Best Free VPN

Best Free VPN in 2021

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I have tested 8 of the best free VPN services as of January 2021. The overall winner is Windscribe since it scored well in the tests.

It is also worth to mention that BBC iPlayer worked with Speedify if you’re interested in some streaming, but keep in mind that traffic is VERY limited! I’m also quite disappointed with ProtonVPN (free) since I thought that they would perform better, but my conclusion is that too many people are using them at the moment.

NOTE: All these free VPN services are ONLY intended for testing and limited usage. Consider using a paid VPN-service for a better experience.

1. Best free VPN in 2021

1.1 Windscribe

Fast for being free

Windscribe Free VPN

  • Servers: unknown.
  • Server Locations: 10 countries.
  • The maximum number of devices: 1.
  • Available platforms: Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Chrome, Smart TV, routers.

Windscribe is one of the youngest services in the VPN market. However, the generous amount of free traffic and the commitment to protecting your data makes it one of the best choices. A free subscription gives you a bandwidth of 10 GB per month as standard and allows you to choose any of the remote servers in 10 countries. You only need to register by entering a username and password (the email address is optional, but may be useful if you forget your password). Windscribe does not store connection logs and data about your IP address or visited sites. When you connect to the server, Windscribe remembers your username, the VPN server to which you are connected, and the amount of data transferred, but this information is erased within three minutes after the end of the session. For some users, 10 gigabytes will be enough to consider Windscribe as a means of everyday protection. There are several ways to increase traffic for the account.

Posting a tweet will give you 5 gigabytes extra, and for each referred friend that registers you will receive another 1 gigabyte. In addition, you can get 50 GB per month on a regular basis when using Windscribe VPN for all your devices as part of the ongoing promotion. The paid Pro subscription has no traffic restrictions and offers an extended list of servers to connect. It is curious that Windscribe even has a built-in ad blocker and firewall. Try this VPN service, I think you will be impressed.

Access to geo-restricted services

I’m physically located in Ukraine, so some services are restricted and are not available for us to access from here. I checked the most popular ones.

VK.com

Windscribe on VK

BBC iPlayer

Windscribe on BBC iPlayer

CBC TV

Windscribe on CBC TV

Speed test

I connected to several main locations to check the connection speed. Here are the results.

United Kingdom

Windscribe Speed test UK

Canada

Windscribe speed test Canada

Germany

Windscribe speed test Germany

Torrents

I tried to download the installation file of Ubuntu 18.10. It downloaded without any problem at very high speed.

Pros

  • Excellent speed.
  • Access to servers in 10 different countries.
  • It does not save logs, IPs, and information about visited sites.
  • Built-in adblocker and firewall.
  • Convenient to access geo-restricted services and bypass Internet censorship in China.

Cons

  • Data transfer is limited to 10 GB per month.
  • You do not get access to all servers.

Windscribe

1.2 TunnelBear

Tunnelbear Free VPN

  • Servers: about 1000.
  • Server locations: more than 20 countries.
  • The maximum number of devices: 5.
  • Available platforms: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome, Firefox, Opera.

The developers of TunnelBear are not lacking a sense of humor — the interface is dominated by the so-called “ingenious design”. In fact, the product is a serious and reliable VPN service. A free subscription and several paid rates are available. The free version has a traffic limit of no more than 500 megabytes per month. This is a very limited volume, so you cannot fully use TunnelBear all the time for free. However, the service is perfect for cases when additional protection is required. Its performance is impressive, and the service is absolutely easy to use. Most likely, you will not need to change any of the default settings, and the automatic connection option will allow you to select the most optimal connection parameters.

However, you can manually select one of the 20 countries as your preferred location. TunnelBear is definitely one of the best free VPNs for all your devices. It is also important to note that TunnelBear recently changed its privacy policy, so now the VPN collects even fewer data about users. At the moment, you do not need to specify your name when you register and the number of connections to the network is no longer logged.

Access to geo-restricted services

I’m physically located in Ukraine, so some services are restricted and are not available for us to access from here. Due to strict traffic limits, it is not reasonable to stream videos, so I checked some lightweight sites. For example, it easily unlocked VK.com, which is officially blocked in Ukraine.

VK.com

TunnelBear on VK

Speed test

I connected to several main locations to check the connection speed. Here are the results.

United Kingdom

TunnelBear speed test UK

Canada

TunnelBear speed test Canada

United States

TunnelBear speed test USA

Torrents

I tried to download the installation file of Ubuntu 18.10. The download successfully starts but of course, you will not download much.

Pros

  • Data and IP addresses are not stored in logs.
  • Works on any device.
  • It does not save logs.
  • Friendly interface.
  • No ads.
  • Ability to receive an additional 1 GB each month for a tweet about the company.

Cons

  • Monthly traffic limit of 500 MB.
  • Limited access to servers.
  • Limited functionality compared to the paid version.
  • After having been purchased by McAfee, TunnelBear is under US jurisdiction, with all the consequences associated with the Five Eyes Alliance.

TunnelBear

1.3 Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield Free VPN

  • Servers: unknown.
  • Server locations: 1 (US).
  • The maximum number of devices: 1.
  • Available platforms: iOS, Mac, Windows, Android, Chrome.
  CyberGhost VPN Review

Hotspot Shield maintains your privacy when connecting via free Wi-Fi points, as well as wired and wireless home or public networks. This is a utility based on technology that allows you to secure one or several network connections (logical network) on top of another network (VPN). The utility acts as a web shield and protects against Internet tracking. Hotspot Shield is equipped with a strong encryption mechanism that allows you to protect your web sessions, in particular, personal information and various kinds of data. Hotspot Shield hides your IP address and creates a secure communication channel, which is useful if you connect to the Internet via public Wi-Fi points.

Hotspot Shield is an excellent choice for those who want to protect their anonymity while visiting sites on the Internet. Internet Service Providers will not be able to access your personal data, history of visits to websites, and all connections will be made via the HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) protocol. It will help you to browse the web without worrying about being tracked. You will be sure that all the data that you exchange through communication services — text, voice, video chats — will be protected. For a long time, Hotspot Shield worked without a graphical user interface (GUI), which was extremely inconvenient for users. Now, the use of the GUI allows users to quickly connect and disconnect the protection, make the necessary settings that allow you to set the network protection level — the user can set an alert warning about the connection to an unknown network.

Hotspot Shield’s powerful encryption algorithm protects against snooping, allowing you to secure top-level web connections. After installing Hotspot Shield, please note that when browsing the web, you will see third-party ads generated by Hotspot Shield.

Access to geo-restricted services

I’m physically located in Ukraine, so some services are restricted and are not available for us to access from here. Due to strict traffic limits, it is not reasonable to stream videos, so I checked more lightweight sites. For example, it easily unlocked VK.com, which is officially blocked in Ukraine.

Speed test

In the free version, there is only one location in the US available. It works pretty fast:

hotspot-shield-free-vpn-speed-test-1

Torrents

I tried to download the installation file of Ubuntu 18.10. The download successfully starts but of course, you will not download much.

Pros

  • Lightning speed;
  • Secure data encryption;
  • Compatible with most operating systems.

Cons

  • Traffic limited to 500MB per day;
  • Ability to connect only one device;
  • Advertising present

Hotspot Shield 

1.4 Speedify

Can unblock BBC iPlayer but low bandwidth

Speedify Free VPN

  • Servers: more than 200.
  • Server locations: over 50 countries.
  • The maximum number of devices: 5.
  • Available platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS.

As the name implies, Speedify has one very important goal — to maintain a maximum connection speed when using encryption to protect data. In order to achieve that, the service will use all available Internet connections to get maximum performance by combining, say, an Ethernet connection (fixed broadband access) with a mobile 3G/4G connection. Even if you have only one type of Internet connection, the developer claims that his acceleration technology will still help to increase the connection speed. In addition to promises of increased productivity, Speedify uses a clear privacy policy and does not track your Internet traffic. The service offers clients for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android platforms, as well as access to more than 200 VPN servers.

A free subscription allows you to connect to all available servers with traffic restrictions. The users of the free version receive 5 GB of data each month. Of course, this is not much, but it is still enough for surfing, banking, and email functions. This VPN should be seriously considered if performance is your top priority. The aforementioned technologies for increasing speed really proved that they have a positive effect.

Access to geo-restricted services

I’m are physically located in Ukraine, so some services are restricted and are not available for us to access from here. I checked the most popular ones.

BBC iPlayer

Speedify on BBC iPlayer

CBC TV

Speedify on CBC TV

Speed test

I connected to several main locations to check the connection speed. Here are the results.

United Kingdom

speedify-free-vpn-speed-test-1

Canada

speedify-free-vpn-speed-test-2

Switzerland

speedify-free-vpn-speed-test-3

Netherlands

speedify-free-vpn-speed-test-4

Torrents

I tried to download the installation file of Ubuntu 18.10. It downloaded without any problem at quite a high speed.

Pros

  • Excellent connection speed;
  • Reliable data protection.

Cons

  • Only 1 gigabyte of traffic per month;
  • Several low-level configurations.

Speedify

1.5 Betternet

Betternet Free VPN

  • Servers: unknown.
  • Server locations: 10 countries (only the US in the free version).
  • The maximum number of devices: 5.
  • Available platforms: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome, Firefox.

Is safe to say that one of the parameters by which Betternet immediately stands out from the competition is the prices. This is a free service, and you can protect your anonymity and privacy without paying a penny. Betternet is supported on Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and Android. As you can see, this service is quite popular. Why choose Betternet? With this service, you will get access to blocked sites and solve the problem of Internet censorship and firewalls. By encrypting your data, Betternet makes Internet connections more secure.

Your current location and IP address will remain hidden, and you can surf without any worry on any sites. This service has a lot of fans among travelers (both tourists and business) because you can get access to music, movies and TV shows anywhere in the world by using it. In addition, Betternet is also very easy to use. Just download the app and establish a connection. You will not have to register or provide too much personal information. Working with Betternet is really very easy; besides, it is also quite a fast service considering it is free.

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Why is it free? We all know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. What is the approach in the case of Betternet? I found out that this service quite frankly tells you how it makes money. Actually, Betternet has several ways. Betternet does not collect monthly payments from its customers. Instead, the service offers them to install “sponsored” applications when users install the VPN application itself. And when you install one or more free “sponsored” applications, Betternet will get some money for it. In addition, there is a system called “Watch Video and Connect”. First, you watch the video in the application itself, then you connect to the service servers. The videos are quite short, but help the company earn revenue. In other words, it helps the Betternet team to continue providing free services to their customers. The company has more than 38 million users from all countries of the world, so it seems that this monetization model works quite successfully. In addition, Betternet offers a range of other products and services. For example, there is an ad blocker and a VPN router that will work with any devices.

Why should you try Betternet? Look at the prices — they just tell you that there’s nothing to lose! Betternet can be your perfect service. With it, you can bypass Internet censorship, protect your privacy when working on the network and, strictly speaking, work on the network without unnecessary worries. The application is free, so why not download it today?

Access to geo-restricted services

I’m physically located in Ukraine, so some services are restricted and are not available for us to access from here. I checked the most popular ones.

Fox TV

Betternet on Fox TV

Speed test

I connected to the only available location in the US to check the connection speed. Here are the results.

betternet-free-vpn-speed-test-1

Torrents

I tried to download the installation file of Ubuntu 18.10. It downloaded well at a somewhat low speed.

Pros

  • Unlimited traffic
  • Supports a variety of platforms;
  • Reliable encryption;
  • Support for P2P

Cons

  • Advertisement;
  • Low speed
  • Third-party sponsored applications.

Betternet

1.6 ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN Free VPN

  • Servers: 320.
  • Server locations: 28 countries (only 3 in the free version).
  • The maximum number of devices: 5.
  • Available platforms: iOS (no client), Android, Mac, Windows, Linux.

This is one of the newest free VPN services managed by experts who have proven their cybersecurity expertise at Proton Mail. Therefore, their level of privacy is one of the best on the market. ProtonVPN already has a lot of fans.

Access to geo-restricted services

I’m are physically located in Ukraine, so some services are restricted and are not available for us to access from here. Due to strict limitations, I could check only several websites. For example, VK.com worked well.

Speed test

As all the speed tests available online are P2P based, I could not perform a speed test. Visually, the free version is quite slow. I could not open all the pages I tried.

Torrents

The free version does not provide torrent and, in general, P2P support.

Pros

  • No traffic restrictions;
  • Access to 320 servers in 28 countries;
  • Does not save logs;
  • Stylish, intuitive interface

Cons

  • The free version is much slower than the paid ones.
  • Only 3 countries in the free version (Japan, US, Netherlands).
  • Since the service is new, the number of servers and locations is limited, and customer support is not as reliable as with other VPNs.
  • No native iOS app. If you are looking for a VPN for your iPhone or iPad, you should look for something else.

ProtonVPN

1.7 Hide.me

Hide.me Free VPN

  • Servers: more than 150 dedicated servers.
  • Server locations: 55 locations in 34 countries (only 3 in the free version).
  • The maximum number of devices: 5.
  • Available platforms: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome, Firefox, Opera.

Based in Malaysia, this fairly popular VPN service provides its users with access to 30 servers around the world. However, in the free version, you will be able to choose from only 3 of them — in Singapore, Canada or the Netherlands – and you will have a traffic limit of 2GB per month.

Access to geo-restricted services

I’m are physically located in Ukraine, so some services are restricted and are not available for us to access from here. I checked the most popular ones.

CBC TV

Hide.me on CBC TV

Speed test

I connected to several main locations to check the connection speed. Here are the results.

Canada

hide-me-free-vpn-speed-test-1

Singapore

hide-me-free-vpn-speed-test-2

Netherlands

hide-me-free-vpn-speed-test-3

Torrents

I tried to download the installation file of Ubuntu 18.10. The download successfully starts but of course, you will not download much.

Pros

  • Decent connection speed considering it’s a free VPN.
  • Not in the Five Eyes Alliance, which is good for your privacy.
  • No ads.
  • It does not save logs.
  • Full customer support.

Cons

  • 500 MB per month limit.
  • Only 3 servers in free account: Netherlands, Singapore, Canada.
  • No access to OpenVPN.
  • Ability to connect only one device per account in the free version.

Hide.me

1.8 Hola VPN

HolaVPN Free VPN

  • Servers: unknown.
  • Server locations: more than 100 countries.
  • The maximum number of devices: unlimited.
  • Available platforms: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Smart TV, routers, game consoles, Chromecast.

With this service, the VPN connectivity is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and as an extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer browsers. Hola is a free service that redirects traffic like any other P2P network. Hola VPN encrypts your data and sends traffic through other sites, thereby maintaining your anonymity online. The program is being actively promoted lately, but security experts are skeptical about it.

  Private Internet Access Review

In addition to the fact that Hola VPN is announced as a completely free service, it also has a paid subscription. As part of the subscription, the developer assures that your device will not be used to transmit traffic from other users. The main con of it that it can work separately in each browser tab. For example, in one tab you open BBC iPlayer, and Hola will connect you to the server in the UK. When you are going to see CBC in another tab at the same time, you will be connected to the server in Canada.

Access to geo-restricted services

I’m physically located in Ukraine, so some services are restricted and are not available for us to access from here. I checked the most popular ones.

BBC (requires premium)

Hola VPN on BBC iPlayer

CBC TV

Hola VPN on CBC TV

ZDF

Hola VPN on ZDF

Speed test

I connected to several main locations to check the connection speed. Here are the results.

USA

Hola VPN speed test USA

Belgium

Hola VPN speed test Belgium

Switzerland

Hola VPN speed test Switzerland

Torrents

The free version of the service works only in the browser, so I could not download the torrent file. At the same time, it supports and opens well any P2P based web resources.

Pros

  • Completely free add-on and stand-alone browser;
  • No traffic restrictions;
  • Opening in a separate browser window;
  • Provides an extensive list of servers (over 100 countries);
  • Reduces traffic costs;
  • Reduced delays when watching HD video;
  • Blocking ads on sites;
  • Works through the notification panel.

Cons

  • Reducing the speed of the Internet connection;
  • Low rating among security experts;
  • Works on the principle of a peer-to-peer network, meaning that the smartphone of the connected user is used to transmit traffic to other users when idle, so your traffic can be spent by someone else! Or your device may be used to perform a DDoS attack.

Hola VPN

2. Difference between paid and free VPNs

First of all, I must admit that a paid version of a VPN is, in general, much better. This is normal and as it should be. At the same time, the free version of every VPN service has its own, sometimes specific limitations, which for one some users can be a serious inconvenience, while for others are not so significant. Most often, the disadvantages of free VPNs relate to the restrictions on the following parameters:

  • Monthly traffic volume;
  • Connection speed and bandwidth;
  • Connection time without interruptions (buffering issues);
  • The number of servers available for connection and their location (the number of countries of the virtual location);
  • Supported connection security protocols;
  • Advertising (almost all free VPNs are full of ads, it’s like a payment for being free; the paid services, in most cases, do not contain ads at all);
  • Technical support — for free versions, it often is not provided or is not a priority.

Note that the level of traffic encryption in paid and free versions most often does not differ. This means that users of all tariff plans are provided with the same level of network security and anonymity. This is perhaps the main point that allows you to consider the free version as an acceptable option. In the vast majority of cases, a specific VPN does not have all the limitations at the same time. Some services set a monthly traffic limit for free users, others limit the duration of a continuous connection, and others offer a low connection speed and bandwidth. That’s why people are always asking what’s the best free VPN on Reddit, Quora and other forums.

A common feature is the reduced number of servers available for free VPN services. However, even when it comes to the available servers, there are quite significant differences between services: in the free package, some services provide a connection to servers in two or three countries, while others offer a dozen of countries to choose from. And if in the first case, a user of a free VPN may have problems unlocking the site he needs – this situation is most likely improbable with the paid ones.

I also note that the very popular time limit for a continuous connection to the VPN server delivers some inconvenience, but it doesn’t affect the possibilities since no one forbids the user to immediately reconnect after a forced disconnection (or watch the time, take a break, and reconnect before the being forcefully disconnected).

3. Disadvantages of paid VPN-services?

If someone thinks that by choosing a paid version of a VPN he/she will get rid of all the restrictions, then this is not really true. Many VPN services offer not one, but several paid tariff plans. Usually, they all have quite attractive names: Premium, Elite, VIP, etc. But the point is that there are still some restrictions on most paid options. They can be completely removed only in the most expensive (on any particular service) tariff plan. This should be taken into account, since the difference in the cost of the cheapest paid versions and the most expensive tariff plans, the ones that provide full “unlimited” services, can be quite significant.

If you feel like switching to a paid VPN with all features enabled and without any restrictions, then NordVPN is my top choice.

Despite all these limitations, there are some really great free VPNs you can choose from.

4. The winner

I think that the winner is Windscribe.

Here’s why:

  • It provides an adequate traffic limit.
  • The connection speed is quite high.
  • A great number of available servers.
  • Supports a lot of platforms.
  • Unblocks most geo-restricted services.

So, install the app on your devices and get started!

2 thoughts on “Best Free VPN”

  1. Avatar

    Why didn’t you add Atlas VPN to the list? Their free version is amazing, they don’t limit data, I’ve been using it for a bit over a month to stream US Netflix with no issues at all

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