Top 10 (REALLY FREE) VPN Services That Still Work in 2019
Out of the 45 free VPNs that I tested, only 10 were safe, high-performing, and truly free without dangerous hidden costs. Here are the current 10 best free VPN services that you can trust. Share
It’s easy to find a free VPN, but finding a trustworthy free VPN with no hidden costs is a lot more challenging. I tested and ranked over 45 VPN services to bring you the ultimate list of the 10 best free VPNs
Almost every free VPN comes with a catch. In most cases, vendors will limit your data, bandwidth, connection speed, and available server locations.
Some free VPNs come with more serious downsides that have dangerous consequences for your safety and privacy. That’s why I always recommend sticking with a low-cost premium service.
The VPNs on this list don’t offer you the same value as a high-quality premium service, but they guarantee secure, anonymous browsing without any hidden costs.
- NordVPN: Our #1 recommended VPN offers top-notch security and fast speeds without data limits. Use its money-back guarantee to test it risk-free.
- Hotspot Shield: Enjoy fast and reliable connections on a US-based server with 500 MB of free data every day. That’s enough to check emails or update Facebook, but it’s no good for streaming.
- Windscribe: Take advantage of Windscribe’s strong security and user-friendly interface with 10 GB of free data per month. There are 10 free servers to choose from, but none of them can unblock Netflix.
- ProtonVPN:Secure VPN with unlimited data and high-end security features, but only three server locations.
- hide.me: Safe and reliable choice that offers 2 GB per month on its free plan. That’s enough to stream an episode of a TV show, but not a movie.
What’s the Catch With Free VPNs?
Getting a VPN service for free sounds great, but some free VPNs come with some serious disadvantages.
Free VPNs make it seem like you’re getting a product for free. In reality, however, they could be making money from you in other ways. Many users reported to us that free VPN services stole their personal information and sold it to third parties.
This raises another issue. Even a free VPN should help you stay anonymous online – but only a really safe one actually will. Unfortunately, many free VPNs pose serious risks to your security.
Your information can only be sold if it’s stored. Many free services don’t have a no-logs policy, meaning they can track your data and put your privacy at risk. Free services are also notorious for spam, ads, and malware.
I tested dozens of free VPNs, and many seemed a little too good to be true. This raised my suspicions, so I investigated some of the more unrealistic providers.
Shockingly, I discovered that many free VPNs are owned by China – the same Chinese government that imposes the world’s strictest censorship laws! In their privacy policies, some even specified that user data would be logged and could be shared.
Even when they are safe, free VPNs often have other disadvantages. These may include a limited choice of servers, slow connections, or capped data usage.
More than 65% of the free VPNs I tested won’t let you stream or torrent, and most will deliberately slow your connection speeds.
Even if you don’t encounter these issues, nearly all free VPNs put strict data caps on free accounts. This might not be a big deal if you are only using the internet to check your email or read a few news articles, but you will quickly run out of data if you are streaming or downloading files.
Pressure to Upgrade
There’s one more very important reason to be careful of free VPNs. Businesses know that customers like our lives to be easy. They assume that if you like their limited free service, you’ll upgrade to their paid VPN later.
VPN providers use a very simple trick: they downgrade their free version to push you into paying for the full one. After all, when you’re tired of buffering, limited servers, and no Netflix, you’re more likely to pay for a fully-functional service.
Best Free VPNs (Updated 2019)
I tested 45 free VPNs and found only 10 that will give you fast speeds, great streaming, and security you can trust. Although free VPNs will always have limitations compared to a premium service, the free VPNs on this list have proven their ability to keep you safe and help you browse anonymously without slowing you down.
- Get 30 days of unlimited data with NordVPN by using its money-back guarantee
- 5,300+ servers in 58 countries
- 256-bit encryption, kill switch, and malware protection
- Operates outside 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance for total anonymity
- Works with: Netflix, Hulu, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Showtime, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, and hundreds more
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV, Linux, Firefox, Chrome, routers
NordVPN isn’t usually free. It’s actually a premium VPN packed with some of the most advanced features. So why are we listing it here with our top-rated free VPNs?
Thanks to NordVPN’s excellent 30-day money-back guarantee, you can use its premium VPN service for an entire month risk-free. I tested the guarantee myself – there’s no catch! This is a great option if you only need a VPN for a short period while traveling, or to stream.
NordVPN’s security is tough to beat. Its long list of advanced security features includes AES 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, malware blocking, and complete protection from botnet control.
Unlike most free VPNs that will limit your streaming, NordVPN can help you stream your favorite shows from anywhere. This VPN can access geoblocked content from 400+ compatible streaming platforms, including Netflix, Hulu, and HBO GO.
You can also use NordVPN to access free, unrestricted internet in countries with harsh censorship laws – it even works in China! Other useful features include torrenting support with high-speed dedicated P2P servers, ad blocking, Onion Over VPN, dedicated IP addresses, Double VPN, and more.
Of course, NordVPN isn’t free forever, but there’s a lot you can do with it in 30 days. Plus, if you decide you don’t want to give it up after a month, NordVPN offers some of the cheapest long-term VPN plans out there.
Want to know more? Read our full review to find out more about NordVPN.
- 500 MB of free data every 24 hour period, which means 15 GB per month
- Simple, user-friendly interface makes it easy to get started
- Military-grade encryption protects your internet activity
- Stable connections ensure lag-free browsing
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome
Hotspot Shield offers reliable connections and military-grade encryption. My tests didn’t reveal any DNS leaks, which means that it effectively masks your IP address to protect your privacy online.
Hotspot Shield is compatible with all major operating systems, has a no-logs policy to protect your anonymity, and offers dedicated tech support. It also offers P2P support for both free and premium users. Its user-friendly, dedicated apps offer one-click connect, so you can get started without a hassle.
The free version comes with a few limitations. It is supported by ads and gives you just 500 MB of data per day. While this isn’t much data if you are downloading large files and is of no use for streaming, you will have no problem checking your email or browsing social media.
Although Hotspot Shield has 3,200+ servers in 70+ countries, the free version only gives you access to the US Virtual location. You also can’t use the free version for streaming. You will be blocked by a Premium Payment Wall if you try to access streaming content with the VPN enabled.
Even with only one virtual location, Hotspot Shield can still help you escape government censorship and bypass content filters at school or work so you can access your favorite websites and social media apps from anywhere.
If you like Hotspot Shield Free and want to try the premium version, you can test it out with a 7-day free trial.
Read our expert review to find out how Hotspot Shield performed in all of our tests.
- 10 GB of free data every month
- Access blocked content in 50+ countries
- Robust encryption, malware protection, and ad blocking
- Torrenting support
- Works with: Netflix, Hulu, HBO
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Firefox, Chrome, Linux
Windscribe’s generous data allowance makes it one of my top free VPNs. You will get 10 GB of free data every month. This enough to stream in high definition for just over three hours. You can get an extra 5 GB by tweeting the company. You can also “win” an extra 1 GB of free data every month by referring friends.
Windscribe boasts state-of-the-art security, with robust AES encryption and support for multiple VPN protocols. Both paid and free users can access all Windscribe features, including R.O.B.E.R.T, its ad and malware blocker. It’s pretty rare to find a free VPN that includes an ad blocker, so this is a big bonus.
Windscribe also comes with a firewall that blocks all traffic outside the VPN’s secure tunnel in order to prevent unexpected leaks. Other useful features include port forwarding and split tunneling.
Windscribe offers a desktop app and browser extension. The program has a user-friendly interface, with a choice of customer support options including live chat and setup guides. Single-click connect makes it super easy to get started.
As well as limiting your data, a free Windscribe account restricts you to servers in 10 countries: the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland. A limited selection of servers means you can’t use Windscribe to unblock content from outside these regions.
Learn more about Windscribe’s features in our detailed review.
- Unlimited free data
- No-log policy and Swiss privacy laws to protect your anonymity
- Robust encryption and an automatic kill switch
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux
ProtonVPN offers a limited free version of its strong premium service. One of its biggest advantages over most free VPNs is that it comes with unlimited data. It is also ad-free, which is a big plus.
With the free plan, you get access to servers in Japan, Netherlands, and the US. With all of ProtonVPN’s free users connected to one of just three locations, its servers are often overloaded and slow. This reduces your connection speed considerably.
You will need to upgrade to a paid plan to stream or torrent with ProtonVPN, but you can still use the free virtual locations to bypass censorship and access geoblocked social media platforms and messaging apps.
Most free VPNs are difficult to set up and forget because you need to constantly be aware of how much data you are using. With ProtonVPN’s unlimited free data, you can browse Instagram and watch YouTube for as long as you want without worrying about a daily or monthly limit.
ProtonVPN features an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and multi-platform compatibility. The Quick Connect feature connects you to the fastest nearby server.
The VPN also offers strong security, including powerful AES encryption and an automatic kill switch. Other features include DNS leak protection and split tunneling support.
You can find out more about ProtonVPN by reading our full review.
- 2 GB of free data per month
- Free servers in 5 countries
- Strong encryption and multiple available protocols
- Good connection speeds for quick loading and browsing
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome Firefox, Amazon Fire TV, routers
hide.me offers a stripped back, reliable free service. You’ll get 2 GB of free data every month and all the benefits of hide.me’s user-friendly dedicated apps and tough security.
You can feel confident that your traffic is secure and private thanks to the VPN’s strong AES encryption, automatic kill switch, and strict no-log policy. With hide.me, you can connect to unsecured public wi-fi networks without worrying about spying eyes.
hide.me supports multiple VPN protocols so you can optimize your connection and choose the best fit for your device. Other features include IP leak protection and support for split tunneling. You’ll also have 24/7 access to technical support and ad-free browsing.
There are five free server locations to connect through: Singapore, Canada, Netherlands, US East, and US West. You won’t be able to access geoblocked content from any other countries, like BBC iPlayer.
You can use this VPN to get around content filters at your workplace or school, and even bypass tough government censorship.
Unfortunately, hide.me won’t give you access to Netflix. However, it supports torrenting for both free and paid users. You won’t be able to do too much file sharing with the 2 GB monthly data cap, but the option is still nice. A free account also limits you to one device connection at a time. So, if you’re browsing on your laptop, your phone or tablet won’t be actively protected.
Read our expert review to find out how hide.me performed in our tests.
- 500 MB of free data every month
- Servers in 22+ countries
- Independently audited
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
If you’re new to VPNs, TunnelBear’s free version is a great way to get started. It has a user-friendly interface that comes complete with animated grizzly bears.
Unlike most free VPNs that limit you to a handful of servers, TunnelBear allows free users to connect to servers in 22+ countries and enjoy decent connection speeds.
TunnelBear is independently audited, uses AES 256-bit encryption, and guarantees no data logging. This means your data will never be stored and your identity will always stay private.
This VPN can unblock most geo-restricted websites and bypass pesky content filters without a hassle, but it doesn’t work with Netflix or other streaming services.
A free TunnelBear account gives you just 500 MB of data every month, but you can tweet them for an extra 1 GB. This is enough to stream for about 30 minutes, but you won’t be able to download large files or watch any movies.
You can find out how TunnelBear performed in other areas by reading our full review.
7. Opera VPN
- Unlimited data and bandwidth
- Built-in ad blocker and malware protection
- No registration needed
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux
The free web browser Opera was created with the intention of keeping the internet open, free, and safe. It comes with a built-in VPN that masks your IP address as you browse the web. You will need to enable the VPN in the browser settings. Because it is a browser extension only, your Opera VPN won’t protect any traffic sent from other browsers or apps. So even though your browsing activity is safe, your emails and banking apps aren’t protected.
In addition to its free VPN service, the browser features a built-in ad blocker and malware protection. When you use the browser, the VPN function hides your identity for anonymous browsing – this is especially useful over public wi-fi networks.
You can choose from three virtual locations: the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Because you can’t select specific servers within those regions, OperaVPN is not a good choice for streaming. I was not able to unblock Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, or any other streaming service I tried. The browser is available for all major platforms.
Learn more about OperaVPN in our expert review.
- 2 GB of free data every month
- 200+ servers in 50+ locations worldwide
- Fast and reliable connections with Channel Bonding technology
- ChaCha encryption cipher combines security and speed
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux
As its name suggests, Speedify was designed using VPN protocols that improve your connection speed. Its Channel Bonding technology routes your traffic over two separate internet connections at once. This increases your connection speed slightly, but it also uses twice as much wi-fi and cellular data.
Speedify passed all my DNS leak detection tests. This means it effectively masks your IP address to protect your privacy and help you access censored and geo-restricted content online. Your online activity stays safe and anonymous with Speedify’s unique ChaCha encryption cipher and strict no-logs policy.
Speedify’s Amsterdam server is optimized for BitTorrent and P2P activity.
2 GB of free data per month is plenty if you are looking for secure VPN protection to quickly check your email or update your social media, but it isn’t enough for streaming or torrenting.
Like most free VPNs, Speedify encourages you to upgrade to a premium account. However, the vendor is committed to keeping the free version ad-free. This is great for your security because it means that Speedify doesn’t have to share any of your information with third party advertisers or Google ads.
Learn more by checking out our full review of Speedify.
- 500 MB of free data per day
- No registration needed – just download and get started
- Robust encryption and malware protection
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome
The free version of Betternet VPN comes with 500MB of data per day. This would normally be enough to stream in standard definition for around 30 minutes, but Betternet does not allow you to stream using its free account. You can only connect to its US server location, so you can’t access geoblocked websites from anywhere else in the world.
Still, Betternet does a good job covering the basics when it comes to security. It offers robust encryption, the fast Catapult Hydra protocol, and perfect forward secrecy – but no kill switch. If your connection to the VPN server fails, your traffic will not be protected.
This free VPN is a good choice for protecting yourself from spying eyes when you connect to an unsecured public wi-fi network, but you should look elsewhere for total anonymity.
Betternet collects more user information than is ideal for privacy, some of which may be shared with third-party service providers. You can also expect to see plenty of ads with your free account.
Take a look at our expert review of Betternet to see the results of all our tests.
- Unlimited data
- Virtual locations in 6 countries
- Built from secure OpenVPN technology
- Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux
VPNBook offers unlimited free data, secure AES encryption and a choice of OpenVPN and PPTP connections. You can get online from any location without worrying about spying eyes, but VPNBook only has servers in the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, and Poland. On its website, VPNBook claims to be able to unblock Netflix and Hulu, but I couldn’t access either of them when I tested it.
The company operates out of privacy-friendly Romania and doesn’t collect any activity logs, but it does retain some connection logs for up to a week.
Unlike the other VPNs on this list, VPNBook does not offer dedicated apps for your devices. Instead, it provides manual configuration files for OpenVPN. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, especially with VPNBook’s step-by-step installation guides. It only takes a few minutes to connect to this VPN through an open-source OpenVPN client.
VPNBook supports torrenting on some servers and it can be used to bypass censorship.
This VPN is supported by ads, so you can expect to see some while using the service.
Find out what real users have to say about Private Tunnel.
Are VPNs legal?
It depends. Using a VPN is completely legal in most parts of the world, but a handful of countries – including China and Russia – restrict the use of VPNs. You can check out our guide to learn more about the legal status of VPNs in each country.
Keep in mind that even if VPNs are legal in your country, you could still face consequences for using a VPN for illegal activities like torrenting copyrighted content.
Are these free VPNs safe?
Yes, every free VPN on this list is safe to download and use. I tested each of these VPNs to make sure that they could pass thorough safety tests before recommending them to you.
The free VPNs on this list are free from malware and shady business tactics. You can trust all of these VPNs to mask your IP address and protect your data with secure encryption.
Do free VPNs give me complete anonymity?
Not necessarily. Free VPNs often lack the advanced security features needed to protect your personal information. They rarely use automatic kill switches, which means that if your VPN connection suddenly drops, your identity could be exposed.
Another issue is that many free VPNs are supported by third-party advertisers that may collect some identifying data, even if your VPN provider doesn’t keep logs.
Do VPNs impact my speed?
Yes, it’s normal for a VPN to impact your connection speed. Your internet traffic has to travel farther to reach the VPN server, and it takes time to encrypt your data.
The average speed you get with a VPN will depend on a few things: your starting speed without the VPN, your distance from the virtual VPN location you connect to, and the technology used by your VPN provider.
Free VPNs tend to have a bigger impact on your speed. Most vendors restrict free users to a select few servers that can get overcrowded with traffic. On the other hand, the best premium VPNs will barely affect your connection. In some cases, they can even improve your speed.
While you can find some good free VPNs, even the safest free services can’t compete with low-cost premium VPNs.
A premium service offers the best security, as well as streaming and torrenting support. And, unlike most free VPNs, premium VPNs offer you unlimited data and bandwidth. You’ll be able to access more servers and enjoy faster connections.
Most premium VPNs offer free trials and money-back guarantees so you can make sure the service you choose is right for you.
I recommend NordVPN. It’s fast, secure, and it can unblock hundreds of streaming services, including Netflix US. Best of all, you test it risk free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Check out our VPN deals page (updated weekly) where you can find top-shelf VPNs for ridiculously cheap prices!