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Best Free Trial VPNs

Callum Tennent
By Callum TennentUpdated

A free trial is a great way of finding out whether or not you’re ready to sign up to a paid VPN subscription, but there are so many varying options out there that choosing the best one for you can be tricky. Some providers impose performance limitations, other require payment details before signing up. We do the research for you and provide you with all the information you need to help you make the right choice.

The best free trial VPNs give you unrestricted access to the service for as long as possible, requiring the minimum in personal details so you can’t be automatically ‘upgraded’ to the paid service. Our proprietary speed-testing technology means we can provide you with the most accurate VPN performance data on the current market, so you can rely on our top picks to be capable of HD streaming and buffer-free downloads. To see which VPN we recommend for a specific purpose, tell us why you need one below, or read on for the best free trial picks for 2019.

The 5 Best VPN Free Trials
  1. PrivateVPN
  2. AirVPN
  3. NordVPN
  4. HideMyAss!
  5. Hotspot Shield
Read on for our detailed analysis of each VPN.
Our pick for Free Trial
PrivateVPN

Unrestricted use of the VPN for seven days. No payment details required.

Best price
$3.60 per month
Special deal
67% off with 17-month plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
Live chat Support
No. of Server Locations
58 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
6
Pros
  1. Very quick download speeds - 64Mbps global average
  2. Access to dedicated streaming servers
  3. Generous six device connection limit
  4. Connect securely to 58 countries
  5. Strictly zero-logs
Cons
  1. Have to email support to receive code
  2. Unreliable customer service
  3. Mobile apps lack advanced privacy features
  4. Very few city-level servers
Bottom Line

PrivateVPN is a VPN newcomer, so it’s smart to offer a full-featured free trial that lets you test out the service for seven days. It’s one of the fastest VPNs on the market, with some local connections coming in at over 218Mbps, and dedicated streaming servers make it easy to access popular sites such as Netflix and iPlayer.

The custom apps are sleek and user-friendly, and you can protect up to six devices simultaneously with a single account, which is great for families. Privacy-wise it’s one of the best options out there, with a strict zero-logs policy and advanced features such as a VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection.

Customer support on the website is good enough, but live chat is only intermittently available, which is frustrating when you just have a quick question. You need to get in touch with support to receive a code for the trial and then create an account, which is a minor hassle, but thankfully no payment details are required after that.


Read our full PrivateVPN review

2
AirVPN

Full-featured 3-day free trial with no usage caps. Powerful, privacy-focused VPN.

Best price
$2.79 per month
Special deal
65% off with 2-year plan
Money-back guarantee
3 Days
Customer Support
Email
No. of Server Locations
20 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
Pros
  1. Reliable downloads - up to 90Mbps on local connections
  2. Connect up to five devices simultaneously
  3. P2P and torrenting permitted on all servers
  4. No automatic renewal to a paid subscription
  5. Loads of advanced privacy features
Cons
  1. Have to contact support for a free trial code
  2. Techy app isn't good for VPN newbies
  3. Very small server network
  4. No access to streaming services
Bottom Line

AirVPN’s free trial is perfect for testing out whether you can get used to the tech-heavy, clunky software. As free trials go it’s certainly very good, offering you unrestricted access to the service for three days without having to provide any payment details.

Uncapped speeds mean you can enjoy performance of up to 90Mbps on same-country connections, and although this doesn’t come close to the speeds offered by top-tier providers, it’s still more than quick enough for buffer-free HD streaming.

The software is incredibly outdated but experienced users will enjoy the high level of configurability on offer.  You can test out the effectiveness of the VPN kill switch as well as other features such as access to TOR through the VPN server.

Customer support is pretty much non-existent but the community forums will answer most questions. It’s a little annoying that you have to message admin to get a free trial code, but we did receive a response within 24 hours.


Read our full AirVPN review

3
NordVPN

7-day free trial with no speed restrictions or data caps. Automatically upgrades you.

Best price
$2.99 per month
Special deal
75% off with 3-year plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 Live chat support
No. of Server Locations
62 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
6
Pros
  1. Fast, uncapped speeds - 74Mbps global average
  2. Generous six device connection limit
  3. Access to dedicated servers for P2P/streaming
  4. Connect securely to 62 countries
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
Cons
  1. Automatically renews you to a yearly subscription
  2. Email responses can be slow
Bottom Line

NordVPN offers a great all-round free trial, but you do have to sign up with your payment details. You get access to the service for seven days, which should be more than enough to test out all the key features. Just remember to cancel the trial before the seven days are up, unless you want to be upgraded to a paid subscription at the end.

There are no speed restrictions, so you can enjoy blazing fast performance of up to 301Mbps on same-country connections, as well as access to Netflix and iPlayer.

The user-friendly apps are available for all popular platforms, and a generous six-device connection limit means you can test several out at once. You can also check out Nord’s extensive set of privacy tools, including a VPN kill switch and servers optimized for use with TOR.

Customer support is excellent but email responses can be a little slow at times. All in all, it’s a great way to test out a fantastic provider but it’s not as risk free as our top picks.


Read our full NordVPN review

4
HideMyAss!

Generous 30 day free trial. No speed or data caps but payment details required.

Best price
$2.99 per month
Special deal
75% off with 3-year plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 Live chat support
No. of Server Locations
190 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
Pros
  1. Great speeds - 61Mbps global average
  2. Unlimited use of the service for 30 days
  3. Optimized servers for streaming and torrenting
  4. Five simultaneous connections
  5. Connect securely to 190 countries
Cons
  1. Requires you to provide payment details
  2. Intrusive logging policy
  3. Limited to OpenVPN on the desktop app
  4. Not compatible with a wide range of devices
Bottom Line

HideMyAss! has recently introduced a free trial, giving you unlimited use of the VPN software for 30 days. There are no speed or data restrictions, and with downloads on most local connections coming in at over 195Mbps, you can stream your favorite shows on Netflix in buffer-free HD.

We really like HMA!’s sleek, modern apps, and a generous five device connection limit means you can protect your family’s devices as well as your own. It isn’t the most private VPN out there, with a pretty intrusive logging policy, but the free trial does include access to advanced features such as the VPN kill switch.

Customer support is impressive, featuring 24/7 live chat and extensive online resources. Our only real complaint was that in order to access the free trial, you have to sign up for a paid subscription, but as long as you remember to cancel this before the end of the 30 days no money will be taken from your account. If it wasn’t for this, HMA! would have been more highly recommended.


Read our full HideMyAss! review

5
Hotspot Shield

7-day free trial. Uncapped data and speed. Payment details required.

Best price
$2.99 per month
Special deal
76% off with 2-year plan
Money-back guarantee
45 Days
Customer Support
24/7 Live chat support
No. of Server Locations
27 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
Pros
  1. Super speedy local downloads up to 98Mbps
  2. No data or speed caps
  3. Access to Netflix and iPlayer
  4. User-friendly apps for popular devices
  5. Connect securely to 25 countries
Cons
  1. Required to provide payment details
  2. Limited server network
Bottom Line

Hotspot Shield offers a seven-day free trial of its premium service, which allows you to fully test out the VPN before you purchase. With unlimited data, great local speeds and easy access to popular streaming sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer, it’s a worth a try if you don’t need to connect to dozens of countries worldwide.

A generous limit of five simultaneous connections means you can test out the software on most popular devices. The security features are pretty limited compared to our top picks, including just a kill switch and IPv6 leak protection, and recent controversies over privacy breaches mean that those seeking the highest levels of security should look elsewhere.

Customer support has recently improved as live chat is now available 24/7, but the online support remains sparse. The custom apps are simple enough to use that you shouldn’t run into too many issues.

Our biggest gripe is that you have to input your payment details to access the free trial, so be prepared to pay for a long-term subscription if you forget to cancel before the seven days are up. If you’re looking to test out a solid VPN for streaming and general browsing, but aren’t overly fussed about advanced security features, Hotspot Shield’s free trial could be the one for you.


Read our full Hotspot Shield review

How We Picked the Best Free Trial VPN

Our top picks for free trials have no restrictions on speed or bandwidth usage, and perform very well in our speed tests both on local and international server connections. Most of them also work with major streaming services such as Netflix and iPlayer. We also looked for privacy-friendly logging policies, as well as advanced privacy features such as a VPN killswitch. We manually test all the apps so we know what they’re really like to use.

We’re constantly testing all the VPNs on our site to ensure our reviews and recommendations for free trials are always fresh. We run regular speed tests on all popular servers to monitor that provider’s performance, and make sure that your speeds aren’t being throttled. We make sure there are no major restrictions, such as a reduced number of simultaneous connections, and even check that the customer service is top notch.

How to Choose a Free Trial VPN: 8 Tips

  • Are there any speed or bandwidth caps?

    Most VPN providers that offer a free trial will allow you unlimited use of the service, however there are a few on the current market that restrict you to a limited amount of bandwidth. If you’re only planning to do a few quick tests this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, however if you wanted to try out streaming quality on several different servers you might run into some problems. For reference, 1GB is only enough to watch a 30 minute show on Netflix.

  • Does the free trial allow you to access servers in the locations you need?

    Make sure the free trial allows you to connect to servers in your preferred locations. In most cases, the servers on offer aren’t in the most popular countries, such as the US or the UK, which can limit your ability to access restricted content.

  • Will it work with your favorite websites and apps?

    Do you watch Netflix or BBC iPlayer? Most free VPN services do not work with these apps. We continuously test whether each VPN is working with Netflix and other apps and share the results in our VPN reviews.

  • What is their logging policy?

    Almost every VPN will tell you it’s a “zero logs” VPN and doesn’t track your internet activity. In reality, delivering consistently high performance across a global server network isn’t possible unless you’re collecting at least basic connection metadata from your users. You could read through a load of privacy policies to find out exactly what’s collected or let us do that for you and just check the logging policy section of our review that explains this in plain English. Ideally you want a VPN that doesn’t collect any logs, but failing this, one that limits timestamp logging to just the date of your connection would be the next best thing.

  • Does it work on your preferred devices?

    Almost all VPN software will work on Windows, Mac and Linux machines, along with iOS and Android mobile devices. However, some VPN services are also compatible with other internet-connected items, such as routers, games consoles and streaming devices, such as the Amazon Fire Stick.

  • Check connection, encryption and security features

    The sheer amount of VPN jargon can be overwhelming, even if you are pretty tech-savvy. Do look out for OpenVPN though, as this connection protocol offers the best overall blend of speed and security. Ignore talk of military or bank-grade encryption and just look for AES-256, as that’s the gold standard. Unless you know your DNS from your IPv6, a VPN killswitch is the main thing to look out for among security features as it will protect you from exposing your real IP address should your connection drop unexpectedly.

  • Check the number of simultaneous connections

    Lots of free trials will lower the amount of possible simultaneous connections, with some only allowing you to use the VPN on one device at any given time. If you’re planning to use the free trial for longer than a day or so and want to protect your family’s devices as well as your own, we’d recommend looking for a provider that offers multiple simultaneous connections.

  • Are their client apps and software easy to use?

    No-one likes a clunky, confusing app. Look for a VPN with software that’s well-designed, simple and powerful and you will be much more likely to use it all the time. We share the results of our hands-on testing of each VPN app in the the Ease of Use part of its review. We spend all day testing VPN apps, so hopefully we know a thing or two!