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Best Free VPN of 2019

Simon Migliano
By Simon MiglianoUpdated
Illustration of a free VPN

While it’s tempting to use a free VPN service, they can’t always be trusted. Many free VPNs have serious security flaws, some are infested with advertising, and some share your data with third-parties.

Free VPNs are often the first port of call for those suffering from sudden online censorship or network disruption. In these situations, it’s important that you choose a secure VPN service rather than the first one you find.

We’ve tested dozens of VPN services so we can safely tell you that the free VPNs below are the fastest and most trustworthy we’ve seen.

They provide a very good VPN experience with the fewest compromises, and we fully recommend using them over not using a VPN at all.

These top free VPN services provide fast speeds, generous data caps, and most importantly will protect your online privacy and security.

Some of these free VPNs will also work with streaming sites like Netflix.

It doesn’t stop here though.

They also have custom VPN apps for iPhones, Android smartphones, PCs, Macs, and some even come with a custom Amazon Firestick app.

The Most Important Factors When We Review a Free VPN

  1. Doesn't ask for any payment details at signup
  2. Has the biggest data allowance possible
  3. No cap on download speeds
  4. No-logs policy & no IP, DNS & WebRTC leaks
  5. Solid privacy features
  6. Easy-to-use apps & good customer support

Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs

Read More Information on the Top 5 Best Free VPN Services

Ranked #1 Free VPN

Works with

Torrenting

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Fast local download speeds
  2. 10 server locations
  3. Near-zero logging policy
  4. Unlimited simultaneous connections
  1. No live chat support
  2. Rarely works with iPlayer, no Netflix
  3. Data usage cap
The Bottom Line

Windscribe is the best free VPN service out there. It’s super fast and secure, ensuring your online safety without compromising on performance.

The free version of Windscribe also offers loads of extra features like a VPN kill switch and comes with a privacy-friendly logging policy.

Sure, a 10GB data cap is restrictive, but it’s much more generous than other secure free VPN apps. Windscribe is a great free VPN service for casual users or VPN newbies.

Ranked #2 Free VPN

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. Fast local download speeds
  2. No data caps
  3. Kill switch & DNS leak protection
  4. Minimal-logging
  5. Helpful customer support
  1. Only 3 server locations
  2. Torrenting/P2P not permitted
  3. Doesn't work with Netflix or iPlayer
The Bottom Line

ProtonVPN’s free VPN service is private, secure, and comes with no speed or data restrictions at all.

It’s very quick, but unlike Windscribe, you can only use the VPN on one device at a time and are limited to just three VPN servers.

ProtonVPN’s minimal-logs policy means it’s very safe, though, as long as you’re not bothered about streaming or torrenting.

Ranked #3 Free VPN

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. Fast local download speeds
  2. Access to 22 servers
  3. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  4. Advanced security features
  5. Simple custom apps
  1. 500MB monthly data cap
  2. Doesn't work with Netflix or iPlayer
  3. Limited customer support
The Bottom Line

TunnelBear Free VPN is a great choice for beginners. It’s a simple, effective VPN service with a light-hearted bear theme thrown in for good measure.

The free VPN plan is fully functional but comes with a restrictive 500MB monthly data cap. You can tweet about the TunnelBear app for an extra 1GB, though.

TunnelBear’s free VPN has an independently audited privacy policy along with first-party DNS servers and a VPN kill switch to keep you safe online.

Ranked #4 Free VPN

Works with

Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Good local download speeds
  2. Many privacy features
  3. Strict zero-logs policy
  4. User-friendly apps
  1. 2GB monthly data cap
  2. Only five server locations
  3. Bad international speeds
The Bottom Line

Hide.me’s free VPN comes with a 2GB data cap – slightly more generous than TunnelBear – but you’re limited to just five VPN servers.

Hide.me is one of the most secure free VPN services out there, though, with a privacy-friendly zero-logs policy and extra security features.

It’s also one of the fastest free VPNs we’ve seen locally, but international connections are slow.

Ranked #5 Free VPN

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. Quick same-country download speeds
  2. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  3. Works intermittently with Netflix
  4. Unlimited simultaneous connections
  1. No manual server selection
  2. 1GB monthly data cap
  3. No kill switch
  4. No customer support
The Bottom Line

The free version of Avira Phantom VPN is a simple, straightforward VPN service that provides a basic level of privacy.

Avira’s free apps lack a kill switch and automatically connect you to the fastest server, but they do come with a minimal, privacy-friendly logging policy.

You get 1GB of VPN data per month if you provide your email address (500MB if not). Avira does work for Netflix intermittently, but you’ll hit your data cap very quickly.

What is a VPN and Why You Need One

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a clever piece of software that creates a secure, private internet connection (otherwise known as a VPN tunnel) between two or more devices.

A standard internet connection typically routes traffic from your device, through your internet service provider (ISP), and on to the website or app that you’re visiting.

Instead, a VPN routes your web traffic to a secure server in a location of your choice, and then on to your desired website or app.

The result is that your ISP can no longer see or monitor your online activity, and your connection is encrypted and secure.

If you care about your online privacy, and want to enjoy internet freedom, you really need to use a VPN. A good VPN will:

1. Keep your online activity private

2. Access restricted websites and apps

3. Encrypt your connection for safe data transfers (especially if you’re using Public WiFi)

You can read more about VPNs in our comprehensive guide to What is a VPN.

Are VPNs Legal?

The short answer is yes. VPN services are completely legal and can be used in most countries around the world.

There are a few exceptions, though. VPN services are currently banned in: Belarus, Iraq, Turkmenistan and North Korea.

There are six more countries where you can only use ‘government approved’ VPNs: China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Use a non-authorized VPN in these nations at your own risk.

You can read more about the countries that have banned or restricted VPNs in our guide to ‘Are VPNs Legal?’

Are Free VPNs Safe?

The reality is that many free VPNs are not safe and you shouldn’t trust them with your sensitive data.

We recently conducted two in-depth investigations on the most popular free VPNs and our findings revealed that a huge proportion of them had questionable links to China, as well as extremely worrying privacy flaws.

The above free VPN apps will protect you well, though. They hide your IP address effectively, are relatively fast, easy to set up, and provide good customer support.

How Can I Get a Free VPN?

A good free VPN will usually come from a reputable premium VPN service. This means that all you have to do to get the free VPN is visit the VPN service’s website and download the free custom VPN app for your device.

There are a lot of free VPN apps available to download directly from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store, but these are usually not to be trusted – as we found out in our recent investigation.

If you are set on using one of these app store exclusive apps, make sure you thoroughly read through its privacy policy so you’re fully aware of what you’re signing up to.

Free vs Paid VPNs: Should You Pay for a VPN?

The VPN services listed above all come with our seal of approval. We’ve thoroughly tested each VPN, making sure it delivers a speedy and secure service, and we’re happy with what we’ve seen.

The very best free VPN can’t compete with the majority of paid VPNs, though: fast speeds, extensive server options and extra privacy/product features cost money.

A good free VPN is great for newbies or casual browsers, but for the best experience we strongly suggest you subscribe to a paid VPN service – our best VPNs of 2019 or our best free VPN trials are good starting points.

On What Devices Can I Use a Free VPN?

You can use free VPNs on most popular devices such as:

They are also very easy to set up – follow our step-by-step guides to install and run a VPN in seconds on your iPhone, Android smartphone, laptop or desktop PC, Apple iMac or MacBook,  or your Amazon Fire TV Stick.

What Is the Best Free VPN for Android?

There are lots of free VPNs for Android, but that doesn’t mean any of them will keep you safe.

Our recent investigation discovered that many free VPNs for Android actually contain an alarming number of privacy flaws that could put you at risk.

Take a look at the best free VPNs for Android here, or if you want a VPN service that’s a lot more secure, check out our best (paid) VPNs for Android.

What is the Fastest Free VPN?

A lot of free VPN services tend to have speed caps in place, but the fastest free VPN we’ve seen so far is our top overall pick, Windscribe.

With free VPNs, speed can often come at the expense of security, so be sure to stick to our recommendations to keep yourself safe online.

Can I Use a Premium VPN for Free?

You can use a paid VPN for free by taking advantage of the money-back guarantees offered by most top-tier VPNs.

This means that you can use their VPN service free of charge for the duration of the guarantee period (usually 30 days).

For example, if you sign up to ExpressVPN, our current top VPN service, and cancel your subscription before the end of its 30-day refund period, it will refund you quickly and with no questions asked.

Other top VPN services you can try for free are:

This is a good way to use a top-rated VPN service free of charge if you only intend to use a VPN for a short period of time.

What Is the Best Free VPN for Torrenting?

Using a free VPN for torrenting is difficult, due to the harsh data caps free VPN services often put in place.

These data caps make it almost impossible to transfer anything more than a handful of bulky files before hitting your VPN data limit – speed throttling doesn’t help, either.

We have put together a list of recommended free VPNs for torrenting, but if you want the fastest and most secure torrenting experience, we recommend paying for one of these VPN services.

How to Choose the Best Free VPN: 7 Tips

Most free VPNs have either a speed or data cap. If you want truly unlimited, unrestricted VPN access you’ll usually have to pay.

If you are only planning to do very light browsing when connected to the VPN you might be able to live with the limitations, but anything more will most likely require more bandwidth.

If it takes 1GB of data to stream an hour-long show in Full HD on Netflix, will the free VPN you’re considering really give you enough data?

Check whether the free VPN offers servers in your preferred location. Odds are you’ll only be able to use a few servers, and there may not be any in popular locations like the US or UK. Even a free VPN will be a waste of time if you can’t connect to the location you need.

Another common limitation with free VPNs is the devices you can use them on. There are plenty of free VPNS that are mobile-only, which is useless if you’re trying to protect your desktop or laptop computer.

Other free VPNs will have a connection limit, meaning that while it may be compatible with all your devices it won’t be able to run on them all at once. We check all the small print so you know just what you’re getting before you download the VPN.

It’s no secret that a hugely popular use for VPNs is to gain access to streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. However, maintaining access to streaming sites requires a lot of resources from a VPN service, so it may not be guaranteed in a free VPN.

The same goes for torrenting – all that bandwidth costs money, so you may have to pay to get access to VPN servers that allow it.

Some products proclaiming to be a VPN can be nothing more than a placebo. If it doesn’t have the right security standards, like AES-256 encryption and the OpenVPN protocol, it’s not actually doing anything to protect your privacy.

You’ll rarely get as much choice with a free VPN, but as a bare minimum you should make sure that it’s doing its job.

Logging policies are the single biggest danger when choosing a free VPN. Many free VPN services that don’t charge a fee make their money by selling your data.

It should go without saying that this is the exact opposite of what you want from a VPN. You can rest assured that we will never recommend a VPN, free or otherwise, that doesn’t have the most transparent, stringent privacy policy possible.

A lot of free VPNs don’t put time or effort into designing a clean and simple app. The very worst will shove pop-ups in your face and fill their app with obnoxious ads.

We’ve tested dozens of free VPNs, and we’ve seen the best (and the worst) programs the industry has to offer. We’ll always fully explain just what we do and don’t like about using any VPN.