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The best free VPNs

Protect your online privacy without spending a dollar with these free VPN service providers.

Updated

Getting something for nothing is rightly deserving of suspicion, particularly when it comes to software. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) cost a good bit of money to start and maintain, so providers need to charge for subscriptions. When there is no fee for use, it’s often because available bandwidth has been reduced or because your user data is being sold by the VPN company.

People require VPNs for any number of reasons, including making sure personal information is not compromised, and watching movies and TV shows that are geo-restricted. A free VPN can offer you protection and flexibility without having to make a financial commitment or expose your debit or credit card information online.

How do I choose the right VPN software for my needs?

Caution and research should be at the forefront of your search for free VPN software. Look for user reviews of any VPN you are considering, to see how it functions for others and to expose any potentially nasty surprises like hidden fees or adware before you install it on your device. Remember, what’s best for someone else may not be best for you, so consider which VPN features matter most to you before making a decision.

Using a free VPN vs using a paid service

Depending on what matters most to you in your specific VPN needs, there are cases to be made for both free and paid VPN services.

Type of VPN ServiceProsCons
Paid
  • Usually more server locations
  • No ads
  • High speeds
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Free trials
  • Cost (albeit minimal)
  • With so many services, it can be difficult separating the good from the bad
Free – ad supported
  • No cost
  • No transmitting payment info on Internet
  • Fewer server locations
  • Logs are a possibility
  • Adware tracks your web history
Free – limited bandwidth
  • No cost
  • No transmitting payment info on Internet
  • Speeds usually reduced
  • Downloading large files impossible
  • Fewer server locations

Which free VPN is best for Netflix?

Netflix is one of several entertainment providers that restricts content based on your geographic location, a process called geo-blocking. Using a free VPN to try and access Netflix content may be self-defeating because so many free VPNs have a bandwidth limit and video chews up a lot of data. When researching free VPNs to use to watch Netflix, ensure that you have the latest information possible – meaning from the current year. Netflix has begun cracking down on VPNs to defeat what it considers illegal viewing of its different regions of content, so you’re likely to face an uphill battle.

Take a look at which VPNs we recommend for unlocking Netflix.

Which free VPN is best for torrenting?

Much like with Netflix, free VPN providers can be a major inhibitor for the type of file sharing known as torrenting because of their limited bandwidth. Torrents of television programs and movies commonly run greater than the included 500MB/month. Part of the reason VPNs charge subscription rates is to deal with legal complications that come with things like bypassing geo-blocking and handling the demands of copyright holders. If you encounter a free VPN that claims it works for torrenting, do lots of extra research on it to ensure its claims are legitimate.
We’ve done the research on which VPNs support high-speed torrenting.

Images: Shutterstock

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