VPNs The Best Free VPN Services in 2023 | Freemium VPNs and the Best Paid Alternative

The best free VPN services allow you to bypass geo-restrictions and watch your favorite movies, TV shows, and anime, as well as hide your IP address and protect your online data from snoopers and cybercriminals. You can do all this without paying a penny, but free VPNs can’t quite match the powerful features of the top paid VPNs.

With so many scams and fakes around, it can be very difficult to find a great free VPN. To help you out, we’ve researched all the free VPN service providers out there and put together an approved list so you can find the best free VPN that works. Our top pick is PrivadoVPN, which has a rock-solid free plan and can even unblock Netflix for free, but Proton VPN and Hotspot Shield are also strong contenders.

 

The Best Free VPN Services in 2023| Quick Answer

Our research and testing have found these 5 free VPNs to be the cream of the crop — and if you’re after more functionality, we’ve included two of the best paid VPNs — ExpressVPN and NordVPN — at the end of our shortlist:

  1. PrivadoVPN — Best Free VPN Overall, One of the Only Free VPNs to Unblock Netflix.
  2. AtlasVPN — Only Three Free Servers, but Great for Gaming in the US.
  3. TunnelBear — A Big Brand But Comes With Usage Limitations.
  4. ProtonVPN — Superb Encryption and Powerful VPN Protocols to Protect Your Online Privacy.
  5. Hotspot Shield — Over 800 Servers and Unlimited Data Transfer With the Free Account.
  6. ExpressVPN — The Best Paid VPN Overall Take Advantage of its 30-day Money-Back Guarantee!
  7. NordVPN Powerful, Cheap VPN + 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.

The Best Free VPN Services You Can Download Today | In-Depth Reviews

Dozens of VPNs advertise themselves as free but only offer free trials or severely limit the VPN’s functionality, practically forcing you to upgrade to a paid plan.

To help you avoid frustration and save you valuable time, we’ll review the best free VPNs that are actually free, work properly, and require no credit card information to install and use.

Here are in-depth reviews of the best free VPNs in 2023.

1. PrivadoVPN — Best Free VPN Overall, Great for Unblocking Netflix

In our research, PrivadoVPN prevailed as the best free VPN thanks to its powerful AES 256-bit encryption, a huge number of servers, zero logs policy, and the ability to reliably unblock geo-restricted content. 

PrivadoVPN offers an excellent free plan, allowing users to enjoy all the features of this powerful VPN on an unlimited number of devices, be it phones, tablets, PCs, laptops, or Macbooks.

This makes PrivadoVPN the best free VPN for PC and the best free mobile VPN. 

Privado VPN Best Free VPN Overall

There are some limitations to the free plan, however. You can only connect one device to PrivadoVPN at a time, can only choose between 12 servers, and have a limit of 10GB of data you can use each month. 

PrivadoVPN is based in Switzerland which boasts some of the strictest privacy laws

While not the best free gaming VPN due to these limitations, the 10 free gigabytes PrivadoVPN offers are more than enough to watch your favorite online content without any restrictions, as well as hide your IP and encrypt your online data while browsing the web.

Where PrivadoVPN truly shines is when it comes to unblocking Netflix. Out of all the free VPNs we tested, PrivadoVPN was the only one that was consistently able to unblock all the different Netflix libraries and play movies and TV shows without buffering.

Another key benefit of PrivadoVPN is that it’s based in Switzerland, so you’ll be protected by Swiss privacy laws, which are among the best in the world.

The company doesn’t store any of your data, and your online connection is secured by world-class encryption, so nobody can see your IP and location or monitor your online activity.

Pros

  • Industry-standard encryption
  • 10GB of free data each month
  • Consistently unblocks Netflix
  • Zero logs policy enforced by Swiss privacy laws
  • Compatible with all devices and operating systems

Cons

  • Only 12 servers available on the free plan
Free plan details Max. supported devices Supported Operating Systems Customer Support
10GB free data transfer per month

12 Servers

1 Connection at a time

Zero-logs policy

Unlimited Android

iOS

Windows

macOS

FireTV

AndroidTV

24/7 Live Chat and email

2. AtlasVPN — Only Three Free Servers, but Great for Gaming in the US

AtlasVPN promotes itself as the ultimate free VPN, but that claim is up for debate. 

While it doesn’t enforce any connection speed limits, AtlasVPN limits you to three server locations with a free account. You can use the VPN to connect to servers in Amsterdam (Netherlands), New York, or Los Angeles at no charge. 

AtlasVPN Great for Gaming

On top of the extremely limited server choice, these three servers don’t support streaming, so you won’t be able to watch geo-restricted content on Netflix or other streaming platforms with your free AtlasVPN account. 

That said, if you’re in the US, AtlasVPN is one of the best free gaming VPNs since it doesn’t cap your connection speed. This means you can connect to a local server and enjoy a safe and protected online gaming experience without lag or delay.

In terms of safety and protection, AtlasVPN relies on industry-standard encryption and the WireGuard protocol to ensure your data is protected against cyber threats at all times.

The VPN also blocks trackers so that nobody can monitor your online activity, and you can enjoy complete online privacy.

Pros

  • No speed limitations
  • Industry-standard encryption
  • Fast peer-to-peer (P2P) connections, great for torrenting

Cons

  • Only 3 servers to choose from with a paid account
  • Can’t watch geo-restricted content on streaming platforms without upgrading to a paid account
Free plan details Max. supported devices Supported Operating Systems Customer Support
3 servers

Unlimited data transfer

No speed limit

Unlimited devices

Streaming modes disabled

Unlimited Windows

macOS

Linux

Android

iOS

Android TV

Fire TV Stick

Email

Live Chat for paid customers

3. TunnelBear — A Big Brand But Comes With Usage Limitations

TunnelBear is overall a decent VPN, with servers in 48 countries, industry-standard encryption, and powerful privacy protection features. That said, its free plan has some key limitations. 

While TunnelBear does offer a free version of the VPN, it’s extremely limited. You’ll only have 500Mb of VPN-protected data, which you’ll likely spend in one day. 

TunnelBear VPN free

The free plan acts more as a free trial of the VPN, and the official TunnelBear website clearly states it’s meant for testing the VPN, not as a viable free VPN option.

Additionally, some features of the TunnelBear VPN are only available once you upgrade to the paid account. The much bigger drawback of TunnelBear, as a whole, is the fact that it will considerably slow down your internet speed.

While the industry average for leading VPNs is about a 20% speed decrease, with TunnelBear, you’ll experience a much more significant drop-off, meaning it’s not an ideal choice for streaming or online gaming.

Pros

  • State-of-the-art encryption and powerful security features
  • Servers in 48 countries
  • GhostBear feature to bypass VPN blocking

Cons

  • The free plan is extremely limited
  • Noticeably slower than leading VPNs
  • Limited functionality on iOS
  • No DNS/IP leak protection
Free plan details Max. supported devices Supported Operating Systems Customer Support
Limited features

500 MB of data

1 connection

1 Windows

macOS

iOS

Android

Browser

Live Chat is available for paying customers

4. ProtonVPN — Superb Encryption and Powerful VPN Protocols to Protect Your Online Privacy

ProtonVPN is another Swiss VPN service provider that offers a free VPN for everyone who wants to protect themselves online and browse the web anonymously.

Since the company behind ProtonVPN believes that cybersecurity is a basic human right, their software will be forever free to use, so you won’t have to pay a cent if you don’t want to. 

ProtonVPN App screenshots Powerful free VPN

With the free ProtonVPN account, you’ll have access to all the VPN’s features, and you’ll enjoy superb online protection thanks to its AES 256-bit encryption and secure VPN protocols.

Use ProtonVPN on up to 10 devices simultaneously

You’ll be able to use ProtonVPN to stream online content from anywhere in the world, access geo-restricted websites, protect your online data, and even block annoying ads and prevent tracking attempts from shady websites.

The best part about ProtonVPN’s free account is that you’ll have access to over 100 servers spread across three countries — the United States, the Netherlands, and Japan.

Keep in mind that you’ll only be able to connect to medium-speed servers with a free account. While these servers do have internet speed limits, they’re still reasonably fast, so you shouldn’t expect a noticeable decrease in your internet speed.

ProtonVPN is compatible with all devices and operating systems, and you can use it to protect up to 10 different devices.

Pros

  • Superb encryption and powerful VPN protocols
  • Wide range of servers spread across the globe
  • No data transfer restrictions on the free plan
  • Compatible with all devices and operating systems

Cons

  • Highest VPN speed servers reserved for paid users
Free plan details Max. supported devices Supported Operating Systems Customer Support
100+ servers

Medium VPN speed

1 VPN connection

Strict no-logs policy

Unlimited Android

iOS

Windows

macOS

FireTV

AndroidTV

24/7 Live Chat and email

5. Hotspot Shield — Over 800 Servers and Unlimited Data Transfer With the Free Account

Hotspot Shield is another decent option if you want to try out a VPN without having to commit to a monthly subscription.

With Hotspot Shield’s free plan, you’ll have access to all 800+ servers, enjoy a connection speed of up to 1Gbps, and will be able to use the VPN without any data limits. 

Hotspot Shield VPN Unlimited Data Transfer

That said, Hotspot Shield’s free plan has a few drawbacks you should be aware of. For starters, you can’t use it for streaming online content or gaming — these features are only available with a paid account.

On top of that, you won’t have access to an internet kill switch and won’t be able to talk to the company’s customer support on live chat. It’s obvious Hotspot Shield’s free plan was designed to draw people in and gradually convince them to upgrade to a paid plan.

That said, if you only intend to use the VPN to encrypt your online traffic and protect your data from cyber threats or access geo-restricted websites, Hotspot Shield will do a wonderful job.

Hotspot Shield uses military-grade encryption and the Hydra VPN protocol, which is widely regarded as one of the fastest and safest VPN protocols available.

The company also adheres to a strict no-logs policy, so your information will be 100% secure even with the free plan.

Pros

  • Over 800 servers to choose from
  • Unlimited data transfer and connection speeds of up to 1Gbps
  • Military-grade encryption and access to the powerful Hydra VPN protocol

Cons

  • Streaming and gaming modes are disabled on free accounts
  • Can’t chat with customer support unless you upgrade to a paid account
  • Internet kill switch not available on free accounts
Free plan details Max. supported devices Supported Operating Systems Customer Support
800+ servers

Unlimited data

Up to 1Gbps VPN connection

1 VPN connection

No internet kill switch

Streaming and gaming modes disabled

25 Android

iOS

Windows

macOS

Linux

Smart TVs

Routers

You can only access the Support Center with a paid account

6. ExpressVPN — The Best Paid VPN Overall —Take Advantage of its 30-day Money-Back Guarantee!

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs available today, without exception. The service delivers super-fast connection speeds and has servers in 94 countries, giving you an extremely wide spread of locations to pick from.

While ExpressVPN doesn’t provide a free VPN service, it does have a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can try out the service and ask for a refund if you find it doesn’t meet your requirements.

This top-tier VPN service prioritizes safety and security and to ensure complete anonymity, your data will be protected by expert-level AES-256 encryption. What’s more, the company doesn’t keep any connection or activity logs for its traffic. That’s a particularly attractive feature for people like travelers and remote workers who may have to use insecure connections.

ExpressVPN Best Paid VPN Overall

It’s also an extremely versatile provider and supports Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, with plugins available for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. This is particularly useful considering the fact that you can add five different devices to your account for simultaneous use, covering everything you and your family might need.

ExpressVPN can help you access services like Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, the iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video, and it’s also a great option for both torrenting and gaming, with a consistently lightning-fast connection. You can also use ExpressVPN in conjunction with a wide range of tools and services like Facebook, Whatsapp, and Gmail.

The service additionally comes with a built-in password manager, ExpressVPN Keys, which will keep your login data secure and save you from having to sign up for another service. A 24-hour live chat support, meanwhile, means that help is always there if you need it.

All in all, ExpressVPN delivers a superb service, allowing you to browse safely and securely, which is why we rank it as the best VPN service on the market. Subscriptions start at $8.32 per month, and the money-back promise means that trying out the service is risk-free.

Pros

  • Ultra-fast servers covering 94 countries
  • Apps for all major platforms
  • No activity logs and no connection logs
  • Built-in password manager
  • 24/7 customer support by live chat
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • No free plan available
Free plan details Max. supported devices Supported Operating Systems Customer Support
N/A 5 Windows

macOS

Linux

Android

iOS: iPhone / iPad

Chrome

Firefox

Edge

24/7 Live Chat

7. NordVPN — Powerful, Cheap VPN + 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.

NordVPN is one of the most powerful VPNs on the market. While it does not offer a free plan, you can take advantage of its 30-day money guarantee to try out one of the world’s leading VPN risk-free. When it comes to online safety and the protection of your data, NordVPN is an extremely strong contender.

In addition to the AES 256-bit encryption and four secure VPN protocols, NordVPN provides ongoing threat protection, dark web monitoring, double VPN protection, obfuscated servers, private DNS, and much more.

NordVPN Best VPN Overall

With over 5,000 servers in more than 59 countries, NordVPN lets you easily connect to a lightning-fast nearby server and enjoy superb online protection without a speed decrease.

It reliably unblocks geo-restricted content on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and other popular streaming platforms.

NordVPN is also an excellent choice for gaming and torrenting, and it’s got the highest possible scores on multiple independent third-party audits, making it one of the safest and most reliable VPNs today.

If you get NordVPN today, you’ll save as much as 68% on your subscription and will get three months of premium membership added to your account free of charge.

On the off chance that you’re not satisfied with NordVPN’s service, you can get a full refund within 30 days of your purchase. This elite VPN can cost as little as $3.09 a month so check it out now to see how a premium VPN like Nord compares to the best free VPNs.

Pros

  • Over 5,000 servers in 59+ countries
  • Blocks malware, trackers, and annoying ads
  • Ongoing threat protection
  • Dark Web monitoring
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Double VPN protection, private DNS, dedicated IP, and obfuscated servers

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer a free plan
Free plan details Max. supported devices Supported Operating Systems Customer Support
N/A 6 Windows

macOS

Linux

Android

iOS: iPhone / iPad

Chrome

Firefox

Edge

24/7 Live Chat

How to Pick the Best Free VPN | Our Methodology

Whether you’re looking for a free VPN for PC or the best free VPN for Android or iPhone, there are quite a few variables you need to consider. Obviously, you want a free VPN that works, offers superb online protection and doesn’t have any hidden charges or fees.

The first thing you need to make sure of is that the VPN is actually free, rather than just a free trial that will require you to provide your credit card info and automatically charge you after the trial period ends.

The VPNs we recommended in this guide – apart from ExpressVPN and NordVPN – all offer free plans that don’t require you to pay a single cent.

PrivadoVPN ticks all the right boxes for the best free VPN

The next thing to pay attention to is the level of encryption the VPN offers. All of the VPN service providers we covered in this guide rely on industry-standard AES-256 encryption, so you can’t go wrong with either one. 

After you’ve covered those bases, you should take a look at the number of servers different VPNs offer, as this will directly impact your internet connection speed.

For example, AtlasVPN only offers three servers on the free plan, so it’s not ideal if you want to stream online content or torrent movies and TV shows. 

Ideally, you’d want a free VPN that allows you to connect to a fast nearby server so you can enjoy maximum protection without having to sacrifice connection speed.

Lastly, you want to make sure the VPN you opt for reliably unblocks geo-restricted content on Netflix and other popular streaming platforms.

After testing all the different free VPN services, we’ve found that only PrivadoVPN consistently unblocks Netflix, making it the best free Netflix VPN on the market.

Are Free VPN Services Dangerous?

When it comes to free software of any kind, you need to be extremely cautious.

There are a bunch of shady websites that offer “free” VPNs but are either trying to trick you into downloading a virus or are using the VPN software to steal and sell your data to advertisers and other third parties.

The only way to be safe with a free VPN is to get a free plan from one of the reputable, trusted VPN service providers.

We’ve curated a list of the best free VPNs in this guide to ensure your online data is safe and that you’re getting the best services from providers we know are genuine.

Free vs. Paid VPNs — Which Should You Get?

A free VPN is a great way to get an idea of how a specific VPN functions in practice without having to commit to a monthly subscription.

That said, most free plans are quite limited, either in terms of the features you have access to or the number of servers you can connect to.

Paid VPNs are well worth it and can be bought for as little as $2/month

If you’re only looking to improve your online privacy while doing some light browsing on your PC or laptop, a free VPN for Windows will do the trick. You can also install a free iPhone VPN app if you’re planning on visiting websites you don’t fully trust using your mobile device. 

That said, if you’re looking for a VPN to stream geo-restricted content, torrent movies, and TV shows, or stay protected online 24/7, then a paid version is a much better choice.

In addition to providing ongoing threat protection and absolute online privacy, paid VPNs offer a variety of useful features, such as malware and tracking protection and ad-blocking. 

With a paid VPN, you’ll also have more choice regarding the VPN servers and will be able to enjoy superb online protection without having to sacrifice functionality or connection speed.

With paid plans starting at as little as $2/month, we firmly believe paid VPNs are well worth the price.

How to Get a Premium VPN for Free | Take Advantage of ExpressVPN’s 30-day Guarantee

Getting a premium VPN doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cough up a couple of hundred dollars upfront or commit to an annual subscription. In fact, you can try out ExpressVPN completely risk-free by taking advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Take advantage of the risk-free 30 day guarantee to use the market’s leading VPN for free

You can choose a monthly plan from ExpressVPN starting at just $12.95 per month and test out the world’s leading VPN at your own comfort.

If you find that ExpressVPN doesn’t live up to your expectations or you’re not satisfied with how it performs then you can ask for a full refund within 30 days of your purchase. 

What’s much more likely to happen is that you’ll love ExpressVPN’s superb online protection after the first month.

In that case, you can either continue with your monthly subscription or upgrade to an annual pricing plan to save 36% and get months of premium ExpressVPN protection for free.

Take advantage of ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee and try out the world’s leading VPN service provider today, risk-free!

Free VPN FAQs

Which free VPN has the best speed?

Are free VPNs slow?

What is the safest free VPN?

Can I make my own VPN?

Do free VPNs hide your IP?

Can you be tracked when using a VPN?

Can I hide my IP address for free?

Is there an unlimited free VPN for PC?

Do free VPNs sell your data?

Does PrivadoVPN have any limitations?

Conclusion | The Best Free VPNs in 2023

Here’s a reminder of our top picks for free VPNs and our top paid provider. Remember, you can take advantage of ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee to try out a premium service without having to commit.

  1. PrivadoVPN — Best Free VPN Overall, One of the Only Free VPNs to Unblock Netflix.
  2. AtlasVPN — Only Three Free Servers, but Great for Gaming in the US.
  3. TunnelBear — A Big Brand But Comes With Usage Limitations.
  4. ProtonVPN — Superb Encryption and Powerful VPN Protocols to Protect Your Online Privacy.
  5. Hotspot Shield — Over 800 Servers and Unlimited Data Transfer With the Free Account.
  6. ExpressVPN — The Best Paid VPN Overall Take Advantage of its 30-day Money-Back Guarantee!
  7. NordVPN — Powerful, Cheap VPN + 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.

A free VPN doesn’t have to come with the sacrifice of quality, and with the best free VPNs, you can secure your privacy without spending a penny. Try our #1 free VPN, PrivadoVPN today.

Aleksandar Stevanovic Senior Writer

Aleksandar Stevanovic Senior Writer

Aleksandar is a senior content writer with a passion for consistently writing in-depth articles on software-related topics, including Antivirus Software, VPNs, VoIP, CRM, Spy Apps, and Crypto.

Aleksandar has worked with reputable websites such as CEX.IO and NicheStack, further showcasing his commitment to providing high-quality content.

With nearly a decade of experience, he delivers valuable and well-researched pieces to his readers, establishing himself as a reliable authority in the industry.