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The Best Free VPNs to Better Secure Your Personal Info

todayJuly 30, 2021 2

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If you’re trying to keep your information and internet habits confidential or get around a Netflix geoblock, setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help shield your data from prying eyes. You don’t have to pay for it, either. Our favorite free VPN is ProtonVPN, and we like it for its strong commitment to privacy and security, plus its easy-to-use client. The free version doesn’t have the best server selection, though, which is why we also recommend a number of other free VPNs.

With cybercriminals becoming bolder every day and advertisers paying your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for your personal information, it has never been more critical to ensure that your web browsing habits are kept private. These are the best free VPNs you can download right now.

The best overall free VPN: ProtonVPN Free

Unlike many free VPN services on the market, ProtonVPN has no monthly limits on the amount of data that you can use. In addition, you can set up a ProtonVPN client on your iOS, iPadOS, or Android mobile device or your Linux, Mac, or Windows PC. ProtonVPN also supports Chromebooks and Android TVs. You can use an email address to sign up and get started, and there are no ads.

However, there are some notable disadvantages when it comes to using this service. Users are only permitted to use it on one device. People who use the free version also receive less speedy connections than those with a paid plan, and there is no person-to-person/BitTorrent support offered, either.

Those limitations aside, ProtonVPN is an extremely strong, security-minded VPN service that can act as a permanent tool in your privacy arsenal, whether you pay for it or not.

The best free VPN for Fire Stick: Windscribe

Windscribe VPN client's logging in loading screen.

If you’re looking for a VPN service that offers generous amounts of data while keeping your internet habits completely private and is compatible with Amazon Fire Stick, then Windscribe is calling your name. The free version of Windscribe offers you an unlimited number of connections, 10GB of bandwidth per month, and lets you choose your server location from 10 locales.

Once you’ve signed up for a free account, Windscribe can get to work. All your visited sites, connection logs, and IP stamps are erased within three minutes of you logging off from the VPN server. This service allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices, which is a rarity for a free VPN service. The built-in firewall and ad-blocker also ensure that your internet browsing is not only safe but free from pop-ups, too.

The best free VPN for (light) torrenting: TunnelBear

TunnelBear VPN client screenshot which features a map of North America.

You can connect to TunnelBear and make use of AES 256-bit encryption to keep your connection safe and private. Unlike some other no-cost VPN services, you won’t have your traffic throttled if you choose to make use of a free account. Also, TunnelBear no longer requires users to provide a first name when signing up, nor does it record how many times users connect to their servers. Free users are restricted to a monthly data cap of 500MB, though, which may be inadequate for those interested in constantly using a VPN. However, if all you need from your VPN is occasional added protection when emailing, browsing using your smartphone or PC, or light torrenting, TunnelBear is your ideal solution.

The best free VPN for Mac: Hide.Me

Hide.Me VPN client screenshot showing connection status and a Disable VPN button option.

While some VPN services make promises to not collect your user data or sell your web traffic information to a third party, Hide.Me doesn’t collect any of that kind of data in the first place. Its free VPN service offers 10GB of data per month, and you don’t even have to sign up or register to use it.

With native software designed to work with Mac, Linux, and Windows PCs, as well as Android and iOS, you can ensure that the VPN will work well with your setup. Alongside the Windows and Android versions of the software, the MacOS version of Hide.Me also offers a particularly helpful feature: Split tunneling. Split tunneling lets you pick and choose which apps will use the VPN and which apps won’t. This way, you can have the best of both worlds: Securing your apps and also being able to visit sites that would’ve otherwise blocked your VPN. It can also help conserve the amount of bandwidth you use.

Unfortunately, the free version does come with some notable limitations. You can only use Hide.Me on one device, which is no good if you’re trying to protect your whole family. Furthermore, while paying members of Hide.Me can access servers in 75 locations, free account holders can only access servers in five locations.

Those problems aside, Hide.Me is an excellent all-around VPN service. If you are interested in keeping your privacy and still having a decent amount of bandwidth for free, Hide.Me has you covered.

The best free VPN for PC: Hotspot Shield VPN

Hotspot Shield VPN client screenshot.

While some free VPN services can be very stingy with the bandwidth they allot you, Hotspot Shield VPN offers users 500MB per day or about 15GB per month. In addition, Hotspot lets users know upfront that their free services are paid for by purchasers of their premium VPN and that they do not keep any logs of your browsing activity. As of their 2018 annual transparency report, Hotspot proudly claims that it has never provided personal information about its users to any third party, including governments and law enforcement agencies.

But mobile users of their free Android VPN app still have to share limited information with Google for advertising. This information includes city-level location data, your internet device activity, and identifying cookies, which are not shared for users of the premium VPN mobile apps or the free version of the app on other platforms. Free users of Hotspot Shield VPN must also put up with advertisements encouraging them to upgrade. On the other hand, being able to keep your activity shielded by military-grade encryption and ensuring that your financial information is safe may be worth a few annoying ads here and there.

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