Best free VPN for 2022: Top 13 free services compared

  • Author symbolRob Githinji
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If you want to get the best free VPN available today, then you will LOVE this (regularly updated) guide. We tested over 30 VPNs that advertise themselves as free.

People once considered a conspiracy theory is now a known fact; government institutions regularly spy on their citizens. And no, the governments have not bugged every smart device or gadget their citizens own. Instead, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) helps governments and agencies in this activity. Hence the only best way to avoid this problem to a greater extent is to use a VPN, preferably a free one, not to blow your budget.

Today, many ISPs compile users’ data, secretly log their activities, and present it to the government upon request.

In some instances, ISP companies sell user information to advertising companies who take advantage of unaware individuals and place targeted advertisements on every site they visit.

The collection of your personal information by ISPs while you browse the internet is why people turn to VPNs to ensure their online browsing is safe.

A VPN protects internet users on public and private networks by masking their identities online and incorporating security measures. Be it a WiFi hotspot connection or your home network, this tool has got you covered.

However, all these benefits come at a price. You have to spend money to get online privacy, which is certainly not affordable for many. That’s where free VPNs come into play.

Many free VPN services do not offer services comparable to their paid counterparts. Nonetheless, you can still try some free VPNs providing the best privacy features to achieve basic security.

This article lists over a dozen best free VPN services. Read along to pick the one that best matches your browsing habits.

Quick look at the top 5 free VPN services

If you can’t wait to read about all 13 VPNs to pick one, here we list the top 5 free VPN services. You can download any one of these right now to protect your online privacy at no cost.

  1. ProtonVPN – best free VPN with unlimited data, no-ads service, tremendous device compatibility.
  2. Windscribe – secure free VPN with no-logs policy, data usage limited to 2GB per month.
  3. TunnelBear – handy free VPN service, easy to register, but data limited to 500MB per month only.
  4. Hide.Me – no sign-up required to use free version, offers free data up to 2GB per month.
  5. CyberGhost VPN – no sign-up required for free trial that, however, lasts for 1 day only.

Benefits of a free VPN

While the proverbial phrase “nothing in life is free” might be true, the paybacks of using a VPN far exceed browsing the internet without any protection measures.

The use of a VPN is especially essential in 2022, as the world continues to witness a rise in the number of data breaches and cybercrime for both individual and corporate entities.

After much waiting, VPNs appear to be godsent, considering the struggle internet users had to endure connecting to the internet directly.

To many, VPN networks are the long-awaited solutions for internet users’ requests for protecting their online activities and digital privacy maintenance.

Apart from this functionality, VPNs assist in accessing blocked websites from any part of the world with just one click.

VPNs are a secure solution for users who wish to conduct their online browsing activities in a safe, secure, and anonymous way –thanks to the advanced encryption technology they deploy.

Also, a significant benefit of using a VPN is its ability to unblock censorship and provide you with anonymity, allowing you to have the most-wanted internet freedom that you desire and deserve.

13 best free VPNs you can use today

We have got the basics covered; now it’s time to list the best free VPNs for you to compare and pick.

The list below boasts only the secure free VPNs with no hidden costs, promise to give users no headaches, or put their privacy at risk (unlike most free VPNs do).

1. ProtonVPN

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If you are looking for a free VPN that offers unlimited data, ProtonVPN’s free version is ideal for you.

Unlimited data allowances make this VPN the best possible free choice for watching shows on streaming services and enjoying sports that are geo-blocked.

However, the circumstances, which may cause you to upgrade, are no P2P support, the ability to use VPN on one device at a time, and lower speed prioritization compared to paid users. Also, free users get access to only three locations.

On the positive side, all ProtonVPN accounts do not have a login, making users’ sessions fully private. In addition, unlike many other free VPN services, the free version of ProtonVPN doesn’t annoy users with ads.

ProtonVPN works on various platforms, including Windows, Androids, iOS, Linux, and Mac. (Learn more about this service in our detailed ProtonVPN review.)

Advantages of ProtonVPN

  • Top data offering for a free VPN
  • Stealthy privacy
  • Generous data allowance
  • Widely compatible

2. Windscribe

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Windscribe is among the top picks for paid virtual private network services today. Luckily for users, Windscribe offers about 9.8GB per month of free VPN use if you sign-up using your email address. You also get an extra 4.8GB by tweeting about it.

If you do not sign-up with an email address and don’t tweet, you still get a free VPN account but are limited to 2GB data bandwidth per month.

Free Windscribe VPN includes the option to use a username and password to sign-up, ten server locations, no-logs storage for optimum security, and a built-in ad blocker alongside the firewall. The server locations include numerous popular regions such as Hong Kong, UK, Canada, US, Germany, etc.

Free users get another free 1GB when they invite a friend to join Windscribe. And, if your friend signs up for the Pro subscription, you receive unlimited data and access to 47 servers, all for free.

Advantages of Wind Scribe

  • Generous on data and is secure, too
  • Provides excellent privacy
  • Up to 10GB data per month for free
  • Decent speeds

3. TunnelBear

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In March 2018, TunnelBear became a part of the security software giant McAfee. This move enabled TunnelBear to improvise its services without pressuring the users for payment much.

Tunnelbear free version boasts a clean and easy-to-use app that works on desktop or mobile and gives you up to 500MB of free data per month. Free users can get 1GB extra as well by tweeting about the service.

Little personal information is required for sign-up, meaning it’s more secure than ever, considering it’s free and readily available to use. As per our tests, it’s the best free VPN for minimal use whenever you want to unblock websites quickly or check your emails while traveling.

Advantages of TunnelBear

  • Available on desktop and mobile
  • Stealthy identity protection for free
  • Excellent security guarantees
  • User-friendly
  • Strong reputation

4. Hide.me

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Hide.me provides both paid and free VPN services; it offers you 2GB of data per month in the free plan.

Free Hide.me account has other limits, such as being limited to five server locations in four countries (Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, and the USA) and one simultaneous connection.

On the other hand, this provider won’t throttle your connection speed alongside ensuring that it keeps no logs and stores no data. Standing true to its strict no-logging policy, Hide.me is audited for never passing the users’ data to third parties to try and make a profit.

Advantages of Hide.me

  • No adverts or speed throttling
  • Strong on privacy
  • 2GB data per month for free
  • Two US servers in the free plan

5. CyberGhost VPN

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CyberGhost VPN is primarily beneficial for organizations, mainly due to its adequate support for high internet speeds.

The firm is based in Bucharest, Romania. Like the other VPNs listed in this article, CyberGhost is a premium VPN provider that offers a free plan, too.

Specifically, you get a free trial for one day with all the premium features with this provider. Additionally, no credit card is required for CyberGhost free download, but you need to make payments to continue using the service once the trial is over.

Advantages of CyberGhost VPN

  • Automatic kill switch ensures maximum safety
  • Unlimited bandwidth and traffic for free (with a short trial)
  • Offers applications for Mac, iOS, Window, Linux and routers
  • Top-class customer support through email and chat

6. Hotspot Shield VPN

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Hotspot Shield is a top free virtual private network that offers users a reliable connection and military-grade encryption.

It offers users 500 MB of data every day that sums up to 15GB per month for free.

Although being a good VPN for torrenting, Hotspot Shield free is not recommended for users who want to unblock US Netflix and other sites.

Also, the service offers just one server location (United States) to free users.

Advantages of Hotspot Shield

  • Simple and easy to use on macOS, Chrome, Windows, iOS, Android
  • Kill switch available to free users
  • Offers stable connections ensuring lag-free experience
  • Works well with Spotify and YouTube

7. SurfEasy (Opera free VPN)

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SurfEasy is a provider with strong links with the same organization behind the emergence of the Opera web browser. As an integrated VPN in the Opera web browser, SurfEasy has a free and paid version.

Advantages of SurfEasy

  • User-friendly
  • Reliable customer support service
  • Allows five simultaneous connections

8. Private Tunnel VPN

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Private Tunnel is another premium VPN with a free trial (7-days) that keeps user information and identity safe on any computer or mobile device. While on trial, the provider does not put any data usage limits for free users. It also allows you to add up to 100 different devices to your account.

Advantages of Private Tunnel

  • Easy and straightforward to navigate and use
  • Has a strong clientele base, which tells about its reliablity

9. HideMan VPN

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Although limited, HideMan VPN is a good option for users who want to connect to the internet using their mobile devices anonymously. Every user of HideMan is eligible for four hours of free data per week, whereas the monthly data limit is 2GB. However, free users can only use one server location (often Germany), as the service doesn’t provide “change IP on the fly” to them.

Advantages of HideMan

  • Removes geo-restrictions effectively
  • Supports I2P, torrenting, and Tor
  • Easy to use
  • Does not consume much bandwidth

10. VyprVPN

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VyprVPN has the capability of maintaining high security of users’ data and ensures that no party spies on your internet traffic. Having a strict no-logging policy, the providers take users’ online security and privacy seriously.

Like other top VPNs, this provider’s plans and pricing module boast both a limited free account and paid plans. But VyprVPN discontinued its free plan a couple of years ago.

We still wanted to list it as people keep asking around where to download VyprVPN for free online. For such users, the good news is that the provider offers a 3-day free trial to mobile (Android and iOS) users. You will only be charged after this 3-day trial period ends.

Advantages of VyprVPN

  • Worldwide server network connections that are readily available to users
  • Fastest internet connections for mobile application devices
  • Defeats internet throttling

11. Speedify VPN

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SpeedifyVPN is highly efficient and helpful for protection online as it encrypts (and optimizes) users’ internet traffic.

It is suitable for bonding cellular and WiFi connections to create a faster, secure, and reliable network connection.

Specifically, it uses the advanced channel bonding technology that unites many internet connections, like cellular, WiFi, and Ethernet, to increase internet bandwidth.

The provider offers 1 GB of data usage per month for free.

Plus, the best part is, you do not even need an account. Instead, you can download the app and use it.

Also, don’t worry about your privacy, as the provider offers a no-logs policy.

SpeedifyVPN is reliable because it reduces packets loss and redundancy to send data across all connections.

Advantages of Speedify VPN

  • Stable connections
  • Fast-speed makes it perfect for streamers

12. VPNBook

This one is a VPN service with unlimited free data on offer, PPTP and OpenVPN protocols, and secure AES encryption.

VPNBook is based in Romania, which is considered one of the most privacy-friendly countries. The provider doesn’t record any users’ activity logs, whereas it retains connection logs for seven days.

With VPNBook, you cannot unblock streaming sites with stringent firewalls, such as Netflix. (We tested, it didn’t work to unblock Netflix).

Also, the company doesn’t provide dedicated applications for any device. But, detailed manual configuration guides (using OpenVPN protocol) are available on the site.

Advantages of VPNBook

  • No data limit whatsoever
  • Based in a privacy-friendly country
  • Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and Mac OS compatibility

13. Betternet

Betternet is an ad-supported free VPN but with a twist. Instead of bombarding users with adverts, the provider offers sponsored mobile applications.

Every time a user installs their recommended app via the Betternet VPN application, they earn some money.

Alongside sponsored apps, Betternet earns money via sponsored videos. In that case, you need to watch a sponsored video before your connection to their VPN server gets established.

That’s the business module of this free VPN provider, which is fine – at least it’s better than a VPN full of ads.

However, Betternet is an excellent free VPN service, but it has a significant drawback. That is, you cannot pick a server of your choice. So every time you connect, you’d be connected to a Betternet server somewhere in the USA only.

Also, at peak times, you can expect your VPN connection speed to drop significantly. (That’s the case with many other free VPNs too).

Advantages of Betternet

  • No direct ads
  • Dedicated app for iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows
  • Has an official Google Chrome extension

Paid vs free VPN

Now that you know the importance of using a VPN service and about the top free VPNs, there comes another essential question, which one should you get, a free or paid VPN service?

Although a free VPN might be more appealing than a paid VPN, users are encouraged to subscribe to a premium VPN to enjoy better services.

Reasons why a paid VPN is better than the free VPN

  • Free VPNs might take advantage of you by injecting targeted advertisements and sometimes even deploy malvertising into your browser.
  • A free VPN can store your personal information that includes bank details, passwords, and usernames.
  • They might save your browsing history and sell it to advertisers.
  • Free VPNs can steal your bandwidth and sell it to the highest bidder.

Also, please remember one thing: even if a free VPN service provider is not malicious, free virtual private networks and proxies tend to deliver subpar services to their users.

A majority of free VPNs have the following demerits:

  • Their connection speed bogs down with the number of users on a suboptimal network.
  • User information and data are liable for exposure to third parties following their low-security frameworks and encryption procedures.
  • Poor customer service.
  • Free users have only a handful of locations at their disposal.

On the other hand, a top paid VPN such as NordVPN (our top recommendation overall) promises users:

  • 24/7 customer service support service.
  • 160+ server locations to choose spread in over 94 countries.
  • Data encryption using 256-bit AES encryption technology
  • Speed, security, and stability.

Premium VPN trials worth considering

Chances are you are interested in a VPN service that will enable you to bypass blocked websites in your school, workplace, or country, download torrents anonymously, and surf the internet securely.

Although the market is crowded with free VPNs, not all of them will give you what you want.

On the other hand, paying premiums for paid VPNs might also be a tall order for you.

So what is your ultimate solution? Perhaps, premium VPN trials.

Trials with paid VPNs give users the same service as premium VPNs do but only for a limited time. Below, we list two of the best premium VPNs that you can try 100% risk-free.

NordVPN

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NordVPN offers a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee to allow users to test their premium VPN services for 30 days without worrying about the risk of losing money.

On top of a VPN, the provider also boasts a free yet powerful proxy service. Apart from many servers, NordVPN boasts ad blocking, dedicated P2P servers, dedicated IP addresses, and Onion Over VPN features.

Read our brutally honest and extensive NordVPN review.

ExpressVPN

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Owing to its outstanding performance, ExpressVPN is recommended as a whole (for any of your internet activities).

The VPN service provider offers a 30-day money-back guarantee trial period to use its services stress-free.

By subscribing to ExpressVPN’s free trial, you can enjoy its stable, fast, and secure service for 30 days with the option of getting back your money if you are not satisfied.

Also, ExpressVPN offers its customers a 3-month free subscription when anyone registers for their 1-year subscription.

Please read our detailed and unbiased review of ExpressVPN.

Conclusion

VPNs address privacy challenges and provide better web experiences and enhanced protection. Also, VPNs allow access to blocked websites by evading geo-restrictions, thereby improving your web experience.

Nonetheless, the key to achieving these benefits lies in choosing the best VPN service, particularly in the case of free VPNs.

That’s because most free VPN services cannot serve as a long-lasting privacy solution. Instead, they usually focus on solving the fundamental privacy issues for you. Therefore, you’ll frequently face problems using these services, such as data limitations, slow connection speeds, and lack of server locations.

However, you can go ahead to use the free versions offered by the best premium VPN providers. That’s because these services usually provide feature-rich trials that help you decide whether to opt for the service or not. Likewise, the free versions offered by these providers are also quite reliable.

It might take some time to identify the best service for your browsing needs. But once you do, you’ll surely love how a free VPN protects your privacy and lets you enjoy unrestricted internet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why not use free VPNs?
What to look for in a free VPN?
Are free VPNs safe?
Are there any completely free VPNs?
Can Netflix ban you for using a VPN?

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.

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About the author

Rob Githinji

Robert is a cybersecurity, privacy, and blockchain pundit with vast experience in diverse editorial positions at major news outlets. Apart from writing, Rob is kool kat, an amateur footballer and a lover of nature.

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