Best Free VPN Services 2018

Best free vpn services

There are several FREE VPN services, but how do you find one that suits your needs?

You’re in luck!

I have tested 8 of the best free VPN services as of November 2018.

You can see the differences in the comparison table below (yes, you need to do some sidescrolling), and you can read more about each free vpn service and how they performed in the tests further down in the article.

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 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.

TunnelBearWindscribeHotspot ShieldSpeedifyBetternetProtonVPNHide.meHola VPN
Servers about 1000 unknown unknown over 200 unknown 3 over 150 unknown
Countries over 20 10 1 over 50 1 3 34 over 100
Platforms iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome, Firefox, Opera Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Chrome, Smart TV, routers iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome iOS, Android, Mac, Windows iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome, Firefox Android, Mac, Windows, Linux iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Windows Phone, Chrome, Firefox, routers iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Smart TV, routers, game consoles, Chromecast
Devices 5 1 1 5 5 5 5 unlimited
Traffic limit 500 MB per month 10 GB per month 500 MB per day 1 GB per month unlimited unlimited 500 MB per month unlimited
Torrents
Geo-restricted services partly partly partly partly partly partly partly

Free VPN Vs Paid VPN

Among the internet users from around the globe, there is a steady demand for services that allow unblocking restricted websites and provide basic data protection.

One of such tools is one of the numerous VPN services that provide a secure tunnel with the encryption of the traffic between the user’s device and a server located in another country.

All traffic is redirected through this server, where it is encrypted. VPN allows you to unlock the geo-restricted websites and platforms not available in your country and also provides network anonymity, and, accordingly, security.

Several commercial VPN services have a free version. Many Internet users get frustrated not knowing which version to choose: you do not want to pay money, but the reliability of the free VPN versions is doubtful. So, what type of VPN service should you go for? The paid or free one?

What Is the Difference Between Paid and Free VPN?

First of all, I must admit that a paid version of 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 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;
  • 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. 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 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 one.

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).

When it comes to monthly traffic limits, the variety of options is also large. There are free VPN services that do not use such restrictions at all. Others practice it, but the size of the limits they provide may significantly vary.

Is Paid VPN Really Any Good?

If someone thinks that by choosing a paid version of 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 with 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. Let’s review the best 8 of them.

TunnelBear VPN Free

01 Tunnelbear Free VPN

  • Servers: about 1000.
  • Server locations: more than 20 countries.
  • 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.

TunnelBear & 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 Speed Test

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

United Kingdom

Canada

United States

TunnelBear & Torrents

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

TunnelBear Summary

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

Visit TunnelBear

Windscribe Free

02 windscribe free vpn

  • Servers: unknown.
  • Server Locations: 10 countries.
  • 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 on the VPN market. However, the generous amount of free traffic and the commitment to protecting your data make 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.

Windscribe & Access to Geo-restricted Services

I 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.

VK.com

BBC iPlayer

CBC TV

Windscribe Speed Test

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

United Kingdom

Canada

Germany

Windscribe & Torrents

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

Windscribe Summary

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Pros
  • Excellent speed.
  • Access to servers in 10 different countries.
  • Does not save logs, IPs, and information about visited sites.
  • Built-in ad blocker and firewall.
  • Convenient to access the geo-restricted services and bypass Internet censorship in China.
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Cons
  • Data transfer is limited to 10 GB per month.
  • You do not get access to all servers.

Visit Windscribe

Hotspot Shield Free

03 hotspot shield free vpn

  • Servers: unknown.
  • Server locations: 1 (US).
  • Maximum number of devices: 1.
  • Available platforms: iOS, Mac, Windows, Android, Chrome.

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. The utility 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 Provider 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.

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.

VK.com

Hotspot Shield 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

Hotspot Shield & Torrents

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

Hotspot Shield Summary

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Pros
  • Lightning speed;
  • Secure data encryption;
  • Compatible with most operating systems.
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Cons
  • Traffic limited to 500MB per day;
  • Ability to connect only one device;
  • Advertising present

Visit Hotspot Shield 

Speedify Free

04 speedify free vpn

  • Servers: more than 200.
  • Server locations: over 50 countries.
  • 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.

Speedify  & 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.

VK.com

BBC

CBC TV

Speedify 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

Speedify & Torrents

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

Speedify Summary

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Pros
  • Excellent connection speed;
  • Reliable data protection.
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Cons
  • Only 1 gigabyte of traffic per month;
  • Several low-level configurations.

Visit Speedify

Betternet Free

05 betternet free vpn

  • Servers: unknown.
  • Server locations: 10 countries (only the US in the free version).
  • 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.

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?

Betternet & 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

Fox TV

Betternet 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

Betternet & Torrents

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

Betternet Summary

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Pros
  • Unlimited traffic
  • Supports a variety of platforms;
  • Reliable encryption;
  • Support for P2P
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Cons
  • Advertisement;
  • Low speed
  • Third-party sponsored applications.

Visit Betternet

ProtonVPN Free

06 proton free vpn

  • Servers: 320.
  • Server locations: 28 countries (only 3 in the free version).
  • 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.

ProtonVPN & 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.

VK.com

ProtonVPN 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.

ProtonVPN & Torrents

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

ProtonVPN Summary

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Pros
  • No traffic restrictions;
  • Access to 320 servers in the 28 countries;
  • Does not save logs;
  • Stylish, intuitive interface
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Cons
  • The free version is much slower than the paid one.
  • 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.

Visit ProtonVPN

Hide.me Free

07 hide.me free vpn

  • Servers: more than 150 dedicated servers.
  • Server locations: 55 locations in 34 countries (only 3 in free version).
  • 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.

Hide.me & 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.

VK.com

CBC TV

Hide.me 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

Hide.me & Torrents

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

ProtonVPN Summary

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

Visit Hide.me

Hola VPN Free

08 hola free vpn

  • Servers: unknown.
  • Server locations: more than 100 countries.
  • 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.

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.

Hola VPN & 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.

VK.com (very slow)

BBC (requires premium)

CBC TV

ZDF

Hola VPN Speed Test

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

USA

Belgium

Switzerland

Hola VPN & 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.

Hola VPN Summary

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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.
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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.

Visit Hola VPN

Who is the winner?

I think that the winner is Windscribe.

Here’s why:

  • Provides an adequate traffic limit.
  • The connection speed is quite high.
  • 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!