The Best Free VPNs in 2024 Reviewed

Some people may believe the best free VPN is actually a scam. The reality, though, is that there are trustworthy free VPN services on offer from providers like Surfshark and IvacyVPN.

Surfshark allows you to test its services for over 30 days before committing, providing access to all its premium features. IvacyVPN, on the other hand, is an ad-supported free-forever option for mobile.

However, while trustworthy free VPNs do exist, others may compromise your privacy. That’s why we’ve curated a list of the best free VPNs, ensuring they prioritize user privacy and include essential security measures. Read our list and find the perfect free VPN for your needs.

The Best VPNs For Free Ranked

Here’s our shortlist of the best VPNs free of charge, with a brief summary of why they appear on our list:

  1. Surfshark – The best free trial VPN for unlimited devices
  2. ExpressVPN – The most secure free trial VPN service
  3. NordVPN – Top free trial VPN for the fastest speeds
  4. Ivacy VPN – Free VPN with unlimited data
  5. Privado VPN – An anonymous, free VPN service
  6. Proton VPN – Free VPN without speed caps

The Best Free VPNs Reviewed

To ensure we only recommend the best VPNs, we conduct comprehensive testing for all our guides. In our search for the top free VPNs, we prioritized providers offering free plans and trials, implementing strict no-logs policies, and employing advanced encryption methods.

1. Surfshark – Best VPN with a Free Trial

A screenshot of Surfshark VPN's interface

Cheapest Monthly Price Free Plan Money-Back Guarantee Free Offering Upgrade For Server Count and Locations
$2.29/month 7-day trial for Android, iOS, and Mac 30 days All premium features on unlimited devices Antivirus, ID Theft Protection, Private Search Engine 3,200 +, 100 countries

Surfshark stands out as the best VPN with a free trial for several reasons, including its service quality and post-trial pricing.

Unlike Ivacy VPN, Surfshark doesn’t offer a totally free plan. However, it provides a seven-day free trial for iOS, Android, and Mac devices.

Once you activate the trial, you can connect an unlimited number of devices to your account, regardless of the operating system, and access all the features of a starter account. To extend your trial, you can also use the 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you over a month of risk-free testing in total. Given this, we rate the service as the best free VPN for PC.

After downloading and installing the Surfshark app on your device, you can immediately access its top-notch security features. These include industry-leading tunneling protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard, which combine robust protection with fast connection speeds.

When you connect to a server, your internet traffic is encrypted with either the AES256-GCM or ChaCha20 cipher, depending on the tunneling protocol you select. There’s also an effective kill switch that protects your IP address at all times.

But what’s most important is that Surfshark adheres to a strict no-log policy and operates RAM-only servers, ensuring your data remains private and secure.

In addition to providing robust security and reliable connection speeds, Surfshark is one of the top choices for accessing geo-restricted content. The service effortlessly unlocks international Netflix catalogs and other streaming platforms.

Surfshark also offers obfuscated servers, which can help bypass content user restrictions enforced by institutions like schools and workplaces.

Last but not least, Surfshark is one of the cheapest providers on the market. Prices start from as little as $2.29/month, making it considerably cheaper than ExpressVPN.

Pros

  • Top-notch security and fast and stable connections
  • Unblocks popular streaming services
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Affordable pricing and risk-free trial
  • Fastest free VPN
  • Best free VPN for Windows

Cons

  • No free version

2. ExpressVPN – Best Free Trial VPN for All-Around Security

A screenshot of ExpressVPN's interface

Cheapest Monthly Price Free Plan Money-Back Guarantee Free Offering Upgrade For Server Count and Locations
$6.67/month 7-day mobile trial 30 days All premium features on 8 devices Unlimited Use of Service 3,000+, 105 countries

ExpressVPN has been one of the leaders on the market for a long time – however, its recent security suite upgrades have made it the most versatile VPN with a free trial.

As with Surfshark, ExpressVPN doesn’t have a free-forever plan but instead provides a free trial option, and iOS and Android users can enjoy a seven-day trial. For users of other operating systems, there’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to experience the service risk-free before making a commitment.

ExpressVPN’s interface may appear simple at first glance, but it’s packed with powerful features. One standout item is its proprietary Lightway tunneling protocol, which is an enhancement of the industry-leading WireGuard tunnel. This protocol ensures lightning-fast connections and robust protection from online snooping.

The provider offers the AES-256 and ChaCha20 encryption ciphers – with OpenVPN and Lightway, respectively – and both are virtually uncrackable. The service also uses RAM-only servers, which erase all data during each system reboot. And that’s not to mention the fact that the provider doesn’t log your activity at all.

ExpressVPN doesn’t just offer essential security features, though. Its offering includes advanced features such as a kill switch, split tunneling, specialized servers, and a Threat Manager, which removes ads and blocks online trackers.

In addition to these tools, ExpressVPN has recently added a password manager to its arsenal, which helps you prevent data leaks.

On the downside, ExpressVPN costs $6.67 per month, which is more than twice as expensive as Surfshark, but it only allows you to protect up to eight devices at once.

Read our full ExpressVPN review for more details.

Pros

  • Servers in over 100 countries
  • RAM-only servers for complete privacy
  • Password manager included
  • Free trial for mobile devices

Cons

  • No totally free plan
  • Pricier than most VPNs on the list

3. NordVPN – Free Trial VPN for Streaming

A screenshot of NordVPN's interface

Cheapest Monthly Price Free Plan Money-Back Guarantee Free Offering Upgrade For Server Count and Locations
$3.09/month 7-day Android trial 30 days All premium features on 10 devices Password Manager, Encrypted Storage, ID Theft Protection 6,200+, 111 countries

NordVPN is another premium VPN provider that offers you a risk-free trial and access to a next-gen security suite. What makes it stand out from other providers on this list are its unmatched streaming capabilities.

While NordVPN doesn’t offer a forever-free plan, it does provide a chance to test its service at no cost. You can get a seven-day free trial exclusively through Android devices, but once activated, it applies to all operating systems.

If you need more time to evaluate the app, you can take advantage of a 30-day money-back guarantee following the trial.

NordVPN, like Surfshark, is provided by Nord Security, ensuring top-notch protection against online threats. It employs AES-256 encryption to safeguard your data and includes a kill switch feature that terminates your network connection if the VPN connection drops.

With RAM-only servers, your data is wiped clean with every reboot, and a strict no-logs policy guarantees your activity remains private.

By utilizing the proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol, the service maintains as much as 90%+ of the baseline connection speed. This ensures unrestricted access to geo-restricted content from platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Max, and the worldwide server network means there are plenty of locations to pick from.

Moreover, NordVPN offers the Smart DNS feature, enabling access to geo-blocked streaming services on devices that don’t natively support VPNs. Given all this, we rate NordVPN as the best free VPN for Netflix.

If you feel like staying with the VPN after the trial ends, transferring to a premium plan is painless, as NordVPN’s prices start at $3.09/month and allow you to protect up to ten devices at once.

Pros

  • Fast and consistent connections
  • RAM-only servers for guaranteed privacy
  • Over 6,200 server locations worldwide
  • Seven-day free trial via Android devices
  • Best free Netflix VPN

Cons

  • No free version of the app
  • No graphical app for Linux users

4. Ivacy VPN – Great Free VPN for Unlimited Use

A screenshot of Ivacy VPN's interface

Cheapest Monthly Price Free Plan Money-Back Guarantee Free Offering Upgrade For Server Count and Locations
Free / $1.17/month Free Plan for mobile, 7-day trial 30 days Ad-supported, unlimited data, protection for one device No Ads, Split Tunneling, Port Forwarding 5,700+, 100 countries (paid app)

Ivacy VPN is a less popular name than NordVPN or ExpressVPN, but it offers a robust, reliable, free VPN application.

Unlike other providers on this list, the provider offers a totally free plan for mobile users. One of the unique features of the free plan is that it offers unlimited data usage, which ensures you stay protected at all times, making it the best free VPN for iPhone.

Ivacy VPN is a reliable service and one of the few free providers that doesn’t track your online activity, though you do need to view ads to keep using the VPN.

Nevertheless, Ivacy provides a great set of security tools. Your traffic is encrypted with the AES-256 cipher, which is used by governments for unbreakable protection. You can also use both OpenVPN and WireGuard tunneling protocols to ensure you can maintain decent connection speeds without compromising your security.

Unfortunately, the other security features are reserved for paying users. With Ivacy VPN’s premium app, you’ll find additional features like a kill switch, split tunneling for managed VPN traffic, optimized servers for streaming, and DDoS protection.

A paid plan also enables you to connect up to ten devices simultaneously, rather than just one, as with the free plan.

You might be surprised to discover, though, that you can upgrade from the one-device free account for a little over $1 per month. To test how an Ivacy VPN premium plan works, you can also use its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros

  • Fully free plan for mobile
  • Unlimited data
  • Doesn’t collect activity logs
  • Best free unlimited VPN for Android

Cons

  • Unblocks content with paid plan only
  • Inconsistent connection speeds

5. Privado VPN – Best Free VPN for Traveling

A screenshot of Privado VPN's interface

Cheapest Monthly Price Free Plan Money-Back Guarantee Free Offering Upgrade For Server Count and Locations
Free / $1.99/month Free Plan 30 days 10GB data limit, encryption, no payment details required for signup 10 Simultaneous Connections, Parental Controls, IP Leak Protection 390+, 63 countries (paid app)

In recent years, Privado VPN has joined the list of the top VPNs, and for a good reason – it’s the best free VPN for travel.

Although the VPN doesn’t have unlimited data for its free users, it’s nevertheless enough to get by on. Privado VPN does implement speed limits, though – you can only connect to one server with a speed of 1Mbps, and there’s a restrictive 10GB monthly data cap.

We, hence, recommend you also consider taking advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee, which gives you access to all the service’s premium features, unmetered data, and unlimited connection speeds.

Notably, the VPN is based in Switzerland and adheres to a strict no-logs policy. Like other VPNs on this list, Privado VPN utilizes industry-leading encryption to safeguard your data.

With the integration of WireGuard and OpenVPN tunneling protocols, you can be assured of stable and secure connections. A free kill switch feature ensures your IP is protected in the event of a VPN connection failure.

Privado VPN’s free plan gives you access to servers in 12 U.S. and U.K. locations, so you can get a good network connection while traveling in Europe or North America.

You can also use the service to unblock Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, but do bear data and speed caps in mind. Features like split tunneling, leak protection, and P2P servers are only available to paying users.

In case you want to upgrade to a premium plan, Privado VPN offers prices starting at $1.99 per month when you sign up for a two-year plan.

Pros

  • Free servers in 12 locations
  • Kill switch is available for free users
  • Free app unblocks some streaming services

Cons

  • Limited 1Mbps connection speed on free plan
  • 10GB browsing data cap

6. Proton VPN – Freemium VPN with Unlimited Monthly Data

A screenshot of Proton VPN's interface

Cheapest Monthly Price Free Plan Money-Back Guarantee Free Offering Upgrade For Server Count and Locations
Free / $4.99/month Free Plan 30 days Unlimited data, WireGuard protocol, advanced encryption 10 Simultaneous Connections, Unblock Streaming, Double VPN, More Servers 4,200+, 91 countries (paid app)

Proton VPN is a freemium VPN built on the belief that cybersecurity shouldn’t be a privilege, and the service offers a free VPN plan with unlimited monthly data, making it the best free VPN for torrenting.

As you would expect from a reliable free VPN, Proton VPN doesn’t have data or speed caps, so you can stay protected throughout the month. You can use free servers based in the U.S., Japan, and the Netherlands.

If you need a larger server fleet, you’ll benefit from the 30-day money-back guarantee, which allows you to test all the premium VPN features without risking your money.

Proton VPN is one of the relatively few VPNs that have put their no-logs policy through an independent audit, proving the service never monitors your online activity.

The use of AES-256 encryption to make your data virtually undecryptable is another strength, and even though you’re a free user, you can use the industry-leading WireGuard tunnel for fast and secure connections.

In addition to great security features, the Proton VPN free plan includes a kill switch, which disables your network connection if the VPN fails, and IP leak protection.

For paying subscribers, the VPN offers an antivirus mini-suite featuring ad and tracker blockers as well as anti-malware protection. Proton VPN also boasts excellent content-unblocking capabilities. Proton VPN’s premium plans start at $4.99/month and allow you to protect up to ten devices at a time.

Given that it’s the only free VPN on this list without a data cap or ads, it’s highly recommended.

Pros

  • Unlimited data and connection speeds for free users
  • Free kill switch and IP leak protection
  • Independently audited no-logs policy

Cons

  • Paid plans are relatively expensive
  • Free VPN subscription doesn’t work for streaming

Comparing the Best Free VPNs

If you’re short on time or prefer a quick overview, take a look at the comparison table below, where we’ve summarized the key features of the top free VPN options:

VPN Provider Cheapest Monthly Price Free VPN Subscription Free Offering Upgrade For Server Count and Locations
Surfshark $2.29/month 7-day mobile trial, 30-day money-back All premium features on unlimited devices Antivirus, ID Theft Protection, Private Search Engine 3,200+, 100 countries
ExpressVPN $6.67/month 7-day mobile trial, 30-day-money back All premium features on 8 devices Unlimited Use of Service 3,000+, 105 countries
NordVPN $3.09/month 7-day Android trial, 30-day-money back All premium features on 10 devices Password Manager, Encrypted Storage, ID Theft Protection 6,200+, 111 countries
Ivacy VPN Free / $1.17/month Free Plan for mobile, 7-day trial Ad-supported, unlimited data, protection for one device Split Tunneling, Port Forwarding 5,700+, 100 countries (paid app)
PrivadoVPN Free / $1.99/month Free Plan 10GB data limit, encryption, no payment details required for signup 10 Simultaneous Connections, Parental Controls, IP Leak Protection 390+, 63 countries (paid app)
Proton VPN Free / $4.99/month Free Plan Unlimited data, WireGuard protocol, advanced encryption 10 Simultaneous Connections, Unblock Streaming, Double VPN, More Servers 4,200+, 91 countries (paid app)
Methodology

How We Review and Test VPN Services

20

VPNS TESTED

25

DATA POINTS MEASURED

300+

HOURS TESTING

500+

USER REVIEWS READ

To provide our readers with accurate and well informed recommendations, we tested 20 leading VPN services to find the best in the market. Our methodology consists of the following criteria:

  • Security Features: We made sure that the provider uses standard security features and a secure tunneling protocol.
  • Privacy Policies: We looked for VPNs that come with a no-logs policy, and verify the extend to which user privacy is upheld.
  • Speed: We run speed tests three times a day and draw an average of the result to see how much of the original broadband speed is retained.
  • Compatibility: We ensure the VPN provider offers multiple simultaneous connections and is compatible with the most popular operating systems.
  • Geo-unblocking: We test whether the VPN service can unlock different libraries (content available in different countries) on the most popular streaming platforms.
  • Customer Experience: When researching products and services, we read real user experiences and test out their customer support channels ourselves.
  • Price and Value for Money: We set out to recommend reasonably priced products that offer value for money.

How to Choose a Good Free VPN Service

Using a free VPN can seem convenient for short-term needs like travel or testing out security measures, but it’s important to be cautious as many free VPNs compromise user privacy by collecting and selling data to third parties.

To ensure your privacy with a free VPN, it’s important to be aware of the key features to look for.

EncryptionPrivacy policyTunneling protocolAdditional security featuresServer fleetUpgrade price

Encryption

For top-notch VPN security, AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) has been widely embraced as an encryption cipher standard. It comes in 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit variations. Among these, AES-256 offers the best protection.

Privacy policy

Many free VPNs collect and sell user data. To stop this from happening, we recommend you thoroughly check your selected VPN’s privacy policy and ascertain what data it collects and whether it follows a no-logs policy.

Tunneling protocol

Your VPN’s tunneling protocol provides a secure passage for your data over the internet. It’s not only responsible for the speed of the network connection, and its protection. We suggest you aim for a free VPN that uses WireGuard or a proprietary version of it, as it’s known for combining protection and speeds.

Additional security features

Free VPNs often come with compromises. You may experience slower performance and fewer security features compared to paid options. When choosing a free VPN, look for those that offer essential protection features like a kill switch and IP leak protection.

Server fleet

Free VPNs usually have fewer servers than paid plans. It’s important to choose a VPN with servers in your country or nearby for optimal performance. If you require specialized servers, such as obfuscated servers, it’s best to opt for a premium VPN with a free trial.

Price for an upgrade

You may come to the point when you wish for a more advanced security suite and better performance, so it’s a good idea to check the subscription prices of a VPN before signing up for its free version.

Is There a VPN with a Completely Free Version?

Running a VPN costs money, so all providers will look to monetize in some way. The most obvious route is to charge for subscriptions.

Many providers also offer trials and money-back guarantees to allow users to test their services ahead of subscribing, and this is a great way of getting temporary free VPN services.

Other providers have freemium VPN solutions that have a limited set of tools – limiting bandwidth or the number of servers available – with the aim of upselling users to the full product. In some cases, this means having to view ads in order to keep the VPN going.

If you’re using a free service, the provider will have to pay for it in some way, whether they’re using it as a marketing tool, monetizing it via ads, or using it to cross-promote another product – as with the best antiviruses with VPN, where the VPN service is thrown in with the package.

Some unscrupulous providers are actually distributing adware and malware disguised as free VPNs. These programs may use your machine as part of a botnet or for crypto-mining operations, they may sell user data, or they may simply be tracking your keystrokes or internet activity, exposing you to fraud and identity theft.

Are Free VPNs Any Good? Free vs Cheap VPNs

A decent free VPN can be extremely useful if you occasionally need to make use of an encrypted connection. However, few free VPNs will provide unlimited data, and many have speed caps, so you’re often very restricted in what you can do with free access.

This generally makes free services unsuitable for streaming, torrenting, and gaming, where you need high-speed connections, no data limit, and substantial bandwidth.

In comparison, cheap VPNs can offer a lot more. PrivadoVPN and Ivacy VPN are available for under $2 per month, while Surfshark is less than $2.50 and offers a fast, secure, premium VPN with server locations worldwide and options for double VPN and VPN obfuscation.

Given this, if you want to use a VPN regularly or consistently, then cheap services can potentially provide a lot more value than most free VPNs, and you don’t have to put up with free data limits or speed caps.

Are Free VPNs Safe and Secure?

Free versions of VPNs from trustworthy providers provide broadly comparable services to their paid offerings. They may be missing some features, though, such as a kill switch or access to multiple VPN protocols.

However, you may also come across free VPN services from unscrupulous providers. If there’s very little information about a company or you can’t find feedback from real-world users, you should be wary of using their services.

You should avoid firms that don’t have a clear no-logs policy, given that evading tracking is fundamental for VPNs. The best free VPN services, as we’ve rated them, will have audited privacy policies.

Are Free VPNs Legal?

VPNs are legal in most countries in the world, and that remains true for providers offering a free service.

They are only banned in countries like North Korea, Belarus, Iraq, Oman, and Turkmenistan, though there are restrictions on use in China, Russia, Egypt, India, Iran, and Türkiye. If you plan to use a VPN in one of these countries, security is of paramount importance, so we would not recommend using a free service.

Of course, illegal activity, such as sharing copyrighted material, remains illegal if you’re using a VPN. You should also be wary of using free services from less well-known VPN providers, which may compromise your privacy or even track your activity and sell the information.

How to Get a VPN for Free

To get a VPN for free, you can either choose a VPN that has a free-forever plan or opt for a premium VPN with a risk-free trial. Either way, the process is similar and requires little effort:

  1. Pick a Provider

    First, choose a VPN that has a free service or a free trial. We recommend Surfshark, which we rate as the best VPN free of charge, thanks to its free trial and money-back guarantee.

  2. Go to the App Store

    Head to the app store on your iOS or Android device and look for the Surfshark application.

  3. Download the App

    Once you’ve found the right app in the search, go to the download page and download the Surfshark app.

    <strong>Download the App</strong>
  4. Create an Account

    Open the application once it’s finished downloading, and click “Create account.” Fill in the required information to create an account.

    <strong>Create an Account</strong>
  5. Launch Your Trial

    You’re now ready to use Surfshark’s seven-day free trial for a week and then, if desired, subscribe to one of its plans and benefit from a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you want to receive a refund, make sure you cancel the subscription before the end of the month.

Our Other VPN Guides

Keen to learn more about VPNs before opting for your first free VPN app? Check out the articles below to make an informed decision:

FAQs

What is the best free VPN?

Is there a 100% free VPN?

What’s the best free VPN for Android?

Are free VPNs any good?

Are free VPNs safe?

Who are free VPNs best suited for?

Michael Simon
Editor

Michael is a Tech Content Editor at Techopedia, who is passionate about delivering high-quality tech content online and ensuring the accuracy of our guides. With over a decade of experience in editorial and marketing, he has worked with leading publishers and a range of SaaS firms, gaining expertise in the tech sector. Outside of work, Michael's interests include current affairs and behavioral economics.