A free VPN sounds great, but are the sacrifices worth it?
If you're looking for the best free VPN, sifting through hundreds of dodgy apps for a quality product can take some serious work. And, once you've found what you're looking for, you'll need to acknowledge the limitations of a free VPN compared to paid services.
It's important to understand how a free VPN works before entrusting it with your online activity. Knowing how providers can afford to offer a free service in the first place and what sacrifices you'll have to make in terms of functionality and privacy is essential, and will certainly factor into your decision.
You won't be surprised to hear that no free VPN can match the very best VPN services, but for casual users they can be a useful tool to have at your disposal. While none work with Netflix and all have limits of some kind, they can be useful for checking emails and browsing privately on vulnerable networks – but for many, the drawbacks may outweigh the benefits.
Well, it all depends on which free VPN you choose. While there are a number of decent ones, they're vastly outnumbered by dubious, ad-filled Android apps with no background and no privacy policies, which are very likely to be harvesting your data – exactly the opposite of what you want from a VPN.
Beyond any risk to your data, though, it's important to understand that every free VPN comes with limitations, even the good ones. Almost all impose some sort of data limit, speed caps, and restrict you to a handful of servers at best.
If you want the best experience possible, we'd recommend signing up to a paid provider. Our top-rated VPN is ExpressVPN, but if you're looking to save some money we'd recommend Surfshark. For less than $2.50 a month you'll have unlimited data and simultaneous connections, rock-solid security, as well as in-depth features not available with free VPNs – and you'll also have a 30-day money-back guarantee to test it out risk-free.
If you're dead-set on testing out a free VPN, though, below we've rounded up the best five which manage to avoid compromising usability too much, and are worth a look. Plus, all offer an upgrade plan should you like the service and want to get all the available features at a later date.