All of us like to browse the internet and privacy, but not all of us are ready to pay to safeguard our internet communication. So, what can you do if you’re a frugal internet user who also likes to keep a relatively low profile online? Well, using a free VPN would be a good beginning. We’ve put the most popular free VPNs to the test to bring you the 5 best free VPNs for 2021. Continue reading and find out how to protect yourself online without having to spend any money.
How to Pick the Best Free VPN
Before getting into the best free VPNs list, it’s important that we define clear aspects on which we’re choosing and comparing these free VPN services. Here are the three biggest categories we’ve taken into consideration while choosing the best free VPNs:
1. How safe is it? – Free VPNs have been subjects to security breaches and scandals over the years, with some names like Hola VPN being in the center of worldwide scandals that affected hundreds of millions of users. When making this list of the best free VPNs, we’ve chosen only the free VPNs that have passed certain security standards. All of the VPNs you’ll find below are safe to use and come with specific sets of security features, especially if you use a premium version.
2. What’s their logging policy? – This is a big part of every VPNs business model and an aspect most VPN users take for granted. Sadly, a lot of free VPN providers take advantage of the customer’s trust and use their private details to make money. All of the free VPNs we’re going to talk about have clearly defined T&Cs, which makes them a safe choice for those looking for a zero log policy from their provider.
3. What features do they have? – It comes to no surprise that you’ll be sacrificing some features if you go with a free VPN compared to a premium one. This can either be in terms of connection speed, amount of data you can use, or in specific security features. All of the free VPNs featured on this page have similar features and are ranked accordingly.
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Best Free VPNs 2021
Free VPNs are a very convenient and cost-efficient way of handling your privacy and security online. But, we should be straightforward when talking about this topic, as not all free VPNs are good. Some free VPNs take advantage of their users by harvesting their information and private details. That’s why the biggest criteria for this best free VPNs list is that all of these free VPNs come from providers that offer both limited free services and unrestricted paid services.
The following VPNs we’re going to talk about are best when used occasionally, such as when you travel, use a public hotspot, but don’t need a stable and fast connection. Keep in mind that if you plan on using a VPN on a regular basis, on your home connection or for work, its best that you pick a premium service and pay for your VPN. Some of these free VPNs offer a free service for an unlimited period of time, while others include it as a limited time offer users can try to test the VPN before signing up for a premium version. With that being said, here are the 5 best free VPNs you can use completely for free.
Hotspot Shield is currently the best free VPN available online. With several hundred million monthly users, this VPN service is also one of the most popular VPNs on the market. It offers the fastest internet speeds out of all free VPNs and a smooth and easy to navigate user interface. But, what makes Hotspot Shield so popular is the fact that unlike most free VPNs, they actually allow torrenting and P2P file sharing without any restrictions.
The service also comes with a paid plan, which does improve on some features and offers a more stable and dependable service. Users who decide to upgrade and splash for the premium version can enjoy over 2,500 servers all around the world, around the clock live chat support and military-grade SSL encryption.
Windscribe performs excellently and boasts a fairly small app that doesn’t take up much space and is easy to use even if you’ve never used a VPN service before. Like the previously mentioned Hotspot Shield, it also comes as a free or paid version. The paid version offers unrestricted access to over 600 servers located in 50 countries around the world. The paid version also offers special ‘Windflix’ servers, which are only available for users who pay for a premium membership.
But, what do you get with the free Windscribe service? The free version works on basically any platform out there, plus offers additional extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. The free version also comes with a monthly data cap of 10GB which is a lot when compared to most free VPNs out there. It allows access to over 10 countries, but at slower speeds compared to the premium version. Internet speeds while using Windscribe don’t fluctuate a lot, though they rarely move above average, which is still good for a free VPN service.
Hide.me offers a free package that’s the epitome of average. With no spectacular aspects in their free VPN service, but without any faults or disadvantages, the Hide.me free VPN version is as middle-of-the-road as they get. It has some pros and cons, but neither is so glaring that would make you go either way in deciding for or against this VPN. Since it offers a midrange service, the free Hide.me service is a good choice for casual VPN users.
The main advantages of the Hide.me free version is its flexibility and compatibility features. This VPN is compatible with a wide variety of platforms and also supports a long list of VPN protocols, making it very useful for those who like to switch up their service and personalize it on the go.
On the other side, Hide.me also has a couple of disadvantages you should be aware of if you’re thinking of signing up with this VPN provider. The biggest drawback of the Hide.me free VPN service is the relatively low data cap, which stands at 2GB per month. In addition to this, connection speeds tend to vary, and there are some connection drops from time to time.
PrivateVPN offers a different business model than the other VPNs we’ve talked above. Unlike many providers on the market, PrivateVPN offers its potential customers to test out their service for 7 days, completely for free. This means that, although their VPN service is time-limited, they allow their customers to use the service without any restraints during that period.
Since PrivateVPN doesn’t offer a limited free VPN service, but a premium VPN service for a limited period of time, users can experience a world-class VPN without spending a dime. What goes into this premium time-limited service? First of all, it includes more than 80 servers all around the globe, offering unlimited bandwidth for maximum speeds. Easy to use software and up to 6 simultaneous devices at once. All of this is kept under 2048-bit encryption and a strict zero-logs policy. Once you try the free test version of PrivateVPN, you’ll certainly want to keep using it in the long run.
Besides this free 7-day plan, PrivateVPN also offers a very generous 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you can change your mind if you feel like it, but still get the chance to use the service and all of its features, risk-free.
For VPN users who value flexibility, ProtonVPN is the best choice out of all the free VPN’s we’ve talked about so far. ProtonVPNs main advantage over all of the other free VPNs is that it comes with unlimited data. That’s a fantastic opportunity if you need a bit more for browsing the internet but aren’t willing to go the extra step and buy a premium paid VPN service. This means that you can potentially use the service for free for as long as you wish.
Of course, all of this comes at a certain cost. ProtonVPN internet speeds are not impressive, to say the least, and the slim choice of online servers makes this VPN a poor option for those looking to jump between servers in order to access content all over the world. There are only three available countries users can connect to, so for anything more than that you’ll have to spring for the paid version. Overall, when everything is taken into consideration, ProtonVPN is a very convenient, flexible and intuitive VPN, though the slow speeds drag it down and prevent it from going higher than 5th place in on our list.
Why You Should Be Wary of Free VPN Services
We can’t wholeheartedly recommend a free VPN service, as they generally have a notorious reputation of doing certain things they aren’t supposed to do. Since free VPNs have little to no incentive to keep your data safe and private, many of them use your information in order to get financial gain. This can include anything from injecting your apps with ads to downright selling your information to the highest bidder.
If push comes to shove and you have to choose between multiple free VPN services, at least sign up with a ‘freemium’ VPN service, one that offers both paid and free VPN services, so that you can easily switch to the paid one if you like the free sample. Remember that nothing is really free, and this especially applies to so-called ‘free VPN services’. The above listed free VPNs are trustworthy and safe for you to use, but if you want to completely secure your privacy, it’s always better to go with a paid VPN service.
Best Premium VPN Services
Of course, if you want to enjoy enhanced security and more in-depth experience, its always better to go with a premium VPN, as paid services come with certain features you can’t find with free VPNs. Here are the three best premium services which are definitely worth considering:
When talking about paid and premium VPN service, ExpressVPN is as good as they come. It’s often described as the best all-around VPN. This is probably the most accurate description, as there’s truly nothing that this VPN can’t do. Everything related to ExpressVPN breathes with quality. You can stream and download anything, bypass geo-restrictions and enjoy uncensored content from any of their servers, anywhere on Earth.
With over 3000 servers in their system, ExpressVPN is optimized for fast connections without any throttling or speed drops. The company is based in the British Virgin Islands and isn’t subject to any retention laws. This means that they don’t keep any activity logs or connection logs. ExpressVPN also employs a very serious security system, which includes 256-bit AES encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protection, kill switch, and split tunneling. Their professional support team is available 24/7 and always eager to help with any questions you may have.
As the most reputable VPN on the market, the folks at ExpressVPN enjoy the freedom of setting their own prices, separately from the competition. This has lead to them having above-average prices, which may present a deal-breaker for some users. But, even with that being the case, ExpressVPN is worth every penny, as it’s the best VPN service currently available.
To make it easy on the users, ExpressVPN is currently offering a 49% off on its annual plans. Moreover, its all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which makes it as good as a free VPN for the first 30-days. If you don’t want to continue it, all you have to do is send an email and ask for a refund. It usually takes around 7 days for them to process the refunds.
NordVPN is one of the biggest user favorites, mainly because it offers a very convenient service, packed with all of the necessary features an average VPN user is looking for. It is one of the very few VPNs that manages to get around Netflix’s VPN blocks, and also comes out on top as a very friendly service for P2P file sharing and torrenting.
NordVPN has one of the biggest server networks, with offer 5150 servers worldwide. Their servers are positioned on every continent, so no matter where you are or if you want to stream, play games or download content, you can always count on a very fast and reliable internet connection. As one of the fastest VPNs on the market, with NordVPN you can expect a 25%-30% speed dropdown when connected to a nearby server.
Nord also comes at a pretty affordable price, starting at just a few bucks per month for the 3-year plan. No matter which price plan you decide to go for, you’ll get all of the features, including a kill-switch, multiple VPN protocol options. All of this is rounded off with a 30-day money-back guarantee policy, so there’s no risk of losing your money if you’re not satisfied with NordVPN at the end of the month.
CyberGhost advertises as a complete VPN solution, and they’re not overestimating their service by claiming so. CyberGhost is probably one of the safest VPNs you can currently get. Their services come with a number of security features, including an automatic kill switch, DNS and IP leak protection, 256-bit AES encryption and a clear no-logs policy. In addition to this, CyberGhost comes with its own ad-blocker, malware blocker, and online tracking blocker.
Installing and using CyberGhost is as easy as it gets. The VPN supports Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS, and routers. Every paid plan comes with 7 simultaneous connections and access to over 3500 servers. CyberGhost also provides a very impressive connection and offers one of the fastest connection speeds out of all VPNs. On top of all this, they offer the most favorable money-back policy we’ve come across, as users have 45 days to decide if they are satisfied with the CyberGhost VPN service.
Is a VPN worth paying for?
With so many VPNs on the market, the important question is what type of VPN service you are looking for. If you’re looking for a quality VPN that offers a number of security features, many server locations, good support, and interface, then paying for a premium VPN service is definitely worth it. Any of the three premium VPNs we’ve listed above offer a service that is worth much more than its price tag. If you’d like to add an extra step of security and sign up with a premium VPN, you can do it in just a few minutes. And remember, most reputable VPN services offer money-back programs ranging from 7 to 30 days, so you can get a full refund if you change your mind. Sign up with a premium VPN and make sure you’re safe and private at all times.
If you have a tight budget and can’t afford a premium VPN yet, you can go for any of the best free VPN s that I have listed above. But always remember that free VPNs aren’t as safe/fast as you would expect them to be.
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