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Top 5 Free VPN Providers of 2020

Last edited: March 27, 2020
Reading time: 17 minutes, 14 seconds

This article will list the best free VPNs of this moment. A VPN allows you to use the internet more anonymously and securely as it provides you with an encrypted connection. Most VPN providers require you to pay to be able to make use of their secure server network. However, there are some VPN providers who offer a free VPN connection.

When you start looking, you’ll notice that few free VPN services are of acceptable quality. Even the best free VPN subscriptions often have data limits or speed caps. Some providers offer a limited basic application for free, with the intention of persuading you to get a paid subscription afterwards. In this article you’ll learn more about free VPN services, how they work, and why you should be careful with them. Moreover, we’ll recommend five excellent free VPN services you can start using right away.

Trials with Premium VPN Providers: Worth Considering

You might be looking for a free VPN to browse and download torrents anonymously, or to bypass an online restriction that keeps you from accessing Facebook at your workplace or school, or even a geographic block. Although some free VPNs will do their job very well in these cases, not all of them will be able to give you what you need. They might not be able to unblock the pages you wish to reach. In addition, many services claim to be “free”, but still take something from you, even if it isn’t money. Some free VPNs, such as Hola, sell your data connection to others. Other free providers even record the websites you visit so they can sell this data to marketing agencies. In other words, you might think your online life is protected by the VPN, but in the meantime you’re anything but anonymous online.

You might be considering a free VPN because you want to try out a (particular) VPN before committing to a monthly payment. This is understandable, but you might not get the full experience with a free subscription. Paid VPNs are generally more secure and offer more options, such as unlimited data, unlimited speeds, proper customer support, and access to the American version of Netflix, wherever you are. If you’re careful with your money, but do want a premium VPN, there is a strong up-and-comer that we wholeheartedly recommend: Surfshark. For just a few dollars (currently under $2 a month), you get all the advantages of a premium VPN. Surfshark also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee that could be useful if you end up not enjoying the VPN after all – although we doubt this’ll be the case.

Surfshark
Deal:
Safe and anonymous internet for only $1.99 a month
8.8
  • Very user-friendly and works with Netflix and torrents
  • 30 days money back guarantee. No questions asked!
  • Cheap with many extra options
Visit Surfshark

If you’re simply looking for the best VPN on the market, give ExpressVPN a try. This VPN is stable, fast, and has servers in nearly 100 countries. They have a generous money-back guarantee which allows you to test their service 30 days risk-free. If you register for a 1-year subscription via the button below, you will even get three months extra – for free.

ExpressVPN
Our pick
Our pick
Deal:
3 months for free with a one-year subscription
9.5
  • Super fast and simple VPN
  • Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading and streaming (i.a. Netflix)
  • 3000+ servers in 94 countries
Visit ExpressVPN

Fortunately, there are some reliable options if a free VPN is really what you are looking for. You might run into data limits or speed caps, but the free VPN providers in the list below are generally pretty good. The VPNs we will discuss from here on out are completely free. You don’t have to register with your payment information or make use of a money-back guarantee. Free really is free with these VPN providers.

The Best Free VPN

trophyWhen does a free VPN service qualify as good enough for our list? Well, a good free VPN should at the very least be – you guessed it – free. Apart from that, there are a couple of things to keep an eye on: data limits, speed caps, the number of simultaneous connections (on different devices) it allows, and the server locations the VPN offers. Free VPNs often have a combination of different limiting factors regarding data, internet speeds and server availability. As such, the most suitable free VPN depends on your personal wants and needs.

If you want a fast VPN, you should try to find a free VPN service which has servers in your country and no speed cap (which might be difficult given the limited number of servers most free VPNs offer). Do you intend to use the VPN for streaming? Then it’s important to have a large data limit (or ideally, no limit at all) and good speeds. However, when it comes to streaming, paid VPN services usually lend themselves better for this purpose, because of their higher speeds and the lack of data caps. Even though free VPN subscriptions are usually of lesser quality than paid ones, there are a couple that are worth trying.

First, we’ll give you our top 5 best free VPNs in random order. If you want to know more about these providers, scroll down and keep reading.

Our top 5 free VPNs

Free VPN Provider Speed cap Monthly data limit Number of server locations Netflix USA Downloading Anonymously
ProtonVPN No* None 3 Yes No
Hide.me No 500MB every 2 weeks (2GB if you register) 5 No Yes
TunnelBear No 500MB (1.5GB if you share them via Twitter) 23 No No
Windscribe No 2GB (10GB if you register your email) 10 No Yes
ZoogVPN Yes 2GB 3 Yes Yes

*ProtonVPN’s free service has a limited number of servers available. When many users are on these servers at the same time, which often is the case, it can negatively affect your internet speed.

Below you’ll find some more in-depth information about the free VPNs on our list.

ProtonVPN

proton banner

Specifications ProtonVPN Free
  • Torrents:
  • Netflix:
  • Simultaneous connections: 1
  • Server locations: 3
  • Data limit: None
  • Speed cap: None
  • Price: Completely free

ProtonVPN is a popular VPN provider from Switzerland that also offers a free service. Their software is very user-friendly, and the level of security is great. The free version of ProtonVPN doesn’t have a data limit or speed cap, although their servers can become quite slow when many people use them at the same time, which is often the case. ProtonVPN doesn’t support torrent downloads, but does occasionally give you access to Netflix, depending on the server.

However, we must notify you that it’s best to use ProtonVPN’s free trial period if you’re keen on watching Netflix with a VPN. This trial gives you premium features so you’ll have access to a lot more servers than just the eight servers in the United States, the Netherlands and in Japan. During our most recent test of ProtonVPN’s compatibility with Netflix (on March 27 – we tested the free trial version because our tester automatically received access to this upon registering a new account) we found that many of ProtonVPN’s servers are blocked by Netflix. However, we did in the end find a server that we could watch Netflix with. As such, we advise you to use the free trial version for Netflix so you’re more likely to find a server that works with the streaming service.

If you use this free version, the software will regularly try to convince you to upgrade to the paid version. ProtonVPN gives you access to three server locations: three are located in the Netherlands, three in Japan and two in the US. You can use ProtonVPN Free on one device at a time, but seeing as it’s free you could theoretically register multiple times with different email addresses.

Aside from ProtonVPN’s free service, we have also reviewed the premium (paid) version of this provider. We are very content with ProtonVPN in general, and you can read our full review right here.

Hide.me

hide.me logo

Specifications Hide.me VPN
  • Torrents:
  • Netflix:
  • Simultaneous connections: 1
  • Server locations: 5
  • Data limit: 500MB - 2000MB per month
  • Speed cap: No
  • Price: Completely free

Hide.me offers both a paid and a free VPN. The free subscription gives you access to five servers: in the Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, and two in the USA. The free version of Hide.me has a data limit of 500MB or 2GB per month (depending on whether you register on their website or not). Keep in mind that registering means you’re exchanging personal information for more MBs, so it can’t be considered completely ‘free’.

With support for Windows, iOS, MacOS and Android, Hide.me can be used on nearly all devices. The service also allows P2P traffic, even with its free VPN subscription. This means you can download torrents, although you’ll likely reach the data limit very quickly if you choose to use the VPN for this purpose.

TunnelBear

Tunnelbear logo

Specifications TunnelBear VPN
  • Torrents:
  • Netflix:
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Server locations: 20
  • Data limit: 500MB - 1.5GB per month
  • Speed cap: No
  • Price: Completely free

TunnelBear is another good option if you’re looking for a free VPN. The interface is clear, fun and easy to use. Installing the VPN is fast and easy as well. Additionally, security and encryption are up to par. The free version of TunnelBear doesn’t cap speeds. However, it does have a data limit of 500MB per month. You can stretch this limit up to 1.5GB by promoting TunnelBear on Twitter.

Even with its free version, TunnelBear allows you to choose from all of their 23 servers. This is great, because it means the servers won’t slow down as much as servers belonging to free VPNs with only a handful servers. In terms of server locations, your options include (but are not limited to) the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and Italy. We were able to use several different online streaming services, namely Hulu, BBC iPlayer and YouTube. TunnelBear is available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. This provider has some limitations, but is still a perfectly good free VPN. If you want to download the free version, click ‘Pricing’ at the top of their website. Then select the free subscription.

Windscribe

Windscribe banner

Specifications Windscribe VPN
  • Torrents:
  • Netflix:
  • Simultaneous connections: Unlimited
  • Server locations: 11
  • Data limit: 2GB - 10GB per month
  • Speed cap: No
  • Price: Completely free

Windscribe has user-friendly software and apps that are easy to install. This free VPN has a data limit of 2GB per month. However, if you choose to share your email address with Windscribe, you’ll be able to use up to 10GB a month. Again, keep in mind that this is technically a payment: you pay with your email address and get more data in return. Even with that limit, however, you’ll quickly run out of data after a day of heavy internet use, especially when you’re downloading or streaming. Moreover, the free version of Windscribe doesn’t offer the same level of security as the paid version. Not that Windscribe’s security is lacking, but it could be better.

Windscribe offers 11 servers across various countries to its free users. This should be plenty for the average free VPN user. What’s more, you can use Windscribe on as many devices as you like.

ZoogVPN

Zoog banner

Specifications Zoog VPN
  • Torrents:
  • Netflix:
  • Simultaneous connections: 1
  • Server locations: 3
  • Data limit: 2GB per month
  • Speed cap: Yes
  • Price: Completely free

ZoogVPN is a free VPN service with a reasonably secure connection. Zoog VPN doesn’t appear to log your internet traffic. They do indicate that their paid version is more secure than their free version, however. ZoogVPN has three servers available for free users: one in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), one in London (UK) and one in Washington (US). The free version can only be used on one device at a time. In addition, ZoogVPN has both a data limit of 2GB per month and a speed cap. This VPN provider is quite fast, but if its servers are experiencing heavy traffic, free users will be the first ones to notice. Their connections will slow considerably.

Free VPN vs Paid VPN

You have to be careful when using free VPN services. A study among over 300 free VPN applications has shown that many of them don’t work properly or don’t treat your data well. Access to all kinds of unnecessary sensitive information (such as your contacts, photos and social media) is requested, and some free providers even infect your device with spyware and other malware. A lot of free VPN services are also owned by Chinese companies, which might cause you to have some suspicions about their intentions and the level of safety of the VPNs. As we all make non-stop use of internet these days, it pays to use a good and reliable VPN service.

Paid VPN services will generally be more mindful of your privacy and offer a more advanced level of security, as well as many other extra features. For instance, connections tend to be much faster, you’re allowed multiple simultaneous connections (so you can share your subscription with friends and family or simply use one account on both your laptop and your phone), and you might even get access to streaming services such as Netflix. You can also safely download torrents and won’t have to worry about data limits. Most of these features aren’t available with free services. What’s more, paid VPN subscriptions have become quite cheap. If you want to know which providers are the best VPN services of the moment, we’d like to refer you to this overview:

Check out the best VPNs

Cheap VPNs

There are large price differences between paid VPNs. Especially if you’re looking for a free VPN, the pricing of some premium VPN providers may shock you. Luckily, there are a number of VPN providers that offer fantastic VPN connections for very low prices. For just a few dollars a month, you can get a really good VPN and enjoy your peace of mind regarding the safety of your internet connection and data. A good example of a great VPN that costs little, is Surfshark. Want to know more about the different cheap VPNs out there? You might want to check out our article:

Check out the best cheap VPNs

Free VPNs Without Data Limits

As you’ve seen, most good free VPNs come with data limits. Free VPN users are restricted this way, because maintaining VPN servers and VPN connections costs money. Data limits allow the provider to allow you to get to know their VPN service without it costing them too much money. Nevertheless, there’s one good free VPN without a data limit: ProtonVPN. Instead of a data limit, the free version of this VPN can be quite slow at times, since all its free users are spread out over just three servers. When these servers get too crowded, your speed will go down. Proton hopes this makes lengthy use of their free service less attractive. If reduced speeds are not an issue for you (for example when you don’t need your VPN while streaming), ProtonVPN is certainly worth considering.

A big downside to the data limits of free VPNs is that they’ll often keep you from watching an entire movie or show. If you’re watching something on an online stream, or even on Netflix, you’ll hit your data limit after about an hour or two already. So, even if the speed of the connection isn’t an issue, your viewing pleasure will be short-lived.

Free VPNs Without Speed Caps

As most free VPNs already employ data limits, they don’t see the need to also enforce speed caps. As a result, these VPNs are often just as fast as paid VPNs. Some free VPNs choose not to apply speed caps because their free servers are so busy that the connection isn’t going to be very fast anyway. Luckily, there are providers that offer relatively many servers as part of their free subscriptions, such as TunnelBear and Windscribe. This means that, even though the VPN connection is free, speeds are still very decent. Especially TunnelBear clearly demonstrates what a paid subscription with them would look like, as they give you access to all their servers.

Free VPN For All Your Devices

Most good free VPNs offer software and apps that are compatible with the most common devices and operating systems. This means that such VPNs are easy to install on your computer, smartphone and tablet. Some VPNs even offer software for lesser-known operating systems, making it possible to use a free VPN on Linux, for instance. We will briefly discuss the various devices below.

Free VPN for your computer or Mac

Most free VPNs are available for Windows and Mac. There are two ways in which you could use a VPN on your computer: you either download an application for your operating system, or add a browser extension to your browsers. Some VPNs are only available as a browser extension, for Chrome or Firefox, for example. This means they do NOT protect all your internet traffic, including torrents and emailing. The only thing a VPN browser extension protects, is the internet traffic running through your browser, such as online banking via your bank’s website.

Different operating systems require different kinds of VPN software. Linux users will often have a harder time setting up a VPN connection than Windows or Mac users. Installing a VPN on Windows or Mac is usually just a matter of downloading and installing the program, whereas Linux users will often have to manually configure their VPN connection.

Free VPN for iOS and Android

VPN on mobileIn addition to VPNs for desktop computers, VPNs for smartphones are becoming increasingly more popular. Not only do we use our smartphones more and more, we also tend to connect them to unprotected Wi-Fi networks more often than we do with a computer. A free VPN is therefore definitely of added value for any smartphone user who often finds him or herself out and about using these networks. In addition to Windows and Mac, nearly all good free VPNs offer software for both Android and iOS. All VPNs we have listed above as the best free VPNs of the moment offer software for both Android and iOS.

Free VPN for tablet

Smartphones aren’t the only devices running on Android and iOS: iPads and Android tablets do, too. It’s very easy to install and setup the free VPN software on your tablet if you’ve already got it on your phone, as this works the same for both. This is ideal if you want to watch the American version of Netflix on your iPad, for example. Just like for smartphones, all free VPNs listed above have software for both iPads and Android tablets.

Free VPN server locations

As far as server locations go, most free VPNs offer a small sample size of their paid subscription, except for TunnelBear. TunnelBear gives you access to it’s entire global network of servers.

Free VPN Server locations
ProtonVPN The US, The Netherlands, and Japan
Hide.me The US (East, West, Middle), The Netherlands, Germany, and Canada
TunnelBear All of their global servers including the US and the UK
Windscribe The US, The UK, The Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, and Romania
ZoogVPN The US, The UK and, The Netherlands

Conclusion: What is the Best Free VPN?

Free VPNs are suitable when you only use them every now and then, and don’t need too much data when you do. For instance, a free VPN is handy to quickly bypass an IP address (geo-)block. The free VPN services that we have discussed in this article generally support multiple platforms and operating systems. So, whether you are looking for a free VPN for iPad, a free VPN for Android, or a free VPN for iPhone, the above-mentioned VPN services should work for your device. However, the moment you start using a free VPN for Netflix or Popcorn Time, you’ll likely run into issues with data limits and speed caps. Similarly, you’ll experience restrictions for downloading shows and movies with a free version. As a result, you’ll probably end up needing a paid VPN most of the time if you want to download or make use of video and audio streaming services.

It’s not easy to give a clear-cut answer to the question of which free VPN service is the best. Should you want to go for a free VPN service, then make sure to choose one of the providers we have listed. Especially since many free VPN apps in the Play Store and App Store don’t work properly—or are even harmful to your device/your privacy—we recommend you don’t download the first free VPN that you find. For example, stay far away from the free VPN Hola. After all, internet safety begins with a good VPN, and a bad VPN can have the opposite effect.

Below, you’ll find a table containing what we consider to be the best free VPN providers when considering different criteria:

Criterium Best free VPN option
Speed Windscribe
Data ProtonVPN
Server locations TunnelBear
Safety ProtonVPN
Ease of use TunnelBear
Tech journalist
Tove has been working for VPNoverview since 2017 as a journalist covering cybersecurity and privacy developments. Since 2019 she is VPNoverview.com's cybersecurity news coordinator.

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  1. Pls do a review on Atlas VPN, I think it is a new gem in the market! You don’t even have to register for it, and it claims that it doesn’t collect any logs. It sounds a little too good to be true, so any professional insight would be appreciated!

    • We’re working on it and will likely have the review up this week! For now, however, we should warn you that, while Atlas VPN doesn’t save information on the websites you visit, it does log your IP address. In other words, while it is a very decent VPN with a free version, we wouldn’t recommend you use it if you want to be completely anonymous online.

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