Sometimes a free VPN is not as reliable as a paid VPN. On the one hand, they have a reputation for playing with your personal data and on the other hand, they limit the service so much that they are basically unusable.
The good news is that there are some great free VPN services out there, including the four we’ve picked here.
None of them will sell your data in exchange for you using their servers, and while they have restrictions that paid VPNs don’t, they can do the job you need.
And the job we’re talking about is actually one of three possible:
- Unblock websites and videos
- Browse the web privately
- Securing your Internet connection to public Wi-Fi access points
A free VPN may be all you need, as long as you don’t want to stream a lot of videos.
This is due to two reasons. First off, most free VPN options only allow you to use a certain amount of data per day (or month).
Video consumes data quickly, and once this limit is reached the VPN connection will terminate and you will either revert to your normal internet connection or find that you cannot stream video anymore due to the “limited” connection speed.
The second reason is that free VPNs limit you to a selection of a few servers. Often times they are not in the places you want, either because they are too far away which means slower browsing speeds, or because you cannot unblock US Netflix because there is no American server to select.
However, if you just want a VPN so you can surf the web without your ISP, government, or the websites themselves tracking your activity, a free VPN may be more than enough.
They are also a great option when you need to connect to free Wi-Fi networks at airports, hotels, and other public places. The Wi-Fi networks in these locations usually do not have a password, which means the connection is not encrypted.
This means that the data sent between your phone, your laptop or Tablet
Free or paid VPN
It’s worth knowing that a paid VPN service with no real limitation can be surprisingly cheap, especially if you don’t mind paying for a subscription several years in advance.
We’ve seen five-year deals as cheap as 0.99 cents a month, and for most people, it’s just not worth putting up with the restrictions of a free service when you can have one. complete at this kind of price.
Currently, Ivacy’s five-year deal is 88% off, bringing the price down to 1.16 per month. Use the code Ivacy20 at checkout and you will get an additional 20% discount.
Surfshark is a good alternative for 2.49 per month, which equates to 1.95. And you’ll find plenty of other VPN deals in our roundup, as well as our recommendations for the highest paid VPN services.
What’s the best free VPN for Mac?
Compared to the other VPNs on this list, ProtonVPN is in a different league. It doesn’t impose any of the restrictions you’d expect from a free VPN service.
There is no limitation, no advertising and you have unlimited data usage. Proton has many servers, but while anyone who signs up for entry level ($ 5 per month) can choose between them, free users can only choose Japan, the Netherlands, or the United States.
The latter is an unexpected benefit, as it provides access to blocked websites in Europe. Don’t get too excited, as this won’t unblock Netflix or other US streaming services.
To do this, you will need to upgrade to a Plus or Visionary account, which gives you access to the “Plus” servers. But, like we said, there are much cheaper payment services out there if your priority is watching Netflix in the US.
Proton is a Switzerland-based VPN that has a no-logging policy, making it a good option for privacy. It offers apps for macOS and iOS (in addition to Windows and Android) that should cover most, if not all, of the devices you want to use.
Just keep in mind that only one device can be connected to the service at a time, but this is impossible to complain about when you are not a paying customer.
Get ProtonVPN here.
Windscribe is a VPN service that supports more devices than you might think. Offers apps for macOS, iOS, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Windows, Android, and Linux.
Apple TV does not have VPN support, so any service that claims to offer an app will point you to an impractical solution using your Mac or router.
There are also browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome, which can be useful if you only want web browsing traffic to go through the VPN connection.
Windscribe gives you a data allowance of 10GB per month which is huge compared to most free VPNs. There are also plenty of servers to choose from, with locations in the US, UK, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Canada, Romania, and Switzerland.
However, as with ProtonVPN, you cannot watch US Netflix and the speeds can be very slow, despite the claim that the free version has no speed restrictions.
Note that you’ll also get a 2GB allowance if you don’t provide an email address, but Windscribe says it doesn’t sell data to third parties even if you use their free service.
Get Windscribe here.
Read the hide.me site and you’ll be tempted to download the app immediately. It won’t bombard you with ads, there is the same 24/7 customer service that paying customers get, there is no limitation, and the bandwidth is unlimited.
So … what’s the catch? And the answer is, despite claiming unlimited bandwidth, free users are only allowed 10GB per month.
That’s five times the original 2GB monthly limit. And now you can continue to use the service after you’ve used up your 10GB, but you will lose the ability to choose a server.
What hide.me means by bandwidth is speed, as it promises fast connections and doesn’t place limits on users of its free offering. (However, he says he won’t guarantee the speed once you hit the 10GB limit, but will offer the best possible service at that time.)
The other two limitations are the five server locations (Singapore, Canada, Netherlands, US East and West) and that only one device can be connected to the service at a time.
There is one last restriction that is not mentioned: Free users do not have P2P support, so they cannot download torrent files or play games using P2P.
The 10GB allowance isn’t as good as the unlimited plan you get with ProtonVPN, but if you’re just looking for a VPN to use on your iPhone or MacBook to secure your connection over public Wi-Fi, it’s probably more than enough.
And don’t get too excited about the two US servers – they won’t unblock Netflix, Hulu, HBO, or other streaming services. Diffusion.
Get hide.me here.
This fun VPN service has been around for years and is now owned by antivirus giant McAfee. The free version is also well known and continues to exist in the exact same format.
This means that unlike free tiers from other providers, TunnelBear gives you access to the full list of 23 locations that paid subscribers get. The downside in this case is that only 500MB of data is allowed to flow through these servers each month.
This is quite restrictive, even if you intend to only use it on public Wi-Fi hotspots, as some users will use up this allowance before the month is up. Even if they are not used up, the data does not accumulate.
Twitter users can tweet bear puns to @thetunnelbear for an additional 500MB that month. There is no problem with that.
There are a few other things that free users are missing out on. First, only one device can be connected to the service, and second, only paid users are given priority support.
So those are the 23 locations, the main reason to use Tunnel Bear over other free services here.
Get TunnelBear here.
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