The Only VPN That Unblocks Indian and International Content

  • Unlimited data and bandwidth to stream as much Hotstar as you like
  • Super-fast connection speeds to watch movies online without buffering
  • Get an Indian IP address when connecting to one of the 30+ servers in Chennai and Mumbai or an international server from over 5,480 servers in 60 countries
  • Impressive unblocking capabilities so you can watch SonlyLiv and Voot in the US and outside of India, as well as Netflix US, Hulu, BBC, and more
  • Automatic kill switch, a strict no-logs policy, and P2P-optimized servers in India so you can torrent safely
  • Unblocks: Hotstar, Netflix, BBC, Zee5, Amazon Prime Video, Sony Liv, Voot, Sky Sports, YuppTV, Jiocinema, Sling TV, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and more

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With unlimited data and super-fast connection speeds, NordVPN is the best VPN for people living in and outside India. I tested servers in Mumbai, Chennai, the US, and the UK. With average download speeds of 25.3 Mbps, 27.0 Mbps, 17.4 Mbps, and 40.5 Mbps, respectively, you can comfortably stream your favorite shows like Criminal Justice and Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai in HD without buffering.

With 30+ Indian servers to choose from, you can change your IP address and hide your actual location, so you’ll never again be denied access to Hotstar or Voot. Additionally, NordVPN’s SmartPlay DNS can consistently unblock Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, ZEE5, and over 100 other geoblocked streaming services.

Screenshot of the 30-day free NordVPN app showing a choice of 31 Indian servers in either Mumbai or Chennai.

With NordVPN, It’s Easy to Pick a Server in Chennai or Mumbai

NordVPN uses military-grade encryption and DNS leak protection to keep your browsing activity private. IPv6 leak protection stops your browser’s security flaws, accidentally leaking your location to the sites you visit.

It’s registered in privacy-friendly Panama, outside the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance. Not that it would matter because NordVPN does not keep any logs. It even accepts Bitcoin for complete anonymity if you choose to stay with them after the free period.

NordVPN offers an automatic Onion over VPN for Tor connection feature built into the app, so you don’t need to configure it to work with Tor manually. I found that its 9 specialty P2P servers provide lightning-fast download speeds for torrenting.

With NordVPN, you can connect up to 6 devices with one account, so you can stream Jiocinema content and watch cricket online wherever you are.

You can try NordVPN risk-free for 30 days. I used the 24/7 customer support live chat function to request a refund and got my money back in 5 business days. It might not be free upfront, but you can do more browsing, streaming, and torrenting in those 30 days than you ever could with other free VPNs.

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2. Hotspot Shield — Good Free VPN for Users in India Wanting a US IP Address

  • 500 MB of free data per day to browse the internet and listen to Spotify
  • Proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol allows for fast video streaming
  • Get a US IP address to download and use TikTok and other apps blocked in India
  • Strong 256-bit encryption to hide your online activities and escape government censorship
  • Unblocks: Youtube, Spotify, and Kodi (inconsistently)
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, Mac, iPhone, and iPad

Like almost all free VPNs, Hotspot Shield limits data. But they are more generous than most, with 15 GB of data per month. Meaning, you’ll be able to watch a maximum of 1-hour good quality Youtube every day. If that’s not enough for you, a free VPN might not be the right choice. You’ll be better off paying for a cheap, limitless VPN, like Surfshark, versus having to upgrade when you’ve reached your bandwidth limit. But if 500 MB a day is all you need, Hotspot Shield is a great option.

Its unique data compression protocol, Catapult Hydra, can help improve connection speeds and prevent congestion by reducing the time it takes to connect over long distances. I tested from various locations in India. My average reduction in speed was only 23%, which is good compared with the average -57% of other free VPNs. So, you can comfortably stream Spotify and Youtube.

I was disappointed to learn that the free plan limits you to only one US virtual server. Even with access to a US location, Hotspot Shield’s free VPN can’t access any streaming services. Nevertheless, you can still escape Indian government censorship, access your favorite social media apps, and freely browse all websites.

Screenshot of Hotspot Shield’s free VPN app showing that Indian servers are only available on its paid plan.

Select India from Hotspot Shield’s (paid only) VPN app if you need an Indian IP Address

Your personal data is kept private with Hotspot Shield’s industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption and internet kill switch. The Free VPN service further offers DNS and IP leak protection and doesn’t log your browsing activity. However, it comes with ads and collects some of your information to share with third-party advertisers, including your email address and city-level location.

Hotspot Shield’s free plan is free forever and is excellent for lag-free browsing. While the free version doesn’t work with Netflix, Hotspot Shield has a free trial of the premium version that works for 45 days — no data limits, and it unblocks Netflix.

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3. TunnelBear — Good VPN With Indian Servers

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with TunnelBear.
  • 500MB of free data per month, which isn’t really enough for anything
  • Decent connection speeds even over long distances, for example, to a US server
  • Access 2,600 servers to browse websites from various countries, including India, the US, UK, and Japan
  • AES 256-bit encryption and no data logging keeps your identity private and secure from cyber-attacks
  • Unblocks: Hotstar, Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and Youtube (inconsistently)
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, Mac, iPhone, and iPad

Limited to only 500MB of free data per month, but you can get an additional, one-time-only, 1GB of data when tweeting via the TunnelBear app.

TunnelBear uses AES 256-bit encryption and the OpenVPN protocol to secure your connection, but it is a 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance member. GhostBear makes your encrypted data less detectable to the government, allowing you to bypass restrictions and censorship in most countries. VigilantBear mode acts as a kill switch.

Tunnelbear’s free version has no server network restrictions. I tested it, and it even works in China. However, you can only choose a country, not your server, meaning you can’t minimize your connection slowdown by selecting a server that’s closest to your physical location.

Screenshot of TunnelBear’s free VPN app showing that you can connect to an Indian server, but not choose the specific server.

TunnelBear Is One of the Few Free VPNs That Can Connect to India

While it can unblock various streaming services, like Hotstar, Netflix US, and HBO Max, I found it sometimes worked, and sometimes it didn’t, which is usually the best you can expect from a free service.

You can connect up to 5 devices to the TunnelBear network with one account. This is a great bonus as free VPNs usually only allow one connection.

There is no built-in adblocker. However, you can download a separate, free adblocker from the TunnelBear website, but it’s only available as a Chrome browser extension.

While TunnelBear offers a feature-rich service on the premium account, it doesn’t offer a free trial for you to test it out first.

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4. Windscribe — Free Servers in 10 Countries

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with Windscribe.
  • 10 GB of free data per month, which is equal to watching about 10 hours of video
  • Access servers in 60 different countries to change your IP address and use apps that are banned in India
  • Stealth mode safeguards your internet activities from the government’s prying eyes
  • Ad and malware blocker for a smoother browsing experience on your Android or iOS
  • Unblocks: Youtube and Kodi (inconsistently)
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, Mac, iPhone, and iPad

10 GB of free data per month is only really enough to check emails and social media, not anything more demanding. You can earn additional data when tweeting about the company.

The Cruise Control feature connects you to the fastest available server based on your location, so you can bypass geo-restricted videos. If you’re in India, you’ll likely be connected to a Hong Kong server as it’s the closest of the 10 countries available on the free account. You can’t unblock Netflix or other streaming sites with Windscribe’s free version.

Screenshot of Windscribe’s free VPN app showing that Indian servers are only available on its paid plan.

Indian Servers Only Available On Windscribe Pro and Custom Plans

Decent encryption protocols and its no-logs policy keep your browsing activity private. I didn’t detect any DNS or IP leaks when running leak tests while connected to the Windscribe VPN.
Stealth Mode makes your encrypted activity look like regular traffic under deep packet inspection (DPI).

You don’t need to provide any personal information to open a free account. This means Windscribe won’t have access to your address, real name, or phone number. You do need to provide a working email address. Otherwise, your service is limited to 2GB of data per month.

Winscribe offers well-designed and easy to install apps for all major platforms and router installation guides. Like most free VPNs (excluding NordVPN), you can’t expect human support, but you can use Garry, the customer service chatbot, to answer any questions you might have. Request access to the 1day free trial to test if it’s worth upgrading to the premium service.

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5. ProtonVPN — Unlimited Data (But No Servers in India and Can’t Unblock Streaming Sites)

protonvpn devices
  • Unlimited free data for streaming as much video and music as you want
  • 16 servers across the Netherlands, US, and Japan to access a broader range of content
  • Secure Core automatically routes traffic through privacy-friendly countries for an extra layer of protection
  • Strict no-logging policy for total anonymity, even when accessing social media
  • Unblocks: Youtube, Spotify, and Kodi (inconsistently)
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, Mac, iPhone, and iPad

ProtonVPN’s free version doesn’t limit the amount of data you can use. This is especially great if you watch a lot of videos or need the internet for work.

Your torrenting activity is kept private. This Swiss-based VPN is 100% log-free and uses a variety of secure VPN protocols, including OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec. It also uses AES encryption and an automatic kill switch to protect your sensitive data. Additionally, IPv6 leak protection makes sure that your IP address isn’t accidentally exposed if your browser falls victim to a security breach.

You need to upgrade to ProtonVPN’s Plus or its Visionary plan to unblock popular streaming sites like Hotstar, Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu.

Screenshot of the free ProtonVPN app showing that Indian servers are only available on its paid plan.

Indian Servers Are Not Available on ProtonVPN’s Free Plan

The free plan only offers medium speed. When testing it, my connection speeds slowed down a bit, but it was still fast enough to browse websites and watch videos with little buffering. If you want to try ProtonVPN’s premium features, you can use the 30-day trial. After 7 days, your account will automatically revert back to the free version.

I didn’t like that ProtonVPN doesn’t have an online chat function — there isn’t even a bot. When you have a question about the service, you have to either try and find an answer on the Knowledge Base or contact the support team by completing a form.

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6. hide.me — Decent Speeds for Streaming (No Indian Servers)

Small assortment of technological devices compatible with hide.me.
  • 10 GB of free data per month for up to 3 hours of HD streaming
  • Choice of 5 countries to bypass Indian government censorship
  • AES-256 encryption and a kill switch for maximum security
  • Free Anonymous Proxy Browser enables you to access any website you want
  • Unblocks: Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and Youtube (inconsistently)
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, Mac, iPhone, and iPad

With 10 GB of free data every month, you’re restricted to about three 60-minute episodes of your favorite Netflix series. However, you don’t need to register an account or sign up to use the free service. It doesn’t save any of your private information to sell to third-party advertisers — no ads will pop when using hide.me.

You can connect to servers in the US East, US West, Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany, but will have to pay to get access to Indian servers.

Screenshot of hide.me’s free VPN app showing that Indian servers are only available on its paid plan.

Indian Servers Are Not Available on hide.me’s Free Plan

Unlimited bandwidth and decent speeds make for a good streaming experience, despite its high encryption level. I tested it by connecting to a server in the US and only had an average speed reduction of 21%.

Stealth Guard is a unique feature that helps ensure your IP address is always hidden from everyone, even your government. It gives you a choice to limit certain apps or your entire internet connection to your VPN connection.

You can pick from multiple VPN protocols to optimize your device connection. However, hide. me’s free version only allows one device connection per account, so if you’re using your phone to listen to Spotify, your PC won’t be sufficiently protected.

There’s no free trial for you to test all the features on the premium plan. But there are various ways for you to ask questions about the paid-for service. Chat online with a real person, join the community, log a support ticket, or search for the Knowledge Base answers.

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What’s the Catch With Free VPNs?

It’s expensive to develop, build, and update a VPN. Most free services don’t have enough money to maintain a quality network. As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Free VPNs usually make money in two ways:

  1. Selling your data, search history, etc., to advertisers. Hotspot Shield’s free VPN does this, which they tell you about upfront. You “pay” for the service by receiving annoying ads.
  2. The Freemium model. While you don’t have to pay for the VPN, it typically comes with limitations — data, speed, server access, etc. This eventually forces you to upgrade to the paid version.

Most of the free VPNs on my list work on the Freemium model, where you have to upgrade if, for example, you want an Indian server or just to finish the last 29 minutes of the movie you’re streaming. If it’s the latter, you typically just click “upgrade,” but you’ll end up paying more than if you just paid for a cheaper premium plan upfront.

This is why I like NordVPN; there are no limits. If you want to keep the service past the free 30 days, you can. Since it is the only VPN I recommend people buy, I suggest you save yourself some time and try them here.

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Research Methodology: How I Selected These VPNs

I tested 89 free VPNs to find the best option for India. Data limits, connection speed, and server availability took first priority, followed by content unblocking capabilities and security. My recommendations are ranked based on the combined results. I also looked at which free VPNs had servers in India.

  • Unlimited data. Data limits were an essential factor in my ranking because India consumes the highest amount of data globally, and it’s expected to double in the next 5 years. However, my recommendations weighed the amount of free data versus other features, like speed and server locations.
  • Fast speeds. I tested my speed before and after connecting to each VPN. Most free VPNs are a bit slow because of limited networks and deliberate restrictions, forcing you to upgrade to the paid account. Only the best VPNs can compare to your usual connection speed.
  • Geounblocking capabilities. It’s challenging to stream with limited server locations. If Netflix or Hotstar realizes you’re using a VPN, it will block you. The only way to get around geo-restrictions is to switch to another server in the same location. If there are no other servers, you won’t be able to reconnect. I tested several servers from each VPN for a more accurate picture of its capabilities.
  • Safety and security. The free VPNs on my list are also graded on its protection and security features to limit vulnerabilities and potential leaks. Only the best VPNs use secure encryption and don’t log your data.

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FAQs About Free VPNs for India

🤓 Which free VPN works with Netflix India?

Only NordVPN’s 30-day free VPN unblocks Netflix India and other popular streaming sites, including Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, ZEE5, Voot, and SonyLiv. Most free VPNs don’t operate Indian servers, and even if they do, Netflix India will usually detect them, so you’ll need to connect to an overseas server instead.

Because your data has to travel further, your connection will slow down. You’ll also lose access to local websites and services. NordVPN has 30+ dedicated servers spread out over Mumbai and Chennai, so you can switch servers as many times as you need.

😃 What is the best free VPN for Android in India?

NordVPN is the best free VPN to protect your Android phone or tablet. This Android VPN guarantees ad blocking, anonymity, and online security when bypassing India’s censorship. Try it risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

😄 Are there any good free VPNs for iPhone?

All the free VPNs on my list have great iPhone apps and offer security features to keep you safe and anonymous.

🤑 How do free VPN services make money?

Bombarding you with disruptive ads is usually the most common way for free VPNs to earn money. If you notice the ads are very targeted to your online behavior, it means they are selling your browsing activities to third-parties, which is another way for them to make money.

The Bottom Line

Most free VPNs are dangerous and lack the security measures you need to keep you safe. You’ll never know if your data and anonymity are 100% protected. Most of the free services on my list are safe to use, but they limit your data, server locations, or speed.

You won’t have this problem with NordVPN that works both in and outside India. NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no reason to risk your security with a free VPN.

Top VPNs for India that you can try for free with money-back guarantees…

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend NordVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 68% off.

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