Tech

Free VPN: 6 solutions for browsing securely

A free VPN, Holy Grail for Internet users who want to remain anonymous or access content that is not available from their country. Most free VPNs aren’t the most comprehensive or secure, but there are a few services that can meet your expectations without having to shell out a dollar. Here is the selection of platforms that caught our eye.

It exists dozens of free VPN services, so it is difficult to find your way around this plethora of choices. Choosing the platform that meets your needs is a challenge, and that’s why we decided to help you see more clearly showing you the free VPNs that we think are the best.

🤔What is a VPN for?

Most users use a VPN for two main reasons. The first is to protect their browsing and payment data. With some services, it is even possible to deceive your internet service provider so that it does not trace back to you. Please note that the information you provide yourself to the sites you visit may of course be recorded by them. If the security of your personal information is important to you, be sure to use a platform whose policy is not to keep logs. Unfortunately, few free VPNs offer this feature (see below).

Also read: our selection of the 10 best VPN apps for Android

The second argument for using a VPN is access to content that is blocked in your geographic area. If you are abroad, for example, you cannot watch French television via the internet: the live broadcasts and replays of the various channels are blocked and Molotov does not work either (except for premium subscribers within the European Union ). With a VPN, you can pretend that your IP address is French.

On the contrary, you can access content from France that is not normally available there, especially on SVoD platforms. But again, be careful. Netflix et al know how to detect many free VPNs and their use is sometimes doomed to failure. Another possibility: buy a good or service from the store in another country, where this good or service is offered cheaper. We are thinking in particular of virtual content: SVOD subscription, dematerialized video game, etc.

For many, VPN is still a geek thing. Complicated to install, to configure… It would require expertise that places it beyond the reach of ordinary mortals. However, the process is not as complex as it looks. You can also consult our tutorial which teaches you how to install a VPN on your Android phone.

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🆚Free VPNs vs Paid VPNs

We present in this file a selection of Free VPNs which can help to troubleshoot if you do not want to put your hand in your pocket. Of course, there is no free solution that has as many advantages as paid platforms. If you are looking for a VPN for the long term, our advice is to switch to a premium offer. Many services offer low-cost subscriptions (less than three or even less than two euros per month) for excellent quality.

Free VPNs suffer from a few drawbacks that are worth considering. In one case, it is a entry-level version of a paid VPN, which therefore lacks many features: debits, bandwidth and access to limited servers, unavailable options… This is a loss leader to encourage you to pay for a better experience. In the case of 100% free VPNs, your possibilities are also limited and your personal data is far from being protected. On the contrary, it is thanks to them that publishers are remunerated.

Finally, there is a last, more specific case: the VPN functionalities integrated into other services. We are thinking in particular of the Opera browser VPN, available on both Mac and PC, but also on Android. This is very effective and guarantees the protection of your data, but lacks personalization. For example, it is not a viable solution for easily accessing content that is only available in a specific geographical area.

Trial offers

This paragraph is for users who are looking for a VPN for a short time only. Note that most paid services offer a satisfied or refunded guarantee for a period of 30 days generally (even more for some). You can therefore subscribe, pay, and be reimbursed if you request it before the deadline. It’s less practical than a free month offer directly and it forces you to enter your bank details, but it can be a solution to enjoy a premium VPN for a few weeks without paying.

Windscribe

Windscribe is one of the VPN services with an attractive free plan. Available on Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS, Chrome and Firefox, the platform provides access to 10 GB of data per month. It supports the downloading of torrents, for those who wish to avoid the remonstrances of Hadopi. The free plan allows you to connect to servers in around ten countries. Good news, there is no limit of devices on which you can use an account.

Please note that Windscribe is not an anonymity protection model and uses certain connection information. However, it uses AES-256, SHA512 and 4096-bit RSA encryption technologies as well as OpenVPN, IKEv2 and SOCKS security protocols, even for free members. You also get free ad and malware blocker.

Hotspot Shield

Hot Spot Shield

Hotspot Shield has become a benchmark for free VPNs. It is present on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Chrome. Its main interest is to be able to browse with very good speeds, which is not always the case with free VPNs. In addition, your data is encrypted and protected. The platform does not otherwise record the online activities of its users.

But the service also suffers from several flaws that do not make it a solution for everyone. Already, the bandwidth is extremely limited: you cannot cross the threshold of 500 MB per day and 15 GB per month, which greatly reduces the possibilities. This is an alternative for navigation, forget about downloading and streaming. In addition, not all servers are available with the free offer, which can be restrictive if you want to locate in a specific country. It is also only possible to connect from one device simultaneously.

Finally, since Hotspot Shield’s free formula does not rely on the exploitation of your information, you must accept to support advertisements, which are sometimes invasive. The price to pay for freedom and security.

Hide.me

hide me vpn

Hide.me is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome and Firefox. This is a great free solution for users who want access to a privacy-friendly VPN. Communications are encrypted and the service uses the security protocols found on the best-protected platforms. In addition, the platform does not save connection logs. All without unwanted advertising.

But if the speeds are fast, the bandwidth is limited: 10 GB per month. Enough to browse the web, use collaborative work tools and send emails (without too heavy attachments of course), but forget about streaming. You now only have access to 5 servers, including one in the Netherlands and another in the United States. Be aware that Hide.me tolerates torrenting.

TunnelBear

tunnel bear

TunnelBear offers an app on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Unlike other free services, this one has the merit of letting us choose from a generous selection of servers located in around twenty countries.

It is also a security model thanks to the use of AES 256-bit encryption technology and VPN protocols found on paid platforms. TunnelBear adopts a “no log” policy, that is to say that it does not keep any connection and browsing data on its servers.

The connection speed is average for free VPNs: there is better, but there is also worse. On the other hand, you should not count on unlimited bandwidth: it is limited to only 500 MB per month, with the possibility of earning a little more margin by performing certain actions, such as the publication of a tweet. This volume is just enough for very sporadic use of the VPN.

ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is accessible from Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. Its main argument against the competition is that it offers unlimited bandwidth to users of the free plan. So you can browse, stream and download at will. You don’t get very high speeds though, so don’t expect a perfect user experience.

However, you can only use the VPN on one screen at a time and do not have access to all available servers. Torrenting is also allowed on a selection of servers, so the choice is quickly limited for this activity. No advertising, ProtonVPN hopes to upgrade its users to the premium option to get paid.

This VPN also relies on its strict privacy policy. In addition to the encryption and security technologies available, the service does not save logs. Integration with the Tor network is also available. ProtonVPN is headquartered in Switzerland, which has some of the strictest privacy laws in the world.

Opera

opera vpn free

Opera integrates a completely free VPN functionality within its browser. It is available on computer operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux) as well as Android. Of course, the options are limited. For example, you cannot choose the server to which you want to connect. You only have the choice of the continent: Europe, Asia or Americas.

However, the bandwidth is unlimited and the speeds are very good. You also benefit from protection of our personal data as with an external VPN. The best thing about Opera is that you just have to use the browser, setting up the VPN is extremely simple and you don’t need to create an account. The service also includes an ad and malware blocker.

🏆 Conclusion: what is the best VPN?

There you have it, you have all the keys in hand to choose the free VPN that suits you best. It is not possible for us to come out with THE best, because it depends above all on your uses. If the protection of your personal information is important, better to turn to Hide.me than Windscribe for example. If you need to connect to a server located in a particular country, TunnelBear offers a wide choice in this area. Finally, if you need a free VPN with no bandwidth limitations, you can turn to ProtonVPN. But logically, no service offers a complete offer without paying.

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