Best Free VPNs For Top Online Security On PC, Mac, Linux And Mobile

Best Free VPNs For Top Online Security On PC, Mac, Linux And Mobile

18 Aug 18 @ 2:30 PM

The World Of VPNs

VPN stands as the abbreviation for a Virtual Private Network. A VPN helps you stay safe while online and keeps your online dwellings away from the spying eyes. But what is a VPN? And what it does? The simple answer follows immediately. 

A Virtual Private Network as the name suggests extends a private network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Applications running across a VPN may, therefore, benefit from the functionality, security, and management of the private network. Simply put, it's like a basement security during the dangerous days of war which protects you from mass bombings. A VPN acts as your shield for online privacy. 

Okay! Enough about VPN explanation. Let's first jump into the list of the best free VPNs and during this process, we understand more about VPNs. We can also know about the best of the best paid services in the end. 

Best Free VPNs

There is nothing like best free VPN. This, despite the fact that there are a handful of them which are really good for our online safety. Not all are as good at protecting your valuable privacy. But they can do the basic job of shielding your general identity. 

First of all, to watch your favorite TV, listen to music streaming sites by bypassing the geo-restrictions, and browse the web securely, you need a VPN. But that doesn't mean you have to pay. There are a few really good free VPNs. So, don't worry about it. We reviewed all the free VPN options on the market for weeks before settling on these. Without further ado, let's look at the best free VPNs for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. One of the main reasons some people use VPNs is for Torrent downloading. But None of the free VPNs allows it except one which is listed below. 

1. WindScribe VPN

Ah! The beauty. It gives you the highest number of servers with versatile options and considerably higher side of the data. The is as secure as it gets for a free VPN. And the customer service is the best for a free VPN. You can email them any time, and expect replies within 3-4 hours at max. This VPN also gives you an unlimited number of connections with a paid plan which is really cheap considering the number of simultaneous devices you can use it on. But shall we say the magic words? You can torrent on the free option too. 

This service offers native clients for all the major desktop and mobile operating systems - for Windows, Mac, iOS,  and Android. But a small point to keep in mind - the Android app is still considered young. you may find it a bit unstable. Apart from these, there are also solidly built browser add-ons. It can cover everything, regardless of how many machines you throw at it with the paid plan. 

The privacy policy is very clear-cut. Windscribe doesn’t store connection logs, IP stamps, or visited sites; when you’re actively connected to a server it stores your username, the VPN server you’re connected to and the amount of data transferred, but this is erased within three minutes of the session ending. But this is just to monitor how much free data from your quota you have used. Other than that, WindScribe is good in security. 

It has a simple, powerful Windows client. It’s easy to see why Windscribe made it to this list at the top. The performance is above average. We have tested it with both mobile data connection and WiFi. There is not much problem of slowing down. But keep in mind that it is not as fast as the paid VPNs which we cover a the end. Still, it offers a free plan with 10GB monthly data albeit for only one device. You can get 5GB more if you Tweet about them. So, you can get 15GB of safe and secure free VPN data from WindScribe. 

The Pro plan of WindScribe VPN offers unlimited data alongside unlimited connections. You can subscribe it either as a monthly or a yearly plan, with the yearly one obviously being a bit cheaper overall. And it will be good to log into your bank apps or other sensitive operations when using a public WiFi. 

Pros

  • Free with up to 15 GB of monthly data
  • Generally safer option for a free VPN
  • Proper customer care even for free user

Cons

  • Speeds are average
  • Not best for torrenting though the free tier allows it. 

You can WindScribe Vpn website here. It's a fun little gem.

One of the top recommendations when it comes for free VPNs
One of the top recommendations when it comes for free VPNs

2. ProtonVPN 

ProtonVPN is a unicorn when it comes to VPN apps. It is free and offers unlimited data even on the free connections. And it is as safe as a Swiss bank. How is this possible? We already mentioned there would be some safety concerns when you are using free VPNs. Proton VPN does the unthinkable. It supports the free users with unlimited data by compensating it with the pro users. Means their bread and butter are paid users. With that, they serve the free VPN users with a limited number of servers (three in all). There is a robust no logging policy. 

It's among the best for those who are really concerned about privacy. The free version is very good and it should be good enough for most people. There is a subscription option as well with three pricing tiers. These options increase the speeds, number of available servers, number of devices, and even Tor support (they say it's secure core). It's top notch in terms of privacy and we would put this toward the top of our recommendations for free VPNs. Don't be bothered by a few negative reviews on the et. As far as the free options go, there are less than a handful of them to beat it. 

Even the paid version stands among the best. ProtonVPN is designed with security as the main focus, offering great network defense and very strong encryption for secure connection and streaming. It is best for banking and emailing over a public free WiFi. 

Pros

  • Secure core servers
  • Swiss privacy laws based protection
  • 30-days money-back guarantee
  • Up to 10 simultaneous connections
  • Free tier offers unlimited data (albeit with just three countries on offer)

Cons

  • Speeds are not that great for free users
  • A limited number of servers offered
  • No dedicated iOS app

But the positives outweigh the negatives. And ProtonVPN will stand among the best free or otherwise. You can visit ProtonVPN website here. 

Proton VPN free tier is one of the trusted VPNs when it comes to free VPNs
Proton VPN free tier is one of the trusted VPNs when it comes to free VPNs

3. VPNhub

VPNhub is one of the rarest VPNs that offer an unlimited data for among the free VPNs. But all the servers are located in the US where FBI operates which should not be a problem for the limited usage. Torrenting is a no go with the free option. 

The VPN service is available on Mac and Windows with easy to use apps for both Android and iOS. Although the service will be available in many countries, it’s going to be banned from countries the US doesn’t do business with, including Myanmar, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. The VPN would not work in China too. But we listed a VPN that works very well in China in the later entries. 

Is this unlimited data offering VPN really safe? We advise you to search for its creators on your favorite search engines. You will understand why you can trust it. There are occasional ads which marr the privacy a bit, but for limited use by common netizens, it's not a big problem.

There is a paid option and also a free 7-day trial available to test the pro app, and you’ll be able to choose from a range of countries and locations like Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Singapore, the UK, and major US cities. Free users only have access to their nearest server.

Pros

  • Free and unlimited
  • Generally fast for a free option
  • You can simply trust because of its creators
  • Generally secure

Cons

  • You can't have many options with the free tier
  • Occasional ads may be termed as privacy invader
  • You can't torrent on the free tier
  • Customer service is patchy especially for the free users

But overall, it is useful for banking and general browsing on public WiFi networks. It can do the basics right. That is... to shield your VPN. You can visit VPNhub here. 

One of the few secure VPNs with an unlimited and fast free tier
One of the few secure VPNs with an unlimited and fast free tier

4. Yoga VPN

Yoga VPN is another one of the free VPNs. But it has ads. So, complete privacy is not guaranteed. But it is good for occasional users. It features servers in seven countries. Additionally, you'll get unlimited bandwidth, unlimited time, and more. There is no registration, logins, or usernames required. They also boast a no logging, DNS leak-free product.

It features a one-touch connect. That helps makes it easier for new users. Otherwise, there isn't much to this one. It's very simple. There are a few bugs here and there. It's nothing serious, though. It's an excellent free option. But for super privacy-minded, it is not recommended in any way. 

Pros

  • Free free free
  • Unlimited connections and unlimited data
  • No need to log in
  • One tap connection

Cons

  • Ads. Means... privacy invasion
  • Speeds are just average
  • Number of countries is just 7
  • Not for super privacy-minded
  • You will encounter bugs here and there
  • Torrenting/P2P is not good

It is a good option if you have no other better option or the above-mentioned apps are not for you. You can download Yoga VPN from the Android Google Play Store and Apple App Store for iOS. Specific website is not available. 

Yoga VPN is a perpetually free VPN with perpetual ads
Yoga VPN is a perpetually free VPN with perpetual ads

5. ZPN VPN

ZPN is another one of the free VPNs which offer good data options for free users. The data cap is 10GB and you can't expand it.  It also boasts no traffic logging. There are also other features, including OpenVPN support. It seems to tick all the boxes you'd want in a VPN. You can trust it for normal usage and occasional sensitive browsing. Other than that, there isn't much about it. It has paid options but we don't recommend it as there are better options if you decide to pay. 

While ZPN VPN has good encryption and a decent number of servers, it has mediocre speeds and very few P2P servers, which might be a big disadvantage to some users. Pick ZPN if you plan to use only occasionally - so that reduced speeds would not be a big problem. Also, if you plan to download torrents - there are quite better VPN alternatives which we will talk about them later in the article. 

Pros

  • Generous data cap of 10GB per month. 
  • Generally safe and secure
  • They say, no logs are kept

Cons

  • Mediocre speeds
  • Virtually no customer support for free tiers
  • Torrenting is no no. 

You can visit ZPN VPN website here and download the apps. 

ZPN VPN is a good option when it comes to free VPNs
ZPN VPN is a good option when it comes to free VPNs

6. Hotspot Shield

If you are an Indian user, you can understand this analogy. Hotspot Shield VPN is just like the JIO internet service. There is a cap on the data that is offered. But that's not for a month. It's a daily cap. Hotspot Shield offers excellent VPN service if you can be all right with a daily dose of 500MB. Once your 500MB data cap is touched, it stops working for the day. 

Hotspot Shield is a simple, yet fully functional VPN service. While Hotspot Shield VPN has good encryption and a decent number of servers, it has mediocre speed and very few P2P servers, which might be a big disadvantage to some users. You can pick it up for occasional purposes. 

Pros

  • Good data cap with 500MB a day 
  • Free
  • Generally safe

Cons

  • Speeds are not good
  • You can't use the available data as you please as it offers data on a daily basis
  • No for torrenting

You can be guided to Hotspot Shield VPN download pages from here. 

Hotspot Shield VPN offers a good free VPN service
Hotspot Shield VPN offers a good free VPN service

7. VPN Robot

VPN Robot is one of the newer VPN apps we have found these days. It can do all of the things you'd expect just like the above-mentioned VPNs. There are over half a dozen countries to choose from. You can also just choose the fastest server if needed. It doesn't require a username, login, or account.

It is completely free with no in-app purchases or subscriptions yet. There are ads, though. Which is a problem. The reason is: it is an open offer for third parties to invade your privacy. And their terms of service are ambiguous and we failed to get hold of their logging policies. So, be wary while using it for extensive browsing. 

Pros

  • Free as you want
  • You can choose the fastest server even using it for free
  • No need for a username or account

Cons

  • Ads mean third-party invasion on your privacy
  • No proper data is available about their logging policies
  • Some of the expert reviews are very negative

Though unlimited free VPN may tempt you, we recommend using this VPN only in unavoidable cases and for very short times. It seems no specific website for VPN Robot is not available. You can download it from respective app stores. 

VPN Robot is one of the better VPNs that offer a free tier but be wary of its practices
VPN Robot is one of the better VPNs that offer a free tier but be wary of its practices

8. Speedify VPN

Speedify is a simple, yet fully functional VPN service. It's a decent VPN, though it is free. While Speedify VPN has good encryption and a decent number of servers. The best thing is they offer 1GB data per month and there are no ads. So, it can be termed a bit safer compared to those which come with ads. 

As a no-log VPN service, Speedify can be trusted with your privacy and it enables you to explore cyberspace undetected while retaining no IP addresses or data from your time online. In fact, Speedify’s privacy policy is one of the most straightforward and thorough out there and, as you don’t need to register to use the free service, you will remain completely incognito with all your personal data hidden away in virtual filing cabinets just as it should be.

Easy installation and easy to use apps are also in favor of it if you can bear with a miserly 1GB a month. The speeds are fairly average though. 

Pros

  • Better privacy compared to most free VPNs
  • No ads
  • No logging
  • Straightforward privacy policy
  •  No need for registering

Cons

  • Speeds are average at best
  • No torrenting

You can get Speedify VPN apps from their website here. 

Speedify is one of the VPNs that offer free service
Speedify is one of the VPNs that offer free service

9. Hide.me VPN

As its name suggests, this VPN shields your data and IP address from the intruders. It offers 2GB a month data which may be limited but something is always better than nothing. Hide.me is a well-known name in the VPN industry, known for speed, security, and transparency. They do not keep logs, which makes their VPN very reliable. Also, with apps for almost all major platforms, they are a favorite among millions of users. It has clients and apps for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. 

The best thing is there are no ads when you are using it for free. They are also strong on privacy which is a positive factor in considering this VPN. But you have to remember that there would be no access to OpenVPN protocol which is the industry standard for VPNs when you use the free tier. The customer service is good too. Even free users get response and guidance. 

Pros

  • Good privacy
  • No ads
  • Reputable and transparent
  • No logging

Cons

  • Only 2GB data per month
  • Free tier has no access to the industry standard OpenVPN protocol
  • But overall, for limited uses, it remains one of the best free VPN services in 2018. 

You can visit Hide.me VPN website to download apps for various operating systems. 

A good on privacy and security VPN with a considerably good free tier
A good on privacy and security VPN with a considerably good free tier

10. Thunder VPN

Though too good to be true, Thunder VPN offers free services with a considerably good number of servers. Thunder VPN is one of the newer VPN apps. There are some good things to say about this one. That includes unlimited bandwidth for free, no logging or user tracking, and it boasts servers all over the world.

During our testing, we didn't run into any real issues. The UI is easy enough and it does connect. Speeds are about average, but for the price, we didn't really think about it much. This appears to be a really decent, free VPN. We had no problems with it. No need to register or login for free tier is also a good thing. But remember, it is one of the newer services. 

Pros

  • Unlimited free service
  • Considerably good number of servers
  • No logging
  • No need to register 

Cons

  • As usual limited speeds
  • No torrenting
  • As it is relatively new, be wary when using it
  • No information about ads 

You can get Thunder VPN app from here. 

Thunder VPN is one of the secure free VPNs
Thunder VPN is one of the secure free VPNs

So, we have listed out the possibly best free VPNs with pros and cons, their logging practices, reputation and trust factor. Now is the time for the URGENTLY important issue of using the free VPNs. As we have tested most of the above and delivered you the information, it is our duty to warn about some important issues while using free VPNs. Follow along and know the really important issues. 

You Are The Product When Using Free VPNs

What Studies Reveal About Free VPNs?

There is nothing like best free VPN. Most of the free VPNs have ulterior motives. They don’t supply us with complete and leak-proof security for free. You NEED to understand that providing VPN services is a costly affair. When any software is offered for free, unless it is from a thoroughly open source and is built by reputed creators who are known in privacy circles, remember that the software is not the product we use, but we are the product the software makers use. Most of the times. 

Universities in Australia, with the help of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), studied 283 Android VPN apps and found 38 percent injected malware or malvertising, an astonishingly bad result for apps meant to protect you — and these are just the bad actors. Got it? 

A further 18 percent bizarrely didn’t encrypt users’ traffic (but they promise to encrypt) at all, leaving users exposed. Despite this, the report found less than 1 percent of users had any security or privacy concerns about these apps. How pathetic!

You have no privacy if you use a free VPN

Privacy and a free VPN just don’t go together. Free VPNs might look ok if you’re desperate, but we’d never recommend using one. Your data is the cost of use, and it can be even worse than that as well. Imagine you're found by the authorities when downloading a movie using torrenting over a free VPN. How dangerous will it be?

Hola is a popular free VPN. It works by routing data through a peer-to-peer network, rather than using their servers. If you use the service, it routes other people’s data through your local router and IP address just like your data is routed through other users' local routers. It’s great if you want to act like you’re from Australia, but if someone routes dodgy data through your connection, you might be liable for any consequences. Creepy! It’s almost impossible to prove to an outsider examining your connection it didn’t come from you.

We have read about a decidedly unethical free VPN model is offering a free service that examines all the data you use on your phone. It’s how none other than Facebook waged war on Snapchat. They purchased Onavo, the Tel Aviv-based VPN company that developed an app for Android and iOS ironically called Protect, that collects data from users who install it. This data included how much the Snapchat app was in use.

The Wall Street Journal reported Facebook knew about Snapchat’s slowing user growth months before the information was publicly disclosed. It’s an incredible breach of trust. Download a VPN to mask your data and protect your privacy, and instead hand all that information straight to Facebook as if using Facebook is not enough of a threat to your personal data. Of course, the privacy policy of Onavo made allowances for this, but how many users read all the small print or for that matter basic terms of conditions? You just click ACCEPT when prompted to agree to the terms. 

These are just a few examples of how free VPNs can be problematic. If you’re at all serious about privacy and data protection, free VPNs are not compatible. Better use no VPN at all. At least the status quo will be maintained. 

But THAT doesn't mean you SHOULD'T use free VPNs. The above studies didn't say 100% of the free VPNs are bad. But be careful who you trust in the case of free VPNs. And the terms of conditions may change any moment. 

Now that we have seen the best available free VPNs and the troubles using the free VPNs, its time for...

But how do you find the best VPN?

With so many biased VPN reviews filling the web, it can be difficult to find the best VPNs that your money can buy. See, we are coming to the best of the best. But all is not lost. After going through hundreds of reviews, and selecting about 20 paid VPNs for testing, we have ironed out the following VPNs. These are the best VPNs. No second thoughts. Features may vary. Speeds may have differences. But you will be secure once you disconnect with a certain amount of money from your pocket. As the saying goes, you can't get better than this. 

After understanding the VPNs, and how they operate and painfully going through various sources spending hundreds of hours, we have found that any self-respected VPN (a good and paid VPN) must have the following features. 

Here are the 6 most important factors of a VPN that we should be aware of before selecting a paid or for that matter any VPN to install on your computing devices. 

Factors to consider before purchasing/subscribing a VPN service

1. Download speed (Obviously, when you use a VPN, the internet speeds decrease, the lesser in the decrease of speeds, the better the experience for you)

2. Privacy and security features/flaws (As you are paying your hard-earned cash, you should not compromise on privacy and security. It is for these that you are using a VPN in the first place)

3. Jurisdiction and logging policy (Jurisdiction also plays an important part in choosing a VPN. When there are government rules that curb the privacy, a VPN located in such places should not be considered for the most part)

4. Torrenting and Netflix availability (Ohho! You want to watch Netflix content that is not available in your country, for that you need to bypass the geo-restriction. That will be done with help of VPNs as they help you pretend you are not where you physically are. This will also help when spies check for you when you download torrents)

5. Usability and Support (If the apps and clients are not simple to use and need tinkering, it'll result in a bad user experience. And as you are paying, the customer service must be the best possible. Everyone gets doubts and need guidance, no?)

6. Cost (Cheaper is better. But should not compromise on privacy and speeds. But if the VPN is prohibitively high-priced, we better not go with such. If you value privacy like no other and that highly priced VPN offers the BEST services, you may try it depending on your pocket size). 

Now, keeping these factors in mind, we will check about the best (paid) VPNs.

Best Of The Best VPNs

1. Express VPN

ExpressVPN is hands on the best VPN and the best-recommended VPN by the experts and the privacy-minded regular users. They have a strong fan following and long-term users with some even using it for about 5 years. They offer up to three simultaneous connections which is low considering some competition.

But that doesn't stop them from being the Numero Uno. Another thing to consider is not even long-term plans are not cheap compared to others. But you get what you pay for. Right? The annual plan gives you the VPN service for $99 and the monthly plan goes around at $12.95. Quite high. But worth it. 

  • + No logging policy
  • + TOP 3 download speed
  • + Strong AES 256-bit encryption
  • + Uses OpenVPN tunneling protocol
  • + Most servers unblock Netflix & Torrenting is allowed
  • + Works on all devices (Win, Mac, iOS, Android & Routers)
  • – High cost (especially for month-to-month users)

Visit ExpressVPN website here.

Express VPN is the BEST. Enough said
Express VPN is the BEST. Enough said

2. Nord VPN

Nord VPN goes neck to neck with Express VPN for the ranking as the best VPN available on Earth. But not all their servers are the fastest and they compensate it with double encryption of your data and up to six simultaneous connections. Though their customer service is great, it is not as robust as ExpressVPN. It works on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome OS, and Linux. Quite versatile. They servers in 64+ countries and total number of servers stand at more than 4000, the highest for any VPN paid or otherwise. 

You get a kill switch which stops all outside communication when your VPN protection is lost. That is a great thing to have. This feature is available on all OS platforms which is a con on the part of ExpressVPN as the iOS client doesn't have that feature as of this writing. Their prices start at $12 for monthly plans. But the three-year plan costs as low as $2.75 per month when paid beforehand. That costs $99 per three years. 

  • + No logging policy
  • + TOP 3 download speed
  • + Strong AES 256-bit encryption
  • + Uses OpenVPN tunneling protocol
  • + Most servers unblock Netflix & Torrenting is allowed
  • + Works on all devices (Win, Mac, iOS, Android & Routers)
  • – High cost (especially for month-to-month users)

Visit the NordVPN website here. 

Nord VPN is one of the top three VPNs in the world available right now
Nord VPN is one of the top three VPNs in the world available right now

3. Perfect Privacy

As the name implies, it is the best VPN service when it comes to privacy. It has a laundry list of privacy features that include inbuilt ad blocking, secure core, three level (the highest in business) data encryption, and routing your traffic from four servers for even more privacy. You can't go better than this when it comes to privacy oriented VPNs. And it is also one of the fastest, but not to the extent of beating ExpressVPN and Nord VPN. But it works fine. Perfect-Privacy also offers a leak-free connection with best-in-class AES-256 encryption and protocol options that include OpenVPN, IPSec, and SSH.

The plans are very high even to the extent of the monthly plans costing up to $15-20. Also, the term plans like quarterly, biannual, and annual plans don't offer discounts like other VPN services. One more big drawback is a lack of native applications for Android and iOS. For Android at least you can download the official APK and use it right away. But for iOS, you can't simply do this. But the silver lining is: you can use it via OpenVPN Connect with few tinkerings. 

  • + No logs policy
  • + Switzerland jurisdiction
  • + Work with Netflix
  • + Torrenting is allowed
  • + Unlimited devices
  • – Most expensive VPN we have known
  • – No ready-made apps for Android in Play Store and iOS in the App Store. 

You can visit Perfect Privacy VPN here. 

Perfect Privacy VPN is the best when privacy is your top most priority
Perfect Privacy VPN is the best when privacy is your top most priority

So, that's it. As most of the monthly plans hover at around $10 dollars, knowing about these three is enough. There are many other paid options. But they have one issue or the other.  With all these three, you can download torrents, you can bypass geo- (Can do with perfect restrictions of Netflix with ExpressVPN and NordVPN. You can watch with Perfect Privacy VPN too. But you need to search for the proper server. they all encrypt your data. They keep no logs. They give you generally the highest speeds. They protect your identity. 

So, be safe and secure by using VPNs. 

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