Free VPN Service

Best Free VPN Service Available in 2018

Last updated on October 31, 2018 Views: 5487 Comments: 41

While an increasing number of web users putting their faith in free VPN services, rather paid ones, these priceless tools are coming under the microscope.

Cybercrime is increasing at a rapid rate, making most internet users aware of the necessity of using a VPN to protect their identity, and keep their data private while bypassing the occasional geo-block or two. Free VPN options are attractive to those experiencing financial restrictions but what you save in dollars you often lose in privacy.

Most of the free services available to cybersurfers have limitations and, according to one report, around 90% are actually data farms, collecting and selling user data to fund their underhand data gathering services. The 10% that are genuinely offering a service and believe in the anonymity of the web often have limitations, either in terms of the server coverage free users can access, or the amount of data clients are allowed to use per month. Additional problems come when attempting to access geo-restricted sites such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer.

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. To give you the peace of mind you need when entering the murky virtual world of the internet, we’ve selected the best free VPN services of 2018 for your perusal. Other alternatives available to the budget-conscious include signing up to a free VPN trial.

Many companies offering paid VPN services make free trials and 30-day money-back guarantees available to draw in new customers. If you feel you only need a VPN service for a limited period, this can be one way you can enjoy all the benefits of paid subscriptions for no cost.

Free VPN vs Paid VPN

A free VPN Service offers many of the same features as their paid counterparts, but for no financial cost. This makes them ideal for those on a budget or who simply want to download 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.

In addition to usage restrictions, free VPN services often rely on low-quality connections or simply don’t have the international server coverage of a paid service, like ExpressVPN, for example, which boasts a phenomenal 2,000 servers in 94 different countries. 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, especially if no kill switch is featured in the product. Another drawback of using free VPN software is the lack of tech support available to consumers. 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 will struggle with a free VPN service as the streaming service is relentlessly changing its restrictions. In the past, Netflix succeeded in blocking all free VPN providers, meaning internet users in certain regions have access to significantly less content than others. As the company continues to fight VPN use, it’s turned into something of a cat-and-mouse game between the streaming service and the top VPN services. According to our latest research, the most effective service to access the geo-restricted site is ExpressVPN, with their number one rival, NordVPN, coming in a close second.

These restrictions have contributed to the poor image of free VPN services and you’ll find very few featured in lists of best VPN services. However, we have an interesting alternative to propose. With many highly-rated paid subscriptions offering VPN free trial periods with complete refunds guaranteed, it’s possible to use this loophole to 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

Which Type of VPN is Right For You?

Whether you choose a paid VPN provider or a free VPN client very much depends on your specific needs: how private and secure you want your connection to be, how much you use streaming services and how often you connect via unstable public WiFi hotspots. A free VPN proxy, for example, is useless if you need to access certain channels. But fear not, there is a whole array of downloadable VPN software available that 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 HotSpot Shield The Best Free VPN Service

HotSpot Shield, is one of the largest VPN providers in the world, boasting over 650 million users. 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. Users wishing to access sites such as Netflix, however, will struggle unless their sign up for one of their paid packages. Nevertheless, their free service provides users with 500MB per day and excellent malware protection.

On the downside, you can only connect one device at a time and server access is restricted to those in the US. What’s more is you’ll be inundated with advertising which is how the company earns enough revenue to offer a free service.

Although Hotspot Shield has an impressive track record and a top-class VPN protocol, they have also come under attack from the Center for Democracy and Technology who claimed the VPN provider was redirecting user traffic to their partner websites, including online advertising companies. While Hotspot Shield has denied any such behavior, they’re still struggling to regain their reputation as a reliable service committed to user privacy.

5 Best Features:

  • Supports Mac, iOS, PC, and Android
  • Excellent speeds
  • Live chat customer support
  • Generous data cap
  • User-friendly interface

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


#2 ProtonVPN Best Free VPN

ProtonVPN is known for its exemplary no-logging policy and its free service is remarkable for the fact that it places no restrictions on bandwidth or usage. This world-class VPN software provides a secure online browsing experience for its non-paying clients, although it restricts them by only providing access for one device and to just three countries. Consumers using the free option will also experience greater fluctuation in speed, as paying customers are given priority. Another drawback is that no P2P or Tor support, both of which are offered in their premium services. ProtonVPN’s free package is fully adaptable and compatible with a wide range of devices, including Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.

ProtonVPN is a reputable and reliable company which has been providing internet security since 2014, so you know your personal information is in good hands. The only negatives about the service are that, unlike most of their competitors, ProtonVPN don’t have a 24/7 live chat option on their website and can therefore only be contacted via the online support form or via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

5 Best Features:

  • Access to three countries
  • Multi-platform support
  • Based in Switzerland so is outside the fourteen-eyes surveillance network
  • No bandwidth restrictions
  • Free 7-day trial of Plus account

ProtonVPN offers a 7-day free trial version of their Plus package so you can test it out before committing. Both the Plus and free packages are easy to download and install and you’ll always have the option to boost your internet experience with ProtonVPN’s safe, anonymous, and private service. And if you do sign up for the premium version, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.


#3 Windscribe (Totally Free VPN Service)

Unlike ProtonVPN, Windscribe does place some restriction on their free users’ bandwidth, but at 10GB per month, it’s a generous allowance and, with it, customers get access to more than double the number of servers provided by ProtonVPN. Windscribe’s free VPN service gives users access to 10 of their worldwide servers which total over 50. Although comparatively new to the VPN scene, Windscribe’s commitment to privacy is impressive, especially amongst the free services available. To download their free VPN, all you have to enter is a username and password – you don’t even have to reveal your email address if you choose not to. Although Windscribe’s premium service has been successful at negotiating Netflix’s evolving geo-restrictions, its free plan hasn’t been so fortunate. This is one of the limitations of the free service, another of which is that they only provide coverage for one device. On the upside, privacy isn’t compromised and the company practices a vigilant no-logging policy for all its clients.

Another nice feature offered by Windscribe is that, should you Tweet about them or invite a friend to join, they’ll reward you with additional data. Over the years, Windscribe has developed their free VPN to be compatible across all platforms, having recently launched an Android app to add to their stable.

5 Best Features:

  • Generous data cap
  • Access to eight servers
  • No activity or connection logs
  • Multi-platform support
  • Over 2,000 servers worldwide
  • Excellent privacy policy

With excellent security, strong customer service including a 24/7 live chat option, Windscribe is giving some of the more established free VPN services a run for their money. Another tempting feature is that, should anyone you refer choose to upgrade to their premium, paid service, Windscribe will give you the same subscription for free!

#4 TunnelBear (Totally Free VPN Service)

One of the best things about Tunnelbear is that, while it’s rather cute design may put off the more computer-savvy users out there, your girlfriend will love it! In addition to their furry logo, Tunnelbear is extremely user-friendly giving the most technically challenged surfer safe access to the internet. While the data restrictions are quite severe, limiting free users to just 500 MB per month, this is sufficient for those just wanting protection while they do their online banking and shopping. To compensate for this, Tunnelbear allows all their users, including those using the free package, to connect on five devices at the same time, a rarity among free VPNs.

As with any VPN service, Tunnelbear’s is constantly developing and the company recently tackled their privacy policy, reducing the amount of information they collect and improving their commitment to no logging. any free VPN download, unlimited data is a definite plus. Overall TunnelBear is a highly secure VPN, though users should note there have been some issues with speed.

5 Best Features:

  • High-quality security
  • 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.


#5 HideMe (Totally Free VPN Service)

If you felt that Tunnelbear’s data cap was tough, then you’ll find HideMe’s 2GB per month even more miserly. In fact, pretty much everything about HideMe’s free VPN service indicates that they really don’t want to offer one at all. Not only is the data limited, but subscribers to the free package can also only connect one device at a time and only have access to three of HideMe’s 45 or so servers. In addition to their free VPN service, HideMe also offers a free proxy service for people wanting to visit a specific site anonymously. While the proxy will mask your IP address effectively, there is no encryption in the connection, reducing the level of security considerably. Nevertheless, it’s a nice feature and one you can use without signing up.

Clients signing up for their free VPN service, however, will benefit from HideMe’s reliable connections and high speeds, as well as having access to their efficient customer support service. 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:

  • No logging policy
  • Multiple platform compatibility
  • Kill switch
  • Solid privacy policy
  • Fast and easy set-up

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.


#6 ExpressVPN – 30 Day Trial Money Back Guaranteed

Although not a 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. While ExpressVPN doesn’t offer a free version, they do give the more financially restricted the opportunity to try the industry leader of VPN providers for one month by offering a 30-day money-back guarantee.

5 Best Features:

  • Provides the most reliable access to Netflix and other geo-restricted sites
  • No activity or connection logs
  • Multi-platform support
  • Over 2,000 servers worldwide
  • Guaranteed high-speeds

Its 30-day trial allows you to enjoy free VPN software from one of the best products on the market! ExpressVPN is such an excellent service, once you’ve tried it, you’ll probably be unwilling to settle for anything less but at least you can surf with the best for 30 days which is why we recommend ExpressVPN as the best VPN service of 2018.


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. Most free VPN plans have certain limitations in terms of data caps, 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 summarized the main areas where users utilize VPN services to see how effective a totally free VPN service really is.

Desktop & Laptops

All of the VPNs mentioned in this article are compatible with both desktop and laptop computers, so if you’re looking for 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.

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 Windscribe. 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.

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 navigate. The majority of the VPN’s mentioned here are compatible with iPhone, apart from ProtonVPN. You can still use ProtonVPN with an iPhone but you will need to download a separate configuration file which is a bit of a headache.

Netflix and other Streaming

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 ExpressVPN.

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, search engines such as The Pirate Bay and BitTorrent can be used for all needs. However, due to copyright laws, many torrenting options are 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, with high speeds and a zero logging policy. 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.

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’re looking for the best free VPN for Germany or a VPN for the USA, you’ll be able to use almost any of the free VPN services mentioned in this article.

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 a free VPN service can usually get the job done, the question is, at what quality and cost? The data limitations can be frustrating, while the restrictions on server access and speed caps could negatively impact on your browsing experience. 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. 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

41 comments
Guest says:

Hi, I use PureVPN to stream netflix and it kinda seems to work fine for me. I mean there are no buffering or dis-connectivity issues at all now.

Lola Olsen says:

Great to hear that PureVPN is working well for you!

dr.sj ma name says:

but now, many vpn’s are banned, eg. all these vpn’s u said. so can u suggest some free vpn’s unbanned?

Lola Olsen says:

Hi,
When you say that these VPN’s are banned, what do you mean? By which websites are they banned? As always, we would not recommend you to use a free VPN, as they come with many problems and are unreliable when you are trying to view content that is banned in your country.

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