free-vpn

The best free VPNs

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

You get what you pay for. That's a phrase that rings true most of the time, however, the logic muddies when it comes to the offer of a free trial, even if you know it’s designed to extract actual money out of you later on.

Admittedly, the number of no-dollars-down toe-dips for VPN services has shrunk since we last checked. That said, there are still a number of options available for those of you either on the scout for a better provider, or looking for a better deal.

Updated November 19th, 2018
Name Product Price p/month (Monthly) Equivalent price p/month (Annual) Free trial? Simultaneous logins Crypto payment? Recommended encryption
HideMyAss!
HideMyAss!
$16.99
$9.29
Yes
5
No
256-bit AES
Hotspot Shield
Hotspot Shield
$19.99
$9.99
No
5
No
256-bit AES
Hide.me
Hide.me
US$19.95
US$9.99
No
5
Yes
256-bit AES
TunnelBear Giant
TunnelBear Giant
US$9.99
US$5.00
No
5
Yes
AES 256-bit
WindScribe
WindScribe
US$9.00
US$4.08
No
Unspecified
Yes
AES-256 cipher
Speedify
Speedify
$14.99
$6.58
No
5
No
256-bit AES or ChaCha
Blockless
Blockless
US$7.50
No
5
No
Unspecified

Compare up to 4 providers

HideMyAss!

What you get for nix

You basically get the full benefits of a HideMyAss! Pro VPN membership where you are free to test out HMA's full network of VPN servers around the world (900+ in 280+ locations covering 190+ countries). You'll have no limits on the server locations, protocols or advanced client features. But watch out: you will need to cancel the service within 10GB of usage, 100 sessions or 7 days otherwise you will be automatically charged $111.48 for a one-year subscription.

What you get for shelling out

Not much more really. You'll still be offered five devices per subscription and the app you're using won't be magically upgraded to something better – it will still be clunky, bare bones, yet functional. That said, we experienced decent speeds, made good use of the killswitch function and HMA offers an insane amount of payment options (some more clandestine and untraceable than others). Per-month paid packages offered are one month (AUD$16.99 per month), six months (AUD$11.99 per month) or one year (AUD$9.29 per month).

Speed test

We ran three control tests while disconnected from any VPN service, then another three speed tests connected to the VPN's AU server and another three speed tests while connected to the closest North American server.

ProviderHideMyAss!
Control Ping (ms)22
Control Download (Mbps)51.8
Control Upload (Mbps)26.3
AU server Ping (ms)20
AU server Download (Mbps)23.2
AU server Upload (Mbps)20.9
NA server Ping (ms)326
NA server Download (Mbps)20.2
NA server Upload (Mbps)20.1

Hotspot Shield

What you get for nix

You're looking at a full-feature seven-day test drive here – but be aware that your payment deets are required upfront (and if you don’t cancel inside of a week you will be auto-signed onto a $99 one year service, too). Hotspot Shield is easy to use and offers fast speeds, support for five simultaneous devices and 2,500+ servers, and that all-important killswitch feature is present and accounted for.

It should be noted that the content that's accessible via the free version is limited (the freebie option only provides US IP addresses which allow users to access blocked content in the States). Another (perfectly acceptable) downer: Hotspot Shield Free is also supported by ads.

What you get for shelling out

Everything in the free version, plus you gain access to Hotspot Shield's servers outside of the US. That's quite a large network set up in 20 countries like the US, the UK, Japan, Canada and Australia to name a few. Per month packages can be one month (AUD$19.99 per month), six months (AUD$13.99 per month), one year (AUD$9.99 per month) or three years (AUD$5.99 per month).

Speed test

We ran three control tests while disconnected from any VPN service, then another three speed tests connected to the VPN's AU server and another three speed tests while connected to the closest North American server.

ProviderHotspot Shield
Control Ping (ms)17
Control Download (Mbps)97.3
Control Upload (Mbps)13.4
AU server Ping (ms)27
AU server Download (Mbps)41.7
AU server Upload (Mbps)15.5
NA server Ping (ms)337
NA server Download (Mbps)38.3
NA server Upload (Mbps)12.0

Hide.me

What you get for nix

First of all, we give them bonus points right out of the gate for being a freebie that doesn't require you logging payment details up front – heck, you don't even need to surrender an email address. The downside: this really is a pinky toe-dip at 2GB limited data transfer and you'll only be getting access to three server locations. In case you're wondering, Hide.me's strict “no logs” privacy policy extends to everybody, including the speculative cheapskates. So that's nice.

What you get for shelling out

Get your wallet out and you'll be purchasing access to a network of 45 locations in 34 countries and 150+ dedicated gigabit servers throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. There are two per-month paid options available that are fairly similar. Plus is US$4.99 per month but limits you to 75GB and allows a paltry one device per sub connection. Premium is US$9.99 per month but offers unlimited bandwidth and allows five connected devices at any time.

Speed test

We ran three control tests while disconnected from any VPN service, then another three speed tests connected to the VPN's AU server and another three speed tests while connected to the closest North American server.

ProviderHide.me
Control Ping (ms)19
Control Download (Mbps)80.4
Control Upload (Mbps)21.0
Singapore server Ping (ms)353
Singapore server Download (Mbps)11.8
Singapore server Upload (Mbps)23.1
Canada server Ping (ms)467
Canada server Download (Mbps)49.3
Canada server Upload (Mbps)14.7

Tunnelbear

What you get for nix

If you decide to adopt the adorable cub that represents the “Little” (read: free) package then prepare for decent speeds and a side serve of bear puns. Admittedly you'll be bound by a 500MB data limit, however, that should be just enough to get a feel for the Tunnelbear experience. It's an incredibly simple VPN whose app is independently audited for security, plus you get a killswitch and a no-logs privacy policy. No fuss, no muss.

What you get for shelling out

A helluva lot more bandwidth than half a gig, that's for sure. The paid avenues both offer unlimited data and you can either opt-in for one month (US$9.99 per month) or commit to a year (US$5.00 per month). Sadly, the available server numbers won't jump up after that – free or paid, Tunnelbear is a smaller concern with only 20+ countries in its network.

Speed test

We ran three control tests while disconnected from any VPN service, then another three speed tests connected to the VPN's AU server and another three speed tests while connected to the closest North American server.

ProviderTunnelbear
Control Ping (ms)28
Control Download (Mbps)51.2
Control Upload (Mbps)22.3
AU server Ping (ms)353
AU server Download (Mbps)20
AU server Upload (Mbps)17.8
NA server Ping (ms)340
NA server Download (Mbps)23.8
NA server Upload (Mbps)28.8

Speedify

What you get for nix

Speedify's Starter Plan is pretty decent in terms of bandwidth (the first 5GB a month is optimised) but you'll be restricted to using it on one device. That said, you'll still be getting to test out the full server network of 170+ servers in over 50 locations. Speedify also wins points by having a clear privacy policy, apps with decent feature-sets and it'll never ask you to set up an account with them which makes for extra anonymity.

What you get for shelling out

Buying into Speedify can be done via two packages: Individuals or Teams. Both offer unlimited data, military-grade encryption and the same sized server farms. The big difference is that Individuals lets you have the service on five devices (for AUD$14.99 per month or AUD$80.99 per year) whereas the price of Teams scales with the number of users and is targeted at IT departments looking for centralised account management.

Speed test

We ran three control tests while disconnected from any VPN service, then another three speed tests connected to the VPN's AU server and another three speed tests while connected to the closest North American server.

ProviderSpeedify
Control Ping (ms)21
Control Download (Mbps)50.1
Control Upload (Mbps)26.3
AU server Ping (ms)21
AU server Download (Mbps)23
AU server Upload (Mbps)21.1
NA server Ping (ms)338
NA server Download (Mbps)18.2
NA server Upload (Mbps)22.8

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.

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 info 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 to ensure its claims are legitimate.
We've done the research on which VPNs support high-speed torrenting

Images: Shutterstock

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    Dan_069October 12, 2018

    Please subscribe me to your newsletter. Cheers, Dan.

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      JoelOctober 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Dan,

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    BobJune 22, 2018

    i want to watch aussie tv with a free vpn wich one do you rec

    • finder Customer Care
      JoelJune 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      There are hundreds of VPN providers vying for your business so please follow this guide to choose the one that’s best for you. That article is our comparison of VPNs for 2018. I hope you find the one that suits you best.

      Cheers,
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