Free VPNs: Friend or Foe? Uncovering the Truth About Trustworthiness
Indulging in the temptation of downloading a free VPN may seem like a savvy move, but hold your horses, honey! While there are undeniable perks to using a free option over a premium one, there are also some trade-offs that need to be considered.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are a godsend for maintaining online safety, browsing with anonymity, safeguarding your identity, and accessing geo-blocked content. Paid VPN services often offer superior features, protection, and better performance, there are some free options out there that can get the job done, too but not all free VPNs are created equal. In fact, many free options come with a host of potential dangers and drawbacks that you need to be aware of before diving in headfirst. With hundreds of choices to wade through, how do you know which ones to trust?
With a myriad of free VPNs available, it’s crucial to be wary of the risks they carry. Many shady free VPN apps are notorious for bombarding users with obnoxious ads and potentially selling off their data to third parties.
But don’t you worry, dollface! This guide provides a comprehensive analysis of the dangers of using free VPNs and offers expert advice on how to steer clear of those sketchy options. If you only need a VPN for occasional use on public Wi-Fi, the best free VPNs can provide satisfactory protection. We’ll delve into the world of free VPNs and uncover the truth about their trustworthiness (or lack thereof). From pesky ads to data-selling schemes, we’ll cover it all so you can make an informed decision about which free VPNs to avoid.
But fear not – we’ve also compiled a list of the best free VPN options available in 2023 that won’t compromise your privacy or security. So sit tight and get ready to discover the top contenders for protecting your online freedom. So, without further ado, let’s unveil the crème de la crème of free VPNs that made it to our top picks!
The Dark Side of Free VPNs: A Cautionary Tale
Let’s face it, darlings – nothing in life comes for free and VPNs are no exception. Free VPNs may sound like a sweet deal, but nothing comes for free in this world. As you’d expect, there’s always a catch, and when it comes to free VPN services, the catch is often unsavory.
While the idea of a free VPN may sound enticing, the reality is that you’ll likely have to make some major sacrifices.
Most free VPN providers make money in one of two ways: through invasive advertising or by selling users’ data to third parties highest bidder. This essentially defeats the entire purpose of using a VPN in the first place – to maintain online privacy and security.
In addition to compromising your privacy, free VPN services usually impose limitations on the amount of data you can use and the speed at which you can use it. This makes them practically useless for bandwidth-intensive activities like streaming, torrenting, or gaming. And don’t expect the same level of support and server range that paid services offer.
Before you dive into the world of free VPN downloads, it’s essential to realize that a paid VPN service can cost as little as $2/£2 per month. In exchange, you’ll get far superior performance, enhanced security, and peace of mind.
So, if you’re serious about maintaining online privacy and security, it’s best to steer clear of free VPNs and invest in a reputable paid service. Trust us; your peace of mind is worth it. But if you’re still determined to go the free route, keep reading for a deeper look into the potential drawbacks that come with using a free VPN, as well as our expert recommendations for the best free VPNs that can offer you at least some level of security and privacy without costing you a penny.
Secure Your Online Freedom: The Ultimate List of Top Free VPNs for 2023
The top-ranked free VPN on our list comes with a boundless data allowance at zero cost.
Data limit: Unlimited | Connections: 1 | Countries: 3 | Support: Website, eMail
- Unlimited data
- Feature-packed open-sourced and audited apps
- Reliable kill switch
- Only three locations
Looking for a free VPN that doesn’t skimp on features? Look no further than Proton VPN Free, currently topping the charts as the best free VPN of 2023. Unlike other free providers, Proton VPN Free offers unlimited data, meaning you can use it as much as you want without worrying about hitting a monthly cap. Plus, it doesn’t sacrifice important privacy features like the kill switch and WireGuard. While there are some limitations, such as access to only three locations, Proton VPN Free’s open-source and audited apps make it easy to use and packed with useful tools and technologies. With speeds reaching a whopping 380Mbps, it even outperforms some paid services. If you want a fast, secure, and powerful free VPN, Proton VPN Free is the one to try.
Get your hands on a generous 10GB of free data, plus the rare ability to unblock US Netflix, all with PrivadoVPN Free.
Data limit: 10GB at full speed, then unlimited via a single 1Mbps location | Connections: 1 | Server locations: 12 | Countries: 9 | 24/7 live chat support: Website, eMail
- Unblocks US Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer
- 10GB full-speed data a month, plus unlimited low-speed traffic
- Above average performance
- Easy-to-use apps
- The mobile applications lack advanced functionalities.
While PrivadoVPN Free didn’t quite clinch the top spot on our list, this provider has some impressive features that could make it your go-to VPN. Although it doesn’t offer unlimited data like our #1 pick, Proton VPN, its 10 GB monthly allowance is sufficient for most users. What’s more, if you hit your monthly limit, PrivadoVPN offers a unique ’emergency server’ with unlimited data in a single location in the Netherlands. While this may not be your first choice for high-speed streaming, it’s a great backup option you won’t find with other limited-data VPNs.
PrivadoVPN Free also beats most of its free VPN competitors by offering 12 locations across nine countries, including the UK. It’s speedy too, earning second place in our free VPN performance charts with a blazing-fast 350Mbps. However, the most surprising thing about PrivadoVPN Free is its unblocking capabilities. Both free and paid customers get access to the same streaming servers, and in our tests, we found the service could unblock US Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer.
Of course, there are some downsides. PrivadoVPN Free only allows for one simultaneous connection, and while the apps are reliable, they don’t offer as many features as Proton VPN. Additionally, the company hasn’t undergone an independent privacy audit. But overall, PrivadoVPN Free offers an excellent service that excels in all the key areas. If you’re looking for a backup VPN for unblocking, it’s definitely worth considering.
Fast and reliable with an added advantage for Mac users.
Data limit: 10GB/ month (2GB/ day for Mac) | Connections: 2 | Server locations: 3 | Countries: 2 | Support: Website, eMail
- Relatively generous with data
- Fast for a free VPN
- Unblocks Disney Plus
- Limited features
- There are some problems with usability.
Atlas VPN Free drew our attention with its remarkable daily data allowance of 2 GB for Mac VPN users, which outperforms most other free VPNs. However, its location coverage is limited to just three places, including the Netherlands, Los Angeles, and New York. Nonetheless, the ability to connect two devices at once, along with above-average speeds of 320Mbps and P2P support, makes Atlas VPN Free an attractive option for torrenting.
While the app provides basic functionalities and the kill switch passed all our tests, it lacks some features and has minor usability issues, putting it behind top free VPNs such as Proton VPN. Atlas VPN Free boasts an independent audit, but it is limited to the iOS app only, unlike TunnelBear Free VPN, which undergoes annual audits covering all its apps, servers, and infrastructure.
While Atlas VPN Free cannot unblock most streaming sites, it can provide access to Disney Plus, which is a plus. In general, Atlas VPN Free did an excellent job of protecting us online, despite its shortcomings. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll appreciate the generous daily data allowance.
Top-notch privacy protection at no cost for users with advanced knowledge.
Data limit: 10GB | Connections: 1 | Server locations: 5 | Countries: 4 | Support: Website, eMail, live chat
- 10GB of data a month
- P2P support
- Offering extensive customization options
- Slow network performance
- The applications may appear intricate.
Hide.me Free VPN is a service that has some impressive features, though it falls short in certain areas. The installation of the service provides users with a respectable 10 GB of monthly data and five P2P-friendly locations, which is good enough for most users and can be useful as a torrenting VPN. Unfortunately, the service does not support the WireGuard protocol, which is a fundamental feature that is only available for paying customers.
However, Hide.me Free VPN does make up for this in other areas, particularly in its apps. The apps offer a wide range of settings, options, tweaks, and tools that cater to expert users. The advanced features include auto-connect on accessing untrusted Wi-Fi, custom DNS, split tunneling, a powerful kill switch, advanced protocol tweaks, and capable browser extensions. Nevertheless, this could lead to a more complex and intimidating interface for less experienced users.
One of the major concerns with the service is its performance. Hide.me Free VPN’s paid service is known to be one of the fastest VPN services around, but we found that its free version averaged only around 25Mbps for downloads. This is less than 10% of the speeds provided by top providers such as Proton VPN.
Despite the speed issue, Hide.me Free VPN can still be a suitable choice for browsing, streaming, and most other tasks, especially if you plan on using its more advanced app features.
The VPN service boasts robust security measures and a generous data cap.
Data limit: 10GB | Connections: Unlimited | Server locations: 14 | Countries: 11 | Support: Website, eMail
- There are numerous sophisticated functions available.
- You can connect an unlimited number of devices at the same time.
- Enables access to UK Netflix and BBC iPlayer despite geo-restrictions.
- The applications may appear complicated.
- The service’s connection speeds fall short of the top-tier VPN providers.
Windscribe Free VPN is an exceptional Canadian service that ranks high among its peers, thanks to its attractive feature set.
The 10 GB monthly data cap is slightly lower than our top two VPNs, but it is still adequate to secure a lot of online activities. What sets Windscribe Free VPN apart is the absence of any limitations on simultaneous connections. This is a unique advantage, as most free plans restrict you to a single connection.
With 14 locations available across 11 countries, the network is another strong point of the service. This exceeds the number of countries offered by PrivadoVPN Free (nine countries), Proton VPN (three countries), and many others.
The service’s download speeds average around 240Mbps, which is roughly two-thirds of what we observed with Proton VPN Free. However, it is likely to suffice for most scenarios.
The apps prioritize power over simplicity, which may appear confusing in certain areas for beginners. However, they are not difficult to use on a basic level. Experienced users have access to a plethora of tools and features to explore. Our tests show that the apps are dependable and live up to their commitments.
Windscribe Free VPN offers additional benefits that are noteworthy. Although it doesn’t have the Windflix streaming servers, the service has unblocked UK Netflix and BBC iPlayer during our testing.
Overall, while Windscribe Free VPN may not quite match the standards of Proton VPN and PrivadoVPN, it comes very close. This service may be the ideal choice for some users.
Discover how we put free VPNs through their paces: our foolproof testing method!
At our VPN review HQ, we take our testing seriously. We don’t just rely on fancy marketing copy or empty promises; we dive deep into the nitty-gritty of each provider to give you the real scoop. We start by examining their website and support resources, looking for features, audits, and any pesky small print catches.
Then, we put each app to the test on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS platforms, scrutinizing usability, features, and settings to ensure they perform as advertised. We don’t stop there, though. We get our hands dirty and dig into the app’s files and settings to check for any vulnerabilities that could compromise your privacy.
We know a kill switch is a must-have feature for any VPN, but we don’t just take their word for it. We force our VPN connections to close in various ways to see if the kill switch lives up to its name.
We understand that even free VPNs can be useful for accessing regional streaming content, so we put each provider to the test to see who can unblock exclusive shows and movies on US Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and BBC iPlayer.
Last but not least, we test speed. We put each VPN through its paces on a lightning-fast UK cloud PC with 1Gbps bandwidth to ensure they deliver the speed you need to stream, browse, and download with ease.
Should You Bother with a Free VPN?
Let’s face it, the answer to whether a free VPN is worth it or not is not a straightforward one. It all boils down to what you’re hoping to achieve with it. If all you need is an added layer of security while using public Wi-Fi, then a free VPN could be a lifesaver. Simply connect to an encrypted server and go about your online business without any worries.
However, if you’re looking to stream or download large files, you might want to think twice before relying on a free VPN. The majority of them come with daily or monthly data limits that won’t get you very far. Additionally, their server range and customer support are often lacking, making these activities a nightmare to perform over a virtual private network.
The Dangers of Free VPNs
Although free VPNs may seem like a great deal, they often come with hidden dangers. According to research from 2020, around 40% of the free VPNs available on the Google Play Store fail to protect users’ privacy to an adequate level, leaving them vulnerable to cyber threats. This lack of protection can put personal information and sensitive data at risk of being stolen or exposed. Therefore, it is important to exercise caution when using free VPNs and opt for trusted, paid-for alternatives to ensure your online safety and privacy.
Navigate the Free VPN Jungle with These 5 Must-Ask Questions to Find Your Perfect Match
In an age where our online privacy is constantly being threatened, a virtual private network (VPN) is a powerful tool to safeguard our digital liberties. But if you’re not willing to shell out money for a VPN, you can still get one for free. However, not all free VPN providers are trustworthy and some may even jeopardize your security.
To help you make an informed decision, here are five must-ask questions to consider before downloading and installing a free VPN:
- What’s their business model? Some free VPN providers use their service as a marketing tool to upsell their paid version, while others sell user data to third parties. Be wary of those that compromise your privacy for profit.
- How do they protect your PC? Most VPNs encrypt your data while you surf the web, but your laptop can still be tracked by online tracking solutions. Look for providers like Windscribe that have a more holistic approach, integrating a super ad-blocker.
- What do you lose by going free? Free VPNs may have limited bandwidth, fewer locations, and cut corners in features like ad blocking and firewalls. Consider upgrading to a paid version if you need unlimited bandwidth and better features.
- Does your provider log anything? Check the terms and conditions page or the end-user license agreement to make sure your provider doesn’t store your internet activity. Some providers delete everything after your session, while others keep logs.
- Can you sign up anonymously? For maximum privacy, choose a provider that accepts Bitcoin payments and allows you to subscribe without an email address. Some providers also offer double hopping for added privacy.
Don’t compromise your privacy and security with a subpar VPN. Ask these five questions to find a trustworthy free VPN that suits your needs.
How to Get a High-End VPN Without Spending a Dime: Premium VPNs for Free
Can’t seem to make up your mind between a free VPN or a premium one? Don’t fret, because you don’t have to compromise! Many of the world’s leading VPN providers offer risk-free trials, and our comprehensive guide will help you find the perfect fit.
You’ll find big names like the world’s favorite VPN service, ExpressVPN, which offers a 30-day free trial. But wait, it gets even better! Hotspot Shield takes the cake with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
It’s important to note that you’ll have to pay upfront for these services. However, they make it easy to get your money back hassle-free, allowing you to request a full refund online without any fuss.
The Best Paid VPNs for 2023
Looking for a top-tier VPN that will provide you with top-notch security and privacy? Look no further than our top 3 recommendations for the best paid VPNs of 2023.
- ExpressVPN: As our top recommendation, ExpressVPN offers unbeatable speed, security, and privacy protection. With a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try it risk-free.
- NordVPN: With a decade of experience and a reputation as the world’s biggest VPN brand, NordVPN offers excellent performance and a wide range of features.
- Surfshark: If you’re on a budget, Surfshark is a great option that won’t break the bank. At less than $2.50 USD per month, it offers premium features and ease of use.
We’ve thoroughly reviewed over 200 VPN providers, and these three stood out as the best options for anyone looking for a reliable and trustworthy VPN service. So don’t hesitate to invest in your online security and privacy with one of these premium VPNs today.
While free VPNs may seem like a tempting option, they often come with serious drawbacks such as limited features and questionable privacy protection. It’s worth investing in a paid VPN service that can provide you with top-notch security, speed, and reliability.
So, if you value your online privacy and want to enjoy a truly safe and secure internet experience, consider one of the top-rated paid VPNs such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark. Don’t compromise on your online security – choose a VPN that you can trust.
Protect your online privacy and security with a reliable VPN today.