The Best Free VPN List for 2020 | Free, fast & secure servers with generous data allowances

It’s not easy to find a reliable free VPN, but these services do exist, as long as you know where to look. The issue is that countless free VPN providers have flooded the market, enticing users in with the promise of a high quality service without paying a cent! But our research suggests that this is rarely the case. 

To help you make a safer, more informed decision, ProPrivacy.com’s experts have put together this guide on the best free VPNs - and the worst.

What are the best free VPNs to use?

If you're looking for a quick answer, we summarize the best free VPNs to use in the list below. But, if you would like to learn more about the services, keep scrolling for our in-depth analysis.

  1. Hide.me - The best free VPN. It has fast speeds, a 10GB data allowance each month and a choice of 5 free servers.
  2. Windscribe - A secure free VPN. It keeps no logs and has well implemented encryption. Users also get 10 free servers & a 10GB data cap.
  3. ProtonVPN - An unlimited free VPN. You get access to 3 free servers, but expect slower speeds if these servers become congested.
  4. TunnelBear - A free VPN with a large server network. It offers users 19 free servers but is limited with a 500MB data cap per month.
  5. Hotspot Shield - A free VPN that's also a Chrome extension. They offer free VPN servers in 15 countries and a 500MB data cap per day.

There are a lot of bad, or downright dangerous, free VPNs available, so before we recommend a free VPN service, we first ensure that is offers:

Only VPNs that meet the criteria listed above are eligible for being recommended on our best free VPNs list. So, now you know what goes into a good free VPN service, let's take a closer look at our list.

The Best Free VPNs | In-depth analysis

In the list below, our privacy experts analyze each of their favorite free VPN providers in detail and explain why they made it into the top 5.

hide.me is the best free VPN. You get speeds of up to 80Mbps, a generous 10GB data allowance each month & a choice of 5 free servers

  • Data limit

    • 10GB p/month
  • Free servers

    • 5
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

hide.me is an awesome Malaysian VPN provider has an absolutely mind-blowing free service. Free users get access to servers in five locations - and they are all extremely useful for unblocking content (USA East, USA West, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Canada). Admittedly, if you require a server in a specific country, you will need to try a different recommended free VPN, but if these locations suit you, then hide.me is well worth installing.


Free users also get a whopping 10 GB data allowance per month, with connection speeds of up to 80 Mbps. That means this free VPN can be used for streaming, video conferencing, and other data intensive tasks.


When reviewing hide.me, we found this VPN to have a strong privacy policy, robust encryption, and loads of advanced VPN features. For this reason, we can strongly recommend hide.me as free VPN.  

Windscribe is a great zero logs free VPN. Users get a mammoth 10GBs per month, strong and well implemented encryption & a choice of 10 free servers.

  • Data limit

    • 10GB p/month
  • Free servers

    • 11
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

Windscribe has always been one of our favorite free VPNs. Compared to some other free services, Windscribe gives more– 10GB data allowance per month! This is pretty amazing because Windscribe is actually trying to encourage people to buy its premium service.

What’s more, this VPN has strong encryption and keeps zero logs – making it fantastic for privacy. With unlimited simultaneous connections permitted, this VPN is truly outstanding.

ProtonVPN free offers users unlimited usage. You could say this is a truly free unlimited VPN. You get access to 3 free servers, but speeds can be capped when they become congested.

  • Data limit

    • Unlimited
  • Free servers

    • 3
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

ProtonVPN is a superb service by the developers of Proton Mail. It is a secure and the only service on the list that is a truly free and unlimited VPN. However, speeds are capped and get even slower when the free servers are congested (which is often because it is highly popular).  


On the other hand, ProtonVPN is a useful service ideal for avoiding censorship and accessing restricted content. Free users get access to servers in the Netherlands, Japan, and the USA. Well worth installing if you need a slowish free VPN.  

TunneBear is a great free VPN if you want a large pick of server locations. It is limited in terms of data allowance with only 500MB per month, but you have your pick of 19 free servers.

  • Data limit

    • 500MB p/month
  • Free servers

    • Unlimited
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

TunnelBear VPN is a free service that constantly impresses people. This VPN is super-secure and even opened up its software to a third-party analysis last year. The outcome? Security researchers found the VPN to be secure and reliable. It also keeps no logs.

Unfortunately, The service is restricted to just 500MB per month. Despite this, it is brilliant for locations with severe censorship and where privacy is essential. It is perfect for securely unblocking news.

Hotspot Shield is a great free VPN that also offers a Chrome extension. Users have access to servers in 15 countries and a 500MB data cap per day.

  • Data limit

    • 500MB p/day
  • Free servers

    • 1
  • Available for

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux

Hotspot Shield is an awesome free VPN that has helped millions of people in their time of need. It was the most used VPN during the Turkey coup and the Arab Spring. Users get free access not only to the VPN but also a Chrome extension.

The free service permits connections to the US only, but the extension permits connections to 14 countries (but not the US). The result is that Hotspot Shield users can unblock content in 15 countries for free! What’s more, Hotspot Shield’s free plan lets people have 500MB of download use per day. That is a massive usage allowance considering it is free.

Top-tip: Get ExpressVPN for Free!

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Why are these the best free VPNs? 

The VPNs in the list above were selected by ProPrivacy.com’s experts, who carefully reviewed every free VPN they could get their hands on. All the VPNs we recommend are transparent about how they handle user data. They also provide up-to-date encryption that can be trusted to protect your privacy and hide your internet activity at all times.

During our research, we considered the following attributes:

All the free VPNs that we selected for you offer a plan that is completely free. None of them require you to hand over your credit card details to download and use their service.

For more information, check out our free VPNs explained video:

How Does A Free VPN Work? | TunnelBear, Hotspot Shield & More | ProPri...

How Does A Free VPN Work? | TunnelBear, Hotspot Shield & More | ProPrivacy
How Does A Free VPN Work? | TunnelBear, Hotspot Shield & More | ProPrivacy

Are free VPNs safe?

There is a lot of negative press when it comes to free VPNs. Most comparison sites urge consumers to stay away from them. At ProPrivacy, we also used to primarily dissuade people from using free services (and we still recommend being extremely careful when picking a free VPN).  That's because there are a lot of terrible free VPNs out there that take advantage of their users' data for their own gains. About 95% of the free VPNs available on the market are either useless or even dangerous.

Free VPNs that you should avoid

If you use one of ProPrivacy.com’s recommended free virtual private networks, you do not need to worry about privacy and online security. But this is not true of every free provider. 

During our research for this page, we scoured the policy terms of all the free providers we could get our hands on - and we're shocked by some. 

Here are some free VPNs that you should avoid at all costs.

VPN Why avoid? Extra info
Hola Can sell data to third parties* Shares emails with marketing partners. Sells traffic data to sister firm. Shared anonymized data to third parties. Fraudulently steals & resells user bandwidth through sister company Luminati. DNS and WebRTC leaks detected.
Betternet Can sell data to third parties.* Allows advertisers to cookie users' browsers. Displays targeted advertising. Parent firm can access all data. Lets advertisers track and log user data. IP Leak in Chrome browser extension. Contains 14 tracking libraries in total (according to CSIRO report).
Psiphon Can sell data to third parties.* Allows ad partners to track users. Displays targeted advertising. Shares data with their advertising partners. Shares data with third-party affiliates and partners. Shares all data with parent company.
HoxxVPN Can sell data to third parties.* Isn't a VPN (it's a ShadowScos proxy service). DNS and WebRTC leaks. Tracks user activities and works with authorities. Keeps logs and sells them to third-party partners. Shares data with third-party affiliates and partners.
SuperVPN Willing to disclose information to authorities. Reports of it being infected with malware. Tracks user activities and works with authorities. Extensive access to user's sensitive information. Stores session logs in the UK and US.
ArchieVPN Reports of being heavily infested with malware. Performs real-time analysis (claims this is for troubleshooting only).
Onavo Project Can sell data to third parties.* Uses user info for advertising and marketing. Displays ads to users. Belongs to Facebook. Shares and sells user data with third parties.
HatVPN Has no available privacy policy. Reports of being heavily infested with malware. Invasive app permissions Could be doing anything they want with user data. Developed and based in China.
VPN by Apalon Invasive app permissions. Shares data with third parties for marketing purposes. Displays ads. In-app purchases.
Private Pipe VPN Shares data with affiliate partners. Displays targeted ads on websites. Confusing privacy policy (claims no logs, but contradicts this claim).
Tuxler VPN Can sell data to third parties*. Uses logs to target ads at users. Shares user browsing data with advertising firms.
GO VPN Can sell data to third parties*. Admits to using customer data to build out their database. Displays targeted ads through the platform. Belongs to Chinese firm Talking Data. Willing to sell usage logs to third parties and partners. Extremely invasive app permissions.
Hexatech Can sell data to third parties*. Allows advertisers to track and log user data. Advertisers can access user data whenever they want. Created by Betternet (belongs to a marketing firm). Displays ads to users.
TouchVPN Can sell data to third parties*. Adds Cookies, Pixel Tags and Web Beacons to user browsers. Shares anonymous data with third parties.
Faceless.me Doesn't work. The privacy policy is too ambiguous to be taken seriously. Has no support if you have concerns or questions.
FinchVPN Can sell data to third parties*. Reports of being heavily infested with malware. N/A
Cross VPN Reports of being heavily infested with malware. N/A
VPN OneClick Free Reports of being heavily infested with malware. Outdated PPTP encryption on Android. Based in the UAE.
Flash Free VPN Invasive app permissions. Uses 11 third-party tracking libraries.
Fast Secure Payment VPN Reports of being heavily infested with malware. N/A
sFly Network Booster Reports of being heavily infested with malware. N/A
IP-Shield VPN Contains third-party tracking software. N/A
WiFi Protector VPN Uses 5 tracking libraries. N/A
TigerVPNs Fraudulently steals and resells users bandwidth. N/A
Private WiFi Appears to have poor or no encryption. N/A

*according to the privacy policy

How a free VPN works

The free VPN app connects your device (such as a PC, Mac or smartphone) to a server run by the VPN provider. All data that travels between your device and the VPN server is encrypted to ensure that no-one else can see it. The VPN server acts as a gateway to the internet, and all your internet data is routed through it. As a result, your real location is concealed, and you can pretend to be elsewhere.

how a VPN works

If you're new to VPNs, you can get up to speed quickly with our handy guides for beginners:

Free VPN servers

Some providers advertise connections to free VPN servers. This is to differentiate between the number of servers available on the premium (paid) plans and the free plan. Some VPNs that offer a free plan restrict access to free users to only a smaller selection of free servers. For all intents and purposes, however, a VPN with free servers is exactly the same as a "free VPN".

FAQs

Conclusion

Now you're armed with all the information you need about free VPNs, let's review our top picks:

  1. Hide.me - The best free VPN. It has fast speeds, a 10GB data allowance each month and a choice of 5 free servers.
  2. Windscribe - A secure free VPN. It keeps no logs and has well implemented encryption. Users also get 10 free servers & a 10GB data cap.
  3. ProtonVPN - An unlimited free VPN. You get access to 3 free servers, but expect slower speeds if these servers become congested.
  4. TunnelBear - A free VPN with a large server network. It offers users 19 free servers but is limited with a 500MB data cap per month.
  5. Hotspot Shield - A free VPN that's also a Chrome extension. They offer free VPN servers in 15 countries and a 500MB data cap per day.

Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. 

153 Comments

qwertigo
on June 7, 2020
Reply
Windscribe has a wired data cap reset method, it's not resetting every month, it's only reset (gives you 10GB at the month's start) only if your 10GB is spent, if you have still have some data left then they won't reset, and when you spend that data (ex: 500MB) you have to wait until the next month to get 10GB again, so make sure to use all the data before the end of each month... put a reminder somewhere... :)
Monirul
on May 9, 2020
Reply
None of them are free. Free means free, they will never ask for money ever. Do you have anyone like that? then call it free.
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Monirul
on May 11, 2020
Reply
Ho Monirul. All these services offer very useable free tiers which are free forever. Running a VPN is expensive, so no. You'll never find a VPN service (except community-driven stuff like VPNGate) that isn't after monetizing its service in some way. How would you?
Justin
on September 26, 2019
Reply
Hi Ray Seems like this is wrong "strong encryption and keeps zero logs" in your article for Windscribe VPN. They do keep log. As per the review article here : https://www.techwibe.com/windscribe/ This is confusing as per their website windscribe.com FAQ page We do not store any permanent access logs or monitor what our users do. You can sign up without an email address, and pay with Bitcoin, so we would have no idea who you are. For more details, see our Privacy Policy. Their privacy policy page. For the duration of your connection we store the following data in a temporary location: OpenVPN username, VPN server connected to, time of connection, amount of data transferred during the session. This data expires and is discarded within 3 minutes of session termination. Whats your take on this ?
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/ray-walshjpeg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-ima-7df05c2bafe5e85cb7cb582cd8351a9bpng-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Ray Walsh replied to Justin
on October 1, 2019
Reply
All VPN providers can monitor what you do in real time, because they can analyze your data as it passes over their servers. This is why there is always an element of trust involved in having a VPN provider, and it is essential to choose one that you do trust to do the job properly. When data passes over any VPN server, logs are created that must be deleted when the session ends. All no logs VPN providers delete the logs that you create during your session at the end of your session, the fact that Windscribe admits to doing it within 3 minutes is not unusual or concerning, it is transparent. We class a "no logs" VPN as one which keeps no logs which pose credible threat to its users' privacy. We discuss the topic at length here: https://proprivacy.com/vpn-comparison/best-no-logs-vpns. Windscribe passes this test.
Tanitani
on July 30, 2019
Reply
Correct me if I got something wrong, but why is the webpage called "free VPN services" when you need to pay for them?
https://cdn.proprivacy.com/storage/images/proprivacy/02/member-dougjpg-avatar-image-default-1png-avatar-image-default-minpng-avatar_image-small.png
Douglas Crawford replied to Tanitani
on July 31, 2019
Reply
Hi Tanitani. All the VPN services listed here offer a 100% free tier with no up-front cost (any limitations are described in the main summary text). You can upgrade to a more fully-featured service for the prices shown, but we can see the current layout is confusing and plan to change our presentation today.
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