Best free VPN in February 2024 (2024)

With more businesses adopting remote work, many are looking for a VPN service to help protect data and employees working around the world. The best free VPNs might not provide comprehensive security like paid tools, but they can be a solid solution if you’re on a tight budget.

Some free VPNs have a poor reputation as they commodify your data. That’s why we conducted vigorous research and tested multiple VPNs to find the best options for a free VPN for your business.

We receive compensation from our partners for Featured Offer placements, which impacts how and where their offer is displayed.

Featured Offers

NordVPN

Starting monthly price

$12.99

# of devices supported

6

Server count

5,985+

Best free VPN in February 2024 (1)

On NordVPN's Website

Surfshark

Starting monthly price

$13.99

# of devices supported

Unlimited

Server count

3,200+

Best free VPN in February 2024 (2)

On Surfshark's Website

Methodology

To help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) choose the best free VPN service, we evaluated 20-plus top VPNs using more than 900 data points to develop a ranked list. Choosing only the products that offer a free plan, we then assessed each VPN’s base features, offered speed, customer reviews, additional features and support offerings. We then assigned our Editors’ Score to the top seven options from our ranked list and ultimately narrowed our recommendations down to the top four. Read our full methodology here.

Show summary

  • Proton VPN

    : Best free VPN for small businesses

  • hide.me

    : Best free VPN requiring no personal data

  • Windscribe

    : Best free VPN for transparency

  • TunnelBear

    : Best free VPN for unblocking geo-restricted content

Proton VPN

Best free VPN for small businesses

Data limits (free plan

Unlimited

No. of servers/locations (free plan)

150+ servers

Mobile app rating (average)

4.5 out of 5

Best free VPN in February 2024 (4)

4.8/5

Our rating considers features, value for money, customer support and ease of use. Ratings are assigned exclusively by our editorial team.

Why we picked it

Proton VPN initially began as a crowdfunded secure mail service called Proton Mail in 2014. According to the company, it created its VPN to protect activists and journalists in countries with strict censorship, which is why it prioritizes security.
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Proton VPN is entirely open source and independently audited, which keeps the project accountable and publicly verifiable. What’s enticing about Proton VPN’s free service is that it has an unlimited free data plan without any advertisem*nts. Additionally, having a reliable VPN with strong security and unlimited data is valuable for businesses as they can operate without worrying about bandwidth limits.
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Although it comes with unlimited data, Proton VPN only offers around 150 servers in just a handful of countries. Having fewer server locations could pose trouble for some, as they might struggle to find a server near them, ultimately meaning surfing speeds will dip. However, in business settings where low latency and high speeds might not be major factors for concern, Proton VPN is a great overall choice, due to the aforementioned data security and privacy benefits.
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Another factor that makes Proton VPN the best free VPN for small businesses is that the free service is supported by paid subscriptions, meaning you have access to the same security and speeds. One of these features is Proton VPN’s proprietary protocol called Stealth, which bypasses restrictions and blocks because it’s more unrecognizable than traditional protocols. The free service also comes with a kill switch — which disconnects you from the internet if your VPN connection drops — for continued protection during sudden network disruptions as well as guaranteed data protection under the company’s no-logs policy (meaning it doesn’t log the websites you visit or any related information). If you decide to upgrade your plan, you also get features like SecureCore — which protects against network attacks — and the company’s VPN Accelerator, which optimizes speeds.
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Despite its many benefits, Proton VPN’s free plan only supports a single device connection per account. So, if you’re trying to use a VPN for a whole team, you’d have to encourage every team member to download and use it, which can be complicated. If you try the free version and want to upgrade and increase the number of allowed simultaneous connections, you have three different plans to choose from: one month ($9.99 per month), one year ($5.99 per month) and two years ($4.99 per month). All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee for a full refund if you’re unsatisfied with the service.

Pros

  • Privacy and security prioritization
  • Flexible price plans
  • Stealth protocol helps bypass blocks and censorship

Cons

  • One device connection per free plan account
  • Limited server locations with free plan
  • Poor support for Linux

Who should use it

Proton VPN is our best free VPN recommendation, so we encourage any small business looking for a free plan from a top VPN provider to try using it. While smaller teams can adopt this free VPN if each employee downloads it on their devices, larger teams may struggle to make the most out of the free plan, so we recommend researching to determine whether the paid plans are in your budget and suit your needs.

hide.me

Best free VPN requiring no personal data

Data limits (free plan)

10GB

No. of servers/locations (free plan)

7 server locations

Mobile app rating (average)

4.4 out of 5

Best free VPN in February 2024 (5)

4.6/5

Our rating considers features, value for money, customer support and ease of use. Ratings are assigned exclusively by our editorial team.

Why we picked it

hide.me was founded in 2012 to provide a free VPN service with fast connection speeds and accessibility for the public to enjoy better network security and privacy. The company is based in Malaysia, which has no local laws regarding storing consumer data. To ensure user privacy, hide.me has a strict no-logs policy, a plus for those concerned about government surveillance and third-party tracking. If the Malaysian government, foreign countries or private institutions ask for your data, hide.me can’t oblige as the data doesn’t exist.
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Like many free VPNs, hide.me is a freemium service, meaning it offers basic services to encourage you to purchase a subscription and access more features. The software has a strikingly simple interface with no intrusive ads or complicated settings screens. Making an account, installing the VPN and connecting to a protected server is straightforward and quick. We like that the free version requires no personal data — no email, no credit card. You can simply download the VPN and start using it.
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hide.me has slower connection speeds on its free VPN servers compared to its paid ones. This is common across all VPNs, as the free servers have more server load. If this is an issue for you and your business, the premium servers are considerably faster. However, for general business use, you probably won’t notice a dip in speeds. The free plan gives you the option to connect to seven different server locations: Germany, France, Netherlands, Spain, the UK, the US and Singapore. Most are located in Europe, so users in Asia or the Southern Hemisphere may experience more latency.
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With only one device connection per account for free customers, you might want to upgrade to a paid plan if you work with a small team. Its paid plans are offered in one-month ($9.95 per month), 12-month ($4.57 per month) and 26-month ($2.69 per month with two months free) increments. With any of these subscriptions, you instantly increase your number of allowed simultaneous connections to 10 and have access to all premium features like more server locations, StealthGuard (which allows you to choose which apps connect to the VPN) and a kill switch to prevent IP leaks during network downtime.
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Some free VPNs host ads, which annoys customers and clutters the service. hide.me has no ads, so you can connect to a server in seconds without the added hassle of waiting for ads or closing them. On top of that, unlike some other providers, hide.me offers customer support to its free VPN users. It claims to offer technical support 24/7, regardless of whether you’re a free or paid user.

Pros

  • 24/7 customer support for both free and paid users
  • No intrusive ads
  • No personal info needed for free plan

Cons

  • Most free servers located in Europe
  • One device connection per account on free plan
  • Free plan restricts browsing speeds

Who should use it

If you’re looking for a solid free VPN that requires no email, credit card or other personal information, hide.me is a great option. The 24/7 customer support also comes in handy, especially when trying to integrate the VPN into your business operations. We recommend trying the free service and upgrading to a paid membership to unlock all of hide.me’s features. If it doesn’t suit you, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee for a full refund.

Windscribe

Best free VPN for transparency

Data limits (free plan)

10GB

No. of servers/locations (free plan)

10 locations

Mobile app rating (average)

4.3 out of 5 stars

Best free VPN in February 2024 (6)

4.2/5

Our rating considers features, value for money, customer support and ease of use. Ratings are assigned exclusively by our editorial team.

Why we picked it

Windscribe was founded in Toronto, Canada, and is completely self-funded, meaning it has no pressure from stakeholders to pursue constant profit. Windscribe places heavy emphasis on transparency, with open-source software and encouragement for its users to communicate directly with Windscribe’s team through social media channels like Discord and Reddit. In these communities, users can talk with each other, contact support staff directly and receive announcements straight from Windscribe’s team. Windscribe also publishes a transparency report that includes real-time data requests from copyright and law enforcement agencies.
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Users can take advantage of Windscribe’s free plan without sharing any personal information (like with hide.me above), but without providing an email address you only get 2GB of free data instead of 10GB. Like most freemium services, Windscribe’s free VPN servers aren’t as fast as the premium ones. If this is an issue for your business needs, consider purchasing a paid subscription to utilize faster servers that can tunnel to more locations worldwide. Windscribe’s paid plans include a month-to-month plan ($9 per month) and a yearly plan ($5.75 per month). You can also build a plan that lets you customize your subscription based on your needs and budget.
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Free users have access to 11 server locations across the globe, including the US, Turkey, Canada, Hong Kong and Germany.
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One of the most enticing aspects of Windscribe’s free plan is its unlimited simultaneous connections. You can put your whole team on a single plan without needing everyone to create a separate account. With the maximum 10GB bandwidth limit for free users, though, you’ll probably need to upgrade for extended use. Additionally, Windscribe doesn’t lock any premium features behind a paywall. The free servers have the same security and privacy features as the premium ones, like R.O.B.E.R.T. (which blocks ads, trackers and malware), split tunneling (which lets you choose which apps use the VPN) and more. Businesses also have the option to upgrade to Windscribe’s ScribeForce plan, which is specifically for business use and only costs $3 per month per seat.

Pros

  • Free features are the same same as premium ones
  • Open communication from Windscribe’s team in social channels
  • ScribeForce plan specifically for businesses

Cons

  • Strict free data limitations (2GB without registering email; 10GB with email registration)
  • Slower free server speeds
  • No live customer support

Who should use it

Windscribe is a good option for businesses looking for transparency (open-source software, transparency reports, etc.). Since the free plan has unlimited simultaneous connections, small teams can test the service out to see if it suits their needs. If you feel the need to upgrade, you have the option to put all team members under one subscription plan or use ScribeForce.

TunnelBear

Best free VPN for unblocking geo-restricted content

Data limits (free plan)

2GB

No. of servers/locations (free plan)

~50 locations

Mobile app rating (average)

4.5 out of 5

Best free VPN in February 2024 (7)

3.7/5

Our rating considers features, value for money, customer support and ease of use. Ratings are assigned exclusively by our editorial team.

Why we picked it

Headquartered in Toronto, TunnelBear was founded in 2011 by Daniel Kaldor and Ryan Dochuk. The VPN has an approachable design with its bear branding, and although it isn’t featured in our best VPN services guide, it’s a respectable free VPN for unblocking geo-restricted content due to its plentiful server locations. You can connect to nearly 50 countries across the world (the most on our list for a free plan), making TunnelBear one of the best options for a global remote workforce.
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Team members all over the globe can access a nearby server. Those in Asia can connect to servers in Japan, South Korea or Taiwan, and there are also multiple servers in Africa, the Middle East and South America. It’s worth noting, however, that the free plan only offers 2GB of data per month, which runs out quickly, especially if you’re using it on multiple devices
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TunnelBear promises no logging of any customer activity, strong encryption and no limit on the number of devices you can connect. One of its unique features is SplitBear, where you control which websites and apps are protected by TunnelBear, ultimately freeing up your network for faster speeds. For more technical users, you can choose which VPN protocols TunnelBear uses (this setting is set to auto by default). If you want to change VPN protocols, TunnelBear recommends WireGuard, as it’s currently the most up-to-date and attack-proof technology.
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If you’re interested in upgrading to a paid subscription for your business, TunnelBear has a separate plan called TunnelBear for Teams. The pricing differs depending on how many employees are on your team, with the lowest annual cost being $138 per year for two members or $5.75 a month per seat. For non-business subscriptions, there are three paid plan options: one month ($9.99 per month), one year ($4.99 per month) and three years ($3.33 per month).

Pros

  • ~50 server locations on free plan
  • Dedicated pricing plan for teams and businesses
  • Annual security audit

Cons

  • Only 2GB free data per month
  • No money-back guarantee
  • Some users complain of slow speeds

Who should use it

TunnelBear is a great choice for businesses with a global workforce because of its large list of server locations across the world. Employees from anywhere can connect to a server near them, ultimately providing faster connection speeds. TunnelBear for Teams can also be an economical plan for your operations.

Compare top free VPN services

ProviderStar ratingLowest monthly paid plan priceDedicated IP address?Live chat?

Proton VPN

4.8

$9.99

Yes

No

hide.me

4.6

$9.95

Yes

Yes, human

Windscribe

4.2

$9.00

No

Yes, bot

TunnelBear

3.7

$9.99

No

No

What didn’t make our best free VPN list?

Atlas VPN and Urban VPN were two other free VPNs we thoroughly evaluated, but they missed out on making our ranked list of the best free VPNs. That said, they may be the right fit for certain business needs.

Altas VPN

At first glance, Atlas VPN seems like a solid choice for teams, as it offers unlimited simultaneous connections with no speed limits. However, upon further inspection, each account only gets 5GB of bandwidth per month, which isn’t a lot if you need a VPN regularly. It also only offers four servers in the Netherlands, Singapore and the US.

Another reason Atlas VPN wasn’t included on our top free VPNs list is because of its price. There are three plans you can choose from, which range from $11.99 per month for a monthly plan to $1.70 per month for a three-year plan. While the annual and three-year plans compare favorably to the other providers on our list, the month-to-month plan is more expensive. On the plus side, there’s a 14-day money-back guarantee for the monthly plan and a 30-day money-back guarantee for the other two plans.

Urban VPN

Urban VPN is this article’s only 100% free VPN with no premium subscription model. This might be attractive in the current economy, where some businesses closer to the medium-sized end of the small-business spectrum are unable to justify spending hundreds of dollars per year on a VPN. It offers unlimited bandwidth on an unlimited number of devices and servers in several locations worldwide, allowing you to unblock geo-restricted content almost anywhere.

Where Urban VPN falters is its general privacy and security practices — the service collects personal information, which the company discloses on its website. For this reason, we can’t recommend Urban VPN, even if its unlimited free data seems appealing. Check out our section below for more information on the safety of free VPN services.

How do I choose the best free VPN service?

Spotting the differences between the free VPNs on the market is challenging, as many services offer the same features. Below, we list four of the most important factors to consider when looking for the best free VPN service.

  • Security and privacy. One of a VPN’s reasons for existence is to guard your data and privacy when you’re online. Look for modern AES encryption (AES-256 encryption is the gold standard), no-logs policies, kill switches and independent security audits, among other features, to ensure you’re choosing a VPN that is actually secure.
  • Number of servers and locations. Having more servers and server locations gives you more freedom to access geo-restricted content. Another benefit is a lower chance of servers getting overcrowded, which slows down speeds.
  • Data limits. The best free VPNs have a large or unlimited data plan. Trying to use a VPN only to run out of data is frustrating, so services with free unlimited data plans are valuable.
  • Device compatibility. Although many VPN providers are compatible with various devices, you should check that the devices you intend to use are included. Sometimes, key features aren’t available on certain devices.

Are free VPN services safe?

When you’re exploring free VPN services, you’ll come across two types:

  • Freemium models, like our recommended providers, that offer a free plan as an introduction to (and enticement to buy) the providers’ plaid plans
  • Completely free VPNs, like Urban VPN, that have no related paid plans

Generally, completely free VPNs are considered a security risk, either because they commodify your data or use your network resources in other ways. They need to make money somehow if they don’t have paid subscribers. Freemium services are considerably safer, as the free plan is marketing for the premium subscription.

There are other ways to help you evaluate the safety of a free VPN service. Take a look at its website to see if it has any certifications from verified institutions or reviews from trustworthy sources. Closely read its privacy policy, and see what customers in online communities or app store reviews say to obtain unfiltered opinions about the service.

When should you consider a paid VPN service?

A free VPN usually won’t be enough to support your business operations or cover your whole team as providers often restrict how many devices can connect to its free VPN simultaneously and impose data limits. If you have a growing business, we encourage you to research premium plans to see if one is right for you. Also, if you have a remote team and/or deal with any type of sensitive data, having the full security and privacy features of a paid VPN is a key factor in enhancing your overall cybersecurity.

Methodology: How we chose the best free VPN services

To help you find the best free VPN, we researched top products using a specific set of desired data points. After we collected this data, we narrowed our list to seven that offer free VPN service plans. We then weighted 25 different metrics across five primary categories based on what matters most for users. Using the final score for each VPN, we selected the four that rose to the top for this list.

We also assigned each VPN an Editors’ Score encompassing four key areas before converting final scores to a star rating out of five. This Score doesn’t affect our selection methodology or assessment of key data points for ultimate list inclusion.

Here’s how our methodology breaks down:

General features (30%)

We built a list of basic features that the best VPNs (free or paid) should offer, including anonymous browsing, DNS protection, multifactor authentication, a kill switch and split tunneling. Since this category covers the fundamental functionality a VPN needs, it has the heaviest weight in our assessment.

Speeds (30%)

Internet speed matters — no matter the task — and our weighting of this category represents that. We gave top consideration to average upload and download speeds, but also evaluated minimum and maximum upload and download speeds, as well as ping.

Additional features (15%)

We also evaluated additional features offered by the VPN services outside core functionalities. This includes browser extensions, simultaneous connections and number of continents with servers. These features are generally nice-to-haves but not core VPN requirements, which is reflected in its reduced weighting.

User reviews and ratings (10%)

How real-world users feel about VPN providers offers valuable insight for small and medium-sized businesses searching for the best free VPN. To score this category, we assessed VPN popularity and UX across multiple reputable product directories (such as G2, Capterra, etc.) and the Apple App and Google Play stores.

Service and support (5%)

Difficult-to-use VPNs eat up time business owners don’t have to spare, so the ability for users to get the support they need is important. We wanted to find out how easy it is to get that help, whatever your preferred support channel (live chat, phone, knowledge base, etc.).

Editors’ Score (10%)

Our Editors’ Score for the best free VPNs considered four key factors: included features, value for money, popularity and ease of use. After we ranked VPN options using metrics associated with each of the above categories, we evaluated the products at the top of our ranked list and assigned each a grade on a scale from terrible to excellent (each descriptor is associated with a numerical value). The final score (inclusive of our Editors’ Score) was then converted into a star rating (where zero stars is the lowest possible score, and five is the max).

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

According to our evaluation, the best free VPN is Proton VPN. Its free plan has 150+ servers worldwide and an unlimited data plan, allowing you to operate while protected freely. Of course, you may find another one of our recommendations more suitable to your specific use case.

Completely free VPNs (without any related premium plans) do exist. However, they’re associated with many cyber-risks and may compromise your data to advertising networks and other third parties. We suggest avoiding them if possible.

As shown in our guide, several top VPN providers do offer limited free plans. Some don’t even require an email address or credit card number to use; you simply download the software and start using it. However, usage and features will be generally limited with such plans, and VPN providers encourage upgrading to paid plans to unlock additional features.

Using a free VPN isn’t our recommendation for growing businesses, but there are good free VPN plans you can use to get started, depending on your needs. The free plans recommended in our guide offer security and privacy with basic functionality. Just keep in mind that you’ll often come across bandwidth limits or limits on the number of servers you can access and the number of devices you can connect with free plans.

Both VPNs and proxies hide your IP address when you’re browsing online, but they aren’t the same. VPNs protect your IP address and all web activity across your operating system, whereas proxies protect only your IP address when using a specific app or browsing a specific website.

Best free VPN in February 2024 (2024)
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