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Best Free VPN of 2019

Callum Tennent
By Callum TennentUpdated

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.

Here are the Most Important Factors When We Review a 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. Transparent, fair and privacy-focused logging policies
  5. Well-designed and easy to use apps
  6. Useful privacy features

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

See More Detailed Information on Our Top 5 Free VPNs

Ranked #1 Free VPN

Works with

Torrenting

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  5. Linux
  1. Great local speeds
  2. 10 server locations
  3. User-friendly custom apps
  4. Unlimited simultaneous connections
  5. Near-zero logging policy
  1. No live chat support
  2. Unreliable access to streaming
  3. 10GB data cap
The Bottom Line

Windscribe is the best free VPN on the current market. Not only is it incredibly secure, local performance is also very impressive.

With a minimal-logs policy and extra features such as a VPN kill switch, you can rest assured that your personal data will be kept safe.

A 10GB data cap is restrictive but more generous than most secure free apps. A good solution for casual users and a great test run for those after more.

Ranked #2 Free VPN

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. Fast local download speeds
  2. Easy-to-use apps
  3. VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection
  4. Helpful customer support
  5. Minimal-logs policy
  1. Only 3 server locations
  2. P2P not permitted
  3. No access to Netflix or iPlayer
The Bottom Line

ProtonVPN’s free app offers top-notch privacy with none of the speed or data restrictions found with other complimentary apps.

Performance is excellent, but unlike Windscribe, you are limited to using the VPN on just one device at a time and can only access three servers.

The robust minimal-logs policy means it’s definitely worth a go, though, as long as you’re not fussed 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 downloads
  2. Simple custom apps
  3. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  4. Advanced security features
  5. Access to 22 servers
  1. 500MB monthly data cap
  2. No access to streaming
  3. Limited customer support
The Bottom Line

TunnelBear Free is a great way for beginners to experiment with a VPN – it’s simple with a light-hearted bear theme thrown in for good measure.

The free plan is fully functional but comes with a very restrictive data cap of 500MB a month – you can tweet about it for an extra 1GB, though.

It has an excellent independently audited privacy policy and you can browse securely thanks to first-party DNS servers and a VPN kill switch.

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. Decent local speeds
  2. Loads of privacy extras
  3. Strict zero-logs policy
  4. User-friendly apps
  1. 2GB monthly data cap
  2. Premium users get priority at peak times
  3. Only five server locations
The Bottom Line

Hide.me comes with a slightly more generous data cap than TunnelBear – 2GB per month – but you can only choose from five server locations.

It does however offer a strict zero-logs policy and loads of privacy extras, making it one of the most secure choices on the free VPN market.

During our tests performance was decent, however, Hide.me clearly states that premium users are given priority during peak times.

Ranked #5 Free VPN

Works with

N/A

Available on

  1. Windows
  2. Mac
  3. Ios
  4. Android
  1. Usable local speeds
  2. Custom apps for four platforms
  3. Unlimited simultaneous connections
  4. Privacy-friendly logging policy
  5. Servers in 25 countries
  1. 1GB monthly data cap
  2. No kill switch
  3. No customer support
The Bottom Line

Avira Phantom is a simple, straightforward free VPN for people satisfied with a basic level of privacy.

The free version lacks a kill switch but does come with a minimal logging policy. There’s city-level choice in the US though, which is rare for a free app.

If you provide your email address, you get 1GB of data per month, if not, it’s 500MB. You can access Netflix but prepare for data to run out quickly.

How We Picked the Best Free VPN of 2019

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.

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

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.

How to Choose the Best Free VPN: 7 Tips

  • Are there any speed or data caps?

    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?

  • Does the free VPN have servers in the locations you need?

    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.

  • Will it work with your computer, smartphone or streaming device?

    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.

  • Will it unlock Netflix, iPlayer and torrenting?

    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.

  • Will it keep you safe and secure?

    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.

  • What is its logging policy?

    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.

    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.

  • Are its client apps and software easy to use?

    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.