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Best VPN Free Trials of 2020

Illustration showing a piece of cake labeled 'Free VPN' being cut from a cake labeled 'VPN'
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

The best VPN free trials allow you to experience the benefits of a top VPN service before committing to a paid subscription plan. You can hide your IP address, unblock streaming services, and secure your internet connection without spending a dime. Many free trials don’t even require credit card or payment details. 

While 73% of VPN users in the US and UK opt for free VPN services over paid ones, many free VPNs carry security risks. In fact, 77% of available free VPNs have major security flaws, and many free VPNs share your data with the Chinese government

We strongly recommend that you don’t compromise on quality or risk your privacy by choosing a free VPN. Instead, we suggest investing in a safe and trustworthy subscription-based VPN service. With a free trial you can try it before you buy it, and decide which service is best for you. 

Our experts have researched over 70 VPNs to find out which VPN free trials are really worth your time. 

Based on our most recent September tests, the best VPN free trials are:

  1. ExpressVPN: The best overall VPN with a 30-day refund policy and 100% mobile free trial.
  2. CyberGhost: This fast VPN has a 45-day money-back guarantee and a 1-day free trial.
  3. NordVPN: Zero logs VPN with a 30-day risk-free refund policy and a mobile free trial.
  4. Astrill: Best genuine free trial with few restrictions and no payment details required
  5. Surfshark: Try this user-friendly budget VPN for seven days completely free.

Most of these free VPN trials give you full VPN access for a (very) limited time period, but enough time to decide whether to buy or not. Or, you may want a VPN for a very short period of time – maybe you will be travelling abroad and want to stream your favorite TV shows back home, or protect your devices on WiFi hotspots in airports, hotels and cafes.

However, if you’re looking for a lifetime free VPN, take a look at our list of the best free VPNs. Be aware that they come with several limitations compared to paid VPNs.

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

Best VPN Free Trials for September 2020

1. ExpressVPN

#1 VPN with 30-day refund policy and 7-day free trial on mobile devices.

  1. 7-day free trial on iOS and Android
  2. Risk-free refund within 30-day period
  3. Impressive fast international speeds
  4. Unblocks 19 Netflix libraries incl. US
  5. Allows torrenting & P2P on all servers
  6. Works in China & high censorship countries
  1. 1-month subscription plan is expensive
  2. No kill switch for iOS or Android
  3. Fire Stick TV app design needs updating
  • Best Price

    $6.67/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    94 countries, 3,000+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is our #1 suggestion as it’s the best VPN overall. It’s fast, private, secure, and it unblocks most popular streaming services. It comes with a completely free seven-day trial for iOS and Android tablets and smartphones.

While it doesn’t offer a free trial on other devices, you can test its service completely free for 30-days by taking advantage of its 30-day risk-free refund guarantee. Sign up for the service as normal and, if you decide you don’t want to continue your subscription, ask for your money back within 30 days of signup. To help you, we’ve created a dedicated guide on how to get an ExpressVPN free trial. You will have to register with all of your details and payment information, though. 

It’s a completely risk-free money-back guarantee. We even asked ExpressVPN if there are any instances they would refuse a refund, and they confirmed that, no matter what, your refund won’t get refused

Using ExpressVPN’s money-back guarantee period enables you to use the service without restrictions, including access to over 3,000 fast servers (across 94 countries). In fact, ExpressVPN keeps registering the best international speed results. 

You’ll also be able to test it across devices and platforms, restricted to five simultaneous devices. This means you can install it across your Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Fire OS devices. You can even install on your router, or on your AppleTV and gaming consoles using ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer.

ExpressVPN is also a great streaming service. It easily unblocks US Netflix through almost all of its US servers. It’s also highly effective getting around blocks for Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu and more.

One thing to be aware is that the iOS and Android ExpressVPN apps don’t have a kill switch, which is a slight privacy concern. Having said that, it’s an issue that affects many VPN mobile applications. 

ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPNs around, which is why this free trial is so helpful – you’ll get to test its fast speeds, robust security (encryption is via AES-256), a huge server network, user-friendly apps, and exceptional 24/7 customer support. We think you’ll be left very impressed with ExpressVPN.

For a more in-depth look, read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. CyberGhost

Fast VPN with very long refund period and genuine 1-day free trial.

  1. 1-day complete free trial
  2. 45-day money-back guarantee
  3. Unblocks 4 Netflix libraries incl. US
  4. Specialist streaming & P2P servers
  5. Fast short-distance speeds
  6. Huge server park: 6,000+ servers
  1. Free trial could be longer
  2. No torrenting on Australian servers
  3. Doesn't work in China, Turkey & UAE
  • Best Price

    $2.75/mo over 3 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    87Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    90 countries, 6,400+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

You can claim a free trial with CyberGhost in three ways: a one-day free trial on desktop, a seven-day free trial on mobile devices, or by taking advantage of its 45-day money-back guarantee

The benefits of the true one-day free trial is that it doesn’t require personal information or payment details at sign-up. You simply download the software and trial it. However, you can’t use its streaming servers, or manually configure it on routers. 

While this one-day free trial is limited to desktop, you get more time if you try CyberGhost on mobile. In fact, you can trial it out for seven-days on iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets. 

If you need a longer free trial period, we recommend signing up to CyberGhost but getting a refund within the 45-day money-back period. It’s absolutely risk-free as CyberGhost has a no- questions asked refund policy, with no exceptions. And 45 days is uniquely generous, with many VPN services typically offering 30 days. 

Using CyberGhost VPN, you’ll find that it’s great for a number of reasons. It’s particularly good with streaming, giving you unrestricted access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu and Disney+. We also recommend CyberGhost for torrenting, thanks to its P2P-optimized servers.

It’s also really fast connecting to nearby VPN servers, and none of CyberGhost’s free trials will throttle your speeds or limit your data usage.

It’s worth knowing that CyberGhost is not a completely zero-logs VPN. It keeps aggregated, anonymized data whether using the free trial or the premium service. However, the service is committed to user privacy and security and it won’t log any personally-identifiable user activity.  

For a more in-depth look, read our full CyberGhost review.

3. NordVPN

Popular VPN with 30-day refund period and 7-day Android free trial.

  1. Seven-day free trial available for Android
  2. 30-day hassle-free refund period
  3. Unblocks 9 Netflix libraries incl. US
  4. Very fast speeds across its server network
  5. Torrenting allowed on most servers
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. Unreliable in China
  2. Limited VPN protocols on Windows & Android apps
  3. Not great for Firestick, AppleTV & gaming consoles
  • Best Price

    $3.71/mo over 24 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    93Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 5,394 servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

NordVPN offers a seven-day free trial for Android smartphone and tablets. It doesn’t however offer a free trial for other devices, although you can use it for 30 days and get a refund if you want.

We confirmed with NordVPN that its money-back guarantee is risk-free. In other words, there are no exceptions or conditions to a refund request as long as you do it within 30-days. 

In the past, NordVPN offered a free trial on all platforms but discontinued it after citing “abuse” of the service. However, it later reintroduced a free trial on Play Store. This is limited to mobile and you also have to sign up with payment details. As such, you may as well go for the full-on service across apps, as you’ll need to cancel no matter what.

NordVPN is a zero-logs VPN so you’ll be able to test the service knowing that it will mask your IP and hide your browsing activity. All of NordVPN’s apps come with robust privacy features, in particular a VPN kill switch and AES-256 encryption.

It’s not as good as ExpressVPN for streaming, but NordVPN still works very well with BBC iPlayer, Netflix (with access to nine libraries), Disney+ and many more streaming services. It’s also very fast, which is ideal for buffer-free streaming in HD and 4K.

However, NordVPN isn’t working very well with major streaming services on Amazon Fire TV and through router-level VPN connections. Unlike ExpressVPN, CyberGhost and Surfshark, it doesn’t have a SmartDNS feature, so we don’t recommend it for use with Apple TV or gaming consoles.

For a more in-depth look, read our full NordVPN review.

4. Astrill VPN

Genuine unlimited 7-day free trial across all platforms.

  1. Cancels automatically after 7-days
  2. No payment details required
  3. Works with US Netflix
  4. Servers optimized for P2P & torrent use
  5. Works in high censorship countries
  1. Restrictions on available servers
  2. Trial not available in China
  3. App not that user-friendly
  4. Lacklustre speeds
  • Best Price

    $10.00/mo over 12 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    72Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    62 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Astrill offers an unrestricted 7-day access to its app with absolutely no data caps or payment details required to sign-up. All you have to do is input your phone number to receive an access code.

Once you’re up and running you’ll find that Astrill is a robust and secure VPN, very strong on security with a genuinely private privacy policy, and many more benefits. Servers are optimized for P2P and torrent use and it works to unblock Netflix, too. Speeds aren’t the fastest around, but they’re more than good enough for most online tasks.

The only limitation imposed on the free trial are some server restrictions. This trial also isn’t available in China, which is disappointing considering that Astrill is one of the best VPN options for beating censorship. We do also think that Astrill’s apps aren’t as simple and user-friendly as other competitors.

But what’s on offer here is a rare treat. It’s a super easy and safe way to test out the benefits of a top tier VPN on almost any device.

Astrill is quite an expensive VPN, so this free trial is perfect at giving you the chance to see whether you think its worth the investment, particularly as it has a strict refund policy.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Astrill VPN review.

5. Surfshark

7-days for free and 30-say refund guarantee.

  1. Week-long true free trial on any device
  2. 30-day refund period on top of free trial
  3. Much-improved speeds
  4. Unblocks 15 Netflix libraries incl. US
  5. User-friendly apps
  6. Excellent budget price
  1. Payment details needed
  2. Restrictions on torrenting
  3. Not as fast as competitors
  4. Not available on the Surfshark website
  5. Cancelation via Play Store or App Store only
  • Best Price

    $2.49/mo over two-years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    66 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Surfshark does offer an appealing seven-day full free trial, but you can only access it through the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.  

Once you’ve downloaded the iOS or Android app, click on Start Free Trial. You’ll then need to submit payment details and create Surfshark credentials (email and password). At that point, you can use your newly-created login details on any other Surfshark app.

Differently to a typical refund guarantee, Surfshark doesn’t charge you straight away. It will automatically charge you after seven-days, though. To avoid this, make sure you immediately cancel auto-renewal from within the iOS or Android app.

If you forget, and your free trial upgrades to a full subscription, you’ll still have 30 days to ask for your money back. In fact, Surfshark operates a 30-day money-back guarantee that sits on top of any free trial signup.

While Surfshark’s very cheap pricing may make you think it’s a subpar VPN, Surfshark is actually a very good VPN. Its speeds have improved considerably in recent months, and it works very well with most popular streaming platforms including Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

It also has a privacy-first logging policy, although it collects minimal anonymous usage data. It’s not personally-identifiable, and is only used to maintain its service. Surfshark also comes with several advanced features, including MultiHop, which routes your traffic through two different VPN servers for extra security.

Additionally, Surfshark is a solid VPN at bypassing aggressive online censorship thanks to its effective NoBorders mode.

While it does sometimes took a little longer than its rivals to connect to servers, Surfshark’s VPN apps are easy to use and will please most users.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Surfshark review.

VPN Free Trials FAQ

How We Chose the Best VPN Free Trials

A visualization of Top10VPN.com's 10-step review process

We test the VPNs on this list regularly and update our pages to ensure that all the facts are correct. When it comes to free trials, we find out:

  • If you need to sign-up with payment details
  • If you have to cancel or does it expire automatically
  • How long do you have using the free trial period
  • If there are restrictions when using the free trial
  • If it works with streaming services such as Netflix
  • If the free trial is available on multiple devices
  • If the money-back guarantee is risk-free

We decided to mix VPNs that offer genuine free trials with VPNs that offer money-back guarantees. They both serve the same function, but we recognise that some prefer a free trial to a money-back guarantee, and vice versa. There are pros and cons to both.

The main difference is that signing up to a VPN on a money-back guarantee basis, money comes out of your account. If you don’t cancel before the end of the refund period, you won’t be able to get your money back. However, unlike with many true free trials, there are no restrictions and you get a much longer amount of time to test the VPN service.

Differences Between Free Trials and Money-Back Guarantees

There are three methods to use VPNs for free:

  • Downloading an entirely free VPN service
  • Downloading specific VPN software from a VPN provider that offers a free trial
  • Subscribing to a VPN service with a money-back guarantee

While they all let you test a VPN free of charge for a period of time, there are some important differences that you need to be aware of. 

First of all, most free VPNs should not be used or downloaded. We’ve done extensive independent research on the threats posed by the countless free VPNs available. They are often riddled with security flaws, share your data with third-parties and possible governments, or contain malware and viruses. 

The only free VPNs we recommend are those from reputable VPN providers, who offer a free VPN alongside a premium service. The downside is that they come with limitations and restrictions. They are lifetime services, though – you can use it for as long as you wan’t, if you don’t mind the restrictions. 

If you want to try out a complete and unrestricted VPN service, then your next best bet is true free trials. They can span from one day to seven days, but are rarely available longer than that. The five providers we recommend in this guide all come with genuine free trials. 

The final option is to sign up to a VPN service (this involves making payment), and then requesting your money-back within the refund period defined by the provider. This can range anywhere from a 7 days to 45 days.

Taking advantage of money-back guarantees lets you test a VPN service for much longer. However, unlike free trials, you must remember to cancel within the refund period, otherwise you won’t be able to recoup your money. Also, while most VPN services guarantee refunds, some providers reserve the right to deny a refund under some circumstances. 

To make sense of it all, here is a quick glossary:

Risk-Free: You’ll have to pay for the VPN service but you’re guaranteed a refund within a certain period, usually 30 days. There is no risk of your refund being refused. 

Money-Back guarantee: Same as above, but there may be certain restrictions outlined in the refund policy. 

Free VPN: A VPN service that is completely free to download and use without time restrictions. As explained above, free VPNs come with several other limitations and risks.

Genuine Free Trial: Many VPNs advertise “free trial” when they are in fact referring to risk free money-back guarantees. A true VPN free trial doesn’t any require payment details. Some genuine free trials do ask for payment details, but won’t take payment until the free trial period ends. 

Which VPNs Offer Genuine Free Trials?

Illustration showing a piece of cake labeled 'Free VPN' being cut from a cake labeled 'VPN'

In addition to the VPN services we recommend in this guide, there are several other providers offering genuine free trials. Here is a selection of safe-to-use VPN free trials:

All of the above VPN providers will not ask for payment information on signup.

How Do I Get a VPN Free Trial?

Whether a VPN offers a free trial or not, you can find out by checking the VPN provider’s website. We also include this information in our detailed VPN reviews

Each VPN service will work differently. For example, AirVPN requires you to contact them so that they can send you an activation code for your free trial. Other VPN providers will have a dedicated ‘free trial’ page on their official website. 

If the VPN you’re interested in doesn’t offer a free trial, you can take advantage of its money-back guarantee promise. This means that you will have to sign up to the VPN, and the provider will take payment from you. However, if you cancel within the refund period, you will get your money back.

How Do I Cancel a VPN Free Trial?

If you’re using a VPN free trial, it’s important to know how to cancel or even if you have to cancel. For many free trials, if you don’t cancel you may end up in a contract with the service provider.

Let’s look at how to do this depending on which free trial you have…

No Payment Details Required

If you’ve downloaded free trial software but not inserted any payment details on sign-up, you won’t need to do anything. The VPN provider will interrupt the service once the free trial period has ended.

In the case of ProtonVPN, you need to sign up to its free service before you can access the free trial with all the premium features. But once the premium trial ends, you’re automatically returned to the free service with no payment details ever required. 

Free Trial with Payment Details Required

Some free trials require you to submit payment information in order to use the service. It’s highly likely that these VPNs will require you to cancel. The VPNs that offer genuine free trials but also require payment details include:

  • HideMyAss
  • Hotspot Shield
  • NordVPN
  • Surfshark

If you’re using a free trial on any of these VPNs you will need to contact support and cancel before the period is up. Some will allow you to cancel in-app, but it’s worth double-checking before signing up.

VPN Subscription with Money-Back Guarantee

If a VPN provider takes payment from you in order to use its service within a money-back guarantee period, this is usually called a “risk free” trial. In this case, you need to get in touch to get your money back. You are essentially buying the service for a specific timeframe. 

There are many ways to do this, but the best and quickest way is to contact a provider’s live chat support, simply stating that you want to cancel the service and get a full refund. 

Many VPNs say that there are ‘no questions asked’ if they receive a refund request. Some may however ask for a specific reason for cancelling (such as Surfshark), or if there is something they can do to keep you. Just politely express dissatisfaction, and the VPN service will start a refund process. 

If the VPN provider doesn’t have live chat, send them an email or any other contact method publicized by the VPN provider. We’ve found that the refund process is often extremely easy and very quick across most VPN providers, but there are examples of it being otherwise. 

You should bear in mind that while most do honor money-back guarantees, sometimes a VPN provider will refuse. However, this is an exceptional occurrence and is dependent on whether you’ve misused the service in some serious way. 

Although there are also less serious reasons. For example, Hide.me reserves the right to deny cancellations on the basis that you have “not consumed a significant amount of your transfer data”.

It’s always worth checking out the terms and conditions, but we also highlight whether a refund policy is particularly strict in our individual VPN reviews.

What's the Best VPN Free Trial for Netflix?

NordVPN American Netflix

NordVPN works reliably with US Netflix.

Many people want a VPN to watch Netflix. But what if you only want to watch a particular series and not invest in an entire VPN subscription? A free trial is an excellent way to give you access to Netflix libraries across the globe without any of the commitments. More than that, a free trial allows you to test whether a VPN will work if Netflix in the first place!

As not all of them work, so you shouldn’t pick just any. We’ve tested the VPN free trials with Netflix and recommend that you try out:

  • CyberGhost
  • ExpressVPN
  • NordVPN

For this use case, we recommend taking advantage of the money-back guarantees that numerous VPNs offer. This way you get much more time than a free trial limited from anywhere between one day to seven days. You won’t have to binge a long series in a short time this way.

CyberGhost, ExpressVPN and NordVPN all work to unblock and stream Netflix. However, CyberGhost’s 1-day free trial restricts you from using its streaming servers, so we recommend its 45-day money-back guarantee option for Netflix.

Which Free VPNs are the Best?

Best free VPN for Netflix.

Windscribe Free is the only safe free VPN that works with US Netflix.

If you’re interested in a free trial and are put off by the short duration but don’t want to use your credit card either, you could always consider completely free VPN services and essentially have a free trial for a lifetime.

There are a few good and safe free VPNs that offer a completely free, independent service, including:

  • Avira Phantom 
  • Hide.me
  • ProtonVPN
  • TunnelBear
  • Windscribe

These are the safest and best free VPNs we recommend. The very best free VPN at the moment is Windscribe.

They do come with various limitations though, such as slower speeds, monthly data caps, and restricted access to streaming platforms and server locations. This means you won’t get a full VPN experience, even if you can use it for as long as you want.

About the Author

  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio