Top 5 Free VPNs for PC: Best No-Cost Options for Windows

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Top 5 Free VPNs for PC: A Quick Summary

Windows users will be pleased with the free VPN options available to them. We’ve compiled a list of our top 5 best free VPNs for PC:

  1. ProtonVPN: Best overall privacy protection (with no monthly limit!
  2. Hotspot Shield: Fastest connections
  3. Windscribe: Most unique security features
  4. Hide.me: Best customer support
  5. TunnelBear: Most server locations

If you’d rather go for the full VPN experience with no data limits, speed limits, or small server networks, we recommend NordVPN, a premium service that will give you the very best internet experience Windows users can get.

You’ll find more comprehensive information in our full article, below.

A free VPN service can be a blessing. They offer the basics of a virtual private network at absolutely no cost. Some free VPNs will even offer additional features usually only found in premium tiers. When looking for a free VPN for Windows, there is an assortment of options to choose from.

So long as you’re willing to deal with the restrictions normally found in a free VPN service, our list will provide the best free VPN options available. Each will protect your internet traffic while offering decent speeds, additional security options, and varying server locations.

Best Free VPN for PC

A VPN service that offers a truly free option is a rarity. More often than not, companies offer time-limited trials or money-back guarantees instead. On top of that, not all free VPN apps found in the App Store are actually safe — some are actually malware hidden in nicer packaging.

Below, we’ve shortlisted the top five free VPNs for PC that offer a totally free subscription tier that will safeguard your internet traffic.


1. ProtonVPN: Free and unlimited data all month long

Screenshot of ProtonVPN, website homepage

Key features:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Top-notch security with Perfect Forward Secrecy
  • Three server locations

ProtonVPN is quite possibly the best free VPN you’re going to find. ProtonVPN’s free VPN plan offers unlimited bandwidth and a simple Windows app. No other free VPN service that we’ve tested works without data limits while also providing such a high level of security.

On top of that, Proton even offers a free security and privacy package that comes with its own anonymous email service, calendar, and cloud storage, alongside the VPN. Want a free all-in-one solution? Then you’ll want Proton!

As far as security goes, ProtonVPN offers plenty of effective and reliable features. The free VPN includes AES 256-bit encryption, IKEv2/IPSec and OpenVPN protocols, an ad-blocker, a no-logs policy, and Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS).

So, if ProtonVPN is the best free VPN for Windows, why should you bother with the rest of the list? Well, like with all free services, there are still drawbacks. One of those is that ProtonVPN’s free version only offers three server locations (US, Japan, and the Netherlands). Another drawback is getting a hold of customer support. With no live chat option, users will have to rely on a ticketing system for any inquiries.

If you’d like to know more about Proton, its excellent premium VPN solution, and the other services it offers, you can read our full ProtonVPN review.

Visit ProtonVPN

2. Hotspot Shield: High-speed connections within the US

Screenshot of Hotspot Shield, website homepage with added logo

Key features:

  • No registration required
  • Fast connection thanks to Catapult Hydra protocol
  • 500MB data per day

One of the more popular choices among free VPNs for Windows is Hotspot Shield. Hotspot’s native Windows app (an app made specifically with PC users in mind) has low data usage requirements and forgoes the need for any registration.

Hotspot Shield’s Catapult Hydra protocol allows free users to maintain quite decent speeds on PC. In other words: if you’re looking for a fast, free option, Hotspot Shield might just be the VPN for you. For a free VPN, fast and consistent connections are a rare but welcome feature. What isn’t so rare, is the limited amount of bandwidth this free VPN provides.

Hotspot Shield’s data limit is capped at 500MB a day. This restricts free users to around thirty minutes of HD quality streaming in a 24-hour period. Adding to this disappointment is the fact that free users are bound to servers found in the United States. Even with its restrictions, Hotspot Shield is still one of the best free VPN services available.

If you’d like to use more than 500MB a day, you might also be interested in Hotspot Shield Premium, this provider’s paid tier.

Visit Hotspot Shield

3. Windscribe: Free VPN with adblocker for PC users

Screenshot of Windscribe, website homepage with added logo in the corner

Key features:

  • Up to 10GB data per month
  • Servers in ten countries
  • Unique configurable adblocker ROBERT

Windscribe comes with a Windows app that uses OpenVPN and 256-bit encryption. It also has a no-logs policy to ensure your online anonymity. The free version of this free VPN service offers a fast and simple internet connection to their servers in ten countries. These are the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Romania, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Hong Kong.

This free VPN comes with 2GB of monthly data in its standard package. Providing Windscribe with an email will give users a total of 10GB per month. Windscribe guarantees that your email will never be sold or distributed to any other parties. Even so, if you’re going for absolute anonymity, you might choose not to hand over your email address.

One of the more interesting features that comes with Windscribe’s free version is ROBERT. ROBERT is a configurable adblocker that can be accessed through the control panel on the Windscribe website. This should help you avoid targeted ads that may be infected with malware. With ROBERT, you can create customized block lists, block ads and trackers, and increase your browsing speed as a result.

If you’d like to know more about this provider or what we thought of its paid package, have a look at our Windscribe review.

Visit Windscribe

4. Hide.Me: Free VPN with the best customer support

Screenshot of Hide.me website homepage

Key features:

  • 10GB data per month
  • Five server locations
  • Best customer support for a free VPN software

Adding to our list of the best free VPNs is Hide.me. Though it offers unrestricted bandwidth speeds, its bandwidth data limit is capped at 10 GB a month. This makes it suitable for casual browsing and infrequent social media scrolling.

Hide.me is a good free VPN for PC that offers a single simultaneous connection on one account. The free version has five server locations available: Singapore, the Netherlands, US East, US West, and Canada.

The free version offers some additional features typically only found in premium VPN software: an internet kill switch and IP split tunneling are both available at no cost. It also comes with an automatic connect feature on startup. This should help you avoid the need to turn it on manually each time you start up your system.

Users can also expect almost immediate replies from Hide.me’s 24/7 customer support. The customer service is top-notch regardless of whether you’re using their free VPN services or the paid Hide.me version.

Visit Hide.me

5. TunnelBear: Free VPN with the most server locations

Screenshot of TunnelBear, website homepage with added logo in the corner

Key features:

  • 40 server locations
  • Simple installation and easy-to-use software
  • 500MB of data per month

The last best free VPN on our list is TunnelBear. What makes TunnelBear one of the best free VPNs for beginners is its easy installation and appealing user interface.

TunnelBear’s free VPN account boasts access to 40 server locations. Though it might take a while to find a good server, users looking to stream Netflix from multiple countries will have an assortment of locations to pull from. These locations include the US, UK, Japan, Brazil, and Canada. If for nothing else, watching the animated bear burrow from server to server as you switch locations is entertaining enough.

The unfortunate thing about TunnelBear’s free tier is that it only offers 500MB of monthly bandwidth. You can boost this to 1GB if you tweet about the free VPN, but it’s hardly enough for binge-watching your favorites.

TunnelBear is owned by McAfee, which provides the Windows app with a TCP Override setting. With it, users are treated to a more stable connection albeit at a slower speed.

So long as you’re not planning a movie marathon, TunnelBear offers enough from its free tier to earn a spot on our list of the best free VPNs. Have you fallen in love with TunnelBear’s fun branding, but would you rather not be limited in data? Then you can always check out TunnelBear premium.

Visit TunnelBear

What to Look for in a Free VPN

With all of the variations between free VPNs, you’ll need to weigh the trade-offs with each service. You might want to try out a few to see which one provides you with the features you’re looking for. Even so, there are a couple of things every good Windows VPN should have.

The best free VPNs for your Windows PC will:

  • be easy-to-use. The Windows OS is already relatively easy to use. Choosing a VPN that complicates this, doesn’t make much sense. A VPN should be easy to install on Windows and easy to use, preferably with just the click of a button.
  • provide adequate security. Privacy is paramount whenever you venture online. Making sure your free VPN offers anonymity, good levels of encryption, and some other basic security features is a must. On top of that, their logging policy is vital as well. Ad-supported VPN services should be avoided as ads will expose you to data tracking by various agencies, like is the case with Turbo VPN.
  • offer PC support. Some VPNs are only available for non-Windows operating systems and mobile devices. Make sure the VPN you choose works for your platform.
  • have access to servers in the countries you require. The further a server is from where you’re located, the higher the potential for connectivity problems. This can be anything from a slowed-down connection speed to latency or connection drops. Make sure to select a VPN service that provides servers near your current geo-location.

Limitations of Free VPNs

Most free VPNs tend to restrict certain features that are found in premium versions. This includes even the best free VPNs on this list. Free VPN users should keep these possible limitations in mind:

  • Limited bandwidth
  • Average or low connection speeds due to server congestion
  • Minimal amount of server locations
  • Possible ads

As you can tell, a free VPN may not provide all that you require a free VPN for. A data limit can be a problem for avid viewers of streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. A free VPN might not even allow access to these services. If you’d like to unlock all of the features of a VPN for Windows, you’ll likely need a paid subscription.

Our pick for the best VPN service out there is NordVPN. Though not a free VPN, NordVPN does allow you a trial run with its 30-day money-back guarantee. Nord never puts a cap on your monthly bandwidth, has thousands of servers all over the world, and works to unblock streaming services like Netflix. Considered the most popular VPN today, NordVPN will benefit users looking for a high-quality VPN for Windows.

NordVPN
Our pick
Our pick
Deal:
Only $3.29 a month for a two-year subscription with a 30-day money-back guarantee!
From
$3.29
9.3
  • Excellent protection and a large network of servers
  • Nice and pleasing application
  • No logs
Visit NordVPN

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of free VPN options for PC. Users will have to be mindful of the restrictions imposed by the free version of a VPN service when deciding which one is right for them.

  1. ProtonVPN: best overall free VPN for PC
  2. Hotspot Shield: best free VPN without account registration
  3. Windscribe: amazing security with customizable adblocker ROBERT
  4. Hide.me: free VPN with the best customer support
  5. TunnelBear: free option with the most server locations

So long as the restrictions aren’t too limiting for you, each free VPN on this list is the best no-cost option. However, we still recommend a paid premium VPN service to enjoy all of the possible features. If interested, you can check out our list of the best VPNs for Windows.

Top 5 Free VPNs for PC: Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the best free VPNs for PC? Check out our FAQ section below. Just click a question to view the answer.

The best free VPN for PC according to our testing is ProtonVPN. Those looking for a reliable connection at decent speeds all month long will be more than happy with this service. Its unlimited monthly data and exemplary security make it our most recommended free VPN.

Windscribe is an excellent choice. Especially its free VPN is a great solution for PC. Though the monthly bandwidth allowance is low (10GB), its connection speeds are of decent quality. What sets it apart is ROBERT, a unique security feature that allows users to customize block lists, block ads and trackers, and increase browsing speed.

It depends. Some free VPNs do offer unblocking options, but it’s very rare and usually requires jumping between multiple servers to find one that works. When choosing a free VPN, the unblocking of streaming services is not a guaranteed feature. Even so, there are a few free Netflix VPNs out there that will give you the very best odds.

Tech researcher
Joseph is a former US Army IT communications specialist with over 10 years experience in the IT industry. He's a night owl, and a tech enthusiast who spends most of his downtime enthralled by online gaming and website building.