FreeVPN by FreeVPN.org is impressive only in its ability to surprise and frustrate you.
Every aspect of using it is unpleasant from the moment you open the app. Its UI is cluttered and ugly, buttons are poorly labeled and frequently don’t do what they’re supposed to, and just connecting to a server can take upwards of five minutes — if it even lets you at all.
Read on for specific details of our frustrations with FreeVPN.org on each platform:
Mobile (Android & iOS)
FreeVPN.org is most popular on Android. We understand why: the Google Play Store is a minefield for free VPNs and it can be hard to know which ones to trust.
But don’t be fooled by its 5 million-plus downloads: FreeVPN.org is a miserable, aggravating VPN to use.
FreeVPN by FreeVPN.org’s Android (left) and iOS (right) apps are largely similar and equally ugly.
Like many free VPNs, you need to agree to watch ads to build up a bank of minutes with which you can actually use the VPN. Four ads gives you 30 minutes, eight ads gives you 120 minutes, and 12 ads gives you a full day of use.
However, ads often failed to load properly or our view wouldn’t register, meaning we’d have to sit through more ads than promised to get our allotted minutes.
What’s worse, it appears that if you don’t use those minutes before midnight then they all get wiped, so there’s no way for you to build up a reserve of free usage — you have to watch ads every single day if you want to keep using FreeVPN.org.
Almost all of this applies to its iOS app, too, although in our testing experience we at least found that ads tended to load and display correctly on iPhone.
Once you’ve acquired your free minutes, connecting to a server is also a pain. The server list doesn’t have any ordering to it, so it’s needlessly difficult to tell what locations you can connect to and where.
Picking a server prompts a pop up message saying that you’ve connected to that server, but you haven’t — you still need to tap the Connect button to actually do that, which could easily confuse first-time users.
The home screen is plastered with buttons and links to features that you can’t use unless you buy the premium version, and the settings menu doesn’t actually have any adjustable settings at all.
FreeVPN.org is a million miles away from matching user-friendly and non-predatory free VPN services like Proton VPN or PrivadoVPN. There’s really no contest here.
To our surprise, FreeVPN.org recently released a version of its app for Macs, available via Apple’s official App Store.
What’s less surprising, though, is how badly broken it is.
FreeVPN on macOS is neither free nor a VPN app.
Despite the name, there’s no free version of FreeVPN.org on Mac. You can download it for free, but once you open it you need to purchase a subscription to use it (although that isn’t made very clear).
Most links to actually purchase one of these subscriptions don’t work. The majority gave us an error message saying ‘plans not yet available’ — a bizarre oversight that only diminished our trust in the paid version further.
FreeVPN.org even makes giving the company money difficult.
Once we managed to find a working payment link, we were shocked to see that FreeVPN.org costs a staggering $9.49 per week. That price would make the premium version one of the most expensive VPNs we’ve ever seen — a price tag we’re heavily skeptical it could ever live up to.
FreeVPN.org for macOS is also bundled with its own private browser. The two are totally intertwined with one another, and you cannot use the VPN without also using its browser — another aggressively unhelpful move from the service.