It’s obviously tempting to download a free VPN, but we’ve found the majority aren’t to be trusted or aren’t worth your time.
The right choice will offer excellent download speeds, a generous data cap, and unlock your favorite services.
The providers on this page offer as close to a top-tier premium experience as possible, with the fewest compromises.
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi
Our top picks have the fullest functionality compared to paid VPNs, and the fewest limitations on speed and performance.
Most importantly, just because it’s free doesn’t mean your VPN shouldn’t properly protect you – we look for the most transparent and fair logging policies along with the most effective privacy features. Our top picks are easy to use, effectively hide your IP address, and offer good customer support – even for non-paying customers.
We recently conducted an original, in-depth investigation on a number of popular free VPNs. Still not sold on just how damaging picking the wrong free VPN can be? Our findings revealed that a huge proportion of them had questionable links to China, as well as extremely disconcerting privacy policies – you can read it here.
The free VPNs listed in this round-up all come with our seal of approval. We’ve sat down with each one for hours at a time making sure it delivers a speedy and secure service, and we’re happy with what we’ve seen.
As you can probably tell from their overall scores, though, they still underwhelm in a lot of areas. The very best free VPN can’t hold a torch to the majority of paid VPNs: truly top-tier download speeds, server options and extra features cost money.
We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a good free VPN for newbies or casual browsers, but if you want a complete VPN experience then we would strongly suggest you subscribe to a paid service – our best VPNs of 2019 is a good starting point.
Check whether the free VPN you are considering caps speed or bandwidth, or even both – this is the most common restriction we find when reviewing free VPNs.
Think about your expected VPN usage. If you are only planning to do very light browsing then you might be able to live with the limitations – just be aware that the modern web, with all of its auto-play videos, high-res images and rich web pages, is very bandwidth-hungry. If it takes 1GB of data to stream an hour-long Full-HD show on Netflix, will the free VPN you’re considering really give you enough data?
Check whether the free VPN allows you to use servers in your preferred location. Odds are you’ll only be offered a few, and there may not be any at all in super 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 that are mobile only, which is as good as useless if you’re trying to protect your desktop or laptop computer.
Others 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 it.
It’s no secret that a hugely popular use for VPNs is to gain access to streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. However, guaranteeing and maintaining access to them requires a lot of money and resources from a provider, so it’s only natural that 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 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.
This is the single biggest danger when browsing for a free VPN. Many, many providers that don’t charge a free make their money by selling your data.
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 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.