In this article, I present the results of my comprehensive evaluation of numerous free VPNs, highlighting ProtonVPN as the best overall option.
ProtonVPN offers unlimited data, 100+ servers, impressive speeds, and robust privacy features in its free tier. Additionally, the kill switch feature ensures data protection in case of an unstable internet connection or server disconnection.
Top 3 Truly Free VPNs (September, 2023)
AtlasVPN offers three servers in 2 countries and unlimited speeds on a 5GB-capped bandwidth plan. It provides top-notch encryption and is compatible with Windows, iOS, Mac, and Android.
ProtonVPN is the best free VPN service with fantastic privacy, 100 servers in 3 locations, and excellent speeds. Also, ProtonVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and a reliable kill switch.
Windscribe features a 10GB data limit and unlimited speeds on the free plan. The provider has 30 servers, supports unlimited connections and delivers high-quality security features.
Some users may be hesitant to commit to a VPN service without giving it a test run first.
Others may be working with a limited budget that doesn’t accommodate a monthly VPN subscription. In such cases, a free VPN can be a lifesaver.
Thankfully, I’ve discovered the top free VPNs that provide reliable security without any hidden costs.
5 Free VPNs With No Strings Attached
For those interested in trying a VPN, starting with a free plan is the ideal approach.
This allows you to gain insight into the service’s offerings before committing financially.
Here are some of the best free VPNs to consider:
- ProtonVPN: Top Overall Free VPN
- Atlas VPN: Best Free VPN for Multiple Devices
- TunnelBear VPN: Best Free VPN with Extensive Server Network
- Hotspot Shield Basic VPN: Best Free VPN with Unlimited Data
- Windscribe: Best Free VPN with Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
In the following sections, I’ll delve deeper into these five free VPNs and explain why they stand out from the rest.
Top Free VPNs: Mini-Reviews and Comparisons
I’ve evaluated numerous free VPNs, but only a select few offered impressive speeds, robust security, and sufficient servers to bypass geo-restrictions.
In the following sections, I’ll discuss the top five Virtual Private Networks that have consistently delivered excellent performance and explain what sets them apart.
ProtonVPN: Best Overall Free VPN
ProtonVPN is my best overall free VPN, thanks to its blend of quality features and user-friendly app.
While most free VPNs allow data limits between 500 MB to 10 GB, ProtonVPN offers unlimited bandwidth. I could use it as often as I liked to play games like Clash of Clans, use some streaming platforms, and download content.
Besides, ProtonVPN’s free plan offers 100+ servers in 3 countries: the USA, the Netherlands, and Japan. Thus, you can unblock some of the largest content libraries with these virtual servers.
I connected to the US servers and wanted to see if I’d stream videos easily. The servers worked, but the internet connection was relatively slow. Likewise, it took a while to connect to my preferred server.
Unlike most free VPNs that cancel vital security features, ProtonVPN’s free plan doesn’t omit the kill switch feature, P2P servers, and WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols.
Moreover, the VPN is compatible with mobile devices (Android, iOS) and PC units (macOS, Linux, Windows, and Chromebook), ensuring secure online coverage for your units.
However, the free plan lacks SmartDNS support for devices that can’t download a VPN app (like smart TVs), torrent-download support, specialty-streaming servers, or an ad-blocker. Unlike AtlasVPN, which allows you to download torrents over its free servers without falling to copyright trolls.
Furthermore, you can only connect to one device at a time on the ProtonVPN free plan. Whereas you get unlimited connections with providers like AtlasVPN.
But you can upgrade to the premium plan to access more ProtonVPN features. That includes 1900+ servers in 65 countries, streaming support (on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, etc.), ten simultaneous connections, an ad-blocker, a double hop feature, and fast P2P servers for torrenting.
Grab these huge ProtonVPN deals to upgrade to the premium version.
Atlas VPN: Best Free VPN for Numerous Devices
Atlas VPN is the second-best free VPN compatible with macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android devices. It has a user-friendly, easy-to-use app that gave me zero problems while navigating through the settings.
Unlike ProtonVPN, the Atlas VPN free plan only offers three servers in the US (New York and Los Angeles) and the Netherlands.
However, Atlas free VPN isn’t as fast as ProtonVPN, reserving its 4K-streaming speeds for the paid version. Moreover, you’ll receive a monthly 5GB bandwidth limit, making streaming HD content impossible.
Thus, you may not want to use the VPN wherever you like, unlike the rest (except Windscribe, too), which you can always leave connected.
But you can overlook these setbacks and enjoy the other impressive features, like its fast P2P servers that can be great for gaming and torrenting.
While ProtonVPN also supports the gaming angle, it lacks on the torrenting side.
Moreover, Atlas VPN allows unlimited simultaneous connections, unlike ProtonVPN, which only supports one device at a time. But since you’ll be restricted to a 5GB data limit, connecting to multiple devices means you’ll use up the bandwidth faster.
To get more advanced features, subscribe to the Atlas VPN premium plan to get 750+ servers, an ad-blocker, unlimited bandwidth, and better speeds.
Use these Atlas VPN discounts to upgrade and enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Windscribe: Best Free VPN With Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
Windscribe is a reputable free VPN that offers unlimited simultaneous connections, like AtlasVPN, across all major operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and Mac.
I tested this by connecting my PC and Android to my free Windscribe account simultaneously and enjoyed stellar browsing with no connection issues.
However, like Atlas VPN, Windscribe also has a strict 10GB bandwidth allowance, which you’ll receive after signing up with your email address.
If you wish to exclude your email address, you’ll only get 2GB per month.
Barring that, you’ll get access to 11+ servers across 10+ countries, including the US and the United Kingdom. This is more than what Atlas VPN offers, and the unique UK location means you can unblock BBC iPlayer, besides Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
The Windscribe free VPN plan supports torrenting to securely unblock The Pirate Bay (or your preferred torrent site) and download files without the fear of copyright trolls. However, remember that heavy downloads quickly consume your 10GB bandwidth limit.
Additionally, the free Windscribe VPN offers the R.O.B.E.R.T tool for ad and malware blocking. In the premium plan, you can use the R.O.B.E.R.T tool to block porn, gambling, fake news, and more.
To get more from Windscribe, subscribe to the premium plan to access servers in 63 countries, a customizable IP and ad-blocking tool, and more.
Grab these Windscribe premium discounts when ready to receive more perks and upgrade from the free plan.
TunnelBear VPN: Best Free VPN With a Wide Server Network
Another free VPN with a “no strings attached” plan is TunnelBear, offering a vast network of 40+ servers in 40+ countries.
Like ProtonVPN, TunnelBear free plan hasn’t omitted vital features such as a kill switch, the all-important AES 256-bit encryption, or split-tunneling.
I tested the VigilantBear (kill switch) feature by simulating a VPN connection drop (I switched from mobile network to Wi-Fi), and it blocked all traffic until TunnelBear reconnected again.
This protected my data from being leaked to third-party sites.
Thus, the kill switch feature proved reliable, especially when the connection became unstable.
Moreover, with the SplitBear (split-tunneling) feature, I separated several apps I didn’t want to use with the VPN. I could encrypt the connection on needed services while leaving the rest without VPN traffic encryption.
TunnelBear also offers a GhostBear feature, which makes all your connections look like regular internet traffic. This works best in regions like China or Russia, where the government may block your VPN connection requests.
To make things more fun, TunnelBear features bear sounds, which you turn on or off through the Settings tab.
But TunnelBear offers just 2GB bandwidth on the free plan.
Thus, I see it as more suitable for securely checking emails or simply browsing rather than downloading torrents or streaming HD content.
Fortunately, you can upgrade to the Unlimited or Teams plan to gain more benefits without bandwidth throttling.
Use these fantastic deals once you’re ready to unlock the premium features.
Hotspot Shield Basic VPN: Best Free VPN With Unlimited Data
Hotspot Shield Basic VPN offers unlimited bandwidth alongside Proton VPN and boasts four servers in the US (Los Angeles and New York), Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
This is a lesser server count than Windscribe or ProtonVPN offers, but still enough for unblocking platforms and bypassing restrictions.
I tested the Los Angeles server for speed, and while it wasn’t as fast as ProtonVPN, it wasn’t slow either. So I was able to surf the web without lag.
While we’re still at it, Hotspot VPN’s free servers aren’t optimized for streaming on Netflix, playing games like Fortnite, or using social networks like TikTok. The free plan also has no ad-blocker, so you won’t get that extra clean experience on torrent websites, manga platforms, and other ad-ridden services.
Furthermore, Hotspot offers less advanced security features in its free plan, especially lacking its anti-phishing tool and internet kill switch.
Thus, you’ll need to upgrade to the premium plan to access these services.
If you upgrade, you’ll get 115+ virtual locations, streaming-optimized servers, and up to 10 simultaneous connections.
Ready to try out the Hotspot Shield premium plan? Grab these incredible discounts and save more!
How to Set up a Free VPN?
Once you’ve selected your preferred free VPN from my list, here’s how to set it up on your device:
- Visit your preferred free VPN and create an account. I’ll use ProtonVPN for this guide.
- Download the VPN app for your device. I’ve used the Windows PC app.
- Launch ProtonVPN and log into your account.
- Select the kill switch button under the “Countries” tab. You can choose between Kill Switch On and Permanent Kill Switch. I recommend “Kill Switch On” so you don’t mess up your device’s internet settings.
- Click Quick Connect to connect to a recommended server or select one from the list.
- Use your free VPN to unblock content and enjoy online protection.
Drawbacks of Using a Free VPN (Free VPNs vs. Paid VPNs)
Here are the main differences between free and premium VPNs, depending on what you need either or both for.
|Free VPN||Premium VPN|
|Security and Privacy||Offers simpler and fewer security features and protocols.||Provides better security and privacy features. Often uses more advanced encryption protocols.|
|Server Network||Small server network, thus, fewer options.||Usually has a larger server network. Hence, lots of options to choose.|
|Speed||Limited bandwidth and server speeds can be an issue when downloading large files or streaming 4K content.||Offers faster connection speeds and fewer bandwidth restrictions.|
|Customer Support||Fewer customer support options. May not offer 24/7 customer service.||Provides better customer support. Most premium VPNs have 24/7 customer support.|
|Cost||Free VPNs do not charge users an upfront cost. However, they may have hidden fees.||$1-$11 per month, on average.|
|Device Compatibility||Supports a few device types and operating systems.||Compatible with multiple devices, including gaming consoles and streaming devices.|
|Simultaneous Connections||Usually offers limited simultaneous connections.||Support simultaneous connections from five to unlimited devices.|
If you’ve been wondering whether you can get reliable free VPN software with decent speeds and a generous number of servers, ProtonVPN has got you.
ProtonVPN stands out with its unlimited bandwidth, easy-to-use interface, kill switch, and over 100 servers in three countries.
Otherwise, grab these huge discounts to save more on a ProtonVPN premium plan which unlocks the best features – such as P2P torrenting support, streaming (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, etc.) service unblocking, and multiple device connections.