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

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 7 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 ExpressVPN because it has fast servers in India and can unblock both local streaming sites like Hotstar, and global favorites like Netflix US. ExpressVPN doesn’t limit your bandwidth or data and it gives you 30 days to claim a refund if you don’t like it.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Now!

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

  1. ExpressVPN — #1 VPN offering unlimited data and bandwidth on its servers in Mumbai and Chennai. Plus, you can try it out risk-free.
  2. CyberGhost — Large number of servers in Mumbai, as well as streaming-optimized profiles to easily unblock Indian websites.
  3. Hotspot Shield — Unrestricted access to the internet, but you can’t unblock streaming sites with the free plan, and Indian servers are not available.
  4. TunnelBear — You can choose an Indian server, but it limits you to 500MB per month, which is not enough for a good streaming experience.
  5. Windscribe — Access servers in 10 countries, but you have to upgrade to the Pro or Custom plan to unblock streaming services.

Start Using ExpressVPN Risk-Free!

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. ExpressVPN — 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 its servers in Chennai and Mumbai or an international server from 3,000 servers in 90 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
  • Kill switch and a strict no-logs policy 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
ExpressVPN’s latest deal September 2021: Get 3 months completely free on your annual subscription with this current offer! It’s not for certain when this deal will end so it’s best to check the deals page to see if it’s still available.

ExpressVPN offers unlimited data and lightning-fast connections, making it an excellent VPN for people living in or traveling to India. During my tests on its Mumbai, Chennai, US, and UK servers, I had an average speed of 40 Mbps. This means that you can comfortably stream your favorite shows like Criminal Justice and Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai in HD without buffering.

Its reliable servers allow you to instantly change your IP address and hide your real location so that you can access Hotstar and Voot without any issues. It’s just as easy to unblock Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu with it.

screenshot of ExpressVPN's UI connected to an Indian server

Choose the server you want and connect

To keep your browsing activity private, ExpressVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption, as well as solid DNS and IP leak protection. It also blocks IPv6 and WebRTC requests, so your browser doesn’t accidentally leak sensitive information about you.

It’s located in the British Virgin Islands, way outside the 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance. On top of that, it doesn’t keep any logs about its users and accepts Bitcoin payment, so you’re 100% anonymous with it.

ExpressVPN allows torrenting on all its servers. I tested them by sending a large file between my computers. Since the servers are speedy, it only took a couple of minutes for it to arrive.

You can connect up to 5 devices under one subscription and keep all your devices protected. You can also set up ExpressVPN on your router and get an unlimited number of connections on that network.

You can try ExpressVPN risk-free and if you don’t like it, you can ask for a full refund within 30 days. I contacted its support team through the 24/7 live chat to cancel my subscription. The customer support rep was very kind and issued my refund immediately. I had my money back in 4 days.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Now!

2. CyberGhost — Easy-to-Use Apps And a Large Server Network

  • Unlimited bandwidth to watch all your favorite movies and shows
  • Impressive speeds to watch Hotstar without buffering or interruptions
  • 7,300+ servers in 91 countries including 32 in India
  • Robust security features to keep you anonymous online
  • Unblocks: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
September 2021 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 83% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost has straightforward clients, making it suitable for beginner VPN users. Once you open the app, you’re presented with a list of all the countries you can connect to. You can either choose your preferred location or use the filters and choose streaming or torrenting servers. You’ll have no problems finding the perfect server to watch your favorite Indian content.

It has impressive speeds, so you won’t have to deal with lag or buffering. During my tests on 5 of its Mumbai server, I averaged 15 Mbps. This is more than enough for streaming and regular browsing, so you don’t have to deal with interruptions.

With 32 servers in India, you’re sure to unblock your favorite streaming services. I easily accessed Sony Liv, Hotstar, and Zee5 with it, even though I was on the other side of the planet. It also has P2P-optimized servers, so you’ll be protected during file transfers.

screenshot of cyberghost's ui showing the India servers

You only need to choose a server from the list and connect

To keep you protected, it comes with AES-256 type encryption — which is the strongest out there. Even more, it has IP and DNS leak protection. This means that no one can intercept your personal information.

Thanks to its zero-logs policy, you can be confident that none of your data is stored — the NoSpy servers will immediately erase any trace of you being connected.

You can use CyberGhost on up to 7 devices at the same time, which is useful if you need to stream or browse on different devices. It also allows you to install it on your router and get an unlimited number of connections.

If you want to test it out, take advantage of its 24-hour free trial. I simply activated it by following the prompts on the website and had full access to all its features. Even more, it has a 45-day money-back guarantee. This allows you to test it out for 45 days and see if you like it. The refund process was straightforward, as I only had to contact the support team and tell an agent that I didn’t need the service anymore. I had my money back within 5 days.

Get CyberGhost for FREE Now!

3. 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 limitless VPN, like ExpressVPN, 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.

Get Hotspot Shield for FREE Now!

4. TunnelBear — Good VPN With Indian Servers

  • 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.

Get TunnelBear for FREE Now!

5. Windscribe — Free Servers in 10 Countries

  • 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, 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.

Get Windscribe for FREE Now!

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

  • 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.

Get ProtonVPN for FREE now!

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

  • 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.

Get hide.me or Free Now!

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 recommend ExpressVPN — it doesn’t keep any logs, and you get unlimited data and bandwidth to browse as much as you want. Plus, you can buy with confidence knowing that it gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Now!

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.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free Now!

FAQs About Free VPNs for India

Which free VPN works with Netflix India?

Only ExpressVPN 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 usually detects them. This means that 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. ExpressVPN has servers spread out over Mumbai and Chennai, and you can use them to unblock Netflix’s Indian library.

What is the best free VPN for Android in India?

ExpressVPN is the best VPN to protect your Android phone or tablet. You can take advantage of its advanced security features and ability to bypass geoblocks and try it out risk-free.

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 encounter any of these problems with ExpressVPN. It has unlimited bandwidth and it will keep you safe online. ExpressVPN also has a money-back guarantee so you can buy it confidently knowing that you can get a full refund if you don’t like it.

Top VPNs for India that you can try risk-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 ExpressVPN — 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 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

About the Author

Kristin is a Multimedia Visual Communications entrepreneur who is experienced with identity access management and online security.

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