With growing attacks from hackers and digital policing from government agencies, privacy and confidentiality have become major concerns nowadays. Whether it is to enjoy some of the shows and movies blocked in your region or hide your footprints while browsing the internet, VPN (or a Virtual Private Network) is the preferred solution that many techies are banking upon. While the highest rated VPN services have to be paid for before you can use them, there is a score of VPN services which are either completely free to use, or offer the basic VPN features for free with an option to pay if you would like to utilize better features, get higher speeds, and other additional benefits. So, if you’re looking for some great VPN services to check out, here are the 10 best free VPN services you can use in 2020.

Note: Some of the VPN services mentioned below work with services like Netflix and Spotify as well. Spotify and Netflix don’t like VPNs, and while we’ve not heard of anyone getting banned from using VPNs on the service, use them at your own risk.

Best Free VPN Services in 2020

Before we get to our list, if you are looking for specific VPN apps based on your device, you can click on the links below to find them out. Note that since most VPN services are available on multiple platforms, there will be many apps that you will find on all the lists.

With that out of the way, let’s get to our list.

1. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is served by the same company that offers the famous email client, Proton Mail. While there’s a bunch of paid plans which ProtonVPN has to offer, you can browse with the free version without any limitations or capping on the amount of data. You will, however, be limited to a single device per email ID at a time and will be able to access only three locations of the total 30 servers ProtonVPN offers to its paid users. These three locations free to access are Japan, the Netherlands, and the U.S. While ProtonVPN uses some of the Cold War era underground bunkers for its servers, the country is neutral when it comes to privacy and does not absolutely support or oppose interception of users’ private data.

proton vpn screenshot

Further, it is useful if you just want to watch some exclusive content or access a store that might not be available in your country. I really like the simple interface of the desktop app which can be used without any prior knowledge about the working of VPNs. The ProtonVPN client is available for Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, as well as a command line interface which you can use with Linux, making it a versatile platform among the best free VPN services we’ve compiled in this list.

ProtonVPN also comes with some pretty impressive additional features that make it one of the best options to go with. The company uses strong, 256-bit AES encryption to ensure a secure connection. Moreover, the company is based out of Switzerland, and is protected by some of the strongest privacy laws in the world so they can’t be forced to spy on your browsing habits. There’s also DNS Leak Prevention features which ensures that your internet browsing is protected at the DNS level; the company doesn’t use any third party DNS providers.

ProtonVPN also supports one of the most ‘in-demand’ features in a VPN service — a Kill Switch. This basically means that with Proton VPN, if you accidentally lose connection to your VPN server, the service will immediately block all your network connections to prevent your real IP address from being accidentally leaked because of the disconnection.

If you choose to upgrade to a paid plan in future, you can also make use of the Secure Core feature which routes your network traffic through multiple servers within the ProtonVPN network to ensure that even if an attacker manages to monitor your traffic at the exit server, they won’t be able to find your true IP address, or match any browsing activity to your IP address. Plus, there’s support for the Tor protocol for added anonymity if that’s what you want.

Pros: 

  • Unlimited data
  • Easy to use
  • No logging policy
  • 256-bit encryption
  • Kill-switch
  • Tor support
  • DNS Leak Prevention
  • Strong national laws protect the company from being forced to spy on its users

Cons: 

  • Single device per free account
  • Secure Core limited to paid plans

Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS

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2. TunnelBear

In case your dependency on VPN is just limited to occasional browsing, TunnelBear can be a useful option. Just like ProtonVPN, TunnelBear operates on a freemium model but the way different plans have been segmented is different. Instead of restricting users by location, TunnelBear limits you by available data and free users can only use 500MB through the VPN. However, if you tweet to the company, you can get an additional gigabyte added to your monthly quota so that you get 1.5GB per month, in practice.

tunnelbear screenshot

In the free version, you can choose from 22 different locations. Another characteristic which makes TunnelBear one of the best free VPN services is its highly intuitive and non-intrusive interface – for instance, it sits on the menu bar on my Mac instead of opening in a separate window, which is delightful. It comes with 256-bit encryption to protect your data and promises to not log any of your browsing histories. Lastly, besides common platforms, the service is also available in form of extensions for major browsers.

Apart from those basic features, Tunnelbear also offers a kill switch. It’s called ‘Vigilant Mode’ and it automatically blocks all unsecured traffic in case you lose your connection to the VPN server. Plus, once the connection is re-established and your network is secured, Tunnelbear will automatically unblock all your traffic. Just like ProtonVPN, Tunnelbear doesn’t keep any logs of your browsing activity.

If you’re still looking for more features, Tunnelbear has a feature called ‘GhostBear’ as well which basically tries to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN from ISPs and governments. This can come in handy if your ISP throttles VPN users, or if you’re in a country where using VPN is illegal. However, bear (pun intended) in mind that Tunnelbear recommends using GhostBear only if its absolutely necessary since it usually results in slower speeds.

Pros:

  • 22 locations in the free version
  • No logging
  • 256-bit encryption
  • Kill switch
  • Ghost mode

Cons:

  • Limited data
  • No support for streaming services like Netflix
  • No P2P support

Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera

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3. Hide.me

Hide.me works by hiding your IP and encrypting your data with protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2. The service operates on a freemium model too and your monthly allocation of data is limited to 2GB – sadly with no extension periods. However, you can invite your friends and get rewarded every time someone uses your referral link to get a paid subscription to Hide.me.

hide.me screenshot

Since it operates from Malaysia, Hide.me has no legal obligation to store users data and share it with the government, unlike VPNs working out of certain other countries. Further, the company has a strict zero-logging policy. Besides using the VPN, you can also add custom DNS settings to avoid your IP being cached into regional servers and to slightly improve the speed of your network connection.

In the free version of Hide.me, you can use four servers based in four different locations i.e. Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the USA. Lastly, it supports a multitude of different desktop and mobile operating systems – even BlackBerry – as well as router and TV/home theater interfaces.

Hide.me also prides itself on its no-ads policy, even on its free version. Along with that, there’s also a Split Tunneling feature in the VPN service, which lets you enable VPN for some apps and services, and use other apps without VPN. This can come in handy if you’re using services like Netflix which block VPNs or if you need low pings for your online games, while securing the rest of your browsing with VPN. It’s a pretty cool feature.

Pros:

  • 256-bit encryption
  • No legal binding to log or share user data with authorities
  • Split tunneling feature
  • Supports Wi-Fi routers and TV streaming devices
  • No ads

Cons:

  • Limited data
  • No Netflix support
  • No browser extensions

Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry, certain Wi-Fi routers, and Set-top boxes

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4. Windscribe

Windscribe is among the most affordable VPNs, and for this reason, one of the most preferred VPNs out there. It is also one of the most generous VPN providers, offering up to 10GB data to free users, which can be further increased if you tweet about the service. That should drive more people to use VPN extensively and get familiar with the protocol. The company strictly follows the principle of not logging user data and supports common encryption protocols IKEv2 based on AES-256.

windscribe screenshot

Windscibe’s desktop applications come built-in with a firewall application which prevents any leakage of data out of the data tunnel secured by the VPN and each of the worldwide servers is configured as a DNS server, resulting in absolute IP-related privacy. Out of the 45 locations, one can use up to 13 servers with the free account. You can, in fact, stream Netflix content from other countries but it is only supported on certain servers, so you might have to struggle with the customer support, which is mainly automated and run by bots.

Besides the very-easy-to-use UI, Windscribe also has among the widest support for major desktop and mobile operating systems as well as for popular TV sticks and Wi-Fi routers. You also get extensions for popular web browsers which will ensure complete stealth throughout your web journey.

Windscribe also comes with some impressive features that can help you remain anonymous on the internet. There’s a Double Hop feature that lets you route your internet traffic through any two servers on the Windscribe VPN network for additional anonymity. Along with that, there’s a feature called ‘Split Personality’ that you can enable to randomly change the user agent of your browser to reduce chances of fingerprinting.

Pros:

  • 256-bit encryption
  • Firewall for virus protection
  • 10GB data in the free account
  • Double Hop feature to route traffic through two VPN servers for added security
  • Browser extensions

Cons:

  • Sketchy Netflix support
  • Customer support mostly run by bots

Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Wi-Fi routers, and streaming sticks

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5. HotspotShield

HotspotShield is another freemium VPN service which classifies as one of the best free VPN services due to its anti-censorship stance. The VPN service was popularized during a series of social protests such as the Arab Spring and the military coup in Turkey in 2016.

hotspotshield screenshot

Under the free plan, users get 750MB of data allowance per day but there’s no way to check the daily available data. Moreover, browsing is limited to the USA. This might irk some privacy enthusiasts as laws in the country compel companies to share their data with the national security agencies such as NSA. But to make up for this shortcoming, HotspotShield can be used on up to five devices simultaneously and even the free users enjoy the military-grade encryption over their data usage.

HotspotShield should serve you well if you’re looking to use it for some casual browsing or voice your opinions against any country or regime that the USA does not have good diplomatic relations with. Those concerned about their privacy might want to stay away as HotspotShield has been funded by corporates like Goldmann Sachs, and there are concerns about user data being used for advertising – although there is no noted instance so far. The service is available on popular operating systems and has an extension for Chrome.

Pros:

  • Military-grade encryption
  • Up to 5 devices in free account
  • Anti-censorship stance

Cons:

  • Concerns about data-sharing with NSA and advertisers
  • Browser extension limited to Chrome
  • No Linux support

Availability: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome

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6. Psiphon

If you are looking for a free VPN that is also open-source then there is nothing better than Psiphon. What started as a proxy system at the University of Toronto, is now a full-fledged VPN. By the way, Psiphon does not call itself a VPN but a tool that uses multiple technologies like tunneling, HTTP Proxy, and SSH to circumvent internet censorship around the world. It uses proxy servers that are located all over the globe in a multi-hop architecture. Psiphon is widely seen as a tool to evade the government’s censorship, but you can use it to your own liking. It does not have any data limit and the speed limit is capped at 2MBps which quite good.

6. Psiphon

Since it’s an open-source project, there is no question of logging your internet activity or any personal data whatsoever. Psiphon also makes it clear that none of the metadata like security protocol or data size is shared with third parties so that is great. To further strengthen the security, all data passed through Psiphon are encrypted in a secure channel. All in all, Psiphon is a secure and free VPN service and you can use it reliably on Windows, Android, and iOS without any limitation.

Pros:

  • Open-source
  • Supports encryption
  • Best for unblocking censored content
  • Completely free and no data limit
  • No activity logging

Cons:

  • Sometimes slow to respond

Availability: Windows, Android, iOS

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7. Betternet

Betternet has made its way into our list of the best free VPN services because of its simplistic and elementary approach in terms of both – design and usability. For instance, you don’t even need to sign up with your email ID in order to start using the VPN service.

betternet screenshot

Betternet’s interface only has a simple on/off toggle and an option to choose from among the available destination servers. But as part of the free service, you only get nine different server locations – all stationed within the US, and you can’t choose from among the available server options. There are no data limits here, and this is a decent service to choose for casual browsing, or just unlocking a random website that’s not available in your country. However, Betternet is definitely not a service we’d recommend if you’re looking for something that’s very secure and encrypted.

The app is developed by AnchorFree – the same developer as HotspotShield, and the development of two different apps is to cater to users with different degrees of technical know-how. Betternet is clearly meant for users who want to use VPN services without caring too much about the details of how they work.

Pros:

  • Basic encryption features
  • Simplistic interface
  • Email ID not required for sign-up
  • Good for starters

Cons:

  • Limited features
  • No P2P or Netflix support
  • Only US-based servers in the free account

Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome Android TV, certain routers and streaming devices

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8. Kaspersky VPN

Kaspersky, a leading antivirus provider, and cybersecurity lab is offering a free VPN plan for users who want enhanced protection on the web. It’s not your usual VPN where you can consume as much data as you want, but a security-driven solution to protect you from hackers and malicious exploits while browsing the internet. Under the free plan, it offers 200MB of data allowance per day which is minuscule but can be enough for users who want a private and encrypted network for quick communication. Apart from that, there are also restrictions on server selection. You simply can’t choose your server under the free tier instead, Kaspersky connects you to the optimal server based on your location.

8. Kaspersky VPN

Moving ahead, Kaspersky VPN does not log your internet history or any personal activity on the internet. Furthermore, all your data are encrypted using state-of-the-art 256-bit AES key length and Kaspersky VPN also provides DNS leak protection which is really great. To sum up, if you want the best free VPN service for private communication on the web then Kaspersky VPN is a solid pick.

Pros:

  • Supports 256-bit AES encryption
  • Best for privacy-oriented users
  • No activity logging
  • DNS leak prevention

Cons:

  • 200MB of data allowance per day
  • Can’t choose the server location

Availability: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS

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9. Avira Phantom VPN

Similar to Kaspersky VPN, Avira also offers a free tier with its Phantom VPN app. However, the data limit is quite low, but if you want a secure service only for private communication then it can certainly be used. Avira Phantom VPN offers 500MB of free data allowance per month. But the good part is that you can choose the server location from many countries. Not to mention, all your data are encrypted and Avira has a no-log policy which means no one can know what websites you are visiting. Furthermore, Avira Phantom VPN comes with DNS leak prevention and it supports both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols.

9. Avira Phantom VPN

Basically, in terms of security, you are getting top-notch protection similar to its premium plan. However, keep in mind, the free plan does not support the Kill Switch which can be concerning to some users. In case you are unaware, Kill Switch automatically halts your internet activity from the internet until the VPN connection is restored. So to conclude, Avira Phantom VPN is one of the best free VPN services as far as security is concerned, but you will have to be content with the low data allowance.

Pros:

  • Encrypts data channel
  • No-log policy
  • DNS leak prevention

Cons:

  • 500MB of data allowance per month
  • No Kill Switch

Availability: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS

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10. VPN Gate

If you’re somewhat of an open source enthusiast, you’ll be delighted to know that VPN Gate is an open source VPN protocol developed by the University of Tsukuba, Japan and is run by volunteers. You can either use OpenVPN, the same protocol as in the case above, or L2TP/IPsec protocol with VPN Gate. The latter is notably better and faster.

vpngate screenshot

You can use the VPN service for basic bypassing. While from the website, it does appear to be a little distressed due to limited attention towards aesthetics, the service gets users based in almost 225 countries which means the community is pretty active but you might have to spend some time finding active servers. To set up VPN Gate, you will have to go through the process manually and this might not be acceptable or preferred by many users. Besides being community driven, the VPN service offers unlimited data usage.

VPN Gate is an education project based out of Japan. This has both pros and cons. On the one hand, VPN Gate will never be a paid product since Japanese universities don’t allow ‘for-profit’ products. It’s also a con, however, since there’s no guarantee of how long the project will work for. That said, the creators do claim that the service will run till at least 2021.

If you’re among the users who are comfortable with tinkering with their systems, go ahead with trying out VPN Gate. It might even prove to be a great exercise in setting up VPN servers and systems.

Pros:

  • Unlimited data
  • Open-source and completely free
  • 256-bit encryption

Cons:

  • Manual setup
  • Might be confusing for starters
  • Limited support and inactive servers

Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS

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Bonus: Private Internet Access – One Month Free per Year

If you’re looking for a VPN service that offers almost everything you might want, and you’re willing to pay for it, or at least check it out, Private Internet Access (PIA) offers one of the widest networks with more than 3,200+ servers located in around 30 different countries. The company offers high-speed access and a variety of tunneling and encryption protocols. PIA also offers enterprise solutions where their tunneling service can be scaled up on demand for large organizations.

best free vpn services pia Private Internet Access

PIA also has a strict zero-logging policy and comes with support for macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android. Additionally, there’s an inbuilt ad blocker as well as protection against tracking. While PIA does not qualify to be one of the best free VPN services – because it’s not free, it is pretty economical at starting at $2.59 per month. You also get one additional month free if you subscribe for the service for a year and three extra months free with the two-year plan.

Pros: Zero logging, 3,200+ servers worldwide, ad and tracking blocker, economical, enterprise solutions

Cons: Located in the USA

Availability: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera

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Best Free VPN Services for Privacy and Unrestricted Internet Experience

VPN services ensure that you can access the internet just as it was originally intended to be – unrestricted and without any scrutiny from the authorities. In this article, we’ve tried to include what we think are the best free VPN services available to users.

Beware, the free versions of these popular VPN services might come with throttling in terms of download and upload speeds, although that is admissible in exchange for the privacy that the service ensures. However, we recommend that you use paid VPN services if you desire greater security and better transfer speeds and you can start by testing out some of the freemium services listed above.

So, which VPN services of the above are you using or have used in the past and would recommend to others? Do you think any other service qualifies to be listed among the best free VPN services? We’ll be waiting for your responses, or any queries, in the comments below.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hello, I’m a bit short on money but would really like to get a VPN. I recently found AtlasVPN, it’s free but I’m not sure I trust free VPNs, could you check it out?

  2. Please suggest a free to use VPN service which has support for streaming content like hotstar youtube but has server available in India as well.

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