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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering 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 the independent, 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 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering 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 the independent, 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.

8 Best Free VPNs in 2024 — Safe App Downloads

Christine Johansen Updated on 9th February 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.

Premium Alternative VPN:
Approved By Our Editors

We recommend ExpressVPN as the best alternative if you’re looking for upgraded features and value for money. It provides consistently fast speeds and reliable connections — something most free VPNs can’t guarantee.

For top-level security, ExpressVPN also has you covered without compromising your streaming, gaming, and browsing activity.

  • Faster speeds than free VPNs, which is better for UHD streaming
  • Advanced privacy & security features
  • Wider selection of global servers
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free
expressvpn.com

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

  1. Editor's Choice
    Proton VPN
    Proton VPN
    100% free VPN with unlimited monthly data and great speeds for uninterrupted browsing.
  2. Avira Phantom VPN
    Avira Phantom VPN
    Entirely free VPN with unlimited device connections and P2P support.
  3. hide.me VPN
    hide.me
    Adjustable security settings that let you fine-tune your VPN use.
  4. Hotspot Shield
    Hotspot Shield
    Unique security protocol for increased speed and performance.
  5. TunnelBear VPN
    TunnelBear
    Extensive network of free servers for reliable connections.

See 3 More Free VPNs


Try a Premium VPN 100% RISK-FREE

ExpressVPN provides an excellent service and a wide range of features, which you can try risk-free since it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

70% of our readers choose ExpressVPN

Best Free VPNs — Full Analysis (Updated 2024)

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

Best Feature Zero limits on monthly data usage
Monthly Data Allowance Unlimited
Works With Netflix (originals), Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, Kodi, and more
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.

The free plan includes 100+ servers in three countries: the US, Japan, and the Netherlands. The free servers are high-speed, ensuring fast and reliable connections for streaming and browsing.

When I tested it, Proton VPN let me access YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion. I was disappointed that the free plan doesn’t work with more popular platforms like Netflix or Hulu. You can temporarily test its 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 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 VPN connection is lost. 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.

2. 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. When I tested its US - streaming server from the US, I could watch Netflix US, Hulu, and Disney+ on my iPhone 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 (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. Its mobile version 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.

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

Best Feature Plenty of adjustable settings
Monthly Data Allowance 10GB
Works With Netflix, Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, and more
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.

It also comes with an impressive 5 VPN 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 50+ 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 decent data allowance and speeds, it’s not a bad option for safe torrenting.

4. 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 plan stands out with its proprietary Hydra protocol, which optimizes speed, security, and performance compared to other common VPN protocols like OpenVPN 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 plan 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.

Its 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 the free plan. 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 1 server locations: 2 in the US, 1 in the UK, and 1 in Singapore.
  • Standard security features. You get access to the standard WireGuard and IKEv2 VPN protocols as well as Hydra. Plus, split tunneling, military-grade encryption, automatic WiFi protection, and leak protection.

5. 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, and more
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, like school and work. This is especially useful when using online services from school, work, hotels, etc. GhostBear is available on all TunnelBear-supported platforms except iOS.

The complimentary package offers a monthly data allocation of 2GB and permits simultaneous usage on as many as five devices. This provides flexibility if you’re looking for a no-cost VPN for use on several gadgets concurrently. However, it's worth noting that despite upgrading, TunnelBear applications can only be installed on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android platforms. Support for routers is unfortunately not provided.

Useful Features

  • Fun and intuitive interface. TunnelBear's engaging bear-themed design and user-friendly interface make it 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.

6. 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, and more
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

As a part of the reputable cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab, it benefits from extensive expertise in internet security. The company specializes in all kinds of software to protect your data and devices online. However, it’s a shame you need to upgrade your plan to access the kill switch.

That being said, this 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 app.

7. Speedify — Completely Free 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, and more
Free Option Forever Free plan

Speedify's free VPN offers a unique feature called Bonding Mode to optimize your connection for speed and reliability. You can choose between 3 modes — Speed, Redundant, or Streaming. I used this feature to combine my home WiFi and mobile data to boost my speed. 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 35 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 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, which is a shame.

8. 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, and more
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 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 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 to access region-locked titles on Netflix Netherlands during my tests.

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.

Bonus. 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

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 torrenting and gaming — you can play fast-paced shooter games without lag. You could, hypothetically, use ExpressVPN to access content from abroad and stream uninterrupted, 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 built to reduce speed loss at no cost of 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 February 2024: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

Quick Comparison Table: Best Free VPNs

All of the recommended 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 VPN in this list.

When engaging in data-intensive activities like streaming and torrenting, it is advisable to seek a 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 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 Simultaneous Device Connections # of server locations Sign up Required Torrenting Allowed
🥇Proton VPN Fast Privacy, Browsing Unlimited 10 100 servers in 3 countries Yes No
🥈Avira Phantom VPN Fast Privacy, Streaming (on mobile) 1GB Unlimited 1 (desktop), 49 (mobile Yes Yes
🥉hide.me Average Privacy, Streaming, Torrenting 10GB 10 50+ servers in 8 countries No Yes
Hotspot Shield Fast Streaming, Torrenting Unlimited 5 1 servers in 5 countries No Yes
TunnelBear Average Privacy, Streaming 2GB Unlimited 5,000 servers in 47 countries No Yes
Kaspersky Secure Connection VPN Average Browsing 6GB (200MB/day) 5 2,000 servers in 72 countries No Yes
Speedify Fast Browsing 2GB 5 100 servers in 35 countries No Yes
Opera VPN Browser Average Privacy, Browsing Unlimited 6 3 servers in 30 countries No No
🏆 Best Premium Alternative
ExpressVPN Very fast Streaming, Torrenting, Gaming, Privacy Unlimited 8 3,000 servers in 105 countries Yes Yes

Tips on Choosing the Best Free VPN

There are a few main things you need to look out for when choosing a free VPN. During my tests, I used the following criteria to rank these top free VPNs:

  • Entirely free. I tested every free VPN on this list to ensure you can indeed use it without paying a dime and it won’t suddenly try to charge you.
  • 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. If you’re interested in torrenting, choose a VPN that supports P2P file sharing.
  • 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 platforms, 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.

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 VPNs are dangerous to use and should be avoided:

  • Hola Free VPN. This isn’t a VPN, but an unsafe P2P network where other people use your personal IP address. Your internet traffic is not encrypted. Even worse, if someone uses your IP address and does something illegal, you can get in trouble since it’s traced back to you. Additionally, Hola logs almost everything — your true IP address, name, email address, payment information, and the websites you visit.
  • Psiphon. This 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 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. VPN Gate is volunteer-operated, so anyone could be running your VPN server, meaning they can easily collect and monitor your data. In addition, VPN Gate’s "Anti-Abuse Policy” states that it logs your IP address, browsing activities, and more. It also makes clear that it's happy to share this data with any government agency that asks.
  • 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 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?

Even the best free VPNs have some limitations, so it’s a good idea to consider a low-cost paid VPN if you want robust security and reliability. This table will help you understand the core differences between free and paid VPNs so you can make an informed decision.

Free VPNs Paid VPNs
Cost Totally free You do need to pay upfront to try the service. But, reputable paid VPNs offer a money-back guarantee, allowing you to claim a full refund if you’re unsatisfied.
Privacy May collect data for advertising purposes, and there’s always the risk of IP leakage Follows a strict no-log policy which means your data won't be collected or shared with anyone
Security Basic security, potential risk of data leaks Advanced security features like a kill-switch, obfuscation, and more
Bandwidth Many have limited bandwidth which can slow down your internet speed Unlimited bandwidth
Data limits Most have monthly data limitations No data limits
Service quality Unpredictable, can be slow and unreliable Reliable and high speed
Server locations Limited server locations Thousands of servers worldwide
Devices connections Most allow only one device at a time Multiple simultaneous device connections without impeding performance
Customer support Limited or no customer support Dedicated 24/7 customer support
Ads Often supported by ads No ads
Extra features Usually only includes the most basic features Extensive features like multi-hop, split tunneling, smart DNS, malware protection, and more.

FAQs About Free VPNs

Are free VPNs actually safe?

Unfortunately, really free VPNs aren’t always 100% safe. However, the VPNs in this list are safe to use — I read all the privacy policies, and none of them store any identifiable information. I performed leak tests to make sure my connection was properly hidden, and they all passed the test.

Many free VPNs can be dangerous for several reasons. Some free VPNs don’t offer proper encryption, while some keep logs and share that data with third parties like advertisers to make money. Unfortunately, that’s not all — I encountered free VPNs that 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.

That said, each free VPN differs in terms of which activity it’s best suited for. You can usually find one that’s decent for basic activities, like private browsing.

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 a 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).

What is the best free VPN for mobile and desktop?

Any of the free VPNs recommended here are great options for both desktop and mobile. Each of them offers apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. These apps take just a couple of minutes to install, and their interfaces are sleek with simple navigation.

For the most part, VPN mobile apps are almost the same as the desktop version. But in some cases, they can differ quite a lot. For example, Avira Phantom VPN's free mobile app gives you access to a much larger server network on Android and iOS than it does on the free desktop app.

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 5 locations, which causes slowdowns due to congestion. So, it's likely you won't have the fastest download speeds.

Can I get a premium VPN for free?

Not entirely free, but you can at least try out a premium VPN without losing money. Premium is basically synonymous with “paid” in the VPN world. Most premium VPNs require you to pay for a plan upfront, which is backed by a money-back guarantee. That way, you can test everything it offers — like unlimited data, speeds, the full server network, security features, and more. If you’re not happy with it, you can get your money back within that VPN’s refund period.

Entirely free VPNs can’t be considered premium. They limit you on purpose to try to get you to upgrade to a paid plan. That said, the most versatile forever free VPNs I tested are Proton VPN and Avira Phantom VPN. While they do have their limitations, they aren’t quite as severe as with most free VPNs.

Which devices can I install a free VPN on?

Most free VPNs are compatible with laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones — sometimes more. The free VPNs in this list provide apps for the most popular operating systems, like Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. Some are even compatible with routers and Fire devices, while others have free Firefox and Chrome extensions.

Most free VPNs only let you connect to 1 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.

Should I use a free VPN with Tor?

It depends on the free VPN — you’ll need one with fast speeds and strong security, since Tor takes extra time to send your traffic through its relays. So, it’s critical that the VPN you use has fast enough speeds to actually work with the dark web browser. Free VPNs that limit bandwidth and speed may not work with Tor at all.

Also, keep in mind — the free VPNs in this list are all safe to use, but there are tons of free VPNs that can leave you exposed on Tor. Tor is a hotspot for malware, hacking, and cybercriminals. So it’s best to use a premium VPN that offers strong security features to protect you on the dark web.

Do free VPNs work in China?

A few free VPNs work in China — but they’re not always secure enough to use. Either way, you should always proceed with caution when using a VPN in China since there are laws surrounding VPN use. When choosing the best free VPN for China, look for advanced security features like obfuscation. This not only helps the VPN overcome restrictions but hides your VPN use to protect your privacy.

The thing is, most free VPNs don’t offer these types of features. Not only does this put your privacy at risk, but it also means the VPN won’t work in China, or countries with internet censorship (like Dubai, India, and Russia). Even those that are secure and reliable usually have other limitations, like data caps. This means you won’t have much time to use it before it cuts you off and leaves you unprotected.

A better option is to get a paid VPN with a money-back guarantee. My top recommendation for China is ExpressVPN. It uses industry-leading security (including automatic obfuscation) and a strict no-logs policy. Although it’s not free, it doesn’t limit you in any way — and you can try it risk-free for 30 days.

Conclusion

All the free VPNs on this list are safe enough for casual use. However, all free VPNs have their limitations. Based on my tests, Proton VPN is the best free VPN as it provides robust online protection and won't cap your data.

However, if you're considering a paid VPN that won't restrict your online activity, ExpressVPN is my top choice. It gives you fast servers for uninterrupted streaming while keeping your data private. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free since it's backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. Claiming a refund is quick and easy.

Haven't found a suitable free VPN? Check out these best paid alternatives...

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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering 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 the independent, 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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