Can Free VPN providers take advantage of you?
There are a few ways that some supposedly “free” VPN providers can take advantage of you. After all, you have to wonder why they are offering their service free of charge – what do they get out of the exchange?
I am not saying that all free VPNs are dodgy, but there are a few things that you should watch out for.
Choosing a free package or free trial from a reputable provider gives you peace of mind that you will be safe.
Below are five ways that unscrupulous VPN providers can take advantage of you
- Advertisements and spam can be injected directly into your browser
- Selling your browsing history advertisers
- Stealing your bandwidth and redistributing it to the highest bidder
- Logging personal data like bank details, usernames, and passwords
- Modifying the content that appears on your browser
1. NordVPN – Best “Almost” Free VPN ($3.49/Month)
Nord VPN is one of the best VPN providers around. They provide free apps for just about every device imaginable including Android TV. They also have easy to install browser extensions that you can install in Chrome and Firefox with one click.
If you have other devices that you want to install a VPN on, NordVPN will allow you to install it on six devices simultaneously. Even with their free trial, you will benefit from zero logging and you can cancel any time in your NordVPN member’s area.
With apps for every platform, NordVPN is very flexible – meaning most people will be able to secure all of their devices with one single subscription to Nord VPN. Not completely free – however one of the best -NordVPN offers a 100% free 7-day trial to let you try their world-class service before you buy.
After your free trial expires you have a further 30-days to explore their full service, safe in the knowledge that you can get a full refund if you are not completely thrilled with their VPN service.
CyberGhost offers a completely free VPN service for Windows, Mac, and Android which includes unlimited bandwidth, unlimited traffic, AES 256 -BIT Encryption and an Anti-fingerprinting System.
CyberGhost is an easy to use service that is really user-friendly, so if you’ve never used a VPN before, CyberGhost can guide you through the process. Available on desktop and mobile, CyberGhost is widely accessible by all with many features.
The only real downsides to CyberGhost’s free VPN service (and these are only drawbacks on the free version) are the annoying advertisements (they have to make their money somewhere) and the limited locations. However, we wouldn’t consider these to be deterrent worthy based on the fact the service is free.
hide.me is a Malaysian based VPN service offering one of the best free VPN plans. Unlike a lot of free VPN services, hide.me doesn’t ask for your credit card details and really is free. The service is designed for basic VPN needs, likely in the hope you’ll opt for one of their Plus or Premium plans. hide.me’s free plan offers VPN services in 3 locations, at least 3 Mbit/s bandwidth, 2GB data transfer, and 1 simultaneous connection.
Every hide.me package includes internet connection encryption, multiple device compatibility, and 24/7 support. All in all, we’d say that’s a pretty good VPN service for free.
Similar to TunnelBear that we reviewed in our best Mac VPNs, SurfEasy is a Canadian free VPN provider that’s easy to use and offers a generous free package. Although their data allowance for free users isn’t as generous as our other best free VPNs, SurfEasy do offer a ‘recommend to a friend’ service which will increase your data – pretty nifty if we do say so ourselves!
SurfEasy boast a strict no-log network so none of your internet activity will be on their records. It’s easy to mask your IP, too, with one-click IP masking. One of our favourite features that SurfEasy offer is secure torrenting with auto-enable protection which is available on their Ultra VPN plan. Even on their free plan, SurfEasy allow you to download their free VPN service on 5 different devices, including Android and iOS.
Windscribe offers a package like no other, with 10GB bandwidth per month – yes, really, it’s free and that’s why it’s made it to our best free VPN services. Although limited to only 1 device, Windscribe’s free package has access to servers in 8 locations, firewall, adblocker, and P2P.
If you decide you like their services, Windscribe have made it easy for you to upgrade your pricing plan to unlimited bandwidth across 45 locations on unlimited devices.
6. Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield offers a free Hotspot Shield VPN service that you can use on any device, completely free of charge. With over 650 million users around the world, they must be doing something right! They offer military-grade encryption and blazingly fast speeds from an impressive 2,500 servers in 25 countries. However, with their free solution, you will need to be ok with adverts and limited features. The Hotspot Shield free solution will allow you to get started and try out their service.
If you want unlimited bandwidth and access to their global servers you will need to upgrade to their paid solution. Hotspot Shield is one of the best VPN providers in the world right now and they are in the top 50 most downloaded apps. You can get up and running instantly and use their VPN services via a super simple one-click solution. If you chose to upgrade to their paid solution, then you will get access to 24/7 technical support and be able to get your money back for a full 45-days if you are not 100% happy.
Kaspersky is an award-winning antivirus company that also offers a completely free VPN solution called “Kaspersky Secure Connection”. If you are looking for a free VPN to browse the internet freely then Kaspersky could be the option for you. However, they do place some restrictions on their free service that you can only get when you upgrade to their premium offering.
Kaspersky’s free VPN service restricts bandwidth and some geographic locations. Kaspersky Secure Connection free option is a very basic VPN offering that will afford you protection when surfing the web. However, you cannot access Netflix and they don’t have mobile support. Additionally, they currently don’t have a vast amount of servers or geographical locations. On the other hand, they do allow P2P and torrenting and their interface is clean and easy to use.
8. Avira Phantom
Avira Phantom VPN offers a completely free VPN that is super simple to install and get up and running within minutes. What is really great about Avira is that they allow you to use their VPN on an unlimited number of devices (even with their free solution).
Avira also works with Netflix, so you can use their service to get unrestricted access to movies without being blocked by geographic location. It is however unfortunate that they don’t have a lot of servers, so their speed is not fantastic. If you are not so bothered by speed, Avira is a great option for those who want to torrent or install a lightweight VPN on all of your devices. This is especially useful for people who want to install a VPN and want to use a lot of simultaneous connections.
TunnelBear is a Canadian VPN provider founded by Ryan Dochuk and Daniel Kaldor. They have a really fun website filled with cute bears, and they call their team “bears”. They make a sometimes dry tech concept into a fun and appealing website. They have a completely free VPN service that goes by the name “little bear” that gives you 500MB of free data use per month. Additionally, their free service works seamlessly with Netflix, so you can enjoy unrestricted access to global movie releases.
TunnelBear offers some great download speeds and advanced features including working directly from your browser as an extension and offering a kill switch. The only downside to TunnelBear is that they don’t support P2P or torrenting. However, if you are looking to stream from Netflix or surf the web safely with a free, fast VPN service, then TunnelBear is a great option.
Trust.zone was founded in 2014 in Seychelles. They provide a great 10-day money back guarantee and a 3 DAY FREE TRIAL. So they are not 100% free, but you can get a feel of their service in the 3 day trial period. In saying that, you won’t get the full picture as their free trial is restricted to 1GB of bandwidth. You can use their service on up to 3 devices, which pretty decent for the average internet user.
Trust.zone has servers in over 30 countries, and offer unlimited bandwidth as standard, which means that they are super-fast. The pricing after your trial expires is cheap, however, they don’t offer a lot of advanced features (for example they don’t allow unrestricted access to Netflix). On the other hand, they do abide by a no-logs policy, which VPN users will be glad to hear. Trust.zone also has a clean and simple UX that makes using their service a breeze.
PrivateVPN is a Swedish VPN company founded in 2009 who claim to be “The most trusted VPN provider on the market”. They offer robust encryption methods and some really awesome torrenting features. They are not strictly a free VPN, but they do offer a 7-day free trial and a generous 30-day no quibbles, money back guarantee.
One really awesome thing about PrivateVPN is that you can use their service on 6 devices. Private VPN has over 100 servers in 56 countries worldwide which is ok, but not a vast number when compared to other VPN providers. Although you can access Netflix with their service, I would not suggest it as it can be a bit glitchy. Their VPN is one of the most secure as they have an automatic leak protection feature and also a kill switch that you can use as and when you need. PrivateVPN is user-friendly and an all-rounder in our best free VPN reviews.
How can a VPN protect me?
With the sharp rise in cybercrime a VPN is a great tool that allows you to browse the web safely, securely, privately, and anonymously. Using a VPN is normally quite cost-effective. However, if you are like me and don’t want to add to the long list of online apps and services that you pay for each month – a free VPN could be a great option (at least for starters). However, there are some things to look out for, especially if you want to get into P2P and torrenting.
In this article, we will explore everything that you need to know about free VPNs. This guide is designed to allow you to find out everything you need to know in one place.
Why download a free VPN?
A free VPN is a great choice if you need a VPN in a hurry and don’t currently have access to money. Or if you just want to give a VPN a go. A lot of the top VPN providers, such as NordVPN – our top pick – offer a FREE trial and a money-back guarantee so that you can have peace of mind that your free VPN is top of the range.
Without further ado – let’s get started with what to watch out for – when selecting a FREE VPN vs. going straight for a premium paid version.
Best Free VPN’s for Android and iPhone
You can download free VPNs that work with your iOS or Android device – all of our top 10 free VPNs offer both iOS and Android apps. Something to watch out for – a free VPN provider can limit the amount of bandwidth that you can use in a month. This is often the way they get you to upgrade to a premium package. However, there are a lot of options available.
Most people surf the web on their phone in 2019, so a VPN becomes an essential piece of kit. When selecting a free VPN for your Android or iOS you will want to look for a provider that also offers a premium package that you can upgrade to. That way you know that you have the best security for your phone when you are out and about.
What are the best FREE VPNs for Mac and PC?
VPNs can be used to protect your PC or Mac desktop or laptop device. When it comes to selecting the best free VPNs for your Mac or PC there are a few things that you need to consider. Most importantly if the VPN provider has a Mac optimized app for you to use. The security systems that the VPN offers, the number of servers that they operate from, and the overall quality of the VPN provider must be considered. All of the FREE VPN providers that I have listed offer high-value free Mac VPNs that won’t take you for a ride.
It is extremely important to select a reputable VPN provider for your Mac or PC. That way your digital assets and personal data remains safe. A lot of free VPNs don’t offer full protection against viruses, hackers, and government agencies. So it pays to upgrade to a premium Mac VPN as soon as you can.
Best Free VPN’s for Torrenting
Many people love to torrent movies, music and sometimes an entire series. When selecting a VPN for torrenting, it is best to go for a paid version from the start. Furthermore, your VPN provider will need to allow P2P and you will require unlimited data and bandwidth to provide you with the strength of downloading required to torrent.
P2P and Torrenting can be done on a small number of free VPNs, however, for a reliable solution, you will want to upgrade to a premium plan. Unlimited bandwidth is a feature that is restricted to paid VPN services.
Our favourite free VPN at the moment is NordVPN. We love the fact that they have over 5k servers located all around the world and that they take the privacy of their customers so seriously. They are not 100% free, but the 7-day free trial coupled with their generous 30-day money-back guarantee allows you to dip your toes in the water and see if they are the VPN of choice for you