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BEST VPN DEALS

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best free vpn service

Best Free VPN: Top 5 Free VPNs in 2024

Are free VPN services worth it in 2024? Yes, free VPNs can help you safeguard your online security and privacy. However, not all free VPNs have what is needed to secure your online privacy. My team and I have tested more than 100 VPNs to come up with our recommended free VPN services for 2024.

The best free VPN is Proton. It comes from the team behind ProtonMail, the leading encrypted email service. The free version lets you connect to United States, Netherlands, Romania, Japan, and Poland servers.

ProtonVPN can be a good option for users who prioritize privacy and security and seek a free VPN service without data limits. However, if you need more server locations, faster speeds, or the ability to connect multiple devices simultaneously, consider upgrading to a paid plan.

Try ProtonVPN 100% Free

What Is the Best Free VPN?

Out of all the free VPNs we’ve tested, our favorite is ProtonVPN. It offers unlimited data, excellent speeds, and servers in 5 countries, including the USA. It has a strict no-logging policy and robust encryption protocols, and it does not drive ads, which makes it recommended as the best free VPN.

5 Best Free VPNs in 2024

All the 5 Best Free VPN services in this review have a premium service. They offer free service as a way to introduce their service to you. Once you test their service and are happy, they hope you will upgrade to their premium version. Most users upgrade because the free service has some limitations regarding the servers you can access and a cap on the amount of data bandwidth you can use in a given month.

However, the bottom line is that they must give you a stellar service to entice you into upgrading to their premium options. And so the kind of service you get is top class, notwithstanding it’s a free VPN service.

1. Proton VPN

Proton VPN BEST FREE VPN

Number of servers: 3,187 in 71 countries

Security: AES -256 or ChaCha20

Streaming: Netflix, Max, Disney+, BBC iPlayer,

Devices: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, or Android

Website www.protonvpn.com

Visit Proton VPN

ProtonVPN uses AES-256 encryption to secure users’ online data. It has a strict no-logs policy, and its Secure Core feature routes user traffic through multiple servers located in privacy-friendly countries before connecting to the final destination. This adds an extra layer of security and helps protect against network-based attacks. ProtonVPN includes a kill switch and prevents DNS leaks using its own DNS servers. Supports routing traffic through the Tor anonymity network via its servers, providing an additional layer of anonymity for users concerned about privacy. In our tests, we connected to Netflix USA.

ProtonVPN is an excellent VPN for streaming. We unblocked Netflix USA, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, Disney+ Hotstar and many other services. Performance was good without buffering and in HD quality, even on distant servers. However, streaming is not supported on the free version. Our tester in the USA could connect to Peacock and Max’s libraries using free servers. Despite congestion on free servers, streaming went on without a hitch.

ProtonVPN offers dedicated apps for various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android, making it easy for users to protect their privacy on multiple devices. The VPN has 3,187 servers in 71 countries, which is excellent when bypassing censorship and streaming content.

2. TunnelBear VPN

TunnelBear Website BEST FREE VPN

Number of servers: 5000 servers in 45 countries

Security: AES-256 encryption level

Streaming: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

Devices: Mac, PC, iOS, Android & Chrome.

Website: www.tunnelbear.com

TunnelBear uses robust AES 256-bit encryption to secure your internet traffic. It supports various VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, and IPSec, which provide secure tunneling for your data. Tunnelbear Offers a Kill Switch and an obfuscation feature that disguises VPN traffic to bypass VPN blocking and censorship in countries where VPN usage is restricted or monitored. I like that Tunnelbear has undergone independent security audits to assess the integrity and effectiveness of its security measures. These audits contribute to transparency and build trust with users.

In my tests, TunnelBear exhibits satisfactory speeds. Indeed, the VPN supports streaming in HD quality. It also protects you against DNS leaks. The VPN provides all their premium features except limiting usage to 2GB monthly. However, you can easily upgrade to their premium plan. The premium plan will give you access to all the TunnelBear servers globally with unlimited bandwidth and speed.

TunnelBear is compatible with all the major platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. The VPN also provides you with both Chrome and Opera extensions. And they allow unlimited connections, which is excellent for families. Tunnrlbear has 5000 high-speed servers in 45 countries. It works with popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

3. Windscribe VPN

Windscribe best free vpn

Number of servers: Servers in 62 locations, and 10 for free users

Security: AES-256 Cipher, SHA 512 Authorization, a 4096-bit key

Streaming: Paid account unblocks 32 Netflix libraries

Devices: Mac, Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android, Chrome, and Firefox

Website: www.windscribe.com

Winscribe is a premium VPN that provides a free VPN option with a generous 10GB of monthly data. It’s an ideal option if you are not a heavy user. Windscribe implements OpenVPN with AES-256 Cipher, SHA 512 Authorization, and a 4096-bit key, and it also supports Perfect Forward Secrecy. Windscribe enhances your security levels by providing DNS and IPv6 leak protection. Besides, the VPN has an inbuilt Internet Kill Switch feature that disconnects the internet whenever the VPN connection drops.

Windscribe offers servers in 62 locations and 10 for free users. The VPN is compatible with all the leading platforms from Mac, Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera browser extensions. The Windscribe VPN client is simple and easy to use. The VPN allows unlimited simultaneous connections. Unlimited connections are invaluable, more so in a family setup where many devices are being used simultaneously.

The paid version works with more Netflix regions, unblocking 30 Netflix libraries in our tests. The free service was unable to unblock. Hence, the free Windscribe VPN plan is an excellent service that you can use to protect your online activities. However, if you need blazing-fast speeds to stream or torrent, you’d better upgrade to their premium plan that offers unlimited speeds and bandwidth.

4. Atlas VPN

Atlas VPN

Number of servers: 1000+ servers in 38 countries.

Security: ChaCha20 and AES-256 encryption

Streaming: Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPLayer, and more on the premium version

Devices: Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, and iOS

Website: www.atlasvpn.com

Atlas VPN is a free VPN that also has a premium version. This VPN is gaining traction and implementing features comparable to top VPNs. It uses ChaCha20 and AES-256 for data encryption. I like that they already implement the Wireguard protocol, which offers secure and fast speeds ideal for streaming, gaming, torrenting, and general browsing. Other critical security features include a kill switch, essential for preventing IP/DNS leaks, and the MultiHop+, which tunnels your connection through multiple rotating VPN locations, adding several layers of encryption.

“10 Gbps server” typically refers to a server with a network interface capable of transferring data at a rate of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). This high-speed connection enables faster data transfer between the server and other devices on the network, such as clients, switches, or routers.

Atlas offers access to 1000+ servers in 38 countries. They are using 10 Gbps servers, meaning they have an interface capable of transferring data at a rate of 10 gigabits per second. Such a high-speed connection enables faster data transfer. However, its free version only allows access to four locations: USA-Los Angeles, USA-New York, Netherlands, and Singapore. It also caps data to only 5GB per month.

In our streaming tests, the free version could not unblock Netflix USA and Canada. The same applies to Hulu and BBC iPlayer. Premium Atlas VPN offers specialized video-watching servers in 19 locations. To access the video servers:

Click the video button in the Atlas application to access the video server tab.

Choose the country you wish to reach to access your desired show.

Restart the streaming page and enjoy!

Atlas VPN is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, and iOS. The service allows unlimited simultaneous connections.

5. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Number of servers: 3200 servers in over 80 countries

Security: AES-256-GCM cipher

Streaming: Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, and more.

Devices: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Chrome

Website: www.hotspotshield.com/

Hotspot Shield from Pango Inc. is a VPN service based in the USA that offers free and premium VPN services. I like that the free version of the VPN provides unlimited bandwidth and data. The VPN encrypts your online data and uses a kill switch to prevent data leaks should the VPN connection drop. Its split tunneling feature allows you to choose which apps to pass through the VPN tunnel and which don’t. Location in the USA is a concern; however, Hotspot Shield embraces a strictly no-logs policy, meaning even if you disclose your online activities, it won’t have any data.

Hotspot Shield offers blazing-fast speeds on both the free and paid versions. It uses the proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, which provides faster connection times. The free version of the VPN does not offer optimized streaming and gaming modes. The premium plan is optimized for Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, and more. It’s equally optimized for Fortnite, Roblox, and more games.

Hotspot Shield has 3,200 servers in over 80 countries. The free version works with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Chrome. The premium version additionally offers Linux, Smart TV, and Routers. While Hotspot Shield allows 10 simultaneous connections, it only allows one device connection on its free plan. Hence, signing up for the Hotspot Shield premium version at $7.99/mo on its yearly plan will give you more server locations, more simultaneous connections, and the ability to unblock streaming services.

How We Tested and Chose the Best Free VPN Services

Below is a guideline on how our team evaluates and chooses the best free VPN services:

Features and limitations

We started by examining the features and limitations of each free VPN service. This includes data caps, server locations, simultaneous connections, and supported devices. We look for services that offer the most generous features without compromising too much on performance or security.

Speed and performance

Speed and performance are crucial factors in determining the quality of a VPN service. We evaluate the speed of each VPN by measuring ping times, download/upload speeds, and latency. We look for VPNs that maintain fast and consistent speeds across different server locations.

Privacy and security

We thoroughly examine the privacy and security features of each VPN service. This includes assessing encryption protocols, logging policies, DNS leak protection, and kill switches. We prioritize VPNs with solid encryption standards and a strict no-logs policy to ensure user privacy.

Server network

The size and diversity of a VPN’s server network play a significant role in its effectiveness. We look for VPN services that offer a wide range of server locations across multiple countries. This allows users to bypass geo-restrictions and access content from different regions.

User interface and experience

A user-friendly interface and intuitive user experience can significantly enhance the overall usability of a VPN service. We evaluate the ease of installation, setup process, and navigation of each VPN client. We look for services that are easy to use for both beginners and advanced users alike.

Customer support

Quality customer support is essential for resolving any issues or concerns that users may encounter while using a VPN. Our team assesses the responsiveness and helpfulness of each VPN provider’s customer support team through various channels such as live chat, email, and support tickets.

Reputation and trustworthiness

Lastly, we consider the reputation and trustworthiness of each VPN service within the cybersecurity community. We consider factors such as company history, transparency, and any past security incidents or controversies. VPNs with a positive reputation and a history of trustworthiness are typically preferred.

The Risks and Limitations of Free VPN Apps

Free VPN apps can offer convenience and accessibility, but they also come with several risks and limitations that users should be aware of:

Data logging and privacy concerns

Many free VPN providers collect user data, including browsing history, connection logs, and IP addresses. This information may be sold to third parties or used for targeted advertising, compromising user privacy. Some free VPNs may even use more nefarious practices, such as injecting ads or malware into users’ browsing sessions.

Security vulnerabilities

Free VPN apps may lack robust security features, leaving users vulnerable to cyber threats. Some free VPNs use weak encryption protocols or suffer from DNS leaks, exposing users’ sensitive data to interception or surveillance by malicious actors.

Bandwidth and speed limitations

Most free VPN services impose bandwidth or speed limitations on users, resulting in slower connection speeds and reduced browsing performance. Users may experience buffering, latency, and other performance issues, particularly when streaming or downloading large files.

Limited server selection

Free VPNs typically offer a limited selection of servers compared to paid VPNs. This can restrict users’ access to geo-restricted content or bypass censorship in certain regions.

Ads and pop-ups

To offset the costs of providing a free service, many VPN providers display ads or pop-ups within their apps. These ads can be intrusive and disruptive to the user experience, detracting from the overall usability of the VPN service.

Potential malware and phishing attacks

Some free VPN apps may contain malware or be used as a vector for phishing attacks. Users should exercise caution when downloading and installing free VPNs from untrusted sources, as they may inadvertently expose themselves to security risks.

Unreliable customer support

Free VPN providers often offer limited or unreliable customer support compared to paid services. Users may need access to timely and responsive support channels to troubleshoot technical issues or resolve account-related problems.

Legal and jurisdictional issues

Users should be aware of free VPN services’ legal and jurisdictional implications, especially those based in countries with lax privacy laws or government surveillance programs. Using a VPN to engage in illegal activities or evade lawful surveillance can have serious legal consequences.

While free VPN apps can provide privacy and anonymity online, users should carefully weigh the risks and limitations against the benefits. Investing in a reputable paid VPN service like NordVPN may offer greater security, privacy, and peace of mind.

Are Free VPNs Safe?

The safety of free VPNs can vary widely depending on the provider and how they handle user data and security practices. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating the safety of free VPNs:

Privacy policy and data handling

Check the VPN provider’s privacy policy to understand how they collect, store, and use your data. Look for VPNs with a transparent privacy policy and a strict no-logs policy, meaning they don’t collect or store any personally identifiable information about their users.

Security features

Evaluate the security features the VPN offers, such as encryption protocols, leak protection, and kill switches. A reliable VPN should use strong encryption standards (like AES-256) and have features to prevent DNS leaks and protect your data from interception.

Company reputation

Research the reputation of the VPN provider to gauge their trustworthiness and reliability. Look for reviews, testimonials, and independent assessments from cybersecurity experts to determine whether the VPN has a history of security incidents or questionable practices.

Malware and adware

Be cautious of free VPNs containing malware or adware, as they can compromise your device’s and personal data’s security. Stick to reputable VPN providers with a clean track record and avoid downloading VPN apps from untrusted sources.

Performance and reliability

Consider the performance and reliability of the VPN service, including connection speeds, server uptime, and latency. A safe VPN should provide consistent and stable performance without interruptions or downtime.

Customer support

Check whether the VPN provider offers reliable customer support to address technical issues or concerns. Look for VPNs that provide responsive support through multiple channels, such as live chat, email, or support tickets.

Jurisdiction

Consider the jurisdiction in which the VPN provider is based, as it can impact users’ privacy and legal protections. Choose VPNs based in countries with strong privacy laws and respect for user rights.

While some free VPNs can be safe and reputable, exercising caution and conducting thorough research before choosing a provider is essential. Ultimately, paid VPN services often offer more robust security features, better performance, and reliable customer support than their free counterparts. If privacy and security are a top priority, consider investing in a paid VPN subscription for enhanced protection online.

Will A Free VPN Keep Me Private and Anonymous?

While a free VPN can provide some privacy and anonymity online, it’s essential to understand that it may offer a different level of protection than a paid VPN service. Here are some considerations regarding privacy and anonymity when using a free VPN:

Logging policies

Many free VPNs have less stringent logging policies compared to paid services. Some may collect and store user data, such as IP addresses, connection timestamps, and browsing activity, which could be used to identify and track users. Choosing a VPN provider with a strict no-logs policy is crucial to minimize the risk of your data being logged and stored.

Encryption and security

Free VPNs may use weaker encryption protocols or lack essential security features, such as DNS leak protection and kill switches. This could leave your data vulnerable to interception or surveillance by third parties. Ensure the VPN you choose implements robust encryption

standards (like AES-256) and incorporates security features to protect your data and privacy.

Server infrastructure

Free VPNs typically offer a limited selection of servers and may have crowded or congested networks, resulting in slower speeds and less reliable performance. Additionally, some free VPNs may route traffic through fewer server locations, increasing the risk of congestion and potential data exposure. Consider choosing a VPN provider with a diverse and well-maintained server infrastructure to ensure optimal privacy and performance.

Third-party partnerships

Free VPNs often rely on third-party partnerships and advertisements to generate revenue, which can compromise user privacy and anonymity. Some free VPNs may inject ads into your browsing sessions or share your data with third-party advertisers for targeted advertising. Be wary of VPNs that engage in these practices and prioritize providers with transparent business models that prioritize user privacy.

Legal and jurisdictional concerns

The jurisdiction in which a VPN provider is based can have implications for user privacy and data protection. Some countries have strict privacy laws and regulations that limit the collection and retention of user data. In contrast, others may have more permissive policies that facilitate government surveillance and data sharing. Choose a VPN provider based in a country with strong privacy protections and respect for user rights to maximize privacy and anonymity.

What Is the Fastest Free VPN

ProtonVPN’s free plan is known for providing decent speeds compared to other free VPNs. However, it does have less, such as limited server locations and lower priority access to server access VPNs compared to Paid VPNs.

While free VPNs can provide essential privacy protection and access to geo-restricted content,

they may offer different performance, security, and reliability levels than paid VPN services. If privacy, security, and performance are top priorities, investing in a reputable paid VPN subscription is often recommended.

Which Premium VPNs Are Affordable?

Several premium VPNs offer affordable pricing plans while providing robust features and reliable service. Here are some options:

NordVPN

NordVPN is known for its excellent security features, extensive server network, and fast speeds. Despite its premium reputation, NordVPN offers competitive pricing, especially if you opt for more extended subscription plans.

Surfshark VPN

Surfshark VPN offers a variety of subscription plans at different price points, including affordable options for users on a budget.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a great VPN that doesn’t compromise on features. It offers strong encryption, up to 8 simultaneous connections, and a strict no-logs policy at an affordable price.

CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN provides a user-friendly interface, robust security features, and an extensive server network at a reasonable price. It often offers promotions and discounts on its subscription plans, making it even more affordable.

Private Internet Access (PIA)

Private Internet Access is a well-established VPN provider known for its robust security features and fast speeds. It offers competitive pricing, particularly if you opt for longer subscription periods.

When considering affordability, it’s essential to look beyond the initial price and consider factors such as the number of simultaneous connections allowed, the range of server locations available, and any additional features included in the subscription. Additionally, watch for discounts, promotions, and special offers that VPN providers may offer occasionally.

Free VPNs to Avoid

While reputable free VPN services are available, some have been associated with concerning practices or have been flagged for security risks. Here are some free VPNs that you may want to avoid:

  • Hola
  • Betternet
  • HoxxVPN
  • TouchVPN
  • FinchVPN
  • SuperVPN
  • TurboVPN
  • Tuxler VPN
  • HoxxVPN
  • Psiphon Pro

Conclusion

While several free VPN options are available, it’s essential to approach them with caution due to potential limitations and risks. ProtonVPN offers a free plan with no data limits and a strict no-logs policy, prioritizing user privacy. Windscribe provides 10GB of free data per month and access to servers in multiple countries, making it suitable for light browsing needs. TunnelBear offers a user-friendly interface and 2GB of free data per month. However, users should know the potential trade-offs in performance, security, and privacy of using a free VPN.

FAQs

What is the best completely free VPN?

The best free VPN is Proton. It offers robust security and excellent speed without data limits.

Are there any VPNs that are 100% free?

Yes, some VPNs offer free services without requiring users to upgrade to a paid plan. Examples include ProtonVPN, Windscribe, TunnelBear, and Hide.Me. However, even these free VPNs typically have data usage, server access, or performance limitations compared to their paid counterparts.

Do free VPNs sell my personal data?

Some free VPNs may collect and sell user data to generate revenue, but it ultimately depends on the specific VPN provider and their business model. Our recommended VPNs to sell personal data have yet to be found.

Can I use a free VPN for unblocking Netflix and other streaming sites?

Unblocking Netflix and other streaming services using free VPN services is challenging. While some free VPNs may be able to bypass geo-restrictions and allow access to streaming content, many streaming platforms actively block VPN traffic, particularly from free VPN services. Additionally, free VPNs often have limited server options and slower speeds, which can result in buffering and poor streaming quality.

Do free VPNs actually work?

Yes, free VPNs can work, but their effectiveness can vary widely depending on several factors, including server availability, speed, performance, geographic restrictions, privacy, and security, among others.

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