Finding a decent and free VPN is a big challenge. Server limitations, slow internet connections, lack of streaming service support, and most importantly, your online privacy are at the stake. Bearing these problems in mind, I came up with the 5 best free VPN services granting you better server selections and greater speed performance. Additionally, they value your privacy!
Yet, do not forget! Maintaining a free VPN is not easy as you think. Servers, apps, bandwidth, updates, and employees cost money. Therefore, either you will feel the limitation in every moment you are using the free VPN, or check out the cheapest VPN providers that would fulfill the expectations of daily VPN users.
A quick look at the best free VPN services:
1. Hide.me: No-Log policy; OpenVPN, IKev2 protocols with 256-bit encryption; 5 server locations with free 10 GB/month traffic; Average speed: 57.6 Mbps.
2. TunnelBear: No-Log policy; OpenVPN with 256-bit encryption; 26 server locations with free 500 MB/month traffic; Average speed: 69.37 Mbps.
3. WindScribe: No-Log policy; OpenVPN, IKev2 protocols with 256-bit encryption; 10 server locations with 10GB/month traffic; Average speed: 33.72 Mbps.
4. ProtonVPN: No-Log policy; OpenVPN with 256-bit encryption; 3 server locations with unlimited traffic/month; Average speed: 56.7 Mbps
5. HotSpot Shield: Keeps logs; Hydra, IKev2 protocols; Single server location with 500 MB traffic/day; Average speed: 16.11 Mbps.
How did I choose the best free VPNs?
There are hundreds of free VPN providers in the market. Some of them were caught selling browser history to the advertisement companies. Some are vulnerable to DNS leaks or some do have super crowded servers.
We want non of those problems! I did far-reaching research and found out the 5 best free VPN providers in the market.
Before analyzing the companies, take a look at what I based this listing on.
Privacy should be your top priority when using a VPN service. Essentially, that is why we use VPNs, right? And we would not want any company logging our online activities and give them to third parties just because the service is free.
The cost of free is the limitation! When using a free VPN, you will be limited either with the server choices, speed performance, bandwidth, or accessing streaming (Netflix, HBO, Hulu, etc…) services abroad.
I made sure that you would get the most generous free plans. Still, you will feel the limitation in one or another use case. Thus, it would be reasonable to upgrade your plan or go for the paid VPN providers that do not cost you a fortune.
Available servers and speed performance
The second biggest problem with free VPNs is the lack of server choice. In most cases, users are stuffed into a few server locations and never let out to connect to other countries unless they upgrade to the paid plans. Such restriction limits users with the speed performance as well.
With my suggestions, you will be able to connect up to 26 different countries. Plus, a decent download speed is guaranteed!
Maintaining a VPN service for different platforms is a big deal and it takes lots of effort to update all apps for each different device. “Compatibility” is important as we seek a well-functioning app on our PCs, and iOS/Android phones, or any other smart devices.
Even when we are limited on simultaneous connection points, we would feel confident if the VPN runs fine on our selected devices.
100% Free 5 VPN service providers
- We do NOT keep logs of your VPN sessions, browsing behavior, websites you visit, or any activity related to your VPN connection…
Such policy is possible thanks to the Federal Territory of Labuan as there is no binding data retention law in this jurisdiction. Also, hide.me has a transparency page to notify its users about the law-enforcement acts against the company.
Keeping the bucks in your pocket feels fine, yet, it comes with another cost, limitations! When using the hide.me’s free plan, you will be limited to:
- 1 simultaneous connection,
- 10 GB monthly cap,
- Two protocols,
- 5 server locations that do not support streaming platforms.
If you are okay with that, let’s see what we can do with what we have!
With hide.me, you can make use of 5 different free servers. These are Canada, Netherlands, Germany, USA East, and the West coast. Interestingly, the company does not throttle your connection so that you can get a decent download speed from each available server.
According to my latest speed tests, here is what I got:
Such download speed along with 10 Gb/Monthly traffic can get you a seamless browsing/streaming experience for quite a long time. Yet, on which devices, can we use the free plan?
Hide.me has compatible apps for the following platforms:
- PCs: Windows, macOS, Linux
- Mobile: iOS, Android
- Browsers: Chrome, Firefox
- Others: Routers, Amazon Fire Sticks…
Limited to a single device only, you can install and use Hide.me on any of those devices of your choice. If you want to go beyond the boundaries, you can also go for the paid plans starting from 4.99$/month.
- %100 free – no registration required
- Audited no-log policy
- 10 GB/Month
- 5 server locations
- Average speed: 50+ Mbps
- No streaming servers supported
- WireGuard not available
Another well-known free VPN provider operating in Canada. TunnelBear is an exclusive VPN service in a way that it offers premium features with the free version.
Because of Canadian legislation, TunnelBear has to collect a huge amount of personal data. However, on TunnelBear’s privacy page, they underline:
- TunnelBear does NOT store users’ originating IP addresses when connected to our service and thus cannot identify users when provided IP addresses of our servers…
In addition to the no-activity-log policy, TunnelBear ensures your online safety with 256-bit AES encryption with OpenVPN protocol.
Here comes the most interesting part…
TunnelBear does not deprive its free users of any of its features. What you get with the paid plan will also be yours when you are a free user. However, limitations kick in with the amount of data you are to use -only 500MB/month, and simultaneous connection up to 1 device only.
In that sense, you will be making use of all 26 server locations with an uncapped download speed. But, is the speed good enough?
To have a fair comparison environment, I tested TunnelBear’s three servers, and here are the results:
Such amazing results will help you surf the internet as if you are not connected to a VPN server. Yet, as limited with 500 MB bandwidth only, you will be more likely to spend it in no-time.
If you are okay with such small traffic, let’s see on which devices you can use TunnelBear:
- PC: macOS, Windows
- Mobile: iOS, Android
- Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, and Opera
Once you have downloaded the compatible app to your device, you can start using TunnelBear right away. When you run out of bandwidth, simply tweet about the service and get 1 GB of extra traffic.
Still not enough? You can purchase TunnelBear starting from 3.33$/month and enjoy ultimate freedom.
- No-log policy with an independent audit
- No server/speed limitations
- Streaming friendly servers
- Ungenerous traffic, only 500 MB/month
- Streaming servers fail from time to time
Another Canada-based VPN provider, WindScribe offers a free plan as well. Unlike many other VPN providers, the company clearly depicts that they keep minimal logs for each user so as to provide a well-functioning service. They also add up that the following data:
- the historical record of VPN sessions
- source IP
- sites you visited are not stored on the servers.
In other words, anything you do online stays between you and your devices. WindScribe’s transparency report also affirms your online security when using the service.
When it comes to restriction, we face three of them:
- 10 GB/monthly traffic
- Single connection
- 10 server locations
Along with the restrictions above, you may not also access streaming services like Netflix or BBC iPlayer either. However, the company makes sure that you get the best performance possible from their free servers. According to the three tests I ran with WindScribe, I got the results below:
Having millions of free users all around the world has also its drawbacks as well. While WindScribe offers amazing speed results in Europe, unfortunately, it fails to deliver a decent performance on USA and Hong Kong servers.
In case you do not need superior performance all around the world, let’s take a look at which devices WindScribe support:
- PC: macOS, Windows, Linux
- Mobile: iOS, Android,
- Browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Windows Edge
- TV: Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, Kodi
You can download the WindScribe app and start using it on any of the devices above. Do not forget! The free plan allows a single connection. If you like to unlock all exclusive features and use the service on unlimited devices simultaneously, you can upgrade to paid plans starting from 4.08$/month.
- Generous bandwidth – 10 GB/month
- 10 available servers around the world
- Free adblocker
- Inferior speed on USA and Asia servers
- Streaming servers are only available on the paid plan.
Switzerland-based provider, ProtonVPN is one of the most generous free VPN in the market. Similar to its competitors, the company is also boastful of being a no-log VPN provider. On the log policy page, they state:
- ProtonVPN respects its users’ privacy and enforces a No Logs policy. This means your VPN connections remain private and we do not store information about your connections or the websites you visit.
Additionally, ProtonVPN illuminates its users with a transparency report about the latest data request from the Swiss Court. Here is a quote:
- January 2019 – A data request from a foreign country was approved by the Swiss court system. However, as we do not have any customer IP information, we could not provide the requested information and this was explained to the requesting party.
ProtonVPN is the most generous and absolutely free VPN provider when it comes to monthly traffic as there are no bandwidth limitations. However, you can only make use of three available servers in the USA, Amsterdam, and Japan.
Besides location restriction, you will not be able to download torrent files or block ads. Moreover, unique features like “TOR over VPN, Secure Core VPN” as well as accessing streaming services will not be available.
If you are content with what you get, let’s take a look at ProtonVPN’s speed performance.
At the first glance, the download speed might be appealing for most users. However, there is a server capacity problem with the service. As the company is completely free, its servers reach up to %100 capacity usage and you may get inferior performance than the results above. Just make sure to connect to the least crowded server.
It seems like you are ready to install and start using ProtonVPN. Check the ProtonVPN apps below, and see if they are compatible with your preferred device.
- PC: macOS, Windows, Linux
- Mobile: iOS, Android,
- Others: Chromebook and Android TV
If you plan to use the VPN service on any of these devices, ProtonVPN can be a nice pick for you. In case you do not want to feel stuck to only 3 locations and slow servers, make sure to check out ProtonVPN’s paid plans.
- %100 free – No monthly cap
- Reliable no-log policy
- Easy to use VPN apps
- Decent download speed
- Free servers are so crowded
- Not supporting TVs, or browsers
HotSpot Shield (HSS) has a notorious background. However, after acquired by Aura, the service is now privacy-friendly. Still, you might not like what its free plan offers.
First of all, Aura, the new owner of HSS is USA-based and obligated to keep user and activity logs. Considering the free plans, HSS depicts that, the company may sell your private details if you use the free plan. These details consist of:
- Identifiers like internet cookies
- Internet or other network or device activity
- Approximate geolocation information
If such data exposure concerns you, you had better check the other options above.
In addition to the privacy issue, HSS is the most limited free VPN provider in the market. In case, you are still up to use the free plan, you will be limited with:
- 1 device only
- 500 MB/daily traffic
- 1 server location
Given the restrictions above, you cannot even watch a full HD video for an hour with 500 MB. Yet, the amount might be sufficient if you need the VPN service for a certain amount of browsing time.
You might be feeling that HSS pushes you to go for the paid plan under such circumstances. You can even sense it when you are using the USA server.
Contrary to other VPN providers, HSS’s throttle your download speed as well. Hence, I only got a 16 Mbps download speed. This might be okay for daily usage. In any case, you have 500 Mb bandwidth allocate per day and cannot do much with the free plan.
Below you can take a look at on which device you can install HSS and start using it immediately:
- PC: macOS, Windows, Linux
- Mobile: iOS, Android,
- Browsers: Google Chrome
- Others: Routers and TVs
Some people do not have privacy concerns, then, you might give a shot to HotSpot Shield. If you are happy with the results from the free plan, you can always switch to the paid ones starting from 7.99$/month.
- Free plan with 500 MB/day and up to 15 GB/month
- Speed and server limitations
Summing up the best free VPN services
I did extensive research and put forward the 5 best free VPN providers in this article. To ensure the safeness of the services, I paid attention to the log policies, encryption types, and jurisdiction locations.
Apart from that, you will face restriction in one way or another as running a VPN business costs a huge amount of bucks. Still, I made sure that the offered monthly traffic would meet your daily needs.
Overall, Hide.me, TunnelBear, WindScribe, ProtonVPN, and HotSpotShield turned out to be the best options at the moment. You can use the free yet limited plans of these services and encrypt your online traffic. In case, you need better speed and unlimited traffic, you must upgrade your plan.
Last but not least, be warned!
We can label the provided VPNs as safe shores. However, there are so many data-thirsty free VPNs willing to penetrate your devices and sell as much personal data as possible to advertising companies. If you want to lend your privacy to safe hands, make sure to choose a true no-log VPN provider.
I am a privacy advocate excelling in cybersecurity and VPN services. Along with my 8 years of experience, I will teach you how to enhance your online privacy and enjoy the ultimate freedom anywhere in the world. On VPNxD, I am responsible for privacy guides, and how-to-do articles.