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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

9 Best Free VPNs in 2024 — Safe App Downloads

Christine Johansen Updated on 7th May 2024 Fact-checked by Kate Richards Senior Editor

While there are plenty of options, finding a free VPN that’s safe and reliable can prove tricky. I’ve seen tons of horror stories about free VPNs not protecting user data as they claim or even selling it to advertisers for a profit. Free VPNs with decent security can also have limitations, like severe data caps and slow speeds that render them virtually useless.

My team and I tested 100+ free VPNs and listed the best ones that are actually safe to use. While every completely free VPN has its limitations, some are better suited for certain online activities than others. For versatility and reliability, I always recommend a low-cost premium VPN instead.

My top recommendation is ExpressVPN. Admittedly, it’s not 100% free, but it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. I included it in this list because it doesn’t limit you like the free options. You get unlimited data and fast speeds, plus it works seamlessly with the most popular streaming services. Its refund policy is dependable and straightforward, too; I got my money back 3 days after making my claim. Editors' Note: Expressvpn and this site are in the same ownership group.

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free >>

Short on Time? Here Are the Best Free VPNs in 2024

  1. Editor's Choice
    Fast, secure, and reliable for diverse online activities, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee.
    70% of our readers choose ExpressVPN
  2. Proton VPN
    Proton VPN
    Completely free with unlimited data, but struggles with major streaming platforms.
  3. Avira Phantom VPN
    Avira Phantom
    Free VPN with unlimited device connections, but missing a kill switch feature.
  4. hide.me VPN
    Customizable security settings for tailored VPN use, but free tier limits to 1 device.

See 5 More Free VPNs

Best Free VPNs — Full Analysis (Updated 2024)

1. ExpressVPN — Overall Best VPN With Unlimited Data, Fast Speeds, and Strong Privacy Protection

Best Feature No limitations — fast, safe, and reliable
Monthly Data Allowance Unlimited
Works With Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and more
Free Option 30-day money-back guarantee
Editors' Note: Expressvpn and this site are in the same ownership group.

ExpressVPN is equipped with everything you need for a wide range of activities. Not only does it protect you with industry-leading security and privacy features, but it’s also the fastest, most dependable VPN, even compared to other paid VPNs.

While 100% free options limit you, you get uncapped data and speeds with ExpressVPN. Not only that, but it’s the fastest VPN I tested. With a base of 128.31Mbps, I got an average of 120.17Mbps on nearby servers (a drop of 6%). I was pretty impressed that it only dipped to 113.57Mbps when I connected to Toronto, which is thousands of miles from me.

Speed test results from ExpressVPN's Toronto and London serversThe little bit of speed I lost while connected to Toronto wasn’t even noticeable

These high-speed connections make ExpressVPN ideal for streaming — you can watch your favorite streaming platforms in crystal clear quality. Unlike the fully free VPNs, it worked with every platform the global team and I tested within a few clicks. You could, hypothetically, use ExpressVPN to access content from abroad, but this approach contradicts streaming services' T&Cs.

ExpressVPN’s entire network of 3,000 servers in 105 countries supports torrenting. Many free VPNs don’t allow P2P traffic. Or, you can only use a couple of servers for free, leading to congestion and slow downloads. That’s never been the case with ExpressVPN when I’ve used it for large torrent files.

The thing is, completely free VPNs don’t come nearly as feature-packed as this; you will have to pay upfront to try ExpressVPN risk-free, but its 30-day money-back guarantee is one you can count on. I made sure this was the case and used the 24/7 live chat to test it out. The agent just asked why I wanted to cancel. My refund was then issued within 3 days.

Useful Features

  • Steadfast dedication to privacy. ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands and outside of the 14 Eyes data-sharing alliance. That means it’s not legally obligated to store, record, or hand over user data. Even if it were, there would be nothing to show since it uses RAM-based servers and has an audited no-logs policy.
  • Strong security. It comes with leak protection, a kill switch, and military-grade encryption. It also has automatic obfuscation on every server. This allows ExpressVPN to work in countries with strict censorship, like China.
  • Speed-optimizing features. ExpressVPN’s own protocol (Lightway) is optimized to achieve top speeds without compromising security. You get split tunneling, too — I use this to encrypt traffic coming from select apps (like Netflix), so my speeds aren’t affected in other ones.
  • User-friendly and highly compatible. It takes just a few minutes to install on the most popular operating systems and devices. Also, its Smart DNS feature (MediaStreamer) lets you stream on devices not usually compatible with VPNs, like game consoles and smart TVs.
ExpressVPN Offer June 2024: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

2. Proton VPN — Completely Free VPN Without Data Caps for Unlimited and Safe Browsing

Best Feature Zero limits on monthly data usage
Monthly Data Allowance Unlimited
Works With Netflix (originals), Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Kodi
Free Option Forever Free plan

While most free VPNs impose caps, Proton VPN is a 100% free VPN that offers unlimited monthly data. This is very beneficial if you require extensive online data usage for activities like browsing, streaming, and downloading.

Screenshot of Proton VPN's free Windows app next to a screenshot of the free plan details from its websiteI never had to worry about getting interrupted or cut off in the middle of my online sessions

Unlimited data may make this free VPN stand out as a top option for safe torrenting, but unfortunately, none of the free servers support P2P traffic. You need to upgrade your account in order to access these servers.

With Proton VPN’s free plan, you get access to servers in 5 different countries — the US, the Netherlands, Japan, Romania, and Poland. These connections are all high-speed and stable, too, making it ideal for smooth browsing and streaming.

When I tested Proton VPN, it worked with Youtube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion. Although, I was disappointed that the free plan doesn’t work with more popular platforms like Netflix or Hulu. You can temporarily test Proton VPN’s premium version with these websites, though, with its 7-day free trial.

You don’t need to provide payment information to use Proton VPN, but you do need to give an email. This also grants you access to a 7-day trial of its premium plan, which worked great for watching content and torrent downloads.

Useful Features

  • Dependable security and privacy. It offers AES-256 encryption, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch that blocks internet traffic if your free VPN loses connection. Additionally, it protects your data by following a strict no-logs policy.
  • Speed Accelerator feature. Proton VPN advertises that it only gives you access to "medium" speeds with the free plan. But with VPN Accelerator enabled, I only lost about 1% of my baseline connection on local UK servers. While testing 2 US servers, I averaged a 15% speed reduction (leaving me with 102.78Mbps) — which is pretty impressive.
  • Router support. Unlike most free VPNs, Proton VPN can be set up on your router. This helps you overcome the free plan’s limitation of 1 device connection.
  • Simple interface. Proton VPN's free app is clean and streamlined, with easy navigation and clear descriptions of each feature, making it a great option for anyone who wants a hassle-free VPN experience.

3. Avira Phantom VPN — Unlimited Connections to Cover Your Household’s Devices for Free

Best Feature Unlimited simultaneous device connections
Monthly Data Allowance 500MB per month (1GB if you provide your email)
Works With Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and more
Free Option Forever Free plan

You can protect any amount of devices with Avira Phantom VPN, but I was especially impressed with its free mobile apps for Android and iOS. They offer tons of servers and work with some popular streaming platforms — this is rare for a free VPN.

Unlike Avira’s desktop client, which only lets you connect to a server using the "Nearest Location” feature, Avira’s free mobile apps offer servers in 49+ locations. This also includes a streaming-optimized one. My US colleague tested its US streaming server on their iPhone and reported that it worked with Netflix US, Hulu, and Disney+ without hassle.

Screenshot of Avira's mobile appIts "Nearest Location” feature automatically connects you to the fastest server nearby

Its desktop and mobile apps have decent speeds and support torrenting. When I tested out its torrenting capabilities, I had a speed of 86.43Mbps (on a UK server). This let me download a 100MB file from uTorrent in 9 seconds. Just be aware that it lacks a kill switch, so your online activity risks exposure once you run out of data.

That said, you only get 500MB of monthly data with this free VPN (1GB if you sign up with your email), which isn’t sufficient for large downloads or extensive streaming. However, there is a 7-day trial of the premium version (only on mobile), which includes unlimited data.

Useful Features

  • Robust security and privacy features. All of its apps protect you with a zero-logs policy, leak protection, and 256-bit encryption. It also offers an "auto-connect” feature that automatically connects the VPN if it detects an untrusted Wi-Fi network.
  • Malware protection. With 1 click, you can enable a feature on desktop to block malicious sites and content.
  • OpenVPN protocol. Avira Phantom VPN's Windows, macOS, and Android apps use this trusted protocol. On iOS, it only offers IPsec, though.

4. hide.me — Entirely Free With Customizable Security to Fine-Tune Your VPN Use

Best Feature Plenty of adjustable settings
Monthly Data Allowance Unlimited
Works With Netflix, Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram
Free Option Forever Free plan

Along with military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection, hide.me's free plan has a ton of advanced security settings. Stealth Guard allows you to bind the VPN to your network (or just certain apps) for top security.

This free VPN also comes with an impressive 5 protocols, including WireGuard, OpenVPN, and SoftEther. WireGuard gave me the best speeds — I lost about 26% while connected to New York, which is decent.

screenshot showing protocols available with hideme free and all the customization options for each protocolTo help guide you, hide.me provides descriptions of its features

The VPN has 8 free servers located in the US (East and West), Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, and Singapore. My global team and I tested some of these servers from our home countries. Netflix in Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany worked great. However, in the US, I could only stream Netflix Originals.

Its no-logs policy is solid but not flawless. It logs anonymized data like your total amount of data traffic, randomly generated usernames, and assigned IP addresses. However, this data is erased every few hours and can’t be used to identify you.

You can only use hide.me’s free VPN on 1 device at a time — but it is possible to turn your laptop into an encrypted router. You just have to set up hide.me on your laptop, turn on the WiFi hotspot, and connect all your devices to it.

Useful Features

  • Free 24/7 live chat. I used this a few times, and the support agents were helpful and friendly, even though I wasn’t a paying customer.
  • Torrenting support. With split tunneling, custom port selection, and unlimited data and decent speeds, it’s not a bad option for safe torrenting.

5. Hotspot Shield — Free Plan With a Proprietary Hydra Protocol for High-Speed Security

Best Feature Hydra protocol for optimal performance
Monthly Data Allowance Unlimited
Works With Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and more
Free Option Forever Free plan

Hotspot Shield's free VPN plan stands out with its proprietary Hydra protocol, which optimizes speed, security, and performance compared to the other protocols I tested (WireGuard and IKEv2). Hydra achieves this by using multiple parallel channels for data transmission, reducing latency, and improving connection speeds. I found Hydra effective during my most recent tests.

Screenshot showing Hotspot Shield Free VPN affect on ping or latencyThe lower your ping rate, the more responsive your connection (for gaming, a low ping is necessary)

Its free VPN offers unlimited data, which is a rarity. The free plan supports P2P traffic, too, so this is a solid choice if you’re looking to protect yourself while torrenting.

Hotspot Shield's no-logs policy is decent. However, as a free user, anonymized data like bandwidth usage, device type, and OS version are collected. This information is aggregated and cannot be used to identify you, though. It only has a kill switch on its Windows app, as well.

I also found the free VPN app a bit annoying to use — it’s ad-supported, so I was faced with annoying popups asking me to upgrade to the paid plan while connected to its free servers. Even though streaming servers show up on the home screen, you can’t use them. However, my team and I could still watch Netflix UK, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer from our respective countries using Hotspot Shield's free servers in those countries.

You don’t need an email to use this free VPN. However, if you want access to its 7-day free premium trial, then you need to use an email and provide payment information.

Useful Features

  • Multiple server locations. You get 4 server locations: 2 in the US, 1 in the UK, and 1 in Singapore.
  • Standard security features. It has a few customization options — for instance, Start on launch connects the VPN when you launch your device’s software, and Local network lets you access your regular internet connection via the VPN. Plus, split tunneling, military-grade encryption, automatic WiFi protection, and leak protection.

6. TunnelBear — Free VPN with a Large Server Network for Reliable Connections

Best Feature Access to its entire network of servers in 47 locations
Monthly Data Allowance 2GB
Works With Netflix, Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram
Free Option Forever Free plan

TunnelBear's free VPN plan sets itself apart by granting users access to its entire server network, spanning over 47 countries. This is a notable advantage compared to other free VPNs that often limit server locations. With its wide range of servers, you could theoretically use Tunnelbear to access Netflix UK and Canada from abroad, but this goes against the platforms' terms of service.

Screenshot showing TunnelBear Free VPN user interface and how to select server locationsYou can also select “Fastest Server” to be automatically assigned the best connection

GhostBear (obfuscation) is another unique feature of TunnelBear's free VPN. GhostBear disguises VPN traffic as regular internet traffic to bypass network restrictions. This is especially useful when using online services from school, work, hotels, etc. GhostBear is available on all TunnelBear-supported platforms except iOS.

The free package offers 2GB of monthly data that you can use on multiple devices. However, apps are limited to Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, and TunnelBear doesn’t support routers.

Useful Features

  • Fun and intuitive interface. TunnelBear's engaging bear-themed design and user-friendly interface make this free VPN an attractive choice if you value simplicity and ease of use. The use of bear puns and cute animations made testing this free VPN (actually) fun.
  • Solid for privacy. While it’s located in Canada, a not-so-privacy-friendly country, TunnelBear undergoes annual security audits of its infrastructure and apps and adheres to a strict no-logs policy.

7. Speedify — Completely Free VPN With Fast Nearby and Long-Distance Connections

Best Feature Bonding Mode prioritizes connections for optimal speeds and performance
Monthly Data Allowance 2GB
Works With Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram
Free Option Forever Free plan

Speedify's free VPN offers a unique feature called Bonding Mode. I used this feature to combine my home WiFi and mobile data to boost speed and reliability. This can be a game-changer if you're dealing with slow or unstable connections, as it enhances your overall online experience.

Screenshot showing bonding mode on Speedify's free VPN appYou can choose between 2 kinds of bonding, “Speed” and “Redundant” and have an “enhance streaming” option, too.

This is another free VPN that offers good server coverage — you get server locations in 25 countries. This gives you greater flexibility for optimizing connection speeds compared to other free VPNs with limited server options.

Speedify states that it does temporarily store some of your data (including your IP address, a unique device identifier, and timestamps). But it never logs your online activities or associates them with your IP address or device.

You don’t have to sign up to use the free VPN plan, which provides a 2 GB monthly data allowance. That’s decent for light browsing but pretty limiting for streaming or torrenting. You can access a 7-day free trial once you download the free app, which gives you unlimited speeds and data. Keep in mind that the free plan allows usage on only one device at a time.

Useful Features

  • Split Tunneling. The Bypass feature lets you decide which apps or websites use the VPN connection and which go straight to the internet, giving you more control over your connection.
  • Strong encryption. With AES-256-GCM encryption, you can trust that your data is secure while using Speedify. You have to upgrade to use the kill switch, since the free VPN doesn’t offer this.

8. Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN — User-Friendly Free VPN That’s Great for Beginners

Best Feature Super basic free VPN for instant online protection
Monthly Data Allowance 6 GB (200MB per day)
Works With YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram
Free Option Forever Free plan

Kaspersky VPN's free plan offers a basic and easy-to-use VPN experience, ideal if you’re new to VPNs or just want minimal protection for casual browsing. Its straightforward interface and automatic server selection make using it hassle-free, and you don’t need any advanced technical knowledge at all.

Screenshot showing Kaspersky Secure Connection Free User InterfaceThe only settings you can change are the free VPN’s protocol and to turn on WiFi protection

Because it was developed by the well-established cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, you can be sure the VPN was developed with your internet safety in mind. Kapersky is well-trusted for its robust security software that helps you protect your online data. That said, I was disappointed that the free version of this VPN doesn't come with a kill switch.

That being said, this free VPN is Russian-owned, and its privacy policy is questionable. You need to download a different software depending on your location, and there’s a different privacy policy for each version. When I downloaded the EU software, I had to give permission to share my data with third parties. If privacy is a concern, then you should look for another free VPN.

Useful Features

  • 5 device connections. You can use it on major operating systems but not routers or other devices.
  • Offers WireGuard. You can choose between the Hydra and WireGuard protocols with the free VPN app.

9. Opera VPN — A Free VPN Browser with a Built-In Ad Blocker

Best Feature Simple to use for secure and private browsing
Monthly Data Allowance Unlimited
Works With Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram
Free Option Forever Free VPN browser

Opera VPN's free browser is a convenient all-in-one package for safe browsing, offering not just a built-in free VPN but also ad and tracker blocking features. This makes it super easy to enhance your privacy and security while surfing the web without having to juggle multiple tools or browser extensions.

The free VPN feature is incredibly basic — it’s just a switch you toggle on or off in the browser’s settings. You can't choose which server location you connect to or change any security settings whatsoever. Despite these limitations, I was pretty surprised that it worked with Netflix Netherlands during our tests in the Netherlands. .

Screenshot showing the VPN setting in Opera VPN Free browserYou can also try out Opera’s VPN Pro plan with a 7-day free trial under the browser’s VPN settings

Since it’s a browser, Opera only encrypts browser traffic, leaving other applications and online activities on your device unprotected. So it’s not useful for something like torrenting but can be a good choice for streaming or protected browsing.

Useful Features

  • Decent privacy policy. Opera VPN has a fairly trustworthy logging policy, stating that they don't store any information about your browsing activity or originating IP address.
  • Unlimited data and speeds. With Opera VPN, you can enjoy unlimited data and speeds, making it a fantastic option for users who don't want to worry about hitting a data cap while browsing.

Quick Comparison Table: Best Free VPNs

All of the recommended free VPNs are safe to use — but they vary quite a bit as far as which online activities they’re most compatible with. Use the following table to compare and contrast each free VPN in this list.

When engaging in data-intensive activities like streaming and torrenting, it is advisable to seek a free VPN that offers a generous data allowance or, ideally, unlimited data. The availability of server locations can influence the accessibility of certain websites and applications, and having torrenting support is essential for sharing peer-to-peer files.

You may also want to consider how many household members or devices you’ll need to share the free VPN with. Also, if you’d rather not provide an email while signing up, there are a few free VPNs that don’t require you to do so.

Speeds Best For Data Limits Simultaneos device connections # of server locations Sign up required? Torrenting allowed?
🥇ExpressVPN Very fast Streaming, Torrenting, Privacy Unlimited 8 3,000 servers in 105 countries Yes Yes
🥈ProtonVPN Average Privacy, Browsing Unlimited 1 5 Yes No
🥉Avira Phantom VPN Fast Privacy, Streaming (on mobile) 1GB Unlimited 1 (desktop), 49 (mobile) Yes Yes
hide.me Average Privacy, Streaming, Torrenting Unlimited 1 8 No Yes
Hotspot Shield Fast Streaming, Torrenting Unlimited 1 3 No Yes
TunnelBear Average Privacy, Streaming 2GB Unlimited 47 No Yes
Kaspersky VPN Average Browsing 6GB (200MB/day) 5 1 No Yes
Speedify Fast Browsing 2GB 1 25 No Yes
Opera VPN Browser Average Privacy, Browsing Unlimited Unlimited 1 No No

Tips on How to Choose the Best Free VPN

Free VPNs vary quite significantly in terms of what they offer — so which VPN is best for you really depends on your intended use for it. Still, there are some essential qualifications that are worth checking into to ensure you’re at least choosing a VPN that’s safe and provides basic capabilities. Here are the general criteria I used while ranking my top free VPN choices:

  • Entirely risk-free — Every forever free VPN on this list has been tested to ensure it won’t suddenly try to charge you,  ExpressVPN has been proven to uphold their money-back guarantees.
  • Military-grade security — All of the listed VPNs protect you with military-grade 256-bit encryption and IP/DNS leak protection at the very least. Without this, there’s no point in using a VPN in the first place.
  • Strict no-logs policy — Some free VPNs will happily log and share your data with advertisers, government agencies, and anyone else who asks. None of the VPNs in this list log or share any of your identifiable information.
  • Good speeds with enough data — Free VPNs should provide enough speed and monthly data to actually be useful. The absolute best free VPNs have sufficient speed for streaming HD content with no data caps.
  • Large server network — If your free VPN doesn’t have enough servers, you’ll run into constant performance and connection issues due to server overcrowding. Pick a free VPN that offers at least 100+ servers to ensure better reliability.
  • Supports torrenting — Not all free VPNs support P2P file sharing. Choose a VPN that is torrent-friendly.
  • User-friendly and responsive app — Many free VPNs bombard you with ads and have an unclear UI, which can be highly frustrating. Choose a VPN that abides by a no-ads policy and offers a simple interface, making it quick and easy to connect to the ideal server.
  • Device compatibility — A lot of free VPNs are limited to just a few devices — if you wish to use them with less popular OS, such as Linux, or devices such as Smart TVs, you’re usually out of luck. However, there are a few free VPNs that are more versatile, such as the ones I’ve picked above.
  • Helpful customer support — In most cases, only premium VPNs offer 24/7 live chat, which can save you a lot of hassle if a question comes up. If live chat isn’t available, check for other means of getting support, such as email, a contact form, or at the very least, a comprehensive FAQs page on its website.

Expert Tip: What Free VPN Providers May Not Tell You

All of the free VPNs on this list have been tried and tested, and I've read through their privacy policies to ensure they're trustworthy and safe to use. Although they do have some limitations, there are a lot of other free VPNs that come with real dangers that could cost you in other ways.

Some dangers of using free VPNs are:

  • They may collect and sell your data. You should always read any VPN’s privacy policy carefully (especially free ones) to make sure you’re actually being protected. There have been cases of free VPNs selling user data despite their privacy policies promising otherwise. That completely defeats the purpose of using a VPN since you’re using it to protect your privacy and data.
  • Free VPNs can leak your info. Many free VPNs lack key security features (like leak protection and a kill switch), so they can’t be trusted to protect your data. IP and DNS leaks are common, which can reveal your location, browsing history, and other personal information.
  • Some free VPNs contain viruses and malware. A lot of free VPNs are created as ways to infect your device (not protect it) with viruses and malware packaged into the software. In addition, free VPNs often rely on advertising for revenue. This means that the chance of your device becoming infected by malicious ads is higher with free VPNs.
  • Some free VPNs come from shady sources. A decent amount of free VPNs (especially mobile apps) are tied to sketchy VPN parent companies. For instance, Innovative Connecting owns a collection of free VPNs, including Turbo VPN, Hot VPN, Snap VPN, and more. The problem is that this company’s product development team is based in China, which is a massive privacy concern.

Generally speaking, your best bet is to use a trusted, low-cost premium VPN (ExpressVPN is our top pick). Premium VPNs offer strong security features and strict no-logging policies to keep your personal data safe. Plus, plenty of them come with money-back guarantees, so you can test them risk-free for a period of time. If you’re not impressed, you can claim a full refund.

Which Devices Do Free VPNs Work On?

Most free VPNs are compatible with laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones — sometimes more. The free VPNs in this list provide apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. The native apps make it super quick and easy to install. Some are even compatible with Linux and Fire devices, while others have free Firefox and Chrome extensions.

Smart DNS features, like ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer, give you more versatility, so it’s a shame that most of the 100% free options on this list don’t offer it. It allows you to set it up on devices that normally don’t work with VPNs (like some smart TVs and game consoles). On top of this, the ability to install the VPN on a router is a major plus, but most free VPNs aren’t router-compatible.

On the other hand, most premium VPNs can be set up on different routers, and they even offer detailed guides on how to do this. For instance, ExpressVPN is compatible with more routers than any other VPN I’ve tested, so you can set it up and cover all the devices on your home network. It also comes with a dedicated router firmware and app.

Most free VPNs only let you connect to one device at a time, so keep in mind that even if it’s compatible with lots of your devices, you won’t be able to connect them all at once.

Free VPNs You Should Avoid

You always have to be careful when considering free services — I found some really untrustworthy free VPNs with major security flaws. Unlike the free services on my list, these free VPNs are dangerous to use and should be avoided:

  • Hola Free VPN — This isn't a real VPN; it's an unsafe P2P network that uses your IP address. Your traffic isn't encrypted, so you may even face legal issues if others use your IP for illegal activities. Hola logs your personal data, including your real IP, name, email, payment information, and visited sites.
  • Psiphon — This free VPN logs region codes, domain names you’ve visited, connection time stamps, and more. Even more alarming — it keeps these logs for up to 90 days. Psiphon is also full of ads and shares statistics and user data with its commercial partners.
  • Touch VPN — While popular, this free VPN logs a worrying amount of your data, including timestamped browsing activity, device information, and approximate location. To make things worse, it allows its "Business Partners" to track and collect information on you while you're connected.
  • VPN Gate — This uses volunteer-run servers, which opens the door for potential data collection and monitoring by various individuals. Its "Anti-Abuse Policy" states that it logs your IP, browsing, and shares data with government agencies.
  • LinkVPN — LinkVPN’s privacy policy states that it stores your data and that affiliates of the app and government agencies also have full access. It’s also not immediately clear who created the free VPN — after some digging, it seems to be a solo developer based in China who has been responsible for other privacy-violating VPNs, like SuperVPN.
  • Other free VPNs to avoid — Betternet VPN, SuperVPN, ThunderVPN, AnonyTun, CrossVPN, sFly Network Booster, OKVPN, EasyVPN, Hoxx VPN, Archie VPN, Hat VPN, Private Pipe VPN, Tuxler VPN, GO VPN, Hexatech, Faceless.me, FinchVPN, VPN One Click, Fast Secure Payment, and TurboVPN.

Free vs Paid VPNs: Which Is Best for You?

Here's a brief summary of the key distinctions between free and paid VPNs, designed to help you make a well-informed choice between the two options:

  • Cost. Of course, the main benefit of a VPN that’s really free is that it doesn’t cost anything. Alternatively, reputable paid VPNs offer a money-back guarantee, which allows you to claim a full refund if you’re not satisfied. You do need to pay up front to try the service, though.
  • Speed. While most VPNs can give you fast nearby connections, long-distance connections are the real test. ExpressVPN never lost more than 35% of my speeds — even while connected across the world. However, the entirely free options averaged between a 40-80% speed loss on faraway servers. Depending on your baseline connection, this could cause severe lag.
  • Data allowance. It’s common for free VPNs to limit your data usage. As an example, Avira Phantom VPN’s free version caps you to 500MB of data per month, or 1GB if you sign up with your email address. That’s only good for up to 8 hours of streaming. Paid VPNs generally offer unlimited data, allowing you to torrent and stream as much as you like.
  • Servers network. Most VPNs limit the servers you can use for free. This can also lead to user overload, which leads to slower connections. For reference, ExpressVPN offers 105 server locations, while Avira Phantom offers 49 locations. Although this is way more than any free VPN I tested, you can only use them via mobile apps.
  • Security and privacy. Premium VPNs offer military-grade encryption, robust DNS/IP protection, and proven no-logs policies to protect your data. While the free VPNs listed here are safe to use, many free VPNs struggle to offer the same level of security and privacy. Some even log your data and sell it to third-party advertisers.
  • Torrenting support. Not all VPNs that are really free support P2P connections.  It’s much easier to torrent with a paid VPN, as you’ll have unlimited data and much better speeds.
  • Customer support. VPN support teams tend to prioritize paying customers rather than those on a free plan. This means you’re likely to get more responsive customer support with a paid VPN — usually via a 24/7 live chat feature.

FAQs About Free VPNs

Is there a 100% free VPN?

Yes, there is. Most of the VPNs in this list don’t require you to pay anything to use them. Which one is best for you depends on your intended use. Although each has its own set of limitations, they’re all safe to use and provide you with some basic capabilities. These limitations are usually intended to encourage you to sign up for the premium version.

A completely free VPN won’t require any upfront payment. If payment credentials are required to sign up, it usually means it’s a free trial, and you’ll be charged at the end of a certain period. On the other hand, paid VPNs require payment up front, but most reputable services give you a money-back guarantee period to test out their full-featured services.

Are free VPNs safe, and can they be hacked?

Free VPNs aren’t always 100% safe, and yes, some can be hacked easier than others. I ensured that the VPNs in this list are safe to use by reading their privacy policies — none of them store any identifiable information. I also performed IP/DNS leak tests to make sure my data was properly hidden, and they all passed the test.

Many free VPNs can be dangerous for several reasons. Some don’t offer strong encryption, which can make it all too easy for a hacker to intercept your connection. Others keep logs and share that data with third parties, like advertisers, to make money. Unfortunately, that’s not all — I encountered free VPNs that even contain malware embedded in the apps.

Is there a free unlimited VPN?

Yes. A couple of the free VPNs in this list offer unlimited monthly data for free, but limit the servers you can use. Others give you access to their entire server network, but limit your data. Free VPNs always have their limitations — that’s how they push users to subscribe to a paid service. Other restrictions may include blocked P2P traffic, and weak security features.

What's the fastest free VPN?

The first entirely free VPN on my list had the fastest speeds in my tests. When testing its nearby connections, Proton VPN only slowed down my speeds by about 1%. That said, I lost a bit more speed while connected abroad. US connections gave me around 15-17% speed loss, but when I tested servers in Japan, I lost between 30-37%.

How much this will impact your online activities really depends on how fast your baseline speed is. If you plan to connect to servers at long-distances or don’t have the fastest base speeds, it’s usually best to opt for speed-optimized premium VPN like ExpressVPN.

Can I use a free VPN for streaming football?

It may be possible, but which is best depends on a few factors. These include data and speeds. You’ll want to ensure the free VPN provides enough data to cover the game. For instance, for a 3-hour football match in HD, you’ll need about 10GB of data. Fast speeds are also important. The free VPN should offer servers near you to stream without buffering.

Which free VPN is best for Netflix?

Although most free VPNs don't reliably work with Netflix, I found a couple that do. Of the really free VPN options I tested, Hotspot Shield and hide.me were the best for watching Netflix — but they have their limitations. Hotspot Shield is fast with unlimited data, but testers in the UK couldn't get Netflix UK to work. On the other hand, when testing hide.me from the Netherlands and Canada, their respective Netflix libraries loaded almost instantly. However, it caps you at 10GB of monthly data (about 3 hours of HD streaming).

You'll usually only find the entire package (reliable streaming, fast speeds, and unlimited data) in a premium VPN. Taking that into consideration, ExpressVPN is my top pick for Netflix. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

What is the best free VPN for torrenting?

The best completely free VPN for torrenting is Hotspot Shield, since it has military-grade encryption and unlimited data. However, it only offers free servers in 4 locations, which causes slowdowns due to congestion. So, it's likely you won't have the fastest download speeds.

A better option is ExpressVPN. Its entire network supports torrenting, it's the faster VPN we tested, and it has unlimited data. It’s not technically free, but you have 30 days to get a refund if you're not totally satisfied since it offers a money-back guarantee.

Can I get a premium VPN for free?

No, but you can test many premium VPNs risk-free. In the VPN sphere, "premium" essentially equates to "paid." Free VPNs don’t fall into the premium category. They deliberately impose limitations to encourage users to upgrade to a paid plan. However, a few entirely free VPNs I’ve tested offer a bit more than most, like unlimited data, access to their full server network, and decent speeds.

Most premium VPNs require upfront payment, backed by a money-back guarantee. This lets you test it without restrictions on data, speeds, servers, security features, and more. If it’s not for you, you can request a refund within the specified VPN refund period.

Should I use a free VPN with Tor?

You could, but you’ll need one with fast speeds and strong security due to Tor's inherent traffic-routing delays. Therefore, it's imperative to select a fast VPN to ensure compatibility with the dark web browser. Free VPNs that restrict bandwidth and throttle speeds may prove ineffective when paired with Tor.

Additionally, please be mindful that the free VPNs listed here are considered safe choices. However, numerous free VPNs exist that could potentially leave you vulnerable while using Tor. Tor is a prime target for malware, hacking, and cybercriminal activities. So opting for a premium VPN with robust security features is advisable for safeguarding your online presence on the dark web.

Do free VPNs work in China?

A few might work in China, but they usually lack the necessary security features. For a VPN to operate effectively in China, it requires advanced features such as obfuscation. This helps it safeguard your privacy. Even those that do provide a certain level of security often impose severe limitations and data caps, making them useful only for a short period of time.

A more reliable approach is to invest in a reputable paid VPN with a money-back guarantee. Premium VPNs have the means to offer unlimited data and speeds, plus top-notch security features like automatic obfuscation. It’s also important that the VPN follows a strict no-logs policy to ensure your personal data is never recorded or stored. Many free VPNs sell user data to third parties for profit.

Get the Best Free VPN Today

While all of the free VPNs I listed won’t jeopardize your safety, every free VPN has its limits. If you know what features to look for, you can find the right free VPN for you — whether you need it for streaming, torrenting, or online privacy.

My recommendation for a “one-stop shop” is ExpressVPN. I know it’s not free, but it doesn’t limit you like the 100% free options. It’s fast and gives you unlimited data, with an extensive server network that works reliably for streaming and torrenting. You can try it risk-free since it has a 30-day money-back guarantee. Claiming a refund is quick and easy.

To summarize, these are the best VPNs offering a money-back guarantee...

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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

Christine is passionate about digital freedom and believes VPNs are an essential tool everyone should have access to.

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Comments (2)
Stephen Fryer
19 May 2024
19 May 2024

Brilliant very useful
Your explanation of the difference between the free VPN
Was excellent and I thankyou

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