Disclosure: We review VPNs independently, however we may earn commissions if you buy a VPN via links on our site.

The Best Free VPNs of 2022

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

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.

EXPERT ADVICE: Most free VPNs are slow, insecure and can’t bypass streaming geo-blocks. ExpressVPN, the best premium VPN, delivers fast and secure connections that unblock most streaming platforms, including US Netflix. Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days.

The best free virtual private networks (VPNs) hide your IP address, securely encrypt your web traffic, and unblock region-restricted content.

What Is the Best Free VPN in 2022?

Based on our latest tests, the best 100% free VPNs to download are:

  1. Windscribe – Best Free VPN Overall
  2. PrivadoVPN – Best Free VPN for US Netflix
  3. Hide.me – Best Free VPN for Privacy
  4. Atlas VPN – Fastest Free VPN
  5. Proton VPN – Best Free VPN for Unlimited Data

Windscribe is the best free VPN in December 2022. It’s private, safe to use, and it unblocks more streaming services than any other free VPN with a generous monthly data limit of 10GB.

Sadly, most free VPNs are restricted by data usage caps, unreliable speeds, streaming (unblocking) limitations, and lack of P2P file-sharing support.

Even worse, many free VPNs are outright dangerous. We tested over 150 free VPN applications and 77% posed privacy and security risks.

With over 70% of VPN users opting for free VPNs, using a private and secure free VPN is of the utmost importance.

Comparison of the Best Free VPNs

The table below compares the best and safest free VPNs based on our tests – even if they can’t compete with the best premium VPN services.

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

Why Trust Top10VPN.com?

Unlike many review websites, we’re completely independent and focused on VPN software. We’ve spent thousands of hours testing and reviewing free VPNs using our impartial free VPN review process to recommend the best ones.

Here’s a summary of our free VPN testing statistics:

Free VPN Apps Tested150+
Safe Free VPN Apps35
Total Hours of Testing30,000+
Weekly Speed Tests3,000+
IP & DNS Leak Tests Performed9,500+
Streaming Platforms Tested Daily12

Best Free VPNs: Summary Test Ratings

Use the table below to see how the top free VPNs performed in our key testing categories:

DID YOU KNOW? You can add any VPN we recommend to our VPN side-by-side comparison tool. Simply tick ‘Add to compare’ to add a VPN to the Comparison Tool Preview.

The Best Free VPNs by Category

Free VPNs are used around the world for many different reasons and on a variety of devices.

We’ve created more specific lists recommending the best free VPNs for each of the categories we test for. Follow each category link below to discover our latest picks.

The Best Free VPNs for Entertainment

Find out which free VPNs perform the best for streaming, torrenting, and on Firestick.

  1. Best Free VPN for Netflix
  2. Best Free VPN for Torrenting
  3. Best Free VPN for Firestick

The Best Free VPNs by Device

Some free VPNs have limited features depending on your OS.

Find the free VPN services that work best with your device here.

  1. Best Free VPN for Windows
  2. Best Free VPN for Mac
  3. Best Free VPN for iPhone/iPad
  4. Best Free VPN for Android

The Best Free VPNs by Country

The Best Free VPN Apps Overall

  1. 1. Windscribe Free: Outright Best Free VPN

    The absolute top free VPN – great for streaming, torrenting, and security.

    Ranked #1 Free VPN
    Windscribe mobile screenshots
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    (3 user reviews)
    Visit Windscribe

    • Good same-country speeds
    • Works with 6 Netflix libraries
    • Minimal-logs privacy policy
    • Built-in VPN kill switch
    • Unlimited device policy
    • 10 free server locations

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

    Overall Free VPN Rating: 8.1/10

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

    • 77.0/10
    • 7.87.8/10
    • 9.59.5/10
    • 8.18.1/10
    • 9.29.2/10
    • 8.68.6/10

    Windscribe Free is the best free VPN service in 2022. It’s secure, fast and it’s the best free VPN for HBO Max, Hulu and BBC iPlayer.

    The service has a privacy-friendly logging policy, robust security features, and it never leaked our true IP address in our tests.

    The free VPN comes with 10 server locations and a 10GB data cap. The 10GB data cap is generous, but isn’t enough for heavy internet use.

    However, customer support needs improving. There is no live chat to help with complex issues, and the online knowledge-base and chatbot system can only help with simple queries.

    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux
    Cheapest PriceFree
    Data Cap10GB
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    US NetflixNo
    JurisdictionCanada (Five Eyes Member)
    Data LeaksNo
    Works In ChinaYes

    Easy-to-use mobile and computer applications

    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's app for iOS and iPadOS.

    Windscribe’s app for iPhone and iPad.

    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.

    Privacy and 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 the secure OpenVPN, WireGuard and IKEv2 protocols.

    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.

    Altogether, Windscribe is a great free VPN for internet security and an excellent free VPN for torrenting.

    Works with 6 Netflix regions

    Windscribe is the only free VPN that consistently streams BBC iPlayer, making it the only option if you want to stream the World Cup for free.

    Windscribe also works with Hulu, HBO Max, and DAZN. It unblocks 6 international Netflix libraries, too.

    Using Windscribe Free with BBC iPlayer

    Windscribe Free works to unblock BBC iPlayer from abroad.

    However, its limited speeds and 10GB data cap will restrict the number of movies and TV shows you can watch, and US Netflix is no longer available.

    The free version’s speeds are about a third slower than the premium VPN, and there are only 10 free server locations available.

    These include servers in Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.

    By comparison, Windscribe’s paid VPN gives access to 110 server locations.

    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 want a safe free VPN. Unlike many free services, Windscribe Free uses premium encryption and a no-logs policy. It works in China and supports P2P traffic, too.

    You should not use Windscribe Free if:

    • You want to unblock US Netflix. Though it works well with other regions, Windscribe Free doesn’t work to unblock US Netflix from overseas.
    • 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.
  2. 2. PrivadoVPN Free: Best Free VPN for US Netflix

    10GB of free data, access to US Netflix and unrestricted torrenting.

     Rated 0 out of 5 
    No user reviews
    Visit PrivadoVPN

    • Unblocks US Netflix, HBO Max & Disney+
    • Unrestricted torrenting
    • 13 servers in nine countries
    • 10GB of free data per month
    • Strong security & private logging policy
    • 10-device limit

    • No advanced features
    • No servers in Africa or Asia
    • No browser extensions

    Overall Rating: 8.0/10

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

    • 77.0/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 99.0/10
    • 7.57.5/10
    • 8.88.8/10
    • 7.47.4/10

    PrivadoVPN’s free version is one of the best we’ve come across. It offers 10GB of free data per month, unrestricted P2P traffic, and reliably unblocks US Netflix.

    It’s a safe option for free users, with a private logging policy and industry-standard security that includes AES-56 encryption, OpenVPN, and a good kill switch.

    Nine countries to connect to may not seem a lot but it’s one of the most generous server networks on offer from a free VPN.

    PrivadoVPN Free is also really easy to signup for, since you don’t need any payment details of any kind.

    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux
    Cheapest PriceFree
    Data Cap10GB
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    US NetflixYes
    JurisdictionSwitzerland (Privacy Haven)
    Data LeaksNo
    Works In ChinaYes

    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. BBC iPlayer and DAZN are less consistent, though.

    Similarly to Windscribe, 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 platform.

    Private logging policy & based in Switzerland

    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’s, PrivadoVPN’s free apps don’t come with any customization options, though. Nevertheless, PrivadoVPN offers strong security and privacy for VPN beginners.

    Good-sized high-speed server network

    PrivadoVPN Free lets you connect to 13 cities in nine countries. The US is the only country with more than one city location, which is good for maintaining optimal speeds when streaming US content.

    PrivadoVPN’s free VPN is very fast, and almost as fast as Atlas VPN, the fastest free VPN right now.

    Surprisingly, the free VPN recorded the same download speed of 91Mbps as the premium VPN. Connecting to the US from the UK, we recorded average download speeds of 68Mbps.

    Who is PrivadoVPN best for?

    You should use PrivadoVPN 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 want to use a free VPN without submitting payment details. You can sign up and use PrivadoVPN free without entering any payment information.

    You should not use PrivadoVPN if:

    • You’re based in Africa or Asia. PrivadoVPN Free has servers in nine countries, but none of these are in Africa or Asia, which could affect your connection speeds.
    • You want additional customization options. Despite its strong security credentials, PrivadoVPN Free doesn’t include any advanced features or customization settings.
  3. 3. Hide.me Free: Best Free VPN for Privacy

    A fast free VPN with a 10GB monthly data cap and a private logging policy.

    Hide.me mobile screenshots
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    (1 user reviews)
    Visit Hide.me

    • Only 7% speed loss on short distances
    • Minimal logging policy
    • Strong privacy features
    • User-friendly custom apps
    • No bandwidth throttling

    • Very slow long-distance speeds
    • Only 5 VPN server locations
    • One simultaneous connection
    • 10GB monthly data limit

    Overall Free VPN Rating: 7.4/10

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

    • 77.0/10
    • 7.97.9/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 6.26.2/10
    • 5.55.5/10
    • 77.0/10

    Hide.me Free is a secure free VPN with a generous 10GB data cap. It’s one the fastest free VPNs on same-country connections, and it also allows P2P traffic on most of its free servers.

    However, it doesn’t unblock streaming platforms like Netflix.

    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux
    Cheapest PriceFree
    Data Cap10GB
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    US NetflixNo
    JurisdictionMalaysia (Privacy Haven)
    Data LeaksNo
    Works In ChinaUnreliable

    Fast download speeds

    Hide.me is a fast free VPN. We experienced a 7% speed loss connecting to a nearby server.

    The VPN performed well on longer distances too. We experienced a 25% speed loss connecting from the UK to the Netherlands. That’s not bad at all for a free VPN.

    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.

    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 five server locations

    In addition to its 10GB data cap, Hide.me free can only connect to five server locations: the Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, and the US (East and West).

    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.

    Not recommended for streaming

    Hide.me’s free VPN app doesn’t bypass geographic restrictions on streaming services reliably.

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

    Despite its limitations, Hide.me is a good free VPN to secure your free public WiFi connections. It’s also a good alternative to Windscribe for light torrenting.

    Who is Hide.me Free best for?

    You should use Hide.me Free if:

    • You want a basic free VPN for public WiFi. Hide.me Free is a basic service with secure encryption, fast same-country speeds, and a good logging policy. If you need a simple free VPN for occasional use, it’s a good choice.

    You should not use Hide.me Free if:

    • You want to unblock streaming services. Hide.me’s free version doesn’t work to unblock geo-restrictions on most streaming services.
    • You need servers in multiple countries. Hide.me Free’s long-distance speeds are slow, and it can only connect to five server locations – none of which are in India, Africa, South America or Australia.
  4. 4. Atlas VPN Free: The Fastest Free VPN

    Fast speeds, P2P-friendly servers, and a private logging policy make Atlas VPN Free a good choice for torrenters.

    Atlas VPN mobile app
     Rated 1 out of 5 
    (1 user reviews)
    Visit Atlas VPN

    • Very fast download speeds
    • Good option for torrenting
    • Secure encryption
    • Private logging policy
    • User-friendly apps
    • Works in China & Russia

    • Doesn't unblock streaming services
    • Very small server network
    • Missing additional features
    • No live chat
    • No browser extensions
    • 5GB data cap

    Overall Rating: 7.3/10

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

    • 55.0/10
    • 9.69.6/10
    • 8.58.5/10
    • 5.55.5/10
    • 33.0/10
    • 7.27.2/10

    Atlas VPN’s free service is secure, easy to use, and great for torrenting. What stand outs with the VPN are its exceptional speeds and the fact it even works in China.

    Atlas VPN Free’s shortcomings include a small server list, an inability to unblock most streaming services, and restrictions on features and customer support.

    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux
    Cheapest PriceFree
    Data Cap5GB Per Month
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    US NetflixNo
    JurisdictionUS (Five Eyes Member)
    Data LeaksNo
    Works In ChinaYes

    Safe freemium option

    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 the 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.

    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 the multi-hop servers, IP shuffle feature (ShuffleSwap), or ad blocker (Safebrowse Plus).

    Atlas VPN's app home screen on a free subscription

    Atlas VPN Free’s app is identical to the premium version.

    The fastest free VPN we've tested

    The free version of Atlas VPN delivers exceptionally fast local speeds of 97Mbps. This is much faster than Windscribe’s 54Mbps and Privado VPN’s 91Mbps.

    As for long distance speeds, we recorded 73Mbps connecting to Los Angeles from London – a great international speed result.

    Its server list is rather small, though, with only 3 servers in 2 countries: USA and the Netherlands.

    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 secure free VPN with fast speeds. Atlas VPN’s free version is the fastest VPN we’ve tested on both local and international connections.

    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.
    • You want a free VPN for streaming. Atlas VPN Free did not work to unblock any streaming platforms in our testing, except for Disney Plus.
  5. 5. Proton VPN: Best Free VPN for Unlimited Data

    A private free VPN with no data cap, ideal for securing public WiFi.

    Screenshot of Proton VPN's mobile app
     Rated 5 out of 5 
    (2 user reviews)
    Visit Proton VPN

    • No data usage limits
    • No payment info on signup
    • Kill switch and DNS leak protection
    • Minimal logging policy
    • Privacy-friendly Swiss jurisdiction
    • Android .APK file for side loading

    • Only 3 VPN server locations
    • Torrenting not allowed
    • Doesn't work with Netflix or BBC iPlayer
    • One simultaneous connection
    • No web browser plugins

    Overall Free VPN Rating: 7.1/10

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

    • 1010/10
    • 6.96.9/10
    • 9.89.8/10
    • 7.47.4/10
    • 11.0/10
    • 11.0/10

    Proton VPN is the only free and safe VPN you can leave on all the time. That’s because it doesn’t impose any data limits whatsoever.

    You can use Proton VPN as much as you want, completely free, and without adverts.

    The VPN delivers good speeds, protects against IP leaks, and has a privacy-friendly logging policy.

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

    Compatible with
    1. windowsWindows
    2. macosMac OS
    3. iosiOS
    4. androidAndroid
    5. linuxLinux
    Cheapest PriceFree
    Data CapUnlimited
    Logging PolicyAnonymous Server Usage Data
    US NetflixNo
    JurisdictionSwitzerland (Privacy Haven)
    Data LeaksNo
    Works In ChinaNo

    Focused on privacy, not entertainment

    Proton VPN is an excellent general-use VPN thanks to airtight security and a minimal-logging policy.

    Sadly, the unlimited data can’t be used to stream unlimited video content, or for torrenting, which isn’t allowed by the service.

    The free version of Proton VPN doesn’t unblock US Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and most region-locked streaming services. The only major streaming platform it works with is YouTube.

    Independently-audited apps

    Proton VPN has subjected its apps to a full third-party security audit. It has also made them open-source to allow the public to scrutinize them for vulnerabilities.

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

    You can use Proton VPN securely on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. All apps use OpenVPN, 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.’

    This free VPN software is also very private thanks to its minimal-logs policy.

    Small server network and one device limit

    Proton VPN Free is very quick across short distances, despite its small network of free servers. Currently, it only has free VPN servers in the US, the Netherlands, and Japan.

    Proton VPN's list of free server locations

    Proton VPN’s list of free server locations

    Speeds do slow down internationally, though. Connecting from the UK to the Netherlands, our download speeds dropped about 36%. If you live outside Europe, North America or Japan, don’t expect fast speeds.

    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 don’t want to enter payment details. In addition to its strong security and privacy-friendly logging policy, Proton VPN does not require any payment details for a free account.

    You should not use Proton VPN Free if:

    • You plan on using a VPN for streaming. The free version of Proton VPN doesn’t work with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or most other geo-restricted streaming services. It doesn’t support P2P activity, either.
    • You plan on using a free VPN regularly. Though highly-secure, Proton VPN Free does come with some big limitations. It includes just 3 server locations, has slow international speeds, and you can only use it with one device at a time.

Free VPNs to Avoid

Free VPNs are incredibly popular worldwide. Some applications have amassed hundreds of millions of combined installations on iOS and Android.

72% of US and UK VPN users we’ve interviewed use a free VPN service, while only 36% use a premium VPN.

Recommending the most secure and trustworthy VPNs is at the heart of what we do.

After testing over 150 free VPNs, the ones below are some of the most popular that we strongly advise against using:

Hotspot Shield Basic

Overall Ranking: #54 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 4.2/104.2

What we don’t like: Hotspot Shield Basic logs your IP address, connection timestamps, and approximate geolocation. Due to its poor logging policy, the company’s American jurisdiction is problematic. Also, you can only connect to one country.

Turbo VPN

Overall Ranking: #57 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 2.8/102.8

What we don’t like: Turbo VPN is infested with third-party adverts, has unsafe permissions, and we even detected malware in our security audits.

Betternet Free VPN

Overall Ranking: #58 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 2.6/102.6

What we don’t like: Betternet Free VPN is a slow VPN lacking many critical security features. It also leaks your DNS requests.

VPN Proxy Master

Overall Ranking: #66 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 1.9/101.9

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

Thunder VPN

Overall Ranking: #63 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 2.4/102.4

What we don’t like: Thunder VPN suffers from slow speeds, enforces an invasive logging policy, and uses a very weak encryption protocol.

Hola Free VPN

Overall Ranking: #67 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 1.5/101.5

What we don’t like: Hola Free VPN is a terrible VPN service. 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.

SuperVPN Free VPN Client

Overall Ranking: #70 out of 56 VPNs

Overall Rating: 1.0/10{{overall_rating-super-free-vpn-client}}

What we don’t like: 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.

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, and leak IP and DNS data.

Since 2016, we’ve tested over 150 free VPN applications for security, privacy and trustworthiness. We can reveal 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

The charts below illustrate some of the key findings of our free VPN investigations:

We’ve explained below the potential dangers of using an unverified and risky free VPN:

Data Logging & 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.

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.

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.

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.

Ownership & Accountability

We investigate which companies and individuals are behind a VPN service.

For example, our past research revealed how 60% of popular free VPNs had suspicious links to China, – including many free VPN services in Taiwan.

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.

How Do Free VPNs Make Money?

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

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, TunnelBear, and Proton VPN are good examples. These companies don’t have to monetize their free applications directly.

Other free VPNs generate income by running advertisements in their apps. This is most common with mobile-only free VPNs. These apps often prompt you to upgrade to an ad-free (paid) version of the VPN.

Advertisements aren’t ideal from a privacy standpoint. But many users make that trade-off in order to use a free service.

The worst free VPNs make money by selling your browsing data to advertisers and other third parties. At best, you’re made into a product for marketers. At worst, your personal details are sold online.

In short, premium VPNs are almost always better than free VPNs. They are faster, more secure, and don’t have data usage limits.

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 rigorous testing process we apply to paid VPN services.

We test for speed, security, streaming, and P2P. We analyze every privacy and logging policy in detail, as well as assessing a VPN’s ease of use and reliability.

All the free VPNs we recommend meet the following criteria:

  • No payment details required at signup
  • No user activity logs
  • No IP or DNS leaks
  • Strong encryption
  • Fast speeds with no cap on downloads

Security is especially important when testing free VPNs. That’s because dangerous and ineffective free VPNs are much more common than dangerous paid VPNs.

We make sure every free VPN we recommend is free of malware, actually encrypts your data, and does not collect any compromising information.

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

Here’s a more specific look at the factors that go into our free VPN testing process, and how we weigh each individual category:

1. Data Cap: 30%

Minimum Requirement: 500MB per month.
We Recommend: 10GB a month or higher.

Data caps are one the most common drawbacks of safe, free VPNs.

The vast majority of free VPNs place restrictions on how much data you can use, which can hugely inhibit 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).

The very best free VPNs will let you use at least 10GB of data per month. One or two have no limit at all.

2. Speed: 25%

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 a little. This is because your connection goes via the VPN server, so it takes a longer round trip.

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 bigger than with the best premium 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.

The best free VPNs are almost as fast as many of the premium 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. Logging Policy: 15%

Minimum Requirement: Any connection logs must be anonymized.
We Recommend: An absolutely zero-logs policy.

We only recommend free VPN services that respect your privacy.

We scrutinize each VPN’s privacy policy to get a clear idea of what information the service is collecting, why they need it, and how long they store it for.

Also, we look for transparent and detailed policies, written in plain language.

A VPN shouldn’t collect unnecessary or personally-identifying information, including your IP address or records of your online activity.

The most private VPNs operate a strictly no-logs policy. Ideally, they’ve also been independently audited by a trusted third-party.

4. Server Locations: 10%

Minimum Requirement: A choice of VPN server locations.
We Recommend: A number of VPN servers spread across the globe.

Larger VPN server networks give you greater chances of unblocking streaming content and enjoying fast connection speeds. Servers will likely be less congested, and closer to your physical location.

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).

Free VPNs tend to have rather limited server networks, but there are services with 10+ global server locations.

5. Streaming: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Can sometimes unblock global streaming libraries.
We Recommend: Reliable access to US Netflix and BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world.

One of the most common reasons to use a VPN is for streaming. By hiding your IP address, you can access TV shows and movies 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 VPNs are often the easiest to identify and ban.

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 DAZN.

Although free VPNs have a very low success rate when it comes to unblocking streaming sites, the best ones are able to stream US Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

6. Torrenting: 10%

Minimum Requirement: Permits 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 key for safe and private torrenting. We first examine each service’s P2P policy, as many don’t allow free users to torrent at all.

We then check for P2P-optimized servers, and make sure the VPN is using airtight AES-256 encryption.

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 speeds.

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

Limitations of Safe Free VPNs

Not every free VPN is dangerous, and certain free VPNs a very good for small and specific tasks like using public WiFi securely, or unblocking geo-restricted videos for a few hours.

However, even the best free VPNs are usually extremely limited compared to premium alternatives.

Limitations include small VPN server networks, poor streaming capabilities, and restrictions on bandwidth usage.

Moreover, it’s likely you’ll experience slow speeds, constant advertising, and difficulty maintaining a reliable connection.

Here is a list of the most common limitations of free safe VPNs:

  • Lack of streaming (unblocking) capabilities
  • Lack of torrenting and file-sharing support
  • Small free VPN server network
  • Slower (or capped) connection speeds
  • Daily/monthly data usage limits
  • Inferior encryption and security standards


What Is the Fastest Free VPN?

The fastest free VPNs are PrivadoVPN Free and Atlas VPN.

Many free VPN services use speed caps or throttling in order to persuade users to pay for a subscription plan. If the number of servers is limited on the free version, the VPN is also likely to be slower due to server congestion.

For this reason, free VPN speeds vary a lot depending on what time of day you connect and how many other users are connected to the same VPN server. In short, don’t be surprised if you encounter some large fluctuations in speed.

Can I Use a Premium VPN for Free?

Premium 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 premium 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.

Is Hotspot Shield Free a Good VPN?

Hotspot Shield Free is a very popular free VPN, and a few years ago it was one of the better options available. Right now, though, it can’t match the five free VPNs we recommend.

There’s nothing fundamentally dangerous or ineffective about Hotspot Shield Free, it’s simply not as good as its competitors.

The VPN doesn’t have the streaming capabilities of Windscribe Free, or the unlimited data of Proton VPN Free. It doesn’t allow torrenting on its free version, either.

Hotspot Shield Free does have a daily data allowance of 500MB, which isn’t bad. If you spread your VPN usage evenly, that’s around 15GB of data a month, one of the largest bandwidth allowances across safe free VPNs.

If you already use Hotspot Shield Free and you’re happy with it, keep using it. Otherwise, we believe there are much better free VPNs available.