2023’s Top Free VPNs: Make the Right Choice

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are one of the most effective ways to stay safe online. They allow you to stay anonymous and get past region blocks on certain websites such as Netflix or other streaming services. However, you usually have to pay for a subscription in order to use a VPN and you don’t always want to add an extra monthly expense to an already tight budget. That’s where free VPNs come in. They can provide you with a similar level of security for virtually nothing. But not all free VPNs are built the same. With many free VPNs you’ll encounter unexpected restrictions such as speed constraints, a bandwidth cap, or a limit to the countries you can access. These limitations can add up making the experience of using a free VPN feel pointless. That’s why it’s important that you choose the right free VPN service based on your own needs. While we advise that you opt for a premium VPN, such as those in our roundup of the best VPNs, we understand that sometimes you just need quick and easy basic protection without having to pay for yet another service. Therefore we’ve curated a list of the best free VPNs around. We lay out any restrictions they may impose and what activities they’re best used for—streaming, torrenting, browsing, etc. Following our recommendations you can read about what to look for in a free VPN and how we test. Updated 11/17/2023: To include new information about Hide.me VPN based on our latest updated review of the service. It still remains one of our top free VPN picks and you can read more about it in the summary below.

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CyberGhost VPN – (Token limit reached)

ProtonVPN, with its fantastic speeds, is an excellent choice for a free VPN. It limits users to one device connection at a time and to three countries.

Hide.me offers a solid paid VPN service and the company is generous enough to provide the full premium feature set in their free version as well. Its server speeds are a bit inconsistent, but overall they are pretty fast and rank within the top 20 of all—paid or free—VPNs that we’ve ever tested. That makes it plenty speedy for the typical use cases for a free VPN.

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What to look for in a free VPN:
Choosing a free VPN is a question of weighing the trade-offs with each service. Do you want unlimited bandwidth, but a restriction on devices? Or is it preferable to have more devices but deal with a bandwidth limit? One thing you definitely want to avoid is a VPN that is ad supported. Ads expose you to tracking by the company delivering ads, which is probably something you don’t want. You also want to stay away from any deal that suggests you can get a VPN by “sharing” your bandwidth like we saw with the Hola VPN scandal back in 2015. You also want to watch out for any VPNs you’ve never heard of, or that haven’t been reviewed much by third parties. After that, you want to consider the usual issues such as the privacy policy, Netflix support, operating system support, and the countries that you’re looking for.

How we test VPNs:
All VPNs are tested on a Windows machine with an Ethernet connection. Our approach is not to show you actual speeds, since those can vary based on any number of factors like your ISP, time of day, device quality, and so on. Instead, we show the average bandwidth…