How to Find a Free VPN: Complete List of the Best Free Services
Using a virtual Private Network (VPN, explained in detail here) carries a number of well-known advantages related to security, privacy, anonymity, and the ability to bypass filters and restrictions to visit websites that are forbidden on a network. Most people are familiar with these benefits but choose to do without a VPN simply because they don't want to pay a fee. If you've been hesitant to pay for a VPN, you'll be glad to know that there are actually a number of free options out there, and while they aren't the fastest or most reliable solutions, they do get the job done without requiring any form of payment, as long as you're willing to deal with a few limitations and the presence of ads. With that said, here's a list of the best fully free VPNs that are worth trying out:
VPNBook is a 100% free service that offers access to servers in the US, UK, and Romania. Interestingly enough, you don't even have to register to begin using their services. Of course, it's sustained by ads and donations, but that's a fair trade for having access to an OpenVPN service that actually works for free. There are also no bandwidth limitations, and although the performance might not be up to par with some paid services, it gets the job done in terms of bypassing site filters and restrictions and providing basic browsing anonymity.
Setting Up A Free VPN Connection with VPNBook:
Browsec has a notable free version that allows for connection speeds of 1 Mbps and is the free VPN of choice for more than 3 million users. The free version includes access to 4 server locations: United Kingdom, Singapore, Netherlands, and United States. It's available as a browser add-on/extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, as well as in app form for iOS and Android. This is one of the more visually appealing free options out there, but keep in mind it's still ad-supported. Upgrading to the premium version gives you access to 30+ servers at speeds of up to 100 Mbps.
How to Install Browsec in Chrome:
TunnelBear offers their “Little” plan for free, with the only obvious limitation being a cap of 500 MB of data transfer. Creating an account is as simple as providing your email address and a desired password. You can also connect up to 5 devices to the network at one time, and there are convenient features like Always On mode, Closest Tunnel, and Vigilant Mode. They're also one of the few free VPN providers that don't keep any logs, so their privacy is top-notch, and with servers in more than 20 countries you can reliably bypass any site restriction and obtain IP addresses from most popular areas like the US and UK. It has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome, and Opera.
Tutorial for Using TunnelBear's Free Version:
Hotspot Shield is one of the most popular and well-known names in the free VPN niche, impressively providing free access to a massive network of servers in more than 85 countries worldwide. Since the free version is only ad-supported there are some daily bandwidth limitations but they're very generous compared to the competition. Free users can use the VPN for up to 750MB of data every 24 hours on a desktop or 250MB every 24 hours on a mobile device.
HotspotShield VPN Review:
CyberGhost offers a free version of the VPN that allows you to surf anonymously, protect and encrypt data transferred over Wi-Fi hotspots, and bypass website restrictions. However, if you want to unlock streaming speeds, torrent anonymously, or have the option to select which server to connect to, then you'll ave to upgrade to the Premium version. In other words, your connection won't be very fast and you won't be able to pick your server, but it's still suitable for loading basic web pages anonymously and unlocking forbidden sites on a network.
Review of CyberGhost's Free VPN:
Windscribe is a free VPN and ad-blocking solution that focuses on protecting user privacy and anonymity. Their Limited plan is free forever and gives you access to 8 server locations that can be connected to by one device at a time. There's a generous data limit of 10GB per month and it includes a firewall, adblock module, and P2P (torrenting) protection. This lesser known provider is making waves with one of the best free options available. Upgrading to the Unlimited plan provides access to 46 server locations and OpenVPN technology.
7. VPN Gate
VPN Gate is unique because it isn't a commercial VPN provider. Instead, it's a free open source VPN resource managed at the Graduate School of University of Tsukuba, Japan. It provides access to a continually updated list of public VPN relay servers that are provided by volunteers worldwide. There are currently nearly 8,000 servers within the network. You'll have to download the VPN Gate client to connect to the servers listed on their site. They've vowed to keep the service fully free indefinitely as a volunteer-based server sharing gateway.
How to Setup and Use VPN Gate:
SurfEasy has a free Starter plan that gives you access to their VPN servers and allows you to consume up to 500MB in data per day while connected to the network. You can have up to 5 devices connected at any time and the free version provides basic anonymity and privacy features. You can upgrade to the Total plan to remove the data limitation. If you want torrent (P2P) protection and more server options in different countries then you'll have to upgrade to the Ultra plan.
Official SurfEasy trailer:
Hide.me offers a free version of their service that includes access to 3 server locations, a 2 GB data transfer limitation per month, limited bandwidth, support for 1 connection at a time, and no port forwarding. The 3 free servers are located in the Netherlands, Singapore, and Canada. One major plus is that they stopped keeping logs in 2015 after some brand controversy, so that's a plus in terms of privacy.
Many people don't know that the Opera web browser contains a completely free VPN service feature. This option is built into the browser and allows for unlimited usage and no log keeping. Follow these steps to enable the free VPN in Opera:
Go to Settings (Windows) or Preferences (Mac)
Select Privacy & Security
Toggle On the Free VPN option
You'll see a convenient “VPN” icon in the browser that you can click on to turn the VPN on/off and choose a different server location.
This is interesting as it is the first time a browser has taken the initiative to add VPN functionality natively. While it does work reliably, many users have stated that the performance and speed isn't quite up-to-par with paid/premium services.
How to Enable Opera's Built-in VPN Feature:
Setting Up Your Own Private VPN
If you want maximum anonymity and don't want to pay for it, you might consider reading our guide on how to make your own personal VPN for free. It's certainly an interesting approach that is more independent and maybe even more secure than relying on a third-party VPN provider. If cross-platform is what you're after, we've got a list with the best cross-platform VPN recommendations as well.