Top 5 free VPN software, Not everyone needs a paid VPN

Staying private and secure on the internet has become important than ever before. With the increasing online threats and government regulations on websites, access to an unrestricted, safe and better internet is a VPN away.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) changes your IP address and gives you anonymity on the internet, secures your connection, and gives access to geo-restricted websites. With many VPN companies, it’s difficult to choose the best provider for our purpose and this process becomes even harder when it comes to selecting from free VPNs. That’s why we have curated the list of the best free VPN services for you. It should be noted that a good VPN service costs as little as $3.5/month so if you do have the budget, we strongly recommend you to get a premium VPN as the free VPNs come with their own risks and limitations. But nevertheless, there are decent free VPN software that can get your job done as well and we have ranked them for you.

Now coming to list, the apps are ranked on the basis of the technical aspects such as free bandwidth they provide, the speed of the server, availability on different platforms, etc. and also considering my personal experience. I did a fair test to evaluate all these before curating the list and I should remind you again that these may not be the best VPNs but the best free ones. If you find this list old or perhaps you would like to notify us about a new VPN please do leave a comment.

What is a VPN?

The answer to the question is explained well by CyberGhost in this short video below or if you are really keen to know more, this Wikipedia page may help.

Why should you use a VPN?

https://codegena.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/VPN-animation-by-hotspot-shield.mp4

Here are some reasons why you should get a VPN:

  1. Stay safe. Be anonymous. A VPN masks your current IP address (what is my ip).
  2. Access blocked content such as videos, websites, etc.
  3. Keep data private from hackers, governments, etc.
  4. If you want to scrape data from websites, it’s better to use a VPN service while doing so. Thereby even if your IP gets blocked from the server you can switch to a new one and continue scraping.
  5. Book flights for a cheaper price with a VPN
  6. Get better hotel deals for your next vacation
  7. With a Netflix VPN, stream American content even if you are elsewhere
  8. The IRS issued a reminder that those filing taxes should use a VPN in conjunction with whatever free tax software is being used. That way sensitive information remains safe from hackers and malicious attacks.

I can go on and on but you got the idea anyway. A VPN service protects your privacy, gives access to geo-restricted content and it saves you money.

Does free VPNs suck?

Free isn’t always true, you are always giving up on something. When it comes to free VPNs you are giving up on privacy, security, unlimited data limit, speed, and/or other features such as P2P support, Netflix streaming, and more. There is no free VPN that can serve everyone’s needs at once.

It’s okay to use a free VPN that has the features you’re looking for but do good research about the company’s reputation on privacy and security. I wouldn’t say free VPNs suck but you should definitely be prepared to give up on many advanced features and good VPNs cost only a little these days.

VPNs of 2020 – The Best Free Ones

1. HotSpot Shield

1. HotSpot Shield
4 5 0 1
One of the fastest and most popular VPN services out there.

With over 200 million downloads, Hotspot Shield is one of the top rated free VPN software. However, with the free version you should be prepared to watch some ads; recently their android app update made users to watch ads to unlock VPN time. They offer many useful features like malware protection, kill switch, start on launch, auto-protect, smart VPN, etc. With smart VPN you can bypass VPN for selected apps. For privacy geeks, the kill switch is a must feature as it blocks traffic as soon your VPN connection drops unexpectedly, thereby preventing your real IP from getting exposed. Unfortunately you cannot stream Netflix US with the free version as the IP range you get isn’t compatible with Netflix.
One of the fastest and most popular VPN services out there.

With over 200 million downloads, Hotspot Shield is one of the top rated free VPN software. However, with the free version you should be prepared to watch some ads; recently their android app update made users to watch ads to unlock VPN time. They offer many useful features like malware protection, kill switch, start on launch, auto-protect, smart VPN, etc. With smart VPN you can bypass VPN for selected apps. For privacy geeks, the kill switch is a must feature as it blocks traffic as soon your VPN connection drops unexpectedly, thereby preventing your real IP from getting exposed. Unfortunately you cannot stream Netflix US with the free version as the IP range you get isn’t compatible with Netflix.
4.0 rating
4/5
Score
Good
  • Has Kill Switch
  • Easy to Use
  • Available on multiple platforms
  • Only one server in the free version
  • No support for Netflix US Streaming

2. WindScribe

2. WindScribe
4 5 0 1
Relatively new player with generous free limits and good protection, but speeds are inconsistent from my testing.

Windscribe is another free VPN service that I recommend now. They are available on all platforms you & I know of, be it Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Kodi, etc. They are relatively new in this segment and maybe be that’s why they offer a generous 10Gb monthly bandwidth, 8 free locations and no ads. If that isn’t enough it comes with a firewall and an adblocker as well. Tweeting about their service will earn you 5 extra GB and a lavish 1GB for every friend you refer.

Windsribe doesn’t log your traffic unlike some free VPN providers do so your privacy is guaranteed. You’ll absolutely love their service and the well-designed apps.
Relatively new player with generous free limits and good protection, but speeds are inconsistent from my testing.

Windscribe is another free VPN service that I recommend now. They are available on all platforms you & I know of, be it Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Kodi, etc. They are relatively new in this segment and maybe be that’s why they offer a generous 10Gb monthly bandwidth, 8 free locations and no ads. If that isn’t enough it comes with a firewall and an adblocker as well. Tweeting about their service will earn you 5 extra GB and a lavish 1GB for every friend you refer.

Windsribe doesn’t log your traffic unlike some free VPN providers do so your privacy is guaranteed. You’ll absolutely love their service and the well-designed apps.
4.0 rating
4/5
Score
Good
  • 11 countries to choose from in the free tier
  • No Ads
  • Generous 10GB data limit
  • Inconsistent Speed
  • Account is required

3. ProtonVPN

3. ProtonVPN
4 5 0 1
Swiss Based | No-log policy | Tor over VPN | Multi platform support | Account required | Free 7 day trial with full capabilities

ProtonVPN is a great VPN service which offers unlimited data and server selection. Like other good VPNs this one also comes with a kill switch in addition to an always on VPN. The only downside to ProtonVPN is that they throttle the speed for their free users but it is still not bad. ProtonVPN has support for all major platforms and they are endorsed by Mozilla, PCMag and several others as the best free VPN service. They are based on Switzerland which has some of the world’s strict privacy laws.
Swiss Based | No-log policy | Tor over VPN | Multi platform support | Account required | Free 7 day trial with full capabilities

ProtonVPN is a great VPN service which offers unlimited data and server selection. Like other good VPNs this one also comes with a kill switch in addition to an always on VPN. The only downside to ProtonVPN is that they throttle the speed for their free users but it is still not bad. ProtonVPN has support for all major platforms and they are endorsed by Mozilla, PCMag and several others as the best free VPN service. They are based on Switzerland which has some of the world’s strict privacy laws.
4.0 rating
4/5
Score
Good
  • 3 free locations
  • No data limit
  • Speed throttling

4. TunnelBear

4. TunnelBear
4 5 0 1
A really simple, good and transparent service but with only 500MB monthly allowance for free users.

TunnelBear is a popular name in the recent years. The very interesting thing about TunnerBear is that you can choose from over 23 countries with no restriction or speed reduction. They have Mac, Windows, iOS and Android apps in addition to the browser extensions. The only downside to TunnerBear is the bandwidth which is a mere 500MB/month. Tweeting about their service will earn you an extra Gigabyte. If you are student you can get a 70% off on their paid plans!
A really simple, good and transparent service but with only 500MB monthly allowance for free users.

TunnelBear is a popular name in the recent years. The very interesting thing about TunnerBear is that you can choose from over 23 countries with no restriction or speed reduction. They have Mac, Windows, iOS and Android apps in addition to the browser extensions. The only downside to TunnerBear is the bandwidth which is a mere 500MB/month. Tweeting about their service will earn you an extra Gigabyte. If you are student you can get a 70% off on their paid plans!
4.0 rating
4/5
Score
Good
  • Same quality of service compared to its paid counterpart except for data limit
  • 500MB is too less for anything other than some browsing and emails

5. CyberGhost VPN

5. CyberGhost VPN
3 5 0 1
Unlimited data with no speed throttling, but protects your browser sessions only.

CyberGhost VPN is a well known VPN service. They offer both free and paid VPN service however they have limited their free service to Chrome and Firefox extensions in the last years. Thus you will be only be able to tunnel your browser traffic through VPN and not any other apps. The Chrome extension is quite responsive from my experience. It connects quickly, allows you to choose from 4 countries and gives you unlimited data. What more do you need!
Unlimited data with no speed throttling, but protects your browser sessions only.

CyberGhost VPN is a well known VPN service. They offer both free and paid VPN service however they have limited their free service to Chrome and Firefox extensions in the last years. Thus you will be only be able to tunnel your browser traffic through VPN and not any other apps. The Chrome extension is quite responsive from my experience. It connects quickly, allows you to choose from 4 countries and gives you unlimited data. What more do you need!
3.0 rating
3/5
Score
Neutral
  • No-log policy
  • Claims to bypass Netflix’s Anti-VPN
  • Browser extension alone won’t protect your privacy

6. Speedify

6. Speedify
3 5 0 1
Speedify delivers great speed and reliability by utilizing all the internet connections you have at once.

As the name suggests, Speedify stands from the rest with their improved performance claim. They take advantage of multiple internet connections to provide a seamless and fast experience. One thing I didn’t like about them is their software. The Windows application looks just like the iPhone version so the experience isn’t rich. This is true for other platforms as well. While the 2GB limit lies between what others provide, it’s still not enough for video/ game streaming.
Speedify delivers great speed and reliability by utilizing all the internet connections you have at once.

As the name suggests, Speedify stands from the rest with their improved performance claim. They take advantage of multiple internet connections to provide a seamless and fast experience. One thing I didn’t like about them is their software. The Windows application looks just like the iPhone version so the experience isn’t rich. This is true for other platforms as well. While the 2GB limit lies between what others provide, it’s still not enough for video/ game streaming.
3.0 rating
3/5
Score
Neutral
  • No-log policy
  • Performance Booster
  • No account needed
  • P2P Support
  • Unappealing UI. Cross platform support is made my porting their iOS app.
  • 2GB/month data limit

7. ZoogVPN

7. ZoogVPN
3 5 0 1
It works but the experience could be better.

ZoogVPN has been operating since 2013 and is legally registered in Greece. Their free plan includes a monthly 10GB data limit, 3 locations, 128 bit encryption and other features. From my testing, it took a while to get the VPN connected, however once it was done, the speeds were ok enough to stream videos in HD. ZoogVPN’s free plan also offers limited P2P support.
It works but the experience could be better.

ZoogVPN has been operating since 2013 and is legally registered in Greece. Their free plan includes a monthly 10GB data limit, 3 locations, 128 bit encryption and other features. From my testing, it took a while to get the VPN connected, however once it was done, the speeds were ok enough to stream videos in HD. ZoogVPN’s free plan also offers limited P2P support.
3.0 rating
3/5
Score
Neutral
  • No-log policy
  • Long time to establish connection

8. Betternet Free VPN

8. Betternet Free VPN
3 5 0 1
A free VPN with 500MB daily data allowance, 4 locations to choose and cross platform support.

Betternet has been one of my recommendations for a free VPN but not anymore. That said, if you are looking for a VPN service to just change your location then go try this one but back off for anything serious as Betternet doesn’t have a good reputation when it comes to privacy and security.
A free VPN with 500MB daily data allowance, 4 locations to choose and cross platform support.

Betternet has been one of my recommendations for a free VPN but not anymore. That said, if you are looking for a VPN service to just change your location then go try this one but back off for anything serious as Betternet doesn’t have a good reputation when it comes to privacy and security.
3.0 rating
3/5
Score
Neutral
  • No-log policy
  • No account required
  • Sells ad
  • Doesn’t work with Netflix

Comparing the Free VPNs

HotSpot ShieldWindScribeProtonVPNTunnelBearCyberGhost VPNSpeedifyBetternet
Data Limit500MB/day10GB/mo
Unlimited500MB/moUnlimited2GB/mo500MB/day
Supported PlatformsWindows
macOS
iOS
Android
Chrome
Linux
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Chrome
Firefox
Linux
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Linux
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Chrome
Firefox
Opera
Chrome & Firefox ExtensionWindows
macOS
Linux
iOS
Android
Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Chrome
Netflix SupportNot available in free tierNot available in free tierNot available in free tierNoYesYesNo
P2P SupportYesYesYesNoYesYes
Simultaneous Connections1 device1 device1 device1 device
Location Selection
(each country may have multiple servers)
NoLimited to few locations3 countries23 countries4 countries34 countries4 countries

Previously on the list

The ones below have been replaced with new and better VPN services. Some of these may still work while others don’t. OpenVPN doesn’t provide their service for free anymore. SumRando still doesn’t have a mac or ios application.

A VPN Might Not Be Enough To Stay Hidden…

It should be noted that sometimes, even after using a VPN service certain websites will continue to show your real location. This can happen due to a variety of reasons the most common being the usage of GeoLocation API.

Next, if you have signed up for a VPN service, your account details are stored in their database and sitting idle for a potential breach in the future. So you’re not safe in that matter unless you signed up with a different account and paid with Bitcoins.

Then there are MAC addresses which are unique to every internet device; this allows your ISP to track a device’s usage. A VPN doesn’t provide anonymity from that.

I think I’ve made the point clear, there are still ways to track your internet usage behavior and a VPN doesn’t provide 100% anonymity.

FAQ

What is a VPN and why do I need it?

A VPN allows you to create a secure connection to another network. With a VPN service, you will be able to access geo-restricted content, prevent others from spying on your traffic and more.

Which is the best free VPN software?

There isn’t a definite answer for this question. New services are launched quite often and I have seen certain respective VPNs losing it’s name. Windscribe has been my goto for a while and it’s doing a pretty good job.

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Which one of these have you tried and what do you think is the best? Leave your valuable reviews in the comments and help other users find the best.

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