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Best free VPNs of 2022

10

Getting a free VPN can be the right step towards a brighter tomorrow in regard to online safety. Such a service can help you stay anonymous online, protect you from hackers, and allow you to access content thanks to a foreign IP address.

However, you might have heard some terrifying claims that using a free VPN can be even more dangerous than not using any VPN at all, and that it's much better to skip the "free" part entirely and start with a premium VPN.

Best free VPN alternative
A premium VPN is a risk-free solution, that will give you complete security and peace of mind. With top safety guarantees, and excellent additional features, NordVPN is the best free VPN alternative.
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4.9 /5

And that’s partly true. As the saying goes, if it’s free, the user is the product, and free VPNs are a perfect example of that. An ill-chosen free VPN service can get you into a lot of trouble by selling your data to third parties or spamming you with intrusive ads.

Luckily, this is not the case with so-called ‘freemium’ VPNs. A reputable VPN service shouldn’t cause you any problems, even if it’s free.

Best free VPN services in 2022:

  1. NordVPN – best overall free VPN
  2. Surfshark – free VPN with fast speeds
  3. Atlas VPN – mobile-focused free VPN
  4. ProtonVPN – fast and secure free VPN
  5. Windscribe VPN – best free VPN for Netflix

📢 LIMITED OFFER: Try NordVPN risk-free for 30 days!

What are the risks of using a free VPN?

Even though getting a free application is always nice, it might come with some kind of catch, and VPNs are no exception:

  • Data restrictions. A frustrating data limit will likely sour your free VPN experience. You'll usually only get a fixed monthly MB amount, which will eventually lead to the purchase of a paid version of the VPN.
  • Speed restrictions. Free versions of VPN services, more often than not, limit the connections speeds. It means you won’t get the performance you most likely need.
  • Small server fleet. You will have a poor selection of server locations. Most free VPN services allow you to choose between three locations, which isn’t enough if you need to unblock lots of different types of content.
  • Lack of features. If you use a free VPN, you won’t get any of the features advertised. Only premium versions of VPN services offer obfuscated servers, split tunneling, or ad blocking.
  • Shady behavior. There’s also the risk of your data being collected and sold to third parties. Invasive ads, privacy breaches, and many other risks are associated with fully free VPN services, which is why all the VPNs we listed are “freemium” – subsidized by the paying customers of the same service.

In short, you have to be really careful when choosing your free application – don’t blindly trust everything a VPN website advertises. In case you're afraid to use free VPNs (better safe than sorry!), you can simply choose a premium VPN like NordVPN or Surfshark.

Pro tip

Looking to go for a premium VPN? We suggest going for options like NordVPN or Surfshark.

The best free VPNs of 2022 – our curated list:

We know how difficult it is to find a good free VPN. That’s why we did all the hard work to make it easy for you.

Below, you see our ultimate list of the best free VPN software for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and other platforms. Download any of these apps and enjoy the perks like unlimited bandwidth and a good selection of encryption protocols.

1. NordVPN – best comprehensive free VPN

NordVPN banner
Based in:Panama
Supports torrenting:Yes
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Want to try the premium version?🔥 Get NordVPN with 60% OFF! 🔥

Finding a versatile free VPN that would ensure first-class protection and privacy is difficult, but NordVPN is all that and more. Aside from a risk-free experience you can get with its free trial, you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee. And the best part about it? Premium features come free of charge.

This means you get a VPN with no data caps, unlimited bandwidth, and a massive selection of global servers (5400+ servers in 60 countries). But, if you want to enjoy such benefits even longer, you can later invest in the premium version (prices start from $3.29/month).

NordVPN guarantees high-security levels as well. There’s the NASA-grade AES encryption that keeps your data unreadable to third parties. And you also get a reliable kill switch to keep you safe from accidental data leaks.

And if privacy is your main concern, no worries! NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, a privacy-friendly country. There’s also an audited no-logs policy, meaning your data is in safe hands.

When it comes to speeds, you won’t be disappointed either. Thanks to NordVPN’s proprietary protocol called NordLynx, you get the best combo of speed and security.

But that’s not all – NordVPN has much more to offer. This includes specialty servers, such as P2P, Double VPN, and obfuscated servers. There’s also the split tunneling feature and even threat protection to keep you secure from virtually all corners.

And, if you need a VPN for streaming, NordVPN will help you access many streaming services. This includes Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, YouTube, DAZN, BBC iPlayer, and others.

You can claim the free week-long trial of NordVPN on Android's app store. Although it’s only for Android users, after signing up, you can still get the app with other devices, such as Windows, macOS, iOS, and Linux.

2. Surfshark – free VPN with excellent performance

Surfshark banner
Based in:The Netherlands
Supports torrenting:Yes
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Want to try the premium version?🔥 Get up to 82% OFF Surfshark + 2 months FREE! 🔥

Surfshark is one of the best free VPNs due to its all-rounded features and blazing fast speeds. Its free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee lets you enjoy Surfshark in its full capacity. This means you get access to all the premium benefits that the provider has to offer.

A data-cap-free experience with a massive server fleet with over 3200 servers in 65 countries – Surfshark is one of the best free VPN solutions out there. If it turns out that 7 free days aren’t enough, the premium pricing starts at $2.30/month.

Surfshark offers top-notch security standards. The AES 256-bit encryption ensures unbreakable data protection. As a last resort, you also get a functional kill switch in case your VPN connection drops.

As for privacy, you don’t have to break a sweat with Surfshark. Although it’s based in the Netherlands, which belongs to the 9-Eyes alliance, your data isn’t collected. That’s because Surfshark has a no-logs policy that has been audited twice already.

Let’s not forget that Surfshark is very competitive in terms of speeds. Because of the famous WireGuard protocol, it guarantees exceptionally fast performance. Other protocols include IKEv2 and OpenVPN (UDP and TCP variants). While OpenVPN protocols are slower, IKEv2 offers solid speeds.

Aside from that, Surfshark has plenty of additional benefits. There are dedicated P2P servers, the NoBorders feature for using the VPN in restricted countries, and more.

Movie freaks will be pleased to know that Surfshark is capable of bypassing geo-restrictions on plenty of streaming services. They include Netflix, Apple TV, Hulu, HBO, YouTube TV, DAZN, and more.

Only Android, iOS, and macOS users can claim Surfshark’s free 7-day trial. But Windows users don’t need to worry – after getting the trial, you can download the app on Windows and sign up with the same account.

3. Atlas VPN – best free VPN overall

AtlasVPN interface
Based in:United States
Supports torrenting:Yes
Unblocks Netflix:Yes (paid-only)
Want to try the premium version?🔥 Get Atlas VPN, now 81% OFF! 🔥

Atlas VPN is one of our best free VPN picks due to its generous free plan. With it, you get 10 GB of monthly data. And if you wish to go for more, the paid version of Atlas VPN is also a good choice, as it costs only $2.05 a month.

Both the paid and free versions of Atlas VPN offer a decent level of safety. Like the vast majority of other best VPNs, Atlas VPN uses AES-256 encryption, which is famously trusted by governments and military organizations.

Being a mobile-focused service, Atlas VPN uses only the IPSec/IKEv2 tunneling protocol. Even though it’s safe to use, it can be inferior to OpenVPN in some situations and almost always worse than WireGuard (which offers a combination of the best speeds and security).

As for privacy policy, Atlas VPN states that it doesn’t collect any logs that would help trace you back, including your real IP address. Also, the VPN doesn’t store any internet activity data.

It’s really great that the free version of Atlas VPN has no connection speed limits. However, the fact that the free users share only three locations means there may be issues with overcrowding.

In addition to a kill switch and strong encryption, Atlas VPN allows torrenting (or types of P2P traffic) on each and every one of its servers. You can also enable the option for the VPN to start on launch for quicker access.

It’s important to note that Atlas free VPN doesn’t help you access geo-blocked content on Netflix (even though it lets you access Youtube just fine).

Thankfully, most servers of the paid version of Atlas VPN will unblock most streaming sites like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO, etc.

4. ProtonVPN – fast and secure free VPN

ProtonVPN
Based in:Switzerland
Supports torrenting:Yes (paid-only)
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Want to try the premium version?🔥 Get up to 50% OFF ProtonVPN! 🔥

ProtonVPN goes in the list of the best free VPN services because it's a secure provider without data caps. It is an open-source Virtual Private Network that has an unlimited free version for Windows, Mac, Android, and other devices.

The free users of ProtonVPN can connect to three countries – Japan, the US, and the Netherlands. Keep in mind that the free servers usually have pretty high internet traffic, which means that you shouldn't expect exceptional speeds. Meanwhile, any paid subscription of ProtonVPN (prices start from $4.99/month) unlocks access to over 1080 servers in 54 countries.

When it comes to tunneling protocols, ProtonVPN supports OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec. Its Windows and Linux apps use OpenVPN, while IKEv2/IPSec is used by its Android, iOS, and Mac applications.

ProtonVPN's strength lies in its high-level security, offering you military-grade encryption, a kill switch to protect you if your connection drops, and DNS leak protection.

Most of ProtonVPN’s features are reserved for paid users, such as P2P file sharing, NetShield, Secure Core VPN, Tor over VPN, and the possibility to access geo-blocked content on streaming services.

Luckily, you can try all of this with the 7-day premium version of ProtonVPN that you get for free as soon as you install the app onto your device. However, after 7 days, you are back to using the basic free version. That is, unless you decide to pay.

5. Windscribe VPN – best free VPN for Netflix

Windscribe VPN
Based in:Canada
Supports torrenting:Yes
Unblocks Netflix:Yes
Want to try the premium version?🔥 Get 55% OFF with a 1-year plan! 🔥

Windscribe VPN would be the #1 best free VPN on this list if not for the 10GB monthly data limit. It’s tightly packed with features, can unblock US Netflix, and works with virtually any device that needs a VPN.

Just keep in mind that, to get the free 10GB of data, you have to provide your email address. Otherwise, you will only get 2GB of monthly data and won’t be able to reset your password. You can also receive an extra 5GB by tweeting about Windscribe.

Even though Windscribe VPN is based in one of the Five Eyes countries (Canada), it swears by its no-logs policy. In other words, it doesn’t store and can’t identify your real IP address and connection timestamps.

Out of 60+ countries offered to premium users, 11 are available to those who use Windscribe for free: Germany, US, Canada, France, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, UK, Turkey, and Hong Kong. Out of these countries, the VPN will suggest the fastest server to connect to.

For a free VPN, Windscribe is fully loaded with features. It offers an effective kill switch, a free SOCKS5 proxy, ad-blocking, the possibility to set up a secure hotspot, and the multi-hop feature.

In addition to all this, Windscribe gives you lots of freedom to set up your preferences, like launching the app on startup, auto-connecting to the most recent location, and allowing LAN traffic when the firewall is on. Also, there are 25+ languages available.

Even though it’s widely considered that free VPNs don’t usually unlock geo-blocked content, Windscribe VPN can hold itself in high regard for shattering the expectations - its free version is able to unblock Netflix.

6. Hide.me VPN – fastest free VPN

Hide.me VPN
Based in:Malaysia
Supports torrenting:Yes
Logging:No logs
Unblocks Netflix:Possibly (paid-only)

Hide.me is a free VPN that gives you 10GB of free data a month together with servers in four countries, including the US.

It’s one of the most feature-packed free VPNs, offering you split tunneling, a kill switch, the possibility to use torrenting, and a bunch of advanced features usually found only in paid VPNs.

As Hide.me is based in Malaysia, it is not required to store any user or activity logs, including your browsing behavior. In addition, the VPN is audited by DefenseCode Ltd., which certified it as one of the most anonymous VPN providers.

Free users get only four countries to choose from: Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the US (which, in turn, offers three locations). It is convenient that you can see the ping together with every location, which truly helps you pick the fastest server.

It’s really nice that the free version of Hide.me VPN offers the same features as the paid one. This means that you can experience the joys of split tunneling, custom DNS, and Stealth Mode without spending a single cent.

The apps for Windows and Mac also have a kill switch, which will disable your internet connection if Hide.me VPN gets disconnected on accident. Free users also have the freedom to choose their preferred tunneling protocol (except WireGuard) and the IP version (IPv4 or IPv6).

Also, nearly all of Hide.me VPN servers support P2P file sharing, which means that you can use this VPN for safe torrenting.

Despite the promises on its official website, Hide.me free VPN didn’t manage to unblock Netflix no matter which server I tried. Unfortunately, the same happened with the BBC iPlayer and Disney+.

7. ZoogVPN – a good private solution

ZoogVPN
Based in:Greece
Supports torrenting:Yes
Logging:No logs
Unblocks Netflix:Yes (paid-only)

ZoogVPN is a Greek free VPN with a strict no-logs policy. Just like Hide.me and Windscribe, it offers 10GB of monthly data for those who prefer to use its free version. However, its selection of free locations ( the Netherlands, the UK, and the US) is a bit more limited, offering you servers in only three countries.

The first thing you should know about ZoogVPN is the fact that it uses AES-128 encryption with its free applications. Even though AES-128 is a really strong cipher, it fails in comparison to AES-256.

When it comes to privacy, ZoogVPN doesn’t store any logs including your browsing history, personal information, and even timestamps of the VPN usage. The only thing that ZoogVPN keeps is your email address. However, you can use a disposable email for creating an account, which would make the whole process completely anonymous.

ZoogVPN won’t be the perfect free VPN for you if you’re looking for some advanced features like split tunneling. On the other hand, there’s a perfectly good kill switch and the possibility to set your preferences like automatically launching the app as soon as you turn on your PC.

One of the other features available with the free subscription is ZoogVPN Shadowing. It might allow users from China and other countries with strict online censorship access blocked websites like Youtube. In addition, lots of ZoogVPN servers are P2P-friendly. However, only the Dutch server supports torrenting in the free version.

Unfortunately, the free version of ZoogVPN won’t let you get your hands on the geo-blocked content of Netflix and other streaming services. For this, you’ll have to pay at least $1.87 per month.

How did we test and rank these free VPNs?

The amount of free data and the selection of countries are not the only factors when ranking the best free VPN software. There are a lot of other important things to consider, and I'll explain all of them below.

  • Security. First of all, most of the VPNs on our list use the AES-256 encryption, which is the current encryption standard used by the federal government and other institutions that deal with top-secret data. We also keep track of the tunneling protocols implemented by the VPNs, prioritizing the most advanced ones like OpenVPN and WireGuard. Unfortunately, most free VPNs don’t let you use WireGuard, leaving it to paid users only.
  • Speed. Speed is yet another important thing to consider when choosing a free VPN. As various factors are bound to cause some speed problems when using a VPN, it is crucial to stick to a service that doesn’t slow you down too much. That being said, most of our top picks performed well in various speed tests. However, a paid VPN will almost certainly have faster speeds than a free one, usually due to offering a bigger server pool.
  • Features. The selection of features also shouldn’t be overlooked when selecting the best free VPN services. Torrenting, split tunneling, and an integrated kill switch are just a few features we looked for in the VPNs we tested.
  • Streaming. Now, about the elephant in the room – streaming services. It’s no secret that most people remember the existence of VPNs only when in need of accessing geo-blocked content. Even though it’s almost impossible to find a free VPN that is not blocked by Netflix, we managed to discover one free app (Windscribe) that can help you access some of its libraries.

How to choose a free VPN?

If you’re new to the field of cyber privacy, making your own decision about which free VPN to choose might be risky. It can be difficult to understand the differences between tunneling protocols, types of encryption, and the laws regarding the logging policy.

However, if you’re determined to find the best free VPN by yourself, here is what you should look into:

  • Privacy policy. See what kind of data the VPN stores and for what purposes uses it. Free VPNs with strict no-logs policies may be hard to come by, but you can find something that's close.
  • User reviews. See what other people say about free VPNs. Visiting Reddit might be a good idea if you want honest opinions on specific providers.
  • Features. Look for the one free VPN that offers the most for free. If you need a VPN for a specific purpose, see if it has specialised servers and features.
  • Bandwidth limits. Most free VPNs have caps on how much data you can use per month. If you want to use a VPN a lot, look for the one that offers the most data.
  • Speed. The speedier the VPN, the better the experience. Most free VPNs won't have as good speeds as paid providers, but you can still find yourself a pretty fast one.

Keep in mind that if a site advertises a free VPN, it doesn’t always mean that the program will actually be free. It might simply offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means that you’ll still need to pay for the service first. If you're more interested in paid services, here's our best VPN list.

Video review: Best free VPNs in 2022

How to get a premium VPN for free

Believe it or not, it’s possible to use a premium VPN service for free - at least for a short while. There are two ways of doing that:

  • Trial periods. Some VPN services offer a trial period, during which you can use the tool completely for free. For example, NordVPN offers a 7-day trial for mobile users.
  • Money-back guarantees. All VPNs on this list offer a money-back guarantee, which usually lasts at least 30 days. It’s a great way to test out all the premium features of a VPN, as the money is usually given back with no questions asked. Just make sure to contact customer support in time!
Premium VPNFree trialMoney-back guarantee
NordVPNYes, 7-day (Android-only)Yes, 30-dayTry NordVPN
Surfshark Yes, 7-day (Mac, iOS, and Android)Yes, 30-dayTry Surfshark
Atlas VPNYes, a free versionYes, 30-dayTry Atlas VPN
PureVPNYes, 7-dayYes, 31-dayTry PureVPN
PrivateVPNYes, 7-dayYes, 30-dayTry PrivateVPN

Free VPNs to avoid

Some VPNs with free versions are notorious for collecting user data. Using such a service not only doesn't increase your online privacy, it actively hurts it. It can be compared to willingly installing malware on your device. Here are the services of which you should steer clear.

Provider's nameThe reason why it's not recommended
Hoxx VPNNot only it's based in the Five Eyes country, they actively collect logs to prevent abuse on their networks. The service also closely collaborates with the government, blocking access to torrenting sites. It isn't the route that you should expect from your VPN of choice.
iNinja VPNA completely free VPN without a paid version, iNinja reserves the right to keep a lot of information on you. It includes your connection timestamps, your personal information, and other online activity logs. When you see that it's a 100% free VPN, this should always be a red flag.
SuperVPNNot that long ago, SuperVPN was hacked. Although that would be a pretty huge problem on its own, it revealed that a service that was supposed to be no-logs was very much the opposite. They kept the connection logs and other data to identify their users and tracked their activity.

Free VPN apps for your device

Depending on your device of choice, the best free VPN may depend on your OS. Some free options can be a little better on particular platforms and worse on others. To find out which is which, you'll need to read up on how they are different from one another across versions.

Best free VPN for desktop

When it comes to Windows devices, the best free VPNs are ProtonVPN and Atlas VPN. With both, you will be getting unlimited data and bandwidth, which is more than most free VPNs are giving you. On top of that, you will be getting three locations to choose from. Considering that it's for free, this is a superb deal.

And if you're wondering which is the best free Mac VPN, you could read the list on Windows, as the same applies here. The differences in the number of features will also be irrelevant. In the free segment, both ProtonVPN and Atlas VPN will perform almost identically.

Best free VPN for mobile

You may pick the classic ProtonVPN or Atlas VPN as they're the best free VPNs for Android. Though, there are some other options. For example, Windscribe and Hide.me are also worth a shot. However, both are pretty restrictive. Each has a 10 GB data cap but will let you choose from more locations.

The best free VPNs for iOS aren't that different from Android. ProtonVPN and Atlas VPN are the only real choices if you need a safe VPN with unlimited data and bandwidth. Depending on the locations you need, possible picks could also be Windscribe or Hide.me VPN.

Is a free VPN good and worth getting?

Getting a free VPN is worth it when all you need is staying anonymous when using public wifi or when you find a VPN that fits your specific needs.

However, subscribing to a paid service will usually be a better choice. It will give you a much broader range of servers to choose from, better speeds (as some free VPNs don’t support WireGuard), and the possibility to unblock Netflix and other streaming websites.

You’ll also be able to use a single account on multiple devices and use the VPN without worrying about exceeding your monthly data limit.


More VPN guides from CyberNews:

Best VPNs for Streaming (Movies): enhance your movie nights with these services
Best VPNs for Hulu: catch all the episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale and Normal People
Best free VPNs for Netflix: unlock more libraries with one month risk-free
Best free VPNs for iPhone: add an extra level of security to your device
Best free VPN apps for Android: protect your Android devices


FAQ

Comments

Mert Michael
Mert Michael
prefix 8 months ago
does any free vpn version unblock Netflix? That's the most important thing to me. If there's none, what's the cheapest option? :)
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 8 months ago
Hi there! The free version of ProtonVPN has the highest chance of unblocking Netflix. However, if you're willing to look into cheap paid options, I'd suggest trying out Surfshark or VyprVPN.
linda
linda
prefix 8 months ago
cheers for this free vpn review, it's really hard to find good ones. Are there any vpns that are 100% free without purchasing any additonal stuff?
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 8 months ago
Hi there! What you're looking for is an unlimited free VPN, so you can consider getting AtlasVPN or ProtonVPN. However, most reputable free VPNs will also have a paid version - this is how they earn their money. If a free VPN doesn't have a paid counterpart, it might benefit from stealing your personal info.
At
At
prefix 10 months ago
Hello Ruta,
I tried several vpn. I checked the network info on the taskbar for each. For some, the vpn connection flag is active and the original ISP is not active (hide.me). For others, it indicates both as active (Protonvpn). I ask, does this affect encryption or not? Is this a mistake or not? The leak test shows no flow anywhere.

Another question: is vpn software enough or vpn router is important for encryption? The ISP router not secure?

Thanks
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 10 months ago
Hello, thanks for the comment! There’s no need to pay attention to what the icon on the taskbar displays, as it doesn’t actually indicate whether your VPN is leaking. If you want to check for leaks, you should go to ipleak.net or a similar page. If it doesn’t display your original IP address, your VPN is not leaking.

As for your second question – no, you don’t need to set up your VPN on your router for extra encryption. You can do this only if you want to cover a wider range of devices. In other words, using VPN software is enough to stay safe.
At
At
prefix 10 months ago
Thanks. Because it’s strange, some vpn work with two active connection (ISP and VPN network both active) and other only with active vpn and non active ISP. Why can this be? Because of programming?
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 8 months ago
Hi there, sorry for the late reply! You shouldn’t worry about it because, basically, it’s just a Windows bug.
Anibal
Anibal
prefix 1 year ago
Hello
Just looking to read more about this topic.
Do any vpn can be used directly into a router ?
I read it would hide netbios devices connected to router from your isp.
Is it so ?
Rūta Rimkienė
Rūta Rimkienė
prefix 1 year ago
Hello, Anibal, sorry for the late reply! I’d recommend purchasing a router that supports VPN connections together with a VPN that has an app for routers (ExpressVPN would be a good choice). In general, getting a new router (not the one provided by your ISP) will prevent your ISP from seeing the connected devices.
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