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10 Top Free VPNs in 2020 (WARNING: Choose Carefully)

Ludovic Rembert
Last Updated on November 23, 2020s
10 Top Free VPNs in 2020 (WARNING: Choose Carefully)

Everyone likes free stuff. Free food samples at Costco or those tiny free perfume or cologne samples you get at the department store.

Free is good because well.. it’s free. So why pay for a VPN when you don’t have to?

With over 1000+ free VPNs on the Android store you’d think that there must be a giant lineup of companies looking to give away their services totally for free. What a nice bunch of companies.

Why would any app or company hire developers, pay for proxy servers, build and host a website to give you a 100% free product? We’re going to look at what is really going on and hopefully provide some clarity on why we never recommend 100% free VPNS.

HINT – most of the products we talk about in this review offer free 30 day trials.

Free vs. Paid VPNs 🕵️ 


Best free VPN

What you pay for is what you get in most scenarios. If you want a free experience in anything there is usually a catch. For the best paid VPNs you get more for what you pay for and the risk of a data breach is lower.

In general – the actual features you get on a paid service will be better.

A premium plan usually gets you more gigabytes and bandwidth to start. On top of that you will get easier to use interfaces, intrusion detection, prevention, and other fun features.

The costs involved in selecting a VPN are relatively low. Below you can see the actual cost of purchasing a VPN and it is very affordable.

Free VPNs go beyond not having as many features. They can put you at serious risk.

When you use a free VPN – you become the product.

They use you as a product in a few ways:

  • They can install malware that can track your activity and steal your data. (Source)
  • Most free VPNs will gather your data and then sell it. This includes all of your financial data. (Source)
  • Seventy-five percent of all the Android VPN apps use third-party tracking software. (Source)
  • 82 percent requested access to private data, such as user accounts and text messages. (Source)

This is the reason we didn’t include and free VPNs. There is no way to verify that they are reliable and trustworthy. Instead, we opted to show you the best cost-effective VPNs that can provide high level service. All of these VPNs also include a nice free trial to get your feet wet in the VPN world.

TLDR;

Free VPNs are not worth saving a few dollars over. You have an high chance of encountering negative consequences. Rather than going that route it is best to take advantage of free trials offered by regular VPNs. The best option in our eyes, especially if you’re looking to save a little bit of money, is NordVPN.

The other option you have is bouncing between free trials on all of the different VPN services listed here. We don’t recommend this as it will be a headache and it is easier to just pay a few bucks to a reputable VPN service.

10 Best VPNs FREE VPNs in 2020


Rather than ranking the VPNs that will steal your information and take advantage for you we decided to outline the positives and negatives of different VPN services that offer free trial periods.

Below you will find information about features, servers, and how easy the service is to use.

1. Surfshark – The Best Free VPN


You may never have heard of Surfshark and that’s okay. The reason for that is because they’re the newest VPN service that we have reviewed on this website. For all intents and purposes, it looks like Surfshark is gunning to take over the VPN world.

Free Trial

Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • The best protocol for streaming with IPv6. Rarely get blocked out of Netflix due to using a VPN
  • Able to torrent and P2P share unlike some other VPNs on the market
  • No logging which means you never have to be worried they are selling your information
  • Unlimited everything including connections, servers, IP addresses, and bandwidth
  • Located in the British Virgin Islands which means no prying eyes from the government
  • Best security and encryption available with IPv6, 256-bit AES encryption, 2048-bit DHE-RSA key exchange, and SHA512 authentication hash
  • Kill-switch and other security features
  • Accepts crypto and other mainstream versions of payment
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • WebRTC leak and DNS protection throughout the network
  • Great pricing with long term plans only being $2.49 per month

Cons

  • Speeds can vary quite a lot from server to server
  • Newer company so server base is still growing

Ways to Save and How to Pay

SpecificationsDetails
Refund Policy/Guarantee 30-day money-back guarantee
Trial PeriodNone
Payment OptionsPayPal, Google Pay, Cryptocurrency, Alipay, Dragon Pay
Discounts/CouponsIntroductory coupon, sharkstart

Who should use Surfshark?

Anyone who can commit to a two-year plan that wants the best security and streaming options. Read our full Surfshark review.

2. NordVPN – Massive Network and FBI-Level Security


NordVPN is one of the most used VPNs today. There is a good reason for that as it is also one of the most highly regarded VPNs. It’s tough to have a conversation in general about the best VPN on the market without mentioning NordVPN.

Free Trial

NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • NordVPN comes with P2P capability, a kill switch, Tor over VPN, smart DNS service, a dedicated IP, and SOCKS5 proxies.
  • Their customer support is also fantastic at dealing with any issue that may come up with any of the features you want to use.
  • A few other features including CyberSec, which automatically blocks suspicious websites so that no malware or other cyber threats can infect your device.
  • Additionally, no flashy ads will come into your sight and obfuscation which scrambles your traffic, preventing ISPs from throttling your speed when browsing on an encrypted channel.
  • With more than 5,000 servers worldwide in every major country, there is almost nowhere you can go with a server out of reach. On top of that, you can connect to six devices and use the service for Netflix.
  • At $2.99 per month, if you want to commit to a three-year, it becomes hard to justify the risk in using a free VPN. You spend a little over $100 and stop worrying about your VPN for three years.

Cons

  • The pricing structure is wacky and really leads you to a three-year plan. A one month plan comes in at $11.95.

Ways to Save and How to Pay

SpecificationsDetails
Refund Policy/Guarantee 30-day money-back guarantee
Trial PeriodNone
Payment OptionsVisa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Alipay, Giropay, Sofort, iDeal, UnionPay
Discounts/Coupons15% student discount and constantly changing promotional pricing

Who should use NordVPN?

Anyone who can commit to a three-year plan that wants a high-end service for a small amount of money. Read our full NordVPN review.

3. ExpressVPN – Fast Speeds and Complete Anonymity


At current count, ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries. It is almost impossible to go into a country with internet and not have access to one of their servers.

ExpressVPN is a premium VPN service that delivers one of the fastest and most reliable VPN services around, they are one of the most trusted VPN solutions on the market with over 10 million satisfied customers.

Free Trial

ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

Pros

  • With unlimited data, 24/7 customer support, easy to use apps for all devices, split tunneling, speed tests, and no logging ExpressVPN really brings it with their features.

Cons

  • ExpressVPN is a pricier option than the rest of the list but you do pay for what you get. One minor problem is that you only get three connections at once which can be limiting for a household.

Ways to Save and How to Pay

SpecificationsDetails
Refund Policy/Guarantee30-day money back guarantee
Trial Period12-month purchase necessary (includes free 3 months), price increases to $12.95 per month upon renewal
Payment OptionsVisa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Visa, Delta, Diners Club International, Paypal, Bitcoin, Alipay, UnionPay, iDeal, Klarna, WebMoney, GiroPay, Interac, Mint, FanaPay, YandexMoney, OneCard
Discounts/CouponsExpressVPN updates their promotional pricing regularly

Who should use ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN is for people who don’t mind paying a little more for their VPN service to get top-notch performance. Read our full ExpressVPN review.

4. Windscribe – Strong Security with Ad Blocker


Reddit has raved about this service, noting its generous monthly bandwidth and user incentives (If you send a Tweet @WindScribe, you automatically receive an additional 5GB).

Try out the service completely free and if you love it and want to upgrade, you can with affordable plans. Currently, the cost sits at $4.08 per month if you purchase for a year.

Free Trial

Windscribe is free in USA, Canada, UK, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, and Romania. They also offer a 3-Day Money-Back Guarantee or 10GB of Usage, whichever you hit first.

Pros

  • Since they’re nice enough to let people use their service for free, it comes as no surprise that Windscribe is a Canadian company.
  • Their free version of the software is pretty good and rather than making you their product they hope that you’ll love the service so much you will upgrade it.
  • Windscribe has some great features on their free service such as built-in firewall, ad blocking, and P2P capabilities.

Cons

  • You can only have one connection at a time which can be severely limiting. Even though it is awesome that Windscribe is in Canada and even though they say they don’t log activitythe government can force them to hand over customer data.

Ways to Save and How to Pay

SpecificationsDetails
Refund Policy/Guarantee3-Day money back guarantee or 10 GB of usage
Trial PeriodUse for free in USA, Canada, UK, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, and Romania
Payment OptionsMajor Credit Cards, PayPal, Visa/Mastercard branded debit cards, most cryptocurrencies, and mobile in-app purchases. You can even mine for upgrades using a browser-based crypto-miner.
Discounts/CouponsMine for upgrades using a browser-based crypto-miner.

Who should use Windscribe?

Windscribe is for people that need a VPN for free and are open to upgrading. (Read our full Windscribe review)

5. TunnelBear – Unrestricted Streaming Support


One great thing about TunnelBear is their marketing. There are a lot of promos all over their social media that can be taken advantage of. One example is you receive a free gig if you @TunnelBear. Their mascot is also an adorably vicious bear.

Free Trial

Tunnelbear allows you to dip your hand into the honey for free if you use under 500 MB of data per month.

Pros

  • Obviously, the fact that they have a free plan is awesome. Take advantage of it to see if you would like to use TunnelBear long-term.
  • TunnelBear has over 900 servers and fast speeds.
  • The best part of TunnelBear is that they are top-notch at circumventing geoblocking. It can let you watch BBC iPlayer from anywhere.

Cons

  • Since they only give you 500 MB per month to work with you will have to upgrade if you plan on using a VPN a lot and speeds tend to be low depending on your proximity to a server.

Ways to Save and How to Pay

SpecificationsDetails
Refund Policy/GuaranteeNone
Trial PeriodFree for 500 MB of data per month
Payment OptionsMasterCard, Visa, American Express, Bitcoin, and Jars of Honey
Discounts/CouponsPromos appear on social media accounts often

Who should use TunnelBear?

TunnelBear is great for people who need to get around all geoblocking as well as want the opportunity to try the service for free. Read our in-depth TunnelBear review.

6. VyprVPN – Proprietary Security Features


VyprVPN has a unique plan that gives users two simultaneous connections, a variety of protocols, an encrypted messaging app and NAT firewall that blocks unrequested inbound traffic when you’re connected to VyprVPN. All this, totally free of charge.

Free Trial

VyprVPN offers a 3-day free trial when you purchase the service and a 30-day money back guarantee as well.

Pros

  • VyprVPN offers multiple protocols such as L2TP/IPsec that works by L2TP packets between endpoints being encapsulated by IPsec.
  • OpenVPN that uses all of the encryption, authentication, and certification features of the OpenSSL library to protect your private network traffic as it transits the internet, PPTP.
  • Their very own Chameleon protocol which has been proven to get past most blocking attempts.

Cons

  • The biggest con against VyprVPN is the fact that they have been blocked by Netflix.
  • Another big negative with Vypr is that it only lets you have two connections at a time which can be annoying when trying to access the internet and you want to do multiple tasks at once on different devices.

Ways to Save and How to Pay

SpecificationsDetails
Refund Policy/GuaranteeNone when using free trial, 30-day guarantee when paying
Trial Period3-day free trial upon purchase
Payment OptionsMasterCard, Discover, American Express, Visa, PayPal, Alipay
Discounts/CouponsVypr VPN offers regularly updated promotional pricing

Who should use VyprVPN?

VyprVPN is another great geoblocking VPN. While they have been blocked by Netflix in the past they do have a good reputation for getting past geoblockers. Read our full VyprVPN review.

7. ProtonVPN – From the Makers of ProtonMail


ProtonVPN is one of the newer VPN solutions around, but they’re also one of the best when it comes to free VPN service. Proton AG is a group composed of Harvard scientists and die-hard advocates for privacy.

Free Trial

ProtonVPN offers free service with lower speeds in three different countries as well as a 30-day money back guarantee.

Pros

  • ProtonVPN was created by a group of Harvard scientists – whether that adds a stamp of approval or disapproval, we’re not quite sure.
  • They have some of the faster free speeds on their free trialwhen compared to other free trials even though they are marketed as lower speeds against their paid service.
  • ProtonVPN has native clients for Android, Windows, macOS, and iOS. They also offer a command-line tool for Linux and support for routers.

Cons

  • The free service has no geoblocking optimization of P2P functionality which means you won’t be able to torrent.
  • Speeds aren’t as great on other options and as their free plan is available longer speeds will slow down further as more and more users jump on the service.

Ways to Save and How to Pay

SpecificationsDetails
Refund Policy/Guarantee 30-day money-back guarantee
Trial PeriodFree service with lower speed and only three countries
Payment OptionsPayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Bitcoin
Discounts/CouponsProton VPN offers coupons for bundling VPN and email services. Rotating coupon codes can be found such as: bestdeal

Who should use ProtoVPN?

Only people looking for a short-term and free service.

8. Trust.Zone – Reliable, But…


Trust.Zone’s system-wide hardware isolation makes them one of the most reliable free VPNs of 2020. Their strict no logs policy is just one of the things that makes them a worthwhile solution.

Free Trial

Trust.zone offers a 3-day free trial. We wish this was longer.

Pros

  • Great features are available such as AES-256 default encryption, OpenVPN, L2TP over IPSec with 256-bit AES encryption, anti-virus, 200 IP addresses, a kill switch, P2P, and they accept Bitcoin.
  • They also have system-wide hardware isolation which makes them more reliable than other services.

Cons

  • No chat or phone support so you will have to rely on their ticket system. Even though a ticket system isn’t ideal they do a good of responding to and helping users.
  • Free users can only use one device at a time and when you do pay you can only use three devices at the same time.

Ways to Save and How to Pay

SpecificationsDetails
Refund Policy/GuaranteeNone
Trial Period3-day free trial
Payment OptionsBitcoin, Emercoin, Verge, PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Bank Transfers, Alipay, WebMoney, iDeal, UnionPay, Qiwi, and more
Discounts/CouponsTrust.Zone updates promotional pricing on their website regularly

Who should use Trust.Zone?

Trust.zone has high-level security and DNS leak protection which makes them one of the safer free options on the market. Read our complete Trust.Zone review.

9. Private Tunnel – Multiple Device Support


Private Tunnel is the commercial off-shoot of OpenVPN Technologies. With affordable plans that provide 100 to 500 GB, Private Tunnel has proven that they can roll with the big dogs and protect your anonymity online with their 128-bit AES-GCM encryption.

Free Trial

Private Tunnel offers a 7-day free trial.

Pros

  • Private Tunnel branched off from OpenVPN technologies making them industry veterans.
  • This can provide peace of mind when using a free trial. Their free trial gives you complete access to their software with data restrictions (which is not the case for all free VPN services on this list.)

Cons

  • Data leaks on their Mac version and a low number of servers.
  • They do have servers in Canada so the service can still be used by Canadians. Other countries aren’t so lucky.
  • Private Tunnel is also based in the US which means that Private Tunnel could be forced to give up user’s data.

Ways to Save and How to Pay

SpecificationsDetails
Refund Policy/GuaranteeNone
Trial Period7-day free trial
Payment OptionsMajor Credit Cards, Major Debit Cards, PayPal, Bank Transfers
Discounts/CouponsPrivate Tunnel does not offer coupons at this time

Who should use Private Tunnel?

Private Tunnel can be used for free by anyone, anywhere. But, it can only be used securely by PC owners — not Mac users, unfortunately.

10. Vanished VPN – Netflix Optimized Service


Vanished VPN is an Australia-based VPN service that’s ideal for those who are looking to access lots of Netflix content, particularly those who want access to Netflix libraries.

Free Trial

Vanished VPN offers a 3-day free trial.

Pros

  • Besides the coolest logo out of the bunch and my personal favorite name, Vanished VPN allows you to stream a lot content unavailable to Australians, and generally all non-Americans.

Cons

  • Vanished VPN has slow recorded speeds and the signup and setup process can be confusing and difficult.
  • There is a manual process involved that seems silly to go through with other options.

Ways to Save and How to Pay

SpecificationsDetails
Refund Policy/GuaranteeNone
Trial Period3-day free trial
Payment OptionsVisa, MasterCard, American Express
Discounts/CouponsNone

Who should use Vanished VPN?

There isn’t much of a reason to use Vanished as the speeds are so slow.

 

 

Top 10 Free VPNs in 2020: Buying Guide


Security: Strong Encryption Protocols

VPN Protocols

When looking for a trustworthy VPN provider, one of your primary concerns should be online privacy and security.

To ensure you’re getting the safest experience possible, be sure to look out for important security features such as a NAT Firewall, DNS leak protection and the encryption protocols your provider offers.

If you don’t know what to look out for, you will most likely come across the following VPN protocols when searching for a VPN provider: OpenVPN, PPTP, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2. At this moment in time, the most secure VPN protocol is OpenVPN.

Mechanisms such as VPN kill switches — or internet kill switches — are also useful at preventing your connection from unexpected exposure as they can be used to disconnect your device from the internet should your VPN connection drop or the server go down.

If the VPN provider you have selected does not come with an integrated kill switch, you have the option to use a separate internet kill switch, though they are often less convenient. While many free VPN services understandably lack a kill switch, Surfshark, NordVPN and Trust.Zone all feature an integrated kill switch with their plans.

Speed: Bandwidth and Performance

While there’s no denying that your main concern when looking for a VPN provider should be privacy, I don’t know a single soul who would want to compromise on speed. No one in their right mind would want to experience slow connection speeds, which is why it’s important to opt for a high-speed VPN service.

If you plan on using a VPN to watch your favourite Netflix shows, you should look for a VPN service that allows for high-speed streaming. Apart from that, bandwidth should be your number one priority when looking for a VPN service provider, especially if you want a seamless browsing experience

The main problem with most free VPN providers is that they often cap your internet usage, which, in turn, will inevitably slow down performance. We’ll discuss data caps in more detail later in this section of the guide.

Number and Location of Servers

One of the main factors that determines the initial and overall speed of your connection is the number of servers and where they are located. While many new VPN users often think of virtual private networks as having a single server, VPNs actually require multiple servers to handle a lot of traffic.

Many free VPN providers like the ones on this very list typically limit free users to a small number of locations, reserving the rest of their servers for paying customers.

When it comes to the location of servers, having a VPN server located nearby your home can be very beneficial when it comes to response time and input lag. This is especially important if you intend to use a VPN for online gaming.

On the other hand, a VPN server located in another country is also beneficial if you want to access specific geo-restricted content, such as the popular US or UK versions of Netflix.

Data Caps: Monthly Data Limit

network bandwidth

One of the most misunderstood features when it comes to virtual private networks is data usage and data caps. You’d be surprised to discover just how many people don’t know that a VPN increases your total data usage, even if it’s just by a small amount.

This has to do with the fact that all the data has to pass through your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to reach the VPN server. Despite being encrypted, the data still uses bandwidth.

In most instances, free virtual private network providers impose restrictive daily/monthly data caps that you’ll use up in no time at all. For this exact reason, we highly recommend opting for a VPN provider that offers unlimited bandwidth, such as ExpressVPN.

Privacy Policy: Reputable VPNs

Given that the main use of a VPN is to provide a secure connection, you must look for a reputable VPN provider with its privacy policy displayed on the site, explaining if it logs data or traffic and how long it is kept for. Trustworthy VPN providers will always disclose their log policies on the website, even if it isn’t immediately obvious.

So if you ever come across a provider that isn’t transparent about its privacy policies, chances are they don’t take privacy seriously and you should avoid them at all costs.

Platforms Supported: Device Availability

Another factor that should be taken into consideration when looking for a free VPN service is the type of devices and operating systems supported, such as Windows and macOS. If you’re specifically looking for a VPN for Android or even iOS devices, there are several free options available, such as ProtonVPN.

Furthermore, if you are looking for VPN protection on multiple devices, it is important to note the number of devices that can be connected simultaneously. Some free VPN providers such as VyprVPN allow users to collect two devices simultaneously.

While this number is lower than what some of the paid VPN plans offer, it’s more than enough for many users.

P2P Functionality: P2P-Friendly Servers

peer-to-peer-model

If you plan on sharing files with a large number of people, we advise you to look for a VPN with P2P (Peer-to-Peer) networking.

While the reputation of P2P friendly VPN services is generally negative, P2P technology is suitable for sharing vast amounts of important company data internally.

P2P servers can also be used to swiftly download torrents. Be that as it may, safety and security is something that must be taken into consideration when sharing or even downloading files from a P2P VPN network.

If you’re looking for a secure VPN plan with P2P networking, NordVPN services come with P2P compatibility in addition to a kill switch for extra safety measures.

Pricing: Free VPN vs Paid VPN

Regardless of whether you’re looking for a free or cheap VPN service in Canada, it is crucial that you look at the features included with the plan, such as security and overall performance. Generally speaking, the features offered by paid VPN services are usually better than what most of the free VPN plans on the market offer.

Considering cost-effective VPNs don’t offer many security features compared with paid plans, they can sometimes put you at risk. Which is why we recommend taking advantage of free trials before opting to pay for a premium VPN service such as NordVPN.

Who Are You Going With?


There is never a good reason to use a free VPN. You may be itching to watch season 12 of Teen Mom through a VPN in some random country that has it but using a free VPN is never worth it.

Picking a VPN can be daunting but luckily there are a bunch of free trials and money back guarantees to take advantage of. A good strategy would be testing out a few and seeing how speeds are for you personally as well as making sure you like the interface.

Instead, there are many affordable options that come with free trials. Surfshark is our pick and it serves all of its users well. It will provide you with everything you need.

FAQ


Which is the best free VPN?

No VPNs that are completely free should be used or trusted. Rather than risking your cybersecurity and all of your data you should take advantage of using a free trial with a reputable company. The best cheaper option is NordVPN.

What is the fastest free VPN?

A lot of free VPNs will boast fast speeds but none of them are going to have as solid of infrastructure as one you pay for.

If you do find a fast one that compares to a regular VPN service it won’t compare in pretty much every other way. There are many cheaper speedy options.

Is there a free VPN?

It seems like there is a new free VPN every single day. Why is that? They want to get you on the VPN service and use your data to make money. They can sell your information to the highest bidder and just like that, you have become a product.

Are free VPNs safe to use?

Yes and no. Generally speaking, the VPNs we listed here are okay. However, most people looking for totally free VPNs are asking for trouble. As it turns out, nearly half of all supposedly-free virtual private network applications are owned by Chinese companies.

So no – they are not safe. Free VPN services still need to make money somehow. The way they do that is by taking advantage of you and this can be done in multiple ways without you even knowing. Some of the methods can be truly harmful.

What is the best free VPN for Netflix?

The best VPN for Netflix are many of the choices listed above. Our first choice is NordVPN. The service does have a free trial but you will have to pay after the trial. The good news is that NordVPN is relatively cheap and signing up won’t cost you much money.

What is the best free VPN for torrenting?

The best VPN for torrenting is similar to our answer for Netflix. Any regular VPN will allow you to do this and our rankings above can provide options such as NordVPN and Surfshark.

Are VPN services legal or are they illegal?

Yes, except in a few exceptions such as Iran. You can use a VPN in most places around the world. A few governments like China does not necessarily ban VPNs, they simply block the domain so you can’t download the VPN client and subscribe to the services.

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