7 Best Free VPNs for Windows PCs in 2022 — Fast & Unlimited
- Best Free VPNs for Windows PCs — Full Analysis (Updated in August 2022)
- ExpressVPN — Robust Security Features to Keep Your Windows PC Safe
- CyberGhost — Large Server Network to Access Global Content on Your Windows PC
- ProtonVPN — Unlimited Data to Browse Without Limitations on Your Windows PC
- Avira Phantom VPN — User-Friendly App to Keep Your All Your Windows Devices Safe
- hide.me — Several Solid Security Features to Protect Your Windows PC
- Quick Comparison Table: Best Free VPNs for Windows PC
- Tips on How to Choose the Best Free VPN for Windows
- Warning: Risks of Free VPNs
- Quick Guide: How to Set Up a Free VPN on Windows
- FAQs About Free VPNs for Windows PCs
- Protect Your Windows PC Today
Many free VPNs make their money by collecting and selling your data to third parties. Even when they’re responsible with your data, they often provide weaker security compared to premium options. So, using a free VPN for Windows comes with a lot of risks, especially since the OS is known to suffer from security weaknesses already and Microsoft itself collects a lot of your personal information.
My team and I tested more than 70 free VPNs to find the best ones for Windows that are safe to use. All free VPNs do come with limitations, such as smaller server networks, slow speeds, and a lack of security features. However, I managed to shortlist the top free VPNs to protect your device.
The best VPN I tested is ExpressVPN. I really wanted to stick with 100% free VPNs, but it doesn’t come with any restrictions like free VPNs do. You get advanced security features, a huge server network, and superfast speeds. Plus, you can try ExpressVPN out risk-free because it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. I tested it to make sure its policy is trustworthy and I got my money back in 3 days with no hassle.
Short on Time? Here Are the Best Free VPNs for Windows PCs — Tested in August 2022
- ExpressVPN —Offers military-grade security features to protect your Windows device. Moreover, it has superfast speeds, unlimited data, and 3,000 servers in 94 countries. Plus, you can try it out risk-free.
- CyberGhost — Extensive server network, unlimited data, and advanced security features with a 24-hour free trial.
- ProtonVPN — Free Windows app with a strict no-logging policy and unlimited data, but free servers don’t support torrenting.
- Avira Phantom VPN — User-friendly and completely free Windows app with AES 256-bit encryption, but doesn’t come with a kill switch.
- hide.me — Several security features to protect the data on your Windows device for free, but you can’t use it to access streaming sites.
- Unlimited data and lightning-fast speeds
- 3,000 servers in 94 countries
- 5 simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
- Compatible with: Windows (7, 8, 10, & 11), Android, Mac, iOS, Linux, routers, and more
ExpressVPN keeps your data protected with its secure Windows app. It offers AES 256-bit encryption (which is the strongest encryption standard) and an automatic kill switch that protects you if your VPN connection suddenly drops. ExpressVPN’s IP/DNS/WebRTC leak protection makes sure that your data isn’t revealed. When I tested its servers, I didn’t find any leaks.
The VPN supports multiple protocols, including OpenVPN, and its own Lightway protocol. OpenVPN is the safest protocol because it’s open source, so it’s constantly checked for vulnerabilities. However, I recommend using Lightway with your Windows PC. It’s secure (it passed all of my leak tests), and it has the best speeds and reliability. I could connect to the VPN in less than a second with Lightway, and I didn’t experience any issues while browsing, streaming, or torrenting.
ExpressVPN also adheres to a trustworthy zero-logs policy audited and verified by independent security companies. I particularly like that ExpressVPN uses RAM-based servers, meaning that your info is completely removed whenever its servers are rebooted. Moreover, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is outside 5/9/14 Eyes jurisdiction. This means that even if a legal request was made for your data, ExpressVPN wouldn’t have to comply (and wouldn’t have any data to share anyway).
ExpressVPN has superfast speeds. When I tested its Germany, France, and UK servers on my Windows laptop, I had an average speed of 67.5 Mbps, which was only a 2% drop from my base connection speed. Even on long-distance servers in the US, I still had average speeds of 54.6 Mbps. Since you only need 25 Mbps to stream in Ultra HD, this was more than enough to watch movies in high quality. It also offers unlimited data, so you can stream in high quality, play games online, and torrent large files without slowdowns.
Its 3,000 servers in 94 countries worldwide mean you can find a reliable server to browse, stream, or torrent on your Windows PC. During my tests, I could access more than 14 Netflix libraries. I could also unblock my Disney+ and Hulu accounts while traveling overseas. The entire network supports P2P activity as well. ExpressVPN even works in countries with online censorship (like China and Turkey). However, my team and I don’t condone any illegal activities, so be sure to check the local rules and regulations surrounding VPN-use if you want to use it in a country that regulates VPNs.
Setting up and navigating ExpressVPN on your Windows device is easy. It only took me 5 minutes to download the VPN and connecting to a server only takes 1 click. I recommend activating the “launch on startup” option in its settings; this will automatically connect you to the fastest server available every time you turn on your PC, so you never go online without encryption. The VPN is compatible with Windows 7 and up and even offers browser extensions for Microsoft Edge (and also Chrome and Firefox).
Moreover, it allows you to share the VPN connection with other devices using a Windows virtual router. I was able to set it up in 10 minutes by following ExpressVPN’s guides on its website. This way, you can connect your gaming console or smart TV to your VPN via your PC.
Its split tunneling feature allows you to choose which traffic passes through the VPN. This let me connect to a foreign server and watch Hulu on my Windows PC, while I accessed local content outside the VPN tunnel.
Although ExpressVPN isn’t 100% free, it is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. This way, you can test all ExpressVPN’s premium features risk-free. None of the truly free VPNs I tested came close to matching ExpressVPN’s capabilities. If you’re not impressed with it, you can get your money back. I tried this policy and asked for a refund using its 24/7 live chat support. The chat agent quickly approved my refund after asking me a few user-satisfaction-related questions. I had my money back in 3 business days.
- Unlimited data and superfast speeds
- 9,023 servers in 91 countries
- 7 simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more
- Compatible with: Windows (7, 8, 10, & 11), Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, and more
CyberGhost’s Windows app has an impressive network of 9,023 servers in 91 countries. You’ll get access to this large network with its 24-hour free trial. It comes with no limitations other than the time you have to use it. I tested its servers in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, and I consistently accessed my US Netflix and Hulu accounts. I had no problem finding a reliable server for browsing, streaming, or torrenting since it labels each server based on what you want to do.
The streaming (and regular) servers unblock tons of content and you won’t encounter any lag when watching shows, thanks to its fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth. As I watched Peaky Blinders on Netflix, my download speeds averaged 44.5 Mbps (a 35% drop from my normal connection). Although these speeds are not as fast as ExpressVPN, they are still more than sufficient for HD streaming on your Windows PC (you only need 5 Mbps for that).
The VPN is really safe, using AES-256 bit encryption and IP/DNS leak protection. It’s nearly impossible for anyone to intercept or track your online activities. Moreover, CyberGhost offers multiple security protocols, including WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. I suggest using WireGuard since it’s reliable and gave me the fastest speeds during tests on my Windows PC.
With CyberGhost, you can use your Windows device without worrying about your privacy. It’s based in Romania (outside the 14-Eyes Alliance) and has its own NoSpy servers (available with the 45-day money-back guarantee). These servers are located in CyberGhost's headquarters and can only be accessed by CyberGhost’s employees. This adds another layer of security since it removes any possible middleman interference.
It has its own ad/tracker/malware blocker for Windows, further protecting your privacy. The blocker prevents advertisers from collecting your data and targeting you with specific ads.
CyberGhost’s Windows app is also super easy to set up. I downloaded and installed the VPN within 5 minutes. The app is compatible with Windows 7 and higher.
You can try CyberGhost free with its 24-hour free trial. Besides missing out on NoSpy servers, you’ll be able to try out all of CyberGhost’s premium features. You can also test it out for 45 days with its money-back guarantee. I tested its refund policy to make sure it’s trustworthy. After using CyberGhost for 43 days, I contacted its 24/7 live chat and asked for my money back. The chat agent approved my request after a quick chat, and my money was refunded in 4 days.
- Unlimited data and good speeds
- 3 free server locations
- 1 device connection
- Can unblock: Netflix Originals, Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Kodi
- Compatible with: Windows (7, 8, 10, & 11), Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and routers
ProtonVPN’s free VPN offers unlimited data, so you can use it on your Windows device without being cut off. This is a nice feature because most free VPNs only offer between 500MB – 10GB of data per month. While testing its Free US and Netherlands servers, I never recorded speeds below 36.6 Mbps. That was a 47% drop from my connection with no VPN, so it’s not a great result, but I could still watch movies without buffering.
It comes with advanced security features that hide your data from prying eyes, such as AES 256-bit encryption, IP/DNS leak protection, a kill-switch, and several security protocols (including OpenVPN). It can’t unblock most top streaming platforms (like Hulu or HBO Max), but you can use split tunneling to encrypt the traffic you want and use your regular connection to stream.
In addition, ProtonVPN uses Perfect Forward Secrecy for added security. This means encryption keys change each time you connect your Windows PC to a new server. If a hacker gets a key for a single session, they can’t even use it to decrypt any past or future sessions.
It follows a strict zero-logging policy, so your private data is in good hands. In addition, the Windows app is open-source, so it’s always being improved. Plus, its headquarters are in Switzerland (outside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance). This means that ProtonVPN can’t be forced to share your personal information with member countries of this agreement. Altogether, this makes ProtonVPN one of the best free VPNs for protecting your privacy.
It has more than 100 free servers located in Japan, the Netherlands, and the US. This is more servers than many other free VPNs, but it’s still quite limited, especially with only 3 countries. The servers also don’t support torrenting, but they can access Netflix (which I tested on my Windows laptop). I was able to watch Netflix Originals using its free servers in every country, but it didn’t unblock region-locked content. It didn't work with any other popular streaming platform, unfortunately.
The native app is compatible with Windows 7 and the setup is simple. After downloading and installing the app, I could connect to the fastest server within seconds using the “quick connect” button.
You will need an email address to sign up for the free plan and ProtonVPN doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support (I had to contact them by email).
- 1GB of data per month and decent speeds
- 1 server location
- Unlimited simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Only local sites (the free plan only connects to local servers)
- Compatible with: Windows (7, 8, 10, & 11), Mac, iOS, and Android
Avira Phantom VPN offers an easy-to-use native app for Windows 7 and higher. I installed it on my Windows laptop, and it took 4 minutes to set up. It was easy enough, and I was up and running with 1 click by pressing the “secure my connection” button. You can also connect as many devices as you want since Avira offers unlimited simultaneous device connections.
The VPN offers several security features to protect your online data, but it doesn’t have a kill switch. You can choose between OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, and it uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. When I performed leak tests on my Windows PC, no IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks were detected. However, the lack of a kill switch will leave you vulnerable if the VPN ever disconnects (and it will after you’ve used up your 1GB of monthly data).
It has a strict no-logging policy, but it’s not located in a privacy-friendly country. It doesn’t log any browsing history, IP addresses, or personal information from your Windows device, so it is a good option for protecting your privacy. However, its headquarters are in Germany, which is within the 14 Eyes Alliance.
Avira Phantom VPN has decent speeds. During the tests on my Windows PC, my speeds averaged 32 Mbps (a 54% drop). These speeds, combined with its security features, could make Avira a solid VPN for torrenting. Unfortunately, it comes with a data cap of 500MB per month, or 1GB total if you sign up with your email address. The VPN supports P2P connections, and I downloaded a 100MB file within 1 minute, but you’ll only be able to torrent small files.
Although you can only connect to 1 server (you have to use the “nearest location” feature), this VPN is still a good option if you want to protect the personal information on your Windows device. In addition to the minimal server network, you can’t use its customer support with a free account.
- 10GB data per month and decent speeds
- 5 free server locations
- 1 device connection
- Can unblock: Netflix, Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram
- Compatible with: Windows (7, 8, 10, & 11), Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV
Your personal information is protected with hide.me’s strong security features. It offers several security protocols (including OpenVPN), 256-bit encryption, split tunneling, IP/DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. You can also use the Stealth Guard feature to conserve your data (you get 10GB per month). This lets you block apps on your Windows device from connecting to the internet, so you’re not wasting bandwidth.
I had okay speeds with hide.me. When I tested its 5 free servers on my Windows PC, the rates averaged 23.4 Mbps — a 66% drop from my normal speeds. Combined with the data allowance, you can stream for about 3.5 hours in HD without lag.
Although hide.me doesn’t have a strict no-logs policy (it stores your assigned IP addresses and VPN username), the data is anonymous and erased every few hours. Moreover, it's located in Malaysia (outside the 14-Eyes Alliance). I also liked that I could use the VPN‘s Windows app without having to sign up or register. This means you don’t need to worry about hide.me storing records of your personal information and contact details.
You can use hide.me’s app for Windows 7 and up. Unfortunately, it only offers 1 device connection, and you can’t set it up on a router with a free account. There is a native app for Amazon Fire TVs, but without router support, you can’t use it on gaming consoles or other smart TVs.
It has 5 free servers located in Canada, the Netherlands, US East, US West, and Germany. They’re all P2P friendly, so you can torrent, although it’s a little slow. Unfortunately, these servers can’t consistently unblock most streaming platforms, but I got it to unblock Netflix.
Another plus that’s rare among free VPNs is that you can take advantage of its 24/7 live chat support. The representatives were informative and happy to answer my questions, even as a free user.
- 15GB of data per month and okay speeds
- 1 free server
- 1 device connection
- Can unblock: Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram
- Compatible with: Windows (7, 8, 10, & 11), Mac, iOS, and Android
Hotspot Shield supports P2P file sharing and is fast enough for torrenting small files on your Windows PC. I had an average speed of 21.4 Mbps during my tests, which allowed me to download a 500MB file in under 5 minutes. Unfortunately, it only offers 1 server located in the US (I’m in Western Europe, which is more than 5,000 km away). You can try Hotspot Shield’s unique Catapult Hydra protocol to speed up long-distance connections, but I still had a 69% drop from my base connection rate.
It uses a kill switch, AES-256 bit encryption, and IP/DNS leak protection. I didn’t find any leaks during my tests on my Windows PC, so it will protect your data. I suggest setting up its public WiFi auto-connect, so your connection is always encrypted on unsecured WiFi.
Hotspot Shield’s logging policy was a bit concerning to me. It keeps logs of the bandwidth you consume and the duration of the VPN sessions. All the data is anonymous, but there are other free VPNs available with better privacy policies.
I liked that I didn’t need to sign up or register to use Hotspot Shield’s Windows app. This way, you can be sure that the VPN doesn’t get hold of any of your contact or billing details. Additionally, it’s compatible with Windows 7 and higher, the app is user-friendly, and you can connect to a server with one click. What’s less user-friendly is its customer support; you won’t have access to the live chat with a free account.
It offers 15GB of data per month, but it’s limited to only 500MB per day. So, I couldn’t stream in HD with Hotspot Shield as I ran out of data quickly. However, it is enough data to check your mail, update your social media, and download some music files on your Windows PC.
- 500MB of data per month and decent speeds
- 2,600 free servers in 48 locations
- 5 simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram
- Compatible with: Windows (7, 8, 10, & 11), Mac, iOS, and Android
TunnelBear’s user-friendly app allows you to connect to a server with 1 click. It’s compatible with Windows 7 and up, and it took me 5 minutes to install. On top of that, it offers a ton of servers compared to most free VPNs. With 2,600 servers in 48 countries, it’s way easier to find a location close to you (for better speeds).
Its security features keep the data on your Windows device safe. TunnelBear offers an automatic kill switch, IP/DNS leak protection, AES 256-bit encryption, and GhostBear (an obfuscation feature that is designed to work on restricted networks). If you have an unstable connection, I recommend turning on TCP Override in the Windows app’s settings. The override feature forces TunnelBear to use a more dependable tunneling protocol (TCP), for a more stable (but slower) connection.
Your privacy on your Windows device is protected as well. Tunnelbear has a solid no-logs policy that has been verified by independent security companies. It may store cookies on your browser when you visit its website, so I recommend clearing those out once you finish downloading the app.
It’s too bad local servers were slow and long-distance ones were even worse. When I tested its nearby locations on my Windows PC, I had an average speed of 15.6 Mbps. This was 77% slower than my speeds with no VPN. Its long-distance servers in the US and Japan gave me an average of only 10.14 Mbps. I suggest using the closest server for usable speeds. Thankfully, I was able to access Netflix US with TunnelBear’s server network.
Unfortunately, TunnelBear isn’t great for streaming on your Windows device because it has a data cap of 500MB per month. However, if you want an extra 1GB of free data a month, you can tweet the company.
Here you can quickly compare the top features for the Best Free VPNs for Windows devices:
Tips on How to Choose the Best Free VPN for Windows
My team and I used the following criteria to determine which free VPNs to shortlist as the best for Windows. Feel free to use this criteria yourself if you’re not sure which VPN is best for you yet.
- Really free. I ensured that all the VPNs on my list are either completely free or have a trustworthy money-back guarantee.
- Advanced security and privacy features. I checked that all VPNs on this list have AES 256-bit encryption and IP/DNS leak protection. Plus, I read every logging policy to ensure that none of these VPNs store any of your identifiable data.
- Fast speeds and enough data. I checked all the data limits and tested the speeds of all these VPNs to make sure you can browse the internet without slowdowns for a reasonable duration of time. I also chose VPNs that offer a number of free servers, which can help give you faster speeds.
- Supports torrenting. I made sure that most VPNs on my list support torrenting. If you want a free VPN for torrenting, it’s important to check that it actually allows P2P sharing on its free servers.
- Can unblock some streaming sites. Most free VPNs won’t unblock streaming sites at all, but I made sure to shortlist some free options that could at least unblock Netflix.
- Good customer support. I ensured that it was easy to get in touch with customer support in case you need help. 24/7 live chats are the best, but not all free VPNs offer them.
Warning: Risks of Free VPNs
Most free VPNs for Windows can be a threat to your online safety. It’s important to read reviews and do your research — don’t just download any random free VPN because it could be dangerous. To make finding a safe free VPN easy, I tested all of the free VPNs on this list and they’re safe.
These are some of the dangers to look out for with many free VPNs:
- Free VPNs can log and sell your data. Free VPNs often make a profit by selling your personal information to third parties. Be sure to choose a VPN with a strict zero-logs policy, so your online data is always protected.
- Free VPNs can have data leaks due to weak security features. Since free VPNs often don’t have the resources to update their security protocols, IP/DNS data leaks can occur. In addition, they often come without essential security features such as a kill switch and military-grade encryption.
- Free VPNs can infect your device with viruses and malware. Some free VPNs have malware and viruses embedded in their app. Furthermore, because most free VPNs rely on advertising to make a profit, they often bombard you with ads, which could increase the risk of infecting your device.
Free VPNs to Avoid
The following free VPNs are not safe to use and should be avoided. They can share your data with third parties or include malware and viruses.
- Hola Free: Hola’s free VPN is pretty popular, but it’s not a VPN. It’s actually a peer-to-peer network. This means that you share your own personal IP with strangers, who could potentially use it to perform illegal activities. These could then be traced back to you.
- CrossVPN: This free VPN was flagged as unsafe by more than 10 different anti-virus programs. It’s known to infect devices with malware (particularly Trojan viruses).
- TurboVPN: Full of targeted advertisements and trackers. This VPN logs and shares your data with third parties.
- Betternet VPN: It was caught with a high level of malware embedded in the app. Moreover, it keeps logs of your personal information (such as domains you’ve visited, your location, and what device you’re using).
Quick Guide: How to Set Up a Free VPN on Windows
- Download a free VPN. My top recommendation is ExpressVPN. It has an extensive server network, robust security features, and superfast speeds. It’s not a completely free service, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Connect to a server. Make sure to connect to a server nearby if you want to keep your speeds as fast as possible.
- Start browsing! Now you can safely browse on your Windows device.
FAQs About Free VPNs for Windows PCs
Are free Windows VPNs safe?
A few of them are, but you’ll still be using a severely limited service. So many free VPNs available in the Microsoft Store have weak security features — or worse — sell your data for a profit. This list includes only the safest free VPNs for Windows, so you don’t have to worry about checking to see whether a free VPN is going to store and sell your private information (or come with the surprise of malware).
But even with free VPNs that are safe, there’s a catch. While some free VPNs come with fantastic security features and proven no-logs policies, you’ll usually find other limitations like small server networks, slow speeds, weak unblocking capabilities, and only 1 device connection.
Are there free VPNs for Windows with P2P/torrenting support?
Yes, but data limits, slow speeds, and weaker security features limit them as top choices for torrenters. You can find the best free VPNs with P2P support in this list. Unfortunately, not all free VPNs even support torrenting, so you need to make sure you choose one that does. You also need to make sure it offers enough data for the file you want to download. Some free VPNs only come with a measly 500MB of data monthly, which isn’t even enough for 1 TV episode.
Are there free VPNs for Windows without registration?
Yes, some free VPNs let you use them without signing up for anything. There are 3 free VPNs listed here that don’t require any sign-up information (including no e-mail address). This is great if you’re privacy-minded and just want to download a free app and go.
Is there a free unlimited VPN for Windows?
Yes, there are a few free VPNs that offer unlimited data on Windows. There are several unlimited VPNs in this list to choose from. ProtonVPN is the best 100% free VPN without a data cap. However, like all free VPNs, it has other limitations. In this case, a smaller server network (100 free servers in 3 countries) and slow speeds.
Does Windows 10 have a built-in VPN?
Not really, but Windows 10 lets you manually set up VPN connections. I don’t recommend this because manual connections lack advanced features like a kill switch, split tunneling, and multiple security protocols. Plus, you’ll still have to find your own (third-party) VPN service to make it work. Moreover, I found the process inconvenient as you have to set it up every time you want to connect. You’re better off just using a VPN app since you have to sign up for a service anyway (and they don’t require any manual configuration).
Are free VPNs legal to use?
It depends on local laws. The use of VPNs to protect your online data is legal in most countries around the world. Only a few countries (such as China and Iran) have banned them or regulate their use, so it’s best to read up on the rules in countries like that before using a VPN there. In addition, using a VPN to perform illegal activities does not make those activities legal. The team at vpnMentor doesn’t condone the use of VPNs to break any laws.
Protect Your Windows PC Today
Free VPNs can be unsafe and many sell your data to make a profit. While I was able to make a list of several safe and trustworthy free VPNs, they all come with limitations — data restrictions, slow speeds, and ads get in the way of your browsing and streaming.
That’s why I recommend a low-cost premium VPN like ExpressVPN even though it’s not completely free. It offers military-grade security features, unlimited data, and superfast speeds that you simply can’t find in a free VPN. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test ExpressVPN out risk-free. If you’re not satisfied, you can always claim a refund.
The best VPNs for Windows with money-back guarantees are…
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