If you want a VPN free of cost because the paid providers don’t fit your budget, then can move ahead but do exercise caution.
Free VPNs are tricky services, with a lot of things hidden under the surface that could potentially harm you.
For ensuring that you only go forward with the safest VPN for free download, you will need to go over our guide.
I will give you a brief on the factors you need to take into account before subscribing to certain service and provide you a rundown on the best free VPN for 2019.
Here is a short summary of our 5 Top Free VPN Services in 2019
#1:Surfshark: #1 Recommended VPN with a 30 Risk-Free Trial Period.
Best Plan: $1.99/month (2 Year Deal)
#2:ProtonVPN: No Bandwidth Limitation in its Free Service
#3:Hide.Me: Free VPN That Doesn’t Keep Logs
#4:Windscribe: Use Up to 15 GB/month for Free
#5:OperaVPN: Unblocks Netflix US for Free
A lot of Free VPNs fall short of even offering basic privacy making the pool from which we could choose from was severely limited.
But still, we put in our best effort to enlist services in this list that were absolutely safe for you to use anytime at all.
Here we’ve compiled the list of 5 highly secure VPN services that you can as a Free VPN.
Surfshark – Highly Recommended Provider with 30 days Free VPN Trial
Surfshark is a top VPN service that offers the strongest security along with premium features, but it’s not a fully free service.
So why have we chosen it to top this list of Free VPNs?
That’s because Surfshark offers a user-friendly, 30-day free trial in which you can use the service with all features available without worries.
If you don’t like to stay with the service, file a simple refund request with the live chat support and you get your money back. Yes, its that simple.
Surfshark comes closest to a Free VPN service with its highly affordable pricing deals. A 2-year subscription will cost you just $1.99/month.
And the provider gives you some pretty good reasons to pay that amount and stay with the service beyond the free trial period.
Netflix US works every time with Surfshark no matter where you are in the world.
Torrenting is supported by its 800+ strong server network and secured by DNS leak protection.
You can use its service on all major platforms with the easy to use apps offered by the provider.
Live chat is always there to help you out if you get stuck or need to get done with this VPN setup free of issues.
Speeds are constant and fast all the time and there is no limitation on bandwidth either.
Military-grade encryption and OpenVPN protocol are available to give you an impenetrable internet security experience.
Surfshark is the best Free VPN choice you’ve got if you want to use the service for short term needs like for a month.
ProtonVPN: No Bandwidth Limitation on its Free service
This provider offers the rare feature of unlimited bandwidth usage as a Free VPN service.
Don’t take this feature lightly as you will encounter bandwidth limits as stringent as 500 MBs/month in the Free VPN domain.
Through this, you can use this free VPN without registration or upgrade issues for as long as you want.
This VPN provider’s free version offers top-notch security that doesn’t compromise user data at all. The encryption level is strong and no IP leaks were found in our testing.
The only problem with it is that the speeds are sometimes snail-like i.e. absolutely slow.
But this is expected since all free VPNs do put restrictions on some premium feature and in ProtonVPN’s case, it throttles its speeds along with not allowing you to stream or Torrent either.
Apps are offered for all major platforms like Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. And if you want to ever upgrade, its paid version is always available to offer a much better experience.
Hide.Me: Free VPN That Follows a Stringent Zero Logs Policy:
Another highly secure VPN service, Hide.Me is based in Malaysia, a secure jurisdiction.
The provider offers good speeds on all the 5 servers it allocates in its free service.
It doesn’t keep logs of your activities in any manner whatsoever and if we couple that with good encryption, and you’ve got high-level VPN protection for free.
Hide.Me has its downsides as well majorly in the form of the limitation of allocating just 2GB of data each month to its users.
The low limit for data use also makes the provider unsuitable for streaming and Torrenting or any other data-intensive activity.
You can use this service on all popular devices and some niche ones as well like FireTV. It offers a Firefox extension too.
Windscribe: Use up to 15 GB/month / Torrenting friendly
If you don’t take the bandwidth limitation and server limitation into account, there is no major difference between Windscribe’s free and paid services.
By subscribing to this service, you can use their ad blocker, which is a premium feature and works incredibly well to root out unnecessary nuisances on the web.
This makes the 10 GB/month bandwidth limitation much more useful since you are not wasting precious bandwidth on ads that you don’t want to see.
You can add an additional 5 GB on top of this by tweeting about the service.
This is not a bad bargain definitely as it ensures that you can use this VPN free in an unlimited manner if you just do regular browsing.
The provider does have an issue with speeds though, but it’s not because of throttling due to its free service.
The problem is there in the paid version of this service as well.
Live chat is surprisingly offered by Windscribe and although it’s not top-notch, it’s still good enough to solve your major technical issues.
You can use this VPN free for Windows, Mac, and browsers, allowing you to acquire a stable VPN connection for free via easy setup and registration process.
Mobile is not supported by Windscribe.
OperaVPN – Unblocks Netflix:
The only free VPN that can unblock Netflix, OperaVPN just works as an extension on the Opera browser.
We generally don’t recommend you to opt for this VPN since it has multiple issues with IP leaks and logging, making it unsuitable for Torrenting, browsing and other similar activities.
But if you want to watch the US version of Netflix for free, you can opt for this service.
6 Important Factors for Choosing the Best Free VPN service
We don’t just pick providers for our best free VPN list out of thin air.
There are some very important factors that we assess all free providers on and check which ones stand out and ace the test according to these factors:
The amount of data you can use each month is perhaps the most critical factor in choosing a free VPN service.
This is because bandwidth limitations are understandable with free VPNs since they cannot offer everything that paid providers do. But when this limit goes below acceptable levels, it makes the VPN, no matter how good it is, unusable.
A big example of this is Tunnelbear, perhaps the most secure free VPN out of them all.
However, it just offers 500 Mb of bandwidth each month which is simply pathetic and is not even good enough to last you over a couple of days even with basic browsing.
It’s stupid to expect free VPNs to offer as fast speeds as their paid counterparts.
Offering fast speeds take resources and are an expensive undertaking, making this feature completely out of reach of free VPNs.
Still, the stability of speeds is incredibly important to us here so even if a VPN offers slow speeds on its free service, these speeds should be constant or it ruins the user experience further.
Free VPNs don’t offer all of the servers present in their server park.
Often the number of servers offered in free VPN plans are quite low and in the range of 2-10 servers.
And even then, the servers are mostly not optimized to offer fast speeds, support Torrenting or bypass Netflix’s geo-blocks.
Mostly, these problems are persistent in free VPNs so they are mostly are given a pass, but after that, it is checked whether the servers offered are IP leak-free or not.
The best free VPNs offered in this list don’t leak your IP via their servers at all and their speeds are stable if not fast.
Logs of user activity entail sensitive information and should never be kept as they are a violation of user privacy.
On top of this, if a VPN keeps logs, there’s a high possibility that it will sell the data it has in its possession.
A lot of Free VPNs go through this route, that’s why providers that follow a strict zero log policy were included in the recommended free VPN list.
VPNs are supposed to hide your real IP in order to maintain your anonymity online.
However, this anonymity can be compromised if the VPN is prone to DNS, WebRTC or similar IP leaks.
IP leaks are dangerous especially during sensitive activities like Torrenting and bypassing government censorships. Top free VPNs should never leak your real IP at all.
To check this, we ran multiple leak tests and only featured those VPNs that passed them all without major problems.
Even the best of features offered by a VPN can become useless if the platform they are to be used on is not user-friendly.
Mostly, the apps offered by a provider come under the purview of user-friendliness and if the app’s UI and UX are clumsily done, the app is difficult to use, it crashes often or is unresponsive for long periods of time, we wouldn’t recommend the provider to you at all.
Are All Free VPN Services Safe To Use?
Free VPNs are often either honeytrap services or toned down versions of paid VPN services that are there to compel the user into buying the actual VPN’s subscription.
The latter ones, i.e. the ones offered by the paid providers are still alright since they have limitations but are not often trustworthy enough to sign up with.
However, the standalone free services are the ones that are not very reliable at all.
Mostly, they are honeytraps, like said earlier, luring customers in by offering a free service and then performing nefarious activities in the background.
Free VPNs have caught with malware-infested apps, data trading, bandwidth siphoning and much more problematic on-goings in tow.
That’s why we always reiterate that free VPNs are not recommended by us since there is a big chance that they are not private neither secure enough for general users to subscribe to.
Why Free VPNs will never be Best VPNs?
Free VPNs are not offered without limitations at all in any case.
In some, you might be locked out of the full number of servers offered by the provider and in some, the data limit is to less to even consider good enough browsing.
Speeds are slowed down forcefully on free services by VPN providers themselves and all such problems and barriers exist to ensure that you opt for their paid versions.
There is an old adage that there are no free lunches in the world,
With free VPNs, it seems that you get the product just like that.
The reality is different because you could be the product. Many users have told us that free VPNs have stolen their personal information and sold it to third parties.
This results in another problem.
Although a free VPN should help you to remain anonymous, only really good services do. Unfortunately, with many free VPNs, they are a security risk.
Your data can only be sold if they are saved.
Many free services have no so-called no-log policy. This means the data can be tracked and that is a risk to your privacy. Free services are also notorious for spam, advertising, and malware.
Free VPN against Paid VPN
As you must have understood by now, Free VPNs are enticing but they cannot offer the kind of performance that Paid providers can.
Free VPNs, even when they are highly secure and don’t log your data (That happens very rarely), don’t have much to offer you except for some basic level unblocking and a bit of online anonymity.
There are bandwidth limitations almost always, they cannot get past the stringent VPN bans on sites like Netflix US, they often don’t support Torrenting, support is non-existent, speeds are throttled and apps are not offered for some major platforms and OS.
If you are okay with these limitations and want to use this stripped version of a VPN, then it’s fine, but if you don’t like these limitations, you will have to opt for a paid provider.
Paid providers offer the strongest encryption and tunneling levels, don’t log your data, offer apps for major platforms, have good speeds, unblock Netflix and support secure Torrenting.
Some top providers even offer premium security features like Double VPN and Onion over VPN that you will never see free VPNs offer.
However, if you are a bit apprehensive of the high costs that you might have to bear when going for a paid provider, don’t worry much.
There are a lot of affordable VPNs out there with incredible performance and stability to suit your needs.
The best, cheap VPN service right now is Surfshark.
You can get its two year subscription for just $1.99/month.
It offers 800+ servers, apps for Android, Mac, Windows, iOS, and FireTV, military-grade encryption, Torrenting optimized servers, Netflix unblocking capability, live chat support and default support for OpenVPN tunneling protocol.
Furthermore, Surfshark offers a 30-day risk-free trial, so if you like the service, you can stay with it, but if you don’t, you can ask for your money back easily.
Top paid providers like Surfshark take your privacy very seriously and ensure that there are no loopholes through which your anonymity can be compromised.
User experience also is valued highly by such paid providers.
The bottom line here is that some good Free VPNs exist but they are just not good enough to give you everything you are looking for.
The dangers to your privacy and data that they pose are an additional turn off here as well.
Many Free VPN Services Have Been Involved Data Trading
If one was to identify the biggest problem with most Free VPN providers these days, it has got to be the problematic aspect of data trading that Free VPNs indulge in.
As a rule of thumb, Paid VPNs usually follow a zero-logging policy, but free VPNs not just log your data but also sell it to third party sources as well, which we consider a grave invasion of your right to privacy as an individual.
And it’s not the obscure or lesser-known providers that are indulging in this.
Some of the most popular Free services have been found guilty of indulging in data trading.
Just consider Hotspot Shield, a very popular provider and one which people consider as the best VPN for Android in the free category.
The fact that it has amassed an unprecedented half a billion app downloads till now lends further credence to this notion.
A study by the Centre for Democracy and Technology made the revelation that this popular VPN was selling sensitive user data to its third party affiliates.
The data sold included things like names of users, their device numbers and even the amount of bandwidth they were using.
But this doesn’t end here as the unassuming “HolaVPN” was caught selling bandwidth from users to third parties.
Things like these break user trust to a very high extent and are the reason why we ask you to reconsider your choice of opting for Free VPN service seriously.
In our study on the Dark Side of the VPN industry, we found that major culprits were free providers with their problems ranging from plain data trading to putting malware into user devices like Betternet.
When you want to get a VPN free of cost without much consideration, you are putting your privacy at major risk.
That’s why we recommend you to opt for the next best alternative to free VPNs i.e. a paid service that is exceptional in performance and doesn’t cost too much.
Our top recommended VPN for this is Surfshark because it’s relatively cheap at $1.99/month on its best plan and has the best security and performance standards in the industry.
But the biggest advantage here is that you can use Surfshark for free for a period of 30 days before you commit to it.
But if you still want to try out the freebies, don’t choose any other provider other than the ones we recommended in our list above like ProtonVPN, Windscribe, Hide.Me and OperaVPN.
Every provider among these is good for a specific task like OperaVPN works with Netflix US.
So choose wisely because if you make a bad choice, you can suffer some major consequences like privacy invasions, malware, data theft, and data trading.