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Strapped for cash? New to virtual private networks? Whatever the reason, there are several benefits to using a free VPN that tend to lend more room for trial and error. There are hundreds to choose from but we’ve found only a few that can successfully hide your IP address, protect your online data, and unblock streaming websites.
Our experts tested numerous providers by looking at their network size, speed, and bypassing ability to narrow down a list of the top 5 free VPNs of 2022. Shop the plans below or browse the latest VPN deals available.
Top 5 Free VPNs
1. Atlas VPN
Solid freemium VPN great for NetflixVisit Atlas VPN
- Extremely affordable, with a great free tier
- Optimized for Netflix
- Unlimited device connections
- No choice of protocols
- Client app is basic
- Only for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS
Atlas VPN aims to provide a reliable service that includes a free tier without sacrificing the basics of a premium provider. Speeds may be slower, but Altas VPN doesn’t limit the amount of data you can use. The free version provides access to three locations between the US and the Netherlands—great for unblocking geo-restricted websites.
Their free VPN is compatible with Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS devices. It also offers unlimited device connections, perfect for large families or heavy users. Although Atlas VPN does take pride in its free tier, it’s recommended to upgrade to a premium version if you’re looking for faster speeds and access to a wider server network.
For more in-depth information, read our Atlas VPN Review.
Atlas VPN 82% Off Deal!
Atlas VPN 82% Off Deal!
2. Hotspot Shield
Ultra-fast VPN great for streamingVisit Hotspot Shield
- Unblocks multiple Netflix libraries
- Free trial available for premium version
- Large server network
- Expensive premium version
- Limited free tier
- Based in the US (5 Eyes jurisdiction)
Hotspot Shield operates a server network with over 80 country locations and produces some of the fastest connection speeds we’ve seen thanks to its proprietary encryption protocol, Catapult Hydra. However, the one downside of this free version is that you don’t get to choose your server unless you upgrade your plan.
Despite this, Hotspot Shield still makes streaming media noticeably faster for users who find a local connection. Hotspot Shield Free also comes with unlimited bandwidth and bonus security features like a malware blocker, so you can really experience the benefits of a safe VPN.
If you want more, Hotspot offers a taste of the premium life with a vpn free trial you can test at no risk to your wallet.
For more in-depth information, read our Hotspot Shield VPN Review.
A strong privacy-focused VPN with a capable free tierVisit ProtonVPN
- Unlimited bandwidth with their free software
- Enhanced security and privacy features (Secure Core)
- Sleek, simple user-interface
- Faster speeds locked behind paid tiers
- Expensive to unlock premium features
- Smaller server network
While some features are locked behind a paywall, ProtonVPN Free is still a very capable service. It’s based in Switzerland and primarily focuses on privacy as evidenced by its minimal logging practices, airtight security, and multiple third-party audits.
ProtonVPN Free also offers unlimited data, DNS leak protection, and consistently fast speeds. Sadly, with only 3 free server locations in Japan, the Netherlands, and the US, you can’t actually wield its speed and data for streaming or P2P unless you upgrade your subscription to a premium plan.
For more in-depth information, read our full ProtonVPN review.
Freemium VPN provider with blazing speeds & extra featuresVisit Windscribe
- Numerous advanced features
- Amazing download speeds
- Wide device compatibility
- Email required to access free 10 GB of data
- Poor refund policy
- Free tier offers fewer servers
Windscribe Free is another top free VPN, especially when it comes to streaming and accessing torrenting sites. Its apps are very user-friendly and compatible with all major devices and operating systems like Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows.
Unlike most free VPNs, Windscribe users get unlimited simultaneous connections and up to 10 GB of data per month that they can use across 10 free server locations. This isn’t ideal for heavy internet users, but it’s quite generous for those in a pinch, or just getting into VPNs.
Below is a list of the free server locations available with Windscribe Free. During testing, Windscribe consistently worked with streaming sites like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. However, to binge your favorite show for hours, you’ll need more than 10 GB of data.
- Hong Kong
- United Kingdom
- United States
Windscribe also supports P2P traffic on most of its free servers and guarantees your online safety with AES 256-bit encryption, leak protection, and an automatic kill switch.
For more in-depth information, read our Windscribe VPN Review.
5. Hola VPN
Freemium VPN that easily unblocks websitesVisit Hola VPN
- Freemium business model
- A large network & great speeds
- Very easy to install & use
- Limited privacy features
- Freemium version logs data
- No third-party audit
With a freemium business model, we see Hola as the gateway VPN for future premium users. Hola VPN is easy to set up and has one of the best user interfaces among providers today. You can find its full compatibility list below, which is far better than most free options out there.
Being fully transparent, Hola VPN states that its free service is primarily to overcome censorship and help users stream shows. For airtight security and privacy, we recommend upgrading to Hola’s premium version for $2.99/mo.
For more in-depth information, read our Hola VPN Review.
Free VPN FAQs
- What is the best free VPN?
- Are free VPNs safe?
- How often do providers offer VPN deals?
- Can I use a premium VPN for free?
- What is the best free VPN for Netflix?
- What is the best free VPN for torrenting?
- How do free VPNs make money?
1. What is the best free VPN?
Hola VPN is the best free VPN we’ve tested and reviewed. It’s easy to use and offers the basics of a premium service, like bypassing geo-restricted websites, torrenting, and faster internet speeds.
2. Are free VPNs safe?
In general, using a free service comes with trade-offs. Users that don’t pay for a VPN with their money likely pay for the service with their personal data.
Popular free VPNs tend to have weak logging and privacy practices, storing and then selling user data to advertisers and other third parties. This puts you and your online activity at risk.
Overall, free VPNs are not as safe as premium VPNs. If privacy is your number one concern, we recommend upgrading to a premium VPN service.
3. How often do providers offer VPN deals?
4. Can I use a premium VPN for free?
Premium VPN providers sometimes offer free trials or money-back guarantees for users to test out their service. However, after the trial or refund period ends, your account is usually frozen until you pay to upgrade.
5. What is the best free VPN for Netflix?
Most free VPNs for streaming are detected and blocked from Netflix sites, but a few pass the test.
Windscribe Free is the best free VPN for Netflix users. It has the ability to unblock geo-restricted content in multiple countries and offers a large network with 60 server locations and 170+ data centers.
If you want to access even more content with your VPN, we recommend checking out the five best VPNs for Netflix.
6. What is the best free VPN for torrenting?
Torrenting is typically restricted on free VPN services. But we found that Windscribe is the best free VPN for streaming that we tested and reviewed. With large networks to support P2P file sharing and decent encryption protocols, each VPN is a viable option.
7. How do free VPNs make money?
Similar to social media platforms, free VPNs allow users to access their service for free in exchange for personal data or insights. Free VPNs will package this data up and sell it to advertisers and other interested third parties.
This may not seem like a big deal, but depending on which VPN you go with, this leaves your online activity vulnerable to other hacks. It also negates the very purpose of a VPN service, which is to hide and protect your data online.
An exception to this norm is ProtonVPN Free. Unlike most free solutions, ProtonVPN explicitly states that their VPN free download is supported by their premium customers who pay a monthly subscription fee.
If security and privacy are paramount to you, we recommend using ProtonVPN or considering a premium upgrade.