6 Best Truly Free VPNs in 2024 — Fast and 100% Secure

Rosemary S Siluvai Anthony
Last Updated by Rosemary S Siluvai Anthony on June 11, 2024 Fact-checked by Justyn Newman Fact-checked by Justyn Newman

It’s tricky to find a free VPN that’s safe and works well, but I did it. Many free VPNs are outright dangerous, exposing you to malware and trackers. Even when it passes the safety test, most free VPNs have data caps, are slow, or can’t unblock websites.

After evaluating over 100 VPNs, I compiled a list of the top free VPNs. Even though these free VPNs are safe and offer good value, they can’t compete with premium VPNs. You should be prepared for limitations such as data caps and varying connection speeds.

To avoid any hassle, I recommend using ExpressVPN. It isn’t free, but it’s the fastest and most reliable VPN I’ve used. It’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee (which it honors 100%), so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck with a VPN you don’t like. Editor’s Note: Transparency is one of our core values at WizCase, so you should know we are in the same ownership group as ExpressVPN. However, this does not affect our review process, as we adhere to a strict testing methodology.

Try ExpressVPN risk-free

Quick Guide: The Best Free VPNs You Can Trust in 2024

  1. ExpressVPN — Top-tier security and privacy with blazing-fast speeds on its global network of 3,000+ servers.
  2. Proton VPN — Free unlimited data, but you can’t use its Secure Core network designed for better privacy.
  3. Hotspot Shield — Catapult Hydra keeps free servers’ speeds consistent, but you’ll have to watch intrusive ads.
  4. hide.me — Fast support for free users with 24/7 live chat, but you can’t use its Bolt feature to improve speeds.
  5. TunnelBear — Free access to 47 server locations but only 2GB of free data per month.
  6. Windscribe — Reliable for accessing major streaming platforms, but its refund period is short if you upgrade.

Best Free VPNs (Tested in 2024)

1. ExpressVPN — #1 VPN With Top Server Speeds and Premium Features

Key Features:

  • Unlimited data for endless streaming, torrenting, and gaming
  • Global network of 3,000+ servers in 105 countries
  • Top security features and a privacy policy that’s proven to protect your data
  • Support available via 24/7 live chat, email, and video tutorials
  • Accepts a maximum of 8 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans

While ExpressVPN isn’t free, it’s #1 on this list because no free VPN matches its capabilities. ExpressVPN has excellent server speeds, top-tier security, and a strict no-log policy. Plus, you don’t have to worry about any speed, server, or data caps since you’ll have unrestricted access to its service.

When I tested 50+ servers in the US, Japan, and more, I was impressed by ExpressVPN’s speeds because I only saw a tiny drop of 14.6% on average from my base speed of 350Mbps. This is extremely fast, considering some servers were more than 9,000 miles away. I didn’t have any problems with slow-loading pages, buffering videos, or lagging video games.

ExpressVPN provides fast speeds for lag-free, UHD streaming

Since ExpressVPN can consistently access streaming platforms like Netflix, you don’t have to waste time troubleshooting issues. Most free VPNs simply don’t work for streaming; even some premium ones require you to try a few servers before one will work with your streaming service. During tests, ExpressVPN also accessed these services:

Netflix Disney+ Hulu Max Amazon Prime Video
BBC iPlayer Showtime Peacock TV YouTube TV ESPN
DAZN CBS Disney+ Hotstar Discovery+ Crunchyroll

To ensure you always have top security and privacy when connected to ExpressVPN’s servers, every plan provides the following features:

  • AES 256-bit military-grade encryption — secures your connection on all servers by hiding it with a powerful 256-bit cipher.
  • DNS and IP leak protection — prevents accidental data leaks so that your data always remains within the encrypted tunnel.
  • Obfuscation on every server — masks your VPN traffic to avoid proxy detection that could block your connection.
  • An automatic kill switch — cuts internet access if the VPN connection is interrupted.
  • TrustedServer technology — runs on RAM-based servers for improved privacy protection, reducing the risk of man-in-the-middle meddling.
  • Audited zero-log privacy policy — Proven in real-life cases, ExpressVPN doesn’t store any identifying information.

You can try ExpressVPN’s 1-year + 3 months plan at only $6.67 per month. If you’re not completely satisfied, you can get a full refund within 30 days. I tested the process myself by sending a message via 24/7 live chat, and it was easy.

Most other VPNs wasted my time trying to troubleshoot or get me to stay, but ExpressVPN processed my refund immediately. The money was returned to my bank account within 5 days.

ExpressVPN works with: Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Nvidia Shield, Xiaomi Mi Box, Google Chromecast, Roku, Android TVs, smart TVs, routers, and more.

Editor's Note: Transparency is one of our core values at WizCase, so you should know we are in the same ownership group as ExpressVPN. However, this does not affect our review process, as we adhere to a strict testing methodology.

2024 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan + 3 months free (you can save up to 49%)! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.

2. Proton VPN — 100% Free VPN Offering Unlimited Data

Key Features:

  • Unlimited free data with no caps or ads
  • Free servers in 3 countries (US, Japan, and Netherlands)
  • Strict no-logs policy, military-grade encryption, kill switch, and leak protection
  • Email support for free users
  • Free plan allows 1 device connection at a time
  • Trustworthy 30-day money-back guarantee if you choose to upgrade

Proton VPN has a truly free plan offering unlimited data and access to servers in the US, Netherlands, and Japan. As the free network is limited, I expected sluggish and slow servers on the other side of the world. However, I was impressed by the fast speeds and minimal lag when streaming, browsing, and online shopping.

On its website, I noticed that streaming support is officially only available for premium subscribers. However, Proton VPN works with Netflix’s global library and Disney+.

Screenshot of Cobra Kai playing on Netflix while ProtonVPN is connected to a free server in the US.

Proton VPN’s free servers work with some top streaming sites like Netflix

Along with leak protection to keep your data encrypted whenever you’re connected, Proton VPN has:

  • Kill switch — blocks access to the internet if the VPN connection is interrupted.
  • Split tunneling — lets you choose which apps use the encrypted connection and which ones don’t (ideal for keeping speeds fast).
  • Customizable DNS settings — let you add a private DNS server and connect through that.
  • Audited zero-log policy — guarantees your data won’t be stored or logged on any Proton VPN server.

While you can only connect 1 device at a time on the free plan, you can configure Proton VPN onto your router at home. It took me 35 minutes to set it up on my Asus router with the help of Proton VPN’s step-by-step guide. Once done, it secured every device I connected to my WiFi.

Unfortunately, you won’t have access to its SecureCore servers in privacy-friendly countries with the free plan or to its fast 10Gbit network. There’s no torrenting support on the free plan either. On the bright side, this ensures the free servers aren’t overloaded by high-bandwidth activities.

You can get started and download Proton VPN for free with just your email address — you don’t have to provide any other personal details. Plus, you won’t be bombarded with ads prompting you to upgrade. If you are looking to upgrade, the cheapest plan comes to $4.49 per month, and you’ll need to commit to a 2-year + 6 months plan.

Proton VPN works with: Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast, Android TVs, routers, and more.

3. Hotspot Shield — Catapult Hydra Maintains Consistent Speeds on Free Servers

Key Features:

  • Watch ads for unlimited data
  • Free virtual locations in the US, UK, and Singapore
  • AES-256-bit encryption, no-log policy, and leak protection
  • Only allows 1 device connection
  • Email support and online guides for free users
  • 45-day money-back guarantee on paid plans

Hotspot Shield has a proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol that boosts speeds even on the free servers. It recently increased its free network from 1 location to 2 locations in the US and 1 each in the UK and Singapore. Still, they can get congested. But I had consistent speeds for watching YouTube videos with Catapult Hydra. Hotspot Shield also has:

  • Auto-protect feature — connects the VPN automatically when your device is using an unsecured WiFi network.
  • Zero-log privacy policy — ensures your online activity and data are anonymous and cannot be traced back to you in any way.
  • Split tunneling (called Smart VPN) — exclude some apps and websites from the VPN encryption.

Screenshot of Hotspot Shield's Smart VPN feature

You can decide which traffic should be encrypted with Smart VPN

As with most free VPNs, Hotspot Shield isn’t a reliable option for streaming. During tests, it could access Disney+ on Mac but not on Android or Windows devices. It also accessed Netflix’s global library but not region-based ones, as reported by my global team of testers.

The biggest letdown for me is that I had to watch intrusive ads that popped up every time I connected it on my Windows device. Though Hotspot Shield doesn’t log your data, I felt quite uncomfortable when I realized the ads were targeted. Still, if you need a free VPN in an emergency, the ads are worth tolerating.

Besides the free plan, Hotspot Shield has a 7-day free trial of the premium version that it promotes heavily. If you plan to keep using it after that, the 3-year plan is $2.99 a month and you’ll have 45 days to ask for a refund. I got my money back in 9 days after talking to a live chat agent.

Hotspot Shield works with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chromebook, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Android TVs, routers, and more.

4. hide.me — Contact Support for Help via 24/7 Live Chat

Key Features:

  • Randomly assigns a server after exceeding the 10GB monthly data limit
  • Free server locations in Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, UK, US East, and US West
  • Military-grade encryption, leak protection, and a strict no-log policy
    24/7 live chat, email support, and online guides
  • Allows 1 device connection for free
  • 30-day money-back guarantee if you upgrade

Unlike most free VPNs on this list, hide.me provides live chat support to free users. Even some premium VPNs force you to speak to a chatbot first but hide.me connected me to an agent in less than 30 seconds. The email address of the person helping me was also displayed so I could get back in touch with them should I lose connection.

For a free VPN, hide.me has some impressive security and privacy features like military-grade encryption and:

  • StealthGuard split tunneling — lets you decide which apps’ traffic to route through the encrypted tunnel.
  • Malaysia jurisdiction — keeps your data private by being based in a country that’s not part of any surveillance-sharing treaties.

Not surprisingly, hide.me doesn’t offer streaming-optimized servers with the free plan. None of the free servers worked with any of the major platforms, including those in the US.

When I ran speed tests on hide.me’s free servers, my download speeds were fast, but my upload speeds were slow. So, uploading files and video calling friends were laggy. hide.me’s superfast bolt feature would have helped improve speed, but it’s only reserved for premium users.

Screenshot of hide.me's speed test results on different servers
Without bolt, hide.me was quite slow for video calling and file sharing

You can use hide.me’s free service without signing up for an account or adding a credit card. I just downloaded the free app from the website and connected to a server. You can also get the 2-year + 2 months plan for $2.69 per month and get a 30-day money-back guarantee.

hide.me works with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chromebook, Chrome, Firefox, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Android TV, routers, and more.

5. TunnelBear — Choose From a Huge Network of Free Servers Worldwide

Key Features:

  • Limited 2GB free monthly data
  • Generous network of free servers in 45+countries
  • Advanced encryption standards, kill switch, and a no-log policy
  • Use on up to unlimited devices at once
  • Contact customer support via email
  • No money-back guarantee

TunnelBear is 100% free and allows you to use its entire network, except for some servers in the US and Canada. Though the VPN failed during many previous attempts, the Chicago server surprisingly worked with Netflix US and Disney+, as reported by my colleague in the US. It, however, couldn’t access Hulu.

The free plan will protect you with all the essential security features and more like:

  • VigilantBear kill switch — protects data from leaking in the event the VPN is interrupted.
  • GhostBear server obfuscation — masks your VPN traffic to avoid proxy detection.

Screenshot of TunnelBear's security features available to free users

You’ll get the same protection TunnelBear’s premium users get

I found TunnelBear fast on nearby servers but it slows down over long distances. My local speeds were only 10-12% slower than my regular connection speeds, so I didn’t notice any impact on my browsing. When I tested a server in Australia almost 10,000 miles away, my speed dropped by about 50%. This is worth considering if you need long-distance connections.

For a VPN that works with as many streaming platforms as TunnelBear, its free data of 2GB per month isn’t enough. However, you can claim an extra 1GB by sending a tweet advertising TunnelBear, and you can get this every month by tweeting again.

It only takes a couple of minutes to download TunnelBear’s free app and get connected. You will need to register for an account before you connect, so make sure you use a current email address so you can verify your account.

TunnelBear works with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chromebook, Chrome, Firefox, and more.

6. Windscribe — Works With Major Streaming Platforms With the Free Servers

Key Features:

  • Caps data at 10GB a month
  • Free servers in 10+ locations including the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and more
  • Military-grade encryption, no-log servers, tracker blocker, and browser extensions
  • Allows unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • Email support and online guides
  • Eligible for a refund for 3 days, provided less than 10GB of data is used

Windscribe is a reliable free VPN that worked with most streaming services like Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Netflix UK, and more during my tests. It may not work with the first server you try, but there are enough free servers in popular locations like the US and UK to find one that does.

Connecting to a server far away took a few seconds longer than those nearby and I saw this delay in the connection speeds as well. But although distant servers were 38% slower on average, I didn’t notice any buffering midway once a video loaded on YouTube.

For a free VPN, Windscribe is chock full of security features that go beyond AES 256-bit encryption, no-log servers, and a kill switch. You can also use its proxy service, the split tunneling feature, and even auto-connect to the last used server on device startup.

One thing I didn’t like is that Windscribe only allows refund requests made within 3 days of purchase. This isn’t long enough to try all its features. But since Windscribe has a solid free offering with most of its premium features included, I recommend doing your tests before subscribing.

Getting the free plan only requires your email address and you’ll instantly get 10GB of data a month. If you refer a friend who creates a free Windscribe account and confirms their email, you’ll get an additional 1GB a month.

Windscribe works with: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, routers, and more.

Side-by-Side Comparison of the Best Free & Paid VPNs in 2024

100% Free Unblocks Netflix Monthly Free Data Global Servers Torrenting Support Maximum Devices
ExpressVPN Unlimited 105 countries 8
Proton VPN Unlimited 3 countries 1
Hotspot Shield Unlimited 3 countries 1
hide.me Unlimited 8 countries 1
TunnelBear 2GB 47 countries Unlimited
Windscribe 10GB 11 countries Unlimited

Editor’s Note: Transparency is one of our core values at WizCase, so you should know we are in the same ownership group as ExpressVPN. However, this does not affect our review process, as we adhere to a strict testing methodology.

Avoid These Free VPNs Like the Plague

Regrettably, it’s an unfortunate reality that trusting Google Play or Apple App Store ratings is not always advisable. Even when a VPN appears to have numerous downloads and positive user reviews, there is still a possibility that it harbors malware.

Astonishingly, a study conducted by the reputable research agency CSIRO revealed that 75% of free VPNs contain a minimum of 1 tracking library, despite their claims to prioritize user privacy. Through my research and testing, I found some shocking facts about several free VPN services that I had to warn you about.

  • Cross VPN — Antivirus tests found that Cross VPN has potential trojan viruses, with alerts from 11 different antivirus services.
  • Betternet VPN — Marketed as privacy-focused, Betternet was found to have multiple tracking libraries in its software that logged data like general location, device information, and domain names you visit.
  • SuperVPN — This is a dangerous VPN, particularly for Android users, because it’s reported to have had the personal data of millions of users stolen. This included credit card details, login credentials, location data, and more.
  • LinkVPN — LinkVPN is associated with SuperVPN with no transparency and links to China, which suggests data-logging and limited privacy for users.
  • Fast Secure Payment — Fast Secure Payment has malware embedded in its apps, so you might risk your data being stolen if you install the app.

“Freemium” vs. Free VPNs: Hidden Costs You Should Know

A freemium VPN is a sample of a premium VPN designed to promote the paid plan. It’s a free plan offered by some of the top VPNs in 2024 to let you try the premium version with some limitations. You can trust freemium VPNs not to sell your data as the companies won’t risk ruining their reputation and losing the trust of paying customers.

However, you’ll face the hidden cost of limited data, slow speeds, and restricted server locations. This is done in the hopes that you’ll get frustrated and eventually upgrade to the premium VPN.

When a free VPN doesn’t promote its premium version or show ads, your data is probably being sold to third parties. Your free VPN might even contain malware designed to mine your data for profit. In my opinion, this is the highest price you’ll pay, as your private information and sensitive files could easily be stolen by cybercriminals.

The cost of using a free VPN far outweighs the price of a premium service, especially when you can use a top-tier VPN like ExpressVPN. Every plan is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can purchase ExpressVPN with confidence. If you’re not satisfied, you can get a full refund.

How I Tested and Ranked the Best Free VPNs in 2024

Any VPN can be listed on the app store with positive reviews, but that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. That’s why I strongly advise you to consider these when evaluating a free VPN:

  • Business model — You don’t want your free VPN to make money at your expense. Some shady VPNs fill their app with ads, trackers, or malware (sometimes all 3!) to secretly collect and sell your private data.
  • Strict no-logs policy — No VPN should compromise your privacy (or it defeats the point of using a VPN), so I checked each VPN’s privacy policy to ensure your data is never tracked, logged, sold, or shared.
  • Restrictions — Free VPNs often have limitations due to a lack of resources and funds. This could include slow speeds, finite bandwidth, overcrowded servers, and zero torrenting support.
  • Security features — Look for at least AES-256-bit encryption and tunneling protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. Avoid protocols like L2TP/IPSec and PPTP, which are outdated and frankly shouldn’t be used anymore.
  • User-friendly app — The last thing you want to do is spend time configuring and installing the VPN. That’s why every VPN I tested works on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and other popular devices.

FAQs About Free VPNs

Are free VPNs really safe?

Unfortunately, most free VPNs aren’t safe. The reality is that there are only a few trustworthy free VPNs — and I’ve tested them all.

With many 100% free VPN services, your private data is collected by trackers while you’re bombarded with pop-up ads. This data is then sold to third-party advertisers for profit. Worse, some free VPNs have been known to infect devices with malware and expose sensitive files to hackers.

All the recommended free VPNs above have a strong privacy policy and won’t steal or sell your private data to make money. Plus, these companies constantly update their networks to ensure there are no security flaws. Every VPN has military-grade encryption, multiple protocols, kill switches, and leak protection.

What’s the best free VPN for Netflix?

While most premium VPNs work with Netflix US, only TunnelBear’s free plan allows Netflix streaming in many countries, as it includes servers in 45+ countries. My colleagues in the UK reported that other free options like Windscribe and Proton VPN let them stream on Netflix UK. However, with these VPNs, there are data caps in place (except for Proton VPN).

If you want a VPN without restrictions, ExpressVPN is the best as it works with the most Netflix libraries worldwide. On top of that, it even works with Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, Max, YouTube TV, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, and more, so you can keep up with all your favorite programs.

Should I use a free VPN for torrenting?

Yes, you can use a free VPN like hide.me for torrenting, but you’ll have limited servers to choose from and once you hit the 10GB monthly data limit, you’ll be connected to a random server. Depending on its distance from your physical location, it can affect your download speed.

If you only need a VPN for a short time, I recommend taking advantage of a premium VPN’s money-back guarantee. For instance, you can torrent on CyberGhost’s optimized servers risk-free for 45 days and get a full refund when you’re done.

Screenshot of a user successfully requesting a refund from CyberGhost over live chat with the 30-day money-back guarantee
CyberGhost makes it easy to get a refund over live chat

I tested the process myself, and it only took a couple of minutes to arrange my refund over the live chat. I had my money back within a week.

Do free VPNs work in China?

Maybe. Hotspot Shield and hide.me are 2 options you can try. ExpressVPN is the only VPN that consistently works in China. All its servers are obfuscated and disguise your data as regular internet traffic to get past deep packet inspection and other VPN-identification tools.

While it’s possible to use a local Chinese VPN, I strongly advise against it. These free VPNs often share your personal information with third parties. If you dig into the background of these local VPNs, you’ll find little to no historical information or even a privacy policy.

Keep in mind that the Chinese government doesn’t officially condone using non-approved VPNs. However, no foreigner has been punished for using a VPN while on a vacation, business trip, or short-term stay to date. Still, I don’t condone using a VPN to break any laws.

How do free VPNs make money?

Some of the best free VPNs rely on the revenue from their premium service while others have hidden costs that allow them to make money. The most common way is to show you pop-up ads. While it might seem harmless, all adware is installed with trackers to keep tabs on your internet activity. This means your browsing history is no longer anonymous or private.

There are also free VPNs that sell your data to advertisers. They keep track of sites you visit, your IP address, and data relating to your connection. This is a huge violation of your privacy and can compromise your security, depending on the data being tracked and sold.

Rarely, a free VPN can sell your data to the highest bidder — which could mean your information is in the hands of a cybercriminal. It’s not common, but you should be aware of the potential risk when looking at free VPN services.

Can I use a free VPN on any device?

It depends, but the free VPNs I’ve listed have native apps for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. ExpressVPN is my top choice because it lets you set up a VPN connection on smart TVs, gaming consoles, and other devices that don’t support VPNs.

However, with most truly free VPNs, you can only connect 1 device at a time. So if you’ve got both a smartphone and a laptop, you’ll have to log out of the VPN on 1 device in order to log into the other. ExpressVPN offers up to 8 device connections at once, and you can install it on a router to secure every WiFi-connected device in your household.

What’s the best free VPN for gaming? (PUBG, Minecraft, Roblox, and more)

Although you can try any of the best free VPNs in 2024, I won’t recommend them for online gaming as they can’t guarantee lag-free gaming.

The issue lies with ping (or latency). This is how long it takes for data to reach the server and for your device to get a response. Free VPNs have high ping, so getting a server response takes a long time. During a fast-paced game, you’ll experience delays and might even lose connection to the game server.

However, a premium VPN can mitigate latency in ways that freemium VPNs won’t (or can’t afford to). ExpressVPN has blazing-fast speeds and low ping. You can even set it up on gaming consoles like PlayStation and Xbox. This makes it one of the best VPNs for COD: Warzone, Fortnite, Valorant, and other fast-paced games.

Are free VPNs legal?

VPNs are legal in most countries worldwide, and you can use a free VPN like Proton VPN to mask your IP address and keep your confidential data secure. However, it’s never legal to use a VPN connection to perform illegal online activities like hacking, cyberstalking, or distributing copyrighted content.

I don’t condone any criminal behavior, so make sure you’re aware of local VPN laws and regulations before you connect. This is especially the case in countries like China, Belarus, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, where non-approved VPN usage is banned.

Choose A VPN That Won’t Compromise Your Safety

The market is flooded with free VPNs, but many of them pose serious risks to you and your data. Slow speeds, bandwidth limitations, and connection restrictions are annoying. But having your data logged and sold to generate revenue compromises your data security.

To keep yourself safe online and enjoy the internet without limitations, I suggest you consider a top-quality option like ExpressVPN. During my tests, I was impressed by ExpressVPN’s lightning-fast speeds, ease of use, and steady server connections worldwide.

It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a refund if you’re not completely satisfied. I even tested the policy myself to make sure it worked. No one hassled me to stay when I asked for a refund over 24/7 live chat, and the money was returned to my account in just 5 days.

Summary — Top VPNs in 2024 (With Money-Back Guarantees)

Top Ranked Top Choice
$6.67 / month Save 49%
Proton VPN
$4.49 / month Save 55%
Hotspot Shield
$2.99 / month Save 77%
Hide me VPN
$2.69 / month Save 73%
TunnelBear VPN
$4.17 / month Save 58%
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