If you’re trying to keep your information and internet habits confidential or get around a Netflix geoblock, setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help shield your data from prying eyes. You don’t have to pay for it, either. Our favorite free VPN is ProtonVPN, and we like it for its strong commitment to privacy and security, plus its easy-to-use client. The free version doesn’t have the best server selection, though, which is why we also recommend a number of other free VPNs.
With cybercriminals becoming bolder every day and advertisers paying your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for your personal information, it has never been more critical to ensure that your web browsing habits are kept private. These are the best free VPNs you can download right now.
The best free VPNs for 2020
- ProtonVPN Free
- Hotspot Shield VPN
Unlike many free VPN services on the market, ProtonVPN has no monthly limits on the amount of data that you can use. In addition, you can set up a ProtonVPN client on your iOS or Android smartphone or your Linux, Mac, or Windows PC. There are no logins required; you can use an email address to sign up and get started; and there are no ads that are constantly bugging you to upgrade your plan.
However, there are some notable disadvantages when it comes to using this service. Users are only permitted to use it on one device. People who use the free version also receive less speedy connections than those with a paid plan, and there is no person-to-person support offered, either.
Those limitations aside, ProtonVPN is an extremely strong, security-minded VPN service that can act as a permanent tool in your privacy arsenal, whether you pay for it or not.
If you’re looking for a VPN service that offers generous amounts of data while keeping your internet habits completely private, then Windscribe is calling your name. Windscribe offers you 10GB of bandwidth per month and lets you choose your server location from 10 locales, including Hong Kong, the U.S., the U.K., and Canada.
To sign up for Windscribe, you’ll create a username and password, which help keep you anonymous. Better yet, all your visited sites, connection logs, and IP stamps are erased within three minutes of you logging off from the VPN server. This service allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices, which is a rarity for a free VPN service. The built-in firewall and ad-blocker also ensure that your internet browsing is not only safe but free from pop-ups, too.
With servers in 23 countries across the world, you can connect up to five devices to TunnelBear and make use of McAfee-backed AES 256-bit encryption to keep them safe and private. If you run into any issues, you can consult TunnelBear’s dedicated support staff and review a host of commonly asked questions to resolve any problems.
Unlike some other no-cost VPN services, you won’t have your traffic throttled if you choose to make use of a free account. Also, TunnelBear no longer requires users to provide a first name when signing up, and it no longer records how many times users connect to their servers. Free users are restricted to a monthly data cap of 500MB, though, which may be inadequate for those interested in constantly using a VPN. However, if all you need from your VPN is occasional added protection when emailing or browsing using your smartphone or PC, TunnelBear is your ideal solution.
While some VPN services make promises to not collect your user data or sell your web traffic information to a third party, Hide.Me doesn’t collect any of that kind of data in the first place. Their free VPN provider offers users 2GB of data per month and will not sacrifice your connection speeds for their paying clientele.
With native software designed to work with both Mac and Windows PC, as well as Android and iOS, you can ensure that the VPN will work well with your setup. Even better, free users of Hide.Me have access to 24/7 technical support in the event of any issues, and they don’t have to deal with pesky ads that nag them into paying for an upgrade. Unfortunately, these benefits do come with some notable limitations. You can only use Hide.Me on one device, which is no good if you’re trying to protect your whole family.
Furthermore, while paying members of Hide.Me can access servers in over thirty countries, free account holders can only access servers located in the Netherlands, Canada, and Singapore.
Those problems aside, Hide.Me is an excellent all-around VPN service. If you are interested in keeping your privacy and still having a decent amount of bandwidth for free, Hide.Me has you covered.
Hotspot Shield VPN
While some free VPN services can be very stingy with the bandwidth they allot you, Hotspot Shield VPN offers users 500MB per day or about 15GB per month and allows you to connect up to five devices at the same time. In addition, Hotspot lets users know upfront that their free services are paid for by purchasers of their premium VPN and that they do not keep any logs of your browsing activity. As of their 2018 annual transparency report, Hotspot proudly claims that it has never provided personal information about their users to any third party, including governments and law enforcement agencies.
Their transparency continues by letting mobile users of their free Android VPN and iOS VPN apps share limited information with Google for advertising. This information includes city-level location data, your internet device activity, and identifying cookies, which is not shared for users of the premium VPN mobile apps. Free users of Hotspot Shield VPN must also put up with advertisements encouraging them to upgrade. In fact, you will have to sign up for a seven-day premium trial and provide your credit card info in order to use the free service. On the other hand, being able to keep your activity shielded by military-grade encryption and ensuring that your financial information is safe is well worth the lengthy setup.