If you’re interested in using a VPN but don’t want to splash out on a subscription, then you’ve probably considered choosing a free one. Although free VPNs are fairly limited compared to their premium counterparts, they are still better than having no VPN at all, as long as you choose a trustworthy provider. Free VPNs typically have fewer features and smaller server networks, but they should still be able to adequately protect you from online threats. Of course, due to privacy concerns, we’d always recommend that you opt for a paid VPN service, but if that isn’t an option for you, then we’re here to help you find the best free VPN around.
There’s a huge amount of free VPNs around, with most simply not being reliable or secure enough. A VPNs reputation is incredibly important and if the provider has a history of selling user data or experiencing security breaches, then it’s best to avoid them. However, there are still a handful of free VPNs that are safe and provide enough features for you to spoof your location, avoid geo-blocking, and anonymously browse the web. These VPNs can be hard to find, so we’ve done all the hard work for you by handpicking the best free VPNs based on their security, privacy, performance, and feature set. Keep reading to find out the best free VPNs in 2022!
The best free VPNs quick guide
- ProtonVPN – Best overall choice
- Windscribe – Loaded with features
- Hotspot Shield – Reliable and fast
What to consider when choosing a free VPN
Since using a free VPN is significantly more risky than a premium one, it’s worth being extremely cautious when finding a suitable provider. Free VPNs are expected to have limited features and fewer servers, but they should still provide acceptable privacy and security measures that can keep you safe and anonymous when online.
Most importantly, a free VPN should have a strict no-logs policy. Since free VPNs aren’t making money through subscriptions, many often decide to turn a profit by selling user data. These providers should be avoided at all costs! Sensitive data such as your IP address, browsing history, timestamps, and bandwidth usage can be used to identify you online, so even if the provider is not selling this data, it can still be compromised and stolen through a security breach. Therefore, always check to ensure that your chosen free VPN has a no-logs policy. (Bonus points if it’s been independently audited!)
Aside from selling user data, some free VPNs make money through ads on their app/client. Of course, seeing ads is often the price you have to pay in order to enjoy a service for free. However, a free VPN should not be constantly bombarding you with ads and making it difficult for you to use their app. All VPN apps should be user-friendly and easy to navigate, so users can seamlessly switch between servers and alter any settings to suit their preferences. Additionally, before making your final decision when looking for a free VPN, make sure that the VPN’s app is compatible with your preferred devices.
Another crucial factor to consider when choosing a free VPN is the size of its server network. Many free VPNs only have a couple of hundred servers located across a handful of locations. If you want to use a VPN to spoof your location and access geo-blocked content, then you should make sure your chosen provider has servers based in the appropriate countries. Additionally, even free VPNs should provide top-notch speeds so that users can stream in high quality without buffering and play online games without any lag. Free VPNs will typically have much slower speeds than premium VPNs, but this should not be so severe that it disrupts your day-to-day online activities.
Our top recommended free VPNs in 2022
With the above factors in mind, here are the best VPNs with free plans that are reliable, secure, and trustworthy. If you want to learn more about VPNs, then have a read of our 2022 useful VPN features guide! Or, check out our top recommended free VPNs in 2022 –
ProtonVPN is a highly well-known and trusted VPN that offers a free plan along with three tiers of premium subscriptions. This VPN has built an admirable reputation for protecting users’ privacy, so if you want a dependable VPN to entrust your sensitive data to, then look no further. ProtonVPN’s free plan is the best all-around plan we can find as it provides plenty of features along with impressive connection speeds.
The free plan gives you access to 134 servers in three countries – the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan. The US especially is a great country to have servers based in since many users enjoy accessing geo-blocked content that is typically restricted to here. ProtonVPN claims to offer ‘medium’ speed for free plans which should be enough to stream without any buffering and play online games without lag.
ProtonVPN provides a great selection of security features including a kill switch and DNS leak prevention on top of military-grade AES-256 encryption. Unfortunately, with the free plan, you’ll miss out on other fantastic features such as Tor over VPN, P2P/BitTorrent support, and ProtonVPN’s built-in ad blocker, NetShield. This shouldn’t be a problem though if you simply want to use this VPN to stay anonymous online and protect yourself from cyber threats.
If privacy is your main concern, then ProtonVPN is the most suitable free VPN for you. Not only does this provider have a strict no-logs policy, but it also has a fully open source app. This means that anyone can look at ProtonVPN’s source code to check for any vulnerabilities or other issues. It also shows that the provider has nothing to hide as they regularly publish the results of any independent audit of their software that takes place. Additionally, since ProtonVPN also has paid subscription plans available, the provider does not need to make money through selling user data or packing their app/client with ads.
ProtonVPN’s free plan allows a single connection per account and if you want more simultaneous connections, then you’ll have to upgrade to the Basic or Plus plan. The ProtonVPN app is supported by most major operating systems including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux.
Try out ProtonVPN’s* free plan now!
Windscribe is a feature-rich VPN that has an easy-to-use interface and an impressive server reach packed in a completely free plan. You can upgrade to Windscribe’s Pro plan for unlimited data, access to all servers, and plenty of other additional features. However, the free plan still provides fantastic security measures, great speeds, and other crucial VPN features that can help protect you online and allow you to spoof your location with no strings attached.
With Windscribe, you can easily access geo-blocked content by concealing your IP address with the provider’s military-grade AES-256 encryption. Windscribe also protects its users with plenty of other security measures such as split tunnelling, ad blocking tools, double hop, static IPs, and an IP blocking tool. Additionally, if you upgrade to the premium plan then you can also generate configurations files and profiles for the most secure VPN protocols – OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard.
This provider has a no-logs policy and claims to never monitor user activity or collect connection logs, IP addresses, timestamps, or session logs. Windscribe only stores the total amount of bandwidth used each month in order to enforce free plan limitations but this information is not kept historically. We hope to see Windscibe’s no-logs policy being independently audited at some point in the future to further build trust among users.
The Windscribe app/client is available on any Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux device as well as most Smart TVs and routers. The free plan gives you access to servers in 10 countries and allows for unlimited connections and 10GB of data each month. All you need to do is confirm your email address and there are absolutely no strings attached.
Try out Windscribe’s free plan now!
- Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield is another terrific VPN that has over 650 million users and offers a free subscription plan that generously provides fast connection speeds, top-notch security, and a user-friendly app interface that is free from ads. If you’re after impressive speeds but are on a tight budget, then this VPN is likely your best bet.
As with other reputable VPNs, Hotspot Shield uses military-grade AES-256 encryption to secure user data. This provider also supports trusted VPN protocols – Hydra, IPSec, and OpenVPN. The premium plans also offer other features such as Smart VPN, a kill switch, and anti-phishing protection. Additionally, Hotspot Shield does have a strict no-logs policy but we’d love to see this policy be independently audited at some point.
There are thousands of optimised and super-fast Hotspot Shield servers available in over 115 locations in 80 countries. For the free plan, users can expect speeds of up to 2 Mbps and there is a data limit of 500MB per day. For unlimited data and up to 1 Gbps speeds, you can upgrade to either the Premium or Premium Family plan.
The Hotspot app/client is supported by most major operating systems including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. With the free plan users are allowed a single device connection and with the premium plan users can have up to 5 simultaneous connections.
Try out Hotspot Shield’s free plan now!