Free VPN Service

Best Free VPN Service Available in 2018 – What You Really Pay For

Last updated on August 16, 2018 Views: 5291 Comments: 37

Many web users prefer to use a free VPN rather than a paid service. Although keeping data private and bypassing geo-blocking is now a necessity for most, financial restrictions mean that not everyone can afford top-quality services. But, if someone selects a free VPN option, they need to note that there are limitations. Even the very best free VPN services no longer work for accessing the US Netflix library abroad, or Sky Sports and BBC iPlayer to name a few. We aren’t saying that free VPNs are necessarily bad because more often than not, they get the job done. The issue is, no service is truly free. Users should be aware that they will be paying with something other than money – your privacy and security. Many free VPN providers have been proven to log and sell user information.

In light of the above, we recommend signing up to a free VPN trial to enjoy all the benefits of paid subscriptions for no cost.

 

Free VPN vs Paid VPN

A free VPN Service offers much of the same features as their paid counterparts, but for no financial cost. They are ideal if you’re on a budget or are downloading something for one-off use. However, while free VPN options still provide increased privacy, anonymity, and access, the difference from paid subscriptions is more than just the price tag.

The primary drawbacks of a free VPN server are usage restrictions and low-quality connections. Whether you are protecting your online information or accessing blocked content, an unstable network that frequently drops out defies the point of using a VPN altogether. Another drawback of using free VPN software is the lack of tech support that one can expect to receive. Most only offer an email contact, and it’s likely you’ll have to wait for a response – which can be vexing as the products are prone to malfunctions.

For users looking to access Netflix content from overseas libraries, the streaming service has succeeded in blocking all free VPN providers from bypassing their restrictions. Netflix geo-blocks each program, so certain regions have access to significantly less content than others. As the company continues to fight VPN use, the best options to unblock Netflix changes regularly. In 2017, free VPNs were completely blocked. However, we have an interesting alternative to propose below.

It is because of these reasons that payment-free choices rarely feature in lists of best VPN services. However, many highly-rated paid subscriptions offer VPN free trial periods with complete refunds guaranteed. Using this loophole, you can benefit from the platinum quality of leading providers. We recommend using these (somewhat) free VPN proxy alternatives for accessing Netflix’s full catalog, along with other channels such as Sky, Channel 4, BBC iPlayer and NOW TV.

*Please see specific brands for Netflix

Best Free VPNs Reviews – Totally Free VPNs, Free Trials and Money-Back Alternatives

Be it that you choose a paid VPN provider or a free VPN client, at the end of the day, it comes down to your needs: how private and secure you want your connection to be, as well as what you are using the VPN for. A free VPN proxy, for example, is useless if you need to access certain channels. But fear not, there is a whole array of free VPN download software available and is absolutely free of charge. You can even levy a VPN free trial for a service that is usually paid, or take advantage of a paid VPN’s money-back guarantee.

If you are wondering how to get a VPN free, here are just a few examples of free VPN providers that are either free or offer a money-back guarantee…

Best Free VPN Services 2018

#1 CyberGhost Best Free VPN

CyberGhost is known for its world-class VPN software, perfect for safe and secure online browsing and available for a wide range of devices, including Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. The VPN boasts over 1200 servers located around the globe, which DO NOT keep any logs. Your privacy is of the utmost importance to this VPN provider. CyberGhost also offers 24/7 live chat, comprehensive Wi-Fi protection, and support for a wide range of VPN protocols.

5 Best Features:

  • Allows for up to 5 simultaneous devices on one subscription
  • P2P file sharing is allowed with this VPN
  • Atomatic kill switch that cuts your internet connection if the VPN drops
  • 256-bit AES encryption…the best protection you can get
  • Unblocks access to popular streaming websites

CyberGhost offers a great 7-day free trial version, so you can test it out before committing to their premium version. All you need to do is save the file on your computer and then follow the setup wizard. Once installed, you can boost your internet experience with CyberGhost’s safe, anonymous, and private VPN. And if you do sign up for the premium version, CyberGhost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked.

#2 ExpressVPN 30 Day Trial Money Back Guaranteed

Although not an entirely free VPN provider, ExpressVPN has long been rated as one of the top 10 VPN services, continuously providing first-rate connection speeds and unlimited bandwidth. Users can freely try the industry leader of VPN providers for one month by taking advantage of its money-back guarantee service.

5 Best Features:

  • Available on all devices and operating systems – including apps
  • Fast and efficient 24-hour customer support
  • Guaranteed high-speeds
  • Secure connection ensures no one can access your data – 256-bit AES encryption
  • No activity or connection logs

Its 30-day trial allows you to enjoy free VPN software from one of the best products on the market! Because of this, we recommend ExpressVPN as the best free fast VPN service.

#3 ProtonVPN (Totally Free VPN Service)

For those wondering how to get a VPN free, Proton VPN could be your answer. For a free VPN provider, ProtonVPN has pretty good connection speeds and many innovative security layers, however, they are slightly lacking in the customer service department. The Swiss-based team is very transparent in all that they do and have decided to offer access to their VPN service to anyone absolutely free of charge. On top of that, it has one of the best free VPN apps on the market. One factor to be wary of is that it only caters to Windows consumers, so if you use anything else, you are out of luck. It is possible to install third-party software to make it available on Mac, Linux, or your mobile, but this can be a lengthy and tiresome process. There is also an option to use a paid version of Proton VPN, where users can experience faster speeds and more features plus access to more server locations. Overall, this is a top-notch free VPN client.

5 Best Features:

  • No logging
  • AES 256-bit encryption technology
  • Secure core architecture – blocks surveillance by governmental agencies and hackers
  • Unlimited amount of usage free of change
  • Located in Switzerland where there are the world’s strongest privacy laws (as in, ProtonVPN won’t be coerced to share user data)

#4 HideMe (Totally Free VPN Service)

HideMe is another anonymous free VPN offering a free web proxy to surf the web privately and access blocked sites. When choosing a VPN provider, security is a top factor. With HideMe, an auditor has confirmed that even the free version keeps no activity or connection logs at all. By subscribing to the paid plan, users can take advantage of up to five simultaneous connections. Users should also keep in mind that the free version offers limited protocol options and does not allow for OpenVPN or SoftEther.

5 Best Features:

  • Very simple and fast setup
  • VPN for Mac, Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android devices
  • Logless
  • Kill switch
  • 256-bit key AES encryption

HideMe’s paid version offers a 14-day money-back guarantee as well as a 1-day totally free trial, for users who wish to try out the paid plan and note the differences.

#5 TunnelBear (Totally Free VPN Service)

With any free VPN download, unlimited data is a definite plus. While Tunnelbear is a great anonymous free VPN it only offers 500 MB of free data every month. The only way to access unlimited data would be to sign up for the paid version. Overall TunnelBear is a highly secure VPN, though users should note there have been some issues with speed being slightly on the slow side.

5 Best Features:

  • High-quality security (OpenVPN, 256-bit AES, and IPSec)
  • User-friendly interface
  • Up to five devices can be used simultaneously (including the free version!)
  • Available on Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS
  • Very easy to use for non-techy users

TunnelBear offers a seven-day free trial so that users can experience the paid service free of charge.

#6 HotSpot Shield Free VPN Service

With over 500 million users, HotSpot Shield is the largest VPN provider in the world. With citizens in highly censored countries such as China and Egypt using its services, HotSpot Shield has found ways to keep users secure via its free software. The reliable service also offers unlimited bandwidth. However, it proves less reliable when it comes to its customer support, along with its transparency of available servers and encryption strength. There have also been suspicions that the server uses user information to serve advertisements despite claiming ‘no data logging’. With no formal investigation, it is difficult to separate rumors from the truth.

5 Best Features:

  • No data logging
  • Supports anonymous torrenting
  • Available on Android, Windows, Mac, iOS and Google Chrome
  • Very fast speeds
  • Great user experience – beautifully designed

HotSpot Shield offers a seven-day free trial to get the entire unrestricted experience (of the paid version).

#7 SurfEasy (Totally Free VPN Service)

SurfEasy is a free fast VPN that is reliable. It has some of the lowest prices on the market for its paid version that you can find. An honest and transparent company, it provides a totally free version with a 500 MB data cap. For those who want a hassle-free and easy-to-use platform, this is a great choice. While SurfEasy it’s a free VPN UK-ready, one thing to note is that the performance can be lacking with some of the servers (such as those in the UK-US), where they have less than impressive speeds of 9Mbps.

5 Best Features:

  • Users can get 500 MB extra free data for every friend they refer
  • Compatible with Mac, iOS, Windows, and Android
  • Great security – OpenVPN protocol
  • ‘Wi-Fi Security’ feature will automatically protect users when using WiFi
  • Easy to install

SurfEasy has a seven-day money-back guarantee on its paid plan for those who want to test it out and compare against the free version.

Using a Free VPN Service – Main Considerations

After weighing up the pros and cons of a free version versus a paid VPN, users should choose a plan that is suitable to their needs. Users should note that the majority of free VPN plans have limitations when it comes to data caps. As well as this, there can be further limitations of speeds and access to all of the servers. Many free VPNs cannot gain access to certain geo-restricted channels.

In order to make your decision easier, here at Secure Thoughts, we have nicely summarized for you all of the main areas where users utilize VPN services, to see if it will or won’t work with a totally free VPN service.

Free VPN for Windows 10

For those of you wondering whether the VPNs mentioned in this article are available for Windows 10 users, you are in luck. All of the VPNs mentioned in this article are in fact available. So if you want a VPN for Windows 10 you could try ExpressVPN or ProtonVPN. With any of these VPNs installed on your PC or laptop device, you can browse safely and effectively even on Wi-Fi networks. If you’re having trouble connecting, make sure that you have a VPN profile on your PC or device, you should be able to create a VPN profile on your own, by visiting the Microsoft Store for an app for that service. Once installed there should be no issues.

Free VPN for PC Users

No one wants to download a VPN, only to realize that it’s not compatible with their device or software. Fortunately, users with a PC, it is very difficult to come across a VPN that is not compatible with a PC. You can get a VPN for PC through the services of CyberGhost and HotSpot Shield, along with nearly every other VPN provider. In fact, we couldn’t find a VPN service that isn’t compatible with PC on the market.

Free VPN for Laptops

When using a laptop, sometimes a VPN connection can be rejected, either due to Wi-Fi issues or the inability to establish a tunnel. When choosing a VPN, make sure that you choose a free VPN for laptop use. A great example of this would be ProtonVPN.

Best Free VPN for Android

Not every VPN is available for Android devices and some are known to perform better than others. If you are looking for a VPN for Android then look no further than HideMe VPN and SurfEasy. Both of these VPNs are among the best free VPNs that will secure and encrypt your connection across all Android devices. HideMe has a special feature on its Android app that will stop and reconnect users should the internet connection be interrupted – providing an extra layer of security.

Free VPN for iPhone

Looking for a VPN that will work wonders on your iPhone? A great VPN for iPhone or even your iPad is TunnelBear. TunnelBear’s simple design makes it easy to connect and disconnect from the VPN. According to its site, it’s “so simple, a bear could use it.” We aren’t so sure about that, but we certainly found it easy to navigate. With strong AES 256-bit military grade encryption, the VPN will be sure to keep all data and activity safe and secure. A majority of the VPN’s mentioned here are compatible with iPhone, apart from ProtonVPN. Here, a separate configuration file needs to be downloaded for it to function properly (a bit of a headache). This is honestly a waste of time if there are already VPN’s out there without the need for downloading separate files.

Free VPN for Netflix and other Streaming

It’s a real cat-and-mouse game when it comes to the streaming giant Netflix and VPNs. VPNs have been working really hard since Netflix started cracking down on them in early 2017. Nowadays, it’s extremely difficult to find a Netflix VPN server that has managed to crack the code. Luckily there are still a few able to break through Netflix’s firewall along with BBC iPlayer’s and various other sports channels. If you look hard enough, you can find a VPN for sports streaming and gain access to watch premier league live stream outside UK waters. But we’ve done the hard work for you; VPNs that have knocked down these barriers include, HotSpot Shield and CyberGhost. Unfortunately, the majority of other VPNs haven’t quite cracked the code.

Free VPN for Torrenting and P2P File sharing on BitTorrent

Torrenting is an easy way to use peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing to download just about anything. From music to series, to your favorite movies, search engines such as The Pirate Bay and BitTorrent can be used for all needs. However, due to copyright laws, much of torrenting is considered illegal and abusers can expect hefty lawsuits and charges if caught. Hence the need for a very secure VPN for torrenting. ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for torrenting and allows torrenting, unlike other VPNs. ExpressVPN has a zero logging policy and boasts relatively high speeds; perfect conditions for torrenting. It is very rare to find a totally free VPN that supports torrenting, out of the ones listed here, only HotSpot Shield supports it, but be aware: it does log customer IPs.

Free VPN to Travel

VPNs are the perfect tool to use when traveling, where unfamiliar networks, particularly Wi-Fi, are teaming with potential hackers. Using a VPN abroad will also allow users to access all of their favorite shows while abroad. It is important, however, to make sure that your VPN of choice is available in your destination countries. If you want to get the best free VPN for Germany, or a VPN for the USA, most free VPN’s will allow you to use them there.

If however, you want to find a free VPN for China or a VPN for Dubai, it is important to know that most VPN’s are blocked due to strict legal reasons. HotSpot Shield VPN is a free service provider that can knock down China’s great firewall. A high-level obfuscation method makes it very difficult to block the VPN provider, making it simple to watch UK TV abroad or watch US television while traveling in mainland China.

So What’s the Price to Pay with a Free VPN Service?

Although more often than not, a free VPN service can get the job done, the question is, at what quality and cost? They can be of good use depending on the needs of the user, and each one as seen has different available features. However, there are a few limitations when using a free VPN, namely the caps on the amount of data that can be used. There are also limitations when it comes to the number of servers available, the number of devices that can be connected at once as well as speed caps. It is also very difficult to find a free VPN that can unlock the US Netflix library. A paid version, on the other hand, will bypass most of these limitations, depending on your chosen VPN of course. On top of that, it is very rare to find a free VPN service that allows for torrenting, whereas a paid VPN, will usually allow for it.

For these reasons, we would highly advise taking advantage of ExpressVPN’s money-back guarantee, so you can get the best of both worlds. This way you can have all of the advantages of a paid VPN and get a whole month free of charge. At the end of the day, the decision is yours. Be sure to take advantage of free trials and money-back guarantees to find the VPN that suits you.

Article comments

37 comments
Louis says:

Thank you for sharing this article. It is very helpful specially to those who are looking for the best free VPN. I got one here that you will surely love too.

Guest says:

IMPORTANT
I found only ProtonVPN offers almost non-limited free VPN, other services offer for example 2GB monthly. Do not use HotSpot Shield, PureVPN, IPVanish, Zenmate and some other VPN services, they are not good for you, they collect your data and I belive you will find more about it on Google. It is extremely important for any user to use a VPN service that is not situated in “14 eyes” countries. Governments of these countries can go to VPN providers and ask for access to any customer data.

Russel says:

This is a great article as it highlights the prime differences between free and paid VPNs.
Today, the rapid increase in the demand for a secured and accessible internet connection has boosted the popularity of VPN services around the world. More and more people are now looking for a fast, secured and reliable VPN connection to satisfy their personal needs and requirements. As ExpressVPN tops the list of the most popular VPNs, its high cost is not much of a consideration. This is because users are willing to pay a monthly subscription fee in order to be able to access unlimited sites and secure browsing histories at their own ease.
Also, ExpressVPN offers a 30 day free trial which makes it easier for the user to decide if he wants to continue using it or switch to another VPN according to his preference.

Jack Marvis says:

HotSpot shield is the best for me. It caters for all my needs. It’s reliable and amazingly FREE. I currently use it for my laptop. Which free VPN would you recommend for android devices?

ST Editor says:

Hi Jack, thank you for your question. HotSpot Shield is also great for Android, along with SurfEasy and TunnelBear. hey all have Android apps you can easily download from the Google Play Store, and then start using immediately.

katy says:

Hello
Which would be the best VPN for a MacAir Laptop for UK and US netflix – paid with free trial? Thanks a lot

ST Editor says:

Hi and thanks for the question! Our top recommendation is ExpressVPN, which delivers a powerful combination of privacy protections and connection speeds. They also offer a 30-day trial alongside a full money-back guarantee, which lets you test out their full services and features without limitations. If you’re looking for Mac laptops specifically, we also recommend checking out some of these top VPNs which can help you access to Netflix in both the UK and US. Let us know which VPN you choose!

Aman says:

Good information about free VPN. Hey, can you tell me will any VPN work in India for watching US TV shows on Netflix? And do all VPNs has 30 day trial period?

ST Editor says:

Hi Aman, there are a variety of VPNs that will work with Netflix, including ExpressVPN . While ExpressVPN does not offer a free trial, they do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their services. However, we do recommend a paid VPN for Netflix as free VPNs often have bandwidth caps as well as fewer servers to connect to.

Allan says:

Can you tell me what the difference is between the free version and the paying version? I don’t understand why anyone would just give the serve away when I know so many people are using VPN’s these days?

Ilana says:

Hi Allan,
Thank you for your question! The majority of people select a free VPN (ex. ProtonVPN) over a premium service (ex. ExpressVPN) is because either they have a one-time need. Some people also want to “try before they buy,” giving them, in essence, the best of both worlds. You can read more regarding the differences between free and premium in the table at the top of the article.

Marty says:

I have been using TunnelBear for years now. Your right that they have a small number of servers, but it is still pretty solid. I’ve used it on 3 different continents and I use it daily at work.

The only thing you have to sometime watch for is server loads. Sometimes when a server gets too loaded, the speed really drops. That’s when you swap servers and go back to work.

As far as your customer support claims….we do get what we pay for….and this is free, so…..

femi Dar says:

Ahm, most of the online VPN services were paid and being a student it was difficult for me to buy one. Thank you for free VPN service. It works perfectly for me and my brother. Thanks again.

Olivia says:

VPN is a part and parcel of my internet life. Like others, I’m also concerned about my security and started using VPNs. However, as a frugal person, it’s hard to afford the costly premiums. I want to thank Seitz a lot for saving me from all the expenses. Now, I’m free with all these free, ultimate VPN solutions. Great work!

Kent says:

I’m glad cyberghost is topping this list. I travel a lot and this VPN keeps me updated. I never miss out on my favorite shows on Netflix while I’m away.

LIZZY says:

If you want a reliable and cost effective vpn,I will personally recommend ExpressVPN. It rocks!

Amin Jamal says:

I wonder why its difficult to connect with ExpressVPN. Someone said it could be my country and I need to access a US-based website from Pakistan here. What can I do please?

ST Editor says:

Hi Amin, I would love to give you an answer but the only way would be to contact them via the ExpressVPN Live Chat. They will ask you for you device type, OS and version in order to troubleshoot. What I can assure you is that they do offer service in Pakistan and don’t have reports which prove otherwise. You’ll see their live chat is very quick and effective.

Henry says:

I, so far have only tried Tunnelbear and Express VPN…. I can vouch for them. Great speed with unlimited data. Although I am open to other options.

Willis says:

if you want to save a couple of bucks, but still want an extremely reliable VPN,
then check out Cyberghost

Paul says:

I think only number of vpn services really deserves attention and they are nordvpn, cyberghost vpn, hidemyass and of course ipvanish, just because these are the only companies that have significant number of servers in the net, check the numbers in this comparison table https://www.couponcodes.store/2017/11/best-vpn-services-2018/

Kate says:

Every free VPN I have ever used was awful and didn’t work at all. I thought the whole thing was a scam until I read this article!!! Thank you for clearing that up – I’m definitely going to try a free trial in the future.

ST Editor says:

We are glad we could make sense of it for you. It is true that free VPN providers often give the software a bad rep. Unfortunately, without charging, they are limited in what they can provide. Using a free trial is the best way to get premium protection for no cost, like with ExpressVPN 30 day money back for example.

Sofia Hambly says:

Yes, we can say that paid VPN is more secure as compare to free one. However, there is no surety that paid VPN to keep logs or not but as we are paying them that we can trust them a bit. They will not keep logs or sale our private data like free VPN because free service earning by selling our important data.

Aashirvad Kumar says:

Cyberghost is really nice VPN but it getting the error sometimes and need to reconnect. Overall it good in work

Kofi Wayo says:

Cyberghost cuts the connection after some ours, and you have to re-connect (and wait for slots to be available). Very annoying, looking for alternative… but looks like I’m going to get a $5 VPS and setup my own VPN server.

maurice says:

My experience with VPN has been a nightmare. NordVPN don’t have a live chat option and couldn’t log in nor set up the L2 encryption service. Express VPN do NOT respect users privacy, they started posting on their Facebook my friends personal details after she asked them if they respected peoples privacies. Do you really want to download an app, from the USA NAS
territory or Romania were they can either monitor all your details or steal them, like your financial details? how do you know who they really are? none of these VPN companies are certified by any regulations.

My dilemma is that I have had people online and near my area hacking remotely and nothing has stopped them. What else can you do to keep your details private even TOR have a backdoor problem where hackers have infiltrated, the last time I used them the websites kept stalling it was terrible.

Lyndon Seitz says:

Hello Maurice,

Sorry to hear that you’ve been having difficulties.

As for your problem, I would say it depends highly on what you have available to you. In some cases I wouldn’t rely on networks at all and use a data plan instead. As far as VPNs go, I understand your concerns. Right now we think Buffered VPN is the best for most circumstances. As for regulations, they know that if they betray the customer word will get around very quickly (much like your experience with ExpressVPN) and customers will jump ship to another VPN very quickly, so the best VPNs are trustworthy.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Best,
Lyndon

lisandros1995 says:

tried 5 times it says connection droped

danny says:

cyber host work with police , so may be try andorra vpn service ar another country whitch not have relation with europa/us country :))

Andy says:

Access to Netflix content on CyberGhost is now only available through their Premium (subscription) service ….. and still not garunteed to work!

Lyndon Seitz says:

Dear Andy,

Thanks for letting us know!

Best,
Lyndon

Jakes says:

CyberGhost is no longer providing free VPN. They say all free slots are blocked

Lyndon Seitz says:

Hello Jakes,

I just did a check myself about this. They do have a limited number of free slots, which are sometimes at capacity, but it is possible to use the VPN freely still. It does unfortunately require a bit of waiting.

Hope this helps.

Best,
Lyndon

A.Guy says:

cyber ghost and hotspot don’t work on netflix

Lyndon Seitz says:

Hello,

With some VPNs its a constant back and forth on how they’re working on Netflix. There’s a bit of a crackdown and workarounds (and workarounds to those workarounds) are being created often. Have you tried contacting the customer service of one of those VPNs?

Best,
Lyndon