Best Free VPNs

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Ah, the dark and murky world of free VPNs.

The rise of VPNs in general has provided an enticing opportunity for the budget-conscious to access blocked content, or shield their online activity from prying eyes. All without supposedly paying anything.

However, as with many things that appear too good to be true, the true cost of free VPN services is much higher than you might realize. In this article, I will explore the interesting world of free VPNs, including analyzing which are best, the potential dangers they pose to your online privacy, as well as why they’re not actually ‘free’ in most cases.

At this point, I should say that not all free VPNs are bad. But many are.

So let’s jump right in and start with the risks & consequences of entrusting your data to a free VPN provider. If you’re looking for a free VPN plan that can beef up your digital security, protect your personal information from prying eyes, and shield your connection from the prying eyes of hackers, then this review has been written specifically for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Good & the Bad of Free VPNs

There are a few solid reasons to use ‘free’ VPNs and here are some of them, as well as the drawbacks.


  • Free to use
  • Offers privacy protection
  • Blocks ads
  • Allows access to geo-blocked content
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for casual users


  • Offers limited server options
  • Provides poor encryption
  • Carries a risk of malware
  • Slower speeds
  • May have data limits and restrictions
  • Not as comprehensive as paid VPNs

Or if you prefer this in table form, here is a bit more information:

Benefits of Free VPNsDrawbacks
🆓 No cost (kind of)🚫 Limited server options
🔒 Privacy protection🚷 Poor encryption
🤖 Ad-blocking capabilities🐛 Malware risks
🌍 Access to geo-blocked content📉 Slower speeds
👨‍💻 Easy to use📵 Data limits and restrictions
👍 Can be a good option for casual users👎 Not as comprehensive as paid VPNs

Top 5 Best Free VPNs (updated)

So which VPNs are the best? Generally, those that you have to pay for will have a much better standard of service, but I do accept that not everyone wants to pay. Sometimes, getting something for free really is possible.

  • Out of all of the free VPNs in the world, the most well-known and loved free VPN has to be… Hotspot Shield. It provides both free and paid versions of its service. The free version is mostly renowned for its lightning-quick speeds and rock-solid dependability. It lets you use 500 MB of data per day (capped), which is sufficient for streaming videos and doing basic web browsing, but unlikely to be enough for heavy users.
  • PrivadoVPN is the best Free VPN Service for Unlimited Speeds: PrivadoVPN is a reasonably new VPN company. Its free plan, complete with unlimited download and uploads without limitations, is quite popular with VPN Hound readers. It also comes with a robust encryption and a no-logging policy. The fact that it only lists server locations in three countries is kinda teh big drawback, though. :/
  • TunnelBear – Best Free VPN for Beginners: This user-friendly VPN has a useful free “plan” that includes 500 MB of data each month. Which frankly isn’t much, but if you’re a light user only and looking to use a VPN for a few days, it’s fine. Because it has robust encryption and a strong policy that prevents it from logging your activity, it’s good enough for most use-cases, apart from streaming or torrenting.
  • Atlas VPN – the Best Free VPN Service for Privacy: Atlas VPN is a free Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that offers robust encryption along with a strict no-logging policy. It also provides a number of servers located in a variety of countries, making it simple to get around geographical restrictions.
  • Then there’s Surfshark, which is better known to many as a paid VPN. But the free version is worth a look too, as it provides customers with essentially a “free trial” of their service as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you are concerned about protecting your privacy online, I’m sure you’ll find this VPN to be an excellent choice, as it boasts both strong encryption and a no-logging policy, and works for P2P/torrents too.
  • Lastly, Windscribe VPN is the Best Free VPN for Security:  Fairly well-known, Windscribe VPN gives you full access to a free plan that comes with 10 GB of data every month. Users who put a lot of focus on safety will find this to be an excellent option because it also offers both military-grade encryption.

1. Hotspot Shield – #1 Choice for Free VPNs

Although there are definitely restrictions on the amount of data that can be used, Hotspot Shield are usually more lenient than the majority of other free VPNs. That’s why it’s our #1.

How much data, you ask? Well, every 24 hours, Hotspot Shield will reset your data allowance, giving you an additional 500 MB of bandwidth to use each and every day.

In testing, I calulcated that if I use up my entire daily data allotment every day, that comes out to approximately 15 GB per month. It’s worth nothing that any data that was not used during a given day did not carry over to the following day. This meant that even if we only used 400 MB in one day, we would still only receive 500 MB the following day – this didn’t seem fair, but it’s how they do it.

โญ VPN Hound User Rating:
๐Ÿ“ No logs policy:No logs
๐Ÿ’ฏ Money-back guarantee:
๐Ÿฟ Streaming services:
๐Ÿ’ต Cheapest price:
๐Ÿ’ฅ Current deal:

Limited Offer: โš ๏ธ — today only!

Of course, the benefit of this is it allowed me to maintain full control over how much data was being used. Instead of providing 15 GB of monthly bandwidth, which, to be honest, I could easily use up in about a week’s time, it capped my daily usage to ensure that I would still have some bandwidth available towards the end of the month. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but a lot of people like it.

Offers a generous daily data usage allowance of 500 MBRestricts users to only one device connected at a time
Compatible with multiple operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOSFree users are limited to US-based servers only
Does not record user browsing activityEnforces a 2 Mbps speed limit ๐Ÿ™
Allows up to 5 devices per accountBased in the US, a member of the Five Eyes alliance

Another thing I was impressed with is how simple it was to use Hotspot Shield on a number of different devices.

For example, on my Windows computer, my iPhone  and my iPad, all worked fine and I was able to successfully log in and run the VPN. It’s fair to say that you can use their VPN on any device you choose, which is a significant improvement that they’ve only made recently (it didn’t used to be possible).

It’s not all good news though. I discovered in testing that I was able to connect to only one device at a time – which meant that I had to manually switch between my various gadgets whenever I wanted to use the VPN on a different device. A bit irritating, but it is free.

How fast is it?

The lightning-fast connection times were one of the aspects of Hotspot Shield that puts it above the rest -particularly as free VPNs are usually slow.

In testing, the average time needed to establish a connection was typically less than 5 seconds. In addition, I love that it has a Kill Switch feature, as these are usually limited to paid VPNs only. (A Kill Switch provides a safety net that prevents you from accessing the ‘normal’ internet in the event that your connection to the VPN drops or times out).

This is all rather surprising because I tested it from England, and Hotspot Shield only have ONE yes ONE server location for their free version. If you want to upgrade to their paid version, this then gets boosted to around 59 locations.

What about ads?

To be honest, I was quite shocked when I realised that neither the Windows nor the Mac client showed me a single ad. Not one.

On the other hand, after connecting to (and also disconnecting from) Hotspot Shield VPN on my Android phone, I was presented with a few irritating full screen ads. Even though I really hate ads and popups, I didn’t mind this particulary as the ads were brief and occurr only very rarely in my opinion. Plus again, it’s free and needs to fund itself, so I guess they’re a necessary evil.

2. PrivadoVPN

Pros 👍Cons 👎
No speed limits ⚡️Requires email address to join 📧
Based in Switzerland 🇨🇭Free version only has 9 server locations 🗺️
Free and paid users get same security and speed 🆓=💰10 GB per month data limit 📈
Uses OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IKEv2 VPN protocols 🔒No split tunneling feature 🚫

Those in search of a free VPN service that has unlimited download speeds will generally always arrive at the same solution: use PrivadoVPN.

PrivadoVPN, in contrast to many other free VPNs, does not limit your download speeds – all the while it maintains your privacy as best it can. Plus , if you place a lot of value in having a quick internet connection over VPN, you’ll find Privado to be an excellent option.

โญ VPN Hound User Rating:
๐Ÿ“ No logs policy:No logs
๐Ÿ’ฏ Money-back guarantee:
๐Ÿฟ Streaming services:
๐Ÿ’ต Cheapest price:
๐Ÿ’ฅ Current deal:

Limited Offer: โš ๏ธ — today only!

How to connect to Privado VPN

It is really quite simple to connect to servers and switch between different VPN protocols, mainly in thanks to the software’s user interface. I found it pretty straightforward and easy to navigate.

PrivadoVPN is one of the few free VPNs that provides the ability to switch between different protocols: specifically, OpenVPN, Wireguard, and IKEv2.This kind of thing is usually the reserve of more premium VPNs such as NordVPN or CyberGhost.

Moving on, PrivadoVPN’s app also has a home screen that helpfully tells you the total amount of monthly data allowance that’s left. It’s useful as it allows you to more effectively budget your bandwidth usage.


To sign up for the free version of PrivadoVPN, you MUST provide an email address. This is one of the VPN’s few drawbacks and I dislike this idea altogether.

A few other quick things to mention: free users can only choose from nine different server locations, and you’ll be limited to 10 GB of data usage each month. In addition, there is no provision for split tunnelling to be used at the moment, so connecting to your bank’s website and logging into online banking, for example, might not be the best idea.

On to some good news: PrivadoVPN, which has its headquarters in Switzerland, places a high priority on user privacy (free and paid).

Because of the Swiss’s stringent privacy laws, PrivadoVPN is not required (and does not) keep any logs of its VPN users’ internet activity. It also has a strong no-logs policy – which has been audited.

In terms of encryption, while it’s pretty much standard among paid VPNs to use it, – but not free ones – so I’m glad to see 256-bit AES encryption here. Plus, the ability to use the kill switch in the event of an unexpected loss of network connectivity, is also a welcome addition.

Overall then, PrivadoVPN is a decent free VPN to take into consideration if you are looking for one that provides unlimited download speeds, outstanding privacy protections, and an intuitive user interface. Woohoo!

It’s not the best VPN out there that doesn’t cost anything, but it’s not far off.

3. TunnelBear

Pros 👍Cons 👎
Easy-to-use, for newbies 🤩Based in Canada, a Five Eyes member 🇨🇦
Over 20 server locations for free users 🌎No Netflix access 🚫
Up to 5 simultaneous connections 📱No phone or live chat support 📞
Works on all major operating systems 💻Only 500 MB per month data limit 📉

Cute name, and that’s not a coincidence as TunnelBear is really aimed at less techy users. They’ve gone to great lengths to make it accessible to all.

In fact, for those searching for a free VPN who haven’t perhaps used one before, TunnelBear is a fantastic choice. I really love the intuitive and even at times entertaining interface – it’s all very cutesey, in a world where VPNs often over-use robot scripts and lay on the privacy shtick a bit too thickly.

Anyway, connecting to the encrypted tunnels and choosing my desired server location was as simple as clicking a button (as it should be).

Plus, unique among free VPNs, TunnelBear gives users access to more than 20 server locations too. This compares favourably indeed to competitors:

VPNNo. of Server Locations (Free Version)
Hotspot Shield1

Plsu with TunnelBear, you can connect up to five devices at once, which is more than you can say for most free VPNs…!

Their app works for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and more. Tunnelbear also now have a browser add-on that works for Chrome, Firefox, or Opera – these are free to use and encrypt your browsing history and passwords. That’s a lot of free!

โญ VPN Hound User Rating:
๐Ÿ“ No logs policy:No logs
๐Ÿ’ฏ Money-back guarantee:30 days
๐Ÿฟ Streaming services:Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV
๐Ÿ’ต Cheapest price:$2.49/month (24 month plan)
๐Ÿ’ฅ Current deal: Click here for 60% OFF at TunnelBear

Limited Offer: โš ๏ธ Click here for 60% OFF at TunnelBear — today only!

What are the downsides?

There are, however, a few big drawbacks to using TunnelBear.

Firstly, it’s a bit of a worry that they are located in Canada – since that country is a member of the Five Eyes alliance.

Privacy concerns aside, there’s no Netflix support, and you can’t get in touch with anybody through phone or chat (it is free though, remember).

What I can’t really get over, though, is that unlike other competing free VPN services, you’ll be limited to only 500 MB of data each month. That isn’t much data at all, it’s barely even enough to watch a long YouTube video.

The use-case or reasons for using TunnelBear Free are limited, specifically if you’re new to VPNs and want to dip your toe in the water, without opening your purse or wallet, then go for it. Give it a try and see if it works for you, but you’ll get so much more from a paid VPN.

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