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Top 5 Free VPN Providers of 2020

Last edited: January 10, 2020
Reading time: 14 minutes, 42 seconds

In this article, we will list the best free VPNs. A VPN allows you to use the internet more anonymously and securely through an encrypted connection. Most VPN providers require you to pay to be able to make use of their secured server network. But 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 will find out which free VPN services there are. Plus, we will recommend some excellent free VPN services.

Trials with Premium VPN Providers: Worth Considering

Chances are that you are looking for a free VPN to browse and download torrents anonymously, or to bypass a block such as those put up at work or school, or even a geographic block. Although some free VPNs are suitable for these purposes, not all free services will be able to give you what you need. In addition, we want to warn you that many services that claim to be “free”, might still take something from you, even if it isn’t money. Some free VPNs, such as Hola for instance, sell your data connection to others. Other free providers even record the websites you visit, to sell this data to marketing agencies.

You might be considering a free VPN because you want to see if a (particular) VPN is for you before you commit to a monthly payment. This is very 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 don’t want to spend a lot of money, but do want a premium VPN, there is a strong up-and-comer that we recommend: Surfshark. For just a small amount per month for the cheapest subscription (currently under $2), you get all the advantages of a premium VPN. Surfshark also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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 3 months 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

trophyWhat qualifies as a good free VPN? 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 of residence 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 a lot for streaming? Then it’s important to have a large data limit (or ideally, no limit at all) and good speeds – Although it has to be said that usually paid VPN services lend themselves better for streaming, because of 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 servers Netflix USA Downloading Anonymously
ProtonVPN No* None 3 Yes No
Hide.me No 500MB (2GB if you register) 5 No Yes
TunnelBear No 500MB (1.5GB if you share them via Twitter) 20 No No
Windscribe No 2GB (10GB if you register your email) 11 No Yes
ZoogVPN Yes 2GB 3 Yes Yes

*ProtonVPN’s free service has a very 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 all 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 free VPN provider from Switzerland. Their software is very user-friendly, and the level of security is also surprisingly good. The free version of ProtonVPN doesn’t have a data limit or speed cap, although their servers can become very 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. 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 servers, which are located in the Netherlands, Japan and 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).

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 will probably reach the data limit quite quickly.

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 and easy to use, and installing the VPN is fast and easy. 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 get 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 these servers won’t slow down as fast as servers belonging to free VPNs with very few different servers. In terms of countries that the servers are located in, your options include, but are not limited to, the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and Italy. We were able to use all the online streaming services we tried: Hulu, BBC iPlayer and YouTube. TunnelBear is available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOs. TunnelBear is quite alright for a free VPN, albeit with some limitations. If you want to download the free version, click ‘Pricing’ at the top of their website. That’s where you can 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, this becomes 10 GB if you give Windscribe your email address. Even with that limit, however, you’ll quickly run out of data after a day of heavy internet use. 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 has 11 servers across various countries available for 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 seem 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 New York (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 connection becoming slower.

Free VPN vs Paid VPN

You have to be careful when using free VPN services. A study among some 300 free VPN applications has shown that a large part of them doesn’t work properly. Access to all kinds of sensitive information (such as your contacts, photos and social media) is requested unnecessarily, and some free providers infect your device with spyware and other malware. 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 are more advanced level of security, as well as many extra features. For instance, connections are usually faster, you can be online with multiple people at the same time, and have access to streaming services such as Netflix. You can also download shows and movies worry-free and don’t have to be concerned about data limits. Most of these features are not available with free services. What’s more, paid VPN subscriptions have become quite cheap. To get a complete idea of the best VPN services of the moment, we refer you to this overview:

Check out the best VPNs

Cheap VPNs

There are large price differences between paid VPNs. And especially if you are looking for a free VPN, the pricing of some premium VPN providers may shock you. Luckily, there are a number of VPN providers nowadays who offer fantastic VPN connections for very low prices. For a small price per month, you can have peace of mind regarding the safety of your internet connection and data. If you are interested in the best cheap VPN, we recommend Surfshark.

Free VPNs With no Data Limits

As you’ve seen, most good free VPNs come with data limits. Free VPN users are restricted through these data limits, because maintaining VPN servers and VPN connections costs money. Data limits allow the provider to have you get to know their VPN service without it costing them too much money. Nevertheless, there is one good free VPN without a data limit: ProtonVPN. However, instead of a data limit, the free version of this VPN can be quite slow at times. They hope this makes it less attractive for free users to make use of their VPN connection for extended periods of time. If reduced speeds are not an issue for you, ProtonVPN is certainly worth considering.

A large downside to the data limits of free VPNs is that you can’t watch an entire movie or show through their connection. If you are watching something through an online stream, or even Netflix, you’ll notice that you’ve hit your data limit after about an hour or two already. So, even if the speed of the connection is not an issue, your viewing pleasure will be short-lived.

Free VPNs With no Speed Caps

As most VPNs already employ data limits, they don’t see a need to also enforce speed caps. As a result, these VPNs are often just as fast as paid VPNs. Some free VPNs choose to not apply speed caps because their free servers are so busy that the connection is not very fast anyway, making speed caps unnecessary. 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 good. Because they give you access to all their servers, especially TunnelBear clearly demonstrates how their paid subscription would work.

Free VPN for all Your Devices

Most good free VPNs have software and apps which are compatible with the most common devices and operating systems. This means that such VPNs are easy to install on our computer, smartphone or tablet. Some VPNs even offer software for lesser-known operating systems, making it possible to even 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, because you can choose from free VPNs with an application for your operating system, but also from free VPNs that come in the shape of a browser extension. Some VPNs are only available as a browser extension, for Chrome or Firefox, for example. This means that they don’t protect everything you need an internet connection for, including torrents and emailing. It does protect internet traffic running through your browser, such as electronic banking (provided you use your bank’s website).

The various operating systems require different 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 do more and more things online with our smartphones, we also use them to connect with unprotected Wi-Fi networks more often than we do with a computer. A free VPN is therefore definitely of added value for smartphone users who are out and about a lot and travel frequently. 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 ‘Best Free VPNs’ 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. This makes it very easy to install and setup the free VPN software on both your smartphone and your tablet, 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 we have listed above have software for both iPads and Android tablets.

In 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
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