To secure data, unlock geo-limited content or browse anonymously, users use a VPN. This easy-to-use software offers a multitude of advantages on the internet. If you want to try this cybersecurity tool before you commit, it’s worth starting with a free VPN.
We tested more than a dozen, and here is our ranking with the best free VPN. We also give you a tip to get the best alternative – also free – for 30 days. While 100% free offers are popular with novices, they are not always enough to have complete anonymity. This can even be even more dangerous in some cases.
Now that we’ve made you the list with the top free VPN, we’ll now go to the details of each of them. Look at our advice until the end; there are subtleties to keep in mind. If you have any questions about these publishers, just contact us by email to find out more.
Our tip to get a free and premium VPN
Before introducing you to the selection of suppliers of free VPNs (limited on many points), we first want to give you a tip that many people use to have a premium VPN at 0. This is the best way to protect your data without having to pay for it.
If you want to take advantage of a premium VPN, the plan is to take advantage of its flexible selling conditions. Indeed, some premium suppliers offer a period of “satisfied or refunded” without any conditions. With the refund guarantee, you can take advantage of a free VPN trial over a period of time.
In our opinion, the best way to get a free VPN is to use ExpressVPN and benefit from the “satisfied or refunded” period. For 30 days, you can cancel your offer without justification via online chat. It’s the highest-end VPN on the market, and you can test it without a limit over that time.
So yes, you’re going to have to pay at the beginning (12 euros for the subscription over 1 month), but your fees will be fully re-credited at the end of this period. So you’ll enjoy the benefits of the best VPN we’ve tested without paying a penny. You can do the same with other premium players like CyberGhost or NordVPN.
You’ll have ultimate anonymity and maximum security, as well as excellent connection speed. Nothing to do with selecting free VPNs below, which are always limited on these 3 points. Some VPNs at no cost also have no qualms about reselling your data behind your back; you have to be careful when taking offers at no cost.
This method’s interest with ExpressVPN is that you will have a free premium and unlimited VPN, except over the duration (30 days). If you intend to use a VPN regularly, you will have to migrate to a paid offer. This is the only way to have the confidentiality and performance of a service of this standard.
With ExpressVPN, you’ll have the following benefits:
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited speed
- More than 3,000 servers available
- 94 countries available
- Works with Netflix
- Works in every country in the world
- Live customer support 24/7/365
- State-of-the-art security
- Lack of log conservation
These benefits are not found in any other free VPN, not even those we will present below. They will have fewer servers, fewer countries, a bandwidth limit, limited speed, little customer support – or even flaws. Some publishers even resell their users’ data to earn money on their backs.
As you will understand, if you want the best free VPN for 30 days, express VPN will have to choose. After this period, you will have to choose: 1) pay a license, 2) change the premium provider and ask again for 30 days free or 3) opt for a free and limited VPN. If you are looking for real anonymity, the first 2 options are really unavoidable.
10 Best Free VPN 2021
Now that you know our trick to have the best free VPN, we’ll introduce you to 4 offers that require zero credit card. It’s 100% free, but in return, you will be limited on several points. That said, if you want to use this software on an ad hoc basis and without requirements, that can be enough. On the other hand, you should not expect good security.
The first publisher of our free VPN ranking is none other than ProtonVPN. It clearly deserves its number one spot in comparing the best free Virtual Private Network of 2021. Indeed, it offers a correct free formula. And you won’t need to fill in your banking information, which is pretty nice. That said, it is far from good quality service, unlimited and secure as is the case with an ExpressVPN.
You should choose this free VPN because it is the only one in our ranking to have no transfer limit. This means you’ll be able to activate ProtonVPN without counting your data usage. This publisher’s unlimited bandwidth puts it at the top of our ranking of cost-free solutions. It must be said that this is an asset for free software.
On top of that, it’s worth noting the beautiful interface of this VPN, whether on Mac, Windows, iOS or Android. It’s ergonomic, and everything is perfectly translated into French. For these reasons, it places itself on the first step of our comparison of the best free VPN. This is an additional asset and simplifies the grip of most beginners in computer science.
Why isn’t ProtonVPN perfect?
You can imagine that his trial version has some real downsides. Unlike its paid offers (more complete but costly at home), the restrictions will be quite numerous with its version “Free”, at 0.
One can first criticize the small number of countries covered by ProtonVPN. In this case, you will only have the choice between 3 countries. Yes, you read that right. Remember that one of a VPN’s goals is to allow you to change your IP and location by logging into the chosen country. Only three options will be available to you: the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan. Suffice to say that this will not be possible if you want a French IP address when travelling abroad.
We told you above that, in our opinion, ExpressVPN is the best free VPN for 30 days thanks to its “satisfied or refunded” period. This VPN provider stands out for its performance in terms of connection speed. The same cannot be said of the ProtonVPN Free formula. Indeed, the rates are bad because of the abundance of free customers and the limited amount of servers.
Note, however, that you will benefit from ProtonVPN Plus (premium subscription) over 7 days by subscribing to the free offer. This will give you a false impression of speed… which will end after 7 days. So beware of this case with an offer that you will soon regret.
The third criticism that can be made to him is at the level of his customer support. Who says free VPN says fewer means to develop its service. While ExpressVPN offers help via its messaging – with ProtonVPN, it will be by email. Sometimes you have to wait 24 hours to get an answer.
Hotspot Shield Free VPN
On the podium of our free VPN ranking, we find the outsider Hotspot. Me. This German origin supplier can please you with its 5 locations and its customer support via chat on its website. However, its offer remains limited in terms of bandwidth: only 10 Gb per month.
Why choose Hotspot. Me?
Although it’s really not unlimited, Hotspot, I have enough to appeal to users with its free offer and its 10 Gb of bandwidth every month. We’re not going to lie to each other, you’re not going to last a whole month with this, but it can help you out urgently. If you wanted to watch streaming movies, it would disappear very quickly.
Unlike ProtonVPN, which was limited to 3 countries, you will be able to position your IP address in 4 different countries: Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States (East and West Coast). Recall that the giant ExpressVPN, which comes with 30 days “satisfied or refunded”, is present in 94 countries.
Again, if you want a free and unlimited VPN, you won’t be at the right address.
What is particularly appreciated about the hiding? My provider is that it has an online chat, even for free users. This sets it apart from ProtonVPN and Windscribe, which offer either the mail or the robot. This is a good point for the German technology publisher.
Why isn’t he perfect?
You can’t expect a free VPN to be perfect on every point. That’s normal; you don’t pay, so you can’t have premium VPN standards like ExpressVPN. Some shortcomings of this publisher are still to be taken into account at the time of choice.
We can only go back to the bandwidth of 10 Gb. To give you a little idea, if you’re watching an entire episode of a Netflix series in HD, you’ll have used it all for the month.
It will be stressed once again that this is not a good VPN software for France. Indeed, it will not let you connect to a French server in its available locations. Suffice to say that if you wanted a French IP address with this VPN, it wouldn’t be possible.
The same goes for people looking for a free VPN for Belgium or Switzerland. These locations will only be available if you switch to the premium version. And instead of choosing Windscribe as a premium, we advise you to go on one of the best premium VPNs, like the giants ExpressVPN or CyberGhost.
We may end up with a lack of compatibility with P2P, preventing you from downloading and sharing your torrents when your software is enabled. Again, the Windscribe VPN doesn’t want to overload its bandwidth. It is therefore obliged to prohibit this practice simply.
Windscribe is also one of the free VPNs that get excellent feedback from users. What for? Because it offers a 100% free offer, of good quality, with rather decent bandwidth and 10 countries accessible. So it’s better than ProtonVPN in available countries but much worse in the rest. Depending on your usage, however, this may be useful.
Why choose him?
If you want a free VPN that won’t ask for a credit card, Windscribe VPN is a nice option. In fact, the publisher offers 10 Gb of bandwidth every month for its users at 0 degrees. But if it were just that, it wouldn’t be as high in our comparison.
What is appreciable with him is the “broad” choice of countries. We were highly critical of ProtonVPN for its 3 countries available, which did not even include France. With its free offer, you will choose to connect in 10 different countries: France, USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway or Romania. Of all the free publishers we’ve tested, none offer such a wide choice of servers.
Of course, you will be limited every month in terms of your bandwidth and help out once in a while. If you don’t use the internet intensively daily, the 10GB free should be more than enough for you.
Another advantage that could convince you to subscribe to this free VPN is its user experience. Apps on Mac, Windows, iOS and Android are really nice and easy to use. If you’re a beginner starting in the world of VPNs (and technology), Windscribe’s intuitive interface is ideal.
Why isn’t Windscribe ideal?
If wind scribe software were perfect, it would be on the top step of comparing the best free VPNs for 2021. Unfortunately, and as you can imagine, it has some weaknesses.
We start first and foremost with our customer support. Here, no human to answer you. It’s a robot that will do it, and you’ll often end up frustrated at not having your questions answered. Once again, this is due to the limited budget that does not allow you to pay for good customer service as express VPN offers.
The second criticism we can make to him is the network. With its free formula, you will only have access to 10 countries with very few servers available. Once again, this results in poor performance in terms of speed and stability. For comparison, CyberGhost VPN displays a list of more than 6,000 servers across 90 countries.
Finally, its free VPN software fails to unlock certain services effectively (such as Netflix). To do this, you’ll need to turn to premium suppliers, such as the Tip at ExpressVPN presented above. Again, you can choose ExpressVPN, but also NordVPN or CyberGhost. These three cybersecurity players are not only the oldest but also the most reliable.
Windscribe Free VPN
To finish our ranking of the best free VPN, place at TunnelBear. World-renowned, this provider offers a non-paying VPN without registration and a bank card; you can try its offer in less than a minute. It’s a good way to try out your software and technology without taking any risks.
Why Windscribe free?
The huge advantage of Windscribe free is that no registration is required. Simply download the app to your computer, tablet or smartphone, and you can log in. It will only take a few seconds to use it.
Also, you will have access to all available countries, even with its free Windscribe free formula. In this case, more than 20 countries are available, including France, the USA, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, Germany and Mexico. This is useful for people who need an IP address in those areas. For others, go your way.
Unfortunately, in terms of the benefits of TunnelBear… we’ll stop there!
Why isn’t TunnelBear perfect?
TunnelBear may be a known free VPN, but it hasn’t improved its service in many years. Also, its bandwidth allocated to its users each month is just ridiculous. You will only have 500 Mb (0.5 Gb) to use each month. While it could still go 10 years ago, it’s inconceivable in 2021.
During our test of the free TunnelBear offer, we lasted less than 10 minutes before the 500 Mb was used. Suffice to say that you really won’t get far with this Virtual Private Network. You can also add to this a slow customer support to respond. Again, no chat to get help; you have the choice between a robot or contact by email.
Therefore, this free VPN is limited and will push you very quickly to switch on its paid offers, which are excessively expensive for the time being. In this case, it’s best to subscribe live to a premium VPN without wasting time. Again, their 30- to 45-day trial offers are worth it.
Why are free VPNs dangerous?
If some premium VPN publishers can’t afford to offer their services at no cost, you’d suspect there are reasons. Indeed, developing and maintaining a quality VPN is expensive for publishers fighting a tough battle in a highly competitive market. For example, the CyberGhost VPN must maintain a network of 6,000 servers worldwide, and this requires an IT team and high costs.
So you have to be aware of the risks of bad free VPNs. What do we mean by “bad”? We think of those who will resell your information to finance their service, but that’s not all. We also think of all those who will not protect you because of flaws in their solution. Note that the 5 technology editors presented above are not seen as bad. That said, they are always limited to one level.
In short, let’s see together the risks of these “bad” free VPNs.
They can resell your data without your knowledge.
This is the highest risk with non-paying VPNs. Indeed, to finance themselves, many free suppliers resell the information to third parties. It’s the worst thing that can happen to you – and unfortunately, it happens.
Tell yourself that the costs of running a large network of servers or paying developer and support teams are colossal. There is no rational explanation for offering a free service so that you have no revenue on the other side – especially when there is no advertising to monetize.
In fact, even though they claim to be “no-log”, some free VPNs keep data following the use of their service and then resell it to third-party companies (or even use them themselves for dubious purposes)
They’re not secure
The top of the best free VPN that we presented above manages to finance itself through the paid options they offer. Whether it’s ProtonVPN, Windscribe, Hotspot. Me or TunnelBear, all offer you the option to pay to unlock more services. Thus, they manage to continue to update their VPN to combat a fault risk. But again, they are not as good as the paying players.
This is different from bad free VPNs that do not have the means to develop and improve their software over time. They are often full of flaws and leaks (WebRTC, DNS, IPV6,…) that really undermine your security on the web.
Imagine if you are in a country where VPNs are illegal, such as China or Russia, and your Virtual Private Network does not achieve its mission? The consequences can be serious, and you are at risk. So it’s better to take out a few euros each month to be safe.
They can even spy on you.
In rarer but even more dangerous cases, some free VPNs can spy on you indiscreetly. If you go to the Apple Store or Google Play Store and type the word “VPN,” you’ll see that hundreds of free VPNs come to you. But watch out for some of them.
Many hackers surf VPNs’ popularity to offer dubious software that is not there to protect your data. So we can only warn you of the risks associated with free VPN apps on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
Even Facebook’s free VPN, Onavo “Protect”, turned out to be malware, recovering your data and transferring it to the number 1 social network. That is to say, the importance of choosing your VPN software.
Weaknesses of free VPNs
If we advise you to use the 30 days “satisfied or refunded” at ExpressVPN, it is because it offers a high level of security. With free technology publishers, you’ve seen that there are many flaws.
Few servers and a limited location choice
In our selection of the best free VPNs, the number of countries and servers is limited.
As a reminder, you will only have:
- 3 countries and 30 servers at ProtonVPN
- 10 countries and less than 100 servers at Windscribe
- 4 countries and 5 servers at Hotspot Me
- 20 countries at Tunnelbear
For comparison, you can access:
- 94 countries and 3,000 servers at ExpressVPN
- 89 countries and 6,200 servers at CyberGhost VPN
- 59 countries and 5,000 servers at NordVPN
To discover ExpressVPN, it’s here:
You understand right away why you’re paying for a subscription. These providers all have a satisfying 30-day period (and even 45 days at CyberGhost) that allows you to test them safely. You can connect in every country in the world, without any limits. It’s a real asset that makes it easy to unlock everything.
A limitation for data transfer
Aside from ProtonVPN, which is an exception to the list, free VPN publishers restrict the data transfer number.
To recap, you have:
- 10 GB/month at Windscribe VPN
- 10 GB/month at hiding.me VPN
- 0.5 GB/month at TunnelBear
Here too, everything is unlimited in premium VPNs, even if you use their test.
Speeds that aren’t good
We mentioned that earlier in this article. If you have many users for a little server, this overloads those who can’t deliver a good speed. So don’t expect to be able to enjoy HD streaming with a free VPN. They are not able to provide sufficient bandwidth because of limited infrastructure. They voluntarily force activities such as downloading.
Customer support (often) non-existent
Of the 4 truly free VPN providers we’ve introduced to you, only Hotspot. I offer an online chat. The others provide a robot, a FAQ, or an email form to provide customer support. Suffice to say that this is not ideal for a solved problem. We are far behind services like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN and NordVPN, which have a 24/7 team.
Services that don’t work
With free VPNs, you may be limited in your daily actions, even the best of this comparison. Indeed, remember that VPNs are largely used to change IP addresses. If there are few countries available, you will not be able to connect to certain geo zones.
If your goal is to unlock all of Netflix’s foreign catalogues, this won’t be possible with free offers: their servers aren’t powerful enough. The same goes for P2P downloading incompatible with the majority of free VPNs. It takes too much bandwidth; the VPN will block the source.
Here are the questions we are often asked about the free VPN. Over time, we will be required to expand this FAQ section to answer our readers’ questions. Don’t hesitate to ask us (via social networks, email etc.) to find out more.
Is a free VPN secure?
In most cases, the answer is no. Due to a lack of resources, free VPNs are not always able to deal with security vulnerabilities. Also, the worst of them sometimes resell your data to third parties to finance their service.
Is it possible to watch Netflix with a free VPN?
No. Because they have few servers, Netflix is very quickly able to identify and block them. So you won’t be able to watch Netflix with a VPN at no cost.
Does free VPNs work everywhere?
Again, the answer is no. Indeed, in the most censored countries, their limited number of protocols do not circumvent the blockages in force. These include China, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Turkey and Iran. You’ll need a premium VPN to get around the blockages in these highly censored countries.
Are premium offers really justified?
As you’ve seen throughout our article, premium VPNs are much better than free versions. Not only are they more secure, but they have a much better network that allows you to take full advantage of their service.
How much do I have to pay for a premium VPN?
If you are ready to switch to a premium offer, you can find great offers from 3 euros per month. You will, however, have to commit over a long period (2 or 3 years) to result in a low monthly price.
What’s the point of not paying anything when it’s to compromise your safety and lose the VPN’s interest? If we can give you practical advice, it is 10x better not to use VPN rather than use a free and poor quality. You will have a bad security experience that could quickly backfire.
The plan is to take advantage of ExpressVPN’s free trial formula for a period of 30 days. You will not risk anything, you will enjoy all the benefits unlimitedly, and you will have your refund at the end of the period. If you allow yourself to be tempted in the longer term, you will still be able to take advantage of the 49% discount and the 3 months offered for any 12-month subscription.