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The Best Free VPNs of 2024

Illustration of a credit card with a line through it and some coins

Simon Migliano 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 and more.

Fact-checked by JP JonesAdditional Testing by David Hughes

Good free VPNs change your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic. The very best can even unblock geo-restricted web content.

Trustworthy free VPNs are scarce, though. 77% of the free apps we’ve investigated pose considerable risks.

With over 70% of VPN users we surveyed opting for a free VPN over a paid one, recommending the most secure and trustworthy free services is critical.

Summary: The Best Free VPN Apps

Of the 150 free VPNs we investigated, we can only recommend the seven listed below:

  1. Proton VPN Free: Best 100% Free VPN Overall
  2. Windscribe Free: Best Runner-up
  3. PrivadoVPN Free: Best Free VPN for Streaming
  4. Atlas VPN Free: User-friendly Free VPN
  5. ZoogVPN Free: Safe Free VPN for Beginners
  6. Hotspot Shield Basic: Fastest Free VPN
  7. Hide.me Free: Good Free Option for Private Browsing

The best completely free VPN is Proton VPN Free. It’s very fast, highly secure, doesn’t track user web logs, and doesn’t limit data usage. Sadly, it only offers free servers in 3 countries, which don’t bypass streaming geo-restrictions.

Free VPNs are incredibly popular, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide. But, as we’ve said already, many are insecure and even the best perform much worse than top paid-for VPNs.

Even top-rated free VPNs are limited by data usage caps, offer few free servers, or struggle to bypass streaming geo-blocks.

Top Free VPNs Compared

The table below compares our top-rated free VPNs based on download speed, number of server locations, logging policy, and more:

We hold free VPNs to the same high standard as paid ones. We never recommend free VPNs that log your web activity, leak your IP address, or otherwise endanger your internet privacy and security.

Why Trust Us?

We’re fully independent and have been reviewing VPNs since 2016. Our ratings are based on our own testing results and are unaffected by financial incentives. Learn who we are and how we test VPNs.

Free VPNs Investigated150
Safe Free VPNs7
Total Hours of Testing30,000+

Detailed List of the Best Free VPNs

  1. 1. Proton VPN Free: Best Free VPN Overall

    Our top-rated free VPN, with no data usage limits. Ideal for enhancing your internet security.

    Ranked #1 out of 150 Free VPNs
    Screenshot of Proton VPN's mobile appVisit Proton VPN

    • No data usage limits
    • No payment info on signup
    • 200 very fast free servers
    • Desktop & mobile VPN kill switch
    • Privacy-friendly logging policy & Swiss jurisdiction
    • Android .APK file for side loading

    • Only 3 VPN server locations
    • Torrenting not allowed
    • Doesn't unblock most video platforms
    • Only one simultaneous connection
    • No web browser extensions

    Overall Free VPN Rating: 7.0/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 9.5/10
    • 9.4/10
    • 9.0/10
    • 1.0/10
    • 3.0/10
    • 0.0/10
    • 8.4/10
    • 8.1/10
    • 6.5/10

    Proton VPN is our top-rated free VPN. It’s the only free and safe VPN you can leave on all the time on all of your devices.

    This is because the VPN doesn’t impose any data limits whatsoever on its free servers. You can use Proton VPN Free as much as you want, completely free, and without adverts.

    All of Proton VPN’s apps deliver fast connection speeds and use high security standards. They also protect against IP leaks, and operate under a privacy-friendly logging policy.

    While it’s an excellent free VPN for security, Proton VPN Free only offers 3 free server locations. It also doesn’t work for streaming, or with P2P traffic.

    Proton VPN Free on iOS

    Data CapUnlimited
    Countries with Servers3
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    JurisdictionSwitzerland (Privacy Haven)
    Data LeaksNo
    SupportEmail & Online Resources Only
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosmacOS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux

    Secure, Independently Audited Apps

    You can use the free version of Proton VPN securely on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Fire TV devices.

    All apps use AES-256 encryption, the OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, and have a built-in kill switch for added IP leak protection.

    Moreover, Proton VPN is one of the very few free VPNs for Android and iOS that comes with a kill switch called ‘Always-on VPN.’

    Proton VPN kill switch

    Proton VPN Free includes a kill switch on all apps.

    Proton VPN’s free apps have undergone full third-party security audits, and are open-source to allow the public to scrutinize them for vulnerabilities.

    This level of transparency is the gold-standard in VPN security.

    Focused On Privacy, Not Entertainment

    Proton VPN is an excellent free VPN thanks to airtight security and a privacy-first logging policy. The VPN doesn’t monitor or collect any usage data that can be used to identify you.

    An Image of Callum Tennant analyzing Proton VPN's Privacy Policy on a macOS laptop.

    Proton VPN’s logging policy clearly describes what information is and is not retained by the service.

    Being based in Switzerland also helps with the company’s position on privacy, since the country has strong privacy laws outside of the reach of the EU.

    Sadly, the VPN’s unlimited data can’t be used to stream unlimited video content. The free VPN failed to unblock region-locked streaming services in our tests. These include Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and more.

    Proton VPN doesn’t allow torrenting, either. When we tried downloading a file using qBittorrent, the VPN actively blocked our P2P connection.

    Small Server Network & One Device Limit

    Proton VPN Free is very quick across short distances. To get the fastest speeds, we tested OpenVPN against WireGuard and found that the latter delivers the best results.

    WireGuard is faster than OpenVPN on Proton VPN.

    While in the past international speeds slowed down, recent tests show long-distance speed performance has improved significantly, with an average international download speed of 98Mbps.

    This is despite a small range of free server locations. Currently, Proton VPN only offers free VPN servers in the US, the Netherlands, and Japan.

    Frustratingly, you can only use Proton VPN Free on one device at a time. Windscribe, by comparison, allows unlimited simultaneous connections.

    Who is Proton VPN Free Best For?

    You should use Proton VPN Free if:

    • You want unlimited data usage. Proton VPN Free doesn’t place any limits on your monthly data usage, which means you can leave it on all day, every day.

    You should not use Proton VPN Free if:

    • You plan on using a VPN for streaming and torrenting. The free version of Proton VPN doesn’t work with Netflix, Disney+, or most other geo-restricted streaming services. It doesn’t support P2P activity, either.

    Here’s a quick video summary of what makes Proton VPN the best free VPN we’ve tested:

  2. 2. Windscribe Free: Best Runner-up

    A top free VPN with free servers in 11 countries.

    The Windscribe VPN app running on two mobiles; one displaying connection options, the other connected to a New York server.Visit Windscribe

    • Free servers in 11 countries
    • Unblocks 6 Netflix libraries
    • Unblocks several streaming platforms around the world
    • Minimal-logs privacy policy
    • Built-in VPN kill switch
    • Unlimited device policy

    • 10GB monthly data cap
    • No human live chat support
    • No longer works with US Netflix
    • Speeds need to be faster

    Overall Free VPN Rating: 6.8/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 8.9/10
    • 8.8/10
    • 8.1/10
    • 8.5/10
    • 5.8/10
    • 7.4/10
    • 8.9/10
    • 8.0/10
    • 9.6/10

    Windscribe offers fast and secure access to free VPN servers in 11 countries – the most among our recommended free VPNs.

    The free VPN also unblocked geo-restricted services like HBO Max, Hulu and BBC iPlayer.

    For many years, Windscribe was our top-rated free VPN. However, slower speeds and loss of US Netflix access, combined with its 10GB data usage limit, have impacted the VPN’s overall rating.

    Moreover, customer support is still not up to scratch. There is no live chat to help with complex issues, and the online knowledge-base and chatbot system can only assist with basic queries.

    Windscribe Free's VPN app for iOS

    Data Cap10GB
    Countries with Servers11
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    JurisdictionCanada (Five Eyes Member)
    Data LeaksNo
    SupportEmail & Online Resources Only
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosmacOS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux

    Very Good Free VPN for Streaming

    Windscribe is the only free VPN that consistently streams BBC iPlayer.

    The VPN service also unblocks the American platforms Hulu and HBO Max, in addition to 6 international Netflix libraries.

    Using Windscribe Free with BBC iPlayer

    Windscribe Free works to unblock BBC iPlayer from abroad.

    Windscribe Free unblocks BBC iPlayer from abroad.

    We were extremely pleased with this level of unblocking. Apart from PrivadoVPN, all other safe free VPNs are unable to bypass most video geo-restrictions.

    Keep in mind that the 10GB data cap will restrict the number of movies and TV shows you can watch. Plus, US Netflix is no longer available.

    You can stream content in 11 free server country locations: Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, and the US.

    Privacy & Security Features Suitable for Torrenting

    Windscribe also allows P2P and torrenting traffic on most of its free servers, which is rare.

    The VPN software uses secure AES-256 encryption and offers OpenVPN, WireGuard and IKEv2 protocols.

    Torrenting using Windscribe Free

    Windscribe Free marks out which servers can only be used with a Pro subscription, and also keeps track of your remaining data allowance.

    In particular, Windscribe’s free PC VPN client, and a free Mac VPN app too are highly secure, thanks to the ‘Windscribe Firewall.’

    The Firewall tool prevents your real IP address and data packets from leaking outside the VPN tunnel in the event of a connection drop.

    Windscribe has never leaked IP or DNS data in our tests, and it doesn’t store any logs that would compromise your identity.

    Easy-to-Use Mobile & Computer Apps

    Windscribe Free works well on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Fire OS devices.

    It’s by far our favorite free iPhone VPN, with a well-designed interface.

    Windscribe Server List on iOS

    The VPN has browser proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox, too. Both browser extensions work with BBC iPlayer, but no longer with US Netflix, which is a shame.

    Consistently Unblocks Websites In China

    We tested Windscribe Free’s ability to unblock websites in China, and it’s still working.

    This is thanks to its ‘Stealth’ connection protocol, which uses the open-source ‘Stunnel’ algorithm to obscure your VPN traffic.

    The Stealth protocol is only available on the Windows, macOS, and Android apps, though.

    Windscribe Free works best in China when you connect to the nearby Hong Kong server. It will also work in other censored countries like Turkey and the UAE.

    Who is Windscribe Free best for?

    You should use Windscribe Free if:

    • You want to unblock Netflix for free. Windscribe’s free version unblocks BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, Hulu, and 6 international Netflix libraries.

    You should not use Windscribe Free if:

    • You need reliable customer support. Windscribe’s apps are easy to use, but the free version does not include access to live chat or any extensive troubleshooting resources.
  3. 3. PrivadoVPN Free: Best Free VPN for Streaming

    The top-rated free VPN for unblocking US streaming platforms, including Netflix.

    PrivadoVPNVisit PrivadoVPN

    • Unblocks US Netflix, HBO Max & Disney+
    • Unrestricted torrenting
    • No signup or payment details required
    • 14 servers in 11 countries
    • Strong security & private logging policy
    • 10-device limit policy

    • 10GB of free data per month
    • No advanced settings & features
    • No browser extensions
    • Fire TV Stick app crashed often

    Overall Rating: 6.0/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 6.4/10
    • 9.3/10
    • 6.9/10
    • 8.8/10
    • 5.5/10
    • 6.2/10
    • 7.7/10
    • 6.0/10
    • 8.0/10

    PrivadoVPN’s free version is one of the best we’ve come across. It consistently unblocks many American streaming platforms like US Netflix, and allows unrestricted torrenting on all free servers.

    It’s a safe option for free users, with a privacy-oriented logging policy and industry-standard security that includes AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN, and a working kill switch.

    11 countries to connect to may not seem a lot, but it’s actually one of the more diverse free server networks on the market — only Windscribe Free offers more free server locations.

    PrivadoVPN Free's app for iOS

    Data Cap10GB
    Countries with Servers11
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    JurisdictionSwitzerland (Privacy Haven)
    Data LeaksNo
    SupportLive Chat
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosmacOS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid

    The Best Free VPN for US Netflix

    Although Windscribe unblocks the largest number of Netflix regions, PrivadoVPN is the only top free VPN to work with US Netflix.

    Here’s a video of us unblocking American Netflix using the free version of PrivadoVPN:

    The free service is also great for streaming HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney+ / Star. Access to BBC iPlayer is less consistent, though.

    Similarly to Windscribe Free, there’s only so much you can stream with 10GB of free data. Only Proton VPN offers unlimited data, but it doesn’t unblock any streaming platforms.

    Unrestricted Torrenting On All Servers

    PrivadoVPN is based in Switzerland, a good country for a VPN company to operate within because there are no data retention laws.

    Furthermore, PrivadoVPN doesn’t log any personally-identifiable internet data. It only collects total bandwidth used.

    The VPN uses industry-standard AES-256 encryption, the OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols (absent from macOS, though), and a functioning kill switch.

    Unlike Windscribe, PrivadoVPN’s free apps don’t come with any customization options, though.

    The free version of PrivadoVPN is particularly well-suited for anonymous torrenting and P2P file sharing.

    Every free server allows P2P traffic, which combined with fast download bitrates and privacy-friendly features, make PrivadoVPN an excellent free VPN for torrenting.

    Good-Sized High-Speed Server Network

    PrivadoVPN Free lets you connect to 14 cities in 11 countries. The US is the only country with more than one city location: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.

    PrivadoVPN's free US server locations

    PrivadoVPN Free comes with four US server locations.

    PrivadoVPN’s free VPN apps are very fast — almost as quick as Atlas VPN, the fastest free VPN at the moment.

    Surprisingly, the free VPN recorded a similiar download speed of 96Mbps as the premium VPN. Connecting to the UK from the US, we recorded impressove average download speeds of 89Mbps.

    Who Is PrivadoVPN Best For?

    You should use PrivadoVPN Free if:

    • You want to unblock US Netflix for free. Although Windscribe works with the most Netflix regions, PrivadoVPN is the only top free VPN that unblocks US Netflix.

    You should not use PrivadoVPN Free if:

    • You want additional customization options. Despite its strong security credentials, PrivadoVPN Free doesn’t include any advanced features or customization settings.
  4. 4. Atlas VPN Free: User-Friendly Free VPN

    Atlas VPN delivers a great user experience thanks to its simple and well-designed apps.

    Atlas VPN mobile appVisit Atlas VPN

    • Fast download speeds
    • Secure AES-256 encryption
    • Private logging policy
    • Good option for torrenting
    • User-friendly apps
    • Works in Russia

    • 5GB monthly data cap
    • Doesn't unblock streaming services
    • Very small server network
    • Missing additional settings
    • No longer works in China
    • No browser extensions

    Overall Rating: 4.9/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 8.0/10
    • 8.7/10
    • 7.0/10
    • 3.0/10
    • 3.5/10
    • 5.5/10
    • 9.0/10
    • 8.6/10
    • 7.5/10

    Atlas VPN’s free service is secure, private, and most significantly, easy to use. It really stands out for its fast speeds and beginner-friendly apps.

    It’s not all positive, though. Atlas VPN Free’s shortcomings include a small list of server locations (just 3), an inability to unblock most streaming services, and restrictions on advanced features and customer support.

    Atlas VPN Free on iOS

    Data Cap5GB
    Countries with Servers3
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    JurisdictionUS (Five Eyes Member)
    Data LeaksNo
    SupportEmail Support
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosmacOS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux

    A Safe Freemium Option With Minimal Features

    Atlas VPN is one of the safest free VPN services you can get. It’s an easy tool to change your IP address and hide your online browsing.

    It doesn’t collect any sensitive data about you and it uses unbreakable AES-256 encryption.

    We tested the kill switch multiple times and found it to be a reliable way to prevent accidental exposures should the VPN connection drop.

    Atlas VPN kill switch test

    Atlas VPN successfully blocked our internet access when the VPN connection dropped.

    We also tested for IP, DNS, and WebRTC  leaks and recorded none when using Atlas VPN Free.

    However, the free version of Atlas VPN isn’t as advanced as the premium one. It doesn’t include multi-hop servers, the IP shuffle feature (ShuffleSwap), or an ad blocker (Shield).

    Fast Connection Speeds

    The free version of Atlas VPN delivers exceptionally fast local speeds of 95Mbps. This is faster than Windscribe’s 90Mbps.

    As for long distance speeds, we recorded an average international speed of 80Mbps – another excellent result.

    Its server list is small, though, with only 4 servers in 3 countries: USA, Singapore, and the Netherlands.

    Atlas VPN Free Speed Test on macOS

    We tested Atlas VPN Free’s speeds on our own dedicated servers.

    Poor for Streaming But Good for Torrenting

    If you want a free VPN for streaming, Atlas VPN Free isn’t for you.

    Sadly, the free VPN didn’t work with any other streaming platform we tested, including US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, DAZN, and Amazon Prime Video. It only unblocked Disney Plus.

    Atlas VPN Free’s chief strength is torrenting. Its free servers support P2P activity and its safe security and logging practices protect anonymity when sharing files.

    Who Is Atlas VPN Free Best For?

    You should use Atlas VPN Free if:

    • You want a user-friendly VPN. Atlas VPN’s apps are the best-designed and simplest to use, making it a pleasure to use.

    You should not use Atlas VPN Free if:

    • You need a larger data cap. Unlike Windscribe and Privado VPN, Atlas VPN Free limits your monthly data usage to just 5GB per month.
  5. 5. ZoogVPN Free: Safe Free VPN for Beginners

    A simple, no-logs VPN that's ideal for beginners.

    Two screenshots of ZoogVPN's iOS appVisit ZoogVPN

    • Fast nearby VPN connection speeds
    • No payment details required
    • No-logs privacy policy
    • AES 256-bit encryption

    • 10GB monthly data usage limit
    • Doesn’t unblock streaming platforms
    • Only five free servers locations available
    • One-device policy

    Overall Free VPN Rating: 4.8/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 6.8/10
    • 8.0/10
    • 7.0/10
    • 1.0/10
    • 4.5/10
    • 6.3/10
    • 6.0/10
    • 6.5/10
    • 7.0/10

    ZoogVPN runs simple yet fast and private VPN applications for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. It has a safe, minimal-logs policy.

    It only offers a handful of advanced settings, though. This is why it’s good for VPN beginners, but not for more experienced users.

    ZoogVPN's free app for iOS

    Data Cap10GB
    Countries with Servers5
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    JurisdictionGreece (EU Member)
    Data LeaksYes
    SupportLive Chat
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosmacOS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux

    A Very Private VPN Service

    ZoogVPN enforces a no-logs policy across its service. It therefore it doesn’t monitor or keep records of your web activity or your true IP address.

    In order to maintain the service running smoothly, ZoogVPN collects and aggregates all data transferred by all users on its servers.

    The only personal data the service does collect is your email address, which is common among most VPN companies.

    Furthermore, ZoogVPN performed very well in our VPN leak tests and we didn’t record a single IP or DNS leak while the VPN was running on our test devices.

    Five Server Locations & 10GB Free Data

    ZoogVPN operates free VPN servers in five locations: Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, the UK, and the US.

    ZoogVPN's server list

    ZoogVPN’s free VPN server list.

    Connection speeds to all free servers have so far been consistent and reliably quick. Connecting to nearby servers you should expect a download speed loss of just 5%.

    Torrenters can use dedicated servers for P2P file sharing on the Amsterdam connection.

    ZoogVPN’s free service allows up to 10GB of free data each month, the same as Windscribe and Hide.me. This is enough data for quick web browsing and the occasional file download.

    ZoogVPN's homepage and server list on Android.

    ZoogVPN Free shows how much monthly data you’ve used in the homepage.

    No Streaming & One Device Policy

    ZoogVPN has two major drawbacks: it doesn’t bypass streaming geo-blocks, and it only allows one simultaneous connection per free account.

    We tried accessing popular platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ with no luck. Even ZoogVPN’s premium service struggled to unblock many streaming services.

    The VPN’s one device policy means you can’t use the same free account on all your devices.

    Unless you upgrade to the paid service, you’ll have to create a new account for each device you want to use the VPN on.

    You should not use ZoogVPN Free if:

    • You want to unblock streaming services. Like many other free VPNs, ZoogVPN didn’t unblock any major streaming services in our tests.
  6. 6. Hotspot Shield Basic: Fastest Free VPN

    A secure free VPN with the fastest free speeds and a built-in malware blocker.

    Hotspot Shield mobile screenshotsVisit Hotspot Shield

    • Fastest free VPN
    • No registration details required
    • Allows torrent & P2P file sharing traffic
    • Extensions for Chrome & Firefox
    • Built-in malware blocker
    • User-friendly appls

    • Just four server locations
    • 500MB daily free data limit
    • Doesn't unblock streaming platforms
    • Logs some user data
    • macOS client lacks a VPN kill switch

    Overall Free VPN Rating: 4.5/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 3.2/10
    • 9.8/10
    • 8.9/10
    • 0.5/10
    • 3.0/10
    • 5.6/10
    • 8.2/10
    • 8.2/10
    • 7.2/10

    Hotspot Shield Basic is an above-average and secure free VPN service. All its apps are well-designed and very easy to use even for VPN newbies.

    What stands out about this VPN is its speed: there is barely any speed loss, only 3% on local servers.

    There is also an integrated built-in malware blocking solution, a rare feature among free services.

    However, it collects some user activity data, so it’s not the best choice for the most privacy-conscious users.

    Hotspot Shield's free VPN app for iOS

    Data Cap500MB per day
    Countries with Servers3
    Logging PolicySome User Logs
    JurisdictionUS (Five Eyes Member)
    Data LeaksNo
    SupportOnline Resources Only
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosmacOS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux

    The Fastest Free VPN

    Hotspot Shield Basic is the fastest free VPN available.

    We regularly register a marginal 3% speed loss, with local download connections running at 97Mbps.

    For international connections, the results are equally impressive: only a 3% speed loss on average when connecting to distant global servers.

    User-Friendly & Secure Applications

    Hotspot Shield’s free apps have been clearly designed for simplicity and maximum ease-of-use.

    Once you connect to a server by clicking/tapping the large ‘On’ button on the home screen, the interface displays your new IP address, server load, the amount of data transmitted, and your speed performance.

    Hotspot Shield Security Settings on macOS

    Hotspot Shield has a number of security protocols and advanced features.

    Like most free VPNs we recommend, you don’t have to submit your email address or payment details in order to use Hotspot Shield Basic.

    Security-wise, all apps use AES 256-bit encryption and include integrated ad, tracking, and malware blocker.

    In our tests, the ad blocker only worked on Chrome and Firefox, and blocked only 46% of ads and trackers. It’s not as effective as other VPN ad blockers we tested, but at least you’re not paying for it.

    In addition, all free apps other than on macOS come with a VPN kill switch, which you must actively enable.

    There’s also the option to automatically connect to a VPN server when the app detects an unsafe WiFi network.

    Not the Most Privacy-Friendly VPN

    Hotspot Shield’s privacy and logging policy is rather disappointing. Despite recently improving its logging practices, the VPN still logs too much personal internet data.

    The VPN collects the your IP address, the domains you visit, and your approximate geographical location.

    We’ve been informed by Hotspot Shield that it logs this data to prevent fraud. The data is aggregated, encrypted, and not tied to specific accounts. IP addresses are deleted at the end of each session.

    Despite the good intentions, we don’t think Hotspot Shield should be logging all this data.

    You should not use Hotspot Shield Basic if:

    • Privacy is your top priority. Hotspot Shield logs too much data and only scores 3.2 in our privacy assessment.
  7. 7. Hide.me Free: Good Option for Private Browsing

    A secure free VPN with a privacy-focused logging policy.

    Hide.me mobile screenshotsVisit Hide.me

    • Minimal logging policy
    • No bandwidth throttling
    • Strong privacy features
    • User-friendly custom apps

    • Restrictive speed cap
    • Only 7 VPN server locations
    • One simultaneous connection
    • 10GB monthly data limit
    • No longer supports torrenting

    Overall Free VPN Rating: 1.1/10

    This overall rating is calculated based on the following category ratings. To learn more, read our testing methodology.

    • 8.9/10
    • 1.0/10
    • 8.5/10
    • 2.0/10
    • 5.5/10
    • 0.0/10
    • 7.5/10
    • 8.3/10
    • 6.2/10

    Hide.me Free is a private free VPN with a generous 10GB data cap. It’s one the fastest free VPNs on same-country connections.

    However, it doesn’t unblock streaming platforms like Netflix, it no longer allows P2P traffic, and it caps your speeds at just 2Mbps.

    Hide.me's free VPN app for iOS

    Data Cap10GB
    Countries with Servers7
    ServersNot Disclosed
    Logging PolicyNo Identifying Data
    JurisdictionMalaysia (Privacy Haven)
    Data LeaksNo
    SupportLive Chat
    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosmacOS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux

    Secure Apps for Most Devices

    Hide.me Free works on most devices, including home routers. This lets you use the VPN on devices like Fire TV Stick, games consoles and Apple TV.

    The software’s apps are reasonably secure, too. They use AES 256-bit encryption and secure protocols like IKEv2, OpenVPN, and Wireguard.

    Protocol Selection Settings in the Hide.me Windows Client

    Protocol selection settings in the Hide.me Windows client.

    Only 7 Server Locations

    In addition to its 10GB data cap, Hide.me free can only connect to 7 server locations:
    France, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, UK & US.

    This is a problem if you’re in India, Africa, South America or Australia. Speeds will be very slow because there are no nearby servers.

    Speed Restrictions

    Unfortunately, Hide.me Free caps your speed at 2Mbps, no matter which server you connect to. This is very restrictive. We suggest using Hotspot Shield Basic instead.

    While Hide.me Free doesn’t collect personal web data, it does keep temporary logs of your internally-assigned IP address (for the duration of your connection) and the total amount of bandwidth used per month.

    This isn’t perfect, but it’s a good logging policy that protects your identity and activity.

    Not Recommended for Streaming or Torrenting

    Hide.me’s free VPN app doesn’t bypass geographic restrictions on streaming services reliably and it no longer permits torrenting.

    Hide.me Free Streaming Site Test

    Hide.me Free fails to unblock all streaming sites.

    It very occasionally works with US Netflix and BBC iPlayer, but it can’t unblock Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, or Disney+.

    Despite its limitations, Hide.me is a good free VPN to secure your free public WiFi connections, as long as you don’t mind slightly slower speeds.

    You should not use Hide.me Free if:

    • You need a fast free VPN. Hide.me’s speeds on free servers are dreadfully slow, since they’re capped at 2Mbps.

Free VPNs by Purpose & Device

Free VPNs are used for many different reasons and on a variety of devices. Follow the links below to our guides with recommendations for popular purposes, devices, and countries.

Free VPNs to Avoid

Despite their worldwide popularity, the free VPNs below performed very badly in our tests and we strongly advise against using them.

Hola Free VPN

Testing Hola VPN with qBittorrent

Hola Free VPN is very fast but it isn’t safe to use. It logs your internet activity, doesn’t unblock websites, and blocks P2P traffic. Hola VPN Chrome was even removed from the Chrome Store in 2021 after being labeled as potentially dangerous.

TunnelBear Free

TunnelBear Free's sever menu and data cap

TunnelBear has the largest free server network, but it caps data at 500MB a month, which is too restrictive.

Betternet Free VPN

Betternet Free VPN's security settings menu

Betternet Free VPN is a slow VPN lacking many critical security features. It also leaks your DNS requests.

VPN Proxy Master

The VPN Proxy Master app

VPN Proxy Master doesn’t have adequate security features and we even detected dangerous functions and malware in its apps.

Thunder VPN

Thunder VPN's settings menu and logging policy

Thunder VPN suffers from slow speeds, enforces an invasive logging policy, and uses a very weak encryption protocol.

SuperVPN Free VPN Client

Super VPN's intrusive advertising and logging policy

SuperVPN Free is the absolute worst free VPN there is. It has a dangerous logging policy, its ownership is very opaque, and its apps are full of adverts.

Turbo VPN

Turbo VPN is infested with third-party adverts, has unsafe permissions, and we even detected malware in our security audits.

How to Choose a Free VPN

With so many free VPNs to choose from, it’s vital to do your own research before downloading a new application.

Our VPN reviews and test findings are designed to help you avoid installing and using insecure, and potentially dangerous, free software.

The Key Features of a Safe Free VPN

Before you decide which free VPN to use, we strongly recommend considering the features and factors below.

This will help to ensure that the free VPN you choose isn’t just effective, it’s also 100% safe.


  • Strong encryption via the AES-256 cipher and use of secure VPN protocols like OpenVPN or WireGuard.
  • A VPN kill switch to keep your IP address hidden during unexpected VPN connection interruptions.
  • No IP or DNS leaks across all applications.


  • A privacy-focused logging policy. A safe free VPN should not track or store any personally identifiable information, such as your real IP address or the websites you visit. It’s even better if this policy has been proven via expert audits or through real events like server seizures or court cases.
  • Company registered in a privacy-focused country with no data retention laws. A safe jurisdiction, combined with a verified no-logs policy, is the perfect combination.


  • Reasonably fast and consistent speeds across its free VPN servers. This includes connections to nearby as well as far away server locations.
  • A reasonably-sized server network, with free VPN servers located in a diverse range of countries across the world. This allows for acceptable speeds regardless of where users are connecting from.

Device Compatibility

  • Native apps for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
  • Chrome and Firefox VPN extensions, a native app for Fire TV Stick, and router setup functionality are all useful additions that improve a VPN’s rating. However, they’re not essential features for a good free VPN.

Data Usage Limitations

  • Most safe free VPNs limit the amount of data you can use each day or month. Anything above 1GB per month is acceptable, but the very best free VPNs offer 10GB per month or no bandwidth limits at all. Consider how much data you think you’ll need, and choose accordingly.

When you’re looking for a secure and dependable free VPN, make sure it meets most of the requirements listed above.

If a free VPN doesn’t tick most of these boxes, then you’re better off not using it.

Why Some Free VPNs Are Dangerous

Many popular free VPN services are unsafe and pose serious risks to your internet security and privacy.

Free VPNs are often riddled with aggressive advertising, or even malware. Many collect and monetize user data by selling it to third parties. Hola VPN, for example, was caught selling its users’ bandwidth to botnets.

Furthermore, numerous free VPN applications use weak encryption or leak IP and DNS data.

Since 2016, we’ve investigated 150 free VPNs for security, privacy and trustworthiness. Our tests show that:

  • 77% of free VPNs are potentially insecure
  • 85% of Android free VPNs contain security and privacy flaws
  • 25% suffered from data leaks, including IP and DNS leaks

The chart below illustrates some of the key findings of our free VPN research and investigations:

Aside from their privacy and security risks, most 100% free VPNs are simply less effective, too. They often have slow speeds and rarely unblock popular streaming services.

The Dangers of Using a Risky Free VPN

We’ve listed below the three key dangers of using an unverified and unsafe free VPN:

1. Data Logging & Intrusive Advertising

Free VPN services need to make money to support their business. Most services do it through in-app ads, with third-party code that sends internet usage data back to the ad platform.

SuperVPN's privacy policy

SuperVPN admits to logging IP addresses in its privacy policy.

Some free VPNs even log your web browsing data and sell it to third-parties.

If you are using a VPN to use the internet privately, avoid those that have advertising.

2. Data Leaks & Weak Encryption

Strong encryption and a secure server network cost money. Many free VPNs are poorly maintained — as a result, they simply aren’t secure.

Hola VPN kill switch test

Hola Free VPN leaked our IP address during testing.

We see many popular free VPNs like YogaVPN and TurboVPN leak DNS and IP address information. Basically, free ‘VPNs’ like these are proxies that don’t encrypt your data.

3. Ownership & Accountability

Most popular free VPNs on the App Store or Google Play Store belong to companies that do not prioritize user privacy. At the very worst, some actively harvest your data.

We investigate which companies and individuals are behind a VPN service. For example, our past research revealed that 60% of popular free VPNs had suspicious links to China, – including many free VPN services in Taiwan.

How Do Free VPNs Make Money?

It isn’t really possible to run a VPN for free. There are development, infrastructure, and staff costs, to list a few.

How a free VPN makes its money is really important. As the saying goes: if you aren’t paying for a product, then you are the product. These are most common ways free VPNs make money:

  • Being subsidized by a paid service (another VPN or security software)
  • Advertisements
  • Selling user data

It’s safer to choose free VPNs that are subsidized by paid-for VPN services. Freemium services like Windscribe, Proton VPN, and PrivadoVPN are good examples. These companies don’t have to monetize their free applications directly.

Freemium VPN Features

‘Freemium’ VPNs usually offer a restricted version of the premium service.

Freemium VPNs often use the infrastructure of the full paid service, but with major restrictions on its functionality. This often means a limited number of servers, and a monthly data cap of 10GB or less.

As a result, these free VPNs also tend to have slower speeds and unblock fewer streaming services than their paid equivalents.

The worst VPNs are usually completely free to use. They generate income by running invasive advertisements or – in the worst cases – logging and selling user data to third parties.

Free vs Paid VPN Services: The Limitations of Free VPNs

Not every free VPN is dangerous. Certain free VPNs are very good for small and specific tasks like using public WiFi securely, temporarily changing your IP address, or unblocking geo-restricted videos for a few hours.

However, it simply isn’t possible to match premium VPN services completely for free. You’ll almost always be limited by several factors including monthly data caps, slower speeds, torrenting restrictions, and inferior streaming capabilities.

Below is a list of the most common limitations of free VPNs that you won’t find in high-quality paid VPN services:

1. Limited Streaming (Unblocking) Capabilities

Free VPNs typically cannot bypass the geo-restrictions implemented by streaming services around the world.

Aside from Windscribe and PrivadoVPN, most free services don’t work with popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max.

SkyVPN failed to unblock many streaming services.

In our streaming tests, SkyVPN failed to unblock US Netflix or any other Netflix library.

On the other hand, top-rated streaming VPNs like ExpressVPN and PrivateVPN easily unblock most streaming services from overseas.

2. Limited Torrenting and File-Sharing Support

Often, free VPNs either heavily restrict file-sharing speeds or block torrenting traffic altogether.

This is because file-sharing and P2P traffic consumes high levels of bandwidth that costs VPN services money.

Torrenting with VPNBook connected on Windows

Any files large enough to require torrenting to download will take hours to complete if you use VPNBook.

Moreover, most safe free VPNs enforce daily or monthly data limits, which hinder the transfer of large files.

Not to mention the fact that free VPNs don’t offer extra torrenting features like port forwarding or a SOCKS5 proxy.

While not all paid VPNs are optimized for torrenting, those that are will provide advanced torrenting settings, excellent security, and fast torrent speeds across thousands of P2P-friendly servers.

3. Daily or Monthly Data Usage Limits

Most secure and trustworthy free VPNs place restrictions on the amount of data you can transfer in a day or a month.

Typically, these data usage limits range from 1GB to 10GB per month, although there are rare free VPNs — like Proton VPN Free — that don’t impose any data limits at all.

This problem doesn’t exist with paid VPN services, which don’t apply any restrictions on how much data you use.

4. Slower (or Capped) Connection Speeds

A few years ago, free VPNs were much slower than they are now.

Thanks to technology advancements, many top free VPNs are now able to deliver fast speeds throughout their network.

However, this isn’t always guaranteed. Some secure free VPNs are in fact much slower than paid alternatives.

SkyVPN speed test on Windows.

SkyVPN’s download speeds are consistently below 15Mbps on our 100Mbps baseline internet connection.

For instance, Hide.me’s free servers are considerably slower than its paid ones.

This is likely due to server congestion, which occurs when too many free users are connected at the same time.

Server congestion is a common problem with free VPNs, which can have millions of users connected to the same servers.

5. Small Free VPN Server Network

As you will have seen from our list of recommended free VPNs, free VPN server networks are small.

Even the largest free VPN server networks consist of a few hundred servers at most, or cover approximately 40 to 50 server locations at best.

This pales in comparison to paid VPNs, which can offer access to as many as 18,651 servers worldwide.

Windscribe Free offers the most server locations in our recommendations, with a network covering 11 countries. In comparison, paid providers like CyberGhost and Surfshark operate servers in more than 90 countries.

6. Lack of Advanced Security Features

Even the very best free VPN services are limited when it comes to advanced settings.

Other than a VPN kill switch, extra features such as VPN split tunneling, multi-hop (or double VPN) servers, and IPv6 leak protection are rarely found in free VPN services.

These additional settings are almost always reserved for paying customers. If having access to them is important to you, then you’ll have to opt for a paid-for VPN.

How We Test Free VPN Services

We regularly test every free VPN we review. If a VPN service offers both free and a paid versions of their apps, we will often test both versions as part of the same review.

In other words, we put free VPNs through the same exact testing process we apply to paid VPN services.

We test for speed, security, unblocking (including streaming), and torrenting. We analyze every privacy and logging policy in detail, as well as assessing a VPN’s ease of use and reliability.

Use the table below to see how our highly-rated free VPN apps performed in our key testing categories:

VPNs with a data cap receive a reduction to their overall rating.

Our VPN reviews and verdicts are completely impartial. We never accept compensation in return for positive coverage.

All free VPNs we recommend meet the following criteria:

  • No payment details required at signup
  • No personally-identifiable activity logs
  • No IP or DNS address leaks
  • Strong encryption and security settings
  • Reasonably fast connections around the world

We’ve bought a wide range of test devices in order to fully test a VPN service’s complete range of applications.

VPN Test Devices

Here is a list of most of the devices we test VPNs on:

  • Lenovo T480 & T480s (Windows 10 & Ubuntu Linux 20.04)
  • Apple iMac & MacBook Pro (macOS Monterey)
  • Apple iPhone 11 (iOS 16) & iPad Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy S9 & Samsung Galaxy A8 (Android 12)
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd Generation) & Apple TV 4K
  • Google Chromecast with Google TV & Sony KD65XE
  • Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One & Nintendo Switch

Below is a specific breakdown of the factors that make up our free VPN testing process, and how we weigh each individual category:

1. Privacy & Logging Policy: 20%

Minimum Requirement: Any connection logs must be anonymized.
We Recommend: An absolutely no-logs logging policy.

We only recommend free VPN services that respect your internet privacy and provide a high degree of anonymity.

We scrutinize each VPN’s privacy policy to fully understand what information the service is collecting, why it needs it, and how long it stores it for.

We also expect to see transparent and detailed policies, written in plain language.

A VPN shouldn’t collect unnecessary or personally-identifying activity data, for instance your IP address or records of the websites you visit.

The most private VPNs operate a strict no-logs policy. We highly value a policy that has been independently audited by a trusted third-party, or has been confirmed by real-world events (e.g. VPN server seizures and court cases).

2. Speed: 20%

Minimum Requirement: No more than 40% loss in download speeds on local connections.
We Recommend: Local speed loss less than 30% and reliably quick international speeds.

A VPN slows down your internet speeds — at least marginally. This is because your data has to travel via the VPN server before reaching its destination, which makes its journey longer.

High data encryption can also slow down the speed at which the data travels through the VPN tunnel.

With free VPNs, the speed loss tends to be higher than with the best paid VPNs. However, that doesn’t mean you have to endure painfully slow connection speeds.

We run regular manual speed tests, measuring each VPN’s download speed, upload speed, and ping time.

We conduct speed tests around the world, connecting to local and international VPN servers, in order to get a full picture of the VPN’s performance.

Our top-rated free VPNs are almost as fast as many of the paid VPNs we review. You’re unlikely to notice huge drop-offs in speed, and you’ll able to stream high-quality video or torrent quickly.

3. Security & Technical Features: 15%

Minimum Requirement: AES-128 encryption and an internet kill switch.
We Recommend: AES-256, OpenVPN, WireGuard or similar, and obfuscation tools.

Testing the security levels of a free VPN is of particular importance. That’s because dangerous and ineffective free VPNs are much more common than risky paid services.

We make sure every free VPN we recommend is free of malware, actually encrypts your web data transfers, and does not collect personally-identifiable activity data.

The security standard and encryption levels used by a VPN application are equally important aspects we thoroughly analyze.

Most VPNs use the AES encryption cipher to encrypt web traffic. While AES-128 is secure enough, we do favor applications that use the stronger AES-256 encryption cipher.

Additionally, the VPN protocols used need to be highly secure and reliably fast. OpenVPN and WireGuard are by far our preferred default choices.

That said, we do value proprietary protocols, like ExpressVPN’s Lightway, that perform just as well. Crucially, we will never recommend a proprietary protocol without proper testing and inspection.

A VPN service must also have a working kill switch that prevents IP address exposures due to abrupt VPN connection interruptions. All the service’s main apps should come with this tool, and ideally enabled by default.

4. Streaming: 15%

Minimum Requirement: Sometimes unblocks global streaming platforms and libraries.
We Recommend: Unblocks US Netflix and BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world.

One of the most common reasons to use a VPN is for bypassing streaming geo-restrictions. By changing your IP address, you can access video content usually blocked in your geographic region.

Sadly, free VPNs are notoriously bad for streaming. Most content platforms, such as Netflix, dedicate many resources to blocking VPN users – and free VPN connections are often the easiest to identify and block.

We’ve run thousands of tests to see which VPNs unblock which streaming services. We regularly check multiple Netflix regions, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, and more.

Although free VPNs have a very low success rate at unblocking streaming platforms, the best ones like PrivadoVPN and Windscribe are able to stream US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

5. Ease of Use: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Simple setup and user-friendly apps for popular devices.
We Recommend: All of the above, plus compability with additional devices.

A VPN service’s compatibility with many devices and operating systems is clearly very important. The more devices you can it on, the better.

Unless a VPN is specifically dedicated to mobile users, we expect every VPN service to have good native applications for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices.

Installing and using these applications should be straightforward, even for a complete novice. Once the VPN has launched, finding and connecting to a VPN server should only take a few seconds.

Additionally, we rate even more highly VPN services that have built native apps for Fire TV devices, a user interface for Linux, and offer .apk installation files for increased Android compatibility.

The absolute top VPNs even offer the option for router setup, and include a Smart DNS service to use the service on Apple TV and games consoles. Most free VPNs do not offer the latter solution, though.

6. Server Locations: 5%

Minimum Requirement: A choice of free VPN server locations.
We Recommend: Several free VPN servers spread around the world.

We analyze each VPN’s server network in detail. We pay particular attention to the total number of servers, how well distributed they are across the world, and any specialized servers (e.g. P2P-, streaming- or Tor-optimized servers).

Larger VPN server networks give you greater chances of enjoying fast connection speeds and unblocking geo-restricted web content.

The greater the range of servers the less congested they’ll be and the more anonymous IP addresses you’ll have access to. Moreover, the higher the chance there will be a server close to your physical location, for increased speeds.

Free VPNs often have limited VPN server networks, both in terms of server count and server locations. However, there are free services with 10 or more global server locations.

7. Torrenting: 5%

Minimum Requirement: Allows torrenting on some of the free servers.
We Recommend: P2P-optimized servers and an average bitrate of at least 4MiB/s.

Using a VPN is crucial for safe and anonymous torrenting. We first examine each VPN service’s P2P file sharing policy, as many don’t allow free users to torrent at all.

We then check for P2P-optimized servers, AES-256 encryption, and make sure the VPN kill switch is working effectively.

We also run IP and DNS leak tests to ensure the VPN won’t leak your true torrent IP address while you’re in the torrent swarm.

Finally, we run a series of P2P performance tests. Most importantly, we record the VPN’s average torrenting bitrate. Just because a VPN is fast for streaming, it doesn’t mean it’ll deliver fast P2P file sharing speeds.

The best free VPNs have an average torrenting bitrate of at least 4MiB/s.

8. Bypassing Censorship: 5%

Minimum Requirement: Includes obfuscation technology and bypasses moderate internet censorship.
We Recommend: Circumvents the strictest of internet censorship, particularly in China.

Bypassing internet blocks in high-censorship countries is one of the hardest things for a VPN to do. Many VPNs, free or paid, aren’t equipped to circumvent strict web filters.

Building adequate obfuscation technology and tools requires a high degree of commitment and investment.

To accurately test if a VPN works in a highly-censored country, we rent a remote-access server in China to replicate how an internet user in China would try to bypass internet blocks.

The process is the following: we install a VPN on the server and then regularly check if it can unblock popular websites known to be blocked (e.g. YouTube, Instagram, or Wikipedia).

9. Customer Support: 5%

Minimum Requirement: Email support and online troubleshooting guides.
We Recommend: All of the above, plus 24/7 live chat support and detailed online manuals.

In our experience, the speed, knowledge, and reliability of a VPN service’s customer support makes a big difference.

The VPNs that provide 24/7 live chat support and maintain detailed setup and troubleshooting online guides are the ones that deliver the best experience to their existing and future customers.

Many free VPNs do not offer 24/7 live chat support, mainly for financial reasons. However, as a minimum, we expect a free VPN to offer email support as well as helpful online troubleshooting guides and FAQs.

Data Cap Penalty: Up to 50% Reduction

The vast majority of free VPNs place restrictions on how much data you can use, which can hugely limit what you’re able to do with the VPN.

We thoroughly check every VPNs data allowance policy, and explore ways you can claim ‘bonus’ data for free (e.g. through ‘refer a friend’ schemes or by registering an email address).

After calculating the rating of a free VPN using the methodology above, we reduce it based on how limiting the service’s data usage cap is.

The percentage reduction we apply to the overall rating of a free VPN, based on its data usage cap, is the following:

  • Unlimited bandwidth: No deduction to the overall rating
  • 10GB per month: -20% to the overall rating
  • 500MB per day: -25% to the overall rating
  • 5GB per month: -30% to the overall rating
  • 1GB per month: -35% to the overall rating
  • 200MB per day: -40% to the overall rating
  • 500MB per month: -50% to the overall rating


What Is the Fastest Free VPN?

Hotspot Shield Basic is the fastest free VPN available.

We regularly register a marginal 3% speed loss, with local download connections running at 97Mbps.

For international connections, the results are equally impressive: only a 3% speed loss on average when connecting to distant global servers.

Can I Use a Paid VPN for Free?

Paid VPNs sometimes offer money-back guarantees and free trials. You can take advantage of these to use a paid VPN for free.

Paid VPNs like CyberGhost let you try the full VPN service for a set number of days without asking for payment details upfront. We explain how to get a totally free CyberGhost trial on every platform here, no tricks and no card details required.

Other paid VPNs, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, offer risk-free money-back guarantees. You can use Surfshark for free for 67 days thanks to a 7-day free trial and a money-back guarantee that you can claim twice.

Refund guarantees let you try a paid VPN for a set amount of time. You’ll be charged on signup, but request a refund before the guarantee period ends and you’ll be promptly reimbursed.

Are VPNs Legal?

The use of VPNs (including free ones) is legal in most countries around the world. This includes the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

Disappointingly, there are a number of countries that don’t allow or restrict the use of VPNs.

The use of VPNs is in fact restricted in China, Iran, Oman, Russia, Turkey, and the UAE. Even worse, VPNs are officially banned in Belarus, Iraq, North Korea, and Turkmenistan.