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The Best Free VPN Services 2020

Paying for a VPN service might seem pointless when you can sign up to a free one and just use that.

But while there are a handful of free plans which you might be able to make do with, a paid-for service will always offer more than any free service.

The five free VPNs here are great considering they don’t cost a penny but they won’t suit everyone because of their limitations. You can read about those below, but for occasional use such as protecting your phone when using a cafe, airport or hotel Wi-Fi, then a free VPN might be exactly what you need.

Also, a free VPN is great place to start for anyone looking to try out a VPN service for the first time. Paid-for services rarely offer free trials, instead preferring to make you pay for a month’s use and claim a refund.

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Surfshark VPN

Is there a completely free VPN?

Yes, there is. And you’ll find five such services right here.

But if you know anything about VPNs, you’d be forgiven for being suspicious of a free one.

Free VPNs are not like free antivirus software, which can be almost as good as its paid-for version. Free VPNs, on the other hand, tend to be very limited in their data allowances (called bandwidth), the choice of server locations (there are usually half a dozen or less instead of thousands) and they might also limit speed, which will mean slower internet access.

Is it safe to use a free VPN?

It can be, yes. There are rarely any differences in terms of the technology used, so you’re getting the same security and privacy. However, in a few rare cases, when you use a free VPN service, you’re agreeing that the company can log data and sell it to third parties.

That isn’t the case for the five we recommend below, but if you decide to use a different service, be sure to read the Ts and Cs before you sign up.

Are free VPNs worth it?

It’s possible that you are willing to live with restricted bandwidth and/or servers, especially if all you want to do is use a VPN on public Wi-Fi for security, but the meagre data allowances from most free packages mean you won’t be streaming videos. 

As soon as you go over the limit you’ll either need to uninstall the VPN and find another free version, wait until your data allowance is renewed the following month or upgrade to the paid version of that service.

There are exceptions, though. ProtonVPN offers unlimited bandwidth for free and hide.me has recently changed its free package so when you’ve used up your monthly allowance you can keep using the service but you can no longer pick which server to use.

In our extensive testing of VPNs – both free and paid services – it is apparent that you will be significantly more satisfied if you spend just a few pounds or dollars a month on a service such as NordVPN, PureVPN, Surfshark or CyberGhost. 

But as we said, if you haven’t used a VPN service before, do try the options below to see how you get on with them. ProtonVPN is our pick of the bunch thanks to the fact it doesn’t limit bandwidth, but you’re still severely restricted on your choice of servers and it’s just for a single device. However, for free, it’s hard to complain.

There are other ways to hide your IP address, but a VPN remains the best option for most people.

What’s the best free VPN?

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN

Windscribe

Windscribe

Hide.me

hide.me VPN

Tunnel Bear

TunnelBear

Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield

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