Best Free VPN 2023: TOP 5 Services (+ Alternatives)
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.
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:
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
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
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
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
No video streaming
Single server location (USA)
Speed is capped at 2 MB/s
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
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.
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.