Top Free VPNs for Gaming | Updated 2020
Free VPNs aren’t always the best companions for gamers. They can make gameplay unbearably slow and end up compromising your security instead of protecting it. There are some good options available, though. Read my guide to the best free VPNs for gaming. Share
A free gaming VPN might seem like a good solution to protect yourself from DDoS attacks or swatting. However, free VPNs are rarely good for gaming.
Many don’t provide the security that premium services offer. So if you’re looking to protect your IP address, using a free VPN for gaming can be counterproductive.
When you add data limits, restricted speeds, and compatibility issues, lots of free VPNs can end up ruining your gaming experience.
For game VPNs, I suggest a low-cost premium option. Services like NordVPN are affordable and give you the security and speed you need for safe, uninterrupted gaming.
If you want to go ahead with a free game VPN, I can help.
I went on a quest to test over 49 free VPNs for security, speed, and compatibility. While my recommendations come with some limitations, here are the best free VPNs for gaming that I found.
Best Free VPNs for Gaming – Quick Guide
- NordVPN: Use my best VPN for gaming at no cost for one month with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Dedicated gaming servers, lightning-fast speeds, unbeatable security, and unlimited access.
- Windscribe: A router-compatible free VPN with 10GB a month of free data. Split-tunneling and access to 10 P2P-friendly server locations.
- PrivateVPN: Get a week’s free unlimited use of this premium VPN with a 7-day money-back guarantee. Fast, unrestricted speeds and world-class security.
- Hotspot Shield: A free VPN for PC gaming – no sign up required. Fast speeds and 500MB of free data daily.
- ProtonVPN: Play without restrictions using this unlimited free service. Premium security and router compatibility even for free users.
Why You Should Use a VPN for Gaming
When you connect to a public gaming server, your primary concern is exposing your IP address to other gamers.
A malicious gamer can use your IP address to launch DDoS or DoS attacks. These can take down your home network and prevent you from playing.
Hackers can even find out your real location and trigger a swatting attack.
Swatting means sending armed SWAT police to another gamer’s house with a hoax threat. It can be dangerous and has led to fatalities in the past.
A VPN can protect you by redirecting your traffic through a server in a different location. It hides your IP address from public view.
VPNs can also decrease ping and latency and increase speed.
If you live far away from a game server, the increased ping can cause annoying lags while you play. By connecting to a VPN server that’s closer to the game server, you reduce this latency and enjoy higher speeds.
Geo-spoofing your IP address has the additional benefit of giving you access to international game servers. A VPN allows you to access geo-restricted content and play with friends around the world.
That’s why any VPN for gaming should have a large network of servers in the right locations, unlimited bandwidth, and lightning-fast speeds.
If you game on a console, you will also need a VPN with router compatibility.
Which is where we come to the problem with free VPNs.
What’s the Catch With Free VPNs?
Free VPNs don’t charge subscription fees, so they need to make money in other ways.
The resulting limitations can compromise both your security and your gaming experience.
Most gaming consoles don’t include VPN support. Instead, you need to install your VPN onto your router. Your console is immediately protected as soon as it connects to your network.
Unfortunately, router-compatibility is usually reserved for premium VPNs. It’s hard to find a free VPN that supports router connection.
Free VPNs without router-compatibility still work with PC or mobile gaming. That’s why you’ll find some on my list.
You can also download a free VPN onto your laptop and share your connection with your console. However, the extra link in the connection can hamper speeds even further.
Free VPNs seldom offer the same levels of security you get from a premium service.
A free VPN with inadequate security cannot guarantee your privacy and protection from DDoS attacks.
Some free VPNs have even been known to log and sell your data to third parties.
Most free VPNs limit the number of servers you can access. This can prevent you from connecting to the correct game server.
It also means that available servers often get congested, making them slow and unreliable.
To prevent servers from crashing, many free VPNs restrict your speeds and limit your bandwidth and usage.
Gaming uses up to 300MB of data per hour, so these limitations can be too restrictive.
The Best Free VPNs for Gaming Updated February 2020
A free VPN may not be the best choice for gaming, and all free VPNs have some limitations, however, I’ve done some extensive research and testing of the various options available. Here are my recommendations for the ten best free VPNs for gaming based on speed, security features, and ease of use.
- 5,100+ servers in 59 countries
- Dedicated P2P servers
- World-class security
- Lightning-fast speeds
- Router compatible
- 30 days of unlimited premium access with a money-back guarantee
- Works with all major streaming sites, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, iPlayer, and Hulu
- Compatible with all major devices and platforms including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and routers
NordVPN already tops our list of the best VPNs for gaming. A 30-day money-back guarantee means that free users can enjoy it for an entire month, too.
You might find this useful if you’re looking to game while abroad or need to protect yourself from a temporary threat.
During this time you’ll enjoy unrestricted access to all NordVPN’s premium features.
5,100+ servers across 59 countries will help you play on game servers around the world. Unlimited server switching means you can change locations in the event of a DDoS attack.
NordVPN’s large global network guarantees lightning-fast speeds. I didn’t experience any extra lag or latency during my tests.
The service protects you with world-class security. 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch that protects your IP address against any cyber threats from other gamers.
CyberSec technology blocks malware and annoying pop-up ads.
NordVPN even provides special obfuscated servers that can hide your VPN usage from your internet service provider. Handy if your ISP is prone to throttling your connection while you game.
However you like to game, NordVPN is compatible with all major devices and platforms – including routers.
Read our full review to find out why NordVPN is our highest-rated service for both gaming and general use.
- Servers in more than 60 countries and 110 cities
- Monthly allowance of 10GB
- Military-grade encryption
- Split-tunneling and P2P support
- Works with US Netflix, but only with a premium account
- Compatible with smart TVs, and NAS devices as well as all major devices and platforms
Windscribe offers a free, router-compatible version of its services with a few limitations.
You’ll get 10GB of free data per month. That’s enough for just over 33 hours of gaming on one of the more data-heavy games like Destiny 2.
You get even more time on lighter games like Fortnite or Call of Duty; just over 10 days’ worth of gaming.
You can add 5GB of data to your account by tweeting the company.
Windscribe’s network spans 60 countries, but you’ll only get access to 10 locations if you’re a free user. These countries include the US, the UK, Hong Kong, France, the Netherlands, and Germany, so you should find most major game servers covered.
Windscribe is very secure for a free VPN. As well as military-grade encryption, the service offers a built-in ad and malware blocker.
The service also offers free users P2P-friendly servers and split-tunneling. I enjoyed being able to use split-tunneling to protect my gaming connection whilst being able to browse normally elsewhere.
Speeds on Windscribe’s free servers can be slow during peak times. You might be restricted as to when you can play without annoying lag.
You can get unlimited access to Windscribe by upgrading to a premium account with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Find out if we think it’s worth it in our comprehensive Windscribe review.
- More than 150 servers in 60 countries
- Unlimited 7-day free trial
- Military-grade security
- Fast speeds
- Works with all the most popular streaming sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more
- All servers are P2P-friendly, but PrivateVPN recommends its servers in Sweden for best results
- Compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux
PrivateVPN is one of my top-rated VPNs, especially for security.
You can try it out free with a 7-day free trial. You will need to register for the free trial, but PrivateVPN will not ask for any payment details. That means no automatic renewals and unexpected charges.
You’ll enjoy unrestricted access to all of PrivateVPN’s premium features throughout your trial. That means no limitations on speed, bandwidth, or usage.
In fact, PrivateVPN guarantees low latency and high speed. These are two factors vital for smooth, uninterrupted gaming.
It also means you’ll get access to all the VPN’s 150+ server locations in 60 countries.
PrivateVPN is renowned for its security measures. You’re protected from DDoS and DoS attacks by military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and both DNS and IPv6 leak protection.
The service is also router-compatible, with comprehensive setup tutorials on its website.
If you enjoy using PrivateVPN during your trial, you can upgrade to a premium subscription. Prices are very affordable and you can even enjoy a longer trial period with the 30-day money-back guarantee. Just remember to cancel your subscription before the month ends to qualify for a full refund.
Find out why PrivateVPN is one of my top five VPNs in our in-depth review.
- Completely free service
- 500MB of free data per day
- Fast speeds
- Compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Chrome, and Firefox
Alongside its premium version, Hotspot Shield offers a completely free service. You won’t have to enter any payment details or even register to use it. Just download the app and connect.
Hotspot Shield gives you a daily allowance of 500MB. That gets you a minimum of an hour and a half of gaming per day.
Hotspot Shield’s innovative Catapult Hydra protocol guarantees speed and security. I found my connection with Hotspot Shield was fast enough for gaming without lag.
Additional security features include 256-bit AES encryption and built-in malware-blocking technology.
Hotspot Shield’s network covers 70+ countries but these are reserved for premium users. You’ll only be able to connect to the service’s default US server if you want to use the VPN for free.
If you only want to connect to US game servers, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, you might find the server limitation restrictive if you’re looking for international gameplay or early access to geo-restricted content outside the US.
Hotspot Shield is not router-compatible. You won’t be able to use it with your games console. Still, it makes my top five as it’s fast, secure, and an excellent free service for PC gaming.
Find out more in our full Hotspot Shield review.
- Multiple servers across 36 countries
- Truly free service with no limits
- Excellent security
- Built-in ad-blocker
- Works with Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, and Kodi
- Compatible with Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, and routers
ProtonVPN’s no-cost service is one of the few VPNs to offer an unrestricted service for free.
You’ll enjoy unlimited data and unlimited bandwidth for as long as you use the service. That means you can game whenever you like, for as long as you like.
The service is fully compatible with routers, so you can protect your connection whether you game on your PC or a console.
ProtonVPN’s security measures are particularly impressive for a free service. As a free user, you’re still protected by military-grade encryption, an automatic kill switch, and DNS leak protection. There’s even a built-in ad-blocker.
The service has a worldwide network across 36 countries, although you’ll only have access to servers in the US, Netherlands, and Japan.
Sadly, these server restrictions do hamper ProtonVPN’s speeds. I found the available servers to be slow and unreliable at times, which can be problematic for gaming.
If you want full access to all of ProtonVPN’s network, you’ll need to upgrade. Premium subscribers also benefit from faster speeds and P2P-enabled servers. You can get all these features for free for a month with ProtonVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee.
Find out how ProtonVPN stacks up to other freemium services in our full review.
- 2GB free data per month
- No speed restrictions
- Military-grade security
- Works with YouTube, Kodi, and Spotify
- Compatible with Android, macOS, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Windows and Windows Phone, and Amazon Fire OS
hide.me is a free service that gives you 2GB of free data every month. That’s at least seven hours of secure gaming.
Speeds and security measures are unrestricted for free users. You’re safeguarded against malicious gamers by 256-bit AES encryption and an automatic kill switch.
Server access is limited, however. You’ll only have access to five of hide.me’s 47 server locations. I didn’t find this too restrictive, though. Free users can still connect to servers in the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and Singapore, which is a fairly decent global spread.
hide.me is also fully router-compatible. The website even features a range of handy guides for setting up the VPN on your router.
Find out more about the service – including whether it’s worth making the most of the 30-day money-back guarantee – in our thorough hide.me review.
- Servers in 22 countries
- 500MB monthly data allowance
- Military-grade encryption
- Easy to use
- Ghost Bear mode to prevent ISP throttling
- Only works with HBO GO, no other streaming sites
- All servers support P2P activity
- Compatible with Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. No router or smart TV compatibility
TunnelBear gives you 500MB of free data every 30 days. That’s around an hour and a half of gaming per month.
However, TunnelBear is so easy to use that it might suit the more casual PC gamer. I found its apps to be intuitive and user-friendly – perfect if you’re not used to VPNs.
I say PC gamer because TunnelBear is not router-compatible. It makes up for it with military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, though.
You can upgrade to enjoy unlimited data with TunnelBear, but there’s no money-back guarantee to rely on.
It’s a secure free gaming VPN but other premium services might be better if you’re going to pay. Read our full-length TunnelBear review to find out why.
- Military-grade security
- 500MB free data daily
- Compatible with Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Chrome devices
Betternet gives you a completely free version of its premium service with 500MB of free data every day. That’s around one and a half hours of gaming per day.
You’ll enjoy all of Betternet’s premium security features with a free subscription. These include military-grade encryption and the Catapult Hydra protocol used by Hotspot Shield to boost speeds.
Unfortunately, Betternet does not support router compatibility, although its website states that this may change in the future. In the meantime, it’s a decent free VPN for PC gaming.
Read our Betternet review to find out more.
- Good speeds for gaming via channel bonding
- 2GB monthly free data
- Works with Netflix, Hulu, Kodi, and Spotify
- Compatible with Android, Windows, macOS, iOS. No router compatibility
Speedify differs from other VPNs by using channel bonding technology to increase speeds. Its fast and reliable connections are great for gaming without lag.
Unfortunately, channel bonding does use up more data than a regular VPN connection. You might find this depletes your monthly 2GB of free data quite quickly.
Speedify safeguards your data with 128 GCM encryption. This isn’t up to military standards. However, it should be secure enough to mask your IP address while you game.
Speedify is also not compatible with routers. However, its website does offer a helpful tutorial on sharing your connection with your console.
Learn more about channel bonding in our in-depth Speedify review.
- Unlimited usage
- Unrestricted speeds
- Great for in-browser gaming
- You can download the Opera browser on Android, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Linux.
OperaVPN is a free extension of the secure browser, Opera. Unlike other VPNs, OperaVPN will only work in-browser. That means it’s not compatible with console gaming.
However, it is perfect if you play in-browser multiplayers like Isleward or Vikings Village.
It’s also worth recommending because it doesn’t restrict users when it comes to speeds, bandwidth, or data.
You can’t choose to connect to servers in specific countries with OperaVPN. However, you can choose between the US, Asia, or Europe, which should give you access to a wide range of online games.
Find out more in our full OperaVPN review.
Are VPNs legal?
The legality of VPNs varies from country to country. Some countries try to restrict or ban VPN usage because of its association with criminal activity.
In most countries, VPNs are not illegal – only using them for illegal pursuits can get you into trouble.
You can find a full list of countries that ban VPNs in our guide to VPNs and the law.
Does a VPN Impact Speed?
VPNs work by rerouting your traffic via one of their own private servers. This adds another step in your connection to a service or website.
There is always a risk of decreased speeds.
However, the best premium VPNs offer such fast connection speeds that you shouldn’t notice much difference when using one.
Unfortunately, free VPNs cannot usually afford the infrastructure to provide these sorts of speeds. You should always expect slower speeds from a free VPN.
Do These Free VPN Providers Keep Log Files?
One concern when using a free VPN is the logging and selling of your usage data.
To the best of my knowledge, none of my 10 recommended free VPNs keep logs of your browsing activity.
However, free VPNs can be vague in their privacy policies. Some VPNs, like Speedify, will keep logs of anonymized data such as timestamps.
If you’re concerned about logging, I would always recommend opting for a low-cost premium service with a strict no-logs policy.
VPNs can provide excellent protection against DDoS and DoS attacks. However, they only work with gaming if they’re secure, compatible with your device, and fast enough to combat latency.
It’s very difficult to find a free VPN that gives you everything you need for gaming.
Most will let you down with slow speeds, inadequate security, or restrictive data limits.
If you can tolerate one or more of these limitations, you’ll be able to find a compatible VPN amongst my recommendations.
But when premium services like NordVPN can offer you a seamless gaming experience at a low price, why would you take the risk?
Find out more in our comprehensive guide to the hidden dangers of free VPNs.
Or, enjoy even more money off our recommended premium services with this month’s top deals and coupon codes.