It must be difficult providing a legitimate free VPN service. After all, there are thousands of low-effort, malware-infected apps that are just desperate to poach users. Further, they’re free to make all kinds of promises about their service, safe in the knowledge that they won’t have to actually fulfill them. Genuine providers, on the other hand, are often forced to impose strict data limits just to provide a consistent level of service.
The good news is that there are still a handful of reputable free VPNs out there. Of course, there’s an additional challenge in finding ones that provide enough free bandwidth to be used regularly, and that are fast enough for Australian users to rely on. Nevertheless, we’ve managed to find four exceptional free VPNs that work great in Australia. You’ll find the highlights below, but you can scroll down for a more detailed review of each.
Best free VPNs for Australia
- Hotspot Shield: Our top free VPN for Australia. Combines strong unblocking ability, decent speeds, and a reasonable daily data limit. What’s more, its paid plan comes with a risk-free seven-day trial.
- ProtonVPN: Has no data limit whatsoever. Boasts strong security and privacy credentials plus high-speed servers. Works with 9Now, BBC iPlayer, and 10 Play, among other services.
- Windscribe: Offers up to 10GB of free data per month. Highly customizable, with steady speeds, impressive security features, and 11 locations to choose from.
- Hide.me: Torrenting-friendly provider with plenty of advanced security options. Fast enough for streaming and works with plenty of in-demand services, even on the free servers.
Choosing a VPN can be difficult at the best of times, given how many services there are, and how they all seem to emphasize different features. To simplify things and ensure you always end up with a VPN capable of handling any day-to-day task, we decided to only recommend services with all of the characteristics below:
- Provides a truly free plan with no hidden charges or time limits
- Is fast enough for streaming live TV
- Uses encryption to keep your online activities private
- Doesn’t log any personally identifiable information
- Offers apps for all major operating systems
If you’d like to know more about our research process for ranking VPNs we give full details of our testing methodology and analysis here.
Best free VPN for Australia
Without further ado, let’s start reviewing the best free VPN services for Australia:
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Hotspot Shield is our top choice for anyone in Australia. It can reliably unblock a solid selection of streaming platforms from abroad, and its speeds are among the highest we’ve seen. There’s a daily bandwidth allowance of 500MB, which is decent, but without a paid subscription, you’re limited to just the US servers. In other words, the free plan is great if you’re looking to stream NBC or HBO shows, but less so for people hoping to stream BBC iPlayer or 9Now.
Although free users can’t take advantage of one-on-one customer support, they have access to the service’s full set of security tools. There’s 256-bit encryption for starters, plus DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch. Recent updates have included a feature that can connect automatically if you decide to use an unsecured wireless network and support for IKEv2 connections (rather than just the company’s proprietary Hydra protocol). Hotspot Shield doesn’t store any data that could be traced back to you personally.
Hotspot Shield has great multi-platform support, with apps for MacOS, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS. It can even be manually installed on some wifi routers. There’s a seven-day free trial available for its paid plan, plus a 45-day money-back guarantee, giving you multiple ways to try it risk-free.
- Solid unblocking ability
- Consistently impressive speeds
- Strong security features
- Doesn’t keep any logs
- Free users can only access US servers
BEST FREE VPN FOR AUSTRALIA:Hotspot Shield is our first choice. Quick and reliable US servers, as well as a relatively high bandwidth limit. Works with Disney+, Netflix US, and more. This provider offers a risk-free 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Hotspot Shield review for more details.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ProtonVPN neatly sidesteps one of the most common complaints about free VPNs by not enforcing any kind of data limit. Free users can connect to servers in the Netherlands, Japan, and the US and our testing revealed an average speed of 66 Mbps, which is more than fast enough for HD streaming. On that note, ProtonVPN works flawlessly with a wide range of geo-blocked platforms including Netflix US, HBO Max, and Peacock. The only real downsides are that you’re limited to one connection and can’t torrent on any of the free servers.
This service has a decent set of security features built-in. There’s a kill switch, protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks, and 256-bit encryption, plus a NetShield option that helps block ads, trackers, and malware automatically. ProtonVPN also recently introduced a smart connection option, which automatically chooses whichever protocol (OpenVPN or IKEv2) is best for you at that moment. Users can activate the Secure Core feature, which routes your traffic through multiple servers, making it even harder to track you. Of course, you’re protected either way as ProtonVPN refuses to log any personally identifiable information.
ProtonVPN offers its own Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, and MacOS apps. Additionally, you can manually configure it to work with a decent range of home routers.
- No data cap
- Speedy and great for streaming
- Three free locations
- Solid security and privacy offering
- Only offers ticket-based support
BROWSE WITHOUT LIMITS:ProtonVPN is a free provider that gives you the ability to browse and stream safely, as often as you like. Works well with in-demand streaming platforms and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Check out our complete ProtonVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 3 DAYS
Windscribe provides access to a whopping 11 free server locations, which is more than twice the other providers we’ve mentioned. There is a fairly low initial monthly bandwidth limit, but once you verify your email address, this increases from 2GB to 10GB. This service used to be known for its “Windflix” streaming servers; these have recently been removed, but only because you can now unblock streaming services with any server in the appropriate country.
User traffic is kept private at all times using 256-bit encryption and a firewall that replicates the kill switch and leak protection used by other VPNs on the market. Windscribe has one unique feature, though; it lets you set up a proxy gateway so that you can take advantage of a VPN connection on devices that don’t normally support them (games consoles and older TVs, for instance). This service doesn’t keep any traffic logs, and so can’t help track your activities, even in the face of legal pressure.
Windscribe has iOS, Android, MacOS, Linux, and Windows apps. Users can follow manual setup instructions to install it on supported routers too.
- Lots of free server locations
- High speeds and impressive unblocking ability
- Protects your privacy and lets you secure devices other VPNs don’t
- Despite appearances, doesn’t really offer live chat
- Stingy money-back guarantee
PERFECT FOR STREAMING:Windscribe has more free locations to choose from than any of its rivals, plus, thanks to its proxy gateway feature, it can be used on a dizzying array of devices. Throw in high speeds and powerful security tools, and it’s clear that this is one to watch. Paid users can claim a refund within the first three days of signing up or before they’ve used 10GB of data, whichever comes first.
Interested? Why not read the full Windscribe review?
Hide.me is an extremely versatile VPN that recently upped its free bandwidth limit from 2GB to 10GB per month. Speeds are generally decent, and users are even allowed to torrent if they’d like. While the paid plans offer access to over 40 countries, the free one has just four: the US, the Netherlands, Canada, and Germany. Additionally, paid users can access specially optimized streaming servers, although we were able to access popular platforms like NBC and ZDF without these.
This provider boasts all of the security features you’d expect from a quality VPN: 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. There are also a ton of more advanced options, like the ability to change adapter settings or allow specific apps through the VPN. Unfortunately, only paid subscribers can use the Wireguard protocol. Hide.me protects your privacy by refusing to keep any logs that could help identify you.
Hide.me apps are available for Linux, Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS devices. Manual configuration is required for use with supported routers.
- Decent speeds
- Works with popular streaming services, even without paid servers
- Extremely flexible security options
- Number of options could prove overwhelming for new users
- Have to renew free plan every 30 days by clicking a button in the app
SECURE AND VERSATILE:Hide.me can handle just about any task. It’s quick, has free servers in four countries, and offers a decent amount of bandwidth each month. If you’re considering the paid plan, you can take advantage of a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Take a look at the complete Hide.me review.
How to browse safely with a free VPN
Once you’ve actually decided which VPN to use, the hard part is over. After this, you can start browsing securely in a matter of minutes.
Here’s how to set up a free VPN for Australia:
- First, choose one of the VPNs above (we recommend Hotspot Shield).
- Download and install your chosen VPN’s app.
- Log in (if required) and connect to one of the free servers. If all you want is to browse privately, any location will do. On the other hand, if you’re looking to access geo-restricted content, you’ll need a server in whichever country your chosen service is based (e.g. a US server for Hulu, a UK server for BBC iPlayer).
- You should now be browsing privately. If you’re having trouble using geo-blocked streaming platforms, try clearing your cache and cookies, and then refreshing the page.
If you’re looking for a little more functionality and privacy from your VPN service then check out our recommended list of best paid VPNs for Australia.
Australia free VPNs FAQ
Are VPNs legal in Australia?
VPNs are actually legal in most of the world, barring a handful of locations like Iraq and North Korea. As such, users in Australia have nothing to worry about, provided they aren’t using VPNs to do anything illegal (such as downloading copyrighted material or harassing someone).
Are there any free VPNs I should avoid?
Not sure why we’ve left a high-profile free provider out? Well, some services that seem like solid choices actually have worrying privacy policies. Alternatively, they might simply not offer enough functionality or free bandwidth to actually be usable on more than rare occasions. Here are a few free VPNs that we don’t recommend using:
- Tunnelbear: This is a decent all-rounder but overall a poor choice due to its extremely low data limit; free users only get 500MB per month, which is enough to watch about a half-hour of Netflix in standard definition.
- Speedify: Free users can’t decide which country their server is in, which severely limits the plan’s practical applications. There’s also a fairly low bandwidth limit (2GB per month), making this a poor choice for regular usage.
- Hola: Notorious for selling its users’ bandwidth out from under them, effectively creating a botnet-for-hire. To make matters worse, it can’t unblock many streaming platforms, limits you to 2GB of data per month, and doesn’t provide any encryption at all.
Are paid VPNs worth it?
This really depends on your circumstances. Are you concerned about your digital privacy and looking to use a VPN regularly? If so, you’ll likely hit your monthly data allowance quite quickly, and as such, moving to a paid plan might be a better idea.
You may also find that your VPN prevents you from using P2P networks, unblocking certain geo-blocked platforms, or getting an IP address from a specific country (for example getting an Australian IP address from abroad)unless you’re on a paid plan. If you’re interested in any of these things, there’s really no alternative to paying up.
There are, as always, a few caveats. Be wary of services that restrict the speed of users on the free plan, or that seem to be offering more than they can feasibly deliver. You’ll often find that providers like these will say anything to get your money, then make it extremely difficult to get a refund (assuming refunds are available at all).
If you want to make sure that your privacy is always protected then it's worth having a look at our list of the best VPNs to find a high-quality provider (some of which are offering big discounts and free trials).