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How to Get a Proton VPN Free Trial

Callum Tennent oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his VPN advice has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society.

Fact-checked by Simon Migliano

Our Verdict

Proton VPN's 7-day free trial no longer exists. The only way you can try Proton VPN for free is to use its 30-day money-back guarantee. Or, you can use Proton VPN's 100% free version, but it only has 3 server locations and doesn’t allow streaming or torrenting.

Proton VPN once offered a seven-day free trial of its paid service on all devices and platforms. The company ended the free trial offer in 2021.

At the moment, there is no true Proton VPN free trial available. The good news, however, is that we found a workaround to get a Proton VPN subscription for free for a limited amount of time.

By taking advantage of the VPN’s 100% refund guarantee, you’ll be able to use Proton VPN for free for 30 days. You’ll be billed when you subscribe to the service, but you’ll get your money back by canceling before the refund window ends.

Alternatively, you can always use Proton VPN’s unlimited free version. You can sign up without entering any payment details, but the VPN is much less effective than the paid version: there are only 3 server locations, torrenting is banned, and it doesn’t unblock streaming services.

In this guide, we’ll explain in detail how to trial the paid version of Proton VPN using its money-back guarantee, as well as how to use the 100% free version.

Does Proton VPN Offer a Genuine Free Trial?

Proton VPN no longer offers a genuine free trial of its paid service.

Previously, you could trial the paid version for seven days. But like other VPN services, Proton VPN stopped its free trial to prevent abuse of its premium servers and features.

According to Proton VPN, it faced issues with users signing up to multiple free trial accounts, which affected server performance and speeds for its paid customers.

Explanation of why Proton VPN got rid of it's free trial.

Proton VPN’s explanation of what happened to its free trial offer.

For users unable to upgrade to Proton VPN’s paid subscription tier, Proton VPN recommends using its free plan, which you can sign up to without entering any payment details.

The free plan offers strong security and privacy, but it’s a much less effective product than the paid version of Proton VPN.

The main drawbacks are: fewer server locations (it only has locations in the US, the Netherlands, and Japan), as well as the inability to unblock streaming platforms and torrent files.

In order to trial the full features of Proton VPN’s software, you’ll have to sign up to a subscription and then request a full refund within 30 days.

How to Get a 30-day Proton VPN Risk-free Trial

​The only way to use Proton VPN’s Plus or Unlimited plans for free, on every device, is to take advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee.

The workaround below lets you test Proton VPN Plus for free on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and other platforms.

EXPERT ADVICE:: To be eligible for Proton VPN’s refund policy, you need to sign up via its official website or applications. If you sign up through a third-party, like the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, you’ll be subject to the app store’s refund policies instead.

Follow these simple steps to subscribe and claim a refund:

  1. Subscribe to Proton VPN. We recommend choosing the one-month plan so you pay the least at sign-up. If you forget to cancel, you’ll also minimize your loss. Payments made via cash or bank transfer are not refundable, so avoid using those.Proton VPN's pricing planTo get the most benefit from your trial period, cancel as close as possible to the 30-day expiration date. However, if you do choose to claim your refund earlier, you’ll be refunded the unused portion of your subscription fee, too.
  2. Install the Proton VPN app to your chosen device. Proton VPN has apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and Fire TV. They’re all well-designed, and there are setup guides available online if you need them.
    Proton VPN's device installation choices
  3. Log in to the app using the account details you created when you subscribed.
    Proton VPN's login interface
  4. You can now use Proton VPN and all of its premium features on any device, completely free for 30 days. Remember to set a reminder to cancel your subscription before the refund period is up.

    Proton VPN's server location menu

    To use Proton VPN, use the map or search in the app’s server list to find a server location, then select it to connect to it.

  5. Before the 30-day refund window expires, contact Proton VPN’s support team using the online form and request a cancellation. Payments are made to your original payment method within 30 days.If you miss the 30-day deadline, you can try contacting Proton VPN, but any refunds would be at their discretion.
  6. Once you’ve received your refund, you’ll have used the premium version of Proton VPN completely free for up to 30 days.

EXPERT ADVICE: We’ve tested Proton VPN’s refund guarantee several times, and we received a refund every single time, without issues. However, if you want a 100% VPN free trial offered by a top-tier service, then consider using CyberGhost’s 24-hour free trial, instead.

How to Cancel Your Proton VPN Subscription

In this section, we’ll dig a little bit deeper into how Proton VPN’s money-back guarantee used to work, and what’s now changed.

As we mentioned earlier, to cancel your Proton VPN subscription and get a refund, you need to contact Proton VPN’s customer support using the appropriate online form within 30 days of purchase.

The company will process refund payments to the original payment method used to subscribe within 30 days.

Previously though, Proton VPN only refunded users for the unused portion of their subscription. For example, if you claimed a refund after 20 days, you’d only get a refund for the remaining 10 days.

We’re pleased to say that Proton VPN has stopped this unreasonable practice, and you can now get a full refund of the entire subscription price.

Also, Proton VPN has stated that they may offer a pro-rated refund if the service is not available or usable. So, if the service performs poorly, you may be eligible for a partial refund.

These are the reasonable conditions you need to meet in order to qualify for a full refund:

  • You must request a refund within 30 days of the initial purchase.
  • Your initial payment cannot be made via cash or bank transfer.
  • Refunds can only be requested once per user.
  • Refunds are only available to users who subscribed directly through Proton VPN’s website or applications. If you sign up through an app store, you may not be eligible for its money-back guarantee.

Here’s a screenshot of Proton VPN’s terms and conditions:

Proton VPN's terms and conditions

The terms and conditions for Proton VPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee.

How to Use Proton VPN’s 100% Free Version

If you just want to secure your internet connection and hide your real IP address, you may want to simply use Proton VPN’s free software.

The free VPN is much more basic than the paid one, but it does use the same encryption standards and offers unlimited data usage.

If the above is enough for what you need a VPN for, then follow the steps below to download and use the free version of Proton VPN:

  1. Sign up for Proton VPN Free. You’ll need to create an account, but you don’t need to enter any payment details.
  2. Install the app. It’s available on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android TV and Fire TV.
  3. Log in to the app. Use the account details you created when you subscribed.
  4. Connect to a server. Use the map or search to find a country and server to connect to, then select it to connect to it.
  5. Browse the web. You can now browse the web with unlimited data every month. However, you’ll be limited to 3 server locations, and you won’t be able unblock geo-restricted streaming services, or torrent files.

Proton VPN Paid vs Proton VPN Free

Below is a summary of the differences between Proton VPN’s most popular paid plan, called Plus, and Proton VPN Free.

Attribute Proton VPN Free Proton VPN Plus
Cheapest Monthly Price Free $4.99
Simultaneous Connections 3 10
Data Cap Unlimited Unlimited
Avg. International Speed 85Mbps 84Mbps
Streaming Support No Yes
Torrenting Support No Yes
Server Countries 3 68
Servers 200 2,970+
Secure Core No Yes
Netshield No Yes

There is also an “Unlimited” subscription tier for Proton VPN, but it has the same VPN features as Plus. It only adds applications for email, storage, and a calendar.

As the table shows, Proton VPN Free has far fewer servers than the Plus tier, and they are only in 3 countries (the Netherlands, USA, and Japan). The servers are typically far more congested too, so we often experience slower speeds when testing them.

Proton VPN Plus unblocks 6 Netflix regions (including the US), BBC iPlayer, and Disney+. In contrast, the free servers are all blocked by streaming services.

Torrenting support is also excellent on Proton VPN Plus — it received a torrenting rating of 9.2 in our testing. Torrenting is allowed on all servers, and there are P2P-optimized servers too, plus support for port forwarding. Torrenting is not supported at all on the free servers at all.

There are also some key security features that you don’t get with the free version:

  • Secure Core Servers: This is a network of first-party owned servers located in countries with strong privacy laws. When you use a Secure Core server, your traffic goes through one of these servers before it connects to your destination VPN server. If that destination server is ever compromised, they can only trace your traffic back to the Secure Core server, not your real IP address.
  • Netshield: This is Proton VPN’s advert and malware blocker. It does stop malware and trackers, but we found the ad blocking ineffective in our VPN ad blocker testing. Ads are replaced with ugly gray boxes, and Netshield only works when you’re using the VPN.

Using Proton VPN Plus, you can connect up to 10 devices at the same time with one subscription. With Proton VPN Free, you can only use one device at a time.

In other respects, the free and premium services are similar. Privacy protections are the same, speeds are typically excellent, and there is no monthly data cap on either version.

You can learn about these differences in more detail in our review of Proton VPN’s free and paid software.

How Much Does Proton VPN Cost?

There are two paid subscription levels for Proton VPN: Plus and Unlimited. The Plus subscription tier is the full VPN service, which costs $4.99 on its longest term, or $11.49 per month.

This includes up to 10 simultaneous connections, 68 server locations, streaming support, and unlimited bandwidth.

The Unlimited plan has all the same VPN features as the Plus plan, but it also includes Proton’s Mail, Calendar, and Drive services. It costs $7.99 per month on a two-year subscription plan, or $12.99 per month. We recommend the Plus plan.

Should You Use Proton VPN Free?

Proton VPN Free isn’t just an excellent free VPN, it’s actually the best free VPN we’ve tested.

It’s highly-secure, ad-free, and does not require any payment details to sign up. It’s one of the only safe free VPN services that does not impose a data cap, too.

If you need a free VPN to protect your privacy while browsing the web or using public WiFi, Proton VPN Free is an excellent choice.

While impressive, the free version of Proton VPN does have drawbacks. It does not work for streaming or torrenting, and it doesn’t offer access to Secure Core servers, either. More pressingly, it only gives you access to 3 server locations.

Neither version of Proton VPN works in China. The Stealth protocol does beat censorship in Russia and Iran, but is only available on Android, iOS and Mac.

If you need a free VPN that supports streaming and torrenting, has a large number of server locations, or offers the best possible security, we recommend trialing the premium version of Proton VPN using the money-back guarantee. You’ll need to pay up front, but you’ll get all the features of Proton VPN Plus and can claim a refund within 30 days.

Is the Paid Version of Proton VPN Worth Paying for?

If you need a VPN to change Netflix regions, access geo-restricted streaming services, or to hide your IP address while torrenting, it’s worth paying for Proton VPN Plus over the free version — or using the Proton VPN free trial workaround.

However, while its paid version is better than the free alternative, Proton VPN does not offer the best value for money compared to the best VPN services on the market.

Put simply, other highly-rated VPNs are cheaper. NordVPN costs just $3.29 per month over two years, and Private Internet Access is just $2.03 per month over 26 months.

How does Proton VPN Compare to Other Free Trial VPNs?

The best VPN free trials are offered by CyberGhost VPN, Surfshark VPN, ExpressVPN and NordVPN. These VPN services all offer genuine free trials in combination with a money-back guarantee.

You can compare Proton VPN’s free trial to these VPNs in the table below:

CyberGhost is the best option if you don’t want to submit payment details. It offers a one-day free trial on all devices, a 45-day money-back guarantee, and another seven-day free trial on mobile devices only.

Surfshark’s free trial gives you the longest time to try its service. It offers a seven-day free trial on mobile and two chances to claim the 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can get 67 days for free in total. It also has a Smart DNS service that works with games consoles and Apple TV, giving it the edge over Proton VPN.

If you’re mainly interested in streaming, you can get a free trial of ExpressVPN for seven days on iOS and Android, or sign up directly and claim a risk-free refund in 30 days. It unblocks 18 Netflix libraries, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, and Hulu, amongst other things.

Proton VPN is an excellent VPN, and it’s undoubtedly worth trying for free using its money-back guarantee. However, there are better alternatives that offer genuine free trials along with the same refund policy.