So, you’re looking for a reliable free VPN service?
Something tells me you’re either looking for that tad bit of privacy, or you’re looking to bypass geo-restrictions to watch your favorite show or movie that’s blocked in your country.
Well, if you’re here for either one of those reasons, I’ve got you totally covered.
Even though you can find hundreds of free VPN apps on the iOS App Store or Google Play Store, many of them can’t be trusted. We created a detailed guide where we talked about how free VPNs can sell your data. You might want to check that one out.
Aside from stealing user data, most free VPNs also simply don’t work. They don’t offer any privacy, and they most certainly don’t unblock geo-restricted streaming services.
To make your life easier, I went on a little hunt. A hunt to find the rare unicorns of the free VPN world. It wasn’t an easy task. Downloading each VPN, testing them, reading their reviews online, and then finally adding them to my list to recommend them to you guys took a lot of time.
So without any further ado, here’s my list of the 5 best free VPN services in 2023 that you can possibly find online.
5 Best Free VPN Services in 2023
After testing a gazillion free VPNs, I present to you my list of 5 top free VPNs. #1 is technically not a free VPN, but it offers a 30-day refund policy through which you can use the service for free for a month. And besides, this VPN is super budget-friendly, costing just $2.30/mo (Save 82% and get 2 extra months FREE with a 24-month plan).
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s go on with our list…
1. Surfshark (Editors Choice)
Let’s kickstart the list with Surfshark. Now, as I mentioned earlier, this isn’t a free VPN. But if you’re looking for a free VPN that you can use for a month for free, this is the best option.
Unlike actually free VPNs, Surfshark doesn’t come with any limitations. You get access to 3200 servers across 100 countries, powerful security features, unlimited multi-logins, amazing apps, and much more.
On the other hand, most free VPNs offer only a few servers in limited locations and even limited bandwidth, which is insufficient for streaming geo-restricted content.
With that said, let’s dive in to see why you should get Surfshark:
Pros of Surfshark
- Fast performance and strong security.
- Independently audited privacy policies.
- Powerful unblocking and streaming capabilities.
- Camouflage and NoBorders mode for enhanced privacy.
- Excellent 24/7 customer support.
- Affordable long-term plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Cons of Surfshark
- No split tunneling on iOS.
- Apple product apps are slightly weaker.
- Doesn’t offer a free trial.
Surfshark offers limitless data, unlimited bandwidth, and the ability to simultaneously connect as many devices as you need. It is the perfect solution for streaming your favorite Netflix shows, as you’d never run out of bandwidth or encounter slow speeds.
Numbers of Server
All of Surfshark’s 3200 servers offer the following:
- Fast connection speeds, with at least one 1 Gbps port available on each server and new 10 Gbps ports being added regularly.
- 100% RAM-only servers, running on the latest software updates. No data is ever stored for increased security.
- Protocol support for secure and trusted Wireguard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN protocols across the entire server network.
Surfshark stands out as an excellent VPN option for unblocking Netflix. In fact, in our Surfshark review, it managed to unblock Netflix U.S. and also Netflix Australia, Canada, Germany, France, and Japan.
Surfshark also effortlessly unblocks BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, and even Amazon Prime.
As for speeds, you can’t really compare Surfshark to free VPNs. It is super fast. Based on my testing, Surfshark offered a download speed of 82.32 Mbps, an upload speed of 79.87 Mbps, and a ping of 142 ms on my 100 Mbps connection (T-Mobile – Netherlands) connection.
Surfshark’s iOS app has a 4.8-star rating on iTunes and a 4.3-star rating on Google Play Store.
Surfshark’s browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox are quite lightweight and work great. Overall, Surfshark’s app compatibility is great.
Money Back Guarantee
I’ve also talked about how good Surfshark’s refund policy is in my detailed refund policy expose blog.
One thing that no other VPN in the industry offers but Surfshark does is unlimited simultaneous connections. For just the price of $2.30/mo, you can share your account with your friends and family without incurring any additional cost.
Next up, we have a super cool-looking VPN called TunnelBear. Unlike most VPNs with a serious user interface, TunnelBear adopts a refreshing and user-friendly approach.
Using it is super easy, even for beginners. With just one click, users can connect to encrypted tunnels effortlessly. The application also provides a virtual map displaying all the available server locations. Speaking of which, TunnelBear boasts over 20 server locations available to all users, including those on the free plan.
Pros of TunnelBear
- Free plan available.
- Operates its own DNS servers for enhanced security.
- Colorful and animated UI.
- Compatibility with all major platforms.
- Includes a Kill Switch feature for added protection.
Cons of TunnelBear
- Unstable speeds may lead to inconsistent performance.
- Limited monthly data allowance of 500 MB on the free plan.
- Potential for unprotected traffic leaks, posing a privacy risk.
- Lack of support for certain modern platforms.
- No settings are available for alternative VPN clients and routers.
- Limited functionality on iOS devices.
Even though TunnelBear offers a free plan, it only offers a 500 MB per month data usage limit.
The good thing is that TunnelBear allows users to add 1 GB of free data to their limit by tweeting about the service. That’s enough for casual usage, but it is not at all enough for streaming content or gaming.
Numbers of Server
Unlike many other VPNs that restrict the number of virtual locations available to free users, TunnelBear pleasantly surprised me by providing access to over 20 different server locations.
This generous offering allowed me to connect to different browsing locations. However, I still had to use it moderately, not to exceed the data limitation.
As of today, TunnelBear manages to unblock Netflix’s libraries in nearly 18 countries, based on my testing. While it successfully unlocks streaming content in the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, India, Singapore, Mexico, New Zealand, and various EU countries, its performance is just okay.
That’s what you get with a free VPN!
Its streaming performance is also just decent, Not too impressive. But it does get the job done.
However, you’d soon run out of the allowed 500 MB per month data limit. It also does with Hulu. However, there could be limitations when trying to access other platforms.
TunnelBear offers several different tunneling protocols like WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN UDP, and OpenVPN TCP. However, in my testing, its speeds weren’t that great on servers that were far away from my location. Nearby servers offered decent speeds, though.
TunnelBear offers apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. They also have a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers.
Money Back Guarantee
Unlike traditional refund policies, TunnelBear offers refunds on a case-by-case basis. In the event that you are dissatisfied with your purchase for any reason, you have the option to request a refund. However, if you want to purchase a VPN, you should get Surfshark for just $2.30/mo (Save 82% and get 2 extra months FREE with a 24-month plan).
Similar to Surfshark, TunnelBear allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously.
3. Proton VPN
Proton VPN holds a prominent position in the VPN industry. Based on my firsthand experience with Proton VPN Free, it is better than a lot of free VPNs—simply because it imposes no bandwidth cap.
Pros of Proton VPN
- Truly no-logs VPN
- Open-sourced & independently audited apps
- Excellent free version with unlimited data
- Works with US Netflix, Disney+ & BBC iPlayer
- Allows port forwarding for fast torrenting
- Attractive & easy to use apps
Cons of Proton VPN
- Expensive premium Proton VPN
- Limited 24/7 live chat customer support
- No Smart DNS for streaming on other devices
- Doesn’t work in China
- Browser extensions only for paid subscribers
The best thing about the free version of Proton VPN is that it imposes no data limit. This makes it ideal for browsing, gaming, torrenting, and streaming.
Numbers of Server
While the paid version offers around 2,970 servers, the free version offers 200 servers. Most free VPNs don’t even come close to offering this many servers for free.
Proton VPN impressively unblocks 10 Netflix regions, although it misses some libraries like Spain and Brazil.
It also successfully works with popular streaming sites like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. Even the free version offers a pretty impressive unblocking performance.
Proton VPN offers Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android apps and notably includes a fully-featured GUI app for Linux users. The best part is that these apps are available to both paying subscribers and Proton VPN Free account users.
Money Back Guarantee
Proton VPN provides a hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee. If you decide to seek a refund, simply email the support team, and you’ll receive your money back within 14 days.
With the free version, you’ll get to use Proton VPN on only one device. But if you get the Plus or the Unlimited plan, you’d be able to use a single account on 10 devices.
Hide.me’s free version may not be the most exceptional free VPN, but it does come with its advantages. The relatively generous data limit makes it a suitable choice for users interested in torrenting without the need for a paid subscription.
Pros of Hide.me
- Free premium trial for the first week.
- Great for torrenting.
- Strong privacy protection and encryption.
- Helpful customer support, even for free users.
Cons of Hide.me
- Small server network.
- Doesn’t unblock streaming services like Netflix.
- Data cap limits usage.
Free users have a monthly data transfer limit of 10 GB, while Premium users enjoy unlimited data transfer. This is quite decent, even for torrenting and casual streaming.
Numbers of Server
Hide.me’s free plan provides users with access to 8 server locations, including Canada, Spain, US, UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, and Singapore.
During my testing, I found that Hide.me’s free VPN does not work with Netflix US. I was unable to unblock any geo-restricted shows or movies on Netflix using the free version. The hide.me website itself acknowledges that its free version cannot unblock most streaming sites. This limitation is understandable, as it is a free service.
Hide.me’s speeds are pretty decent, and there’s no cap on it. I downloaded a torrent file to test it out and managed to download it in a relatively decent time.
Hide.me offers a dedicated app for a wide range of major operating systems like Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, Linux, and even Fire TV Stick.
Money Back Guarantee
Hide.me provides a 30-day money-back guarantee for users. Should you need a refund, you can request it through their 24/7 live chat or email support.
With the free account, the free plan allows only one device to be connected at a time.
Windscribe stands out with its unique and fun marketing style and strong dedication to user privacy. While their paid product is excellent, its Free version is also very good.
Pros of Windscribe
- 10+ server locations for free users.
- Browser extension with adware/malware blocker.
- The desktop client has a built-in firewall.
- Split tunneling on Android.
Cons of Windscribe
- Based in Canada, a Five Eyes alliance member.
- Logs more data than necessary.
- 10 GB monthly data limit for free users.
- Live chat support through an automated bot.
Windscribe provides a 10 GB per month data limit, which is pretty generous for browsing the internet, Skype calling, torrenting, and light streaming.
Numbers of Server
Free users of Windscribe can connect to servers in 10 different countries. Users can just provide their email address to receive a monthly data cap of 10GB.
Windscribe’s unblocking performance is outstanding. The VPN effectively bypasses geo-restrictions to access popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+.
Windscribe supports the WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPSec VPN protocols, providing decent speeds. In my speed test on a 100 Mbps connection, Windscribe offered a download speed of 55 Mbps.
Windscribe VPN supports apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Huawei devices. It also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Moreover, you can set it up on routers, Kodi, Amazon Fire Stick, Nvidia Shield, and any OpenVPN-compatible software or device.
Money Back Guarantee
Windscribe’s refund policy is not straightforward. To be eligible for a refund, you need to submit a request within 3 days of purchase, but there are additional conditions. You must have used less than 10GB on the paid plan, and the refund request must be made within 3 days of the purchase date.
Another great thing about Windscribe is that it offers unlimited simultaneous connections, even on the free version.
How To Choose the Best Free VPN
When selecting a free VPN, it’s essential to consider several key factors to ensure a safe and reliable experience.
- Logging Policy: Look for a VPN that has a strict no-logs policy. This ensures that your online activities are not tracked or stored by the VPN provider.
- Server Locations: Check the number of server locations offered by the VPN. The more locations they have, the better chance you’ll have to find a server closer to your physical location, resulting in better performance.
- Connection Speed: Test the VPN’s speed to ensure it doesn’t significantly slow down your internet connection. Some free VPNs may have limited bandwidth, leading to slower speeds.
- Data Limit: Determine if the VPN imposes any data limits. Free VPNs often have data caps, which can restrict your browsing and streaming capabilities.
- Supported Platforms: Ensure the VPN is compatible with the devices and operating systems you use, such as Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS.
- Security Features: Check for essential security features like encryption protocols (e.g., OpenVPN, IKEv2), DNS leak protection, and a kill switch to maintain your online privacy.
- Advertisements and Pop-ups: Be aware of potential ads and pop-ups that may be present in some free VPNs, as these can be intrusive and impact your user experience.
- Customer Support: Look for a VPN that offers reliable customer support. While free VPNs may have limited support, finding one with at least basic assistance is essential.
Best Free VPN FAQs
Are Free VPNs Safe?
No, not all free VPNs are safe. Some may compromise your privacy, log your data, or inject ads/malware into your browsing experience. The VPNs listed in this blog are safe and don’t sell user data.
How Does a Free VPN Work?
Free VPNs encrypt your internet traffic and route it through their servers. They offer limited services with the option to upgrade to premium plans. Some shady-free VPNs sell user data and even tend to trick users and use their computer’s hardware resources to power their own network.
How to Get a Premium VPN for Free?
To get a premium VPN for free, you can leverage its refund policy. Most VPNs offer a 30-day refund policy. This way, you can use the service for a month and then get a full refund. I recommend using Surfshark as it offers a hassle-free refund policy. Just check out this blog, where I uncovered the refund policies of different VPN providers.
Can Free VPNs Bypass Geographic Restrictions?
Yes, that’s correct. Free VPNs can technically help bypass geographical restrictions by allowing you to connect to servers in different countries. However, their limited number of servers can result in slower speeds, making them less effective than paid VPNs for this purpose.
Is There a 100% Free VPN?
Yes, there are quite a few 100% free VPNs. From our list, you can opt for ProtonVPN, for example. It is 100% free.
While free VPNs mentioned above generally prioritize user safety, they all come with certain limitations. However, if you know what features to look for, you can find a suitable free VPN for your needs: streaming, torrenting, or online privacy.
If you seek a comprehensive solution without limitations, Surfshark is a top recommendation, costing just $2.30/mo (Save 82% and get 2 extra months FREE with a 24-month plan).
Although it’s not free, it provides unrestricted access with unlimited data, high-speed connections, and a reliable server network for streaming and torrenting.
Moreover, you can try Surfshark risk-free, thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee, making claiming a refund a quick and easy process.