VPN Provider

Best Free VPN: TOP 5 Services (+ Alternatives)

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As more people become aware of the risks and dangers of unprotected Internet usage, the availability of VPN software and the number of service providers has increased. For continuous security, you'll need a paid monthly subscription, however, there are many interesting freemium offers. These provide limited VPN functionality at no cost.

Top VPN Provider 2024
Sponsored
from $3.79
per month
NordVPN
from $6.67
per month
ExpressVPN
from $0.00
per month
Proton VPN
from $1.99
per month
Surfshark
show all

The VPN market is huge, but only a few services offer free versions of their clients or apps. These are limited, either in terms of how much data users get, the number of servers they can connect to, or the variety of features that are available. This is far enough since those who aren't ready to pay for a VPN subscription shouldn't expect to receive all of the benefits that they entail.

In this article, we'll introduce you to our Top 5 free VPN picks:

1.

ProtonVPN

Proton VPN
Proton VPN
(144,686 )
With its open source philosophy and extra security features, Proton VPN targets security-conscious VPN users. But thanks to its user-friendly interface and suitability for streaming, it's worth a look for a wide audience.
open source & external audits
2,900+ servers in 67 countries
great performance
free plan without data limit
not suitable for China
9.1
excellent
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
1 - 10
Protocols
3
Contract Period
0 - 24 months
Proton VPN Free
 $0.00
monthly price
Visit Website*
Free forever

ProtonVPN impressed us during our evaluation, serving as a classic example of the sum being greater than its parts. We think that the provider could have what it takes to compete with the market's heavyweights, so long as it continues to develop and grow. The service's free version stands out since it imposes no data limits whatsoever and offers solid speeds.

Of course, this doesn't mean that they aren't limitations. You can't connect multiple devices at the same time, and you'll have to make do with servers in the Netherlands, the US, and Japan. Additionally, video streaming is only possible with the purchase of a "Plus" or "Visionary" subscription.

If you're able to live with these restrictions, you'll be treated to unlimited surfing by ProtonVPN at no charge.

  • No data limits

  • Intuitive application with plenty of features

  • No video streaming

  • Only 3 server locations

  • Connect only 1 device at a time

Review
9.1
excellent
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Check Review
Performance
10 / 10
Security & Privacy
10 / 10
Bedienung & Features
10 / 10
Server Network
8.0 / 10
Support
7.4 / 10
2.

hide.me VPN

hide.me VPN
hide.me VPN
(31,514 )
Hide.me secures its place in our top 10 with good to very good grades in all test categories. The app is filled to the brim with handy features, the performance is solid, and with 10 GB of data per month, the free tier is also worth a look.
78 locations in 49+ countries
many features, incl. split tunneling
free plan with 10 GB monthly
anonymous payment
no recent audit
8.4
good
Data Volume
10 - ∞
Devices
1 - 10
Protocols
7
Contract Period
0 - 36 months
hide.me Free
 $0.00
monthly price
Visit Website*
Free forever

Unlike ProtonVPN, hide.me's free version comes with a data limit, however, at 10 GB per month, this is relatively generous unless you're downloading in bulk. You won't have to register or input a payment method to take advantage of hide.me's free VPN or put up with any ads or trackers.

Free users get access to five server locations and can connect one device, while premium users can have 10 simultaneous connections. As with ProtonVPN's free version, video streaming isn't possible, however, free users can download P2P.

Owing to hide.me's range of features and solid speeds, we rated it as a good service, and the same goes for its freemium version, despite the data limit.

  • Registration not required

  • No speed throttling

  • Monthly data limit of 10 GB

  • No video streaming

  • Only possible to connect one device at a time

Review
8.4
good
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Bedienung & Features
10 / 10
Support
8.6 / 10
Server Network
8.0 / 10
Performance
8.0 / 10
Security & Privacy
7.4 / 10
3.

Windscribe

Windscribe VPN
Windscribe VPN
(160,845 )
With its flexible pricing and a generous free plan, Windscribe is a solid option for budget-minded VPN users. It also has a nice, lean app with lots of features – but sadly, its performance can't keep up.
lots of features
free plan with 10 GB limit
unlimited devices
weaker performance
smaller server network
7.8
good
Data Volume
10 - ∞
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
2
Contract Period
0 - 12 months
Windscribe Free
 $0.00
monthly price
Visit Website*
Download for free

In our comprehensive evaluation of 27 popular VPNs, Windscribe missed out on a higher ranking owing to its performance. However, the Canadian service performed well in all of the other areas that we checked.

Perhaps, Windscribe can leave its mark in the world of VPNs with its free version: Users get 10 GB of data per month across any synchronized device and 10 different server locations. For those who don't want to register using their email address, Windscribe offers 2 GB of data per month.

All of the above make Windscribe considerably more generous than its competitors, which use their freemium versions to give people a taste, but not a full meal. Of course, Windscribe's free version has some limitations: Its dedicated streaming servers are restricted to paying customers, meaning that you can't stream foreign content on platforms like Netflix without a subscription.

With its generous monthly data package and solid features, Windscribe offers one of the better free VPNs we've come across. Should you ever want to upgrade your free account to a premium one, you can tailor your subscription to your needs and requirements.

  • 10 GB of data (monthly)

  • Connect to 10 different servers

  • Intuitive and feature-loaded app

  • Only 2 GB of data per month if using without providing an email address

  • No video streaming

Review
7.8
good
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Check Review
Bedienung & Features
9.4 / 10
Support
8.0 / 10
Performance
8.0 / 10
Server Network
7.4 / 10
Security & Privacy
6.0 / 10
4.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield VPN
Hotspot Shield VPN
(1,820,026 )
800+ servers
70+ countries
with free plan
below-average performance
potential privacy issues
7.5
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
1 - 25
Protocols
5
Contract Period
0 - 36 months
Hotspot Shield Free
 $0.00
monthly price
Visit Website*

Hotspot Shield had to settle for a place in the middle of our ranking almost entirely because of our concerns about its privacy policy. Apart from that, the provider made a good impression, owing to its solid performance, a well-balanced package of features, and decent server network.

Since our top VPN providers are all premium services, Hotspot Shield might still have what it takes to carve out a market segment as a free provider. The first signs are good as it offers 500 MB of data every day (roughly 16 GB per month). Mobile users have to watch ad videos every half hour to "reload" their data.

Things go downhill from there though: Video streaming isn't possible, there's only one server (based in the US), and speed is also capped at 2 MB/s.

  • Up to 15 1/2 GB of data per month

  • User-friendly applications

  • No video streaming

  • Single server location (USA)

  • Speed is capped at 2 MB/s

Review
7.5
good
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Check Review
Bedienung & Features
8.0 / 10
Server Network
8.0 / 10
Support
8.0 / 10
Performance
8.0 / 10
Security & Privacy
5.4 / 10
5.

TunnelBear

TunnelBear VPN
TunnelBear VPN
(372,606 )
free plan
independent security audit
low price
Small server network
no split tunneling on desktop
7.1
good
Data Volume
0.5 - ∞
Devices
1 - ∞
Protocols
2
Contract Period
0 - 36 months
TunnelBear Free
 $0.00
monthly price
Visit Website*

TunnelBear was by far the most playful VPN service from our sample, capturing our hearts with its wordplay, puns, and humor. Unfortunately, it was unable to challenge the more "serious" providers at the top of our ranking since it suffers from a few critical issues, like its limited server network and lack of features.

Its free version also has some disadvantages: Users only get 500 MB of data per month, which won't be anywhere near enough for regular surfing, let alone downloads or streaming. Anyone who tags the provider on Twitter can get an extra GB, but this doesn't make a big difference.

As such, TunnelBear's free version seems to be an appetizer for a paid subscription. The good news is that the provider's three-year plan is a real bargain.

  • All server locations can be connected to

  • 1 GB Twitter bonus

  • Only 500 MB of data per month

Review
7.1
good
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Check Review
Security & Privacy
8.6 / 10
Support
8.0 / 10
Bedienung & Features
7.4 / 10
Performance
7.4 / 10
Server Network
4.0 / 10

Alternatives

All of the free VPNs above have certain conditions, either in terms of daily or monthly data, the number of servers that can be connected to, or the ability to stream video content. If these sound too limiting, we recommend Surfshark, our price-performance winner which received a very good score (4.4 / 5) in our evaluation and can be had for a bit more than $2 per month. Surfshark offers unlimited data and reliable streaming.

Surfshark VPN
Surfshark VPN
(207,223 )
Surfshark is one of the cheapest providers on the market, but it's a lot more than a great budget option: the relatively new VPN boasts strong protection, many features, and a great support with 24/7 live chat.
3,200+ servers in 100 countries
unlimited number of devices
many apps (Linux, FireTV, ...)
cheap 24-month plan
expensive monthly plan
8.8
good
Data Volume
unlimited
Devices
unlimited
Protocols
3
Contract Period
1 - 24 months
Surfshark 24 months
 $1.99
monthly price
Visit Website*
Get 83% Discount

Most freemium VPNs offer users small amounts of data, making their use as all-purpose VPNs impossible. Some of the free VPNs we've introduced above are exceptions to this trend, however, there do exist other services that offer functional apps without subscriptions. Check out our comprehensive VPN evaluation for detailed reviews of 27 of the leading VPN providers.

In addition to freemium programs, there are many "free" VPN services, particularly for mobile users. A search for "Free VPN" in the Google Play Store will yield hundreds of results. However, these VPNs need to earn money somehow, either through ads, or your data. We limited our review to the best freemium offers since these come from established providers. If you'd prefer a "free" VPN solution, choose carefully and exercise caution.

Top VPN Provider 2024
Sponsored
from $3.79
per month
NordVPN
from $6.67
per month
ExpressVPN
from $0.00
per month
Proton VPN
from $1.99
per month
Surfshark
show all
Author (German Version): Martin Gschwentner
Martin has been a freelance writer in the B2B sector for more than eight years, specializing in technical case studies for tech companies like Google Cloud. He lives in London, where he runs his own company, GSCRIBE, focusing on customer success stories and employer branding. At EXPERTE, he shares his knowledge about software and strategies that help freelancers and self-employed professionals optimize their business processes and work more efficiently.
Translation: D Bare
* Ad disclaimer: For links marked with an asterisk, EXPERTE.com may earn a commission from the provider. The commission has no influence on our editorial rating.
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