Best Free VPN Services in 2021: Safe Free VPNs

In this article, we will be writing about free VPN services. We get an array of questions about free VPN services, and we will address them in this article. The most important question we get is obviously on how free VPN services work or if there is any point in getting a free VPN service. We will also answer those in the course of this article.

In addition, we will compare free and paid VPN services and see what we recommend for different uses, rate the best free VPN services, tell you how you can get paid VPN services for free, give you pros and cons with using free VPNs etc.

A short summary: is it possible to get a good free VPN service?

Our short answer to the question of whether or not it is possible to get a good free VPN service is a maybe. We will summarize this in short here, but a longer explanation is given later in the article.

Here are a few things to bear in mind while settling for any free provider:

  1. First of all, many free services have very low speed.
  2. Second, the free services have very few servers, so the list of countries may be limited.
  3. Thirdly, some free VPNs sell their users’ information to third parties.
  4. Fourth, a lot of the free services have limited access, so you can only use a certain amount of GB a day.

However, all of these notwithstanding, a free VPN offers an unpaid route to protection while using the internet. More so, if the above considerations are deal breakers for you, you may want to try a paid VPN with a free alternative, such as ProtonVPN and Hide.me. This is because these VPNs have added many of the functions from the paid plans into the free plans, so they are much better than solely free VPNs and are also to be more trusted.

First, we will introduce ExpressVPN, which we think is the best overall VPN with a money-back guarantee. Afterward, we will go through the different free versions:

Best Overall VPN

First, we will present the best overall VPN, which in our opinion, is ExpressVPN. The reason we recommend this also in the free VPN section is that ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee. Taking advantage of this offer, you can use the VPN for free for 30 days and then get your money back. Read more about the service below.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN devices

Features

  • Number of servers: More than 3,000
  • Speeds: Unlimited
  • Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
  • Maximum devices supported: 5
  • 24 live chat: Yes
  • 30 day money back guarantee: Yes

Pros/Cons

  • Fastest VPN out there
  • Strict no logs policy
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Few discounts
Visit ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the services that has been awarded as the best in the business.

The service is available in 94 countries all over the world and offers more than 3000 servers to its users. This is what secures the reliable speed and stability that they offer. To be expected, the bandwidth is unlimited, unlike what you find with free VPN services.

ExpressVPN’s security features are also topnotch. It secures users with the AES 256-bit encryption standard. In addition, it boasts of a kill switch, allows for split tunneling, and offers its own proprietary VPN protocol known as Lightway. With these features, ExpressVPN makes sure that users have nothing to fear while using the service. 

Another strong point to note is that this VPN service is really easy to use. Not only do you get a user interface that is designed for the modern user, but you also get 24-hour customer service with your subscription.

The price is also quite reasonable at ExpressVPN. If you choose a 15-month subscription today, it will cost you $6.67 per month, and you get 3 months for free. It is also worth noticing that ExpressVPN gives their users a 30-day money-back guarantee, which in theory makes the service free for up to 30 days.

  • Pros: Fastest VPN out there; Strict no logs policy; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $6.67

Recommended free VPN services

If you are interested in using free VPNs, there are a few things you should consider. First of all, researching the services’ reputation could be a good place to start. If the service is known for selling information or if this is written clearly in their terms of use, you should back off. 

Second of all, you should always check which countries the free VPN services have servers in. If you want to connect to a particular server to access content only available there, it is not helpful if the service is free but does not offer servers there.  

It is also important to look for what limitations there are on data capacity. If you are going to use a free VPN service for streaming, you should make sure that the service has pretty good capacity. If it does not, you will run out in a matter of hours.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN devices

Features

  • P2P support? Yes
  • 30-day money-back guarantee? Yes
  • Country of origin? Switzerland
  • Servers: 600+ in over 40 countries
  • Simultaneous devices: 5

Pros/Cons

  • Professional support
  • Modern interface and apps
  • AES-256 encryption
  • Lesser known provider
Try ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is one of the best free VPNs out there. Like every other free VPN service, the free VPN service of ProtonVPN comes with average features. Still, ProtonVPNs free version is a good alternative for many users. The free VPN service only has three server locations, the US, Netherlands, and Japan. If you want to connect to a country outside of these countries, unfortunately, the free version perhaps is not for you. Also, the free version only lets you connect one device.

ProtonVPNs free version did really well in our tests. The major plus is it comes with unlimited bandwidth. While most other decent free VPN services come with traffic restrictions, ProtonVPN stands out among the rest. We also experienced the speed of the server as pretty decent for a free service.

ProtonVPNs free version does not store any information about where you signed in from, how long you were logged in or where you logged in from. So the logging policy is quite reliable. This service is also based in Switzerland. This country has friendly privacy laws. This means that there will be no pressure on the provider to give up your details.  If you need to upgrade to a better package, ProtonVPN also has many cheap VPN packages that offer a better server selection and advanced alternatives.

  • Pros: Professional support; Modern interface and apps; AES-256 encryption;
  • Lowest price: €4

Hide.me

Hide.me devices

Features

  • Number of servers: 1800+
  • Server locations: 72 locations
  • Maximum devices supported: 10
  • 24 live chat: Yes
  • 30 day money back guarantee: Yes

Pros/Cons

  • Has free option
  • No log policy
  • Secure connection
  • Not very cheap
Try Hide.me

Hide.me is another free VPN service. It states explicitly that it is not a free trial version, which means that there is no expiry date. You can use the free plan for as long as you need, no questions asked. 

With the free version of Hide.me, you get 10GB of data per month. This is enough when it comes to streaming. Also, if you are only browsing, it is totally fine. However, you can only use this on one unit at a time, so you cannot be logged in on your phone and computer at the same time.

Hide.me gives you servers in 5 different countries. The offers are limited when compared to the paid version, but compared to other free VPN services, Hide.me is pretty good. More so, you can engage in torrenting and P2P file sharing on all 5 locations available on the free plan. This is excellent for torrenting enthusiasts.

One great thing about this provider is that there are no hidden charges or catch with it. It will not deliberately throttle your speed so as to force you to get on a paid subscription. Furthermore, it deals with ads and any other trackers you may face. Even more so, it does not retain or sell logs of users’ data on its platform.

  • Pros: Has free option; No log policy; Secure connection;
  • Lowest price: €4.99

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield devices

Features

  • Unlimited data? Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Military grade encryption? Yes
  • Servers: Over 3200 in 80+ countries

Pros/Cons

  • Unlimited HD streaming
  • Blocks malware
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Unreliable support
Try Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is a popular VPN service that, first and foremost, is offered as a paid version. Its paid plan is great, offering a wide range of features for subscribers to choose from. However, the developers have chosen to release a free VPN that can be used by any user who wants a free alternative. In addition to this totally free version, Hotspot Shield offers a 7-day free trial on its premium paid option. 

The first thing you notice is that you get 500MB daily data through Hotspot Shield’s servers. This is quite generous. As mentioned earlier, this is the standard for most free VPN services. If your goal is to watch one episode of a series for free or maybe just browse the web anonymously for a while, this is a very good alternative. More so, you can pick up from where you leave off the next day. 

Hotspot Shield also gives you the AES 256-bit encryption on all browsing through their servers. This is the same encryption most paid VPN services offer. This is actually the same level of encryption used by the American army, so you are completely protected. Even with the free version, it does not retain the logs of your activities on the platform. These features tighten your security while you use the service.

  • Pros: Unlimited HD streaming; Blocks malware; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $6.99

Windscribe

Windscribe devices

Features

  • Browser extension? Yes
  • Pricing options: 3
  • Free trial: No
  • Unblocking of all websites? Yes
  • Locations: Servers in 60 countries

Pros/Cons

  • Military grade encryption
  • Available on all major platforms
  • App for mobile devices
  • Lesser known provider
Visit Windscribe

Windscribe is often high on the list of free VPN providers because of its outstanding features offered at no cost. If you are going to use a free VPN service, this is not a bad option. The service initially offers 2GB of data a day for free, but if you register with your email, this increases to 10GB. This is quite a lot to receive for free with a VPN service. The data amount, therefore, suits a variety of users.

At Windscribe, they offer servers in 10 countries. Of course, if you subscribe to a premium plan, you get access to a wider range of servers. However, this is a good start for a free provider.

Windscribe’s speed is far from average. It delivers content smoothly. Its unblocking ability is decent too. In fact, some users have noted that they are able to unblock Netflix even with the free version. This is a huge feat for a free provider. 

While using the service, your security will not be compromised. Windscribe boasts of all the features of a premium provider and then some. You get an ad-blocker and a kill switch. Windscribe also maintains a reliable no-logs policy. This means that it wipes down your digital footprint whenever you are done with the service. This protects you from snoops and even government authorities.

  • Pros: Military grade encryption; Available on all major platforms; App for mobile devices;
  • Lowest price: $4.08

TunnelBear

TunnelBear devices

Features

  • Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes, bitcoin
  • Dedicated IP-adresses? Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: 5
  • Locations: 28 countries

Pros/Cons

  • Unlimited browsing
  • Account manager
  • Military grade encryption
  • Free version allows only 500MB data
Visit TunnelBear

TunnelBear is a mid-tier provider with average features capable of delivering great service. It allows users to use 500MB of data free on its service. It offers a greater incentive to those that tweet about the service. In such a situation, you get as much as 1GB for free. 

The service is available in 34 countries and counting. This might not be up there with the standard provided by the top-tier providers. However, as long as you do not have really high needs for a VPN, you will be fine. 

TunnelBear fares well when it comes to security, also. It encrypts the data of users on its platforms. It uses the standard military-grade AES 256-bit encryption on all of its servers. Its GhostBear mode allows users to defeat government-imposed restrictions and other geo-blocks of any kind. It also maintains that it does not keep any sort of logs, so users can be assured of safety while using the platform. 

This provider does well when it comes to speed. It reveals that it does not slow down users’ speed. As long as users stay within an acceptable distance, internet speed is guaranteed to be steady. 

TunnelBear allows you to connect up to 5 devices with one account. It has available apps for a number of devices. Hence, users can connect their devices.

  • Pros: Unlimited browsing; Account manager; Military grade encryption;
  • Lowest price: $3.33

Trust.Zone

Trust.Zone devices

Features

  • Complete anonymity? Yes
  • Unblocking of all websites? Yes
  • Pricing options: 4
  • Servers: 164 in 80+ zones
  • Free trial: Yes

Pros/Cons

  • Military grade encryption
  • Bitcoin accepted
  • App for mobile devices
  • Lesser known provider
Try Trust.Zone

Trust.Zone is another provider that offers a free service that is reliable. It isn’t entirely free. However, the service allows users to use the service for free for 3 days and for 1GB. If you need to use a VPN for a short period, Trust.Zone is a good option to trust. 

Trust.Zone has a modest 200 servers in 100 zones all over the world. Again, this is a small number. However, considering that you will be using the service for a short period, you should be fine.

This provider promises the usual slew of features of standard VPNs. Thus, it encrypts and strengthens its users’ traffic. It allows users to unblock geo-restricted websites with relative ease. If you are looking to unblock any platform, Trust.Zone is the VPN to trust. Trust.Zone offers dedicated IP addresses to users. This is a great option.

Furthermore, the service has its headquarters in Seychelles. This is a strategic location, way out of the purview of the 14 eyes network. Hence, you can expect that your provider will not be pressured to give up your details. 

Trust.Zone has compatible apps for Windows, Android, and iOS devices. In addition, it also boasts of extensions for Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. The setup process is straightforward. If you run into any challenges, you could reach out to Trust.Zone’s customer care support.

  • Pros: Military grade encryption; Bitcoin accepted; App for mobile devices;
  • Lowest price: €3

Speedify

Speedify devices

Features

  • No log policy: Yes
  • Maximum devices supported: Up to 5
  • No interruptions: Yes
  • 30 day money back guarantee: Yes

Pros/Cons

  • Multiple services
  • Strict no logs policy
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • No free trial
Visit Speedify

Speedify is a reliable provider with some great features. It isn’t entirely free, unfortunately. However, it offers limited free use to subscribers. This can definitely come in handy if you are looking to use a VPN for a while at no cost. 

This provider is noted for its speed. It prioritizes streaming and downloads. Hence, users on the platform need not worry about lags and delays while using the service. Thus, from streaming movies to playing games or even torrenting, Speedify comes through. 

Users also get uncompromised security with this provider. It uses the AES 256-bit encryption model on its servers. This protection is available to all the devices you connect to with a paid plan, and for your lone device if you are taking advantage of the free offer. 

Speedify allows users free 2GB of data on its Starter plan. You can use this on one device, have access to a limited number of servers and be super secure the entire time. The great thing about this arrangement is that one month is a long time to utilize the 2GB of data. Additionally, you get the protection of the AES 256-bit encryption model the entire time you are on the network.

  • Pros: Multiple services; Strict no logs policy; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price $2.99

Free VPN vs paid VPN

There are quite a number of differences between a paid provider and a free VPN. The reason for this is that the paid VPN services have a lot more capital than free services.

The paid VPN services have subscribers who pay monthly or annually for the VPN service. This way, the paid VPN services can reinvest a lot of their money to make their services better. 

Free services do not have this opportunity and have to rely on a small budget made from ad sales, amongst others. Free services, therefore, have a lot fewer resources than the paid VPN services and therefore have a lot less to spend on evolving their services. 

Below, we will acknowledge some of the main questions a lot of people ask in connection to free VPN services and compare them with the paid services. It is important to note that all free services do not suffer from these problems, and some have better features more than others.

Free vs Paid VPN Services in Terms of Privacy

Some users want to use a VPN to get more privacy online and protect themselves against hackers. In connection to this, a lot of people wonder if they can use a free VPN service for this. Our answer here is, in most cases, this may not be a great idea, and we will explain why.

One theory is that free VPN services make money from selling information about your activity online. The value behind which sites you visit, how long you visit them, what products you buy etc., is valuable information for a lot of third parties.

This is written in a lot of the free VPN services’ terms of privacy. Sadly, very few read these when looking for free VPN services. Therefore, the whole point of using a VPN to avoid being put under surveillance will be wasted in this process.

Free VPN services usually have less privacy protection compared to paid VPNs.

It is not hard to picture why free services do this. They have very low income and have to make money somehow.

The difference between the paid VPN services and the free services can be pronounced here. While most paid VPN services offer military-level encryption, a non-registration policy, a kill switch to make you invisible, you may not find all of these with a free provider.

If your aim is to improve your privacy online, protect yourself against surveillance, and so on, you may want to use a paid VPN service.

It is important to point out that this does not apply to all the free services. If you are going to use a free VPN service, we strongly recommend reading the terms of use.

Free vs Paid VPN services in Terms of Capacity

Not all free VPN services sell information about your activity online. However, it is commonplace to experience data caps and limits with free VPN services. Some providers allow only 500MB per day, which may not be sufficient for a lot of users.

Free VPN services come with many limitations compared to paid VPNs. Hotspot Shield free version is limited to 500mb data per month which is very low.

When your data is all used up, what was once a free VPN service will now offer you a paid option. This is how the majority of free VPN services make money – with being a paid service in the end. This is typical of services such as Windscribe, which is a paid service but offers limited free versions.

Free vs Paid VPN Services in Terms of Servers and Speed

Limitations for free VPN services can also come in the form of how many servers the services offer and also how fast these are.

Normally the best-paid VPN services offer servers in around 50 countries, unlike free services who often offer only 10 to 15 countries on their server list. If you want an alternative to watching Norwegian TV abroad, you cannot be certain that Norwegian servers are available with your free VPN service. Then it will be pointless to use this service.

Tunnelbear’s free plan is also very restricted in terms of traffic and servers.

Speed is also important, especially if you are streaming content online. VPN services are known to reduce speed, but with the best VPN services, this loss of speed is barely noticeable. It is important to confirm how fast the free VPN provider’s servers are in order to ensure that you are not left with a bad streaming experience.

Free vs Paid VPN Services in Terms of User-friendliness and Customer Service

Free VPN services often experience set back in terms of development, as these services are usually developed with a small budget. Amongst the best paid services, the user interface is more adapted to users, so you can connect to your wanted IP address faster.

It should also be noted that free VPN services may not be prompt in responding to customer complaints. However, except you have a pressing technical issue, you should be fine. Alternatively, also confirm that the provider of choice offers great customer services.

These two factors are not such deal breakers. You can live without the best user interface, and customer service might not be that important when using a VPN.

How to Test Paid VPN Services for Free

What most people are not aware of is that you can use paid VPN services for free for shorter periods of time. Most VPN services have a money-back guarantee, often at around 30 days. If you only want to use a VPN for say, a week, you can use your trial period for the paid VPN service for free.

All the best VPN services come with a 30-day money-back guarantee

Since most VPN services do not store any «progress» and only demand you to register before use, you can take advantage of the trial periods of many paid suppliers to make your experience free for longer periods of time. With many VPN services, you can actually register with different e-mails. Thus,  in theory, you can have an everlasting trial subscription. The trick however, will demand some work.

In addition, there are services that give you free VPN services for months if you register for a subscription plan for several months at a time. There are many ways you can get a paid VPN service for free without having to resort to using free services.

Should You Choose a Paid VPN Service?

Paid VPN services are a lot better than free VPN services. Considering that a lot of the latter services log your traffic, sell your information, and sometimes offer very limited capacity and speed, it is a much better alternative to choose a paid VPN service.

Even though many people do not want to pay for technology, you get so much more from a paid VPN service and this makes up for the cost.

However, if you have carefully considered the drawbacks presented to you and want to go ahead with a free provider, that is fine. Carry out the necessary checks recommended in this article. Furthermore, give careful considerations to the VPN providers on this list. They offer average servers at worst, and some can even compare favorably with paid plans.

Summary

There are several attractions for free VPN services. For one,  services such as Hotspot Shield, Windscribe, and Hide.me all have great offers, but they are may only fulfill the basic needs you have for a VPN. This is because of factors such as logging, speed, number of servers, user-friendliness, and customer service. 

On top of it all, you can get either free months subscriptions or money back on most paid VPN services. Free VPN services should, therefore, only be used to see how a VPN service works. If you like the technology behind it, you should switch to a paid VPN service immediately.  

We recommend alternatives such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN as these deliver high quality but are also some of the cheapest services amongst the paid VPN services. This way, you can save money even if it is not completely free, but still get high quality!