VPNs For Free
Many web users prefer to use a free VPN rather than a paid service. Although keeping data private and bypassing geo-blocking is now a necessity for most, financial restrictions mean that not everyone can afford top-quality services. But, if someone selects a free VPN option, they need to note that there are limitations. Even the very best free VPN services no longer work for accessing the US Netflix library abroad, or Sky Sports and BBC iPlayer to name a few. We aren’t saying that free VPNs are necessarily bad because more often than not, they get the job done. The issue is, no service is truly free. Users should be aware that they will be paying with something other than money – your privacy and security. Many free VPN providers have been proven to log and sell user information.
In light of the above, we recommend signing up to a free VPN trial to enjoy all the benefits of paid subscriptions for no cost.
Free VPN vs Paid VPN
A free VPN Service offers much of the same features as their paid counterparts, but for no financial cost. They are ideal if you’re on a budget or are downloading something for one-off use. However, while free VPN options still provide increased privacy, anonymity, and access, the difference from paid subscriptions is more than just the price tag.
The primary drawbacks of a free VPN server are usage restrictions and low-quality connections. Whether you are protecting your online information or accessing blocked content, an unstable network that frequently drops out defies the point of using a VPN altogether. Another drawback of using free VPN software is the lack of tech support that one can expect to receive. Most only offer an email contact, and it’s likely you’ll have to wait for a response – which can be vexing as the products are prone to malfunctions.
For users looking to access Netflix content from overseas libraries, the streaming service has succeeded in blocking all free VPN providers from bypassing their restrictions. Netflix geo-blocks each program, so certain regions have access to significantly less content than others. As the company continues to fight VPN use, the best options to unblock Netflix changes regularly. In 2017, free VPNs were completely blocked. However, we have an interesting alternative to propose below.
It is because of these reasons that payment-free choices rarely feature in lists of best VPN services. However, many highly-rated paid subscriptions offer VPN free trial periods with complete refunds guaranteed. Using this loophole, you can benefit from the platinum quality of leading providers. We recommend using these (somewhat) free VPN proxy alternatives for accessing Netflix’s full catalog, along with other channels such as Sky, Channel 4, BBC iPlayer and NOW TV.
IPVanish VPN – 4.5/5
- Number of IP addresses: 40,000+
- Number of servers: 900
- Number of server locations: 60
- Country/Jurisdiction: United States
A big win for IPVanish is the fact that the company keeps zero logs. Zero. We also like the company’s stance towards privacy. They even provide support to EFF, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit at the front lines of protecting online privacy.
A unique feature of IPVanish, and one we’re very intrigued by, is the VPN’s support of Kodi, the open-source media streaming app that was once known as XBMC. Any serious media fan has used or built Kodi or XBMC into a media player, and the integrated IPVanish Kodi plugin provides access to media worldwide.
At $7.50/month and $58.49 for a year, they’re obviously trying to move you towards their yearly program. We awarded the company points for Bitcoin support, and their money-back guarantee. We’re a little disappointed that they only allow a 7-day trial, rather than a full 30-days. The company is generous, with five simultaneous connections. They also picked up points for their connection kill switch feature, a must for anyone serious about remaining anonymous while surfing.
NordVPN: A Legitimate VPN Software ($3.29/mo)
2nd out of 31 VPNs
Founded in 2008 under the umbrella of Tefincom co S.A., Panama-based NordVPNis a veteran of the online security industry whose recent improvements have generated an almost explosive level of growth inside the company.
They offer an impressive and almost unparalleled level of data protection with their “Double Encryption” protocol that relays your information through two separate VPN servers before directing it to its final destination.
In addition to their unique security standards, NordVPN also boasts more than 1,000 servers parked across 61 countries, full compatibility with Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux, and access to all major VPN protocols.
Considering their high-quality customer support, P2P compatibility, and their plethora of advanced features and bonuses (including a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and SmartPlay) it’s easy to see why NordVPN has earned itself a glowing reputation as one of the leaders in the VPN industry.
Unfortunately, there are a few issues that prevent NordVPN from achieving true greatness. Most notably of which is the average download speeds offered by their server park. Although the situation isn’t too grim if you do the majority of your browsing from U.S.-based servers (which typically run at about 50 Mbps) their EU servers are simply too slow for the average user.
+ “Double” data protection
+ Large server park
+ Torrenting allowed
– Their company should be more transparent
– Average download speed
Compatibility: Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows
Jurisdiction: Panama City, Panama / Tefincom co S.A.
Countries & Servers: 61 Countries, 1,000+ servers
Golden Frog VPN Services – 4/5
- Number of IP addresses: 200,000+
- Number of servers: 700+
- Number of server locations: 70+
- Country/Jurisdiction: Switzerland
Golden Frog has the largest bank of IP addresses of any of the services we’ve examined. The company offers a wide range of protocols, including its own high-performance Chameleon connection protocol.
We like that the company offers a connection kill switch feature and, for those who need it, there’s an option to get a dedicated IP address. Golden Frog is a standout in their effort to provide privacy, and thwart censorship. When China began its program of deep packet VPN inspection, Golden Frog’s VyperVPN service added scrambled OpenVPN packets to keep the traffic flowing.
At $9.95 for a month’s service, and $80.04 for a year, the service is a good deal. So why did we only give Golden Frog four out of five? We had to ding them for three things: a lack of Bitcoin support, logging of connection data, and no money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN: One of the Most Powerful Budget-Friendly VPNs ($5.00/mo)
4th out of 31 VPNs
The parent company of VyprVPN, Golden Frog, has historically been one of the most active and vocal supporters of the free internet and information privacy. So it seems only fitting that their personal VPN should be one of the most powerful and affordable services currently available to the public.
VyprVPN offers two plans to their customers, basic and premium, that cost $5.00/mo and $6.67/mo respectively. The most notable difference between the two plans is that VyprVPN Premium includes access to your own dedicated cloud server and their proprietary Chameleon protocol that adds an additional layer of security and VPN-blocker protection to your browsing activities.
Both plans boast full compatibility with all major devices, a Netflix unblocker (not available on mobile devices), P2P optimized servers, and some of the fastest download speeds that I’ve reviewed to date. In fact, clocking in at 74.48 Mbps, VyprVPN is the 4th fastest VPN that I’ve ever reviewed.
+ Proprietary Chameleon Protocol
+ Affordable Services
+ FAST Download Speeds
+ Torrenting allowed
– Some Logs
– No Live Chat
Compatibility: Android, ChromeOS, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows
Jurisdiction: Switzerland/Golden Frog GmbH
Countries & Servers: 64 countries, 700+ servers
Hide My Ass – 4/5
- Number of IP addresses: 3,106
- Number of servers: 830
- Number of server locations: 280
- Country/Jurisdiction: United Kingdom
We’d give these folks an extra point, if we could, just for the name of their service. The firm has a strong network with a good selection of protocols supported. While they have an extensive (and very clearly written set of policy documents), the company explicitly allows P2P and torrents.
We like how the company offers support on a wide range of devices including game consoles. We gave them extra points for bitcoin support, and their excellent money-back guarantee. We did deduct a couple of points, because they do log connection data. They also offer five simultaneous connections.
While their monthly pricing of $11.52 is at the high end of the spectrum, their yearly pricing is competitive at $78.66 for a full year.
ExpressVPN – 4/5
- Number of IP addresses: 15,000
- Number of servers: 1,700+
- Number of server locations: 145
- Country/Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
ExpressVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, and has impressive protocol support. While few will use PPTP (unless there are specific needs), the added support of SSTP and L2TP/IPSec may be welcome to some users.
We like the quality of their setup guides, and the detailed information in their FAQ. The ExpressVPN gained points from us for their support of Bitcoin as a payment method, and their reliable and easy-to-use connection kill switch feature.
The company has been in business since 2009, and has a substantial network of fast VPN servers spread across 94 countries. Their best plan is priced at just $6.67per month for an annual package which includes 3 extra months free. ExpressVPN’s commitment to privacy is a standout feature.
What Is a VPN?
If you’ve ever had to use special software to log in to your work network when working remotely, you are already familiar with VPN technology. It creates an encrypted connection (often referred to as a tunnel) between your computer and your company’s VPN server, and then passes all network activity through the protected tunnel. This way, even if you are using the airport’s Wi-Fi network, none of the other people on that network can see what’s happening inside that tunnel.
The VPN services I talk about here work the same way, but instead of your Web traffic moving through the encrypted tunnel to your company’s server, it goes to a server operated by the VPN provider. This not only means that your data is safe from prying eyes on the network you’re connected to, but that advertisers and online snoops won’t be able to see your actual IP address or glean your current location. Instead, they’ll see the IP address and location information for the VPN server.
Think of it this way: If you drive out of your garage, someone can follow your car and track where you went, how long you were there, and when you returned home. We call that stalking. Using a VPN service is like driving into a closed parking garage, switching to a different car, and then driving out. Anyone following your original car now has no idea where you went after entering the garage. A VPN service keeps the stalkers at bay.
Of course, no technology is foolproof. Once your traffic exits the VPN server, it can be monitored and perhaps intercepted. It’s also possible to use complicated timing algorithms to predict when and where you leave the encrypted tunnel. There are other services, such as Tor, that can provide greater levels of anonymity. And if you’re exchanging sensitive information, consider using encryption software to secure it first or using an encrypted messaging service such as Signal for iPhone and Android.
There’s quite a bit of talk right now about whether a VPN to protect neutrality. The idea is that, if you tunnel through your ISP, it won’t be able to throttle your connection or charge you to access specific online services. That makes sense on paper, but it actually works out that way depends on what the ISPs decide to do. They could simply throttle all VPN traffic, for example. To me, the issue of net neutrality is a matter that should be decided on by Congress, and not one to be left up to individuals to solve, ad hoc.
Best Free VPNs Reviews – Totally Free VPNs, Free Trials and Money-Back Alternatives
Be it that you choose a paid VPN provider or a free VPN client, at the end of the day, it comes down to your needs: how private and secure you want your connection to be, as well as what you are using the VPN for. A free VPN proxy, for example, is useless if you need to access certain channels. But fear not, there is a whole array of free VPN download software available and is absolutely free of charge. You can even levy a VPN free trial for a service that is usually paid, or take advantage of a paid VPN’s money-back guarantee.
If you are wondering how to get a VPN free, here are just a few examples of free VPN providers that are either free or offer a money-back guarantee…
Using a Free VPN Service – Main Considerations
After weighing up the pros and cons of a free version versus a paid VPN, users should choose a plan that is suitable to their needs. Users should note that the majority of free VPN plans have limitations when it comes to data caps. As well as this, there can be further limitations of speeds and access to all of the servers. Many free VPNs cannot gain access to certain geo-restricted channels.
In order to make your decision easier, here at Secure Thoughts, we have nicely summarized for you all of the main areas where users utilize VPN services, to see if it will or won’t work with a totally free VPN service.
Free VPN for Windows 10
For those of you wondering whether the VPNs mentioned in this article are available for Windows 10 users, you are in luck. All of the VPNs mentioned in this article are in fact available. So if you want a VPN for Windows 10you could try ExpressVPN or ProtonVPN. With any of these VPNs installed on your PC or laptop device, you can browse safely and effectively even on Wi-Fi networks. If you’re having trouble connecting, make sure that you have a VPN profile on your PC or device, you should be able to create a VPN profile on your own, by visiting the Microsoft Store for an app for that service. Once installed there should be no issues.
Free VPN for PC
No one wants to download a VPN, only to realize that it’s not compatible with their device or software. Fortunately, users with a PC, it is very difficult to come across a VPN that is not compatible with a PC. You can get a VPN for PC through the services of CyberGhost and HotSpot Shield, along with nearly every other VPN provider. In fact, we couldn’t find a VPN service that isn’t compatible with PC on the market.
Free VPN for Mac
VPN providers deliver high quality and use cutting-edge technology to keep your connections private and secure. Mac users can often get complacent when it comes to security, but with Apple computers being increasingly targeted by cybercriminals, users should never let their guard down. Fortunately, the majority of VPNs are compatible with Mac, notably the ones that are mentioned on this page. A great free VPN for Mac is ExpressVPN as well as SurfEasy.
Free VPN for Laptops
When using a laptop, sometimes a VPN connection can be rejected, either due to Wi-Fi issues or the inability to establish a tunnel. When choosing a VPN, make sure that you choose a free VPN for laptop use. A great example of this would be ProtonVPN.
Best Free VPN for Android
Not every VPN is available for Android devices and some are known to perform better than others. If you are looking for a VPN for Android then look no further than HideMe VPN and SurfEasy. Both of these VPNs are among the best free VPNs that will secure and encrypt your connection across all Android devices. HideMe has a special feature on its Android app that will stop and reconnect users should the internet connection be interrupted – providing an extra layer of security.
Free VPN for iPhone
Looking for a VPN that will work wonders on your iPhone? A great VPN for iPhone or even your iPad is TunnelBear. TunnelBear’s simple design makes it easy to connect and disconnect from the VPN. According to its site, it’s “so simple, a bear could use it.” We aren’t so sure about that, but we certainly found it easy to navigate. With strong AES 256-bit military grade encryption, the VPN will be sure to keep all data and activity safe and secure. A majority of the VPN’s mentioned here are compatible with iPhone, apart from ProtonVPN. Here, a separate configuration file needs to be downloaded for it to function properly (a bit of a headache). This is honestly a waste of time if there are already VPN’s out there without the need for downloading separate files.
Free VPN for Netflix and other Streaming
It’s a real cat-and-mouse game when it comes to the streaming giant Netflix and VPNs. VPNs have been working really hard since Netflix started cracking down on them in early 2017. Nowadays, it’s extremely difficult to find a Netflix VPN server that has managed to crack the code. Luckily there are still a few able to break through Netflix’s firewall along with BBC iPlayer’s and various other sports channels. If you look hard enough, you can find a VPN for sports streaming and gain access to watch premier league live stream outside UKwaters. But we’ve done the hard work for you; VPNs that have knocked down these barriers include, HotSpot Shield and CyberGhost. Unfortunately, the majority of other VPNs haven’t quite cracked the code.
Free VPN for Torrenting and P2P File sharing on BitTorrent
Torrenting is an easy way to use peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing to download just about anything. From music to series, to your favorite movies, search engines such as The Pirate Bay and BitTorrent can be used for all needs. However, due to copyright laws, much of torrenting is considered illegal and abusers can expect hefty lawsuits and charges if caught. Hence the need for a very secure VPN for torrenting. ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for torrenting and allows torrenting, unlike other VPNs. ExpressVPN has a zero logging policy and boasts relatively high speeds; perfect conditions for torrenting. It is very rare to find a totally free VPN that supports torrenting, out of the ones listed here, only HotSpot Shield supports it, but be aware: it does log customer IPs.
Free VPN to Travel
VPNs are the perfect tool to use when traveling, where unfamiliar networks, particularly Wi-Fi, are teaming with potential hackers. Using a VPN abroad will also allow users to access all of their favorite shows while abroad. It is important, however, to make sure that your VPN of choice is available in your destination countries. If you want to get the best free VPN for Germany, or a VPN for the USA, most free VPN’s will allow you to use them there.
If however, you want to find a free VPN for China or a VPN for Dubai, it is important to know that most VPN’s are blocked due to strict legal reasons. HotSpot Shield VPN is a free service provider that can knock down China’s great firewall. A high-level obfuscation method makes it very difficult to block the VPN provider, making it simple to watch UK TV abroad or watch US television while traveling in mainland China.
So What’s the Price to Pay with a Free VPN Service?
Although more often than not, a free VPN service can get the job done, the question is, at what quality and cost? They can be of good use depending on the needs of the user, and each one as seen has different available features. However, there are a few limitations when using a free VPN, namely the caps on the amount of data that can be used. There are also limitations when it comes to the number of servers available, the number of devices that can be connected at once as well as speed caps. It is also very difficult to find a free VPN that can unlock the US Netflix library. A paid version, on the other hand, will bypass most of these limitations, depending on your chosen VPN of course. On top of that, it is very rare to find a free VPN service that allows for torrenting, whereas a paid VPN, will usually allow for it.
For these reasons, we would highly advise taking advantage of ExpressVPN’s money-back guarantee, so you can get the best of both worlds. This way you can have all of the advantages of a paid VPN and get a whole month free of charge. At the end of the day, the decision is yours. Be sure to take advantage of free trials and money-back guarantees to find the VPN that suits you.