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The Best Free VPNs of 2020

Table of Contents

Update: This video’s text says that Tunnelbear offers 500 GB of data, but it actually offers 500 MB of data. 

Wondering if you can use a free VPN to get added privacy and security without paying a dime? It’s a valid question. Why pay for something if you can get it for free, right?

I hereby declare that free VPNs are not unicorns; they do exist. While reviewing dozens of VPN for this site, I’ve come across a handful that offer a free version. After thoroughly testing each of them, I’ve selected my favorites so I now present you the best free VPNs review! Let’s get started!

ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN

With unlimited data, a strong no data logging policy, and a great app, ProtonVPN makes a strong case for being the best free VPN.

Doesn't expire

Windscribe
Windscribe
Windscribe
Windscribe

For less than a penny, Windscribe give you 10 GB of data per month, access to 10 locations around the globe, and features like split tunneling.

Doesn't expire

TunnelBear
TunnelBear
TunnelBear
TunnelBear

With VPN servers in over 22 countries, TunnelBear gives you 500 MB of data per month for free and an app with a great user interface.

Doesn't expire

Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield

With 500 MB per day of data, Hotspot Shield Free is a great free VPN option, giving you a highly-rated app and access to both YouTube and Spotify.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN App on iPhone

ProtonVPN

You rarely hear the words “free” and “unlimited” in the same sentence, which is exactly why ProtonVPN is at the top of our list for best free VPNs. With the free version of ProtonVPN you get unlimited data, which means no monthly data cap. OK, so what’s the catch? Well, you can only use one device simultaneously and you’re limited to servers in three locations: the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan. It’s also worth noting that your speed will be reduced to a “medium” setting, when compared to ProtonVPN Pro.

Let’s talk about where ProtonVPN really shines. Security, privacy, and trustworthiness are ProtonVPN’s middle names. Seriously, ProtonVPN is based out of Switzerland, a country with some of the strongest consumer privacy laws out there. They also have an excellent no data logging policy, which collects just about as little information as possible, and they publish annual transparency reports. ProtonVPN also makes great applications that are easy to use, great looking, and just plain intuitive.

To get more details, check out our full ProtonVPN review.

Get best offer
ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN
ProtonVPN

With unlimited data, a strong no data logging policy, and a great app, ProtonVPN makes a strong case for being the best free VPN.

Windscribe

Windscribe App

Windscribe

“The best things in life are free.” Whoever first said that probably wasn’t referring to VPNs, but it might be true for Windscribe. The 10 GB per month of data you receive for free from Windscribe is hard to beat. What’s more, you can get an additional 5 GB of data just for sending a tweet. That amount of data makes Windscribe a real contender for best free VPN. They do limit you to 10 locations, but luckily that includes popular countries like the United States, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland.

When it comes to mobile, Windscribe might just be the best free VPN for Android, thanks to the generous data cap and features like split tunneling, which lets you do things like watch the United Kingdom’s Netflix while browsing the web from your home. Windscribe is based out of Canada, which is not the best country for a VPN company’s headquarters. Luckily, they have a great no data logging policy so they don’t have any of your web session data to turn over, even if someone asked for it. Their app also includes an ad and malware blocker to give you an extra layer of protection from hackers.

For more information, read our full Windscribe review.

Get best offer
Windscribe
Windscribe
Windscribe

For less than a penny, Windscribe give you 10 GB of data per month, access to 10 locations around the globe, and features like split tunneling.

TunnelBear

Connecting to TunnelBear

TunnelBear

Don’t let your fear of grizzly bears scare you away. TunnelBear is actually one of the most trustworthy VPNs out there, having been independently audited to have a true no data logging policy. That means you can trust that their full AES-256 encryption will keep your sensitive data away from prying eyes. You can also get 500 MB of data per month for free. If that’s not enough for you, you can get more by tweeting at TunnelBear or inviting your friends to sign up.

The back-end of how VPN encryption works is complicated, but using TunnelBear isn’t. Both their mobile and desktop apps have an intuitive On/Off button interface making the app beginner-friendly. On Android, you have access to SplitBear, a split tunneling feature that lets you route only some of your web traffic through the VPN. What’s also nice is that you aren’t limited by server location, even on the free version you have access to all 22 countries.

To get more details, check out my full TunneBear review.

Get best offer
TunnelBear
TunnelBear
TunnelBear

With VPN servers in over 22 countries, TunnelBear gives you 500 MB of data per month for free and an app with a great user interface.

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield is one of the most popular free VPNs in the world, with over 600 million users according to Pango, their parent company. Like every free VPN, Hotspot Shield Free comes with some limitations the Premium version doesn’t have. With the free version, you’ll only have access to one location: the United States. And while you can have up to five devices linked to your account, only one device can be linked simultaneously. Another drawback is that Hotspot Shield Free is supported by ads.

Despite those considerations, the Hotspot Shield mobile apps have great reviews. In the Apple App Store, the average rating from more than 112,000 reviews is 4.5 stars out of 5. When it comes to the Google Play Store, Hotspot Shield has an average score of 4.1 stars out of 5 from over 1.4 million reviews. What can I say? People like free stuff. Besides mobile, you can also connect to their VPN service on Mac, Windows, or using their Chrome extension. The SD streaming available on the free plan will let you watch YouTube and listen to Spotify with ease.

Learn more about both Free and Premium versions in our full Hotspot Shield review.

Get best offer
Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield

With 500 MB per day of data, Hotspot Shield Free is a great free VPN option, giving you a highly-rated app and access to both YouTube and Spotify.

Methodology

Best Free VPNs
Best Free VPNs

When looking for the best free VPN for your situation, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Features:  Free versions of VPNs sometimes have features missing. For example, some VPNs have special servers for P2P file transferring or Netflix that are only available in the paid version. So if you’re looking for advanced features, you may have to pay up.
  • Speed: Luckily with free VPNs, there’s nothing keeping you from downloading the VPN and doing a speed test. In most cases, you need to accept the fact that the free VPN servers will be slower than paid VPNs, mostly because the free servers often get overloaded with users.
  • Data logging: The data logging policy of a VPN is sometimes the same across both free and paid subscriptions, but not always. Watch out for VPN services that give out your information to third party advertisers on the free version. You might not have an issue with this. But for me, giving my data to advertisers defeats the purpose of using a VPN.
  • Server locations: Free VPNs typically limit your data, the number of servers you can use, or both. With that in mind, exotic server locations will be difficult to get without upgrading to a premium service.
  • iPhone: The best free VPN for Mac may not be the best free VPN for iPhone. Some VPNs work excellently on desktop, and then have an iPhone app that constantly drops your server connection. Check reviews in the Apple App Store to see if a VPN’s app is well received.
  • Android: To find the best free VPN Android has to offer, look at which features are available in a VPN’s Android and check the rating it has in the Google Play Store. In some ways, Android has an advantage. For example, split tunneling is easier to find on Android, so the best free VPNs for Android are worse on iPhone.
  • Netflix: This is one of the most difficult features to get on a free VPN. Even if the VPN servers pass Netflix’s firewalls and your speed is high enough that you’re not constantly buffering, chances are you will hit the data cap faster than you can watch the first episode of The Witcher.

Recap

Well, those are our best free VPNs in 2020! If you think a best of the free VPN category is missing or want to share your experience with one of the VPNs above, let us know in the comment section below. We love hearing from our readers.

To learn about all of our top picks, read my review of the best VPNs of 2020.

FAQs

Are there any completely free VPNs?

Yes, there are a few completely free VPNs. You may be limited to a small number of servers or a data cap, but you won’t have to pull out your credit card.

What is the fastest free VPN?

It’s hard to say what the fastest free VPN is. It depends on your location, your device, and your current internet connection. With free VPNs, there’s no drawback to downloading all of them to see which is fastest for you.

Are free VPNs safe?

Some free VPNs are safe, while others are not. Some have weak privacy policies and will sell your data to third party advertisers. It’s best to stick to a trustworthy company with a transparent privacy policy.

Are free VPNs worth it?

It depends. Free VPNs are worth it if you only need a VPN occasionally and not for something data-hungry like Netflix. If will be using the VPN non-stop, it’s better to use a paid VPN, which can be found for a few dollars a month.

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.