Best free VPN for 2021: Top 13 free services compared
For many years, what was considered a conspiracy theory is now a known fact; government institutions spy on their citizens regularly.
And no, the governments have not bugged every smart device or gadget their citizens own. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) helps governments and agencies.
One of the responsibilities of internet service providers is to compile all user data and information secretly logging their activity and availing them to the government upon request.
In some instances, ISP companies sell user information to advertising companies who take advantage of unaware individuals and place targeted advertisements on every site they visit.
The collection of your personal information by ISPs while you browse the internet is one of the many reasons why people are turning to VPNs to ensure their online browsing is safe.
By incorporating security measures, a VPN gives internet users protection on their public and private networks. Be it a WiFi Hotspot connection or your home internet connection, this tool will have you covered. VPN protects internet users by masking their identity online.
Although VPN software cannot render online connections completely anonymous, they undoubtedly increase user security and privacy.
Benefits of a free VPN
While the proverbial phase, nothing in life is free, might be true, the paybacks of using a VPN far exceed browsing the internet without any protection measures.
The use of a VPN is especially essential in 2021, as the world continues to witness a rise in the number of data breaches and cybercrime for both individual and corporate entities.
After much waiting, VPNs appear to be godsent, considering the struggle internet users had to endure connecting to the internet directly.
To many, VPN networks are the long-awaited solutions for internet users’ requests for protection of their online activities and digital privacy maintenance.
Apart from this functionality, VPNs assist in accessing blocked websites from any part of the globe, with just one click of the mouse.
VPNs are a secure solution for users who wish to conduct their online browsing activities in a safe, secure, and anonymous way –thanks to the advanced encryption technology they deploy.
One of the significant benefits of using a VPN is its ability to unblock censorship and provide you with anonymity, allowing you to have the most-wanted internet freedom that you desire and deserve.
We have got the basics covered; now it’s time for us to list the best free VPNs for you to compare and pick. The list below boasts only the secure free VPNs that have no hidden costs, promise to give users no headaches, or put their privacy at risk (unlike most free VPNs do).
13 best free VPNs
If you are looking for a free VPN and do not want to be limited to data, then ProtonVPN’s free version is the most suitable option for you.
Unlimited data allowances make this VPN the best possible free choice for watching shows on streaming services and enjoying sports that are geo-blocked.
The circumstances, which may cause you to upgrade, are no P2P support, the ability to use VPN on one device at a time, and lower speed prioritization compared to paid users. Also, free users get access to only three locations.
On the positive side, all ProtonVPN accounts do not have a login, which makes users’ sessions fully private. Unlike many other free VPN services out there, the free version of ProtonVPN doesn’t annoy users with ads.
ProtonVPN works on a broad range of platforms, including Windows, Androids, iOS, Linux, and Mac.
Advantages of ProtonVPN
- Top data offering for a free VPN
- Stealthy privacy
- Generous data allowance
- Widely compatible
Windscribe is among the top picks for paid virtual private network services today. Luckily for users, Windscribe offers about 9.8GB per month of free VPN use if you sign-up using your email address. You also get an extra 4.8GB by tweeting about it.
If you do not give an email for sign-up and don’t tweet, you still get a free VPN account but are limited to 2GB data bandwidth per month.
Free Windscribe VPN includes the option to use a username and password to sign-up, eight server locations, no-logs storage for optimum security, and a built-in ad blocker alongside the firewall. Its free plan boasts ten VPN server locations including Hong Kong, UK, Canada, US, Germany, and more.
Free users get another free 1GB when they invite a friend to join Windscribe. And, if your friend signs up for the Pro subscription, you receive unlimited data and access to 47 servers, all for free.
Advantages of Wind Scribe
- Generous on data and is secure, too
- Provides excellent privacy
- Up to 10GB data per month for free
- Decent speeds
In March 2018, TunnelBear became a part of the security software giant McAfee. That has enabled TunnelBear to make a lot of developments behind the scenes without pressuring their users for payment much.
Tunnelbear free version boasts a clean and easy-to-use app that works on desktop or mobile and gives you up to 500MB free data per month. Free users can get 1GB extra as well by tweeting about the service.
Little personal information is required for sign-up, meaning its more secure than ever, considering it’s free and readily available to use. As per our tests, it’s the best free VPN for minimal use whenever you want to unblock websites quickly or check your emails while traveling.
Advantages of TunnelBear
- Available on desktop and mobile
- Stealthy identity protection for free
- Excellent security guarantees
- Strong reputation
Hide.me provides both paid and free VPN services; it offers you 2GB of data per month in the free plan.
Free Hide.me account has other limits too, such as being limited to five server locations in four countries (Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, and the USA) and one simultaneous connection.
On the other hand, this provider won’t throttle your connection speed alongside ensuring that it keeps no logs and stores no data. Standing true to its strict no-logging policy, the provider is audited for never passing the users’ data to third parties to try and make a profit.
Advantages of Hide.me
- No adverts or speed throttling
- Strong on privacy
- 2GB data per month for free
- Two US servers in the free plan
5. CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost virtual private network is primarily beneficial for organizations, mainly due to its adequate support for high internet speeds.
The firm is based in Bucharest, Romania. Like the other VPNs listed in this article, CyberGhost is a premium VPN provider that offers a free plan, too.
To be specific, with this provider, you get a free trial for one day with all the premium features. No credit card is required for CyberGhost free download.
Advantages of CyberGhost VPN
- It has an automatic kill switch feature that ensures maximum safety of users while offering unlimited bandwidth and traffic for free (with a short trial)
- Offers applications for Mac, IOS, Window, Linux and Routers alongside top-class support, i.e., through email and chat
6. Hotspot Shield VPN
Hotspot Shield is a top free Virtual Private Network that offers its users a reliable connection and a military level encryption.
It offers users 500 MB of data every day. Although being a good VPN for torrenting, Hotspot Shield free is not a recommended option for users who would want to unblock US Netflix and other sites.
Advantages of Hotspot Shield
- Simple and easy to use on macOS, Chrome, Windows, iOS, Android
- Offers 500 MB of free data every day, resulting in 15 GB per month
- Its high level of encryption ensures top-level protection
- Offers stable connections that enable users to have a lag-free experience
- Works well with Spotify and YouTube
7. SurfEasy (Opera free VPN)
SurfEasy is a provider having strong links with the same organization that is behind the emergence of the Opera web browser. As an integrated VPN in the Opera web browser, SurfEasy has a free and paid version.
Advantages of SurfEasy
- User-friendly and reliable customer support service
- Allows five simultaneous connections
8. Private Tunnel VPN
Private Tunnel is another premium VPN with a free trial (7-days) that keeps user information and identity safe on any computer or mobile device. While on trial, the provider does not put any data usage limits for free users. It also allows you to add up to 100 different devices in your account.
Advantages of Private Tunnel
- Easy and straightforward to navigate as well as use
- Has a strong clientele base, which tells about its reliablity
9. HideMan VPN
Although being limited, HideMan VPN is a good option for users who want to connect to the internet using their mobile devices anonymously. Every user of HideMan is eligible for four hours of free data per week.
Advantages of HideMan
- It helps remove geo-restrictions effectively
- Supports I2P, torrenting, and Tor
- Easy to use and does not consume much bandwidth
VyprVPN has the capability of maintaining high security of users’ data and ensures that no party spies on your internet traffic. Having a strict no logging policy, the providers take users’ online security and privacy seriously.
Like other top VPNs, the plans and pricing module of this provider boasted both a limited free account and paid plans. But VyprVPN discontinued its free plan a couple of years ago; we still wanted to list it as many people always keep asking around where to download VyprVPN for free online.
Now all such would have an answer that yes it’s a good VPN, but it neither offers a free trial nor a plan anymore.
Advantages of VyprVPN
- VyprVPN has worldwide server network connections that are readily available to users
- It gives the fastest internet connections for mobile application devices, and also it can defeat the throttling of internet speed
11. Speedify VPN
SpeedifyVPN is highly efficient and useful for protection online as it encrypts (and optimizes) users’ internet traffic. It is suitable for bonding cellular and WiFi connections to create a faster, secure, and reliable network connection.
The provider offers 1 GB of data usage per month for free. And the best part is, you do not even need an account. You simply download the app and use it.
Advantages of Speedify VPN
- SpeedifyVPN is very reliable because it reduces packets loss and redundancy to send data across all connections
- It uses the advanced technology of channel bonding that units many internet connections like cellular, WiFi, Ethernet, among many others, for offering increased bandwidth of the internet
This is a free VPN service with unlimited free data on offer, PPTP and OpenVPN protocols support, and secure AES encryption.
VPNBook is based in Romania, which is considered as one of the most privacy-friendly countries. The provider doesn’t record any activity logs of the users, whereas, it retains connection logs for seven days.
With VPNBook you cannot unblock streaming sites with stringent firewalls, such as Netflix (we tested, it didn’t work to unblock Netflix).
Also, the company doesn’t provide dedicated applications for any device. But, detailed manual configuration guides (using OpenVPN protocol) are available on the sie.
Advantages of VPNBook
- No data limit whatsoever
- Based in a privacy-friendly country
- Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and Mac OS compatibility
Betternet is an ad-supported free VPN but with a twist. Instead of bombarding users with adverts, the provider offers sponsored mobile applications.
Every time a user installs their recommended app via Betternet VPN application, they earn some money.
Alongside sponsored apps, Betternet earns money via sponsored videos. In that case, you are made to watch a sponsored video before your connection to their VPN server gets established.
That’s the business module of this free VPN provider, which is fine – at least it’s better than a VPN full of ads.
However, Betternet is an excellent free VPN service, but it has a significant drawback. That’s you cannot pick a server of your choice, every time you connect, you’d be connected to a Betternet server somewhere in the USA only.
Also, at peak times, you can expect your VPN connection speed to drop significantly (now that’s the case with many free VPNs out there).
Advantages of Betternet
- No direct ads
- Dedicated app for iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows
- Has an official Google Chrome extension
Paid vs free VPN
Now that you know the importance of using a VPN service and read through the list of top free VPNs already, there comes another essential question.
Which one should you get, a free or paid VPN service?
Although a free VPN might appear to be more appealing than a paid VPN, users are encouraged to subscribe to a premium VPN to enjoy better services.
Reasons why a paid VPN is better than the free VPN
- Free VPNs might take advantage of you by injecting targeted advertisements and sometimes even deploy malvertising into your browser.
- A free VPN can store your personal information that includes bank details, passwords, and usernames.
- They might save your browsing history and sell it to advertisers.
- Free VPNs can steal your bandwidth and sell it to the highest bidder.
Also, please remember one thing: even if a free VPN service provider is not malicious, free virtual private networks and proxies tend to deliver subpar services to their users.
A majority of free VPNs have the following demerits:
- Their connection speed bogs down with the number of users on a suboptimal network.
- User information and data are liable for exposure to third parties following their low-security frameworks and encryption procedures.
- Poor customer service.
- Free users have only a handful of locations at their disposal.
On the other hand, a top paid VPN such as ExpressVPN (our top recommendation overall) promises users:
- 24/7 customer service support service.
- 160+ server locations to choose spread in over 94 countries.
- Data encryption using 256-bit AES encryption technology
- Speed, security, and stability.
Premium VPN trials worth considering
Chances are you are interested in a VPN service that will enable you to bypass blocked websites in your school, workplace, or country, download torrents anonymously, and surf the internet securely.
Although the market is crowded with free VPNs, not all of them will give you what you want.
On the other hand, paying premiums for paid VPNs might also be a tall order for you, so what is your ultimate solution? Premium VPN trials.
Trials with paid VPNs give users the same service as premium VPNs do but only for a limited time. Below, we list two of our favorite premium VPNs that you can try 100% risk-free.
As hinted above, we recommend ExpressVPN as a whole (for any of your internet activities).
The VPN service provider offers a 30-day money-back guarantee trial period to use its services stress-free.
By subscribing to ExpressVPN’s free trial, you will be able to enjoy its stable, fast, and secure service for 30 days with the option of getting back your money if you are not satisfied.
Also, ExpressVPN offers its customers a 3-month free subscription when anyone registers for their 1-year subscription.
Like ExpressVPN, NordVPN offers a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee to allow users to test their premium VPN services for 30 days without worrying about the risk of losing money.
On top of a VPN, the provider also boasts a free yet powerful proxy service. Apart from a vast number of servers, NordVPN boasts ad blocking, dedicated P2P servers, dedicated IP addresses, and Onion Over VPN features.
It is evident that VPNs not only address privacy challenges but also provide better web experiences and better protection. Also, we have seen that VPNs allow access to blocked websites by bypassing geo-restrictions.
We hope the information compiled will assist you in choosing the best VPN service that best suits your needs
Our last advice, most free trial subscriptions offered by premium VPN service companies only include basic functionalities and features. So, do not shape your opinion based on the experience you get from free trial subscriptions.
Bonus: Some quick FAQs about free VPNs:
So… What’s your take?
What do you think of this free VPN list? Have we missed a provider worth covering?
Feel free to comment below if we missed a reliable service, the cybersecurity team at PrivacySavvy will evaluate it and add to the list (if worthy).
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.
About the author
Robert is a cybersecurity, privacy, and blockchain pundit with vast experience in diverse editorial positions at major news outlets. Apart from writing, Rob is kool kat, an amateur footballer and a lover of nature.