Best free VPN Windows

Deciding which Virtual Private Network (VPN) to use can be difficult. Choosing a free VPN, even more so, due to the huge number of providers and the risk of inadvertently installing something that leaves your device unprotected or worse, compromised.

The good news is that there are a few free VPNs that are reputable, security conscious, and useful for day-to-day browsing. Best of all, these services actually are free to use indefinitely: there are no time limits or hidden costs, and you don’t have to provide payment info to sign up.

So, without further ado, here’s a quick guide to the best free VPNs for Windows computers:

Best free VPNs for Windows PCs

  1. WindscribeOur first choice for Windows users. A speedy provider with no connection limit and up to 10GB of free bandwidth per month. Very strong on security.
  2. ProtonVPN: This no-logs VPN has no bandwidth limits whatsoever and includes all of the security features you need to browse safely. Torrenting isn’t allowed on free accounts, though.
  3. Tunnelbear: Extremely user-friendly free VPN that offers access to servers in almost 50 countries. Free users can get up to 2 GB of bandwidth per month.
  4. Speedify: A free service with steady speeds and decent streaming potential. No account needed to get 2 GB of bandwidth each month. Unfortunately, no kill switch on the free version.

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As mentioned above, there are thousands of free VPN providers. However, some are better than others, especially where security and privacy are concerned. Others have too low of a monthly bandwidth cap, which means they’re unsuitable for regular use. To make sure we only recommend services that you could feasibly use for day-to-day tasks, we looked for VPNs that met all of the following criteria:

  • Has a permanently-available free plan with no time restrictions
  • Offers an up-to-date Windows app
  • Provides at least 1 GB per month of free bandwidth
  • Is fast enough for general web browsing
  • Encrypts your data to keep your online activities private

Best free VPN for Windows

Let’s dig a little deeper into the best VPNs for Windows, starting with our top pick, Windscribe:

1. Windscribe

Windscribe Jul 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • Background FireTV

Website:  www.windscribe.com

Money-back guarantee: 3 DAYS

Windscribe is our top pick. It’s a capable service that gives free users access to servers in 10 countries. Once you’ve confirmed your email address, you’ll get 10 GB of data to play with each month. This VPN works in China so it’s ideal for bypassing censorship, but thanks to its high speeds, it’s equally comfortable helping you torrent or stream securely. Looking to protect multiple devices? You’re in luck: Windscribe has no connection limit whatsoever.

This service boasts an impressive array of security features including 256-bit encryption, a firewall that prevents leaks and acts as a kill switch, automatic wi-fi protection, and WireGuard support. Windscribe doesn’t log any data that could identify you, only your total bandwidth used since last month and the time you last connected.  Free users can submit a ticket if they run into any problems, but unfortunately, there’s no true live chat support, only a chatbot that suggests relevant help articles.

Windscribe has apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Linux, and Android. Premium subscribers can also manually configure this service for use with their home router.

Pros:

  • Free users have lots of countries to choose from
  • Lots of security tools and WireGuard support
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections

Cons:

  • Confusing user interface

Our score:

4 out of 5

HIGHLY SECURE:Windscribe pulls out all the stops where security is concerned. It’s highly customizable, works in China, and has no connection limit. Not only that, but it offers high speeds and a generous connection limit. Paid plans include a three-day money-back guarantee.

Why not check out our full Windscribe review?

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2. ProtonVPN

Proton VPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.protonvpn.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ProtonVPN is an extremely rare find. It’s among the only VPNs with no data limit, meaning you can use it as much as you like. The only catch is that those on the free plan can only access servers in three countries: the US, the Netherlands, and Japan. Your speeds aren’t throttled, though, and in our most recent tests, this VPN averaged 66 Mbps, which is excellent.

User traffic is protected with a mix of 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against IPv6 and DNS leaks. There are also multi-hop servers, plus a tool that blocks trackers automatically and split tunneling functionality. ProtonVPN only logs the timestamp of your last connection, so your activities can’t be traced back to you. Free users can find answers to any questions using the website’s knowledge base or by submitting a ticket to the support team.

ProtonVPN has its own Windows, Android, MacOS, Linux, and iOS apps. Notably, this VPN lets anyone, even free users, manually install it on their router.

Pros:

  • No bandwidth limits at all
  • Works with most streaming services
  • Powerful security tools and a no-logs policy

Cons:

  • Limits speeds and forbids torrenting on free accounts

Our score:

4 out of 5

NO DATA CAP:ProtonVPN doesn’t limit how often you can connect, how long your sessions are, or how quick your connection is. Additionally, it has one of the strongest security offerings of any free provider. Paying subscribers can take advantage of a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Interested? Consider reading our in-depth ProtonVPN review.

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3. Tunnelbear

TunnelBear

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android

Website:  www.Tunnelbear.com

Money-back guarantee: None

Tunnelbear comes with 2GB of data per month. Speeds aren’t the best but should be enough for most tasks, and best of all, you’ll have access to servers in more than 45 countries. The apps are extremely user friendly too, with just a handful of toggleable settings and a cute, bear-themed aesthetic. Perhaps surprisingly, this VPN still works in China at the time of writing.

Although this VPN uses 256-bit encryption and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks, this information isn’t mentioned in the app itself. Instead, the only security tools you can activate are GhostBear (a cloaking feature) and VigilantBear (a kill switch). You can also choose to automatically connect any time you use a network that isn’t specifically approved. Tunnelbear doesn’t log any data that could lead back to you. Ticket support is available for all users, even those on the free plan.

Tunnelbear apps are available for Windows, iOS, Android, and MacOS.

Pros:

  • Access servers in 47 countries
  • Ideal for novice users
  • Simple, toggleable security options

Cons:

  • Low monthly bandwidth limit
  • Doesn’t work with Netflix

Our score:

3.5 out of 5

PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS:Tunnelbear is a great choice for those looking for protection and speed, but none of the complexity. With nearly 50 locations to choose from and a Great Firewall-beating cloaking feature, there’s certainly a lot of potential here.

Take a look at our comprehensive Tunnelbear review.

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4. Speedify

Speedify

Apps Available:

Speedify offers free users up to 2 GB of bandwidth each month, and you don’t even have to create an account to get started. There are servers in almost 40 countries including some less-common places like Russia and the UAE. Connections are reliable and fairly speedy, so you shouldn’t have any issues browsing or using services like Netflix as you travel.

Now, this provider offers lots of security tools. There’s 128-bit encryption for instance, plus leak protection, split tunneling, and the option to choose your preferred DNS provider. However, there are some settings that are for paying users only.

Bafflingly, this includes the kill switch, which comes as standard in most other reputable VPNs. Speedify keeps limited logs that include your source IP address, connection timestamps, session duration, and bandwidth consumed, but deletes this every six months. There’s a large selection of helpful articles but you can always submit a ticket if you run into problems.

Speedify provides apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Select routers are supported too, but only to premium subscribers, and even then, you’ll have to follow manual setup instructions.

Pros:

  • Choose from over 35 countries
  • Solid security offering
  • Decent speeds

Cons:

  • Only paid users can access the kill switch
  • Based in the USA, a Five Eyes country

NO SIGNUP REQUIRED:Speedify is quick and secure, with a decent data cap. There’s no need to create an account, either. Ideally would make its kill switch available to all but otherwise is a solid general-purpose VPN. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee for paid subscribers.

Check out our full review of Speedify.

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Best cheap VPNs for Windows

You don’t have to break the bank to get a high-performance VPN. In fact, if you take advantage of long-term discounts, you can use most major providers for just a few dollars per month. If privacy and security are important to you, it may be worth opting for a cheap VPN provider rather than a free one.

Surfshark is our top recommendation for a budget VPN due to its high-quality security features, no-logging policy, and the fact you can use it on an unlimited number of devices. Great for protecting the whole household.

If you want the best all-around service we recommend NordVPN; it’s extremely fast, allows torrenting on any server, and works with just about every service we’ve tested. Both options come with a money-back guarantee, meaning you can use the VPN for at least a month and then get your money back if you are not satisfied.

Free VPNs to avoid

Unfortunately, there are plenty of free VPN providers out there that don’t value your privacy as much as they should. Below, we’ve put together a rogue’s gallery of free VPNs to avoid, and provided a short description of why each is included:

  • Hola: The free version is not a VPN, it’s essentially a P2P proxy system that routes your data through another user’s connection and vice versa. In other words, if someone else commits a crime, you could appear to be the culprit. Also, Hola sold users’ excess bandwidth out from under them, effectively creating a botnet for hire.
  • UFO VPN: Claimed to keep no logs until we proved this to be a lie.
  • SuperVPN: Has previously been removed from the Google Play Store for being a security risk. Keeps logs, has no website, and makes it difficult to tell who runs it.

Interested in learning more? We actually have a post breaking down exactly how popular free VPNs use your data.

How to set up a free VPN on Windows 10

VPNs aren’t as complicated as you might think. In fact, if you follow these steps, you can start securing your internet traffic in a matter of minutes.

Here’s how to setup a free VPN on Windows:

  1. Begin by deciding which free VPN you’d like to use (we recommend Windscribe)
  2. Visit the provider’s website and download the Windows app
  3. Upon opening the app, you’ll usually (but not always) be asked to login. Create a free account now if prompted
  4. Sign in with your newly-created account
  5. Select your preferred server location
  6. Click the connect button. Your data is now encrypted and cannot be read by anyone monitoring the network.

Methodology: How we chose the best free VPNs for Windows

We’re big proponents of looking into services before you use them, although we know how difficult this can be when it comes to complex products like VPNs. As such, we’ve broken down the key things we looked for when deciding upon the best free VPNs for this list. This way, you’ll know which features and characteristics to keep an eye out for in the future.

  • Windows support: Obviously, this is a non-negotiable requirement. If a service doesn’t have a Windows app, there’s a solid chance it’s not really a legitimate VPN at all
  • Bandwidth cap: If a service’s bandwidth limit is too low, you won’t be able to use it regularly. You may even have to forgo data-intensive tasks like torrenting or streaming, which isn’t ideal. We prefer unlimited data but otherwise, the higher the cap, the better
  • Security and privacy: VPNs are designed to improve your security, so it doesn’t make sense to compromise just because you’re using a free service. All of the VPNs above offer at least 128-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a no-logs policy
  • Speed: You’ll often find that speeds are limited on free plans, but we won’t recommend any VPN that is too slow for day-to-day tasks
  • Other limitations: We prefer VPNs that place fewer limits on free users. In other words, we prioritize those with more locations, all of their security features intact, and expansive customer support sections on their websites

This might seem like a laundry list of requirements but it’s really only the first step in our larger VPN testing process.

Windows free VPNs: FAQs

Are free VPNs safe?

Some providers value security more than others, but the real problem with free VPNs is that it’s exceptionally difficult to tell whether or not you’re actually using a legitimate service or not. Researchers have found free VPN apps that have millions of downloads, yet fail to properly encrypt user traffic. Then there’s the issue of Trojans simply pretending to be free VPNs in order to compromise your device.

The best way to keep yourself safe is to thoroughly research a provider before you start using it. If a service has abused its users’ trust before, this is usually very easy to find out. Additionally, if a VPN claims to be able to do everything, yet nobody’s talking about it, there’s a solid chance that it’s a scam. The old adage holds: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Can I watch foreign TV with a free VPN?

Every VPN has its strengths and weaknesses, so some will be better at unblocking streaming services than others. It’s worth mentioning that free VPNs are often very limited in this regard because they often only allow free users to access servers in a handful of countries. If you can only access US servers, for instance, you won’t be able to watch BBC iPlayer abroad.

Additionally, some providers have the ability to securely access platforms like Netflix, but only provide this functionality to paid accounts. This is because people flock to any free service that can help them access their usual streaming platforms abroad. As a result, the VPN’s free servers become very easy to detect, which often ends with them being blacklisted.

Is it worth paying for a free VPN’s paid plan?

This really depends. If the service you’re using is able to do everything you ask of it, but you’re consistently hitting the bandwidth cap, then perhaps upgrading would be a good idea. On the other hand, if the app is pestering you to pay, or significantly limiting you in other ways, you might be better off with a different service altogether.

Of course, even if you decide to upgrade to a paid plan, there’s no need to stay with the same provider; after all, there is a whole array of VPNs to choose from, some of which might even outperform your original service. Remember: most reputable VPNs include a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can always try a service out before you commit.